Rights and Responsibilities

Faithful Citizenship

“Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.”
— Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

By our baptism, Catholics are committed to following Jesus Christ and to be “salt for the earth, light for the nations.” As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “It is necessary that all participate, according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This is inherent in the dignity of the human person … As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life” (Catechism 1913-1915).

“As Catholics, we are called to be engaged in the public discourse, to be involved in the political process and to exercise our obligation to vote in this very important election,” says Most Reverend John Noonan, Bishop of the Diocese of Orlando. “However, we must be informed and well formed voters. As Catholics our moral principles must guide our decisions in life and particularly in the voting booth. Our consciences must be well formed and educated in the truth of our faith as it is handed down to us through the Church.”

The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, a part of the mission given to us by Jesus Christ. As people of both faith and reason, Catholics are called to bring truth to political life and to practice Christ’s commandment to “love one another” (Jn 13:34). We are called to bring together our principles and our political choices, our values and our votes, to help build a better world. At times Catholics may choose different ways to respond to social problems, but we cannot differ on our obligation to protect human life and dignity and help build through moral means a more just and peaceful world.

Background

“For many years, we bishops of the United States have sought to share Catholic teaching on political life. We have done so in a series of statements issued every four years focused on “political responsibility” or “faithful citizenship”. In this document we continue that practice, maintaining continuity with what we have said in the past in light of new challenges facing our nation and world. This is not new teaching but affirms what is taught by our Bishops’ Conference and the whole Church. As Catholics, we are part of a community with a rich heritage that helps us consider the challenges in public life and contribute to greater justice and peace for all people.”
— From the introduction of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, 2007

Action
  • Host a Faithful Citizenship workshop at your parish, school, or ministry
  • Register to vote
Resources

Faithful Citizenship
Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States
Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB): Election and Activities Guide
Praying Like A Faithful Citizen…     Spanish Version

Videos

Click here for videos on Faithful Citizenship from the USCCB.