The fall preceding U.S. Presidential Elections the USCCB issues materials for the faithful to explore and be formed in with regard to church teachings. The most recent publication can be found at: http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship-document.cfm.
The US Bishops explain, faithful citizenship then is not simply pulling the lever in the voting booth, although that is an important element. It extends to our understanding of the issues, the platforms of candidates, and giving voice to those issues not aligned with Catholic Social Teaching. Further it is our moral obligation to speak for those whose voices cannot be heard, to work for the common good and to stand up for our faith's tradition and teachings regarding social justice.
On Sunday October 14, 2012, Randall Rainey gave a talk here at St. Michael about Faithful Citizenship and the Problem of Radical Secularism. In his presentation he provided the philosophical and legal grounds for secularism and how it can easily turn into what Benedict XVI calls a "Dictatorship of Relativism." To listen to this talk CLICK HERE.
January 2012: Pope Benedict XVI to U.S. Bishops in Rome (selected quotes)
We see the need for engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity to participate in public debate about the issues that are determining the future of American society.
It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States comes to realize the grave threats to the Church's public moral witness.
The legitimate separation of Church and state cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on issues that the state may choose not to engage the voices of committed believers.
Prayer Before Elections (From USCCB)
Lord God, as the election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city/state/country,
and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.
We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters,
one and equal in dignity,
especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.
We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned,
Men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment
so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word,
live your love,
and keep in the ways of your truth
as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles
and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.