The 2018 Pew Study, “Trends in Party Affiliation Among Demographic Groups,” showed that Catholics are pretty evenly split along party lines (47% Democrat and 46% Republican), further reinforcing the long-held belief that when it comes to politics, it is difficult to agree on anything. While this may be true, there is quite a bit that Catholics can (and should) agree on, maybe not in terms of politics or political issues but in terms of how we ought to be treating one another as a society, as human beings made in God’s “image and likeness” (Genesis 1:27). Our Catholic faith, particularly Catholic Social Teaching, transcends politics but it does not remain aloof from the polis. These are Judeo-Christian teachings rooted in divine revelation and natural law—the same primary sources that informed our Constitution.
Bringing our faith to bear on political issues is part of being a disciple. Faith and citizenship go hand-in-hand... When we cast our votes this November, we need to be informed about the issues and formed by our faith.
Catholic Social Teaching can be summarized according to seven themes: Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community, and Participation; Rights and Responsibilities; Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; Solidarity; and Care for God’s Creation. Woven throughout these themes are common threads that tie the themes together, presenting a unified and moral vision:
1) Human dignity is God-given.
2) We all have the responsibility to preserve, nurture, and protect human dignity through all stages of life.
3) Our society is only as strong as the support and care it shows its most vulnerable members.
4) Benefit to the common good is an important metric for gauging the moral rightness of political policy.
5) Love of neighbor includes care for the environment.
Keeping these moral touchstones in mind as we listen to and discern the issues of today will give us greater confidence that we are, in fact, voting with an informed and formed conscience. Resources are available at USCCB.org that can provide deeper understanding of Catholic Social Teaching. We also have digital resources on our Sadlier Religion page that can help you prepare to vote with a formed conscience in November. For example, our video series: The Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching: Building Blocks for Social Change provides a summary of each Catholic Social Teaching theme, along with downloadable resources that will help you understand and apply each theme in your daily life.
The resources below are prayerful in tone, but they touch on concrete, political realities and issues that we should hope to participate in positively and peacefully, both for the unity of our nation and for the glory of God.
Peace seems to be at a premium these days. Our country is deeply divided on several human dignity-related issues, particularly those having to do with gender, inclusion, and equality. This prayer card, Prayer for a National Election, reminds us that peace requires working for justice and opening up to the Holy Spirit. We need each other and we need God. Put this prayer card on your refrigerator or next to your bed. Make it a part of your morning or evening prayer. Or put it next to your remote when you watch the debates on TV!
Life, particularly human life, is sacred at every stage. The Prayer for Life Prayer Card helps us remember this. We want to leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. We work toward this end when we acknowledge the sacredness of life, and when we nourish and conserve the creation that sustains it. Put this card in your kitchen as a reminder to be thankful for (and use wisely) what you have. Or put it next to your child’s bed and make it a part of bedtime prayer.
Diversity is part of God’s creation. Division is not. Our Prayer for Honoring the Dignity of All Human Beings Prayer Card helps you to lift up to God the divisions our society is facing. This is a great prayer to have at the dinner table as a reminder that there is much around which we need to come together, listen, discuss, and work for change.
Our Prayers for Family resource offers a number of prayers, in English and Spanish, to help you sanctify your day and keep the faith at the center of family life. This would be a great resource to place somewhere in the home where you might keep a schedule of “to dos” or a calendar. Make these prayers a part of your everyday life.
Our Prayer of Hunger for Justice Prayer Card is a must for any kitchen or dining room table. As your family gathers to thank God for his gifts, be mindful of those who go without, and pray for the desire to work for justice. This is a particularly good prayer to have on hand during the Lenten season.
Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor as ourselves” (Mark 12:31) is an urgent call to preserve and protect the God-given and inalienable freedoms and rights we hold most dear. And we do this by being informed, formed and involved, as a person of faith, in society. When we cast our votes this November, we need to be informed about the issues and formed by our faith. We need to agree that love for our neighbor both transcends and, at the same time, plays a critical role in shaping the outcomes of the political issues of our time. It is our hope, here, at Sadlier that these prayerful resources will form you and inspire you to cast your vote as a faithful citizen. God bless!