Among candidates for elected office, the choices for voters can be perplexing. A Catholic has a moral duty to vote and is obligated to vote according to the judgment of a well-formed conscience (commonly called an “informed conscience”), understood as true knowledge of good and evil applied to one’s concrete actions. Catholic voters are guided by these principles:
- The Catholic voter’s conscience must be informed by Church teaching found in authentic and definitive sources, such as Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Catholic voter must know the positions held by candidates and their party platforms.
- The authentic teachings of the Catholic Church are the legitimate expression of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and when lived out, define us as Christians.
- The more fundamental the issue, like human life or marriage, the more importance that issue has in the judgment of conscience.
- The exercise of an informed and morally upright conscience requires that a Catholic vote for that candidate whose positions best correspond to the Church’s moral teaching on such fundamental issues.
- Voting contributes to accomplishing a candidate’s goals and makes the voter a cooperator with those goals.
This statement is made without prejudice to any candidate or political party. It is intended rather to remind the Catholics of this Diocese that voting is not to be taken lightly and can have immediate as well as eternal consequences. Ultimately, we will stand before God for the decisions we made and the actions we took.
Glen John Provost
Bishop of Lake Charles