Faithful Citizenship

Faithful Citizenship

  • Nov. 6, 2018 Midterm Elections – Be Informed

See Republican and Democratic Party Platforms

Every four years (most recently in 2016) each major party, Democratic and Republican, develops a “Platform” which articulates the guiding vision, values and principles of that party in terms of what government is for and how it should serve the people.

While legislators are not bound by their party’s platform, a study by Stephen F. Austin State University professor Lee Payne found that, over a period of 25 years, members of Congress in both parties voted in line with their party platforms 82 percent of the time. This makes the examination of these platforms a good exercise in voter education ahead.

You can access the platforms in their entirety at the links below, or you can examine excerpts chosen because of their connection to core principles of Catholic teaching and the natural law. The Diocese of La Crosse does not endorse parties or candidates but wishes to lend its voice in forming consciences for faithful citizenship.

Wisconsin Bishops – Faithful Citizenship Resources

The Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC), the public policy voice of Wisconsin’s bishops, is distributing two series of resources to help Catholics reflect on their duties as faithful citizens.  Catholics are encouraged to utilize these resources as they navigate the election process and fulfill their responsibilities as voters.

The first and longer five-part series includes the following:

  1. Letter from the Bishops/Overview of Catholic Social Teaching
    Letter from the Bishops, Overview of Catholic Social Teaching – Spanish
  2. Forming Consciences
    Forming Consciences – Spanish
  3. Life & Dignity of the Human Person/Poverty & Economic Justice
    Life and Dignity of the Human Person/Poverty & Economic Justice – Spanish
  4. Religious Liberty/Immigration & Solidarity
    Religious Liberty/Immigration & Solidarity – Spanish
  5. Marriage & Family/Care for Creation
    Marriage & Family/Care for Creation – Spanish

The shorter three-part series includes:

  1. Letter from the Bishops/Overview of Catholic Social Teaching
    Letter from the Bishops, Overview of Catholic Social Teaching – Spanish
  2. Forming Consciences from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
    Forming Consciences – Spanish
  3. Select Quotes from the WCC’s five-part series.
    Select Quotes from the WCC’s five-part series – Spanish

Additional resources outside of both series include:

  1. Candidate Questions & Wisconsin Voter Information
    Candidate Questions & Wisconsin Voter Information – Spanish
  2. WCC Guidelines for Church Involvement in Electoral Politics
    WCC Guidelines for Church Involvement in Electoral Politics – Spanish

While the series and resources are designed for parish bulletins, they can also be reproduced on a parish website or on posters.

As in years past, the WCC materials are based on the U.S. bishops’ statement, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States (www.faithfulcitizenship.org).

Kim (Wadas) Vercauteren, Executive Director of the WCC, explained that being a faithful citizen involves much more than voting.  A faithful citizen translates the social teachings of the Church into concrete economic, political, and social policies.

At the close of their opening letter, the bishops of Wisconsin write:

“Catholic social teaching . . . is crucial to proper discernment.  Its proper application can lead to finding effective solutions for many of today’s most pressing problems.  This is why it is so vital for the laity to know and live this teaching.  Some people may disagree at times with this social teaching, but they acknowledge that it is consistent.  As Catholics we support the unborn child and the mother.  We support individual rights and the common good.  We support the rule of law and mercy.”

The WCC’s resources are provided to parishes through the diocesan offices responsible for respect life and social concerns.  They are also available on the WCC website at www.wisconsincatholic.org.