September Meeting Summary: Faithful Citizenship
Posted by aborgia
For our September 2012 Speaker & Supper event, SMYPP members celebrated the end of the summer hiatus with a vibrant social hour, followed by a thoughtful, non-partisan talk from Patrick Cashio (Director of Young Adult Ministry at the Romero Center) on the topic of Faithful Citizenship. With election day a few months away, Patrick helped summarize the church’s teaching on what it means to exercise your vote and your conscience.
The main focus of the talk was “Forming Conciences for Faithful Citizenship,” a booklet produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. What’s interesting about this document is that the Bishops don’t dictate who to vote for but rather clarify the church’s stance on key issues so that Catholic voters can make their own well-informed decisions. This year, in the Introductory Note, the Bishops have highlighted 6 main moral issues for voter consideration: 1) continuing threats to the dignity of life (ie, abortion and euthanasia), 2) the HHS mandate, 3) efforts to redefine or undermine traditional marriage, 4) increased burdens for the poor and unemployed due to the economy, 5) reforming our immigration system, and 6) violence and war, particularly in the Middle East.
While some of these issues seem clear cut, others “give our conscience a generous exercise,” Patrick explained. We must look beyond party lines and judge candidates not just on a single issue, but on a multitude of them. Though this is no easy task, we shouldn’t be afraid that our choices will make us more or less Catholic. “Choosing one thing over another, that won’t make you half Catholic,” said Patrick. “Just ask yourself how something will affect the most vulnerable among us, and let that be your guiding prayer.”
Another common concern among Catholic voters is if voting with these issues in mind means that we are imposing our views upon others. As the Bishops point out in the booklet, though, expressing our beliefs is a protected act under the Constitution. By exercising our rights, we help contribute to the “tradition of pluralism” in our country. “As members of a community of faith, we are blessed with religious liberty in the United States,” said Patrick. “We need to exercise and protect our Constitutional rights.” Although the beliefs and views held by Catholics are not always popular, we have an obligation to help shape the moral state of our society in a way that is both caring and constructive. “We have to acknowledge that our faith plays a big part in who we are,” said Patrick.
Posted on September 21, 2012, in Meeting Summaries and tagged Catholic Social Teaching, Faithful Citizenship, Patrick Cashio, Romero Center, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.