Faithful Citizenship

We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern."
—  Pope Francis

What is Faithful Citizenship?

Discipleship demands that all Catholics work with others to build a civic society aligned with Catholic Social Teaching in which all people are able to reach their fullest calling in both personal and community life. The Church is called to address the pressing need to share the social demands of the Gospel and Catholic tradition more clearly.

Responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person. ... As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life” (nos. 1913-1915).

Faithful citizenship is about more than elections. It requires ongoing participation in the continuing political and legislative process. You can learn more by exploring the helpful resources we have provided below. For those interested in immersing themselves even deeper into faithful citizenship, please read the USCCB's Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

Helpful Resources

Guidelines

Discover our faithful citizenship guidelines advocacy, lobbying and political action.

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F.A.Q.

Get the answers to the important questions about faithful citizenship.

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Sample Bulletins

Browse sample bulletins for your Parish - available in both English and Spanish.

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Are you registered to vote?

Contact your local county to register to vote in all elections. Parishes are encouraged to hold non-partisan voter registration drives at their parishes. Persons can be deputized by the county to become voter registrars. Contact your local county to find out procedures.

Voter Education and Voter Registration Info:

English Español

Additional Resources

How-to guides, prayer resources, and small group studies for parishes and parish leaders.

What is Faithful Citizenship?

Discipleship demands that all Catholics work with others to build a civic society aligned with Catholic Social Teaching in which all people are able to reach their fullest calling in both personal and community life. The Church is called to address the pressing need to share the social demands of the Gospel and Catholic tradition more clearly.

Responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person. ... As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life” (nos. 1913-1915).

Faithful citizenship is about more than elections. It requires ongoing participation in the continuing political and legislative process.

To participate in the political and legislative process as a faithful citizen requires that first of all our political positions be grounded in our faith. See the themes at the heart of our Catholic Social Tradition.

To support the effort for all of us becoming faithful citizens the bishops say, “forming their consciences in accord with Catholic teaching, Catholic lay women and men can become actively involved: running for office; working within political parties; communicating their concerns and positions to elected officials; and joining diocesan social mission or advocacy networks, state Catholic conference initiatives, community organizations, and other efforts to apply authentic moral teaching in the public square. Even those who cannot vote have the right to have their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the common good” (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship #16).

Unfortunately, politics in our country often can be a contest of powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites, and media hype. The Church calls for a different kind of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convictions of well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and the vulnerable. The Catholic call to faithful citizenship affirms the importance of political participation and insists that public service is a worthy vocation. As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. When necessary, our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths. We are called to bring together our principles and our political choices, our values and our votes, to help build a better world (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship #13-14).

Elections are a time for debate and decisions about leaders, policies, and values that will guide our nation. Taking time to form your conscience will help you assess political platforms, campaigns, and some of the important issues that face our communities and world today.

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