Election Day 2012 is upon us.  The many months of this election cycle will come to an end as America goes to the polls tomorrow to elect our country's leaders We are called both as Americans and as Christians to participate in the election.

"Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation." – Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

In the past days, weeks and months, we have shared with you the Church's teaching on the proper formation of conscience in preparation for voting, including creating a special web page posting statements from numerous Bishops from around the country. 

Our own Dallas and Fort Worth Bishops Kevin Farrell and Kevin Vann's 2008 Joint Statement, summarizing the U.S. Bishops' teaching found in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, guides us as faithul Catholics in how to balance issues of prudential judgment and those involving intrinsic evils, including "legalized abortion, the promotion of same sex unions and 'marriages', repression of religious liberty, as well as public policies permitting euthanasia, racial discrimination or destructive human embryonic stem cell research":

As Catholics we are faced with a number of issues that are of concern and should be addressed, such as immigration reform, healthcare, the economy and its solvency, care and concern for the poor, and the war on terror.  As Catholics we must be concerned about these issues and work to see that just solutions are brought about.  There are many possible solutions to these issues and there can be reasonable debate among Catholics on how to best approach and solve them. These are matters of "prudential judgment." But let us be clear: issues of prudential judgment are not morally equivalent to issues involving intrinsic evils. No matter how right a given candidate is on any of these issues, it does not outweigh a candidate's unacceptable position in favor of an intrinsic evil such as abortion or the protection of "abortion rights."

As Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship states:

"The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed." (28)

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, in paragraphs 34-37, addresses the question of whether it is morally permissible for a Catholic to vote for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil – even when the voter does not agree with the candidate's position on that evil.  The only moral possibilities for a Catholic to be able to vote in good conscience for a candidate who supports this intrinsic evil are the following:

a. If both candidates running for office support abortion or "abortion rights," a Catholic would be forced to then look at the other important issues and through their vote try to limit the evil done; or,

b. If another intrinsic evil outweighs the evil of abortion.  While this is sound moral reasoning, there are no "truly grave moral" or "proportionate" reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year.

To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or "abortion rights" when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil – and, therefore, morally impermissible.

In conclusion, as stated in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the decisions we make on these political and moral issues affect not only the general peace and prosperity of society at large, but also may affect each individual's salvation.  Read and share entire statement here.

Let us take our Bishops' teaching to heart and put it into practice! 

For comprehensive additional resources in final preparation for voting, please click here.

Please join us in these final hours of prayer as Election Day approaches (find Election Novena here).  Three parishes are also hosting Eucharistic Adoration in prayer for the election:

St. Monica Parish, Dallas:  Nov. 4, 7 p.m. - Nov. 6, 11:59 p.m. (more info here)

St. Mark Parish, Plano:  Nov. 5, 9 a.m. - Nov. 6, 6 p.m.

Mater Dei Parish, Irving: Nov. 6, 1 p.m. - 10 p.m.


"The Church teaches that all Catholics should participate as 'faithful citizens' in the public square, especially through our voice in the voting booth, and that we have the responsibility to treat the decision for whom we will vote for with profound moral seriousness." – Bishops Kevin Farrell and Kevin Vann

For voting times and locations, visit votexas.org or in Dallas County, visit dallascountyvotes.org.

Let us pray together for our country and all voters – and see you at the polls!