We have decided to add a regular feature to this blog, at least through the end of this election year: Faithful Citizenship Fridays.
“Faithful Citizenship” refers to the document the USCCB approved in 2007, and reapproved late last year, which discusses ways Catholics might faithfully participate in the US’s democratic society. As such, it is concerned with questions we Catholic moral theologians often raise: How do we participate in advocating for the common good? How do we witness our beliefs in relation to the society in which we live?
The document has sometimes been used as a voting guide or “scorecard” (which is not a good way of using it, as this year’s introductory note from the bishops insists). And yet, it is a document that is particularly linked with voting, since that is one of the times when Catholics most visibly participate in the American form of democratic government.
We propose to reflect on this document and related issues in this election year – as a way of thinking through what it means to be “faithful citizens.” We, too, do not propose to offer a voting guide. Indeed, given the diversity of opinion reflected among us, we likely have no consensus on voting. We probably do not even have consensus on what it means to be “faithful citizens” and Catholics. But, as stated in our mission, we do have a commitment to help each other reflect on these important questions.
The hope, in part, is that this discussion will relate not only to voting, but to other practices we might do as Catholics that enable faithful citizenship. Voting is only one action; the bishops’ statement calls for a much richer kind of engagement, however – one that aims to keep being “faithful citizens” despite whatever happens in any particular election. Indeed, the hope is that by reflecting on this document, we become more faithful Christians, more deeply committed to the life in Christ to which we are called – even and especially long after the vote for president has been cast.
Check out this space in coming Fridays for more…