The Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC) has released its “Faithful Citizenship for Iowa Catholics” flier for distribution in advance of the 2016 general election. The Catholic Church does not endorse or oppose candidates or political parties. However, it contributes to the political process by encouraging Catholics to take action in the political arena with a properly-formed conscience.
“The defense of human life and dignity must begin with the fundamental right to life from natural conception to natural death. From there it extends to fair access to productive work and fair wages, food and shelter, education and health care, protection from harm and freedom to emigrate,” the statement reads. “All people have a right to these, and therefore we have a duty to help protect life and to provide for the common good.”
The bishops say that civic engagement is a moral obligation and we have a duty to vote if we are able. “We also have a duty to inform ourselves about issues and vote conscientiously … Our choice of how to vote in every instance must follow our best understanding of what is the good for all, following a time of reflection and prayer,” the statement says.
The flier includes a list of questions that all are encouraged to ask of candidates for office. The flier also refers to a reflection on leadership from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. It calls upon leaders to accept the “common good” as the true goal of their work. “In this perspective, responsible authority also means authority exercised with those virtues that make it possible to put power into practice as service (patience, modesty, moderation, charity, efforts to share).”
The four dioceses of Iowa and the Iowa Catholic Conference will distribute the flier during the coming weeks. The flier and other resources are available on this page. The ICC has a Facebook page and can be followed on Twitter @iacatholicconf. Resources from the U.S. Catholic bishops are available at www.faithfulcitizenship.org.
The Iowa Catholic Conference is the public policy voice of the Catholic bishops of Iowa. Its Board of Directors includes the Catholic bishops of Iowa and lay people, priests, deacons and religious sisters. The diocesan bishops of Iowa are Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels; Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City; Bishop Martin Amos of Davenport, and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines. Bishop Pates is the chair of the Iowa Catholic Conference board.