U.S. Bishops Publish Tract on Political Process

Aims to Raise Awareness Among the Laity

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WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops’ conference is giving renewed attention this election year to the connection between faith and participation in the political process.

The conference has released a bulletin insert summarizing the bishops’ teaching on the role of Catholics in the public arena. The new insert is designed in a format that can be widely distributed in parish bulletins and other settings.

Based on the episcopal statement «Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility,» the new bulletin insert is intended to help the bishops meet their goal of preparing laypeople to reflect on what it means to be a «faithful citizen,» to use their voices and votes to protect human life and dignity, and to promote justice and peace.

The new bulletin insert suggests that in an election year, «We need a new kind of politics — focused on moral principles, not the polls; on the needs of the vulnerable, not the contributions of the powerful; and on the pursuit of the common good, not the demands of special interests.»

It urges voters «to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically and to choose political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or self-interest.»

Affirming that in Catholic teaching abortion and euthanasia are «pre-eminent threats to human life and dignity,» the insert also suggests that during this election year, «politics should be about an old idea with new power — the common good. The question should not be, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ It should be, ‘How can ‘we’ — all of us — especially the weak and vulnerable — be better off in the years ahead?'»

To obtain copies of «The Challenge of Faithful Citizenship» bulletin insert, call USCCB Publishing at (800) 235-8722 or visit www.usccb.org/publishing.

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