MADISON -- The Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC), the public policy voice of Wisconsin’s bishops, is distributing several resources to help Catholics reflect on their duties as faithful citizens. The state primary election will be held on September 14.
Materials include a joint letter from the bishops of Wisconsin; the latest edition of the WCC Guidelines for Church Involvement in Electoral Politics; and a question card that voters can use when questioning candidates running for state office.
John Huebscher, executive director of the WCC, explained that the bishops “have no desire to endorse candidates or political parties” nor to “seek to impose doctrinal beliefs on fellow citizens.” Rather, they seek to help Catholics form consciences, evaluate political candidates and public policies, and bring forth the love and truth of Jesus Christ.
The bishops invite Catholics to read or re-read the U.S. bishops’ 2007 statement, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States” (www.faithfulcitizenship.org).
They then highlight the four major themes of Forming Consciences:
• The right to life of every human person — from conception to natural death.
• Marriage between a man and woman is not just a sacred good but a social good that government needs to recognize, encourage, and protect.
• The Catholic consistent life ethic “extends from the vulnerable inside the womb to the vulnerable outside the womb.”
• Natural resources are God-given and “we are all responsible for protecting them.”
The bishops acknowledge, “Being a faithful citizen is never easy.” Nevertheless, if Catholics “continue to remain engaged, not just politically but also culturally, there is so much good that we will contribute to our nation and to our world.”
Finally, the bishops urge Catholics to “demonstrate charity and respect for one another” even in the midst of vigorous civic debates.
These three resources are provided to parishes through the diocesan offices responsible for respect life and social concerns. The materials are also available on the WCC Web site at www.wisconsincatholic.org