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Faithful Citizenship


Continuing this week’s reflection on the issues involving Catholic teachings and political citizenship (see my three previous blogs), I am referring readers to some important source documents. Learning about Catholic teachings and the many commentaries on these issues is a vital part of our responsibility as a university rooted in the Catholic faith tradition. We may agree or disagree about the issues, but we cannot be agnostic about the actual sources of moral teachings and learned analysis of their applications in specific places in public life.

First, see this article from the Catholic News Service for a quick and balanced summary of some of the key issues with Nancy Pelosi’s positions and the Church.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has promulgated a number of important policy statements and guidelines on the participation of Catholics in political life in the United States. “Faithful Citizenship,” the first link below, is a critical baseline document for all Catholics who participate in the political system. The bishops update this document periodically according to the U.S. election calendar.

Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility (U.S. Bishops’ Conference 2004)

Particularly as a result of John Kerry’s candidacy for the presidency, and the prominence of other Catholic politicians whose political positions on abortion and gay rights conflict with Church teachings, the bishops have made several statements on the questions presented by Catholics in public office:

Catholics in Political Life (U.S. Bishops’ Conference June 2004)

Cardinal McCarrick’s report to the U.S. Bishops’ Conference regarding the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians (June 15, 2006)

This is a statement made by a group of Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives in response to the public discussions about their faith and political choices, and a reply from the bishops:

2006 Statement by Fifty-Five Catholics in the U.S. House of Representatives

Reply to the Fifty-Five Catholics: U.S. Bishops Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life

Below are two links to America magazine, a Jesuit publication known for intellectual analysis of contemporary Catholic issues. The first link is an interesting editorial discussing this topic. The second very valuable link goes to a compendium page with links to numerous articles and official Catholic documents on these topics:

America Magazine 2004 Editorial

America Magazine Compendium of Articles and Statements on Catholics in Public Life

Next: University as Alma Mater

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: