FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP

INTRODUCTION

Faithful Citizenship is incorporating the values of our Catholic Faith when voting for candidates in political elections and for being proactive about voicing to elected officials support for passage of proposed legislation that aligns with Catholic values or support for not enacting proposed legislation that undermines Catholic values. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stated their expectations for American Catholics to adopt Faithful Citizenship in their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.
 
The Catechism of the Catholic Church conveys the essential and fundamental aspects of the Catholic faith. It challenges Catholics to “participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good.” With respect to Faithful Citizenship, citizens of the U.S. have two roles of interest: voter in elections and constituent of elected representatives.
 

Catholic Social Teachings are based on a set of foundational papal and Vatican documents dating back to 1891. They build upon the concept of common good and provide a framework for achieving the common good. According to the teachings, Catholics should work for a common good by taking actions that move our society towards one that is just towards all its members and has a strong concern for the poor and vulnerable.

The information and links in the LEARN section of this web page provide a basic understanding of Faithful Citizenship, Catholic Social Teaching, and of poverty in the U.S. The TAKE ACTION section of this page provides additional information and links for using this understanding to become a Faithful Citizen.

As you work through the text and links of this web page, it may be helpful to think about Mathew 25:40, where, as part of The Judgment of Nations, Jesus said “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

LEARN- Understand why we need Faithful Citizens

This section can be thought of as a scavenger hunt with 14 links to content on four web sites. It will take you about 45 minutes to work through the links, but the time should go fast since the links are to a mixture of text, video and audio. At the end of the section, there is a set of optional links for you to use if you want to learn more about any of the covered topics.

For the videos, you can adjust the volume and switch to full screen using the screen and speaker icons towards the right side of the video player menu bar. For documents and audio files, your web browser may ask you to approve opening the file before it is opened. Each link will open up in a new browser tab. When you are done with a link, you can hit the back arrow to return to the tab with this page to get the next link.

The first group of links, from the

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

page of the USCCB website, provides an understanding of Faithful Citizenship.
Watch:

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (12:31 min)
Watch: The Call to Faithful Citizenship (5:31 min)
Read: Summary USCCB Consciences for Faithful Citizenship Document (2 pages)

The second group of links, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church online document on the Vatican Holy See website, provides an understanding of two Catholic beliefs that are key drivers for Faithful Citizenship.

Read: The Common Good (1 web page)
Read: Responsibilities and Participation (1 web page)
 
The third group of links, from the Catholic Social Teaching page of the USCCB website, provides an understanding of Catholic Social Teaching.
Listen: Dignity of the Human Person (1:53 min)
Listen: Common Good (1:50 min)
Listen: Individual’s Rights (1:44 min)
Listen: Option for the Poor (1:40 min)
Listen: Social Justice (2:03 min)
Listen: Economic Justice (1:41 min)
Listen: Role of Government (2:07 min)
Listen: Political Participation (1:39 min)
 
The next link, for the Poverty USA website of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), provides an understanding of the nature and prevalence of poverty in our nation.
Watch: Living in Poverty USA (4:05 min)
 
In the TAKE ACTION section, you will learn about the specific Catholic social justice issues at the state and federal levels when you visit the websites discussed in that section. The next group of links is optional and is provided in case you want to learn more about the topics covered in the 14 learning links. If you are ready to become a Faithful Citizen, you can skip to the TAKE ACTION section.
 

To learn more, click on the title below to be redirected:

USCCB: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
All Catholics

Catechism of the Catholic Church
Frequently Asked Questions about the Catechism

USCCB: Catholic Social Teaching
Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
Catholic Social Teaching Podcasts

Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD): Poverty USA
Poverty Facts
Poverty Interactive Map

Catholic Charities of Baltimore
Catholic Charities of Baltimore: Public Policy
Maryland Issues and Statistics

Anne Arundel County Citizen: Poverty Amidst Plenty Report IV (Read the Summary of Findings starting on page v and read the Introduction starting on page 1.)

TAKE ACTION – Become a Faithful Citizen

To fulfill the expectation of Faithful Citizenship of incorporating the values of our Catholic Faith when voting for candidates in political elections, a Faithful Citizen needs to be a registered voter; know their polling place; know the date of the election; understand the Catholic social justice issues; and understand the positions of the candidates with respect to a broad range of issues including the Catholic social justice issues. The links below will provide all this information for your consideration. The websites will not tell you which candidate to vote for since that remains your decision.

To fulfill the expectation of Faithful Citizenship of being proactive about voicing to elected officials support for passage of proposed legislation that supports Catholic values or support for not enacting proposed legislation that undermines Catholic values, a Faithful Citizen needs to understand Catholic social justice issues; the times when voicing support or lack of support is warranted; the key aspects of the proposed legislation that are triggering the need for action; identification of the elected officials to contact; ways to contact the elected officials; and a template for the message to be sent. The links below provide this information and guide you through the process of contacting elected representatives.

The next two links are to government websites for identifying elected officials, registering to vote, and identifying polling places (click on the link name to be redirected to the site).

Who Are Your Elected Officials website of the Maryland State Archives will identify the federal and state elected officials that represent you based on your address.

Board of Elections page of the Anne Arundel County website identifies the dates of upcoming elections when you scroll down the page, and has links on the right side bar of Elections Quick Links to register to vote and for registered voters to identify their polling place.

The next two links are to the websites of Catholic organizations that advocate for Catholic concerns either in the U.S. Congress or in the Maryland State Legislature. Each website provides information on Catholic social issues and then uses email alerts to guide you through the remainder of the information when there is an upcoming election or legislation warranting action. These organizations will not share your contact information and will limit use of your contact information to their faithful citizenship efforts.

US Conference of Catholic Bishops Action Center supports Faithful Citizenship at the national level. To subscribe to their alerts, click on ALERTS CENTRAL in the Alerts Central section on the right side of their page; click on Go in the Create a Profile section on the right side of their page and fill in the information requested in the form including selecting the policy issues for which you want email notifications. Links to background information about the Catholic social justice issues of concern are in the menu banner at the top of their page.

Maryland Catholic Conference Action Center supports Faithful Citizenship at the state level. To subscribe to their alerts, click on SIGN UP in the Catholic Advocacy Network – Activate your faith! section on the right side of the page and fill in the information requested in the form including selecting the policy issues for which you want email notifications. Links to background information about the Catholic social justice issues of concern are in the menu banner at the top of the page.

To Provide Feedback and Request Assistance

 
Please send a simple email to Andy (click on his name above) if you:
  • found this site helpful;
  • decided to subscribe to the action alerts;
  • had problems with any of the links in accessing information; or
  • have any questions about Faithful Citizenship.