Bishop tells Catholics voting is a ‘sacred duty’

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone wants South Carolina Catholics at the polls in full force on Nov. 6.

The bishop urged people to pray, prepare and pledge to cast their vote in a Sept. 12 letter sent to the state’s parishes.

“Voting is not only a treasured privilege, it is also a sacred duty,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “We are called as God’s children to do all we can to promote the common good and participating in government by voting is a very important responsibility,” he said.

During the month of September, voter registration drives have been held in many parishes and diocesan officials have encouraged them to offer education opportunities concerning the issues.

“When we vote, it is imperative that we do so with a well-formed conscience and with sufficient knowledge of the implications of our vote,” Bishop Guglielmone said.

“There are so many issues to consider, but we must prioritize those issues and vote for candidates who will honestly and courageously do what is best for our country, our state and local cities and towns. Our faith must influence our decisions, for God’s law is the highest law.”

The bishop referred to a doctrinal note, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, about the participation of Catholics in political life, which explains that “a well-informed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.”

The U.S. bishops concur, he said, adding that “decisions about candidates and choices about public policies require clear commitment to moral principles, careful discernment and prudential judgments based on the values of our faith”  from the USCCB document “Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility” (www.usccb.org).

“We are living in a time in which our God-given right to life, freedom of speech and freedom of religion are seriously threatened,” he said. “As we study the issues we must remember that we can never support what is intrinsically evil. With the many issues to consider, none are more serious than the right to life, upholding the dignity of every human person, and freedom to live our faith without government interference.”

The last day to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 6. South Carolinians can do so at www.scvotes.org.

“I am confident after prayer and careful preparation; we can vote with purpose as informed Catholics, allowing the light of Christ to shine in a world that desperately needs it,” Bishop Guglielmone said.