In a couple weeks, Virginians will head to the polls to select the Commonwealth’s next Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, and to choose who will occupy all 100 seats in our House of Delegates. While the barrage of mudslinging and negative ads might leave us feeling nauseous and less than excited about voting at all, as Catholics we have a civic responsibility to participate. Our faith teaches that “responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.”
But before we participate in the political system, we first have an obligation to properly form our consciences. The U.S. Bishops remind us in Faithful Citizenship, “A consistent ethic of life should guide all Catholic engagement in political life. This Catholic ethic neither treats all issues as morally equivalent nor reduces Catholic teaching to one or two issues. It anchors the Catholic commitment to defend human life and other human rights, from conception until natural death, in the fundamental obligation to respect the dignity of every human being as a child of God.”
To help Virginia Catholics form their consciences before they vote, the Conference has compiled the results of its 2013 Candidate Survey, which tell where candidates stand on issues important to Catholics. The survey was sent to all candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and contested House seats. Please click here to see the survey results for candidates in the Diocese of Arlington, and here for candidates in the Diocese of Richmond. Additionally, Richmond Bishop Francis DiLorenzo and Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde have issued a pre-election letter that offers an essential three-part framework for forming one’s conscience before making critical decisions in civic life. The Bishops urge Catholics to prayerfully prepare before they vote or make any decision about public policy.
On behalf of the Bishops, the Conference urges all Catholics in Virginia to take advantage of these resources available to assist in forming consciences for faithful citizenship, and to VOTE on November 5th!