|Bishop Felipe J. Estévez Calls on Catholics to Register and Vote!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
As we rapidly approach a very important general election, I want to take this opportunity to urge each and every one of you to register and vote.
As Catholic Christians we have always believed that voting and participating in our community is not just a privilege but also a responsibility. We are called by Christ to be salt and light to the world, and to infuse the culture around us with the values of our faith. And so I urge you to take your Catholic beliefs, values and consciences into the voting booth with you.
I would not tell you how to vote or who to vote for, but it is my responsibility to remind you that, for us Catholics, some issues are simply never morally acceptable. The taking of an innocent human life, whether inside the womb or not, and up until natural death, is always and everywhere intrinsically evil. Such issues as embryonic stem cell research and attempts at human cloning are also direct attacks against the dignity and uniqueness of human life made in the image of God. Finally, preserving the dignity of traditional marriage is of central importance and must never be undermined because marriage is a cornerstone of any stable society. Any attempts to re-define marriage as something other than between a man and a woman, should be vigorously opposed by a Catholic as contrary to reason, the natural law, and the divinely revealed truths of the Bible. Beyond these fundamental issues, and closely related to them is the issue of religious liberty – our ability as Catholics to live our lives publically according to our faith and morals at all levels of society.
As Catholics we must first consider the various candidates and party platforms in light of those immutable issues I have mentioned above. Then, in good conscience, we must give preference to the candidate who does not oppose our God given moral principles.
Finally, I want to bring to your attention two important State of Florida constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Amendment 6 would prohibit the spending of public tax dollars on abortion, or for health benefits which include abortion. Amendment 8 would protect religious liberty in Florida by allowing public funds to be allocated to faith-based organizations, which provide many high quality social and educational services to the general public. Along with all the Bishops of Florida, I urge you to vote “yes” on these two amendments.
Once again, I ask you to vote on Nov. 6 and to keep in mind those biblical and Catholic moral principles which cannot be compromised. Let us preserve a climate of civility in dealing with all citizens. In the meantime, let us intensify our life of prayer, and let us fast and repent for the sake of our beloved country’s future.
On Sunday, Nov. 4 at 5:00 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, I intend to celebrate Mass for our beloved country. Mass will be followed by adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament; adoration will continue throughout the night until the following morning at 7:00 a.m. The statue of Our Lady of La Leche will be moved from its Chapel at Mission Nombre de Dios to the Cathedral for this occasion. This will be done as a sign of our recognition that the Blessed Mother is a powerful intercessor for our urgent petitions. [Click here for a copy of Bishop Estévez' homily of Nov. 4, 2012]
Sincerely in the Lord,
Most Reverend Felipe J. Estévez, S.T.D.
Bishop of St. Augustine
From the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops aims to provide opportunities and resources for Catholics in Florida to carry out their responsibility to participate in political life. To help inform voters before casting their ballots, the positions of the presidential candidates on a broad range of issues have been compiled from policies, public statements, official and campaign websites, and other sources.
This document is but one tool to help Catholics prepare for the election and is not a substitute for individual research and study. The Catholic Church does not support or oppose candidates, nor does either political party reflect the fullness of Catholic Social Teaching in its entirety. The responsibility to make political choices rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience in accordance with human reason and the truths of our faith.
For more information on moral obligations inside and outside the voting booth, see Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States and additional resources located on the websites of www.usccb.org and http://www.flaccb.org/.
The Candidate Questionnaire Project (CQP) for the General Election is now available for voters.
For download a PDF of the CQP for candidates in the Diocese of St. Augustine,
Each election cycle, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops conducts the Candidate Questionnaire Project to assist Catholics and the broader community with the obligation to become informed voters. Being familiar with candidates' positions on issues involving human life, dignity and the common good is essential to responsible, faithful citizenship.
All U.S. Congressional and Florida legislative candidates appearing on the ballot in the general election on Nov. 6 have been invited to participate in a questionnaire regarding their positions on public policy issues related to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Candidates have been asked to identify whether they support or oppose seven issues covering a range of topics. Although the questionnaires do not address every area of concern, care has been taken to identify those issues likely to be acted on by lawmakers during the coming term. In addition to their positions on the issues, candidates have been given the opportunity to include brief comments on each question. Candidate positions on issues are gathered for informational purposes only and are not used for endorsement of any candidate or political party.
Whether on Election Day, during early voting or by absentee ballot, casting our votes responsibly requires us to be informed. When it comes to marking the ballot, reconciling politics with the basic values of the Gospel and the tenets of our Catholic faith can be difficult. If we take the time to inquire where the candidates stand on issues that are important to us, we are better prepared to address this challenge.
The Florida Bishops' 2012 Voting Statement
"Study, Discuss, Pray and then Vote with an informed Conscience on November 6," is now available. Click here for [English] or [Spanish]. To read more from the Florida Bishops, visit the Florida Catholic Conference website at http://www.flaccb.org/.
Correcting Vice President Joseph Biden
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement on Oct. 12 calling attention to the inaccurate statement of fact on the HHS mandate made during the Vice Presidential debate. A copy of the release is available by clicking here.
Religious freedom has profound implications for the common good of our nation and world. Visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website for resources and related information on religious liberty at home, international religious freedom and conscience protection. The USCCB website offers opportunities for you to take action and make your voice heard in support of religious freedom within our nation and throughout the world.