Posted October 13, 2004
1. The Archbishop is impelled to speak to Catholics and all people of good
will in the metropolitan community on Our Civic Responsibility for the
Common Good on account of his responsibility as a Bishop to teach
clearly the moral law.
2. Scripture teaches definitively that we are our "brother's keeper," good
Samaritans charged to exercise our civic responsibility to promote the
common good. Above all, we must promote and protect the inviolable
dignity of all human life.
We are called to be "Christians Without Borders," without boundaries to
our love of neighbor.
3. Our civic responsibility to promote the common good is informed by our
life in Christ, which unites us in a bond of charity.
4. As citizens of Heaven and earth we are bound by the moral law to act
with respect for the rights of others and to promote the common good.
5. The right to act in accord with conscience presupposes that it is informed
with the truth God has inscribed in our hearts and revealed in Sacred
Scripture. Conscience is the voice of God within us, assisting us to choose
good and to avoid evil, in accord with God's law.
6. We are morally bound in conscience to choose government leaders who
will serve the common good. The first priority of the common good is
the protection of human life, the basis of all other social conditions.
There can never be justification for directly and deliberately taking innocent
human life: abortion, destruction of human embryos, euthanasia, human cloning.
Legal recognition of same-sex relationships undermines the truth about
marriage and sanctions gravely immoral acts.
For the sake of the common good we must safeguard the good of human life and
the good of marriage and family life.
The death penalty and war are different from procured abortion and same-sex
"marriage", since these latter acts are intrinsically evil and therefore can never be
justified. Although war and capital punishment care rarely be justified, they are not
7. To insure the common good Catholics have a responsibility to vote for a
worthy candidate, because the welfare of the community depends upon
the persons elected and appointed to office.
8. It is never right to vote for a candidate in order to promote immoral
practices; this is "formal cooperation" in evil.
In some circumstances it is morally permissible for a Catholic to vote for a
candidate who supports some immoral practices while opposing other
immoral practices. This is called "material cooperation" and is
permissible under certain conditions and when it is impossible to avoid all
cooperation with evil, as may well be true in selecting a candidate for
There is no element of the common good that could justify voting for a
candidate who also endorses, without restriction or limitation, the deliberate killing of
the innocent, abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, human cloning, or
9. If a candidate supports abortion in a limited number of cases, but is
opposed otherwise, Catholics may vote for this person. This is not a
question of choosing a lesser evil but of limiting all the evil one is able to
limit at the time.
10. As Catholics we cannot remain silent. We have a serious obligation to
bring the moral law to bear upon our life in society, so that the good of all
will be served.