ADVANTAGES

Advocating for Justice: Legislative Action

Parishes need to promote a revived sense of political responsibility calling Catholics to be informed and active citizens, participating in the debate over the values and vision that guide our communities and nation. Parishes as local institutions have special opportunities to develop leaders, to promote citizenship, and to provide forums for discussion and action on public issues. Religious leaders need to act in public affairs with a certain modesty, knowing that faith is not a substitute for facts, that values must be applied in real and complex situations, and that people of common faith and good will can disagree on specifics. But parishioners are called to use their talents, the resources of our faith, and the opportunities of this democracy to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of the human person. Parishes can help lift up the moral and human dimension of public issues, calling people to informed participation in the political process.

The voices of parishioners need to be heard on behalf of vulnerable children-born and unborn-on behalf of those who suffer discrimination and injustice, on behalf of those without health care or housing, on behalf of our land and water, our communities and neighborhoods. Parishioners need to bring our values and vision into the debates about a changing world and shifting national priorities. Parishes and parishioners are finding diverse ways to be political without being partisan, joining legislative networks, community organizations, and other advocacy groups. In election years, parishes offer nonpartisan voter registration, education, and forums to involve and inform their members. This kind of genuine political responsibility strengthens local communities as it enriches the witness of our parishes.

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