As we live out this Jubilee Year of Mercy and the United States enters into the 2016 election season, Americans face a myriad of choices between competing visions for our nation’s future. As Catholics, we are called by our faith to engage in this election. Pope Francis says that “a good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of one’s self so that those who govern can govern well.”
Politics, Francis says, “is one of the highest forms of love, because it is in the service of the common good.” He called on us to orient our politics based on the Christian models of Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and Martin Luther King Jr.
We engage in this political process not because we’re partisan, but because we’re Christian.
Our faith offers a specific vision for the common good. It isn’t theoretical or abstract. It’s rooted in the story and person of Jesus Christ. In short, the entire social vision of the Catholic Church is this: in Jesus, God became poor to save humanity from every form of oppression. We must do likewise.
The Catholic vision for the common good, then, is a radical invitation to what Pope Francis calls a “revolution of tenderness.”
We invite our fellow Christians and all people to consider carefully how candidates do, and do not, embrace the vision of Jesus and the values of God’s beloved community, and to make prudential judgments about which candidates best reflect Christian love.
We offer this guide to help inform our brothers and sisters about their specifically political vocation as Catholic Christians in the United States. Please feel free to share it widely.