(SNR/NCC) - On Nov. 4—Election Day—registered voters in Nebraska and across the nation will determine their representatives in important public offices.
Being an informed, conscientious voter is a fundamental element of being a good citizen and a good Christian.
Active, responsible citizenship is an important component of the Catholic faith as captured in this key statement from Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship issued by the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops: “In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.”
Those are strong words and for good reason. Through opportunities as citizens, Christians can help shape a broad community that is more committed to protecting human life and dignity and promoting justice and peace.
To assist Catholic Nebraskans in being responsible, faithful citizens and fulfilling the moral obligation set forth by the Bishops, the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) has launched a new, multi-faceted, information-based project that encompasses the theme of Faithful Citizenship and the upcoming election. The NCC is the public-policy office operated cooperatively by the three Nebraska bishops.
Various components of the project will be presented during September and October through this diocesan newspaper and the diocesan website. A webpage dedicated to this project has also been added to NCC’s website at www.nebcathcon.org/election2014.htm.
Parishes and Catholic groups throughout the state also will be encouraged and assisted to participate in the dissemination of information about the election and about how Scripture and Catholic social teaching provide a framework of principles for assessing candidates and issues.
One component of this project is NCC’s multi-issue questionnaire sent to all candidates for the Nebraska Legislature and the two candidates for Governor. Responses will be posted on NCC’s election website as of Oct. 20 but will not be published in the diocesan newspaper. The questionnaire only provides information on the candidates; the Catholic Conference neither endorses nor opposes candidates for public office.
The Catholic Conference will not have a questionnaire for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives races but will provide information about these races and two statewide ballot issues.
The objective of this new approach is to motivate and help Catholics to sincerely inform their consciences in ways that include communication and interaction with candidates. To that end, information on how to contact and question the candidates will be provided on the NCC website.
Of course, the ultimate component of Faithful Citizenship is voting. It’s a right and a moral obligation that is not to be ignored. In order to vote, those eligible must be registered. Information about voter registration, as well as early voting and absentee voting also will be included in the Catholic Conference’s project.