With nearly a quarter of citizens of the United States professing to be Catholic, the Catholic Church has continued and expanded efforts to shape both the opinions of individual citizens and the national discourse on a number of fronts. Though the Church’s efforts to combat perceived social ills, especially abortion and same-sex marriage, have garnered the most attention in recent years, the Catholic Church’s advocacy for better immigration policies, healthcare reform, and nuclear disarmament, among others, have continued to influence conversations and attitudes. "Faithful Citizenship" guides, produced every two years by the US bishops, provide guidelines and explanations of Catholic teaching to Catholic voters and serve as a very prominent example of the Church’s involvement in US affairs.
May 12, 2013
Faith isn't a Christmas ornament; it's not something you save for a special occasion. It's something you live with and struggle with every day. That's why it's so frustrating and so comforting. [...] How does a Catholic public servant apply Catholic social teaching? [On some issues] the teaching is crystal clear, [but on others,] there's a broad arc of prudential judgment, and there's room for everybody.
April 21, 2013
Forgiveness does not mean that we do not realize the heinousness of the crime. But in our own hearts when we are unable to forgive we make ourselves a victim of our own hatred. Obviously as a Catholic I oppose the death penalty, which I think is one further manifestation of the culture of death in our midst.
April 15, 2013
[...T]he Prefect of the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith], Most Rev. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, expressed his gratitude for the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years. The Prefect then highlighted the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the important mission of Religious to promote a...
April 4, 2013
The Archdiocese for the Military Services and Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty recently became aware of a U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief that expressly listed “Catholicism,” “Evangelical Christianity” and other religious groups as examples of “religious extremism” alongside groups such as “Al Qaeda”, “Hamas” and the “KKK.” The Archdiocese is astounded that Catholics were listed alongside groups that are, by their very mission and nature, violent and extremist. [...]...
February 1, 2013
HHS has done the right thing. This is a victory not only for the Obama administration, but for the Catholic Church.
January 24, 2013
We urge you to reflect on the wisdom in our church’s call for a ‘consistent ethic of life’ as you consider legislation in the coming months that can provide greater protection for our families and communities.
August 24, 2012
When Catholics in the pews see bishops repeatedly hammering the Obama administration, then find Cardinal Dolan there at the Republican convention, that's not a particularly subtle message. Whether it's intended or not, this gives the appearance that the nation's most prominent Catholic leader is baptizing the Republican nominee.
August 13, 2012
[Biden’s Catholicism] is the Catholicism of our ethnic neighborhoods and union halls and St. Christopher medals on the dashboard. Congressman Ryan’s Catholicism seems different. It’s about obedience to the bishops, about pro-life politics, and reflects the professional class of Catholics who made it out of the old neighborhood and into the suburbs.
August 8, 2012
Regardless of what they've done in the past, it is unthinkable for a Catholic charity to invite the man [President Obama] seeking the destruction of religious freedom in America to a fundraising event. This sends the wrong message to pew-sitting Catholics, who are anxiously looking to our bishops to stand up and fight against this clear enemy of the Church who will be joining them for dinner.
July 18, 2012
The Catholic Church has a massive political army in America — it has just not been organized effectively, and that is what we are trying to do. Sixty-five million Catholics faithfully applying Catholic social teaching would dramatically change the future of this country.
July 4, 2012
True freedom knows no attachments other than Jesus Christ. True freedom can walk away from anything – wealth, honor, fame, pleasure. […] It fears neither the state, nor death itself. We’re free only to the extent that we unburden ourselves of our own willfulness and practice the art of living according to God’s plan. When we do this, when we choose to live according to God’s intention for us, we are then – and only then – truly free. This is the kind of freedom that can transform the world....
June 21, 2012
Politics and the courts are important. But our religious freedom ultimately depends on the vividness of our own Christian faith–in other words, how deeply we believe it, and how honestly we live it. Religious liberty is an empty shell if the spiritual core of a people is weak. Or to put it more bluntly, if people don’t believe in God, religious liberty isn’t a value. That’s the heart of the matter. It’s the reason Pope Benedict calls us to a Year of Faith this October. The worst enemies of...
June 9, 2012
It’s important, of course, for bishops to be teachers and leaders. [But] it is crucial for lay men and women, mothers and fathers of families, lay leaders in all walks of life to advocate for freedom and justice in our society. Without those voices and without the involvement of the laity, we just won’t get very far. In the Church’s understanding, it is the laity who are the ones that bring about the just and tranquil society. It is the laity who are the forefront of creating what Pope Paul...
May 21, 2012
The First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, however, was not meant to protect merely the right to worship, but also the right to contribute the fruits of our faith to the common good. And until now, our government had chosen to honor that guarantee. Never before has the government contested that institutions like Archbishop Carroll High School or Catholic University are religious. Who would? But HHS’s conception of what constitutes the practice of religion is so narrow that even...
May 18, 2012
I would begin by praising your unremitting efforts, in the best traditions of the Church in America, to respond to the ongoing phenomenon of immigration in your country. [...] A particular sign of this is the long-standing commitment of the American Bishops to immigration reform. This is clearly a difficult and complex issue from the civil and political, as well as the social and economic, but above all from the human point of view. It is thus of profound concern to the Church, since it...
May 16, 2012
As the United States Bishops have repeatedly pointed out, the issue is religious freedom. Secretary Sebelius’ mandate defines religious ministry so narrowly that our Catholic schools and universities, hospitals and social service ministries do not qualify as “religious enough” to be exempt. This redefinition of religion penalizes Catholic organizations because they welcome and serve all people regardless of their faith. Ironically, because of Georgetown’s commitment to open its doors to...
May 15, 2012
We believe that this mandate is unjust and unlawful – it is bad health policy, and because it entails an element of government coercion against conscience, it creates a religious freedom problem. These moral and legal problems are compounded by an extremely narrow exemption that intrusively and unlawfully carves up the religious community into those that are deemed 'religious enough' for an exemption, and those that are not.
May 5, 2012
It is no exaggeration to say that providing young people with a sound education in the faith represents the most urgent internal challenge facing the Catholic community in your country [the USA.] [...] The question of Catholic identity, not least at the university level, entails much more than the teaching of religion or the mere presence of a chaplaincy on campus. All too often, it seems, Catholic schools and colleges have failed to challenge students to reappropriate their faith as part of...
May 5, 2012
Taking up this task [of building a Catholic culture] certainly involves a renewal of apologetics and an emphasis on Catholic distinctiveness; ultimately however it must be aimed at proclaiming the liberating truth of Christ and stimulating greater dialogue and cooperation in building a society ever more solidly grounded in an authentic humanism inspired by the Gospel and faithful to the highest values of America's civic and cultural heritage. At the present moment of your nation’s history,...
April 19, 2012
Bishops who chair USCCB committees are elected by their fellow bishops to represent all of the U.S. bishops on key issues at the national level. The letters on the budget were written by bishops serving in this capacity.
April 16, 2012
Simply put, [Paul Ryan's] budget is morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of solidarity, just taxation and a commitment to the common good. A budget that turns its back on the hungry, the elderly and the sick while giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few can't be justified in Christian terms.
April 16, 2012
The bishops’ conference urges you to resist significant cuts to both domestic and international food aid and conservation and rural development programs. Major reductions at this time of economic turmoil and rising poverty will hurt hungry, poor and vulnerable people in our nation and around the world. [...] A just spending bill cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor and vulnerable persons; it requires shared sacrifice by all.
April 8, 2012
[The Catholic Church] didn’t ask for the fight, but we’re not going to back away from it. [...] You've got a dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the Church. Our problem is the government is intruding into the life of faith in the church that they shouldn't be doing.
April 8, 2012
What we’ve seen is an erosion of religious liberty. Our teachings had been accommodated, but now they are not being accommodated.
April 8, 2012
I think politics [...] only benefits when religion, when morals, when faith has a place there. I think [...] the public square in the United States is always enriched whenever people approach it, when they're inspired by their deepest held convictions.
March 28, 2012
I think there would be a drift in the administration that this is a good issue and if we can divide the Catholic community because it's already divided [...] All right. But we can't back down from this fight because it's about religious freedom.
January 19, 2012
With her long tradition of respect for the right relationship between faith and reason, the Church has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents which, on the basis of an extreme individualism, seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth. Our tradition does not speak from blind faith, but from a rational perspective which links our commitment to building an authentically just, humane and prosperous society to our ultimate assurance that the cosmos is possessed...
January 19, 2012
The Church’s witness, then, is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.
January 19, 2012
Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you [bishops] have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect...
April 13, 2011
The moral measure of this budget debate is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless or poor are treated. Their voices are too often missing in these debates, but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources. [...] A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. It requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising...
April 16, 2008
From the dawn of the Republic, America's quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation's founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature's God. The course of American history...
April 16, 2008
Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience -- almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. [...] In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good. Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual...
April 16, 2008
On this, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity -- as brothers and sisters dwelling in the same house and around that table which God's bounty has set for all his children. America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes. I am confident that...
November 14, 2001
It is wrong to use religion as a cover for political, economic or ideological causes. It compounds the wrong when extremists of any religious tradition radically distort their professed faith in order to justify violence and hatred. Whatever the motivation, there can be no religious or moral justification for what happened on September 11. People of all faiths must be united in the conviction that terrorism in the name of religion profanes religion. The most effective counter to terrorist...
June 15, 2001
True stewardship requires changes in human actions - both in moral behavior and technical advancement. Our religious tradition has always urged restraint and moderation in the use of material goods, so we must not allow our desire to possess more material things to overtake our concern for the basic needs of people and the environment. Pope John Paul II has linked protecting the environment to "authentic human ecology," which can overcome "structures of sin" and which promotes both human...
November 1, 1939
We desire to touch upon another question of weighty importance, the social question, which, remaining unsolved, has been agitating States for a long time and sowing amongst the classes the seeds of hatred and mutual hostility. You know full well what aspect it assumes in America, what acrimonies, what disorders it produces. It is not necessary therefore that We dwell on these points. The fundamental point of the social question is this, that the goods created by God for all men should in the...