The Duty to Vote

The duty of Catholics to participate actively in society, including the duty to vote wherever and whenever possible, may be traced to a number of sources:

* Our Gospel

Christ taught repeatedly that we have a duty to love and care for one another.  This duty is central to Christianity, which is meant to be a way of life and not merely a religion; and is a distinguishing characteristic of Christianity.  The most elegant and authoritative statement of this duty may be found in Christ’s statement of the Greatest Commandment.

In Chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, Christ expanded on the meaning of the duty of loving one another, and warned of the consequences of failure to do so.

* Our Catechism

The Catechism of the Catholic Churchexplains that the Christian duty of loving and caring for one another includes an obligation to participate in society, and specifically to participate by voting.

The Catechism explains that support for the duty to participate in society can be found even within the Ten Commandments.

* Our Popes

In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI observed that every Christian is called to strive toward public institutions that provide for the real needs of our neighbors, in a manner corresponding to his vocation and ability, including the degree of influence he wields in society.

Other Popes have offered similar statements.

* Our Bishops

Various conferences of Catholic Bishops, including both the American and Canadian Conferences, have provided information on both the duty to vote and frameworks for doing so.

Materials provided by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops may be found here.

Materials provided by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops may be found here.