Election Day, Nov. 6, offers “a critical opportunity for Catholics … to exercise our civic duty and fulfill our social responsibility in a way  that becomes us as aspiring saints,” the Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania said in a statement Nov. 2.

“Because politics is the place where competing moral visions of a society meet and struggle,” the statement continues, “our democracy depends on people of conviction fighting for what they believe in the public square, yet doing so with an abiding respect for one another.”

The bishops express concern that many people “simply no longer believe in the idea of inalienable natural rights guaranteed by a Creator higher than the state — one of the cornerstone principles of the American experiment.” This trend has serious implications because urgent political issues like the economy, immigration, abortion and global security have serious moral questions that “cannot be resolved without a common understanding of right and wrong.”

The bishops cite efforts to redefine marriage, to exclude parental choice in education and to mandate the violation of religious liberty as striking examples.

The statement reminds Catholics that “the task of building a good society makes our Catholic civic engagement vitally important…. At election time, charity and truth are expressed through the votes we cast in favor of the inherent dignity of every human person and the common good of all.

“Ideas have consequences. Beliefs shape our culture … let us bring our faith to bear on how we vote this Election Day.”

Read the Bishops’ statement in full at www.pacatholic.org.