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Forming Catholic Consciences Part 2


The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship


Part II of II: Making Moral Choices and Applying Our Principles: This brief document is Part II of a summary of the US bishops’ reflection, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, which complements the teaching of bishops in dioceses and states.


Part I of the summary of the US bishops’ reflection, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, considered the core principles that underlie Catholic engagement in the political realm. Part II is a consideration of the process by which these principles are applied to the act of voting and taking positions on policy issues. It begins with the general consideration of the nature of conscience and the role of prudence. The application of prudential judgment does not mean that all choices are equally valid or that the bishops’ guidance and that of other church leaders is just another political opinion or policy preference among many others. Rather, Catholics are urged to listen carefully to the Church’s teachers when they apply Catholic social teaching to specific proposals and situations.


How Does the Church Help the Catholic Faithful to Speak About Political and Social Questions?