The teaching guide for Roman Catholics for the 2004 Presidential Elections have been completed and is ready to be distributed to some 40,000 Catholics across New Hampshire. Entitled, Faithful Citizenship: Serving the Common Good, the guide is intended to help Catholics make their final decisions before voting begins next week.
My role is . . . not to tell anyone to vote for any particular candidate, Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack said in a statement yesterday.
While the guide notes that no candidate seems to stand for everything that a faithful citizen believes to be true and good, it still encourages Catholics to take into account the moral values of the candidates when voting.
Catholics have a responsibility to make decisions that mirror our desire to be faithful Roman Catholics and good citizens, bishop McCormack said in a letter that accompanies the guide.
As a teacher I seek to serve the truth, especially when such basic principles as the respect for all human life from the moment of conception until natural death fail to be incorporated into the laws of our land, the bishop said in his statement.
As a pastor I am gravely concerned about growing poverty in our own nation and abroad; about the inadequacy of access to basic health care for so many; about the recourse to war and other armed aggression without sufficient reflection; about rampant disease and suffering among so many while a few nations seem to possess all the worlds wealth, he said.
Of the moral points stressed by the guide, the pro-life and pro-marriage statements speak the most strongly.
The guide says abortion, stem-cell research, assisted suicide and euthanasia are wrong. It also says marriage must be protected as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman only. Regarding both issues, the guide points Catholics away from John Kerry, who had vocally supported stem-cell research and some forms of abortion.
The voter guide is available to anyone, and can be downloaded at: www.catholicchurch.org.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Oct. 25, the Vatican released a similar guide to Catholic values at a large press conference. The 500 page Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church presents the Catholic Churchs teachings on preventive war and abortion. Despite the well-coordinated timing of the handbooks release, Vatican officials said the handbook has nothing to do with the upcoming election.