Statement on Faithful Citizenship

The following statement references a dialogue during a Sept. 15 webinar discussion co-sponsored by Boston College’s Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Trinity College’s Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life and St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics on “The Church and Catholic Voters in the 2020 Election” (webinar link:


Cardinal Tobin has neither endorsed nor opposed any candidate running for public office. He has simply reminded Catholics of our responsibility to take part in the elective process.

Cardinal Tobin echoes the USCCB’s guidance on “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” which recognizes that Catholics often face difficult decisions about how to vote as well as the need for a properly formed conscience in order to make a selection that respects the tenets of our faith. A Catholic cannot vote for a political candidate because he or she supports an issue considered an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions or assisted suicide.  At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.  ‘A Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permitted only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil’ (cf. “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” nn. 34, 35).

(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.…)