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The political responsibility of the parish

Advocating for Justice

Parishes need to promote a
revived sense of political
responsibility calling
Catholics to be informed and
active citizens, participating
in the debate over the values
and vision that guide our
communities and nation.
Parishes as local institutions
have special opportunities to
develop leaders, to promote
citizenship, and to provide
forums for discussion and
action on public issues.
- Communities of Salt and Light

Catholic Political Engagement
O Catholics should try to
cooperate with all men
and women of good will
to promote whatever is
true, whatever just,
whatever holy, whatever
lovable (cf. Phil. 4:8).
They should hold
discussions with them,
excel them in prudence
and courtesy, and initiate
research on social and
public practices which
should be improved in
line with the spirit of the
Gospel. (Apostolicam
Actuasitatem #14)
O Ground Rules:
O Make sure everyone has an
opportunity to speak
O Share your personal experience not
someone elses.
O Listen carefully and respectfully. Do
not play the role of know it all,
convincer or corrector. Dialogue is not
a Debate.
O Dont interrupt unless for clarification
or timekeeping
O Accept that no group or viewpoint has
a monopoly on the truth.
O Be more ready to give a favorable
interpretation to anothers statement
than to condemn it.
O Be cautious about assigning motives
to another person.

Being a Faithful Citizen
VOTE (Make a Moral Decision)
but dont stop there!
Develop an ongoing relationship with your local, state and
federal elected official:
Visit, Write/email, Call (take copies of our Contacting Your
Elected Official handout.
Mobilize the Parish community to address legislation
pertaining to issues of Catholic concern or that impact your
local community.
I Offer 4 Rules for doing this.
Rule #1: Know what you are getting into. If
you are being invited to be part of a
campaign or to distribute resources make
sure you know who the members are and
what the material is. Also make sure that the
issue is clear and that no other underlying
issue is being presented.
INVOLVE THE PASTOR: Justice involves
legislative advocacy and community organizing,
these are public forums for the parish where
policies are promoted and stances are taken, the
Pastor must be involved, fully aware and
supportive of any initiative
Realities are greater than ideas, (Pope Francis)
always link the experience of outreach with the
social issue that the parish is willing to address.

Develop a parish process for engaging on an
Have a PSM Social Justice committee to both
educate the parish on social issues and to
initiate and sustain any parish social campaign,
involve a member of the pastoral council to be
part of this committee
Always invite the Pastor to address the concern
with the parish.

Catholic Resources:
For Legislative Advocacy
Diocesan Public Policy Advisory Committee:
The Diocese PPAC organizes the Catholics at the Capitol
training and event.
DPPAC hopes to have a website with diocesan public
policy info.

Catholic Legislative Action Alerts:
USCCB action center: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-
NYSCC Catholic Action Network:
Catholic Charities USA: http://catholiccharitiesusa.org/get-

CCUSA Social Policy Department (more on them later)
Catholic Advocacy
Events and Campaigns
Annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering:
Sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and held the
second weekend in February in Washington DC
Annual Catholics at the Capitol:
Sponsored by the New York State Catholic Conference and held in Albany the
second Wednesday in March
Respect Life Program: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-
Poverty USA Campaign: http://www.povertyusa.org/
Justice for Immigrants: http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/
Catholic Climate Covenant: http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/
Catholic Mobilizing Network: http://catholicsmobilizing.org/
Catholics Confront Global Poverty: http://www.confrontglobalpoverty.org/
Catholic Rural Life: http://www.ncrlc.com/

Vehicles of Communication:
Letter writing
Phone calls
Social networking
Rule #1: Contact only your law
makers, let them know you are
their constituent.
Rule #2: Keep it short simple
and sweet, Be polite (When
Is it representative of the mail that
is coming in?
Is it something represented in the
Is it a compelling message?
Rule #3: Get personal; avoid
form letters from advocacy

Communicating with Congress:
How Capitol Hill is Coping with
the Surge in Citizen Advocacy
- See more at:
Influencing your legislator
Even if many are now involved in the
lay ministries, this involvement is not
reflected in a greater penetration of
Christian values in the social, political
and economic sectors. It often remains
tied to tasks within the Church,
without a real commitment to applying
the Gospel to the transformation of
society. The formation of the laity and
the evangelization of professional and
intellectual life represent a significant
pastoral challenge. - #102
A Ministry in
Need of Attention