Voter’s Guide 2016

| October 26, 2016 | 8 Comments

The issues, the candidates and your vote 2016

“Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good.”
—Pope Francis, Daily Homily, September 16, 2013

Casting a Principled, Informed Vote this November

An election year message from the Roman Catholic bishops of Minnesota

Faithful Citizenship means prayerful, active, and responsible participation in the political process. That includes knowledgeably exercising the right to vote with a well-formed conscience.

Voting is a privilege and an important duty. It is an opportunity for God’s faithful to love our neighbors by electing legislators who will hopefully enact policies that protect the weak, strengthen the family, promote the conditions for all to flourish, and ensure that citizens can practice their faith without fear of reprisal.

The responsibility of voting is especially important to Minnesotans this year; our entire state legislature is up for election. At a time when many Catholics feel politically homeless and not represented well by either party, this year’s elections provide a special opportunity to work for life and dignity where it matters most—in our own backyard. Minnesota Catholics should not let frustrations with the presidential race prevent them from participating in our many important local elections.

The choices we are to make on Election Day are not always obvious. We must rise above partisanship, self-interest, and emotions to elect candidates who are most likely to work for the common good and govern in a manner consistent with God’s providential care for all of creation. We should prepare ourselves by forming our consciences, studying the candidates’ positions and character, and turning to God for guidance in prayer.

As you get ready to cast your vote, we encourage you to visit the Minnesota Catholic Conference’s election resources center, at Here, you’ll find a novena to help you prayerfully prepare for election day, resources to help you find out where the candidates stand on the issues, and materials for forming your conscience.

Thank you for bringing your faith into the public arena.

And don’t forget to vote!



Minnesota Catholic Conference: Casting a Principled, Informed Vote this November

Election Day Novena: Nine Days for Our State & Nation

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: Discerning Your Vote

Faith in the Public Arena: Getting Voting Right

The Holy See: A Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life

The Holy See: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church


Minnesota Catholic Conference: Legislature Candidate Questionnaire

Minnesota Catholic Conference: Current Legislative Priorities

Minnesota Catholic Conference: Minnesota legislative bill tracker

Project Vote Smart

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Political Activity Guidelines


Minnesota Catholic Conference: MCC’s Catholic Advocacy Network Action Center

Minnesota Catholic Conference: Ways to get involved

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: USCCB Action Center

Minnesota Secretary of State: How to register to vote


Network membership is free and provides access to Catholic resources that you can trust, including brief, monthly E-Update newsletters, legislative Action Alerts that provide step-by-step instructions on how to take action, and a legislative Action Center that helps you look up your lawmaker’s contact information, tracks bills and more!

Brief, monthly E-Update newsletters that include:
• Event listings
• Useful educational resources for your family, parish or Catholic school
• Commentary on current policy issues through a non-partisan, Catholic lens
• Information on how to help advocate for and shape public policy

Legislative Action Alerts that provide:
• Status on key legislation during federal and state Legislative Sessions
• Easy, clear instructions on how to “take action”
• “Advocacy 101” tips on how to talk about policy issues of concern for Catholics
• Pre-written communications that can be personalized and quickly sent from the Network online system to your Senator, Representative, or other elected officials

An online Action Center that features:
• A bill tracker to watch legislation of interest to the Catholic Church in Minnesota
• Search tools for looking up your legislative district and elected officials
• Ongoing advocacy campaigns and take action tools
• Downloadable and printable catechetical and advocacy-based materials for families, parishes and schools

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Category: Voter's Guide 2016

  • tschraad

    The Bishops could make it very simple. Three of the four leading candidates consider themselves pro-abortion. One considers himself pro-life.

    To avoid the penalty of committing a serious sin, Catholics cannot vote for a pro-abortion candidate and Hilliary Clinton wants more abortions to be paid for by our taxes. Hilliary Clinton believes that a woman can kill her about to be born child up to the moment of birth or really as the child exits the womb, it can be killed and the taxpayers will help pay for this killing.

    We need leadership in our Bishops. When will we get somebody who will call killing a child a health procedure, evil and that a Catholic cannot in good conscience vote for this candidate;

    When will we get a Bishop who is a leader and tell Catholic politicians that if they cannot vote support abortion laws, that they are publicly excommunicated. Our devout Catholic politicians like Pelosi, Biden, Kaine, etc. In my opinion, any Catholic Bishop who does not condemn these politicians is causing a great scandal.

  • Paula Ruddy

    I admire the strength of your commitment to protect life, but there is another way to look at this question, Tschraad. Legislators, executives, and judges have a constitutional duty to protect the freedom and equality of all the citizens in a nation of widely divergent moral reasoning. Making and enforcing laws that force people to behave in a certain way is a heavy responsibility and can be legitimate only when there is substantial agreement among the citizenry. We and the Catholic bishops have the duty to live according to our own moral code and to try to persuade our fellow citizens that our way is for the common good. But is electing people who will criminalize every action we think is immoral for the common good? We wouldn’t want another religious body to do that to us, would we? It is very hard to allow people the freedom to sin, but using persuasion and reasoning is the best way when people disagree so widely on what is sinful. I’d appreciate your pointing out what is wrong with my reasoning here.

    • OLV

      As a devout Catholic I ask: Are you seriously trying to rationalize immorality for the greater good? Shameful. Evil is evil. Anyone that can support the pro-choice movement as you so eloquently described it can’t possible protect us from any religious freedom. Your commentary is extremely disturbing but now I understand why fellow Catholics are so mislead. As leaders of our faith, we look to you to uphold the most basic protection of human life not rationalize it’s destruction. How can we have substantial agreement with such a lukewarm position.

      • Paula Ruddy

        Thanks for replying, OLV. No, I am not rationalizing immorality, saying it is for the common good. I am saying that government–legislators–can’t criminalize all evil acts. For example, the Catholic Church holds that racism is a sin. Should people be arrested and jailed for it? To be legitimate, coercive law has to be supported by a large consensus of the citizens. I think the Catholic Church, all of us, should put our efforts behind persuading people that our moral views are for the common good, not urging legislators to make laws to punish people who see things differently even if they are wrong. See what I mean?

        • Donald Alfred

          We don’t see what you mean. You are using invalid comparison. Anyone that is prochoice can not be voted for period.
          Any Catholic that does this is guilty of grave sin.
          The USCCB supported Obamacare. Look what that has gotten us.
          Stiffen you spine!

          • Paula Ruddy

            Donald, if the USCCB asked you to re-think your position, would you do it? What authority are you using to justify your statement that any Catholic who votes for a pro-choice candidate is guilty of grave sin?
            The question as I see it is about having two solemn commitments: one to being an ethical US citizen and one to being a Roman Catholic. In my view, they are compatible commitments. Catholics can allow others to be free and equal under the law, and at the same time stiffen their spines in their own moral lives. I’d expect Catholic candidates for public office, if elected, to honor the constitutional oath to respect the freedom and equality of others. Is law the best way to reduce the number of abortions in our country? Where should we put our efforts?

          • Bob Stanislaw

            It appears you are assuming that abortion is a Catholic only issue, and then afraid to force catholic issues onto the rest of the society. Pro Life has nothing to do with being Catholic. It just so happens that Catholics are one of the few groups that are standing up for the life of the baby. The issue is Murder, and murder is already against the law, and the law is being twisted to say that a baby that is in the womb has no rights so the law that says murder is wrong does not apply to the unborn.

          • Paula Ruddy

            Hi, Bob. I can see why you’d think that. It is hard to sort out the logic here. First point: I agree that having sex, deciding whether to conceive and bear children, family planning, ought all to be serious moral issues for individuals. I also agree that the moral decisions made by individuals affect the whole national culture. I want to live in a nation that takes these matters seriously and values responsibility toward one another’s well being. Second point: Our elected representatives pass and enforce laws governing people’s behavior for the common good when they have the agreement of most of the people on what is for the common good. Third point: Most of the people agree on the laws of murder. There doesn’t seem to be enough agreement among the citizens to define all abortion as “murder.”
            Question: How do you think the state should protect both the liberty of the mother and the right to life of the unborn foetus? It is certainly a moral issue for individuals, and an issue for promoting a good society, but is it right now a matter for criminal law?
            Back to the issue of voting: Do all Catholics have a moral obligation to vote for candidates who will work to criminalize all abortion? I don’t think so. I think that we have a moral obligation to vote for candidates who are dedicated to protecting people’s freedom and equality in making laws, and who use example and reason in persuading their constituents about morality.