San Francisco's archbishop ahead of 2020 election: “The Church is not a political party”

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With the 2020 U.S. presidential elections coming up in November, it's not too late, nor too early, for voters to start thinking seriously about who they want to be the country's future leader.

In past elections, the Catholic vote has been split pretty evenly between Democratic and Republican candidates.

Archbishop Cordileone explains why it makes sense that Catholics, as a collective, might find it difficult to back a single political party.

Archdiocese of San Francisco
“There's no political platform that lines up, because our values don't come from a political platform. It's not based on a political philosophy. It's based on a consistent ethic of human life, that the human person, created in God's image and likeness, has an intrinsic dignity that needs to be respected in every stage of life and in every condition of life.”

Although finding the perfect candidate seems an impossible task, Catholics are still called to participate in politics, as Pope Francis said during his address to the United States Congress in 2015.

Sept. 24, 2015
It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society.

That's why the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes a document every four years, to help Catholics prepare for the elections. It's called “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”

Archdiocese of San Francisco
“There's a lot in there, but it will help them to think through the issues. We need to look at issues that—some issues directly attack human life. Other issues have the effect of minimizing dignity or attacking human life. So they need to think through the issues and how they sort of play out, in terms of the effect they will have.”

Despite Catholic bishops' responsibility to guide the faithful in politics, this doesn't mean the Church should become a political party.

Archdiocese of San Francisco
“Pope Francis warned us against politicization of pastoral life. We do it. We just need to continue to communicate the message that the Church is not a political party.”

To that end, the USCCB document doesn't endorse a specific presidential candidate. It's simply a guide promoting an attentive consideration of the different political platforms, always from a perspective firmly founded in Catholic Social Teaching.

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