“It pains us to see Catholics fostering division among the body of Christ by calling into question the faithfulness of others who vote differently. We are all responsible for our moral choices, including voting, and we must do so in accordance with a well-formed conscience.”
The encyclical takes its title from St. Francis of Assisi and is inspired by his “fraternal openness,” which, the pope said, calls on people “to acknowledge, appreciate and love each person, regardless of physical proximity, regardless of where he or she was born or lives.”
“Voting is a decision left to each individual. It should be the culmination of a longer process of education and discernment during which you properly form your conscience so you can make good decisions regarding the public policies and moral issues at stake in the election.”
Among the stark differences between presidential candidates Donald Trump, the Republican incumbent, and Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger, among the most pronounced is their stances on the environment and energy development.
The Catholic Charities Department of Social Concerns will host its annual parish social ministry gathering with this year’s theme, “Empathy and Social Discourse: What our Faith says about Speaking and Listening in a Divided Time,” on Oct. 3.