Hawaii Catholic Herald: Bishop asks parishes to conduct voter registration drive
In an effort to help more Hawaii Catholics fulfill what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls a “moral obligation” to vote, Bishop Larry Silva is asking local parishes to conduct voter registration drives during Masses over the June 21-22 weekend. (text below)
Voter registration forms will be passed out in the pews and Mass-goers who are not yet registered will be invited to fill out the forms following instructions given from the pulpit....
The registration drive is mandatory for all parishes.
“Hawaii has the lowest voter participation in the country,” Bishop Silva said.
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To All Parishioners in the Diocese of Honolulu
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
I am writing about a very important issue for our community: voting. With all the hype about “separation of church and state” we can be deceived into thinking that our participation in the political life of our community has nothing to do with our Catholic faith. But here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (emphases added):
#2240: Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country….
#2255: It is the duty of citizens to work with civil authority for building up society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom.
#1915: As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. The manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. “One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom.” (Gaudium et Spes #84.2)
While the Catholic Church in the United States cannot endorse any particular candidate for public office, the people we elect are very important in embodying the values that we hold dear as Catholics, not only for the good of our own Church, but for the common good. Therefore reflecting on the values that each candidate is likely to embody is essential to our faithful citizenship. Among the values that are essential are: respect for life from the moment of conception to natural death; the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman as the basis of the healthy family, which leads to a healthy culture; care for the poor and most vulnerable; freedom based on the truth of the human person and religious freedom.
Hawaii has the lowest voter participation in the country, and in order to exercise our moral duty, we want to encourage every eligible voter to vote in the upcoming primary and general elections. Knowing the candidates and the issues is an essential exercise of our responsibility; but unless we vote, our voices will not be heard. For this reason we will be conducting a voter registration campaign in our parishes in the next few weeks. We ask all those who are not already registered to fill out a voter registration application, which will be made available to you at Mass the weekend of June 21/22. We will guide you through the process. We encourage you to select the permanent absentee voter option, so that you will always receive the ballot in the mail and will have more time to study it and to fill it out. We also urge prayers during this election time, so that all Hawaii’s citizens may be guided by the Spirit of Truth and may exercise a right for which many have given their lives. Blessings!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Larry Silva
Bishop of Honolulu