logo

Parish and Clergy Resources for 2018 Elections

How can your parish get involved this election?

 

Many races across the State of Maryland are decided during the primary election. Your parish can play a key role in educating voters and encouraging them to vote in the upcoming election. 

What can parishes DO?

  • Run one or more of the bulletin announcements below each week between now and the June 26 election (see bulletin announcements below)
  • Make a pulpit announcement about the election (see the pulpit announcement below)
  • Post link on your parish website and share information via Flocknotes or the MyParish app to the MCC website (www.mdcatholic.org/elections)
  • Post on Facebook about the election (see social media posts below)
  • Tweet about the election (see social meda posts below)

Bulletin Announcements

Run these bulletin announcement in your parish bulletin ahead of the June 26 primary election

 

(To be used anytime before June 5) 

Maryland’s Primary Election day is fast approaching! 

If you wish to vote in the June 26 Primary Election, you must be registered as either a Democrat or a Republican and you can only vote for the candidates who are registered in the same party as you. If you are affiliated with any other party (Green, Libertarian, etc.) or not affiliated at all (Unaffiliated, Independent) you are not allowed to vote in the Primary. 

The deadline to register to vote, or to change your party affiliation, is June 5. 

It’s easy to change your party affiliation in order to vote in the primary, and then change it back again before the General Election. Just visit the Maryland Board of Elections at voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/and click on REGISTER TO VOTE at the top. It is critical to remember that the Primary Election decides many races in our state, particularly in districts that historically elect only candidates from one party, so the Maryland Catholic Conference is asking all Catholics to please consider voting this June. 

The Maryland Catholic Conference has surveyed all candidates for Governor, U.S. Congress and the Maryland General Assembly. Results for all candidates are available at www.mdcatholic.org/elections.

(To be used any time before June 21) 

Vote Early or Absentee in Maryland

Can’t make it to the polls for the June 26 primary election? Any registered Maryland voter may vote in person early or absentee by mail. Early voting will be held from Thursday, June 14 through Thursday, June, 21. Visit elections.maryland.gov/voting/early_voting_sites to find early voting locations in your county. The deadline to submit an application for an absentee ballot to the Board of Election's website is Friday, June 22, if you download the application. Visit elections.maryland.gov/voting/absentee to request an absentee ballot or call the Maryland State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-8683.

(To be used anytime) 

Make your Voice Heard: Vote on June 26

Pope Francis says we need to “overcome apathy” and offer “a Christian response to the social and political anxieties” around us. “Good Catholics immerse themselves in politics,” says the Pope. Don’t miss your chance to vote, immerse yourself in politics and make a difference! Primary Election Day is June 26. For information on the positions of the candidates running in your district, please visit the Maryland Catholic Conference at www.mdcatholic.org/elections.

Web, Flocknotes, or myParish

Use these posts to share via your parish website, Flocknotes, or myParish app

 

(To be used anytime) 
Primary Election June 26 - Candidates Respond to Maryland Catholic Conference Survey
The primary election in Maryland - on June 26 – is where many races essentially will be decided.  Don’t sit on the sidelines.  Find out where the candidates stand on the issues you care about. View their responses to the Maryland Catholic Conference’s survey at www.mdcatholic.org/elections.

(To be used anytime) 
Get in the Know
Critical primary elections will be held on June 26. “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” (Faithful Citizenship, 13) Learn about the issues, pray for guidance, and vote. Visit Maryland Catholic Conference’s website to learn about the candidates and key issues at www.mdcatholic.org/elections.

(To be used anytime) 
Know who is Running to Represent You 
Maryland's Primary Election is June 26. Do you know where the candidates stand on the issues that matter to you? View their responses to the Maryland Catholic Conference’s survey at www.mdcatholic.org/elections. “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” (Faithful Citizenship, 13) ACTivated by Faith – Now Vote.

(To be used June 1 - June 14) 
Stand Strong in the Public Square: Candidates Respond to Survey – Election November 4
Primary Election early voting starts June 14. See where the candidates for U.S. Congress, Maryland Governor and the Maryland General Assembly stand on the critical issues. View their responses to the Maryland Catholic Conference’s survey at www.mdcatholic.org/elections.

(To be used June 17 - 24) 
Remember to Vote & Make Your Voice Heard on Primary Election Day
Primary Elections are this Tuesday, June 26. There's still time to learn where the candidates for U.S. Congress, Maryland Governor and Maryland General Assembly stand on critial church issues. Candidate surveys are available on the Maryland Catholic Conference website at www.mdcatholic.org/elections

Social Media Posts

Uses these posts on your parish's social media channels

 

Facebook

Pope Francis instructs us to “overcome apathy” and offer “a Christian response to the social and political anxieties” around us, and that “good Catholics immerse themselves in politics.” Maryland’s primary election is June 26. Get info on the candidates from the Maryland Catholic Conference www.mdcatholic.org/elections. Don’t miss your chance to vote and make a difference! 

 

Twitter

  • #Maryland #PrimaryElections Candidates take positions on key Catholic issues. See where they stand. Read their responses at www.mdcatholic.org/elections Vote June 26.
  • Find out where your #Maryland #PrimaryElections candidates stand on the issues you care about. View MD Catholic Conference’s candidate survey www.mdcatholic.org/elections.
  • #Maryland #PrimaryElections  - on June 26 – decide many races.  Don’t sit on the sidelines. Vote June 26. www.mdcatholic.org/elections

Use this image to accompany social media posts

Pulpit Announcement

Recommended that this announcement be given by lay person at Masses

 

Tuesday June 26th is Maryland’s primary election, and early voting for the primary election is open from June 14thuntil June 21st. Many races in Maryland will essentially be decided in the primary election – often by fewer than a hundred votes. The Church looks to the laity to put our faith into action and vote.  During their upcoming terms, the men and women we choose to represent us will decide many issues affecting the values the Church promotes.

This year’s elections include races for Governor, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and the Maryland General Assembly. The Maryland Catholic Conference has surveyed the candidates and prepared Survey Sheets for our district that are available in our bulletins [or in the back of the church].  Please take these with you and share them with your friends and family.

Learn about the issues, pray for guidance, and vote on June 26th. 

Homily Notes

Our Responsibilities in the Public Square

(May be used anytime) -

• “No one can demand that religion should be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life, without concern for the soundness of civil institutions, without a right to offer an opinion on events affecting society.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 2013)

• “Continue to overcome apathy, offering a Christian response to the social and political anxieties, which are arising in various parts of the world. I ask you to be builders of the world, to work for a better world. Dear young people, please, don’t be observers of life, but get involved. Jesus did not remain an observer, but he immersed himself. Don’t be observers, but immerse yourself in the reality of life, as Jesus did.” (Pope Francis, Address at Prayer Vigil with Young People in Brazil, 7/27/13)

• “We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern.” (Pope Francis, Morning Meditation, 9/16/13)

• The direct duty to build a just society through the political process belongs to the laity, not to the institutional Church. (Deus Caritas Est, 29)

• “It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person.” (Catechism, 1913)

• “As far as possible citizens should take an active part in political life.” Citizens have the right, and at times the duty, to speak up on policy issues that impact human dignity and the common good. (Catechism, 1915 and 2238)

• We have not only a right, but an obligation to vote. “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory…to exercise the right to vote.” (Catechism, 2240)

• “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do.” (Faithful Citizenship, 13)

• Participation in public life and public policy allows us to open up every corner of our lives to Christ. “Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted. Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.” (Pope Benedict VIX, Address to U.S. Bishops, 2008)

Faith in the Public Square:

(May be used anytime) -

• With freedoms come responsibilities. Churches and people of faith belong in the public square and have an obligation to express their views on day-to-day social and political questions.

• As Catholics and citizens, we have a right and duty to advocate for laws that uphold the common good by protecting the poor, the dignity of life, the value of family, and religious freedom of all.

• We bring to the public square a voice that speaks especially for those who have no one to speak for them – the unborn, the poor and those in need, newcomers to our country, prisoners, those with physical and mental disabilities, the elderly and families struggling to provide their children with a safe home, a good education, and adequate healthcare.

• We speak from a uniform point of view, one that is accessible not only to Catholics, but to all who recognize that a proper understanding of human nature must determine how we fashion our society and the laws that govern it.

• Unlike many advocacy groups, the Catholic Church’s voice does not fit neatly into typical political distinctions, nor does it follow the dictates of popular opinion. We do not speak as Republicans or Democrats; we are too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals. We are not a “single issue” advocacy group, but rather speak out on a broad variety of topics considered by our lawmakers.

Forming Our Consciences:

(May be used anytime) -

• We have a responsibility to follow our conscience when voting and engaging in public life, but we first have the responsibility to correctly form our consciences “in accord with human reason and the teaching of the Church.” (Faithful Citizenship, 17)

• Our conscience is not merely a “feeling” about what we should do, and should never be a justification for doing whatever we want. Rather, “conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth to us.” (Faithful Citizenship, 17)

• Forming our consciences is a 3-part process. First, we must genuinely seek the truth by studying Scripture and the teachings of the Church. Second, we must educate ourselves about the facts of a situation. Third, we must pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (Faithful Citizenship, 18)

• “There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor.” (Faithful Citizenship, 22)

• “Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called ‘intrinsically evil’ actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned.” (Faithful Citizenship, 22)

• Among the intrinsically evil actions that must always be opposed are those that intentionally destroy or assault innocent human life and dignity. These include abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, research on human embryos, genocide, torture, and racism. (Faithful Citizenship, 23)

• At the same time, respect for the dignity of human life compels us to respond to our neighbors’ basic needs, including food, shelter, health care, education, and work. We must never dismiss or ignore these issues. (Faithful Citizenship, 25 and 29)

History of Religious Freedom in Our State, Nation, and World:

(May be used anytime) -

• As Marylanders, we have a proud history of religious freedom. While Europe was engulfed in religious wars, Maryland was expressly chartered as a place of religious toleration where people of different faiths could live together peacefully. It was founded by a Catholic, Lord Baltimore, who had been given a land grant by a Protestant, King Charles I of England.

• Religious liberty was so important to Maryland’s first settlers that, in 1649, Maryland approved the first law in the New World to protect an individual’s right to freedom of conscience (the “Toleration Act”).

• Maryland’s early history teaches us that religious freedom must be protected, or it will be lost. Within several decades of the Toleration Act, the colony’s dedication to religious freedom was lost. The Church of England became the established religion in Maryland and Catholics and others were the victims of official discrimination. Penal laws were enacted that forbade Catholics from worshipping publicly, closed Catholic chapels, and restricted Catholics to practicing their religion in their homes. Catholics lost the right to vote and were barred from holding public office.

• Our nation’s founding fathers recognized that religious freedom was a necessary component of a healthy democracy, and so guaranteed it in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

• Maryland expressly protects religious freedom in our state constitution, and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights does so as well.

• Allowing individuals to exercise religious freedom has yielded great public benefit. For example, it allowed the Quakers to call for an end to slavery, for the Church to stand up for the rights of workers and those with disabilities, and for Rev. Martin Luther King to lead the civil rights movement. Today, we see the public good of religious freedom in the numerous schools, hospitals, and social service organizations run by churches and religious organizations.

Prayers of the Faithful

(From the U.S. Bishops’ Faithful Citizenship materials. May be used throughout the year.)

• For the people of the United States, that we may be united in building a society in which everyone can have the opportunity to live with dignity and hope, we pray to the Lord. …

• For the Church, that we may be a witness to Christ’s love by practicing charity and promoting justice and peace throughout the world, we pray to the Lord. …

• For Catholics throughout Maryland, that the values of our faith may guide us as we exercise our responsibility as voters, we pray to the Lord. …

• For the members of this community, that we may find ways to help build a world of greater respect for human life and human dignity, we pray to the Lord. …

• For those who serve in elected office, that they may lead with courage and wisdom, reflecting the Church’s teaching that the moral test of our society is how the weak, the poor, and the vulnerable are faring, we pray to the Lord. …