Why should elections matter for Catholics?

With a UK general election due to take place in 2024, politicians are looking for our votes – and will be listening to what voters want.

As Catholics, we have a responsibility to make sure political parties commit to tackle the injustices that affect our global family and to care for our common home.

St Catherine of Siena is a lesson to us all

In 1378 St Catherine of Siena travelled to Florence to negotiate peace with Rome. Catherine of Siena was not only a mystic who revived the stigmata, but she was also a hugely influential woman who was deeply involved in the political issues of her time.

Most of her advocacy work was done in writing: St Catherine encountered others through her letters.

 Saint Catherine of Siena, 17th century
St Catherine of Siena

Our own lives couldn’t be further from the reality of a 12th-century saint living in medieval Italy, yet there are many connections and much inspiration to be drawn from her example.

As people of faith, the social and political reality where we live shapes the way that we are called to express our faith. But through our faith, opportunities are also opened up to shape that reality.

When the Church calls on us to promote the common good, it means that all of us are invited to play our part in creating the social conditions necessary to bring God’s kingdom closer on earth.

For many of us this could sound quite overwhelming. But from small day-to-day acts of charity to involvement in local community groups, or taking part in CAFOD campaigns, promoting the common good can take many shapes and forms.

A general election this year 

The Church tells us that ‘all citizens ought to be aware of their right and duty to promote the common good by casting their votes’.

With a general election on the horizon, CAFOD and St Vincent de Paul  (SVP) are launching A Year of Encounter,  an initiative inviting parishes to reach out to local candidates to find out more about their views on the issues that we as people of faith care about, from ending global poverty to tackling the climate crisis. This will be a great opportunity to play our part in promoting the common good.     

This initiative is not about political affiliations. It is simply about strengthening community participation as a local faith group and practising the culture of encounter that Pope Francis talks about: “…with our faith we must create a ‘culture of encounter,’ a culture of friendship, a culture in which we find brothers and sisters, in which we can also speak with those who think differently.”

In the same vein as St Catherine of Siena, A Year of Encounter will offer parishioners the tools and resources to reach out to local candidates, listening and creating relationships based on true dialogue.

CAFOD and SVP have put together training sessions and a booklet that provides some easy steps on how to reach out to your local candidates. 

Author: CAFOD

CAFOD stands for the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development. We are an international development charity and the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. We stand beside people living in poverty – whatever their religion or culture. Through local church partners, we help people directly in their own communities, and campaign for global justice, so that everyone can reach their full potential. How to get involved with CAFOD None of our work is possible without you. Whether you donate, campaign, download prayers or volunteer we are grateful for your support.

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