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US bishops vote to reissue document on voting without revision

November 17, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to reissue the document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, without substantial revisions.

After some debate at their meeting this week in Baltimore, the bishops voted overwhelmingly to reissue the document, which was originally released in 2007, rather than produce a new document on the responsibilities of Catholic voters.

Some bishops—notably Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego and Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky—had argued for a revised version, saying that the document should be amended to reflect the priorities of Pope Francis and to address what they saw as attacks on democracy in America.

However, amid concerns that revisions would precipitate a lengthy new debate, the majority of the USCCB membership chose to postpone work on a new statement until after the presidential election of 2024.

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City acknowledged that the existing statement is dated, but explained that producing a new statement would be a time-consuming task. He reasoned that a new document should include consideration of new developments in American political life, including the Dobbs decision and the war in Ukraine.

Archbishop Coakley also cautioned against issuing a longer statement on political responsibilities. The Faithful Citizenship document, he said, is “so long and detailed that many of the faithful simply don’t read it.”

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