The call of the U.S. Catholic bishops for a "Fortnight for Freedom" to defend religious liberty is a historic moment for Catholics in the United States and our nation as a whole. This fourteen day period of "prayer, study, catechesis, and public action" from the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More on June 21st to Independence Day on July 4th is a vital opportunity to reflect on the great gift of religious freedom and work for its preservation.
As we prepare for the 2012 elections, how should Catholics approach the ballot box and how can we go about properly forming our consciences? Whether the race is national or local, which issues deserve the most scrutiny and where can we turn for guidance? Is either party a perfect fit for the Church, and why doesn't the Church endorse candidates? Is there such a thing as 'the Catholic vote' and how can we really make a difference?
Recent findings by a Knights of Columbus-Marist poll have shown that nearly 8 in 10 Americans (78 percent) are "frustrated" by the tone of political campaigns and 74 percent believe this tone has "gotten more negative." Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of the country says that negative campaigning harms our political process a great deal or a significant amount. These findings clearly demonstrate that the American people want the virtue of civility to be a priority in our politics.