The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church
“Christian revelation… Promotes a deeper understanding of the laws of social living. The Church receives from the Gospel, the full revelation of the truth about man. When she fulfills her mission of proclaiming the Gospel, she bears witness to man, in the name of Christ, to his dignity and his vocation to the communion of persons. She teaches him the demands of justice and peace in conformity with divine wisdom.
The Church makes a moral judgment about economic and social matters when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls require it. In the moral order, she bears a mission distinct from that of political authorities: the Church is concerned with the temporal aspects of the common good because they are ordered to the sovereign Good, our ultimate end. She strives to inspire right attitudes with respect to earthly goods and in socio-economic relationships …
The Church’s social teaching comprises a body of doctrine, which is articulated as the Church interprets events in the course of history, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, in the light of the whole of what has been revealed by Jesus Christ. This teaching can be more easily accepted by men of good will, the more the faithful let themselves be guided by it.”
—Catechism of the Catholic Church
Political Activity and Voter Education
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations (including all entities of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield – Cape Girardeau) are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.
Parishes and Church organizations may not endorse, give money or anything of value (including offering exclusive use of parish-controlled property or resources) to a candidate or political party. Only those materials, programs or resources listed as “Approved Resources” below may be distributed (or presented) by church employees (in the course of their employment) in any context, or by anyone else in the parishes, schools or other entities of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.
Parishes and Church organizations should avoid any participation in, or authorization of, the distribution of campaign literature or other voter education materials on their property. Political signs may not be placed on property owned or rented for official business by a parish or Church organization.
Approved Resources for Promoting Catholic Participation in Public Life:
- All documents approved by the various congregations of the Vatican as well as those approved or promulgated by the Popes or Ecumenical Councils of the Church;
- Materials expressly approved by the Bishop or the Vicar General.
- All materials produced or approved (in writing) by the Missouri Catholic Conference
- All materials produced or distributed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Awards, Honors, and Invitation to Speakers
Any Catholic entity in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, and any boards/fundraising committees affiliated with them, shall not give awards or honors or host presentations, speaking opportunities or appearances by individuals or organizations whose public position is in opposition to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. Due diligence in researching the appropriateness of a speaker or honoree is the responsibility of the sponsoring parish or organization.
Prior to the promotion of any presentation by a speaker from outside of the Diocese, a “letter of good standing” or a “letter of suitability,” from the Bishop (or his designee) of the proposed speaker’s diocese, must be on file in the Office of the Chancellor. Exceptions to this policy may only be granted by the Vicar General or the Bishop.
The Missouri Catholic Conference Podcasts on Public Affairs
Covering topics such as:
- Civilize It: A Call for Civility in an Era of Outrage
- Welcoming the Stranger: An Introduction to Missouri’s Immigrant Community
- Preserving Catholic Education
- Religious Liberty in the Age of COVID-19
- The Demographic Question: What to Expect When No One is Expecting
- The Racialization of America: A Conversation about Race
- Medicaid Expansion in Missouri