Oct. 7, 2020

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

On November 3, we will have another opportunity to practice good citizenship and fulfill a sacred duty by going to the polls to cast our votes.

In 2020, we have been met with a great deal of tension and anxiety throughout the campaign season at both the national and local levels. I know sometimes Catholics wish their bishops would endorse candidates. But as your bishop, that is not my role.

Part of the role of the bishop is to be a teacher. In terms of the election, I am addressing that responsibility through this letter as well as through the guide we’ve prepared on our website.

Very few candidates’ views align perfectly with the Catholic Church. Our response, therefore, is to educate ourselves on key issues, making sure we are well-informed about what the church teaches regarding each.

The USCCB provides numerous documents and pastoral statements that present church teaching on various issues. These writings on everything from pro-life issues and health care to poverty, immigration and the environment not only detail the church’s position, but also explain why it stands where it stands.

The bishops of the United States have worked hard on these resources, but honestly, they are useless unless they are read, studied and comprehended. What we’ve done on our website is to offer a synopsis of church teaching on critical issues, as well as links to the full documents so you can study them as well.

The goal is to help you form your conscience, allowing yourself to be influenced by church teaching as you prepare to cast your vote.

As Americans, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in our government and to elect our leaders. We need to use that privilege well and with integrity.

I ask you to study the information at www.eriercd.org/election.html and spend time in prayer before you cast your vote.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend Lawrence T. Persico, JCL
Bishop of Erie