The Church expects that each Catholic will participate in society to the best of her or his ability – that we will each identify our own individual strengths, passions, and abilities, and apply them in the name of the God who entrusted them to us for the benefit of all.  This is what we call Catholic Action – at a minimum, we must do what we can to ensure that everyone around us is encouraged and enabled to seek the truth which is God.

There are many ways to participate. Each of us is a unique part of the living body of Christ: some of us are teachers, others laborers, others nurses, accountants, doctors, engineers, business leaders, and designers.  Some of us are housekeepers Others write software.  Each of these callings can be put to work in the service of the Kingdom.

How are you called to serve?

Outreach Volunteers and Civic Participation

There are many ways to volunteer. We can give time to soup kitchens and lunch counters, we can visit the sick and the homebound, we can help refugees find homes, furnishings, clothing, and jobs. We can help administer charitable groups by donating time as accountants, lawyers, nurses, and teachers. We can write letters and work for peace; we can volunteer in schools, we can talk to one another at home and in the office.

Whatever your skills, your passions, your calling, Catholic Conscience can help connect you with organizations who want to put your gifts to work.  Whatever your strengths, your passions, your abilities, there is a way for you to contribute.

Some examples are listed below.  Questions?  Are you an organization looking for volunteers?  Write to us, at Volunteers@CatholicConscience.Org.

What are your passions and your strengths?

  • Accounting, business, law:
    • The Office of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto funds a number of charitable organizations, which are often in need of board members to help responsibly guide strategies.  Contact Elio Sergnese at ESergnese@CatholicCharitiesTor.org
    • Catholic Conscience cooperates with a number of Catholic, Christian, and other organizations needing directors.  Contact us at  Volunteers@CatholicConscience.org.
  • Medical or social care:
    • Good Shepherd Ministries in Toronto provides meals, clothing, beds, and referrals for medical and social services to those in need.   Contact them http://www.goodshepherd.ca/contact/.
  • Organizing, communicating, teaching and listening:
    • Many organizations, engaged in a wide variety of deeply important work, have need of volunteer administrators and secretaries.
    • Catholic Conscience needs volunteers with skills in organizing, writing, teaching, hosting, and listening.  Got an interest in politics, politicians, truth, or bringing Catholic social justice values to the world?  Contact us at Volunteers@CatholicConscience.org.
  • Hosting, cooking, serving:
    • Good Shepherd Ministries in Toronto provides meals, clothing, beds, and referrals for medical and social services to those in need.   Contact them http://www.goodshepherd.ca/contact/.

The Political World

The Church is very clear that our Christian duty to participate extends to political involvement, particularly when we live in a democracy. This is reflected, for example, in both the Compendium and in the Catechism:

“…every democracy must be participative. This means that the different subjects of civil community at every level must be informed, listened to, and involved…”

                                                                                                                    Compendium of Social Doctrine, 190

“As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. the manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another… One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom.”

                                                                                                                    The Catechism, Sections 1915, etc

  • Vote

The most basic obligation of a Catholic living in a democracy is that of properly informing oneself and voting.

“[In Canada, i]t is we who choose governments and give them power to shape community. We need to pause and consider how fortunate we are. There are still far too many places in the world where this is not true…

“All of us must take responsibility for the outcomes, good or bad, of our choices. It is inconceivable that people would consciously decide not to vote.”

                                                                                                                    Ontario Assembly of Catholic Bishops

The proper process for participating, for a Catholic living in a democracy is to:

    • Inform ourselves:
      • About the social teachings of the church
      • About the political, economic, and cultural news of our region, our country, and the world.
    • Witness to those around us, at home, at school, at work, in public. We must witness prayerfully, joyfully, and gently, always gently.
    • Pray – earnestly, for guidance and for the Lord’s help with our own vote and with the larger process.
    • Vote
    • Stay in touch with our elected representatives, with each other, with all of the institutions of society – the media, academia, business, government, and the Church
    • Repeat…
  • Getting out the Vote

As part of its commitment to Catholic Action, Catholic Conscience has inaugurated a Get-out-the-Vote process. Starting with several parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto in advance of Canada’s 2019 Federal Elections, we are arranging coordinated homilies, collection of voter commitments, assistance in getting to the polls for those faced with mobility issues, and dissemination of our party platform analyses.

We are also preparing materials to assist other parishes to participate.

If you are interested, or have questions, please contact our director of volunteers.

  • Voter Formation

In order to assist voters in informing themselves, we have prepared a variety of materials concerning both the social teachings of the Church and issues relevant to the elections. These include analyses of the platforms of major parties, from the perspective of Catholic Social thought. These will be published on our website shortly.

If you have questions, or would like more information, please write to info@CatholicConscience.

  • Party Involvement; Candidate formation

Voting properly is only the first step in proper Catholic participation. Those who are able to should consider going further: study the platforms of the parties, in light of Catholic social teaching, and prayerfully discern which one is, in your eyes, best positioned to contribute to the good of the Canadian people. Then join it; learn its processes, and begin speaking up in order to appropriately influence its platform.

And consider running for office. Canada and the world need leaders properly formed in, and aligned with, Catholic Social Teachings.

Interested in learning more? Contact us: we provide seminars and workshops on Christian political participation. And check our library for materials on social institutions and the working of political parties.

And then go stand for Canada.

The Church proclaims “the Gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) and she wishes to cooperate with all national and international authorities in safeguarding this immense universal good… We do not need plans drawn up by a few for the few, or an enlightened or outspoken minority which claims to speak for everyone. It is about agreeing to live together, a social and cultural pact…

                                                                                                                    Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel.