High school discussion

  • To identify and understand Catholic social teaching as it relates to civic engagement;
  • To understand and personally appropriate the call to enter the public forum;
  • To realize responsible citizenship is a virtue;
  • To recognize participation in the political process as a moral obligation.

Materials Needed

Before the Lesson

  • Educator should be familiar with the bishops' statement before the lesson begins.
  • Students should have been assigned to read Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship for homework, and to outline one section of the document. Students should break into groups and each group should present a short summary of the section they were assigned.
  • Read excerpts from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching together as a class.
  • Present and discuss the cycle of faith in action: see, judge, act.


  1. What do we as Catholics believe about how people should be treated in our society? From where do these beliefs stem?
  2. What kinds of things do we believe people should have to live a decent life? Why?
  3. Why do you think our Church teaches that voting is an important thing for Catholics to do? What is your experience about how Catholics view their responsibility to vote as related to their faith? Ask two adults you know how they feel about this.
  4. Why do the bishops encourage all Catholics, whether able to vote or not, to be involved in political life? What are other ways, in addition to voting, that you can be involved in advocacy for issues you care about?
  5. What kind of leaders does our society need? For what, in particular, should they stand and how should they lead?
  6. What is conscience? What is prudence? How does one develop a well-formed conscience and the virtue of prudence? What role should conscience and prudence play in our decisions about who to vote for?
  7. What are some issues that are discussed in the campaign that have ethical or moral dimensions? How does our faith call us to address them?
  8. Why do the bishops say that both opposing evil and doing good are "essential obligations"? What are examples of intrinsically evil actions and why must they always be opposed? What are examples of supporting the common good? What might your own actions to avoid evil and to do good look like?
  9. What are some examples of public policies from the past and present that have been harmful to people (legalized abortion, slavery, lack of voting rights for minorities and women)? How might we apply Catholic social teaching to those issues? How would those policies change based on a faithful response by constituents?
  10. How would you respond when others question why the church gets involved in political and economic issues rather than focusing exclusively on the spiritual dimension of life?