Brian T. Olszewski, The Catholic Virginian


In a letter to the faithful circulated by the Virginia Catholic Conference at the end of September, Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and Richmond Bishop Barry C. Knestout encouraged members of the Catholic community to vote “with a well-formed conscience as a faithful Catholic and as a citizen of our Commonwealth.”

Noting that all 140 seats — 40 in the Senate, 100 in the House of Delegates — in the General Assembly will be on the Nov. 5 ballot, the bishops wrote, “To be good Catholics and good Virginians, we must – with consciences well formed through prayer and the Church’s teachings – participate in these important decisions.”

They encouraged voters to read the U.S. bishops’ statement “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” (, particularly paragraphs 34-37, as it “describes how we make good moral choices as we respond to our baptismal call to promote the common good.”

Noting that “many issues are important,” the Virginia bishops quote from the “Faithful Citizenship” statement: “Every human being has a right to life, the fundamental right that makes all other rights possible, and a right to access to those things required for human decency – food and shelter, education and employment, health care and housing, freedom of religion and family life.”

They note that attention and engagement are necessary for “any of our brothers and sisters in the human family,” adding, “This attentiveness and engagement includes addressing the frequency and severity of gun violence in Virginia and across the country.”

The bishops state, “Not all issues have equal moral weight.”

Quoting from “Faithful Citizenship,” they wrote that abortion and euthanasia are “intrinsically evil … always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. [T]he moral obligation to oppose policies promoting intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions.”

Again quoting from the U.S. bishops’ statement, Bishops Burbidge and Knestout state: “Protecting life is paramount. The right to life is ‘the fundamental right that makes all other rights possible.’”

They added, “Our priority must be to protect life to the fullest extent possible.”

VCC highlights life, liberty among pre-election concerns

Anticipates addressing same issues as it did in last session

In preparation for Virginia’s election day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, the Virginia Catholic Conference, which advocates on behalf of the state’s Catholic bishops for public policy that reflects natural law, advances human dignity and serves the common good, has highlighted five areas on which it has focused and which it anticipates will need its focus in the next session of the General Assembly.

The following has been provided by the VCC:

Editor’s note: To receive email alerts and updates from the Virginia Catholic Conference, visit or text VCC to 50457.