The Catholic Key blog - affiliated with the diocesan newspaper of Kansas City - St. Joseph of the same name has published the pastoral letter. I'll start you out here and you can follow the link to read the entire entry.
Thursday, September 11, 2008continue reading Bishops Finn and Naumann at Catholic Key...
KC Bishops on Moral Responsibility, Voting
"Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy?"
Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Kansas City - St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn address that question and more in their Joint Pastoral dedicated on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and released today:
Our Moral Responsibility as Catholic Citizens
Joint Pastoral Letter – September 8, 2008
Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas
Most Reverend Robert W. Finn, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Dear Friends in Christ,
With the approaching general election this November, we believe this to be an important moment for us to address together the responsibility of Catholics to be well informed and well formed voters.
Except for the election of our next President, the people of Northwestern Missouri and Northeastern Kansas will be choosing different candidates for different offices in our two dioceses. Yet the fundamental moral principles that should guide our choices as Catholic voters are the same.
For generations it has been the determination of Catholic Bishops not to endorse political candidates or parties. This approach was initiated by Archbishop John Carroll – the very first Catholic Bishop serving in the United States. It was long before there was an Internal Revenue Service Code, and had nothing to do with a desire to preserve tax-exempt status. Rather the Church in the United States realized early on that it must not tether the credibility of the Church to the uncertain future actions or statements of a particular politician or party. This understanding of the Church’s proper role in society was affirmed in the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern Word: “The Church, by reason of her role and competence, is not identified with any political community nor bound by its ties to any political system. It is at once the sign and the safeguard of the transcendental dimension of the human person.”(Gaudium et Spes n.76)
A Right to Speak Out on Issues
At the same time, it is important to note that the Catholic Church in the United States has always cherished its right to speak to the moral issues confronting our nation. The Church has understood its responsibility in a democratic society to do its best to form properly the consciences of her members. In continuity with the long history of the efforts of American Bishops to assist Catholics with the proper formation of their consciences, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this past November issued a statement: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. In that document our brother bishops took care to note: “This statement is intended to reflect and complement, not substitute for, the ongoing teachings of bishops in our own dioceses and states.”
It is in this context that we offer the following reflections to assist the Catholic people of Northwestern Missouri and Northeastern Kansas in forming their consciences in preparation for casting their votes this November........
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!