A group of priests and deacons who belong to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (CCC) has produced a new free app called the Catholic Voting Guide. The same company who developed the popular Confession app, Little i Apps, also developed this new voting guide app. Android users can download the app from the Google Play Store. iPhone, iPod, and iPad users can download it via iTunes.

Two documents serve as the foundation for this app: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, and a letter titled Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion written in 2004 by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger now Pope Benedict XVI.

According to the CCC, the Catholic Voting Guide app is designed to identify, clarify, and prioritize fundamental non-negotiable values that affect every citizen and every human being. The app is especially intended to help Catholics cast a responsible vote on Election Day using a well-formed conscience.

No small goal. But they give it go.

How it Works

The app is organized so that six vital issues are highlighted. These issue areas are:

  1. The Right to Life
  2. Freedom of Religion/Religious Liberty
  3. Sanctity of Marriage
  4. Right to Own Private Property
  5. Access to Essential Goods
  6. War & Peace

Each vital issue then has a separate window that can be opened within the app. Designed with four qualities in mind --- clarity, accuracy, brevity, and urgency --- the information provided for each issue area is concise and to the point.

You can read through the six issues in a matter of minutes, and you will walk away with talking points about each.

Hopefully users will be intrigued enough by what they read and continue to explore the USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship document more deeply. In fact, the app provides external links to that, the aforementioned letter by Cardinal Ratzigner, and a 25-minute YouTube video with Cardinal Raymond Burke discussing his Pastoral Letter on Voting.

My Thoughts

Admittedly, the app has only been out 24 hours at the time of this writing, and I haven’t had much playtime with it. However, I don’t need much time to get the gist. It’s a very simple, stripped-down application whose purpose is to define those issues that the Church teaches are intrinsically evil and can never be supported.

It’s a good starting point, but the formation of conscience includes several elements. Using this app alone isn’t going to form one’s conscience --- it is something we must do 365 days a year and not just three weeks before the election.

That said, this app provides an excellent foundation to at least get thoughts churning and conversations started. I would rather see this app titled something on the lines of “moral citizenship guide” rather than “voting guide.” The application and its contents are quite relevant once Election Day has come and gone and our vote has been cast.

It’s a simple, informational application that can help arm us for critical conversations about these issues as the election approaches. It can also help us continue to develop as faithful Catholic citizens once the election has passed.

Have you downloaded the app?

What are your thoughts?

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Copyright 2012 Lisa Schmidt