A Mission in the Public Square
The South Dakota Catholic Conference is the official voice of the bishops of South Dakota on issues of public policy and provides explanations of Church teaching and their practical application. It is an educational resource on proposed public policies that impact life and the dignity of the human person, religious liberty and other issues that affect the rights of Catholics to practice their faith, both personally and in the public square. The South Dakota Catholic Conference follows the development of public policies and communicates with public officials in all branches and at all levels of governments, not only during a legislative session, but throughout the year.
A Vision for the Common Good
The Catholic Conference is the Church’s institutional ambassador to the public square. It aims to provide effective witness to the perennial truths of the Catholic Faith that bear on matters of civil governance in order to promote a just ordering of society.
1. Promote justice through engagement with governing officials.
“[The Church] cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.” Deus Caritas Est, 26.
2. Promote well-formed faithful citizenship among laity.
“[F]or the Christian people of America conversion to the Gospel means to revise all the different areas and aspects of life, especially those related to the social order and the pursuit of the common good. It will be especially necessary to nurture the growing awareness in society of the dignity of every person and, therefore, to promote in the community a sense of the duty to participate in political life in harmony with the Gospel. Involvement in the political field is clearly part of the vocation and activity of the lay faithful.” Ecclesia in America, 27.