With the count-down on to the November election, commercials, ads, speeches and debates have been thrown our way, non - stop.

A helpful preparation and a thoughtful alternative as a point of reference is the document from the U.S.. Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility.

The Bishops intended this document as a way to help Catholics contribute to civil and respectful public dialogue and to share Catholic teaching on the role of faith and conscience in political life.

The Bishops have articulated seven key themes about Catholic Social Teaching that are useful for public discourse:

1. The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person

2. Call to Family, Community and Participation

3. Rights and Responsibilities

4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

5. Dignity of Work and the Right of Workers

6. Solidarity

7. Caring for God's Creation

Reflecting on the Social Teachings contained in these topics can help us prepare for our important civic responsibility in November.

More information on Faithful Citizenship and the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching can be obtained at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website, www.usccb.org.