Roman Catholic bishops weigh political involvement after Communion stir in 2004

From AP:

Three years after a few outspoken U.S. Roman Catholic bishops tied together presidential politics, abortion and the Communion rail, leaders of the nation’s largest denomination are starting to speak out again.

Only this time, the political climate is much different.

The Catholic presidential hopeful under criticism for championing abortion rights is a Republican instead of a Democrat, the general election might pit two candidates who believe abortion should remain legal, Democrats control both chambers of Congress and immigration reform has surfaced as a major issue.

As most of the nation’s 268 active Catholic bishops met for a private retreat this week in New Mexico, questions were building about how prominent their voices will be in the 2008 race.

Will some follow the example of Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., who last month called the pro-abortion rights position of Catholic GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani, “pathetic and confusing?” Will abortion dominate the bishops’ statements on the election, or will immigration and poverty?

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput said in an interview with The Associated Press that official Catholic involvement depends on which candidates and issues emerge from primary season. A vocal proponent of calling on Catholic politicians and voters to follow church teachings, Chaput also made it clear he thinks the time for behind-the-scenes diplomacy with politicians is over.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Race/Race Relations, Roman Catholic

2 comments on “Roman Catholic bishops weigh political involvement after Communion stir in 2004

  1. bob carlton says:

    the cynic in my suspects that Rudy’s Repub affiliation will mean that Cath bps will be much less vocal than they were with Kerry.

  2. Words Matter says:

    Actually, most Catholic bishops are of that generation that was baptized and enrolled as a member of the Democratic Party on the same day, which is probably why most of them go easy on pro-choice politicians. In fact, the bishop of Rhode Island has publically called Guiliani out on his “personally opposed, but…” nonsense.

    At the time, the Catholic bishops didn’t vote to censure Kerry by name or any politician, Dem or Repub, which has been a huge scandal for many Catholics. A few individual bishops spoke out – Chaput of Denver, Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Burke (now of St. Louis) are the only ones I can think of – but the Cardinal Archbishops were silent. McCarrick, then of Washington, misrepresented then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter to the American bishops, which suggested censure of pro-choice politicians billing themselves as Catholics and made it sound as though the Vatican did not support censure.