Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bishops or Pawns?

John McCaslin’s Inside the Beltway had this to say about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ "Catholics in Political Life" released last week.

Tens of millions of practicing Catholics in America have the blessings of their bishops to make political waves. Analyzing Friday’s statement issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, titled "Catholics in Political Life," Catholic League President William Donohue says the bishops spoke with "convincing clarity" on the subject of politics and religion. The bishops, he says, note correctly that the separation of church and state "does not require division between belief and public action, between moral principles and political choices, but protects the right of believers and religious groups to practice their faith and act on their values in public life." "Not only is the bishops’ ruling cogently written and without a single flaw," Mr. Donohue says, it "should be widely disseminated to public officials and the law schools."

In stark contrast to this assessment, the American Life League (the largest pro-life Catholic organization) saw the U.S. bishops’ latest statement this way:
"The American bishops have failed," said American Life League president Judie Brown. "The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had an opportunity to provide strong leadership on the question of Catholic public figures who favor legal abortion. However, their statement misses the mark on several points. As a result, election year politics has trumped the right to life of the innocent and the protection of Christ from sacrilege. . . . Had the bishops united in their commitment to enforce Canon 915, they could have prevented Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life from being misused for political ends by being represented as nothing more that a matter of "choice" in a pluralistic society. They failed to do that."

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