Monday, 20 October 2008

No-choicer bombast falls short of risking tax-exempt status.

In Colorado, a Catholic clergyman attacked US presidential candidate Obama and his running mate at the Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women dinner. Archbishop Chaput also took the opportunity to criticize liberal Catholic groups as well as the Catholic legal scholar Douglas Kmiec who recently endorsed Obama.

Many members of Catholics for Choice in the US believe in a broad definition of pro-life which includes opposition to war and the death penalty as well as support for those principles associated historically with the Catholic worker movement: eradicating poverty and promoting social justice. Their president Jon O’Brien issued a statement:

“The fact sheet from the bishops’ lobbying arm, the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, reaffirms the US bishops’ desire to place themselves at the center of the political discussion on abortion. However, in doing so, they do not reflect the fullness of Catholic teaching on abortion, nor do they represent
what Catholics actually believe. It is simply not true that the Roman Catholic church’s position on abortion has remained unchanged for 2,000 years.

While members of the Catholic hierarchy have consistently opposed abortion, their reasons for doing so and the teachings they espoused to the faithful have varied continually. … It is also telling that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops omitted to mention that no pope has proclaimed the
prohibition of abortion an ‘infallible’ teaching. This means that there is much more room for debate than is usually thought, with opinions among theologians and the laity differing widely. In any case,
Catholic theology tells individuals to follow their personal conscience in moral matters, even when their conscience is in conflict with hierarchical views.

The reality that the bishops are trying to overcome is that the majority of Catholics do not agree with them on abortion, or on their role in political life.”

at Catholics In Public Life.

Wendy Norris writes about the Bishop’s dinner screed for the Colorado Independent:
… Chaput was sure to point out that his remarks were offered as a private citizen and not as a representative of the diocese at the dinner for Catholic women. The Internal Revenue Service has been cracking down on clergy for breaching the law that prohibits tax-exempt religious groups from making statements supporting or opposing political candidates.
Indeed. So it may not require hell freezing over, more likely the icy gaze of the IRS to make sure a certain religious cleric refrains from meddling in election campaigns, for fear of having his status and privileges go

First posted at Birth Pangs.

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