Catholic Bishops Put Kibosh on Partisan Voting Guides

Posted November 03, 2006

Religion News Service reported today that Cardinal William H. Keeler, chair of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities, has asked parishes not to use voting guides that are not approved by the Church.

The message from Cardinal Keeler settles a debate that began in 2004, when organizations such as the San Diego-based Catholic Answers began a systematic campaign through paid advertisements and printed voting guides to convince Catholics only to consider abortion, same-sex marriage, stem cell research, human cloning, and euthanasia at the voting booth. Many observers viewed this message as an attempt to undermine the Bishops' 2003 Faithful Citizenship voting guide - which lists more than fifty issues relevant to Catholic voters, and characterizes Catholic citizenship as a call to promote "the common good." Partisan organizations such as Fidelis and the Catholic League have actively promoted this narrow view as well.

Today's news deals a major blow to those who have misused Catholic teaching for political gain. In affirming support for Faithful Citizenship, Cardinal Keeler has effectively renounced the cafeteria Catholic 'theology' employed by partisan conservative organizations.