Catholic bishops issued a statement today that made it pretty clear how Catholics should vote in the 2008 elections: Catholic. This isn’t exactly new; it repeats similar instructions made every election year since 1976.
When you think Catholic and politics, one often thinks “abortion.” But it’s not that simple.
Operating under the directive that a Catholic should vote Catholic principles, Catholics are faced with finding a candidate who (among other things):
* Is against abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research
* Wants out of Iraq
* Opposes the death penalty and use of torture
* Supports providing basic needs including — wait for it — health care.
* Is against an “unjust” immigration policy (whatever that is)
There is, of course, no candidate who fits that description currently running for president. And there is no guideline for resolving the conflicts Catholic voters will face. They will, if they vote at all, be forced to ignore the teachings they’re being asked to follow.
The document also warned against partisanship. “As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. When necessary, our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths,” the document says.
Not addressed — specifically — in the document, though, is the question of whether a Catholic running for office with views different from the teaching of the church, is a real Catholic, and whether that politician should be allowed communion in the church.
In Minnesota’s last election, the “Catholic vote” (as prescribed by the bishops) wasn’t evident. Catholics, in fact, voted more often for DFLer Amy Klobuchar (56%) over Mark Kennedy (40%), than Protestants (51% to 46%), according to exit polling.