.- A pro-abortion group that claims to be Catholic has requested that the tax-exempt status of the Archdiocese of Denver be revoked. Catholics for a Free Choice submitted its request to the Internal Revenue Service Oct. 25, reported the Denver Post.
The Washington-based group claims that Archbishop Charles Chaput broke laws about partisan politicking when he made repeated public statements about the importance for Catholics to vote in line with Church teachings regarding abortion and embryonic stem-cell research.
Although Archbishop Chaput has never named President George Bush or Senator John Kerry in his speeches, the group’s president, Frances Kissling, says the archbishop’s statements are attempts to influence Catholics to vote for Bush.
In a statement, archdiocesan spokesman Sergio Gutierrez replied: "The Church in northern Colorado respects and observes the law. That will continue. So will our public engagement in moral issues that impact our shared public life."
IRS spokeswoman Jean Carl said the agency does not comment on complaints, but she said it is extremely rare for the IRS to revoke a Church's exempt status over politics.
While Kissling’s group lodged a complaint against the Archdiocese of Denver, Catholic League president William Donohue announced yesterday that he is calling on the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of Catholics for a Free Choice.
“The IRS provides a tax-exempt status to organizations that serve the public interest,” he said in a statement. “It is the contention of the Catholic League that Catholics for a Free Choice is an anti-Catholic hate group, and therefore forfeits its status as a public charity.”
Donohue said the Catholic League would be supplying the IRS “with the necessary background information.”