.- The U.S. bishopsâ new introductory note to their statement on Catholicsâ voting responsibilities helps clarify distortions and affirms the importance of pro-life, marriage and religious freedom issues, two leaders with the group Catholic Advocate said.
âFor too many decades, pro-abortion Catholic politicians and their supporters have been allowed to treat all the issues of our social teaching as if they had the same value,â Catholic Advocate president Deal W. Hudson and vice president Matt Smith said on Oct. 11.
The note was a âwelcomeâ clarification for those who have worked in the political process on behalf of the unborn, marriage and families. Its language was not meant to be overlooked by those who want to promote âObama and other pro-abortion politiciansâ to Catholic voters, they suggested.
They said the introductory note pays âparticular attentionâ to religious liberty at a time of conflicts over the Department of Health and Human Servicesâ mandate for contraceptive coverage in insurance plans.
âWe at Catholic Advocate think religious liberty will become one of the major social issues of the 2012 campaign, rivaling both abortion and gay marriage,â said Hudson and Smith, who noted that the U.S. bishops have formed a new committee on the issue.
The bishopsâ new introductory note clarifies the 2007 document âForming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.â It warns against âmisguided appeals to âconscienceâ to ignore fundamental moral claims, to reduce Catholic moral concerns to one or two matters, or to justify choices simply to advance partisan, ideological or personal interests.â
The note criticizes the misuse of the document to present âan incomplete or distorted view of the demands of faith in politics.â
Hudson and Smith said that many bishops are aware of the âconfusion and consternationâ caused by the abuse of the document.
âDozens of individual bishops issued statements to clarify the document and defend it against the spin being put on it by abortion advocates,â they said.
They stressed the bishopsâ comments about Catholicsâ âclear obligation to oppose intrinsic evils which can never be justified.â
The introductory note begins by citing the âcontinuing destruction of unborn children through abortion and other threats to the lives and dignity of others who are vulnerable, sick or unwanted.â It also cites religious liberty conscience violations for those in health care, education, and social services, as well as efforts to redefine marriage.
Hudson and Smith found it âpuzzlingâ for Catholic supporters of President Obamaâs re-election to celebrate the noteâs language.
âThis guidance provides just what was needed, so as the bishops urge us, âWe can act together to promote and protect human life and dignity, marriage and family, justice and peace in service to the common goodâ,â they concluded.