In the wake of controversy surrounding a presidential candidate questionnaire, produced by the lay staff of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, many Catholics have embraced an alternative voting guide, issued by a Catholic apologetics organization.
Though the USCCB has discouraged use of this new guide, more than one million copies are in circulation and at least one major archdiocese has distributed it, says the publisher.
The Culture of Life Foundation issued a report in its publication Culture & Cosmos about the new 10-page "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics."
The booklet is produced by Catholic Answers, a lay apostolate based in San Diego, whose mission is to defend Catholic teaching.
Citing papal and Vatican documents, "Voter's Guide" identifies five issues it calls "non-negotiable": abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning and same-sex marriage. Supporting any of these issues, according to the guide, would disqualify a political candidate as a viable option for a faithful Catholic.
Frank Norris, Catholic Answers director of development, told Culture & Cosmos that more than one million guides are in distribution. Norris estimates that by Election Day in November, between two million and five million copies will have been distributed.
The guide is being distributed by the St. Louis Archdiocese and two other dioceses are now considering it, reported Norris. He said more than 1,000 individuals have requested copies.
In addition, the booklet might soon receive an imprimatur from the bishop of San Diego, said Norris. An imprimatur is official guidance from a bishop that the information is free from doctrinal error. Even so, the booklet has faced resistance and even disapproval from the legal staff of the USCCB.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis asked the USCCB if the guide could be distributed in the archdiocese and the USCCB said it preferred not, reported William Fallon, the archdiocese's chancellor. The bishops’ conference said it preferred that its own guide, "Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility," be distributed.
Some critics charge that "Faithful Citizenship," has minimized the importance of abortion in Catholic social teaching.