.- In a press release issued today two Pro-Kerry Catholics who head Catholics for Kerry groups in Columbus, Ohio, and Boston, Massachusetts, denounce the politicking taking place with increasing frequency in Catholic parishes across America saying that it will damage the Church in the U.S.
In the press release, entitled “Politicking in Catholic Churches”, Patrick Whelan and Eric McFadden accuse both Republicans and Democrats of exploiting religious congregations and violating Church rules by registering voters in Churches after Mass.
These initiatives go against the U.S. Bishops’ guidelines, say Whelan and McFadden. They point out that the Bishops’ “Office of General Counsel states that Catholic organization voter registration or get-out-the-vote efforts should not be conducted in cooperation with any political campaign.”
They point to the Republican National Committee's Catholic Team Leader Outreach program which recruits coordinators for a $25,000 a year to idenitfy Catholic voters around the country, and to the “Catholic Citizenship” organization of Democrat Raymond Flynn, former mayor of Boston and President Clinton’s Vatican Ambassador, whose aim is to “sponsor voter registration drives and weekly updates on political issues in every parish, among other things,” as examples of Catholic politicking that will divide congregations down party lines.
The result will be a politicized Catholic identity, in which congregations and individuals identify themselves as Democrat Catholics or Republican Catholics, thus damaging the identity and unity of the Catholic Church in the U.S.
“How long can it be before all parishes are hostilely divided between Democratic and Republican congregations, both convinced that each is more Catholic than the other?” they ask.