During the I International Congress on Churches, the Lay State and Society, Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Texas said most Catholic politicians in the United States have fallen into "a distorted understanding of what their faith is."
During a speech on Catholics and public life in the US, Archbishop Gomez noted that "today 70% of politicians who claim to be Catholic in Congress and the Senate support abortion, and that figure reaches almost 90% in traditional Catholic states such as Massachusetts or New York."
Many Catholic politicians, inspired by the interpretation of some influential theologians, consider all the teachings of the Church to be on equal footing. "They respect ‘a large part’ of that doctrine, especially in social matters, but they disagree on issues such as abortion, euthanasia and homosexual unions. According to them, they adhere to a ‘large part’ and say they are adhering to it all."
This understanding, the archbishop pointed out, has led to "curious anomalies, such as a ‘Catholicity’ survey carried out by one Catholic senator among his colleagues in 2003 which showed that this senator and another were the ‘most Catholic’ of the Senate, despite having voting voted 100 out 100 times in support of abortion, euthanasia, homosexual unions and experimentation with embryonic stem cells."
An example of such a situation was the presidential candidacy of John Kerry. Kerry claimed to be Catholic yet openly supported abortion.
As a result, many Catholics looked to their bishops and priests for guidance. "It was necessary for the bishops of the United States to take some time to reflect on this matter, which was what took place in Denver, Colorado, last year, with the support of a letter sent by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith," said Archbishop Gomez.
"The Church teaches that abortion is a grave sin and that not all moral issues have the same weight as the interruption of the life of the unborn or euthanasia," the archbishop continued. "If some candidate campaigns for and supports laws that allow abortion and euthanasia, his pastor should meet with him, instruct him in the teachings of the Church and inform him that he should not present himself for Communion until he puts an end to the state of sin in which he finds himself," Archbishop Gomez said in conclusion.