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Friday, August 23, 2013

Catholics, Politics, and The New York Times

Catholic bishops and priests from major dioceses across the country will preach a coordinated message next month backing changes in immigration policy, with some using Sunday Masses on Sept. 8 to urge Congressional passage of a legislative overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.
The decision to embrace political action from the pulpit is part of a broader effort by the Roman Catholic Church and other faith groups that support President Obama’s call for new immigration laws. It includes advertising and phone calls directed at 60 Catholic Republican lawmakers and “prayerful marches” in Congressional districts where the issue has become a divisive topic.
“We want to try to pull out all the stops,” said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said the immigration issue was at a now-or-never moment. “They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you’re not successful during the summer, you’re not going to win by the end of the year.”
In the past, editorials in the Times have denounced political activities by Catholic churches.

September 19, 2012:
Separation of church and state should be a cherished no-brainer under the Constitution, but that never seems so in an election year when some clergyman or other cannot resist the temptation to speak out as a political boss.
The good news on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is that when Rev. John Farren used the parish bulletin to disseminate a proxy endorsement of Mitt Romney by six former ambassadors to the Vatican, more than 20,000 people promptly objected in a petition sent downtown to Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
May 27, 2012:
Under the Constitution, churches and other religious organizations have total freedom to preach that contraception is sinful and rail against Mr. Obama for making it more readily available. But the First Amendment is not a license for religious entities to impose their dogma on society through the law. The vast majority of Americans do not agree with the Roman Catholic Church’s anti-contraception stance, including most American Catholic women.
May 24, 2004: 
While most American religious leaders are pleased when members of their flock undertake a life of public service, it is not surprising that they react with chagrin when those same churchgoers start voting for policies that contradict religious tenets. But any attempt to make elected leaders toe a doctrinal line when it comes to their public duties raises multiple risks. Breaching the church-state line that is so necessary to protect religious freedom is one. Figuring out when to stop is another.