Wednesday, February 20, 2008

California Bishops Issue Political Action Guide Proscribing Use of Term "Anti-Life"

(Hat tip:

From California Catholic Daily:
Pastors and parishes may participate in some political action but may not use phrases such as “anti-life” to describe a candidate or a party, says a document released last month by the California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops.

The document, “Guidelines for Pastors and Parishes on Advocacy and Political Action,” says that “the principles of Catholic social teaching should be the moral framework from which we address all issues in the political arena.” A brief list of principles leads off with “the life and dignity of the human person.” The other principles are: “human rights and responsibilities, the call to family and community, the dignity of work and the rights of workers, the preferential option for those who are poor and vulnerable, solidarity, and care for God’s creation.”

In its specific “Guidelines for Advocacy and Political Action,” the document says that “individual citizens are free to fully engage in partisan politics.” It advises that “religious leaders … should avoid taking positions on candidates or participating in political party matters even when acting in their individual capacity,” since they might find it “difficult to separate their personal activity from their public role as a Church leader.”

But no diocesan or parish “entity or organization may endorse, oppose or evaluate any political party or candidate for public office,” says the bishops’ document. Neither may they contribute in any way to candidates, campaigns, or political action committees. Examples of such prohibited activities, says the document, include “labeling a candidate or party as ‘pro-school aid’ or ‘anti-life,’” for “such a practice removes objectivity by not allowing readers to evaluate a candidate’s position themselves.”

My Comments:
Can't use "anti-life"? So, just use "pro-abortion" or "pro-ESCR" or "pro-euthanasia", etc., instead. Those are fairly objective terms. Either a candidate or party agrees with the Church's teaching in this area, or they don't.

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At 2/20/2008 10:11 AM, Anonymous m.z. said...

No, they seem to be wanting the parishes to avoid objective identifiers. It seems to be an excessively conservative policy, but then again, I'm not familiar with any priests engaging in the practice.


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