Catholic Bishops to Vote on Putting Pro-Life Values Over Partisanship

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 19, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishops to Vote on Putting Pro-Life Values Over Partisanship Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 19,

Washington, DC ( — The nation’s Catholic bishops are slated to vote next month on a 37-page document outlining how Catholics should be involved in political issues. The document says that Catholics should put their pro-life values ahead of devotion to a particular political party.

The vote will take place during the bishops’ annual meeting in mid November and the new document they will consider calls on Catholics to look beyond "powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites and media hype."

Instead, according to a Catholic News Service report, they should be focused on "the dignity of every human being and the protection of the weak and vulnerable."

"As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group," the draft document reads.

"When necessary, our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths," it adds.

While other political issues are mentioned as important ones for Catholics, the document says that abortion and other pro-life issues are paramount.

"There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor," it reads, according to CNS.

"The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity," they say. "The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life is … not just one issue among many."

The document does not directly address the question of whether pro-abortion politicians should get communion.

But it does say that Catholics should not vote for pro-abortion candidates unless the candidate who is pro-life on abortion and bioethics issues violates Catholic teachings in other very serious ways.

Seven committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops crafted the new document and two-thirds of the bishops must support it for it to be ratified.

They will also consider a shortened version that would be placed in church bulletins, CNS reports.

These kinds of documents have been approved before every presidential election for the last 30 years but this is the first time the bishops will sign off on it.