Well it is finally happening. Individual members of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops are beginning to clearly go on the offensive when dealing with quasi-Catholic politicians. A few weeks ago it was a volley from Archbishop Burke that was squarely aimed at activist Sheryl Crowe. This week Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island solidly repudiated potential presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and exposed his Catholicism of convenience. Giuliani said that abortion is wrong, but that individuals should have the right to choose for themselves without any government intervention. Well, Rudy, on any hand that is not the Catholic teaching regarding the matter. Bishop Tobin in his diocesan newspaper, Rhode Island Catholic demanded tough explanations from the potential GOP nominee on his fluctuating personal and political opinions on the abortion issue. In illustrating his case, the Bishop methodically and logically exposed Mr. Giuliani’s deficient Catholic view on the wrongfulness of abortion and abortion rights activists.

The Bishop continued that the candidates opinions on abortion, “…are pathetic and confusing. Even worse, they’re hypocritical.” Good job Bishop Tobin!

As we approach the electoral races in the United States our Catholic Bishops need to be openly tough on all of the candidates when moral and ethical issues are involved. Most importantly however, our Catholic Bishops must make a definitive statement regarding the political views of “Catholic” candidate’s .A candidate’s personal beliefs, their political beliefs and their Catholic beliefs should all reflect the same CATHOLIC message. A politician that conveniently presents arguments that are prefaced with, “Personally…” or “As an individual Catholic…” or similar disclaimers is not being a faithful example of the Church’s teachings. The matter as always in this authors mind is such…either you are a faithful and practicing Catholic in communion with all of the Church’s teachings…or you are not. There is no room for middle ground when a Catholic publically incorporates his/her Catholicism as part of a political campaign. To express Catholicism in the political arena means to present Catholicism correctly and without any personal reservations or disclaimers.

The American Catholic Bishops have a large responsibility of making sure all faithful Catholics hear the correct Catholic teachings on the dignity of human life and not the politically spun view of pseudo-Catholic candidates. As the primary teachers of faith and morals in the Church it is time for all of the Catholic hierarchy to find their voices and loudly guide believers through the political minefield of the coming elections. Bishop Tobin seems to have gotten his voice into form for the coming elections, the rest of the Bishops need to work on their elocution and presentations.

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