So, as early voting began this month, Catholic publications, dioceses and individual parishes began distributing millions of pieces of literature advising members, in the words of Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles Chaput, "to make sure that they're Catholic prior to being Democrat or Republican."
In an interview with EWTN the Global Catholic Network, the archbishop said, "We do believe in the separation of church and state. But we don't believe in the separation of faith from political life. It's very important for Catholics to make distinctions when voting that they never support intrinsic evils like abortion, which is evil in all circumstances."
You can distribute 'em, but you can't make people read them. There's more:
One piece of widely-distributed literature given to church members on recent Sundays carries the photograph of Pope Benedict XVI and the title: "Voting and the Non-Negotiable Moral Principles."Archbishop John Nienstedt has become a highly controversial figure in the Twin Cities because he's actually on board with this sort of thing and he's been highly visible on the Marriage Amendment as well. The Church is betting that Catholics will be Catholics first. I'm not entirely confident that will happen.
Faithful parishioners are given lengthy excerpts from the Republican and Democrat party platforms and left to choose, using their Catholic values:
"Life. The protection and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death. The framework within and against which every other issue must be measured."
2012 Democratic Platform:
'The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. (p. 18)'
'President Obama and Democrats will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. The Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to contraception in their health insurance plans. (p. 18)'
2012 Republican Platform:
'Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children.' (p. 13-14)
'We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. (p. 13-14)'
By the way, remember the name Charles Chaput. You'll be hearing more about him some day.