Archbishop Dolan Is anyone listening to “Faithful Citizenship”???

Is anyone listening???

US Conference of the Catholic Bishops fall meeting is shaping up to be a public airing of differences around the agenda of the Church. The Administrative Committee of the US Conference chooses curiously not to modify “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” Timothy M. Dolan of New York, along with the chairs of nine different committees, are reaffirming their 2007 document “Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship,” and issuing it with a new introductory note. While Catholics make up 25% of the electorate we don’t vote as a block.

Will the secular political agenda of Abortion Vs. Social Justice Issues play a prominent role in the 2012 Presidential elections or not? Does Archbishop Dolan really think that a new introductory note to document will in any shape or form address what has been seen by many as the documents deficiencies?

The bishops highlighted six concerns: abortion, religious freedom, traditional marriage, immigration reform, fighting poverty and ending war in the new introductory note absent was any mention of the death penalty, which also could cause the issue to be raised at the bishops fall meet in DC.

Catholic voting became a heated issue in the 2008 election when several prominent Catholic intellectuals voiced support for then-candidate Barack Obama.

In one of the most notable instances, Doug Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University and a former official in the Reagan administration, endorsed Obama and encouraged other Catholic and conservative voters to do the same. Kmiec called Obama a “bridge-builder” and said that despite Obama’s opposition to Catholic teachings on moral issues, including abortion and same-sex “marriage,” there were proportionate reasons to support him.

Kmiec said he believed that Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war and focus on “the social justice of economic arrangement” made him “closer to the Church’s teaching” than his opponent, John McCain. This outraged many fundamentalist Catholics who thought that abortion was the preeminent issue of the election, and reason not to vote for Obama.

Some conservative bishops had called for revisions to the document because of its ambigious language surrounding the issue of Abortion and they demanded an even tighter focus on the issue to insure there would not be a misunderstanding. It is highly questionable that the quickly written introductory note will satisfy these prelates, or whether Archbishop Dolan’s leadership is Catholic enough on the issue.

In any case, in order for the document to have any affect Catholics will need to listen and be guided by it. Recently Cardinal Francis George who preceded Archbishop Dolan as President of the USCCB said in his recent book “God Action” that the Bishops no longer have any moral authority, and people are dismissing them. That would seem to be confirmed by the poll conducted in May and June by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate found that only 16 percent of adult Catholics had heard of the “Faithful Citizenship.” Of those who knew about the document, about three-quarters said it had “no influence at all” on how they voted.

It only takes one Bishop to ask for a review of the “Faithful Citizenship and then the pious dam will break.

Mary Anderson
Rainbow Sash Movement

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