Once again, the Catholic Church is making a coordinated effort to tell its parishioners how they should vote in upcoming elections. This time, it’s through their media outlets.
Speaking to a group of Catholic reporters and media at the 2012 Catholic Media Conference, Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, informed the gathering that there is no longer any room for Catholics who are willing to vote for candidates that don’t strictly adhere to each and every one of their doctrines.
“Catholic voters must have the courage to tell candidates that if they want Catholic votes they will have to respect the fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching such as the sanctity of human life before birth as well as the institutions of marriage and family,” Anderson declared.
“Catholic voters should insist that candidates measure their political platforms by Catholic social teaching—especially if they are Catholics. And they should have the courage to withhold their vote from candidates who fail this test—even if it means at times that they will withhold their vote for both candidates for a particular office.”
“Catholic voters should have the courage to settle for nothing less than this,” the Supreme Knight concluded.
Included in these “Catholic values” aren’t just abortion and gay marriage, but also opposition to the birth control mandate, which Anderson says threatens the Catholic church’s autonomy.
Anderson, a former legislative aide who assisted in anti-choice policies ranging from the Hyde Amendment to the Mexico City Policy, as well as helping to organize the Congressional Pro-life Caucus, blames pro-choice Catholics for hobbling the movement to end reproductive freedom.
Over the years, it has become clear to many that if Catholics in both political parties had practiced a consistent commitment to Catholic social teaching and if they had been able to overcome partisan rigidity and hostility, we would have been able to significantly restrict abortion.
We were not able to do this because of a failure of our elected Catholic officials.
But there was also a failure by Catholic voters who were led to believe that their choice was between candidates who were only partly committed to a consistent ethic of life.
However if Catholic voters had insisted that this choice was not acceptable, we might have been able to solve the abortion issue decades ago.
As Catholics we must stop picking and choosing which parts of Catholic social teaching we will accept.
And we must insist that our politicians stop doing this as well.
It looks like the church will be denying a whole lot of people communion this election cycle.