The Catholic bishops seem to be going all in against president Obama in this election, with the issues of same-sex marriage and contraception services taking precedence even over that old standby, abortion.
NPR had an item describing the steps that various bishops are taking.
[Archbishop John Myers, of Newark, New Jersey] says same-sex unions undermine traditional marriage and conflict with both Catholic teaching and natural law. He says if a Catholic rejects a core teaching there should be consequences.
The new Archbishop of San Francisco wants to deny communion to any Catholic who is in an active gay relationship. The Archbishop of Baltimore co-hosted a fundraiser last night to fight gay marriage in Maryland. Bishops in Nebraska are encouraging priests to preach against Omaha’s new law that bans discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is leading the fight. And it comes on the heels of the bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom Campaign, in which they say that the Obama administration’s birth control mandate threatens religious freedom.
Although the church cannot explicitly advocate whom to vote for without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status (which is what they really care about), they make it pretty clear what they mean. For example, a bishop in Springfield, Illinois compares the two party platforms, finds that the Republican one contains no “intrinsic evil or a serious sin” unlike the Democratic one that does, and then warns Catholics that they are placing their immortal souls on the line when they vote, saying,
“Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”
This is pretty heavy stuff. Unfortunately for the bishops, it seems like Catholics in the pews are treating their immortal souls somewhat cavalierly. Catholic support for Obama is actually increasing even as the bishops ramp up their opposition, with them favoring him over Romney 54% to 39% in September, up from 49% to 47% in June.
So keep it up, Catholic bishops! Just like Mitt Romney is systematically alienating all segments of people from voting for him, you are steadily driving people away from the church.