The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has just released an update [PDF] to its â€œFaithful Citizenshipâ€ pamphlet in preparation for the 2012 elections. The document has, in the past, been at the center of arguments over which politicians should be â€˜disqualifiedâ€™ from consideration by Catholics, but will likely garner media attention this time for a few notable changes in its language. The new document seems to take aim at both right- and left-wing ideologues who would use the document as a vehicle for their own political agenda:
This time, the bishops say flatly that the document â€œdoes not offer a voters guide, scorecard of issues, or direction on how to vote.â€ The bishopsâ€™ document aims to apply â€œCatholic moral principlesâ€ to a host of issues, and warns against â€œmisguided appeals to â€˜conscienceâ€™ to ignore fundamental moral claims.â€ At the same time, the bishops warn that it should not be used to â€œreduce Catholic moral concerns to one or two matters,â€ or used to justify â€œpartisan, ideological, or personal interests.â€
That phrasing seems to take direct aim at both liberal-minded Catholics who say supporting abortion rights is a matter of individual conscience, as well as conservative-leaning Catholics who say opposing abortion outweighs all other issues.
While this change in wording is interesting, it remains to be seen whether this publication will have much of an impact at all. [more]