Home » Opinion » US Catholic bishops side with Dems, not GOP, on main issues of 2012

US Catholic bishops side with Dems, not GOP, on main issues of 2012


Whatever your political beliefs, it must have come as a surprise to hear that Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/USCCB, would be offering a benediction at the Democratic National Convention as well as at the Republican one.

The Cardinal’s office did say that at both conventions he “was coming solely as a pastor, only to pray, not to endorse any party, platform, or candidate.” But it is also true that Dolan has led the charge against the Obama administration regarding certain of its health care rules, calling them nothing less than a war on religion. So what gives?

Perhaps Cardinal Dolan found it easy to say “yes” to the Democrats due to a great political irony. Any heartfelt, impassioned outbursts against him from the convention floor will end up unwittingly — very unwittingly — conveying the same impression of the U.S. bishops that he himself is giving: namely, that the USCCB and the Democrats are somehow polar opposites, when in fact that is not the case.

On every major issue except those related to culture/sex, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has long sided with the Democrats. Take your pick: the environment/global warming; immigration rights; opposition to the death penalty; a living wage/labor rights; regulation of questionable business practices; ending our two wars; cutting defense spending (with the bishops arguably to the left of the Democrats in Congress on the latter issue).

And in 2012 the USCCB officially sides with the Democrats on all the issues that matter most to the voters, from jobs to housing to, yes, health care, with the bishops calling it a universal human right.

As for the Ryan Budget that catapulted Paul Ryan onto the Republican ticket, the USCCB sent numerous messages to Congress making clear their opposition to his proposed cuts. In one of the letters that they sent to every member of the House of Representatives, the bishops declared that “deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility efforts must protect and not undermine the needs of poor and vulnerable people,” and they concluded that “the proposed cuts to programs in the budget reconciliation fail this basic moral test.”

The bishop chosen by his peers to draft these official statements, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., stood his ground when told that the Democrats might use the letters to their advantage. “I know they have interpreted our response as critical of the Ryan budget and perhaps it is. But, really,” he said, “I want to protect the poor and vulnerable in our country. We will keep speaking out no matter what party is in power.”

Or maybe none of this matters. After all, the bishops lost much if not most of their credibility with their cover-ups of pedophile priests. And Catholics famously vote their conscience even when their views contradict Church teachings, notably on hot button gender-related issues. It is on those issues, of course, that the bishops and the Democrats stand bitterly opposed.

Abortion and gay marriage matter tremendously, on many levels, but they are not the main issues that concern the voters this year. The three main issues are: the economy, the economy and the economy, and here the U.S. Catholic bishops stand opposed to the GOP.

Not that Cardinal Dolan seems interested in pointing this out. But don’t be confused regarding the official position of the Catholic Church when it comes to the Ryan Budget. Yes, Paul Ryan is a Catholic, but as a New York Times editorial noted when Mitt Romney announced Representative Ryan’s selection, the cuts proposed by his budget “are so severe that the nation’s Catholic bishops protested the proposal as failing to meet society’s moral obligations, saying the plans ‘will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors.’”

When it comes to the main issues of 2012, the bishops are with the Democrats.


Julie Leininger Pycior/Huffingtong Post



  1. Bill says:

    Marcum, there are plenty of Catholic Democrats, who are faithful to both the teachings of Christ and to the Democratic Party. You are not the arbiter of who “belongs” and “who doesn’t.” So stop with your myopic, one-issue rhetoric. If you are pro-life then how can you agree with the GOP’s stance on capital punishment? If you care about the poor, how can you agree with the GOP’s cutting of social programs? If you care about the environment, how can you care about the GOP’s denial of climate change? These are issues likely too complex for someone of your minimal ability to cogently assess. But you should know that most intelligent people have tough decisions they have to make that are too serious to be reduced to “the party of death.” Shame on you.

    • Jim says:

      Bill: perhaps 50 people are put to death per year via capital punishment — and presumably the majority are guilty. Over one million babies are put to death per year via abortion, and all of them are innocent. THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT (TO ANY RATIONAL PERSON) THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE THE PARTY OF LIFE, AND THE DEMON-CRATS THE PARTY OF DEATH. Further, the Demon-crats favor gay marriage, now part of their party’s platform. Marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation on which God builds society. So, Demon-crats clearly stand on the side of destruction of society. Sorry, Bill, YOU CANNOT BE A DEMON-CRAT AND BE A CATHOLIC AT THE SAME TIME.

      • Anthony Kalnoky says:

        (1) The USA is only one of about 7 nations allowing capital punishment; there are about 150 nations (2) The new tgop Are the ones who Initiate False Wars: Grenada, Panama, Iraq, (3) of Enriching the Richest (2%er) Individuals and Corporations, by (4) taking from the poorest and Middle Class Ownership And ‘benefits’, etc., etc. etc. (5) Notice Cardinal Dolan’s corrections of ‘catholic’ GOP VP candidate Policies/Ideas last National Elections?

        • Nick says:

          Only about four months behind in this comment, Anthony. Ever notice the dates on these things or is it just sheer impulsiveness?

  2. Marcum says:

    Bishops aligned with the Democrats? LOL!
    Democrats are the party of death. Big business for killing babies as a choice right up to the 8th and 9th month. COme on give me a fist pump for killing the babies and Same sex marriage and just try to make that fit as fatihful Catholics. Pathetic pscho babble.

  3. Marilyn Bose says:

    The US bishops seem schizophrenic I cannot understand that they can ever support those in the pro-death Democratic Party. Is it any wonder that people have lost all respect for many of them. I am most disappointed in Cardinal Timothy Dolan. He seems to have no backbone. May God have mercy on him and the others who can overlook the respect for God given Sacred Life from conception to natural death.

    • Anthony Kalnoky says:

      Elections are Not ‘One Issue’ but several key issues. tgop on the Wrong Side of the key ones, like not Enriching the Richest Few by taking from the middle class and poor, no False Wars like Iraq, Panama, Grenada, etc. etc.

  4. Thomas Merton says:

    Just as they sided with those perverts of children they have now taken up residence in the democratic party. How Sad. They have now lost all, I repeat, Lost, respect for themselves and for their body of bishops as leaders in the USA. Anyone who can side with the dems this year is an Idiot, plain and simple. Shift your allegiance to a Muslin from within the catholic bishops.

  5. Eileen Kovatch says:

    Could it be that bishops like the rest of the church in America, are divided in their political beliefs. Depending on your starting premise, both parties are right and are just as moral as the bishops….oops, maybe not ALL the bishops!

  6. JoeCee says:

    “Or maybe none of this matters. After all, the bishops lost much if not most of their credibility with their cover-ups of pedophile priests”. …and this is at the heart of the bishops’ failure to lead. It will take a generation for them to recover, if at all.


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