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My Take: Catholic bishops' election behavior threatens their authority
The American bishops staged a rigorous campaign against the White House's new contraception mandate.
November 8th, 2012
10:18 AM ET

My Take: Catholic bishops' election behavior threatens their authority

Editor’s note: Vincent Miller is the Gudorf Chair of Catholic Theology and Culture at the University of Dayton.

By Vincent Miller, Special to CNN

President Obama’s narrow victory among Catholic voters this week will be seen by many as a political loss for the U.S. Catholic bishops, who appeared to be openly opposing Obama during the presidential campaign.

The Catholic Church was well within its rights to conduct its campaign on religious liberty, but its “Preserve Religious Freedom” yard signs were clearly designed to be placed alongside partisan candidate signs. And they were - in very large numbers.

The technically nonpartisan nature of the Church’s religious liberty campaign was further drowned out by a small chorus of strident bishops who left no doubt about how Catholics ought to vote for president.

In a letter he ordered read at all parishes last Sunday, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria juxtaposed the Obama administration's new contraception mandate with the scourging and mockery of Jesus. Jenky declared that “electoral supporters” of pro-abortion rights politicians reject “Jesus as their lord,” as did the crowd that roared, "We have no king but Caesar.”

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Such forceful statements were never balanced by significant challenges to the Republican presidential ticket.

There is more at stake here than politics.

Though I agree with the bishops that the exemption for religious employers in the White House contraceptive insurance mandate is too narrow, the bishops’ posture toward the administration during the election poses a major risk to the Church because it left the impression that there was only one legitimate Catholic choice for president – Mitt Romney.

The result is that half of the Catholic electorate felt it was being judged as voting “against the Church,” even though such voters weren’t actually dissenting from Catholic teaching. They were, instead, making the complex decisions that any serious voter must, weighing their own moral commitments against a candidate's professed values, the policies they propose and how much is likely to be accomplished on a given issue given the political climate.

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Voters must weigh the mix of positions of both candidates, not just the objections against one. This year, they had to weigh, among other things, a new problem with religious liberty against the Republicans' earnest proposal to replace Medicare’s guaranteed coverage with a subsidy for private insurance.

By putting voters in a “with us or against us” bind, some of America’s bishops have risked eroding their own authority. They imply that specific political judgments are matters of Church teaching, when by Catholic tradition, the more they descend into the details of policy, the less certain their judgments become.

Bishops must allow room for and respect believers' own specific political judgments. The Second Vatican Council taught that it is primarily the responsibility of the laity to undertake the secular work of inscribing “the divine law…in the life of the earthly city.”

The way out of this crisis is for the bishops to carefully respect the necessary limits involved in the task of forming the consciences of lay believers. They must teach moral principles and, yes, argue for their specific application, but always in a way that respects individual judgments about how best to enact these principles.

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At times this formation might even require forceful challenge, but it should never assume ill will or ignorance when the faithful vote differently than they desire.

Trusting laypeople to make the political decisions that are properly theirs gives them room to embrace the Church’s doctrines, even if they cannot enact all of them in their voting choices. This is essential to sustaining a Catholic identity separate from the divisiveness of partisan politics. This election season like none before left many Catholics feeling like the Church gave them no such room.

The Catholic Church will enhance its public authority by speaking out in a way that supports and challenges both parties. Prophets are respected when they are perceived to be an independent and fair voice. When the deep coherence of Catholic moral teaching is communicated, it can free people from our partisan moral straightjackets. But when parts of this teaching are passed over in silence, the Church puts itself in a partisan straightjacket.

The official Church response to the candidacy of vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan displayed this failure to forcefully challenge both parties. In the spring, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had challenged Ryan’s proposed federal budget for failing to put “the needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty” first. But the bishops were largely silent on this issue during the campaign.

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The response of Catholic voters, however, displayed a decidedly Catholic instinct for the common good. Introduced as a “faithful Catholic” by Romney, Ryan brought no significant bump in Catholic support for the ticket.

Indeed, Ryan’s radical budget and ideologically driven plan to end Medicare as a guaranteed benefit program did what decades of work by Catholic social justice advocates had never been able to achieve: It activated a gut level Catholic concern for solidarity and the common good. President Obama’s Catholic poll numbers peaked in the weeks following Ryan’s selection.

The Catholic Church can never turn its back on the moral dimension of politics. But it must beware the divisiveness that even the appearance of partisanship can bring into the Church. Teach and preach the fullness of the Church’s doctrines forthrightly and forcefully, but honor the decisions of the laity. The danger is not that the Church might inappropriately interfere with politics, but that partisan politics will infect the Church.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Vincent Miller.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (1,317 Responses)
  1. MaryM

    These Old white men are not men of God. Wake up Catholics. Do not be fooled by this men in robes. How many more child pedophiles are they hiding

    November 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Teren

      There is no god for them to be men of, other than ones that men have made.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  2. AL

    Iam a catholic,vote x Obama ,Bishops follow the real teaching of Jesus ..Ican not vote for a rich that is not concern with the need of others,,This Republican believe that the only people that need to eat are the 1%..
    Just see the owner of those mines in w.virginia ,fire 160 miner because Obama won ,,what kind of animals is this mr murray..STOP THIS NON SENSE" ,,LIKE CARDINAL MARTINO SAID,,THE CATHOLIC CHURCH NEED TO COME TO THE 21 CENTURY!!( CARDINAL MARTINO WAS THE HEAD OF MILAN,DIED LAST YEAR,UNFORTUNALY)

    November 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  3. Jenna Jameson

    Hey, I see some of my best customers in that pic. But I didn't know they liked to wear funny dresses and funny pink hats. They're even more kinky than they are with me.

    November 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Brian

      That's so funny. Luv you Jenna.

      November 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  4. Brian

    You can call yourself Catholic all that you want, but the truth was that there was only one viable choice in this election for true Catholics. Abortion equates to nothing less than murder and mass genocide in this country; taking the lives of our most vulnerable children. It is against the very fabric of our Catholic beliefs, and no other issue at stake in this election takes place over the value of life. To vote for a candidate that openly supports abortion is to be complicit in this murder and genocide, and that position is quite simply indefensible. If you do not respect the value of life and oppose abortion, than you are not truly Catholic or Christian. It is as simple as that. God help our nation.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Teren

      Brian = sore loser. You lost, so na na na.

      Brian, abortion is here to stay and all your attempts to redefine human life have failed. Go suck an egg, loser.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Brian

      Teren has just shown us the moral character of those that support abortion. Thank you for that example.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      @brian: here, use my handkerchief. Careful though, the dried boogers might scratch.

      ***
      "You can call yourself Catholic all that you want, but the truth was that there was only one viable choice in this election for true Catholics."

      Brian, you are the reason religion is dying. Your profess religion is about love and yet you practice the opposite.

      Other Catholics consider themselves "true" and do not appreciate your demonizing them. Your "truth" is only a belief. You understand the difference? One is fact, the other an opinion. You say there was only one viable choice yet that simply is demonstrably false. You saw the election results, right?

      ***
      "Abortion equates to nothing less than murder and mass genocide in this country"

      Again, you speak not from fact but only with intent to incite emotion. Abortion is not murder, or the law would deem it such. And genocide, really? Might want to look that word up.

      And what about all the "natural" abortions god causes every year? Is that not murder? Or is his murder OK with you? Nevermind, I know your answer already. He's god, he can cause all the genocide, murder, famine, disease he wants and you still worship him.

      ***
      "no other issue at stake in this election takes place over the value of life."

      In your opinion, which has been shown to be in the minority. So, who's the "true" catholic and who the "false?"

      ***
      "To vote for a candidate that openly supports abortion is to be complicit in this murder and genocide, and that position is quite simply indefensible."

      Not if you live in a world of fact. See above where everything you assert as "true" is only your opinion.

      ***
      "If you do not respect the value of life and oppose abortion, than you are not truly Catholic or Christian. It is as simple as that. God help our nation."

      Apparently it is you that is not "true" since you lost. There is no god.

      November 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Teren

      Brian, you are reaping what you've sown. Get used to it. Shot at any more doctors lately like others of your nasty ilk have?

      November 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Brian

      It does not take being the majority or having many on my side to know the truth and be right. How many Nazis went along with killing Jews? How many Germans tried to stop them at that time? Did that make them right, or just unopposed. It is sad that our country will not come to the defense of the unborn. It is a tragedy. But the fact that it is not currently a crime does not make it right, and putting all your faith in those in the position of authority or the "majority" is a terrible mistake, and doesn't excuse your own moral judgement. It is actually a sign of weakness, not strength. And for the record, I don't support shooting at any doctors. Do you have any logical, mature arguments or thoughts Teren? Or is your only solution to hurl childish insults?

      November 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Teren

      Get over yourself, Brian and stop trying to claim higher ground that was never yours. Your own posts have been loaded with ad hominems, so take that huge self righteousness stick out of your fat ass, even if you like it there so much.

      Anyway, again, your side has lost and you are a dinosaur. Soon you and your sick Christian cronies will be extinct, only to be remembered, if at all, as a laughable, sorry blip in human history.

      November 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Brian,

      1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      Our being but God's buildings ought make people think twice when it comes to abortions. If a woman wants to abort a building who am I to judge her and anyone else for that matter?

      November 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Clarence Lives

      Look at who Brian has on his side along with his fictional skydaddy. Too funny, what a "team". No wonder the Teabaggers lose elections. Time for the Repubs to toss the whole teabagger agenda.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • tallulah13

      People like Brian love the fetus and hate the human. Where does all that concern go after an unwanted child is born? Why are there over half a million kids in foster care in this country, if people like Brian care so much? One in four children under the age of 6 live in poverty in this country. I wonder what Brian is doing about that, other than trying to add to their numbers?

      I suspect Brian cares as little for the fetuses as he does the children. What people like him seem to care most about is being able to tell others how to live their lives. Sorry, Brian. You just aren't qualified.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Clarence Lives,

      I am not 'siding' with Brian C.L. if that is who you were inciting,,,?

      November 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      tallulah13,

      Many young and tutored adolescent christian 'wannabes' know only how to parrot and bawk like a chicken scratching for food. If they would just think about the following, John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world", they would shut their mouths!

      November 10, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Brian

      I am not judging anyone, but I also will not be quiet. I am speaking the truth as I know it, and last time I checked that is encourage in America. It's easy to claim the moral high ground when the only responses to mine have been that of hatred. According to some of the arguments presented above, you think it is better to kill babies then let them grow up in a challenging world? Those who love life and love God have a responsibility and a duty to stand up and speak out. Abortion is murder, plain and simple. That is the truth I know, and I don't hold any hatred for you if you disagree with me. But I do think you are wrong and I will take a stand for what I know to be true.

      Again, not one of you who have disagreed have bothered to share a calm, rational argument. Instead you spew hatred and childish insults. I am not detered. This only proves to me you can not form a rational argument because you are wrong. So instead, you attack me. This is how evil works. Show me how I am wrong.... Or attack me again, if that's all you can do. I think that is the only truth you have shown in your replies... Anger, resentment and hatred.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, abortion is not "murder," Brian. "Murder" is a legal term for illegal killing. Abortion is not illegal. It is legal and has been so for far longer than it was ever illegal in this country. It was legal when the Const itution was written. It was NEVER prosecuted as "murder" even when it was illegal, you moron.

      You can yap on about abortion all you want, dear. The fact is that it's legal and there's not a thing you can do about it. Not one. If you don't like abortion, Brian, then never have one. Oh, wait. You'll never have to face an unplanned pregnancy, will you, dear? Well, then. Your sole responsibility and say in these matters is this: keep your pants zipped or use a rubber. Otherwise, you don't have any input whatsoever.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And Brian? You're completely mentally incompetent if you think for even a moment that the women of this country are going to let throwbacks like you tell them what to do with their bodies, their lives, or their pregnancies. Those days are long past, Brian, and rightly so. You have NO right to tell a woman what she should or must do with her life, her uterus, or her pregnancy. You never have, and you never will.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      How the mothers you will allow to die in order to "save" the baby? Your argument for murder rings hollow when you neglect to acknowledge this crime... Paul Ryan's Personage bill will officially allow mothers to be killed and doctors and infertile couples who use in-vitro fertilization made criminals just because they want to have children. Catholic hospitals and other "Christian" healthcare providers have allowed mothers to die needlessly. For what? Creating orphans, destroying families, denying the birth of future children, etc.... Jesus never discussed abortion and there are many verses in the Bible that show God's ambivalence to it... Far Right Christianity needs to get a clue and maybe actually read the New Testament once in a while.... Love, not Hate, Love, not Discrimination ......

      November 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  5. Gradschooldude

    Given the evidence which abounds about the Catholic church's historical wrong-doings and their defence of pedophilia, I find it hard to believe that anyone is able to support such an organization. Wouldn't one call into question the moral underpinings of such an organization if it was any other group than the Catholic church?

    November 10, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • mercydivne

      The Church never defended 'pedophilia' ...less than 7% of the scandal was pedophilia and we all know what the majority was. Can't say it because this liberal site is censoring me..Amazing grace cannot be found here either...What lost souls.....

      November 10, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Kathy in St. Louis

      Perhaps Mercydivine can "hint" as to what the REAL cause of the scandal was, just as Bishops like Jenke and others "hinted" about who we, as Catholics, should be voting for. Without naming any names they certainly made it clear that we are all endangering our souls by voting for the a certain tall, black, person of the Democratic persuasion, if we could just get their drift. Hint: His last name rhymed with drama. Perhaps Mercydivine can "hint" about the real reason for the bishops' huge fail for us all.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      @mercy: weren't you just chastising someone else about being a bigot? typical religious hypocrisy. Mercy, YOU are the reason religion is dying – how does it feel to fight so vehemently for a cause that you are diminishing through your own actions?

      November 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • TopView20

      The fact that the church has profound and widespread problems that emminate from the core of the organization and extend to the most vulnerable of it's members is irrefutable. Every American should activity seek to remove religion from the relm of politics. This is not only the American tradition, it is an important safeguard for our freedoms. When the church becomes integrated with the political powers, it becomes impossible to address and remedy important issues such as the abuse of children. Protect our children and all Americans. Separate religion from politics.

      November 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • mercydivne

      Over 80% involved tennage boys and young men....Take a wild guess..
      .And End Religion : We didn't lose...God will be the victor...Thanks for the persecution...I know I'm on the right side now....

      November 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  6. Kathy in St. Louis

    The most interesting thing I got from the statistics on Catholic voting was that the Bishops did, in essence, influence no one. The 48 percent of Catholics who voted for Romney would have voted for him in any case, because they are probably the most conservative of Catholics and vote Republican all the time. The 50 percent of Catholics who voted for Obama did so because the bishops have no influence left with moderate Catholics. At least a few, I would guess voted for Obama just because they bishops aren't going to dictiate how they vote in any case. What a sad bunch of old white men they have turned out to be, hanging onto to their last crumbs of power. They have ruined the Church and have much to answer for.

    November 10, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Chris

      There are no moderate Catholics, only Catholics who accept the doctrines of the faith and those who reject in full or in part those doctrines. So-called moderate Catholics are the latter category.

      The Bishops are responsible for guarding the deposit of the faith which was handed down once and for all to the saints (Jude 3). Laypeople are to be obedient to their bishops who act in persona Christi. Don't like it? Become a Protestant and believe whatever the hell you want.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Huebert

      Chris

      It's no wonder that Catholicism is dying off in the developed world.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Kathy in St. Louis

      Chris, your argument reminds me of the Allstate insurance ad where the young woman says that everything on the internet is true, because you can't put anything on the internet unless it's true. She read that on the internet. You have a group of old white men telling you that everything that they tell you is direct from God because that's what they said.

      I looked and looked in my bible and found no references to Jesus giving the successors of Peter the right and obligation to override my personal conscience. If you wish to take their word for it, you are welcome to do so. I won't. And I am not required to leave the Church because you have judged me to be a non compliant Catholic. You take entirely too much upon yourself when you do such. You have no more of a right to judge my conscience than do the Bishops. On judgement day, I'll elxplain why I cared more for the poor than for the opinions of the Catholic bishops and take my chances with a Jesus who told the right to sell all that they have and give to the poor. You can explain why Ayn Rand's view of the world can combine confortably with a "prolife" agend in your eyes and the eyes of the bishops. Since God loves us all, I am certain that we'll both come out ok.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Perfectly clear

      Thank you, Chris. The number of ex-catholics in the USA may soon surpass the number of catholics that want the clergy to keep them in line and forgive them when they do sin. Lets hope the financial support, cash flow, dwindles faster than the membership. In my city, catholic churches that can't turn a profit are shutting down and the land is being sold off, let us all hope the trend continues.

      November 10, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Colin

      Actually Kathy, Christianity reminds me of that ad. I read it in the Bible so it must be true and the Bible must be true because the Bible says so.

      November 10, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • mama k

      Many Christians are experts at telling other Christians "you are not a good Christian" (or Catholic – fill in the blank as required). They can't help it. It is built into the conflicted religion. Any "good" Catholic or other Christian can take either side of any argument and argue it from their conflicted tenets and their "good" book. (And I should add, often regardless of how their argument weighs against the mostly simple teachings of their key figure). It's quite obvious – they often judge each other more harshly than they do non-Christians. Some of us are pretty sick of the implications of all this iron-age myth.

      And so I think starting today, more than ever, people need to shout in every direction, using whatever form of media possible to expose churches that are lobbying for a particular candidate from the pulpit and still retaining a tax-exempt status. I don't know twitter, but I'm going to learn it today to make sure I'm ready. Go online – read posted sermons, newsletters, etc., and make notes about signs you see; be ready for the next election, and let people know what these people who are abusing their status are doing – who, when, where, and what the biased message was. Enough is enough.

      November 10, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Brian

      I do agree with those here that are saying that you can't just take the Bishops' "word for it" as to what to do or how to act. But if those of you are really using your conscience and christian beliefs as you say you are, what do they tell you on the issue of abortion. You refer to caring for the poor, but at the same time you support a candidate who has no respect for life. If you can really tell me that your heart says it is ok to support this genocide, than this is a very sad reality for you. No, I will not sit here and try to tell you how you will be judged, it is not my job to judge. But I will challenge you to think and pray on how God would respond to you when you argued that you were supporting a candidate who "serves the poor" but kills the unborn. Just food for thought and prayer.

      November 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  7. lane

    Jesus is a democrat again in 2012

    November 10, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • mercydivne

      Jesus sometimes lets evil reign so His people will wake up...He does not support the 'party of death' but He will be the victor...I'm not worried...

      November 10, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • End Religion

      mercy, you seem extremely worried with all your fervent posting that the entire country has made a bad decision that only you seem to see.

      November 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 10, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Huebert

      Which is it predestination or prayer can change things? You can't have both.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • nope

      @huebert
      nope

      November 10, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • truth never changes

      It has been explained to you several times that your statement is flawed. It will be of no value to continue to explain predestination to you as you have shown yourself incapable of grasping the concept. Sorry about you.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Huebert

      It has been demonstrated several times that your explanation is logically inconsistent. I keep asking you to repeat it in an effort to show all other posters your inane logic, also it makes me chuckle. I'm sorry your formal education ceased after high school.

      November 10, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Huebert

      Though if it makes you feel better I could go back to asking you to demonstrate the veracity of your claim. Would you be willing to do that?

      November 10, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      November 10, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian! .

      November 11, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs`!

      November 11, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  9. John

    We're seeing stronger spiritual individuals rejecting the advice from religous leadership and trusting their hearts as it pertains to individual freedom to choose. I have Catholic friends that told me their Priest asked them to vote for Romney during services. My LDS Ward advised me to vote for Mitt Romney. We proudly voted for President Obama. I don't want my Church advising me on who I should vote for.

    November 10, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • End Religion

      What you're seeing is the dissolution of religion.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • LittleHero

      I heard a few small business owners here on these boards, that "claimed" they threatened their employees to vote for Romney, because if Obama won, they would fire everyone and shut down the business. I just wonder how many of these blowhards actually followed through on their threats. Ted Nugent expects to be in jail or dead in the next year – let's hope HE follows through. I might actually watch a reality show that followed Ted into jail.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • End Religion

      The business owners and Nugent... i guess they never went through that "I'll hold my breath until I get what I want" phase when kids. Or maybe they did and their parents caved. They're all just frauds. Hopefully the employees of that business (i read that story too) began quietly looking for other work that day, because win, lose or draw that's a sinking ship they're on.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  10. Nadet Andrews

    This article is so true! I am a devout catholic and I felt the same way.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • mercydivne

      This article is trypical liberal justification for ...'I will not serve',,,my will be done'.... from a catholic-in-name-only who needs to convince himself that a vote for pro-baby killing Obama was a moral choice when in fact it was a vote for evil....

      November 10, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • End Religion

      @mercy: you seem worried about something

      November 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      mercydivne,

      Please do consider John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world"/

      If as Christ is said to have mentioned such then, "Why would Christ ever again want to come back to this world when He in fact has a Kingdom of His own to rule over?"

      November 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  11. tkogrady

    I was struck by the differences of the election night parties – Obama's very diverse, Romney's very white. I look at the picture included with this article and see a bunch white bishops. Guess they haven't gotten the memo that things are changing. (For the record, I'm white and was raised Catholic).

    November 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • mercydivne

      Diverse except for children in the womb, religious freedom and traditional marriage advocates, lest for forget diverse except for 'God'...

      November 10, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • End Religion

      @mercy: there were plenty of religious folks there, just not as nutty as you. All the nuts were over at Romney's place shambling around stupefied that all their prayers went unanswered.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  12. bigdakine

    Tax the Church. Then the Bishops can politicize it all they want.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • TopView20

      Exactly. Tax the churches. Additionally, let us take religion completely out of American politics. Not only is the complete separation of church and state prescribed in American tradition, it is necessary to afford all the freedom to believe and practice as they choose without fear of discrimination or manipulation. Mixing religion and politics has always been a dangerous concept. I support religious freedom via restraining the inclination to insert our religious beliefs where secular rationality is essential. Separation is freedom. God bless Americans!

      November 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  13. Dave Harris

    Catholics don't have any problem with disobeying their high holy men. They do it all the time with contraception. They'll listen to the Great Man threaten them with eternal damnation if they vote for a Democrat, then go and do it anyway. Obviously, the threats didn't get Mitt Romney elected.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Mercydivine

      I got news for all you liberals and bigots: The majority of "Practicing" Catholics voted for Romney! The CAtholic Bishops certainly had an impact....

      November 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      mercydevine,

      so old men can "pull your strings" and get you, and people like you, to vote the way they want......are you sure you want to brag about that?

      November 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • End Religion

      @mercy: news flash - you lost.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  14. The Dr.

    Oh boy! The reality fool is so frustrated about the Church! Kind of like saying all black people are criminals when one breaks the law.You dont have the slightest idea what you are talkin about. Oh yeah punk about 87% believe in God thats including a bunch of your liberal friends. Sorry I stumbled on this minority sight!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      87% may believe in god but how many believe in exactly the same god? Not many. Also history is full of the majority of people believing in false ideas or premises....it does nothing to answer if it is actually true.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Argumentum Ad Populum.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  15. Gerald

    I do not believe there were any lawn signs on church property anywhere in the country. At least not for candidates. Perhaps this sign about religous freedom may have been on some church laws. Therefore they were on the lawns of private citizens so what is the guy talking about? Do private citizens not have the right to put a protect religous freedom lawn sign next to signs for political candidates? This guy is kind of clueless.

    November 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • K

      "Protect Religious Freedom" signs were on the lawns of some Catholic churches in Ohio. Although no candidate's name appeared on the signs, it was very obvious which candidate they were advocating for. Some of the churches did take the signs down after parishioners complained.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Kathy in St. Louis

      Well, they certainly were here. So, for all your lack of belief you are incorrect. In every predominatly Republican area of St. Louis and St. Charles counties in Missouri, those signs were all over the lawn. In private homes they were right next to Romney and Todd "Akin signs. So, it was another Catholic hierarchy fail right out there for the world to see. Both lost, and deservedly so.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  16. AndyM

    By specifically telling people that they had to vote for a certain candidate, the bishops not only threatened their authority, but their status as tax-exempt, non-political organizations. Those dioceses should have their status revoked by the IRS.

    November 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Gerald

      Bishops don't tell people what candidate they have to vote for. They simply don't name names. They do give principles by which the names can easily be determined.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Teren

      Gerald: so basically they lack the balls to say what they think directly, so they just point and whisper and speak in hints. Classic priest work.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Teren

      Gerald: so basically they lack the balls to say what they think directly, so they just point and whisper and speak in hints. Classic priest work.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  17. Real

    Yeah. Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer should have just shut up as well. I mean, it's not like a "pastor" means to shepherd or anything. Get real. You simply don't agree with what they said.

    November 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  18. Richard de Olivas y Cordova

    American bishops reflect the current conservatism expertly imposed by Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) over the last 20 years – since before he was elected Pope. American Catholics may have swallowed the imposition of rubrical changes to the mass, but thankfully remain politically independent from the hierarchy.

    Both VP candidates were Catholic. Both reflect the reality of the Church that continues to be a struggle for the bishops: social conservatism vs. social activism. The bishops have pushed to isolate the social activists as an aberration when those activists refuse to accept the more conservative teachings. Thank God for Vatican II that reminded Catholics that they don't have to do as the Church says; they have a right to dissent; they just can't say it out loud. The election shows how American Catholics did exactly that. Without raising their voices they made their feelings known to the bishops in no uncertain terms.
    In Colorado where I live there were deacons whose sermons for the last two weeks referred to Catholics who would vote for Obama as Walmart Catholics – picking and choosing. There were flyers left on cars in church parking lots claiming that there were 6 reasons why Catholics should not vote for Obama. The parish nor the Archdiocese took responsibility for the flyers. But even with all the meddling of the clerics, Catholics voted as they chose using their God given will and conscience.

    November 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • queenbee

      Ironically, the obvious attempts by so called Spiritual Leaders to attempt to mandate a certain outcome to a secular event–may actually have caused a backlash. It probably caused more than a few that were indifferent or even indecisive to feel a need to vote for their own perception of a lesser evil or greater good and in defiance of the attempts to manipulate their votes by laity who clearly overstepped their earthly authority.

      November 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  19. Citizen

    Sounds like they violated their tax exempt status. Time to start paying taxes! I wonder if there is a way to make it retroactive...

    November 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Better still, let's just legalize the se.x trade and the drug trades and allow for more gambing! Afterall, aren't these issue but mere 'habits'?

      November 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  20. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:–>>>>>

    The Topic headline:-––

    "My Take: Catholic bishops' election behavior threatens their authority."

    My Take: Catholic bishops' promulgation of a severely flawed religion both historically and theologically completely vitiates their authority.

    To wit:

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ==================================================================================

    November 9, 2012 at 11:34 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.