My Take: The myth and reality of the Catholic vote
The author argues there is not one Catholic vote, but three discrete Catholic votes.
February 20th, 2012
11:39 AM ET

My Take: The myth and reality of the Catholic vote

Editor's Note: Stephen S. Schneck is director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America.

By Stephen S. Schneck, Special to CNN

For years, pollsters and political scientists have been stumped about Catholics.

On one hand, it’s been pretty clear that as American Catholics go, so goes the nation. George W. Bush narrowly won the Catholic vote in 2004 and won a second term. Barack Obama narrowly won the Catholic vote in 2008 and, with it, the White House.

It’s easy to see why Catholics are sometimes seen as the swing voters whose shifting political preferences swing elections.

Nevertheless, the idea of a Catholic bloc is patently ridiculous. As voters, American Catholics mirror the electorate as a whole, divided into Democrats, independents, and Republicans at about the same percentages as all Americans. And it’s hard to trace such political complexity to religious allegiance.

One explanation for why is the sheer number of Catholic voters and their now multigenerational assimilation into American society. About 35 million Catholics voted in 2008. That’s about 27% of all voters.

In the 19th century and for much of the 20th, Catholics self-consciously occupied a distinctive identity in America. Predominantly blue collar, they often lived in white ethnic neighborhoods, attended their own schools and colleges, established their own hospitals and charities, and experienced some level of discrimination.

In those years, Catholics associated overwhelmingly with the Democratic Party, which not only accommodated but promoted policies that advanced ethnic assimilation – everything from minimum wage laws to the GI Bill.

But by finally achieving that assimilation, Catholics in the last 50 years have lost much of their sense of special self-identity. For white Catholics, who are about 60% of the Catholic vote, their distinctiveness in class, education, income, and even ethnicity has grown increasingly ambiguous in America’s famous melting pot.

The melting pot has even transformed Catholics’ relationship to their church. Polling numbers released Friday by CNN about the White House contraception dust-up illustrate this: Only 11% of Catholics polled said they should always obey official church teachings on moral issues like birth control and abortion.

To put this differently, 88% of Catholics in the poll said that it’s OK for Catholics to make up their own minds about these moral issues. That represents a growing trend. In 1992 only 70% supported the “make up their own minds” argument. In 1999 it was 80%.

Today’s Catholics are picky and even suspicious about political signals from the institutional church.

Politically conservative Catholics bristle at do-gooder messaging from their bishops about climate change, immigration reform and Catholicism’s important “preferential option” for the poor. Politically liberal Catholics, meanwhile, are not much swayed by the righteous tone of church pronouncements about same-sex marriage and contraception.

And yet despite the pattern and consequences of assimilation, something Catholic is going on in politics. It’s evident when you drill down into the polling numbers. While there is not an obvious Catholic vote on the macro scale, there are three discrete "Catholic votes” that really matter in American elections.

The first of these is Latino Catholics.  Over the last three decades, Latino immigration has washed over the church in America like a flood.  From insignificant numbers 40 years ago, Latinos now constitute one-third of all American Catholics.

In the not-too-distant future, the majority of American Catholics will probably be Latinos.

Unlike the Italians, Poles, Irish and similar white ethnics, Latino Catholics have retained their distinctive identity as Catholics. Their voting behavior reflects that.

This is particularly true when considered from the perspective of the famous social teachings of the church, which emphasize social and familial solidarity, the common good, preference for the poor, tradition, and welcoming of the immigrant.

Latino American Catholics (excluding Cubans) strongly associated with the Democratic Party in 2008, with 67% of Latino Catholic voters supporting Obama. But the bloc includes swing voters, and turnout can be volatile. This vote can be critical in swing states like Colorado, Florida and New Mexico, and perhaps soon in states like Arizona and Texas.

A little deeper in the weeds are two other important groups of white Catholic voters, who might be called “intentional Catholics” and “cultural Catholics.”

An important social phenomenon for understanding intentional Catholics is what’s sometimes referred to as distillation. A study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life last year found that one-third of those raised Catholic have left the church. Fully 10% of the American electorate is formerly Catholic.

Because of assimilation, the glue of tradition and culture that previously inclined many to adhere to the church has lost its stickiness. Leaving is easy, whether by decision or atrophy, and little shame results.

Such disaffiliation happens for liberal reasons, conservative reasons, personal reasons and no reason at all. Some who leave still feel lingering allegiance to things Catholic, but many do not, and former Catholics do not have a distinctive political identity.

But as a result of disaffiliation, many Catholics who remain with the church are “distilled.”  More and more of those who remain are those who actively choose to embrace the church and its teachings. These “intentional Catholics” are the second of the three important groups of Catholic voters.

Largely white, with impressive education levels, mostly suburban and with moderate to high income levels, such Catholics are in evidence in weekly Mass attendance and parish activities. Politically active, intentional Catholic voters lean toward the Republican Party (with some youthful swing voters) and are motivated by economic issues and increasingly by opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and illegal immigration.

“Cultural Catholics” make up the third important group of Catholic voters. They are a complicated mix of mostly white Americans with lower levels of Mass attendance and higher levels of ambivalence toward Church authority.

These assimilated voters have varying education and income levels, often hail from urban and suburban communities, are more female than male - often with blue-collar roots - and are not intentionally but culturally oriented toward the church.

Because of the relative size of the Catholic population in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, swing voters in this group can be pivotal in presidential elections.

Many culturally Catholic voters are at odds with both conservatives and liberals on many issues. They are more socially conservative than the majority of Americans, but many are put off by the more intense social conservatism of intentional Catholics and evangelicals.

They are more economically populist than most Americans but are uncomfortable with the libertarian zeal of the tea party.  They are alienated from the lifestyle liberalism of many progressives but remain supportive of unions and governmental programs for the middle class.

The bishops may have little role in these voters’ personal faith, but cultural Catholics look to the church for the sacraments that mark the turnings of their lives and for the traditions that connect generations. Their religious sensibility might almost be described as ethnic.

Neither Obama nor any of the Republican candidates has clinched the deal for the voters in this group. Whoever does will probably win in November.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen S. Schneck.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Politics

soundoff (1,205 Responses)
  1. Hasa Diga Eebowai

    Most Catholics I know have long become apathetic to their religion. They go to mass a few times a year and weddings/christenings. They are at the place that evangelical protestants will be after a hundred years more or so of illogical extremism.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Hunchback

      Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Catholic and I go every week to Mass and on Holy Days.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • IceT

      Of course you do Hunchback, you live in the bell tower.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • ThatOneDude

      Hi, Hunchback, I'm ThatOneDude. I used to be Catholic and I used to attend daily Mass. Then, I began to think rationally, and realized that it was all a load of crap.

      February 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  2. Mars

    You don't need to believe in old men in robes to practice our faith. That's the beauty of Catholicism. Those who say that by not following the Church then you're not a Catholic are no different from the old Jews during the time of Christ. Jesus emphasized only two rules: Love god above all and love your neighbors the way you love yourself. Anything more than that is just interpretation. Priests, from the pope to the parish priests, are only supposed to act as guides, not some authoritarian who imposes laws. Power corrupts unfortunately, even holy men and we understand that.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Hunchback

      Wrong! Christ said if you love me you will keep my commands. And he lives through his Church. There is absolutely no cross in picking and choosing how you want to be CAtholic. The word Catholic means universal. You divide by being your own God. Find beauty and the Eucharist and return to Mass. Christ wants you there.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • ThatOneDude

      Christ doesn't want you at Mass. If he was ever more than a collage of Jewish preachers, he is dead now, and wants nothing. Grow up, and put away your childish view of the universe.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Mars

      I don't remember reading anywhere that Jesus said to always go to Mass and follow everything priests says. In fact isn't his main opponents the priests during his time?

      February 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Mars

      The God of the Jews and the Catholics are the same. The same core principles. The first thing Jesus showed when He revealed Himself is how unimportant the laws and rules declared by the priests, who are only supposed to serve as guides, compared to living the basic principles God has given us. That's why Jesus broke down the 10 commandments into just two: Love God above all else and the "golden rule". The reason primarily is because we get so lost in interpretation and we get fooled in to following rules and laws that has nothing to do with what God wants from us. That's why it is really funny that the so called "pure" Catholics are no different from the Pharisees during the time of Christ.

      February 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Buzzer

      Hunchback: And who is his "Church" or the "Body of Christ"? The leaders of the church or ALL people that believe in Christ? There are to alot of "religious traditions" and "rules" out there that have ZERO basis in scripture.

      February 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  3. JG

    If I were President Obama, I would be ROFL at the thought of facing Rick Santorum in a general election. In a time when there is so much rhetoric being thrown out by the far right on how bad of a job Obama is doing, how come the GOP can't come up with anyone worth a darn to face him? If he's so beatable, how come Repubs aren't lining up to take his place....?

    February 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • RasPutin

      Because the only people who seem to appeal to Republicans are greedy psychopaths.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  4. Joe Giardina

    Most Church going Catholics ( Those that actually obey the COMMANDMENT to keep Holy the Sabbath) know and agree with Church teaching. Those non-practicing "Catholics" are more than capable of destroying the culture as anyone else. Enjoy what you are creating. Faithful Catholics are also unlikely to believe in the MYTH that CNN and TIME are news organizations.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • JG

      We're not enjoying it, Joe. We're relishing it. Organized religion does nothing but divide people. Some of those "church teachings" are so ridiculous that they have no place in the modern world. Work on a time machine to the stone ages if you want that crap to be relevant anymore. It's on it's way out. I for one, couldn't be happier.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • pervert bishops

      mostly due to the brainwashing of small children.. The rituals in the catholic church.. They drink wine pretending it's human blood, they eat wafers pretending it's human flesh and they kiss the bones of dead people. <– all fact

      I was brought up catholic and was sodomized by priests, one a bishop today, and it still took me a long time to accept the truth. The truth? The catholic church is a scam who could care less for the lives they have destroyed throughout history.

      We should do what we did when the Moonies where popular, we had to reverse the brainwashing. I do understand the difficulty for the remaining catholics to finally free themselves from the binds of this religion, brainwashing with sin, heaven, hell and punishment is 'Child Abuse'. Then again we know this religion is not new to abusing children.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Buzzer

      Bishops: And your experiences with others who are fallable has driven you away from Christ?

      February 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Mars

      The 10 commandments are from Moses, and if it is the most important thing for you then you should consider Judaism. That's the most important thing to them, they just consider Jesus as a prophet. The bedrock of Catholicism as a whole is Jesus Christ and his teachings and he was the one who showed the fake and insincere importance a lot of Jews and many Christians and Catholics nowadays put on the Sabbath day. Many Church goers are the fakest Catholics I've ever met. They go to church without fail every Sunday and yet their actions are so ugly I simply have to believe they must be sleeping in church or something. It is more important to live using the teachings of Jesus Christ rather than have perfect attendance in church. Trust me, they don't check attendance in heaven.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Buzzer

      Mars- Christ call us to do more that just "believe"...he says "follow me" and be a leader...you're right ALOT of people just "go through the motions" when attending church...it doesn't mean that being rooted in a Church family isn't important...Christ's disciples didn't go around being persecuted and dying in attempt to get people to come together a body of believers for no reason...God won't bar you from heaven for not getting involved in "Church", but he will be disappointed in the level of "maturity" he expects from you being obedient and doing everything you can to be the "body of Christ"...if you don't like what you see in the "Church", be a leader and CHANGE IT.

      February 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  5. Chris

    What I find funny (or sad actually) is how much people hate each other. Most catholics are so because they were born to catholic parents. If their parents had been muslim, they too would be muslim and would hate catholics. Same with athesist and most religions. That is not a reason to feel superior or be hateful.
    Most people also vote for the party their parents always voted for.
    There are exceptions of course, but people seem to just follow their parents without pause for thought.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Vivitar

      Good point. As an atheist, I don't hate people of faith, but I will actively oppose their attempt to define themselves as superior. And their attempts to dictate through legislation their righteous world view. ...but hate, no.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  6. geezer-rld

    Your biggest error, sir, is that you did not use a "small c" for the Catholics you talk about. If you don't play by the rules you are destined to sit on the bench because you are not part of the real team.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  7. Levi

    that girl in the middle looks like a ghost

    February 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • midogs2

      I think she's cute. Perhaps she doesn't worship the sun like some diva's do. Just because she's pale doesn't make her "look like a ghost'.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Thomas

      Yeah, and a holy one at that.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  8. ari

    i've lived in massachusetts for my entire life and virtually everyone i know is either irish catholic or italian catholic. and none of them would ever even consider voting for a republican in the first place. none of them even cared when the state legalized gay marriage and there have been no real protests to overturn that. most catholics are liberal. the church does not speak for them anymore.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • lisa

      I'm Catholic and live in Atlanta. Every single Catholic I know is voting Republican. Must be demographics.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Buzzer

      When you say you're "Catholic", was does it mean to you?

      February 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  9. Nathan

    I can see from most of these comments that Pres. Bush was far too late with the No Child Left Behind......

    February 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  10. tankette

    HEY! CNN! Where are your SCREAMING headlines about HIGH gas prices? Hiding behind religion...are we?

    February 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • spiffy53

      actually, it's been covered all day. thanks for playing....

      February 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  11. Get It Right Next Time

    By writing "Unlike the Italians, Poles, Irish and similar white ethnics, .... " the writer of this story is very incorrect at best. Are they inferring that Latinos are not of the white race? If so, they are unequivocally wrong as they most certainly are and that needs to be brought out for parity! For proof, you need go no further than your local government for confirmation on that. And what are Italians if not Latins? Please get your facts straight as there is no Latino or Hispanic race! It Is Strictly An Ethnicity! Their race is white. Get it right please next time and don't try to marginalize Latinos with your incorrect rhetoric.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • ari

      latinos can be white, black, or brown. you're right that it isn't a race, but it is an ethnic group that has formed over the centuries.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  12. chet

    I'm praying that the next Catholic who gets into the White House doesn't have an affair with an intern.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  13. GetReal

    This Catholic is voting for Obama. Santorum is a nut case and makes our church look bad....er...worse.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • William

      you can't be catholic and support a pro-abortion candidate ... it just doesn't work

      February 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Stopabortion

      You are voting against your Church' teaching, what a catholic.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Randy Garner

      Don't listen to these idiots, vote the way you want. They have no say and should be shunned for trying to pigeonhole you.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  14. Ted

    We have two catholics, a mormon, and a protestant running. It seems the mormons vote 90% for the mormon, but the others tend to vote for whomever is in the news.

    An equally valid question would be about protestant vote.

    I suspect one of the catholics running is sincere and the other is not. I'll let you figure out which is which. The protestant I'm certain is sincere because of his long consistent history like the Christian founders of our country.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  15. Face

    "Only 11% of Catholics polled said they should always obey official church teachings on moral issues like birth control and abortion." If only 1 out of 10 of your faith say you should obey the church.... it is no longer really a religion.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Buzzer

      Because the "church" is not about a few self proclaimed "leaders" in Rome...its all about Christ all the time...the "church" is the "body of Christ" and ALL people that gather together to encourage and sharpen one another and continue the work Christ has called people who believe in Him to do...not to lay down non biblical and pointless religious traditions (that was a failure with the religious leaders during Christ's ministry), not to dictate to people what scripture says and means and not to "insert" themselves between a believer and Christ because the think the know what is "best for that person"...Christ vehemently opposed the very same things certain "leaders" today are doing.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • ThatOneDude

      If only it would disappear, eh? Along with all of its spawn.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  16. lol

    Catholicism is a myth, why wouldn't their votes be?

    February 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Stopabortion

      more than one billion people is a myth, I don't think so.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • ThatOneDude

      No, the tenets of Catholicism are a myth. This is the same for all of the rest of the Judeo-Christian family tree. All a myth. But the billion people, as referenced by another reply? They are just a billion people buying into a foolish mythology, intent on pressing the rest of the human race into the service of their imaginary god. It would be nice if they, along with their brethren in all the rest of the sordid mess we collectively call religion, took of their blinders and joined us in civilization. Not likely, but it would be nice.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Randy Garner

      There are more than a billion Chinese Communists as well, does that mean they are right also?

      February 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  17. Peter E

    Translation: the media is fuming over the fact that they cannot just label certain voters in purely either/or terms, that there are voters with actually independent minds out there.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  18. martog

    1. You believe that the pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when speaking on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. egocentricity, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.
    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and disdaining the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.
    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.
    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does if make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their life-after-death lands with magic-sacred powers of some kind.
    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your Bible.
    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.
    7. You disdain gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Moses, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of the Egyptians to save his own skin.
    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Bronze Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.
    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” to the extent you see a difference).
    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.
    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • ari

      hey, look, you can copy and paste! what an intelligent individual you are!!!!

      February 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Buzzer

      And for a person that obviously doesn't believe and therefore for a topic that should be pointless and ZERO meaning, you sure put alot of effort into an attempt to lay down your own point of veiw...very odd. Have you put this much effort into refuting Muslims, Hindus, Pagans etc...? Or maybe ari is right.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • William

      not a catholic, but when all is said and done, i know where i am going. as for you, you better find out, because i'd sure hate to be you if you are wrong.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  19. maxine

    i was raised Catholic but never go to church.
    I am pro choice, pro gun, anti gay marriage, pro stem cell research, anti turkey baster babies, even for married couples.
    All over the map!!!!

    February 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Lindsi

      wow , against gays ? its 2012 , get over yourself , poeple have the right to be who they wanna be .

      February 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Stopabortion

      Then you are not a true catholic, and should stop using that name...

      February 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • What Mentality

      Maxine, so you want to continue to marginalize a group of people for who and what they are? Just amazing in this the Twenty-First Century! What a shame your mentality is so Sixteenth Century at best, sister! Put away your Inquisition banner already!

      February 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Mary

      That's funny cause I too was raised Catholic, and I am pro-life, anti-gun, and pro gay marriage. I guess we prove his point. No putting us in a box.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Buzzer

      Are you a Christian? Just make sure that "you and Christ" are "right" with each other and blow off all the things Christ has asked called us to do (ie: be part of a Church "body" to continue his work)? You may very well bring others to Christ by yourself, but you have a much wider impact speaking with one unified voice with other like-minded individuals.

      February 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  20. ChrkeePrde

    The problem is that "Catholic" in this article is more of a birth term. However, practicing Catholics are the ones opposed to HHS and not the others who call themselves catholic but are indifferent towards the Church. As a result, the HHS policy threatens the religious freedom of practicing Catholics only... still a grave matter since it violates the foundations this country is based on.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • RasPutin

      What the heck is HHS?

      February 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • It Stands For

      RasPutin, "HHS" stands for Health and Human Services.

      February 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
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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.