Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"The New Catholic Politics"?

In this morning's Washington Post, EJ Dionne -- who once covered the Vatican as the Rome correspondent for The New York Times -- puts the impact of everything that's transpired over recent weeks in its starkest terms...
In many respects, Catholics simply reflect the country as a whole in moving toward the Democrats because of frustrations with the economy and the Bush years. But the Catholic debate entails a very particular argument over what counts as a commitment to life. To an unexpected degree, this election could hang on the struggle of Catholic voters with their priorities and their consciences.
...and provides in-piece episcopal commentary, to boot:
In an interview yesterday, Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, said his fellow bishops have long insisted that "we're not a one-issue church," a view reflected in their 2007 document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship."

"But that's not always what comes out," says Zavala, who is also bishop-president of the Catholic peace group Pax Christi USA. "What I believe, and what the church teaches, is that one abortion is too many. That's why I believe abortion is so important. But in light of this, there are many other issues we need to bring up, other issues we should consider, other issues that touch the reality of our lives."

Those issues, Bishop Zavala said, include racism, torture, genocide, immigration, war and the impact of the economic downturn "on the most vulnerable among us, the elderly, poor children, single mothers."

"We know that neither of the political parties supports everything the church teaches," he added. "We are not going to create a culture of life if we don't talk about all the life issues, beginning with abortion but including all of them."

Zavala was careful to say that he did not want to take issue with any of his fellow bishops. But his view contrasts with that of others in the hierarchy.