Magazine article The Christian Century

Catholic Democrats Seek Room to Differ with Church Stances

Magazine article The Christian Century

Catholic Democrats Seek Room to Differ with Church Stances

Article excerpt

Reviving a religious issue from the last presidential election, a coalition of 55 Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives acknowledged the "moral leadership" of the Catholic Church but said they will remain "in disagreement with the church" on some issues, including abortion rights.

The "statement of principles" recalls the 2004 elections in which some Catholic politicians--especially Democratic senator John Kerry--were at odds with church leaders in their support of abortion rights.

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.), who spearheaded formulation of the statement, said Catholic Democrats do not want to see Catholic faith defined solely by a "one-issue, very narrow right-wing agenda.

"This is about the whole notion that the Catholic purpose is not defined by one issue," DeLauro said in an interview. "Instead of other people defining us, we needed to try to define ourselves."

The statement is less confrontational than one issued in May 2004, in which 48 Catholic Democrats said threats by some bishops to deny communion to dissenting politicians were "deeply hurtful" and "counterproductive."

The lawmakers said they want to work with church leaders on issues of poverty, health care and education under the "Catholic tradition . …

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