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Catholic Bishops Called on to Repudiate Republican Claim that GOP Positions are “Closest” to Catholic Church’s

April 13, 2000

CFFC Says Claim is Inappropriate and Inaccurate

Washington, DCFrances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC), today called upon Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference, to repudiate a claim made by the Republican National Committee’s Catholic Task Force that the Republican Party’s positions are most reflective of the teachings of the Catholic church.

In its mission statement, the Republican Party’s Catholic Task Force says: “We have studied the political record of all major political parties and we believe that the Republican Party is closest to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

“The task force is dangerously close to claiming that God is a Republican.  At a time when the two major political parties are not only vying for the Catholic vote, but also to see who can more effectively paint their opponents as anti-Catholic, the Catholic bishops need to stand for nonpartisanship and for a focus on all issues of concern to U.S. Catholics,” Kissling said.  “From the controversy over candidates at Bob Jones University, to the continued politicking over the selection of a Catholic chaplain in the House of Representatives, politicians need to stop trying to score points off of Catholicism and the Catholic church and focus on the issues as well,” she added.

“We call upon the bishops of the United States to correct the view held by the RNC’s Catholic Task Force that the Republican Party’s positions are closest to the teachings of the Catholic church,” wrote Kissling in a letter to Fiorenza, adding that the U.S. bishops themselves noted in “Faithful Citizenship,” their statement on political responsibility, that “no party fully reflects our values.”  Kissling continued, “For Catholics in any party to make this claim is clearly inappropriate.

The letter noted that the Republican Party and the U.S. bishops disagree on the issues of the death penalty, undocumented and legal immigrants, welfare and health care reform.  Kissling noted that while “Catholics, as individuals, have the right and obligation to participate in the electoral process,” and “Catholics have a right to serve as advocates and advisors to the party of their choice,” the Republican Catholic Task Force’s statement is “inaccurate and inappropriate.”

The Republican National Committee’s Catholic Task Force was formed in 1996 and restarted last year in anticipation of the 2000 election cycle. The task force currently numbers 93, including 27 Members of Congress. The chair of the task force is the Hon. Thomas Melady, Ph.D., former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and president emeritus of Sacred Heart University.   


–Statement Ends–  

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