US Bishops: Church May Target “Disobedient” Catholic Politicians

Prompted by pressure from the Vatican, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is considering imposing sanctions against Catholic politicians who fail to adhere to Catholic teachings. On the opening day of the Conference’s four-day meeting in Washington, Bishop John Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida told fellow attendees, “Some Catholic politicians defy church teaching in their advocacy and legislative votes-first and most fundamentally on the defense of unborn life, but also on the use of the death penalty, questions of war and peace, the role of marriage and family…, ” the Boston Globe reported. Ricard called on new guidelines containing disciplinary measures, including banning awry politicians from speaking at Catholic events and excommunication. Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitch of Nebraska agreed in reprimanding wayward elected officials. “It’s a constant source of scandal that the most prominent proabortion people are Catholics… who seem to go unreproved,” he said, according to the Globe.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church continues to struggle amidst the ongoing priest sex abuse scandal. The bishops yesterday approved $265,000 to add additional employees to the Office for Child and Youth Protection, operated under Kathleen McChesney. The Office has already spent $700,000 of $3 million allotted for the next two years, according to the Washington Times. Earlier this month, Illinois appellate judge Anne Burke, interim chair of the lay Catholics panel the National Review Board, said over three-quarters of US dioceses and other church units have responded to the Board’s survey on sexual abuse. The final report evaluating bishops’ compliance to the sex abuse policies will be released in February, according to the Associated Press.

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Boston Globe 11/11/03; Washington Times 11/10/03; Newsday 11/11/03; USA Today 11/10/03; AP 11/8/03;

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