Souls at stake in elections, say Roman Catholic bishops

Roman Catholic bishops have been providing guidance to their flock on political issues for ages, and for the past thirty-odd years they’ve even explicitly sounded off about various matters at stake in the voting booth. But this year, the bishops have taken it further by addressing how what voters tick on their ballot ties in with their salvation, according to an article in today’s Chicago Tribune. But what those issues are may surprise you:

… The guidelines issued Wednesday for the first time spelled out possible consequences as well as giving much more nuanced instruction to the Catholic electorate than in years past.

Voters are implored not to support abortion-rights political candidates but also advised that views on abortion should not be the sole factor. Catholics should also weigh church teaching on such moral issues as immigration, just war and poverty, bishops said.

“It was groundbreaking not in the sense that it changed any doctrine or added any doctrine,” said Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. “What we did provide for the first time in this document is some concrete guidance in how a voter goes about making prudential judgments.”

The article notes that this may be a sign that the church is emerging from its sexual abuse crisis, moving beyond the abortion argument and emerging to lead on issues such as peace and immigration. You can read the whole thing here.

Morning Edition on NPR also did a short piece on it here.

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