End the duopoly

Does Catholic political involvement contribute to sectarianism?

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The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington in this file photo. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn) Last week, my colleague Christopher White published two articles that provided readers with basic information about Catholic groups working for and against the reelection of President Donald Trump. That reporting raises the issue of how deeply and indelibly the divisiveness of our political life has infected our ecclesial life.

I raised this issue back in March, when Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee affirmed that the group meeting in his city, “Catholics for Trump,” had no affiliation with the Catholic Church, I posed the question: Should the church actively discourage such partisan groups? And my short answer was yes.

The column went on to explain some of the complexities in the long answer, including a quote from former Duquesne Law School Dean Nicholas Cafardi, one of the co-chairs of Catholics for Obama, that we should “explain — even publicly — how our Catholic values have informed our vote.”

He has a point, of course but as I noted at the time, I remain ambivalent. Whatever these groups achieve by way of articulating the application of values drawn from Catholic teaching to the political life of the nation, they also tend […]

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