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Texas Bishop: U.S. Catholic Church Shouldn’t Be ‘Captive’ to a Political Party

  The Catholic Church should feel free to criticize the government when necessary and “shouldn’t be captive to one party or another,” Bishop...

 The Catholic Church should feel free to criticize the government when necessary and “shouldn’t be captive to one party or another,” Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, said this week.

“The Church has to have an independent voice to say we agree when we can agree, and when we can’t agree we’re going to say something,” Bishop Flores told Crux, an online Catholic news outlet.

“And that’s the way it works. I mean, the church is free to speak, and we shouldn’t be captive to one party or another,” he added.

Flores is the new head of the doctrine committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which is charged with assisting the bishops “in areas of faith and morals, providing expertise and guidance concerning the theological issues that confront the Church in the United States.”

The Catholic Church has long been affiliated with the Democratic Party in the United States and up until the 1960s Catholics could be reliably counted on to vote Democrat. The two Roman Catholic presidents to date have both run on the Democratic ticket, with John F. Kennedy taking 80 percent of the Catholic vote.

According to studies published in the 1970s by Richard Jensen, Paul Kleppner and others, in the presidential elections of the late 19th century, “Catholics of Irish, German and French background voted for the Democratic candidate at rates of 75 percent and higher.” Catholics, especially the Irish, also formed the voting base of the Democratic political machines in big cities such as Boston, New York, and Chicago.

Sometime after the presidency of John F. Kennedy, the old Catholic Democratic voter bloc began breaking up, a process that was consolidated after the Supreme Court’s imposition of legal abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

As the Democratic Party has become more and more aligned with Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby, the percentage of practicing Catholics voting Democrat has plummeted and the old Catholic-Democrat alliance has all but disappeared.

The Pew Research Center revealed in 2019 that “64% of Catholic Democrats and Democratic leaners say abortion should be legal in all or most cases” and on balance, “Catholic Democrats are more likely to favor legal abortion than to oppose it.”

This is an example, Pew found, of Catholic partisans expressing “opinions that are much more in line with the positions of their political parties than with the teachings of their church.”

A 2020 poll conducted by RealClear Opinion Research in partnership with EWTN News found a strong correlation between voting habits and religious practice among Catholics.

Among all Catholics, sixty-eight percent said that Supreme Court appointments were a concern in the 2020 election, while 59 percent said the same about abortion – but “among weekly Mass attendees, concern about abortion jumps to 70%.”

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