WASHINGTON, June 8, 2004, ( – Senator Dick Durbin last week released a report that attempted to remove the discomfort of US Catholic voters over John Kerry’s pro-abortion, anti-Catholic voting record. In a June 2nd press release Senator Durbin claimed that the four most virulently pro-abortion “Catholic” senators are in fact the most faithful to the teaching of the US bishops on a wide variety of issues of concern to Catholics.

By comparing the voting records of the Catholic Senators, Durbin concluded that Presidential candidate John Kerry – followed by himself and Senator Ted Kennedy – scored the highest on a simple point scale of Catholic voting according to the instructions of the US bishops organization. Durbin’s analysis included abortion but listed it as only one among a group of issues that included gun control, increase of the minimum wage, increase in foreign aid and mercury exposure reduction – and weighted all of them equally.

In his press release Durbin says, “Statements by some in the Church about denying the sacraments to some public officials and those who vote for them, cross the line in terms of what most Catholic Americans find acceptable regarding the relationship between their church and their government.”  Durbin cited a series of documents put out by the USCCB to guide legislators every four years called, Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility. He claims that these present four categories of issues but Durbin made no distinction about the varying importance of the issues: protecting human life; promoting family life; pursuing social justice; and practicing global solidarity.

Durbin’s analysis does not make any attempt to define any of the categories and does not specify how the US bishops think they might be fulfilled in concrete legislation. No particular bishop’s statement is cited, nor are any footnotes given that would guide a reader to examine any of the USCCB documents to which the analysis allegedly refers. A vague reference is included to “Action Alerts” on the USCCB website, but attempts by staff to locate these failed.

Durbin wrote, “Unfortunately, recent media attention has focused on one or two priorities of the Catholic Church, while obscuring others. This has made it more difficult for Catholic voters to understand the full range of issues that have been identified by the USCCB as priorities for public life.”  He concluded, “What we have done today is to use the criteria established by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to give voters an insight into the voting records of Catholic senators.”  Durbin’s analysis was excoriated by Judie Brown, head of the American Life League, who called it “a highly transparent attempt to provide political cover for Catholic members of the US Senate with pro-abortion voting records.”“While it is true that the Church clearly teaches that ‘Christian faith is an integral unity,’” said Mrs. Brown, “it is not true that all political ‘issues’ are equally weighted. Sen. Durbin ignored that fact.”  To read Senator Durbin’s media release and analysis:   American Life League media release:


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