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The guidelines for Catholic voters

Brooklyn's Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has continued his campaign of support for the Brooklyn Democratic boss, despite the politician's record in favor of abortion rights.As I wrote last year, it is a curious thing, since Bishop DiMarzio, chairman of the bishops' committee that had drafted "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," had in the past stressed how important an issue he considered abortion to be for Catholic voters. In the heat of the 2008 presidential campaign, the bishop, having failed to secure a correction to an article on Joseph Biden, had a letter in The New York Times that said the newspaper had erred in stating that the "Faithful Citizenship" guidelines explicitly allow Catholics to vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights if they do so for other reasons.Contrast that with the article appearing this weekend in DiMarzio's diocesan newspaper. It praises the help that Brooklyn Democratic leader and Assemblyman Vito Lopez provided for local Catholic parishes, citing examples that "point to the effectiveness of Vito Lopez, the political leader" and "point to Vito Lopez, the person, the social worker always ready to do good for the community and lend support when needed."Lopez is facing a primary next Tuesday for his Democratic district leader post, so it is very valuable to have the local diocesan paper picture him on the front page this weekend above the caption, "Lopez Assists Catholic Concerns." It is tantamount to an endorsement. It is not mentioned that NARAL, which is angling for a bill that would advance abortion rights in New York State, has endorsed Lopez in his Assembly campaign.The article is not bylined, a clear indication that it comes from the bishop's office and not from the paper's staff.Msgr. Kieran Harrington, diocesan spokesman and associate publisher of the newspaper, defended the article. He said he was aware of the primary challenge Lopez is facing, but that there was no intent to help him in the election."The fact of the matter is that in the last two years, Vito has been moving in a direction which is very helpful to the church on education, on certain housing, certainly various other legislation," he said. "The way you get politicians to move in your direction is by saying the good things theyve done."If that is truly the case, then why did the bishop denounce the University of Notre Dame for honoring President Obama despite his record on abortion?It's just politics. Lopez helped Bishop DiMarzio defeat a bill that would have changed the statute of limitations on lawsuits over sexual abuse, and this is payback at election time. Are those the real guidelines for Catholic voters?

About the Author

Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).



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This why Christianity does not impress outsiders who consider Christians to be hypocritical. But give DeMarzio a double boguey or exteme hypocrisy. Woe is he!

There is no shame left within the hierarchy...Will we see another New york bishop (or Archbishop?) challenge this? Gentleman's (sic) agreements... the point is not the merits of Lopez vis avis his opponents, but the blatant endorsement at this critical time while disparaging others who don't wash the the other hand..

Yep, it is just politics! And .... so? Who are Lopez's opponents in the primary. They don't seem to report this in the NYT!--regrettably. Like so much of NY and U.S politics is Lopez the best of a bad lot???

Peggy Steinfels asks, Who are Lopezs opponents in the primary?.... Is Lopez the best of a bad lot?According to Tom Robbins article in this weeks Village Voice,

Party bosses are supposed to be a vanishing breed, but Lopez, who has headed Brooklyn's Democrats since Clarence Norman's conviction in 2005, does a pretty good imitation. Since he took over, he has used the party's biggest remaining cloutthe ability to name judgesto put friends and cronies on the bench, regardless of ability or experience. His girlfriend's brother now sits on State Supreme Court, as does a disgraced former Councilman named Noach Dear who never practiced law. Last year, he put one of his oldest friends on the Civil Court, even though she was found unqualified by two bar associations. Esteban Duran is running with the support of the New Kings Democrats for Lopez's own district leader post. His first lessons came in Transfiguration Parish on Marcy Avenue from the great late pastor Reverend Bryan Karvelis. "Father Karvelis would tell us we had to get away from the 'me, me, me,' " said Duran last week as he sat in a coffee shop on Myrtle Avenue, the M train roaring past. "He said it's all about 'we,' not 'me.' "Lopez's response to Duran's candidacy was standard-issue Brooklyn politics: Claiming fraud, he tried to get him kicked off the ballot. After Board of Elections examiners found Duran's petitions legitimate, Lopez filed suit in Supreme Court.Lopez's attorney called more than two dozen witnesses. The closest thing to fraud heard on the witness stand, however, was from a woman who admitted that two of Lopez's aides had told her to change her story about whose petition she thought she was signing.. Demarest later dismissed Lopez's suit. Lopez appealed. The decision was upheld.Asked last week why he'd called the Housing Authority's governmental liaison about his election problems, Lopez insisted that the call never happened. After he was read the testimony, he exploded: "I talk to him probably every three days about different public housing matters. That's the end of this interview."It wasn't, though. An hour later, the assemblyman, who has been in poor health lately, called back, not to answer questions, but to rage against the unfairness of anyone who would write about his leadership race. "I hope you can sleep nights," he said.

"Tom Robbins & the Voice ..."Irene Baldwin is right; Tom Robbins, someone I am sure to read, has been on this for a long time. As he points out, one of the key issues involving Lopez is how the Brooklyn Democratic Party has controlled the court system.

Because he chairs the State Assembly's Housing Committee, Lopez has incredible influence with the City's major housing agencies. His girlfriend's organization has been given many housing projects and contracts,and Lopez has also used his influence to take City-funded projects away from community groups who he thinks crossed him. This influence goes beyond government agencies, too. Local community development funders and lenders are equally sensitive to keeping Vito happy. Tom Robbins & the Voice has been writing about this for years.

So no Catholic in good conscience (and no non-Catholic either, whose moral compass is in working order) can vote for, contribute to the campaign of, a pro-abortion politician like Vito Lopez? or Nancy Pelosi? Is doing so an objectively immoral act? Or is it permissible to do so in a primary, but not against a pro-life candidate on another ticket in the general?

So Esteban Duran is the best of the lot in the primary?

Lopez has tremendous power influence. Which has always been revered by the Hierarchy.

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