Early in October, I appeared at St. Theresa’s Parish in Briarcliff Manor, a leafy New York suburb, along with Commonweal contributor (and former columnist) David Carlin, to discuss the question of whether a Catholic can vote for a prochoice candidate.

Dave wrote a piece for us in May (“Two Cheers for John McCain”) arguing that a Catholic must not vote for Barack Obama because Obama and the Democratic Party support legalized abortion. Former Newsweek religion editor Ken Woodward, who organizes the lecture series at St. Theresa’s, read Dave’s article and asked me if I could offer a rebuttal.

Our “discussion” was held in the church, which was packed. I spoke first for about twenty minutes from prepared remarks. Dave, who is a former Rhode Island Democratic state senator, spoke off the cuff. My sense was that most of the audience was predisposed to agree with me. There was some confusion, however, because the event had been advertised as a “debate” between an Obama and a McCain supporter. As I hope I made clear to the audience, I was not at St. Theresa’s that night as a supporter of Sen. Obama. As a nonprofit organization, Commonweal cannot endorse political candidates or political parties. As the editor of Commonweal, I have not endorsed any candidate for any office. I was...

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About the Author

Paul Baumann is the editor of Commonweal.