Should Democrats Avoid Running Catholic Presidential Candidates?

An archbishop says "serious Catholics" are harder on Catholic candidates who support abortion rights.


By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Why did twice as many traditionalist Catholics vote for Barack Obama as supported John Kerry in 2004? I put the question yesterday to Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, perhaps the most outspoken politically conservative bishop in the United States. Chaput gave a fascinating response:

Serious Catholics have different expectation of Catholic politicians than of non-Catholic politicians. Serious Catholics can put up with a non-Catholic running on a pro-choice platform [more than they could a Catholic candidate]. But people voted for him [Obama] more about the economy.

According to that theory, Democrats would do well to avoid running Catholic candidates for president if they hope to win traditionalist Catholics. How counterintuitive.

Chaput appeared before a group of Washington journalists at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which will post a full transcript of yesterday's discussion on its website soon.