The bishops and the pols
Drawing a line. The bishops probably fear that Kerry will turn out to be a version of Davis on the presidential level. Kerry says the church's pro-life teaching is a sectarian doctrine that must not be imposed, etc., etc. So far, he seems to have avoided any indication that a moral issue of some weight is involved or that reducing the number of abortions might be a good idea. He said at a NARAL Pro-Choice America Dinner, "We need to honestly and confidently and candidly take this issue out to the country, and we need to speak up and be proud of what we stand for." The "we" in this sentence seems to indicate those promoting the missionary activity of the abortion lobby.
The archbishop of St. Louis says he would not give Communion to Kerry, and Kerry's own archbishop in Boston urged the candidate to refrain from going to Communion. The bishops want to draw a line, but making Kerry's well-established abortion stance a major issue in an election year would surely appear partisan. The bottom line is that the bishops are stuck with a Catholic governing class uninterested in the tenets of its own religion. Even the language of Catholic moral discussion has mostly disappeared among Catholic pols. They increasingly speak in the language of the abortion-rights movement. There is nothing much the bishops can do quickly about this. It may sound weak, but the bishops probably should raise their voices a bit and just keep trying to persuade Catholic pols, present and future, to take their religion seriously.