Huh? Bishop who drafted USCCB voting guide records robo-call in support of pro-abortion, anti-marriage politician
Diocese of Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio chaired the US Bishops committee which drafted the Catholic voting guide "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship." I have criticisms of that document, but the important point here is Bishop DiMarzio should know a great deal about Catholic involvement in US politics.
He's done many things right. Earlier this year, he joined the long list of bishops criticizing Notre Dame for inviting President Obama.
Before that, during the Presidential election cycle, he wrote an editorial in the New York Times explaining more accurately the standards Catholics ought to have when deliberating their vote.
Before that, in 2006, he wrapped the knuckles of 55 pro-choice Catholic Democrats when they asked for "room to disagree" with Church teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion.
... and now this story surfaces from Catholic Culture's news briefs:
Why isn't this story getting much play in the press? Well, for one thing, I would bet, because Bishop DiMarzio is supporting a liberal Democrat. Can you imagine the outcry that would arise if Bishop Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington recorded calls to support Catholic Republican candidate for governor Bob McDonnell?! The Washington Post would have that story on the front page.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has recorded a telephone call praising Assemblyman Vito Lopez, a state lawmaker who helped derail a bill that would have lifted the statute of limitations in clergy sex-abuse cases. Earlier this year, Assemblyman Lopez sponsored, and voted in favor of, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. In 2008-- as in previous elections-- Assemblyman Lopez was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice New York PAC.
The recording is being phoned to every registered voter in a city council district where the candidate supported by Assemblyman Lopez is in the midst of a close election battle.
And, even if Bishop DiMarzio is technically staying clear of various laws which attempt to inhibit clericis from getting involved in particular races for particular candidates, the facts of this case make it even less well-advised for Bishop DiMarzio to get involved, because he appears to be giving a favor in exchange for a favor received:
"[the call] praised Mr. Lopez’s legislative service to the Catholic Church this summer. Mr. Lopez played a key role in defeating a bill that would have let adults file suit over childhood sexual abuse that may have occurred long ago."Paul Moses at Commonweal alerts us to another unsavory association:
Bishop DiMarzio also appears in a full-page, color ad for the re-election of the resolutely pro-choice Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It ran in the diocesan newspaper, which in the past had as a matter of policy rejected all political advertisements so as to avoid taking ads from pro-choice politicians. The bishop and mayor are pictured in Yankee Stadium, the bishop in a Yankees hat and the mayor in a Yankees warm-up jacket. It says: “MIKE BLOOMBERG: PROTECTING NYC’S CATHOLIC SCHOOLS. FIGHTING FOR US.”Yikes, that's just not cool either. And whatever Bishop DiMarzio's spokesman wants to say about this being okay because "abortion is not an issue in the New York mayoral race", Bishop DiMarzio still has some say about how his photograhic likeness is used. He could have withheld permission to use the photograph.
So is this what forming consciences for faithful citizenship is supposed to look like for bishops?!
What do you think?