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Catholic Bishops in the United StatesChurch Leadership in the Third Millennium$
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Stephen J. Fichter, Thomas P. Gaunt, Catherine Hoegeman, and Paul M. Perl

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190920289

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190920289.001.0001

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The Bishops Speak

The Bishops Speak

(p.130) 7 The Bishops Speak
Catholic Bishops in the United States

Stephen J. Fichter

Thomas P. Gaunt

Catherine Hoegeman

Paul M. Perl

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Catholic bishops speaking out on issues of the day. Catholic Church teaching and tradition yields “conservative” positions on issues such as abortion and physician-assisted suicide and “liberal” positions on issues such as immigration, capital punishment, and assistance to the poor. Survey data finds that bishops tend to write more frequently about the Church’s pro-life teachings than its “liberal” social teachings. Most bishops say they ask Catholics to consider Catholic teachings when voting for candidates. Most bishops agree that the clergy sexual abuse scandal has made it more difficult for them to present or defend Catholic teaching in their diocese. This is especially the case in dioceses where the scandal has received more media coverage. In general, bishops say that criticism in the media is a greater problem for them in more secularized areas of the country.

Keywords:   U.S. Catholic bishops, Catholicism, speaking out, news media, religion and politics, political advocacy, social issues

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