Saturday, August 06, 2005

Phoenix Rising

Bishop Olmsted just keeps on keeping on. He must have read that line about "Teach, Rule, Sanctify," eh?

Politicians who support issues like abortion and gay rights have been banned from speaking at Catholic churches in the Phoenix Diocese.

So far, Gov. Janet Napolitano has been the only one affected by the edict from Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted.

Napolitano was forbidden to speak last year at a Catholic church in Scottsdale at an event opposing Proposition 200, a ballot measure that denied certain rights of citizenship to non-citizens. The event was moved to another site.

In a letter to pastors in December, Olmsted said churches may not invite to speak any politician or other public figure who disagrees with basic church teaching on abortion, gay marriage or other issues.

An invitation "would provide them with a platform which would suggest support for their actions," Olmsted wrote.

Napolitano, a Methodist, said she was not aware of the ban but had heard about the letter.
Napolitano spoke in June at the annual convention of the United Methodist Church's Desert Southwest Annual Conference. She challenged churches to help find foster homes for children, housing for the homeless and jobs for ex-convicts but abortion rights, gay marriage and other hot button issues were not mentioned.

Olmsted's decision followed a policy passed last year by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Olmsted is among a number of Catholic bishops nationwide who have chosen to take a strict interpretation of the June 2004 statement called "Catholics in Political Life."

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