Bishops on campaign trail

With no national election this year, the USCCB hasn't had too much to say about the battle for Congress. State conferences, on the other hand, are making their voices heard.

The bishops of Minnesota are sending out 400,000 DVDs opposing same-sex marriage in that state. In addition to a message from Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt, the DVD includes a video produced by the Knights of Columbus. The distribution is being funded by an anonymous donor. The DVD is evidently a response to the fact that two of three candidates for governor is for gay marriage.

I wonder what the general reaction of Minnesota Catholics to an 18-minute DVD from the bishop on same-sex marriage is going to be. For that matter, how many will even watch it? One Catholic at least, called it "another attempt to whittle down an upcoming election to one issue so that the bishops get the candidate they most want to see in office," in a letter to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Bishops in Iowa have also issued a call to Catholics on the marriage issue, encouraging them to vote yes on a ballot initiative to call a state constitutional convention. Iowa's Supreme Court voted unanimously in 2009 to uphold a lower court ruling granting same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry in that state. The Iowa Catholic Conference hopes to amend the state constitution to legally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

On the non-marriage front–and thus getting a lot less coverage–Massachusetts bishops are opposing the repeal of a fair housing law, which goes before voters Nov. 2. Said Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston: "Housing is a human right."

Any body's else's state bishops' conference taking stands on ballot measures? And better, will it affect your vote?