In the latest Clergy Communications, Tony Stieritz, the Democrat party activist Archbishop Schnurr has running the archdiocesan Social Action office, sends a message to the faithful as we hit the six-month mark before the 2012 election:

As a reminder, offices, parishes, schools, institutions, and agencies should only use those voter education materials authorized and distributed by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Catholic Conference of Ohio or the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This is almost certainly directed against voter guides produced by groups like Catholic Answers, which provide straightforward doctrinal guidance rather than the muted mumblings contained in the USCCB’s material. Here’s an “illicit” idea for a creative publisher: Take the text from Pope Benedict’s courageous 2006 address to the European People’s Party, in which he uses the the term “not negotiable” to describe the Church’s core teachings — a term the Stieritz crowd finds objectionable in other publications — and make bulletin stuffers or pew cards out of it. The pertinent text follows:

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

[1] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

[2] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

[3] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have.

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