The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
The study, compiled by Durbin's staff, looked at two dozen issues cited as legislative priorities by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Abortion-related stances were included. But so were issues as widely varied as the death penalty, immigration, gun control and increasing the minimum wage. "Unfortunately, recent media attention has focused on one or two priorities of the Catholic Church, while obscuring others," Durbin, D-Ill., said. "This has made it more difficult for Catholic voters to understand the full range of issues that have been identified by the (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as priorities for public life."
The survey's findings: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, D-Mass., and Durbin topped the list of 24 Catholic senators as supporting the Catholic agenda more than 60 percent of the time. The survey prompted an angry conference call by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., a Catholic who stood with the U.S. Conference of Bishops' issues listed in the survey just 40 percent of the time.
Amy Sullivan comments:
An outraged Santorum took to the phones yesterday to charge that the study was "a selective attempt to make John Kerry and a bunch of liberal Democrats who disagree with the church's teaching look like faithful Catholics." Well, imagine that. Totally different from a selective attempt to make John Kerry and a bunch of liberal Democrats look like unfaithful Catholics. Because Lord knows Santorum is okay with that.
Conservatives don’t appreciate the politicizing of this. Of course, they probably shouldn’t have started politicizing this in the first place. Conservatives simply don’t have a good record when it comes to a large number of Catholic principles — just about the only one that they consistently support is the criminalization of abortion. That’s why Catholics have traditional voted Democratic, not Republican. The move of so many Catholics to the Republican Party is not just a sign of the growing importance of abortion but, in fact, may be another sign of how the Catholic hierarchy is losing control of individual Catholic voters.