Bishop: Catholic voting souls are in danger - FOX 10 News |

Bishop: Catholic voting souls are in danger

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Bishop David Ricken Bishop David Ricken

By Kelly Schlicht, FOX News - bio

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A bishop is in hot water after making some harsh comments about the fate of your soul if you don't vote for a certain candidate.

Bishop David Ricken of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese says it's his job as a faith leader to give moral guidance during election season.

"It's not like you put faith over here in a box and then there's the rest of life. Our teaching is meant to be carried out in our work life, our political life, et cetera," he said.

But in a letter dated Wednesday from Ricken to area Catholics, he spelled out not only what issues to vote against, like abortion and gay marriage.  The letter also said, "Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party's or their personal political platform.  To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally 'complicit' with these choices which are intrinsically evil.  This could put your own soul in jeopardy."

Catholics in churches across the diocese this weekend will receive that letter as an insert in their weekly bulletin.

The bishop says he's merely informing their moral conscience.  However, some people see this as telling them how to vote.

Ricken clarified in a press conference Saturday he's not specifically targeting pro-choice Democratic candidates.

"My letter should not be misunderstood as an endorsement of any political candidate or party. The church does not endorse political candidates or political parties," he said.

Catholic voters were among those waiting in line Saturday morning for tickets to see President Obama who will visit the area on Tuesday.  They say political beliefs of 345,000 Catholics in the area cannot be summed up in one man's statement.

"They seem to lump us into groups, and say we're all thinking a certain thing, or we as women all feel this way or as men think that. I think we all are individuals and we're smarter than that. I think everyone needs to make their own choice when it comes to the abortion issue," said Janice Reynolds.

Catholic voters volunteering for Romney's campaign say while their beliefs line up with Ricken's letter, his advice won't carry the full weight of their decision when voting.

"I appreciate his decision. I use that, as I do everything else, as a kind of guiding light as I make my decisions. but my decisions are always based on a whole gamut of things," said Mary Steffen.

Neither Presidential campaign would comment on the bishop's letter.


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