Catholic women decry presidential campaign's focus on 'politics of fear'


(CNS) — Seventy Catholic women including the presidents of two leading
Catholic organizations expressed concern for the “toxic politics of
fear” that has dominated this year’s presidential campaign.

that “elections should be a national examination of conscience,” the
signers of the statement called for civil debate in the final weeks of the
campaign leading to Election Day Nov. 8.

Signers included Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president
of Catholic Charities USA, and Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity, who is president
and CEO of Catholic Health Association.

Others signing the letter were Helen Alvare, professor
of law at George Mason University; Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi
International; Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University; Helen
Osman, former secretary of communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops; and Dolores Leckey, founding executive director of the Secretariat for
Family, Women, Laity and Youth at the USCCB.

“Catholic Women and Mothers for the Common Good,” the statement noted
that democracy remains healthy through civic debate and that “neither party
has a monopoly on wisdom or effective policies.”

a time when nearly one in five children grows up poor, thousands of migrant
children are torn from their parents, and when so many families are excluded
from economic opportunity, the urgency of our collective task is bigger than
our partisan preferences or personal ideologies,” the Oct. 24 statement

signers maintain in the statement that Catholic social teaching “does not
fit neatly into partisan boxes.”

faith calls us to affirm the sacred dignity of all life. This is why our church
defends life in the womb, the undocumented immigrant and the inmate on death
row. As Pope Francis reminds us, we must also say no to an ‘economy of exclusion
and inequality’ that ‘kills,’ and act to address environmental devastation that
is disproportionately hurting the poor.”

statement also urged the presidential candidates as well as others seeking
public office nationwide “to recognize that ‘family values’ isn’t simply a
buzzword on the campaign trail.” It pointed to the importance of upholding
the dignity of families, which “requires rejecting a consumer culture where
sex is viewed as a commodity; a commitment to ensuring mothers and fathers have
access to paid parental leave; quality, affordable child care; jobs that pay
living wages; and a human immigration system that keeps families

statement was to be published as advertisements in three Catholic publications
including Our Sunday Visitor Oct. 30, National Catholic Reporter Nov. 4 and
America magazine Nov. 7.

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Note: The full text of the statement can be found online at

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