Kurtz: Political discourse that demeans women, religion 'must change'


much of the political discourse during this election year “has demeaned women
and marginalized people of faith,” the president of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops said Oct. 14.

“This must change,” said
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky. “True to the best hopes of
our Founding Fathers, we are confident that we can and will do better as a

“Politicians, their
staffs and volunteers should reflect our best aspirations as citizens,” he said.

The archbishop’s statement came
at the end of a week of fallout over controversies involving the
presidential campaigns of Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic
nominee Hillary Clinton.

One controversy involved NBC’s Oct. 9 leaking
of a 2005 audio clip of Trump making lewd sexual
remarks about women. The other involved an Oct. 11 release by WikiLeaks of what it said
was an email chain among top officials from Clinton’s campaign discussing how
many powerful conservatives in the U.S. are converts to Catholicism, which one
email called “an amazing bastardization of the faith.”

“At this important time in our
nation’s history, I encourage all of us to take a moment to reflect on one of
the founding principles of our republic — the freedom of religion,” Archbishop
Kurtz said. “It ensures the right of faith communities to preserve the
integrity of their beliefs and proper self-governance.

“There have been recent reports
that some may have sought to interfere in the internal life of the church for
short-term political gain. If true, this is troubling both for the well-being
of faith communities and the good of our country,” he said.

Christ “has given us a precious
gift” in the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church, the archbishop said.

“As Catholics, we hold onto our
beliefs because they come to us from Jesus, not a consensus forged by
contemporary norms. The Gospel is
offered for all people for all times,” Archbishop Kurtz said. “It invites us to
love our neighbor and live in peace with one another. For this reason, the
truth of Christ is never outdated or inaccessible. The Gospel serves the common
good, not political agendas.”

He urged Catholics and all
people of goodwill in the nation to be “good stewards of the precious rights we
have inherited as citizens of this country.”

“We also expect public officials
to respect the rights of people to live their faith without interference from
the state. When faith communities lose this right, the very idea of what it
means to be an American is lost,” he added.

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