...This year, on January 16, Bishop Carlson received additional ammunition for his discussions with Daschle when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued in Rome a "Doctrinal Note" on Catholics in political life. "A well-formed Christian conscience," the note declared, "does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals."
The Doctrinal Note marks at least the beginning of the end of the Vatican's toleration of what the pope's biographer George Weigel has called "Cuomoism" in the American Church: the effort to finesse abortion by declaring oneself personally opposed but politically supportive of laws allowing abortion. Catholics have a "duty to be morally coherent," the Doctrinal Note declares, and the Catholic fight on the life issues--abortion, euthanasia, and cloning--is not some merely prudential question, to be decided by political give and take. The Catholic Church doesn't take political positions--except when politics intrudes into something, like the right to life, that ought to be beyond the power of politicians.