The Catholic Church in the US made the front-page many times in 2012. With a presidential election in November, it was no surprise that many of the stories that grabbed our attention related to politics. I asked a group of Catholics—priests, nonprofit heads, campus ministers, students, writers, politicians, and average churchgoers—what the biggest stories were in 2012. Below, in no particular order, are sixteen big stories from 2012. But it's not everything. What would you add? Tell us in the comments section.
1. Barack Obama wins the Catholic vote—again
Despite strong pressure from some Catholic bishops to encourage their flocks to abstain from voting for the president, Obama captures the Catholic vote 52%-45%, thanks in large part to the overwhelming support the president received from Latinos. Read more.
2. Both candidates for VP are Catholic
For the first time in our nation’s history, both nominees for the Vice Presidency are Roman Catholics. Read more.
3. “Nuns on the Bus” speak up for the poor
A group of liberal, social justice oriented nuns made headlines as they traveled across the country on a bus to protest budget cuts that would hurt the poor. Read more.
4. Cardinal Dolan prays at RNC, and then DNC, too
New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan angered some on the Catholic left when he accepted a speaking role at the Republican National Convention. He then agreed to pray at the Democratic Convention as well. Though similar, Dolan highlighted different themes in each prayer. Read more.
5. Sr. Simone Campbell speaks at DNC
Campbell offered a very political pep talk at the Democratic Convention, scolding Rep. Paul Ryan several times, though not mentioning Jesus. Read more.
6. Yale professor silenced by Rome
Sr. Margaret Farley, a professor of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, was censured by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for her book “Just Love” for being “not consistent with authentic Catholic theology.” Read more.
7. Cardinal O’Malley helps defeat legalized suicide
Voters in Massachusetts were given an opportunity to legalize physician-assisted suicide, but a broad coalition led, in part, by O’Malley convinced them to reject the ballot question. Read more.
8. Same-sex marriage wins out over bishops’ objections
Bishops in four states lobbied against same-sex marriage initiatives, but voters rejected their pleas, passing same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland, Washington state, and tossing out an amendment in Minnesota that would have prohibited it. Bishops insist they won’t change stance or tactics. A confirmation student in Minnesota who expressed support for same-sex marriage on Facebook was asked to leave the program. Read more.
9. Moderate and progressive bishops take a stand at USCCB meetings
Though the whole crop of US bishops have been written off by some as conservatives, some of the remaining moderate voices took a stand at the USCCB fall meetings, rejecting an economic letter that, they said, didn’t go far enough in voicing concern for the poor. Read more.
10. Catholic entities sue Obama Administration over HHS mandate
Over 40 Catholic institutions, including hospitals, dioceses and universities, filed lawsuits against the Obama Administration in an effort to receive an exemption from government-mandated employer-based health insurance for contraception coverage. Read more.
11. Some bishops suggest Catholics voting for Obama is sinful
With passions running high before the election, some bishops suggested voting for Obama or the Democratic Party could be tantamount to assisting evil. Read more.
12. Dolan and Colbert talk faith
Host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” and New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan spent an evening with America’s Jim Martin at Fordham University talking faith, humor, and even Catholic teaching. Read more.
13. Knights of Columbus bankroll unsuccessful marriage campaigns
Led by Carl Anderson, the Knights of Columbus was one of the largest contributors fighting against same-sex marriage, spending $6.2 million since 2005 and up to $2.5 million in 2012 only. Read more.
14. Immigration on the docket for 2013
Latino Catholics voted overwhelmingly for President Obama and are demanding that he spearhead comprehensive immigration, an issue long championed by the church. Read more.
15. Widow of Catholic pol barred from Catholic diocese
The widow of former Massachusetts Senator and lifelong Catholic Ted Kennedy, Vicki, had been invited to give the commencement address at a Catholic college in the Diocese of Worcester. After the bishop there expressed concern, the school withdrew its invitation. Kennedy spoke at the Jesuit Boston College Law School without any issue. Read more.
16. Catholic pastor leads community in mourning
Msgr. Robert Weiss is pastor of the single Catholic church in Newtown, Conn., and has been a presence for grieving parents, siblings, and town residents since the horror that unfolded there last week. He was among the first on the scene, and many of the victims attend his church. Read more.
Michael J. O'Loughlin