‘Faithful Citizenship’ Challenged By Bishops

Though the quadrennial “Faithful Citizenship” statement was in the end approved during the U.S. bishops’ fall assembly in Baltimore, the normally pro forma vote included a surprise expression of discontent. Several bishops suggested rejecting it and starting over this year. Bishops Gerald Kicanas of Tucson and Robert McElroy of San Diego argued that the mandate given last year—to revise and extend the existing statement—may have been in error. “Too much has changed,” Bishop Kicanas said, questioning the current statement’s value as a teaching document for voters in 2016. Bishop McElroy criticized the lack of attention and emphasis to issues that Pope Francis has made the keystones of his pontificate—global poverty and the degradation of the environment. Pope Francis, he said, “has radically transformed the prioritization of Catholic social teaching and its related elements.... This document does not do that.”

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