The president of the United States bishops' conference, Bishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, has sought to distance himself from Republican claims that the party is the natural home of the Catholic vote.
    The Tablet reports that the Catholic Task Force, set up by the Republicans last year to find ways of attracting Catholic support, said in a mission statement in January that of the major political parties the Republican Party agenda best reflected Catholic teaching on life issues, social teaching and the family.
    Bishop Forenza, however, pointed to the statement "Faithful Citizenship: civic responsibility for a new millennium" issued by the United States Catholic bishops last September.
    "Our moral framework does not easily fit categories of right or left, Democratic or Republican", Fiorenza said.
    Another bishop, Walter Sullivan of Richmond, Virginia, said it was unwise for the parties to argue that they represented Catholic priorities. "We can think for ourselves", he said.
22 Aug 00

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