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Kerry agrees to disagree with US Bishops

Democratic Party Presidential candidate John Kerry has spoken of his Catholic faith and the way it influences his decisions, but alluding to his difference of opinion with the US Bishops.

"I love my church. I respect the bishops, but I respectfully disagree," he said in a campain speech delibered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Sunday.

In contrast to Australia, many US Bishops have taken a partisan stand, urging a vote for incumbent candidate, Republican George Bush, in next Tuesday's presidential election.

"I know there are some bishops who have suggested that as a public official I must cast votes or take positions on issues like a woman's right to choose or stem cell research that carry out the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church," he said.

"My task, as I see it," said Sen. Kerry, "is not to write every doctrine into law. That is not possible or right in a pluralistic society," he said. "But my faith does give me values to live by and to apply to the decisions that I make," he added.

Quoting the Gospels, Kerry stressed his concern for social issues, saying that the concern for the most vulnerable members of society "is a moral obligation that is at the heart of all all of our religious traditions."

However US Bishops' support for George Bush has been widespread, but not unanimous. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit wrote in last week's Detroit Free Press that if Bush were to visit Detroit's inner city he would meet "many men, women and children who have dramatically experienced the effects of his policies."

Kerry says "I respect the bishops, but I respectfully disagree," in speech on faith (Catholic News Agency 26/10/04)

Reaction to Kerry speech from Catholic organizations (Catholic News Agency 26/10/04)
Bishops explain their views on election issues as Nov. 2 approaches (Catholic News Service 25/10/04)
Kerry addresses faith, values, but rejects bishops on life issues (Catholic News Service 25/10/04)
Catholic universities give Kerry 9-1 fundraising edge (Catholic World News 26/10/04)

27 Oct 2004