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Statement of Bishop Rene Henry Gracida

On the 2004 Presidential Questionnaire

I have had an opportunity to review a copy of the 2004 Presidential Questionnaire submitted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to President George Bush and Senator John Kerry. I am disappointed that the Questionnaire is so broad and covers so many issues that are before the American public today that its value in helping to show the differences between the positions of the two candidates on the really important issues will be minimal.

While certainly there could be and should be a "Catholic" position on most, if not all, of the issues covered by the Questionnaire, from the perspective of the Church’s teaching some issues far outweigh others in importance. For instance, there is no moral equivalence between the issue of abortion-on-demand and farm subsidies. The Questionnaire should have been much shorter and should have been limited to questions on those issues on which there is a clear unequivocal teaching of the Church, e.g., abortion, cloning, assisted suicide, embryonic stem-cell research and marriage.

There is no clear unequivocal position of the Church on such issues as the minimum wage, immigration, farm subsidies, etc. The inclusion of questions in the Questionnaire can only result in confusion in the minds of Catholic voters who do not understand that there is no moral equivalence between these two groups of issues. I can only hope that both presidential candidates will refuse to reply to the Questionnaire, or, if they do reply, that the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will recognize the danger to Catholic voters and will publish those replies with a clear teaching on the greater importance which should be attached to the replies to the first group of questions I have listed above that have far greater moral implications for the Nation.

+Rene Henry Gracida

Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi

10 August 2004

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