A rationale is being pushed by some bishops and priests, if diocesan papers, email traffic and other social media are any indication, to persuade Catholics to vote for the Republican presidential ticket.
It is never said so bluntly -- there are matters of church-and-state separation and nonprofit status to consider -- but the message is as clear as it has been for the past two or three decades. Abortion outweighs all other issues -- including immigration, poverty and care for the environment -- and when it comes to Roe v.Wade, Republicans talk the right talk. So for Catholics, the choice -- officially, at least -- is predetermined.
Things got a bit more complicated with release of the video footage in which Republican candidate Donald Trump gleefully describes in the crudest of terms how he forces himself on women. However, should bishops concede that the party's current offering does not fit in their moral compass, there is yet a final thread some will attempt to hang from, expressed in the headline: "In choosing presidents, we choose judges, too." That's the banner over a column by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., in his newspaper, The Leaven.
What he says is true: Presidents appoint judges, most important of which are Supreme Court justices. Given the age of half of the current justices as well as recent congressional intransigence, it is almost certain that the next president will select at least one justice and probably will be called upon to nominate even more.
The concern -- Naumann is not alone in expressing it, he's just one of the more straightforward -- is that a Democrat selecting justices will spell doom for the few issues that seem to hold the tightest grip on those clerics who reduce politics to a narrow cultural litmus test and think the Supreme Court holds the solution.