Our Salesian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, made some interesting observations during a recent Press conference, after addressing a large gathering of Knights of Columbus in Nashville, Tennessee. (Zenit.org).
“Politicians should have the right to follow their conscience even if their views are not in accord with the stance of their political party.”
He was asked about pro-abortion Catholic politicians, whether they should receive Communion, and if the Vatican plans to give guidelines to bishops for these cases.
"I don't think that it is necessary to repeat new norms because the norms are well explained in the doctrine of the Church," he said. "I don't understand how a person in public office or one engaged in political activity can be obliged to renounce his Catholic identity because the party, be it in the U.S. or in other countries, imposes an ethical choice on the basis of the party's program.
"This, according to me, does not respect freedom of conscience. It even seems to me to be an oppression of conscience. Where is the freedom of conscience that is so proclaimed and defended in America?"
Catholic politicians would do well to heed this admonition. They must not relinquish their core beliefs even if party policy demands it.