The subhead for this story puts it succinctly: “What Tim Kaine and Mike Pence say about the diluted identity of the American Church.”
From Emma Green in The Atlantic:
There are lots of ways to be a Catholic public leader in the United States. But the only path that’s impossible, it seems, is to advocate policies that fully follow the Church’s teachings on Jesus. Politicians of both parties have to pick and choose their theology, sticking to party lines that defy the United States Conference on Catholic Bishops’ guide to faithful citizenship. For their part, lay Catholics have largely blended into the general electorate. Far from taking positions that are distinctive to their faith, many hold views that reflect their partisan allegiances. Meanwhile, American politics has shaped the way Church leaders talk about their faith. While bishops theoretically adhere to the same set of social teachings, “there are people who become engaged on particular issues,” said Robert McElroy, the bishop of San Diego. “Some become very involved in the immigration question. Some become very involved on the question of abortion; others on poverty; others on the environment; and others on religious liberty.” …While non-Catholic Americans are much more comfortable with the Church than they used to be, their changing attitudes say less about acceptance than assimilation. The price of Catholics’ admission into public life was a loss of distinctiveness. And the political records of this year’s two vice-presidential candidates—both of whom have openly defied the Church on different issues—illustrate why.