The US Catholic Bishops: From Separationism to Public Intervention
Marie Gayte traces the origins of the active political engagement of the US Catholic bishops who, until the mid-1970s, had largely refrained from involvement in electoral politics. But in the 1970s, just as the Catholic vote was beginning to shift away from the Democratic monolith, the US bishops became more politically vocal than before and their pronouncements since have both comforted and alienated Catholic voters at times. Gayte traces the political engagement of the bishops beginning with the 1976 presidential campaign and through the election of Donald J. Trump in 2016. This overview reveals that the actual political effect of the bishops’ political involvement is very limited, though still controversial, and at times very divisive within the Catholic community.