Academic Scholarship

Catholic Moral Demands in America Politics: A New Paradigm

Journal of Church and State, 51(1), 4- 23, December 2009

Photo Needed Jo-Renee Formicola, Ph.D.
Department of Political Science and Public Affairs

Although it has been quickly forgotten, Rudolph Giuliani, who considers himself a Catholic, was the Republican frontrunner for most of the 2008 presidential primary campaign. This evoked mixed reactions within the church hierarchy, from silence to notable opposition to “hizonner's” pro-choice policies.

While Giuliani's loss of the Republican presidential nomination appears to have been for reasons other than religion,1 it still leaves open the question of what difference a candidate's Catholicism makes in U.S. politics. Thus, it is important to articulate and understand the influence of Catholic thought and teachings on candidates, especially since more critical moral demands have been placed on Catholic politicians since the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade2 in 1973. Since then, the Church has asserted that a candidate for public office must work in the public arena to support public policies that protect all life.


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