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By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jul 13, 2005

Vision Book Cover Prints

Edward Saunders, the new lobbyist for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, has come under some criticism for his questionable loyalties in those matters where Catholic teaching diverges from the Democratic Party platform.

Saunders, a registered Democrat and a longtime lobbyist on Beacon Hill, declined to discuss his personal views on social issues, saying only, "Whatever the position of the church is, that's my position."

It's the old story of the missionary nun quizzing a rice Christian on the catechism: "How many persons are there in the Trinity?" "As many as you say, Sister." On one level, a lobbyist is understood to have professional and transient loyalties, like the rented advocacy one gets from a lawyer or an advertising agency, and Saunders's adaptability is typical of his breed. Yet the accusation is often made by the Church's adversaries that her leaders don't really believe her teachings but simply pretend to do so for political or personal advantage. As the controversies over same-sex marriage, abortion, and embryo destruction heat up in Massachusetts, it's dismaying that the bishops couldn't have found a more convinced Catholic as their de facto spokesman, and that the man they did hire should have begun his work with such an obtuse concession to his client's most formidable opponents. "Hey, are we against cloning? Somebody find out and leave the answer on my voicemail."

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