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Massachusetts bishops bar petition drives on parish property

June 05, 2017

The Catholic bishops of Massachusetts have issued a policy banning the collection of signatures for political petitions on parish property.

Claiming that they had received “overwhelming feedback from parishioners” on the matter, the Massachusetts bishops said that the collection of signatures for political causes on church properties is inappropriate because “church functions are a place to experience the fulness of community and parish life.”

In recent years activists had collected signatures at Catholic parishes for a variety of causes, including efforts to limit abortion, protect marriage, and oppose euthanasia. A current drive, seeking to amend the state constitution to eliminate mandatory public funding for abortion, will be set back by the bishops’ policy.

Until now, individual pastors had been free to allow or prohibit the collection of signatures. The bishops’ policy statement was signed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, and Bishops Robert McManus of Worcseter, Mitchell Rozanski of Springfield, and Edgar da Cunha of Fall River.


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Show 6 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: LACY - Jun. 07, 2017 10:48 PM ET USA

    Follow the money.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Jun. 05, 2017 11:04 PM ET USA

    Shameful episcopal weakness in the face of great moral evil. St. John Fisher pointed out: The fort is betrayed even of them that should have defended it. As in the Arian crisis the laity will be in the vanguard in overcoming a great crisis in the Church which is very much a crisis of bishops!

  • Posted by: Louise01 - Jun. 05, 2017 9:36 PM ET USA


  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jun. 05, 2017 6:50 PM ET USA

    If the Bishops don't want politics on church property, then they should cease using church resources in making their political comments.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Jun. 05, 2017 6:21 PM ET USA

    I can not seem to put my mind around this. What is against the "fullness of community and parish life” in collecting signatures to limit abortion, protect marriage or oppose euthanasia? Oh I get it! The're mostly Democrats in Mass. - We gotta have harmony right?

  • Posted by: feedback - Jun. 05, 2017 3:14 PM ET USA

    Petitioning lawmakers is peaceful, legitimate and desired manner for lay Catholics to be involved in the public life. Petitions to limit abortion, protect marriage, oppose euthanasia, or in any matters of morality and religious liberty should never be classified as purely "political" and be blocked by the Bishops. All this comes from the Catholic shepherds while President Trump plans to repeal the Johnson Amendment. That was a poor and short-sighted decision; a rigid type of clericalism.