BOSTON (CNS) – The Boston-based organization Catholic Democrats asked pastors and parish administrators in a Pennsylvania congressional district to steer clear of partisan politicking prior to a March 13 special election.
A letter faxed four days before the election asked parish leaders in the 18th Congressional District to advise parishioners to form their consciences using guidelines established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops before voting.
The district includes Pittsburgh and parts of four counties in the heart of the nation’s steel industry. Voters were to choose from Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb, a Marine veteran and former prosecutor, to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican. Saccone, an Air Force veteran, was first elected to the state Legislature in 2010.
Murphy, who served eight terms in Congress, resigned in October after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that he had asked a woman with whom he had an affair to seek an abortion. Murphy had traditionally taken a pro-life stance throughout his legislative career.
The letter called for instructions to be given to parish employees, ushers and others “to immediately removed unauthorized pamphlets and handouts within the church and on church property, including the parish parking lot.”
“Empower them to tell people leaf-letting cars on church property to leave immediately or the police will be notified,” the letter said.
President Donald Trump traveled to the district to rally for Saccone. Former Vice President Biden was there for Lamb.