Reaction to Church Letter | VideoRetha Colclasure | 11/1/2012
Some in the state thought what Bishop Kagan had to say wasn`t right. Others say the Bishop showed true leadership and was spot on.
In his letter, Kagan stated, "A properly formed Catholic conscience will never contradict the church`s teachings."
Some say combining that phrase with a letter speaking about voting was wrong. Fargo Senator Tim Mathern is one of the letter`s most vocal opponents.
"I thought it bent in favor of a political party or candidate, which I think is destructive and hurtful to the faithful who are coming to church," he said.
Kagan says faith isn`t an accessory, and that`s what the letter was intended to convey. He says Catholics can`t check their faith at the doors to the polling place.
"You either have to be Catholic all of the time or you can`t claim to be Catholic just some of the time."
When asked if the letter was written with any party or race in mind, he answered simply, "no."
But that`s not how Mathern took it.
"Stories and political ads refer to Heidi Heitkamp as the likeable candidate, as the candidate that people like. Then for the Bishop to say to not vote for the likeable candidate is really a backhand way of saying vote for Rick Berg," he said.
"I don`t think the Bishop cares if you`re a Republican or a Democrat. I think he really only cares to present the church`s teachings on the hierarchy of values," said Catholic Parishioner Kris Lengenfelder.
Langenfelder says he can see how, in this political atmosphere, some would interpret the letter as the bishop telling people how to vote. But he says that doesn`t mean that`s what the bishop was doing.
"The church has the right to tell its flock what is true. I didn`t take it as political. I took it as him trying to speak the truth."
Bishop Kagan says he`s not endorsing any political party or candidate with his letter. He says people are free to vote for whomever they wish.
"My whole purpose is, that`s fine, but if you say you`re a Catholic, then be a Catholic, but be a Catholic not on your terms but be a Catholic on the church`s terms."
Mathern says he`s not addressing the social issues contained within the letter, he`s just saying the letter itself was wrong to read in church.
Bishop Kagan says he`s received hundreds of emails and notes in support of the letter. He says many Catholics are tired of public officials saying they`re Catholic, then publicly acting against what the Catholic Church believes.