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The Church and Politics: Are We as Restricted as We Think?

On June 17, 2003, Priests for Life and the Ave Maria School of Law co-sponsored a symposium for clergy and attorneys entitled "The Church and Politics: Are We as Restricted as We Think?"

Attorneys who spoke were James Bopp, Jr., of Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom, Professor Gerard Bradley of Notre Dame Law School, and Charles Watkins of Webster, Chamberlain & Bean.

There is much that pastors can do to call their congregations to active and informed participation in the political process. In documents like Living the Gospel of Life (1998), the US bishops have articulated such a call with clarity and passion. At the same time, many pastors remain unaware of the extent to which they can speak and act in this arena, and often believe they are far more restricted than the law actually requires. Our hope is that these symposium papers will give pastors a broader understanding of the law in this area, and assist them to fulfill their mission with greater confidence.

Their papers can be accessed, in written and audio format, by clicking the links below. 

Order these talks in a booklet at

Fr. Frank Pavone: Church and State: A Theological View [Printed version]  [Audio version]

Gerard Bradley: The Bishops and the Court: Two Tales of Church and State [Printed Version] [Audio Version]

Charles Watkins: The Church and Politics: A Review of the IRS Guidelines for Churches [Printed Version] [Audio Version]

James Bopp, Jr.: What are the Do's and Don'ts for Churches? [Printed Version] [Audio Version]

Concluding remarks of Fr. Frank at the symposium [Audio Version

Priests for Life
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