Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz has issued a list of allowable activities for parishes to engage in during the upcoming political season.
The June 6 memo was sent to all parishes and agencies of the archdiocese to remind them of allowable activity during elections. According to the memo, these include: sharing the principles of Catholic social teaching on the relationship between Christian faith and political life; conducting non-partisan voter registration drives in parishes; providing information on ballot issues without reference to any candidate or party; encouraging involvement in the Anchorage Archdiocese’s Legislative Network; and organizing letter writing campaigns on legislative issues (It is recommended that these be on issues which the Alaska bishops have taken a position).
Activities not allowed according to the memo include: endorsing or opposing a specific political candidate or political party; distributing on church grounds materials that explicitly favor or oppose a candidate or party; evaluating specific candidates in writing or in speech; labeling a candidate as “pro-life” or “anti-environment,” etc.; rating specific candidates or issuing marked sample ballots; giving church money to a candidate or using parish property in a way that would appear to endorse a candidate.
For more information about these guidelines, contact Father Tom Brundage, the judicial vicar and canon lawyer for the Anchorage Archdiocese. Father Brundage can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 297-7724.