Church prohibition on political parties


Does the Church prohibit Catholics from joining political parties that have platforms containing positions contrary to faith/morals? I read that as late as the 1950’s Catholics (in I think it was the Netherlands) couldn’t be members of a socialist party.

Now could Catholics theoretically be members of a political party that has positions contrary to what the Church believes in, if they don’t subscribe to the party platform? Is there an Encyclical or something on this that is out there?

I feel like I saw something about this once upon a time…



Politics can only be discussed in World News so I am moving this thread there


I don’t know. I do know, however, that most political parties contain some platforms that are contrary to faith/morals as taught by the Catholic Church. And a person who fits the description that you’ve mentioned is Sen. Bob Casey from Pennsylvania. I don’t know if he’s still serving, but he was well-known for being a very pro-life Democrat, and a Catholic. Unfortunately, pro-life Dems are becoming fewer and farther between.

As an aside, the primary reason why priests can’t tell parishioners who to vote for is due to the fact that their parishes could lose tax-exempt status (in other words, parishioners who donate wouldn’t be able to consider their donations to be charitable donations and write them off of their taxes, which doesn’t affect a lot of people, but does affect people who are able to itemize deductions).


The primary reason is not the loss of tax exempt status, but a firm choice that the church made to be apolitical. It chooses only to advocate pure morality, and not enter messy political deals by endorsing candidate who would likely support only some church teachings, and would inevitably embarrass the church by rejecting others.

The loss of tax exemption is of a distant secondary concern. The church has endured far worse than mere taxation of its property and income, and would willingly do so if it were necessary to properly proclaim the Gospel.


I’ve kept my membership as Democrat… WHY?!
Because, as an Independent or a Republican, I cannot vote for Democratic candidates in the primaries that support pro-life and other positions that we as Christians support. Since my conversion to the Catholic Faith, that is how I’ve voted in each of the D.Primaries… sooner or later, we’ll get a pro-life candidate in the Democratic party - I hope to be the wrench in the works!


The most vehement attack in a papal encyclical against a political party would have to be the 1937 one that criticised the Nazis and reminded German Catholics that they should not follow or support a state party that is clearly dangerous and wrong. It falls short of explicitly banning membership though it does blatantly warn German Catholics about embracing the new Socialist Progressive ideology.’

For example verse 11 :

  1. None but superficial minds could stumble into concepts of a national God, of a national religion; or attempt to lock within the frontiers of a single people, within the narrow limits of a single race, God, the Creator of the universe, King and Legislator of all nations before whose immensity they are “as a drop of a bucket” (Isaiah xI, 15).

I think the Church is cautious in directly banning Catholic members from political parties for at least 3 reasons:

  1. Those political parties, if they are ruthless and hold power, may retaliate by persecuting the Catholic community (say the Nazi socialists of Germany)

  2. The banning of Catholic membership from a political party may cause a promotion of that party amongst militant anti-Catholics and dissatisfied Catholics. (eg, by liberal, third way, loyal dissent, emerging Church, Progressive, militant feminist Catholics and other past failed groups who would use their position to fight against the Church from within by supporting the party)

  3. The Church may have much in common with the political party but some irreconcilable differences (such as z_101 and the Democrats). The banning of membership would further cause division and make it harder to correct the party from within.


All political parties contradict faith, one way or another,


Very true. We are members of a party simply to have say in their primary candidate.


Dear friend,

A quote that reveals more than first reading:


[1] He also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.
[2] And he called him and said to him, What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.' [3] And the steward said to himself,What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.
[4] I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’
[5] So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, How much do you owe my master?' [6] He said,A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' [7] Then he said to another,And how much do you owe?’ He said, A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him,Take your bill, and write eighty.’
[8] The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.
[9] And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.
[10] "He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
[11] If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?

In the end everything is wrong here in this fallen world. Within certain guides set by God, the Law, we oft have to get our hands a little bit dirty to get things done here. We have to put up with some **** always, if we are going to vote. Some things are uncompromisable, but if we do not allow Catholics to run for high office when all political parties in the offing are rotten. What will happen? Only the most evil politicians will rise. So we must try to find the best options and support people who will improve things as best we can. If all options are just out, we need good men to get into the political arena. We need Catholic action, especially today. In the meantime Jesus tells us we will be faced by dilemmas like this. He seems to praise the wise steward, but He is really just explaining similar things to what I say. That is how I see it. Could be right, wrong or a mix. Choose best you can, and encourage the best people into and in politics I suggest.

Blessings & peace:thumbsup:


Same here. In Massachusetts frequently there isn’t even a Republican primary as there are no candidates put forward, so in order to vote in a primary and against the worst of the candidates I have to maintain Democrat registration.


I don’t believe there is any statement from the Church that is so broad it would forbid so much as membership to a political party that contradicted the faith in any way. As others have said, that wouldn’t leave Catholics with many (or any) options.

Certainly, an individual Catholic ought not accept or promote those aspects of the party platform that contradict the faith. But if Catholics disengaged from such political parties completely, that would only hasten their downward spiral and leave the public sphere without the Catholic voice.


Dear friends,

I had some further points I would like to air on this. It came to be in recent times in the USA with obama healthcare requiring employers fund abortions, contraception and other like things contrary to catholic, and many others, consciences. Even some Bishops were considering closing down catholic hospitals, schools, universities and all institutions where they would be forced to seemingly fund evil with this insurance for their employees. But if this is all the devil has to do to close down the church then we make it too easy for the enemy. He just needs to get the right president in, and he can close down our church. St Paul had some advice that backs up my prior comment that sometimes you have to put up with some evil, and sort of get your hands a bit dirty, in order to get things done. St Paul said the following :


[22] Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.

St Paul got his hands a little dirty by seeming to support evil, slavery, but he is just saying what I am trying to say in this and my other post here. You have to put up with a bit of evil and get your hands a bit dirty in the process, whilst working to as quickly as poss eliminate evil by changing all into Love. He did not want the first Christians, who were mostly slaves, to revolt against their masters, or they would have been killed. Instead he told them be patient, as we work to eliminate this evil.

Just my thoughts. Hope this helps.

Blessings & peace :thumbsup::slight_smile:


You can be unenrolled and vote in a primary in Massachusetts. They don’t call it “independent” though (maybe because there is an Independent Party). I unenrolled about a year of so ago.


At least in the United States, it seems like registering with a political party in and of itself is amoral, but it becomes an issue when Christians put partisan politics above moral obligations to support the common good.


It’s against Canon Law for Catholic to be a member of the Communist Party.


I absolutely agree with that statement.

I would rather just be Catholic than be left or right, Republican or Democrat. In America both political parties claim to be Christian, and they both sell us out on a daily basis. We’re better off having nothing to do with either of them.

It’s not either/or, it’s neither/nor.


After having looked this up, there seems to be a kind-of cut the nose off to spite the face here… by not allowing us to be party memebers (not that I personally would do so) it inhibits the ability of those that would reform the party from doing so by actively voting for members that support positions that conform more closely with the teachings of the church etc…

but what do I know… if the CCL and CCC say no, then it’s no.:shrug:


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