BISHOPS in the United States should keep the abortion issue out of politics for fear of creating an adverse swing in public opinion, the governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, said this week.
In a letter, published in the current issue of Commonweal, a US Jesuit magazine, Mr Cuomo advised the bishops to restrict their activities to teaching the faith. "We shouldn't and don't expect bishops to be politicians," he said.
Certain clerics, including Bishop Austin Vaughn of Orange County and Bishop Thomas Dailey of Brooklyn, have been critical of Catholic Mr Cuomo's stance on the abortion issue. Last month Bishop Dailey said that he believed Mr Cuomo was wrong to uphold the law on abortion, and declared that he had been banned from giving talks on the matter in Brooklyn's churches.
Bishop Vaughn, who is serving a prison sentence for preventing access to an abortion clinic, has written from jail to say that Mr Cuomo is "in serious risk of going to hell".