WASHINGTON – Roman Catholic bishops from around the country are considering joining the broadest alliance of Christians ever formed in the United States.
The proposed ecumenical alliance, called Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. (search), would include evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Orthodox Christians and Catholics. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (search) was scheduled to take up the issue during its fall meeting Wednesday.
The group hopes to collectively represent Christian views on different issues. The Catholic Church in other countries belongs to similar interdenominational organizations.
Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (search) also was expected to speak about a task force on Catholics in public life. At their meeting last June, the committee released a statement saying that Catholic politicians who support abortion rights were "cooperating in evil." But the statement also affirmed church law that individual bishops can determine how to respond to them.
The bishops spent many months publicly debating whether they should deny Communion to dissenting Catholic lawmakers. The issue arose when Democrat John Kerry, a Catholic who backs abortion rights, became his party's nominee for president.
Additionally, the bishops will consider starting a multiyear initiative that would strengthen marriage, as the divorce rate remains high and gays lobby for the right to wed, which the church opposes.
The bishops are scheduled to end their meeting Thursday morning.