Mr. Kerry became combative when told that some conservatives were criticizing him for being a Roman Catholic who supported policies, like abortion rights and same-sex unions, that are at odds with Catholic teaching.
"Who are they?" he demanded of his questioner. "Name them. Are they the same legislators who vote for the death penalty, which is in contravention of Catholic teaching?"
He added: "I'm not a church spokesman. I'm a legislator running for president. My oath is to uphold the Constitution of the United States in my public life. My oath privately between me and God was defined in the Catholic church by Pius XXIII and Pope Paul VI in the Vatican II, which allows for freedom of conscience for Catholics with respect to these choices, and that is exactly where I am. And it is separate. Our constitution separates church and state, and they should be reminded of that."
Mr. Kerry apparently meant John XXIII, as there is no Pius XXIII.
I will give Mr. Kerry a pass on misspeaking Pius XXIII instead of John XXIII, this can be an honest mistake. The egregious error is the fictional oath from Vatican II. No such oath exists in the documents of Vatican II just as the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution. Those who have lost limbs in accidents sometimes feel a phantom limb. Democrats seem to have "phantom documents syndrome." In this syndrome you have the tendency to quote from documents, phrases that don't exist. . . . these manifestations also find common root in "Spirit of Vatican II" syndrome.
Prior to these remarks, the question confronting the bishops was this: "Can a man who runs for president claiming to be Catholic while rejecting key Catholic moral teachings be ignored?" Now they confront a different question: "Can a man who runs for president, claiming to be a Catholic , rejecting key Catholic moral teachings, and insisting that the Church says that this is all O.K. be ignored?" That is, can they fail publicly to correct a prominent Catholic who not only rejects but also actively mischaracterizes Church teaching? Kerry evidently does not want his Catholicism questioned, but he has just made it much more difficult for the bishops not to question it -- perhaps to his electoral disadvantage.