Daily Links, Nov. 22: Lobbying, cheating, and that 'conscience thing'

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Everyone knows by now that the Catholic Church has a very vocal presence in Washington, especially when it comes to speaking out on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. But did you know the church spends nearly $27 million on lobbying? A new Pew Forum report has all the details, showing Catholics are the largest single religious advocacy group, second only to interfaith coalitions and just edging out Evangelical Protestants.

[UPDATE: Sister Mary Ann Walsh at the USCCB disputes the Pew Forum's numbers.]

The church is also raising its voice in New York on labor issues, as the head of NY's Catholic Charities office spoke at a rally yesterday for fair wages. As I wrote on the blog yesterday, he joins New Jersey's bishops in bringing a Catholic voice to the issue of economic turmoil.

When it comes to marriage, however, Catholics in England are not that good at keeping their vows. A report based on users of a website that specializes in extra-marital dating shows that 21.5% of users are Catholic, more than double the percentage of Catholics in the general population in the UK. The least likely religious groups to cheat on their spouses are Jews and Methodists, the story says. Or maybe they are just less likely to use a dating website and list their religion.

Remember the controversy in Boston over the Catholic newspaper that ran an article claiming the devil is the cause of homosexuality? The Boston Globe has an interesting story on the ultra-conservative editor who ran the column, noting he also ran a complimentary piece on Cardinal Bernard Law for his 80th birthday. Boston archbishop Cardinal Sean O'Malley says the editor's job is not in jeopardy, but Catholics in the archdiocese are not pleased with the paper these days.

And speaking of Catholics under attack, Nancy Pelosi ruffled some feathers by saying she's not a fan of conscience protection clauses. "I'm a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it," she is quoted as saying. "But they (Catholics) have this conscience thing.'' Those who are fighting for that "conscience thing" are of course furious with Pelosi's remarks, and Pelosi herself says she's actually arguing with people in the House about whether she knows more about having babies than the pope. You really can't make this kind of stuff up.

Finally, did you think a day could go by without us saying anything about the new Roman Missal? As the final countdown continues, here's a taste of some of the criticism coming from Canadian Catholics, who will also get the new missal this Sunday.