Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Political Activity Guidelines for Catholic Organizations

March 1, 2012

Political Activity Guidelines for Catholic Organizations is a regularly updated document (first published in 2007) by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of General Counsel to provide general guidance on the political activities of Catholic organizations, including parishes and schools. Under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, religious organizations are federal income tax exempt, provided they do not participate in or intervene on behalf of a political campaign or candidate. Given its strong views on many political and social issues, the American Catholic Church in the past has been accused of violations of section 501(c)(3). This document attempts to inform and protect Catholic organizations by outlining appropriate political conduct for such organizations in such areas as lobbying, fundraising, campaigning, elections, and other situations.

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