The editorial states that “public relations and polling are not instruments of . . . moral argument” and should not be employed by the bishops. On the contrary; these are just the tools that should be used, since their worth is proven.
From its founding, the church has tried to be resourceful in conveying the Gospel to all persons. This has never meant confining its message to the inside of a building. Today, the church attempts to be effective by utilizing current information-gathering methods--including polling, or even consulting experts in non-theological fields, e.g., medicine, psychology or sociology.
For The Times to argue that modern forms of information collection and disbursement are inappropriate for the bishops and are properly “tools of election politics” is to suggest that the church may not employ legitimate modes of communication. In other places and ages, the term used to describe The Times’ position--restricting ordinary forms of religious expression--has been called “repression” or sometimes “censorship.” Or can The Times propose a modern epithet for the ancient notion of discrimination?