"I just think they are wasting their energies and resources on an issue that does not really speak to the issues in people's lives," said Nancy Assero, a Baltimore resident and parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi parish in the city's Mayfield neighborhood. "I could walk into any church in the country, and I would bet my [retirement plan] that 90 percent of the women there have practiced contraception."
Salt, of Catholics United, said his group is made up of Democrats and Republicans, and skews toward younger Catholics but has many older members as well. The group wants to see Catholic bishops focus on "justice and the common good," issues that "most American Catholics are talking about at the dinner table."
The bishops' decision to focus on "sexual politics" shows "just how out of touch they are with most American Catholics," Salt said.
"This is embarrassing," he said of the bishops' campaign. "We want the leadership of the church to focus on what matters, not on these manufactured controversies."
Phil Attey, executive director of the group Catholics for Equality, which supports equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Catholic Church, said the bishops' initiative is "election-year posturing."
"We need pastors, not politicians," he said. "Their political antics are hurting the church."
The "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign continues through July 4, when a closing liturgy will be celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.