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Archdiocese faces vote complaint

ST. LOUIS — A Catholic abortion-rights group has asked the Internal Revenue Service to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and to stop the archdiocese's attempts to influence the Nov. 2 election.

The complaint says the Roman Catholic archdiocese violated its status as a public charity because such groups are prohibited from acting for or against a certain candidate. The complaint was filed Tuesday by the Washington-based Catholics for a Free Choice.

The complaint cites an Oct. 1 pastoral letter by Archbishop Raymond Burke, who forbade Catholics to vote for candidates who support abortion rights, euthanasia, reproductive cloning, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research — what Burke called the five "intrinsic evils."

The archdiocese declined to comment.

The IRS reviews all complaints and conducts an investigation if needed, spokesman John Lipold said. He could not say whether the IRS would act before next week's election.

Catholics for a Free Choice has filed a similar complaint against the Archdiocese of Denver.

"Public money should be used for charitable purposes, not for telling people who to vote for implicitly or explicitly," group president Frances Kissling said.