Catholic voters are notoriously unpredictable. But Marguerite Ozburn, a 36-year-old communications specialist with Boeing, makes no bones about which candidate she prefers in the upcoming presidential election.

“I support President Bush,” she said. “The presidential candidate being pro-life is huge. It's important to me where they stand not only on abortion but also on euthanasia, cloning, stem-cell research and all the life issues. I look at that first because that's the crux of who we are as human beings.”

Those sentiments are echoed by Gary Musso, 62, a retired human-resources professional from Clovis, Calif., who served in the Department of the Air Force as a civilian.

“I'm keen to see Mr. Bush stay in office because his decisions seem to be more principled than Mr. [John] Kerry's,” he said.

When it comes to issues, Musso said he's concerned about his Social Security benefits.

Mitch Miller, on the other hand, is a member of the Internet discussion group Catholics for John Kerry and has environmental reasons for not voting for the Republican incumbent.

“We must have a national culture in which care and sustainability of the environment that sustains us is encouraged,” he wrote on the site June 18. “The person with the greatest power to promote this culture is the president of the United States.”

He said Bush and the “religious right” place too much emphasis on “imposing their will” on a woman's choice whether to give birth than on the “health of the presently-alive human race.”

Ono Ekeh, the founder of the Catholics for John Kerry group and a former staffer at the U.S. bishops’ conference, declined an interview with the Register. But he has defended his support for the pro-abortion candidate, saying Kerry would fund social programs that would make abortion less attractive for a woman in a crisis pregnancy.

Ekeh told the National Catholic Reporter that he believes Kerry's “entire vision resonates with Catholic social teaching.”

— Patrick Novecosky