Tomorrow, I will mail a copy of my book to all of the Cardinals, Archbishops, and bishops in charge of a diocese in America. My goal is to encourage the bishops to finally speak out together against the evils of our day. It is scandalous that we tolerate a major political party openly campaigning to preserve Roe v Wade while we simply march against abortion. It’s time to vote against abortion.
Here is my letter to the bishops:
Dear Cardinal Wuerl,
I understand the policies expressed by the Church in regards to not taking partisan positions in elections. However, standing against evil isn’t a partisan position. It only seems to be a political statement when evil is sponsored by a political party—but that is even more dangerous. We are not injecting the Church into politics, the politicians have injected themselves into determinations of life and death. We would be derelict to not respond. Lies are a staple of politicians and the media in election campaigns. We need to stand firm for the truth and not let our fellow Catholics be manipulated by the lies of modern culture.
The Democratic Party supports all five intrinsic evils of abortion, homosexual marriage, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and human cloning in their platforms or through public policy. If not this, what does someone have to do to receive a rebuke from our bishops? Politicians are campaigning for a job, nothing more. We should not hire those who stand against our moral and religious values to make laws for us. I ask you to call them out in the model of our Lord Who decried the leadership of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matt 23). Call out these five woes against the Democratic Party as Christ called down the seven woes on Jewish leaders. Although political from their perspective, this is our moral and religious duty as the Church.
Scripture tells us there are four sins that cry out to God for vengeance: murder (Gen 4:10), sodomy (Gen 19:5-13), oppression of orphans and widows (Ex 2:23), and cheating laborers of their due (James 5:4). The first two of these are dealt with in my book—they are fundamentally in conflict with the moral law and always wrong no matter how they are conducted. There is no “right” way to do either of them. The latter two are subjects for public policy debates. No political party has a plank in their platform advocating for the oppression of orphans and widows or the cheating of laborers. These sins are only an issue in any election to the extent of conflicting perspectives on public policy. We may disagree how a party or politician goes about caring for orphans, widows, and laborers—but these are public policy debates, not intrinsic evil. Those in the Church arguing for the “Seamless Garment” approach err in giving equal weight to all of these issues.
Catholics represent as much as 25% of the electorate overall and as much as ⅓ in CA and NY. No politician should be able to advocate for intrinsic evil and expect Catholic votes—no politician can be elected without Catholic acquiescence in a national or state election. Yet, Catholics have split our vote down the middle for a number of election cycles. No one respects our priorities because we don’t stand for them ourselves, as a group. Unfortunately, most bishops have done next to nothing to correct this problem. Too many bishops waste political bandwidth explaining the priorities of the Church regarding immigration reform, publicly-funded healthcare, and climate change. The Church must speak as one about real and threatening evil.
Most responses I receive from dissenting bishops and priests regarding my efforts quote the need to maintain the Church’s tax-exempt status. How free are we when our Church considers Herself subject to the rules of government? The Church isn’t tax-exempt because of 501c3. She was tax-exempt before churches were added to the code in 1954. The Church is tax-exempt because she pre-dates the government and our Founding Fathers did not want to have government control of churches. It’s that simple. The 501c3 code is a primary example of the way government takes control… government says it is merely codifying an existing relationship and nothing will change. However, once codified, the government holds the threat to rescind the code. What should exist after the rescission is what existed for 200+ years before that… churches are still tax-exempt. That is not what the government says will happen, though, so the Church complies.
Churches were added to the 501c3 code as a tool of control and specifically to silence the Church and other non-profits. Sen. Lyndon Johnson did not like such organizations having a significant influence in shaping public policy. What we have become is direct result of this action. The Church has a greatly reduced influence in public life and intrinsic evil has become a staple of public policy. Are you aware that churches do not have to apply for 501c3 qualification? Almost all qualifying organizations must fill out IRS Forms 1023 and 1024. Churches are not required to file form 1023 because they are considered covered by 501c3 automatically. Donations to churches are automatically tax-deductible. Churches have a mandatory exception to filing tax returns. The IRS code automatically exempts churches from its basic requirements.
In short, the Catholic Church in America is voluntarily silent… and misguided. It is not an endorsement of the GOP to point out the evil supported by the Democratic Party. We don’t compromise our impartiality by opposing the sponsors of evil in positions of public authority. We have compromised our authority by our failure to do so. Will the GOP benefit from such condemnation in a two-party system? Yes. Should this potential indirect benefit silence us? No.
We are scandalized among even atheists who wonder where our Catholic leaders are when the issues are so polarized and clear in our elections. Even our foes see that the Church is silent when it shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, the reality is that many of our bishops and priests support the Democratic Party. How can I say that? What if I told you the USCCB came out in favor of tax cuts, strong national borders, and 2nd Amendment rights… you would logically conclude the Church favors the GOP. Here’s the reality… the Church has been a major factor in pushing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), immigration reform, and we even have a Papal Encyclical on climate change. These are Democratic policy priorities and people rightly conclude the Church favors Democrat policies. Can there be any wonder at the confusion sown among the faithful? Let the enclosed book be a companion to “Faithful Citizenship” as a first hurdle for the parties.
If you have followed the news, you can see the Democratic Party certainly knows who its enemies are… faithful Catholics. Their greatest fear is that the Church will do its duty and reject them. Your silence is their solace. See the recent elections in Ireland as a warning. The bishops there tried to walk a “middle road” in their exhortation. They took the “seamless garment” approach that gave equal weight to the economy, brexit, climate change, and the issues of life. That middle road has now enshrined abortion in the laws of that “Catholic” nation. Luke-warm leadership is no leadership at all.
Msgr Charles Pope wrote an article that read like it came directly out of my book and posted it to Facebook in the 2016 election cycle. The one main difference between his article and my book? He said, “but I’m not going to name the party.” From that, there were posters on that thread who concluded they should inform their own consciences and choose “the lesser of two evils”—that was Hillary Clinton to them. Msgr Pope and I put that delusion to rest but this should be a wakeup call that there are too many who will take any amount of latitude perceived—no matter how infinitesimal—to vote for the party sponsoring intrinsic evils. The Church must be direct, forceful, and quick… before it’s too late. The Democrats have already made it clear that their number one priority is preserving Roe v Wade through the Supreme Court. To that end, they oppose anyone proposed by a GOP president—even before the name has been released. If they retake the Senate, they will use their power to prevent any more pro-life judges.
For their support of intrinsic evil, the Democrats should lose elections—and lose badly. My hope is that you and your fellow bishops and priests will make support for evil the next “third-rail” of politics that no politician or party would ever dare touch again. As long as intrinsic evil remains a choice in our elections, we will have evil in our politics.
Some bishops have spoken out. I call your attention to the bishops of Kansas standing as one in the last election cycle to tell their diocesan members they must vote with abortion at the forefront of their thoughts. Archbishop Aquila of Denver gave a very direct statement in support of this effort to confront evil. The most direct so far, though, has been Fr John Lankeit of the diocese of Phoenix during his homily at EWTN in the Fall of 2016. He laid out the issues and the Catholic position firmly and clearly as the voice of his Bishop. His example in every diocese of America would end State sponsorship of abortion. If you haven’t seen it, search for “Homily for October 2, 2016” on Youtube. I pray it may serve as a template to your own contemplations.
I look forward to discussing this with you further and will pray for our efforts as a Church to stand firmly against those who advocate for evil in public policy. As we celebrate the canonization of Jose Sanchez del Rio, may we all shout “Viva Cristo Rey!” at a government growing hostile to the Catholic Church.
If I am in error, I respectfully request your correction. If I am not in error, I urgently request your support. I am at your service to discuss the issues, conduct voter education in your diocese, and support your efforts.
Sincerely and respectfully,