A friend pointed me to the latest issue of NC Catholics, the monthly publication of the Diocese of Raleigh. Bishop Michael Burbidge made a bold statement on the election in his column. Readers here and elsewhere will note that I have been critical of my bishop and have long-endeavored to evoke such a statement. I have no illusion that Bishop Burbidge is responding to my encouragement. I only praise God that the statement has come.

Here is the main part of the statement:

“While the Church never tells us for whom we should vote, we are reminded that there are a hierarchy of issues that demand our focus and attention. It begins with the defense of all human life at every stage, the safeguarding of the dignity of each and every person without exception, and the protection of our religious liberty in a land that is safe and secured so that we may freely practice the faith we profess. If these issues are not upheld, then what will follow will be flawed. While it is unlikely that any candidate will agree with us on every position, there can be no compromise in casting our vote for the one who will most effectively protect the sacredness of life and the dignity of each and every person. Pray for the gift of holy wisdom.”

I have also been told that this statement will be read by priests of the diocese at Masses this weekend. Unfortunately, many have already voted during this early voting period, but the words will still be timely for the completion of this election season.

I sent an email of gratitude to Bishop Michael Burbidge and received a response. Thank you, Bishop Burbidge. May God bless us all in these consequential times.


I received a response from my Bishop’s office this morning. The correspondence between us is below:


Dear Mr. Yanke,

I received a copy of the email below, and I just wanted to take a brief moment to offer my perspective. I assure you that Bishop Burbidge read your previous communications, and at least on the most recent one, I responded to you on behalf of the Bishop.

While there are some lines that the Church cannot cross, mindful of its tax exempt status, it can speak and does speak regarding how Catholics should engage in the public square and vote, based on an informed conscience, undergirded by Catholic teaching.

There are various examples on the Diocesan website at in the Faithful Citizenship Resources section where Bishop Burbidge speaks about this matter. In an letter to be published in parish bulletins this weekend, which is also on the Diocesan website, Bishop Burbidge invites parishioners to read several documents which address how they can form their consciences in advance of the election, with an emphasis on Church teachings. In addition, the Diocesan website also contains a recent letter from Archbishop Kurtz, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, regarding Catholics and the election process.

Thank you for your passionate embrace of the stance and teachings of the Church on the issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia, traditional marriage, and the respect and sacredness of all human life.


Russell C. Elmayan, M.B.A., M.P.S.
Chief Administrative Officer
The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh

My Response:


Thank you for responding. For ten years, I have reached out to Bishop Burbidge to discuss these issues with him. I have only received three responses… all through surrogates. All along, I have asked to be corrected, if I am wrong. If I am right, these matters deserve attention… and more than an arms-length, tangential mention.

If you truly read my most recent letter to the bishops (put in the mail last Saturday), you would know that the tax-exempt argument is the wrong tack to take with me. From our founding, churches have been exempt because it violates the basic principle of “free exercise of religion” for it to be otherwise. When the government can place restrictions on the speech and teachings of the Church, we do not have freedom of religion. Churches were added to the 501c3 section of the IRS code in 1954 to “merely codify an existing relationship.” In reality, Sen Lyndon Johnson championed this addition for the express purpose of reining in the Church in the public sphere. Once codified, it has been used as a hammer to silence the Church. Even now, when faced with the most consequential election of our lifetimes, we still feel the weight of the government on our throats… and it is illusory. Read the code… you will find that churches are actually exempted from most of the requirements of it because churches are automatically exempt by their nature.

Our silence is self-imposed, voluntary… and misguided.

I have seen the examples of teachings on faithful citizenship and even made reference to them in my writings. These teachings fail because they give equal weight to all issues. When faced with the intrinsic evils of the dignity of life, we are wrong to keep advocating for minor political priorities. There is a bigger issue here. I have been told by another bishop that the Church does have priorities in this election… just not the same ones I am advocating. Please explain to me how the Church can feel free to exercise its advocacy on behalf of Obamacare, immigration reform, and climate change but not feel free to denounce the sponsors of intrinsic evil! I have heard from Archbishop Kurtz (Archbishop Releases UNPRECEDENTED Video Calling for Catholics to Dump Trump – Video). If it wasn’t his intent to denounce Donald Trump, then taking the middle road has only sown more confusion. If both sides can claim your support, you have failed in teaching.

The best argument I have heard to date for the Church to stay out of political fights is that it hurts our authority when we take partisan positions. I agree with that. I don’t want the Church to take part in partisan politics… so can you tell me why our bishops have engaged to help the Democratic Party with Obamacare, immigration reform, and climate change? You see, people aren’t stupid. They see this and rightly conclude the bishops are with the Democrats. No? When was the last time you heard a bishop call for lower taxes, national sovereignty (strong borders), and the natural right of self-defense (2nd Amendment)? You will strain hard to find it. If they had, they would have been castigated by the Left and their mouthpiece, the Press, for siding with the GOP. Even now, when some bishops try to take a harder stance against the intrinsic evils, they receive a harsh backlash for supporting the GOP. Many have rightly concluded the Church favors the Democratic Party and they are voting in accordance with that position. The Church needs to speak clearly to clear up that misconception.

What the Church has been doing is exactly what it says it should not be doing… being partisan. I am advocating for the Church to only take a position in support of Church teaching—against evil. Nothing more. It has been done eloquently by the Bishop of Phoenix through his priest, Fr John Lankeit in a homily on EWTN, October 2, 2016. This is the teaching that should be given throughout our country as we head into this election! Clearly, it can be done. There is a Catholic position in this fight and it is the fight against evil.

In a misguided attempt to maintain our moral authority by not getting involved in the election, we are hurting our moral teaching authority by failing to stand firmly against clear and present evil. The Democratic Party has been very forthright that their plans are to cement abortion and homosexual marriage in the laws of this land—it says so in their Party Platform. This is our last chance to stop them for generations. If Hillary Clinton (or any Democrat) becomes our next president, they will tilt the Supreme Court 7-2 against the pro-life position. They have said so clearly. When that happens, no amount of Pro-Life marching will help us. Our last line of defense for human life is right in front of us.

By the way, so far I have focused on the national picture. Here is an excerpt from the NC Democratic Party State Platform:

Furthermore, abortion must be safe, legal, accessible to all North Carolina women regardless of ability to pay; therefore, the State abortion fund should be fully funded and accessible to indigent women.” – page 9.

They are promising the use our tax dollars to support abortion in the State of NC. Our bishops can stop this. We are praying you will. Time is short.

Patrick Yanke



Last Saturday, I dropped my last mailing to the bishops in the mailbox. I have said all I can say to them for this election cycle. So far, I have largely been ignored… but there are exceptions. My own bishop, though, has denied me a hearing with him.

I simply pray for our beautiful country and for our Church. The collective silence of our bishops in the face of the ever-expanding evil in our government, hurts our authority. It is true authority that separates the Catholic Church from all others. This authority is given to administer the Sacraments, instruct in all truth, govern the Church, and stand against evil. What good can we do when we allow evil to grow and fester?


Here is the text of my last letter to the bishops:

I understand the positions expressed by the Church in regards to not taking partisan positions in elections. However, standing against evil isn’t a partisan position. We are not injecting the Church into politics, the politicians have injected themselves onto the battlefield of life and death. We are derelict to not respond. Lies are a staple of politicians and the media in election campaigns. You need to stand firm for the truth.

The Democratic Party supports all five intrinsic evils in their platform or public policy. If not this, what does someone have to do to receive a rebuke from our bishops? Pope Francis had the fortitude to reject a nominated Ambassador from France due to his open homosexuality. In this country, we should follow the Pope’s example and reject those championing abortion and homosexual marriage in their party platform. They are campaigning for a job, nothing more. We should not hire them to make laws for us.

If a Democrat (doesn’t matter if it turns out to be Hillary Clinton) becomes President, we will have generations of Americans grow up not knowing there was even a debate about the constitutionality of abortion rights. The next president will likely appoint a 7-2 Supreme Court. Although the quote below is from Hillary Clinton, keep in mind that both of the issues she addresses are in the Party Platform:

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests, because the next president could get as many as three appointments,” the former first lady responded. “It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.” . . . “We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community, we’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe V. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed.” – Hillary Clinton

Catholics represent as much as 25% of the electorate overall and as much as 1⁄3 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. Our bishops have done next to nothing to correct this problem. Too many bishops waste significant bandwidth explaining the priorities of the Church in immigration reform and publicly-funded healthcare. It’s time the Church spoke as one about real and threatening evil.

Most responses I have received regarding my book have quoted 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. Sen. Lyndon Johnson did not like the Church having such 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 actually have to apply for 501c3 qualification? For almost all organizations, they must fill out Form 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.

We are scandalized among even the atheists who wonder where our Catholic leaders are when the issues are so polarized and clear in this election. Even our foes see that the Church is silent when it shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, the reality is that our bishops and priests are supporting the Democratic Party.

How can I say you support the Democratic Party? 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? 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. Are you so blind?

Msgr Charles Pope wrote an article that read like it came directly out of my book and posted it to Facebook recently. 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. Voting has already started.

Despite all of our efforts so far in our marches and prayers, if Hillary Clinton becomes the next president, she gets the chance to cement abortion and a redefinition of marriage as law for generations. We can stop it. My hope is that you and your fellow bishops will make support for evil the next “third-rail” of politics that no politician would ever dare touch again.

Some bishops have spoken out. I call your attention to the bishops of Kansas standing as one 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. 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. May it 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.


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