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Churches Given Anti-Obama Message on Sunday Before Election

 
 
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 09:58 am
Quote:
Illinois bishop's election message criticizes Obama
(The Associated Press, November 2, 2012)

An Illinois bishop's order to priests in his diocese to read a letter from the pulpit this weekend critical of President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats is drawing charges from a liberal group that he may be jeopardizing his church's tax-exempt status.

Catholic Diocese of Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky's letter says the president and the current majority in the U.S. Senate have been unwilling to consider Catholic objections to a requirement that insurance companies provide birth control to employees of religious organizations.

The letter says voters who enable "the destruction of innocent human life in the womb" are "guilty of grave sin." Jenky instructed priests to read it at every Mass over the weekend.

The liberal advocacy group Catholics United issued a statement saying the letter amounts to a violation of IRS guidelines. But diocese chancellor Patricia Gibson said the letter doesn't violate IRS restrictions because it doesn't mention any candidate by name — referring to Obama only as "the president" — or instruct anyone how to vote.

"He basically gives guidelines in his own mind on how things should be evaluated, leaving it up to each person how to vote," Gibson said. "I don't agree this is a violation of IRS guidelines. I think it's pretty typical" of what religious leaders say during an election year.

The IRS determines whether a church has violated its tax-exempt status. Churches are allowed to engage in a wide range of political activities, but cannot endorse a candidate or engage in outright partisan activity. The IRS has rarely revoked a church's nonprofit status.

Jenky's letter reads in part: "Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community's grave objections to those (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception."

The letter continues: "Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin."

The letter concludes by calling on practicing Catholics in the Peoria diocese to vote and to be "faithful to Christ and to your Catholic Faith."

Jenky drew criticism earlier this year for likening Obama's infringement on religious freedom to acts of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. The diocese said at the time that Jenky was defending religious freedom and his statement had been distorted and misunderstood. His comparison, according to a diocese spokeswoman, was meant to prevent a repetition of historical attacks on the Catholic Church and other religions.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 21 • Views: 7,516 • Replies: 149

 
jcboy
 
  2  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 10:18 am
@wandeljw,
Goodbye tax empt status. Or it should be!
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 12:07 pm
Quote:
Bishop Jenky Goes Off the Reservation
(Michael Sean Winters | National Catholic Reporter | Nov. 1, 2012}

Bishop Daniel Jenky’s letter to his clergy, asking them to read a letter to the people of the diocese of Peoria, is remarkable in several ways. First, Bishop Jenky is inviting his clergy to commit an intrinsic evil because in the very first paragraph, there is a big, fat lie. Jenky writes:
"Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community's grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception. This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system."

Of course, both the president and the Senate did “consider” the Catholic community’s objections. They disagreed. I think they were wrong to disagree, but they did “consider” it and the Senate voted on it, and the White House engaged in negotiations until about mid-summer. Second, it was the GOP-led House that actually declined to consider our objections, pulling the Fortenberry Amendment from the floor. Third, I do not think anyone can actually consider the HHS mandate, which I have opposed vigorously, “without precedent.” Persecution of Catholics in the nineteenth century, often with official connivance if not explicit support, strikes me as a precedent. Certainly, the decision by the voters in Oregon in the 1920s to effectively close the Catholic schools is a precedent. The decision in Employment Division v. Smith, although it was decided on jurisdictional grounds, preferring legislative to judicial exemptions, was deemed a sufficient enough threat to religious liberty to prompt the adoption of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Oh, and there is the fact that in several dioceses, where bishops coddled and covered for pedophiles, bankruptcy courts are now essentially in charge of the finances, which is a rather grave threat to religious liberty, albeit a self-inflicted one.

But, what is truly stunning is that before the text of the letter to be read this week, Bishop Jenky writes, “By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4.” (Bold in original.) I have never heard of a bishop invoking a priest’s vow of obedience in such a manner. Most bishops I know usually send a cover letter that “invites” or “requests” the priests to read a letter, or provides them with information and permits the priest to use such information as they see fit. An official at the Archdiocese of Boston said that he could never recall that city’s Archbishop invoking the vow of obedience in such a way. In the Archdiocese of Washington, to my knowledge and this is the kind of thing I would know, such has never been done either. In fact, I called around this morning, an no priest or canonist I spoke with could remember a bishop invoking a priest’s vow of obedience to get a letter read, especially a letter that contains such blatant tendentiousness.

Bishop Jenky’s letter, like some of the statements from a handful of other Fox News bishops, contrasts with the remarkably restrained and thoughtful commentaries coming from the leaders of the American episcopate. Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal O’Malley, Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop Gomez and Archbishop Chaput, none of them have engaged in this kind of blatant electioneering. Perhaps they recognize what Jenky et al. have missed, something I recognized in doing my research on the Moral Majority and Jerry Falwell. After ten years in operation, the Moral Majority produced a quite unintended phenomenon: In the early 1990s, the number of people who said they had no religious affiliation began to rise appreciably according to the Pew surveys. If the fact of Christianity is a brazen political face, we quite rightly lose the attention and interest of our own people. I do not know if Cardinal Doilan needs to step in, or the Nuncio, or who, but someone needs to rein in these Fox News bishops before they bring yet more discredit to the Church they undoubtedly love.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 12:54 pm
@jcboy,
For once we agree on a political topic.
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:15 pm
@roger,
I’ve always felt that way Roger, if the churches can’t stay out of politics they should lose their tax empt status. Not just Christian churches, Catholics as well, All of them!
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:22 pm
@jcboy,
Catholics are christians (says this previously very catholic person - I left in the 60's.). What would a catholic care what some newbie sect thinks?

I agree with you, on this tax exempt business (I think I started a dead thread on this a while ago) and on politics. On this with Roger; generally we are almost political opposites.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:00 pm
On the other hand, I suppose that if a church's objections were expressed from a strictly religious basis, it would be acceptable. What do you think, JC? Suppose the Methodists asked their preachers to announce from the pulpit that so-and-so were the antiChrist; would that past the taxation issue test?
mysteryman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:12 pm
I agree, if a church wants to get into politics, they should lose their tax exempt status.
Unfortunately, this isnt a new phenomenon.
It has been going on since Reagan was running, at least as far as I know.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:18 pm
@mysteryman,
mysteryman wrote:
I agree, if a church wants to get into politics, they should lose their tax exempt status.
But you don't mind that about 50 political groups, including the some "Tea Party" organisations, have gained tax-exempt status in recent years?
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:20 pm
It has been going on for centuries, and not just christian but all religious sects.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:24 pm
@RABEL222,
Sure, but we're talking about the u.s. and the matter of separation of church and state and sometimes amazing exemptions for what I think of as balloon churches.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:32 pm
@ossobuco,
Take it to the S.C.. I am sure they can straighten it out. After all they fixed abortion and corporations being citizens?
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:34 pm
At least one priest told his parishioners that he supports gay marriage.

After reading a letter from the archbishop
Quote:
The priest, who has led his church for 39 years, said, however, that he believes change might not be such a bad thing, and that including same-sex couples in the definition of marriage can still be defended by the moral standards of the Roman Catholic faith.
"It seems to me, therefore, that even if we do not believe that gay marriage ever could or should be allowed in the church, we could live with a provision that allows civil marriage of gay and lesbian couples," Lawrence said. "Personally, however, I will go farther than that."
He continued: "I personally believe that this is a possible line of future development in theology and perhaps eventually even in church teaching. And if this is even a possibility, could we not judge that civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples ought to be allowed by the state at this time."
Lawrence said that he does not have plans to officiate same-sex marriage ceremonies, even if Question 6 is approved, but said that he can be a personal witness and offer his blessing to same-sex couples.
"But could not civil law be allowed to progress where church law cannot go, at least not yet? Personally I believe that it can and that it should. So there you have it: The official teaching of the church and my personal reflections," the priest concluded.

Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/md-catholic-priest-defends-gay-marriage-before-congregation-despite-opposition-84163/#Jt6C5YEhsM2mk70v.99
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:36 pm
@ossobuco,
I amend this - I know some catholics have ecumenical views.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:38 pm
@RABEL222,
I can beat you at cynical..

But I can imagine this going that far; maybe in my dreams, but maybe in regular life.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:38 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Such as ALEC!
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:39 pm
@JPB,
Good luck to him.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:44 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Not every exempt status has a religious basis, though.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:45 pm
My take is that in the U.S., catholics are out of sync with bishops on what this bishop was railing about. Not that I know - have read a few bits about all that. That, if so, may or may not progress over time. I figure opinions vary in different areas. It'll be interesting to watch.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 02:51 pm
@roger,
True. But why should there be a distinction that those on religious basis should loose the tax exempt status?
On the other hand, if political organisations don't talk about religion and churches ...
 

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