The British author, Ernest Benn once remarked: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.”
He could have been writing of course
about some outspoken members of today’s
American Catholic hierarchy.
New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan has released his pre-election letter, since he will be in Rome on November 6th. He wants American Catholics to understand the real issues in the upcoming presidential election. Some of his salient observations: “…as I leave for Rome, I want to share with you some of the concerns that I will bring with me to the tombs of the apostles, SS. Peter and Paul, and to Assisi, the town of St. Francis. I am concerned about a culture that has become increasingly callous about the radical abortion license, and a legal system that affords more protection to endangered species of plants and animals than to unborn babies; that considers pregnancy a disease; that interprets ‘comprehensive health care’ in such a way that it may be used to threaten the life of the baby in the womb (and, it should be noted, to exclude the undocumented immigrant as well). I am concerned as well for the infirm and elderly who are nearing the end of life, that they will not be treated with the respect, dignity and compassion that is their due, but instead be encouraged to seek a hasty death before they can become, according to some, ‘a burden to society.’”
Over in Illinois, Bishop Daniel Jenky has now completely morphed into a not-so-kind political propagandist. Jenky, remember, made headlines in April when he said that President Obama was today’s Hitler. “Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments,” Jenky said during a Sunday homily in his St. Mary’s Cathedral, “would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care.” Then the Peoria bishop continued, “In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda – now seems intent on following a similar path.”
Now, Bishop Jenky is warning American Catholics that a vote for Obama is gravely sinful. A friend has forwarded excerpts from a pastoral letter to be read aloud at EVERY weekend liturgy on November 3rd and 4th. It’s extreme, to say the least. Bishop Jenky’s letter begins stating there has never “been at time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present.” It states that the Affordable Healthcare Act will “require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception.” It overtly implies that any Democrat politician supporting the Affordable Healthcare Act and anyone voting for a Democrat “rejects Jesus as their Lord” and are “objectively guilty of grave sin” and show no “hope for salvation.”
How misleading. How strange. How disconcerting.
An American religious leader is now instructing Catholic American voters how they should vote, directly or indirectly, and with menacing threats of damnation if the voter does not vote as instructed by her or his bishop.
Today’s American-Catholic-bishop politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
I think our first American Catholic Bishop
Archbishop John Carroll
must be spinning in his grave in Baltimore!