Thirty Second Sunday In Ordinary Time

November 5, 2016 Column Father De Celles

Vote Like a Catholic. This Tuesday, November 8, Virginians go to the polls to elect our President, Vice-President and U.S. Representatives (and to vote on some local referenda). Sadly, many, including many Catholics, will vote for candidates who embrace abortion, “same-sex marriage,” and the undermining of religious liberty, common sense and reason. Many others will stay home and not vote at all. But as the Church teaches so clearly:

“Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter…: it demands a public witness to our faith…. [I]t is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms (230). These values are not negotiable.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 83).

“It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom…Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to …to exercise the right to vote ….” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2239-2240).

It is our moral duty to vote, if at all possible, and I encourage all of you to do so on Tuesday, and to vote like the faithful Catholics you are. And I also encourage you to pray for the good of the Commonwealth, especially by joining in our Novena to the Blessed Mother, the Immaculate Conception (see our website).


Religious Liberty and the Election. We are all well aware, I hope, of the President’s ongoing attempt to force Christians, including Catholic schools and charities (i.e., Little Sisters of the Poor) to violate their consciences and religious beliefs by providing contraception and abortifacient insurance to their employees. Not to mention the many efforts of local and state governments to force Christians florists and bakers to participate in “same-sex weddings.” But in the last few weeks you may have overlooked several important stories that further illustrate how this growing problem may affect the future of our nation.

Civil Rights. In September, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a non-binding report ironically titled, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties,” which was actually an attack piece on religion and religious liberty. For example, it states:

“Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon these civil rights.”

Among other things, the Commission 1) sets “religion” against “civil rights,” when religion is a civil right, and 2) adds two supposed “civil rights” that are not part of its legal mandate i.e., “sexual orientation, and gender identity,” and omits “religion,” one of the three principle civil rights it was originally established to protect, i.e., discrimination “based on color, race, religion or national origin.”

The report also criticized the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), saying it “does not limit others’ freedom from government-imposed religious limitations under the Establishment Clause.” Remember: RFRA was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives, by a 97-3 vote in the Senate, and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

In a separate statement issued as part of the report, Chairman Martin R. Castro goes on to write: “The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance. …[T]oday, as in the past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality. …”

These are the folks who are supposed to protect our civil right to religious liberty.

Clinton Campaign Anti-Catholicism. Last month the noted/notorious WikiLeaks released email exchanges between various several high-level officials of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, including John Podesta (Campaign Chairman) and Jennifer Palmieri (Campaign Director of Communications. Allow me to quote from a Lifesitenews article, which sums up facts reported in other media sources.

“The April 2011 email exchange titled “Conservative Catholicism” starts with John Halpin, a senior fellow for the leftist Center for American Progress (CAP), smearing News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thompson. Halpin pointed out …that the two men were raising their kids Catholic. “Friggin’ Murdoch baptized his kids in Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus,” …

“He then goes on to call Catholic beliefs on gender relations “severely backwards” and says conservative Catholics can “throw around” certain Catholic theological terms “and sound sophisticated because no one knows what the hell they’re talking about.”

“It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith…. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”

“[Palmieri responds] saying conservative Catholics gravitated toward the faith because “they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,” and “Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”

Lifesitenews also reports: “Podesta indicates how so-called “Catholic” groups agitating for change in the Church were formed to assist the movement to undermine the Church’s teaching…. “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this… “But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United….”

“Podesta’s correspondent, Center for Progress President Sandy Newman, had written: “Hi John. This whole controversy with the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage even though 98% of Catholic women (and their conjugal partners) have used contraception has me thinking … There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church.””

In response to these anti-Catholic statements, many faithful Catholics, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, have called for apologies. But none have been made. Instead, Vice-Presidential candidate Tim Kaine commented: “We all have opinions and I don’t think you need to apologize for your opinions.” Perhaps, but these are the opinions of some of Secretary Clinton’s most trusted advisors, who will be shaping policy in any new Clinton presidency, and advising her on appointments to the Supreme Court.

[By the way, Podesta and Palmieri, and Kaine, are all self-proclaimed Catholics. But you can call yourself a Catholic and still not be a “faithful” or “practicing” Catholic, and you can even hate the Church itself. In other words, you can be what I call a “pretend Catholic,” and really be an “anti-Catholic.”]


Offertory Campaign. In the next few weeks you will be hearing from me about your financial support for our parish. I know how generous so many of you are, but it’s still important that we revisit this topic regularly. Please pray in advance of hearing what I have to say, and ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart to know God’s will for you in these matters.  Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles