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Catholics who are eligible to vote should do so with a properly formed conscience and in accordance with Catholic moral teaching.

Your vote not only has obvious political implications, but it is most profoundly a moral action.

The ultimate movtive of voting is to give witness to the truth of God’s Law and to infuse our nation with Christian values.

Faithfulness to the Teachings of Christ and His Church should always take precedence over mere personal or political affiliations.1

So That You May Vote With A Well Formed Conscience I Present The Sermon That All Men Of Good-Will Should Ponder:

October, of course, is ‘Respect Life Month.’

And, so, I’ll talk a little about that in today’s homily.

• I am opposed to the death penalty.

In your eyes does that make me a liberal?

• I am opposed to abortion.

In your eyes does that make me a conservative?

• I am opposed to wars that are unjust.

In your eyes does that make me a liberal?

• I am opposed to the HHS Mandate because it is a violation of our God given religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

In your eyes does that make me a conservative?

• I support a preferential option for the poor and the marginalized.

In your eyes does that make me a liberal?

• I support traditional marriage between one man and one woman and am opposed to any type of ‘gay marriage.’

In your eyes does that make me a conservative?

• I believe that immigrants, whether they are here legally or illegally should be treated with respect and dignity.

In your eyes does that make me a liberal?

• I am opposed to embryonic stem-cell research.

In your eyes does that make me a conservative?

The fact of the matter is that I am neither a liberal nor a conservative; simply put I AM CATHOLIC!

And yet in discussing, with many of you, or at least some of you, who are indeed partisans you would like to PROJECT labels onto the Church and onto its Priests as being liberal or conservative…

Depending on your point of view…

A Catholic who may be liberal would attack the Church as being ‘too conservative.’

A Catholic who is conservative would attach the Church as being ‘too liberal.’

This is a very common political practice.

It deflects peoples’ eyes from us and puts them on somebody else.

But the Church is neither liberal nor conservative.

The Church simply IS!

The Church simply is the Voice of God in this world.

And, God Himself is neither a Liberal nor a Conservative, Democrat nor Republican, God simply IS: Truth in Itself… the source of all truth in the universe.

Why is it that when Catholics break from Catholic teaching they usually do so along the lines of politics and ideology?

Have you ever wondered why Catholics who are ‘pro-abortion’ are almost always Democrats?

Have you ever wondered why Catholics who are ‘pro-death-penalty’ are almost always Republican?

It is because on some level they have given-in to the loyalty demands of their parties and their ideologies and this is something that has left a very harmful trail in its wake.

These people are more likely to listen to politicians (lying, cheating, stinking, back-stabbing, self-absorbed politicians) than their own Priests!

And, they are more likely to believe what their political parties and their ideologies teaches than what the Faith teaches them… and what their God teaches them.

How in the world did we get to this place?

How did we end up in this time in history where the Catholic Church in America is so weak and neutered because it is so dis-unified.

In the beginning of my homily I mentioned eight issues that are of extreme importance to our Catholic Faith… for the good of society and… for our salvation.

But what I didn’t share with you is that they are not all at the same level in other words…

Abortion, for example: the Church teaches that abortion is intrinsically evil.

In other words: it is always evil in every, single circumstance.

It does not same the same thing about the death penalty.

Pretty close… but, not the same thing.

It doesn’t say that the death penalty is intrinsically evil.

The Church teaches that the circumstances in which it would be permittable for the death penalty to be carried out are extremely rare…

It’s practically nonexistent. And then… only for the protection of society….

Not to avenge the victims and so, it is rare and practically nonexistent it means that is evil in almost every circumstance but not every circumstance, like abortion.

And I want to talk a little bit more today more in depth about abortion because still to this day over 40% of self-identified Catholics think that abortion is wonderful…

That it is the best thing ever…

Do they not realize that it is murder?

Do they not realize that it is genocide…

on a scale that makes the Nazis look like amateurs?

Over fifty-five million human beings have been sacrificed for selfishness.

Do these people not realize it or do they know it and just don’t care?

Or, perhaps there is some other reason.

I’m the type of person who wants to know.

I want to understand how can people believe that something that is pure evil to be good?

And, so, I’m trying to understand.

I’ve tried to learn.

I’ve spoken to people, I’ve read, I’ve researched and I think that if we want to understand why so many Catholics think that abortion is wonderful we need to look at the association between the Catholic Church and the Democrat Party.

And, the reason we need to do this is… not so long ago the Catholic Church and the Democrat Party were almost seen as the same thing…

especially, in the North-East of this Country.

And, anybody from that region knows that to be true so to understand this association we need to go back in time: to the middle of the 19th century.

This was a time of great immigration.

Most of these immigrants were Catholic.

Most of them were Germans and Irish and most of them were poor.

And this was something that frightened the so-called ‘Real Americans’…

the Americans who had been here for a few generations before that.

The Protestant Majority.

It [the immigration] scared them.

And, many of their ministers incited their people with hate and they said that the Catholic Church is a barrier to prosperity.

They said, that the Catholic Church is a threat to Democracy.

They believed that the Pope was the anti-Christ…

that the Catholic Church was evil.

And, if these Catholic immigrants were allowed to continue to come into this great Nation, year after year after year one day the Catholics would be the majority in this country and then the Pope would be in charge.

They preyed on peoples’ fears.

And the people gave in.

They formed political associations and formed political parties with the express purpose of destroying the Catholic Church in America.

The most famous of these parties was called: ‘The Know-Nothing Party.’ 

And they gained power in a number of big cities and regions around our Nation.

Their job was to destroy the Church.

And, they bullied Catholics…

They discriminated against them…

They’d beat Catholics…

They’d murder Catholics…

They lynched Catholics…

They burned down Catholic Churches.

They burned down Catholic Convents.

Do you even know that?

Are you even aware of that type of oppression in our Nation?

And the police didn’t do anything.

The Church was poor and defenseless.

Now, there were some courageous Bishops who got the men in their Parishes together to protect the Churches to literally form a line around the Church with clubs and axes and other weapons because the protestant police wouldn’t help.

The Catholics were powerless but they found power…
especially political power from the Democrat Party.

And some historians said that the Catholics clung, they clung to the Democrat Party for protection especially for political protection.

And, it served them well in a number of circumstances.

We can talk about the public school system and parochial schools.

At the time, public schools were basically ‘Protestant schools.’

They taught the Protestant agenda.

They taught from the Protestant bible.

They taught that Catholics were bad even in the book with the anti-Christ in waiting.

This association benefitted the Catholics and it beneffited the Democrat Party as well.

And this association continued and it probably reached its zenith with the election of President John F. Kennedy.

Now a Priest/Friend of mine, who is also a scholar, argued that it really reached its zenith with the ‘Civil Rights Act.’

And… he believes that Catholic who came of age during that time are the Catholics who are pro-abortion today.

And, I said, ‘Why, how is it possible?’

He said, ‘Because, the Civil Rights Act was such a monumental, historic act, that was so needed to right such an injustice that people viewed upon this as ‘not being equal by race,’ this was God’s work, the Civil Rights Act, and a lot of Catholics participated in that and they were rightly proud.

And those Catholics continued to fight for justice in the world and for peace and they protested against wars that believed to be unjust.

And they fought against political abuses, corruption of power as manifested in Watergate.

Their Catholic identity had been engrained by those things.

And, those are things that we continue to value as Catholics today.

But, then he said something that I was not aware of:

He said that this generation, these Catholics didn’t even have to deal with the question of abortion.

It wasn’t even on their radar screen.

They didn’t have to deal with contraception or sterilization or euthanasia or embryonic stem-cell research or same-sex marriages or threats to religious liberty…

None of that had come yet.

And when it did come, especially with regard to abortion, do you know who were the first to talk about the words abortion?

Was it the Catholic Church?

Not really.

It was the ‘old enemy.’

It was the Protestants.

And not just ‘the Protestants,’ but it was the ‘Fundamentalist Baptists.’

Many of those… who opposed the Civil Rights Act.

Many of whom, still, at that time in history, were saying that Catholics were bad and evil.

If today you were to talk to a liberal Catholic and you mention the names: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson… some of them are going to gringe.

And so, the thinking, ‘My Church is not really talking about the horrors of abortion, my political party is not talking about the horrors of abortion, it’s the ‘enemy’ who is talking about the horrors of abortion… they can’t be right.’

But, there’s been a lot of time that has past since then.

And the Catholic Church is the unquestioned leader in pointing out the horrors of abortion.

And yet people continue to persist, stubbornly in their view that, ‘It’s O.K.’

And, ‘It’s something that is good.’

And, not only that but they continue to infect other people around them: their children and grandchildren.

If we believe, and teach, and proclaim to others that darkness is actually light, that sin and evil is actually goodness,

And, conversely if we believe and teach and proclaim to others that ‘goodness is actually sin and evil’… that ‘light is actually darkness’… than we are necessarily limiting and diminishing and potentially even extinguishing our participation in God’s life.

My brothers and sisters, we simply cannot follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, as fully as we are called to if we believe in and adhere to all or even most of what the Democrats and Republicans teach.

Certainly we need to embrace the good in those parties, in those ideologies, but if we accept everything hook-line-and-sinker we are also necessarily embracing evil.

We have an historic election in the next few weeks and this is an opportunity.

It is an opportunity for all of us to learn more fully about what the Catholic Church teaches and why it teaches it.

To learn what is truly important not just for the good of society but for our very own salvation.

To learn about what your political candidates of choice believe on these issues that are of extreme importance to the Catholic Faith.

Every week in the bulletin we are running information to help educate you on the Catholics Care – Catholic Vote Campaign.

To help empower you… to form your consciences based not on political ideology but on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

One of the primary purposes of the Catholic Church in the world is to discern what leads us into the fullness of God and what limits and diminishes and potentially even extinguishes our participation in God’s life.

That is one of the primary purposes of the Catholic Church.

Not only is it ‘not a primary purpose,’ it is not even ‘a purpose’ of politicians and political parties.

And that is one of the most important things you need to know.

The above words are a transcription of a sermon delivered by Reverend John Fitch at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, Florida in October of 2012 A.D.

“Pray for our country and for all elected leaders, that they will be open to the grace, wisdom, compassion, and justice of Our Lord.

“Pray also that Catholics will discern with a properly formed conscience, the moral decisions which God calls us to make.

 

“At the end of our lives, we will be asked to give an account of our actions. Let us not fall short on this critical occasion.”
– – His Excellency, The Right Reverend Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida – –

1. From a letter  issued from the Office of the Bishop in the Diocese of Venice in Florida