Why Priests Shouldn't Preach About Politics

Why should a Catholic priest avoid preaching about political issues--Republican, Democrat or otherwise--in a homily? See what you think about one answer at Beliefnet. Hint: It’s got something to do with whose word he’s preaching, or rather, whose Word. James Martin, SJ
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9 years 9 months ago
This thorny topic of ''politics in the pulpit'' has a terrible rap this season with Jeremiah Wright and Michael Fegler. Like the saying about pornography, we recognize what it is when we see it and can say it's wrong, but may be at great variance about what expression is right. I don't think the marker of congregational response is the best one to assess the impact of a homily for a whole score of reasons -- mainly because the Spirit is at work with and without us. Partisanship is one thing, but I disagree with the notion that one should not speak about an issue simply because it has an obvious political dimension. Our nation's painful history regarding civil rights and our current quagmire in Iraq may have been different if clergy had taken more responsibility to preach the Gospel and not so fear its political interpretation.
9 years 9 months ago
Thanks so much, Jim, for your insightful piece! I am not a priest; I am a diocesan staff person who speaks on Catholic social teaching, and in an election year, I'm asked to come to parishes to "compare the Democratic and Republican platforms and candidates." I always refuse, insisting that my role is to present Catholic social teaching, "Faithful Citizenship," and invite our brothers and sisters to form their consciences in light of the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching, use the virtue of prudence, "avoid evil and do good," and make their best choice. As you say, I hope the Word gives us the light to make informed and faithful decisions!


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