Some Catholics say politics were prevalent in parishes ahead of election

Voters wait outside a polling location for the presidential election Nov. 8 shortly after polls opened at Annunciation Church in Philadelphia. (CNS photo/Tracie Van Auken, EPA)Voters wait outside a polling location for the presidential election Nov. 8 shortly after polls opened at Annunciation Church in Philadelphia. (CNS photo/Tracie Van Auken, EPA)

The numbers are in and a majority of Catholic voters backed the winner of Tuesday’s election, Donald J. Trump. Helping drive up those numbers, some Catholics say, were clergy and parish leaders who spent the weeks running up to the election offering support for the Republican nominee.

Perhaps the most high-profile case came in mid-October from St. Kevin’s Church in Warwick, R.I., where local media reported that the Rev. Robert L. Marciano gave a homily in which he said Hillary Clinton and Democratic leaders “hate Catholics.”

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“They hate everything that we stand for and the virtues and values that we hold as sacred,” he preached, leading to an outcry from some parishioners in the Democratic-leaning state. He suggested that voting for Mrs. Clinton would put one’s soul in jeopardy “by cooperating in the destruction of innocent human life,” a reference to the candidate’s support for abortion rights.

The county where St. Kevin’s is located was the only one in Rhode Island, the most Catholic state in the nation, that voted for Mr. Trump.

While Father Marciano’s words may have been especially heated, he wasn’t alone when it came to introducing politics at the pulpit in the weeks leading up to the presidential election.

Don Powell, a Catholic in the Diocese of Orange, Calif., told America that he heard homilies on the two Sundays before the election that sounded to him like endorsements for Mr. Trump.

“The priest told us that the abortion issue superseded other issues like immigrants’ rights” and that Catholics “should never vote for a pro-choice candidate,” Mr. Powell wrote in an email.

“As a Catholic convert who came into the church because of people like Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton I can’t tell you how discouraging I found these homilies,” he continued.

Mr. Powell’s experience isn’t unique.

A Catholic in the Archdiocese of Detroit, Stephen McKenney, said that a deacon at his church preached last Sunday that Catholics voting in the election should be concerned with only five issues, all related to life and marriage.

The deacon, Mr. McKenney recalled, said that just one candidate aligns with the church on those issues and that many of his priest friends were “voting for him”—a clear reference to Mr. Trump.

“I was pretty shocked by it,” Mr. McKenny said. He found the explanation of which issues should be of concern to Catholics incomplete and said he was “deeply troubled” with an endorsement from the pulpit.

Mr. Trump unexpectedly won the reliably blue state of Michigan.

RELATED: Republicans Push for Pulpit Politics

Elsewhere, letters and voting guides were published in church bulletins ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

For example, a letter written by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, which comprises Long Island, was published in bulletins and read at Mass.

Some believe that Bishop Murphy implied in the letter that Catholics could not vote for Mrs. Clinton or her running mate, Tim Kaine, a practicing Catholic who supports abortion rights but personally accepts church teaching on abortion.

“Support of abortion by a candidate for public office, some of whom are Catholics, even if they use the fallacious and deeply offensive ‘personally opposed but . . .’ line, is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote,” the letter said.

One Catholic in the diocese, who asked that her name not be used, said she and other parishioners were “taken aback” when they heard the letter read at Mass.

“It doesn't specifically name Clinton or Trump, but clearly we were being told not to vote for Clinton because of the pro-life issue,” she told America.

“I was taken aback because there really were so many issues at stake in this election, not just pro-life [issues],” she continued. “Neither candidate is perfect as far as church doctrine on any of the issues.”

Mr. Trump, who lost the state of New York, won one of the two counties that comprise the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Karen Dombowsky, a Catholic who lives outside Denver, said her parish bulletin published a letter written by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, in which he was critical of both candidates, referring to Mr. Trump as a “disrespecter of women” and stating that the Clinton entourage is “riddled with anti-Catholic bigots.”

“The priests from our church have referenced political issues many times over the years,” she said in an email. “I have spoken to many of my Catholic friends who are very unhappy with the discussion of politics from the pulpit and have stopped going to church.”

A Catholic in the Diocese of Trenton said that a deacon at her parish posted messages on his social media account supporting Mr. Trump and preached homilies that sounded to her like a thinly veiled endorsement of the Republican candidate.

“In the homily I heard, the deacon preached about abortion, same-sex marriage, assaults on religious liberty and pornography and reminded parishioners of our obligations as Catholics to vote for pro-life candidates,” Mary Vanderhoof wrote in an email.

She said another deacon told her daughter not to vote for Mrs. Clinton.

Politicking wasn’t exclusively in favor of Mr. Trump, according to a Catholic in the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C.

According to Angela Flynn, a priest at her parish said Catholics should consider a number of issues when voting and he offered some implicit criticism of Mr. Trump’s positions.

Political speech from religious leaders is tricky business, at least as far as the government is concerned.

The Johnson Amendment is an I.R.S. rule that states that most nonprofit organizations are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” It also prohibits contributions to political campaigns and public statements “in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”

Mr. Trump has promised to fight to repeal the amendment.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regularly reminds Catholic parishes, dioceses and nonprofits that they are barred from endorsing candidates or engaging in overt political activity, including earlier this month, when it published the 44-page document, “Political Activity and Lobbying Guidelines for Catholic Organizations.”

While the document is driven primarily by concerns about the I.R.S., canon law forbids priests from holding public office, a rule dating back to a time when a Catholic priest served as a U.S. representative from Massachusetts. Some canon lawyers interpret church law to be even broader, preventing clergy from engaging in politics altogether.

Then there are voting guides, which are not prohibited by I.R.S. or church regulation as long as they are part of “voter education or registration activities” and don’t endorse specific candidates.

But how the candidate’s views are presented can send not-so-subtle signals, scenarios cutting across party lines.

For example, a voting guide created earlier this year by 10 Catholic organizations highlighted issues such as poverty, the environment and immigration. While the topics were presented within a Catholic framework and included quotes from Pope Francis, pro-life critics said it did not give enough attention to church teaching on abortion or marriage.

Other Catholic voting guides have been criticized for reducing the church’s vast social teaching down to just a few issues.

The Catholic from Trenton, Ms. Vanderhoof, said one such guide was distributed at her parish. Created by the group Catholic Answers, the guide contained paragraphs on what it called “five non–negotiable issues.” They were abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning and same-sex marriage.

According to a 2014 poll, 63 percent of Americans say churches should not come out in support of a particular candidate. But the country is roughly split when it comes to houses of worship expressing views on political issues, with 49 percent of Americans agreeing they should.

In the end, some of the pro-Trump politicking may have worked. Mr. Trump did well Tuesday with Catholics overall, winning the backing of 52 percent of Catholic voters, a group President Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012. Among white voters, support was even greater for the president-elect. Six in 10 white Catholics supported him, while just 26 percent of Hispanic Catholics voted for him.

Now that the election is over, some bishops, like such as Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, are calling for unity,.

“Some may wonder whether the country can reconcile, work together and fulfill the promise of a more perfect union,” he said in a statement following the election. “Through the hope Christ offers, I believe God will give us the strength to heal and unite.”

Michael O’Loughlin is the national correspondent for America and author of The Tweetable Pope: A Spiritual Revolution in 140 Characters. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.

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Lisa Weber
2 years 1 month ago
Thank you for this article. This kind of electioneering is inappropriate and offensive in addition to being illegal.
Stuart Bintner
2 years 1 month ago
I live in an area where two chanceries exist just a few miles apart. In both cases the (Arch)Bishops wrote thinly veiled letters supporting the Republican candidate for president. The comments were carefully crafted in an attempt to stay just this side of violating the law. They may have succeeded, or maybe not in legal terms. In fairness, one of the two wrote a second piece that seemed fairer and thus moderate the more extreme of his earlier comments.
ed gleason
2 years 1 month ago
Trump's main promise is to have an immigration round-up squad is every city. In the 80s a very few Catholic parishes [and mine] gave sanctuary to Salvadorans fleeing Reagan armed death squads. SOME parishes not many. helped our Catholic Salvadorans. . Will Catholics stand up when Trump's/Bannon's rangers come sweeping down on barrios. rounding up our fellow 11 million Latino Catholics? My parish will stand up, but I bet no cathedrals will risk having their windows broken . There will likely be a lot of 'our prayers are with you' . Better to immediately stop wringing hands and get organized. Ask your grandfather about how to handle the Black and Tans..... then prepare for a hell of a confrontation...AsK your pastor before Thanksgiving ..would he/parish support sanctuary?. Or will US Catholics take a path like the Italians and the Pope did [close the windows] when the Roman Jews were marched a few blocks from the Vatican to a train on their way to the death camps. .Conservative and progressive Catholics always are calling for a strict conforming/courageous Church. Well, the chance is on its way so stand up or shut up.
Henry George
2 years 1 month ago
Ed, Obama has been deporting people, are you opposing that ? Trump is not going to deport 11 million people. The Capitalist who exploit their hard working habit won't allow that. I will support you and any Church that offers sanctuary. But is it unjust for the US of A to have a immigration policy that is enforced or not ?
ed gleason
2 years 1 month ago
Trump swore to deport 11 million. If you think he is a fraud on that issue then that's all to the good. If you think Bannon will let him back off on his promise you don't know about the Alt Right,
ed gleason
2 years ago
Will you help block deportation buses with families crying out the windows? ff not go home and close your windows.
Henry George
2 years ago
Ed, If you deport 1,000 people a day that is 365,000 a year. So it would take around 40 years to deport the 11 plus million people. If somehow you deport 10,000 day that is 3.5 million a year. That would still take 4 years. Given all the paperwork involved, the non-cooperation of those being deported, the lawsuits, the protests by those opposed, the 2018 election... It is just not going to happen. Yes, I would stand in front of the Deportation buses.
ed gleason
2 years ago
Henry, I'm glad to hear you will stand in front of deportation buses because it will be necessary. The Germans deported 6 million and killed them. In about 2 years while fighting a 3 front war, They would laugh at your made up statistics The Bannon squads will go the workplaces where they can get a bunch. The kids will go home to no parents. Tell your pastor to call a meeting to get ready because Bannon and Trump will NOT give a heads up { I did and also talked to the Provincial]
Henry George
1 year 11 months ago
Ed, How are my statistics made up ? Do the arithmetic yourself. The Nazis ran train after train to the Extermination Camps, there were no protests, lawsuits. It is not going to happen as you described it.
Vincent Gaglione
2 years 1 month ago
Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 ….As I just wrote in a comment on the NY Times webpage in response to today's David Brooks’ column regarding Trump’s election, probably the most hypocritical of the coalition that contributed to Trump’s election are those whom I described as possessing “religious fervor.” I stated that they were willing to make a pact with a devil to accomplish their specific political goals. I include in this group both evangelical Protestants and the kinds of Catholics – hierarchy, clergy and lay - described in this article. I made a twist of phrase on one of the concluding lines of TS Elliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral”: their immediate temptation was the greatest treason, to do the wrong thing for the right reason. They have taught me an important lesson about their particular brand of Catholic belief. The ends justify the means.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN
2 years 1 month ago
Bishop Murphy (Mansion Murphy to some after he tossed nuns out of their convent to build a high end, "palatial" according to Newsday, residence for himself), a minion of Cardinal Law of Boston Spotlight fame, continues the single issue cultural war on abortion by implicitly endorsing Donald Trump, a racist, misogynistic bully billionaire who brought national political discourse to a new low in recent history. Already eligible to retire, one can only hope he retires back to Boston where he came from!
TIMOTHY MACGEORGE
2 years 1 month ago
Thank you for sharing this. I agree with other comments that such blatant electioneering is not only inappropriate, but it is also illegal. There is no doubt that Bishop Murphy (who makes me ashamed to also have been a Boston priest) was encouraging votes against Mrs. Clinton. What is even worse is that these clergy -- Marciano, Murphy, and anyone else who suggested supporting Trump -- were deaf and blind to the Gospel demands of social justice.
Kevin Murphy
2 years 1 month ago
The "Gospel demands of social justice" embodied by Hillary Clinton? Neither candidate embodied Gospel values.
Mike Puerini
2 years 1 month ago
Which is, of course, irrelevant to the discussion of whether thinking Catholics should be manipulated from the pulpit by unthinking priests who don't even listen to their pope when sermonizing. http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/18/politics/pope-francis-trump-christian-wall/
Kenneth Michaels
2 years 1 month ago
The IRS needs to investigate and withdraw the Church's tax exemption under 501. Kurtz's call for unity is a joke and hypocritical. We do not need to unify behind hate and bigotry. We need to fight the people that promote such, especially USCCB.
Lisa Weber
2 years 1 month ago
I like Archbishop Kurtz' call for unity, but it needs to be a unity that moves the Church forward, not a unity that buries the problem under a dishonest piety. In looking for some good to come out of this awful election, I think the good will be in the backlash, so long as the backlash is constructive. Perhaps the bishops will realize that women need to be helped to build a leadership structure in the Church, so that a feminine perspective on the Gospels is developed. Any clergyman who promoted the candidacy of Donald Trump expected that women would forgive him for promoting a misogynist who has bragged about his sexual assaults. Women are not usually that forgiving and they simply walk away from churches that treat them so disrespectfully. By his actions, Jesus indicated that sexuality is not to be part of public discourse and this election shows why. Issues like abortion divide a community, but nothing can be done about them. Making abortion illegal will not make it go away - a reality that most people are aware of. Dividing a community with emotional and futile rhetoric makes it impossible for the community to accomplish anything useful. People simply walk away from it because it is a waste of time. I look at the empty pews in the average Catholic Church and find it understandable that people have walked away. What I do not understand is why most bishops don't get it.
John Campbell
2 years 1 month ago
Lisa Weber, I have been staying insistently, because of the Sacraments, the intellectual traditions, the work for social justice, and Pope Francis' leadership. But helping to elect a bigoted fascist to POTUS is beyond my tolerance, so I am probably leaving. Question is, where else is there?
Henry George
2 years 1 month ago
John, Have you not libelled Trump - have his actions shown him to be a bigoted fascist ? [ One might wonder if being either one would be sufficient for you to go beyond your tolerance.] Are you leaving the US of A or just the Church, seems like the Church. Why ? Did the Priest follow you into the voting booth ? Were you compelled to vote only for Trump or Hillary - could you not have abstained for voted for someone else.
John Campbell
2 years ago
OK, Henry, I confess to an intemperate comment. Name calling advances nothing, and as Fr. Martin continuously points out, we have too much finger-pointing and ad- hominem in Internet discussions. Thank you for pointing that out. We need to wait to see what the President actually does before making judgments. My dismay with the the Church is that despite Trump's campaign statements, large majorities of our co-religionists voted for him. The reasons I remain Catholic are unaffected, and priests, and their foibles and crimes, have not had much influence either. Again, thanks for your comment, and perhaps we will meet around here again.
Henry George
2 years ago
John, Are we not all bigoted in some manner ? We are much more inclined to like someone who we find good looking, who laughs at our jokes, who agrees with us, who praises us, who understands God the way we think God should be understood. Personally I wish the Democrats and Republican parties would be dissolved and we had a government who cared about everyone, especially the poor and did all it could to help expectant mothers and new mothers raise their children in decent conditions. The Vatican should make it as clear as possible to Priests what they should and should not say in the pulpit. As for Trump, who knows, he has a lot of lawsuits against him, one or more of them may drive him from the Presidency before he is even President. Meanwhile start working on 2018. Pax Christi, Henry
Annetta Sutton
2 years 1 month ago
Thank you for this. I have been appalled at the number of priests in our archdiocese that blandly encouraged voting for Trump. Calls came from all over from upset parishioners disgusted and disturbed. Something needs to be done. Frank Pavone's despicable posting of a video of the body of a dead child is one of the most disturbing actions I have ever seen. I will not call him a priest, since I know of no other priest committed to the gospels that would do such an abhorrent action. This man is deeply disturbed, yet continues to be allowed to do these things. Please, God, give us leadership that speaks to these before our beloved church becomes even more of a pariah to the world. Any moral voice is silenced by such deplorable actions and words. Again, thank you, America, you are balm for our souls.
Kathy Stump
2 years 1 month ago
Thank you so much for sharing these experiences. Our Kansas City area parish also aggressively "campaigned" from the pulpit, but was not so subtle in the gathering space, where a priest told my husband, "Hillary Clinton is disgusting, too." This was his response to my husband's sincere query about the future of his Catholic faith in light of the church's political stance. Their overt campaigning and insensitive response has cost them a parish membership and the larger church as well. We are exploring alternative Christian communities in our area. Continuing to support a church focused solely on one issue at the expense of the dire needs for social and economic justice is, for us, unconscionable.
Annette Magjuka
2 years 1 month ago
It is time for Catholics of conscience to remind ourselves about the dangers of authoritarianism. The true mark of an authoritarian is that he affords himself freedoms and privileges that he would deny to others. An authoritarian may have an agenda that is sacrosanct and will do whatever it takes to gain the power to enact that agenda. This is vastly different from a faithful community of diverse souls who share common beliefs but whose actions in service of the belief may take different routes. In the current political and church climates, I see frightening examples of authoritarian rule. The GOP has been on a 40 year path to ultimate power. They have elected candidates to local offices by touting religious belief, a concern for the poor and disenfranchised. Once they get power (see red states) they defund the very things that would support and empower the disenfranchised--namely, public education, safety social nets of all kinds, and anything that costs money out of the pockets of the wealthiest citizens and corporations. Yet the rhetoric of caring for the "common man" keeps working for them. Once they have the power they seek they have free reign to legislate away every single program for the "public good." (This January all three branches of government will be GOP). Authoritarians in the Catholic church do not have to bother with the pesky elections where each citizen has a vote. Ultimate power and authority is already theirs; bishops rule their congregations and can bless or punish at will, using their power over individuals as a club, all the while using church doctrine as a rationale. They only care about the eternal soul of the individual--she must submit or burn in hell for eternity. The bishops are wielding their power "for our own good." For authoritarians, any tactic is fair game in the service of getting and retaining power--in politics, voter suppression, race-baiting, nationalistic dogma, scapegoating, bullying, misogyny, and hate speech. It is all "for our own good." Bishops use doctrine to whip the masses into submission. On Samantha Bee the week before the election, she did a piece on Catholic hospitals and how they will not save the life of a mother by removing a fetus, even if the fetus is already dead or not viable. A Catholic priest was quoted as saying, "Sometimes a mother just has to die with her baby." The parishes that actively campaigned for Trump should lose their tax-exempt status. That will not happen now, with the GOP holding supreme power. Church homilies have proven to be one of the strongest political tools they have. Many bishops suggest that those Catholics who do not agree with them are "not really Catholic" and should leave the church. Well, by virtue of my baptism and my lifelong Catholicism, I am not going. In politics and in religion, PEOPLE of conscience must find avenues to ensure the Catholic values of dignity and inclusion for all. We must find a way to reassure Muslims; Mexicans, documented and undocumented; African Americans and all people of color; and WOMEN that they are safe and supported in America. God help us all as we face the threats authoritarianism will pose.
Chuck Kotlarz
2 years 1 month ago
Demographics support your post and here are a few examples. Seventy-five percent of the abortion rate decline from 1980 through 2012 came from Presidents Clinton and Obama. In the 2012 election, states with at least 55% of the vote for Romney had a 40% higher minority incarceration rate than states with at least 55% of the vote for Obama. Divorce rates also ran 25% higher.
Mary Emmick
2 years ago
I agree with you. Thank you for your Thoughtful writing.
Steve Mooney
2 years 1 month ago
While I thought this was an interesting topic, I was surprised the article made no mention of San Diego's Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Immaculate Conception, which also serves as a polling place had an insert in its church bulletin stating "It is a mortal sin to vote Democrat”. The church's bulletin also has a regular political section which dealt with the writer's view of how one ought vote Catholic. This was presumably written by Fr Richard Perozich, Immaculate Conception's pastor. San Diego's Bishop, Robert McElroy said in a statement that the parish violated its religious duties with the political comments: "It is contrary to Catholic teaching to state that voting for a Democrat or Republican automatically condemns the voter to hell," the statement said. "The Catholic Church does not endorse specific candidates, use parish media or bulletins to favor candidates or parties or engage in partisan political activity of any kind." Despite this scandalous issue, Clinton took San Diego at 48% with a 1% margin over Trump.
Tim O'Leary
2 years 1 month ago
It seems perfectly reasonable for Catholic pulpits to be used for preaching Catholic teaching, even at election time. I think Archbishop Chaput got the balance right in not endorsing any candidate but agreeing there were flaws on both sides. Given the Democratic party's stand on abortion, I cannot see how it is ever reasonable for a faithful Catholic to vote democratic, purely for human rights reasons. So, the best I could do in conscience is not vote for either candidate. By the way, it is well known that liberal Churches promote liberal politicians and the most obvious politicking in America goes on in African-American churches. And they voted 88% to 8% for Clinton.
M May
2 years 1 month ago
There were plenty of parishes, mine included, where we were told the only way to vote was for the pro-life candidate. If our priest and deacon had at least stated that there isn't a perfect choice this year, it would have gone a long way. I just wanted someone to say that even if we choose a pro-life candidate, it doesn't mean we should agree with him on refugees, immigration, torture and global warming. We were told that if we vote for the wrong candidate, teens may be martyred for the pro-life cause. We hear countless homilies on abortion, contraception and LGBT issues. We never hear about the other issues. Our parish is losing countless people because of this. I don't know that I have the heart to return to mass this Sunday, and I may go to a protestant church where the focus is on Christianity rather than the Republican platform. The bishops need to realize that this approach is pushing away people who actually agree with the church.
Mary Emmick
2 years ago
The bishops do not want to perhaps offend The many Republicans who so generously put $ in the collection baskets.
Kevin Murphy
2 years 1 month ago
All of a sudden America is concerned about Church involvement in politics. Was this issue addressed after Obama won two terms? How naive does America think we are? We wouldn't be seeing this if their preferred candidate won. Follow your own teaching and don't take a side.
Mike Puerini
2 years 1 month ago
My parish priest here in Salem, Oregon, emphasized abortion as the key/most important element in a moral voting choice. This was clearly a thinly veiled endorsement of Mr. Trump and offended me terribly. The Pope, of all people, has clearly stated that we, as a church, are unnecessarily obsessed with abortion above all other justice issues. This man (our parish priest) was simply spouting his own political leanings as moral imperative. What a shame. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/world/europe/pope-bluntly-faults-churchs-focus-on-gays-and-abortion.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 I'm having trouble walking back into the building at this point. I feel that my voice is not heard or is ignored there. After sixty years of regular Catholic church attendance and participation, a nearly two year novitiate in the Jesuits, and with a profound commitment to Catholic social teaching, I'm ready for something new. This profound alienation of committed Catholics which happens when priests give a one sided ramble from the pulpit is a clear rational for our church leaders to avoid preaching politics from the pulpit. Black and white moral thinking that neglects important moral imperatives is useless in the face of our complex global climate.
Tim O'Leary
2 years 1 month ago
Mike - I'n not sure where you think Pope Francis stands on abortion, but here is what was reported about his response to a question in February of this year, on his way back from Mexico "Pope Francis was asked by a reporter about the threat of Zika virus in many Latin American countries.Noting that the virus may be linked to birth defects when transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby, the reporter asked the Holy Father about proposals involving "abortion, or else avoiding pregnancy" in areas where Zika virus is prevalent. The Pope responded by emphatically stating that abortion is "a crime" and "absolute evil" that cannot be justified. (http://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=67431). So, I think your parish priest is in line with the Holy Father when it comes to this sin/crime.
Henry George
2 years 1 month ago
Mike, No, we are not unnecessarily obsessed with abortion above all other justice issues. What if a Nazi said to you: Look, in another year or two all the Jews of Europe will be just ashes. No relatives will grieve over them as all the relatives will be ashes also. In a generation no one will even remember them. Unless the Priest told you - you have to vote for Trump - you had the option of not voting for either Hillary or Trump. Go to a different parish, but to leave the Church over this is a very odd choice.
Jim McCrea
2 years ago
Getting out of this denomination is a hard decision. Staying out is an easy one ........ as millions and millions of former Catholics can probably tell you.
Michael Diamond
2 years 1 month ago
I have an admittedly unanswerable question, and I would particularly be interested in any member of the clergy to provide their best guess. Here it is: of the US priests and bishops that voted, what would be your guess regarding the percentage of support for the two candidates? We know that 47.4% of votes cast were for Trump (as of this writing) and this article says 52% of Catholics voted for Trump. What's your best guess about the Catholic clerical percentages?
Tim O'Leary
2 years 1 month ago
Michael - while I can't get the % priests voted, here is some more about Catholic voters: All self-identifying Catholics (CNN Exit poll): 45% for Clinton, 52% for Trump. Trump won white Catholics by 23 points (They have been voting Republican ever since the Democrats became closely identified with abortion) - http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/election-2016-breakdown-of-the-catholic-vote. Also, most white women (53%) voted for Trump. CNN noted some other surprising exit poll results. Trump did slightly better than Romney with Latinos & Asians and won white Millennials (by 5 points). Hillary Clinton did worse with women than Obama. Clinton also won the lowest share of union households of any Democrat since 1980. CNN makes the point that the Democratic leadership is all elderly: Hillary Clinton (69), Joe Biden (73), Elizabeth Warren (67), Bernie Sanders (75), Harry Reid (76), Nancy Pelosi (76) and Chuck Schumer (65). I would also note that the 3 oldest Justices of the Supreme Court are Ginsberg (84), Kennedy (80) & Breyer (78) (http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/11/politics/democrats-election-2016/index.html)
Marilyn Mauriello
2 years 1 month ago
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law" (No. 2271)
MaryRuth Stegman
2 years 1 month ago
So, is Trump is morally corrupt for his advocating aborting two children that he fathered? He also told Howard Stern that he didn't know how many abortions he(Trump) was responsible for. I'm not surprised that the bishops that protected abusing priests for years until it cost them something, would be involved with rigging the elections. Anyone who seeks any kind of guidance from the clergy and hierarchy is just totally stupid! They are the same kind of people who listened to Hitler's Catholic priests and bishops in the 1930s! History does repeat itself, but since being stupid can't be cured, we are set up for hell on earth thanks to the Catholic Church!
Vincent Gaglione
2 years 1 month ago
I am disturbed to read here that some writers express aloud the necessity that they feel to abandon Catholicism for another branch of Christianity. I do presume that I am going to hell based on the pronouncements of some bishops and clergy. I voted for Clinton and I will never confess it, at least to a priest in a confessional box. Pope Francis indicated that I should vote in conscience. I did. I can live with that. Those who write here that they are leaving are the vocal ones. They are the tip of the iceberg of the past 50 years of those who silently stopped going to their parish Catholic church. Two generations of bishops and clergy wore down the faith of these people by castigating them about their sinfulness. The apogee of such castigations over the past 25 years was the topics of sexuality, birth control, and abortion. These Catholics gradually felt personally both unwelcome and disrespected and did what any normal human being does in such a situation, escapes the situation! Some of them never even decided to find an alternative church setting in which to worship. The revelations of aberrant clergy sexual behaviors and the cover-ups convinced those who left that the self-righteous were hypocrites and con men. I cannot leave the Catholic church for any other Christian sect. Deep in me is my Irish grandmother’s disgust for the Protestant bigotry of her Northern Ireland home. And I do believe in God and Christ. But I perceive a large part of the Catholic Church of the United States as a parallel evangelical Protestant sect with its closed-minded attitudes and preachments. I suffer it, to be honest, as I endure the blather of self-righteous bishops and clergy. And if I am wrong, I at least feel in good conscience, which ironically is what Luther felt!
Henry George
2 years 1 month ago
Vincent, Neither your conscience nor mine is the supreme moral law. You were not compelled to vote for anyone for President. Your vote was not decisive in determining who would be president. Since you find Trump morally objectionable you were under no moral obligation to vote for him. Since Hillary said she will stand by Roe vs Wade against any possible modifications you are under moral obligation, as the Church teaches, not to support or participate or even remotely procure the possibility of an abortion, thus you should not have voted for her. You could have abstained from voting for either.
ed gleason
2 years ago
So you and some preaching clerics think Trump is pro-choice. Ask a few GYNs how many pregnancies would there be in 50 + years of admitted rampant promiscuity with young women with no birth control . Then ask Trump ...Where are the 50 children?
Jim McCrea
2 years ago
Henry George: According to the Catechism, "A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his [sic] conscience" (No. 1790). Informing the conscience is a "life long task" (No. 1784) and "To this purpose, man [sic] strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his [sic] gifts" (No. 1788).
Henry George
1 year 11 months ago
Jim, And who has a perfectly formed conscience ? To whatever degree your conscience is formed it does not allow your, permit you, cause you to do evil. Hillary clearly states she would stand by Roe vs Wade absolutely. Therefore, a Catholic should not vote for her. But that does not mean a Catholic must vote for Trump.
Mary Emmick
2 years ago
The abortion issue will continue to be the gift that keeps giving for Republicans. The leaders of the party know that if Roe vs. Wade Is overturned they lose this wedge issue. They will continue to use this argument around election Time and then avoid doing anything about it
Vincent Gaglione
2 years 1 month ago
I did forget to include one other lesson that my Irish grandmother repeated often: "The nearer the altar, the bigger the rogue." It has proved true too many times to enumerate in my lifetime. I believe in the institutional church for the Faith it embodies and represents, not for the men who lead it. In the current instance, however, I must give a pass to Pope Francis. In his instance, the nearer the altar, the bigger the heart and soul. We are fortunate to have him and how the Holy Spirit accomplished his election remains one of the great miracles of our time.
Mary Emmick
2 years ago
So true. I so look up to Pope Francis. Unfortunately I do not think all of the bishops or Priests do in America.
John Campbell
2 years 1 month ago
Below link is the appalling truth from Pew's early study. The clergy have had their way. According to the Alt-Catholic, Paul Ryan, the principle of subsidiarity will replace the safety net. We need to pray with all our hearts and minds. We should give Trump/McConnell/Ryan a chance, but we also need to be vigilant about making as much change as possible happen in the mid-term. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/how-the-faithful-voted-a-preliminary-2016-analysis/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=7cbb5c7b9e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_11_10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-7cbb5c7b9e-399933653
Mary Grace Chandler Hansen
2 years 1 month ago
SOMEBODY HAS A QUESTION AS TO WHAT WENT WRONG???? WHAT WENT RIGHT !The inside of the country is near dead, 56 million American babies have been murdered, clinton impeachment drama, drama drama, 12 years of the bush wars, nixon impeached, find a fallout shelter when I was 15 years old, AND kennedy assinated, the Viet Nam War sickening, I saw it all, I'm Done, For Crying Out Loud Wakeup
Miriam Gingold
2 years 1 month ago
The pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in Bellefontaine, Ohio very clearly told his parishioners that if they voted for Hillary, they would be committing a mortal sin. Here’s the link to his homily for 10/23/16: http://www.catholicbellefontaine.org/homily.html
Stuart Bintner
2 years ago
I did not take time to listen. However, if he truly said that, he should be removed from any position of authority withing the church an not allowed to preach.

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