40,000 Call on Cardinal Dolan to Keep Partisan Politics out of Church
In response to a New York diocesan priest who put a letter endorsing Mitt Romney for president in a weekly church bulletin, New York-area Catholics gathered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan yesterday to deliver 40,000 petition signatures calling on Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop of New York, to:
Immediately instruct the priests in [his] diocese to refrain from distributing partisan campaign materials and issue a pastoral letter clarifying that the church is not making any endorsements.
At the delivery, Tom Smyth, a petition signer and member of St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Baldwin, New York, said:
I love my Church, but it should stay out of partisan politics, Cardinal Dolan needs to tell his pastors to stop telling people whom to vote for.
James Salt, a petition organizer and Executive Director of Catholics United added:
The incident at St. Catherine of Siena demonstrates why Catholics are increasingly disheartened by the politicization of the faith. Instead of ministering to the needs of the faithful, too many priests and bishops are engaging in overt partisan activity. This alienates the vast majority of Catholics who want our Church to be known for its spiritual leadership, not its right-wing politics.
And Director of Faithful America and petition organizer Michael Sherrard had this to say:
Faithful America members, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, are appalled at the shameless exploitation of church resources to campaign for a presidential candidate. This wouldn’t be happening without Cardinal Dolan’s constant vitriolic attacks on the Obama administration’s health care policies, and he needs to personally ensure that such partisan campaigning never happens again in his diocese.
Although it has been two weeks since the publication of the endorsement, neither Cardinal Dolan nor the Archdiocese of New York has publicly acknowledged the priest’s error or assured local Catholics that churches will not be exploited for future partisan political campaigning.