My Priesthood Doesn't Take Away My Human and Patriotic Duties
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Since Cardinal John O'Connor of New York (who ordained me) announced the Sisters of Life in 1991, I started thinking that there needed to be something like that for Priests. With other priests having had the same idea, Priests for Life got off the ground and I became full-time director in 1993.
Since then, over and over the most frequent question to this day that comes across my desk is, "Why don't our priests do and say more about abortion? And about the need to elect candidates committed to protect the unborn?"
Since then, we've worked to discover the answers to those questions, and have developed resources that do in fact help a lot of priests be more vocal and active. Thank God for those who speak up without fear!!
But my disappointment about the answer to those questions has likewise grown...my disappointment in clergy who are sold out to the Democrat Party and blind to how destructive it is, my disappointment in Church leaders who are more vocal in criticizing pro-life Catholics than pro-abortion politicians, my disappointment in Church leaders who do more to sideline priests who speak about politics thank to encourage God's People to use politics to advance the Kingdom of Christ.
In 2015 I wrote a book, published by Thomas Nelson publishers, called Abolishing Abortion. It outlines the baseless fears of many in Church leadership about "losing our tax-exempt status," and the absolutely unjustified self-censorship that flows from those fears. The legal advice many dioceses are given has no basis whatsoever in the law, and I have heard our nation's top experts in this area of the law laugh out loud at some of the memos issued by chanceries around the country telling priests to keep quiet about abortion and elections.
Now, more frequently than the "lose our tax exemption" mantra, I hear another theme.
It is the flimsy and unpersuasive argument that priests shouldn't be too involved in anti-abortion politics because, after all, transforming the temporal order is the job of the laity.
Yes, I've learned theology too, and have studied every document of the Second Vatican Council and every encyclical of the last five decades. And I know the vocation I've embraced as a priest and exactly what it means.
Yet if I see a child being attacked on the street, I'm not going to excuse myself from attempting to save that child because I'm a priest. If a group comes to me as a priest and wants to start a soup kitchen, I'll count it a privilege to guide and bless their efforts, and I'll come and help distribute the soup myself. If a brother priest sets out on a mission to build schools or hospitals, I'll praise him as a priest, not as someone taking a job away from the laity.
My acceptance of ordination was not a renunciation of my role as a man. My priestly duties do not make me any less of a patriot. My administering of the sacraments is not a trade-off for my freedom of speech or freedom of assembly.
When I speak up in this current election cycle against the bloodthirsty agenda of a Democrat Party that wants to impose abortion-on-demand until birth (and even after), and wants taxpayers to fund it, or that wants to destroy our economy, obliterate our borders, and suppress the very freedom of the Church to which I belong, I am exercising a right and a duty that flow from my humanity, from my patriotism, and from my beliefs as a Christian.
The defense of life and the defense of America neither rise nor fall with priestly ordination. Theologians and canonists can make all the fine distinctions they want; I'm not going to be caught dilly-dallying or being distracted in the meantime.
And something tells me that there are countless fellow believers and patriots who wouldn't for a moment want me to.
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