I probably don't check my comment boxes often enough. This is especially true when I am away from the blog for an extended period, as I have been for almost 2 weeks (sorry about that - been busy).
So I am only just now responding to a confused young man named "Nathan", who left the following comment to my post about John Kerry "lying low" a while back:
Father, if I may ask, which parish in which diocese are you serving? I ask because I'd like to write to your diocesan bishop and talk to him about how you're risking the diocese's, or at least your parish's, tax exempt status on your weblog by openly campaigning against one candidate and endorsing the other.
I look forward to your response.
Of course, almost immediately after I wrote that blog, Senator Kerry, almost as though he were trying to prove me wrong, made several more confused utterances about being "guided by [his] faith", in matters of caring for the poor, the environment, etc. Strangely enough, Senator Kerry won't allow himself to be guided by his faith in the areas of abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, or protecting marriage. Most recently, Kerry urged his followers to walk with him "in the footsteps of the Lord" (thanks to Amy for the link). I wonder which footsteps of the Lord those would be? Does the Senator imagine that the Lord walks in lockstep with NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and NOW, as he does?
But, getting back to Nathan's comment, a perusal of his blog reveals that his confusion about the Church's tax examption matches, and in all likelihood is of a piece with, his confusion about Church teaching and a Catholic's political responsibility. For Nathan is one of the "Catholics For Kerry" who has convinced himself that it is somehow consistent with Catholic teaching to vote for a candidate who has literally never heard of an abortion he couldn't justify, a candidate who, in the words of Greg Sisk, is the "candidate of the abortion industry itself."
I have been critical of Senator Kerry, and I have argued, here, here, and here, that it is simply inconsistent with Catholic teaching to vote for a pro-abortion candidate such as John Kerry. I have repeatedly pointed out Church teaching that abortion is the foremost issue confronting us today, and that nothing outweighs it in moral gravity. I have also argued, as have others, that Cardinal Ratzinger's statement about remote material cooperation and proportionate reasons does not give one license to vote for pro-abortion candidates.
My arguments and statements have always been based on Church teaching, and not on partisan political concerns. And I have never "endorsed" any candidate. As I have written before, if Church teaching on life issues seems to cut more against one candidate or party because of their fanatical devotion to abortion, that's the candidate's or party's fault, not mine or the Church's
But the fact is that even were I making "political" statements (which I haven't been), I have just as much right, as a private person and citizen, to express those opinions as any layman. My comments on this blog are mine. They are not represented as, and no one could reasonably construe them as, officially expressing the pronouncements of either my parish or my diocese, the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan. This weblog belongs to me, not to my parish or diocese. Its content is in no way vetted or "approved" by them. Insofar as I voice Church teaching and explain it's consequences for how we live, including exercising our political rights, my remarks are above any partisan political agenda.
So, Nathan, nice try. If, as some suspected, you were trying to intimidate me into silence, it didn't and couldn't work. Personally, I don't think that's what he was trying to do, at least explicitly. I think his comment reflects nothing more than confusion. The idea that my comments here endanger the Church's tax exemption is merely silly.
But Nathan, if you really want to write my bishop, go right ahead. Send him copies of my previous blogs that I linked above. Explain to him how you think that we can follow John Kerry "in the footsteps of the Lord."
Here's my bishop's name and address:
Diocese of Kalamazoo
215 N. Westnedge Ave.
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007