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Tax-Exempt NY Archdiocese Church Publicly Endorses Mitt Romney... in Writing!

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We are Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, but on this question we are united in faith and in action. We urge our fellow Catholics, and indeed all people of good will, to join with us in this full-hearted effort to elect Governor Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States.

Such sentiments are not all that unusual to hear lately. The "Catholic vote" has been in the news and there has been much waxing prosaic on the partisanship of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

But these are not the words of some Catholic individual on the stump. These exhortations were published (and widely circulated) in the weekly (September 2nd) bulletin distributed after each mass at St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Manhattan. Hit the link and see for yourself (Click 9/02 bulletin.) before Timothy Dolan's legal muscle forces the parish to take the online version down.

I, who have of late had much to say about Dolan's more subtle campaigning for Romney, am at a loss for words.

Except to say that this parish has clearly broken the law.

For those of you who do not attend Catholic mass weekly as I do, the church bulletin is a reliable constant in Catholic worship life. Even in the days of electronic connectedness, the paper bulletin remains the prime means of communicating with Catholics in the pews. Each parish has one. They have a uniform design --and Catholics read them. St. Catherine's is also available online.

So far Timothy Dolan's electioneering for Romney has been very thinly veiled. There's been a push for the appearance of partisanship of late, a push which I believe is a response to his fear that he is concerned about losing his diocese's tax-exempt status. I think also his show of non-partisanship has to do with a desire to hedge his bets and hold onto progressive Catholics.

There is nothing thinly veiled about this campaign speech which was disseminated, most probably, after each mass celebrated at St. Catherine of Sienna Church last weekend, and authored by one John Farren O.P., a priest affiliated with St. Catherine's Church, who cites a letter written by six former Ambassadors to the Holy See:

The Former Ambassadors write:
"Fellow Catholics,
"We are all called to advance the moral teachings of Christianity in the life of our country. Where the stakes are highest - in the defense of life, liberty, and human dignity - we have a duty to act that is greater and more urgent than allegiance to any political party.

"In the election of 2012, this conviction has united all of us - each a former ambassador of the United States to the Holy See - in support of Governor Mitt Romney's candidacy for president. Whatever issues might dominate the presidential campaign from now until November, our concerns lie with fundamental rights, beginning with religious liberty.

"While the current administration has brought our first freedom under direct assault by imposing government mandates that completely disregard religious conscience, Governor Romney believes that freedom to live one's faith is essential to liberty and human fulfillment. And he has pledged himself to removing those federal mandates immediately.

"While the current administration has now put its weight on the side of those who propose to redefine the meaning of marriage itself, Governor Romney has stood firm in defending this sacred institution. In the White House, just as he did in the Massachusetts State House, he will defend the institution of marriage before the Congress, the courts, and the country.

"Where the current administration has shown its sympathy for the pro-abortion lobby, Mitt Romney will be a faithful defender of life in all its seasons. And he understands the special duty of people of faith to serve in this cause. As Governor Romney recently said, "From the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man. Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution. And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action."

"These are the words of a man we believe can be a great force for good in this nation. We are Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, but on this question we are united in faith and in action. We urge our fellow Catholics, and indeed all people of good will, to join with us in this full-hearted effort to elect Governor Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States."

Is this an endorsement for a political candidate or is it just my imagination?

Tax-exempt organizations are prohibited from endorsing candidates.

The Internal Revenue Service should investigate the Archdiocese of New York for this violation.

And the funny part is, all this risky Catholic behavior is for the benefit of a presidential candidate who won't lift a finger to revere Roe v. Wade.