As you may recall, in October 2012, Bishop Jenky issued a directive to all the priests in the Diocese of Peoria to read a letter at each of the weekend Masses. I’ve republished the letter below. Please take the time to read it. After the letter, I have some comments that are relevant to today.
MOST REV. DANIEL R. JENKY, C.S.C.
OFFICE OF THE BISHOP
DIOCESE OF PEORIA
Election AD 2012
Dear Catholic Believers,
Since the foundation of the American Republic and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present. Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community’s grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception. This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system. Contrary to the guarantees embedded in the First Amendment, the HHS mandates attempt to now narrowly define and thereby drastically limit our traditional religious works. They grossly and intentionally intrude upon the deeply held moral convictions that have always guided our Catholic schools, hospitals, and other apostolic ministries.
Nearly two thousand years ago, after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman Procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: Behold your King. The mob roared back: We have no king but Caesar. Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin.
For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God’s great mercy in time will give way to God’s perfect judgment in eternity.
I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this Diocese to vote. Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic Faith. May God guide and protect his Holy Church, and may God bless America.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
BISHOP OF PEORIA
On Friday, October 14, 2016, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a California law that requires pro-life pregnancy centers to refer patients to publicly funded contraception and abortion service providers. The court ruled that the pregnancy centers must make the referrals even though doing so violates their moral and religious beliefs. The decision upheld a lower court ruling which stated that the requirement does not violate the First Amendment rights of pro-life pregnancy centers.
After the decision of the appellate court, Matt Bowman, the lead attorney who argued the case on behalf of a coalition of pregnancy centers, said the following:
It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say — under threat of severe punishment — is even more unjust and dangerous. In this case, political allies of abortionists are seeking to punish pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer real hope and help to women. Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms.
It is anticipated that the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Because of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year, there are currently eight Supreme Court justices. Whoever wins the presidential election next month will select Scalia’s replacement.
Last week, emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta were leaked to the media. Some of the emails revealed that Podesta had set up two “Catholic” dummy organizations — “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” and “Catholics United.” Both organizations were established to exert influence and pressure on the Catholic Church to back down on issues concerning contraception, abortion, gay marriage, and other significant moral issues that currently plague our society.
The leaked emails also revealed that Sandy Newman, the founder of a left-wing group, Voices for Progress, had asked Podesta for advice on how to “plant the seeds of the revolution” within the Catholic Church.
Last week, during the second presidential debate, Hillary Clinton pledged to appoint pro-abortion justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. If that happens, we will have a Supreme Court that will affirm the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. At that point, it will be the law of the land that pro-life pregnancy centers are required to refer patients to publicly funded contraception and abortion service providers.
The next agenda item for our evil politicians is to limit what Catholic priests and their Christian brothers and sisters can say in public, and to impose upon them an obligation to recite the government position on matters of faith and morals. If they don’t comply, their tax-exempt status will be taken away and they will be fined and punished for their “defiance” against the laws of our government.
Bishop Jenky’s warning is more pertinent today than it was four years ago. In my opinion, a Catholic individual cannot, in good conscience, vote for a person who has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who will dismantle the very foundation upon which our Catholic Church was built.
We are getting very close to having our First Amendment freedoms of speech, association, and religion completely vanquished.
We should be scared. We should be very scared.