The Bishop of Peoria offers spiritual guidance during the election season

Timothy Kincaid

November 1st, 2012

The decisions that go into whom to vote for can be difficult and emotional. Often conflicting priorities and perspectives can leave one distraught and troubled. So the Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C. Bishop of Peoria, Illinois, has penned a letter to his flock seeking to provide spiritual guidance at this time of civic duty. Or something like that.

First the Bishop appeals to his pastors to share his guidance

By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4. [emphasis in the original]

And then he begins his letter to those who come to share the ancient and sacred sacrament

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.

And a bit later he provides the congregation with a gentle biblical reminder

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.

Now I’m sure many Catholics are troubled by the decisions of the HHS that require Catholic organizations to provide contraception and/or other medical procedures which they believe to be contrary to their moral beliefs. But there are many considerations when one votes and some Catholics may consider other matters to be of more importance.

Does that really mean that they are rejecting Jesus as their Lord? Is there no gray area?

They are objectively guilty of grave sin.

It’s objectively grave sin, you see, just like scourging Jesus.

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.

Ah, yes. The good old “vote as I tell you or burn in Hell forever” doctrine.

I think the Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky might have missed his calling. Perhaps a drill sergeant might have been a more fitting career choice.

Mark F.

November 1st, 2012

I hardly see that accepting Catholic doctrine on abortion, divorce, pornography or same sex marriage requires you to support particular government laws or political parties. That makes no sense.


November 1st, 2012

About American history and current conditions, he is right on one thing, although he misstates it.

Christians have simply assumed an establishment of religion here from the beginning, despite words contrary in the Bill of Rights. And for more than two centuries, their assumption has been indulged and paid unwarranted–even illegal–respect.

Now things are changing for religion in truly unprecedented ways. One result of those changes is that churches now are required to play by the same rules as everyone else. Adoption? Birth control? Family planning? Even abortion? No more religious exemptions; if you enter the public arena, you abide by the public law.

This play-by-the-rules thing is new to them, and they are shocked by it. And so far, they have only lied about it. Like the man above, they claim a breach of religious liberty, but refuse to note that it is a “liberty” they never had.


November 1st, 2012

I find it funny every time the Catholic Church tries to flex some moral authority on social issues. The decades, at the least, they spent covering up child abuse makes them all credibility.

Now I’m sure many Catholics are troubled by the decisions of the HHS that require Catholic organizations to provide contraception and/or other medical procedures which they believe to be contrary to their moral beliefs.
Actually it looks like the majority of American Catholics have no problem with contraception.


November 1st, 2012

@Soren456. Please recognize that Christianity in America is very diverse and is not defined by the Roman Catholic Church.

Your assessment is essentially correct, of course. Christianity, more specifically, white Protestant Christianity, not Catholicism, has been the culturally established religion in the United States since colonial times, Never officially or legally established but certainly culturally.

Christianity is being culturally disestablished in the United States. I’m supportive of this trend, although I lament growing religious illiteracy. Actually, as a Protestant minister, I think the cultural establishment has been harmful to Christianity. We talk about the “fall of Christendom” all the time in my United Church of Christ circles.

The Roman Catholic Church, tracing its establishment back to Emperor Constantine, has never been comfortable with democracy, greatly preferring imperial forms of civil government. The entire structure of the RC Church is modeled on imperial forms of government.

The moral authority of the American Bishops to make this kind of demand on their parishioners evaporated with the sexual abuse scandal. It is nothing more than an attempt to bolster a crumbling empire, not the last attempt, but ultimately a futile one.


November 1st, 2012


In no sense did I imply that American Christianity is defined by the Catholic church; I wrote of “Christians” and “religion.” How you see something else is a mystery to me.

Priya Lynn

November 1st, 2012

I always get a kick out of it when they say “God is not mocked”. LOL, god is mocked all the time and always will be.


November 2nd, 2012

I believe the Conference of Catholic Bishops condemned the Ryan Budget Plan. So which side are they on, or better, how can they choose sides?

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