You won’t see this on NOM’s blog. Nicholas P. Cafardi is dean emeritus and professor of law at Duquesne University School of Law. In America Magazine, “The National Catholic Weekly,” Mr. Cafardi correctly observes that the bishops are putting the church’s tax exempt status at risk. He also notes that the tax exemption creates a double burden for taxpayers who subsidize tax deductible donations which the church then does not pay income taxes on.
During a sermon in the cathedral church of St. Mary’s in Peoria, Ill., on April 14, Bishop Daniel Jenky compared what he called the “extreme secularist agenda” of President Obama with the anti-Catholic programs of, among others, Hitler and Stalin, two of the 20th century’s worst mass murderers. In the same month, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, Wash., launched a signature drive in every parish of his archdiocese to put Referendum 74 on the statewide ballot. The referendum would repeal Washing-ton’s new same-sex marriage law.
What Bishop Jenky did is called “electioneering.” He intervened in a political campaign in opposition to one of the candidates. What Archbishop Sartain did is called “lobbying.” He intervened in an attempt to pass legislation. Both men did so using their episcopal office. Bishop Jenky spoke from the pulpit of his cathedral during Mass. Archbishop Sartain sent his Referendum 74 letter out on archdiocesan stationery. There is no doubt that both men were acting in their official capacities on behalf of the church and not as Citizen Jenky and Citizen Sartain.