Here are three quotes from a Catholic Priest about the Democratic Party and Catholics: “It saddens me, and weakens the democracy millions of Americans cherish, when the party that once embraced Catholics now slams the door on us.” “The needs of poor and middle-class children in Catholic schools, and the right to life of the baby in the womb have largely been rejected by the party of our youth.” “The ‘big tent’ of the Democratic Party now seems a pup tent.”
The quotes are not from Fr. James Altman, currently pastor at St. James the Less Parish in La Crosse. They are from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, in a letter printed in the Wall Street Journal on March 22, 2018.
Most of you have already heard about the controversy and conflict made public by Fr. Altman’s various remarks about our Catholic Faith and our civic responsibilities. The most direct (and controversial) being, “You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat.” This brought a response from Bishop Callahan. I have generally refrained from mentioning parties or politicians/candidates by name, but have stressed the need to support and vote for those people who most reflect our Catholic moral beliefs; the protection of innocent human life (no abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, or embryonic stem cell research) and the promotion of marriage between one man and one woman being the most important. My approach is different from Fr. Altman’s. But I’m not saying my way is the better way. Perhaps his is as G.K. Chesterton once said, “Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing badly.” Perhaps Fr. Altman has said it badly. But what he says is worth saying. Indeed, how can a Catholic vote for candidates or support political parties who support abortion and the other issues mentioned above?
Political parties come and go, and their platforms change regularly. What doesn’t change is our Catholic Faith and our trust in Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Pray for all our civil leaders. And pray for Fr. Altman and Bishop Callahan, and a true reconciliation. Lord Jesus, have mercy on us!
May God bless you!