“Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell,” warns church.
Church newsletters are usually not that controversial; they ask you to pray for fellow parishioners and remind you to bring main courses for Sunday’s potluck so they don’t get stuck with nothing but vegetable platters and brownies again. But at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in San Diego, two recent bulletins went just a tad beyond that.
On October 16th, a flier was inserted into the weekly bulletin titled, “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics.” In it, parishioners of the church (which also serves as an election day polling site) were informed that the policy positions of Democrats on abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, human cloning, and embryonic stem cell research run counter to Catholicism and therefore voting for Democrats would sentence church-goers to eternal damnation. “It is a mortal sin to vote Democrat,” said the flier, “…immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell.”
— #NBC7 San Diego (@nbcsandiego) November 4, 2016
Two weeks later, an article appeared in the bulletin saying that Hillary Clinton, under the influence of Satan, was trying to get voters to change their minds about abortion. Which only makes sense, of course. It’s like Occam’s Razor: the simpler solution is usually the one where Satan is controlling the Democratic nominee for president.
Obviously, this is creating quite the hubbub because according to IRS rules, tax-exempt groups (like churches) are not allowed to speak for or against political candidates. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego denounced the flier and the article on Wednesday, saying that they do not represent the church’s teachings. Bishop Robert McElroy sent a message to the priests and pastors of the diocese via spokesman Kevin Eckery that said, “…while we have a moral role to play in explaining how Catholic teaching relates to certain public policy issues, we must not and will not endorse specific candidates, use parish media or bulletins to favor candidates or parties through veiled language about selectively chosen issues, or engage in partisan political activity of any kind.” Furthermore, said Eckery,”It’s not a mortal sin to vote for Democrats, number one. And number two, the church doesn’t take positions on this, and we’re not going to.”
Boom. Case closed. But then who was responsible for those articles in the first place?
When asked about the October 16th flier, the diocese claims that it was written by a third-party and inserted into the bulletin without the pastor’s knowledge or approval. And the October 30th bulletin? An article in the San Deigo Tribune says that according to Eckery, “…the article came from within the parish, but it’s not clear who the author was, or who approved it for the bulletin.”
So what does the church’s pastor, Reverand Richard Perozich, have to say about the whole controversy? Well, he talked to the Daily News about it because that seemed like a good idea, and said that no, he didn’t review the flier and agreed that it “went a little beyond” what he thought it was going to say. However, he also said that he does tell parishioners they’ll go to hell if they vote for Democrats. And in a homily he gave three weeks before the first bulletin appeared, he addressed the same five policy issues discussed in the flier and said, “When we vote, we don’t vote for candidates who support these things, even if they support other things that we really like.”
That, my friends, is what you call a quinky-dink! (Definition of Quinky-Dink: An unnecessary and easily disproven lie told out of desperation.)
And what about the article two weeks later, that not only said that Clinton was working for Satan but argued against immigration, public assistance for immigrants, and defended the second amendment? The diocese has disavowed it as well. Said Eckery, “There’s no Catholic teaching to national debt, there’s no Catholic teaching on the Second Amendment. Those are civil issues, not Catholic issues. It doesn’t reflect official church teaching.” And, again, he says that no one knows who wrote it.
— Richard Allyn (@RichardCBS8) November 4, 2016
Well, except for Reverend Perozich, who told the Daily News that he wrote it. He did point out, however, that he never said that parishioners shouldn’t vote for Clinton/Satan, and that “…somebody took this and then made it public [and] took it out of context. I would never tell anyone to ‘vote this’ or ‘vote that.'”
Of course! It’s like when your mom says, “Well, I wouldn’t wear it, but if you think you look good then I guess it’s fine.” Only in this case, what Perozich said was, “Well, I wouldn’t want to vote for Satan and spend the rest of eternity in hell, but I guess if that’s what your values are then you go right ahead.”
It looks like Perozich went through a lot of trouble for nothing, however. A poll released this week shows Trump with a 20-point advantage over Clinton among Catholics.