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Catholics, Politics, Healthcare

Pastors who would tear the wings off Cardinal Dolan’s message

 By Judi McLeod  Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nudging President Barack Obama out of the sanctuary of the Roman Catholic Church, is going to need helping hands of both the celestial and earth bound.
St. Michael and the Archangels must be rooting for Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, but are foot soldiers on Mother Earth being tossed aside by the rank and file ostensibly on Cardinal Dolan’s side?

Pastor Fr. Dan Papineau at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, has cut two parishioners off from an already agreed to letter campaign, and blames his change of mind on the local bishop’s office.

“I received a response from a Diocesan spokesperson on the review of the text and procedure for implementing the Religious Freedom Campaign as reviewed by the Vicar General, Monsignor Richard Harris,” Fr. Papineau wrote in a letter to parishioners Cathy Tyler and Sherri Timmerman.

Fr. Papineau states the following:

1- “The matters we are concerned about are within the provence of the Bishop and only the Bishop can speak from the pulpit.
2- The letters are political in nature and could cause an IRS investigation resulting in the loss of our 501c status.
3- Priest (sic) should never issue political statements or promote letters that they have drafted.
4- And that this initiative is a dangerous precedent that should not be done.” (Emphasis CFP’s).

“They recommend referring the parishioners to read the statement put out by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in reference to the HHS Mandate.

“Contained within the statement is an exhortation to action by contacting one’s U.S. Representative through the information provided and saying the message as noted, that the Representative will co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467).

“In the spirit of obedience I will comply with their directive. I suggest that an insert containing the bishops (sic) letter be put in the bulletin with a reference to it being stated before the final benediction when announcements are made.

“I’m sorry if this response disappoints you but the Lord always blesses holy initiatives that are rooted in the spirit of obedience.”

Mighty big of Fr. Papineau, particularly in light of the fact that a representative at Catholic Advocate advised Cathy Tyler that they’ve processed over 200,000 of these legislative letters from across the country to date.

“I’ve researched the limits imposed by the 501c and there is no way these letters endanger that standing,” Tyler wrote in a letter to Cardinal Dolan.  “The letters are legislative in nature and are not partisan. They don’t promote or discourage voting for any candidate. These letters are exactly the kind of activity you and the USCCB have encouraged from Catholics.”

Tyler was right in reminding Cardinal Dolan that Fr. Papineau’s claim that Vicar General, Monsignor Robert Harris statement is indicative that “The matters we are concerned about are within the provence of the Bishop and only the Bishops can speak from the pulpit” should be of concern.

“I know that priests across the country are speaking about this issue from the pulpit. It is not only Bishops, who are communicating this message to the parishes.”

Tyler may have been too polite to point out, and so do activists get to take over the pulpit in some parishes.

Cardinal Dolan’s public epistle to Catholic bishops was not just eloquent and passionate, it was a masterpiece, true words of which should be as much a clarion call to Catholics as the church bells that peal out before every Sunday Mass.

Foot soldiers like Cathy Tyler and Sherri Timmerman, who stand at the ready to defend Cardinal Dolan’s fight to preserve the Right of Conscience Act against the Obama regime, should not be held back.

Meanwhile, pastors like Fr. Dan Papineau should be putting wings on Cardinal Dolan’s message not tearing the wings off it.

Letter
April 25, 2012

Cardinal Timothy Dolan
1011 First Ave
New York, NY 10022

RE: Religious Freedom in America

Dear Cardinal Dolan:

I’m a member of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC. When the mandate from the Executive branch and HHS happened earlier this year, our parish was in transition. Our Pastor was re-assigned to a different parish and the new Pastor had not yet been named. While Churches across the nation were being informed of this mandate, the communication was lost in the shuffle at our parish. The letter from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was never read to our parish, nor was a bulletin insert ever provided to our members.

Our new parish Pastor, Fr. Dan Papineau, has been with us for a couple of months now. Once he arrived and had time to get his feet on the ground, my friend Sherri Timmerman and I made an appointment with him to talk about the mandate. We asked Fr. Dan to speak about the mandate from the pulpit. We also asked permission to proceed with a Campaign for Religious Freedom, which I had received from Catholic Advocate.

Fr. Dan was excited by the idea of the letter campaign and agreed to let us proceed with a plan to implement the campaign. He asked Sherri and me to prepare a package which would include words he would say to the parish. He also invited us to speak to the parish on this issue.

Sherri and I put a great deal of thought and effort into this project. We pulled our information from letters and bulletin inserts quoting your words, and the words of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. We submitted our plan to Fr. Dan and he seemed impressed with the work we had done. His only request was for us to provide him with a timetable, which we submitted. Then we received a very discouraging e-mail from Fr. Dan. He said we could not move forward with the plan based on the direction he had received from the Bishop’s office. Below is a copy of that correspondence:

Dear Sherri and Cathy,

Greetings to you in our Lord Jesus Christ!

I received a response from a Diocesan spokes person on the review of the text and procedure for implementing of the Religious Freedom Campaign as reviewed by the Vicar General, Monsignor Richard Harris.

He states the following:

1. The matters we are concerned about are within the provence of the Bishop and only the Bishops can speak from the pulpit.

2. The letters are political in nature and could cause an IRS investigation resulting in our loss of our 501c status.

3. Priest should never issue political statements or promote letters that they have drafted.

4. And that this initiative is a dangerous precedent that should not be done.

They recommend referring the parishioners to read the statement put out by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in reference to the HHS Mandate.  Contained within the statement is an exhortation to action by contacting one’s U.S. Representative through the information provided and saying the message as noted, that the Representative will co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467).

In the spirit of obedience I will comply with their directive. I suggest that an insert containing the bishops letter be put in the bulletin with a reference to it being stated before the final benediction when announcements are made.

I’m sorry if this response disappoints you but the Lord always blesses holy initiatives that are rooted in the spirit of obedience.

Thank you for your passion in promoting the Right of Conscience Act.

Fr. Dan

Cardinal Dolan, we are so discouraged by this message. It appears to be in direct opposition to everything we’ve heard you say and the message we’re hearing from the USCCB. Our goal is to have our parish made aware of the grave danger to our Religious Freedom, which is under direct attack from our government.

I’ve spoken to a representative at Catholic Advocate and have been advised that they’ve processed over 200,000 of these legislative letters from across the country to date. I’ve researched the limits imposed by the 501c status and there is no way that these letters endanger that standing. The letters are legislative in nature and are not partisan. They don’t promote or discourage voting for any candidate. These letters are exactly the kind of activity you and the USCCB have encouraged from Catholics. I’ve included a copy of the letter for your review.

I’m also very concerned that Vicar General, Monsignor Richard Harris has stated that “The matters we are concerned about are within the provence of the Bishop and only the Bishops can speak from the pulpit”. I believe this is indicative of a larger problem within our diocese because I know that priests across the country are speaking about this issue from the pulpit. It is not only Bishops who are communicating this message to the parishes.

We have foot soldiers ready to defend our Religious Freedom, but we’re being prohibited from doing so by our Bishop’s office. I’m asking for your advice and guidance. We are passionate about this issue and are more than disappointed that the parishioners at St. Benedict’s are not receiving a proactive message from our church leadership.

I look forward to your response to this issue. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,


Cathy Tyler
Mt. Pleasant, SC

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Judi McLeod  Bio
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Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, and Glenn Beck.



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