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Clean up your own house

A recent news story informs us that two Catholic bishops, Sheridan of Colorado Springs and Archbishop Chaput of Denver, are telling us for whom to vote in November. So much for separation of church and state.

These priests "warn" us against voting for candidates who support stem cell research, euthanasia (a non-suffering death) or abortion. If Catholics vote for candidates wanting abortion, non-suffering deaths, or stem cell research for disease control, those voters will be "jeopardizing their salvation," says Bishop Sheridan.

I rushed to my bookshelf and scanned a copy of a New Testament and could not find a word about stem cell research. Maybe the original writers of the New Testament forgot to put it in. This is odd, since it threatens the salvation of scientists.

Then I looked everywhere in the edict from the bishops to see if they would tell us to vote against any candidates in November who advocate killing (you remember the commandment against killing) such as those who voted for killing in the Iraq War.

Nor did the good bishops say anything about voting against those candidates who have in the past committed adultery and coveted others' wives. Strange indeed, the arbitrary editing of the New Testament by these highly placed Catholic officials.

And then I realized with a shock: These bishops were moralizing to the rest of us, when they at the same time represent a church recently exposed with the worst of criminal offenses, namely child rape, followed by cover-ups by higher-ups. This sexual-assault pattern has been going on for decades, and we can assume by extrapolation, for centuries.

Think of the chutzpah, the reckless arrogance, of these men, to preach morality to the rest of us.

Instead of bishops "warning" us voters, we voters should be warning these bishops and their colleagues to stay out of secular politics and to clean up the almost unbelievable abuses in their own organization.

In the meantime, we voters should look for candidates who will vote for new laws that put all citizens and all organizations under the same tax laws -- we should tax all church property and not just the Catholics by any means.

It's only moral.

-- Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Cafeteria Catholics

I have read of your Bishop Sheridan's threat to withhold the sacrament from Catholics who vote for politicians who do not oppose abortion rights, stem cell research, euthanasia or same-sex marriage. He states that voting must reflect the faith that is "spoken with the lips."

To pick and choose among the teachings of the church makes one a "cafeteria Catholic."

I assume that Bishop Sheridan would not count himself as a cafeteria Catholic and it is with that assumption in mind that I would like to bring his attention to the "Statement on Iraq" published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Nov. 13, 2002.

It was the teaching of the bishops that the then impending invasion of Iraq did not meet the criteria of a just war. It is, for Catholics, sinful to kill in the absence of this justification. Surely, as a bishop who rejects moral relativity, Sheridan will also want to deny communion to all those who vote for politicians who uphold unjust wars.

Kevin Cassidy

St. Giles Parish

Oak Park, Ill.

Not holding his breath

I commend Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs for refusing Holy Communion to politicians, and those politicians' supporters, who advocate the intrinsic evils of abortion, same-sex marriage, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia.

I wish that all other bishops would follow suit; but I won't hold my breath.

-- Matt C. Abbott

Chicago, Ill.

Intimidation is undemocratic

Bishop Michael Sheridan has issued a command to all members of his diocese that they cannot receive communion if they vote for politicians who support abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia or gay marriage.

I always get angry when one of our planet's largest sources of pedophiles gets involved in politics. Maybe if you stopped sending new pedophiles out to attack our communities for a few years, people would start taking you seriously. Until then, I think everyone would appreciate you shutting up. Intimidating voters is undemocratic. We live in a democracy. Maybe you could look up how that works, Bishop Michael Sheridan.

-- Dan Brown

Denver

Vote with your wallets

The Catholic bishops of Colorado are not listening. We look to the bishops for spiritual leadership. We will not allow the bishops to control our political, social and personal conscience.

We know the approved practice/policy of moving child molesters from parish to parish would not have been addressed by the Catholic Church if not for the successful multimillion-dollar lawsuits filed by the victims. The church did not hear the voices and cries of the victims; they heard the dollars being paid out to the victims and decided to make token gestures to stem the flow of their cash.

In a similar way, it is time to tell Bishop Chaput and Bishop Sheridan how we feel about their attempt to control the November election.

In the November election, vote with your heart and your brain. If you do not agree with the position of Bishop Chaput and Bishop Sheridan, we suggest that you vote with your wallet immediately! Withhold all financial support to the Catholic Church for one year. Give to another nonprofit that needs your support. The donations from our family will not be missed by the Catholic Church, but if 1,000 or 10,000 Catholics withhold support, perhaps the bishops will start to listen.

-- Stan and Mary Pedzick

Denver

Digging a spiritual grave

The Roman Catholic Church in Colorado Springs is digging its own spiritual grave by refusing communion for members who don't vote the way it wants them to. It does so in direct defiance of its own catechism, even by its bishop's own admission, which should say a lot about where its priorities really lie -- in politics, not in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

If a Catholic is supposed to vote pro-life, then they think they should vote for Bush. But Bush is a Protestant, anti-Catholic by his own denomination's creed, so they would be voting against their own religion. According to the catechism, they can't receive communion if they vote for him.

That doesn't even begin to address the pro-death stance of Bush and the hundreds of our soldiers and thousands of Iraqis whose deaths he is responsible for in this illegal war, which the Pope has denounced for the Church. A vote for Bush is hardly a vote for life and hardly a vote for the church's principles! It is, however, a vote for politics over principles.

On the other hand, if Catholics are supposed to support one of their own (Kerry), then they come up against the church's stance on politicians like him who do disagree with some of the church's principles (as do many Catholics in America). So they can't receive communion this way either. Again, it's politics over principles.

So the church won't support one of its own because his views differ from theirs and instead implicitly support a church outsider whose views are just as different and has a body count to go with them. What hypocrisy! Again, it's politics over principles.

In this case, a vote for either Bush or Kerry denies a Catholic communion, either by the catechism or by the bishop's fiat.

Seemingly, the only logical solution for a Catholic who wishes to stay true to the church's positions is to not vote at all. Only in that way can Catholics put principles over politics. There is no presidential candidate who completely ascribes to the church's pro-life doctrines.

This is yet another example of how mixing church and state leads to oppression of the people and tyranny instead of freedom.

The Colorado Springs Diocese has lost its way on this one, making a sin both the exercise of the free will that God gave us as well as practicing the inalienable right of liberty that also comes from God.

So the answer is to vote your heart, and figure it out between yourself and your God, since the Church has no idea what it's talking about.

-- Michael Seebeck

Riverside, Calif.

The highest authority

When will these outrages against the personal freedoms stop? For any citizen of the United States of America to presume to dictate, in the name of God no less, to any other citizen how they should vote is indeed outrageous!

The Catholic Church has always claimed to be the highest authority when it comes to what happens in it's communicants' bedrooms and doctors' offices, but Bishop Sheridan has really pushed the envelope in his "Pastoral Letter" of May 1. You can find it online at: www.diocesecs.org/bishopsOffice/PastoralLetterMay2004.pdf.

To my dear Catholic friends, I hope you will not submit to being used as political pawns. Your votes are your own. God will love you good people, even if some (ordained) political partisan threatens to withhold the Sacraments from you.

-- Shannon C. Davis

Colorado Springs

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