Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

The bishops' political strategy and the Church tax exemption

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 05, 2012

Responding to my argument that the US bishops should adopt a tougher new political strategy, reader Joseph Michael Gentilini made a good point:

If the bishops get tangled in urging Catholics to support or not support any particular politician in any election, they risk losing their tax-exempt status and rightly so.

That’s true. The bishops cannot afford to become involved in partisan political campaigning. (Among other things, the effort could backfire, actually helping liberal candidates.) However:

  1. While they should not tell Catholics to vote for a particular candidate, bishops and priests can remind the faithful that it is culpably wrong to vote for candidates who support gravely immoral policies. The USCCB can issue a new “voter guide,” clearing up the confusion that still flows from the existing Faithful Citizenship document. Still more important, they can issue public rebukes to the Catholic lawmakers who espouse unacceptable policies. In short, the bishops can show that they are taking the moral issues of the campaign seriously.
  2. If Catholic schools, hospitals, and charitable agencies are forced to close down because they cannot comply with an unjust federal policy, they won’t be needing their tax-exempt status anymore.
  3. If the tax exemption can be protected only by remaining silent in the face of injustice, then to hell with the tax exemption. ”For what would it profit a man…”

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our July expenses ($33,425 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,574.95
96% 4%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 05, 2012 8:29 PM ET USA

    The Bishops are asking American Catholics to defend a teaching that they neither know nor understand--thanks to the inaction of the Bishops? Please explain how they expect this to happen.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Making Moral Progress? July 3
Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision July 2
Political battles vs. sacrificial service: The Brooks paradox revisited July 2
A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear June 30
'Helpful' advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects June 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope approves process for holding bishops accountable in abuse cases CWN - June 10
Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical released (includes link to full text) CWN - June 18
US Supreme Court rules all states must recognize same-sex marriage CWN - June 26
Archbishop Nienstedt, auxiliary bishop resign CWN - June 15