Priest responds to Catholic League’s Bill Donohue blasting Federal Electoral Commission Chairman Trey Trainor

Bulleted points (or in Italics on different platforms) in quotations marks are from Catholic League’s Bill Donohue (CL for short):

  • “Trey Trainor, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, is accusing the bishops of refusing to partake in electoral politics because they are more interested in receiving federal funds than they are in mobilizing Catholics. He even goes so far as to say that priests should disobey their bishop.”
  • “Trainor says, “the bishops are using their non-profit status as a shield to hide behind from having to make a decision about who to support.” Why? Because they want federal dollars. “To look at the amount of money the Church receives for social services, I would say that they have a big fear of provoking the government into pulling money away from activities the Church is involved in.”

Up to this point, I agree with Trey Trainor. Great! But then CL has this:

  • “In actual fact, the bishops have always been reluctant—properly so—to tell Catholics who to vote for in an election. We don’t go to church to get lectured to by priests who are Republicans or Democrats.”

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Con paz! Con paz! Just. Wow. Trey Trainor did not command the bishops who to vote for in an election. Trey Trainor did not command us to go to church in order to get lectured to by priests who are Republicans or Democrats. Trey Trainor did not command priests to lecture their congregations from the pulpit, endorsing this or that candidate. No.

  • “To be sure, priests are entitled to discuss public policy issues that the Church supports, such as laws that restrict abortion or statutes that support school choice. But priests who go beyond this are crossing the line. None of this has anything to do with money—it has to do with prudence and respect for the conscience of parishioners.”

Just. Wow. As a priest, I’m allowed by CL to discuss public policy issues. Pfft! “Discuss.” No. I’m not going to discuss anything from the pulpit. I’m not going to throw up in the air for “discussion”, say, ripping unborn children apart in the wombs of their mothers and sucking them out with a vacuum cleaner, discussing this… No. These children are made in the image and likeness of God, and I’m going to declare with Jesus, who was in the womb of His Immaculate Mother for nine months that procured abortion is intrinsically evil always and in every circumstance. This is not up for “discussion.”

Does CL really equate procured abortion with school choice, the old lies of “Common Ground” and “Seamless Garment”. Unbelievable.

CL says that priests who go beyond this step over the line. Well, CL, I’m stepping over the line. Sue me. I’m going to say that procured is intrinsically evil and that this is not up for discussion at all.

CL says that this has nothing to do with money – it has to do with prudence and respect for the conscience of parishioners. I say, that’s bull crap. The bishops get tons of Federal Money for Catholic Relief Services, which is anti-Catholic, anti-Relief, and against true Services. The Bishops get tons of Federal Money for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development which is not Catholic, but is a campaign against that which is Catholic, and is entirely against Human Development. Let’s talk the Bishops’ support for groups supporting abortion. Yes. Let’s do that, CL. Let’s talk the prudence and respect of Jesus for the consciences of the money changers in the Temple, overturning their tables of money. Just. Wow. “Prudence.” “Respect.” I’ll tell you this, Jesus took us deadly seriously. He was tortured to death for it. Jesus doesn’t want us to go to hell. He instructs us without fear. What the hell are you doing, CL? Being men of consensus?

  • “Worse is Trainor’s comments on priests and bishops. ‘When a priest takes the vow of obedience to the bishop, it’s in the area of faith and morals, but they have a higher duty to Our Lord. If the bishop is putting out something that is not right, then the priest has an obligation to the faithful to correct it because he has the higher duty to Our Lord.'”

And what Trey Trainor said is absolutely correct. I’ve taken that promise of obedience, knowing that such a promise is made within the structure of Canon Law. No bishop can legitimately command any priest to commit sin, say, by way of a sin of omission or in any other way. No priest has ever made a “vow” or promise to any bishop to commit whatever sin any bishop might command him to do. This is absurd of CL. Totally absurd. I’ll tell you this, dear CL, I would go to my death disobeying any bishop commanding me to sin. If a bishop were to command a priest to sin, it would be the very height of arrogance. But then, CL says this:

  • “Arrogance is commonplace among Washington officials, but this one is a gem. Since when is it the job of the chairman of the FEC to offer theological instructions to Roman Catholic priests? What mantle of authority does this bureaucrat have to tell priests that they should disobey their bishops?”

Yes, well, Trey Trainor happens to be a Catholic who has the right in Canon Law to bring his concerns to the pastors of the Church. And if Trey is also a government official, does that mean that he has no right to the free exercise of religion in the public square, no right to freedom of speech, no right to express his conscience on the matter? Trey is not doing this from the offices of the FEC, but rather in a journalist’s studio. I thank Trey Trainor for the instructions he has provided. And, CL, just for your instruction, I do have a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, a Doctorate in Theology from the Angelicum again. I applaud the instruction of Trey Trainor. His “mantle of authority” is that… wait for it… he’s right.

  • “One would think that with all the hullaballoo about fraudulent ballots being cast, and all the chicanery about mail-in voting, that the head of the FEC would have better things to do than to tell the Catholic clergy what their responsibilities are. Trump needs to rein this guy in right away.”

I’ll tell you what, it’s fully my intention to cross the line set out by CL. I won’t discuss. I will instruct. I will defend the truth. I will defend children in the womb. I won’t command people how to vote, but I will say how candidates measure up to the absolute truth of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and world by fire. Amen.

And, by the way, I also have better things to do than have to write such commentaries as this. I had the best day ever yesterday – to give an example – locked up in jail, giving another bible study. It was on the prodigal son. Tears of conversion flowed. I saw Jesus at work in these guys’ souls. I would much rather be doing all that than this commentary. And now it’s off to Holy Hours, Masses, Communion calls until nightfall. I love being a priest. Just don’t have the hubris of telling me how to be a priest, CL, well, you know, unless you’re right on something, like Trey Trainor.

P.S. I love what you do otherwise, CL. You do a great work for the Church. But with this attack on Trey Trainor, you’ve stepped over the line.

8 Comments

Filed under Free exercise of religion, Politics

8 responses to “Priest responds to Catholic League’s Bill Donohue blasting Federal Electoral Commission Chairman Trey Trainor

  1. Tom Schott

    Amen. We (the flock) need to hear from you (the good priests) on the matters that affect our families and (more critically) our salvation.

  2. sanfelipe007

    Amen, Father. Everyone needs correction from time to time, for straight and narrow is the path. “Instruction, not discussion, from the pulpit*.” I’ll have to remember that.
    * Is this a fair paraphrase of one of your points? Is there a better word than “instruction?” What one word conveys “to light, to guard, to rule and guide?”
    Certainly one of the Saints has written about it.

  3. Cathy

    Father Byers, I would add that it is not simply the government aid, but the aid of pro-abortion foundations that the bishop sponsored charities are ripe with, as well as theologicians who trip over themselves to defend cooperation with these foundations. I’ve refused, for years, to donate to USCCB sponsored charities and have come to see them as enemies of the church.

  4. Mark Malone

    Best commentary ever! Father George is right on! It’s time for all Catholics to step up and speak out for TRUTH! Jesus IS TRUTH and he has instructed us, and given his life for us! He did this to save us for eternity. Our loyalty and devotion must always be to Jesus Christ, our savior, not any mere human being who does not walk in Jesus’ light, or have the courage and commitment to speak his TRUTH!

  5. James Anderson

    A 1,000,000 times Amen! Praise the Lord for Church Militant that gave Trey the “pulpit” to get the word out. I intend to stop supporting CL if they don’t print an apology that is longer than their attack.

  6. nancyv

    Thank you Father (big heave of a sigh in relief) and all this talk about “discussion” (puke). Along with your homily on the next post, Gooduns!

  7. I was disappointed that the Catholic League was as timid and church-mouse-like as our bishops while our churches were being padlocked and was even frustrated enough to send a comment saying so. I expected more from the Catholic League. This latest statement is even more disappointing. Of course, when the chairman of the Federal Election Commission has to give Catholic bishops a well-deserved dressing down, things are mighty bad.
    And, yes, it’s time for the tax exemption to go. It’s time to blow their cover once and for all– though given the recent New York precedent, where Protestants went to court and got unconstitutional Covid restrictions lifted and our bishops said they would probably abide by them anyway, we’ll probably still wind up with bishops and priests refusing to say what needs to be said. They’ll just find another excuse to preach the Gospel of Nice and the Gospel of Safety.

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