Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bishop Paprocki Rocks the Vote

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, who is in charge of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, has written an editorial in this week's diocesan newspaper in which he sends not-so-subliminal messages about which presidential ticket he wants Catholics to vote for.

Photo from the Seattle Star

Of course, Paprocki does say, "My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote."  Nice of him to add that line. Need to make sure the Church's tax exemption does not get yanked, of course.  (He's a lawyer on the side.) Plus, you know, he wouldn't want Catholics to feel like their democratic rights were being trampled.  Or their intelligence insulted.

Later, he adds:  "Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against..."  But of course he is--without saying so flat-out. He tears apart the Democratic Party and says that Republicans' neglect of the poor is, well, just a matter of "prudential judgment."  He wants you to vote for the Republicans and against the Democrats.  He just doesn't want to cost the diocese its tax-exempt status.  Any bishop who messes up that one probably won't get promoted.

No doubt some Catholics--conservative Catholics especially, and far-right Republican Catholics in particular--will defend Bishop Paprocki's decision to walk right up to the line of telling Catholics for whom they must vote.  Yet the bishop knows that Raymond Burke (formerly of St. Louis) took just such a stance in 2004 and guess what?  Burke now heads up the Vatican's equivalent of the Supreme Court.  Burke also was elevated from archbishop to cardinal--which means, yes, that he has a chance of becoming the next pope.

Politics outside of the Church--Obama and Biden and Romney and Ryan.  Politics inside the Church as well.  And sometimes the two dramas intersect.  Yes, the bishop certainly does want your vote: vote for the candidates he favors, or you are supporting evil. Take down the flag, throw the Constitution in the trash; let the bishop walk into the voting booth, essentially, several thousand times on your behalf. Give him the opportunity to determine your vote. What a shepherd. What a clever man. A guy with a real career ahead of him in the church. Lovely, just lovely.

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