Fifthly, for too long the bishops have been muzzled by the 501c3 rule which prohibits non-profits from becoming politically involved under the penalty of losing their tax exempt status. This has forced bishops and priests to forfeit their obligation to denounce those politicians who are hostile to the Catholic Church or support those who are supportive to the Catholic agenda.
As shepherds it is important that bishops and priests speak fearlessly on the moral issues of the day and call out offending politicians. Recall, how the pastors in Germany, for the most part, failed in their obligation to condemn Hitler as the Nazis rose to power. Bishops must be ready to give up the Church’s tax exempt status. It is worthless if the Church is prevented from preaching the Gospel for the sake of money.
Finally, bishops should look to the example St. Thomas Becket (1118-1170), Archbishop of Canterbury, who was martyred for his strong defense of the Church’s rights against a self-aggrandizing king, Henry II, for inspiration. It would also be wise to reflect on the words of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), martyred by the Nazis, who said, “Not to act, is to act.”
If nothing else, the Election of 2012 should be a wake-up call for the Catholic Bishops of America.
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