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As reported on the websites of Right Wing Watch and Crooks & Liars Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield Illinois posted an open letter and accompanying video to his diocese warning of the evils of the Democratic Party Platform and its positions on abortion and gay rights. The original post is at

He included the following dire warning for members of his flock thinking of voting Democrat in the upcoming elections:

"Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against," he concluded, "but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy."

Below the fold is my response to his post. I encourage people in Springfield, Ill, and particularly members of his flock to read this and consider carefully its contents, all of which can be verified by some simple searches. I also encourage you to spread the word....

Dear Sir,

In your post to your diocese news site at you warn Catholics in your diocese and through use of the internet as your communication medium the greater Catholic electorate of the whole USA of the spiritual dangers implicit in voting for the Democratic Party, as they support abortion rights and equal rights for gay Americans. You state that "a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy". Furthermore you state that "I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin".

May I suggest sir that you remember the following one of the Ten Commandments: THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS. Whether you really do believe that statement you made in respect of the Republican platform, or are seeking to simply hide behind clever verbiage and theological obscurantism, you sir are blatantly bearing false witness, and I for one am more than happy to point the finger and cry J'Accuse!

The simple reality sir is that the Republican platform, other than on its positions on gay rights and abortion rights, is in diametric opposition to the stated doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Examples of this include:

The Republican platform is vehemently anti-union and workers rights such as fair public sector pay negotiations. Mother Church has been strongly pro-Union since Pope Leo issued the Rerum Novarum in 1891, and maintains that standpoint to this day via its Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

The Republican party and platform is against market and industry regulations, particularly by central government regulatory bodies, which they actively strip and erode at every opportunity. Republicans seek to all but destroy bodies such as the US EPA, and ensure that any attempts to regulate financial markets fail either at the legislative stage or in application. Mother Church states that market regulation is necessary to protect the general public from financial malpractice. Pope Benedict and the Vatican Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace have written extensively on this. Were you, a Bishop of the Church, unaware of these letters and reports?

The Republican party and platform is also decidedly skeptical on the issue of Climate Change, and the whole Republican party seems to regard the problem as some quack conspiracy amongst a cabal of evil mad scientists. Mother Church on the other hand has stated that Climate Change is a serious issue and potential threat to human well-being and development. Indeed, Pope Benedict has spoken out several times on the matter. He even wrote a letter to be read to the delegates at the Durban Climate Change Conference Again, were you unaware of this? Or the Republican stance on the teaching of evolution to US school kids, which again they seem to be against, in diametric opposition to the stated position of Mother Church, which is fully pro-evolution, albeit in a deistic framework?

Or shall we move on to the Republican positions in respect of the welfare safety nets and social safety nets? The party that regards the poor and needy who rely on these programs as moochers and freeloaders? The party that is seeking to gut these programs, and states this in the Platform you say you have read. Do I need to remind you that Mother Church wrote to Congress on at least two occasions decrying the Republican budgetary proposals in respect of such moves, or of the fact that a bus full of Nuns of the Church are dogging Paul Ryan's tail and pointing out to electorates that his policies are NOT those of the Roman Catholic Church and go against its doctrines?

Or perhaps we could look at the Republican platform on income equality and fair taxation, which of course they are against. Do I need to remind you, a Bishop of the Church, that Pope Benedict has publicly decried income inequality between rich and poor, calling it a “scandal”?

Then perhaps we could consider the Republican party and its platform in respect of the use of war as a tool of US foreign policy? A tool which Mother Church has said is an "abomination".

Or shall we instead contemplate the fact that the Republican party is vehemently pro-capital punishment? A matter which Bishops across the USA have railed against time and time again. Were you, as a US Bishop, one of the signatories to those letters and statements, or were you similarly unaware and ignorant of that direct opposition between the Roman Catholic Church's doctrine and Republican policy?

Or how about something that Mother Church, using the same language as you used in your post, has actually named "an intrinsic evil" - torture and confinement without trial? Pope Benedict himself labelled torture an intrinsic evil, yet you state that the Republican platform, that includes support for what they term "enhanced interrogation" and "rendition" and what every one else calls "torture" and "illegal indefinite confinement", contains no such intrinsic evils. Again, were you unaware of the doctrines of Mother Church and the statements of The Pope?

You sir seem happy to cheer for the type of Catholic that is represented by the anti-intellectual Santorum, the serial philanderer Gingritch, or the selfish greedy Ayn Randist Paul Ryan. Men who tout their faith and Catholicism to cynically garner votes whilst happily spitting in the face of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. You seem happy to support a Republican party and platform that, other in respect for abortion and gay rights, stands diametrically opposed to Mother Church and its teachings. You claim to be blissfully ignorant of this opposition, this hypocrisy, these lies, yet maintain that you are a Bishop and so your perspective on faith and how it aligns with politics must be trusted.

You see sir, whilst I am now an atheist, from the age of 4 to the age of 18 I attended Catholic schools, and was taught by priests and lay brothers of the faith. So I know that going against the doctrines of Mother Church is itself a "serious sin" as you put it. It also seems strange that I as an atheist am more aware of Catholic doctrine than you, a Bishop of the Church. And that is why I am happy to say you bear false witness and are a liar. And that sir is a "serious sin".

I will end by pointing out one final matter.

You state in your article and video that "Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against,but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy."

You sir may seek to hide behind theological obscurantism and state that you have not sought to tell people how to vote, but leveling threats at them, albeit ones of a spiritual matter, IS in a way telling them how to vote, and actively seeks to dabble in politics and influence an electorate.

It is my sincere hope that your statements are copied to the US IRS in respect of the continued charitable status of your diocese, as you have blatantly broken the tax law in respect of not preaching politics from the pulpit.

To the charge of being a liar, which I feel I have fully justified in this letter, for the use of the threat behind theological obscurantist language I will also happily add the charge of being a craven coward.

You sir are a disgrace. You owe the members of your diocese and the greater US Catholic electorate who you lied to and threatened an apology. However, as you are a coward who hides behind clever verbiage, and a liar to boot, I will not hold my breath waiting for one.

Yours sincerely,

Dave The Sandman
ex Catholic, and in light of priests and bishops like you, damn proud of it.


ALL of the above points of doctrinal difference can be easily verified through searching news sites or Catholic newspapers. I do check this stuff before letting loose with the rants.

Action suggestions: Print this off and send it to all the papers in Springfield. Ask why they cant be bothered checking the doctrinal facts and questioning the Bishop about his apparent delusions/lies

Also do get n touch with the US IRS about the vote Republican or burn in hell comments as Im pretty sure that is a direct breach of the tax status rules.

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