* I’ve renamed the post to convey the essence of this story.

The Dayton Daily News and the Cincinnati Enquirer report that archdiocesan chancellor Fr. Steve Angi, a priest best known for holding his arms aloft at the altar like a ballerina and, in one infamous incident, using dog excrement as a homily prop, is teaming up with a leftwing group to give Obama one last push before the election.

Here’s a snippet from the Enquirer:

A newly formed group, Parishes without Politics, welcomed Angi’s letter, saying items improperly distributed on church grounds recently include a sample Republican ballot and tickets for a rally held by Paul Ryan, GOP candidate for vice president.

“I think what we see is just an increasingly divisive political landscape,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec of Westwood, spokeswoman for the group. “The (archdiocese’s) guidelines are fantastic. As we see these guidelines not being followed, we are interested in supporting the archdiocese.”

And here’s one from the DDN:

The letter, penned by Rev. Steve Angi, the chancellor for the archdiocese, includes examples of materials recently found in Cincinnati-area parishes: voter ballot samples, a “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics,” and a stack of tickets to a rally for Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

IRS regulations stipulate that all nonprofits are “absolutely prohibited” from taking part in political campaigns, making financial donations, or endorsing candidates. “But it happens every Sunday, all over the country, and probably every Saturday too,” said Richard Safire, a University of Dayton law professor. “And this issue pops up every presidential election.”

The Catholic Church has had an unusually high profile during this election because of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ stance opposing President Barack Obama’s mandate to provide access to birth control for employees of Catholic institutions. Also, Ryan and Democratic Vice President Joe Biden are Catholic.

A newly-formed group, Parishes without Politics, approached Angi several weeks ago with concerns that parishioners were being inundated with messages advocating for or against political candidates. “He was very receptive to our concerns,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec of Cincinnati. “We think the Cincinnati Archdiocese’s letter should be a model for bishops nationwide and the rest of the church leadership.”

Tony Stieritz, the archdiocesan director for Catholic Social Action, said it is a concern for the church, which updated its guidelines addressing politicking in 2009. “As Election Day approaches, we’ve received an increasing number of questions and concerns about appropriate materials and websites,” he said. “In addition, we are learning that some parishioners are even receiving at their homes partisan literature and phone calls from outside organizations, identifying themselves as Catholic.”

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