I’ve hoped aloud the past few weeks that pastors would put to good use the letter of Archbishop Schnurr and the words of the Holy Father on the central moral principles Catholics should take to the public square. At this afternoon’s vigil Mass at St. Mary of Hyde Park (Cincinnati), pastor Fr. Ken Schartz did just that in a potent, brief homily. He used Pope Benedict’s term “non-negotiable” to frame these principles and then quoted several passages verbatim from the “money” section of +Schnurr’s very good letter:

In the Introductory Note of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, we bishops highlight a number of issues related to human life and dignity requiring our particular attention right now. Some involve opposition to intrinsic evils:

  • Ending abortion in our land and supporting the life and dignity of the sick and vulnerable;
  • Safeguarding the religious liberty of our ministries; and
  • Protecting the social institution of marriage.

Others, while involving prudential judgments in public policy, demand a response that cannot be dismissed:

  • Addressing unemployment and poverty;
  • Repairing our broken immigration system; and
  • Promoting peace abroad, especially in the Holy Land.

This list is not exhaustive, and opposing intrinsically evil actions that directly threaten the sanctity and dignity of life should have a special claim on our consciences as we choose between candidates who do not promote all of Catholic Social Teaching.

Say a prayer for Fr. Schartz, especially if you live in the area. Although St. Mary isn’t the liberal redoubt it was in past years, he’s likely to take some grief for speaking out. That he wisely quoted his bishop’s letter should inoculate him from any serious charge of partisanship. Thank you, Padre.

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