Catholics United Seeks to End Partisan Message in Worship
By Tanya Koonce
Catholics United is asking Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky to refrain from using the pulpits of his diocese for partisan messages.
Bishop Jenky is ordering all priests in the Peoria Diocese to read a letter during this weekend’s services.
The letter criticizes The President and Democratically-controlled Senate for ignoring what the Bishop calls the Catholic community's grave objections.
Bishop Jenky has publicly denounced the federal mandate that will require Church-related institutions to provide contraceptive coverage for employees in their health-care plans.
James Salt is the executive director of Washington-DC based Catholics United. He says the Bishop’s demand of his priests to read the letter during weekend mass is troublesome.
"He is trying to dictate to Catholics in churches across the Diocese how to vote," he said. "And we're saying that's just not legal in the sense of IRS guidelines. But it jeopardizes the standing of the leadership of the bishop within the Diocese. Catholics won't listen to him, follow him, if he's continually seen as a divisive far-right figure, less one who can inspire the culture."
Salt said the federal contraception requirement does not force anyone to violate their conscience and it doesn’t infringe on a person’s individual religious freedom.
Calls and emails to the Diocese were not returned.