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Preaching and the Election: How Not to Get in Trouble but Still Be Effective

The majority of Catholics have voted for every winner of the presidential election since 1976, with the exception of Donald Trump in 2016. We make up 23% of the population. The Catholic vote could decide the 2020 election and help put in office the party and candidate who will work to end legal protection of abortion (and fight other evils, as well).

There are, sadly, Catholics who believe abortion should be legal and those who think other issues are just as, if not more, important. Still others oppose abortion but just can’t bring themselves to vote for Trump.

Catholics are looking to their spiritual fathers, the bishops and priests, for guidance in properly forming their conscience to vote Nov. 3. One hopes and prays that their homilies against abortion could influence how Catholics work to fight that moral evil at election time and all the time.

I believe there are many priests who want to preach on difficult issues but don’t, largely because they fear the negative feedback they are certain to get from parishioners and possibly being silenced by their bishop.

The objections to moral/political homilies have been several — politics don’t belong in Mass or even moral issues not directly addressed in Scripture; that such homilies are divisive; that the tone and manner is often wrong; and that there is not enough connection with the scriptural readings of the day.

Nonetheless, now is precisely the time for homilies on abortion. And while I suspect such homilies could have a powerful influence on the election, I believe there is need for little or no reference to the current election (but it doesn’t need to be avoided by all homilists).

In fact, in some respects, abortion is a relatively “safe” topic. October is Respect Life Month in the Catholic Church, and thus few objections could be made to it being addressed at this time.

Read more at National Catholic Register

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