Bishop Strickland echoes priest: ‘You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat’
TYLER, Texas, September 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Joseph Strickland on Saturday endorsed a video by Fr. James Altman in which he argued no Catholic could vote for the Democrat Party in the upcoming election.
“As the Bishop of Tyler I endorse Fr. Altman’s statement in this video,” the bishop wrote on Twitter. “My shame is that it has taken me so long. Thank you Fr Altman for your COURAGE. If you love Jesus & His Church & this nation...pleases (sic) HEED THIS MESSAGE.”
As the Bishop of Tyler I endorse Fr Altman’s statement in this video. My shame is that it has taken me so long. Thank you Fr Altman for your COURAGE. If you love Jesus & His Church & this nation...pleases HEED THIS MESSAGE https://t.co/D413G0lfQV— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) September 5, 2020
Fr. Altman, pastor of St. James the Less Catholic Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, had exclaimed in the video, first released at the end of July, “Here is a memo to clueless baptized Catholics: You can not be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period!”
“Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches,” he said. “So just quit pretending that you’re Catholic and vote Democrat.” He warned, “Repent of your support of that party and its platform or face the fires of hell.”
Regarding baptized Catholics who voted for Democrat candidates in the past, specifically President Barack Obama, Altman said, “There were a lot of pretenders, a lot of impostors, a lot of people masquerading as Catholics, laity and clergy alike, (but) there were zero faithful Catholics who voted for that godless politician who had the audacity to blaspheme and say, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood,’ the most racist organization on the face of this planet, founded to wipe out black babies.”
Apart from Strickland, several other bishops have spoken out against the Democrat Party, especially its candidate for President, former senator and vice president Joe Biden, and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris.
Bishop Rick Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, tweeted on September 1, “It really confuses me that both Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi time and time again state that they are faithful Catholics and yet promote unlimited abortion as well as deny so many of the teachings of our faith. Nancy stated that she will no longer support the Hyde Amendment.”
“I guess they think it is OK to say they are faithful but yet support the ultimate child abuse and human rights violation of the death of the unborn,” he added. “I hope someday her portrait will be removed from the Capital as she did of those who supported slavery. No difference.”
Stika also asked, “How can a person say they are a faithful Catholic and yet support those who support the ultimate child abuse and human rights violation of those yet born? Slavery was legal at one time and yet now we look at it with horror. A child yet born is not the property of another.”
“A child not yet born is a total human person that must be protected,” he affirmed. “This nation will continue to decline if abortion continues. Those who love life will never go away and will continue to fight. The cause is just as it is the promotion of the dignity of the human person.”
Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, simply commented in mid-August, “Biden-Harris. First time in awhile that the Democratic ticket hasn’t had a Catholic on it. Sad.”
In May, and in view of the upcoming election in November, Bishop Strickland himself had issued a series of articles discussing what he called “Morally Coherent Catholic Citizenship.”
“In short, faith and life must come together for Catholics. The full Deposit of Faith must be guarded -- and it must inform every area of our life, including our social and civic participation. That includes our voting,” Strickland wrote.
He quoted from a 2002 doctrinal note on “The Participation of Catholics in Political Life,” published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which at the time was led by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was to become Pope Benedict XVI.
“The social doctrine of the Church is not an intrusion into the government of individual countries. It is a question of the lay Catholic’s duty to be morally coherent, found within one’s conscience, which is one and indivisible. There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called ‘spiritual life,’ with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called ‘secular’ life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture. The branch, engrafted to the vine, which is Christ, bears its fruit in every sphere of existence and activity.”
Most fundamentally, Strickland emphasized that the right to life is not negotiable.
“I urge the faithful in this diocese to realize that anyone who directly promotes abortion is not acceptable for leadership in our society,” he wrote. “I realize that eliminates a vast number of potential leaders from our consideration as faithful Catholics, but we must hold firm and do all we can to only support political leaders who respect and protect the fundamental Right to life of the unborn. And, they must listen to our voice.”
A five-part video series, covering the same issues, was subsequently released on YouTube.