Since the foundation of the American Republic and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present. Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community’s grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization and artificial contraception. This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system. Contrary to the guarantees embedded in the First Amendment, the HHS mandates attempt to now narrowly define and thereby drastically limit our traditional religious works. They grossly and intentionally intrude upon the deeply held moral convictions that have always guided our Catholic schools, hospitals and other apostolic ministries.
Nearly 2,000 years ago, after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: Behold your King. The mob roared back: We have no king but Caesar. Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin. For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God’s great mercy in time will give way to God’s perfect judgment in eternity. I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this Diocese to vote. Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic faith. May God guide and protect his Holy Church, and may God bless America. MOST REV. DANIEL R. JENKY, C.S.C.Catholic Bishop of Peoria Editor’s Note: Bishop Jenky’s letter was to be read at Masses this weekend.