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The religious liberty campaign is not partisan. Really.

Father Andrew Kemberling of the aptly-named Church of St. Thomas More in Centennial, Colorado, was asked to give the invocation at the Colorado Republican State Assembly and Convention in Denver in April, and his parish recently posted the video of that talk. It is pinging around the Interwebs.I'm not sure why. Father Andrew swears he is not being partisan, and after all, he's just talking about religious freedom. Oh, and gay marriage. And its connection to the socialist threat. And about how "conscience and private property are not human ideas -- they come from God." And they are being threatened.Money quote: "Socialism is a foreign threat to our democracy! I am tired of this experiment and I hope you are, too!"Check it out. Maybe the CDF should as well?

About the Author

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.



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And this is an opening prayer?? Oh, it is given at the 2012 Colorado Republican State Assembly and Convention in the Magness Arena at the University of Denver. I guess that is how Republicans pray.

This is so bad it's hard to even comment upon. His 4 minute "homily" based on "prayer" denouncing socialism that has "killed our people for two centuries" and his endorsement that "private property" is the same as conscience as a God-given command/right is so historically and sociologically distorted that it would be embarrassing to most. How does he really get away with this? And the finale.. "Let freedom ring..."Did Bishop Jenky write this for him?

I admire your Western reporting, David. This is the neighborhood parish of my childhood, where I attend when visiting my extended family. I'll be there in a few weeks, during the Fortnight and the installation of Abp. Aquila. I'll post some updates then...

MichaelThat should be an experience! May your patienc and courage be great...or, may you be able leave quietly for a glass of water or a bvreath of FRESH air...

I thank Father Andrew for giving us a new insight into the meaning of the old phrase, "invincible ignorance." (I might not be able to define it, as Justice Potter said of pornography, but I know it when I see it).Catholics, he says, have earned the right to talk about religious persecution. Well, yes indeed, since for so many centuries they tended to be more on the giving end of persecution than on the receiving end. But I don't think that's what he meant. And if he says things like this from the pulpit of his church, I hope someone will remind him of the tax implications.

I just checked his name and came to the website o the parish. I was surprised to see that much detail about the priest, but perhaps that's typical in that diocese. It seems a bit much to me.I clicked on his homily for Trinity Sunday and learned that marriage is a reflection of the Triinity-- if there are children -- as is the priesthood. Not sure what happens for the rest of us... no mention of any other states of life... probably most of the others are socialists...

What this guy does in public many clergy are doing secretly.

David Pasinski:I too read his background on the parish website. It is probably not at all relevant but It says: "Father Andrew ended 12 years as pastor at Sacred Heart of Mary in Boulder and spent some time in a monastery to seek direction on whether to remain a priest in the Benedictine Order or to become a diocesan priest. In June of 2000 Archbishop Charles Chaput asked him to come to St. Thomas More."Does that mean that he has left the Benedictines?

What Catholics tolerate, support and fund will be what they will continue to get.Fidelis caveat

Or should it be caveat fldelis?

I thought the closing sign of the cross went over the top. But maybe he thought it was appropriate inasmuch as he wasn't preaching on Acts 4:32-35.

The victim mentality on display here is breathtaking. He intimates that Catholics will soon be facing martyrdom in this so-called socialist society. Really, is there any other society currently on earth that is both as un-socialist and as sympathetic to Christianity as the current U.S. of A? There is no excuse for this sort of overheated rhetoric from the Catholic clergy.

Michael P., enjoy! I've been around Denver a few times and this seems like one of the many very active and growing parishes they have. I do admire Father Andrew's description of his youth ministry and what he has cribbed from evangelicals. I suspect it is a strong community, and probably not on the verge of the catacombs as he indicates. I don't think political theorizing is his strong suit, but it appears he has won many plaudits for his talk, and may get blowback as well. But that's why he went, and why he posted it on the parish site. So it goes.

I love "Now, when we talk about socialism, that sounds politically incorrect." Sometimes when people say "politically incorrect" the term they're really looking for is just "incorrect."

HelenI only know what I saw on the website also. Je does not use OSB so I assume he a diocesan priest.I am curious if the Democratic conference had any prayer at the begiing and by whom, if they did.

Another thought on the "prayer/homily/history[sic] lesson" -- interesting that he would be so Catholic with Sign of the Cross and other references as well at politcal convention that surely had a share of evnagelicals and others...wonder how even some Republicans felt about that???And the post on the website, as noted, seems to invite IRS scrutiny...

David and everyone else who brings up the IRS: The IRS isn't going to rock Catholic boats in this administration. This administration won't disturb banking crooks. It couldn't indict anyone for torture with a confession on the best seller list. About all its Justice Department does is harass people who demonstrate outside abortion clinics, and it does that poorly, if you have been paying attention. The media-designated next administration won't pester Holy Mother over taxes either. A law violation is an interesting hypothetical, but in the real world it simply isn't going to happen.

TomThat makes sense. Too much already at stake.Do you onder though about what the episcopal rfection is to this? Not just in the Archdiocese, but throughout the country? Politically and religiously?

Doesn't deserve to be dignified with comments.I fear this is the coming smaller puere Church"s leadershipGod help us.....

Digression:The question of religious liberty is only one of the political problems facing the Catholic Church. For centuries the Catholic Church has historically been plagued by internal political problems having to do with its monarchy. For centuries, even eons, China has been plagued by problems having to do with its emperors. Here's an interesting article by Francis Fukuyama about the Chinese "bad Emperor" problem. Somehow I think it has something to teach us about the Catholic bad monarch problem. in both cases there are severe problems with the legal systems. What can each system learn from the other? We could use a thread on this. And by the way, if I have any criticism of Commonweal, it is that it gives too little attention to understanding China, especially in relation to us. And, of course, the question of religious freedom in China is a severe one at this time.

Confirmed - he is no longer a Benedictine. He studied at St. John's, Collegeville, MN. Obviously, Chaput incardinated him into the Denver archdiocese but then the two have a lot in common. Always wonder about these guys who years after ordination leave to "discern"; then go through a period of time where they really belong to no one but minister in a no man's land - between formal departure from a religious community/diocese and formal incardination into another diocese/order. They, all too often, exhibit these types of extreme behaviors, thinking, ideologies e.g. Pavone, Sirico, Corapi, Fr. Z, etc.

For a refresher on internal political problems and other disgusting bits of "church" history, read up on the time prior to the Council of Trent. Better yet, get Now You Know Media's CD set on said Council, delivered by John O'Malley, SJ.NYKM delivers a very good product, cheaply produced, and easy to listen to in one's car or at home.And, no, I am not a paid shill for them.

I thought it was interesting to see our fellow blogger, Jeff, on CNN last night trying to explain away his comments on religious liberty mandate/ and Muslims."Taken out of context?"There is deep partisanship (including from tea party folk wrapping themselves in religious liberty talk) abroadas part of the whole political hazari that wil keep filling our screens.

Thanks for this. Now I have my homily for this Sunday.

I am so frustrated that members of the clergy and our Bishops continue to side with the Rightwing of the Republican Party. I have in the past walked out of Mass when a Priest talks about his political views and tries to couch it in terms of "religious liberty". I will continue to walk out if this faction within the American Catholic Church identifies itself strictly in terms of a GOP spin.

I suggest that Fr. Andrew re-read, or read for the first time Leo XIII's Rerum Nouvarum and Pius XI's Quadrogesimo Anno, say an Act of Contrition and three Hail Marys and three Our Fathers.

Fr. Rush is right. Just look at all the priests and nuns killed by socialism in South America over the past 30 years. Oh wait, they were killed by right wing extremists and military thugs working under regimes propped up by American capitalists.

This fear and hatred convinced that it is love is much of why my adult children no longer attend mass. It leaves me deeply sad. Can someone recommend a comforting, Catholic voice? I feel tired. I don't have the energy Jesus had in confronting the scribes and pharisees.

Oy vey.

The Comfort and serenity of soul in this time of great disorder in the courts of the church is to be found among the persecuted Women Religious. Find them, Support them. They give us the last thread of the cloak of Jesus to hang onto while the Romans continue to lash and scourge His Mystical Body.

Maybe we are just now getting a taste of what caused so many Europeans to flee the church.

I gotta say, the Catholic Right hasn't had a "villian" that gets them going as the President does since Captain Dreyfus.

Interesting analogy, Kurt. Accusation of "treason", and the Dreyfus Affair went on for years. Sigh.

Honestly, I don't how most of you can write what you wrote and still identify as Catholic. I wonder if you have the same disdain when President Obama, on the taxpayers' dime, goes into a black church and "preaches politics" in his "preacher voice" no less?" Funny how that double standard works.More importantly, can you really say "I'm Catholic", and yet disagree that the social issues of marriage, life, and religious liberty aren't under attack? Are you clueless to the fact that more Christians were martyred for their faith in the 20th century than any time in history? Lastly, do you even have a clue that the Catholic Faith is merely the "Keeper and upholder" of the teachings of Christ in their fullness, and couldn't change them if they wanted to? If the country continues to succeed in going "your route", government will be our "new god." Is that really what you want? Well, if so, you just might get it. Unfortunately, until you personally suffer the horrors of living in a Godless Socieity, which you, and especially as Catholics who will be the most accoutable, will have faciliated, only then will you most likely come to realize that your dissent was always and only to God Himself.

"Honestly" I don't know how someone can question the Catholicity of those who post here because they don't fit the neat box of upholder of Christ's(teachings) in their fullness.Such wil be the smaller purer intellctually poorer Church if some have their way.

So be it Bob, at least we will be in communion as a church, and I assure you, we will be better in our poverty. That said , I very much appreicate your honesty. At least you admit, unlike most, that you are, albeit willfully, "out of communion."You know in the 5 years or so I've been writing on Catholic Blogs, that really is all I ever wanted to have acknowledged. Instead, most resort to attenuated mental gymanstics to try and make a case for what is nothing more than discent.Catholicism is all or nothing when it comes to dogmatic teachings; communion is everything. It's only in that full commuion that we ever get a clue to not only the true joys of the faith, but the meaning of life.

Opps typo: meant dissent not discent. Yikes!

There are, of course, many writings on the topic of faithful dissent. I like the discussion on the link below, because it describes a real world situation, in a contemporary American diocese. Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

P.S. Just noted that the blog post I linked appeared on a private, gay, liberal Catholic blog. The article I linked, however, does not present the opinions of the blogger, but rather those of a theologian speaking to members of the Minneapolis diocese, at a time when a new Bishop began to assert strong authoritarianism.- Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

Larry of course there are many arguments on "faithful dissent", that's my point. That doesn't make it OK. Even the church can't change dogma instituted by Christ, period. If it did, it would no longer be the Catholic Church. Divine Revelation ended with the death of the last apostle, John. While we can "go deeper" in understanding the theology, that depth doesn't/can't change the core teaching. It's all the more reasons why every Catholic needs to fully understand the faith; what is taught and why. Even a faithful Catholic wouldn't have to be obedient to a heretical magesterium. Fortunately, we haven't had a bad Pope in a very long time.As for bad Bishops, not so much, despite many holy Bishops who never get noticed by the secular world. Since this whole nun saga started I find it most interesting that when one LA Bishop clearly WAS wrong, and one lone nun spoke out against Him, Mother Angelica of EWTN, the progessives certainly didn't come running to HER side to support her. But, then, that was a matter of the Real Presence, not feel good sex. Fortunately, the Vatican came to the defense of Mother Angelica. Truth is truth, period, and Christ gave us that truth, for all of us to take or leave. At least Bob has the honestly to admit that in some cases, he "leaves" it.

I honestly think "truth is truth" is a simplistic tautology and underestimates the notions of complexity and developmen tof insight - unless one wants some platonic idea of a "truth" out there somewhere.And the picture is so one sided of the wonders of the magisterium, Vatican etc. that they beggar vredibility/Basta!.

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