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Fr. Frank Pavone Warns Catholics United of Possible Lawsuits

 

Deal Hudson

Inside Catholic-Washington, DC
11/1/2008

   
 

Catholics United wants to prevent pro-life Catholics from distributing voter guides to Catholics as they leave Mass on Sunday, except their own.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Inside Catholic) - Below is a letter from Fr. Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life, to the staff at Catholics United, including James Salt and Chris Korzen.

In his letter, Fr. Pavone warns Catholics United about possible lawsuit that may be filed by “any individual or institution who tries to intimidate or prevent citizens from fostering the electoral process or informing their fellow citizens about the candidates.”

Fr. Pavone is responding to the effort of Catholics United, described in the e-mail from James Salt, to organize a “parish protection program and join volunteers across the country who will be working to put a stop to the religious right's efforts this weekend.”

In other words, Catholics United wants to prevent pro-life Catholics from distributing voter guides to Catholics as they leave Mass on Sunday. (Note that CU has its own voter guide, which, by the way, is not pro-life.)

I laughed out loud when I read Salt describing Priests for Life as a "partisan group." Could he have written that with a straight face after the charade of the "non-partisan" Catholics United?

Letter from Fr. Frank Pavone to Catholics United

James, Chris, and Team,

I received a copy of the email you sent out (below). I don’t know if you attempted to speak with me before sending this out, but we would welcome such an approach in the future.

Please inform those to whom you communicate that they might also want to alert their pastors that a large number of people are ready to file lawsuits against any individual or institution who tries to intimidate or prevent citizens from fostering the electoral process or informing their fellow citizens about the candidates.

While we are not initiating any such activity, many people have told us they are ready to do so depending on what happens this weekend.Pastors and dioceses want to avoid “legal entanglements,” and the activity you recommend here will get them entangled far faster than mine will.

Obviously, an email like the one you sent below would implicate you in such entanglements as well.

Best regards,

Fr. Frank Pavone

PS -- Thanks for the extra publicity! Please be sure to register for the November 5 teleseminar as well.

Blast E-Mail from James Salt of Catholics United

From: James Salt, Catholics United

Subject: Help Protect Catholic Churches from Political Manipulation

To:

Date: Thursday, October 30, 2008, 2:56 PM

Help Protect Catholic Churches from Political Manipulation

Dear ___,

With less than a week to go until Election Day, things are getting ugly. In a final act of desperation, the religious far right is calling on its activists to defy the U.S. Catholic Bishops' order to keep unapproved election materials from church property by doing a "literature drop" at parishes across the country. The goal of this activity is to convince Catholics that it's immoral to vote for candidates who don't subscribe to the right's narrow agenda.

It's true. On Monday the partisan group Priests for Life held a teleseminar to train some 3,300 activists nationwide on how to place divisive political literature on the windshield of every churchgoing Catholic's car this Saturday and Sunday.

Click Here to listen to Priests for Life explain how to distribute partisan literature on Catholic Church property.

Catholics United is spearheading an effort to put the brakes on the religious right's plans in as many parishes as possible. Here's what you can do to help:
* Call your pastor and encourage him to instruct the ushers to monitor the church parking lot during the worship service. This sample script lists some ways that parishes can protect themselves from undue political influence.
* Sign up for our parish protection program and join volunteers across the country who will be working to put a stop to the religious right's efforts this weekend. We'll then provide you with detailed information on how you can protect churches in your neighborhood.
* Print copies of our values voter guide and "Pro-Life Means All Life" flyer and pass them out at community and political events in your area. Please consult with your pastor before distributing these materials on church property.

The extreme right will stop at nothing to distort church teaching for political gain. It's time to say that enough is enough. Catholics are tired of our faith being used as a political weapon.

Sincerely,

James and Chris
The Catholics United Team

   
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