Archbishop Favalora Spills the Beans on the Alliance Defense Fund
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 07:53:59 PM EST
In these days of Bishops using Communion as a political weapon, one Catholic Archbishop, John C. Favalora of Miami, has demurred from using his pulpit as a vehicle for the religious right.

In a statement issued on September 12, 2008, His Eminence declared, "We are not party bosses." But perhaps, more astonishing was his revelation that the socially conservative Alliance Defense Fund is trying to provoke an Internal Revenue Service challenge that would go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Favalora stands out as a courageous leader by refusing to to let the religious right control the content of South Florida Sunday sermons and by disclosing that the Alliance Defense Fund is brazenly approaching Catholic bishops to join them in their mass law breaking scheme. The archbishop explains in no uncertain terms what ADF is trying to provoke:

A group called the Alliance Defense Fund is urging pastors across the country to join their Pulpit Freedom Initiative by preaching a sermon "that addresses the candidates for government office in light of the truth of Scripture."

The group's goal is to challenge the Internal Revenue Service's restriction on tax-exempt organizations "by specifically opposing candidates for office that do not align themselves and their positions with the scriptural truth."

Needless to say, none of our Catholic churches or priests will be participating in this initiative. For one thing, we can do a lot for our communities with the money we save by being tax-exempt. That is why we accept that status and agree to abide by IRS rules that ban religious organizations from becoming involved in partisan politics.

For those of you not familiar with the Alliance Defense Fund ("ADF"), it presents itself as the religious right's polar opposite of the ACLU. Its founders reads as a who's who of the religious right - Bill Bright of the Campus Crusade for Christ, James C, Dobson of Focus on the Family as well as the IRD-linked Rev. Don Wildmon.

On its web site the ADF explains what it does:
                                                                                                                     


o     We help coordinate the work of dozens of allied attorneys and legal groups who are challenging unconstitutional policies that deny Christians equal access to public facilities.

o     ADF brought together attorneys and allied legal groups to develop a national strategy to protect marriage even before any significant court challenges were filed on behalf of those who want to receive special legal privileges for same-sex unions.

o     We work closely with allies to assist them in their efforts to pool their knowledge and experience for greater effectiveness, sharing legal briefs and expertise, information on the opposition, and co-litigating cases.

But back to Archbishop Favalora's September 12th statement, in which he elaborates on what he considers to be the proper role of the church during elections:

But the role of the church is not to be like the "party boss" who goes around telling people how to vote. Our responsibility is to remind people to vote wisely; to reveal to them the wisdom of Scripture, the wisdom of the church's moral tradition, so that they can base their votes on solid moral ground.

But in praising Archbishop Favalora we should not miss the part of his statement about ADF's desire to provoke an IRS complaint, obviously in hopes of going to a very friendly U.S. Supreme Court. And as I've reported previously there is now a strong Opus Dei presence on the bench in the persons of Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts (all of whom act as Opus Dei cooperators). Add to that mix the religiously Catholic Associate Justice Alito and you can see why ADF wants to instigate matters.

In any case, I suspect that Archbishop Favalora has ruffled some feathers by revealing the ADF's proposal to his diocese. Regardless of his views on the issues, he is to be commended for spilling the beans on the ADF.

But it is worth keeping in mind that Favorala may be the notable exception rather that the notably responsible leader.  It is certainly possible that some dioceses may be cooperating with the ADF, and this raises some important questions: Who within the ranks of the Catholic Right's ranks are facilitating this unholy alliance? Are these contacts being made with the approval of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops? And if so, are they then directly working for the defeat of Barack Obama and Joe Biden this November?  

It is a matter that requires further investigation.




Display:
Archbishop Favarola, who most likely, disagrees with many of us on abortion, stem cell research and several other issues, must be commended. He has stood up to the ADF which, through Rev. Wildmon, has links to the IRD. And unlike Archbishop Chaput of Denver and Bishop Martino of Scranton, Archbishop Favarola understands the difference between contributing to the national discourse and the heavy-handedness of using a religious sacrament as a political weapon.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 07:55:56 PM EST

I've also seen the Communion wars fought in various letters to the editor nationwide, in which Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are seen as insufficiently faithful Catholics. It amazes me that the hierarchy even has any moral credibility, given its craven, institution-protecting behavior when it came to safeguard the faithful against the wrongdoers in the clergy. Judging by what I've seen in the press, some bishops (Francis George of Chicago comes to mind) haven't learned the lesson they were supposed to have learned the last time.

From what I understand, my local archdiocese doesn't allow politicking on church property. The only political signs I see are bumper stickers on (some) parishioners' cars. I can only pray that the priests won't give the type of homily I heard of 4 years ago.

We know there is a politically and economically powerful contingent among the clergy and lay Catholics that would like to see just this sort of politicking and mixing religion and politics, namely Richard John Neuhaus, George Weigel, Tom Monaghan, Deal Hudson, Bill Donohue, and their allies. I haven't forgotten that Deal Hudson was responsible for getting Ono Ekeh fired from his job with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops for starting the Catholics for Kerry website. The press is also letting the Weigels, Chaputs and Martinos define the terms of the debate (I am thinking in particular of today's New York Times article on this subject.

by khughes1963 on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 09:25:33 PM EST

"I can only pray that the priests won't give the type of homily I heard of 4 years ago."

Kathy, you know it's coming so be prepared.

If it happens in my parish (most likely from a visiting priest), at the end of the sermon I will calmly speak up and say, "I dissent; I loyally dissent."

Simple as that.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 09:05:45 AM EST
Parent

Interestingly enough, I read that Fr. Frank Pavone is giving up on trying to establish a priestly order in Amarillo affiliated with the Priests for Life. While giving him credit for his due concern, where is his concern for the lives ruined by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to say nothing of the lives ruined by sexual abuse by the clergy.

by khughes1963 on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 08:56:50 PM EST
Parent



don't the organizers and participants open themselves to racketeering charges?

by Laurel on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 04:37:15 PM EST


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