Bishop Daniel Jenky, ordinary for the Illinois diocese of Peoria, made headlines for a recent sermon that lambasted a threatened mandate from the US Department of Health and Human Services which would attempt to force Catholic institutions to violate Church teachings or to close their doors. Or, more precisely, it was a call to Catholic men to resist the Culture of Death and, among other things, vote thoughtfully next November.
In the body of that sermon, Bishop Jenky said: “Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama - with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.”
In other – less flamboyant – words, the Obama administration seems hell-bent on oppressing the Catholic Church, much as tyrannical governments have done in the past.
(Bishop Daniel Jenky)
Well! There’s no way the progressives are going to let the good bishop get away with making such a statement!
Faithful America, the petition-wielding cyber-arm of Faith in Public Life, has – as of this writing – gathered nearly 15,000 signatures to “Tell Bishop to Apologize for Comparing Obama to Hitler and Stalin.” The short, public letter they are delivering to Bishop Jenky reads:
“As pastors and teachers, Catholic bishops are supposed to lead their flock in sharing the love of God with our neighbors.
So why did a Catholic bishop just use his Sunday homily to compare President Obama to Hitler and Stalin? Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Illinois, launched a vicious tirade against politicians who disagree with the bishops' views on health care reform, culminating in the outrageous claim that ‘Barack Obama seems intent on following a similar path’ to Hitler and Stalin, who ‘would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open.’
This kind of hateful and incendiary rhetoric is inappropriate coming from anyone -- but it's simply outrageous coming from a religious leader in a position of public trust. Bishop Jenky needs to hear immediately that reasonable people of faith are appalled by his remarks. There's no excuse for comparing the President of the United States to Hitler and Stalin. Please offer an immediate apology for your offensive remarks and refrain from using such hateful rhetoric in the future.”
Oh, my. Faithful America – whose “partners” include various progressive interfaith groups such as the evangelical Sojourners, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the National Council of Churches – are going to publically shame a Catholic prelate for failing to tow the line?
Interesting. For years, the bishops have been reassuring concerned Catholics that they could work with these interfaith organizations – the most notorious couplings being found their involvement with Alinskyian community organizing networks such as the Industrial Areas Foundation, PICO, Gamaliel, and Interfaith Worker Justice – and still retain their Catholic values and Catholic identity.
Seems they were mistaken.
Spero columnist Stephanie Block also edits the New Mexico-based Los Pequenos newspaper and is a member of the Catholic Media Coalition.