A mass homily by a parish priest in Phoenix, Arizona, is going viral among devout Catholics, especially in America. Fr. John Lankheit, rector of the Cathedral of Saints Simon and Jude, admonished his congregation on how they should vote with their conscience in the November presidential elections.
You can view the video at the site below, which also has a link to the sermon text and an accompanying commentary: < https://tomperna.org/2016/10/04/the-2016-presidential-election-voting-from-a-catholic-perspective-taught-in-one-awesome-homily/ >.
The homily is nothing less than Catholic preaching at its most inspired, not only espousing God’s wisdom and will for conscientious believers, but also clearly and courageously explaining how Christian morality applies to one aspect of public policy: the laws and programs supporting abortion.
After watching the video, one has to wonder who has committed the greater transgression, at least from the Catholic perspective — the candidate who has expressed lewd thoughts and committed sexual improprieties toward women, or the one who has staunchly supported the killing of unborn innocents in legislation and state-funded programs at home and abroad.
And if the latter becomes President of the United States of America, would she have the moral high ground to lecture other countries about state violence against dissidents or criminals, when she and her government condones and even funds the murder of unborn innocents?
Killing educational or economic gain
In discussing the elections from a Catholic perspective, Fr. Lankheit began by noting that no political party “is perfectly aligned with Catholic teaching on every issue.” However, he added, “one party can be much further from Catholic principles on the most important issues than the other party.”
He then cited two controversial policies: affirmative action in higher education, which reserves many university places for blacks and other minorities; and immigration, which allows tens of thousands of foreigners, mostly Hispanics, into the US, often taking jobs that could have gone to citizens.
Fr. Lankheit then asked if anyone would support a president who advocated allowing a person who can’t get a university place because an African-American is allotted the slot, to kill him or her. Or a worker who wants a job given by a Hispanic immigrant to do him in and get the position. No one would, of course, and no president would advocate such murders.
Yet, the priest said, “There is a candidate, in this 2016 race for president, who along with that candidate’s political party does, in fact, sanction the killing of blacks and Hispanics in the situations previously described [for personal educational or economic advancement]under one particular condition: That the black person or the Hispanic person is still in his or her mother’s womb.”
Under American law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the landmark Roe vs. Wade case in 1973, a woman has the right under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, to end her pregnancy, as part of her right to personal privacy. The 7-2 ruling also rejected the argument that the unborn has a right to life.
God’s mercy is bigger than any sin
Before continuing on his exposition about abortion, Fr. Lankheit made sure to communicate the Lord and His Church’s welcome for mothers repenting of their sin:
“God’s mercy is bigger than your sin and your pain. In ten years of priesthood, I have often been blessed to welcome a woman back to the merciful embrace of God the Father after she has admitted to, and repented of, her abortion in the Sacrament of Confession. A priest in such a situation has the privilege of assuring the woman that she has never lost the love of God the Father, nor her dignity as his beloved daughter, no matter what she did.
“And so I say to these women today: You do not have to hide from God any longer. I know it’s exhausting to pretend that your pain is not real, that your loss is not immense and that your choice was not devastating. But when you experience God’s loving mercy even after the abortion, you will really come to know and experience that God’s love in forgiving our most serious sins is even greater than His love in creating us. Your Father has been waiting for you for a very long time. It’s time for you to come home!”
Fr. Lankheit then directly addressed the moral responsibility of Catholic voters, particularly in considering candidates who may or may not support abortion:
“Do you know which candidate and party in this election promotes abortion and even promises to expand its availability here at home as well as abroad? Do you know that this candidate and party intend to make you and me pay for other people’s abortions with our tax dollars — something that has always been illegal?
“Are you aware that this candidate and party, which until recently, said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” no longer even bothers to say that it should be rare —but rather, that it must be available any time, any place, even up to the last moment that the fully formed, full-term baby remains in the womb?
“ … if you do know which candidate and party want to promote and expand abortion, and you still intend to enable them to continue their war on the unborn with the help of your vote, then it is my duty as a priest to tell you that your soul will be in grave danger, especially if you present yourself for Holy Communion.”
The homily ended with a defense of priests who speak on moral issues, even if they are hated for it:
“A priest who is more concerned about the state of his people’s souls than they are themselves, deserves the esteem of his people for his willingness to speak such difficult truth to them with genuine love — to put the welfare of his people’s souls ahead of his own reputation, popularity or comfort.”
May God send us more of such holy and righteous shepherds. Amen.