Oh how I hate to foray into politics on this blog, but I simply must, for I cannot keep quiet about this issue which has kept me awake with boiling blood these past few nights. Senator Russ Feingold from Wisconsin has a long-standing and proven anti-life track record. He would allow for abortions all the way through the end of a term pregnancy. The Milwaukee Catholic Herald, which is published by Archbishop Listecki (whom I cannot fathom would approve of this), placed an advertisement for him in their October 21st issue, stating that they were not endorsing him, but by law, if they were to allow one politician to advertise, then they had to allow all politicians to advertise. That didn't sit too well with me or with my son, John, so we both wrote letters to the editor complaining about how it felt like a slap in the face to open our Catholic newspaper and see a pro-abortion politician staring out at us. We received replies letting us know that our letters were appreciated and that after the upcoming November election they will decide whether or not they will print political advertising in the future. This is my response to his letter.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my concerns about the advertisement for Senator Russ Feingold in the October 21st issue of the Catholic Herald. In the secular business world, your letter makes perfect sense, but in the world of Catholicism it makes no sense at all. It was the following two lines that really struck a raw nerve with me: "we solicited advertising" and "the decision to accept or not accept all political advertising...is ours." It didn't take me too long to find the solicitation to which you refer on the Catholic Herald's web page:
“Let the Catholic Herald and chnonline.org "help you win" your next election.”
Is that really the Catholic Herald's goal, to help political candidates win the election? The fact that the Catholic Herald has offered their help to all candidates regardless of whether or not their positions fall in line with Catholic teaching by publishing their political advertisements, tells me that the Catholic Herald does not care whether or not Catholic values are upheld. It also tells me that the Catholic Herald doesn’t care whether or not Catholics are informed of their duty to vote based on the values of the Catholic Church, but rather, that the Catholic Herald is concerned about making the most money that it possibly can. Publishing an advertisement for an anti-life politician feels like blood money to me!
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24
Just who is it that the Catholic Herald chooses to serve, God or mammon? You can't have both! From the placement of this advertisement in your periodical it seems to me that the Catholic Herald is more concerned with the almighty dollar than it is with the Almighty Father! How very un-Catholic! I can just picture Jesus turning over the desks and computers at the Catholic Herald in a rage over the fact that this periodical doesn't care whether or not it's readers are led astray from Catholic teaching so long as they can keep their heads above water financially. Didn't Jesus tell us that our Heavenly Father knows what we need, and as long as we put our faith first, all of our needs will be met?
"Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?' or "What shall we drink?' or "What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:31-33
As Catholics, aren't we all called to sacrifice for our faith? It is a huge financial sacrifice for my husband and I to send our children to Catholic Schools so that they may be educated in the faith, but we feel that we are best serving God by doing without some of the nicer things in life so that our children may someday enter into the heavenly kingdom. How is it that the Catholic Herald cannot make the financial sacrifice of doing without political advertising that is contrary to Catholic teaching so that it's readers may someday enter into the heavenly kingdom? I fear that the Russ Feingold ad sends mixed messages about living our faith to vulnerable Catholics who may not clearly understand church teaching about pro-life issues. In today's issue of the National Catholic Register, Cindy Wooden from CNS quotes Pope Benedict during his recent visit to Brazil as saying: “Dear brother bishops, to defend life we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, and we must refuse any compromise or ambiguity which might conform us to the world’s way of thinking.”
You say that you will evaluate your decision to run political ads in the future. I pray that a deep love for the Lord and His teachings will prevail in your heart and your future decision will be to eliminate ALL political advertising since there is not and never has been, one political candidate who upholds all of the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Herald should focus on educating Catholics on the true faith of the Church as upheld by Pope Benedict XVI instead of advertising for the current political candidates.
In Christ, Anne Bender