Jesuit Father James Martin wrote this week that a number of Catholic bishops and priests stoked the January 6 Capitol riots by characterizing the Democratic Party as the “party of death,” for which they need to repent.
“Can anyone doubt that the moral calculus proposed by some Christian leaders, including Catholic priests and bishops, framed in the language of pure good versus pure evil, contributed to the presence of so many rioters brandishing overtly Christian symbols as they carried out their violence?” Father Martin wrote in a Jan. 12 article for America magazine titled “How Catholic Leaders Helped Give Rise to Violence at the U.S. Capitol.”
The harsh language used by certain prelates and priests to describe the Democratic Party and its pro-abortion platform can lead “to anger at pastors, division in parishes, alienation from the church, hatred of candidates and elected officials, contempt for people who belong to one party, rage over election results, despair in the future of the country and, ultimately, to violence,” wrote Father Martin, who offered the invocation for the Democratic National Convention last August.
“For if the ‘party of death’ gains power, then one must resist, by any means necessary,” he concludes.
Pastors should avoid strident moral language, Father Martin argues, because “casting an election in terms of pure evil and pure good” can lead to people drawing the conclusion that “fighting against this, by any means necessary, is an absolute moral imperative.”
“If one party is the ‘party of death,’ then eradicating it is a triumph for life,” he declares.
Father Martin also rails against “demonizing candidates as monsters,” which is curious considering that his own Jesuit brethren did just that, writing in September that President Donald Trump represented a “unique threat to the Constitution” and must not be reelected.
“President Trump has undermined the constitutional order to a degree unprecedented in modern U.S. history, which prompts the editors of this review to register this unprecedented warning,” wrote the editors of America magazine, the flagship Jesuit publication in the United States.
Apparently privy to Mr. Trump’s inmost conscience, the Jesuit authors then went on to offer a moral judgment, saying the president “has little regard for constitutional norms or the common good.”
Trump “represents a proven threat to the constitutional order,” they added. “That threat is real.”
Such incendiary language elicited no rebuke from Father Martin, of course, because it was directed at the correct target.
In his essay, Father Martin takes issue with many Catholics who criticized the Democratic platform or President-elect Joe Biden.
Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, TN, for instance, received reproach for having tweeted: “[I] don’t understand how Mr. Biden can claim to be a good and faithful Catholic as he denies so much of Church teaching, especially on the absolute child abuse and human rights violations of the most innocent, the not yet born.”
Father Martin also takes issue with Cardinal Raymond Burke, a canon lawyer and the former head of the Vatican’s highest court, for calling the Democrats the “party of death” in 2008. Cardinal Burke also dared to point out that Biden is involved in a “grave, immoral evil that is the source of scandal” for his overt support for abortion on demand.
Despite the fact that no Catholic leader encouraged or praised the violent Capitol riots, they are culpable and need to “repent,” Father Martin concludes.
“The mistake for which Catholic leaders should be corrected, the mistake for which the church now needs to repent, is not simply casting this election in terms of good and evil,” he writes, “it is pretending that real questions of good and evil could be simplified to the point where violent responses, even acts of domestic terrorism, become thinkable and then are carried out.”
“Ironically, priests and bishops who count themselves as pro-life helped spawn a hate-filled environment that led to mayhem, violence and, ultimately, death,” he asserts.
As Breitbart News reported last week, Biden has invited the former president of Georgetown University, Jesuit Father Leo O’Donovan, to deliver the invocation at his own presidential inauguration on January 20.
Father O’Donovan said Biden had personally called him and invited him to offer the prayer at the inauguration and that he had accepted.