PHOENIX, ARIZ. NOV. 2, 2022 • Catholics for Catholics endorses the recent statement issued by the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference on unapproved political efforts. The statement reads:
In light of the upcoming election on November 8th, the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference are aware of different organizations and publications calling themselves “catholic,” but that do not represent the Catholic Church. These organizations cover various ends of the political spectrum and often engage in partisan political endeavors.
It should be pointed out that Canon 216 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law stresses that no initiative can lay claim to the title “catholic” without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority. The use of the name “catholic” implies that the initiative in some way represents the Catholic Church. Hence the competent authority—in most instances the local bishop—must give permission for any entity, endeavor, or movement to call itself “catholic.” Those who do so without permission are in violation of Church teaching and law.
We must stress that the Catholic Church is always politically non-partisan. Moreover, it is worth recalling that the Catholic Church has a long tradition of our beliefs influencing our personal politics—not our personal politics trying to influence our faith. When we reverse those two, we place ourselves outside the tradition and teachings of the Catholic Church.
For an official reflection from Arizona’s Catholic Bishops on the upcoming election, people are urged to click on this link.
(signed) Most Rev. John P. Dolan, Bishop of Phoenix; Most Rev. Edward J. Weisenburger; Bishop of Tucson; Most Rev. James S. Wall, Bishop of Gallup; Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Apostolic Administrator, Holy Protection of Mary, Byzantine Catholic Eparchy
Canon 216 of the Code of Canon Law prohibits an association of the faithful from calling itself, “Catholic,” without permission of lawful authority in the Catholic Church. Doing so implies that an organization represents the Catholic Church. Within the United States, representatives of the Catholic Church are expected to remain politically non-partisan when acting and speaking on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Most importantly, the Catholic Church has long held that the Catholic faith must influence a person’s political activities and beliefs, not the other way around.
As explained by Philip Gray, a seasoned canon lawyer who serves as president of Catholics United for the Faith and The Saint Joseph Foundation, Catholics for Catholics chose its name carefully to avoid violation of Church Law. The name was vetted to fall within the full parameters of Canon 216. Before prohibiting use of the word, Catholic, Canon 216 recognizes and protects the obligation of individual lay Catholics to participate in the mission of the Church and to promote and sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings. The name, Catholics for Catholics represents a balance between identifying it as a group made up of Catholics without the organization calling itself “Catholic” or claiming to represent the Catholic Church.
“The Catholics for Catholics operating premise is simple,” said John Yep, spokesman. “We back candidates who espouse the principles of Catholic doctrine. If they’re Catholic, that’s a bonus. But first and foremost, we look at the walk, not the talk. If a candidate ascribes to pro-life, natural law, traditional marriage, and checks other important boxes—those are essentially the immutable points of Catholicism. It just stands to reason we would support them. Their principles are all important. Their party is not.”
By pursuing its mission of promoting politicians and endeavors that demonstrate political activism informed by Catholic principles, Catholics for Catholics exemplifies the long tradition in the Catholic Church that beliefs must inform personal politics. For too long, individual Catholics holding political office have worn their faith on their sleeves while pursuing laws and activities that violate Catholic doctrine. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in present discussions about the Right to Life. Catholics for Catholics celebrates politicians of any party whose political beliefs conform to Catholic principles.
As a 501(c)4 organization, Catholics for Catholics engages in political activism focused on advancing conservative, traditional Catholic principles in the public square.