New Mexico political ad didn’t come from us, Catholic bishops say

Santa Fe, N.M., Oct 31, 2018 / 04:00 am (CNA).- A political group was wrong to use a letter from the New Mexico bishops for a newspaper ad backing a gubernatorial candidate in the upcoming election, the state’s Catholic bishops have said.
Two newspaper ads, published recently in The New Mexican and the Albuquerque Journal newspapers, urged readers to “Vote your Catholic Values” and highlighted parts of a 2017 pastoral letter by New Mexico bishops dealing with abortion and assisted suicide.

The state’s bishops say they aren’t connected to those ads.
The ad says it was from “Concerned Fellow Catholics.” It was put out by the Dallas-based Hispanic Action Network, an evangelical Christian policy advocacy group that also produces election guides.
Allen Sanchez, executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the bishops were caught off-guard by the ads and disapproved of the political use of their letter.
“We’re very disappointed a political action committee would use a statement out of context like that,” Sanchez told the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.
“We want people to vote,” Sanchez said, adding that people should weigh all issues and “seek the common good.”
“What we object to is somebody trying to use the teaching of the Church to advance candidates,” he said, charging that the ad’s sponsors are “trying to appeal to the authority of the bishops for their own purpose.”
The ads emphasized the bishops’ words against abortion and physician-assisted suicide as “morally impermissible” and “always wrong.” The ads also described New Mexico as “the late-term abortion capital of America and the world.”
With the election approaching, the ads backed Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce’s stand against abortion and assisted suicide, noting his Democratic rival Michelle Lujan Grisham’s support for assisted suicide and abortion rights.
The group’s founder, Mark Gonzales, is an evangelical Christian pastor and longtime Republican advisor, volunteer and leader. According to his biography on the group’s website, he was part of the steering committee that led to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s June 2016 meeting with 1,000 prominent evangelicals in New York.
The Hispanic Action Network’s website says it aims “to educate, equip and engage the faith community from a biblical worldview, to pray and impact culture by turning our faith into action.”
“The values we stand for and live by are based on the scriptural truths found in the Bible. While culture and morals may change over time, we believe in the timeless truth of God’s word. We believe Biblical Values are the standard upon which any healthy and successful culture is founded,” it continued.
CNA contacted the Hispanic Action Network for comment but did not receive a response by deadline.
The New Mexico bishops’ March 6, 2017 letter voiced concerned about legislators’ statements “that seem to say that a faithful Catholic can support abortion or doctor-assisted suicide.”
“It is not appropriate for elected officials to publicly invoke their Catholic faith and to present their personal opinions as official Church teaching. This misrepresents Church teaching and creates a public scandal for the faithful,” the letter said.
“Support for abortion or doctor-assisted suicide is not in accord with the teachings of the Church. These represent the direct taking of human life, and are always wrong,” the letter continued.
“Individuals and groups do not speak for the Catholic Church. As bishops, we do,” the bishops said.
Sanchez said an external group’s use of the letter was self-contradictory.
“The whole point of that letter was that other people aren’t the voice of the Church,” he said, calling on Pearce to condemn the ads.
A Pearce campaign spokesman, Kevin Sheridan, directed questions about the ads to the groups sponsoring them, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.
“Steve Pearce supports people of faith, and it’s not surprising they support him,” Sheridan said.


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  1. Sounds like the bishops of New Mexico would have opposed supporting Constantine or St. Louis or Abraham Lincoln. How awful that anyone would apply Church moral teaching to an actual flesh and blood leader in an actual real world election!

  2. This is so dumb. There is nothing wrong with what the Hispanic Action Network did unless they hid the fact that it was their group presenting the bishops words in the ads and not the bishops themselves. Why are our bishops so duplicitous? If we oppose abortion always, then indeed that should guide the way Catholics vote. What IS wrong here is that the bishops care so little about the little lives torn apart by abortion and so much about their political and tax-free status, that they are willing to sit by as if they have no responsibility for clearly dealing with Catholics who support abortion. If they had clear heads, they themselves would take out ads appealing for the lives of children to be saved, they themselves would stand up to the murderous, corrupt politicians who advocate that killing children is a woman’s choice. Horrible, duplicitous, hardhearted. They shed no tears and won’t lift a finger for the unborn. Because there is NO money there.

    • I should not have written in a way that implied that all of the bishops are heard hearted and won’t lift a finger for the unborn. There are bishops who do try to support and work with prolife initiatives, and these bishops may do that as well, so I apologize for my disrespectful comment. It is frustrating and confusing to me, however, to see statements that seem to suggest that putting the teaching of the church into practice when a person votes, is somehow wrong. I would think that is precisely the thing a faithful catholic would want to do. I personally feel that the bishops’ statements of disapproval are confusing and will lead people to think there is something wrong with voting their prolife values.

  3. A couple of comments:
    1. If the Bishops are pro life, they do a terrible job communicating this. A group of other Christians helped communicate to a very strong Catholic state what the Catholic church teaches on issues. What in the world is wrong with that?
    2. Alan Sanchez seems very soft on abortion. He needs to clarify to the pro choice politicians, out of love, that such politicians are confusing the faithful, leading them astray, and that they are endangering their souls. they need to be clearly told that they should not present themselves for communion. why is this in Canon Law if we are not going to use it. and we were given the reason that the Bishops do not want to weaponize the Eucharist. but this is not true. many are willing to “weaponize” the Eucharist over the immigration issue.
    3. Alan Sanchez always says “we (the Catholic Church) is not here to impose, but to propose…………………….. This is really weak, really milk-toasty…………. and the result of such a terrible presentation is that we continue to have abortion, etc, etc, and every bill that is proposed is shot down by the Catholic politicians……………… how tragic. we as Catholics are going to lose our lampstand in this state. wE will lose our size and our influence because we have not been how we are called to be……………….. Help our Church, Lord Jesus!!!

  4. The United States has had a key concept, The Separation of Church and State, for good reason. In New Mexico, lax enforcement and the intrusion of faith based government funding has contributed to a lot of problems. There is an epidemic of despair, hopelessness, and poverty. The so called faithful, endorsed the most morally reprehensible, racist and inhuman reality show liar to the highest office in the land. We can see now why groups like this one, with dubious intentions should not be involved in politics.

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