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Photo by Samuel McGarrigle on Unsplash

By Father Jerry Pokorsky, CNSNews, October 12, 2020

Father Jerry J. Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. He is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Great Falls, Va.

By international law, military chaplains are non-combatants. They should not take up arms, nor should enemy soldiers attack them. Their purpose is to assist soldiers in prayer and worship.

Similarly, during political campaigns, the clergy are effectively non-combatants. The law – at least as interpreted by Church policy — prevents them from acting as political operatives. As a practical matter, how are they to navigate the choppy waters of an election cycle in preaching and prayer?

A priest’s refusal to enter into the political domain of the laity does not suggest cowardly indifference, but admirable restraint. He must recognize the competence of laity in political matters (and his own relative incompetence) while encouraging a firm grasp of Christian moral principles. Indeed, a priest – representing Jesus, and in imitation of Jesus – is not a political operative. He is a man of God and prayer. Or should be. ….

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