NYC Church Endorses Mitt, Draws Outrage

20K sign a petition decrying the pro-Romney bulletin

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 19, 2012 11:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – Church bulletins more often inspire dishes to pass than outrage, but a printout distributed to Mass-goers two weeks ago at Manhattan's Church of St. Catherine of Siena has quite a few people riled up. The bulletin, penned by the Rev. John Farren, contained a reprint of a letter from six former ambassadors to the Vatican in which they voiced their support for Mitt Romney. Though Farren acknowledged that religious figures shouldn't show support for any candidate for president, as the New York Times puts it, "you could practically see him winking."

Cue the backlash. More than 20,000 people signed a petition objecting to the endorsement. One member of the congregation delivered the bulletin to a group called Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which in turn got in touch with the IRS: It seems that under US law, no tax-exempt religious organization may endorse a single candidate. And yesterday, a fresh bulletin at St. Catherine's contained a note from Rev. John Kelly, for whom Farren had filled in, calling the reprinted letter "an unfortunate error in judgment.” No word yet from Farren himself.

A church bulletin reprinted a letter supporting Mitt Romney penned by former Vatican ambassadors.
A church bulletin reprinted a letter supporting Mitt Romney penned by former Vatican ambassadors.   (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
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