Archbishop José Gomez is speaking out against a planned campaign visit by Sen. Hillary Clinton to a Catholic university in his archdiocese, claiming he was neither advised nor consulted about it.
“I was surprised to learn of Senator Hillary Clinton’s appearance at St. Mary’s University. I was neither advised nor consulted by the university before the decision was made to allow Senator Clinton to speak at the university.”
The archbishop of San Antonio said in a statement that St. Mary’s should not be sending mixed signals. “Catholic institutions are obliged to teach and promote Catholic values in all instances. This is especially important when people look to our Catholic universities and colleges to provide leadership and clarity to the often complicated and conflicting political discourse.”
Citing a 2004 document published by the Catholic bishops of the United States called “Catholics in Political Life”, the head of the Church in San Antonio pointed out that, “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”
Lest anyone think that Sen. Clinton is in agreement with the Church, Gomez said, “It is clear that the records of Senator Clinton and some of the other candidates for president on important life issues are not consistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church.”
The archbishop of San Antonio also took St. Mary’s to task for merely stating that, “As a Catholic tax-exempt university, St. Mary’s does not endorse political candidates or their positions on issues and acknowledges the fundamental differences between those of the presidential candidates and the Catholic Church.”
“Our Catholic institutions must promote the clear understanding of our deep moral convictions on an issue like abortion, an act that the Church calls ‘an unspeakable crime’ and a non-negotiable issue,” the archbishop insisted.
Although Catholic clergy have been accused of telling their flock who they can vote for, Archbishop Gomez explained, “It is not my intention to tell people for whom to vote.” “However, I encourage Catholics to understand the teaching of the Church on the broad spectrum of public issues that are of great concern, today.”
He also called upon the faculty and staff at St. Mary’s “to continue to carry out their responsibility to educate their students in their political responsibility in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Hillary Clinton’s visit to southern Texas is calculated to bring her more of the Hispanic vote as she struggles to revive her flagging campaign. She has scheduled five stops in Texas on Wednesday and Thursday, all in south Texas, where the Latino vote is a huge factor in the state's March 4 primary.
Several key Latino political leaders including U.S. Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-San Antonio) have endorsed Clinton's primary opponent, Barack Obama. Gonzalez’s father, the late Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, was the first Mexican American elected to the U.S. House and is a celebrated figure among Texas Hispanics.