Sometimes you just have to say enough is enough. This is the case with Father Peter West, a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark, who is being pillared in the media for his conservative beliefs he shares on his social media accounts. In the age of “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” one should not be surprised that the social progressives and leftists would so easily get their feelings hurt but this witch-hunt is a different situation altogether.
A reporter by the name of Mark Mueller for NJ.com decided to be the arbitrator of what political views a Priest can and cannot express to people on his Facebook and Twitter pages and penned a story that characterized Father West as an “internet flamethrower.” This is tantamount to the thought police controlling the nature of discourse in our society. How dare Father West think differently than the progressives in the Roman Catholic Church who have put on par the killing of unborn children with climate change and immigration policy? How dare Father West offend the liberal orthodoxy that Mr. Mueller and his fellow liberals in the media hold so dear?
What is even more troublesome is that it appears the Archdiocese of Newark is going to look into ways to clamp down on Father West to stop his freedom of speech. Diocesan spokesperson Jim Goodness said, “[W]e are concerned about Father West’s comments and actions, and will be addressing them according to the protocols of the Church.” This is disturbing because of the clear political tone his new boss Cardinal Tobin and others have taken against Trump and his supporters.
Cardinal Tobin and others in the Catholic hierarchy are constantly telling us that having a practical and coherent border policy is sinful. This is just disingenuous and bad theology. At the same time, they ignore the plight of our unborn sisters and brothers in the hopes they can keep their places of honor in our degraded culture.
Let me clue you into what I think is the real reason why Father West is being called on the carpet: He is a pro-life activist and a former Vice President of Missions at Human Life International. Cardinal Tobin and other prelates like his fellow conferee Cardinal Cupich are not hospitable to the pro-life cause and would rather cherry pick the easy issues like climate change and global warming to be popular with the opinion makers at the New York Times and Chicago Tribune.
The political left also knows that all the levers of power have been taken away after this last election and look to the Church, which has swung left under the pontificate of Pope Francis to be their mouthpiece. Sadly, the left has found common cause with our Pope and the progressive churchmen he surrounds himself within the chanceries of the United States and the Eternal City.
Father West and his views do not fit into the liberal, progressive worldview so he must be silenced. It is a very sad day in this nation which once respected dissent and differing views but has turned into this Orwellian nightmare where the only free speech should be the speech the political Left likes. Our Founders certainly did not have this in mind when they approved the First Amendment.
This article about Father West raises the question whether or not the speech of a Catholic priest is subject to a different set of rules. A priest does not lose his citizenship by virtue of his ordination. But does a priest somehow give up the right to free speech, particularly in the political sphere? Is a Catholic priest allowed to speak as an individual citizen in the public square?
I would ask you to pray for Father West and make your voice heard in the Archdiocese with a polite call or email in support of him.
Feel free to contact: Jim Goodness, Director of Communications, 973-497-4186, firstname.lastname@example.org.