January 2023

CatholicVote is committed to holding self-professed Catholic leaders and institutions to the standards of Church teaching. That’s what our Catholic Accountability Project is all about.

You deserve to know exactly where our Catholic leaders stand – both the heroes who are standing up for the truth, and the “zeroes” who cause grave scandal by their words and actions.

Every month, we will hold these Catholics accountable – and praise them when they deserve it.

We ask that you pray for all Catholics in the public square, heroes and zeroes alike.


George Cardinal Pell, RIP (1941 – 2023)

The “white martyr” from Down Under died suddenly on January 10. George Cardinal Pell, former archbishop of Sydney, was appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 to oversee (and, as it turned out, reform) the Vatican’s financial activities. In 2018, after a trial overshadowed by a vicious media campaign against him, he was convicted of sexual abuse and spent 404 days in prison, largely in solitary confinement. His innocence was proven and the conviction overturned in 2020. He turned his time in prison into an extended retreat and, upon his release, as George Weigel wrote, “played a quiet but effective role behind the scenes, encouraging the defenders of Catholic orthodoxy to think through the requisites for a more vibrant Catholic future.”

May he rest in peace and may his tribe increase.

Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach, R-MN

On January 23, Representative Michelle Fischbach hosted a special effort in the House to mark the 50th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Remarks from 15 representatives at her behest commemorated the now-defunct decision’s devastating effects, urged decisive action from Congress to pass pro-life legislation, and celebrated the sanctity of all human life. Amid political pressures to ignore the so-called “social issues” and “leave the abortion debate to the states,” Fischbach continues to fight for legal protection of the unborn in federal law.  

Governor Michael Dunleavy, R-AK

In his January State of the State speech, Governor Michael Dunleavy of Alaska announced his intention to make the Last Frontier “the most pro-life state in the country.” He urged a joint session of the legislature to pass policies supporting families, making Alaska affordable, addressing health care options, and creating jobs that are more attractive to parents with kids. The Catholic governor’s pro-family and pro-life challenge to a State Senate controlled by pro-abortion Democrats was a courageous start to his second term. We urge the governor to keep up the pressure and continue to resist the “party of death” in the far North.


Cardinal Robert W. McElroy, San Diego

Cardinal McElroy published a lengthy oped in America Magazine calling for a eucharistic theology that “invites all of the baptized to the table of the Lord.” That might sound nice at first, but the essay essentially suggested that the Church has no authority to impose any expectations on Catholics who present themselves for Holy Communion. 

“The effect of the tradition that all sexual acts outside of marriage constitute objectively grave sin has been to focus the Christian moral life disproportionately upon sexual activity,” McElroy wrote. 

Catholics have, he claims, “placed [sexual activity] at the very center of our structures of exclusion from the Eucharist. This should change.”

In the spirit of synodality encouraged by Pope Francis, we believe the cardinal is in grave error. The Church has never focused “disproportionately” on sexual sin, although it has always spoken relevant moral truths to those who themselves are obsessed with sexual sin. For Christians who accept the teachings of Jesus Christ and the unbroken tradition of the Church, the heart of the moral life – including chastity – is Jesus Christ himself.  

We could say (much) more, but Stephen P. White already did. Read his incisive analysis here.

Representative Anna Eshoo, D-CA 

This month, lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted 222-208 to pass H. Con. Res. 3, a resolution “condemning the recent attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches.” But Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Democrat, did not.

She instead attacked pregnancy resource centers, saying that “the Republicans passed a Resolution to condemn attacks on anti-abortion fake clinics, while failing to acknowledge or condemn the very real threat that abortion providers are under every day. The Resolution is pure hypocrisy. It distracts from their extreme agenda to fully ban abortion….”

Her vote sends the unmistakable message that pro-abortion domestic terrorism is above the law. For Eshoo and the other 65 Catholics who voted against the bill to refuse to address these unspeakable acts of violence is beyond egregious. 

It’s an outright betrayal of American Catholic voters and their allies who serve women in need.

Governor Katie Hobbs, D-AZ

Last year, then-Governor Doug Ducey made Arizona one of the freest states for education, returning thousands of tax dollars to parents in the nation’s premiere school voucher program. 

This month, current Governor Katie Hobbs has promised to undo his work in order to “save the state” up to $135 million over the next fiscal year. She received a standing ovation from Democrats in the state legislature, who applauded the Catholic governor’s commitment to depriving an estimated 1.2 million children of school choice.  

Ironically, the governor herself attended the prestigious Seton Catholic Prep, a private Catholic school.


Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra

Secretary Becerra – who describes himself as a “committed Catholic” – started the year by tripling down on anti-Catholic and anti-life efforts. 

This week, HHS announced that it plans to rescind all exceptions allowing employers to opt out of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate for moral convictions, paving the way for another round of lawsuits from communities like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Standing with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Democratic legislators earlier this month, Becerra stumped for a bill codifying so-called “abortion rights” into the state constitution (the bill passed 69 – 65). He ended the month at Planned Parenthood’s DC summit on January 30, pledging his commitment to ending the lives of unborn children for any reason up to the moment of birth. We believe you, Secretary. 


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