October 2023

October 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.



Judge William Montgomery, Arizona Supreme Court

Judge William Montgomery, a Catholic and Supreme Court Judge in Arizona, refused demands that he recuse himself from a pending abortion case because of his pro-life views. In December, this court will hear a case that Planned Parenthood brought forward in hopes of legalizing abortion in the state of Arizona. Montgomery has repeatedly promised to remain neutral. All parties, he said, “are entitled to fair and impartial adjudication of the legal issues presented,” including cases with respect to abortion. 

“My oath of office requires no less,” he added.

We celebrate Montgomery’s commitment to his office and to the truth that Americans of faith have a right to participate in public life. His refusal to recuse himself is a brave defense not only of our faith, but also of the U.S. Constitution.

Bishop Michael Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington

His Excellency Bishop Burbidge has strongly encouraged Virginia Catholics to “vote early” and to recognize the “good and evil” at play in elections.

“It’s very important for Catholics to, first of all, get out there. And if we’re going to be victorious and have people uphold all we believe to be true and good, then we have to win,” Burbidge said on the latest episode of his podcast, Walk Humbly.

He emphasized the importance of voting pro-life, saying that standing against abortion is a defining hallmark of good candidates:

You have to make sure that we get the foundation right. And it all begins with the protection of life. It does. And then, if you get that right, then everything else is going to follow. If you believe that, then it’s going to be enacted in other ways—of how we treat the poor, of how we treat the vulnerable, of how we provide facilities and care. It all follows from that.

It is a choice between good and evil in Virginia, and this Catholic bishop is clearly and firmly articulating the moral obligation Catholics have to vote and vote well. Thank you, Bishop Burbidge!

Brian Arlinghaus, Catholic Entrepreneur

In Milford, Ohio, Catholic business owner Brian Arlinghaus took a stand for human rights by placing a “Vote NO on Issue 1” sign in the window of his restaurant, Copper Blue. Some of his staff members walked out in protest and Brian was forced to close for a few days. He took his employee’s protests in stride, saying:

I told the staff that I didn’t fault them for taking a stance, that’s their prerogative, but I let them know that I think it’s a battle between good and evil.

Issue 1 is a proposed amendment that would permanently impose unlimited abortion and sex-change surgeries without parental consent. Voting “yes” to issue 1 will cause the “right to abortion” to be added to the Ohio state constitution. 

Arlinghaus spoke out bravely and paid the price. Let us pray for more Buckeyes like him!

“I don’t think [abortion is] good for women,” he said. “As a Catholic, there are sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance, and one of them is the oppression of women and children.”

Honorable Mention: Ohio Catholic Conference, priests, and bishops battling Issue 1

It’s been a long, drawn-out battle for life in Ohio. CatholicVote has been there every step of the way – and we would be remiss to leave out the thousands of faithful Catholics, including dozens of priests and the Ohio Catholic Conference, who have faced enormous odds and never backed down. 

From the bishops, who together condemned Issue 1 publicly, to priests who preached forcefully on Catholics’ moral obligation to vote NO in homilies and video posts, this battle has shown their quality.


Father John Jenkins, President, University of Notre Dame

Fr. Jenkins – who has announced he will retire in May 2024 – is defending a school-sponsored drag show slated to take place at Notre Dame next week. In defending the event, he cited “academic freedom” over the objections of students and alumni. The event will feature at least three drag performers, one of whom is a student.

Hundreds have emailed their objections to Notre Dame’s administration. But in an automated response, Fr. Jenkins defended the drag show:

We defend [academic] freedom even when the content of the presentation is objectionable to some or even many. The event you reference is part of a one-credit course in Film, Television and Theater on the history of drag, and the principle of academic freedom applies.

We assume this means Notre Dame’s administration, being fine with the woman-face mockery that is drag, will also be fine with black-face vaudeville and minstrel shows. Not a great way to go out.

Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice

“Catholics for Choice,” an anti-Catholic and pro-abortion organization funded by elite non-Catholics like Warren Buffet, was extremely aggressive both at home and abroad this month.

In Ohio, the organization installed 30 billboards promoting Issue 1 to Catholics ahead of the November 7 vote on the pro-abortion amendment. President Jamie L. Manson lashed out at the courageous Ohio bishops: 

Ohio’s Catholic bishops are pulling out all the stops to stigmatize and silence pro-choice Catholics across the state, preaching blistering sermons from the pulpit and pouring an astonishing $1.4 million into the campaign to defeat this abortion rights amendment.

Manson also made a highly-publicized appearance at the Synod on Synodality in Rome. “Catholics who’ve had abortions… deserve to be heard and invited into conversation with our Church leaders,” she said in a video promoting her trip. Of course, she doesn’t mean the post-abortive women who regret their abortions and have spent their lives heroically defending life and saving other women from the same fate. 

She means women who “shout their abortions” and demand others celebrate child sacrifice with her.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archdiocese of Chicago

In an interview with Fr. James Martin’s America Magazine, Cardinal Cupich reflected on his time participating in the Synod on Synodality in Rome. A bishop’s role in the Church is to defend the tradition that has been passed on from the apostles, to uphold unchanging Church teaching on faith and morals, and… find “a new way of being church”? 

Bishops, he says, should “really be careful about going full forward and pronouncing on things because we believe that there’s a violation of God’s law or a church protocol.” While we don’t expect St. Athanasius-level rhetoric from every bishop, is it too much to ask that the princes of the Church pronounce on a few things that are clearly in violation of God’s law? 

The key takeaway for Cupich? He’s holding out hope that through the Synod (it’s technically not over yet), the Church can “reimagine what sacramental communion means” referencing “people in their second marriages,” non-Catholics, and the ever-present LGBT community: 

Is there an analogy that can be used with regard to people who might not be in full and complete ecclesial union because of some aspect of their life, and sacramental communion? Much along the lines of what the pope says: that the Eucharist is not a reward but a source of healing. I am not sure how to unpack all of that.

Don’t unpack, Cardinal Cupich. It’s time to go home.

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