September 2023

September 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.



Edward C. Malesic, Bishop of Cleveland, OH

In an age of confusion, Bishop Malesic spoke out this month with holy and moral clarity, directing “all offices, parishes, parish schools, and diocesan schools of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland as well as their employees, personnel, volunteers, students, and youth participating in parish or institutional faith formation” to affirm the God-given sexes of all persons employed or cared for by the Church.

The bishop re-oriented Catholics to first principles:

Our bodies, created male and female, are part of God’s intentional design in creation and are, therefore, imbued with meaning and purpose. As stewards of these gifts, we are called to accept, love, and care for our bodies as they were created.

Malesic has drawn intense fire from local media – and even national outlets. Opponents of church teaching targeted him with headlines such as “Diocese’s New Policy Rejects Transgender People, Same Sex Couples” and “After Diocese’s Anti-LGBTQ Policies, Confusion, Work-Arounds and Deep Concern for Students,” and op-eds such as “I was Raised Catholic in Cleveland. The Diocese’s Anti-LGBTQ Policies Are a Huge Mistake.” 

Hats off to the bishop for his humble readiness to teach and sanctify the members of his local church. May his tribe increase.

Governor Greg Abbott, R-TX

Governor Abbott is using his platform to drive support for a school choice bill that would catapult Texas from one of the worst states for school choice – currently ranked behind California and Illinois – to one of the best. 

The Catholic governor will call a special legislative session to address school choice in October, and in the meantime has been holding rallies to drum up support for educational freedom in the Lone Star State. 

“This is one of those unparalleled opportunities when all of us together have the ability to achieve a better state for all families across Texas,” said Abbott during a September 19 tele-town hall with religious leaders.

Joining Abbott at the tele-event was Dallas Bishop Edward J. Burns, speaking on behalf of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. Burns announced support for the school choice session saying, “A child’s education is one of the most important priorities in any family.” 

We salute the good governor for upholding this foundational principle of Catholic social teaching: Parents are the primary educators of their children. 

Oscar Ortiz, Head of School, Nolan Catholic High School 

Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth, TX, nominated Episcopal Bishop Carlye J. Hughes for the school’s “Hall of Fame,” a lifetime award granted to deserving alumni. The head of school Oscar Ortiz, however, announced that the school was rescinding Hughes’ nomination, citing her and her denomination’s public advocacy for abortion and the LGBTQ movement.

Ortiz wrote to the community: 

After her nomination, a few details came to light regarding her public advocacy on issues that are directly opposed to the Church’s teaching on morals and social issues.

She is aware that my duty as a leader of a Catholic school — that invites all faiths to its campus and is welcoming of all people irrespective of their backgrounds, political and religious beliefs — calls me to uphold the Catholic principles that set us apart from other organizations, whether secular or of different faith denominations.

This is a rare move from an educational institution, and we know it would have been far easier to let sleeping dogs lie. But we salute the integrity and grit of Ortiz and the NCHS community – and pray for the conversion of “Bishop” Hughes. 


Senator Bob Menendez, D-NJ

Senator Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were indicted on bribery charges in mid-September. Menendez is a self-professed Catholic who supports abortion. 

The indictment includes evidence that the couple “agreed to and did accept hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s power and influence … to benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt” as well as several friends under investigation for business-related crimes. Bribes included everything from envelopes stuffed with cash to gold bars, from mortgage payments to a luxury vehicle, not to mention a no-show job with a sweet salary for Nadine.

Menendez has long touted his Catholicism and Cuban heritage on the campaign trail – in spite of his consistent support for abortion and Castro-esque religious freedom restrictions such as the Obamacare contraception mandate. In addition, for months in 2019, Menendez blocked CatholicVote co-founder Joseph Cella from receiving a vote on his nomination to become the U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu. (Cella was eventually confirmed.)

it seems your hand was caught in the Egyptian canopic jar, Senator. Let’s hope this is an opportunity for reflection and a return to your faith.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-NM

This month, self-identified Catholic Gov. Grisham issued an anti-gun executive order that went so far even prominent gun control advocates denounced it as unconstitutional. In response to several shooting incidents in the city, Grisham unilaterally suspended open and concealed carry laws in Albuquerque and the surrounding area. 

Her own attorney general, the mayor and police chief of Albuquerque, nearly all state legislators, and dozens of Democrats in Congress joined a national protest pointing out that the governor had violated the Second Amendment. U.S. District Judge David Urias ruled that her “order was likely to cause irreparable harm to people deprived of the right to carry a gun in public for self-defense” and ordered a temporary restraining order on the directive. 

Aside from her extreme support of unlimited abortion access, her complete disregard for the rule of law under the United States Constitution is an egregious abuse of her office. 

Let’s pray for Gov. Grisham… and that her reign in New Mexico is brief.

Archbishop John C. Wester, Santa Fe, NM

Speaking of New Mexico, the archbishop of Santa Fe inserted himself into the political debate – in support of Grisham suspending the Constitution.  

Archbishop Wester wrote:

In my view, the governor has been consistent in addressing gun safety through legislation and is not now attacking the Second Amendment.

She knows the law. Rather, I believe she is trying to get us to solve what has become a crisis in our state… I do not see the governor’s call to action and discernment as a threat to the Constitution. The focus should be on the sanctity of human life. That is the point.

Such a statement is stunning, given that in 2019 Wester noted he would never deny the governor the Eucharist “due to the actions she has taken regarding abortion” in New Mexico. Wester cited Cardinal Robert W. EcElroy saying that it is “perilous” for prelates to withhold Holy Communion from public figures.

Sounds like the focus isn’t entirely on the sanctity of human life….

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