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LETTER: Parishioner questions church's willingness to accept political ads

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In this letter to the editor, I am referring to the advertisement posted on St. Patrick's Church bulletin, which was handed out to parishioners on Sunday, Sept. 10.

The advertisement read, "Elect Frank Butt for Mayor Town of Carbonear." It was a paid advertisement and the church received the money. The church also stated in the pamphlet that the parish does not endorse any particular candidate in a political election.

I was kind of bewildered by this statement, so I had to seek out some legal definitions. I called a lawyer friend of mine who does legal work in Montreal pertaining to church issues. In his legal opinion, by the church pointing out the advertisement and accepting the monetary funds, it is demonstrating tacit acceptance, explicitly or implicitly endorsing Frank Butt for mayor in the town of Carbonear. This advertisement was printed on a pamphlet with the church letterhead.

I am asking a question — was our parish priest informed about this issue before it went to print? I will answer my own question. I say no because if he was informed, I am sure he would have said, "No, take another route."

One should never combine religion and politics. Frank Butt should say, if he wants to be honest with the taxpayers, that this was juvenile behaviour, was a grievous mistake, or it wasn't a mistake and that he used the bulletin for his political advantage.

In my opinion, the pamphlet mentioned here was intended for the parishioners of St. Patrick's Church in Carbonear. If not, why wasn't the advertisement printed on a separate sheet of paper and passed out to the congregation outside the church gates? This would have been the right and proper thing to do.

I wrote this letter to the editor of my own accord. I was not coached or directed by any person or persons in the town of Carbonear.

— Thomas Reynolds writes from Carbonear

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