Fr. David J. Carlisle, a member of the diocese in Texas, said the Episcopal Church in Austin has already seen how important pastors can be in a diocese’s spiritual life: “That’s why the mayor and other priests are on staff and why we have diocesan clergy around the world.”
He says that in Texas, priests and clergy are encouraged to stand up for the most vulnerable in the faith community. But such a rule isn’t keeping the Bishop from shunning federal leadership. “I’m disappointed they are undermining America’s first-in-the-nation Catholic tradition,” he told me this week.
That’s now changing. This week, Bishop David J. Clements of the Diocese of Austin, a former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Antonio, is among those most up in arms over the changes to be made by Sec. Curt Becerra.
“I would consider it a serious failure on the part of the Church to choose to engage in a discussion with federal bureaucrats about how we can better protect the religious freedom of religious organizations,” he said in a statement posted on the Diocese of Austin’s website.
“The Catholic Church is founded on the doctrine of religious freedom, and that doctrine and that virtue is essential to its well-being and function. … Perhaps we should send him a catechism.”