Handout inside church bulletin says voting Democratic is a 'mortal sin'
Fliers inside a newsletter at a Catholic church in San Diego warned that voting Democratic would result in churchgoers "descending into Hell."
The leaflet was passed out Oct. 16 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, which doubles as a polling site for the election.
It outlines "how to vote like a Catholic," and shares the political stances of the church on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.
"Based on the above, it is mortal sin to vote Democrat," the handout states. It adds that if not confessed, the act "means eternal damnation."
On Oct. 30, churchgoers received another fiery handout.
This one was titled "Voting Catholic" and urged people to take a "Catholic view" when voting.
The leaflet includes a Hillary Clinton quote from an April 2015 speech at the Women in the World Summit in which she states "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be change," to imply she is doing the devil's work to "draw people away from God's teachings."
The flier implied she is influenced by Satan.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the church's pastor, the Rev. Richard Perozich, discussed the points included in the flier and how they are relevant to the election. He did not mention political parties, particular candidates, or eternal damnation.
Kevin Eckery, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, told KNBC he doesn't know how the insert got into the church newsletter. He said the tone of the handout was "unusual."
Robert McElroy, the Roman Catholic bishop of San Diego, shared this official statement:
"Let me stress again that while we have a moral role to play in explaining how Catholic teaching relates to certain public policy issues, we must not and will not endorse specific candidates, use parish media or bulletins to favor candidates or parties through veiled language about selectively chosen issues, or engage in partisan political activity of any kind."
Various churchgoers told KNBC the leaflets were out of line.
"To refer to a candidate as a devil or ungodly is a disgrace and it's a shame for our religion or our priests to indulge in that nonsense," said Michael Alcaraz, a frequent attendee.
Daryl Johnson, a visitor, shared the same sentiment with KNBC.
"Clearly in my mind when a church spells out a presidential candidates name with any sort of opinions that's a violation as far as I can tell," he said.
The diocese told KNBC it will remind churches to refrain from making statements about specific candidates as a result of the incident.
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