Montana bishop calls out priests who attended Trump rally wearing clerical attire

Montana bishop calls out priests who attended Trump rally wearing clerical attire
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A Roman Catholic bishop in Montana on Monday slammed a group of priests who attended President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE's rally in the state last week in their traditional clerical garb, saying that they should not have been wearing the official attire at a partisan event. 

"I was not aware that the priests observed at the Trump rally would be in attendance," Bishop Michael Warfel of the Great Falls-Billings diocese said in a letter posted on Facebook. "I was likely just as shocked as most to see that they were seated in a very prominent location in clerical attire behind the podium where the President would speak."

The Associated Press reports that four priests could be seen in the audience wearing wearing VIP badges during Trump's rally on Thursday, where he voiced his support for State Auditor Matt Rosendale, who is challenging Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster 50-50 Senate opens the door to solutions outlasting Trump's moment of violence Biden VA pick faces 'steep learning curve' at massive agency MORE (D-Mont.) in November.


In the letter, Warfel acknowledges that two of the priests in attendance at the event are from his diocese. He noted that he has received apologies from both the priests, with them acknowledging that they should not have been in the clerical attire. The other two are from the Diocese of Helena.

Upon further review, Warfel also says that he did not see any of the priests react to disparaging comments that Trump made during the event. Among other things, Trump mocked Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenStudent loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee MORE's (D-Mass.) heritage and the "Me Too" movement. 

The site of priests at the event influenced Warfel to update the diocese’s policy on political involvement, which says that “supporting or not supporting a particular candidate as a representative of the diocese is not permitted.”

The restriction is only aimed at partisan politics, according to the letter. The church will still have involvement in larger political issues.