A small group of priests at a Trump rally in Montana has set the internet ablaze with fury.
“The attendance of four Roman Catholic priests from Montana at President Donald Trump's political rally in Great Falls Thursday has created a social media firestorm and apparently incurred the displeasure of the priests' superiors in the church," said the Montana Standard.
The four priests were wearing their clerical garb and VIP passes and seated near the front in full view of the cameras. They also were carrying “Make America Great Again” signs and laughing and clapping at Trump’s jabs at Democrats.
According to the Montana Catholic guidelines on members of the clergy and political participation, “Religious leaders should avoid taking positions on candidates or participating in political party matters even while acting in their individual capacity.”
“Although not prohibited, it may be difficult to separate their personal activity from their public role as a Church leader."
Bishop Warfel of Great Falls-Billings responded to the incident saying, “I was not aware that these priests would be in attendance at the rally at which President Trump spoke. Two were from the diocese of Great Falls-Billings and two were from the Diocese of Helena. I will be contacting the two priests from this diocese.”
“While they are free to support a political candidate — and I believe they were there in support of Matt Rosendale, who is running for the Senate seat from Montana,” he continued. “They should not have been attired in clerical garb and seated in such a prominent location.”
“I myself had been invited to attend the rally but declined. It has been my experience that people can be manipulated and used unwittingly. I judge that it was an imprudent decision on their parts to allow themselves to be used in such a way though I suspect they had not thought of this,” he concluded.