Perhaps a further sign of the waning of the influence in America of Fr. Coughlin, the radio priest and antiNew Deal, Isolationist, who, as previously reported in the CATHOLIC HERALD, iS not going on the air this winter, is an open attack on the priest in politics by the influential professor, the Rev. Dr. Maurice S. Sheehy, of the Catholic University of America.
" Was there one action in all Christ's career," asked Dr. Sheehy', " that would justify intrusion of the priesthood into a political campaign? It reflects great credit upon our Catholic laity that it is horrified
when a priest so forgets his spiritual office as to take sides publicly in a political campaign. Over a period of 'a century and a half, one can count on the fingers of one hand the priests who hare so exposed the Church to criticism.
" In March, 1919, Pope Benedict XV wrote Cardinal Csernoch deploring the political activity of certain Hungarian clerics. The same Pontiff counselled the bishops and priests of Poland to correct certain conditions not by political activity but by priestly charity. While he protested most vehemently against the injustices heaped upon the Church in Mexico, Pope Pius XI warned the clergy to abstain from political action. " In 1927 the Sacred Congregation of the Council was asked two questions: (1) Whether the Ordinary has the right and duty to forbid, by precept, political activity to ecclesiastics; and (2) whether they who violate the said precept and, after warning, fail to amend, can and should be punished by suitable penalties, according to the sacred canons.
" The answer, confirmed by Pope Pius XI, was affirmative to both questions. Moreover, the priests of the United States are still bound by the legislation of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, which expressly commands them to abstain from public discussion of political or secular affairs, either in or outside a church,"