San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego’s Catholic bishop released a statement Friday saying a church in Old Town violated Catholic teaching by issuing a flyer stating Satan was working through Hillary Clinton.

Rev. Robert McElroy, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said that the parish had violated the duty of religious communities to maintain civility and balance in political discussions.

“The final issue of solidarity has a particular importance at this moment because the very democratic impulse which is the foundation for our national unity is being eroded by partisan venom and personal attack,” said McElroy in the statement.

McElroy said there are several major issues present in the election that involve catholic teachings, including abortion, poverty, economic justice, the environment, euthanasia, immigration, religious liberty and solidarity in society.

He emphasized that all institutions in the nation must be able to discuss the election with “civility and balance.”

In the statement, McElroy said it is contrary to Catholic teaching to state that voting for a candidate will condemn them to hell, or to call gun control legislation a form of slavery or “fan the flames of hatred against Muslims” or other religious groups.

The Catholic Church  does not endorse candidates or use parish media or bulletins for partisan political activity of any kind, as a general policy and practice, McElroy stated. Furthermore, any political materials must be approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the California Catholic Conference or the diocese’s Office of Social Ministry.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town distributed a Sunday bulletin on Oct. 16 stuffed with flyers that told parishioners they’ll go to hell if they vote for Hillary Clinton. The church is also an election-day polling site.

The diocese told the Union-Tribune that the flier was not authorized by the parish, yet somehow managed to end up in the Oct. 16 bulletin.

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