- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 2021

Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, is a “man of steel” deserving plaudits for his courage, a lay Catholic political advocacy group said Thursday.

Mississippi attorney general Lynn Fitch, the parents of Loudoun County, Virginia, and two Roman Catholic archbishops — Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Jose Gomez of Los Angeles — also appear on the roster of the courageous, the group said.

According to a roster of “2021 Courage Awards” announced by CatholicVote.org, Mr. Manchin “has single-handedly defended the right and duty of Members of Congress to represent the people and think for themselves in an otherwise completely partisan Senate. Democrats and left-wing protestors have attacked him repeatedly in the press and even targeted his family and DC home. It didn’t work, and he stayed strong.”

Several actions by Archbishop Cordileone merited approval by CatholicVote, the organization said.

They cited his “boldly” challenging the claim by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat in his diocese, of being a “devout Catholic” despite her support for abortion, in contravention of church teachings.



“Defying physical threats and the Twitter mob,” CatholicVote said, Archbishop Cordileone “publicly defended St. Junipero Serra and the Catholic missions in California” against charges of mistreating indigenous peoples.

The San Francisco cleric “challenged his brother bishops to join together in publicly witnessing to Eucharistic coherence.”

As president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Gomez led “his brother bishops … to issue a much-needed teaching document on the beauty and meaning of the Eucharist. All this despite enormous pressure from both Capitol Hill and detractors in Rome to abandon entirely the question of pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Holy Communion,” the group stated.

Ms. Fitch, Mississippi’s top law-enforcement official, is honored for supporting the state’s abortion restrictions, which are being considered now by the Supreme Court.

The case “could be the end of Roe v Wade,” the 1973 ruling that made abortion a federal constitutional right, CatholicVote said.

Also cited were the Loudoun County parents for their opposition to “aggressive critical race theory (CRT) curricula and transgender activism, both hiding behind a deliberately incoherent and divisive COVID-19 response,” the group said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Republican, “proved himself a bold witness to freedom” this year, CatholicVote said, by “supporting real COVID solutions” and “ending critical race theory” in the state’s schools, among other measures.

And Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom “made a name for himself in 2021,” according to the organization, by standing up for human rights and protesting China’s abuses in that area.

Brian Burch, president of the group which he said numbers over 500,000 supporters, told The Washington Times that emphasizing the virtue of courage is important at this moment.

“Over the last several years, the virtue of courage, we believe, is the most important virtue when it comes to public life today,” he said in a telephone interview.

“There’s humility, there’s sincerity, there’s authenticity, [among] the different types of virtues that might be applied to public life. We think when it comes to our public leaders, increasingly, the lack of courage is what is a source of many of our problems today,” he said.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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