Fliers inserted into a Catholic church's newsletter in San Diego implied that Hillary Clinton was satanic and warned that voting for Democrats would result in parishioners “descending into Hell.”
One leaflet, stuffed in a bulletin handed to churchgoers at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town on Oct. 16, states: “How to vote like a Catholic – it is a mortal sin to vote Democrat!”
The handout goes on to outline several political issues, including abortion, and notes the church’s stance on the topic. “Based on the above, it is mortal sin to vote Democrat,” adding that sin, if not confessed, “means eternal damnation,” the leaflet cautioned.
Two weeks later, parishioners received a second bulletin titled “Voting Catholic,” that again discussed social issues and implored them to take a "Catholic view."
“The devil does this through the tactics outlined by Saul Alinsky with the outcome as Hillary Clinton has stated, ‘And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be change,' to draw us away from God’s teachings regarding the sanctity of life to those of the world and its prince,” the leaflet said.
Alinsky was a Chicago-based community organizer and author who wrote the 1971 book "Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals." Conservatives like former GOP presidential nominee Dr. Ben Carson have labeled Alinsky a dangerous radical and a "diabolical" influence on both President Barack Obama and Clinton.
Clinton's quote was pulled from an April 2015 speech at the Women in the World Summit in which she addressed abortion.
Reached for comment on Thursday, Kevin Eckery, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, said he doesn't know how the first insert got into church bulletins.
He called the second bulletin “unusual,” noting the tone was different than how the church normally addresses parishioners.
Robert McElroy, the Roman Catholic bishop of San Diego, issued this statement:
"Let me stress again that while we have a moral role to play in explaining how Catholic teaching relates to certain public policy issues, we must not and will not endorse specific candidates, use parish media or bulletins to favor candidates or parties through veiled language about selectively chosen issues, or engage in partisan political activity of any kind."
Several people who attend the church told NBC 7 they felt the handouts were out of line.
“To refer to a candidate as a devil or ungodly is a disgrace and it’s a shame for our religion or our priests to indulge in that nonsense,” said Michael Alcaraz, who frequents Immaculate Conception.
"Clearly in my mind when a church spells out a presidential candidates name with any sort of opinions that’s a violation as far as I can tell,” said church visitor Daryl Johnson.
As a result of the incident, the diocese says it plans to send out a reminder to churches to refrain from making statements about specific candidates.