The priest who ran for president

Church law these days forbids clerics to run for public office. But before that rule was laid down in the 1980s, priests sometimes ran — and won — races for seats in the U.S. Congress, state assemblies and city councils across America.

One was audacious enough to run for president.

Although Father James Cox didn’t win the Oval Office in the 1932 race, this Pittsburgh parish priest managed to lead a march on Washington and snag a meeting with his opponent in the election, then-President Herbert Hoover. Father Cox was trying to hatch a New Deal for Depression-era American with his Jobless Party platform before Franklin Roosevelt even got to the White House.

Father Cox didn’t win, of course; FDR did. But in today’s politics where money talks and more money talks even louder, it’s refreshing to recall a candidate whose only agenda was to get jobs for folks who had little or nothing.

Our Sunday Visitor in its June 29 edition profiles the life and legacy of the fascinating man of faith.

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