Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Another Low Moment for American Catholics

Over the weekend, several Roman Catholic bishops told their parishioners that they could not vote for candidates who believe that abortion should not be criminalized (regardless of the candidate's moral stance on abortion). They said the same about those who were agnostic on gay marriage. They also signalled that the candidates themselves, in particular John Kerry, might be denied communion.

Aside from being an unwanted intrusion into politics by conservative RC bishops, the hypocrisy was painful. Why is the church's teaching on abortion being elevated above its teaching on the death penalty or contraception, just to name two? Republican Catholics violate the church's ironclad teaching on the death penalty. Virtually ALL American Catholics violate the church's ironclad teaching against contraception. The Pope does NOT consider these to be "far less important" than abortion, as these conservative bishops falsely claim. Of course, they cannot be consistent here: there would be nobody left to vote for.

The truth is that with the exception of gay rights and abortion, Democrats are more in line with papal teachings than Republicans. Pope John Paul II repeatedly calls for social programs to combat poverty, and condemns treatment of prisoners in the USA, police brutality, and so forth. He condemns capitalist exploitation and indifference to the needs of the poor. The Vatican was also resolutely opposed to the Iraq war. Yet for the RC bishop of Colorado Springs and others, all of this is subjugated their political agenda and personal prejudice. Shame on this handful of Roman Catholic bishops, and shame on their fellow bishops for keeping silent rather than condemning their erring brothers.

But why should the silence of other Roman Catholic bishops be a surprise? Why should the shame be a surprise? It is a great distraction to take the moral high ground and make headlines by picking and choosing which laypersons' political views to punish. It is certainly better than getting tough on those who molested little boys and those who tried to cover it up.

Maybe we should stop asking whether the Roman Catholic church should deny John Kerry communion. Maybe if John Kerry is offered communion, he should not take it.


Bell Curve said...

"A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary."

This is a direct quote from THE POPE!! Perhaps these bishops misinterpreted that somehow?

Just another reason people will stop going to church. As if (any) religion really needed that these days.

Anonymous said...

RBR here -- posting from my parent's computer in Ohio....

RE: Catholic Bishop's politcal statements. It shouldn't surprise you that they are siding so obviously now with the Relgious Right.

It is increasingly clear that the most important political division in American today is not class, not race, but religion. The best predictor of which party a person will vote for is the number of times they attend church a month. Granted, Law Talking Guy is trying his best to undo the validity of this generalization, but the numbers say most regular church goers are Republicans - and pretty conservative ones at that.

The political leaders of the Evangelical Protestant movement have been trying to forge alliances with socially conservative Catholics and Jews for a long time.

There used to be a time in this country when Southern Evangelicals would have boycotted "The Passion" because it was produced by a Catholic. The times they are a changin'.

By the way, it is really frickin' hot and humid here! I'll post some first hand observations of local Ohio politics when I get back home - some of the Republicans who raised me are wavering in their support for Bush.

Raised By Republicans

Bell Curve said...

Back in the day, people feared a Catholic president because "the Pope will be running the country." Can't make that complaint with Kerry, I guess...