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Pope Gives Orders to Catholic Politicians

March 14th, 2007

You can be pretty certain that the Pope does not believe in the separation of church and state, since he has just given marching orders to politicians who are Catholic. As Kerry discovered in the 2004 elections, the Vatican is getting a lot more active in trying to use its religious authority to boss around lawmakers and leaders around the world:

“Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce laws inspired by values grounded in human nature.”

In short, if you’re a Catholic politician and you do not strictly oppose abortion, euthanasia, and gay marriage, then you are going straight to hell. Never mind that a politician in a Democracy is supposed to be a representative carrying out the wishes and will of the people, and not a representative of the Vatican carrying out their own religious agenda.

If the Pope wants to spell out his own principles and beliefs, that’s one thing, even if it influences lawmakers in other countries. But to directly order politicians worldwide to follow his orders is clearly stepping over a line.

Message to Pope: keep your ass out of my sovereign rights.

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  1. Tim Kane
    March 14th, 2007 at 13:53 | #1

    This has been a big problem for me, ever since Bush got elected, but especially since the 2004 election.

    I am a liberal, I am a cultural catholic, I am a theist, ergo I go to the catholic mass when I want to attend a religious service. I grew up in the post Vatican II era, with a catholic mother and with a father who was no religion at all, and Jewish teachers that informed me of the wisdom of seperation of church and state.

    I grew up in a liberal church. At a tender young age, when I heard Jesus say give to Cesaer what is Ceasear’s and God what is God, I became comfortable with Christianity. Back then the Catholic church knew its place.

    Not any more. So I have become a disenfranchised cultural catholic.

    In 2004 the Catholic Archbishop of St. Louis told St. Louisans that if they voted for Kerry (a catholic, mind you) they committed a sin. In St. Louis you can’t throw a dead cat around without hitting a Catholic – there are 750,000 in St. Louis area alone.

    At that point I became estranged.

    I know lots of people that had problems with Bush, but couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Kerry.

    I am convinced that the Archbishop threw the State of Missouri to Bush. Without Missouri, or any other moderate sized state, Bush loses.

    Conservative catholics are similar to fundementalist wingnut christains. They love authoritarianism.

    Within the officialdome of Catholicism, conservatives have never gotten on board with Democracy. Prior to Democracy, it was the Church’s job to confer legitimacy upon the rulers of the states of Europe – the precident was set with Charlemagne back in the year 800. This gave clerics, especially Bishops immense power and prestige.

    Democracy shifts the job of confering legitimacy upon the people. This leaves Bishops with little temporal power. In the democratic era, the church’s only power is based upon moral authority.

    The Jesuits anticipated this movement, their movement is designed around the premise that the church can lead based upon moral authority.

    After Vatican II, in the early 1960s, the church seemed to demonstrate that it was and could make the appropriate adjustments to lead by moral authority, in a modern democratic age, seperating religion from civics.

    But conservatives, like their Neocon sidekicks at about the same time, seathed and plotted their return. Some broke away and formed seperate Catholic churches. “Pious XII” movement, and “Old Catholics”, many, most, insisting on the latin mass.

    Some say that the CIA has had its hand in determining Popes. (You might ask how? Well consider that Bishops are supposed to live exemplary lives of humility and chastity leaves any wayward Bishop prone to black mail). In 1978, the Bishops elected John Paul I. He was dead thirty days later. They then elected John Paul II, who spent the next two decades promoting conservatives to Bishop and Cardinals. They elected Benedict, who prior to being Pope, was the person Bush called to get Catholic Bishops to promulgate marching orders on behalf of the Republican party. He did, then, the ArchBishop did, and Bush won the election.

    Conservatives Bishops dominate the catholic church now. They are movement conservatives, who want to bring back authoritarianism. Its that simple.

    If Democracy fails, then they’ll be riding high. Indeed they will have had a hand in it, just as they did with communism’s failure.

    If Democracy succeeds, then the Catholic church’s future will resemble its present in Europe. A relic of the past.

    If I were a priest or Bishop, I would break away and form a “Free Catholic” church movement, just like the conservatives did. Parish’s would decide who got to be their Priest. Preist could marry, and women could become priest. And Preist and Parishoners alike would decide who would become Bishop. Thats the way it was in the first 200 years.

    The Catholic church authority has always been marginal Theologically. In theory: God gave men free will, so an agent supposedly representing God, ought not to work towards taking free will away – Jesuits have always acknowledged this.

    Jesus main mission was to debunk religious authoritiarianism – and as a result, it was religious authorities that had him crucified. He commanded followers not to call a person father or lord. He was an egalitarian, who believed in free will and separation of church and state.

    Even if you don’t believe or follow him, he’s worth studying and getting to know – as Gandhi did. And as Gandhi might testify, the Catholic church does not resemble any architecture that Jesus might have suggested.

    There are two kinds of love: good and bad. Bad is controling, good is empowering. The Catholic church is simply digging its own grave.

    Again, I recall the words John Lennon: “Imagine there’s no heaven…”

  2. Paul
    March 14th, 2007 at 18:24 | #2

    Actually… I don’t have a problem with the Pope saying this to his followers.

    If you look at it from his point of view, if he truly believes in what he’s saying and that to not back up the values he’s espousing is actually a sin, then absolutely- the politicians SHOULD feel bound to support laws that back up those values.

    Where I’d have a problem is if a POLITICIAN then used that as an excuse or reason for voting a certain way. When they take their oath of office, they swear to uphold the Constitution- and that Constitution explicitly puts human rights of conscience above the duty to any particular religion.

    Their oath of office is, in essence, to do what’s best for the nation- and the nation is “The People”. That means that there might be times when the rights/needs/wants of The People (whether as a whole, or just that guy’s own district) are different than how the Pope would have the guy vote.

    If that’s the case, then I think a politician’s conscience should lead them to either resign (if they can’t set aside their moral/religious beliefs) or vote for The People.

    And if they don’t resign, and don’t vote for The People, then those People are of course welcome to vote their butt out of office the next time around.

    I think, Luis, that your comments scare people of faith. They hear them, and think that you’re saying that they can’t hold their faith-driven beliefs. I don’t think that’s really what you mean to say; but the conflict comes when it does seem that’s what you mean to say to politicians, at least.

    The problem here is that lots of people don’t grasp that basic moral/human rights are not dependent upon faith. An atheist might not believe in God, but still has a right to not be murdered; hence, laws against murder aren’t based on faith, but are based on protection of human rights.

    But a law against abortion? Well, that’s a much tougher call. If someone’s against it for religious/moral reasons and that’s all, then they are effectively trying to force their faith upon you, and that’s not right- but what if they’re truly against abortion because they believe the embryo is a human and therefore is entitled to protection under the law?

    Whether you agree with them on the whole human being bit, you have to admit that they’re making a human-rights-based argument in that case, and therefore if they’re right about when it’s a human (and ignore other arguments, which I won’t bother making/discussing right now) then they are not forcing their religious views upon you.

    So the people of faith see posts like yours as attacks upon their very right to hold (and act upon) their faith in the first place. The argument you have to make, I think, isn’t that the Pope needs to stay out of telling people what to do; that argument is a loser, because that’s the Pope’s JOB.

    The argument needs to stick closer to “it’s not right for politicians to place their own personal religious beliefs above and beyond the overall society’s right to be free of government-run, dictated religon.”

    It’s a harder argument to make, because it’s more technical, but I think it’s the more correct one.

    YMMV. :)

    Seattle, WA

    PS Conveniently, us Buddhists don’t have anyone telling us what to do, so you don’t have to fear us getting into office. 😉

  3. Sage
    March 17th, 2007 at 09:40 | #3

    Paul, I hope you read this, because I take issue with your comment. In fact, I’m a little hurt by it.

    I don’t know if you can really appreciate what it’s like to hear the core of your soul be castigated – whether it’s by the Pope or a U.S. General – as “immoral”, “sinful” or “evil” nearly every day you walk on this earth. To hear people unrestrainedly use slurs against you all throughout the media with nobody so much as raising an eyebrow in response, at least not until a few months ago. To see governments executing gay men for who they are and who they fall in love with. To hear about governments considering genocide against their civilians (as Nigeria is reportedly doing.) So, if the Pope’s orders to Catholic politicians to oppose what I happen to be on the grounds that I am “immoral” brings the Inquisition to my mind, I hope you will forgive me. After all, we live in a country where this president tortures foreign citizens who just happen to have a different religious belief.

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