Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Kerry and the Bad Catholics 

Just wanted to share an email I got from my uncle, who knows something about this subject. I wrote:
I've been meaning to ask you (since I know you're involved in Catholic activism) what you make of these stories that keep trickling out of certain Church higher-ups issuing fatwahs against Kerry because of his pro-choice stance. I've even heard certain figures have told their parishioners it would be sinful to *vote* for Kerry. At the same time, I've heard no reports of Church denunciations of the many pro-choice Catholic Republicans (including the ones in the Bush administration) or the even greater number of pro-death penalty and pro-Iraq war Catholics. In your opinion, are these stories being overblown by the media? How widespread is this? I should say that whenever I hear about it it makes me feel utterly enraged against whatever part of the Catholic Church is doing this.
And my uncle replies:
It is a complex story. Several right-wing bishops are playing into the hands of the Republican party by saying that Catholics who vote pro-choice, as well as politicians who do so, should not go to communion. These include, at the least, the archbishops of New Orleans and St. Louis, the bishop of Colorado Springs and one in New Jersey. This is out of something like 190 "ordinaries" (bishops in charge of a diocese vs auxiliary or retired bishops). It is surely un-Christian and it diminishes the credibility of the Catholic Church.

I have given up on my years of work toward Church reform. At least you can vote a politician out of office. This should be true of bishops. In the early Church, and also in the early years of the Church in the United States, bishops were elected by the people. That should happen again, but it probably will take a century or more.


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