Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Catholic Hypocrisy

There have been public statements by some Catholic clergy, and other factions within the Catholic Church, seeking to deny John Kerry, and other Catholic Democratic lawmakers, communion and to chastise those priests that offer communion to these "bad" Catholics. The basis for the desired exclusion is the position of Kerry, and his Democratic colleagues, on the issue of abortion. They are pro-choice, which runs counter to the official position of the Catholic Church.

These moves raise the specter of concern over split loyalties and the influence of the Pope and the Vatican in American politics when a Catholic candidate is running for office. This concern was a big hurdle for Catholic candidate John F. Kennedy's during his run for the presidency. Kennedy's tenure, however, allayed most of these fears and it appeared that American Catholic politicians would be able to put the Constitution above the Papacy, and act with the concerns of their constituencies being paramount to the concerns of the clergy.

Now, it appears that members of the Catholic clergy might wipe away years of evidence to the contrary and ignite the old fears again. While that is deeply troubling, what is even more troubling is the fact that there appears to be a partisan motivation to it. For example, there is seemingly no call to deny communion to Catholic Republican politicians that are pro-choice. In fact, most of the Catholic Republican politicians that are pro-choice are also pro-death penalty, which is also against Catholic teaching. On top of that, most of the same pro-choice, pro-death penalty politicians are also pro-war in Iraq, which has been condemned by the Vatican.

So, while I don't advise this as a course of action, if the Catholic clergy wants to prevent John Kerry from receiving communion, then they should be even more adamant with the following list of Catholic Republican lawmakers (to name but a few) who are not only pro-choice but also pro-death penalty and pro-war:

1. Rudolph Giuliani
2. George Pataki
3. Tom Ridge
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger
5. Christie Todd Whitman

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