Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pope, Church & State

The Pope's recent re-affirmation of the Vatican II principles that there is but "one church"- the Holy Catholic Church- has been the subject of lots of talk this week.

As an active Protestant, it is easy to get excited by these kinds of faith issues. It is even easier to get excited (mad, frustrated, pissed, etc.) about either political party high-jacking God. One of the most interesting books written about this topic is "God's Politics, Why the Right is Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get it" by Rev. Jim Wallis, a self-professed evangelical. Wallis has been lipping off on social justice issues for decades, but only after the Religious Right has sickened the swing voters, the big business funders of the Republican Party have gotten stung by the religious extremists (i.e. Sen. Matt Bartle's position on stem cell) and Wallis appeared with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, did anyone take notice of Wallis’ ranting and raving.

One thing that I see missing from the religious right wing's family values debate is how does abortion and gay marriage warrant the #1 & #2 (with no #3) positions. Women have been having abortions since Jesus was around. Seems like when the religious scholars were quizzing Jesus about the most important commandments, Jesus told them to 1) love your God; and 2) love your neighbor. How about a little love, food, clothing and healthcare for your neighbor?

Christians, Jews and Muslims don’t have a monopoly on values; we all come to our values from different directions, according to Wallis. So, why do we allow the Republicans to say we Democrats don’t have values? I think that when there is a choice between healthcare for the poor and tax cuts for corporations, the value voter will pick healthcare every time.

OK, enough preaching, but it is Sunday.


Kevin Hennosy said...

Confound it Steve, if you believe that God is Love, Love is God AND that we do not need to hate each other, how do you expect to run a religious institution in an era of rising television and insurance costs? The price of dusting Gargoyles, launching pseudo-universities and retaining defense counsel (by the team)is just a real drag on religious institutions. And do not even get me started on the cost of tanks!

Steve, how are you going to raise funds with a mamby-pamby "for the good of all" outlook? If people are going to write a check there has to be a good guy and a bad guy and if the bad guy does not look like them it helps.

And if you don't want to talk about money, let's talk politics. How can an institution (large or small) convince millions of wage earners to vote for policies that benefit the richest people on the face of the earth, if it does not sprinkle a healthy dose of hate and fear on the multitudes?

I thought you were more practical that that Steve! (Yes, I am the product of Catholic schools and I am smiling but I cannot stand smiley faces in Blog posts.)

Actually, I just wanted to say: Great Blog launch Steve and CCP.

With regard to religion and or politics, I just remember a JFK quote, "There are three things in life that are real: God, human folly and laughter -- since the first two are beyond our comprehension, we must do what we can with the THIRD."

Now I have to get back to painting picket signs for the Gargoyle Dusters Local 7512 --it is getting close to contract time and I never side with the bosses.

Phil Cardarella said...

Ok, here's the deal:

The Pope is like Bill Gates. You want he should say it's OK to buy Apple? Not going to happen. (OK, so, technically, Bill Gates was never a Nazi.)

It is unfortunate that so many people in the US take the Church so seriously. In Italy, where the Church (Yes, capital "C") is an important social and economic institution fewer people take its political pronouncements so seriously. The same is true in France.

In Ireland, Poland & Croatia -on the other hand -- the Church is tied up in national identity, defining one as not-English, not-Russian, not-Serb. They take it more seriously. We inherited a big dose of that here in the USA.

On the other hand, if you actually want to know how many divisions the Pope really has, check out the size of Catholic families: Growing up, it was not uncommon for my friends to come from families of ten or twelve kids. Now Catholic families are not larger than average. Yet the Church's position has remained absolutely the same on birth control: No effective means is permitted. This does not mean Catholics are having less sex. It means that they are ignoring those Church doctrines that defy reason.

The bishops' letters on stem cell were no more effective than the preachers in other conservitive churches ... er, congregations.

Meanwhile, all non-Catholics can take heart. If you live blameless lives, you will not be cast into the fiery pit to roast beside those who ate meat on Friday or missed Mass on Sunday back before Vatican II.

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