Monday, August 29, 2005

Bishop Thomas Olmstead: "Church Must Defend Its Basic Beliefs Against All"

From The Arizona Republic:
... The right to life is indeed an inalienable one. To stand up for the dignity of every person, then, and to speak out against intrinsic evils such as abortion, euthanasia, racism and sexual acts outside of marriage is a service that God requires of us on behalf of all persons, not only members of our own faith.

To do this by actions as well as by words underlines the seriousness of these teachings and the depths of our convictions. One such action is to prohibit the giving of honors or the provision of a platform in Catholic institutions for those who support actions contrary to these core moral principles.

I trust that this position is not that difficult to understand. Why would we honor or give a platform to someone who radically disagrees with our fundamental teachings? We should instead be criticized if we allowed such things to happen.

This does not mean that we will cease praying for public officials or end our efforts to be in conversation with them and others about these and similar matters.

In fact, the continuity of such conversations is vitally important, precisely because of the serious ramifications of them. There are a variety of appropriate forums for this dialogue to occur, beyond public events at church facilities.

For the Catholic Church to back up its teaching through actions directed at public officials is not something new.

I think for example of the time in 1962 in New Orleans, when Archbishop Joseph Rummel excommunicated Judge Leander Perez when the judge tried to block the desegregation of the Catholic school system.

Was this bishop imposing his sectarian views on a public official? Was he meddling in politics or impeding freedom? Or was he defending the human dignity of all children, no matter the color of their skin?



At 6/12/2007 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment about Archbishop Rummel: In 1962 I was active in the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice. We worked closely with Archbishop Rummel, Cardinal Ritter, Cardinal O'Boyle and others on this important issue. I don't have any record of (bow) Bishop Olmstead's particpation in our efforts, si I assuem his comments are not from his personal experience in the racial justice movement but reports he has received from others. He misses the mark as to what happened. Archbishop Rummel and the others were powerful, effective advocate of racial justice using pastoral and prophetic means. They rejected the idea of excommunicating politicians because they supported the "Southern Manifesto" or laws to maintain segregation of public facilities. They rejected the idea of excommunicating anyone for publicly calling for segregation of Catholic facilities. Rummel was very clear that excommunication was limited to attempting to use the power of the state to force the Catholic Church to segregate. In essence, the archbishop supported separation of church and state. An equivalent measure nowadays would be a law forcing Catholic hospital to do abortions. Anything less, if one is suggesting that Rummel's actions be followed, would call for pastoral responses rather than excommunication.


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