Public Officials Under God
Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy has a post linking to and providing commentary on this E.J. Dionne piece in The Washington Post:
When John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1960, he said some things about Catholic bishops that might, in today's climate, be condemned as insolence toward church authority.My Comments:
"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute -- where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act," Kennedy told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September 1960. "I do not speak for my church on public matters -- and the church does not speak for me."
Kennedy, of course, spoke those words in an effort to fight anti-Catholic bigotry. That was long before the 2004 campaign, in which John F. Kerry, only the third Roman Catholic in American history to be nominated for the presidency by a major party, found himself fending off certain prelates who said that his stand on abortion meant he could not receive communion -- and also meant that Catholics should not vote for him.
The episode caused anger, anguish and reflection among Democratic politicians who are Catholic. "People felt their faith was being questioned, and they were angry that ideologues were using the church for their own purpose," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.
Such reflections have produced a remarkable document that will be released this week, a "Statement of Principles By Fifty-Five Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives." It is, to the best of my knowledge, an unprecedented attempt by a large number of elected officials to explain the relationship between their religious faith and their public commitments.
"As Catholic Democrats in Congress," the statement begins, "we are proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition -- a tradition that promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to those individuals in society who are most in need. As legislators, in the U.S. House of Representatives, we work every day to advance respect for life and the dignity of every human being. We believe that government has moral purpose."
Please read Paul's excellent commentary on what he refers to as a "House Catholic Democrats' Manifesto". Ditto what Paul says.
And then go read what Bishop Vasa says about politicians who profess their Catholicism while at the same time supporting the so-called "pro-choice" position on abortion.
Additional commentary on this "Manifesto" by The Curt Jester:
Have you ever heard "primacy of conscience" invoked which wasn't immediately followed by some excuse to deny some part of the Catholic faith? Definitely at odds with Blessed John Cardinal Newman's "the voice of God in the nature and heart of man" The voice of God does not say that you can murder his children. Even worse that some Catholic Democrats who have a zero percent NARAL rating are willing to support their fellows who have a 100 percent one. When instead they should be calling their party to repent of their support of abortion, ESCR, etc, instead of providing covering fire.
"As Catholic Democrats in Congress we are proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition " I guess this is much like that "living Constitution" thing. That is you have it mean whatever you want it to mean. In each case the founders (Jesus and the Fathers of the Constitution) original intent is substituted with something quite at odds to it. Democrats see everything as alive except a fetus.
and by Captain Ed:
The bishops have been forced into the position of threatening excommunication expressly because of stunts like this new statement. Their job is to make clear what the Church teaches, and since the politicians involved have made their alignment with Catholicism part of their political campaigns, the bishops have to draw a line and protect the catechism by pointing out the hypocrisy involved -- and holding those who defy it accountable.
If these people want to be pro-choice and vote for abortion, that's their right. It's also the right of the Church to apply the consequences of those decisions.
UPDATE # 2 (1 March 2006):
Boethius also provides excellent analysis at Fumare.
UPDATE # 3 (1 March 2006):
The Holy Fool calls a spade a spade. See, e.g., this in comments:
"Some of the signers are extremely pro-life, conservative Catholics."Damn straight!
Really? Evidence, please?
Even if they are, they all happen to be Democrats. Right? And the Democratic party holds the sacrament of Abortion as its political Raison D'etre. Therefore, "conservative Catholic" or not, these politicians carry water for the Moloch-Worshippers. They want the Bishops to define the Faith down so they can pick up some Catholic votes. Since they claim to take God seriously--but don't act seriously on their claim--I call them "Foolable."