Thursday, August 28, 2008

Catholic church strives to remain relevant; no speeches for you

This news reports notes that the Wilmington, Delaware, archbishop says
will not permit the Senator even if elected Vice President of the United States of America to speak at Catholic schools.

The Catholic church has tried to remain relevant in recent years, hardening its position on politicians who don't support church positions, most notably on abortion.

The article continues:
When asked for the Bishop's take on Senator Biden and his stand in favor of abortion, Krebs directed to Bishop Michael Saltarelli's 2004 statement on 'Catholics in Political Life' which, said Krebs, "very plainly states Bishop's position in this matter."

In that document Bishop Saltarelli notes that, in line with the US Bishops Conference policy, "Our Catholic institutions will not honor Catholic politicians who take pro-abortion legislative positions or invite them to speak at our functions or schools."

I'm curious why Catholic bishops and archbishops emphasize the abortion issue as opposed to the death penalty (which the church opposes) or even capitalism (the church nominally opposes this as it derides materialism).

In making these statements against pro-choice candidates, the Catholic leaders unwittingly seek to ally with Republicans who support the sort of unregulated capitalism that has frequently shown the world the worst side of capitalism and materialism, as well as allies Catholics with protestants and Christians -- many of whom hate Catholics (are you Catholic or Christian?, for example). Not all Christians feel this way, of course, but at least two universities associated with evangelical groups do not allow Catholic faculty (Wheaton College in Illinois fired a couple professors for converting to Catholicism and at Liberty University, the late Jerry Falwell's university, faculty reportedly sign a statement accepting that the Pope is the Antichrist).

The position of the church privileges one issue (while a hotly contested one, far from the most important issue in the US) at the expense of its general platform (at least of what they pay lip service to). Furthermore, their position of allying Catholics with a large and motivated group that despises them -- one that opposes many tenets of what the Catholic faith is supposed to represent.

I suspect that one of their main motivations is to remain relevant in the lives of individuals who live in an increasingly secular world. It's probably a losing battle -- especially in light of what happened in Europe, where church attendance is practically non-existent and where even Catholic Spain has legalized marriage for gays and lesbians --, especially should Catholics have to coexist with those who despise them and realize that they were simply pawns in the bid of the so-called Moral Majority to establish a theocracy in the US.

In light of this, a few lines from the Dead Kennedys' song "Moral Majority":

Circus tent con-men and Southern belle bunnies
Milk your emotions and then they steal your money
It's the new dark ages with the fascists toting bibles
Cheap nostalgia for the Salem Witch Trials

Stodgy ayatollahs in their double-knit ties
Burn lots of books so they can feed you their lies
Masturbating with a flag and bible
God must be dead if you're alive

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