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No Communion for Pro-Abortion Politicians
April 23, 2004 9:36 AM   Subscribe

No Communion for Pro-Choice Politicians
Apparently they have some issue with women having control over their own bodies so they'll deny communion to pro-choice politicians.
Hey, isn't John Kerry a pro-choice Catholic? This couldn't have anything to do with him could it?
Isn't a divisive move like this more likely to result in more people leaving the "faith"?
posted by fenriq (70 comments total)

 
Religion & politics? Yawn.
posted by soyjoy at 9:41 AM on April 23, 2004


Bad politico. No cookie.
posted by stonerose at 9:46 AM on April 23, 2004


What it comes down to is that being pro-choice makes you a "bad" Catholic. The Vatican has said it time and again, and lots of people just don't get it. The Catholic God has a laundry list of things that suck and are sinful, and if you do or believe anything on that list, you probably ought to forego receiving communion.

That said, I was raised Catholic, but won't set foot in a Catholic church except in deference to others (weddings, funerals, etc.), precisely because of issues like this.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:47 AM on April 23, 2004


It's funny how often the "leaders" are behind the "followers" in religion.
posted by callmejay at 9:51 AM on April 23, 2004


more people leaving the "faith"?

Why is faith in quotes? Are you implying that Catholics don't have faith, or that Catholicism isn't a valid faith, or what?
posted by ChasFile at 10:07 AM on April 23, 2004


Soyjoy, ow, that hurt. Wanker.

You could, at least, try to be, you know, imaginative.
posted by fenriq at 10:07 AM on April 23, 2004


Once again, the more ridiculous things that the Church insists upon, the quicker the Church lapses into irrelevancy. I'm for it.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 10:08 AM on April 23, 2004


Me, I'm just waiting for them to start offering Atkins-friendly hosts at communion. Then I'm back in the fold. Or flock. Or whatever.

Come to think of it, wouldn't transsubstantiation turn the carbs into meaty Jesus-protein?
posted by stonerose at 10:21 AM on April 23, 2004


This story is very, very old. Same thing happened with Dachele two years ago, I believe.

If I wanted to read crap like this, I'd visit KOS or DU.
posted by Rob1855 at 10:27 AM on April 23, 2004


I think one of the best statements on the subject was by the JFK: "I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me."


This quote was taken from an excellent editorial on the issue by Ellen Goodman.
posted by Stoatfarm at 10:36 AM on April 23, 2004


Yawn?

YAWWWWWWWWNNNNNNN
posted by bargle at 10:38 AM on April 23, 2004


This would bother me much less if the Catholic Church issued similarly prominent censures of Catholic politicians who support the death penalty.
posted by alms at 10:39 AM on April 23, 2004


Kerry spokesman David Wade would not respond directly to Arinze, but he reiterated Kerry's position on the separation of church and state that ''helped make religious affiliation a nonissue in American politics.''
Are Wade and I living in the same USA? I mean, I wish religious affiliation were a non-issue, but come on! Jeeesus!
posted by adamrice at 10:39 AM on April 23, 2004


If I wanted to read crap like this, I'd visit KOS or DU.

If you want I'll provide links!
But what do you call what you just did to this thread with that statement?
Crap, perhaps?
posted by nofundy at 10:42 AM on April 23, 2004


What alms said.

Where's "fair and balanced" excathedra?
posted by nofundy at 10:45 AM on April 23, 2004


I agree with you, fenriq. But I think I would have posted this with less emotion. The end result is the same, or sometimes better.
posted by Shane at 10:49 AM on April 23, 2004


It is not the first time and will not be the last time these fossils were wrong.
But just try and get them to admit it.
It happens but only 400 years later.
posted by nofundy at 10:52 AM on April 23, 2004


Apparently they have some issue with women having control over their own bodies so they'll deny communion to pro-choice politicians.

No, they have issues with women murdering their unborn children and those who support it.
posted by WLW at 10:53 AM on April 23, 2004


The Vatican should spend more time purging their ranks of child rapists and their collaborators and less time intruding in presidential politics.
posted by crank at 11:00 AM on April 23, 2004


Shane, I realize, almost every time I hit the post button, that I should reel in my personal issues with this sort of proclamation.

But the sensationalist in me is a faster typer.

I will endeavor to beat the sensationlist into submission before posting an FPP again.

ChasFile, I put faith in quotes because it felt appropriate with a touch of irony. Didn't mean to imply anything by it. More a personal issue, see above.

On Preview: WLW, you call it murder, I call it an abortion and I call the church telling people how to live their lives galling in the light of their own pedophilic hypocrisy and the ensuing top down coverup criminally embarassing. Those without sin may cast the first stone and they're just as dirty as the rest of us.
posted by fenriq at 11:00 AM on April 23, 2004


If I wanted to read crap like this, I'd visit KOS or DU.

if i wanted to crap all over a site, i'd wait until i was a member a while ...

sorry. no coffee yet. i think it's generally accepted the best way to handle posts you don't like is to ignore them. mathowie will remove the completely useless posts.

sure, it's plain old news, but it's definitely an interesting topic. my question is why just politicians? shouldn't everyone have to take the same fealty oath?

they shouldn't let anybody who's ever used a condom (or been fucked with one) get Jesus' body and blood either.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:01 AM on April 23, 2004


This would bother me much less if the Catholic Church issued similarly prominent censures of Catholic politicians who support the death penalty.

Good point, alms.
posted by Vidiot at 11:06 AM on April 23, 2004


On Preview: WLW, you call it murder, I call it an abortion and I call the church telling people how to live their lives galling in the light of their own pedophilic hypocrisy and the ensuing top down coverup criminally embarassing. Those without sin may cast the first stone and they're just as dirty as the rest of us.

Thats fine, and I agree with you. But if you didn't agree with the teachings of the Catholic church (or any church for that matter, then why would you care if they wouldn't give you communion.

And, for what its worth, I don't necessarily consider it murder. But most of the Christian churches do.
posted by WLW at 11:10 AM on April 23, 2004


This would bother me much less if the Catholic Church issued similarly prominent censures of Catholic politicians who support the death penalty.

Right. Or those who support the Iraq War.

Once again, the more ridiculous things that the Church insists upon, the quicker the Church lapses into irrelevancy.

That is, of course, the bright side.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:18 AM on April 23, 2004


The Vatican directive, commissioned by Pope John Paul II, softened a stricter earlier draft that had discouraged the use of altar girls and denounced such practices as applauding and dancing during Mass.

That just makes me so angry - and sad at the same time. I guess it's a good thing that Pope JP had the sense to take it out, but to think that it was even in there to begin with just twists my gut. Altar girls, for god's sake, what could possibly be wrong with that??

To all the Catholic women out there, WHY do you put up with/belong to a religion that insists on making you second-class citizens?? I'll never understand this. It's not like there aren't alternatives, even religious ones. Same question goes to Catholic men as well, of course.
posted by widdershins at 11:26 AM on April 23, 2004


There is absolutely no valid comparison between the Church's position on abortion and the Church's position on the death penalty or the Iraq war.

The Church's opposition to abortion is a matter of absolute doctrine. There is no canon law prohibition upon the death penalty, nor do Pope John Paul II's writings on it amount to anything approaching a categorical admonition against its administration. Justice Scalia, Father Neuhaus, and others have written quite intelligently on this subject, but my (approximate) take is that the Pope's view is a prudential one: that in most cases the death penalty is not warranted. The Pope's view on the Iraq War has even less in the way of binding theological or judicial content; in the terms of Catholic doctrine, it is basically a suggestion.

The Church's doctrine upon pedophiliac priests is no less clear than its doctrine on abortion -- the fault of the hierarchy has been in failing to enforce its doctrine effectively. It doesn't make any sense to compound one failure to enforce with another, now does it?

The Catholic Church is not a democracy and is not an open membership club. The Pope and the Bishops decide what Catholic doctrine and who is validly entitled to receive Communion, which is a literal expression of oneness with the universal body of the Church. Thankfully, we live in a free society where anyone, John Kerry included, can be non-Catholic at no cost or burden to themselves.
posted by MattD at 11:57 AM on April 23, 2004


widdershins,

I'm Roman Catholic because, despite the many flaws that we have institutionally, there are just as many good aspects of the church. In terms of spiritual leadership, the church has a lot of good things to offer but it definitely needs to work on its pragmatic approach to implementing its teachings. Plenty of us are displeased, to say the least, that women are not allowed into the priesthood and that priests are not allowed to marry. For every priest that has committed sexual abuse there are plenty more who would never do such a thing.

We put up with the occasional papal bull [pun intended] because when it comes right down to it, the Roman Catholic church is more about what its members do than what the institution says.
posted by sciurus at 12:07 PM on April 23, 2004


There is no canon law prohibition upon the death penalty

That's how you interpret "Thou Shall Not Kill"????

The Catholic Church is not a democracy and is not an open membership club.

I couldn't agree more. However, they are being hypocritical if they are not denying communion to EVERY member that supports pro-choice. Why just the politicians?

We put up with the occasional papal bull [pun intended] because when it comes right down to it, the Roman Catholic church is more about what its members do than what the institution says.

Wow, talk about being hypocritical! Aren't you bound by the guidelines of the religion to follow the papal bull? Can you not be a good person without Catholicism?
posted by archimago at 12:21 PM on April 23, 2004


>The Catholic Church is not a democracy and is not an open membership club.

That's a pretty meaningless statement as they lobby for legal change to fit their views which will gets applied to everyone in that legal jurisdiction (be it state or federal law). If they want to be left alone they can get the hell out of politics. In the meantime, they are open to harsh criticisms, especially when they've committed more acts of pedophilia than all the members of NAMBLA combined.
posted by skallas at 12:27 PM on April 23, 2004


arch: Why just the politicians?

Just so they can help Bush get re-elected. Its pretty fucking shameless at this point.
posted by skallas at 12:31 PM on April 23, 2004


The Church's doctrine upon pedophiliac priests is no less clear than its doctrine on abortion -- the fault of the hierarchy has been in failing to enforce its doctrine effectively.

Well, that's a comfort. End result was the same. If I recall my CCD catechism, hypocrisy was pretty high up in the hierarchy of sins.


Just so they can help Bush get re-elected.

Which is odd considering that evangelicals like Bush have never been that fond of Catholics.
posted by jonmc at 12:34 PM on April 23, 2004


We put up with the occasional papal bull [pun intended] because when it comes right down to it, the Roman Catholic church is more about what its members do than what the institution says.

(Only kinda sorta tongue in cheek), but doesn't that make you an Anglican/Episcopalian?
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:38 PM on April 23, 2004


If they want to be left alone they can get the hell out of politics.

Or at least start paying some property taxes.
posted by archimago at 12:42 PM on April 23, 2004


Justice Scalia ... written quite intelligently on this subject

Bwahahahaha!!!

Good one! Thats so funny!! The Opus Dei is now intelligent!
posted by nofundy at 12:47 PM on April 23, 2004


Wow, talk about being hypocritical! Aren't you bound by the guidelines of the religion to follow the papal bull? Can you not be a good person without Catholicism?

I said I was Catholic, I didn't say I was a good Catholic or a perfect Catholic. I do my best to follow the spirit of my religion, I don't automatically incorporate every item of the catechism into my life because I am smart enough to know that these guidelines are nothing more than fallible human laws. If I did my best to incorporate every Catholic teaching into my life without questioning them then I would be both ignorant and foolish.

I can be a good person without Catholicism, yes. I just happen to choose to be Catholic and then try to be a good person. That was my point to widdershins, there are alternatives to Catholicism, but I'm not sure there are any better ones. However, that route just ends up boiling down to a difference of opinion.
posted by sciurus at 12:49 PM on April 23, 2004


especially when they've committed more acts of pedophilia than all the members of NAMBLA combined.

Ah, I love unprovable rhetoric.

Really, how many catholics are on mefi? How many members are anti-catholic? This is nothing more than preaching to the choir.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 12:49 PM on April 23, 2004


Apparently they have some issue with women having control over their own bodies so they'll deny communion to pro-choice politicians.

No, they have issues with women murdering their unborn children and those who support it.


...toe-may-to, toe-mah-toe...
posted by sharpener at 12:53 PM on April 23, 2004


...doesn't that make you an Anglican/Episcopalian?

Maybe it does, them there Protestants have some good ideas. I'll stay Catholic and try to work change from the inside though.
posted by sciurus at 12:54 PM on April 23, 2004


I'm Catholic and I oppose abortions.

On the other hand, I recognize that my opposition to abortion is at least in part faith-based. I do not believe that medical science is equipped to handle the question "When does life begin?" in a meaningful way. That's a question for philosophers and preists.

So I oppose abortions personally, but I feel that laws banning abortions violate the seperation of church and state. There is no medical proof that human life begins at conception. Furthermore, from a practical standpoint, I feel that you cannot legislate morality.

If people belive that abortions are moral, they will continue to have abortions, regardless of what the law says. I feel many of the tactics adopted by the religious right to stamp out abortion, have counter-productive effects.

Ugly protests and coercive laws just create a wall between you and the person whose heart and mind you'd like to change.

I've had heart to heart discussions with a woman at work who was considering an abortion and wanted my opinion. She decided to give the baby up for adoption instead.

I believe I did more good that day than all of the hate-filled right-wingers carrying posters of aborted fetuses combined.
posted by hipnerd at 12:59 PM on April 23, 2004


jonmc: Which is odd considering that evangelicals like Bush have never been that fond of Catholics.

Not really, Bush is fighting their culture war for them. He speaks in code but its fairly obvious at this point he's doing his damndest to make abortion illegal. They may not be the same faith, but they have the same agenda.
posted by skallas at 1:00 PM on April 23, 2004


I'm Roman Catholic because, despite the many flaws that we have institutionally, there are just as many good aspects of the church.

Or, one could join a secular charity group and have the good without the bad.
posted by callmejay at 1:10 PM on April 23, 2004


Or, one could join a secular charity group and have the good without the bad.

Some of us still think there is value in spirituality, which by their nature secular charities cannot provide.
posted by hipnerd at 1:18 PM on April 23, 2004


There we go again.

Apparently they have some issue with women having control over their own bodies

Except for cases of rape, if these women did have control over their bodies they wouldn't get unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

Hey, isn't John Kerry a pro-choice Catholic?

That's a complete contradiction in terms (typical John "unstable" Kerry, of course). There is no absolutely way to endorse abortion if you're a Christian. Anyone that tells you so is not being honest. John Kerry, BTW, is a "Catholic" that not only endorses abortion and gay marriage-- he has also invented a Pope:

"He added: "I'm not a church spokesman. I'm a legislator running for president. My oath is to uphold the Constitution of the United States in my public life. My oath privately between me and God was defined in the Catholic church by Pius XXIII and Pope Paul VI in the Vatican II, which allows for freedom of conscience for Catholics with respect to these choices, and that is exactly where I am. And it is separate. Our constitution separates church and state, and they should be reminded of that."

Mr. Kerry apparently meant John XXIII, as there is no Pius XXIII."

(from the NYT two weeks ago)

Isn't a divisive move like this more likely to result in more people leaving the "faith"?

There is no division regarding the Sacredness of life. You do not leave the faith as much as the Faith leaves you. You either protect life or you don't.
posted by 111 at 1:20 PM on April 23, 2004


The Pope's view on the Iraq War has even less in the way of binding theological or judicial content; in the terms of Catholic doctrine, it is basically a suggestion.

Nice to know that God Almighty has mellowed as He's aged, no longer handing down commandments, just offering suggestions.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:26 PM on April 23, 2004


There is no absolutely way to endorse abortion if you're a Christian.

Well I guess it's settled then. That was easy.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:30 PM on April 23, 2004


Old news ignored my mainstream media. Glad to see this link at MeFi. It's about time the RC started exercising some discipline.

worldmagblog.com has mentioned this so often I gave up citing URLs -- just google catholic communion there.

Richard John Neuhaus, in the June/July 2003 issue of First Things, said something related: "I must say that I was appalled by the appointment of a notorious pro-abortion politician, Leon Panetta, to the National Review Board that is advising the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the protection of young people from sexual abuse. The bishops should pause to consider how this appointment undermines efforts, including their own efforts and those of the Holy See, to make clear to Catholic politicians that pro-abortion advocacy is profoundly unjust and incompatible with Catholic faith. Panetta’s appointment sends a message to pro-abortion Catholics of every stripe that the Church is not really serious about her teaching on the sanctity of human life or the priority she gives this teaching. Let me be clear about what I believe is required: Panetta should be removed from the Board immediately."
posted by tbc at 1:45 PM on April 23, 2004


In response to widdershins,

As a woman in the Catholic Church, I find myself struggling to find my place in the religion I was born into. When I was growing up in Georgia, I felt like the Catholic ambassador to my 99% protestant classmates. I felt most connected to the church every time I felt obligated to explain how Catholics are not pagans and that I really did not need to be saved, thankyouverymuch. I was also one of the first girls to become an altar girl when it was allowed.

Still, I refused to be confirmed due to objections over the treatment of women by the church, especially the exclusion of women from the priesthood. Now I’m a holiday only Catholic. Between holidays I usually felt guilty about not going to church, but every time I went back I remembered why I don’t like it. Last Easter I felt like I was being lectured by the high school principal. I feel like I’m just being hit with rules with no discussion about why we do these things and what they really mean. This is why I go to Bible Study and forget about going to Mass. I've also decided to toss the guilt.

On preview, amen to sciurus.
posted by Alison at 1:57 PM on April 23, 2004


There is no division regarding the Sacredness of life. You do not leave the faith as much as the Faith leaves you. You either protect life or you don't.

So what about the death penalty? I fail to see how you can have it both ways without hypocrisy.
posted by biscotti at 1:59 PM on April 23, 2004


biscotti, as you know, unlike abortion, capital punishment is a controversial matter in the Catholic Church. At any rate, in real democracies the death penalty is not ever applied to those who have not seriously violated the life is sacred principle themselves.
posted by 111 at 2:05 PM on April 23, 2004


And we know that the death penalty is fairly applied to totally guilty people 100% of the time, too, eh 111?
posted by Vidiot at 3:08 PM on April 23, 2004


(Incidentally, most "real democracies" have done away with the death penalty.)
posted by Vidiot at 3:08 PM on April 23, 2004


They may not be the same faith, but they have the same agenda.

To some degree, but I've heard plenty of TV preachers referring to Catholics as "apostates" and "papists," so it's a shaky alliance at best, like the alliance between religious right conservatives and yuppie money conservatives. The best thing we could do right now to fuck up the Bush camp is to shake up these alliances even more.
posted by jonmc at 3:29 PM on April 23, 2004


Sure, 111, no innocent people have ever been executed in death penalty states. (echoing vidiot) Oh, and of course a person's skin color is NEVER a consideration in requesting and applying the death penalty, either. It's completely fair and equitable, and no, there's no hypocrisy at all in Christian people, who of course cannot in any way support abortion (because it's murder), rallying 'round the flag and demanding the death penalty be continued (even though it's murder).

I know I'm feeding the troll, but really, you're talking out your ass on this subject and you're a horrid hypocrite in this instance. Go read your Bible again, the part with all the RED ink type, and this time pay some friggin' attention.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:47 PM on April 23, 2004


scurius... I can be a good person without Catholicism, yes. I just happen to choose to be Catholic and then try to be a good person

I'm struggling with a way to comment on that statement...It sounds like, and I'm willing to admit I am interpreting it wrong, but it sounds like you contradicted yourself, there. The reverse would be, "I try to be a good person and then I happened to choose Catholicism." Is that what you meant, scurius?
posted by jaronson at 3:55 PM on April 23, 2004


And we know that the death penalty is fairly applied to totally guilty people 100% of the time, too, eh 111?
posted by Vidiot at 3:08 PM PST on April 23


No we don't. We are human and we take chances. We make mistakes. But there is no intention from Christians who support the death penalty to willfully execute innocent people like pro-choicers do.
posted by 111 at 3:56 PM on April 23, 2004


zoogleplex and archimago: I'm enjoying your comments, in part because I'm imagining your reactions to Christians who take one quote, out of context, from the Qur'an and use that to argue that Islam is inherently evil and that all Muslims are out to kill Christians. Heh, it's really a very funny mental image.

First of all, the Bible doesn't say "Thou shalt not kill". It says "thou shalt not murder". (Well, the Vulgate does say kill, but this is a clear example of mistranslation, and virtually every other translation uses the word for murder. Further, AFAIK Catholic teaching is clear on the distinction between killing and murder even though the Vulage isn't). Murder implies unjustified killing, which implies the possibility of justified killing in some circumstances. Second, archimago (at least) is confusing Catholics with Protestants: Protestants rely on the Bible as the foundation of their faith. Catholics, on the other hand, interpret the Bible through the use of Church tradition, and as a result your individual interpretation of the Bible may not mean much in Catholic theology.

And third, if a fetus is a human being, then abortion is clearly murder. But comparing the death penalty to murder is like comparing prison to kidnapping - yes, they are the exact same acts, but 1) the State can legitimately do things individuals cannot do, and 2) prison (state-sponsored kidnapping) is justified by the criminal's actions. By analogy, it is at least arguable that the death penalty is justified (in principle) by the criminal's actions. And once you've got a justification of the death penalty in principle, then you're just left with an argument about the limitations of our justice system and whether the cost is worth the benefit. But it is at least plausible (and it is certainly consistent with some reasonable interpreations of Christianity) that an individual would oppose abortion and support the death penalty.
posted by gd779 at 4:14 PM on April 23, 2004


jaronson,

It could've worded that better myself. You are pretty much correct in your guess at what I meant. I meant that I can try to be a good person and not be a Catholic, but, in my particular case, trying to be a good person is part of my Catholicicity [yeah, like THAT is a word].
posted by sciurus at 4:33 PM on April 23, 2004


I'll reiterate. It's thoroughly and despicably hypocritial for Christians to support the death penalty.

Because it's MURDER. It's KILLING someone. God said "Thou Shalt Not Kill."Get it?

And yeah, I know in the original Hebrew it's "thou shalt not murder" and is strongly implied to apply only to not murdering others of the Children of God. But since the fundies say that every word in that book is the literal word of God, the hypocrisy applies fully. It's disgusting how people can justify things that are plainly wrong according to both God (OT) and Jesus (NT), while claiming they're doing it in Their names. *puke*

Back to the matter of this thread, the Church is just displaying more of its own hypocrisy and as said above compounding its irrelevancy by only aiming this at politicians. But then, they still can't figure out whether it's okay for celibate priests to have sex with children, so nobody should listen to anything they say, at least until that little issue is sorted out.

On preview:

gd779, believe me I know the issues are more complex than this. I'm reacting with a kind of "mirror simplification" of the sort of knee-jerk ass-talk that got spouted above, as a method of argument only. Besides, I got irritated reading that stuff.

However, the issue of hypocrisy still applies, especially to the death penalty. At a State level, I agree that a criminal's actions may justify the death penalty, in the law as created by our lawmakers in representation of the Will of the People. At the Christian religious level, the fact that an innocent person could be executed by mistake or through malice on the part of the State or it's legal representatives - in other words, the unjustified killing of an innocent person - should by that definition immediately cause any true Christian, following the word of God, to be against the death penalty entirely.

Especially if they have zero tolerance for abortions - even when carrying the baby could cause the death of the mother, or in cases of rape. ANY chance of transgression of this Commandment should be addressed, should it not? Applying the death penalty imperfectly would absolutely result in the unjustified deaths of innocent people, and thus Christians should oppose it.

Besides, if you kill someone, they never have a chance to repent and redeem themselves in life.

Anyway, I hope John Kerry and the other pro-choice politicians ignore this completely. End derail.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:36 PM on April 23, 2004


the fact that an innocent person could be executed by mistake or through malice on the part of the State or it's legal representatives - in other words, the unjustified killing of an innocent person - should by that definition immediately cause any true Christian, following the word of God, to be against the death penalty entirely.

Heh, your argument not only goes against Christian teaching, it is thoroughly impractical. First of all, the Old Testament mandates that a criminal may not be put to death except on the word of two witnesses. Now, is it completely inconceivable that two people may get together and agree to lie in order to convict an innocent man? Obviously not. So it is clear that the Old Testament sanctions the death penalty so long as reasonable (but not infallible) precautions are taken to safeguard against the imperfection of a judicial system. Further, I see no reason why your argument wouldn't prevent the state from imprisoning criminals as well. It is unjust to kidnap and imprison a person without cause, and some defendants might be innocent, and if they are innocent then we have stolen years of life away from innocent individuals! Well, yes, but we must have a justice system, and so we take reasonable precautions, do our best, and accept the inevitable imperfections.

Now, I'm not saying anything about my opinion on the death penalty. I'm simply saying that this opinion is plausible.

Finally, I am aware of no serious pro-life organization that does not support abortion when it is necessary to save the life of the mother. If two people are stuck on a life raft that's too small for them, and one must die so that the other might live, there is no moral compulsion to choose one over the other. So this is a straw man.
posted by gd779 at 5:24 PM on April 23, 2004


I am also a Catholic here and I am pro-life. However, I am not pro-life because the CC tells me to, but rather because I believe that from a biological standpoint, an abortion is taking away life (I am also 100% anti-death penalty). And I totally agree that religion and politics should be separated, hence why I am also pro-gay marriage.

I'll reiterate. It's thoroughly and despicably hypocritical for Christians to support the death penalty.
I agree, and maybe its just me, but I've never understood how a Christian can be both pro-choice and pro-death penalty. To me, support of the death penalty goes against everything Jesus ever taught. To me, thats what my Catholicism is about- living out Jesus's message, and though the CC does indeed have its faults, I believe the CC allows me to follow out Jesus's Word to the fullest.
posted by jmd82 at 9:34 PM on April 23, 2004


It doesn't matter whether or not God said "thou shalt not kill" or "thou shalt not murder" or whatever. The Old Testament is (should be) mainly irrelevent to Christians.

The single important passage is the bit where the Christ tells us to (a) love God and (b) love one another.

Now is it loving of one-another to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term that she does not want?

Is it loving of one-another to kill a potentially viable fetus? A viable fetus?

Is it loving of one-another to execute a prisoner?

The answers to those questions are the ones that matter.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:05 AM on April 24, 2004


The point made above that Catholic doctrine is a matter of explicit tradition and Magisterial interpretation is well said.
Abortion is categorically probhibited. The death penalty and war making, on the other hand, are subject of no such absolute rules. The basic principal there is one of circumspection: the state should use it power to kill in war only justly, and against criminals only rarely and when necessary. The determination as to the justice and necessity of the state's exercising its power to kill is a matter for the conscience of the politicians. There is no such allowance for conscientious determination in the case of abortion.

Even if one is a sola scriptura type, the many Levitican prescriptions of the death penalty, not to mention the heroic status of quite bloody Old Testament kings and generals of the Hebrews -- make eminently clear that the Old Testament proscribes not any killing, but murder -- unjustified killing.
posted by MattD at 6:13 AM on April 24, 2004


[Question possibly better directed at a theologian]

But doesn't the "New Covenant" with Jesus supersede the Old Testament law?

[/q.p.b.d.@.a.t.]
posted by Vidiot at 6:34 AM on April 24, 2004


But doesn't the "New Covenant" with Jesus supersede the Old Testament law?

I'm no theologian, Vidiot, but I think it is pretty clear that the New Covenant supersedes old testament law. That is the whole point of making the covenant in the first place. I don't mean that to sound snarky if it does.

The ten commandments are only a tiny portion of OT law but are still worth following.

If you take a look at the catechism you will notice that the ten commandments are grouped under the the two commandments of the New Covenant.

There is also some interesting wording in regard to the fifth commandment. [emphasis mine]

2261 Scripture specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment: "Do not slay the innocent and the righteous."61 The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. The law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere.
posted by sciurus at 6:57 AM on April 24, 2004


On the other hand, I recognize that my opposition to abortion is at least in part faith-based. I do not believe that medical science is equipped to handle the question "When does life begin?" in a meaningful way. That's a question for philosophers and preists.


yeah, what do scientists know about stuff?
you know, priests, whose intellectual tradition (however great and interesting) is deeply rooted in Bronze Age Middle Eastern myths, the perfect people to define when does life start.
I must also assume that, when you're sick, you go to church, not to the emergency room. I hope I'm wrong. free advice: if you're sick, go see a doctor first. you can read the Bible when you're on the cab waiting to get to the doctor's.

Just so they can help Bush get re-elected.
Which is odd considering that evangelicals like Bush have never been that fond of Catholics.


not odd, no. it's realpolitik, as skallas said.
Most Evangelicals are not that fond (theologically) of Jews either (I mean, at best they didn't recognize the Savior, at worst... well, you know, "Jews Killed The Lord Jesus" – "I Thess. 2:14, 15" – "Settled!")
But the Bush team gives a lot of cookies to right-wing Christians (Catholic and Protestant) -- faith-based initiatives, anti-Roe judges, GodHatesFags amendment, etc
and they give lots of cookies to right-wing Jews, too (total, unprecented and happy acceptance of Likud's policy, the massive US aid to Israel notwithstanding)

hence, all these constituencies may be very different but they all like Bush because Bush is good to them. not odd at all.

capital punishment is a controversial matter in the Catholic Church.

no no no no no no no.
not in Rome's Catholic Church. the Pope is an outspoken critic of the death penalty, has said many nasty things about governors like, you know, a recent Texas guv'nor who happily execute people on Death Row.
check the Pope's Evangelium Vitae encyclical letter.

also:

Pope John Paul II has pitched his moral force into today's Iowa primary by begging George W Bush, the Republican frontrunner, to commute a death sentence scheduled for tomorrow.
The Pope has stepped up pressure on Mr Bush, as governor of Texas, to spare the life of Glen McGinnis, who was 17 when he shot dead an attendant in a dry cleaner's in a bungled burglary in 1991.
In a letter to Mr Bush, the Pope wrote: "Every human life is sacred and I pray that McGinnis is saved."


Pope, in the heartland, condemns the death penalty
By Julia Lieblich, AP Religion writer
ST. LOUIS -- Winding up his six-day journey to the Americas, Pope John Paul II condemned capital punishment yesterday in some of the strongest terms yet and told the United States that power comes with moral responsibility.
"Radical changes in world politics leave America with a heightened responsibility to be for the world an example of a genuinely free, democratic, just and humane society," he said at a prayer service at the Cathedral Basilica before boarding his plane for the trip home to Rome.
Power is "service, not privilege. Its exercise is morally justifiable when it is used for the good of all, when it is sensitive to the needs of the poor and defenseless."

posted by matteo at 2:06 PM on April 24, 2004


I love all this stuff about liturgical abuses during mass ..maybe they should sort out the utterly meaningless sign of peace people give each other.
Any catholics here ever been given the sign of peace during mass and felt like the other person meant it ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:45 PM on April 24, 2004


I did.
posted by matteo at 6:14 AM on April 25, 2004


On the other hand, I recognize that my opposition to abortion is at least in part faith-based. I do not believe that medical science is equipped to handle the question "When does life begin?" in a meaningful way. That's a question for philosophers and preists.

yeah, what do scientists know about stuff?
you know, priests, whose intellectual tradition (however great and interesting) is deeply rooted in Bronze Age Middle Eastern myths, the perfect people to define when does life start.


I think the point is that fetal development is a fuzzy area when it comes to life, and it just depends on what criteria you employ whether or not it counts. Scientists can tell us when cells start dividing, or when genetic destiny is established, or when gender differentiation occurs, or when the heart begins beating, or when the brain stem is formed, but it is up to the individual (or the individual following tradition or the advice of philosophers who've given it sufficient thought) to determine which landmark is "too far along" the road to allow for turning back. Some people feel that as soon as you put your foot on the road, you've committed to the journey; others disagree.

It seems to me perfectly respectable to think that where you would draw the line is not so clear and obvious that everyone must agree. It's similar to vegetarianism that way - scientists can tell us something about what animals are capable of experiencing, but they cannot tell us whether or not it is ethical to kill them for food. A politician could be a vegetarian without feeling it was necessary to impose his choices on the entire society.
posted by mdn at 8:38 AM on April 25, 2004


Tom Ridge, George Pataki, Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani--all pro-choice Catholic politicians. Funny how it's not an issue for them.
posted by amberglow at 8:54 AM on April 25, 2004


oops---take Bloomberg out of there--sorry : > (he's a Repub, but not Catholic)
posted by amberglow at 8:55 AM on April 25, 2004


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