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PapaRatzi - no soup for you!
April 21, 2005 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Did the new Pope swing the Presidential election last year? After brown-nosing the Vatican on the grounds of being pro-life President Bush convinced then-Cardinal Ratzinger to work on the American Catholic Church on his behalf. Ratzinger's response? This memo where Ratzi claimed that anyone (especially a Catholic politician - like Kerry) who campaigned and voted pro-choice was not only on the side of evil but was unworthy of receiving Communion and Americans probably shouldn't vote for him. According to Salon, this was perhaps what was behind Bush's 6 point increase in Catholic support from 2000, and the difference in the 2004 election.
posted by tsarfan (48 comments total)

 
MeFi: Your one stop Pope-and-Bush-bashing headquarters...
posted by pmbuko at 12:32 PM on April 21, 2005


I don't know if he actually "swung" the election, but Ratz sure as hell tried, and that makes him a hypocritical ass in my book -- especially when he criticizes Islam for mixing politics with religion. Then again (as I have pointed out in a lengthy essay on my own site) this is far from being the only example of hypocrisy I can see in Benedict XVI's recent behaviour.
posted by clevershark at 12:34 PM on April 21, 2005


There was no election last year.
posted by breezeway at 12:36 PM on April 21, 2005


Hmm... need to swing an election?

A) Hope that a single man, delusional enough to believe he's actually only a few steps from God, in another country, might hate your opponent enough to publically speak about it and thus hopefully convince other like-minded people to vote for you instead...

or

B) Pay off employees of companies that RUN THE ELECTIONS with cold hard cash or political favors.

Gee...
posted by odinsdream at 12:46 PM on April 21, 2005


The vatican also opposes the death penalty and was against the war in Iraq. There are many Catholic policians who are pro-death penalty and were for the war in Iraq. Why are they given a pass?
posted by maggiemaggie at 12:46 PM on April 21, 2005


No it wan't the Pope, it was them gay-marry'in judges there in San Francisco, makes as much sense?
posted by scheptech at 12:50 PM on April 21, 2005


"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 a Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote -- where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference -- and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish -- where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source -- where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials -- and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all."

Excerpt from John F. Kennedy's 1960 address to Southern Baptist leaders.
posted by gigawhat? at 12:52 PM on April 21, 2005


Blame activist judges! It's all the rage in right-wing circles.
posted by clevershark at 12:52 PM on April 21, 2005


San Jose Mercury News asked the same question in a cartoon today . . . I have no answer.

The other one was about the blocking of some judges - attack on Faith, as it is called. So the other 204 which got OK'd by the Democrats don't believe in Faith?
posted by nostrada at 12:53 PM on April 21, 2005


According to Salon, this was perhaps what was behind Bush's 6 point increase in Catholic support from 2000, and the difference in the 2004 election.

I don't doubt that Kerry's position on abortion hurts him among devout Catholics. It is almost comical, however, how the left refuses to acknowledge the reasons for Kerry's defeat. Democrats lost because of a combination of a bad candidate (Kerry) and the bad policies he advocated. So I guess the new Pope can join other recent scapegoats of the American left, like Katherine Harris, the Supreme Court, Ohio voting machines and Fox News. What a joke!
posted by Durwood at 12:55 PM on April 21, 2005


The vatican also opposes the death penalty and was against the war in Iraq. There are many Catholic policians who are pro-death penalty and were for the war in Iraq. Why are they given a pass?

From the Chicago tribune (first hit from news.google):
---
However, "Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia," Ratzinger wrote. Disagreeing with the pope "on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war" would not make someone unworthy to receive Communion.
---

Apparently they're given a pass because abortion and euthanasia are worse than execution and invading countries. Oh, and because Ratzinger wanted Bush to win.
posted by uosuaq at 12:55 PM on April 21, 2005


Bush won because he got more votes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:56 PM on April 21, 2005


The other one was about the blocking of some judges - attack on Faith, as it is called. So the other 204 which got OK'd by the Democrats don't believe in Faith?

Such is factious talk. One must always remember that even though the religious right controls all three branches of government, the country is overrun with godless communists who rule the country through activist judges! It's just like the fifties, when anti-communists had control of basically everything in government -- even back then godless commies were running the show! Have we learned nothing from Joseph McCarthy?
posted by clevershark at 12:57 PM on April 21, 2005


Are you from Hollywood Ca. or Fl?
I would say a majority of the Catholic Americans my age are not Roman Catholic, taking the Pope’s words as law. Though the ones who voted may have been the older generation that would make something of the post. If the ballot’s votes are public record, maybe it could be proven.
It also seems lame listening to a foreigner official while voting here in the USA, especially with separation of church and state being considered. I look down on any church endorsing a candidate besides the fact I'd be suspicious of a bribe.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:59 PM on April 21, 2005


"Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia," Ratzinger wrote. Disagreeing with the pope "on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war" would not make someone unworthy to receive Communion.

That's exactly the sort of imbecilic, excuse-heavy non-thinking that makes Ratzinger unfit to be Pope.
posted by clevershark at 12:59 PM on April 21, 2005


State-sanctioned killing out of vengeance doesn't have the moral weight of state-sanctioned killing out of mercy. This must be more of the Culture of Life that I keep hearing about.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:05 PM on April 21, 2005


I read Salon every day. I don't visit MetaFilter so I can be linked right back there.
posted by kjh at 1:11 PM on April 21, 2005


I'm a little surprised that the pope is essentially ranking anti-Catholic beliefs and giving passes to some if others are opposed. That sounds like the cafeteria-style Catholicism that the church is trying to combat.

While abortion is bad, he is saying that it is OK to vote for someone who is anti-abortion, but in favor of cutting off the poor at the knees via unfettered capitalism. That is essentially tacit support of some very anti-Catholic positions, such as usary -- the condemnation of which apparently doesn't appear in the Republicon version of the bible.

That same version must have a lost gospel where Jesus tells the poor that they are in the state they are in because of some kind of character weakness, and that he won't help them until they shape up, and his help will go to the highest bidder. That lost gospel is obviously the biblical basis behind the current conservitive movement.
posted by RalphSlate at 1:16 PM on April 21, 2005


thomcatspike, i live in hollywood california.

california, being governored by the son of a former nazi, as opposed to the state being governed by the son of the man who read my lips helped sell arms for hostages. huge difference.
posted by tsarfan at 1:37 PM on April 21, 2005


At least Benedict XVI, like Bush and unlike Kerry, had the balls to make a stand for something.

At the end of the day, the lack of balls is why Kerry lost. And by lack of balls, I mean his refusal to take a stand on anything besides being pro-Red Sox. So please don't talk about Vietnam, or any of that nonsense.
posted by b_thinky at 1:38 PM on April 21, 2005


Also, what's up with Catholics just being able to change stuff in their religion? I thought religion was supposed to be about following what you consider to be the word of God, not some dude who wears robes and rides in a funny car.
posted by b_thinky at 1:40 PM on April 21, 2005


The quote that keeps on giving:

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 1:44 PM on April 21, 2005


As a theological hardliner, you'd think that the new pope would realize that you are only allowed to refuse communion to those cathlics who do not beleive the foundational dogma of the church. As of yet, the church has not made opposition to abortion one of the basic dogmatic beleifs, like the transubstantiation of the host, Virginity of Mary, etc.

Being pro-choice is not grounds for excomunication, and god dammit, Ratzinger knows it.
posted by Freen at 1:44 PM on April 21, 2005


I personally know alot of catholics who are less than enthusiastic about this guy being pope. Particularly about this issue. It's one thing to be pro-life, and it's totally another thing to be in favor of excomunicating pro-choice catholics.

The dogma of the roman catholic church is fairly well described, and if you beleive in the dogma of the roman catholic church, and you have been baptized, you are catholic, and reserve the right to receive communion at mass. Period.

On preview: Well said, Mean Mr. Bucket.
posted by Freen at 1:58 PM on April 21, 2005


The reason that execution and war are less immoral than abortion and euthanasia is that the position that "killing healty adults is wrong" is one which pretty much everyone agrees with.

The moral urgency attributed to killing non-sentient members of our species derives specifically from the fact that it is a more contentious issue. You fight hardest on the battles that you aren't guaranteed to win.
posted by aubilenon at 2:00 PM on April 21, 2005


The answer is "no." The pope did not help to swing the U.S. presidential elections last year.
posted by Malachi Constant at 2:09 PM on April 21, 2005


Aubilenon: That's a mighty relatavistic point of view....
You might want to consider Cardinal Bernadine's "Seamless Garment" approach to the morality of life. If you are going to take the stand that Abortion is murder, and that murder in any form is wrong, you better damn well also consider the death penalty equally immoral. The idea that one type of murder is more immoral than another is fairly problematic, from a strictly catholic point of view


That doesn't change that fact that being pro-choice isn't grounds for excomunication, just as being a theif isn't grounds for excomunication, or thinking that perhaps the vatical should spend less money on fancy hats for the pope and more on charity isn't grounds for excomunication.

Ratzinger wanted to deny communion to pro-choice politicians, and only pro-choice politicians. That's excomunication, in case you were wondering.

On preview: Malachi: Yes, but did he try to?
posted by Freen at 2:14 PM on April 21, 2005


"...Ratzi..." Heh.
posted by Lynsey at 2:14 PM on April 21, 2005


the catholic church is a wealthy and powerful crime family, and the sooner we treat them as such, the better
posted by troybob at 2:16 PM on April 21, 2005


Communion is a symbol of Christ's forgiveness and God's love. It is a symbol of grace. Catholic doctrine says that "Holy Communion is morally necessary for salvation, that is to say, without the graces of this sacrament it would be very difficult to resist grave temptations and avoid grievous sin." It goes on to say that "The subject of Holy Communion is everyone in this life capable of the effects of the Sacrament, that is all who are baptized and who, if adults, have the requisite intention."

In other words, because some bishops may not like a person's political views -- a person who, presumably is a baptized Catholic who has the "requisite intention" for Communion -- they are willing to in effect condemn someone to damnation, by withholding that which "is morally necessary for salvation." I don't understand how this is consistent with Christianity's primary moral message of love and forgiveness.

(Interestingly enough, back in June, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was denied Communion at his home parish. He put together this "Catholic Issue Analysis" in which he charts the 24 Catholic U.S. Senators and their voting records' fidelity to Catholic teachings. (John Kerry was in the top three senators in accordance with the official position of the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops.))
posted by Vidiot at 2:40 PM on April 21, 2005


Freen:

We all tried. It was the thing to do in '04
posted by Malachi Constant at 3:03 PM on April 21, 2005


Bush won because he got more votes.
Ha Ha Ha!

But seriously - the pope was a swinger? I never thought about that. He did drive around in a customed out van and wear a lot of gold jewlery. Hmmm....
posted by Smedleyman at 3:10 PM on April 21, 2005


Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

I am sick and fucking tired of hearing this sort of blather. An irrational fundamentalist atheist with an axe to grind is no better than a fundagelical dominionist nutjob.


As I have said many, many times here and elsewhere:

1. Not all religions are the same.
2. Many religions have no interest in politics.
3. Many religions have no interest in shoving their dogma and/or "morals" down anyone's throat. In fact some religions explicitly forbid this behavior in their faithful.
4. Many religions are hurt as much or MORE than atheists are when the separation of church and state is violated. The first article listed in the United Religions Initiative newsletter for this month was a call for the support of separation of church and state, written by a Buddhist minister in Hawaii. If I had the link handy I'd post it.
5. Many religions are really tired of the asshats who do their best to make all people of faith look bad.
6. Your quote contains at least one blatant fallacy. If people are not free to be, follow, or not follow kings or priests, then people are not free.
posted by Foosnark at 3:20 PM on April 21, 2005


The pope influencing political affairs? So basically no one seems to have learned anything from history. The neo-dark ages should be a blast.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:37 PM on April 21, 2005


thomcatspike, i live in hollywood california.
california, being governored

I asked because maybe if you lived in Fl you saw more Roman Catholics than me in the LA region is all.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:01 PM on April 21, 2005


Christ, rid me of this troublesome fucking priest, already...
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:15 PM on April 21, 2005


Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

Sure so who's the new boss, the one that killed them both?
posted by scheptech at 4:24 PM on April 21, 2005


Sure so who's the new boss, the one that killed them both?

it would certainly make a nice résumé item
posted by troybob at 4:29 PM on April 21, 2005


it would certainly make a nice résumé item
Assassin for hire - very very very good; killed two major figures in one sitting; seeks employment; sloppy wetwork but drives the point home.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:49 PM on April 21, 2005


Let's see. Forty-five years ago Republicans complained that a Democratic Catholic war-hero senator from Massachusetts named JFK would be under the thumb of a Roman pope. Now Republicans complain that a Democratic Catholic war-hero senator from Massachusetts named JFK won't be under the thumb of a Roman pope. My, how times change.
posted by JackFlash at 4:49 PM on April 21, 2005


Bush's brother cofounded a nonprofit with him too--the whoring vd brother
posted by amberglow at 5:41 PM on April 21, 2005


How about using a socially trusted and respected position to repeatedly molest little boys? Would that be cause for withholding communion?
posted by effwerd at 6:49 PM on April 21, 2005


So much is made of the "religious right" that it's easy to forget that Catholics swing left on lots of issues--not abortion, not homosexuality. But they tend to be anti-war, pro-living wage, anti-death penalty (more so than devout protestants, at any rate), and last fall I heard a lot of Catholics saying that they wished they could vote for Kerry in good conscience. That's not to say that the new Pope swung the election, but I do think that the Catholic church as a whole was one of the big factors.

That doesn't mean that the democrats should go right on issues of sexual morality. I don't think it's that simple, and I think democrats are right on those issues. The only solution I can think of is to convince Catholic moderates that the new conservatism is using the "culture war" as a way to snag conservative voters without actually doing anything to solve the relevant issues.
posted by Jeanne at 6:54 PM on April 21, 2005


Foosnark, I think I may love you.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:37 PM on April 21, 2005


Bush's brother cofounded a nonprofit with him too

I'm normally not a fan of Newsday, but... wow. How many skeletons CAN a Pope's closet hold?
posted by clevershark at 12:58 AM on April 22, 2005


1. Not all religions are the same.

All religions are precisely the same.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:24 AM on April 22, 2005


Democrats lost because of a combination of a bad candidate (Kerry) and the bad policies he advocated.

of course! and Republicans won because of a good candidate and the good policies he advocated!

[This is good]
posted by matteo at 7:48 AM on April 22, 2005


Pope Benedict XVI has responded firmly to the first challenge of his papacy by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals.
posted by amberglow at 3:54 PM on April 22, 2005


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