We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, April 18. 2009
A quote from Terry Mattingly's piece of the above title:
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'In his book "Render Unto Caesar," Chaput argued that it's the "political duty" of Catholics to "know their faith and to think and act like faithful Catholics all the time"'
So what's the point here? As people who are Catholic it is their personal duty to think and act like faithful Catholics all the time, yes. As American politicians it is their political duty to think and act in faith with the Constitution of the United States. Granted, there's debate as to their actions in that domain, in that context. However, political decision making should not be beholden to the dictates of a pope in Rome. I was too young at the time so I only have my (often) lying history books and my (often) lying elders to depend on for this information, but didn't we already go through this whole discussion with JFK?
Legislatively speaking, JFK did not suffer conflict between his Catholic faith and his obligations of office. His sole appointment to the SCOTUS, Byron "Whizzer" White, wrote the dissenting opinion in Roe v. Wade. I see no reason why one cannot at once be a practicing Catholic and uphold the Constitution with equal diligence.
JFK's personal life may have been another matter, for all I know, but as a man, that was his conflict to deal with through the Sacrament of Penance.
Here in Maine we have the typical Catholic politician as governor, who is careful to be photographed in the weeks prior to Election Day attending Catholic Mass, whilst continually pushing for and lending the weight of his office to pro-abortion, and now pro-"gay" marriage legislation. It is important to call these hypocrites out at every appropriate opportunity.
I recall the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994 when, with the Clintons and Gores at the head table by her side, Mother Teresa delivered a scathing rebuke of abortion, calling it the evil that it is. HRC later employed photos of her and Mother Teresa in a campaign ad, and Catholics urged her not to.
Libs tend to have a deep-seated loathing of Mother Teresa, but feign praise for her to help them appear more Christian, focusing on her work with the poor and dying.
While I agree concerning Mother Theresa, as far as I know she stuck to her business and her domain. One can agree or disagree in one's personal beliefs or within the domain of the church one belongs to. But once a person becomes a politician, they are making decisions for many people (quite possibly a majority) who do not belong to that faith.
One can be a practicing Catholic and uphold the constitution as long as the two do not come into conflict, that's the easy part. But as an elected representative an American politician has the responsibility to the constitution as it has been interpreted by the courts and as he thinks (or his constituents think) it should have been interpreted by the courts, regardless of their own personal faith. Obviously when the government comes in oppressive conflict with that religion, that is a whole different matter. By that I mean when the government is actively restricting someone's individual ability to practice their faith. But in their capacity as a politician it is not their responsibility to use their religious beliefs as a basis for imposing those rules on others.
Understood. Perhaps that is why one often reads of Bishops calling for certain politicians to refrain from accepting Holy Communion (Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, Kennedy, and on and on...) but we do not hear of them calling for them to stop practicing politics. I imagined by now that we'd hear political masters calling for certain of their caucus to stop practicing Catholicism, but I know that they would rather try and pressure the Church to backslide on its principles.
As the USCCB clearly states: As the Church carries out its central responsibility to teach clearly and help form consciences, and as Catholic legislators seek to act in accord with their own consciences, it is essential to remember that conscience must be consistent with fundamental moral principles. As members of the Church, all Catholics are obliged to shape our consciences in accord with the moral teaching of the Church.... The polarizing tendencies of election-year politics can lead to circumstances in which Catholic teaching and sacramental practice can be misused for political ends. Respect for the Holy Eucharist, in particular, demands that it be received worthily and that it be seen as the source for our common mission in the world.
One cannot be expected to serve two masters, especially when they are in direct conflict. Free will determines which the individual elects to serve, I reckon.
Once a person becomes a politician, as you say, and is making decisions for many people, that politician is still just one voice, and if he was voted into office by the people, they must agree with him and if he's really a Catholic, he will vote in a way that's consistent with the faith, and the faith is usually consistent with natural law, and also usually consistent with common sense, so what's the problem?
There seems to be a denial of reality here... at least on some level, and speaking strictly from personal experience.
Would it be true that a practicing Catholic would try to be as closely aligned with the Pope, his Bishops and the Encyclicals as is possible?
I know of only one person who might fit those particulars, my 91 year old mother-in-law. And she loves to gamble at the casino's, on the nickle slots of course. But she never misses a Mass, and should probably be taking confession instead of giving same.
These calls for strict allegiance will all fall short.
Was Gutenberg the devil in disguise? Not for me.
To me there is no real problem in so far as the politician is acting in accordance with his responsibility as a political representative. My point is that as a Catholic (or Baptist or Seventh Day Adventist or Jewish or Muslim or Flying Spaghetti Monster whatever) a politician can personally behave in a manner consistent with their religion/belief system without having to take political positions that affect the lives of others based on what that religion tells them to do. I think it is a valid position to take that a religion only holds sway over a person and their personal behavior relative to society (JFK being a whole other can of worms...or not). Now The Dist raises a very valid point regarding the USCCB (which I have no interest in reading so I'll take his word for it). A religion is certainly entitled to overstep what a secular society would see as its bounds and this presents a dilemma for said politico. And while I would probably disagree with the vast majority of the positions that many of the specific politicos we are currently speaking of hold, I respect the dilemma that they may find themselves in and would not hold it against them for voting their political conscience over their religious one. In fact, I would expect it even if it went to my own political disadvantage. In so far as an individual politician's conscience is concerned I would not consider it hypocritical to behave in the manner described. I think it is valid, and The Dist touches on this re: "I imagined by now that we'd hear political masters calling for certain of their caucus to stop practicing Catholicism"...to say that this point can swing both ways.
Hope this is fairly coherent...Wifey took me out for a fine dinner at a very good steak house and I'm into a large Belvedere martini (made to my own specs), more than half a bottle of vino, and enjoying a touch of Balvanine and John Coltrane is tickling my senses...Not to condescend, but relatively speaking, it must really suck not being me right now.
Or maybe not, as I must say it again...Curse you MF spam filter!!
"if he was voted into office by the people, they must agree with him and if he's really a Catholic, he will vote in a way that's consistent with the faith, and the faith is usually consistent with natural law, and also usually consistent with common sense, so what's the problem?"
The problem, some believe, is in denying Eucharist. A scriptural rationale is fused with a theological distinction between mortal and venial sin as the basis for denying communion. It has nothing to do with common sense or natural law.
Secular editors shouldn't bear burden of educating and helping to properly form the conscience of Catholics who take a political vocation.
By the time they take office they are beyond reach of Catholic conscience or they aren't.
The ones, who are, seek communion for damnation and Catholic folks make no mistake when they put a light to it.
No murderer has eternal life abiding in him.