14 November, 2008

The Continuing Conniptions of Catholic Crusaders

And people wonder why we godless sorts think religion is so fucking ridiculous:

A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.

"Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president," Newman wrote, referring to Obama by his full name, including his middle name of Hussein.

"Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."

So let me get this straight: before indulging in the cannibalism of their god, good Catholics have to make nice with the biggest abortionist of them all because they supported a candidate who puts living, breathing, thinking human beings above tiny clusters of undifferentiated cells that might, if all goes well, become a human someday. And we know that God wants folks to do this because a man who believes that John McCain was a plausible alternative to Obama told us so.

If there is anything sane in the above, I'm completely missing it.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, many bishops spoke out on abortion more boldly than four years earlier, telling Catholic politicians and voters that the issue should be the most important consideration in setting policy and deciding which candidate to back. A few church leaders said parishioners risked their immortal soul by voting for candidates who support abortion rights.

"The most important consideration?" Excuse me? More important than national security, foreign relations, the economy, the enviornment, healthcare, restoring the rule of law, rescinding torture, and keeping Caribou Barbie's Dominionist self out of the office that Dick Cheney perverted combined?

I wish they were fucking kidding me. I wish I knew why people this fucked up were considered sane, credible and holy.

I used to think PETA activists were a bit unhinged for putting the interests of mink above mankind, but that was before I got wind of the anti-abortion frothers. At least the mink have functioning nervous systems and can suffer. Not so embryos. And PETA members don't run around claiming that by supporting candidates who don't put animal rights above all other policy concerns, you risk the torture of your immortal soul for all eternity. If they do, they're not taken seriously enough for me to have heard about it.

It appears I'm not the only one who believes the anti-abortion frothers within the Catholic Church leadership are completely bonkers:

The hardliners are easy to understand: it's all about abortion, and anything short of an outright ban on all abortions is condoning murder. Period -- end of discussion. Their more moderate colleagues, on the other hand, point out that (a) even with a GOP sweep, there's never going to be an outright legal ban, and (b) Democrats are much more committed to addressing the underlying issues that lead some women to consider abortion -- lack of education, poverty, etc. Jesuit Thomas Reece looked at the results of the November elections and noted that despite the push by some conservative bishops, the laity rejected their rhetoric. His description of the majority of lay Catholic voters also could describe the more moderate bishops: "These pragmatic pro-lifers wanted results not rhetoric."

Chicago's Cardinal George, the head of the USCCB, will get headlines for his warning to Obama about abortion, especially the Freedom of Choice Act. The adoption of a new "Blessing of a Child in the Womb" will also get some attention. But other bishops had a different message.

DC Archbishop Donald Wuerl stated he would not refuse Vice President-elect Biden communion. Similarly, Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City, SD (South Dakota!) noted, “A prophecy of denunciation quickly wears thin."

Completely under the radar in the secular press, however, are the elections that chose bishops to chair various USCCB committees. When the results of the secret ballot were announced, it was apparent that the hardliners took it on the chin. Outspoken conservative KC KS Bishop Joseph Naumann lost his bid (59-165!) to head up the Committee on Pro-Life Activities. (Naumann made headlines for telling Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to refrain from taking communion, amend her life, and apologize for her public stance on abortion.) Also painful to conservatives was the election of Archbishop Wuerl to head the Committee on Doctrine.

Whatever the bishops say in their official statements, that 165-59 secret ballot vote speaks volumes. The hardliners may get the headlines, but there are a lot of more pragmatic bishops who are getting tired of the shouting.

God apparently forgot to tell the majority how he feels about the whole abortion thing. I wonder if Rev. Newman would like to explain to all those bishops that they might be eating and drinking their own condemnation the next time they go have a nibble of Christ's flesh and a swig of his blood?

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