Wednesday, July 07, 2004

According to the National Catholic Reporter:

On the second question -- how to treat pro-choice Catholic politicians -- the bishops were numerically decisive though substantively cautious. By a vote of 183-6 they approved a document that says the decision to deny Communion rests “with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles.” The statement continued, “Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action.”

There are many interpretations of this. One is that the Catholic Church is reluctant to take direct political action (see Hitler in Nazi Germany). Another is that it is an acute awareness of a lack of political power and moral persuasion on a national scale in the wake of priest abuse scandals. Or it is a pragmatic awareness that denying Communion won't do anything significant.

Here's another interpretation. The Church hierarchy all the way up to the Pope is generally appalled over the war in Iraq and this is a signal of Catholic priorities. It's a declaration of truce over certain issues. While the Church won't actively campaign, it will refuse to do certain things well within its right that might help certain candidates who take the wrong path on certain more timely issues which can be resolved in the Church's favor much more quickly.

So, if you want the Catholic Church's tacit semi-approval of John Kerry, don't make it uncomfortable by pressing abortion and gay marriage, or at least don't do so until after November.
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