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Op-Ed: Bishops Should Beware Politics of Religion

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checks-n-balances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:04 AM
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Op-Ed: Bishops Should Beware Politics of Religion
Op-Ed: Bishops Should Beware Politics of Religion

by Maurice O'Sullivan
Orlando Sentinel

As a Catholic, I worry about my church's leadership. Just as we have begun healing individuals and communities shattered by the sexual-abuse scandal, our bishops seem more interested in leaping into partisan politics than in comforting the afflicted or repenting for their own failures of leadership.

Oddly enough, their current targets all seem to be Democrats. The bishop of Camden declared that he would not serve communion to New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey; Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan found himself disinvited as commencement speaker from his Catholic high-school alma mater; and St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke boasted that he would deny communion to John Kerry if the presumptive Democratic nominee ever found himself stranded in the Gateway City some Sunday morning. Tuesday, Orlando's own Bishop Thomas Wenski invoked the far right's pet term "waffle" in a Sentinel column to ridicule liberal Catholic politicians.

Perhaps the most ironic announcement, however, came from the Archdiocese of New York that John Kerry would not be welcome at the annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner next October. The archdiocese has apparently forgotten that many historians believe that Smith, the first Catholic candidate for president, lost the 1928 election to Herbert Hoover largely because of a virulently anti-Catholic smear campaign. His conservative opponents claimed that the three-time New York governor ran on a platform of "rum, Romanism and rebellion." Worried that the Democratic candidate would become a puppet of the Vatican, Hoover supporters proudly wore campaign buttons that called for "A Christian in the White House."

When a Catholic, John F. Kennedy, finally did become president, he taught all of us that there is no contradiction between being Catholic and American and that good Catholics could, in fact, disagree with their bishops.
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:09 AM
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1. It's called scape-goating....
...takes the attention off them and the church.
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