Benedict Wasn’t My Pope…

From “No matter what, I’m still Catholic,” Mary Elizabeth Williams:

“Benedict wasn’t my pope any more than George Bush was my president. I don’t vote for either of those goobers. I didn’t like the things they said and did, or their records as leaders or decent humans. So in case you’re wondering, I am consistently outraged by the corruption and abuse of power that has gone on within the church, and heartbroken over the lives that have been callously shattered because of it. I am appalled when an institution that should be a force for peace and progress instead focuses on promoting intolerance. I’m furious when rigid dogma leads to senseless death. That’s why I tackle these issues regularly in my writing. My religious upbringing trained me to speak out against injustice and exploitation, and hey, if that means making a stink about the way the church conducts itself, I guess I can thank Catholicism for showing me how to do it. Because if your whole enterprise was founded by a troublemaking, authority-questioning outsider, you shouldn’t be surprised if that’s what you get from his followers.

“You might likewise get people like the Nuns on the Bus, the movement of American Catholic Sisters who told that nice Catholic boy Paul Ryan that his budget plan was a hateful slam against the poor. You might, relatedly, get the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, who work closely with the needy and were condemned last year by the Vatican for not being sufficiently vocal enough about birth control and homosexuality. They, meanwhile, continue to espouse ‘open discussion of church doctrine.’  You might get my small, multi-ethnic parish that’s run by Capuchin friars, an order ‘dedicated to the service of real human needs and the proclamation of God’s love.’ They do clothing drives and hurricane relief, and I’ve yet to hear our pastor say anything intolerant or exclusionary, ever.

“Last Halloween, after Hurricane Sandy shut down our traditional neighborhood celebration in our park, the pastor offered families the use of the Catholic school’s gym for the festivities instead. There was no request for a fee, no implicit indoctrination. That’s why what ultimately drove me in disgust off our local Yahoo parenting group were the responses from people I’d considered friends who were so open in their contempt and distrust of the offer, and who said flatly they wouldn’t bring their children into ‘a church.’ Aside from the fact that it was a school, at the same location where they’d have to do their voting a few days later, the saddest thing about it was the bigotry it revealed. I take a whole lot of guff on a consistent basis from the so-called faithful who like to tell me I can’t be a Catholic and believe the things I believe. But frankly I have been just as condescended to, judged and ultimately bored by mean-spirited, know-it-all Catholic bashers in my life as I have my fellow Christians.

“It’s an often lonely place here in the quiet land of LGBT-loving, pro-choice, liberal Catholics. Some days I like to imagine it’s a little party just for Stephen Colbert, Joe Biden and me. But it’s not: 60 percent of American Catholics say they don’t strongly adhere to the church’s stance on abortion, and even more don’t subscribe to its position on same-sex marriage. Nearly 80 percent think you can practice birth control and not attend Mass regularly and still be a good Catholic, while only 20 percent believe in the necessity of an all-male, celibate clergy. You can call us Cafeteria Catholics if you like, but it doesn’t change our principles or our hopes for reform. And you can say the church is unchangeable, but it’s revised itself plenty over 2,000 years. This is a body that once decided slavery didn’t contradict natural law, so don’t rule out the possibility of further enlightenment.”  Emphasis added.

The Saints Among Us Are Under Siege

From “We Are All Nuns,” Nicholas D. Kristof, NYT:

“Catholic nuns are not the prissy traditionalists of caricature.  No, nuns rock!

“They were the first feminists, earning Ph.D.’s or working as surgeons long before it was fashionable for women to hold jobs.  As managers of hospitals, schools and complex bureaucracies, they were the first female C.E.O.’s.

“They are also among the bravest, toughest and most admirable people in the world.  In my travels, I’ve seen heroic nuns defy warlords, pimps and bandits.  Even as bishops have disgraced the church by covering up the rape of children, nuns have redeemed it with their humble work on behalf of the neediest.

“So, Pope Benedict, all I can say is:  You are crazy to mess with nuns.

The Vatican issued a stinging reprimand of American nuns this month and ordered a bishop to oversee a makeover of the organization that represents 80 percent of them.  In effect, the Vatican accused the nuns of worrying too  much about the poor and not enough about abortion and gay marriage.

“What Bible did that come from?  Jesus in the Gospels repeatedly talks about poverty and social justice, yet never explicitly mentions either abortion or homosexuality.  If you look at who has more closely emulated Jesus’s life, Pope Benedict or your average nun, it’s the nun hands down.”  Emphasis added.

Uh, Oh, What’s Santorum Going To Do Now?

As we all know, Rick Santorum is just the best little Catholic boy in the whole world.  If he does say so himself.

Now the Pope is calling for an end to the American embargo of Cuba that has been in place for 50 years.  Rick and the GOP support the embargo.

Rick has to choose between his party and his Pope.

Will Rick call for an end to the embargo?  No, he’ll just ignore this, as he does other Catholic doctrine he doesn’t like, like opposition to pre-emptive war and capital punishment.  But Catholics who ignore the birth control stuff?  You’re definitely going to Hell.

Santorum Makes Me Want to Throw Up

Rick Savonarola Santorum just keeps digging.  Today he said that President Kennedy’s speech assuring the country that he wouldn’t take orders from the Vatican made him “want to throw up.”

Santorum said:  “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.”

I don’t believe in an America where the Pope tells our president what to do, and the president tells us what to do based on his religion.

There are lots of things in the Constitution you can argue about, but whether or not this country was intended to be a theocracy is not one of them.