From the New York Times:
"Pope Says Catholic Politicians Must Back Church’s Doctrine
By IAN FISHER
Published: March 13, 2007
BOLOGNA, Italy, March 13 — Pope Benedict XVI strongly reasserted Tuesday the church’s opposition to abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, saying that Roman Catholic politicians were “especially” obligated to defend the church’s stance in their public duties.
“These values are nonnegotiable,” the pope wrote in a 130-page “apostolic exhortation” issued in Rome that represents a distillation of opinion from a worldwide meeting of bishops at the Vatican in 2005."
Call me crazy, but someone's forgetting to render unto Caesar. I'm all for religious tolerance but I absolutely reject this attempt to rule from the pulpit. As a very lapsed Catholic, I see little difference between this "exhortation" and calls for sharia. Both are attempts to usurp the rule of law with the rule of "god". All of history shows us that the rule of god is sorely misused when placed in the hands of men. This amounts to little more than spiritual blackmail.
I'm not at all a fan of Popes. I doubt Christ would have thought much of a bejewelled man in a gown being declared his personal ambassador. I doubt Christ would have approved of a massively powerful, centralized hierarchy taking ownership of his words and message. If His Popishness wants to write laws for nations around the world, I suggest he might drag his cult out of the middle ages and into the 21st century. He's welcome to dictate to the citizens of Popistan but my Canada is off limits.
Nobody's going to hire me to blog their campaign and nothing compels me to tread softly. The Catholic Church has a very long history of dark deeds. The Church has an endless supply of gall, attempting to dictate morals and values. This is the organization that gave the world such hits as the Children's Crusade, Auto de Fe and everyone's favourite, serial pedophiles and associated cover ups.
In the interest of disclosure, my experience with the Church was very negative. I don't much care what uniform you wear, hurting children makes you a sick fuck. I was never diddled but I was repeatedly struck and humiliated by nuns and a teacher in the Catholic school I attended before shifting over to the public system.
Also, in the interest of fairness, the vast majority of Catholics are good and decent people, like my mom. Catholic charities around the world have done and continue to do great works. People of the Catholic faith generally try to do good. Like peoples of every faith. But where power collects, corruption is sure to follow.
“Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce laws inspired by values grounded in human nature,” the pope wrote."
If Pope Benny wants to bind Catholic politicians to dogma, I'm thinking that they should be disqualified from high office in Canada. This is a secular nation made up of a wide variety of people with various beliefs. Canadian politicians are elected to office to serve all of the Canadian public. They are duty bound to honour that public trust. A politician's church should not dictate policy. That is a breach of trust. That is a conflict of interest. The ominous undertone is that failure to bow to doctrine might lead to spiritual repercussions. That is anti-democratic and Canadians deserve better.
The presumption then, is that the Bishops would get to do all of the dirty work of trying to influence politicians with the threat of excommunication. That is no better than extortion and it has no place in a free and democratic society.