Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

March 14, 2007

The Pope's Priorities

Benedict XVI just cleared it up for us:

The Church's opposition to gay marriage is 'non-negotiable' and Catholic politicians have a moral duty to oppose it, as well as laws on abortion and euthanasia, Pope Benedict said in a document issued on Tuesday [...]

In the 'Apostolic Exhortation' Benedict says all believers had to defend what he calls fundamental values but that the duty was 'especially incumbent' for those in positions of power.

He said these included 'respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built on marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms'.

'These values are not negotiable,' he said.
Uhm, aren't these edicts contrary to the common good since they restrict a certain group of people from the right to make their own choices?

As for Catholic politicians being "particularly bound" to follow them, that smacks of political interference, just as he implied in 2004 that Catholic bishops can't turn a blind eye to politicians like John Kerry who support a woman's right to choose.

The Catholic church through its local prelates have played a major part in championing human rights around the world. Archbishop Oscar Romero comes to mind; the activist priests and nuns in my native Philippines who braved armed soldiers and tanks during the 1986 People Power Revolution against Ferdinand Marcos come to mind, too.

This pope, however, seems interested only in advancing the church's agenda and not necessarily human rights. As Christian fundamentalists address crucial issues like torture and global warming, this Pope sadly seems to take its flock more backward than forward, by tightly clinging to tradition and shutting out the world rather than leading it.

Let's remember that the Pope isn't just the head of the Catholic Church, he is also the head of a sovereign state. With all due respect, his Holiness should really refrain from meddling with other states' affairs by wielding his religious authority for political purposes, if only for the sake of diplomatic protocol.

Our Catholic politicians should make a choice: do they take orders from the Vatican or the electorate that voted them into office? Perhaps this speech from John F. Kennedy would make the choice clear:

I do not speak for my church on public matters -- and the church does not speak for me.

Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected -- on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling, or any other subject -- I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictate. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.

But if the time should ever come -- and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible -- when my office would require me to either violate my conscience, or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office, and I hope any other conscientious public servant would do likewise.

posted at 4:19 AM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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