Saturday, April 03, 2004
Sen. Kerry - The Latest Scandal for American Catholics
Senator Kerry isn't the first Catholic politican to publicly flout and repudiate the teachings of his Church and yet maintain his credibility as a "Catholic in good standing", but he is the first Roman Catholic to run for president on a major party ticket in 44 years -- and how Catholic bishops, clergy and laity in the United States will respond will be a critical issue in the upcoming presidential election.
- Kerry started annoying Catholic sensibilities last month with a disrespectful entrance at Mass, according to The American Spectator:
On Sunday, John Kerry showed up for the 10:30 Mass at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church at 10:41 a.m. (The church had roped off two pews for the VIP.) Adding further insult, Kerry arrived noisily, fully outfitted for skiing, not dressed for a religious service. Compounding the insult -- this time to all Catholics in good standings -- Kerry received the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, even though he's not considered to be a Catholic in good standing.
"It was just a media-op," says a Kerry advance staffer. "We set it up with some reporters that we knew were going to be there."
- Last Sunday, speaking at New Northside Missionary Baptist church, Kerry quoted James 2:14 to convey is opinions on the Bush administration and the state of the Union:
"The Scriptures say: 'What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?' When we look at what is happening in America today, where are the works of compassion?"
Says Crisis magazine editor Deal Hudson in his latest email newsletter:
. . . since he's so keen on the book of James, he might want to take a look at James 1:22-24: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."
- Deal Hudson also referred to Sen. Kerry in a recent interview with Newsmax.com, according to whom Kerry constitutes a direct challenge for Catholic voters:
"My view that this is a huge decisive moment for Catholics in the United States. I hope they will rise to the challenge and refuse to endorse another Catholic politician who is pretending to be a Catholic while rejecting the Church's central moral and social teachings.
"I think that the challenge is bigger for the laity than it has been for the bishops. It's an election. The issue is who's going to vote for the guy. . . . if [Catholic laity] show massive support for Kerry, that's going to set back the church in this country for at least a generation, just at a time when a significant number of bishops and laity are beginning to get active on this issue. I am keeping my eyes more focused on the laity and hoping they will reject such Catholic politicians."
- Voters aside, how American Catholic bishops will respond to Kerry's claims to be "a Catholic in good standing" has all the makings of the next big scandal. Oswald Sobrino ("Catholic Analysis") puts the matter very succinctly:
Will Kerry be allowed to publicly define the Catholic faith before the American people as consistent with the myths of the Culture of Death, or will the bishops define Catholic teaching before the American people as unequivocally rejecting the myths of the Culture of Death? We will find out the answer in the next few months. Boston was the epicenter of the homosexual scandal that has shaken the Church. Boston has also become the epicenter of heterodox movements such as Voice of the Faithful. Boston will be the epicenter of an even greater scandal that goes to the heart of the Gospel of Life. Archbishop O'Malley, fulfil your ministry as a true soldier of Christ.
- Sen. Kerry was recently endorsed by NARAL as "a president pro-choice Americans can rely on." He recently responded to Vatican concerns voting record by quoting his role model, President John F. Kennedy:
People in Rome are becoming more and more aware that there's a problem of John Kerry and a political scandal with his apparent profession of his Catholic faith and some of stances, particular abortion . . . I don't think it complicates things at all. We have separation of church and state in this country. As John Kennedy said very clearly 'I will be a president who happens to be Catholic, not a Catholic president'."
Kerry has assurred his fellow Americans that the teachings of his Church will play no part in influencing his decisions as president. Let us pray that Catholic voters will consider this a liability rather than a virtue, and act appropriately this coming November.
- Update: The Corner observes yet another action inconsistent with the express teachings of the Church:
Here's Kerry taking Communion at a Protestant church. Here's what PJPII reiterated on this matter in his encyclical Ecclesia De Eucharistia: "The Catholic faithful, therefore, while respecting the religious convictions of these separated brethren, must refrain from receiving the communion distributed in their celebrations, so as not to condone an ambiguity about the nature of the Eucharist...."
(Ambiguity definitely seems to be Kerry's forte).
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