Hugh Hewitt - Principal Contributor
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Kerry's Catechism of Convenience
Making up a moral center as he goes along...
[Hugh Hewitt] 4/7/04
If you know
a Roman Catholic bishop or priest, please pass this along to
him with a request for a response. If they don't mind,
ask them to copy me on the response at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Kerry is the second most visible American right now, and
the most visible self-identified Roman Catholic in the country.
The most influential newspaper in the world, the New
reported on Tuesday that Kerry had issued the equivalent of a
new catechism for the Roman Catholic Church. Here are the key
became combative when told that some conservatives were criticizing
for being a Roman Catholic who supported
policies, like abortion and same-sex unions, that are at odds
with Catholic teaching."
"Who are they?" he demanded of his questioner. "Name
them. Are they the same legislators who vote for the death penalty,
which is in contravention of Catholic teaching?"
He added: "I'm
not a church spokesman. I'm a legislator running for president.
My oath is to uphold the Constitution
of the United States in my public life. My oath privately between
me and God was defined in the Catholic Church by Pius XXIII and
Pope Paul VI in the Vatican II, which allows for freedom of conscience
for Catholics with respect to these choices, and that is exactly
where I am. And it is separate. Our Constitution separates church
and state, and they should be reminded of that."
The New York Times helpfully added that "Mr. Kerry apparently
meant John XXIII, as there is no Pius XXIII." Too bad the
paper couldn't explain the rest of Kerry's absurd statement,
or add more detail to the new Kerry Catechism of Convenient Catholicism.
It will be interesting to see if the hierarchy of the American
Roman Catholic Church allows this statement to go uncontradicted.
If what Kerry says is true, then the Church really doesn't care
if its members advocate for wide-ranging abortion rights and
receive Holy Communion, despite the bishop of St. Louis' instruction
to Kerry to refrain from the sacrament on that bishop's turf.
I am not familiar with those documents of Vatican II to which
Kerry refers, and would appreciate direction to them. Perhaps
they are in the small volume of works by Pope Pius XXIII.
The stale bit of sophistry that says support for the death penalty
disqualifies an individual from objecting to support for abortion
rights is also in need of some authoritative teaching from the
bishops. Aside from the fact that since 1973 there have been
more than 40 million abortions in America and less than 1,000
executions, it is also my understanding that the catechism of
the Roman Catholic Church allows for the death penalty under
some circumstances, but does not allow for abortion. Even if
both practices received the same degree of condemnation from
the Church, of what relevance would it be to Kerry's standing
as a Catholic for him to argue that other Catholics in public
life fail to conform their votes to Church teaching? He's the
one running for president.
Kerry's hash-up of the First Amendment's religion clauses and
the issue of Catholic theology is a familiar dodge, laughable
except for its ability to dumbfound reporters working for papers
like the Times. Will any reporter ever do enough homework to
ask Kerry some serious questions about the intersection of his
avowed faith and his hard left stands in opposition to that faith's
central teachings? There is no Constitution prohibition on asking
tough questions of Catholic politicians, is there?
The real burden is on the American bishops and possibly the
Vatican. Kerry has proclaimed a new doctrine in the pages of
the most widely-read newspaper in the world. Such proclamations
have consequences. Catholic elected officials across the globe
cannot be blamed if, uncontradicted by the bishops, they conclude
that John Kerry had it right and that their church obliges nothing
of its members who serve in elected office except an occasional
photo op with a bishop CRO
Principal Contributor Hugh Hewitt is an author, television
and syndicated talk-show host of the Salem Radio Network's Hugh
Hewitt Show, heard in over 40 markets around the country.
He blogs regularly at HughHewitt.com and he frequently contributes opinion pieces to the Weekly
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