Cultural Revolutions

Statement of Confusion

“Catholic Members of Congress Express Concern Over Church Sanctions,” the press-release headline blared.  Finally, I thought, Catholic politicians are waking up to the increasingly tight legal restrictions being brought to bear on religious groups.  After all, California and New York recently passed laws that force Catholic hospitals to provide contraception as part of their health insurance, and Massachusetts drove Catholic Charities from the adoption business.  Or perhaps, I hoped, they were advocating for relief of the Church abroad, in China or the Middle East.  These days, strong sanctions are being imposed upon the Church and, indirectly, on those to whom She ministers.

I was wrong.  It turned out that 18 esteemed Democrats (including, of course, a Kennedy—this time, Patrick of Rhode Island) had issued a publicity-grabbing nonsense “statement” that does nothing other than reiterate what should be obvious: They are not going to let Church teaching stand in the way of their ambition.  The members express “concern” that Pope Benedict XVI would take seriously the Church’s views on abortion and that Catholic politicians who express or support pro-choice views were risking excommunication and should be barred from Communion.  While traveling to Brazil, the Pope had said as much—which was nothing more than a restatement of the Church’s teaching.

The...

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