"Although the Southern Baptists have jumped in the papal bed, there is a growing group of progressive American Roman Catholics who are calling for widespread reforms in their church."
[so this left wing religious publication presents Southern Baptist as better papal servants than Roman Catholics are .... JP ]
'As one editor remarked to me, "so long as there is no visible revolt by moderate [Roman] Catholics and so long as they stay in the [Roman Catholic] church, they necessarily support the power or political church, even when they vote otherwise."'
From ......... HUMAN QUEST
ROMAN CATHOLIC POLITICAL AGENDA
PAROCHIALISM, ANTI-ABORTION, MILITARISM
By JOHN M. SWOMLEY
AN ORGANIZATION using the name "Catholic Campaign for America" is quietly promoting its agenda in the 1996 Presidential campaign.
The most important director of that campaign is New York Cardinal John O'Connor, who is listed as the Campaign's Ecclesiastical Advisor. It is significant that the Republican Presidential candidate, Bob Dole, sought an audience with O'Connor and received the cardinal's endorsement and blessing in the form of a front page picture of himself and O'Connor in the June 26, New York Times and a 60 minute private meeting.
O'Connor quieted those who criticized Dole for seeking tolerance in the Republican Party platform for prochoice Republicans by saying, "I cannot imagine that Senator Dole will deviate from his commitment" on abortion.
Another key player in the Catholic Campaign for America is William Bennett, Reagan's Secretary of Education, and chief advocate of government vouchers so parents could pay for parochial school tuition.
Bennett was with Dole on July 17 when he made his major campaign speech advocating tuition vouchers for private and parochial schools and trashed public education for being under the control of teachers' unions. Dole also played the [Roman] Catholic card when he spoke to the [Roman] Catholic Press Association's annual convention May 24, denouncing public schools as places which "breed resentment, despair and mediocrity," and proposed that "every parent in America should have the right to choose the school that is best for their children, public private or parochial."
The Vatican's chief aims for America are making abortion illegal and securing school vouchers for [Roman] Catholic parents. The Second Vatican Council's decree on Christian Education, October 28, 1965, said:
"The principle of distributive justice ensures that public subsidies to schools are so allocated that parents are truly free to select schools for their children in accordance with their conscience."
However, the "Council also reminds [Roman] Catholic parents of the duty of entrusting their children to [Roman] Catholic schools."
The phrase "distributive justice" is an Aristotelian idea that superior status or contribution to society entitled one to greater benefits from that society. It was an aristocratic principle which denied benefits of Greek citizenship to slaves. The medieval world in which Roman Catholic structure, theology and social principles were largely formed, accepted this idea of distribution in proportion to status.
What this means in America is taking money from the public school budget and giving it to the largest private school system, [Roman] Catholic schools, using parents as conduits.
Other beneficiaries are the private schools of the South, where whites have fled integrated public schools. For example, in Wilkinson County, Mississippi 86.4% of whites attend private schools. In Tuniea County 83.2% and Norubee County 82.8%. Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina all have one or more counties where between 54% and 82% of whites attend private schools. There may be no connection, but it is significant that Bob Dole rejected an invitation to address the NAACP convention. while giving his support to vouchers for schools segregated on the basis of religion and race.
The [Roman] Catholic Campaign for America is basically an effort to get the Vatican agenda with respect to abortion, sex, parochial schools, and other issues enacted into law. A Catholic Campaign document says its mission is
"to activate [Roman] Catholic citizens, increase the [Roman] Catholic electorate's influence in formulating public policy, and focus the public's attention on the richness and beauty of [Roman] Catholic teaching."
In other words, change the United States from a secular society to a [Roman] Catholic culture that acknowledges papal leadership.
No one can underestimate the [Roman] Catholic Campaign for America because of its low profile that avoids publicity. It and the Conference of Catholic Bishops have already seduced the Southern Baptist Convention into abandoning the historic Baptist position of separation of church and state.
The June 1996 annual session of the Southern Baptist Convention even adopted almost identical Vatican wording in saying,
"The educalion of children is a primary responsibility of parents, and parents, as the principal educators of their children, require the freedom and ability to elect the educational process best suited for their family needs..... therefore we encourage our legislators, at all levels of government throughout our nation, to develop the means and methods of returning educational and funding choices to parents."
The same Baptist Convention reaffirmed opposition to abortion, on which there is no biblical reference which would justify a Biblical position. Instead it goes along with the Vatican position and actually calls on
"the Republican National Convention to maintain its strong pro-life platform."
In other words, the Southern Baptists have accepted political [Roman] Catholicism or ecumenism, while pretending that it does not accept the theology on which [Roman] Catholic right wing politics is based. It has maintained this loyalty in spite of experiencing substantial losses in membership and the devotion of moderate Baptists.
Another political [Roman] Catholic, Rep. Henry Hyde, though not formally on the Catholic Campaign for America, is generally regarded as the Roman Bishops' spokesperson in Congress. Bob Dole chose him as head of the Republican platform committee. Hyde in turn invited Catholics to help him develop the party's 1996 platform. In an open letter he wrote,
"Catholics are a powerful voice of moral authority and fulfill a growing leadership role in the Republican Party,"
noting that there are nine U.S. senators, 55 members of the House, and 9 governors who are both Republican and Catholic. His letter also said,
"As a [Roman] Catholic, I believe the basic principles of [Roman] Catholic teaching are ideologically, philosophically and morally aligned with those of the Republican Party."
The Southern Baptists should feel well represented.
Although the Southern Baptists have jumped in the papal bed, there is a growing group of progressive American Romon Catholics who are calling for widespread reforms in their church. They seek a
"church which affirms the goodness of sexuality, the primacy of conscience in deciding issues of sexual morality [for example, birth control], the human rights of all persons regardless of sexual orientation, and the importance and urgency of issues other than sexual morality [for example: peace and nonviolence, social justice, preservation of the environment]."
This is clearly a break with papal dictatorship as well as with political doctrine.
[ these "progressive" Roman Catholics support and strengthen the papacy just by continuing to identify themselves as Roman Catholic ...... JP ]
There has long been a Pax Christi movement which is less specific but which rejects thc Republican "Contract with America" and affirms nonviolence and social justice. Members obviously reject the supremacy in American life of the military industrial complex to which Bob Dole, Clinton and most politicians in Washington are loyal.
In other words, there are two churches.
One takes the New Testament ethic seriously.
The other is the "power church."
Does any [Roman] Catholic cardinal remember Jesus' dramatic command to his disciples
"You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles Lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; for whoever would be great among you must be your servant." [Mark 10:41]
The power church is led by Cardinal O'Connor, the other U.S. cardinals, and most bishops. That power church is symbolized by its primary emphasis on gaining political control over government.
Cardinal O'Connor's newspaper, Catholic New York, on April 9, 1992 reported,
"Cardinal O'Connor asserted that unless rebutted, attacks on the church's stand on abortion effectively erode its authority on all matters Ñ indeed on the authority of God himself.''
Abortion is thus the power church's litmus test for support of any politician, as is also aid to parochial schools.
The dominance of the military-industrial complex is of little concern to the power church. O'Connor was a naval officer in his earlier life and, while the U.S. cardinals and the pope talk about peace, it is mere rhetoric.
The pope gave silent approval to the Argentine military dictatorship when he visited Argentina in 1980 during the thousands of military murders of civilians, and his apostalic nuncio, Pio Laghi, gave the military commanders and officers a papal blessing, according to Emilio Mignone, an Argentine Catholic, in his book, Witness to the Truth: The Complicify of Church and Dictatorship in Argentina.
Moreover, John Paul II has appointed many bishops in Central and South America who have supported totalitarian military regimes. The pope sets the pattern not only on abortion and parochiaid, but on the world wide military establishment.
By contrast, the progressive [Roman] Catholics, in accordance with the New Testament, are more peace-oriented and tend to reject the assumption that the church should control governments.
[ Left-wing religious political activists seek to "control government" just as much as right-wing religious political activists do ..... JP ]
With respect to abortion, a 1992 Gallup Poll reported that 70% of [Roman] Catholics agree or strongly agree with the statement that [Roman] Catholics can in good conscience vote for political candidates who support legal abortion. Other polls bear out the idea that neither the pope's nor the bishops' position on political issues are decisive for over 70% of American [Roman] Catholics.
Politicians who let the [Roman Catholic] cardinals or bishops determine their political position do so at their peril. The press or media, by their continual reporting of the position of the pope and hierarchy, create the impression that leads politicians to support their position. As one editor remarked to me,
"so long as there is no visible revolt by moderate [Roman] Catholics and so long as they stay in the church, they necessarily support the power or political church, even when they vote otherwise.
Non-Catholics should not stereotype their [Roman] Catholic brothers and sisters, but provide them with helpful information, and work with them to create a political climate friendly to separation of church and state, to adequate support for public schools, to equality for women, including their right to reproductive freedom, and to freedom from the financial and political control of the country by the Pentagon.
[ Non-Catholics should inform Roman Catholics that identifying oneself as a Roman Catholic constitutes support for the leading institutional enemy of human progress ...... JP ]
Dr. Swomley is Emeritus Professor of Social Ethics, St.Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, Missouri. He has a Ph.D. in political science and is Associate Editor of 'The Human Quest'.
The Human Quest [semi-monthly magazine]
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