From: ............ National Catholic Reporter
August 14, 1987
By JIMMY BRESLIN ........... (Pulitzer Prize-winning RC journalist)
I DO NOT KNOW exactly when the conflict with the [Roman Catholic] church came, but it did. Writing for the newspapers, you thought you were smarter than they were, and they helped it with some stupidity, too. Holy Jesus, the church went right wing back then. Cardinal [Terence] Cooke said he wanted "peace with justice" in Vietnam
- that "with justice" part meant "win."
So some poor kid from Harlem had to get killed over that word.
The church could have ended that war. Vietnam was a [Roman] Catholic war - they couldn't have conducted the war in Vietnam without the Catholics' support. It would've ended if the Catholics backed away. They are the dominant religion here - 40 million people in this country - and they could've stopped the war dead.
But for all that, I was never tempted to part company with the church, really. These issues are just temporal things. They're not rules; they're goals as I see them: Just try to behave, try to attain the goals. The main thing is not to hurt anybody. What the church's position on the war means is that the people running the church at this point in history are wrong. It doesn't mean that the whole religion is wrong.........
The church is a white institution, and it falls on its face when it tries to deal with the black problem. It's crazy. The church hates blacks, and yet it doesn't want birth control. That's a crazy position because it means that you're going to end up with more people that you don't like. The pope's answer to that is to go to Africa and bless a rhinoceros. Race has got the church completely nuts, and they don't know what to do. This country is where they should start. The church should make it plain to this country that Catholics should be for things like busing.
But the hierarchy is afraid that Catholics will leave the church over the race issue. Of course they could scare the parishioners and say, "If you leave over race you'll die and go to hell" - the way the nuns scared me. Why don't they go back to scaring people? Being scared is fun....
The church's position on birth control has to be insane. I've got a little headache with abortion myself - I don't like that shit. I'm going to be very consistent on the question of the state tinkering with life. I'm going to be against war, I'm going to be against capital punishment, against euthanasia and against abortion. But how can they be against birth control, when they have to be for it in China, in India?
As far as the Catholic church in Rome is concerned, the entire foundation of their religion seems to be that nothing, nothing, must be allowed to stand in the way of the male sperm. Do they want people to be born just so they can starve in Somalia and have 29 year-old grandmothers in Brooklyn? They spend too much time preaching about sex. How are you going to go to hell over love? But you're gonna go to hell over hate. ........
[following is large print caption under picture of Breslin]
"THE CHURCH IS A WHITE INSTITUTION, AND IT FALLS ON ITS FACE WHEN IT TRIES TO DEAL WITH THE BLACK PROBLEM.
IT'S CRAZY: THE [ROMAN CATHOLIC] CHURCH HATES BLACKS, AND YET IT DOES NOT WANT BIRTH CONTROL.
THAT'S A CRAZY POSITION BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT YOU'RE GOING TO END UP WITH MORE PEOPLE YOU DO NOT LIKE"