Friday, March 9, 2012

The Pope's Talking Points

For hundreds of years, the Catholic church operated as a pretension of European aristocracy. Kings, princes and dukes were replaced with popes, cardinals and bishops in the Church's parallel universe. At times, and in some realms, there was a power (and wealth) sharing arrangement between church and state.

Those days are gone. The few remaining European monarchs have little or no power.  Yet, the Catholic Church is still conducting affairs as if we, and they, were living in the thirteenth
century. Indeed, the Pope is the last remaining European monarch with absolute authority. Foreign monarchs should not interfere in American politics. Fortunately, American Catholics are critical thinkers who support things like marriage equality at a higher percentage than the general public.

The Pope emerged from his opulent palace today to lecture us on the politics of marriage equality. If the Pope has a religious message for the faithful, that's fine. Telling us how to run things while insulting the basic values of our Constitution     namely, the Establishment Clause and our traditional separation of church and state     is inappropriate, meddlesome and unwelcome. It is also likely to alienate parishioners.

To add further frustration, the Pope is increasingly speaking in the language of political demagoguery and it is not subject to discussion or debate. We don't see cable news talking heads dissecting the disingenuous drivel. It will make its way through the Church's hierarchy as "gospel." The bishops ensure that the flock is provided with the instructions which become "the duty of every Catholic." It is no coincidence that the talking points are remarkably similar to those of the National Organization for Marriage.

Since when do religious leaders need "talking points?"

VATICAN CITY, March 9 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Friday denounced the "powerful political and cultural currents" seeking to legalise gay marriage in the United States, where Maryland has just become the eighth state to allow it.

The pope's latest comments in opposition to homosexual marriage came in an address to bishops from several Midwestern states on a regular visit to the Vatican.

"Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage," he said. He added that the traditional family and marriage had to be "defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature" because, he said, whatever injured families injured society.

"In this regard, particular mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage (in the United States)"
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