Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rick Santorum: Where Are They Now?

Remember Rick Santorum? I'd imagine most of you do, seeing as those of you whom I don't know personally pretty much ALL found me through Dan Savage's blog. At least, you know that he so offended the left that we can't look at his name without thinking about this. Well, I have to confess that I was a bit curious about what our old friend's been doing since he was unceremoniously not re-elected to the United States Senate. But now I no longer need to wonder, because it seems like old Ricky's been keeping himself busy with such stimulating activities as writing bigoted opinion letters to fine publications like The Philidelphia Inquirer. Let's take a look:

It appears that the pope used the visit to educate a confused Pelosi about the Roman Catholic Church's long-held position on the life issue.

Appearing on Meet the Press just prior to the Democratic National Convention, Pelosi told the country that, over the centuries, the Catholic Church had been unable to define when life begins. "We just don't know," she chirped.

The Vatican's statement after last week's meeting between Pelosi and the pope began: "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death."

Pope Benedict did not allow any photos of the meeting, making a second and equally bracing instructional point: Dissenting Catholic politicians who deliberately mislead others about the church's core teachings will not be given another chance to do so by having their picture taken with the vicar of Christ.

Ugh. It gets worse:
Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino got so much national attention last fall. Martino, formerly the auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, made the welcome decision to publicly bar then Sen. Joe Biden and other abortion advocates from receiving Communion in the Scranton Diocese. Then, after the November election, he admonished his brother bishops for their reluctance to deal with the issue faithfully.

Last month, Martino took on the most influential family in his diocese, the Caseys. He excoriated Sen. Bob Casey, who claims to be pro-life, for voting to give taxpayer dollars to overseas organizations that perform abortions. He warned that Casey was "formally cooperating with evil."

Martino was not done. Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia native and St. Joseph's Prep graduate issued a strong statement of disapproval to a local, nominally Catholic college, Misericordia University, that had scheduled a speech on campus by someone advocating same-sex marriage. "The faithful of the Diocese of Scranton should be in no doubt," Martino said, "that Misericordia University in this instance is seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity."

Then, last week, Martino took on some more of the biggest guns in the diocese: the Irish clubs that organize the largest public Catholic event of the year, the St. Patrick's Day festivities. Through a letter from his Irish auxiliary bishop, Martino warned that if any of these groups went ahead with plans that in any way honor politicians who are not pro-life, he would close the cathedral where Mass is usually held prior to the parade, as well as other diocesan churches. He said he would not countenance anything that created confusion about the teachings of the church.

The reason for the letter: Scranton's St. Patrick's Day parade last year featured Hillary Clinton.

Leave it to Rick Santorum to talk up this guy. He also says that it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the people who are pissed off about this left the church, and I have to say I'm starting to agree. But forget about Santorum. He has been marginalized. His political career is over because of his hateful views on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Martino, however, is a problem. Who the hell does he think he is? What gives him, and by extension the Catholic Church, the right to decide who is Catholic enough to join the party? What gives him the right to blackmail people into following his petty rules? What gives him the right to advocate that Catholic politicians allow their personal beliefs to interfere with they way they govern? You don't like abortion, Martino? Then don't get one. How about that?

This man is denying Christians the right to attend Mass in their places of worship. The people he attacks are his own parishioners. They attend Mass regularly, and donate their money to the diocese. Basically, they pay Martino's salary. I'm not saying that anyone should allow their morals to be bought. I am saying, however, that the people Martino is denying are people who support him. He is turning away would-be followers because of petty political differences.

Matthew 23:23-24 (NIV) says:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
It's not the letter of the law that's important. The Church, and Christians everywhere, should not allow themselves to be bogged down by petty rules, and in doing so miss the spirit of Christ's message. We are not here to judge, Bishop Martino. We are here to make things better in this world. To lessen suffering, not to create more of it. If you really believe that God will be weeding out the wicked from the good at the end of days, why do you see the need to try to do it for Him now with your own twisted morality? WTFWJD?

4 comments:

Hannah said...

I feel like I'm on crazy pills! Why is it so hard to see that Pro-Choice is not Pro-Abortion? There are lots of practicing Catholics (like me) who are pro-choice because (a) we don't feel it's appropriate to combine religion with politics and (b) this is an issue about women's healthcare. And until Jesus himslef tells me that it's a sin to vote my conscience I'm going to keep right on doing just that.

BTW, I love this blog! Thank you, Jocelyn for an intelligent discussion of religion (for a change). And thanks be to Slog for pointing me to it.

Jocelyn said...

Totally, Hannah. Whether or not to have an abortion is only a moral question for the person who needs one. For the rest of us, we have a responsibility to ensure that women can choose the option that's best for them with the best medical care available. I don't think there's anything wrong with being Catholic and believing that.

And thanks! Thanks be to Slog for pointing a helluvalatta people this way. I super appreciate the dialogue it's started.

Anonymous said...

Yep, truth always cuts like a knife. It's about time the church (including Catholicism) starts speaking truth regardless of whether people want to hear it or not. I am not a Catholic but I know they have been unwavering when they shouldn't be. Hats off to that Priest.
Hannah,with all respect because I don't really know you either... removing religion from politics is why we are where we are right now... the only way out of this debacle is bringing God back to His rightful throne over us all. Separating church and state was only to make sure no one denomination took precedence, obviously a point of view that's been misconstrued for way too long.
Jocelyn, the numbers indicate that less than 1/10th of 1 percent NEED an abortion... abortion isn't birth control.
It is time for believers to rise up and shine. Now more than ever. Rick Santorum is brave enough to air the truth. Don't just read the Bible, quote the Bible without living it! Truth! Tolerance of Evil is not tolerance, it's deception. Judging is indeed wrong but you are mistaking authority and actions as judging. We are all to judge by the fruit and make decisions based on that... among other things. I would respectfully ask you to check your opinions through the Holy Spirit before telling people you are a Christian... you may know Jesus, I can't tell for sure... but more importantly you better make sure Jesus knows you. You have a rebellious spirit and I rebuke you. That's not judging, that's discernment. Sorry to pour truth on you... the Good News is there is a way for you ... Romans 8:29-32

Jocelyn said...

I think that we have a different idea of what the "truth" is, Anonymous. I do not believe that separation of Church and state is the reason we "are where we are right now." As far as I can see, the world is never any better or worse, despite changes in religious tides. In short, the problem with the world is that people, on the whole, are inherently morally ambiguous, regardless of what they believe.

As for abortion, what numbers? Where do you get your information? The problem with statistics is that you can make them say whatever you want. I do not believe that abortion should be used as a form of birth control. I believe that the vast majority of women who use it as such are irresponsible. I would love to see the number of abortions that happen in the United States reduced by providing more comprehensive sex education and making birth control more available to young people. That said, I also do not believe that the government should regulate abortions based on what particular religious groups may feel about them. Not everyone believes a fetus is a human being.

Rick Santorum, like you, is closed-minded. He, and you, see the world from the perspective of a very singular idea of morality. I respect your right and his to hold the beliefs you hold. I do not, however, believe that either of you or the others who share your views should be allowed to impose your morality on the rest of us. There is more than one way to be a good person.

I would ask you not to question my Christianity. You are welcome to hold whatever opinions you like, so long as you do not use them to hurt others. I'm sure if you knew exactly what I believed, you would not consider me Christian by any means. That said, I know what I am just as sure as you know what you are. A rebellious spirit, I believe, is necessary to have meaningful faith. Faith is meaningless if you do not constantly question it.

Sorry to wipe your "truth" off me.

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