Monday, November 23, 2009

Communion Wafers: the Key to World Domination

     When John F. Kennedy ran for president, the Catholic church cried "Anti-Catholicism!" whenever non-Catholics said that they wouldn't vote for a Catholic.  There was a fairly widespread belief among Protestants that a vote for a Catholic was a vote for papal control of the United States.  Thankfully, Kennedy won and his presidency changed the way that many viewed the Vatican's relationship to US Catholic politicians.

     Well the past thirty years have changed that.  The Catholic church has  grown steadily more ultramontanist and has resorted to using their most holy sacrament of the eucharist as a political weapon.  "No compliance with everything [on which the Catholic church agrees with the Republican Party] then no unleavened Jesus for you!"

     The latest use of the messiah's body-in-a-cracker as a weapon against non-compliant Democrats is coming from Rhode Island, where the Vatican is very proud of their anti-gay-death Catholic Governor Carcieri.  This time, the Catholic cog putting his pectoral cross in the ring is Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence.

  A month of harsh words between Rep. Patrick Kennedy and a strident critic, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin, escalated Sunday when the bishop acknowledged asking Kennedy not to receive Holy Communion because of the Democratic lawmaker's support for abortion rights.
     Kennedy has been critically vocal about the Catholic church's attempt to get anti-abortion language written into the healthcare bill.  Yes, the Catholic church wants to use backdoor politics to make this legal procedure virtually unattainable for poor women.  That way all the rich Catholics can still get their abortions and go to confession afterward.

     The US Catholic church, once champion of the separation between church and state and once fighter for the blue collar worker is trying to derail healthcare reform.  They have joined forces with a coalition of former theological rivals (very anti-Catholic evangelical churches) to release a manifesto damning the right for a woman to choose in her healthcare and, of course, also damning LGBT equality.  The manifesto states nothing new.  It's just another round of brow-beating for those of us who, after following our "well-formed" consciences, disagree with the church.

     Former Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York (and a Catholic) gave a speech in 1984 at Notre Dame explaining the need for separation between church and state:
     "If you're required (by the church) to make everybody follow your Catholic role, then nobody would vote for Catholics because it's clear that when you get the authority, you're going to be guided by your faith," the former governor told the AP.
     Cuomo said there are two positions a politician can take: They can oppose church doctrine outright or, as he did, accept church teachings personally but refuse to carry them into the public arena where they would affect people of every faith.
     "Don't ask me to make everybody live by it because they are not members of the church," Cuomo said.
     Twenty five years later, barring Catholic politicians from receiving their stale wafer and sip of cheap wine is commonplace now.  The church has proven their critics right: the Catholic church does want control of the US government.  The Catholic church wants all people of all belief systems and faiths to adhere to Vatican law and theology.  This includes other Christian churches that use the same scriptures to support marriage equality and reproductive choice.

     In the Vatican's eyes, there is no separation of church and state and no respect for people's religious differences and even for differences of conscience within their own church.  It's time that Catholic politicians and democrats start leaving the church in droves.  Let the church become the "faithful remnant" that it so desires to be.