Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Catholic Church Shoots Itself in the Foot Again

Archbishop Joseph Naumann has ordered Kansas governor Kathleen Sibelius to stop taking communion, saying she has engaged in "scandalous behavior that has misled people into dangerous behavior." And her terrible crime that brought on this retribution? She vetoed some anti-abortion bills that were probably unconstitutional and certainly bad policy. As the Kansas City Star explains:

"What the archbishop calls "scandalous behavior" is in fact good government. The bill Sebelius vetoed was bad public policy on so many levels.

It would have empowered district attorneys and prosecutors around the state to embark on legal fishing expeditions against abortion providers. (As if Kansas hasn't had enough of those already.)

It would have put patient privacy at risk by requiring abortion doctors to provide extensive details to the state about a woman's reasons for seeking a late-term abortion.

It would have placed abortion providers in the middle of family feuds by allowing relatives of abortion patients to sue the doctors.

What's scandalous in this matter isn't Sebelius's veto. It's Naumann's implication that a Catholic politician has to follow the lead of hard-line abortion opponents, regardless of the damage to privacy, Constitutional rights and good government."

With this policy of *exclusiveness* as opposed to the example Jesus gave us of *inclusiveness*, how in the world does the Catholic Church remain such a large denomination?

The Catholic church has a long history of persecuting people who don't toe a rigid, dogmatic party line as announced by the Pope. Look at the Galileo case. In 1633 he was tried before the Roman Inquisition for heresy, and had to live for the rest of his life under a sentence of house arrest, even though he had signed a formal recantation. Incredibly, it took the Catholic Church until 1992 (!!!) before it formally apologized for persecuting Galileo.

The horrible cases of Priests abusing kids is another example of the head-in-the-sand attitude of this pathetic excuse for a church. Priests were routinely moved from parish to parish and nothing done to them, despite the multiple complaints made. If there is any justice the Catholic Church will be in bankruptcy for the huge payouts it has had to make for its misdeeds.

The heart-wrenching cases of the boys Father Larson abused when he was in the Wichita area should not be forgotten. Five (!!) of these boys eventually committed suicide. The case of Eric Patterson which appeared in the Eagle did so only after Eric's mother learned that the Bishop had lied to her years before. The Bishop assured her that Father Larson would never again be in as position where he would be around kids. When she learned that the Church had simply transferred him to a position where he could abuse more boys, she finally went to the news media, and a series of articles detailed the whole despicable situation. Father Larson was ultimately convicted of minor charges and did serve some prison time, but his punishment certainly did not fit his crimes.

Can the people in the Catholic Church not understand that this authoritarian hierarchy is just plain wrong? As Christians our authority is to come from the Bible and from the counsel of the community of believers who search for the truth together. One man, or a group of men, do not hold a monopoly on the truth. This crap about the infallibility of the Pope is sheer nonsense. All humans are fallible! If the Catholic Church would get away from this authoritarian hierarchy it holds so dear, it would be a lot better off, and perhaps in the future could avoid the types of problems written about above.

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