Palin: "A Natural Choice" for Catholics?
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:18:57 PM EST
The Catholic Right, Part Sixty-eight
Is Governor Sarah Palin really "a natural choice" for Catholics as Fidelis's Brian Burch suggests?  The answer is obviously, "No."

As I discussed in my last post in this series, the Catholic Right is doing everything it can to disparage Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Biden - a Catholic who attends Mass regularly - by painting him as a someone out of sync on social issues important to his co-religionists. Now, these same folks are attempting to portray Palin, the self-styled pit-bull/hockey mom, evangelical/former Catholic, as a better Catholic than Biden.

Let the scrutiny begin!

One of the foremost issues where Senator McCain's running mate and the Vatican parts ways is the Iraq war.  Not so long ago Palin told a group of ministry students that our invasion of Iraq is "a task from God," but Pope Benedict believes that "nothing positive comes from Iraq."

On economic issues Palin echoes the "Whigish" libertarian ideas of which the Catholic neocons are so fond but which directly conflict with Papal encyclicals such as Rerum novarum or Quadragesimo Anno -- the two Vatican pronouncements that outline the rights of labor and the necessary role of legislation to ensure those rights.

Palin - although baptized a Catholic, at twelve left the Church and became "rebaptized" as a Pentecostal - is firmly in the creationist camp. This is clear contrast with Catholic teaching which accepts that evolution is "more than an hypothesis."

It does not seem to bother the theoconic crowd (who incredibly claim that most government regulation of business can be mostly done away with by making us all more virtuous, accomplished via a transformation of our pluralistic society to one based upon Catholic orthodox ethics) that Palin lied about her supposed objections to Congressional earmarks that would have funded the infamous "bridge to nowhere."

And yes, Palin opposes universal healthcare; something the overwhelming majority of American Catholics support.

Outside of a handful of issues such as abortion, stem cell research and LGTB civil rights, Palin has little in common with the Vatican and substantially less with the majority of American Catholics. But this narrow band of commonality will nevertheless be the pretext on which Catholicism will be defned, for political purposes as almost solely about abortion.

Some such as Bishop Charles Chaput of Denver are downright belligerent about it. Chaput has said that Senator Biden should refrain from Communion because of his stance on abortion rights and Bishop Joseph F. Martino, of the Diocese of Scranton (Biden's birthplace) has made it clear that he would deny Senator Biden Communion because, in his words, "I will not tolerate any politician who claims to be a faithful Catholic who is not genuinely pro-life."

Republican oriented organizations such as the  The Catholic League and Fidelis as well as talking head Rush Limbaugh, have rushed to distort Senator Obama's opposition to the redundant "born alive" bills  (pending in the Illinois State Senate while he was a member of that body), describing his actions as "infanticide." As Media Matters for America has established, the then-state senator opposed the legislation because Illinois law already prohibited the conduct that these bills purported to address.

When members of the Catholic hierarchy and their allies resort to such tactics, they cease being a legitimate voice in a ongoing debate and instead become transparently factious entities seeking to unduly influence the American political process. Such behavior is the difference between contributing to the national discourse and trying to dominate it.

But many Catholics take a dim view of the politicization of a holy sacrament. The British Catholic magazine  The Tablet noted for example:

Senator Biden has certainly been pro-life in urging outside intervention to stop genocide in Bosnia and Darfur, issues on which conservatives tended to be more restrained. He supports such pro-life causes - although not usually seen as such - as universal health care and measures to improve the lot of the American poor, among whom infant mortality runs at rates more usually seen in the developing world.

In short, Chaput, Martino and other such strident clergymen have a severely limited understanding of "pro-life issues."

According to a report issued just this past August by the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2007 there were 45.7 million Americans with no healthcare insurance. That means that in this great country of ours, there are 45.7 million people who face bankruptcy from the unbearable costs from catastrophic illness; and tens of millions of women with no pre-natal care for expectant mothers.

As I wrote this piece I searched in vain on for any evidence of just one demand by Bishops Chaput or Martino that universal healthcare be provided to all Americans. If they have publicly advocated for universal health care, they must have hidden it well, since my research turned up nothing from either of these otherwise high profile prelates. When I linked their two names to "universal healthcare" all I could find were endless pronouncements on banning abortion and euthanasia.

Columnist Marie Cocco, both a Catholic and a liberal, recently provided a better, truer frame of the thorny issue of abortion. Cocco put it this way when discussing the choice made by seventeen year-old Bristol Palin and her family:

The decision on what to do about such matters should be left to a woman, her doctor, her family and her God. No one -- absolutely no one -- who supports keeping abortion legal would interfere in any way with Bristol Palin's decision to carry her pregnancy to term. In fact, organizations such as Planned Parenthood would provide her with proper prenatal care if she needed it.

But some believe that subjects such as a teenager's sex life, a rape victim's traumatic pregnancy or even a married woman's right to get her birth-control prescription filled should be decided not in the privacy of family conversation but in the cacophony of politics.

Who are these cruelly intrusive people? Those in the anti-abortion movement.

Yes, those in the anti-abortion movement, especially the Catholic Right.

The Catholic Right: A Series, by Frank L. Cocozzelli :

Part One  Part Two  Part Three  Part Four  Part Five  Part Six   Intermezzo   Part Eight   Part Nine  Part Ten   Part Eleven   Part Twelve   Part Thirteen   Part Fourteen   Second Intermezzo   Part Sixteen   Part Seventeen   Part Eighteen   Part Eighteen   Part Nineteen   Part Twenty   Part Twenty-one   Part Twenty-two   Part Twenty-three   Part Twenty-four   Part Twenty-five   Part Twenty-six   Part Twenty-seven   Part Twenty-eight   Part Twenty-nine   Part Thirty   Part Thirty-one   Part Thirty-two   Part Thirty-three   Part Thirty-four   Part Thirty-five   Part Thirty-six   Part Thirty-seven   Part Thirty-eight   Part Thirty-nine   Part Forty   Part Forty-one   Part Forty-two   Part Forty-three   Part Forty-four   Part Forty-five   Part Forty-six   Part Forty-seven   Part Forty-eight   Part Forty-nine   Part Fifty   Part Fifty-one   Part Fifty-two   Part Fifty-three   Part Fifty-four   Part Fifty-five   Part Fifty-six   Part Fifty-seven   Part Fifty-eight   Part Fifty-nine   Part Sixty   Part Sixty-one   Part Sixty-two   Part Sixty-three   Part Sixty-four   Part Sixty-five Part Sixty-six Part Sixty-seven

Catholic Right operatives like Fidelis's Brian Bruch are making it sound as if Palin were a perfect fit for American Catholics. If anything, it sounds as if he's trying to shove a round peg into a square hole.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:20:31 PM EST

I remember from the days I was a member of the same "denomination" that they're trying to hide Palin's connections to- and they publicly said time and time again that Catholics were not Christian.  I've heard that several times from the dominionists in the couple of decades since I walked away.  I find it absolutely strange that those people would embrace someone that denies their faith!!!

Of course, if as I've been saying for some time- the top-down hierarchy is part of the problem and is based on maintaining and increasing power (irregardless of the church), then it would make sense.

(That doesn't mean that good people don't sometimes hold high positions!)

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:28:55 PM EST

We American Catholics are unique (and not in a good way) in how we allow politicization of Communion in a way that hasn't been done in Europe. I almost dread what I might hear at church this fall before the election, and I attend a parish that is rather middle of the road.

I would expect opponents of single-payer healthcare to insert abortion and birth control politics into the issue, particularly as the hierarchy and younger members of the clergy (who trend toward conservatism) have garnered political allies among the evangelical Protestants on this issue. I could see the larger issue of single-payer health care sacrificed for the sake of institutionalizing a religious opposition to abortion and birth control. What has changed in the last 20 years is that the Christian Right, in both its Catholic Right and evangelical Protestant wings, has become more strident in its attempts to want to outlaw the Pill and other birth control methods.

by khughes1963 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:15:33 PM EST

My postings Part One and Part Two about Palin's churches point out that the movement in which several of Palin's churches are involved is virulently anti-Catholic.  C. Peter Wagner is the central organizing figure in the New Apostolic movement.  In 1997 Wagner and a group of his top intercessors went to the Himalayas for several weeks on a venture called Operation Ice Castle for 'strategic-level spiritual warfare' against a demon which they claim to be one of the most powerful in the world.  They call this demon the Queen of Heaven, and Wagner actually wrote a book documenting this expedition and other spiritual warfare expeditions.  

They believe that the Queen of Heaven is Diana of Ephesians and also the source of the veneration of Mary in the Catholic church. After the expedition Ana Mendez, one of the lead 'prophetic intercessors' reported, "within two weeks of the expedition , other things happened which I believe are earthquake destroyed the basilica of Assisi...Princess Diana died... and Mother Theresa died in India, one of the most famous advocates of Mary as Co-redeemer." This testimony from Ana Mendez can be found at ;view=article&id=122:the-ana-mendez-story&catid=54:testim onies&Itemid=74

This site is for Transformations Melbourne. Transformations is the name of a set of videos by George Otis and Sentinel group, closely associated with Wagner, that supposedly document the changes in cities when the territorial demons are driven out through spiritual warfare.  Numerous Transformation groups and events have emerged in the Third Wave/NAR.  They are often virulently anti-Catholic.  Bishop Muthee, featured on the first Transformation video, prayed over Palin when he visited Wasilla AoG.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:40:41 PM EST

In order to end this denial of Communion nonsense once and for all, pro choice Catholics (as well as those who haven't made up their mind) should issue an ultimatum. Prepare a public petition to send to the Vatican demanding a clear answer. Let the Vatican know that you want them to either require that pro choice Catholics be treated as full members of the church with rights to receive the Sacraments, or to tell pro choice Catholics they are no longer welcome in the church. If the number of Catholics who are pro choice, (or at least believe that a person has the right to be pro choice and remain in the church) is as large as you and other liberals claim, I seriously doubt the Vatican would let them all go. But in any case, you'll at least know where you stand. It's time for each liberal Catholic to stop fighting this mistreatment alone, and time to join together and demand respect. To be very clear, I'm not suggesting you ask the Vatican to change its position on abortion in any way, or even to approve of you being pro choice. I just think you should ask for a definitive statement of whether a Catholic can consider this a matter of personal conscience or not. . After all, being pro choice is purely political and has no relation to one's position on abortion as such. Many Catholics believe that abortion is tragic and should be discouraged, nevertheless, they are pro choice because they don't want to criminalize it.

by Dave on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:00:10 AM EST
In fact, I'm going to pass it on to one or two liberal Catholic lay groups who might be interested in pursuing such an idea.

And as for your comment:

It's time for each liberal Catholic to stop fighting this mistreatment alone, and time to join together and demand respect.

That's one of the primary goals of this series on the Catholic Right.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:08:20 AM EST

It's puzzled me why the Church would down Bidden and push Palin.

It's definitely the abortion issue because the Catholic right considers abortion an absolutely winnable argument. When does human life begin? Is it just a religious belief or is it something like murder? Murder has been recognized as evil through out the entire world for at least several thousand years through many cultures. But when does spiritual life begin?

Once the Church imposes it's religious belief about the beginning of life, they will start on additional impositions. At this point religion, Church and faith don't matter so they will support Palin and toss Joe under the bus or anybody who gets in the way of their first victory.

 My question is, once the Church has imposed it's religious belief on everyone, what will be the next step or what is the like path the Church will take everyone. This can't be the first time the Church has done this.

With the current legislating from the Whitehouse through signing statements, does this make Palin a  future Cesar with lipstick? Has the Church sold it's soul again?

Eventually imposition breeds inquisition.

Thanks for your time,

by Turfsuper on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 08:07:38 PM EST

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