Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Sunday, April 24, 2005

THREE HOMILIES ON THE NEW POPE: The post-medieval world has been lamenting the choice of the Cardinals in Rome. Liberals generally, Catholic, Protestant, and all other kinds, describe him as a Pontiff who will give the Church more of the same rigid reaction he ratcheted down as chief inquisitor. One of the silliest such rants was, unsurprisingly and typically, from Maureen Dowd in the New York Times this weekend. She strained herself to find parallels between Benedict and Dick Cheney. I won't link to her simplistic screed, but you can find a nice dissection of it by an ex-Texan, Jenny of Little Red Cookbook, at "The pitfalls of polemics":
I strongly disagree with the man's stances on, well, most everything. And I was really offended that one of the first developments of his pontificate has been the crackdown on gay marriage in Spain. But again, just because he makes me angry does not mean I have the right to reduce his character to glib one-liners, however elegant.
There really is plenty to be concerned about with this new Pope, but it's not as obvious as Dowd's knee-jerk comparison. I have been waiting for days to hear from my own Conscience Of The Web, and she has finally weighed in, with her usual thoughtful, subtly built emotional dynamite. Jeanne D'Orleans of Body and Soul explains just what the problem is at "The German Shepherd and the Salvadoran Pastor":
...when Ratzinger and his brother (who is also a priest) say that anti-Nazi resistance was "impossible," they're lying. And it's not an insignificant or harmless lie. Denying the option of resistance insults, indeed, denies the existence of, a lot of people who made far braver and more difficult decisions than the Ratzingers. Failing to exhibit extraordinary courage is human and understandable. Denying the extraordinarily courageous their due is shameful. Denying moral agency is surely unworthy of a man who would be pope. ...

Oscar Romero, forty years later, met the test, and in a way that demonstrates the falsity of Ratzinger's conclusions. Romero -- and others like him -- were finding a way to put those absolute values into practice. It was Ratzinger who stopped that effort. This time he didn't say that resistance was "impossible." He called it a "fundamental threat to the faith of the Church."
Finally, for a more upbeat note, consider the better parallel drawn by Bill Quigley, a Catholic teacher:
If our country will not stand up for justice for civilians in Iraq, prisoners here and abroad, a living wage, racial justice, quality public schools, fair healthcare, and reigning in national and international corporate power - then it is up to us to do it. Our country is the one of Harriet Tubman, Patrick Henry, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King. They inspire us and they give us hope to push forward in these times.

If our church will not stand up for women leaders, accountability for abuses, democracy in our institutions, healthy sexuality, equality for people of all orientations, and real respect for all life - including the born - then it is up to us to do it. Our church is the one of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Joan of Arc, Philip Berrigan, Dorothy Day and Francis of Assisi. They inspire us and give us hope to push forward in these times.

"Benedict and George - we are not leaving". It is our church and our country. We are going to stay and struggle for the soul of both, with love and justice for all.


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