Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Message to His Holiness

by Edd Doerr

New York Times, 3/10/12: "Pope Benedict XVI waded into the American culture wars on Friday, urging visiting American bishops to beef up their teaching about the evils of premarital sex and cohabitation, and denouncing what he called the 'powerful' gay marriage lobby in America. Benedict said there was an urgent need for American Catholics to discover the value of chastity, an essential element of Christian teaching that he said had been subject to unjust 'ridicule'. The pope also told the bishops not to back down in the face of 'powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage'."

Mr Pontifex Maximus, if I may use the ancient Roman republic appellation that you and your predecessors have arrogantly appropriated, may I suggest that you just butt out. You are out of sync with the majority of US Catholics and with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council called by your greater predecessor John XXIII. You are thumbing your nose at the sound advice articulated by John F. Kennedy, out first Catholic president, in support of the American constitutional principle of separation of church and state. You are out of sync with the great American Catholic jurist William Brennan, who defended the right of unmarried people to use contraception in the US Supreme Court's Baird v Eisenstadt ruling 40 years ago this month and set the stage for the 1973 Roe v Wade abortion rights ruling. You are out of sync with our Catholic Governor O'Malley, who has supported endind the discrimination against same-sex couples. You have more than enough on your plate with the seemingly endless worldwide problem of clergy sexual abuse of minors. You, like the bishops, are treating American Catholics like children and siding with the most reactionary patriarchalist misogynist elements in one of our major parties. You are interfering in our political process.

You are entitled to your opinions, but we Americans of all religious persuasions would prefer that you refrain from behaving like a medieval monarch. We are quite able to do our own moral and political thinking without your gratuitous meddling.

Thank you, and have a nice day.

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