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Yesterday I pulled my little boy from Catholic school where he's gone for three years. It was the elementary school I attended as a child.

Today he sits in public school and we don't have a church anymore. It feels really good.

Here in Biden's hometown, Bishop Martino continues his nonsense, driving people away from the church, which now appears to be more of a Political Action Committee and a Pedophile Paradise than a place of faith in God.

Over the weekend, our local newspaper printed Scranton Diocese comes clean on abusive priest about how our diocese protected and hid priests who were found to be molesting little boys. It's been a Catholic tradition in Scranton for decades.

Former eighth-grade teacher now living in a Missouri facility under 24-hour watch
The Diocese of Scranton has released the name and history of a priest who was found by the church to have sexually abused one boy in the 1970s and who is suspected of abusing at least three more. The diocese had never before disclosed the Rev. Robert Gibson as a sex offender.

The diocese’s account of the priest opens a window on an internal process designed in the 1990s to allow the church to investigate and discipline its own spiritual leaders while also addressing emerging concerns about sexually abusive members of the clergy.

The diocese released the account to address concerns voiced by one of the Rev. Gibson’s victims, now a 48-year-old retired Navy officer, who criticized the diocese’s policy for dealing with abuse victims after reading a story about other victims’ similar concerns published in The Sunday Times in July.

The most troubling aspect to Mr. Baumann is that the accusations against Re. Gibson have never been publicly investigated - even though the diocese knew the priest was a threat. The priest's name is not listed on
Pennsylvania, Missouri or federal Megan’s Law databases and the statute of limitations has expired on charges.

"I am horrified by the constant feeling that the church has one goal — to silence victims, which sounds, looks and feels remarkably like what my abuser did," Mr. Baumann wrote in an e-mail. "If the church was truly interested in helping me and other victims, they would pull their records out and surrender them to the legal authorities."

The diocese said it acted inside its sexual abuse policy which did not require public exposure, but asked victims to come forward.

Mr. Baumann said after the priest molested him, he did not include church bulletins in his regular reading material. He also disputed a letter to the editor from Martino that "Bishop Joseph F. Martino always reaches out personally to each victim to express his deep sorrow."

Baumann said he never heard from Martino.

Whoops. Martino meant that he actually doesn't contact the victim, but would meet with the victims if they wanted...

Several weeks ago, Scranton's infamous Most Rev. Joseph F. Martino said Biden risks refusal of Holy Communion  

The Most Rev. Joseph F. Martino, bishop of Scranton, has strongly supported refusal of Holy Communion for politicians who campaign for or vote in favor of abortion rights.

When asked whether the Democratic vice presidential candidate would be refused Communion should he tour the region, the diocese held firm to its past statements.

"I will not tolerate any politician who claims to be a faithful Catholic who is not genuinely pro-life," Bishop Martino said in a pastoral letter Sept. 15, 2005, and reiterated this week.

"No Catholic politician who supports the culture of death should approach Holy Communion," Bishop Martino said. "I will be truly vigilant on this point."

I couldn't keep my son in this nonsense. I could no longer be a part of this. Weeks ago, a member of Bishop Martino's church was quoted on the front page of the New York Times declaring is support for McCain because Obama is black - wondering if Obama would make it the BLACK HOUSE.

Martino mustn't have had time to speak out against the racist comments though. I've been waiting as a member of his flock to hear him condemn racism, I guess it isn't too important to our beloved church leaders.

Today I got my paper and on the front page Scranton Diocese priests read abortion position letter for voters

Here's the text of the article, the link brings you to where you can read the actual letter from Martino:

A letter from Bishop Joseph F. Martino to be read aloud by priests at all Roman Catholic Masses in the Diocese of Scranton this weekend calls on the faithful to understand and remember the church’s position on abortion come Election Day.

"Jesus Christ ... does not ask us to take up his Cross only to have us leave it at the voting booth door," Bishop Martino says in the two-page pastoral letter, which will also be circulated with all parish bulletins on Saturday and Sunday. In it, he criticizes the laws that protect abortion rights and takes particular aim at political candidates who express support for those rights.

In the letter, Bishop Martino refers to abortion as "homicide" and writes, "It is a tragic irony that ‘pro-choice’ candidates have come to support homicide — the gravest injustice a society can tolerate — in the name of ‘social justice.’"

William Genello, the diocesan spokesman, said he would not characterize the letter as directly political.

Originally posted to the girl on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Good for you for doing this! (5+ / 0-)
    •  Leaving one's church is surely tough. (9+ / 0-)

          Just as it must have been tough for Barack. Be sure to do what he did..take your faith with you when you leave. Don't leave it behind at that church.

    •  I weep for my Church as I wonder about (5+ / 0-)

      my future in it.  Fortunately, my archbishop is not nearly as heavy-handed.  If he was, I might have to walk, too.

      My son is currently in 8th grade at our parish school, and my daughter is a jr in a Catholic HS.  I'm glad that I don't face your dilemma yet.

      I recently contacted our pastor, who's a decent man, about putting voting guides from Common Good.  I offered to buy them myself if I could place them in the back of the church.  I did so in reaction to voting guides from a group calling itself Catholic Answers.  The latter groups guide lists gay marriage as 1 of 5 "non-negotiable" issues.

      It's been about 10 days since I spoke to him, and I've yet to hear back.  I'm not holding my breath at this point.  

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:21:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fair use violation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      the girl

      Please recommend the comment below.

    •  Are you going to find another church? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      latts, OJD, marybluesky, the girl, deerang

      A lot of people here at Kos bash religion, partly, I am assuming, because its good name is dragged through the dirt by the "Religious" Right.  However, not all religion is as hypocritical as Kossacks and your diocese seem to believe.  There are a lot of other churches out there that aren't nearly so hypocritical.  I am an Episcopalian, and I know that the tenets of my church's teaching is not just in step with the teaching of Christ, but with the views of Progressives and Democrats.  It makes me sad every time religion is demonized here because, at least to me, my religion is all about the same thing that everyone else here wants: social progressivism, help for the poor and needy, an end to bigotry, and an inclusive society.  

      •  I am fine right now (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        just like when you decide to get a cat. The cat finds you.

        When it is time for us to have a new church, it will find us. Right now I've had my fill.

        I felt good today because I fought for the good of my country - My 8-year-old son after his first canvass.

        by the girl on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:56:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't read all your comments (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the girl

          In the comment section before I posted, but as I read the rest of the comments, I kind of got the impression that you were fed up.  I had a similar thing happen to me.  Four years ago, the Episcopal Church ordained an openly gay bishop; the diocese that I live in, Pittsburgh, as well as a few other dioceses vehemently dissented.  The hurtful and slanderous things that my bishop said were beyond my comprehension.  He called my entire parish, as well as anyone else who agreed with the consecration of the gay bishop, unchristian and Satan worshippers.  Religion can really suck.

          •  I think I am fed up with organized (0+ / 0-)

            religion, but having been a Catholic my whole life, I have really no idea what else is out there.

            Doesn't mean I stop believing, but I have stopped believing in everyone and anyone who uses blasphemy to control other people.

            I have a feeling God, like Obama, is seeing the worst of people these days. And it makes me sick that they do it in the name of their religion and in the name of God. SICK.

            I really feel no need right now to belong anywhere. I belong where I am. My son too. Not sure where that is, just sure of where that isn't.

            I felt good today because I fought for the good of my country - My 8-year-old son after his first canvass.

            by the girl on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 02:06:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  For once i agree with them. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, pademocrat, the girl

    There's a baptist church around the corner from my house and everyday they like to put up little sayings on their board like "Pray for the children."  "Choose life." or other nonsense typical of a thumper.

    Yesterday they had one that said "When things are going in a bad direction, praying to God can help do a U-Turn."

    The whole country is going to hell and I thought to myself.  "I'll pray to god on November 4th.  Then never pray again."

    "In the stream of consciousness, There is a river crying, Living comes much easier, Once we admit, We're dying." - Petrucci

    by Ex Real Republican on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:06:56 AM PDT

  •  if you do not oppose pedophile priests (11+ / 0-)

    denounce every one of them and make their names known to the public you should not receive holy communion either.  Right Bishop?  Or does that go against political talking points?

    Republicans are not a national party anymore. Read My Lips: One Spouse, One House.

    by jalapeno on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:06:57 AM PDT

  •  It would be a sight to behold (13+ / 0-)

    If during the reading Catholic women who believe in the right to choose stood up and walked out.

    I know many Catholic women you do not believe in abortion for themselves because of their faith, but equally believe it is not right to make their beliefs the beliefs of all women.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:07:13 AM PDT

  •  so blatant... depressing. I am sitting here (5+ / 0-)

    trying to comment and find myself commentless. :(

    "Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave." - Thucydides

    by JasperJohns on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:07:56 AM PDT

  •  Good diary but (7+ / 0-)

    this is way beyond fair use on your quotes from the Scranton Times, sorry.  Please choose your favorite snips and send folks back to the paper for the rest.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:08:09 AM PDT

    •  I hopefully fixed that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, lgmcp

      New at this diary stuff. I apologize.

      I felt good today because I fought for the good of my country - My 8-year-old son after his first canvass.

      by the girl on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:31:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good job, thanks! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne, the girl

        Appreciate the quick fix. You might wish to peruse detailed guidelines as linked in the FAQ:

        Limited copying within the bounds of the doctrine of "fair use" is permitted. A reasonable rule-of-thumb is that copying three paragraphs from a normal-length news article or editorial is acceptable. (This, however, is not a safe-harbor. If even three paragraphs seems like "too much," then copy less or nothing at all.) For more on fair use, please visit this site.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:36:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow loaded diary here. Couple of thoughts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, khloemi, the girl

    I am unsure why the church' pedophile preist issue is connected to the endorsement of a candidate solely on an abortion stance.

    Its interesting that the Bishop manages to tie Iraq into the discussion, when imo a life is a life, unjustly taking an innocent Iraqi life is as damning as an abortion. The Bishop's position of weight assigned to issues is exactly contrary to catholic and christian beliefs. Gravity of sin is less relevant.

    Its selective pro-lifeism. It would be an interesting discussion to engage in.  

  •  as a Scranton native (9+ / 0-)

    I'm sad and extremely pissed

    John McCain gets economic advice from subprime mortgage banking lobbyist

    by gaspare on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:09:22 AM PDT

  •  Explain to me (8+ / 0-)

    Why they are able to keep their tax free status? It is illegal for them, as a tax exempt organization, to campaign from the pulpit.

    Really. The IRS has no qualms about going after people who violate tax law. But the only church I ever heard of that lost their status was a church that preached "Peace" from the pulpit, against the Iraq war - how dare they!

    I don't get it. Was the IRS overtaken by right wing religious psychopaths as well? Many federal agencies were.

  •  sounds to me like a very good reason (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, applegal, the girl

    to tax the churches...

    if they're going to be political, then they're going to be taxed...

    Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld, a miracle made possible by John McCain.

    by Airmid on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:10:23 AM PDT

  •  Rather odd that somehow Guiliani never drew the (10+ / 0-)

    heat from the Catholic hierarchy for his abortion stance.  And I've yet to see anyone go after politicians who support the death penalty.

  •  When some bomber blows up a clinic.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, Floande, the girl

    people like martino should be charged as co-conspirators. By constantly ratcheting up the rhetoric, they give official sanction to acts of violence against caregivers who provide LEGAL abortion services.

    Tom Daschle: "John McCain has George Bush policies, a Karl Rove campaign, and a Dick Cheney attitude".

    by Azdak on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:12:06 AM PDT

  •  Tax Political Churches (7+ / 0-)

    Yank that tax-exempt status. You want to play politics from the pulpit?  Yoik!

    If that is so, then we must tend our own gardens then.

    by Otherday on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:12:56 AM PDT

  •  It's Hard to Decide (4+ / 0-)

    Who is more of an asshat.

    Those performing the sacrament with dirty hands, or those who so desire the sacrament that they don't care about the hands from which they receive it.

    It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that priests and parishioners alike are all apologists for criminal pedophilia, whatever they think about any other issue.

  •  Catholic church lost any credibility with me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Massconfusion, the girl

    when I was 18 and left it for good. That was a long long time ago.

  •  This bishop's letter (4+ / 0-)

    does not match what the national bishops' organization put out as guidance for voters.

    You usually get what you paid for.

    by IowaMike on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:14:53 AM PDT

    •  Yes. Ran into something similar to this in '04 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, OJD, Massconfusion, the girl

      My church dispensed "A Voters Guide for Serious Catholics", which all but endorsed Bush (no names were mentioned, but abortion was the big issue).  The Diocese put out a different voters' guide, one that was much more open ended and and even handed. I confronted our pastor, explaining that his brochure was produced by a lay organization, and was not endorsed by the church, and furthermore, a statement had been made denouncing this particular leaflet.

      He blew me off.

      The church can make offical statements, but priests and bishops sometimes behave the way they want to based on their own beliefs.

      The mistake that many make (including many anti-Catholic commenters) is that the vocal and often abberant church leader doesn't necessarily speak for the whole church.

  •  I saw something about this on the news (0+ / 0-)
    this morning.  I don't understand why they are throwing politics into churches.  I understand if they simply say something like abortion is wrong (although I don't agree with that), but to throw in any politician's name isn't right.  
  •  Irony alert. (5+ / 0-)

    In an appeal to Catholics’ civic beliefs, as well as their religious ones,

    One civic belief is that bishops don't get to use the cudgel of excommunication to control votes in the legislature.  Another is that putting criminal penalities on matters of religious belief.

    And it is merely controlling politics, too: Biden hasn't had an abortion.  He hasn't procured one.  He hasn't paid for one.  He just wasn't in favor of putting people in prison for having one, and I challenge the bishop to show me where THAT's a sin.

    The fact is, the bishop has no room for American civic beliefs, trying to scandalize Biden by refusing him communion on the basis of being unwilling to punish sin with prison terms.

    "For a man who will turn 72 this month, he's a surprisingly immature politician--erratic, impulsive and subject to peer pressure"--J. Alter

    by Inland on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:16:44 AM PDT

  •  I am also Catholic and deeply offended (9+ / 0-)

    by priests who would use the Eucharist as a weapon.  I hope you find a better church.  There are some truly wonderful, progressive parishes in this country, but you have to be willing to do some legwork to find them.  I vote with my feet!

  •  As someone who has personal expirence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Floande, the girl

    with the church and it's hippocracy I want to commend you!

    Only when the church is financially bankrupt (meaning no donors and empty collection plates) will they suffer from their moral bankruptcy on an appropriate scale!

    Dear god save us from your followers!

  •  As a Catholic (8+ / 0-)

    I often feel we need a humbler Catholic church.

    Benedict has been a humbler Pope than he was a Cardinal, and has spoken out against the one issue voter (something I don't think he would ever have done as Cardinal Ratzinger.)

    Really, if the church wants to lead by example, it is going to need to invest its considerable energies in more personal ministry to its flock and in its sacraments... politics will happen with or without the church.

    On the other hand, what the church is supposed to do, only it can be there for. A humbler, more Jesus-like episcopate would spend more time on healing and acclaiming the gospel, and less time fretting about who they can ban from the communion rail.

    "Instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up..." - Barack Obama.

    by Bobs Telecaster on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:19:30 AM PDT

  •  It must have been hard on your son to change (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    schools, but I applaud your courage in making the changes.  I wish you and your family the best.

    •  He understands (0+ / 0-)

      and did all he could to go off to his new school today with a little skip in his step. He's a good kid. I'm a lucky mom.

      I felt good today because I fought for the good of my country - My 8-year-old son after his first canvass.

      by the girl on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:47:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I feel for you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl, geffdee

    My wife and I left our church home of more than 20 years a few years ago over a non-political issue, but one which we felt was sufficiently important that we simply couldn't continue in good conscience to go there.  We've still got good friends there, and it's painful to not see them every week.

    I've got a question for you:  Is Bishop Martino's letter being read in all Catholic churches in the diocese, or only in the ones that are served by a diocesan priest?  The reason I ask is that I've got a good friend who attends a Jesuit parish that's pretty liberal in its theological approach.  A few years ago, he saw a monsignor that he hadn't seen for a number of years, and the monsignor said to him, "I'm glad to see you're still a Catholic."  His reply was, "Well, at least I'm still a Jesuit."

    But if you can't find a Catholic parish in which you're comfortable, I'd suggest you explore some Episcopal churches.  The liturgy is quite similar and it's basically Catholicism without the Pope and with married priests and female priests.

    Suggested new McCain ad tagline: "I'm John McCain, and I approved of these lies."

    by leevank on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:26:18 AM PDT

  •  The Catholic Church Is a True Conspiracy Theory (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl, geffdee

    I am not a raving lunatice.

    I do not believe in black helicopters, nor in the Trilateral Commission, the Illuminati or any of that.

    But I do believe that the Catholic Church wants to once again hold the political power and effectively rule the Christian world (at least) as it did during the Dark Ages.

    They will tell you as much if you listen between the lines.  And I saw this as a former Catholic.

    First of all, the word "catholic" is Latin for "universal."  


    "The Pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on divine right the pope has supreme and full power in faith and morals over each and every pastor and his flock. He is the true Vicar of Christ, the head of the entire church, the father and teacher of all Christians. He is the infallible ruler, the founder of dogmas, the author of and the judge of councils; the universal ruler of truth, the arbiter of the world, the supreme judge of heaven and earth, the judge of all, being judged by one, God himself on earth." (New York Catechism)

    So, effectively, they are saying that the Pope is as good as God?  

    In his encyclical, "The Reunion of Christendom" (1885), Pope Leo XIII stated that the pope holds "upon this earth the place of God Almighty."

    Provides reinforcement.

    "It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society. The common good of the whole human family calls for an organization of society on an international level." (1927 Catechism)

    Boy oh, boy, sounds like the ole dreaded 'One World Government' plan to me.  Headed by the Pope, of course, since he's God on the Earth.  Or the next best thing to it.

    The Church of Christ is the Roman Catholic Church, which is the unique means of salvation in the world. Any religion outside of the Roman Catholic Church, whether Greek Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, etc., despite whatever truths they may possess, or even valid sacraments, are false religions. (Pope Benedict XVI, the current Pope.)

    Because this is not a diary, I won't touch on their history, or the fact that the Catholic Church has denied responsibility for it.

    Let's just say that I too feel really good to be out of that organization.

  •  The Archbishop of Detroit did this in 2002 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    He had a pro-life pastoral letter read in all parishes in the diocese several weeks before the 2002 midterm election. It was clearly aimed at Jennifer Granholm, who is Catholic and pro-choice. Local political observers believe that the pastoral letter cost her some support among church-going Catholics, but she won anyway.

    John McCain's Straight Talk Express runs on fossil fuels.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:32:14 AM PDT

  •  Function of government or personal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    latts, Ahianne, the girl

    To a Catholic, pre-emptive war, capital punishment, torture, neglect of the poor and aged, and abortion are mortal sins. The first are functions of goverment, the last a personal decision. For the Diocese of Scranton to do this is a blatant power grab.

    It is up to the Catholics of Scranton to tell the Bishop loud and clear that they will not tolerate his (non-canonical) prioritization of one sin over others in deciding a candidate for office, and that they will speak by withholding their contributions.

    By the way, I'm not making doctrine up; in the last election, that was exactly the position that the current Pope took in response to Burke in St. Louis.

  •  Religion is poison. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    All children should be protected from insane and nutty religions.  They're poison.

  •  Unfortunately I've had a similar experience, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    in 2004.

    I stopped attending Mass in 2004, except for a few brief forays to see if I could get over my anger at what went on in my area then (Archdiocese of Denver).

    During the 2004 election, we got a lot of pressure from the pulpit to but the pro-life issue front and center in our voting choice. We heard that not only were pro-choice politicians to be excommunicated, we heard that anybody who VOTED for a pro-choice politican had committed a sin and needed to remove themselves from taking communion until they confessed this egregious act (e.g, were to be excommunicated).

    So I excommunicated myself.

    This was coupled with an incident during the 2004 election where my dad was trying to arrange a local meet-n-greet for a local-level democrat running for the state legislature. (My dad is his precint chairman.) He wasn't having much luck until he was able to make arrangements at my parents' local Knights of Columbus hall (Catholic fraternal organization) where my parents were regular members about two months prior to his event.

    Everything was progressing smoothly, announcements had gone out, etc. Then less than one week before the actual event, the rectory secretary for the church that shares property with the KoC hall called and said that there was a problem and they needed to cancel. The issue?? THE PRIEST HAD NOTICED an event was scheduled with a Democratic candidate and was concerned they might say something pro-choice.

    My dad and the candidate tried to talk to them and reassure them that the candidate wasn't going to use this as a pro-choice pulpit. No dice; they cancelled and my dad had to scramble at the last minute to relocate his event. It ended up getting merged into another event and my dad was furious.

    Oh, the kicker -- a few weeks later my parents saw a notice in the bulletin where they held a rally for a Republican in the same KoC hall my dad was kicked out of. This was bundled with a letter in the bulletin from the pastor reiterating the Church's stance that you should not receive communion if you vote for a pro-life candidate.

    This is the church where I was baptized. My parents haven't set foot in a Catholic church since.

    Here's the kicker -- we're all privately pro-life, publicly pro-choice.

    •  What does privately pro-life mean? (0+ / 0-)

      Are you saying that you yourself wouldn't have an abortion?  That doesn't make you pro-life; it just means that you are choosing not to.  What kills me in the pro-choice/pro-life debate is that pro-choice allows you to choose life.  Really, pro-life is a misnomer.  People who are "pro-life publicly" are really anti-choice.  I feel the same way you do (I think.)  While I would choose life personally, I think everyone should have the right to choose.

      •  It means I don't think abortion is the answer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the girl

        My preference is nobody have an abortion; however I think the issue cannot be enforced with laws, it has to be a moral choice.

        Most importantly, I don't think Catholics can impose their moral pov on non-Catholics, any more than we would want Muslims (for example) to impose their morality on us. In the case of abortion, if we cannot come up with a legal framework that removes religiously-framed morality from the issue, then we should not legislate it.

        Besides, pro-life extends beyond access to abortion. It's coupled with access to birth control. The Catholic Church teaches that no form of artifical birth control is acceptable. The arguments are complicated: my best attempt to boil it down is artificial means of birth control is a hubristic attempt by a person to circumvent God's will -- that we need to be open to whether God wants us to have a baby or not.

        That's all well and good. The Church also has sanctioned means of birth control that don't involve artificial means -- it basically asks you to scientifically gamble. The approved sort of "Catholic birth control" amounts to married people abstaining from sex during those times when they are not open to pregnancy, and only engage in sex when they have reason to believe the risk of pregnancy is low but acceptable. It's more nuanced than that but I don't have space.

        Do we really expect the world to buy into no birth control for anybody? Oh, that'll be really effective.  

  •  Bishop of Scranton (0+ / 0-)

    As a lifelong Catholic who has had to suffer through the grotesque failure of the bishops in America to prevent sexual abuse and to care for the victims, I have tremendous sympathy for the views expressed in "the girl's" diary.  I frankly agreed with uber-conservative Catholic Wick Allison, who wrote in "D Magazine" that the only proper course of action for the American bishops was to resign--all of them.

    And, like "the girl," I'm really tired of Catholics, lay and clergy, telling me I can't vote for Obama without earning a one-way ticket to hell.

    I know, therefore, that I'll earn a five-star troll rating when I say that I wish she'd reconsider her decision to remove her son from Catholic school.  I don't condemn her--who the hell has the right to do that?--but there's a couple of points I'd like to make.  

    First, there's the issue of supporting Obama.  Regardless of Bishop Martino's views, the statement of the national Conference of Bishops makes it clear that it's wrong to tell the laity who to vote for or against.  Of even greater interest is the statement of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.  He said:

    "A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

    What are "proportionate reasons?"  They would include all the positions which Barack Obama holds that mirror Catholic teachings on social justice.  These include opposition to the unjust war in Iraq, recognition of the dignity of workers, assistance to the poor, greater access to health insurance and medical care, family-friendly workplaces, and many others.  In all these respects, Obama is pro-life.

    Barack Obama does not encourage abortions.  Rather, he believes that the law requires that the moral decision be left to individual women, and so does not support the reversal of Roe v. Wade.  Given his overall pro-life stance, and the fact that he is not advocating abortion, but actually espousing a program which would reduce abortion by improving conditions for pregnant women, voting for Obama would be permissible for Catholics under the formulation of the Pope.

    As for the sex abuses scandals, I look at it this way.  One becomes a Catholic (or a Jew or a Protestant or a Muslim), or decides to stay one, based on whether he/she believes that the Church teaches the truth.  Should it be news that members of the Church, clergy or laity, are weak, stupid, or corrupt?  The failings of Church members should not be confused with the fundamentals of the faith.  If someone no longer believes in the truth of Catholic doctrine, than that person should leave the Church.  But it makes no sense to leave a Church whose teachings one believes to be true because a lot of its members don't live up to them.  

    •  I am removing my son because (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I no longer trust the Catholic Church to keep him safe, physically, emotionally, spiritually.

      Like the Republican Party, the Catholic Church has become something that makes me sick. It ain't what it used to be.

      But I understand what you are saying. This diocese is a complete mess, almost as bad as McCain's campaign. The zingers just keep coming from this Bishop.

      I felt good today because I fought for the good of my country - My 8-year-old son after his first canvass.

      by the girl on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:52:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Catholic church story this weekend (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OJD, marybluesky, the girl

    I attend an ethnic parish in Rochester, NY. This past Sunday the deacon stood up and said we need to "not just talk the talk, but walk the walk" and vote for the candidate who is pro-life. Hmm...where have I heard that expression before? He spent 20 minutes railing on how abortion is the root of all the problems we face now and that true Catholics would vote for the pro-life candidate no matter how flawed he is. My husband and I were livid and considered walking out, but instead were talking back from our seats, shaking our heads and reading the bulletin in protest.

    After mass, we heard that our mild-mannered Polish priest confronted the deacon and told him that was unacceptable and he needed to keep his political views to himself or else transfer to another parish. Yay father! We were still seething about it, so yesterday I fired off a 2 page letter to our priest arguing that the deacon's sermon was irresponsible and an abuse of authority. Furthermore, we wrote that abortion is one of many issues that should be priorities for Catholics, including the death penalty (more hypocrisy), the environment, poverty, a war for oil, etc. We just got a voicemail from our priest saying he agreed with us 100% and wants to share our letter (not sure yet with whom, but hopefully our bishop). So it's good to see some priests standing up against those who claim a moral authority to direct people how to vote under the threat of hell.

  •  Sarah Palin - apostate Catholic. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inland, the girl

    As such, she's automatically excommunicated and ineligible for Communion.  

    Someone should call these heretical bishops (especially that hoosier-loving guy in St. Louis) on their mistaken beliefs.

    9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

    by varro on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:55:27 AM PDT

  •  I stopped believing in God, and I miss Him. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    That's a quote from a new book (sorry I don't have time to get the name and author--the author was interviewed on Bob Edwards Weekend on NPR), but it says what you may begin to feel after leaving our Mother Church.
    I left the Catholic Church due to the combined effect of the priest abuse scandal in Los Angeles and Bush's invasion of Iraq as an answer to his daily prayers.
    The bishop who confirmed my daughter was under subpoena at the time, meaning he was at least a witness, if not an accomplice, to the priest abuse scandal in LA.
    Bush said he prays to God every day, and that's why he's so sure about the invasion being the right thing to do.
    At that point, God took my faith away.
    And I'm fine now.

    Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. Satchel Paige 1906-82

    by threesmommy on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 10:07:56 AM PDT

    •  God is still okay by me (0+ / 0-)

      It is the organized 'religion' that uses his name to impose power over innocent children that bugs me.

      I felt good today because I fought for the good of my country - My 8-year-old son after his first canvass.

      by the girl on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 12:19:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bishop Martino's "vigilance" should be directed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    at pedophile priests instead of challenging politicians' support of "free will", which the Church claims has been given to us all by God. The Church conveniently ignores the economic, social, and human issues of what must be a difficult and painful decision and declares both the choice and support of the person making the choice a sin. This is similar to the conservative's belief that poverty is a life style choice. The Church's teachings on abortion and its abyssmal failure to resolve the pedophilia crisis are rooted in a deeply flawed and purposely twisted view of human sexuality. Rather than recognize pedophilia as a pyschological problem, the Church preferred to think of it as a sin, a minor aberration, that could be treated with prayer and forgiveness rather than a disease that required preventing any contact between the pedophile and potential victims. The teaching on abortion is based upon the go forth an multiply Biblical suggestion that has has spawned the procreationist mentality in which any human sexual activity that is not intended to result in giving birth is wrong. Sex is intended purely for preservation of species and creating more Christians and future donors to the Church coffers. The idea of sex being an act of intimacy, giving, and love does not fit in with the Church's narrowly defined role for human sexuality. Not only do they not understand the role of sex in human behavior, they refuse to make any allowances for it in their willful ignorance. This attitude colors all of their teachings pertaining to sex and procreation. Having children should be a decision that both parents fully accept and want. It should be a joyous occasion. Unfortunately, there are circumstances that lead people to make the difficult decision to abort. I cannot condemn them for making that decision because I don't have the gift of looking into people's souls and seeing what moves them. Only God, and perhaps George Bush, can do that. But judging people is something we are supposed to leave to God anyway according to Christ. Yet somehow the Church and many so-called Christians just can't seem to avoid doing so. Maybe Bishop Martino had better keep vigilant against the hypocrisy that poses the greatest threat to Christianity instead of people who are trying to follow Christ's example of compassion.  

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