Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

So, should we stop electing Catholics to public office?

Posted by Charles II on April 14, 2009

One of the great issues of the day when John F. Kennedy was running for President was whether he would be independent of the Vatican. Prior to that, it had been impossible for a Catholic to serve as president because of the fear, stoked by Protestant bigotry, that the Holy See might use its influence and the threat of excommunication to coerce a president to act at their behest.  When JFK was elected, we thought that issue had been laid to rest.

Now, the Catholic Church is resuscitating those fears by leaning on politicians to trim their political beliefs to suit the church. The latest chapter, which had been furiously denied by all sides, has now been reported by an Italian newspaper, Il Giornale (via Il Guardiano):

The Vatican has vetoed three of Barack Obama‘s potential nominees as US ambassador amid a growing dispute between the White House and the Roman Catholic church over the new administration’s support for abortion rights and the lifting of a ban on stem cell research.

Vatican sources told Italy‘s Il Giornale newspaper that among those rejected were Caroline Kennedy and two other Roman Catholics who were unacceptable to the pope because they have publicly stood against church dogma.

The conservative Il Giornale described the vetoes as part of a “trial of strength between Barack Obama and the US church that involves the Holy See”, amid uproar among the church’s hierarchy after America’s principal Catholic university, Notre Dame, invited the president to give an address and receive an honorary degree next month.

Catholic candidates need to be asked whether their first loyalty is to the United States or to Rome.

6 Responses to “So, should we stop electing Catholics to public office?”

  1. Doran said

    Same would go for Jewish candidates vis a vis Israel, wouldn’t you say?

  2. Charles II said

    I don’t think so, Doran. There’s no rabbi in Israel threatening Jewish politicians with hellfire and damnation for voting a different way than the synagogue… or even the state, since Israel is a religious state. They do threaten them with negative ads but, as long as it’s done with the dollars of other American Jews, that’s called politics. If they use foreign dollars, it’s illegal.

    What’s dirty about what Ratzinger (and like-minded clerics) is doing is that he is using politician’s deeply held emotional beliefs to terrorize them, not just threaten their job security. And, by the way, the Vatican is using the tax-free advantages the Catholic Chuch enjoys to finance the operation.

  3. Doran said

    Charles, you surprise me. Recent (the past 8 years) history has demonstrated that there are Jewish Americans who seem to have problems sorting out their loyalties. America? Or Israel?

    There may be no rabbi, etc etc, but there is a Zionist state, an Israeli Mossad, and Jews in America and Israel willing to carry on espionage activities against America. Which do you consider the most heinous: A Catholic State that damns Catholics to their own version of hell, or a Zionists State that spys on America and corrupts American Jews to spy on America?

  4. Charles II said

    There are two separate issues, Doran. The first is whether there are American Jews with divided national loyalties. This falls in the category of treason.

    Do I have to say that treason is bad? OK, treason is bad.

    The second is the use of a church to manipulate policy decisions, which may or may not have national security implications. Notice the differences: in the first case, the threat comes from individuals. In this case, it fundamentally comes from an institution. In the first case, the individuals jobs may be threatened as a form of blackmail. But in the second, their souls are threatened.

    This may not have much resonance if you aren’t a believer. Use your imagination.

    Finally, spies are trying to steal information. The Vatican is trying to control our government.

    If the institution doing this manipulation were domestic–imagine if the Chuch of Scientology had, say, 150 members of Congress as acolytes– it would be troubling. But since the Vatican is a foreign state, it’s even more serious.

    I realize there are parallels between, on the one hand, the state of Israel (which is a religious organization) paying people and threatening the jobs of others to accomplish its ends and, on the other hand, the Catholic Church terrorizing politicians to try to force them to fall in line. The situations are, however, fundamentally different.

    With Jews who choose to spy on America, like Pollard, there’s really nothing Americans can do except catch them and imprison them. But many Catholic politicians have resisted the heavy-handed tactics of the Vatican. We can back them up by, for example, putting the screws on politicians who cave to the Vatican.

  5. Doran said

    I am more concerned with the espionage activities of a foreign government, using turncoat Americans, than I am about a foreign government trying to control the voting practices of national politicians. The potential for serious mischief is much greater in the former than in the latter. At this time, the latter is hardly more than a carnival sideshow. If, on the other hand, elected Senators and Congressman in substantial numbers come under the control of any religious state or movement, including Southern Baptists, I would be more concerned about that than about espionage.

    I think the parallels between Israel and the Vatican are more substantial than you seem to think. The Israeli State and the Vatican State/Catholic Church evoke similar levels of loyalty in their respective adherents and supporters. As a contrast, can you imagine the Church of England generating anywhere near the same kind of loyalty in Americans? I cannot.

    And consider this: Since at least the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967, the espionage activities of the Israeli State against America have done more damage than anything any Catholic Pope or the Vatican State have ever accomplished. (With the possible exception of the Vatican Bank scandals and Catholic child abuse scandals.)

  6. Charles II said

    You’re welcome to your opinion, Doran. I’ve explained that espionage and treason are already crimes, that using foreign money to influence politics is already illegal, but that manipulation of policy by threatening people with excommunication is for reasons unknown not regarded legally as foreign interference.

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