mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

Rudy and Ray

Archbishop Raymond Burke of St Louis:

"If any politician approached me and he'd been admonished not to present himself, I'd not give it [communion]," Burke told The Associated Press Wednesday. "To me, you have to be certain a person realizes he is persisting in a serious public sin." Asked if the same would apply to politicians who support the death penalty or pre-emptive war, he said, "It's a little more complicated in that case." [source]

Rudy Giuliani:

"Archbishops have a right to their opinion, you know. There's freedom of religion in this country. There's no established religion, and archbishops have a right to their opinion. Everybody has a right to their opinion". [source]

Rudy's right on this one. Short of breaking the law by having sex with minors, engaging in hate speech, etc, clergymen are free to be as nutty as they choose. They make up the rules for their own little clubs; you join the club, you buy the rules. It's the government who has to be tolerant of differences.

People in public service generally take oaths to uphold the laws of the land, even if they have an expressed intention of changing those laws because of a deeply held belief. We The People are free to elect crusaders and to support radical changes. As zealous reformers, we voted for Prohibition. As realists, we voted to repeal it.

Still, it makes me queasy to hear the mainstream Catholic Church make pronouncements on "serious public sin." Giuliani has never held an office that gave him a vote about the legality of abortions. If he had shut down abortion clinics in New York City, he would have violated his oath of office. I don't think we have the stomach for electing more officials who perform acts of civil disobedience because of their religious or personal convictions. President Bush has shown us what results.

Rudy is probably smart to toss out a genial "whatever" to the Bishop's bloviations. Public ethics and political morality are so much more complicated than embryo politics and what makes someone a public sinner.

Anyway, it's private sin that damns us all in the end.

10.7.07

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