Action Alert!

Come, let's not reason together

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 28, 2004

The early favorite for this year's Rembert Award, in the category of Most Confusing Episcopal Message about Politics, is Bishop J. Terry Stieb of Memphis, for this impressive entry.

First the good bishop tells us that St. Thomas Aquinas wrestled with the question of when public figures should be denied the Eucharist-- but doesn't mention where St. Thomas came down on that issue.

Then he notes, correctly, that the Church is not a "museum of saints." We have heard the term communion of saints, which might have some bearing on this issue. But never mind.

Next the bishop tells us that the Church should not politicans what to think. Nevertheless, "It is my hope that any public servant who is also a Catholic would willingly sit down with his/her bishop, priest, and pastor and reason together about issues which are vital to our lives as Church and as a society."

And if you want to know why politicians should line up pastors to act as campaign consultants, the answer comes in the very next sentence: "If someone is for the death penalty, we must reason together about why that violates the consistent ethics of life as much as abortion."

If that's true, then the Church herself has not been very consistent on the ethics of life, since for 20 centuries the Church affirmed the right of the state to use capital punishment. (Care to consult St. Thomas Aquinas on that issue?) But then again, the Church is not a museum of saints.

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