Logical leap

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Oct 20, 2004

Speaking to Catholic voters in Denver-- who have been catechized on their voting responsibilities by Archbishop Chaput-- John Kerry (as the Denver Post story recounted) "pointed to a recent letter received by the U.S. bishops from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's arbiter of matters of faith and doctrine, who said it is not necessarily sinful for Catholics to consider all aspects of a public official's record...."

It's "not necessarily sinful." How does that sound as a campaign slogan? Can you see it on a bumper sticker? "Vote for Kerry; it's not necessarily sinful."

But in the very next paragraph, the Post reports: "Kerry said he had the best record in the Senate when it came to Catholic issues."

Wow! Did your eyes just lose vertical hold? From "not necessarily sinful" to "the best" in just one paragraph!

I wonder if the Vatican will consider changing the requirements for canonization, so that if you do a few things during your life that are "not necessarily sinful," you're a saint!

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 21, 2004 12:05 PM ET USA

    John Kerry has done the Church a great service. It is grossly hypocritical for him to support the legal "right" to kill the unborn despite his public admission that he believes that life begins at conception. Hundreds (thousands?) of priests and bishops support him. Eventually they will be called to account for that support. I only hope that certain miters will fall in the process. The barns need to be cleansed.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 21, 2004 10:48 AM ET USA

    miasarx, Don't worry when we will have a critical mass of bishops and priests with guts. There is already that critical mass in China, North Korea, the old Soviet Union, and numerous other countries. The US will achieve that critical mass at a cost unfortunately since we will vote ourselves into it and God will let this nation exercise free will till we have to have an underground Church. Then we will all be put to the test for our Faith.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2004 10:22 PM ET USA

    The good news is that when Kerry gets elected president, as the head of the government, and according to canon law, he is beyond the reach of the bishops. He is answerable only to the Pope. What kind of awards will the Vatican be honoring him with as he presides over the devolution of the Chursh's US patrimony to secular (ie culture of death) purposes?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2004 10:00 PM ET USA

    C'mon, Phil. We all know that before it's all over there will be a papal knighthood in it for Kerry. As easy as those things are given out, I'm surprised you're not a papal knight of some sort--oh wait, you don't have a billion dollars and contempt for the Church.

  • Posted by: miasarx - Oct. 20, 2004 4:28 PM ET USA

    Will we ever get a critical mass of bishops & priests with GUTS? Who will actually teach the WHOLE TRUTH? Who will preach FEARLESSLY (showing that they are filled with the Holy Spirit)? Who will guard the deposit of the faith and protect the Eucharist from PROFANATION? They won't go after Kerry because they know that Kerry is just one of THOUSANDS of badly catechized Catholics, blithely receiving Holy Communion in spite of disobeying the moral teaching of the Church. God save us.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2004 3:53 PM ET USA

    Exceedingly well put, Phil, and the rest of you are right on ! May I add that there must be enough lightning bolts left in the heavens to deal adequatety with a diabolical master of double-talk ! "I have a 'civil right' to be a 'Catholic' who is not a Catholic." So what if your eyes lost their "vertical hold" !

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Oct. 20, 2004 1:28 PM ET USA

    The fruits of ambiguity and long subordinate clauses: Roma locuta -- now what the heck did they mean?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2004 12:54 PM ET USA

    Kerry’s statement illustrates his gross ignorance of the True Faith and the shallowness of his phony Catholicism. I’ll bet if you ask him what these “Catholic issues” are, he’d recite that tired old litany of social justice concerns that are such popular discussion items amongst the members of the USCCB and the feeble inhabitants of America’s now largely-defunct nunneries. Abortion-on-demand is murder, and you don’t have to be Catholic to know that. Just ask a good Methodist.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2004 11:24 AM ET USA

    Whose fault is it that a scam artist can get away with outrageous public statements regarding Catholic faith? Perhaps the bumper sticker might also be appropriate on a number of bishops' automobiles: "Listen to me, not necessarily sinful."

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2004 11:10 AM ET USA

    Cardinal Ratzinger's letter is cited out of context for crass political gain. A bishop, or perhaps Cardinal Ratzinger himself, could respond more effectively by calling a press conference and clarifying the issue rather than by further letters, documents etc. While written documents are, for reasons of record as well as catachesis, invaluable, the episcopacy needs to learn to respond to misrepresentations of Church teaching in a way that reaches more people, i.e. through the mass media.