Benedict XVI: Church can make better politicians

That’s the pontiff’s message, delivered last weekend to a meeting of the Vatican’s department on the laity. Via CNS:

“In a special way, I reaffirm the necessity and urgency of the evangelical formation and pastoral accompaniment of a new generation of Catholics involved in politics, that they would be coherent with their professed faith,” morally upright, professional and passionate about serving the common good, he said.

On the other hand, many in the United States would point out that church leaders haven’t done such a great job of “formation” lately, in part because they can’t get on the same page themselves. There was the South Carolina pastor, Father Jay Scott Newman, whose open letter on Obama voters needing to confess their mortal sin before receiving communion has sparked more divisions, with conservatives acting like, well “dissenters,” shall we say. The cafeteria line is long. (Update: Father Newman confesses his own sin of writing the letter “in haste.”)
Then there was of course Cardinal Stafford’s blast at Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic”–that coming on the heels of the pope’s congratulatory chat with the President-elect. Then again, a Vatican official tells TIME’s Jeff Israely there’s “more fear here than wrath” but if the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) passes and Obama signs it–the act has become a favorite bogey man for the pro-life right–“it would be the equivalent of a war.”
Few believe Obama would want a “war of choice,” so to speak, especially if he is to meet the pope next July in Rome, as seems likely. (And the Vatican is happy about most other aspects of the change from a Republican to an anti-Iraw War, pro-social justice Democrat in the White House.)
In fact, Obama could probably teach church leaders a few things about politics. And they may want to listen, especially if the war within the GOP takes a turn toward moderation rather than the Palinista base. If that happens, the hierarchy could be left without a political sponsor, or a political base.

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posted November 19, 2008 at 12:26 am

So, is the Vatican official saying that if FOCA passes and Obama signs it into law, it would then be just for Catholics, this being an act of “war,” to I don’t know, plot assassination attempts against the President, bomb Federal offices. Is the Vatican suborning treason for American Catholics? Does it hate us that much? All for giving non-Catholic women a legal right not to follow Catholic teaching?

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posted November 19, 2008 at 10:22 am

It seems to me that this is nothing more than the identification that life is sacred and everyone, including politicians, should protect human life in all its forms. I believe it is also a call to all Catholics (and in my opinion, all Christians, and others that hold the sanctity of life) to advocate life. Who else is defending the unborn?____Remember, if this progresses, Doctors and Hospitals that do not believe in terminating life, or it is against their religion to do so, can be forced to perform these procedures or face lose of license or worse.____Wouldn’t it be a violation of the beliefs of the religions that believe in the sanctity of life if this bill (FOCA or the like) is passed?____So, war may be a harsh word, but the opposition to these may require battles, like in the courts. I am sure they are not advocating violence. That would be in contradiction to Christian values (love the sinner, hate the sin).____I also believe that this is a time that is different than in the past. It seems that we did not have to worry too much about politicians passing a bill that allows the termination of life as a choice for a few or particular group.

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kerry monahan

posted November 21, 2008 at 9:19 am

Goodmorning, I hope the
president goes to rome for a peacceful visit. Happy Holidays. Kerry

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posted November 25, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Hats off to the Catholic politicians who have decided that their beliefs aren’t to be forced on others. Several (to the displeasure of the RCC) have made that clear. The right to a save termination for women seeking one should always be there. Yes, choices should be presented, as that decidion should never be hurried. However in the end, it is up to a woman and her consicience.

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posted November 25, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Above post mine: 2:41PM pagansister

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posted March 24, 2009 at 2:59 am

Former seminarians whose training and education in the seminary should have prepared them for better political leadership should be encourage to enter politics. However, an alliance of exseminarians (see my article “Walking Together”) must be formed to support and guide them in their political activities.

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