Last Sunday the Catholic Church took out a full-page ad in theOregonian to “remind Catholics that abortion, homosexuality andsame-sex marriage are incompatible with receiving Holy Communion” -not just the acts themselves, but also any support of them.
John Kerry, a Catholic to whom some bishops have said they woulddeny Communion, had a brilliant moment in the third presidentialdebate that went completely unreported. Kerry noted his faith, andthat his personal position was in line with his church’s teachings.However, as a legislator, he felt it would be wrong to impose hismorality on others who did not share his faith.
How utterly American! What a divine example of the separationbetween church and state! And how hellish that the Catholic Churchis now trying to sway its flock from voting for him, because hewon’t run the country according to their rules!
According to the full-page ad, Catholic moral doctrine respectsthe “rightful autonomy of the political or civil sphere from thatof religion and the church – but not from morality.”
By stating this, they are implying that the church has ahands-off policy towards politicians, yet still can call them totask when they are not being moral. But this “morality” is definedby church teaching and not individual conscience.
They boldly assert at another part of the advertisement,”Conscience is not the source of morality. The objective norm ofmorality is God’s law known to us through our rational nature anddivine revelation,” i.e. the Bible and the Catholic Church’sinterpretation of it, not yours.
Any first year philosophy student can tell you that thisargument does not work. It is using contradictory premises to reachtwo contradictory conclusions.
Now examine this argument: “Liberal voices argue that it isunfair to deny Holy Communion to Catholics in favor of abortion andhomosexuality and not to Catholics in favor of the death penalty orthe war on terror. However, this is not a valid comparison. TheChurch has always and everywhere taught that abortion,homosexuality and euthanasia are intrinsically evil. It does notteach the same regarding the death penalty or just war.”
This is not an argument, it is a restatement of faulty premises.It ignores the thrust of the liberal argument, that it ishypocritical to view abortion as evil and execution as just. Ifevery life is sacred shouldn’t this be the case?
Instead of addressing this argument, the Catholic Church saysthat because it teaches one thing is good and another evil, theyare. It offers no rationalization for its decision.
This lack of rationalization characterizes the church’s blatantpropaganda. Their attempt to intimidate voters into votingaccording to the Catholic organization’s preference is coercion. Ifany other organization attempted this, they would be in court.
But the church is immune from such things, they say, becausethey are not trying to make people vote one way or another, it issimply informing them that their souls will burn for all eternityif they vote against its wishes. But, coming from a group of menwho cover up for perverts who sexually abuse altar boys, who can besurprised?