BY MICHAEL MULLINS
David Gibson’s dotCommonweal blog titled “Rick Santorum on the Catholic cafeteria” identifies Santorum’s honesty in admitting that he does not necessarily accept the teaching of the Bishops when they speak against capital punishment or the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He distinguishes between “prudential matters” such as these, and “moral absolutes” that include abortion, contraception and gay marriage. Blogger Gibson says:
Give Santorum credit for honesty. He seems to have finished that reexamination, and concluded that the bishops and the magisterium are wrong on a number of issues, including torture and the death penalty ... And the bishops don’t appear to be holding his feet to the fire.
Australia Incognita thinks the Australian Bishops should be holding former NSW premier Kristina Keneally’s feet to the fire.
Keneally, who is theologically educated, has put forward what she argues is a Catholic position in favour of gay marriage, most recently following the release of the Victorian Bishops’ Pastoral Letter The True Meaning of Marriage. Incognita refers to Keneally alongside her suggestion of what to do about the gay Catholic activist group Rainbow Sash and its spokesperson Michael B. Kelly.
Here’s my suggestion to the bishops: excommunicate anyone who belongs to this organisation for their attacks on the bishops today and their advocacy of positions contrary to Church teaching...
***PS And while you're at it, perhaps Cardinal Pell might finally act on ex-NSW Premier Kristina Keneally MP, following her performance on the ABC News tonight on top of her past voting and leadership record on moral issues...
Sentire Cum Ecclesia points out that the Victorian Bishops are using the carrot rather than the stick. They're informing them so that they can intelligently and conscientiously participate in the democratic process.
One journalist asked [spokesperson Bishop Christopher Prowse] something along the lines of: ‘But surely there are many Catholics who support the change in the law to allow same-sex marriage?’ His reply was that this is precisely why the letter was written – to begin a process of discussion and catechisation within the Catholic community about the ‘true meaning of marriage’.
In other words, the strategy of the Bishops is to form the conscience of Victorian Catholics so they will use the democratic processes to assert the Catholic view on the meaning of marriage.
At v2catholic, Brian Lewis has some reflections on the meaning of conscience.
The ancient philosophers had it right when they coined the phrase 'action follows being'. It is our inner selves, our 'fundamental conscience', that fashions and shapes the moral quality of our particular choices.
Bloggers may differ on the carrot and the stick, but Sentire Cum Ecclesia supports a point made recently by Australia Incognita about how Catholics represent their position in the media.
We can and do and must argue from reason and natural law when we take our stand in the public square. We cannot expect much gain from appealing to authorities which non-Catholics do not recognise.
But this approach presumes that shock jocks and the like use sound reason rather than bluster. New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan found himself face to face with FoxNews’s Bill O’Reilly. Michael O’Loughlin at America’s In All Things thinks O’Reilly and others are caricaturing the bishops.
Cardinal Dolan seems to suggest that secularists in the Obama administration are using the issue of birth control, which is used by most Catholics, to further their secular agenda. O'Reilly goes one step further, claiming that there is a concerted effort driven by politicians and the secular media to drive religious people away from the public square. Cardinal Dolan doesn't quite take that bait, but does nod approvingly at O'Reilly.
Michael Mullins, founding editor of CathNews, compiles this 'Blog Watcher' column every Monday.
Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.