There's nothing wrong with your ears, folks. The sound you're hearing is probably the spinning that Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy is doing in her grave over the recent statement made by her grandson, Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, attacking the head of the Roman Catholic Church which Mrs. Kennedy loved so much. James Taranto, the author of the daily "Opinion Journal" of the Wall Street Journal, wrote this article yesterday about it:
"A group of 18 Catholic House Democrats publicly disputed Pope Benedict XVI's recent condemnation of politicians who support abortion rights, saying that 'such notions offend the very nature of the American experiment,' " the Religion News Service reports:
On his flight to Brazil last Wednesday (May 9), Benedict said Catholic politicians in Mexico City who recently voted to legalize abortion could consider themselves excommunicated from the church. The Vatican later said the pope was merely restating church policy, which calls for Catholics who participate in abortions to exclude themselves from taking Holy Communion.
On Monday (May 14), Catholic House Democrats said Benedict's comments "do a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done."
"The fact is that religious sanction in the political arena directly conflicts with our fundamental beliefs about the role and responsibility of democratic representatives in a pluralistic America--it also clashes with freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution," a statement from the 18 lawmakers said.
What a delightful display of arrogance. These congressmen are essentially accusing the pope of being un-American--that is, they are questioning his patriotism. Or they would be, anyway, if the pope were American. In fact, the pope is a leader of a foreign state, and they are demanding, as Americans, that he come to heel. What are they, a bunch of neocons?
Of course, what they are really doing is defying the pope's authority, as leader of the Catholic Church, to make and enforce pronouncements about the obligations of a Catholic. In no way does this offend American pluralism. Pluralism allows for a variety of views on abortion and other subjects, and American politicians are free to follow or reject the teachings of their church, as they see fit.
What these congressmen--among them Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island and Joe Baca of California--are saying is that at least when it comes to abortion, they are liberals first and Catholics second.