The Catholic Church is famously (notoriously, in the view of some) pro-life yet we constantly see Catholic politicians in the U.S. who take a pro-abortion stand. Folks such as Ted Kennedy and Geraldine Ferraro come to mind. At the same time they seem to maintain their status as 'good Catholics'. I'm not a Catholic, nor do I play one on tv, however I've always been annoyed by those who try to play both sides of it. These folks want the political benefits of being Catholic, plus they're generally Catholic by habit and culture. But they clearly are not Catholic by belief. (I'm not either, therefore I don't pretend to be one.)
The Vatican has now issued a statement challenging these folks to actually practice the faith they profess:
A new set of guidelines approved by Pope John Paul II for Catholic politicians said church opposition to abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage was not up for negotiation.
Their release comes a week before major demonstrations planned in the United States by abortion rights and anti-abortion groups and amid continuing efforts, mainly in Europe, to legalize euthanasia and gay marriages.
Personal belief choices ought to have real life consequences. But we live in a society that somehow manages to separate the two. 'Religion is private' becomes the mantra for those who want to pretend to be religious on Sunday morning, but stash an intern under the desk the rest of the week. Such compartmentalization certainly is pragmatic, but it's hardly consistent or admirable.
As an example to Catholics in public life the Vatican has held up Sir Thomas More:
While not offering concrete examples of legislation for Catholic politicians to promote, the document proposed a model for them to emulate: St. Thomas More, the 16th-century lawyer and diplomat who refused to renounce the pope and recognize the king as head of the English church.
King Henry VIII had More beheaded for his positions. Two years ago, Pope John Paul II made More the patron saint for politicians.
"He taught by his life and his death that 'man cannot be separated from God, nor politics from morality,"' the document said.
Now that's a patron saint I can certainly understand--most politicians probably should be beheaded. But of course, preserving their own necks is the primary motivation for the lot of them.