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Thread: Communion Only for Good Politicians

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    Default Communion Only for Good Politicians

    Communion only for good politicians
    Cardinal says it should be withheld in certain cases

    (ANSA) - Vatican City, October 7 - oliticians whose actions undermine the traditional family based on marriage should be refused Communion, a top Vatican cardinal said on Friday .

    Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Vatican department dealing with family affairs, denied that Catholics in politics had the option of believing one thing privately while acting in a way which implied another./b]

    His comments at a Vatican synod came amid growing debate over the role of Catholics in politics, especially where questions such as divorce, abortion and the rights of unmarried couples are concerned .

    They must know that by proposing and defending unjust laws, such as those that don't protect the family (they have) a serious responsibility and they must put right the evil done in order to have access to Communion," Cardinal Trujillo said.

    "Can you allow Communion to those who deny human and Christian values?" he added, in a speech to the meeting of bishops from around the world.


    The Colombian prelate said the issues he raised were of vital importance in many countries where "ambiguous" stances by legislators were putting family values at "serious risk" .

    Trujillo paid particular attention to the issue of legal recognition for unmarried couples, including same-sex couples. He said these were a "juridical fiction" which should be condemned because they implied a valid alternative to marriage.

    "This whole tendency is clearly contrary to divine law, God's commandments and is a negation of natural law." The cardinal's comments appeared to refer at least in part to recent events in two of Europe's biggest Catholic countries, Spain and Italy. Spain's leftwing government has introduced a form of 'gay marriage'. In Italy opposition leader Romano Prodi, a practising Catholic, has voiced support for French-style PACS contracts between stable heterosexual and same-sex couples .

    A Vatican document issued in 2003 said Catholic politicians were free to follow a number of different paths but in key ethical areas they must obey the dictates of their faith .

    Dismissing what it called "ethical relativism," the document said Catholics should put forward and defend the Church's "truth" on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, human embryos and the family founded on heterosexual marriage .

    Since the release of the document there has been a rising debate in Catholic circles over how a politician's failure in this area should be treated by the Church .

    In the US in particular there have been calls for politicians who support abortion and divorce to be refused Communion .



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    Italian Abortion Pill Angers Vatican
    Updated: Friday, Oct. 7, 2005 - 10:41 AM


    By ALESSANDRA RIZZO
    Associated Press Writer

    ROME (AP) - Italy's first experiment with the abortion pill RU-486 is sparking controversy in this overwhelmingly Catholic country, with the Vatican paper condemning the experiment this week as an "act against life."

    The denunciation by L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican paper, rekindled accusations of interference in a secular state's domestic affairs. With parliamentary elections due next spring, the Italian Catholic Church has been very aggressive in expressing its opinion on political issues.

    "Yet another act against life," L'Osservatore Romano said in its Thursday edition. "Once again science is put at the service of death."


    Last month Sant'Anna hospital in Turin, northern Italy, started giving out the abortion pill. On Sept. 21 _ after about two weeks and after 26 women took the pill _ Health Minister Francesco Storace halted the experiment, citing legal and health reasons.

    Storace said the pill could only be administered if the patient was hospitalized, to comply with Italy's abortion law.

    Critics said the decision by Storace _ whose right-wing National Alliance party is generally close to the Vatican _ was motivated by political rather than medical reasons. But the minister has dismissed the allegations, saying he just wanted to protect women's health.

    This week the ethical committee for the Piedmont region, which includes Turin, said the experiment could resume, provided that women taking the pill were kept in hospital for at least two nights and were fully informed about the procedure.

    "Our goal was to resume the experiment, so we decided to accept the ministry's requests," Mario Valpreda, Piedmont's top health official and the president of the committee, said in a telephone interview. He insisted that experience in other countries where the pill is used shows that hospitalization is not needed.

    The hospital would resume administering the pill on Oct. 17, Valpreda said.

    The Church, which is strongly opposed to abortion, has considerable sway in Italy. But in a blow to the late Pope John Paul II, a Vatican-backed referendum in 1981 failed to overturn the country's law permitting abortion.

    L'Osservatore Romano said that Turin experiment "makes abortion become an increasingly easy (method of) contraception, the most tragically effective one."

    "We have arrived to such an eclipsing of conscience that we see the act of killing the most defenseless of the innocent as an act of freedom," the paper said.

    In recent months the Italian Catholic Church has spoken out on issues from assisted fertility to legal right for gay couples. It has dismissed accusations that it interferes with Italy's affairs, maintaining it has a duty to express an opinion on moral issues.

    The Vatican's outspokenness has in turn drawn criticism.

    "The only real act against life would be the return to clandestine abortion," Daniele Capezzone, whose Radical Party is a longtime Vatican foe, said in response to L'Osservatore.

    The abortion pill, RU-486 or mifepristone, can be used to terminate pregnancy up to 49 days after the beginning of the last menstrual cycle. It was invented in France in the 1980s.

    It differs from the "morning-after" pill, which is intended to prevent pregnancy by ensuring that an egg does not become fertilized.


    (Copyright 2005 The Associated Press

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    It is impossible for Americans to understand the relationship between the Italian people and the Church. Get this: we love and respect the RCC. That is unmoving. This respect and revrence is seen through all levels of society from the right to the left, from rich to poor, from the simple to the intellectual. People expect the Church to do itīs thing. The Church is against the abortion pill? Bravo. It should be. We would never expect anything less. But does the populace want the choice of being able to have the abortion pill? Of course. Will woman be able to get it? Absolutely. This is a modern liberal European country. There will be a political struggle but secular law will hold. In the mean time, this being a Latin country, laws are very flexible and a blind eye is always turned... you can get what ever you want from your doctor. And a Priest will give you Communion. Itīs all very hypocritical, but this is Italy.... and itīs also kind of wonderful. Italians do not feel threatend by the Church as many Americans feel threatend by the Christian right.

    As far as the Church deneying Communion to politicians who support abortion, gay marriage etc.: this is a Cardinal speaking and not a decree from the Vatican.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio
    It is impossible for Americans to understand the relationship between the Italian people and the Church. Get this: we love and respect the RCC. That is unmoving. This respect and revrence is seen through all levels of society from the right to the left, from rich to poor, from the simple to the intellectual. People expect the Church to do it´s thing. The Church is against the abortion pill? Bravo. It should be. We would never expect anything less. But does the populace want the choice of being able to have the abortion pill? Of course. Will woman be able to get it? Absolutely. This is a modern liberal European country. There will be a political struggle but secular law will hold. In the mean time, this being a Latin country, laws are very flexible and a blind eye is always turned... you can get what ever you want from your doctor. And a Priest will give you Communion. It´s all very hypocritical, but this is Italy.... and it´s also kind of wonderful. Italians do not feel threatend by the Church as many Americans feel threatend by the Christian right.
    Italy in a nutshell. Thank you, Fabrizio; both succinct and eloquent.

    Reminds me again why I like Italy so much.

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    Well, Fabrizio's argument is built an the premise that Italy was the issue as opposed to the Vatican. The article was posted as just another indication of the Vatican's desire to impose its worldview on the internal laws and politics of countries around, like Italy. It is no less threatening and extremist than Islam. One could argue that Iran is co-existing with Islam or that Saudi Arabia is coexisting with Islam. These pronoucements by the Vatican are no less intrusive, threatening and divisive that any fatwa. The issue is the Vatican trying to roll us back to the year 1305, not its relationship with Italy. And, its new leadership by a man who personally assisted in the electing George W Buish - from another family that supported and profitted from rise of Hitler and the Nazi Movement.

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    "It is no less threatening and extremist than Islam. One could argue that Iran is co-existing with Islam or that Saudi Arabia is coexisting with Islam. These pronoucements by the Vatican are no less intrusive, threatening and divisive that any fatwa. The issue is the Vatican trying to roll us back to the year 1305......"

    This is so stupid and know-nothing, I donīt know where to begin. ALL major religions try to influence government. There are Jewish lobbys in the US. You donīt think they try to influence the government? There are Christian lobbys. ALL try to change government policy. The Vatican is against war, against the death penalty, against abortion etc. The litmus test for the RCC is Italy. The RCC has itīs home here. Nearly all of itīs Popes have been Italian, most of its structure is made up of Italians yet Italy has more human rights than the US and much more liberal social policies. There is no gay marriage yet ... some US states are ahead of us on that issue (there is cival unions) and Italy right now is having a huge debate about it. But the RCC is about tolerance and forgiveness not damnation and that infuses all levels of society here and that is because of the RCC. You will not see Catholic evangelist TV in the US anytime soon. You will not see a Catholic Pat Robertson. You will not see the Vatican buying up newspapers (see what religious organisation owns the Washington Times). You will not see Catholics standing on corners handing out flyers or creating front organizations with benign sounding names. Oh and BTW.... will you please show me a list of Catholic politians in Italy who have been excommunicated or denied Communion for supporting social issues that are contrary to the Church? Also: be very, very careful about info you get about the RCC within the US. The ultra-influential Christian right HATES the RCC. They donīt even consider Catholics to be Christian and they have a HUGE propaganda machine against the RCC.... so be informed.

    I will tell you this: Iīve lived in the US and I live here. As far as social environment goes: Iīll take the RCC over Americas Christian right anyday. Any day. Believe me... donīt lose sleep over the Vatican.
    Last edited by Fabrizio; October 9th, 2005 at 09:20 AM.

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    Again, you are relating it to Italy.

    I've worked (paid managerial position) in a Catholic organization in New York. I have a pretty good understanding of the decision making process. The first things considered, regardless of the general welfare of people, are politics.

    The church in the US has interfered in politics and is no better than the fundamentalists, although the Catholic leadership believes it alone has the scholarly right to interpret the Bible. They take great offense that many of these "born-again" churches are started by people who have no "scholarly" knowledge of what they are reading.

    I'll defer to you on what is happening in Italy. The church in Italy vs. the Church's behavior and interference / influence in the world don't necessarily correlate.

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    I agree with Fabrizio's description of the relationship between the Vatican and the Roman Catholics of Italy. When Americans read overwhelmingly Catholic, they think state religion. My own contact with Italian society is through relatives, so I can't speak to what is codified in law; but I can say that in practice, the separation of church and state in Italy is at least as distinct as in the U.S. I suspect that it is the same in other European overwhelmingly Catholic countries, such as Spain and France. Ireland may be an exception (I'll get to that in a moment).

    This relationship between Italians and the RCC is not a modern phenomenon. I saw it in my grandparents who emigrated from Italy early in the 20th century. We lived in their house in Brooklyn until I was 10 years old. Neither they nor my parents regularly attended Sunday Mass, but me and my siblings were required to do so. I sang in the choir; my brother was an altar boy. I thought that, like school, this is what you did until you were an adult.

    The attitude I experienced among the Catholic community (mostly Italian and Hispanic) was that the Church was local. The parish was significantly more important than the Vatican, or even the closer diocese. Somewhat an exception were Irish families, who seemed to have a more ecumenical view, probably due to the struggles with Protestants in Northern Ireland. In any case, Ireland today is rapidly moving toward a more secular society.

    The relationship between my grandfather and his parish and the Vatican can be described by a task he performed once every year. He was a Brooklyn Democrat with liberal views and mostly ignored Vatican edicts. He was also a cabinetmaker, and every summer he would go to the rectory and ask what work needed to be done. No matter what was asked, he would do the work himself. When I was old enough, he took me along as a helper.

    He could have just given money, or sent a couple of employees to do the work. Although we never spoke of it, I think he did this as an acknowledgement of the connection of the RCC to the God of his spirituality. It would be important for that institution to be immutable in its core doctrine, even though some of it was irrelevant in practice.

    I don't think Catholics are going to make much of a fuss over this, certainly not to the level of Christian or Islamic fundamentalists.

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    Zippy: wonderful post.

    Brooklyn: Iīm really rushing and donīt have time right now but:

    To say, "The church in the US has interfered in politics and is no better than the fundamentalists" is at least more even-minded than your ridiculous and intellectually void comment:

    "it is no less threatening and extremist than Islam. One could argue that Iran is co-existing with Islam or that Saudi Arabia is coexisting with Islam. These pronoucements by the Vatican are no less intrusive, threatening and divisive that any fatwa".

    Nice to see youīve toned down your offensive lies.

    Again I will comment that ALL religions.... Protestant, Jew, Catholic etc try to interfere in politics. Do you want to deney that? The evidence shows however that the Catholic Church is up front and honest about it. And in my opinion much LESS intrusive than others.

    And carfully read the opening line of the article you posted:

    "Politicians whose actions undermine the traditional family based on marriage should be refused Communion, a top Vatican cardinal said on Friday ."

    There has NOT been (and wonīt be) a decree from the Vatican on this.

    The Church is also against the war in Iraq. Against the death penalty. It is against Communism but also against the excesses of Capitalism. That is why American Catholics have been traditionally Democrats. The Republican Right WILL NOT find a safe haven with the Vatican and they would be foolish to think so.

    As far as: " the Catholic leadership believes it alone has the scholarly right to interpret the Bible. They take great offense that many of these "born-again" churches are started by people who have no "scholarly" knowledge of what they are reading."

    Absolutley!! The RCC interprets the Bible for itīs believers. But where youīre wrong is here: " They take great offense that many of these "born-again" churches are started by people who have no "scholarly" knowledge of what they are reading."

    Great offense? Actually Catholics care very little about "born-again" churches. You will not find the Catholic Church putting down other religions. The Catholic Church is way above and beyond that.
    Last edited by Fabrizio; October 9th, 2005 at 11:55 AM.

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    I wasn't going to chime in here, only because Fabrizio is doing such a wonderful job, and Zippy did add a great post. I lived in Italy till age 11, and I'm in my 30's now. I still feel just as much Italian as I do American.

    It's always amazed me how liberal Americans feel so threatened by the Vatican, and Italians, even the most liberal ones, for the most part, respect the Vatican for standing firm on some of the very issues that they are against. Fabrizio's first post was right on the money and illustrated this perfectly.

    Brooklyn Rider's post was a typical response from a liberal American to a statement from the Vatican. Not to get so political, but I often wonder why American Liberals are so damn defensive all the time.

    With this being said however, I want to say the BR's post are always well written, and I respect him for his knowledge of NYC among other things. But to call the Pope a Nazi is nothing short of offensive. And when you think that the Pope is Pro-Life on all counts (Death Penalty, Abortion, Euthanasia) and Nazis used to burn people and gas them, the analogy is not only offensive, but innacurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redhot00
    ...the Pope is Pro-Life on all counts (Death Penalty, Abortion, Euthanasia) ...
    What is the Pope's stance on the War in Iraq?

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    The consequences of extremist Vatican rhetoric are most deeply felt in developing countries where missionaries have created more influence on laws and mores than in either Europe or NA, where we have developed secular traditions. In poorer, less educated countries, missionaries enter an area and impose themselves as surrogate local governments, providing services government typically provides in an effort to establish the church as the most influential local institution - some communities rely entirely on propagandizing missionary schools. If they don't convert the adults in that community, they'll convert their children and grandchildren. After a few generations, the community comes to know the church as a paternalistic provider, that - good and bad - is central to moral and legal decision making.

    The Vatican is playing to these developing catholic communities - the future of catholic influence and populations - rather than to the west, where especially in Italy and Western Europe, it's influence is in the past.
    Last edited by ryan; October 9th, 2005 at 01:11 PM.

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    Ryan: well made points and on these we can have an interesting discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio
    thanks for the link for JP2's views...

    I found this for Benedict (although the statements cited were made before he became Pope):

    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/comments...d=2014_0_1_0_C

    Pope Benedict XVI on the Iraq War

    The position of the newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI on the Iraq war could not be clearer:

    "Is the war that has been announced against Iraq a just war? 'All I can do is invite you to read the Catechism,' Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger replied with a mischievous grin, 'and the conclusion seems obvious to me…'

    For the guardian of Catholic orthodoxy, the obvious conclusion is that the military intervention that is taking shape 'has no moral justification' (September 20, interview on the Italian national news program).

    The Catechism, Ratzinger explained, does not embrace a pacifist position a priori; indeed, it admits the possibility of a 'just war' for reasons of defense.

    But it sets a number of very strict and reasonable conditions: there must be a proper proportion between the evil to be rooted out and the means employed. In short, if in order to defend a value (in this case, national security) greater damage is caused (civilian victims, destabilization of the Middle East, with its accompanying risks of increased terrorism), then recourse to force is no longer justified.

    In light of these criteria, Ratzinger refuses to grant the moral status of just war to the military operation against Saddam Hussein.

    The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith added another consideration: 'Decisions like this should be made by the community of nations, by the UN, and not by an individual power.'"

    +++

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