Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pelosi and the Pope

Not a news story per se, but I enjoy this National Review post discussing Nancy Pelosi's recent visit to the Vatican. The short version is that the Pope gave her (and by extension, all pro-choice Catholic politicians) a dressing down for supporting abortion.

While it's no secret that I disagree with Catholic theology (one of these days we'll finish a conversation, Ryan) on everything that separates them from Protestants, I appreciate that the Pope doesn't pull any punches on this issue. In the structure of the Catholic church, there is no room for "disagreement" on issues like this. If you're going to claim the church as your own, you have some requirements to meet. I think that the broader Christian church is the same in principle, though there's obviously no central power structure for enforcement. Not that we've seen any pro-choice Catholic politicians excommunicated recently.

I must disagree with the author of this on one point, however. He states that politicians like Pelosi are where they are because they're poorly catechized, getting their teachings from high-brow Catholic intellectuals who don't want to deal with "embarrassing" teachings. I can't give them this much leeway. The teachings of the Catholic church are accessible enough that there should be no mystery on what it really teaches. For crying out loud, Pelosi just got it from the horse's mouth (so to speak). If she suddenly changes course and becomes a pro-life politician, I'll offer up a heartfelt apology, but I doubt she, nor any other pro-choice Catholic politician, is going to change anytime soon. These people hold onto their religious affiliation, I suspect, out of political expediency, even necessity, rather than any heartfelt conviction. Perhaps it's the cultural identity that they desire instead. Either way, there is no other explanation for people who claim a title while denying its most important or relevant teachings.

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