The Roman Catholic bishops in the United States, are, as we all know, paragons of wisdom and spokespersons for god and the pope. How could they err? How could they possibly be wrong?
I've just finished reading James Carroll's book, Constantine's Sword - The Church and the Jews. It's a fascinating treatise, detailing the relationship of the Roman Church to the Jews from the early days of Christianity to the present.
Carroll is an ex-priest of the Jesuit persuasion, however, and can't let go. The Roman church has him caught in its clutches -- probably until he dies.
For example, in this very excellent book, he stresses over and over again that there were occasionally individuals and popes who sort of did the right thing toward the Jews. But ultimately, that fact is completely overwhelmed by the Church's 2,000-year history of unremitting hatred, persecution and torture of the Jews.
For anyone who still believes that the Roman church and/or its prelates cannot err or change, this book should be required reading.
Today, the Roman church has tried to make nice with the Jews, except for the current pope, Benedict XVI. He's not too concerned with reconciliation. Never has been. He was one of those vociferously opposed to Vatican II as well as the excision of the anti-Semitic passages from the Good Friday liturgy.
But the Church has its "new" foe, anyway - abortion. The Roman bishops in the United States believe that abortion is always wrong and should be illegal. They intend to fight President-elect Obama on this issue and they have raised their battle flags.
There isn't any question that the Roman bishops can believe anything they want about anything. They can believe their pope is the repository of god's grace and is the vicar of Christ on earth. They can believe god is three people in one. They can believe wine turns to blood and crackers turn to flesh. They can establish their own schools and teach all of this to their young 'uns.
And they can believe that abortion is evil.
What they can't do is impose their beliefs on the rest of us.
But the Roman church has always assumed that they have that right. And in every single instance where the Roman church has gained enough political power, they have tried to enforce their belief system on everyone.
There are good people who believe all abortions are wrong. There are good people who believe women should be allowed the right to choose what to do with their own bodies. President-elect Obama believes abortion should never be taken lightly, but that women should have the right to choose.
Let's tell the good bishops to shut up about abortion and put their energy into opposing the war in Iraq, and capital punishment. Let's tell them to go back to their palaces and sacristies and try to ferret out their priests who are molesting children. And let's tell the good bishops when they find such priests to toss them out of the church instead of moving them to another parish where they can molest still more children.
Let's tell the good bishops that they have NO authority over the rest of us, and they need to keep their damn noses out of political arena. Furthermore, whatever moral authority they might have claimed in the past is long gone. The Roman collar has become a symbol of repression, reluctance to do what's right, and blindness to truth.
The word, "abortion," is quite often used as a synonym for something very bad. The attempt of the Roman Catholic bishops to impose their religious beliefs on the nation as a whole is an "abortion"!