Once Again, Who do Catholic Politicians Represent?
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Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois is planning on holding "Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage" on 20 November, the very same day Governor Pat Quinn is planning to publicly sign the legalization of same-sex marriage in Illinois into law.
Exorcise the demons of same sex marriage? Well, that's a pointless irrelevant ceremony which we could pretty well ignore or use to throw some additional mockery at the Catholic Church. But, the Bishop did not stop with announcing his intention to preside over prayers of exorcism.
“It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the church. All politicians now have the moral obligation to work for the repeal of this sinful and objectionable legislation. We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our church.”
The responsibility of politicians is manifestly not to promote the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, nor the teachings of any church, not the teachings of any religion. Nor is it their responsibility to promote the teachings of atheism, agnosticism, or whatever. The responsibility of democratically elected politicians is not to promote a religious agenda; it is not to promote an anti-religious agenda. If anything, in their political decisions they should be scrupulously a-religious. They have a responsibility to represent their constituents - all their constituents regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background, and a host of other distinctions we might make.
It is not for Catholic bishops to demand that Catholic politicians vote a certain way; and it is most definitely not the responsibility of Catholic politicians to follow the orders of their priest, bishop, or the Pope.
As in Meditation 148 while writing on the same issue 10 years ago, I turn once again to the words of John F. Kennedy who when running for president said:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote - where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference - and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him. John F. Kennedy
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