I’m not sure when things changed. But for at least a couple of decades after II Vatican, the Roman Catholic Church had been less politically-involved. And this policy was world-wide. Priests, for example, were forbidden to hold political offices. Of course, in the US, the Catholic Church is under IRS regulations that forbid it to be politically-active, which adds another layer of suppression to its political meddling.

But things have changed recently. In the last few years American Catholic bishops and activist groups (such as the Catholic League) have been taking orders from the Religious Right; it’s been meddling in politics increasingly.

Here in Connecticut the state’s bishops actively lobbied in favor of question 1 on the state’s 2008 ballot (concerning a constitutional convention). I really am not sure of the legality of this. I suppose they had lawyers review and approve it, but let’s be honest, they purposely skated the edge of the law in order to do so. How ethical is that … especially in an organization that claims to be an arbiter of morals and ethics?

Now comes word that a South Carolina priest has declared Obama voters ineligible for communion unless they first do penance for their “sin”:

A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him “constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil.” …

“Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.”

Claiming that voting for a pro-choice candidate is “evil” and contrary to Catholic doctrine, is effectively the same thing as endorsing that candidate’s rival — something which is forbidden by federal law (unless the priest wants to forfeit his parish’s non-profit status, which is fine by me but probably not his superiors or parishioners).

The alliance between the Catholic Church and the Religious Right — which is overwhelmingly Protestant evangelical and therefore anti-Catholic — is disturbing. I don’t see how or why America’s bishops and other Catholic activists think it’s a good idea to ally with one’s doctrinal foes, but they do. Unfortunately by marching in lock-step with these folk, they’re granting political influence to dominionism, a movement which — if successful — would have no reservations about outlawing Catholicism. Not all of the Religious Right are dominionists, that’s true … but the dominionist faction within that movement is very influential as well as politically-connected, and any power which accrues generally to the R.R. enhances the dominionsts’ influence as well.

In short, the Catholic Church in the US could very well be engineering its own destruction.

Tags: , , ,