I suppose it must be caused by the same impulse that also causes rubbernecking, but occasionally I read the column of Fox News religion consultant, Fr Jonathan Morris. Once in a while, in his effort to rationally justify Roman Catholic doctrines and castigate everything else, he engages in what can best be described as logical gymnastics — he doesn’t merely twist logic, he does flips and cartwheels with it. His latest installment, an open letter to the Democrats, is a case in point:

Two very smart people, at the highest levels of your Party, were pointing to science and theology as having something to say about the abortion debate. Yes, Senator Obama and Speaker Pelosi were saying that determining the physical and moral status of a human embryo actually matters. But strangely, Obama hasn’t cared enough to clear up his many doubts and Pelosi has decided to accept the view of an African theologian who lived 1,600 years ago.

This is an interesting comment coming from a Roman Catholic priest. By definition he has not arrived at his views of abortion, or when life begins, by a review of the science, or even by a review of the theology involved. He arrived at it by virtue of one document and one only … Apostolicae sedis, a 19th century papal bull. It tells him everything he needs to know on the subject, and everything he is permitted to think about it. His clerical vows, in fact, utterly prevent him from entertaining any other possibilities. So Fr Jonathan is disingenuous by suggesting that he’s waiting for either Pelosi or Obama convince him of the acceptability of abortion … because even if they were to do so, he’s duty-bound by his vow as a priest not to accept it!

Second, note how he dismisses Pelosi’s views, as those of “an African theologian who lived 1,600 years ago.” This is an extremely interesting — and dismissive — way for him to describe St Augustine, arguably the most influential (if not the most original, he took a lot of his material from the Church Father Tertullian and his mentor St Ambrose) Christian theologian. Would Fr Jonathan ever dismiss the Roman Catholic notion of “just war” (which Augustine first codified) as having come from “an African theologian who lived 1,600 years ago”? Of course not.

Fr Jonathan claims at the start of his column to be an “independent,” but let’s face it, he’s nothing but a Roman Catholic apologist for the Religious Right™, as he always follows their line.

I wonder if Fr Jonathan is aware how truly different the Protestant evangelicals (who comprise the vast majority of the Religious Right™) are from his own Church. There are many evangelicals who, if they had their way, would outlaw Roman Catholicism, since they consider Catholics to be “saint-worshippers.”

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