Thursday, May 10, 2007

What's Good For The Goose...

This item was in the paper this morning:
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Rudolph Giuliani said yesterday that his differences with the Catholic Church over his support for abortion rights are between him, God and his spiritual adviser, not Pope Benedict XVI - seeking to avoid a head-on confrontation with the pontiff over the issue that has bedeviled Giuliani's campaign.

The pope took a hard line against Catholic politicians who vote in favor of abortion rights, saying Mexican lawmakers who did so lost the right to Communion and may have even excommunicated themselves.
Curious. In 2004, you might have made note of this?
Los Angeles, Oct. 18, 2004 ( - A consultant to the Vatican has said Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has incurred the penalty of excommunication from the Catholic Church.

The consultant made his statement in a highly unusual letter to Marc Balestrieri, a Los Angeles canon lawyer who formally sued John Kerry in ecclesiastical court for heresy.

Balestrieri, who launched his case earlier this year by filing a heresy complaint in Kerry's home archdiocese of Boston, told EWTN's "World Over" program on Friday that he had received an unusual, indirect communication from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the pro-abortion stance.

That communication provides a basis, he said, to declare that any Catholic politician who says he is "personally opposed to abortion, but supports a woman's right to choose," incurs automatic excommunication. It also provided a basis for Balestrieri to broaden his canonical actions and file additional complaints against four more pro-abortion Catholic politicians: Democrat Senators Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Tom Harkin of Iowa; Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine; and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, a Democrat.
Now, in fairness to the Vatican, it denies that it ever responded to Balestrieri (and you never heard the follow up, because Karl Rove got what he wanted: "Kerry" and "excommunication" in the same story).

The fact that the Vatican assigned a priest to explain church doctrine at all frightens me, since it means (as is demonstrated by the Mexican case cited) that the Pope feels it is appropriate to engage himself in world politics.

Popes, of course, have done this throughout history. Popes, in point of fact, have often been at the very heart of secular politics throughout history, attempting to fashion monarchies and empires to their tastes.

That was a long time ago, however, and in a day and age when democracy and democratic ideals trump centralized rule, you'd think a Pope would keep his mouth shut and focus on healing souls.

Apparently not.

And is there a double standard being applied to Rudy Giuliani? Despite not being excommunicated, Kerry was refused communion by several Catholic archdioceses and priests, but found some who would commune with him, thus sidestepping an uncomfortable photo op of kneeling in a church and being passed over.

Yet, Rudy has been at least as outspoken, if not more so, than Kerry about his support for choice. Why no outcry from William Donohue of the Catholic League? Or Cardinal Egan of NYC? Why have no priests stepped forward to enforce Vatican doctrine?