Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Catholic politicians vs. the Vatican

Rick Santorum in his almost victory speech last night, cited his religious faith as applied to his political views. But he fell short. He is a conservative Catholic politician, but unfortunately in his stand on political issues, he places his conservativism, as defined in American terms, above his Catholicism. In this sense he is not that different from liberal Catholic politicians such as Nancy Pelosi or John Kerry. The latter would agree with the Vatican's stand on a wide range of issues, such as protecting the environment, opposition to the death penalty, torture and preemptive wars, opposition in the words of Pope Benedict XVI to the “scandal of glaring inequalities” between rich and poor, and other social injustices. Santorum differs from the Vatican and Catholic bishops on these issues, but shares their stand on abortion and gay marriage. On the other hand, liberal politicians share the view of the Vatican on these issues, while differing with them on abortion and gay marriage.

There does not seem to be any Catholic politician in America, on either side of the political spectrum, who embraces the whole Catholic doctrine, but instead both conservative and liberals Catholics cite those portions of Catholic teachings which support their political positions while ignoring others. The same general principle applies to other Christian politicians. In general, conservative Christians are more faithful in adhering to the original doctrines of Christianity, except when it comes to teachings that address social inequalities and injustices.


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