Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pope Benedict Gives Obama Book on Catholic Principles – Newsweek Declares Obama Represents American Catholics Better than the Pope - Analysis

The Obama's Pose for Photo's with Pope Benedict After Private Meeting- Reuters

On Friday, two heads of state, President Barack Obama and Pope Benedict met as any two heads of state might do – the exception being that Pope Benedict is the Leader of the Catholic Church as well as the Head of the Vatican State, which is confusing to some of those outside of the Catholic Church and Faith. The lines where church and state differ are often blurred in many nations – the Vatican State is a theocracy, where the religion guides the laws of the land – the religion happens to be Catholicism and the Pope represents the millions of Catholics worldwide – including those in the United States. It is unusual in that most religions do not have one central nation – for example, there is no single state of Islam, although many nations are Islamic Theocracies. There are no other Christian denominations where a theocracy is in place. Catholics in the United States understand that, like members of any other religion in the nation, they have the individual right to practice their religion and the tenants of that religion handed down by the leader of the specific church. Herein lies the problem for those in the United States who are not Catholic, or who put their place their politics above their faith – the Catholic Church, under the leadership of Pope Benedict is firmly pro-life, while the President of the United States is firmly pro-abortion – political supporters of the President find that problematic as American Catholics make up a rather larger percentage of the voting bloc.

During the meeting, Pope Benedict gave Barack Obama booklets published by the Vatican that outline the Catholic position on the sanctity of life, including its opposition to abortion and embryonic stem cell research – The study of Bioethics is simply defined as relating to both humans and animals and the subsequent obligations of a moral nature relative to biological research and its applications. Most religious have taken positions on bio-ethics throughout the century, in opposition to practices such as abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia, “test-tube” babies, etc., while animal rights activists such as PETA, stand in opposition to animals used in commercial and medical experimentation. Those who are of a political rather than moral mindset fail to comprehend the difference between morality and politics – or that those in politics are capable of having both personal faith and morality and the ability to govern to the law of the land.

The Pope’s intent was to help Obama understand the thinking of the Church (and possibly, in the hope, that the extreme positions on abortion that the president has taken in his political tenure thus far, might be reversed). It was a moment where the Leader of the Worlds Catholics gifted secular-progressive President of the United States with a book on Catholic teaching – after all both men affect the lives of millions of American Catholics – Catholics whom the Pope has a vested and moral interest in conveying the teaching of the Church as it relates to issues of day. The Vatican is, in direct opposition to the U.S. President on these issues, and many United States Politician’s who profess to be Catholic, and who put aside their faith in favor of political campaigns from pro-abortion groups such as N.A.R.A.L., have been called out by the Pope, most notably , Nancy Pelosi. In the case of Pelosi, it is comparable to preferring the “30 pieces of silver” to practicing her faith – a faith which she openly touts when up for re-election. It is a conundrum with American Politicians’ – they profess to have no faith, when politically convenient, and then, during election cycles are followed by camera crews as they enter their respective churches, essentially attempting to “brand” themselves as “Good Catholics” – thereby garnering the important Catholic Pope. Benedict understands this about American Politicians – this is obvious from his aformentioned meeting the Speaker Pelosi.

Political Cartoon: Obama asks the Pope: Are you Bitter? Reference to Statement made by Obama on Religion as a Dysfunction - credit:

However, the press of the United States is not about to let the Pope stand in the way of potential Democrat (Obama) voters. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Robert Kennedy, has made a career of dividing American Catholics from the Pope. Outside of being a Kennedy, (not the best representatives of the Catholic Faith in America), her other claims to fame are a book she penned, entitled “Failing American’s Faithful, How Today’s Churches are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way” - she is also the former Lieutenant Governor of the State of Maryland. Newsweek called on a Progressive Kennedy to write an unbelievably insulting piece on the President’s visit with the Pope: The Piece: (an exclusive for Newsweek) Asks: “Is Obama More Catholic than the Pope?” and answers: “Without a Doubt”. According to Kennedy Townsend, a non-Catholic (Protestant), progressive secularist (Obama), is somehow in a better position to morally guide the American Catholics than the Pope. In her quest to place Obama at the head of the Catholic Church in America, Ms. Kennedy Townsend refers to the fact that women in the church are denied priesthoods, she speaks of the revulsion of the men in the Vatican towards women in the church – based on a meeting which took place between nuns and the Vatican in 1979. Lastly, she blames those American Bishops for denying, abortion supporting, John Kerry communion during his presidential campaign. This is her reasoning, that those that do not choose to follow their faith to the letter, preferring politics to church, should not be called on the carpet, when they use that church to further their political careers (back to Pelosi, Kerry and yes, a host of Kennedy’s).

Newsweek is, apparently, unaware, or refuses to acknowledge that the proverbial “train” has “left the station”. According to a poll conducted by Gallup and released right before Obama’s controversial acceptance of an honorary Degree at the Catholic University, Notre Dame - more American’s consider themselves pro-life, rather than pro-abortion. This sent shock waves through the media; The Week went so far as to call the results a “pro-life delusion”.

Therefore, it is no wonder that Ms. Townsend is up in arms over the Pope’s possible influence on American Catholics and has taken it upon herself (and Newsweek by design) to anoint the President of the United States as Head of the Catholic Church. From the media’s perspective, American Catholics who follow their faith, are considered “Conservatives”, outside the mainstream, “abortion rights activists”, and those who should, and are, incidentally, watched over by the office of Homeland Security as “potential terrorist threats”.

From a the perspective of one who holds a degree of moderation and sanity in relation to the Catholic Faith and personal political think – it is very simple. The Constitution of the United States, allows a practicing Catholic to oppose politicians as well as laws, that do not coincide with their faith. In other words, Catholics are protected under the First Amendment – one which grants them the freedom to practice their religion. Obviously, Newsweek and Ms. Townsend missed that point. The same document, also gives the people right to assembly, therefore, one has the right to practice one’s religion and the right to demonstrate that religion publicly. The gross misinterpretation that takes place in the columns and over the airwaves, of this particular document which governs our nation, is that the separation of church and state only applies to the establishment of one religion in the nation. It is that simple.

As a Catholic, on points relevant to faith, Benedict speaks for all Catholics, including those who reside in the United States, should the tenants of their faith prevent them from voting for a politician on the basis of specific believes, so be it – it is a right protected under the Constitution. As a Catholic, Barack Obama does not represent the Catholic Faith – not at all. Therefore, Catholics that take umbrage with Newsweek’s quest to form a new Head of the Catholic Church in American, are free to cancel their subscription (which is in steep decline), or write a letter to the editor (which may or may not be published), denouncing the ludicrous nature of Ms. Townsends piece. This blog prefers taking both paths, a letter to the editor with a note to cancel any existing subscription.

Finally, as an American Catholic, Pope Benedict is a breath of Fresh Air, a Pope who guides the Church with a firm, loving hand, and one who does not, as some of his predecessors have, shy away from making a point on Church Doctrine as it affects Catholics worldwide.

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