Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

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Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby EsotericWombat » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:55 pm UTC

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nati ... &cset=true

Proclaiming a sense of new energy and empowerment, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday issued instructions to Catholic voters that their eternal salvation could be at stake when they cast ballots.

Bishops emphasized that voters must consider the church's teachings on abortion and other moral issues when they select a candidate for the White House or any other office. If they don't, bishops said, it's not clergy who will judge them but God.

"It is important to be clear that the political choices faced by citizens have an impact on general peace and prosperity and also the individual's salvation," the bishops said in the document, titled "Faithful Citizenship." "Similarly, the kinds of laws and policies supported by public officials affect their spiritual well-being."

Bishops have drafted a similar document every four years since the 1976 presidential election, when concerns centered on Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe and recovery from the Watergate scandal. But the guidelines issued Wednesday for the first time spelled out possible consequences as well as giving much more nuanced instruction to the Catholic electorate than in years past.

Voters are implored not to support abortion-rights political candidates but also advised that views on abortion should not be the sole factor. Catholics should also weigh church teaching on such moral issues as immigration, just war and poverty, bishops said.

"It was groundbreaking not in the sense that it changed any doctrine or added any doctrine," said Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. "What we did provide for the first time in this document is some concrete guidance in how a voter goes about making prudential judgments."

Rev. Thomas Reese, senior fellow of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said previous statements in his memory have not spelled out such specific consequences. The statement reflects the bishops' frustations with pro-choice Democratic politicians and Republican leaders who focus solely on ending abortion, he said.

For many bishops, approving the statement recalled the heyday of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the 1970s and 1980s, when the group earned a reputation for going against the grain and exercising moral authority. "The Challenge of Peace," a historic pastoral letter that tried to explain church teaching on war, peace and the nuclear arms race, was issued in 1983 under the leadership of the late Joseph Bernardin when he was archbishop of Cincinnati.

Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento noted that the document was approved on the anniversary of Bernardin's death. "In a way it replicates what we did 30 years ago," he said.

The document does not tell voters which candidates or party to favor. It also does not address whether priests should deny communion to Catholic politicians who stray from church teaching. Cardinal Francis George, the newly elected president of the conference, said bishops probably would discuss the issue this week behind closed doors.

The voting guidelines followed a letter issued by outgoing President Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., calling for a responsible transition in Iraq.

"Our nation must focus on the ethics of exit than on the ethics of intervention," Skylstad wrote. "The morally and politically demanding but carefully limited goal of responsible transition should aim to reduce further loss of life and address the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, the refugee crisis in the region, the need to help rebuild the country and human rights, especially religious freedom."

Russell Shaw, information director for the bishops' conference from 1969 to 1987, said it's too soon to tell whether the bishops have emerged from the sexual abuse crisis and entered a new era of influence. But the bishops' optimism is clear.

"They are looking for hopeful signs that they have turned the corner," said Shaw, who observed the meeting this week.

Fighting back from financial woes caused by the abuse crisis, the conference reorganized last year, resulting in a more collaborative process to develop such statements. They debated the statement publicly for the first time.

As a result of the public debate, bishops were able to shape the document on the floor. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago insisted that the guidelines urge Catholics to consider the religious roots of current conflicts overseas.

"The people who coalition forces are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and a dozen other locales are not the poor and oppressed seeking to throw off their chains," he said. "They are jihadist fanatics who believe they are doing God's will."

Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Ala., praised the document, which he says "gets to the guts of the moral and conscience formation."

"We've never gone that far in clarifying those issues," he said. "Bishops can't always get inside a person's head."

Whether they can get inside the ballot box is another question, though the initiative may get an extra boost when Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States in April, the peak of primary season.

The Catholic electorate tends to be diverse ethnically, politically and even religiously, noted Gregory Smith, a research fellow at the Pew Institute on Religion and Public Life. Adherence to Catholic social teachings often corresponds with church attendance, which varies, and just as many Catholics voted for President Bush in 2004 as for John Kerry.

Karl Maurer, a director of the conservative Catholic Citizens of Illinois, said "If the statement had been more stern and more clear" it would impact the behavior of voters as well as the politicians they have to choose from, he said.

Alexia Kelley, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, said the bishops' guidelines convey an important message about the breadth of Catholic social tradition. "The key is what people hear from their pastor and get in the pews," she said.


Dissent=damnation? I don't recall even Pat Robertson saying that. Given the total number of people who are damned in his eyes is far greater, but I'm really fucking sick of this shit.

And for those playing along at home, "Proclaiming a sense of new energy and empowerment" is Catholic for "You've forgotten by now that we used our bureaucracy to aid and abet pedophiles, right?"
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby 22/7 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:01 pm UTC

There may be a really obvious answer to this, but I haven't thought of one, so here goes. Am I unaware of some kind of doctrine or teaching, biblical or otherwise, that says we as Christians are supposed to police other people, especially non-Christians, in their actions? I know there are a shitton of rules about punishments for Christians, and that quite a few of them are very archaic, and that's *not* the point I'm trying to make, and no one needs to bring it up because it has *nothing* to do with this thread. But is there a passage that I've forgotten that asks us to basically keep others (non-believers) from sinning in some way? Even encourage them not to? Just curious.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby zar » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:15 am UTC

And for those playing along at home, "Proclaiming a sense of new energy and empowerment" is Catholic for "You've forgotten by now that we used our bureaucracy to aid and abet pedophiles, right?"

Exactly. I can't fathom how the people who systematically covered up the rape of children have the audacity to claim the moral high-ground. (As Hitchens has said, instead of "no child left behind" their policy seems to be "no child's behind left".)

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby iop » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:54 am UTC

I don't see what is strange about the Bishops' recommendation. All they seem to say is "If you really believe in the Christian teachings, then you should live your life accordingly, and you should choose to be represented by someone who shares your ideals." Shouldn't you do choose someone who represents your ideals anyway? And isn't it our duty as citizens in a democracy to police the politicians, rather than to just vote and forget?

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby zar » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:15 am UTC

If people really agreed with their stance on abortion, for example, then they wouldn't need to issue these announcements and, well, threats of damnation for anyone who disagrees with them. It seems like they're trying to scare people into voting for something against their better judgement.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby malarkie » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:27 am UTC

I agree with Zar. The church is using its power to sway voters, much like any other political organization.

@ 22\7, There is no passage, as far as I recall, that says christians should protect others from sinning. And I'm the type of christian that reads the bible.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:46 am UTC

Zar said it. There's a difference between saying, "you should vote this way" and saying, "vote this way or else your soul hangs in the balance." That's a declaration that goes beyond Church members, and it has no business poking its way around in the political discourse.

And the assumption that every Catholic agrees with all of Catholicism's teachings is absurd. Moreover, "consider" is a weasel word often used in Catholic doctrine. The Vatican teaches that each person should form their own conscience (I took an ethics course at a Jesuit high school and a large portion of it was on the concept of the catholic conscience) but for high profile issues they will prescriptively declare that a well-formed conscience must follow their view.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:07 am UTC

It's too bad I like so many Catholics because I really hate the Catholic church.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:26 am UTC

What you said, only replace "like" with "am related to"
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Gadren » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:32 am UTC

And what you said, except replace "Catholics" with "Mormons."
When I was still in the Church, there was a similar thing going on -- maybe not as blatant as the Catholic Church's political focus on abortion, but there was always the way of getting around campaigning laws by essentially saying "We won't tell you who to vote for... just vote for someone whose policies are like the Republicans." :P

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby iop » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:12 am UTC

zar wrote:If people really agreed with their stance on abortion, for example, then they wouldn't need to issue these announcements and, well, threats of damnation for anyone who disagrees with them. It seems like they're trying to scare people into voting for something against their better judgement.


What they're saying is that you shouldn't vote for someone against your better judgement, and that you are responsible for your choice. And, as a Catholic, your choices are supposedly affecting your afterlife. Note that they don't only put up abortion as an important factor, by the way (and are not happy about the politicians whose only "good" aspect is to be anti-abortion).
Of course, since no presidential candidate in the US is going to stand for social justice, and no one is going to go against the death penalty, or try to ease the suffering in the world, all that may distinguish politicians in the end is abortion (I wish I was kidding more with this).

Also, why are you so riled up about the bishops telling their followers that they're responsible for what they choose? At least they will think hard about their choice, and not turn their back afterwards, saying "ah, well, the bad stuff they come up with in Washington is not my responsibility."

"We won't tell you who to vote for... just vote for someone whose policies are like the Republicans."

And as soon as they say "Republicans", or "Democrats", or name a politician, they cross the line.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby zar » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:22 am UTC

Everyone is responsible for what they choose. I obviously wouldn't have a problem with them saying that, but that's not what they're doing here.

They are claiming to know something that they do not know, and doing so for purposes of intimidation and control. They don't know that hell is real, let alone the admission requirements if it does exist. For them to make that claim, especially for political reasons, is despicable. It's not just a lie, but a lie to scare people at their very core.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Sprocket » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:20 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:It's too bad I like so many Catholics because I really hate the Catholic church.

There's a big difference.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:22 am UTC

There's the line as far as the law goes and the line and the line as far as general decency goes. You'll note that the death penalty isn't mentioned, which is notable because Catholics are against it and it's just about the only issue that would exclude most Republicans. The demarcation that comes with actually mentioning either party is just a line in the sand. The real line is crossed beforehand

This is a power play, and it's insulting. They're not saying that you shouldn't vote against you're own better judgment. They're saying that you shouldn't vote against theirs.

There have been fucking assholes in this country's past and present who have equated dissent with disloyalty, or in extreme cases, treason. Here they're saying it's a sin. They're saying that voting in opposition to there prescribed morals will be a blight upon one's soul that we will be judged for. And it's absurd to think that they mean to say that disagreeing with them only effects Catholic souls. In that case what this document says is that if you disagree you should leave the Church, and they'd never say that.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:33 am UTC

CatProximity wrote:
Bakemaster wrote:It's too bad I like so many Catholics because I really hate the Catholic church.

There's a big difference.

This is true. I just found out one of my friends is, technically, Catholic Orthodox (I think). He agrees with me on just about everything, though, because, as he puts it, "he learned how to think for himself outside the Church". He is quite opposed to the current incarnations of capital-C Churches, even if he believes in God and that he's going to heaven. He also likes rum drinks... he's EVIL, I tell you!!!

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby oxoiron » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:46 am UTC

This is just the umpteenth reason why churches should not be tax-exempt. They routinely violate the laws regarding what they can and cannot do, but not a single church has ever lost its tax-exempt status over those violations. I bet that if a secular non-profit organization were to spout rhetoric like that, it would soon find itself in legal hot water.

I firmly believe that people have the right to whatever superstitions they hold sacred, but I don't think they have the right to amass fortunes at the expense of other taxpayers and use those fortunes to press their political agendas.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Solt » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:36 pm UTC

iop wrote:I don't see what is strange about the Bishops' recommendation. All they seem to say is "If you really believe in the Christian teachings, then you should live your life accordingly, and you should choose to be represented by someone who shares your ideals." Shouldn't you do choose someone who represents your ideals anyway? And isn't it our duty as citizens in a democracy to police the politicians, rather than to just vote and forget?


If they had their way I'm sure there would be a bishop up there swearing in the President on inauguration day.


oxoiron wrote:This is just the umpteenth reason why churches should not be tax-exempt. They routinely violate the laws regarding what they can and cannot do, but not a single church has ever lost its tax-exempt status over those violations. I bet that if a secular non-profit organization were to spout rhetoric like that, it would soon find itself in legal hot water.

I firmly believe that people have the right to whatever superstitions they hold sacred, but I don't think they have the right to amass fortunes at the expense of other taxpayers and use those fortunes to press their political agendas.



QFT. Seriously, charity work is cool but stop promoting political candidates unless you pay taxes. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE DAMNIT. Church participation in politics should be ILLEGAL.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby iop » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:01 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:There's the line as far as the law goes and the line and the line as far as general decency goes. You'll note that the death penalty isn't mentioned, which is notable because Catholics are against it and it's just about the only issue that would exclude most Republicans. The demarcation that comes with actually mentioning either party is just a line in the sand. The real line is crossed beforehand.

In the actual document, they do bring up the death penalty, torture, war (except as a last resort; though the Church wasn't in favor of any recent wars), and of course, social justice (hint: tax breaks for the rich aren't social justice). So that would exclude lots of Republicans. Unfortunately, that part didn't make it into the media coverage.

This is a power play, and it's insulting. They're not saying that you shouldn't vote against you're own better judgment. They're saying that you shouldn't vote against theirs

The "well-formed conscience"-bit is always tricky. The document says:
Bishop's instructions to voters wrote:17. The Church equips her members to address political and social questions by helpingthem to develop a well-formed conscience. Catholics have a serious and lifelong obligation toform their consciences in accord with human reason and the teaching of the Church. Conscience
is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere “feeling”
about what we should or should not do. Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding in the
human heart, revealing the truth to us and calling us to do what is good while shunning what is
evil. Conscience always requires serious attempts to make sound moral judgments based on the
truths of our faith. As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Conscience is a judgment
of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is
going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and
does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right” (no. 1778).
18. The formation of conscience includes several elements. First, there is a desire to
embrace goodness and truth. For Catholics this begins with a willingness and openness to seek
the truth and what is right by studying Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church as
contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is also important to examine the facts and
background information about various choices. Finally, prayerful reflection is essential to discern
the will of God. Catholics must also understand that if they fail to form their consciences they
can make erroneous judgments.

They're informing the people of the teachings of the Church, which should help form the opinion. Realistically, it will in many cases form the opinion, though. Worse, people won't go and search for the document, and read for example the news article you linked, which is written to favor Republicans (leftist media my ass), or they listen to their priest who may only pick the points he finds important. And that does indeed cross the line.

In its original intent, however, I still don't see what's so bad about the document. Catholic teaching is supposed to affect the entire lives of the Catholics, but it should suddenly become irrelevant when it comes to choosing who to vote for?

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby 22/7 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:56 pm UTC

Just a couple of fixes...
iop wrote:(hint: tax breaks for the only people who pay taxes aren't social justice).

and
iop wrote:I found an article that favors the Republicans and so all media is right wing(leftist media my ass)
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Ghandi 2 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:05 pm UTC

I don't see what the problem is. God is always watching, and it's just a reminder that who you choose to represent you has consequences, especially on an issue like abortion. The Church has always said things like this in modern times, and making pedophile jokes are just cheap shots (for clarification, it is my understanding that it was actually homosexual statuatory rape--but that's far too long for the media to bother saying. And, of course, that doesn't exculpate them in any way.) Every Catholic should believe the Church's teachings, or they should become Protestant and be done with it.

Also, the bishop talking about Iraq does not speak for the whole Church. It's just his personal opinion (somewhat similar to JPII's encyclical cautioning against the invasion).
22/7 wrote:There may be a really obvious answer to this, but I haven't thought of one, so here goes. Am I unaware of some kind of doctrine or teaching, biblical or otherwise, that says we as Christians are supposed to police other people, especially non-Christians, in their actions? I know there are a shitton of rules about punishments for Christians, and that quite a few of them are very archaic, and that's *not* the point I'm trying to make, and no one needs to bring it up because it has *nothing* to do with this thread. But is there a passage that I've forgotten that asks us to basically keep others (non-believers) from sinning in some way? Even encourage them not to? Just curious.

Jesus frequently encouraged missionary work, which is basically the same thing. They can't force anyone to believe, obviously, but issues like abortion are important enough to warrant enforcement (similar to murder). I could tell you more, but I'm very tired and can't really think straight.
zar wrote:They are claiming to know something that they do not know, and doing so for purposes of intimidation and control. They don't know that hell is real, let alone the admission requirements if it does exist. For them to make that claim, especially for political reasons, is despicable. It's not just a lie, but a lie to scare people at their very core.

If you accept the Bible, Hell is a pretty clear concept and fairly well defined..And it's not addressed to non-Catholics, unless I missed something. Of course, morality is absolute, but all kinds of ignorance things come into play with non-Catholics, which I'm not going to get into.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby 22/7 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:32 pm UTC

Ghandi 2 wrote:Jesus frequently encouraged missionary work, which is basically the same thing. They can't force anyone to believe, obviously, but issues like abortion are important enough to warrant enforcement (similar to murder). I could tell you more, but I'm very tired and can't really think straight.

It's a *BIG* jump from missionary work to enforcing that other's don't break God's laws. It certainly doesn't follow from missionary work.

Ghandi 2 wrote:
zar wrote:They are claiming to know something that they do not know, and doing so for purposes of intimidation and control. They don't know that hell is real, let alone the admission requirements if it does exist. For them to make that claim, especially for political reasons, is despicable. It's not just a lie, but a lie to scare people at their very core.

If you accept the Bible, Hell is a pretty clear concept and fairly well defined..And it's not addressed to non-Catholics, unless I missed something. Of course, morality is absolute, but all kinds of ignorance things come into play with non-Catholics, which I'm not going to get into.

Yeah, this is pretty much how I felt about that comment. It feels more inflammatory than anything else.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:59 pm UTC

@Ghandi: it's a useless clarification. But I'm not talking about the pedophiles themselves. They're being excised from the Church, finally. I'm talking about the people who hid them. Cardinal Law of Massachusetts said "I don't recall" a bunch of times when put on the stand about it, and then afterwards got withdrawn to a cushy job in the Vatican. The people who had no qualms about shuffling pedophiles around are still voting in the college of cardinals and still affecting the formation of Church doctrine. It's not a cheap shot, it's an impugnment of the Church's supposed moral authority. The fact that the same patterns of hiding and shifting happened across the board means that the policy came from Rome. And there's no way that anyone involved in those decisions, or whose silence marked a tacit approval of the practices, has any business passing moral judgment.

Catholics aren't obligated to believe all church teachings. Luther had 95 reasons to leave Catholicism. In the following decades (and centuries) dissenters from within reshaped the church. If everyone who disagreed simply left the church would be either gone or still selling indulgences.

@iop: My bad about the death penalty thing. I actually did dig up the document but it was late and I guess I missed it. Though it should be noted that there's only one issue that Cardinals publicly refuse the Eucharist to politicians over. The death penalty always takes a back burner to abortion unless there's a vote active about it, which is curious, because the President does have the authority to reprieve executions.

Like I said, I spent a year studying the theories behind conscience formation (I'm guessing that you went into detail for the benefit of others). And the theory is fairly sharp. Even though at the time I'd recently broken from the church, I had and have respect for the theory. The problem is that the rhetoric that the Church uses is out of keeping with it.

Let me give an example. When gay marriage was being debated in Massachusetts, the same Cardinals released a statement saying, "A well-formed Catholic conscience cannot conclude in the support of this measure" or something similar. When statements such as that are made, and they very often are, the individual's ability to let (for the sake of argument) God's voice resound in them is nullified. The Church is saying, "search yourself for the truth. If you don't wind up agreeing with us, you're doing it wrong."

It was actually that bit that solidified my break with Catholicism.

You seem to be arguing around the main thrust of this. The Catholic Church has been issuing these documents for thirty years. And while I thought in the past that it's an undue use of a bully pulpit for a church to tell its parishioners what to consider in the voting booth (Encouraging them to only vote on moral issues, which is what got Bush elected), I accepted that it was pretty much going to happen. What they're doing now is beyond that. They're saying that voting the other way means risking damnation. And the reason they're doing so seems to be that only about half of the churchgoing population was listening to them previously and they feel they can do better.

And this doesn't just go out to Catholics. The Church doesn't teach that there are certain things that will send Catholics to hell, but not other people. It styles itself as a moral influence that transcends denomination. I mean shit the word Catholic means universal.

zar isn't being inflammatory. Hell exists in Church teachings to scare people into doing the Church's bidding. Time was they said you'd burn if you ate meat on Friday. And the reason they taught that was to support the livelihood of Catholic fishermen. It's a tool. And now they're using it to inflict their interest upon public policy.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby 22/7 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:19 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:zar isn't being inflammatory. Hell exists in Church teachings to scare people into doing the Church's bidding. Time was they said you'd burn if you ate meat on Friday. And the reason they taught that was to support the livelihood of Catholic fishermen. It's a tool. And now they're using it to inflict their interest upon public policy.

What you've just claimed is that the origin of Hell is in the Church, and that the intent of it is now and was then to manipulate people into doing things they wouldn't normally do. You're *also* claiming that the Church as a whole *DOES NOT BELIEVE IN HELL*. I find it more than a little presumptuous for you to claim this, as surely you have no idea where the origins of a negative afterlife lie, nor the intent of those people, and surely you've got no in with the Vatican? Tell me I'm wrong.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby atxshannon » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:27 pm UTC

Forgive me for misquoting, but I saw a very funny photo the other day that was comparing the new Jesus (crap that people do in that dude's name) vs. the Jesus from the bible. On the subject of politics, the bible Jesus felt that politicians should govern politics, and religion should govern religion. The two, however, are independent of each other.

So who's the bible nut that can help point me towards that passage?
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:29 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:What you've just claimed is that the origin of Hell is in the Church.

No, he didn't. He said Hell exists in the Church now to scare people into doing their bidding. There's nothing there about the origin of Hell being in the Church, any more than the origin of credit being the Mastercard company. Most religions use Hell as a guide to morality (be bad and burn!), but it's been used since then quite well as a fearsome consequence (do what we say, even if it's bad, or burn!).

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby podbaydoor » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:34 pm UTC

atxshannon wrote:Forgive me for misquoting, but I saw a very funny photo the other day that was comparing the new Jesus (crap that people do in that dude's name) vs. the Jesus from the bible. On the subject of politics, the bible Jesus felt that politicians should govern politics, and religion should govern religion. The two, however, are independent of each other.

So who's the bible nut that can help point me towards that passage?


Give Caesar his due and give God his due?

Matthew 22 wrote:15Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

18But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"

21"Caesar's," they replied.
Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

22When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
tenet |ˈtenit|
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tenant |ˈtenənt|
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby atxshannon » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:36 pm UTC

You see? podbaydoor, you bible nut, I bet you're handy in a fight! Thanks :)
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby podbaydoor » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:39 pm UTC

Heh, I'm sure there are people in the forums who are far better versed in the Bible than me...I just know what I know based on 15+ years of Sunday School and reading the Bible cover to cover three times, I haven't gone into deep study of it or anything. I wish I could.
tenet |ˈtenit|
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noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:40 pm UTC

Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God what is God's Translations will vary, but it's in all the synoptic Gospels

Matthew 22:15-22
Mark 12:13-17
Luke 20:20-26

ah. I've been ninja'd

@Jalapeno: Precisely. Hell goes (at least) as far back as the Greeks. The church has a time-honored tradition of appropriating other religious symbols, rituals, and teachings, and Hell is one such example. You'll notice that it doesn't exist in Judaism.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Gunfingers » Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:13 pm UTC

about.com wrote:Church tax exemptions are in jeopardy if an organization engages in direct political activity either against or on behalf of a political candidate or in an attempt to directly influence the passage of particular legislation. Churches and religious organizations, just as any other tax-exempt charitable organization, are free to comment on any social, political, or moral issues. They may not, however, speak out for or against political candidates if they wish to continue being tax-exempt. Losing tax-exempt status can mean both having to pay income taxes and that donations to the group will not be tax deductible by the donors.


It's a stretch, but i'm pretty sure they're within the bounds of the law.

Personally, i don't see any reason why any private organization shouldn't be able to tell people who they think they should vote for. Of course, the Catholic Church isn't strictly a private organization. In fact, they're a foreign government.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:41 pm UTC

Ghandi 2 wrote:for clarification, it is my understanding that it was actually homosexual statuatory rape

No. Much of it was the rape of children. Plain and simple. And much of it wasn't homosexual, either. A large number of young boys *and* girls were sexually abused by their priests, and the Church not only didn't do anything to punish most of those priests, it sometimes went to great lengths to keep the whole thing quiet, such as by transferring offending priests to different areas where the rumors were unknown.

It was (in many cases at least) child sexual abuse, plain and simple, and so calling it "statutory rape" really *is* an attempt to diminish it.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:01 pm UTC

CatProximity wrote:
Bakemaster wrote:It's too bad I like so many Catholics because I really hate the Catholic church.

There's a big difference.

Poor choice of phrase; I should have reversed it: "It's too bad I really hate the Catholic church, because I like many Catholics." It's not too bad that I like Catholics.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby 22/7 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:27 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
22/7 wrote:What you've just claimed is that the origin of Hell is in the Church.

No, he didn't.

You're right, my bad. I misread him. However, I stand by the fact that his claim implies that the church does not believe in Hell, which is one helluva claim (no pun intended).
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby iop » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:30 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:@iop: My bad about the death penalty thing. I actually did dig up the document but it was late and I guess I missed it. Though it should be noted that there's only one issue that Cardinals publicly refuse the Eucharist to politicians over. The death penalty always takes a back burner to abortion unless there's a vote active about it, which is curious, because the President does have the authority to reprieve executions.

Like I said, I spent a year studying the theories behind conscience formation (I'm guessing that you went into detail for the benefit of others). And the theory is fairly sharp. Even though at the time I'd recently broken from the church, I had and have respect for the theory. The problem is that the rhetoric that the Church uses is out of keeping with it.

I definitely agree with you on the conscience formation. Viewed in the most positive light, the Church is trying to prevent people from using the conscience argument to turn Catholic faith into a mix-and-match thing, where you agree with what you're comfortable, but drop the rest - and I'd even be ok with that. Of course, they rarely do that (=I can't remember the last time they did), but rather tell the people what their conscience should be right away, which is not ok.
The focus on abortion is very much a phenomenon of US culture, and less of the Church in general. I was never able to understand, why it is so much more important what a Supreme Court Judge thinks about abortion than about torture, for example. In Germany, for example, the Church used to do abortion counseling (mandatory to get an abortion, IIRC) for many years, and while they tried to find a solution that did not involve abortion, they did sign the form that allowed the women to get an abortion. They were eventually shut down by JPII, which I find rather unfortunate.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:16 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
22/7 wrote:What you've just claimed is that the origin of Hell is in the Church.

No, he didn't.

You're right, my bad. I misread him. However, I stand by the fact that his claim implies that the church does not believe in Hell, which is one helluva claim (no pun intended).

Yeah, I can see that. Besides, as far as I can tell, Hell will be populated by all of my friends, so that's where I want to go. Heaven is for people the Church considers good, and they're.... not a fun group.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:58 pm UTC

I can't speak to whether or not the Church currently believes in Hell, but I don't believe that it did when it incorporated the teaching. As an institution, Catholicism has always played a bit loose with actual truth when it comes to its teachings, ranging from telling Galileo that they had no problem with his saying that for astronomical purposes, the stars behaved as if the Earth moved, but they had a problem with his saying that the Earth did, in fact, move, to teaching that condoms are ineffective at preventing the spread of HIV wheras in actual fact they reduce the risk to a 2 or 5 (depending on male versus female) in 10,000 exposures to an infected person in heterosexual intercourse.

What this all goes to say is that there's nothing to suggest that the Church always believes in the literal, factual truth of the things it teaches. After generation after generation the powers at be may actually believe in it, but it requires a bit of doublethink to reconcile the fact that it's a co-opted concept that doesn't previously appear in the Abrahamic tradition with actual belief in it.
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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby zar » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:33 pm UTC

If you accept the Bible, Hell is a pretty clear concept and fairly well defined..And it's not addressed to non-Catholics, unless I missed something. Of course, morality is absolute, but all kinds of ignorance things come into play with non-Catholics, which I'm not going to get into.

Really? Then why has their stance on hell changed so much? The fiction changes. The entrance requirements for hell (according to them) are different now than they were in the past. Catholic doctrine has been constantly and shamelessly changed throughout their history to suit their interests. The sale of indulgences is a particularly blatant example.

Or more recently, the whole, "Oops, purgatory actually doesn't exist after all" thing. After all these years, and so many parents worrying about their babies in purgatory, it comes out that they just made it up. It was clearly a PR move so they don't need to grapple with the question of why God doesn't send them right to heaven (which is their new stance).

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby iop » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:25 pm UTC

I'd be surprised if the Church really stated that condoms were not effective. At least in more recent times, they have become very careful when they were wording things (not that they would go through lots of effort to make sure the subtleties were going to make it to everyone). I guess they found a way to say that condoms are not effective enough, which was then later shortened.

zar wrote:Or more recently, the whole, "Oops, purgatory actually doesn't exist after all" thing. After all these years, and so many parents worrying about their babies in purgatory, it comes out that they just made it up. It was clearly a PR move so they don't need to grapple with the question of why God doesn't send them right to heaven (which is their new stance).

It was limbo, the place where the innocent (babies) go who aren't baptized, because you can't go to heaven if you aren't baptized. Purgatory still exists.
It was more a recognition that the whole complicated hell concept (who goes directly to heaven, hell, purgatory, and what are the ways to move from one place to the next) was a bit over the top.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby zar » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:43 pm UTC

Ah, yes, limbo not purgatory. I always considered the two concepts to be pretty similar, though maybe I just misunderstood it.

As for the condom deal, I remember being taught at my catholic school that condoms are ineffective against preventing the spread of AIDS. This of course doesn't speak to their official position, but it was a common mantra among the catholics I grew up around.

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Re: Catholic Church to voters: God's watching!

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:50 pm UTC

iop wrote:I'd be surprised if the Church really stated that condoms were not effective.


They stated it in missions in Africa, and I was taught it in my Freshman year in high school during religion class at a Catholic school.
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