Abortion, Catholic Sex Scandals, the Bishop of Scranton, and Joe Biden’s Communion

Aug 9, 2016

Once again, the emotionally charged issue of abortion has penetrated a presidential campaign, especially among Roman Catholic voters.

The bishop of Scranton, Pa., home to a strong conservative Catholic population, has forbidden Sen. Joe Biden, a Scranton native, from receiving communion in his hometown.

Biden, like 14 other Democrats in the Senate, is both pro-choice and Catholic. So the bishop decreed that the party’s vice presidential candidate was not welcome at the communion rail. These Senate Democrats and many other Catholics—including this writer—do not necessarily favor abortion, but we do not feel our religious views should be foisted on others in a nation where church and state are divided.


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13 comments on “Abortion, Catholic Sex Scandals, the Bishop of Scranton, and Joe Biden’s Communion

  • @OP – Once again, the emotionally charged issue of abortion has penetrated a presidential campaign, especially among Roman Catholic voters.

    The bishop of Scranton, Pa., home to a strong conservative Catholic population, has forbidden Sen. Joe Biden, a Scranton native, from receiving communion in his hometown.

    Hopefully such bigoted bishops, will make the more rational members of their flocks question more unthinking Catholic dogmas by such actions, and encourage them to leave this organisation and its antiquated obsolete thinking processes!



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  • 3
    Cairsley says:

    Living in a land where the Roman Catholic bishops have long championed secular government, I am baffled to hear of this bishop of Scranton who, living in a land where state and religion are separated by law, does not understand secularism. Perhaps seminary education is not what it used to be.



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  • Cairsley #3
    Aug 10, 2016 at 1:23 am

    Living in a land where the Roman Catholic bishops have long championed secular government,

    Catholic Bishops only “champion secular government” on a temporary basis, where Catholics are in a minority.
    Where they have achieve deals with government (such as in Franco’s Spain, Mussolini’s Italy, the Irish Republic, or much of South America), a rapid progression to Catholic theocracy happens, and persists for a long time.



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  • 5
    Cairsley says:

    To Alan4discussion #4.

    Where they [Catholic bishops] have achieve deals with government (such as in Franco’s Spain, Mussolini’s Italy, the Irish Republic, or much of South America), a rapid progression to Catholic theocracy happens, and persists for a long time.

    Right you are, Alan. The wedge that slowly nudged me out of the embrace of Holy Mother Church came from studies in history and exposure to church life in a few European countries. Although I now deplore the Roman Catholic Church as an obstacle to human and social wellbeing, I am aware that the outpost of that church in which I grew up was relatively enlightened and humane (thanks, I believe, to the predominant, at least nominally Protestant influences that shaped early New Zealand culture).

    With such afterthoughts as these and a couple of others, I actually tried to delete my comment at #3, but it did not work. But it still baffles me that a bishop in a country whose legal code explicitly separates state and religion should still try to penalize a politician for not favoring the imposition of some doctrine of that religion on the wider society. A bishop is supposed to have some understanding of law. And one would expect a Catholic bishop in the USA to be educated and experienced enough to recognize the importance of secular government for religious freedom.



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  • Cairsley #5
    Aug 10, 2016 at 6:52 am

    A bishop is supposed to have some understanding of law. And one would expect a Catholic bishop in the USA to be educated and experienced enough to recognize the importance of secular government for religious freedom.

    The Vatican position, is that Cannon Law trumps civil law, just as Catholic dogma and doctrine trump objective science with Catholic “Trrrooooo (pseudo-)science” – which is doctrine-fudged with circular preconceptions, so it can be claimed “not to be in conflict with ‘faith’ “!!!
    “Faith” it is claimed provides trrooo knowledge and trrrrooo reason, so for those indoctrinated in Cannon Law, there is no need to “cause moral confusion” by studying civil law, unless employed in the legal profession!



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  • 7
    Cairsley says:

    To Alan4discussion #6.

    Yes, Alan, what you say of the Catholic Church’s official position on church law and doctrine is correct, but irrelevant. One would expect a Catholic bishop to exercise prudence in applying provisions of church law to a Catholic politician in a public context in a country whose law requires secular government and safeguards his own religious freedom. Hence my surprise that this bishop of Scranton (like the three bishops mentioned in the next article) should have so lost his poise as to penalize a Catholic politician for not favoring the church’s view in a secular political context, for not, that is to say, seeking to impose Catholic doctrine on non-Catholics, thereby seeking to contravene the very law according to which he is a democratically elected representative. Still, we may take heart at all this, for I suspect we see there further cracks in the façade of a marvelously anachronistic institution that is losing its sense of purpose and integrity.



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  • Cairsley #7
    Aug 10, 2016 at 9:01 am

    One would expect a Catholic bishop to exercise prudence in applying provisions of church law to a Catholic politician in a public context in a country whose law requires secular government and safeguards his own religious freedom.

    I think the traditional approach is to dispute and challenge the civil law, look for support from sympathisers, and play the martyr, when held to account!
    The church (and allegedly its god), awards Brownie points and sainthoods for such actions!
    You cannot assume rational behaviour or respect for other viewpoints, from faith-head leaders where doctrine is concerned! –
    Furthering the dogma-memes, is the ultimate priority!



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  • 9
    Cairsley says:

    To Alan4discussion #8.

    I am not disputing any of that, Alan. But how the furthering of the dogma-memes is carried out is very much dependent on political realities. Putting my point another way, I think the bishop of Scranton is not acting in his own church’s best interests by trying to penalize through church law a democratically elected politician for respecting the secular law whereby he holds his political position rather than acting in accordance with the church’s directive on some issue in the public arena. Surely, I am permitted to express my amazement that a Catholic bishop in a long-established Anglophone democracy has acted so imprudently against the established wisdom of his fellow bishops. I am sure that, even after the regressive clampdown that took place in the Catholic Church under the previous two popes, there are still many Catholics there (like the author of the article) who deplore any such attempt by one of their bishops to undermine the integrity of the secular government. But, if the quality of leadership in the Catholic Church is deteriorating to the point where bishops are starting to act imprudently in matters of general public concern and reveal their lack of civil integrity to decent laypeople, that church will only alienate more of its members who may cherish the Catholic faith and culture but eschew anything resembling a cult.



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  • Cairsley #9
    Aug 10, 2016 at 10:59 am

    To Alan4discussion #8.

    I am not disputing any of that, Alan. But how the furthering of the dogma-memes is carried out is very much dependent on political realities.

    Faith-blinkers are very good at obscuring realities!
    Parroting dogma is more of a knee-jerk reaction as a substitute for reasoned thought, rather than as a form of it.

    Putting my point another way, I think the bishop of Scranton is not acting in his own church’s best interests by trying to penalize through church law

    I agree with you, but the point I was making, was that a rational evaluation of anyone’s or anything’s “best interests”, is not a feature of dogmatist “faith-thinking”.

    I think the bishop of Scranton is not acting in his own church’s best interests by trying to penalize through church law a democratically elected politician for respecting the secular law whereby he holds his political position rather than acting in accordance with the church’s directive on some issue in the public arena.

    Recognising that one of the flock is thinking for himself (in any capacity), goes against the church domination of mind-slaves. Puppets which do not jump on command, are not behaving “troooo members” and must be pressured to confess their “errors” and repent!!

    Surely, I am permitted to express my amazement that a Catholic bishop in a long-established Anglophone democracy has acted so imprudently against the established wisdom of his fellow bishops.

    You certainly are, but then we can have more of an in-depth discussion in the implications of this – and throw a few ideas around to get a clearer perception of his actions and motives.
    The Bishop is seeking to have his flock bring pressure to bear on the politician to publicly support the church view and distance himself from same-sex marriage etc., regardless of civil law.

    A Chap called Henry VIII had this sort of trouble with bishops over his marriages and divorces, until he had had enough of them, and founded the Church of England!
    The response of Rome was to ferment rebellion among Catholic nobles, and press foreign Catholic kings to attack England!



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  • 12
    Cairsley says:

    To Alan4discussion #10.

    Again, Alan, I am in agreement with you on how the Roman Catholic Church manages its members’ thinking, and I hope you feel better now that you have unburdened yourself of all that. What has amazed me about the bishop of Scranton is that he is letting this less acceptable side of the church be seen in public. Catholic bishops used to be much more careful about that sort of thing. But it is a development that will probably further discredit the church.



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  • Meanwhile in the UK, the standards of RCC “moral” behaviour and integrity continue to come to light.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37037494

    A former social worker and Catholic priest has been jailed for 12 years after admitting historical child sex abuse charges dating back to the 1970s.

    Philip Temple, 66, admitted abusing 12 boys and one girl while working in south London care homes and a north London church.

    He also admitted lying on oath in the 1990s when he was cleared of child sex abuse charges against a teenage boy.

    Judge Christopher Hehir apologised to the victim at Woolwich Crown Court.

    He said: “I am sorry justice was not done when you came to court in 1998 and 1999.”

    In a statement read out in court, one victim said: “I feel like I have been robbed of my childhood and sometimes when I see other children in the street I wish I could go back in time and be a child again.”

    During sentencing, the judge told Temple: “You of course exploited the opportunities your deceit as to your character had afforded you, not only by sexually abusing children but, as a priest, by lying on oath to deny the truthful accusations brought against you by one of your victims.

    “Your actions as a priest demonstrated that in truth you were a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.”

    On Tuesday, Temple admitted seven charges committed in the 1970s. He had already admitted 20 similar charges and two of perjury at Croydon Crown Court in April.

    Temple abused boys and a girl while working as a social worker in Lambeth and Wandsworth councils between 1971 and 1977.

    He became a priest in 1988 and served at Christ the King Monastery in Cockfosters, where he abused two children, including an altar boy.

    A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in England and Wales said when concerns were raised it was limited in the measures it could take because as a monk he was answerable to the head of his order in Italy rather than the archdiocese here.

    What a lame excuse for a cover-up!!!
    He had even been investigated and suspended previously BEFORE he became a monk and a priest!
    Apparently they had never heard of referring matters to the POLICE under the civil or criminal law, but only considered him answerable to the internal church Cannon Law at the archdiocese or monk’s order in Italy!!!!
    Does anyone other than the deluded, think monks or priests, are exempt from national state laws????



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