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Old 05-20-2004, 08:21 PM   #46
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I don't think these politicians are necessarily telling the bishops how to run the Church, but rather, are expressing their views as Catholic politicians concerned with the whole issue of getting Catholics elected to public office and the relationship of the Catholic Church to the electorate as a whole. It's the right thing to do to have a civilized and substantive dialogue about the whole thing. Otherwise the issue will just fester and could possibly really hurt the Church and just generally be bad for all Catholics, even conservative ones.
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Old 05-20-2004, 09:42 PM   #47
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If I got a letter from 48 members of Congress, I'd think the government was making a point.
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Old 05-21-2004, 02:13 AM   #48
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If I were someone that represented someone who made statements concerning Catholic politicians and 48 Cathollic politicians sent me a letter I'd think that some Catholic politicians were trying to make a point. If I received word that those politicians were trying to enact some sort of law against me or my faith, then I would think that the government was making a point. Quoting from the article:

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Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, and Representative Nick Lampson, Democrat of Texas, circulated the letter among the 73 Catholic Democrats in the House. It was not circulated among Republicans or in the Senate, because it arose from meetings that began last year among a small number of Catholic Democrats in the House who wanted to talk privately about faith and public service, DeLauro said. "This was not about politics. It was about us and our church and our own faith," she said.
These are individuals who are fellow members of the Catholic faith and were, by the Bishop's letter, singled out because of their beliefs. They wrote a letter expressing their feelings to someone that has the power affect them and their faith. It's a big leap to think that they were trying to convince him that to do something because the government didn't agree with the Bishop's letter.
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Old 05-21-2004, 02:33 AM   #49
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WTF is going on? Where is the line of personal faith and politics? The God I believe in wouldn't banish you from the table if you wanted to partake in God's blessings. I do not understand this crap.
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:56 AM   #50
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It's 48 members of Congress, not the government. Sure they're powerful people, but they are addressing other people with power, trying to start a dialogue rather than have the situation degenerate into a dispute. It's not the government as a whole. I'd imagine the Administration, for example, may have contacted the bishops when they were nominating their ambassador to the Vatican. Contact between politicians and Church leaders is a common, everyday thing, not some aberration.
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Old 05-21-2004, 01:12 PM   #51
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If individuals wanted to make a personal statement, they would not have sent a collective letter with only members of Congress signing. They are clearly playing on their position in government to apply pressure to the church.
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Old 05-21-2004, 03:18 PM   #52
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They're politicians. Would you rather unsuccessful, meaning unelected, politicians wrote letters instead? Besides, what kind of influence could the government really exert over the Catholic church? If they were really trying to threaten, then it was an empty threat.

I could see your point if the members who wrote the letter weren't Catholic. But they are, and so the issue raised by the Bishop has personal meaning for them as Cathoics and politicians. As to why they sent the letter as a group, again I quote from the same section of the article I quoted earlier, this time with a different section bolded:

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Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, and Representative Nick Lampson, Democrat of Texas, circulated the letter among the 73 Catholic Democrats in the House. It was not circulated among Republicans or in the Senate, because it arose from meetings that began last year among a small number of Catholic Democrats in the House who wanted to talk privately about faith and public service, DeLauro said. "This was not about politics. It was about us and our church and our own faith," she said.
Of course the members are aware that their stature may affect the decisions made by the church. But it has less to do with the fact that they're government officials, and more to do with the fact that they hold elevated positions in society. If a similar letter were written by several prominent businesspeople would you accuse big business of trying to influence the church?
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Old 05-21-2004, 05:33 PM   #53
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I agree with you TG. I'd be irked *big time* if these politicians were not Catholic. Then I'd think the government was getting into the affairs of the Church in an inappropriate manner. The whole thing is about being Catholic and in politics and under fire from *their* Church over some of their votes. Since I'm Catholic and I vote, this has relevance for me.
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Old 07-05-2004, 01:19 PM   #54
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Originally posted by verte76
It's interesting, the problem I had with my church when I was growing up was that, like other Southern Protestant churches I was familiar with at the time, it was segregated as heck. After awhile my parents quit the church they were sending us to because of the politics. It was out in a small Alabama town near Birmingham and there was a freakin' KKK group in the area. (For the record, many integrated Protestant churches were formed in Alabama and the South during this era, but they weren't in my neighborhood, thus I didn't know they were out there). After this I grew up in a mostly secular environment, actually. When I was in college I met some Catholics who were into activist politics. They campaigned against the Klan, racism, and other injustices. I liked what they were doing and was attracted to their church. After a few years I joined their church. So, in terms of my background, the Catholic Church was more inclusive. I have heard that in other parts of the country the reverse is true.
verte76, I have thought about your post for awhile now. Though I don't agree with the power structure of the Catholic Church - I agree with your perception of Catholics. While some of the Catholic teachings aren't right for me, the teachings regarding social injustices and caring for the poor and needy are right on. Heck, at my UCC (United Church of Christ) church most of the outreach committee is made up of former Catholics. I attended a series of classes on the religions in America last year and the Catholics were sited as one of the most generous organizations. If I had understood all of that when I was growing up instead of feeling unworthy because I didn't want to say three "Hail Mary's" for forgiveness, who knows what would have happened. Anyhow, I wanted you to know that I have a newfound appreciation for the Catholic religion because of you.
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Old 07-05-2004, 01:44 PM   #55
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Catholics, as a whole, are very reasonable, and I think that the monolithic power structure really does disillusion many, because they know that, unlike other churches, there is absolutely nothing we can do to change who leads the Church. From the POV of the hierarchy, they are the Church and we're just an audience, rather than active participants.

Perhaps what is sad is that it has become so "monolithic" that many Catholics these days find more solace in other Christian denominations, whether it be the UCC or the Episcopal Church. I often wonder what the future of Catholicism is, and I wonder if it will be any different from when the Southern Baptist Convention was invaded with fundamentalists back in the 1970s, pushing out all the liberal Baptists. Of course, the difference with the Catholic Church versus the SBC is that it isn't up to the congregations; the hierarchy calls all the shots and they alone will determine the course of where Catholicism goes in the coming decades.

*sigh*...I often see why I no longer feel welcome in that religion, for more reasons than one.

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