Tuesday, June 03, 2008


E. J. Dionne writes about a priest who denied Communion for "Douglas Kmiec, a staunch Republican, firm foe of abortion and veteran of the Reagan Justice Department" because Kmiec supports pro-choice Obama.

This is not surprising. The Catholic Church has been working hard for the last three decades to implement conservative policies and promote bishops of a conservative nature. The Catholic Church is, at least in the upper echelons, still battling against modernity. That battle started with Pius IX in the mid nineteenth century and it was continued by Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII.

John XXIII was a reformist pope and liberal. Paul VI was considered moderate-liberal (although on sexual matters, a conservative).

John Paul I was a transient figure; he chose a name to honor to his two immediate predecessors (and many say, their agendas).

But John Paul I died after a month and was replaced by John Paul II, who took the name mostly to signal continuity with JP1, but that was misleading.

John Paul II should have taken the name Pius XIII because he was always conservative in matters regarding the church (papal supremacy, bishops chosen by Rome, dismissal of lay opinion, anti-reform on papal celibacy, women priests, contraception). It's just that John Paul II's celebrity made him look to many as if he was a modern pope. He wasn't. And the staffing within the Catholic Church reflects that. Ratzinger was given substantial authority while John Paul was pope. And now he's the Pope. So it should come as no surprise that priests are out there willing to use denial of sacraments as an instrument of political control.


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