Sometimes when I feel that my blood pressure is too low, I take a look at some of the stories carried by the Philadelphia Inquirer. In today’s edition, there is an editorial about how Senator Robert Casey (D. Pa.) is a “hero” because he stood up to the Catholic Church and voted to confirm abortion supporter (and fellow Catholic) Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The editorial goes on to criticize Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino for warning Casey, a member of his diocese, to not vote for Sebelius. The editorial goes on to state, “…But, threatening to withhold the sacrament from a parishioner over a matter of public policy comes close to saying that one church’s tenets should have priority in law over all others’. This country was founded on the principles that all religions are welcome and that none should take precedent in civil law. As a senator, Casey represents Catholics as well as non-Catholics. He should consider his faith when making decisions, but a public official’s faith shouldn’t be the only consideration. His reasoning on Sebelius shows Casey understands that balance.”
I’m sure the writer of this editorial would have good things to say about Pontius Pilate, who also didn’t want to inflict his personal beliefs about Jesus’ innocence on the people. This story illustrates three people who literally have no clue about the teachings of the Catholic Faith – Casey, Sebelius, and the author of the editorial. If they really want to be members of the Church founded by Jesus (the Catholic Church), Casey and Sebelius should understand that there are rules and one of them is that murder is always intrinsically evil. The problem with their logic is the belief that they only need to follow the rules with which they agree. This is never how Jesus operated and it has never been the policy of His Church. There have always been moral guidelines laid down by the Church. If there weren’t, what is the point of belonging to a church? Why not just create your own rules?
The unnamed editorial writer is equally clueless about the role of a bishop. Bishop Martino is doing exactly what he’s supposed to do in shepherding his flock. Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Athanasius, a fourth century bishop (of Alexandria, Egypt) and doctor of the Church who spoke out many times on various heresies and attacks on the Church. Bishop Martino, not Casey, is the real hero in this story and he’s doing an excellent job carrying on the Apostolic Tradition established by Our Lord when He selected the original twelve Apostles.
You can read the full editorial at http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20090502_Editorial__Standing_up_to_his_church.html