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popish plots

I may be an agnostic with Unitarian leanings, but this annoyed the hell out of me. From a piece on today's Grauniad about Blair's conversion to Catholicism:
But the motives of Catholic politicians have traditionally been regarded with suspicion by non-Catholics, both here and in the US, based on the allegation that they take their orders from the Vatican rather than the electorate. Catholic political leaders have always denied it - but the recent antics of some bishops in the US during the 2004 presidential campaign when they threatened to deny John Kerry communion because of his support for abortion rights and, recently, Cardinal Keith O'Brien's warning that he would do the same in Scotland, have tended to confirm old suspicions.

No, they confirm suspicions that the Church is conservative. They actually show that individual Catholics act on their own consciences and are clearly not "taking orders from the Vatican", as many of them are pro-choice. But hey, who needs logic when you can lump an entire religious group together as fundies with no minds of their own?



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2007 08:59 am (UTC)
What a pile of crap. Churches have a perfect right to excommunicate or rebuke anyone they feel like. That's absolutely nothing to do with the workings of the State. Equally, as you said, individual Catholics have a free choice to obey the Church or not. In neither of the cases above did the Church attempt to influence the workings of the State, just the choices of individual Catholics.

That said, during the twentieth century the Catholic church did operate as a state within a state in Ireland to a large extent, didn't it? - think of the Vatican maintaining until so recently that it was up to them, not the Guards, to deal with child abusers. But as far as I understand, that's because the Irish State was more than happy to delegate its responsibilities to the Church in the first place. I forget which education minister said in the thirties or forties that his role was as a night watchman, to intervene if anything went wrong with the church-run education system, but certainly not to influence educational policy. It's that kind of negligence that allows church influence to become malign, not the nature of the church in the first place, surely?
Jun. 22nd, 2007 09:09 am (UTC)
In neither of the cases above did the Church attempt to influence the workings of the State, just the choices of individual Catholics.

And it didn't even work! Most of those politicians are still pro-choice! Also, the writer of this piece is talking about the individual politicians themselves, and how people suspect they can't be trusted because they're taking orders from the church - and then uses examples that says just the opposite.

And yeah, the situation here was totally different - it wasn't cunning Catholics infiltrating the government under orders from Rome, it was the government handing over power to the church and more or less letting them do whatever the hell they wrong.

Also, that night-watchman didn't do a very good job, did he...
Jun. 22nd, 2007 09:32 am (UTC)
Also, that night-watchman didn't do a very good job, did he...

Absolutely not. But I got that (semi-) quote from Noel Browne's autobiography, which is one long sustained burst of rage against the Irish church and state in the 1920s to 1980s. According to him, neither church nor state intended that the poor or disadvantaged be anything more than semi-literate anyway. I really need to do more research to find out exactly what was going on.

Also, I need a new "angry Irish politics" icon, don't I, now that Mick's gone hillwalking? I'm just not sure who, in the new sclerotic government, I despise the most...
Jun. 22nd, 2007 09:37 am (UTC)
Gah, this'll teach me to type while having a conversation about corrections - that should of course be "wanted", not "wrong"!
Jun. 22nd, 2007 09:43 am (UTC)
I'll put that typo down to Dr. Freud, I think!
Jun. 22nd, 2007 10:10 am (UTC)
Because CLEARLY, the Vatican would be anti-abortion and pro-death-penalty. That's exactly the Vatican's version of pro-life, not a pure conservative American phenomenon.

Jun. 22nd, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, well said! I want to ask how the writer of that piece didn't realize the example contradicts the statement, but it looks like it's pure fear-mongering and an attempt to drum up the old prejudice.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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