Sign In  |  Register  |  About Daly City  |  Contact Us

Daly City, CA
September 01, 2020 1:20pm
7-Day Forecast | Traffic
  • Search Hotels in Daly City

  • ROOMS:

The problematic intersection of Catholics and politics

Around half the Christians in the world are Catholics. Along with Protestantism, Catholicism is a major division in Christianity. Its worship rituals are central to the faith and practice of its followers. These rituals have developed over centuries and hold deep symbolic meaning within the tradition. Two of the most significant rituals in Catholicism are baptism and the Holy Communion.

Baptism is the ceremony in which a person becomes a member of the Catholic Church and is admitted to the Christian faith. Holy Communion, also known as the Eucharist, is considered the most important ritual. It is the reenactment of the Last Supper where Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples. Catholics believe that the bread and wine used in the Mass become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. They consider it the summit of Christianity.

On occasions, the church deliberately deprives some individuals of attending the Holy Communion. It is when the clerics find individuals embracing or practicing ideas that go against Catholic doctrine. Lately, individual Catholics’ stance on supporting abortion on demand has become a widespread reason for the Catholic clerics to deny communion. The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a grave moral evil and a violation of the sanctity of human life. It also emphasizes the importance of the Eucharist as a sacrament and the source and summit of the Catholic faith. From a clerical lens, receiving the Eucharist, while persisting on abortion rights, is a contradiction, and thus cannot coexist.

On this interpretation, the Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco disallowed communion to the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for supporting abortion rights. Even the current US President, Joe Biden, was threatened to be banned from the communion by some bishops for propagating similar views.

On the other hand, the general Canon law does not permit denying the communion to anyone, unless prohibited by law. That is why the Vatican sent out letters to the bishops in the US, urging them to halt their barring campaign against those supporting abortion. It must be remembered that the doctrine is the real source of the thought. It has no problem with sharing communion with the pro-abortion Catholic individuals. Therefore, denying the Eucharist can be deemed unwarranted and unnecessary.

There are no facts, only interpretations. Different interpretations and implementations create divisions. Taking this into account, many contradictions in Catholic doctrine and practice can be seen. This has resulted in significant partisan divergence in the followers. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2022 showed that 56% of Catholics are pro-abortion in all or some cases, whereas 42% are anti-abortion in all or some cases. They do not share a common stance; roughly half of them support the Republican Party whereas the other half leans towards the Democratic Party.

Catholics practise differently as opposed to their doctrine on many levels. For example, more than half of the Catholic population in the world does not attend church. The Catholic Church emphasizes traditional family values. But, a survey held in 2020 showed that a majority of the Catholics is in favor of same-sex marriage. In the US, 61% Catholics do not see a problem with gay marriages.

The Catholic Church is welcoming towards refugees. Pope Francis has on multiple occasions spoken in favor of taking in refugees. He is also against anti-migrant political campaigns. The Pope said, “I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges”. He even said that whoever builds walls “is not Christian”. Catholic followers, on the other hand, do not practice their church’s directions. A survey conducted by the Centre for Applied Research showed that 51% of white Catholics in the US were in favor of building a wall between the US and Mexico to ban immigration. The same survey revealed that 52% of white Catholics supported the Muslim ban by former President Donald Trump.

The issue of climate change is also subjective. In his encyclical titled ‘Laudato Si’, Pope Francis has brought attention to the issue of climate change and called all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action.” Things are different in the followers’ section. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2022 about climate change showed some contradictory results. According to the survey, around 40% of Catholics do not consider climate change a serious problem.

From abortion to environment, the Catholics hold a wide range of political and religious views, and their practices sometimes go against the Catholic interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. Catholics, therefore, are not a homogeneous voting bloc.

Statistics and records show that many Catholic believers hold contradictory political and religious views. Religious teachings and political ideas are intertwined to the state of confusion. When religion is used in the political domain, it loses its purity. It can be easily manipulated through the clergy in order to acquire power. A sound mind would suggest that there is no need for legislations related to personal liberty, such as abortion, as they do not seem to affect the state in any thinkable capacity. For clarity in both religion and politics, it is important to keep the two apart.

As suggested by Thomas Jefferson, a “wall of separation” must be built between the clergy and state machinery. This does not mean that religious people should be banned from debate on public policies. What it means is religion must not be the driver of public policy. In other words, the pope and the president must not cross each other’s domain.

John Locke, an English political figure, is famous for his ideas on separation of religion and politics. He linked this idea with tolerance, asserting that human beings lack tolerance for one another which aids in increasing conflicts between religion and politics.

Keeping in view the separation of church and state, it is essential to navigate the relationship between pilgrimage and the separation of church and state. Religious pilgrimage is a universal practice that involves individuals or groups embarking on a sacred journey to seek spiritual growth and a closer connection with the divine figures. Pilgrims of every faith visit religious sites across the world. Muslim pilgrims, for example, regularly visit the holy city of Mecca. It is estimated that 2.5 million Muslim pilgrims go there every year.

Similarly, Catholics give immense importance to pilgrimage. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the most important holy site in Christianity and is visited by over one million pilgrims every year, half of which are Catholics. In addition to fostering unity among participants, it contributes to local economies.

If church and politics get mixed up, the government could seek to control pilgrimage activities for political purposes. This can involve using religious institutions or pilgrimage as a tool for political propaganda. Pilgrimage sites and events can become platforms for political speeches or demonstrations, diluting their religious significance.

Religion and politics are best when apart. It helps to accommodate diverse perspectives in modern, pluralistic societies. Without political interference in religion, and vice versa, religion can stay preserved from impurities. This can specially help in keeping a general consensus among the followers of a particular faith. Moreover, civic equality can only be ensured when political decisions are based on rational or secular considerations rather than disputed interpretations of the Holy Scriptures.

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.
Copyright © 2010-2020 & California Media Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.