Tag Archives: Catholic Church

Public policy = taxation

Here’s a thought I want to share: If religious organizations are going to bully public officials into following certain policy positions, then they need to be taxed liked any other business.

The San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese has declared its intention to deny House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — a devout Catholic — communion because of her pro-choice stance on abortion.

Hold on!

Pelosi’s position on abortion is well-known and has been reported on since before she became a member of Congress. The SF archdiocese, though, has sniffed out an opportunity to make some extra hay over the issue because of that draft Supreme Court opinion that suggests the court is set to overturn the Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

Speaker Pelosi shouldn’t be denied a sacred religious sacrament because of a public policy dispute she might have with the leaders of the church of which she has been a lifelong member.

I should point out, too, that members of Congress, as do virtually members of the federal government, take oaths of loyalty to the Constitution, not to the Bible or any other holy book. The last time I checked, which wasn’t long ago, I determined for the umpteenth time that the Constitution is a secular document.

The Church is treading on a slippery and dangerous slope by denying the speaker the opportunity to partake in holy communion.

But if the Church is allowed to get away with this kind of bullying, then there needs to be a serious debate and a decision on requiring religious organizations to share in the tax burden that falls on the rest of us.


No communion for POTUS?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The Bible is God’s infallible word, yes?

So, with that I want to venture briefly into some dangerous rhetorical territory. Some Catholic bishops want to deny President and Mrs. Biden communion because of their views on abortion.

Catholic Church doctrine opposes abortion. Period. It is not a debatable point. President Biden believes women deserve to have the right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy, which is against church doctrine. Some bishops want to deny serving him communion at Mass. Given that the first couple attends church regularly, well … that’s a big deal.

My quandary is this: The Bible I have read since I was a little boy does not set any sin above all others. Thus, abortion is no more serious a sin than, say, coveting someone else’s property or engaging in sloth.

How, then, do bishops justify weaponizing a particular sin by denying a politician communion which in effect declares that abortion is more punishable than any other sin? Is that in keeping with Biblical teaching?

Evangelicals face a reckoning

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If there is justice lurking in the election returns that have produced a new president of the United States, it well might rest within the evangelical Christian movement.

I now shall explain.

Evangelicals lined up behind Donald J. Trump, a man without even a passing acquaintance with Scripture. He is an admitted philanderer and has acknowledged groping women, grabbing them by their genitals. More than two dozen women have accused him of various forms of sexual assault. He paid a porn star $130,000 to keep quiet about a liaison she said she had with the future president, who also has denied taking the tumble with her during a one-night stand.

They stood with him as he sought re-election. Trump lost that campaign, however, to Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic — the second Catholic ever elected president.

President-elect Biden is devoted to his faith. He attends Mass regularly. The president-elect has suffered unimaginable pain through death. He has buried two of his children, one an infant, the other an adult. His infant daughter died in a car accident that also killed his first wife and grievously injured his two sons.

The president-elect has proclaimed repeatedly over the span of time that his faith in God and his belief in eternal salvation carried him through his grief.

Still, the evangelical movement stood with the alleged sexual assailant and admitted philanderer.

Yes, if there is justice in these election returns, it should present itself with the evangelical Christian movement looking deeply into its political alliance with someone many of us consider to be downright evil.

Iconic cathedral destroyed . . . oh, the tragedy!

Fire has swept through the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the iconic Paris church and an overarching symbol for the Catholic Church.

The bell towers reportedly are safe. The spire has collapsed. Reports seem conflicted. Is the cathedral a total loss?

I know what we all are thinking now as French firefighters battle this blaze: Is this the act of a terrorist? No such organization has claimed responsibility as I write this brief post. I pray none will surface. If it’s a bogus claim from some faker, I trust French intelligence officials will know.

I’ve not been to Paris. I have not seen this iconic structure. Those I know who have seen have come away enriched beyond measure just being in the presence of this holy site.

Thus, the world should mourn what is unfolding in Paris at this moment.

My heart is broken.

Reports of sexual abuse are truly stomach-churning

I am sickened, right along with millions of other Americans, at the news out of Pennsylvania involving reports of sexual abuse of thousands of children by priests associated with several Catholic dioceses.

These children have grown to be men and women. They are speaking out. The church is now having to deal with yet another terrible scandal involving is holy men and the children under their spiritual care.

But there’s another aspect of the story that also sickens me. It is that Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations that prohibits these individuals from being prosecuted for their heinous crimes.

I am thinking that one legislative remedy might be for Keystone State lawmakers to rescind the statute of limitations for sex crimes, particularly those involving children.

They ought to look, for example, to Texas, which has no such time limit on when it can prosecute someone for crimes they commit against the most defenseless among us.

This story is far from its conclusion. May the victims — who call themselves “survivors” — find some measure of peace. I hope they draw some strength from the love that comes their way from the rest of the nation.

Pope Francis: evolution is biblical, too


Pope Francis is my kind of holy man.

The head of the Catholic Church has declared that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and the Bible’s account of creation aren’t mutually exclusive.

Imagine that.


“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution, because evolution requires the creation of beingsĀ that evolve,” the pope told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Of course, this is the same spiritual authority who has spoken out about climate change and global warming. And why not? He’s a scientist by training and education.

I’ve long been able to justify evolution with the way the Bible describes the creation of the universe. I’ve never been able to accept that Scripture’s account that God created Earth in six days and then rested on the seventh meant that he did all of that in seven calendar days as we understand the measurement of time.

The Holy Father also said he doesn’t believe that God is a “magician” who waved a “magic wand” that enabled him to anything he wanted. “That is not so,” the pope said.

Sure, it’s nice that I happen to agree with the Holy Father on this point.

He’s a lot closer to God than I am. But if I am interpreting his view of how the world was created, I am going to presume he sees the Bible as a sort of holy metaphor.

The world isn’t really 6,000 years old, as some have said in interpreting Scripture literally, word for word.

That’s what I have believed since I was old enough to read about such things. I’m glad that the head of one of the world’s great religions agrees with me.

Does he agree with your view of the world?

Religion collides with politics


Didn’t someone once suggest that you shouldn’t ever discuss religion and politics?

Here we are, then. Talking about both things in the same sentence.

Pope Francis I decided to weigh in with remarks about Republican presidential frontrunner Donald J. Trump’s proposal to build a wall across our southern border to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States.

Anyone who’d propose such a thing, the pontiff, said isn’t a Christian.

Trump fired back. Trump calledĀ the pope’s view “disgraceful” and said, by golly, he’s a devout Christian.

Others on the right are criticizing the pope for engaging in this political discussion in the first place. Who is this guy? they wonder. What qualifies him to comment on the American political system?

Let’s take a breath.

Maybe the pope made his statement in Spanish, or Italian, or Latin and it got mistranslated.

Surely, too, he isn’t the first public figure — American or otherwise — to drag religion into a campaign for a secular political office. U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy faced intenseĀ suspicion over his Catholic faith in the 1960 campaign and he ended up dispelling much of it with a speech in Houston in which he said he’d follow the Constitution and would not — contrary to allegations — be a puppet for the Vatican.

And there have been others as well.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the pope — a renowned international public figure — to weigh in on a U.S. public policy discussion. He’s entitled to his view.

It’s that it has ignited a firestorm that makes meĀ uncomfortable when I hear politicians feeling forced to defend their religious beliefs while seeking an office to which they will take an oath to protect and defend a wholly secular document.

That would be the Constitution of the United States.


Hey, didn’t JFK settle this religious thing already?


I’ve always thought — or hoped, at least — that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech in Houston settled the notion that a candidate’s religion should have no bearing on whether he could serve as president of the United States.

He told some Protestant clergy that the Vatican would not dictate to the Catholic candidate how he should govern, that he would swear to be faithful only to the U.S. Constitution.

Well, silly me. The issue is coming up again. The target this time is Dr. Ben Carson, the famed neurosurgeon whose faith is of the Seventh-day Adventist variety.

Donald Trump raised the issue the other day in typical tactless Trump fashion. Now comes a well-known lefty commentator, David Corn, editor of Mother Jones, to wonder aloud whether Carson’s faith would inform the way he would govern should he “take control of the government.”

This is a ridiculous debate.

First of all, presidents don’t control the government. We have this notion that power is spread among two other governmental branches — the courts and the Congress.

The Constitution says there should be “no religious test” for candidates seeking any public office. That includes the presidency.

Yes, Carson has brought up his own faith. He’s talked about how his faith would guide him. He hasn’t said he would toss the Constitution aside any more than then-Sen. Kennedy said he would more than five decades ago.

Corn is playing to voters’ fears when he says of Carson: “Now, he is running on the basis that he has faith. And I think itā€™s going to open, you know, a big can here. Because, you know, he does come from a church that believes in end times, prophesies, and heā€™s said he believes in the churchā€™s teachings.ā€

A simple declarative question is in order: Dr. Carson, do you vow to uphold the law under the Constitution of the United States?

I believe he’s already pledged to do so.


Pope Francis set to make some uncomfortable

Pope Francis at St Peter's

Pope Francis speaks like a humble man.

His message, though, is lofty beyond imagination.

He’s landed in Cuba, where he’ll tell the communist rulers of the island nation to give the Catholic Church there freedom to preach the word of Jesus Christ.

Then he’ll come to Washington, where he’ll speak to a joint session of Congress and will tell lawmakers that the world mustn’t worship capitalism and, yes, it must deal with global crises, such as climate change.

Pope coming to the U.S.

The Holy Father’s critics call him a Marxist. There’s been some talk that a few Republican lawmakers will boycott the speech on Capitol Hill. That would be a mistake, just as it was a mistake for Democrats to stay away when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a joint congressional session to argue against the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration.

The earthly leader of a great Christian denomination needs to be herd by legislators who help govern the world’s greatest nation, even if he says thing that make them uncomfortable.

The good news, at least as far as I’m concerned, is that the congressional chamber will be full.

Indeed, it’s not every day that the pope comes to Washington.

Welcome to the United States of America, Your Holiness.


Now it's Santorum, again, thinking about '16

Good grief. Now we have a former senator from Pennsylvania climbing aboard the GOP Presidential Bandwagon.

Rick Santorum is considering another run for the Republican Party presidential nomination.

That’s right. Rick Santorum!


This is a big deal. The senator ran for the White House in 2012 and declared war against those who use contraception to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy. Santorum, a devout Catholic, doesn’t believe in contraception — in accordance with church doctrine. Contraception became his signature issue, to the dismay of Republicans who actuallyĀ employ contraceptiveĀ measures to prevent pregnancy.

Santorum washed out of the 2012 GOP primary season, but he might be coming back for more.

I believe Republican primary voters need to ask one critical question: If the voters of his own state refuse to re-elect him to the U.S. Senate in 2006, why should he ask all Americans to cast their presidential vote for him in 2016?

Santorum lost his re-election bid to Bob Casey, a pro-life Democrat.

When theĀ ballots were counted, Casey had 59 percent of the vote; Santorum had 41 percent.

Where I come from, that’s what I call a landslide loss.