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Ballplayer: manager should stop calling plays

When politicians say dumb things, sometimes it's hard to tell whether they're dumb, or whether they realize the statements are dumb but think we're so stupid that we won't notice how dumb they are. Case in point: New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, showing he doesn't quite grasp the concept of religion:

Gov. James E. McGreevey said he is a "devout Catholic" and will continue to practice his faith, but church leaders are wrong to tell him and other politicians not to support abortion rights.

Church opinions like the one issued Friday by the Vatican force American Catholics to chose between obeying their religion and practicing politics, McGreevey said.

"I do not accept that false choice," he told reporters.

Many children have trouble with making choices, also. They think they can watch television and go to the movies. Get a new CD and get the new video game. Support abortion and belong to a religion which opposes abortion. Have their cake, and eat it, too.

Whether McGreevey "accepts" the choice or not, it exists. Church leaders, of course, cannot force McGreevey or other American Catholics to obey them. They have no police power. What they do have is the power to decide what makes a good Catholic, and to deny that label to those who don't live up to the appropriate standards. I may not agree with the Church on the substance of many of its views. I may not agree with some of the rules of my own religion. But I don't pretend that I can pick and choose which ones I feel like adhering to and still claim to be observant.

There may be some religions -- Unitarians, for instance -- where there really aren't any rules. If McGreevey wants to become one of those, he can do what he wants. But he can't claim to be Catholic -- a hierarchical religion -- and then ignore the dictates of the hierarchy. Church leaders are not "wrong" to tell him what to do; that's their job.

And from the "world's smallest violin" segment of the story:

A recent speech by Bishop John M. Smith, head of the Diocese of Trenton, said McGreevey's politics indicate he "is not a devout Catholic."

"When he refers to himself as a devout Catholic and supports legislation and programs that are contrary to the teachings of the Holy Father and the bishops, he is not a devout Catholic," Smith said. "He cannot compromise what it means to be a Catholic. I speak, as your bishop, for the devout Catholics of the Diocese of Trenton. Jim McGreevey does not."

McGreevey on Friday said those remarks hurt him and his family.

Awww. Poor baby.


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Comments (2)

Bob Feller:

Then again, the Catholic Cardinals could show some real theological consistency and ask ALL Catholics who support abortion rights to stop taking Communion ... and to direct priests to deny the Sacriment to all who are known to support those rights.

In fact, the Church could go one step further, and require each and every Catholic to make a positive declaration against the sin of abortion before being eligible to receive any sacriment. Certainly, absolution for sin should not be granted to someone so rooted in moral opposition to the decree of the Pontiff.

And since the Pope has also spoken out strongly against the Death Penalty, for consistency sake the Cardinals should also be calling for the withholding of Communion from all politicians who support the Death Penalty, as well.


Bob, you ought to try reading the Catholic Church's Catechism before you expose your ignorance about the Church's teaching. The death penalty is permitted in rare cases. Abortion, on the other hand, is considered the unjust killing of innocents. The earliest condemnations of abortion date to the 2d century or so. In the 4th century we have a record of St. Ambrose denying communion to an Emperor who ordered a massacre. What the New Jersey bishops are doing is nothing new. If you publicly declare yourself opposed to the Church and take public steps to promote sinful behavior, then you're expressing a desire to be apart from the Church. Shit or get off the pot already!


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