Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Benedict XVI , liberal democracy and sex - ProfessorBainbridge

If you can get past the ascerbic tone you'll find learn some things in Professor Bainbridge's post.

Where to begin? How about with Ratzinger's views on Catholic participation in liberal democracy. Here's what Catholics for Democracy said about Ratzinger's intervention in the 2004 US election:

This great news was reported in the "Signs of the Times" in the most recent issue of America Magazine. Spread the word!

"...Two U.S. bishops, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis and Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs, recently said that Catholics who knowingly vote for pro-abortion politicians would be committing a grave sin.

[In contrast,] Cardinal Ratzinger’s note underlined the principles involved for the Catholic voter. “A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia,” Cardinal Ratzinger wrote. “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons,” he said."
As for the American model of liberal democracy, Cardinal Ratzinger has:

... described the American model of church-state relations as more hospitable to religious truth and institutions than European models. ...

Cardinal Ratzinger looks at most European nations -- he could have mentioned Canada as well -- and he sees the worst possible combination of historical residues of Christian establishment and utter indifference to Christian faith; a post-Christian world that would not even allow a reference to the Christian heritage of Europe in the Constitution of the European Union.

By comparison, the American situation looks relatively healthy: higher rates of church attendance and professions of faith ....
Does this sound like someone who will, as Sullivan claims, wage "war on" "modern liberal democracy"? Of course not. Granted, Ratzinger is no fan of extending American-style democracy to the inner workings of the Catholic Church or incorporating American-style moral relativism into the teachings of the Church. Yet, in the political sphere, the new Pope demonstrably recognizes that there is legitimate room for disagreement on how one operationalizes all but the most basic Church teachings, such as the gospel of life, and that even there Catholics may in appropriate instances even vote for politicians who do not share the Church's view on that central tenet.

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