Here is a classic document from Benedict's church. It is a public dressing down of a Catholic by his bishop because the Catholic, Patrick Kennedy, supports the right of women - of all faiths and none - in a secular society to abort an unborn child:
Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an “imperfect humanity.” Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.
Congressman Kennedy, I write these words not to embarrass you or to judge the state of your conscience or soul. That’s ultimately between you and God. But your description of your relationship with the Church is now a matter of public record, and it needs to be challenged. I invite you, as your bishop and brother in Christ, to enter into a sincere process of discernment, conversion and repentance. It’s not too late for you to repair your relationship with the Church, redeem your public image, and emerge as an authentic “profile in courage,” especially by defending the sanctity of human life for all people, including unborn children.
I am struck by the emphases of the American hierarchy these past few months. On health insurance, there is far more public emphasis on preventing anyone who wants to get an insurance policy from the new government-run exchanges from getting an abortion (even if she pays for it herself) than on the core principle of health care as a human right (in Catholic doctrine).
I can see that both principles are valid, but the intensity of the campaign against one compared with the lackadaisical interest in the other seems unbalanced to me. The hierarchy's growing fusion with fundamentalist Republican politics is becoming harder and harder to ignore. They can turn a blind eye to state-sanctioned torture, and to the suffering of those without healthcare, but when it comes to ensuring that gay couples are kept stigmatized or that non-Catholic women can't have access to abortion in a secular society, they come alive. There are times when it appears the only real issue for the Catholic church is abortion.
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