Monday, October 15, 2012

Ryan-Biden & "Two Catholicisms"

POLITICO has this from a fellow named Mahtesian:
While moderator Martha Raddatz made mention of the historic nature of Thursday’s debate, the first ever featuring two Catholic vice presidential nominees, by tying her question about abortion to their religion she touched on a point of frustration for many Catholics: the tendency of the media to condense Catholicism to a single point of reference in the political arena. Rev. James Martin, who blogs for America, the national Catholic weekly, explains how Paul Ryan and Joe Biden represent two distinct strains of American Catholicism.
Both Mr. Ryan and Mr. Biden are obviously serious about their Catholicism. Can anyone doubt that? They also offer a kind of Rorschach test for U.S. Catholic voters. Mr. Ryan is a Catholic who is clearly opposed to abortion and not so clearly in support of programs that would directly help the poor. Mr. Biden is not so clearly opposed to abortion and clearly in support of programs that would directly help the poor. They represent, in a sense, two distinct types of "Catholicisms" alive in our country today. It's a big church, as an elderly Jesuit I know likes to say.
Their commentary last night (and beforehand) also points out that no one party fully embraces the entirety of Catholic teaching. Put another way, one which will be familiar to many Catholics, there was an echo of the Latin mass vs. guitar mass divide in the vice presidential debate, an event billed by some in advance as a "Catholic smackdown."
Myself, as a [somewhat] lapsed Catholic still follow teachings like opposition to capital punishment notionally, while of course hoping that really jerk-off murderers end up like Jeffrey Dahmer, who was murdered in a john in Waupun State Prison in Wisconsin. But otherwise, I am a conservative Catholic in my beliefs, if not my actions----though as an ex-Jesuit scholastic, I retain syncretist beliefs with Buddhists and Hindus re: "metempsychoses."

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