Peter at The Ark and the Dove was disgusted by a recent Newsweek article anticipating President Obama’s meeting with the pope. I read it, and though I did not respond with the same revulsion, I was distressed.
I am very proud to be from Maryland (I brought my flag up from Alabama specifically to decorate my dorm room for the summer), but things like that article make me ashamed. Not only is Kathleen Kennedy Townsend a vocally pro-choice Catholic Democrat, but she was the lieutenant governor of Maryland. Back before I really started learning and caring about my faith, I’m pretty sure I campaigned for her outside the primary polls to earn community service hours. Oops.
Townsend’s political and religious conflicts aside, this article is an excellent reminder that the Catholic Church in the United States does not control the world. Catholicism sustained itself just fine long before there was a single Protestant colony, let alone this country. (And Maryland was the Catholic colony!) It may be true that 54% of American Catholics voted for Obama, but Obama is not in charge of the Church, and neither are the people that voted for him. Similarly, American Catholics’ thinking that something is right does not make it so.
Townsend writes that, in Humanae Vitae (which, incidentally, I just printed the other day), “authority—not truth, not love—prevailed.” Does she think you can’t be authoritative, truthful, and loving at the same time? I think I know a guy who did that. His name was Jesus, and to any Catholic worth her salt, Jesus left the pope in charge. If Townsend really believes that Obama wants nothing more than “polite disagreement”—that is, that he doesn’t want the pope to change his views—then why bother making this statement? However, if she doesn’t think Obama wants a change from the Vatican, then this article simply proves that, no matter what changes Americans want, Rome will do what is right.