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State Attacks Church in San Francisco

The city of San Francisco passed a resolution condemning Catholic Archdiocese [1] for archbishop’s order that Catholic schools be faithful to Catholic doctrine. Excerpt:

“These actions really conflict with the values of San Francisco,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell [2], who introduced the resolution. “In San Francisco, we stand up for everyone. We stand up for our LGBT community and honor and embrace those who do the same.”

The morality clauses include language against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, contraceptives and artificial insemination.

Farrell, a practicing Catholic, said on Tuesday that they create “a culture of fear that has no place in our schools right now.” He has previously said city officials are considering legal action to prevent what he described as Cordileone’s discriminatory measures from going into effect.

change_me

Farrell needs to practice his Catholicism a bit harder; maybe he’ll improve. Interesting how “we stand up for everyone” in San Francisco … except Catholics who believe what their church teaches.

Look, I don’t have much problem with people who think the Archbishop is wrong, and say so. Eighty percent of the teachers and staff in the archdiocese’s schools have rejected the archbishop’s proposal. [3] I think they’re wrong, but hey, it’s their school system, and their church, not mine.

But shouldn’t it bother people that a government body is taking a public stance criticizing a church for deciding to run its own schools in accordance with its teachings? What business is it of the government’s? If this was a conservative city government, and a local religious school decided to make gay rights part of the curriculum, I would be appalled if the city council took a position on it.

I would remind the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that when New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel ordered the integration of parochial schools in his archdiocese, it was a widely unpopular move, and a number of segregationist Catholics led a campaign of resistance. Some Catholic lawmakers in the state legislature considered legislation that would forbid the Catholic schools from integrating — a move that was both shocking in its moral stance, and shocking in its attempt to use state power to compel religious authorities to run their schools as the state saw fit. Archbishop Rummel eventually excommunicated several of the most prominent Catholic segregationist leaders. He didn’t excommunicate them because they were racists. He excommunicated them because they were trying to undermine, and even destroy, the church’s legitimate authority over its own schools.

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67 Comments To "State Attacks Church in San Francisco"

#1 Comment By panda On March 10, 2015 @ 3:03 pm

“I really love this redefinition of human dignity that I continue to see (stated perfectly by John in this thread), that one’s dignity is based somehow or another on one’s actions. So if I do not approve of a person’s actions, then I must be failing to recognize and respect their human dignity.”

How else are you going to define what human dignity is? If I were to pass a law that says that people called Steve S are to be denied service in all hotels and restaurants, yes, your intrinsic human worth will not be affected, but you will clearly be markes off a second class citizen, unworthy of the same respect others get. Where is the dignity in that?

#2 Comment By David J. White On March 10, 2015 @ 3:34 pm

As I’ve remarked before, once Catholic schools cease to be vehicles for evangelization, they are a liability rather than an asset. The Catholic Church has no obligation to run an alternative school system merely so that well-to-do parents can keep their kids out of the public school system. Indeed, an argument could be made that it has no business doing so. These parents and students value “diversity” so much? Fine; I’m sure they’ll find lots of diversity in the public school system, or in other schools set up to cater to their sense of entitlement. Abp. Cordileone should seriously consider closing or severely downsizing the archdiocesan school system. And the first teachers — and students — out the door should be the ones who signed these petitions. Evidently they don’t value Catholic education that is Catholic in any meaningful way. The archdiocese’s resources can be better spent.

Besides, the Archdiocese of San Francisco encompasses more than the city of San Francisco. I’m sure not all of the archdiocese’s schools are located within the city limits. But those that are should be the first to go. I’m sure a lot of them are sitting on some pretty valuable real estate. Or some of them could be turned into homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or other diocesan ministries.

#3 Comment By panda On March 10, 2015 @ 3:50 pm

““I really love this redefinition of human dignity that I continue to see (stated perfectly by John in this thread), that one’s dignity is based somehow or another on one’s actions. So if I do not approve of a person’s actions, then I must be failing to recognize and respect their human dignity.””

Not to beat on you, but this is reminds me of of one of my favorite books, Mark Pegg’s The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-1246. As the name indicates, it’s a history of the mop up operations of the Church after the Cathar crusade. Pegg’s key contention is that the secret to the Cathar’s strength is that the perfecti, the Cathars that renounced all material life, were simply known as “the good people”” the same term the people of Languedoc used to refer to people of stature in their communities. Associating with them, giving them alms, and getting their blessings, raised one’s status in the community. What the inquisition did therefore, is to systematically mark off people associate with the “good people” and allow their fellows to denigrate them. Once their dignity was removed, their hold on society was broken, and orthodoxy triumphed. There are many ways to read that story, but one is certain: dignity is something derived from society, and is, to some extent, a zero sum game..

#4 Comment By Mike Dunlap On March 10, 2015 @ 4:20 pm

Good for San Francisco. You lost the war after a lengthy battle, Rod. Just as Alabama whites eventually lost the right to “remain faithful” to the Biblical “doctrine” of their ancestors that preached anti-miscengenation, segregation, etc. Time to let it go. Society will be just fine.

#5 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On March 10, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

bostondj needs to study two sections of the constitution, the one that says congress shall pass NO LAW infringing the free exercise of religion, and the one that authorizes congress to regulate interstate commerce. The Roman Catholic Church is a religion. Apple Inc. is engaged in commerce. The rules for state intervention are utterly different. That the church is an employer is incidental, unless its running an unrelated business enterprise, in which case all the usual rules governing employment apply.

(Of course dominic and Panda appear to agree that Catholic schools ARE merely an unrelated business, rather than an effective means of teaching the faith…)

panda is wrong coming and going, left and right. I’d generally favor a church being free to excommunicate anyone, given that this does NOT cost someone any civil or civic rights at all, BUT, blackmail of a public official, trying to coerce someone into representing the church’s lobbyists rather than the electorate, is a crime, pure and simple. Its the same as kidnapping Nancy Pelosi’s granddaughter and threatening, you’ll never see her again unless you finagle a constitutional amendment to render Roe v. Wade null and void.

Now as far as human dignity goes, your given name is not an action. Saying that your human dignity is not dependent on your actions is saying, e.g., Karla Faye Tucker committed a horrific crime, but that doesn’t take away her human dignity. In short, human dignity is inherent in being human, no matter how depraved one’s actions. We can arrest people, try them, convict them, punish them, but we still have an obligation to do so humanely.

Applying the same principle… someone who teaches that homosexual acts are inherently disordered still has human dignity, no matter how much many people vehemently disagree. What’s so hard to understand about that?

#6 Comment By Robert W On March 10, 2015 @ 5:51 pm

““Considering it was the Church who founded San Francisco (named after St. Francis of Assisi, after all) I think the Church has a better claim to determine what the “values” of San Fransisco are”

You do realize this is an unhinged, borderline insane statement to make in a democratic country, right?”

It is not only unhinged, but historically inaccurate. Technically it was the Spanish crown in the form of it’s Navy that established the first settlement in San Francisco (the Presido) the mission came later, but the City as we know it today was the work on an English settler named William Richardson. Ironically, the City didn’t receive the name San Francisco until it wasn’t until the US army took control of the town in 1846 that it was formally named San Francisco. Before that it was know as Yerba Buena.

It is very sad how some people need to use lies and half-truths to justify their point of view. They cannot seem to fathom how such falsehoods steal any and all credibility they may have had.

#7 Comment By panda On March 10, 2015 @ 6:25 pm

“panda is wrong coming and going, left and right. I’d generally favor a church being free to excommunicate anyone, given that this does NOT cost someone any civil or civic rights at all, BUT, blackmail of a public official, trying to coerce someone into representing the church’s lobbyists rather than the electorate, is a crime, pure and simple. Its the same as kidnapping Nancy Pelosi’s granddaughter and threatening, you’ll never see her again unless you finagle a constitutional amendment to render Roe v. Wade null and void.”

Your home-brewed legal commentary is bizarre on most days, but is jaw-droppingly wrong today. The law views kidnapping of Pelosi’s grandchildren, or her cat, or burning her house, as crimes, and therefore a falling under properly falling under the category of blackmail. The state doesn’t care about Pelosi’s membership in a church anymore it is concerned about her membership in a gym club, so the church, just like a gym club, is free to expel her for any reason or no reason whatsoever. Now, you might find that behaviour appaling, or beyond the spirit of the law, but it is not, by any definition of the term, illegal or uncostitutional.

#8 Comment By dominic1955 On March 10, 2015 @ 9:51 pm

Robert W,

“It is very sad how some people need to use lies and half-truths to justify their point of view. They cannot seem to fathom how such falsehoods steal any and all credibility they may have had.”

What is really sad is that I have to spell out what I said because some pedant goes off half-cocked.

Where, praytell, did the name “San Francisco” come from? Yes indeed, the Spanish-who were Catholics. The city/settlement/fort/mission etc. was named for St. Francis of Assisi. Did the Church, as in, the Pope or his Legate or somesuch prop up the Papal flag there? No, of course not, thank you so much for pointing that out Captain Obvious.

So, what I’m saying is that the town has Catholic roots and a patron whether they like it or not. That said, its silly for some politician to say the city has “values” anyway, its a projection of the personal upon the whole as if it can be glibly assumed that they are lock, stock and barrel on the same page. However, if they don’t want any connection to the Catholic Church they are more than welcome to rename themselves New Sodom, or if they want to get away from any sort of religious connotation they can call themselves Secularville.

Panda,

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Church says it defines the virtues that all people should be living under. Not necessarily by law but by reality. Call it unhinged or insane, I couldn’t give less of a damn.

#9 Comment By dominic1955 On March 10, 2015 @ 10:03 pm

Siarlys,

“I’m 50 percent of the way with Dominic. There is no constitutional right to be a teacher in a religious school — the church can fire any teacher it deems not suitable for the school’s mission of educating students in the teachings of said church. But, as I’ve said many times, any official of any church who invokes excommunication as a tool to coerce the actions in office of an elected, or even appointed, public official, should be charged with blackmail, if not treason. The church can excommunicate them for their private acts or personal life choices, but may not insert itself between an elected representative and the constituency that elects them.”

This is partly why I think Pope Leo XIII was prophetic in condemning “Americanism”. A person’s first and overarching concern should be their soul, thus if civil service puts them completely at odds with their salvation, they need to conform their situation to their moral duties as a Catholic.

For instance, I’d never run as a Democratic candidate for any office if it meant having to even pay lip service to the ‘pro-choice’ movement or the LGBTXYZ agenda. Any Catholic serious about their religion and thus their salvation could not choose to hold political positions contrary to the teaching of the Church, nor would they want to. A Catholic politician needs to join/start a party that is at least tolerates being in line with Catholic dogma.

#10 Comment By Moshe the Beadle On March 10, 2015 @ 10:50 pm

Panda congratulations to you, you are fighting on both the left and the right front now. Now, let’s see how long you can last without coming to see both sides as equally insane.

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On March 10, 2015 @ 11:42 pm

Did I strike a nerve Panda? Liberalism seems to have degenerated to the point where you are all so happy in your spiritual hot-tubs of aphorisms and axioms that you become totally unhinged when anyone doesn’t see things through your eyes.

Obviously you are not aware that excommunication, to a faithful Catholic, means you will not be served communion, and, it imperils your immortal soul.

I don’t care Nancy Pelosi’s eternal soul all that much, I think that’s between her and God. But IF some Roman Catholic legislator who is a little less glib felt seriously threatened, they might CHANGE THEIR VOTE on a matter, and thereby, the constituents who elected them would be deprived of the representation they voted for. Thus, it is a kind of terrorism and intimidation that no citizen of a republic can tolerate.

You are so certain that religion is a paper tiger, you seem to have utterly forgotten what sort of instrument of coercion it can be — and is right now in Mosul. The Pope used to have divisions, too.

Thanks for showing your true colors and priorities by not even defending your remark on “human dignity” while devoting full force rage to the possibility that excommunication matters to some people.

#12 Comment By cermak_rd On March 11, 2015 @ 11:39 am

I don’t think you actually have to worry about the pols. Fact is, the Bishops have been remarkably gunshy about excommunicating pols just for voting against the Church’s stand. First of all canon law is not particularly clear that that actually is an ex-communicable offense so the appeal might be quite interesting. Canon 915, so often leaned on, is about notorious sinners and I’m not sure anyone has done the canon law heavy lifting to determine that voting one way or another is synonymous with being a notorious sinner. A lot of canon law was formulated before democracies were common.

But the other reason is it would be a public relations nightmare for the Church. The Church is already struggling to keep its head above water in developed democratically governed areas. Many folks would be appalled who even agreed with the Church’s stance because they are also people who believe in voting and democracy.

#13 Comment By panda On March 11, 2015 @ 11:52 am

Panda,

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Church says it defines the virtues that all people should be living under. Not necessarily by law but by reality. Call it unhinged or insane, I couldn’t give less of a damn.

As you can see with my debate with Siarlys, I absolutely think that the Church is perfectly free to make whatever proclamations it wants, and police its members according to its own laws. It’s just that outside the sphere of church discipline freely accepted by its members, no one should be affected by that church discipline.

#14 Comment By panda On March 11, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

“Did I strike a nerve Panda?”

Agressive ignorance stirs the worst responses in me.

” Liberalism seems to have degenerated to the point where you are all so happy in your spiritual hot-tubs of aphorisms and axioms that you become totally unhinged when anyone doesn’t see things through your eyes.”

For someone whose favorite pastime is semantic games with what exactly the definition of marriage is, it’s kinda amusing you blame someone else with obsession with axioms.

“Obviously you are not aware that excommunication, to a faithful Catholic, means you will not be served communion, and, it imperils your immortal soul.”
I’m very well-aware of this, thank you very much. Unfortunately, the American constitutional order doesn’t care about the spiritual health of American citizens.

“I don’t care Nancy Pelosi’s eternal soul all that much, I think that’s between her and God. But IF some Roman Catholic legislator who is a little less glib felt seriously threatened, they might CHANGE THEIR VOTE on a matter, and thereby, the constituents who elected them would be deprived of the representation they voted for. Thus, it is a kind of terrorism and intimidation that no citizen of a republic can tolerate.”

Yes, politicians that would change their votes becacuse their priest told them to do so should not be elected to office, ever. JFK made the classical statement of that doctrine. Still, the First Amendment bans the state from interfering with internal church discipline, so like so much else, d the judgement of a politican who is affected by fear of divine punishment is left to his voters. That’s the downside of living in a liberal democracy.

“You are so certain that religion is a paper tiger, you seem to have utterly forgotten what sort of instrument of coercion it can be — and is right now in Mosul. The Pope used to have divisions, too.”

I am very well aware of the coercion tool that religion can be. This is exactly why I am a stubbrorn supporter of the First Amendment- not a perfect instrument, but the best one we have to protect the faithful from the ungodly, and the ungodly from the faithful.

“Thanks for showing your true colors and priorities by not even defending your remark on “human dignity” while devoting full force rage to the possibility that excommunication matters to some people.”
Of course I understand that ex-communication matters for some people. Yet, there are things that are best left outside the realm of the state, and the state of one’s soul is probably the easiest example of those things. Simply put, what you are suggesting, as a mark of your care for people’s souls, is that the state takes over church discipline, and decide what churches can or can’t do in regards to their internal order. That is fine and dendy in a confessional state, but not in our republic.

#15 Comment By panda On March 11, 2015 @ 12:09 pm

“Panda congratulations to you, you are fighting on both the left and the right front now. Now, let’s see how long you can last without coming to see both sides as equally insane.”

Don’t get me wrong: I am a strong secularist, and my support for non-discrimination laws is firm and unwavering. Yet, even the strongest French style laicist would recoil from Siarlys’ position, exactly because we support the separation of Church and State.

#16 Comment By David J. White On March 11, 2015 @ 12:44 pm

Siarlys,

I understand the point you are trying to make; I really do. But to say that excommunicating public officials constitutes “blackmail” and “terrorism”(!) because if might persuade them to change their vote and deprive their constituents of the representation they voted for — well, we as a society seem to have accepted a situation in which corporate lobbyists can bribe elected officials to change their vote and vote against the interests of the constituents who elected them, so I think that ship has sailed. Besides, there is a straightforward democratic remedy for constituents who feel betrayed by their elected officials: it’s called “voting them out at the the next election.”

I realize that voters might conclude that they simply cannot vote for a faithful Catholic for elective office, because, once in office, the official might feel more beholden to the Church than to his or her constituents. As a faithful Catholics, I actually don’t have a problem with that. I think Catholics should give their first loyalty to the Church. But then, I am very open about the fact that I identify as a Catholic first, and an American second (if even that). I do realize that a) not all self-described Catholics feel that way, and b) that attitude might well lead some to conclude that Catholics are unfit for elective office. As I said, I don’t have a problem with that.

#17 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On March 11, 2015 @ 11:02 pm

Between Panda and David J. White, I think my point has been made and substantiated.

David is a bit more coherent:

I realize that voters might conclude that they simply cannot vote for a faithful Catholic for elective office, because, once in office, the official might feel more beholden to the Church than to his or her constituents.

That is precisely what the “Know-Nothings” alleged… and it was still a reason raised in 1960 why one simply couldn’t trust a Roman Catholic to be president. Kennedy laid that to rest by explicitly stating that IF he ever had to choose between his faith and his oath to uphold the constitution, he would resign the office of president. But even then there were “conservative” Roman Catholics who condemned him for it, believing as they did that electing a Roman Catholic president should be a step toward Roman Catholic domination.

So, rather than accept such a syllogism, I insist that any move by church authorities to assert authority OVER government institutions or elected representatives must be ruthlessly suppressed for the crime that it is.

Naturally excommunication should remain outside the realm of the state… that was precisely my point. Those who try to insert it INTO the realm of the state should have their hands cut off. (I think HeartRight might even agree).

But dominic, if a Roman Catholic ran for office, openly saying, as a Roman Catholic, these are the principles that matter to me, this is what my church teaches, and this is how I would vote on the following issues… I have not problem with that. Voters would know what they are getting.

Its when a nominal Roman Catholic runs for office, promising, however amorally in your opinion, to support certain measures, and then their bishop writes a letter telling them that from the office they hold, they had opportunities to advance the church’s agenda and failed to do so… well, that smacks of the old communist strategy of “boring from within.” Two doctrinaire philosophies practicing similar tactics?