A trip to the United States from Pope Benedict is still nearly six months away (April 2008), but the Los Angeles Times is already in a tizzy. An editorial in Wednesday's Times (11/14/07) advises the Pope to shun "hard-liners" and "conservative Catholics" and listen to "other Catholics." The Times is concerned with the issue of whether or not abortion-friendly politicians who claim they are Catholic should receive Holy Communion. As they so often do, the Times avoided the "liberal" tag for these "other Catholics":
When Benedict comes to the United States, he is likely to be importuned by conservative Catholics to side with the hard-liners. He would be wiser to listen to other Catholics, laypeople as well as clergy, who know what mischief would be caused by a decree that would seem to force some Catholic officials to choose between their responsibility to their constituents or the Constitution and their standing in the church. These American Catholics believe, as President Kennedy said in 1960, in "an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the president -- should he be Catholic -- how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote."
Do you believe this? The Times believes that when Catholic politicians support unfettered abortion, they are showing "their responsibility to their constituents [and] the Constitution." Good ... grief.
The Times also exhibits a glaring double standard in quoting President Kennedy about a "separation of church and state" and that "no Protestant minister [should] tell his parishioners for whom to vote." This past spring, as we reported in this post, candidate Barack Obama openly campaigned at First AME Church in South Los Angeles. "Obama danced and sang with the choir and the congregation prayed for him to become president," reported KTLA in Los Angeles. "[Stevie] Wonder was ushered onto the stage next to Obama, where he sang a song saying in part 'Barack Obama is going to be the next president,' as the congregation amened."
Yet there was not a single syllable of criticism or a cry from the Times about this. Meanwhile, the Times wants to advise the Pope and Catholics over "separation of church and state."
(P.S. - I won't even get into the condescending headline of the Times's editorial: "Teaching the pope." The Times wants to teach the Pope? It's Pope Benedict who could teach the Times a few things!)