When doctrine trumps the Gospel

One of the readers of this blog maintains that one cannot be pro-choice and a good Catholic or even a good Franciscan and that Francis would be appalled. Francis lived in a time much like our own when the church sanctioned murder in the name of Christ. It was called the Crusades. Francis went to the Holy Land and visited with Malik-al-Kamil at the time of the Fifth Crusade. Francis, who opposed all killing no matter what the cause, sought the blessing of the Cardinal who was chaplain to the Crusader forces to go and preach the Gospel to the sultan. The cardinal told him that the Muslims understood only weapons and that the one useful thing a Christian could do was to kill them.

It seems then as now the church can be very wrong. The Pope signed a Concordat with Hitler which guaranteed the life of the Catholic Church in Germany but in so doing he stood not for Christ, but for the political entity of the Catholic Church. We have Christian chaplains in our armed forces who routinely bless members of our armed forces who will kill or be killed in battle. That’s not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s not love your enemies. That is political expediency.

Senator Obama is pro-choice. Pro-choice is not pro-abortion,  it is pro-choice. Senator McCain is not pro-choice and he’s going to get a pass from some narrow minded Catholics who can turn their back on their brothers and sisters whose blood cries out from the killing grounds of Iraq and Afghanistan. Demonizing the poor and marginalized is okay as long as you’re not pro-choice. You can defecate on the Constitution of the United States of America as long as you’re not pro-choice. You can turn your back on the Gospel of Jesus Christ as long as you’re not pro-choice. You can race bait and slander as long as you’re not pro-choice. If that’s what it means to be Catholic then I don’t want to be one.

I’m reminded of another brown man more my brother than some of my own race who said,

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
–Mahatma Gandhi