July 29, 2004


The Public Square (Richard John Neuhaus, First Things, June, 2004)

The New York Times reports that John Kerry became “combative” with reporters when asked about critics who say he does not follow Catholic teaching on questions such as abortion and same-sex unions. “Who are they?” he demanded. “Name them. Are they the same legislators who vote for the death penalty, which is in contravention of Catholic teaching?” He went on to explain: “I’m not a church spokesman. I’m a legislator running for president. My oath is to uphold the Constitution of the United States in my public life. My oath privately between me and God was defined in the Catholic Church by Pius XXIII and Pope Paul VI in the Vatican II, which allows for freedom of conscience for Catholics with respect to these choices, and that is exactly where I am.” We had better tread lightly here. We’re dealing with the inner sanctum of the conscience. This is a man who apparently has taken a private oath under the tutelage of a pope of whom most of us have never heard. Rumor has it that members of the very secretive Society of Pius XXIII are taught to be so careful about not imposing their religion that, just to be safe, they do not impose it upon themselves. It has also been said that “Pius XXIII” is a pseudonym used by Father Robert Drinan, a Jesuit who has contrived a moral rationale widely employed by Catholic politicians inconvenienced by Catholic teaching. I have no idea whether such rumors are true, but I have a strong hunch that during the course of this campaign we may be learning a great deal about Catholicism that nobody knew before.
Posted by Peter Burnet at July 29, 2004 5:55 AM

How can you doubt Kerry's committment to his Catholic beliefs? Here we are at the end of July, and the man is going out in public dressed up as the Easter Bunny.

Posted by: John at July 29, 2004 8:29 AM

John - The Gregorian calendar put Easter in the spring, but perhaps the new Piusian calendar places Easter in late July.

Posted by: pj at July 29, 2004 10:44 AM

I don't think Kerry's contention that the death penalty "is in contravention of Catholic teaching" is precisely true, as per the link below to part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, part 2267:


While it does side against it, it does allow for the possibility in order to protect the innocent.

Posted by: Just John at July 29, 2004 11:47 AM