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The Tentacle


December 28, 2010

Worst Grinch Ever

Roy Meachum

Under the ex-Nazi Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Roman Catholic Church has reverted to the Inquisition that burned covert Muslims and non-public Jews, principally because they prospered in Spain’s Islamic empire. Even worse, pregnant women are now the target.

 

There was slight hope when the momentary keeper of St. Peter’s keys hinted there might be an exception for the use of condoms in a still wide-raging AIDs epidemic.

 

Speaking Italian in an interview on the Vatican’s television station, the German pontiff might have misspoken when he allowed that the primarily birth control protection could be used in intercourse with male prostitutes. His official spokesman went on to clarify that Benedict really intended to say “female” prostitutes; the difference in Rome boils down to the word’s vowel ending, “o” or “a.”

 

The implication that prostitution might be acceptable to the Holy See rocked the Anglo-Saxon world. Where eating fish on Fridays was allowed for centuries before Vatican II, the Hispanic countries largely ignored the prohibitions; and so did their cousins in France and Italy, notorious for their long history of street-walkers.

 

And obviously the tumbling birth rate in culturally and economically developed nations at least suggests that condoms are frequent visitors in bedrooms. Some Catholic friends say when they go to confession they no longer mention that their sex is always safe.

 

The issue, for all intents and purposes, is dead in the water for the Americas and Western Europe. Poland stands alone in the former Soviet bloc in devoutly following the Vatican’s wishes; maybe that should be past tense. It’s been years, since before John Paul II, that I have reported on the Church of Rome, including months living in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Poles may have since been absorbed in ecclesiastical matters into the rest of Europe; their formerly communist neighbors never faced the quandary.

 

How anybody of any religious or ethical persuasion can mandate a hospital emergency room must turn away a woman in grave danger of dying if she continues pregnancy beats the absolute hell out of me.

 

St. Joseph Hospital, in Phoenix, lost its license to call itself Catholic by admitting and performing an abortion on a 27-year-old mother of three pregnant with the fourth child, to save her life. Thomas Olmstead, bishop for that Arizona diocese, yanked St. Joseph’s religious credentials and boldly excommunicated Sister Margaret McBride to boot. The nun sits on the hospital’s ethics committee.

 

Furthermore, with Vatican approval, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the church’s highest tribunal in America, approved Sister Margaret’s punishment and, according to The New York Times editorial, “seconded Bishop Olmsted’s stance against providing the abortion, even to save a woman’s life.”

 

To its resounding credit, Catholic Healthcare West, fully responsible for supporting St. Joseph’s, announced boldly that its affiliated hospitals are in the business of saving lives, including complying with “their legal duty to provide emergency reproductive care.”

 

In other words, they choose Christ’s commandment to take care of each other rather than the ex-Nazi’s temporary rule. In this holiday season, Benedict XVI has stolen the Grinch’s permanent role. Momentarily, at least.

 

Christianity remains along with Judaism and Islam; they provide the true spiritual light for Western Civilization.

 



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