Finally, a clergyman who understands that being a member of a church should be about more than getting together with friends for some pop-psychology and “uplifting” words once or twice a week. David Kelly reports:
In stark and dramatic language, the Roman Catholic bishop of Colorado Springs, Colo., has declared that anyone voting for a politician who supports same-sex marriage, abortion rights, stem cell research or euthanasia will be denied communion in the church…. Bishop Michael Sheridan said in a letter to the diocese newspaper May 1… “Any Catholic politicians who advocate for abortion, for illicit stem cell research or any form of euthanasia ipso facto place themselves outside of full communion with the church and so jeopardize their salvation,” Sheridan wrote. “Any Catholics who vote for candidates that stand for abortion, illicit stem cell research or euthanasia suffer the same fateful consequences.”
One doesn’t have to agree with all of Sheridan’s theology or the list of evils on which he chose to focus to appreciate the fact that at least he sees his religion as something important enough to actually live by. The reason for this is that he really believes Christianity is true. Not true in the pragmatic sense that most religious Americans think – “Mormonism is true for me in the sense that it helps me be a better parent” – but objectively, universally true. Bishop Sheridan’s Christianity tells him that God created the universe and has a plan as to how humans are to live in that universe. For example,
The bishop’s letter called same-sex marriage deviant and said that denying homosexuals the right to marry was not denying them a human right, because “no one has a right to that which flies in the face of God’s own design.”
By comparison, most churchgoers and clergy in America think of religion not as an explanation of reality, but as something to be used for their own ends. The doctrines of those religions can subsequently be accepted or rejected according to individual whim. John Kerry is a good example of this, as is Cardinal Roger Mahoney of the sex-scandal ridden LA diocese, who, according to Kelly, said that it was not the role of bishops to deny worshippers the sacraments.
With this job description and this approach to religion, it is no wonder many clergymen have become such poor shepherds of the flock.