My Hometown Bishop Robert Morlino is a very conservative Catholic who recently fired pastoral associate Ruth Kolpack over a college thesis she wrote years ago arguing for women in the Priesthood.
Morlino’s supporters argue that Church employees serve at his pleasure, and the rules of the Church were broke and thus enforced. It is true that a decision was and it was and is in the hands of the Church and the outside community (myself included) don’t really get a say. Before I go forward with my opposition let me say that I see no role for Government to effect the decision. Im not “imposing” anything. Hopefully, I have just avoided a few strawmen thrown my way.
Kolpack’s firing is a sad story. First of all it seems like Morlino forgets he is dealing with real people here with real jobs. I gather from the article that Kolpack is a gentle and great human being. Individuals at the Parish are sad to see her go.
Morlino’s defenders say that the Catholic Canon was violated and the rules were enforced. This argument seems sort of flip. If Morlino goes down this road, he’ll end up firing all liberal Catholics. (Not that I don’t think he would love to do that.) This isn’t a personnel issue, or a matter of enforcing rules, this is an inquisition!
Before the 2006 elections Morlino distributed DVDs to the Churches to teach congregations about a few various issues. I call that telling people how to think.
Some Churches in the area have Priests that go on broadsides about Abortion all the time. I think to myself, self, how would I like that? I spend enough time thinking about policy and then I have to hear it at Church? On the rare occasion I do go to Church, I would rather hear something spiritually uplifting, something that challenges me to live a life inspired by God.
Religion and public policy are a bad recipe. That is, religious reasons for public policy. If the Church tells someone how to think on an Issue, than for that person there is no question of the Truth of that position. If a policy is God’s will, than opposition to that policy is sin.
Morlino can claim he knows God’s will on public policy issues, thats his business. Personally I believe in the awesome, mysterious nature of God and see my capacity for Truth nowhere near his. Im human! He’s God! I would never claim to know that I know how God thinks about policy. Sure, we know what God thinks about the big picture, the fundamentals of living a righteous life. We know he thinks we should for example, follow the Golden Rule. Do we really know what he thinks about complicated policy issues? Those that invoke Religion on policy after policy must know a whole lot of what God wants. Maybe everything. Wheres the mystery?
Religious reasoning for public policy is also horrible for the public discourse. If we all reason this way, then are ideas are accepted with no debate. No dialogue. No concessions. They become law because they are the Truth. If it is God’s will for X, then there can be no doubt that X is right. People opposing ideas or just finding weaknesses in them, strengthens them. Public debate is competition. Its just like anything else. No competition leads to mediocrity and worse.
The Catholic Church would do better stem the tide of people become less Religious and leaving the Church by not talking about politics and discluding those it disagrees with. Kicking people out like Kopack and the recent firing of a homosexual person just look nasty. It seems like a throwback to the medieval times. Britain became less Religious as a result of it establishing a National Church. Lets not entangle politics with religion.
Can I get an Amen?