Predictably, Josh’s criticism of Madison Bishop Robert Morlino’s decision to dismiss Ruth Kolpack – and his distaste for mixing religion and politics – has caused controversy among my readers. This is fine – they are free to express their opinion, and if anyone wishes to pen a response, I can put it up on the front page.I had intended to write this rebuttal yesterday, but got distracted. So, here’s my view of the situation:
The first issue that Josh addressed was Kolpack’s firing. Though it is certainly unfortunate when someone loses their job, Bishop Morlino has a duty, as a leader within the local Archdiocese, to defend Catholic doctrine as laid out by the Pope and the historical rules of the Catholic church. At the present time, those rules are against women in the Priesthood. By challenging that doctrine, Ruth Kolpack opened herself up to the consequences.
Now, if Bishop Morlino is, indeed, applying such action unfairly, that is, allowing others guilty of similar offenses to remain at their posts, than Josh may have a point – but only that there are others who deserve to be reprimanded.
The second issue Josh addressed related to exactly how active a role religion should play in public policy. His view, and its a valid one, is that religion is intended to cater to the religious needs of humans, while Government is intended to meet their civic and public policy needs. But is it that clear-cut? I don’t think so. Firstly, many issues blur the line between faith, morals, and politics – Gay Marriage, Abortion, Stem Cell Research, and many other issues are important social questions, as well as major moral and religious questions. Secondly, mixing the two is probably inevitable – most people vote according to their own beliefs, which are often heavily centered in their moral and religious views.
Why should we not expect Churches to offer guidance on such issues? I don’t like the idea that Planned Parenthood is allowed to lobby for more abortions while the church on the corner that is tied far more closely with the community can get into trouble for even mentioning political candidates. This does not mean we need a theocracy, or state control of religion, but places of worship should definitely be allowed to offer a moral compass to followers on public issues. Exactly what those followers do with that information is up to them.