US Supreme Court/Obama (2) vs. Pope Francis/Chaput (0)

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

The US Supreme Court, with at least two Catholic Justices in favor, has within 24 hours just handed Pope Francis’ central positions two defeats — one by declaring that gays have a constitutionally protected right to marry, and the other by upholding Obamacare with its free access to effective contraception to millions of US couples. These are clear victories for children, women and gay folks and underline the political losing streak the pope is on, despite his superficial but declining popularity in the polls. The papal defeats also indicate that the pope’s main goal of avoiding an Australian style national US investigation into institutional child sexual abuse is increasingly unlikely to be achieved. Read The Gay Marriage Opinion here.

The pope will, it is expected, still hammer his anti-gay marriage crusade in the USA to try to help draw out fundamentalist voters sought desperately by right wing Republicans and their billionaire low-tax funders for next year’s election of a US president who could then appoint a future right wing majority to the US Supreme Court. These two Supreme Court decisions make clear that control of the Supreme Court is the key to political power in key areas in the USA.

Meanwhile, the basic contradiction in Pope Francis’ new encyclical, ‘Laudato Si”, in failing to lift recent popes’ ban on contraception, has been thoroughly exposed by Yale educated theologian, Jamie Manson. If only more theologians had Ms. Manson’s prophetic courage and tenacious intellect, God willing!

John Cornwell, Cambridge University historian of the modern Vatican (e.g., “Hitler’s Pope” and the “Dark Box”), in his recent Prospect article about the pope’s climate change encyclical also tells us that the the contraception ban omission has been noted, as well as alluding to other shortcomings of the pope’s current strategy. Cornwell observed (in italics):

“Nor are all liberals necessarily enthused by Francis’s championing of the environmentalists. A typical reaction from one well known Catholic liberal blogger in the United States, Gerald Slevin, is that the encyclical is evidence of the Pope trying to “change the subject.” That subject, he reminds his readers today, are the clerical paedophile abuse scandals which have dogged the church.

Other liberal Catholics raise that great elephant in the Catholic room: the church’s ban on artificial contraception. At a London press conference to launch the encyclical yesterday a journalist asked Cardinal Archbishop Nichols whether the encyclical addressed the problem of birth control as part of the environmental problem. The Cardinal merely responded that the Pope insisted that the rich should not tell the poor how many children they should have.” (emphasis mine)

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