Friday, September 30, 2005

Vatican Flexes Muscle

On driving to work I heard on the radio that the Catholic bishops will gather in Rome this weekend to consider refusing communion to politicians who pass laws that violate church doctrine. This potentially involves Canada as Prime Minister Paul Martin is a Catholic who has just passed same sex marriage laws across Canada.

From 580 CFRA, "Canadian bishops say the issue will be raised as part of a larger discussion on the worthiness of Catholics who present themselves for the sacrament".

This is a very dangerous situation. Before I continue let me clarify my stance of homosexuality. My views are coloured by my religion. And Islam has unequivocally banned homosexual relations, just like Christianity and Judaism. Many so-called liberal Christians and Jews say their religion has no such law. Not knowing that much details of the religions I cannot clarify, but in Islam it is said the people of Lut (Lot in the Bible) were punished because they practiced same sex relations. The Qur'an chapter 26 verse 165 also spells out what God thinks of gay people.

Therefore I think gay people are wrong. But that does not mean I start burning them at stake or spraying homophobic graffiti. Allah has also said not to transgress in our actions and live peacefully with those whom we disagree on articles of faith.

"He who hurts a dhimmi (minority) hurts me, and he who hurts me hurts and annoys Allah," says a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

"O mankind, we created you from a single pair of a male and female and made you into tribes and nations that you may know one another (not that you may despise one another). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well aware of all things."
-- The Qur'an (49:13)

Not that this hasn't stopped persecution of gays in some Muslim/non-Muslim countries.

Now we come to the Vatican. From my understanding of Catholicism, communion in the church signifies a physical union with body and blood of Jesus (called Isa in Islam - peace be upon him). This service, performed repeatedly, identifies the worshipper as Catholic and deserving of God's grace in the hereafter. Denial of such a service means the person is barred from the church and cannot be guaranteed of heaven. More details here.

Now I may not agree with another mortal man telling me my spiritual eternity is doomed, but many Catholics do. And many important politicians in positions of power, such as our Catholic prime minister, also believe so.

Even though I do not agree with same sex marriage, I believe it is Canada and Canada's business only as to what we pass as laws in our country. And those laws should also be secular and not based or coloured by any religion. If the Parliament of Canada chose to pass same sex marriage, it is our business and not the Vatican's. And if you say the Vatican is only doing what is in its power to promote its church's teachings, consider this.

At one time in Canada a Protestant and Catholic could not marry (just like it is in some parts of Ireland). And any politician who tried to break this law was threatened by the Vatican much in the same way proponents of same sex marriage are being threatened today. And to those who say the Church is infallible let's not forget Galileo.

If today the Church can dictate same sex marriage, what will they dictate tomorrow. And opponents of same sex marriage have to bring scientific proof as to why it is not valid, other than saying "God does not will it." Something like linking AIDS and same sex.


Theologienne said...

Ooh! That Catholic encyclopedia you linked to was published in 1910. Check your sources.

Communion is the life of the Church: it reminds us of both Jesus' sacrifice for us and of the community of believers, both of which the Church teaches are part of the Communion rite. Communion is a real way of accessing grace, grace which not the Church, but God, gives. The idea of another person cutting a Catholic off from that grace is horrifying. It isn't Rome's to give or take away.

I hope and believe that your Prime Minister, and Catholic politicians everywhere, are brave enough to do what they believe is right for their people even when the Church wrongfully tries to manipulate them.

kuffir said...

shows canada is not too far away from the subcontinent..castes/ communities in india, pakistan cut
those who break rules off the communal hookah pani..they are barred from temples..
not being one of the ahl-re-kitab (is that the right phrase ?) i have always wondered about the communion and other judaec-christian-islamic rites. once, ages ago, passing a church on my way home from school..i wandered in on an the end of the service, i trooped behind all those queueing up for communion and the priest slipped the wafer onto my tongue..
glad to know if i slipped in again, i would be treated with more grace than the pm of canada.

katy said...

First of all though I believe no one in any government should be basing the real-life laws on what it says in religious texts...asking any human being to not be influenced by their own religion is a little hard. You said yourself that your views on Homosexuality are colored by your religion. Our individual religions are part of what shapes our individual morals. You have to weigh everything when it comes to governing millions of people.

On the flip side I certainly hope that being denied Communion won't be the one thing to sway a high-ranking government official. Communion may be important, but it's not the thing that links anyone to God. It's a ritual of Church, and Church is a man-made thing. The priests attempt at separating him from the Church is dispicable...but they can't touch his faith. Hopefully he has faith in his own decisions and his God. In which case who cares if a bunch of men want to protest in front of him. A christian (and a catholic) shouldn't need grape juice to feel the blood of Christ.

Honestly this shouldn't be that big of a deal. Like you said, the issue isn't Religion, the issue is marriage.

I'm often amazed at how much I agree with all your posts even when, like now, I completely and totally disagree with you.

mezba said...

The Toronto Star also published recently on this. The link is here (reg may be required, use The PM and his party are standing firm, the law will stand.

One interesting fact I found is that there is no OFFICIAL separation of church and state in Canada contrary to US, it is just assumed.

Yes, with regards to kuffar's comments, the situation in politics is same in Canada as anywhere else (temptation, religion, corruption). The difference I think is most Western politicians think about the country first and themselves second. They also have the courage to stand up for their beliefs (mostly).