Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A pile of Manuse: Republican Representative Andrew Manuse accuses Bishop John McCormack of breaking the law

Vatican II teaches clearly that Catholics have certain responsibilities with regard to political matters: "In loyalty to their country and in faithful fulfillment of their civic obligations, Catholics should feel themselves obliged to promote the true common good.  Thus, they should make the weight of their opinion felt, in order that civil authority may act with justice, and legislation may conform to moral precepts and the common good" (AA 14; cf. LG 36, GS 43, 75).

This teaching applies to Bishops as well of course.  As Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted explains, "Bishops and priests are not to participate in the public administration of the government. Nonetheless, they do have the right, and sometimes an obligation, to speak out on political, social, or cultural matters impacting the Church or the common good.  In his encyclical Deus Caritas Est (28), Pope Benedict XVI states: 'It is not the Church's responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest.' The Holy Father goes on to write (ibid): 'The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to awaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper.'"  (See here).

The First Amendment to the Constitution says absolutely nothing about keeping religion out of government.  As Archbishop Charles Chaput has said, "Separating Church and state does not mean separating faith and political issues. Real pluralism requires a healthy conflict of ideas. In fact, the best way to kill a democracy is for people to remove their religious and moral convictions from their political decision-making. If people really believe something, they’ll always act on it as a matter of conscience. Otherwise they’re just lying to themselves. So the idea of forcing religion out of public policy debates is not only unwise, it’s anti-democratic."  See here.

But there are some who insist that religious expression should be private, marginal and ultimately irrelevant.  For such people, religion is okay "in its place" but should be sanitized from the public square.  One such individual is Republican State Representative and Tea Party leader Andrew Manuse.  This intellectual giant, angry because Bishop John McCormack spoke at a Statehouse rally last week criticizing a state budget proposal, has said that, "There is already a federal provision that prohibits a church leader from engaging in the political process if the church has a tax-exempt status. What Bishop McCormack did was in effect breaking that law. If he wants to engage in the process, he can step down as Bishop or have his church pay taxes.." (See here).

If this is the best the GOP has to offer New Hampshire, small wonder that the party has been floundering as of late.  What is it exactly that drives such animus against religious belief and Catholicism in particular?  See here.


Ted Loiseau said...

Andrew Manuse is an anti-Catholic bigot in my opinion. He should be censured immediately. This sort of prejudice has no place in NH politics.

Barbara said...

Astute Granite Staters will notice how it's only a Catholic leader Andrew Manuse wants to silence. We haven't heard him speak out against other Christian leaders or rabbis.

What could that mean?

Ronald said...

An article written by a Catholic Deacon and which may be found at EWTN is very informative as is your excellent blog post. It can be found here:

With all due respect, Representative Manuse is poorly informed.

Jonathan said...

The anti-Catholic attacks continue:

Mike said...

The Republican party needs to throw out all of them. Manuse, Bettencourt, Ober and Comerford. They use the issue of children's welfare to justify their attacks the Church leadership, when they want to cut and slash programs that will hurt thousands of children. Their words and actions are vulgar and bigotted, and should not be tollerated by the G.O.P.

Anonymous said...

I've met Rep. Manuse, and I found him to be a spooky, anti-Catholic oddball. This stuff is just the tip of the iceberg.

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