COUNTERPUNCH LETTER : Mahony, the Church and Politics

I am disturbed by Cardinal Roger Mahony's response to Howard Rosenberg's defense of KCET's broadcast of "Stop the Church" and criticism of the depiction of Jews in promotions for "Animated Stories From the New Testament" (Sept. 30).

If the cardinal was bothered by the offensive stereotypical depiction of Jews in these videos, he fails to mention it in his article. And he continues to condemn broadcast of "Stop the Church" as Catholic bashing, an attack on the Roman Catholic Church for its beliefs and not its actions.

If the Catholic Church were to limit to only its followers its opposition to the distribution of condoms and education to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, then the church would be acting in a religious, rather than secular, capacity. But as long as Mahony, Cardinal John O'Connor and others who control power within the church attempt to exert their influence over all citizens and public school students, then they have entered the political arena and must expect to be treated as a political institution.

If Mahony is not being disingenuous in denying that his attempts to influence public policy are political acts, then he needs to learn that in a society as diverse as ours, his wish to restrict government to his personal credo is offensive and provocative to those whose beliefs differ from his. The cardinal cannot expect that the Catholic Church can act as a lobbying group but be exempt from accountability and criticism on the ground that it is a religious organization.


West Hollywood

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