On the start of his trip to Brazil he vowed to stem the defections from the "one true church" to evangelical Protestanism and said that the penalty for supporting abortion was excommunication.
I myself have no particular problem with this view as my opinion on Abortion is well know, I do however have a problem with the double standards.
In Mexico the Church hierarchy excommunicated politicians who voted for a law that legalised abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in Mexico City, as well as doctors and nurses who performed abortions.
The Holy Father said
“canon law says the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving Communion, which is receiving the body of Christ . . . It expresses our belief that human individuality, the human personality, is present from the first moment of life.”
This is in stark contrast to the way in which former Presidential candidate John Kerry was treated when he supported abortion. I am not surprised with this volte-face for a number of reasons.
The Church in America has a much more liberal streak and any move against Kerry would have annoyed too many vested interests, besides, money talks.
Therein lies the reason why the Church allows many Catholics to adopt an á la carte attitude to Catholicism in Europe and America as say compared to Africa or South America.
The Pope admitted that the rise of evangelical Protestant churches in Latin America was “our biggest worry”. He did however refuse to accept the reason for this, namely church opposition to liberation theology.
According to the Pope those who followed liberation theology were “mistakenly mixing faith and politics”. Church teaching was he said “not aimed at destroying the commitment to justice but guiding it along the right path”.
The simple fact is that many in South America do have a thirst for religion, you can't however eat a bible! This hysterical notion within the Church that somehow Catholic= Conservative is not based on any of the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus was the first Socialist, I kid you not!
Let's look at some of his teachings regarding wealth and redistribution
To the poor he said, "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God,". To the rich he said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth," and "go, sell what you have, and give to the poor." When the rich turned away from him because they wouldn't follow his command he observed, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
According to Jesus helping the poor is not some optional extra, it is demanded. In the parable of the last judgement he speaks about welcoming the righteous into heaven. "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."
When the righteous answered that they didn't recall doing any of these things, he said, "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."
The bible is littered with left-wing teachings. I would describe myself as a Catholic/Christian Socialist insofar as neither Socialists nor Catholics either fully understand or accept my views.
To adapt a quote from James Connolly
"Catholicism and Socialism are not antagonistic, but complementary."
The Church needs to wake up and realise that economics do play a major part in peoples lives.
This would be wiser than falsely suggesting that they (the Church) are politically neutral as opposed to the conservative capitalists that they are.
Archbishop Dom Helder Camara, from Brazil, once said, "When I feed the poor, you call me a saint; when I ask why they are poor, you call me a communist"