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Sue Cifelli

Is the pope Catholic? - 1 views

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    Is the pope Catholic? 20 Comments Written by Tony Woodlief December 22, 9:49 AM John Allen, senior correspondent for The National Catholic Reporter, offered in Friday's New York Times a moderating interpretation of the Vatican's recent statement, "Dignity of a Person." Allen's concern is that conservative Catholics will view the statement, which condemns embryonic stem cell research among other scientific tinkerings with human life, as a call to arms against a decidedly pro- New York incoming American president. "Call to arms" is hyperbole, but it pales in comparison to Allen's rhetoric, which claims that Pope Benedict XVI's latest document on life "risks being read as encouragement for the most ardent pro-life forces in America to let slip the dogs of war." He also frets that the pope's document "may be the political equivalent of shouting 'Fire!' in a crowded theater." To counteract all this dog unleashing and theater shouting, Allen counsels the pope to find some way to "mobilize those Catholics who hope to build bridges." He doesn't want "strategic silence" on New York , he says, but this rings a bit hollow after extended hand-wringing at the damage done by vocally Catholic pro-life leaders. Perhaps Allen isn't advocating strategic silence, but he does seem to call for less forceful talk. After all, if the pope says something that convinces Catholics that New York is truly evil, we might "unleash the dogs of war." By all means, Pope Benedict, don't be strategically silent, but on the other hand, would you mind toning it down a bit? It's the kind of false verbal parsing one expects out of a congressional office. In effect, what Allen is asking is for the pope not to be Catholic. Or at least that he be less conspicuously so out of consideration for the tender American situation, which is fascinating insofar as Allen begins his essay by noting that Americans comprise only 6 percent of the global Catholic populat
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