Playing The Hitler Card In The War On Women: Nun Edition

Jon Stewart weighs in on vagina managers  and Fux News’ attempt to reframe the War on Women

As a recovering Cathaholic, I generally avoid Vatican pronouncements on religion, feeling quite secure in that department, thank you. (i.e., I don’t need a priestly intermediary between me and The One.)

The Catholic Church’s influence in social and planetary issues, rooted in their understanding of Christ’s teachings about social justice, is another matter. Consistent with those teachings, the Church has taken generally progressive stands on a number of issues, including the Iraq War during the Bush years; climate change and the environment; and most recently, the Paul Ryan-Mitt Romney budget plan that promises more tax cuts for bazzillionaires and austerity for everyone else.

That said, one issue the Church continues to disgrace itself over is their attitude toward women’s reproductive rights. Notwithstanding that Jesus never said anything about contraception or abortion (or homosexuality, for that matter), the Church’s all male U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which I’ve previously described as “that bastion of ecclesiastical misogyny”  tracing  their warped attitude towards women to the actual founder of Christianity, Paul of Tsarsus— well, they’re at it again.

Consider what Bishop Daniel Jenky told 500 Catholic men April 14 in Peoria, Illinois:

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

I don’t know that playing the Stalin-Hitler card is a particularly smart political move, Bishop. Not that the Church hasn’t intervened in American presidential elections before. When John Kerry was running in 2004, an influential Vatican Cardinal by the name of Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI,  demanded that priests withhold from Kerry the sacrament of communion because of his stance on abortion.

By invoking Hitler and the Nazis, you’ve opened a door that I’m sure a lot of your fellow bishops, as well as the pope himself, would just as soon see stay closed. Recall the furor over Ratzinger nomination for the highest office in Christendom. First, his membership in the Hitler Youth Movement was questioned, the issue being whether he joined  voluntarily in 1941 or whether such “volunteerism” was in fact mandatory. And after that, his service in the German military as an anti-aircraft gun jockey protecting a BMW factory manned by slave labor drafted from the Dachau concentration camp. (He did desert the Army as the war was winding down in 1945.)

That he hailed from the town of Traunstein didn’t help his case.  Traunstein is described by Ratzinger biographer John L. Allen as “an over-populated lunatic asylum of hopeless inhabitants” due to its close proximity to a confluence of  “anti-Semitic violence, displacement, deportation, death.”  The latter reference is no doubt due to its proximity to a WW1 internment camp where a young corporal named Adolph Hitler once served.

But let’s give Benedict/Ratzinger  the benefit of the doubt that he resisted, as best he could, the demands that the Nazis placed on him and his fellows. Let’s us turn now to a consideration of how those dramatic early life experiences formed his moral outlook. Austin Cline frames the issue accordingly:

It’s curious that one of the lessons which Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, draws from the experiences of German Catholics under the Nazis is that Catholics should become even more obedient to their ecclesiastical leaders rather than more free to adopt independent courses of action. Ratzinger believes that greater fidelity to Catholic doctrine, as defined by the Vatican, is necessary to counter movements like Nazism.

Case in point: the next volley in the right wing’s War Against Women is aimed at– wait for it– Catholic nuns.  Courtesy of Kaili Joy Gray from the Big Orange, citing an article from USA Today, we learn the following.

KAILI: The Catholic Church is sounding more and more like the Republican Party these days. And both are getting awfully sick of uppity sluts—including the President Slut-in-Chief Obama—and their concerns about such anti-Jesus things like health care and equality…

USA TODAY: The Vatican has launched a crackdown on the umbrella group that represents most of America’s 55,000 Catholic nuns, saying that the group was not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion and women’s ordination.

Rome also chided the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for sponsoring conferences that featured “a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” […]

Many bishops were angered when LCWR and Network, along with the Catholic Health Association, endorsed President Obama’s health care reform over the bishops’ objections. LCWR and Network recently endorsed Obama’s compromise with the bishop over a mandate to provide insurance coverage for birth control for employees at religious institutions, even as the bishops continue to fight it[…]

I’ve no idea what they’re talking about [said Sister Simone Campbell, head of the organization]… Our role is to live the gospel with those who live on the margins of society. That’s all we do…

But Sister Campbell suggested a difficult time ahead [in dealing with their male inferiors superiors]:

It’s totally a top-down process and I don’t think the bishops have any idea of what they’re in for.

Funny, neither do we.

In honor of those nuns from the Immaculate Heart of Mary who did their best to educate me through eight trying years of primary education, including puberty, I say:

You go, Sisters. I’ve got your back.

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