The Catholic Church, Post-John Paul II

Contextual Conservatism
E-mail debates of newsworthy topics.
April 2 2005 6:33 PM

The Catholic Church, Post-John Paul II

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Mike,

I basically agree with your evaluation. JPII has been a leader who belonged to no Catholic "party" or "camp." It is a mistake to label him a "conservative," although that term certainly describes his relationship to many of the leaders in the Catholic establishment who have not been supportive of the magisterium. His conservatism, if anyone wants to call it that, is contextual. His commitment to orthodoxy is responsible for the various emphases of his pontificate that appeal to both the left and the right (again, to use labels that don't quite work). To the left he was the pope of human rights and the opponent of the death penalty; to the right he was the defender of doctrine and the pope who restored the proper priorities within Catholic social teaching. Uniting both of these flanks in his popularity is the underlying appeal for a "culture of life." It's to President Bush's credit that he has made this theme such a prominent part of his public policy, and I don't think the pope minded that a Texas Methodist used it so often. I know that in all Bush's private meetings with the Holy Father JPII commended him for his support for a culture of life.

Advertisement

There was certainly nothing wrong, in my opinion, with Republicans trying to make the case that their presidential candidate was closer to the Catholic position on the life issues than the alternative. And, to be fair, the Democrats should and did try to make their case to the Catholic voters as well. Given that JPII has succeeded in underlining the priority of life issues, such as abortion, euthanasia, cloning, and embryo research, it will be important to watch if the next pontiff continues that emphasis. These points of emphasis, amid the so-called seamless garment, are emerging as perhaps the central point of debate over the Catholic vote.

But at this moment, I am sure we are all struck with the sanctity of the man who is passing away before our eyes.

Deal W. Hudson

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Behold

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Oct. 20 2014 6:49 PM God’s Oligarch One of Vladimir Putin’s favorite businessmen wants to start an Orthodox Christian Fox News and return Russia to its glorious czarist past.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 6:48 PM Apple: Still Enormously Profitable
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 6:32 PM Taylor Swift’s Pro-Gay “Welcome to New York” Takes Her Further Than Ever From Nashville 
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.