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"Go in peace to love and serve the Lord."
That is traditionally the last line a priest utters at a Catholic mass. And, most of us do indeed intend to go on serving the Lord, but after last week, many of us won't go in peace. Or better yet, we will just go.
The Catholic Church last week pushed too far. Yes, you abused boys, including me, for years, and some of us oddly still stuck with you.
You condemned homosexuality for generations, and we turned our cheeks.
And now, most recently, you even went so far as the Supreme Court to deny loving members of our community the opportunity to be foster parents, and we shook our heads in disgust.
Last Thursday in Fulton vs. City of Philadelphia, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ability of Catholic Social Services to participate in the city's foster care program even though that organization discriminates based on sexual orientation. Although the citation from the court's unanimous ruling was thin, the inferences are broad and indicate a court that is inclined to allow discrimination based on religious beliefs.
It was a victory for the conservative wing of the Catholic Church, which is using social issues to help drive a wedge, not only within the church but on behalf of a Republican Party that thinks the LGBTQ+ community and Joe Biden need to be condemned.
Over the weekend, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met, and the group has voted to move forward with a process that could call into question the eligibility of politicians who support abortion rights to receive Holy Communion.
Not just any politician -- just one lifelong devoted member of the church, Joseph R. Biden Jr., who happens to be president -- the subject of a political push by conservative bishops.
Answer a question for us, oh wise and pompous cardinals, how in the hell are you or any priest going to know if you're giving communion to an elected official who is pro-life or pro-choice? Do your priests know all the local school board members, city council members, state legislators? Do you think pro-choice Catholic officials will now just go away -- or hide behind a pew?
Conservative bishops are primarily the ones who hid the church's sexual abuse scandal for generations. They also claimed AIDS was God's way of punishing gays. This, despite the fact that the church had so many gay priests, and some who did die of AIDS complications. The number within their ranks is startling. Heck, they could have their own Pride parade if they were allowed to, but they're not, of course. The church's double standard is beyond astounding.
These are the same men who kept silent during the Trump administration's cruel border policies. Bit their lip at Donald Trump's indifference to human rights around the world. And said nothing about his supporters' racism and anti-Semitism.
The bishops, who are predominantly white, older, hooded, and ostensibly holy men also kept mum on pleas from Black Lives Matter, chants from Charlottesville of "Jews will not replace us," and cries of peaceful protesters.
These cardinals -- cardinals are beautiful birds and therefore not an appropriate title -- are vultures who also wink-winked at a thrice-married president who is also an accused sexual predator, philanderer, and a man who paid off women for sex (allegedly, wink wink).
We could go on and on and on about these bad and hypocritical birds, who kissed Trump's ring and received the pro-life pious parrots of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett in return.
And the fearsome threesome came through on the foster parent ruling. If you look at the case, and according to a Los Angeles Times column by Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, "there was no evidence that Philadelphia actually treated Catholic Social Services differently from other social service agencies or used its discretion in an impermissible way. ... I fear that this decision is part of a trend toward expanding the protection of free exercise of religion at the expense of other crucial government interests."
Now a conservative majority of the church has decided to speak out on another innocent victim, going vocal against a man who lost his first wife and two children, who has lived a life of kindness, and who has been steadfast about his religion and its meaning to his personal and professional life.
These criminals in cloth aren't even worthy of washing Biden's feet on Holy Thursday. While Biden seeks to resurrect the nation and the goodness of America abroad, these red beanie hooligans are working to make this decent man look like the Antichrist.
Should we be closing the holy book on the church, these Catholic cardinals, their ilk and all their piety? The latest move by the church only shows it is anything but pro-life. They are out to smudge the loving, parent-seeking members of our community, and the life of someone who has always been about improving the lives of others.
Can we do this any longer? Personally, it's becoming very hard for me to support the church that my beloved and very Christian father loved so much. It's hard to walk through those exclusive doors and sleepwalk through all the gibberish about loving and serving the Lord. How can anyone who works for this club of creepy cardinals utter the words about God's love, when their hierarchy shows cold-hearted hatred?
I will always respect my father's love of his faith. I will understand if Biden is undeterred in continuing his Catholicism, and I will forever love and try to serve the Lord to whom I am eternally and humbly grateful.
But can we be a party to this anti-love, anti-God serving, anti-peace, anti-gay parenting institution? Through their actions, particularly of last week, most likely they will destroy the Catholic Church, all because of their intent to destroy our community and take away the rights of women.
All that will be left are bigoted Catholics; cardinals, or birds of a feather who flock together.
John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.