On March 29, Kerry spoke at New Northside Missionary Baptist church, where he quoted James 2:14 in a blistering indictment of the Bush administration and the state of the Union:
"The Scriptures say: 'What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?' When we look at what is happening in America today, where are the works of compassion?"
Referring to the incident in his email newsletter, Deal Hudson, editor of the conservative monthly Crisis, remarked:
. . . since he's so keen on the book of James, he might want to take a look at James 1:22-24: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."
Senator Kerry recently responded to Vatican concerns regarding his voting record by quoting his role model, President John F. Kennedy:
People in Rome are becoming more and more aware that there's a problem of John Kerry and a political scandal with his apparent profession of his Catholic faith and some of stances, particular abortion . . . I don't think it complicates things at all. We have separation of church and state in this country. As John Kennedy said very clearly 'I will be a president who happens to be Catholic, not a Catholic president'."
The issue of Kerry's Catholicism began taking center-stage with a personal appearance at Mass, as reported by the stodgy conservative periodical The American Spectator:
On Sunday, John Kerry showed up for the 10:30 Mass at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church at 10:41 a.m. (The church had roped off two pews for the VIP.) Adding further insult, Kerry arrived noisily, fully outfitted for skiing, not dressed for a religious service. Compounding the insult -- this time to all Catholics in good standings -- Kerry received the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, even though he's not considered to be a Catholic in good standing.
"It was just a media-op," says a Kerry advance staffer. "We set it up with some reporters that we knew were going to be there."
Kerry's cold-weather attire may have been considered inappropriate by some folk, but we think they should rather be appreciative that Kerry, in his desire to be an obedient Catholic, bothered to attend Mass at all -- even if he had to rush from the ski slopes to get there!
A public scandal for the Church, or hero for "progressive Catholics"?
Sen. John Kerry isn't the first Catholic politican to publicly flout the teachings of his Church and yet maintain his credibility as a "Catholic in good standing", but he is the first Roman Catholic to run for president on a major party ticket in 44 years -- and how Catholic bishops, clergy and laity in the United States will respond will be a critical issue in the upcoming presidential election.
Welcome, then, to Catholic Kerry Watch -- a group blog which will chronicle the exploits of Senator John Kerry as he publicly flouts the teachings of the Church while maintaining his credibility as "a Catholic in good standing" . . . or, as Senator Kerry would no doubt perceive it, remaining faithful to the dictates of his constituents over and against those of The Church.
Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch
Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.