Sister Joan “I don’t need no steenkin’ pope” Chittister weighs in on the CINO politician question. Based on her history of defiance of the Church’s authority and Catholic teaching, it’s fairly obvious where she comes down. The first hint comes here: “But this election is about whether or not a Catholic can be a politician, exercise a Catholic conscience in a pluralistic world, and stay a practicing Catholic at the same time.” It would seem obvious that it is possible, unless of course your definition of practicing Catholic and mine differ. The sister reveals herself here though:
Now, with the position of a few bishops that Catholic politicians who do not vote in accordance with Catholic teaching cannot receive the Eucharist, the dilemma is obvious: Catholic politicians have one of two choices. They can either relinquish the political arena to the rest of the body politic or they can defy the church. Surely each position is untenable, illogical and destructive of both the church and the place of the Catholic vision of life in the public arena.
Actually, Sister, there is a third choice. They can adhere to the Church’s teachings and run for office. And since those teachings are based on objective Truth, the successful politician will explain his positions to his constituents in such a way that they grasp the magnificence of the teachings and agree to them.
Chittister assumes that “everyone” is opposed to the principles of Church teaching and that is impossible to get elected by adhering to them. So one must either reject the teaching, reject his faith, or reject politics, she says. I think it’s a false choice, but even so I would remind the good sister of Jesus’ question: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) What does it a profit a man to gain politicial power and turn his back on God?