Dear Pope Benedict,

Please please please continue showing us how irrelevant you are to the daily life of even those people who claim to follow your teachings.

Pope Benedict, underscoring the Vatican's ruling on an issue that divides Americans, told U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday that Catholic politicians and legislators cannot back abortion rights.
"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural and moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death ..." a Vatican statement said.
See, Pope--I can call you Pope, right?--you can talk all you want about how the Church frowns on contraception and abortion, but in the end, the Catholic Church doesn't really determine policy stances. I mean, you can have an effect if a politician is beholden enough to the limited number of conservative Catholics who actually listen to those prohibitions, and I suppose you can try to wave your magic excommunication stick at politicians who ignore your grand pronouncements (though that power's been blunted by your decision to readmit a Holocaust denier into the church), but chances are that if there are politicians who are threatened by that, they're not Democrats anyway.

Don't get me wrong--there are lots of Catholic Democrats, but they're not the dominant force in the party, and elected Democrats who happen to be Catholic have bigger constituencies to worry about than the small number of ultra-conservative Catholics who are actually concerned about this sort of thing. Pelosi has way more pro-choice supporters than she has anti-choice Catholics who might desert her for a challenger.

So go ahead and wave your Pope stick around and try to boss our politicians around. When you fail, it'll make you look even smaller by comparison.

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