Protecting Our Values

By Richard Nelson

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April 20, 2015

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We, as human beings, have a right to protest. We also have a right to walk away, however, and choose not to affiliate ourselves with practices we do not believe in. This second right seems to have been lost on liberal Catholics in San Francisco, who placed a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle last week appealing to Pope Francis to replace their archdiocese’s spiritual leader, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, with someone "true to our values." Their main issue is with Cordileone's efforts to add language to the moral guidelines laid out for teachers at Catholic high schools that reaffirms the church’s stances on same-sex marriage, artificial insemination, and other controversial matters. The Catholic church has been firm and outspoken on each of these issues, so it's not exactly clear what “values” those calling for the ouster of Cordileone are referring to. Churches and religions are built upon doctrine. This particular protest is not aimed at a person, but rather the established beliefs of the church itself. Perhaps those with dissenting voices in this case would be better served by examining their own logic, rather than attacking the doctrine of the church they confess to be loyal to. The Catholic church has just as much right to hold to its values as those who are members of it.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center