Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why Did Governor Pawlenty Leave The Catholic Church?

The very good Catholic blogger Lisa Graas has a good post on this at Tim Pawlenty Shares with Matt Lewis Why He Left the Catholic Church

I can recall the New York Times running a story him when it was thought he might get the VP nod a few years back. This issue was slightly mentioned back then.

From Wikipedia:

Of Polish[108] and German heritage, Pawlenty was raised a Roman Catholic Christian. His conversion to an Evangelical Christian faith is largely attributed to his wife Mary, who is a regular member of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.[109] The church is part of the Minnesota Baptist Conference, and the senior pastor, Leith Anderson, is the president of the National Association of Evangelicals.[1][110] .

Now in reality we would have two ex Catholics running for the GOP nomination. Governor Sarah Palin was baptized a Catholic though of course she not one now due to her parents joining another faith community while she was a early age.

However Pawlenty is different. This is a deliberate choice to leaves one faith in adulthood.

In many ways this reminds people of the still murky Senator Rubio situation.

That being said devout Catholics of course will not be thrilled with this. However it just is a reflection of the HUGE reality that many Catholics or whatever reason in the USA left the Catholic faith to become evangelicals.

I don't think this will hurt him among Conservative Catholics to be honest. It does not hurt him with me. But a tad of tribalism comes into this coupled with sadness that he needs to be careful of. For instance in the above link he says:

...The church I now attend is an inter-denominational church which has got many former Catholics in it, and so we share the Christian faith and the Bible ......

I am not sure the fact that his Church has a lot of former Catholics in it will have real traditional Catholics shouting for joy. So I think I would avoid that.

That being said though I am very curious why he "left" he does not need to be pressed on why he left. First I am not sure it is very appropriate in some ways.

I am not sure a Presidential campaign is at all the proper place to be discussing issues of Catholic versus Baptist Doctrine. Last but not least it very well could cause some unneeded offense among Catholics and Evangelicals in the the GOP coalition.

So while I am curious I think we need to act very restrained this. Pawlenty just represent a sad demographic fact that occurs for all sort of reason. Many very personal. THE MEDIA will doubtless use this in an attempt to divide if not handled properly.

In other words in the complicated scheme of the social contract and political office a lot of this needs to be off limits. We do not want a situation where an issue of traditional Baptist belief is used unfairly against him so for people to say he is unqualified. Recall how PALINS faith was unfairly used against her.

He does mention he attends Mass on occasion. I suspect this is for political related things. As long as he is not taking communion well I am all for it.

Palwenty will have to handle this. I just suggest reminding me that he says goes to a Church with a lot of EX Catholics (which indicates to me they think more Catholics should join them) is not a great idea of how to answer this.

It is all complicated I know and has little in the big scheme of things of running the country. At least he did not convert to a liberal faith community that believes God knows what. Still people are human and tribal. Especially about their faith.


Anonymous said...

Tim Pawlenty left the Catholic Church to become an "Evangelical Christian". Catholics ARE Evangelical Christians. As my daughter says "Why go to Super 8 when you can have the Four Seasons". Being Catholic is not easy, but it has so much more to offer toward sanctification.

Anonymous said...

I will not blindly accept ANY politician of ANY political party, especially when the party for whom I've always voted gave us Souter and O'connor and BOTH political parties' top donors are the SAME donors. It makes me wonder WHO is behind keeping the status quo of ZERO income increase for 98% of Americans at the same time there is a 275% income increase for 2% of Americans. I wish GK Chesterton were a candidate, but he would be too conservative for the democrats and too liberal for the republicans because our two party system has a monopoly on American political thought and discussion and has succesfully divided the American people for its own selfish gains....and we keep standing behind the same political parties anyway. Come, Lord Jesus. Come!