Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pope Benedict and the Political Left Are Buddies Sometimes

I want to hit part two ( see my previous post Are Pope Benedict's New Cardinals Too Roman ? ) very interesting article Finding the 'new' in Vatican news.

The Church is well Catholic which means Universial which basically means world wide. That sets up all sort of interesting alliances that might be foreign to the American Catholic experience. Allen notes this as to Pope Benedict's recent speech to Diplomats:

In his discussion of the defense of human life, Benedict XVI cited two developments that he found encouraging in the last year:
An October decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union banning the commercial patenting of embryonic stem cells.

A resolution adopted in the same month by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe condemning prenatal selection on the basis of sex.
The novelty is that in both cases, political support for these moves came from the left, not the right. The legal complaint that led to the ban on patenting embryos was brought by Greenpeace, while the parliamentary resolution on prenatal selection was introduced by a Swiss socialist and feminist named Doris Stump. Needless to say, these are not exactly the fellow travelers one ordinarily associates with the political agenda of Benedict XVI.

In effect, the pope's speech was a lesson in what Jeremy Rifkin has called "the new biopolitics," in which erstwhile enemies are suddenly on the same side.

In a growing number of biotech debates, including embryo patenting, genetic engineering and animal/human hybrids, the Catholic church and the pro-life movement find themselves allied with elements of the secular left, including environmentalists, feminists and anti-corporate activists. Their points of departure are obviously different, but they arrive at the same place. On the other side is a constellation of pro-business conservatives, the medical and scientific establishment, and libertarians opposed to any form of government regulation.

To some extent, those shifting sands remain hard to see because older bio-debates such as abortion and gay marriage still loom large. As the 21st century rolls on, however, the battle lines of the culture wars may be increasingly redefined, and the pope's speech offered proof of the point.
Now, there's something worth reporting.

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