• 2007-12-19
  • By Dainis Klidzejs
I found the recent article, "Pujats' Compass," [Editorial, TBT #586, Dec. 12, 2007] to be both disgraceful and devoid of logic. First of all, the Cardinal has the same right as any other Latvian citizen to speak about political matters. Additionally, he has the authority from the church to guide believers in making political decisions in accordance with their Catholic faith. No author has a right to tell the faithful that they cannot form political opinions based on their faith, nor can he tell them that they can't seek guidance in making these decisions from the clergy.

As far as the question of whether or not the Latvian media should give Pujats a platform to do this, I think the answer is equally clear. The media always has, and always will quote prominent or well known citizens in its news articles. And, I might add, it makes perfect sense to quote clergy with regards to moral issues, such as homosexuality. In the end, however, we need not speculate over whether the media should or shouldn't quote Pujats, because, in a free society, they have a right to do so.
With regards to the author's criticism of the Catholic Church's own immorality, I would say two things. First, the Church's dealings with the medieval Balts are irrelevant to this discussion. That would be like not allowing a German to speak out against war crimes, because of Germany's responsibility for the holocaust. Cardinal Pujats is not responsible for the Northern Crusade. Second, nobody is defending the pedophile priests who have committed grave sins against children in their care. To my knowledge, however, there have been no such accusations made against Cardinal Pujats, so I don't see how the sins of others should limit his right to speak freely regarding the pure doctrine of the Church, and its members' responsibility to adhere to it.

Lastly, while you complain about clergy making political statements, I might complain about political commentators misinterpreting the Bible. In the passage the author quoted Jesus was admonishing his followers not to judge hypocritically. This does not mean that we are not to judge at all, because in several other passages we are commanded to judge between good and evil and to rebuke those who do evil. Leave the theology to the theologians.

Dainis Klidzejs
Strum, Wisconsin, USA

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