Cardinal George fears Catholics may face ‘religious test’ in public life
Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George has questioned whether American Catholics might be subjected to a “religious test” when running for public office or seeking work at newspapers, universities, or hospitals.
In a column about the arguments over same-sex marriage, written for the archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New World, Cardinal George warns against the expansion of government power in the name of “protection of individual rights.” That expansion, he writes, threatens to banish religious principles from public life, and close the doors to Catholics who uphold the Church’s teaching. The cardinal writes:
Are we to have a religious test for public office that excludes Catholics serious about their faith from appointment to federal judgeships? Are Catholics who will not perform abortions to be excluded from medical school? Are Catholics to be unwelcome in the editorial offices of major newspapers, in the entertainment world, or on university faculties unless they put their faith aside? In short, what began as a political device to get elected to office in a Protestant society can be used more broadly to exclude Catholics from any position of influence in public life. If Catholics are to be closeted and marginalized in a secularized society, Catholic parents should prepare their children to be farmers, carpenters and craftsmen, small business people and workers in service industries, honorable occupations that do not, however, immediately impact public opinion. Is this the future? That’s a concern.