God is Love, but . . .

No force in human life is more dangerous than religion. Calling on the faithful for total commitment, it opens the way to violence and fanaticism.

Of course, it is also true that no force in human life accomplishes more good than religion. Simply listing the hospitals called “St. Luke’s” or “Beth Israel,” is a place to start.

Hamas and Israel might have more chance of finding a way to peace if it were not for the corps of misguided religious fanatics on either side.

But what brought all this to mind was the pope’s recent lifting of the excommunication of four schismatic bishops who had been resisting papal authority for the sake of what they call “the faith of our fathers.”

Unfortunately, the “faith of our fathers” includes an unhealthy dose of antisemitism. Among the four bishops is Bishop Richard Williamson who, even last week, was denying the holocaust and saying, “The historical evidence is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy by Adolf Hitler.” Williamson taught at a seminary in Connecticut from 1983 to 1988 and then for fifteen years in Minnesota.

Apologists for the papal act tell us that “While Williamson’s comments may be offensive and erroneous, they are not an excommunicable offense.” “To deny the Holocaust is not a heresy even though it is a lie,” said Monsignor Robert Wister, professor of church history at Immaculate Conception School of Theology at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.. “The excommunication can be lifted because he is not a heretic, but he remains a liar.”

So lying is OK no matter how offensive, erroneous, and harmful? And homosexuality is not OK though no one is harmed, no matter how faithful the individual? Can someone explain this to me?

What the Bible says is “Whoever says, ‘I am in the light,’ while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness” (1 John 2:9) and “Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (1 John 3:18)

Some people have given their lives to take that message to the world. Others, in the name of faith, contribute only to division and violence.

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