August 09, 2005

Clarence Thomas

I have tried to be somewhat cagey about Justice Clarence Thomas' religious affiliation. I knew he had had a Catholic education as a little kid, but I didn't know this:

At his grandfather's urgings to become a priest, Thomas left his black high school after two years to attend St. John Vianney Minor Seminary, an all-white boarding school located just outside of Savannah dedicated to training priests.

Or this:

Thomas attended the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Missouri as his next step towards attaining priesthood. He left soon after, though, due to the severe racism he encountered in the school. After taking some time off, Thomas enrolled at [Jesuit-run] Holy Cross [College in Massachusetts]. He participated actively in the formation of the Black Student Union. Thomas also supported the Black Panthers and once urged a student walkout to protest investments in South Africa. In 1971, Thomas graduated ninth in his class with an English honors degree. The following day, he married Kathy Ambush, a student at a nearby Catholic woman's college.

Source: click here.

So I guess Thomas really is a Catholic, after all. I knew Clarence Thomas had deep Catholic roots, but I didn't know until tonight he had studied to be a priest at 2 different seminaries. That's extraordinary.

This information makes my previous post all the more critical, I think. We already have 3 Catholics on the Supreme Court. Can we really stand a 4th one--i.e., John Roberts? Or a 5th one--i.e., Alberto Gonzalez? I don't think any liberal is more Catholic than I am, but can this country really handle a Catholic majority on the Supreme Court? Especially if the bishops threaten them with virtual excommunication (i.e., withholding Holy Communion) if they don't step to the bishops' marching orders on abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia (think Terri Schiavo), gay rights including marriage. I wonder, and I really don't think this is a good place for us to be.

Isn't it ironic?