Posts tagged with: Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Standing up for religious principles in an increasingly secularized and politicized country has become extremely difficult for religious and clergy. It doesn’t help their spiritual causes when these very same religious and clergy cannot delineate between what their respective faiths teach and what is simply the desire to attain a political or economic result.

For example, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, a member of the Interfaith Counsel on Corporate Responsibility, have issued a shareholder proxy resolution to Walgreens requesting the drugstore chain abandon the sale of tobacco products.

To borrow from Sam Cooke, I don’t know much about running a successful franchise but I do know a bit about most of the world’s major religions, especially Roman Catholicism. Not a whole lot of faiths espouse anti-tobacco theology. Those that do require only that their followers adhere to religious practices and customs rather than forcing everyone else outside the flock obey as well. That last, incidentally, exists only in the secular realm populated by such statist politicians as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

So the radical sisters from the City of Brotherly Love want Walgreens to stop selling tobacco? Back in my corporate-flack days, this was called “diluting the brand” as there’s nothing in Roman Catholic doctrine that addresses cigarettes, cigars, snuff and chew or the selling thereof. (more…)

King Louis XIV censored Moliere’s 1664 play Tartuffe after determining audience members might too easily confuse the titular priest’s hypocritical nature with every priest in real life. According to the king, some priests’ “true devotion leads on the path to heaven,” while others’ “vain ostentation of some good works does not prevent from committing some bad ones.”

The king’s judgment in many ways also describes individuals who pursue their religious vocations while simultaneously championing secular causes such as proxy shareholder resolutions. This leads to more of the same kind of confusion that King Louie was worried about. Coming from the other direction, groups that recruit nuns, priests, and other religious and clergy to promote these resolutions under the pseudo-spiritual guise of “corporate social responsibility” and “social justice” aren’t being clear about intended objectives. The aim of all this is not salvation of the soul, but political organizing.

While Tartuffe deceived his hosts’ willfully, those proxy shareholders who belong to religious orders may or may not be unwittingly promoting such secular resolutions as, for example, bans on hydraulic fracturing that have nothing to do with their vows. As for the secular groups who join them, could it be possible they even more resemble Moliere’s priest by seeking grace on the cheap when they deploy religious, nuns and clergy to assist in the promotion of proxy resolutions?

And at what point do these faithful cease advocacy of spiritual matters and become mere secular activists?
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