It does not matter one be protestant or catholic along both dimensions. No logical connection between constitution-identity and who is to be the authorized interpreter of the constitution (Levinson, 29).
The topic of last week ‘Constitution in Civil Religion’ reminds me that religious institutions are to set good examples in our society since we look up to them for salvation. But how can the religious institutions interpret the constitution when they don’t follow their own doctrines. This week, I read the book Candide, written by one of the most prominent historians and philosophers, Voltaire who failed to accept that the world we live in was a perfect place; I came to realize the type of corruptions in religion. In Candide, the medieval educational system based their society on the Bible or religion. At this time, the philosophers were not free to openly criticize the church or state because of the power the church leaders had. (McKay et-al) This means that the only way the philosophers can educate the public was by writing plays, poem, histories, encyclopedias and dictionaries. This was what Voltaire successfully engaged in doing by writing Candide. Voltaire wrote his text filled with satire in order to spread his message to the audience and avoid getting punished for criticizing powerful religious institutions. He expressed his mind to make fun of the Catholic Church, nobility, the government and the society as a whole. Voltaire clearly showed in the text how evil the society was at that time and there was a need for change which was the Enlightenment. In Candide, he tried to advocate the rights of women. He did so by portraying one of the characters Cunegonde as a prostitute. Even though one might see it as demeaning to women, I believe that Voltaire tried to expose the treatment Cunegonde received from the men of God as they took advantage of her situation. Since Cunegonde was from the noble background, it was not possible for her to willingly become a prostitute. With the kind of life she lived, I will interpret Voltaire’s idea as advocate for women so that such evil behavior should stop.
Voltaire had joined the struggle to criticize the French government, mocked at the Catholic Church because it maintained what he believed was the existence of human miseries. Voltaire’s view of the Catholic Church was that it was hypocritical and one of the most corrupt institutions on earth and the leaders he described as being among the most sinful of all people. Voltaire set the following scene to prove his accusations. As a child, He pointed out that after the earthquake in Lisbon, Portugal, religious leaders turned their backs on the victims. Here the wise men, as he called them, hung Pangloss; flogged Candide, burned two others and called for an auto- da- f` (act of faith). Voltaire experienced fathers engaged in homosexual affairs with children. It was claimed by the old lady that she suspected a Franciscan priest to have stolen Cunegonde’s (the baroness) money and diamonds. It was also evident when Cunegonde admitted having sex with Don Issachar on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sabbath, and to the Inquisitor on the other days of the week. (p35) Candide himself experienced the fact that the Inquisitor was his rival. He killed him together with the Israelite. (p39) It was surprising to note that the Pope has a daughter as the old lady claimed “I am a daughter of Pope Urban X and the Princess of Palestrina.” (p42) If this claim of the old lady were true, then it illustrated the evil behaviors of the religious leaders. How can a pope have a child when in fact he took a vow of celibacy? This showed the corrupt practices of the Catholic Church.
In our reading, the catholic doctrine with regards to the constitution is, one needs to obey the court’s judgement regardless one agrees with the court’s decisions or not. To the Catholics, this demonstrates respect for the constitution (p37). The Catholics also believe in the Supreme Courts as the dispenser of ultimate interpretation just as papal supremacy (p37). The Catholics believe in changing moral of the society does not resonate with me. My question is how can one follow the Catholic constitutional interpretation when in fact Voltaire has exposed their evil behavior? If our religious leaders are not perfect, how do we expect our founding fathers to draft a perfect constitution?