One Response to Serious Catholics Only

5 Responses to Give Thanks To Our Priests …

3 Responses to Just Barely a Parody

Sarah's Going Rogue

Sunday, October 26, AD 2008

See here and here.

I’m perfectly fine with that… maybe she’s not the hope for the future of populist conservatism that many believe she is or was, but I’d rather have her in the mix than not. And while she certainly bears some responsibility for some of her poor performances in interviews, an equal amount goes to the campaign for mishandling those aspects of her rollout.

(HT: Rod Dreher.)

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Sarah's Going Rogue

  • Sarah’s biggest problem is that she does not know how much of an amateur she is…and how much she does not know…

    And a reformer?

    Maybe in an artificial ‘reality-tv’ show…probably her next destination…if not Faux Noise…

  • Naturally I disagree, Mark. 🙂 I think Sarah is well aware of how much she doesn’t know… I just think the whole prep process for her rollout was bungled by the campaign.

  • What is her appeal…sexually-charged bigotry, demagoguery and anti-intelectualism?

    Oh..I know..she’s pro-life…as her trophy baby proves…

  • Mark, let’s focus on one thing: the charge of anti-intellectualism. Not being an intellectual isn’t the same as being anti-intellectual. Nor is disdain for *some* intellectuals the same as anti-intellectualism.

  • You know Obama is not such an intellectual. Have you ever seen him for something he hasn’t reheased for (the debates) or without a pre-written speech? He stutters for days, he can’t find words, and he really reminds me of George Bush.

  • Is it me or is it that ‘W’ doesn’t try nor care to work on his speech impediment(s)? It can get irritating sometimes… and I like the guy, but sheesh it does get irritating at times.

  • Mark needs to find another blog, more in tune with his thinking. Here’s one…

    http://brands.kraftfoods.com/koolaid/KoolSpace/

  • Mark,

    When this blog was started, you said, “I’m outta here!”

    Well, leave… I’m tired of your leftist-Koolaid drinking self.

  • Wingnut loons,

    So am I a socialist for believing in the progressive tax code we’ve had in this country over the past umpteen years?

  • So am I a socialist

    Wow, not only are you a vile partisan who makes disgusting comments about Palin, you obviously don’t have tremendous reading skills. No one actually called you a socialist.

  • No,

    it is your bigotry, demagoguery and anti-intelectualism that is not wanted here while you pretend to be Pro – Life.

  • Mark,

    You wouldn’t find random name calling with little relation to reality convincing if it was aimed at Senator Obama. Why do you think it woudl convince your opponents? Or are you just wanting to be unpleasant at the moment.

    You’re capable of reasonable discourse at time, but other times you just seem to want to cause trouble.

    And if you show up being offensive and trying to cause trouble, don’t get all surprised if you get rhetorically dogpiled.

  • To answer your question, Mark, yes you are “a socialist for believing in the progressive tax code…” Perhaps you’re not as committed a socialist true-believer as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles who made progressively punitive taxation of incomes a major demand of their Communist Manifesto (1848). Perhaps you’re a soft core socialist who lacks the courage to honestly admit and follow the convictions you proclaim. Still, you’ve announced that your allegiance is to the socialist program. To use a bit of the old time Marxist lingo, Mark you are objectively a socialist.

The Fourth Estate Finds True Love

Friday, October 24, AD 2008

The fact that most of the Press has been completely in the tank for Senator Obama is obvious to everyone except the most fervent Obama supporters.

ABC News columnist Michael S. Malone has written a column which discusses how such naked advocacy is a betrayal of the most basic principles of journalism.

Update-Joe Biden encounters a journalist who apparently hasn’t been smitten by the love bug.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to The Fourth Estate Finds True Love

  • I found your blog on MSN Search. Nice writing. I will check back to read more.

    Eric Hundin

  • Chuck Baldwin and Raplh Nadar said some pretty interesting things about the media during their debate thursday night, needless to say it wasn’t flattering either.

  • SARAH PALIN MEETS THE POPE
    >
    > Sarah Palin is invited to meet with the Pope while he is vacationing south
    > of Rome in Venice. The liberal press reluctantly watches the semi-private
    > audience, hoping they will be able to allot minimal coverage, if any.
    >
    > The Pope asks Governor Palin to join him on a Gondola ride through the
    > canals of Venice. They’re admiring the sights and agreeing on moral issues
    > when, all of a sudden, the Pope’s hat (zucchetto) blows off his head and
    > out into the water.
    >
    > The gondolier starts to reach for the Pontiff’s cap with his pole, but
    > this move threatens to overturn the floating craft. Sarah waves the tour
    > guide off, saying, “Wait, wait. I’ll take care of this. Don’t worry.”
    >
    > She steps off the gondola onto the surface of the water and walks out to
    > the Pope’s hat, bends over and picks it up. She walks back across the
    > water to the gondola and steps aboard. She hands the hat to the Pope amid stunned silence.
    >
    > The next morning the topic of conversation among Democrats in Congress, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, CNN, the New York Times, Hollywood celebrities, and in France and Germany is: “Palin Can’t Swim.”

  • That was a great interview by Ms. West… If the msm wasn’t in the tank for the O-man; we would be ahead by 30 points 🙂

  • That link to Diane West’s interview doesn’t work anymore. Here’s the youtube link:

  • Thanks for the tip Cathy. I’ve embedded the video in the post now.

  • Eric,

    Thanks for stopping by and please come back often. We have some great writers here.

Let Those Who Have Eyes See

Friday, October 24, AD 2008

Doubtless many have seen this already, but if you haven’t, you should.  Cardinal Egan of New York published an impassioned plea with a simple message:

But you might protest that all of this is too easy. Why, you might inquire, have I not delved into the opinion of philosophers and theologians about the matter? And even worse: Why have I not raised the usual questions about what a “human being” is, what a “person” is, what it means to be “living,” and such? People who write books and articles about abortion always concern themselves with these kinds of things. Even the justices of the Supreme Court who gave us “Roe v. Wade” address them. Why do I neglect philosophers and theologians? Why do I not get into defining “human being,” defining “person,” defining “living,” and the rest? Because, I respond, I am sound of mind and endowed with a fine set of eyes, into which I do not believe it is well to cast sand. I looked at the photograph, and I have no doubt about what I saw and what are the duties of a civilized society if what I saw is in danger of being killed by someone who wishes to kill it or, if you prefer, someone who “chooses” to kill it. In brief: I looked, and I know what I saw.

Read the whole thing.

H/T: Pro Ecclesia and Cranky Conservative

Continue reading...

Measured Rhetoric Is More Effective

Friday, October 24, AD 2008

A good part of what I was trying to say in my Socialist post the other day concerned the relationship between precision in political rhetoric and its ability to persuade; in short, I think that “toned-down” rhetoric is more likely to convince an interlocutor (let alone an observer)  of at least the plausibilty of one’s position than is the “speaking truth to power” approach.

Continue reading...

22 Responses to Measured Rhetoric Is More Effective

  • Just so.

    I suppose it’s just an intellectual twitch of mine, but whenever I hear that someone is a person who “speaks truth to power”, I have the strong urge to walk rapidly in the opposite direction. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything worth hearing given that moniker.

    Much though I don’t want to see an Obama presidency, and eager as I will be to keep it to four years if it happens, I hope that the general conservative movement can hold itself back from an “Obama derangement syndrome” which is equivalent to the Clinton and Bush varieties suffered by the two respective parties. Aside from being unattractive, such obsessions make it harder to understand one’s opponent, and thus defeat him.

  • I hope that the general conservative movement can hold itself back from an “Obama derangement syndrome” which is equivalent to the Clinton and Bush varieties suffered by the two respective parties.

    Ditto. We can certainly push back against the administration, but I really don’t want to walk into Borders and see entire tables dedicated to books detailing the evils of the Obama administration written by unhinged conservatives or disenchanted leftists.

  • I really don’t want to walk into Borders and see entire tables dedicated to books detailing the evils of the Obama administration written by unhinged conservatives …”

    You’d never see that even if such books existed by the truckload. They’d be neatly hidden away outside of public view. That is, if Borders bothered to stock them at all.

    😉

  • Jay:

    Good point. But hopefully we won’t be seeing too much of that kind of stuff either way.

  • On this issue of measured rhetoric, why is it that there has been little (or no) measured critique of the Bush Administration by Senator McCain? It seems that he could have critiqued President Bush’s bloating of the federal government and budget in a decidedly un-conservative way.

    Or did he make those critiques and I missed them (likely story).

  • “Or did he make those critiques and I missed them (likely story).”

    There was little that the Bush administration did domestically that McCain did not attack at one time or another.

    Here is a link to a newspaper story from May 22, 2004 in which McCain attacked the budget of the Bush administration.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/republican-split-could-block-bush-budget-564277.html

    “Yesterday the budget hold-up drew fierce criticism of the Senate rebels by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. But John McCain, the Arizona senator and one of the four, angrily shot back, accusing “some of those in our party” of abandoning the commitment of “real Republicans” to fiscal responsibility.”

  • Thank you Donald. I guess I mean to ask why this didn’t/doesn’t seem to be a prominent part of McCain’s campaign.

  • I don’t think McCain has done a very good job of that — partly, I imagine, because he doesn’t want to offend the 25% of voters (pretty much all Republicans I assume) who still say they approve of Bush’s performance. In that sense, someone with more conservative credentials would have probably been able to campaign better than McCain, criticizing Bush from the Right.

  • “I guess I mean to ask why this didn’t/doesn’t seem to be a prominent part of McCain’s campaign.”

    Good question Father. McCain is a true maverick and campaigns in the way he wishes to campaign whether it makes sense to others or not. Not stressing this difference with Bush doesn’t make much sense to me, since the Republican base is always in favor of the government spending less.

    One decision McCain made was to save most of his advertising money until the last two weeks. This gave Obama a four to one, in some states an eight to one advantage. Now they are making huge ad buys and Obama’s ad avantage is now down to 5-4 nationally. A very risky tactic, and we shall see how it works for McCain. I can understand why he did this however. If you can’t match your opponent dollar for dollar, do it when you know the voters will be paying attention.

  • So I’m supposed to pretend I think Obama means well when really I know better?

    I’ll just stick with the truth, thanks.

  • Steve, how is this any different than people say that Bush lied us into Iraq, because, well, they just *know* that he intentionally deceived us? There is *no way* I’d ever vote for Obama, but I don’t need to employ overblown rhetoric to make my case… as DC noted at the top, the whole “speaking truth to power approach” invariably turns people off. So if our goal is to actually *convince* people of the truth and rightness of our position, we ought to employ an approach which makes that more likely, not less.

  • Agreed, Chris. Measured rhetoric is more persuasive. Given that persuasion is a prerequisite for the maintaining of laws and policies in a democratic society, I’d say persuasive rhetoric should be the rule. Moreover, cases against Obama’s policies will better persuade if they are not undermined by hyperbolic or demeaning rhetoric.

  • Measured rhetoric seems to me the most optimum pathway towards bringing others into your own camp. It’s like a girl getting hit on at a bar, her defenses are up because she knows the environment she’s in. But at a grocery store she would be as aware of men’s advances.

    Yes I know the analogy is pretty simple, but it does state the case very well.

    What do they say? You’ll attract more with honey than with vinegar.

  • I don’t mean to be a jerk–seriously I don’t. But Obama wants to re-legalize a procedure of delivering babies up to their head, stabbing them in the back of the skull and sucking out their brains. That’s not overblown rhetoric; it’s the truth. It’s not hyperbolic; it’s an apt description.

    So what is the “measured rhetoric” for this? I guess it would be “choice”?? The culture of death already has the upper hand in a lot of ways, and now we’re willing to play on their home field by using their lexicon to define terms of debate?

    I think we run the risk of sanitizing some dramatically anti-human, anti-Christian ideologies–and in doing so, blind ourselves and our neighbors to the dangers of electing radicals like Obama.

  • It’s not hyperbolic; it’s an apt description. So what is the “measured rhetoric” for this?

    Steve, I agree with you: that is an apt description. No, “choice” is *not*, because it isn’t a description at all. But I’m not talking about how to describe the process of PBA or infanticide… I’m talking about this: how can we persuade people that PBA needs to be outlawed? What is the most effective way to convince them? Just as a matter of psychology, I don’t think calling them “baby killer” is likely to work. I can assure you, I’ve had the experience of employing language that is stark and explicit, and it inevitably fails as a matter of persuasion.

  • And I know you aren’t trying to be a jerk, Steve. 🙂

  • Definately not a jerk. The question needed to be asked. 🙂

  • -It’s like a girl getting hit on at a bar, her defenses are up because she knows the environment she’s in. But at a grocery store she would be as aware of men’s advances.-

    Man. Does this work? I’ve been married eleven years and now it’s too late to try it. Rats!

  • Well, thanks for the assumption of good faith, but when I re-read my first post in this thread, even I thought I was a jerk.

    Now, I do believe that persuasion can be greatly effective in certain circumstances. If you are debating the best way to create jobs or save social security, or any number of things, I think it is an effective tool.
    That said, I appreciate, and generally agree with your point. What troubles me, however, is that Obama’s words, associations, and voting record suggest to me that he does in fact have a radical leftist ideology.

    Now, how do you use measured rhetoric to combat this?

    Using the PBA example, if someone knows about PBA, how can we convince someone that it’s wrong? Isn’t it self-evident?

  • Steve:

    You raise a good question. I think we can be forceful without becoming unhinged. Just look at Egan’s wonderful article today. It was blunt, and even shocking to a degree, but he maintained an even tone that simply laid all the facts on the table. I think he gave us an example to be followed.

  • And I assumed most people know what article I am referencing, but if not, here it is.

  • Rob,

    Oh, it totally works. But all is not lost: You can always try hitting on your own wife while you’re at the grocery store together.

Trust Your 401(k) to Uncle Sam?

Friday, October 24, AD 2008

The government of Argentina plans to nationalize, read steal, the private pensions of Argentinian citizens.  Good thing we’re Americans right?  That could never happen here, right?   Depending on how the election next month goes, maybe it could happen here?   Hmmm, that investment strategy of gold in coffee cans buried in the back yard is sounding better and better.

Continue reading...

A Huge Switch Among Catholics Towards McCain

Thursday, October 23, AD 2008

The most accurate poll from the 2004 presidential election, the Investors Business Daily (IDB) poll, shows a phenomenal 20 point switch towards Senator McCain among Catholic voters .  In the previous IDB tracking poll Senator Obama once held a commanding 11 point advantage among Catholic voters.  In the latest tracking poll Senator McCain now has a nine (9) point lead among Catholic voters over Senator Obama.  Senator McCain leads Senator Obama among Catholic voters 48% to 39%.

Continue reading...

15 Responses to A Huge Switch Among Catholics Towards McCain

  • I wouldn’t trust IBD too much. Further down that first screenshot you can see that they have McCain ahead 74-22% among 18-24 year olds. Yeah right. Besides, any time you see a 20 point swing in any demographic it’s got to be exaggerated by polling error.

  • I agree with you. I noted that at the bottom of the my post.

    The point that I was trying to make that there is some sort of shift towards Senator McCain among Catholic voters.

  • When I was driving home today, Huge Hewitt was saying the same thing… about the 20 point shift in the Catholic Vote. He was on CNN with Wolfe Bitlzer and he said what you were saying, and when they left; the CNN commentators were laughing at him.

  • There is a note that says that the 18-24 subsection is not reliable due to the small sample size taken, presumably because most don’t vote, they don’t poll many.

  • A couple of points, the IBD poll is the poll that most insiders closely watch. The young vote for McCain, as noted by Jeremy, receives an asterisk because there weren’t enough young people surveyed. However, keep in mind that despite the mainstream media telling you that every young person is going to vote Obama-Biden, many young people aren’t in the tank for Senator Obama. Finally, check out the 1972 election. Senator McGovern had huge crowds and lots of young people at them. Yet, Senator McGovern lost 49 states and the 18-30 vote.

  • I am so glad to see this trend. Sometimes, I think to myself, ‘What’s wrong with us Catholics?’ Then I see this trend and I see we are voting more and more pro-life. Thank goodness!

    You know, every day, we get bombarded with the MSM telling us that “it’s over” and Obama will win. It can be very depressing, but I believe we must not give up and we must continue to fight for life. I really think McCain has a shot and we cannot give up! I pray the rosary every day and ask God to help this country elect the leader that follows in His ways.

  • My personal opinion is that Senator Obama has a 3-4 point lead. But the undecided’s are leaning towards Senator McCain but still trying to figure out if they see something in Senator Obama that the mainstream media continues to spew out worth voting for.

    It’s going to be a nail-biter and it could go either way. In no way do I believe that Senator Obama is going to win or win in a landslide. If he does win, it’ll be something similar to the 2000 election. Except there won’t be recounts, it’s that the contests in so many states, especially Pennsylvania and Ohio, are going to be so close that the networks won’t announce a winner until the wee hours of the morning of November 5.

  • This is great news; and I agree, the bishops deserve the credit.

  • I can not believe that catholics are swinging for McCain. The republicans have used this issue to get votes from conservative christians. I am against abortion but voting Republican is not going to get rid of it. There are 5 catholic supreme court justices right now and we still have abortion. Abortion is not going to to away and voting for McCain is not going to help it. You have to look at all the issues and see what each candidate going to do but basing your vote on the abortion issue is voting for something that is not going to happen.

  • If Catholics go for McCain, but McCain loses anyway, what will happen to all those media stories about how critical the Catholic vote is?

    It’s common filler for news stories to note how Catholics have gone with the presidential winner in the past X elections. Will the filler change, or will the news stories just stop running?

  • Patrick,

    The Pro-Life movement is fighting an uphill battle. Just because there ‘may’ be 4-5 SCOTUS justices that ‘may’ potentially turn over Roe v. Wade doesn’t mean that it happens automatically. This takes time, but unfortunately we live in a culture where people expect instant gratification.

    That is why prayer and fasting is so critical. This disciplines us in our fortitude for the right to life as well as helps us adjust to changing circumstances, especially if Senator Obama wins, to better cope with.

    Your argument is a straw man. Though your concern is legitimate.

  • I can not believe that catholics are swinging for McCain.

    Yes, I have seen reports saying the exact opposite.

    It’s common filler for news stories to note how Catholics have gone with the presidential winner in the past X elections.

    And really, it’s only filler, considering the almost 50-50 split we had during the last election. Catholics “went with the winner” but by what, 2% or something?

  • 0bama’s stay at the hate church that makes all of Christianity look loony is another item to consider. The swing to McCain should be much larger.

  • Daledog,

    Let’s pray and fast that’s true.

  • Pingback: Catholics Continue Trending Toward McCain « The American Catholic

Let the Bishops Interpret Their Document

Thursday, October 23, AD 2008

The dotCommonweal blog links to a Vox Nova post by Mornings Minion reacting to the clarifications which various bishops have issued to their dioceses on the USCCB document Faithful Citizenship and its application in the coming election. However, there are clearly some serious problems with MM’s analysis, and I think it’s worth looking at them in order to try to understand what our bishops are saying during this election season. MM opens provocatively:

In recent weeks, we are seeing something of a backlash against the USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship document– the most articulate and theologically sophisticated treatise of these issues by the US bishops ever– mainly by the usual suspects, but also by a small but vocal minority of bishops.

More than sixty bishops have thus far issued letters or statements in which they have provided further guidance on how Catholics should apply their judgement to the principles articulated in Faithful Citizenship — mostly with a mind to emphasizing the important of “life issues”. The Faithful Citizenship document was approved by 250 of the bishops in session, so clearly, the document as it stands represents a wide consensus of the Catholic bishops in the United States. And yet, with more than sixty bishops issuing their own explanatory documents, there is clearly some sort of disagreement going on.

Continue reading...

50 Responses to Let the Bishops Interpret Their Document

  • Bravo!!!

  • I believe the Bishop of Scranton is correct. It is my understanding that the USCCB as an entity, while a “fraternal” organization, has no teaching authority within the hierarchy of the Church and its statements, while certainly something to be looked to for guidance, are not official doctrinal statements of the Church.

  • Spot on, as always. Their is clearly a backlash going on, but it’s not against Faithful Citizenship. The backlash we’re seeing is against Doug Kmiec, Nicolas Cafardi, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and yes, Morning’s Minion and all their ilk.

    What a shame that they so refuse to be taught by our bishops.

  • It is my understanding that the USCCB as an entity, while a “fraternal” organization, has no teaching authority within the hierarchy of the Church and its statements, while certainly something to be looked to for guidance, are not official doctrinal statements of the Church.

    You are wrong. The USCCB is part of the authentic magisterium but it has limited teaching authority:

    “22. In dealing with new questions and in acting so that the message of Christ enlightens and guides people’s consciences in resolving new problems arising from changes in society, the Bishops assembled in the Episcopal Conference and jointly exercizing their teaching office are well aware of the limits of their pronouncements. While being official and authentic and in communion with the Apostolic See, these pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium. For this reason the Bishops are to be careful to avoid interfering with the doctrinal work of the Bishops of other territories, bearing in mind the wider, even world-wide, resonance which the means of social communication give to the events of a particular region.

    Taking into account that the authentic magisterium of the Bishops, namely what they teach insofar as they are invested with the authority of Christ, must always be in communion with the Head of the College and its members,(83) when the doctrinal declarations of Episcopal Conferences are approved unanimously, they may certainly be issued in the name of the Conferences themselves, and the faithful are obliged to adhere with a sense of religious respect to that authentic magisterium of their own Bishops.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_22071998_apostolos-suos_en.html

  • I agree with you, Michael, that people should not minimize the importance of the national bishops’ conferences.

    I do find myself a bit curious, though, from the Apostolos Suos quote, whether a document released by the USCCB as a whole is necessarily more authoritative than one issued by a single bishop or by a smaller group of bishops — assuming, of course, that both are fully in communion with pope and the wider Church.

    All,

    Ironically, not five minutes after posting this I received in my inbox yet another email from Catholic Democrats, in which they cited the USCCB letter which I posted about yesterday and then claimed that this made Obama a perfect fit for Catholics since he advocated both restricting abortion and services for mothers in crisis pregnancies. This is darkly ironic, as Obama has yet to explicitly endorse anywhere in his policy positions on his website any restrictions on abortion — and indeed oversaw a revision of the Democratic Party Platform which removed any language suggesting that abortion was something which should be avoided. Nor has he presented many concrete proposals to help women in crisis pregnancies.

    The bishops in their letter rightly called for a both and approach — which is something which those who truly value life on all sides of the political spectrum should be able to cooperate on. But using this both/and approach to advocate for a candidate who takes a neither/nor position is not only dishonest, but morally revolting.

    It is this kind of blatant mis-use of the bishops’ statements which is, quite frankly, getting rather hard to take this year.

  • Obama fever is hitting its peak

  • Pingback: Misleading numbers, misleading claims « Vox Nova
  • Pingback: catholicanarchy.org™ » Misleading numbers, misleading claims
  • Thank you Darwin. I have been appalled by how eager some Vn contributors, Morning Minion especially, have been to attack the bishops. I read Faithful Citizenship and the position that abortion is the dominant issue is consistent with the document. It would have gone a long way to establish their credibility if more VN people had held true to the integrity of the bishops that they have so long used as a bludgeon against their opponents.

    P.S. You’ve gone a great job on here, Darwin. Keep it up!

  • Denton,

    Who are “the” bishops that MM are “attacking”? He has criticized the handful — literally a handful! — of bishops who are interpreting FS in a narrow way. The vast majority of “the” bishops are not making these outrageous claims and do not fall under MM’s criticisms.

  • Michael I. and Darwin,

    Bishops Conferences are certainly useful, in numerous ways. But Darwin, you are correct: a theological document issued by the bishops has no more authority in any particular diocese than does a statement from that diocese’s bishop.

    In fact, as history shows, numerous local gatherings of bishops have taught error on occasion; I don’t think we should take that fact *too* far (i.e. to constantly employ a hermeneutic of suspicion with regard to the USCCB), but it does mean that we do not give the kind of assent to conference documents that we do to something from the papal or universal magisterium.

  • Chris, you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are so many problems with the assertions in your last comment, I don’t know where to start.

  • Pingback: A Huge Switch Among Catholics Towards McCain « American Catholic
  • Michael,

    Chris, you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are so many problems with the assertions in your last comment, I don’t know where to start.

    Though I’m sure that Chris is quite capable of defending himself on the merits (which I shall leave him to do) I will point out as a bystander that which it might sound a bit prideful of Christ to point out himself: That he already possesses a PhD in theology.

    Degrees most certainly are not everything, but if you do not see fit to say anything other than “you don’t know what you’re talking about” to him, I am more likely to take that as a proof or your ignorance than his.

  • Michael & DC,

    First, I have to confess… I don’t have a PhD in theology; no, I’m one of those lucky guys who gets to say that he had to go to Rome, and it took him five years, but by golly, he got his STD! 😉 (That’s Sacred Theology Doctorate… pontifical degrees have “canonical” status.)

    *Anyway*, as DC rightly notes, degrees are not everything, and I’m not going to pontificate (pun intended) from on high. But I would request, Michael, that you show me something from Lumen Gentium, Apostolos Suos or some other relevant text which indicates that episcopal conferences have more Magisterial authority in Diocese X than does Bishop N of Diocese X. Although it has been a few years since I looked into this in great depth, my recollection of the relevant texts indicates otherwise.

  • “Chris, you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are so many problems with the assertions in your last comment, I don’t know where to start.”

    It would be nice to hear some specifics, rather than bald assertions. But since you “don’t know where to begin”, I don’t suppose any specific refutations of Chris (with his Sacred Theology Doctorate) will be forthcoming.

    My own Bishop (who also is something of an expert in theology) has offered his own clarifications of Faithful Citizenship on at least 2 occasions. In both instances, it was to provide more specificity on the Bishops’ teaching regarding the primacy of life issues, especially abortion. I value his authoritative teaching on the matter, especially considering his role as chief catechist for his diocese.

  • To side briefly with Michael (in reparation for being pedantically rude — though if one is going to be rude I always advise that people do so pedantically since it’s more fun that way): I wouldn’t argue that any of these bishops are issuing theological statements which are in contradiction to Faithful Citizenship. Rather, they are clearly issuing their own judgments as to the gravity of the abortion issue in considering this election, and sharing those judgments with their flocks.

    Now, I think that’s entirely appropriate. Goodness knows, the bishops are in a good position to understand the gravity of the abortion issue. (And given that nearly all modern dioceses are non profits with operating budgets in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars — they’re probably also in a good position to understand how much proposed government programs will realistically change the plight of the most vulnerable.) But what they’re doing is sharing their judgments, not overturning the theology of Faithful Citizenship.

    So in that sense, it isn’t an issue of which statement is more authoritative — though so far as I know Chris is fully correct that were they both theological statements, USCCB statements would not hold any more magisterial gravity than that of an individual bishop.

  • “But what they’re doing is sharing their judgments, not overturning the theology of Faithful Citizenship.”

    Good point, Darwin. In fact, my Bishop specifically relies on Faithful Citizenship in the (at least) two clarification statements he has issued. He is a HUGE proponent of the document (as am I).

    Nevertheless, he obviously felt the need to clarify the document’s contents for some reason. In one case, it was because a prominent “Catholic Studies” scholar at the University of Toledo had misrepresented the Church’s teaching on abortion in the pages of The Toledo Blade.

  • I wonder what the Holy Father told Cld. George that was not appropriate to state publicly? I guess we’ll find out in November.

  • I agree with Darwin, and that’s why, frankly, I’m somewhat hesitate to point out the *lack* of additional magisterial authority due a conference document, i.e. precisely because some people (like myself, c. 1995 or so) will be inclined to dismiss conferences completely, something which is not merited in our case. FC 2008 is a solid document, perhaps the best version of FC we’ve ever seen, and as DC notes, these bishops aren’t expressing *disagreement* with FC, but are rendering their own judgments on one particular set of issues.

  • It’s amazing how the usual suspects cling onto a clearly fringe interpretation of the document in question.

    BTW, an individual bishop’s teaching charism does not guarantee that his own pronouncements are without error.

  • Mark,

    Works the same both ways. Especially when the USCCB is NOT the magisterium.

  • Well, I agree, Mark.

    But let’s not be too hard on MM and Michael. They believe what they believe…

    😉

  • Especially when the USCCB is NOT the magisterium.

    How can you continue to say this when I quoted a JPII document which explicitly says that episcopal conferences are PART OF THE MAGISTERIUM? Their authority does not extend to the entire Church, thus we say that it their statements are not part of the universal magisterium. This is quite obvious. A USCCB statement has no authority in France because of differing contexts. A CELAM document is not for Catholics in Australia. That doesn’t mean that insights and principles are not translatable, but that specifics cannot be translated. The USCCB’s teaching on voting in the US is meaningless in Cuba. This is what it means to say that the USCCB’s teachings are not part of the universal magisterium. But the USCCB is indeed part of the magisterium.

    It would be nice to hear some specifics, rather than bald assertions.

    Well, to get specific, Chris is throwing around very general terms like “document” and “statement,” both on the conference level and the level of Rome, carelessly when these terms can refer to all sorts of documents and various magisterial teaching with differing levels of authority. A USCCB “statement” on Iraq, for example, would have a different sort of authority than, say, a more significant pastoral letter like The Challenge of Peace. He generalizes about the relative authority of episcopal conference documents vs. documents from Rome, when the latter includes all sorts of documents, from CDF statements, minor notifications, all the way up to encyclicals, council documents, infallible formulas regarding dogma, etc. On the level of episcopal documents, he says that USCCB documents have no more authority than “statements” from the local bishop, which is nonsense because bishops can issue “statements” of all kinds, both individually and collectively, at various levels of teaching authority. It is even conceivable that a national bishop’s conference document (such as the silencing of a theologian on a national level) could have more authority than a minor notification or opinion from Rome on this or that topic, for example.

    My point is that Chris is being careless in throwing terms around, and thinking in very binary categories of local vs. Rome when discussing levels of authority, when this is simply not the case. At each level of the Magisterium, whether local or universal, there are many many levels of authority. We can’t just say that USCCB statements have no more weight than statements from individual bishops, because often they do, not because of where they come from but because of the type of documents that they are. Same goes when comparing “statements” from the universal magisterium vs. documents from more specific church bodies. It’s important to consider the type of document in question, not just where it comes from.

  • Chris B,

    You probably know many of my ex-classmates-friends who were in training for diocesan priesthood in the erly to mid 90s, in the Pittsburgh diocese, as many of them went on to NAC, (after I left seminary).

  • But since you “don’t know where to begin”, I don’t suppose any specific refutations of Chris (with his Sacred Theology Doctorate) will be forthcoming.

    Nice! Bludgeoning me with someone else’s degree! Thankfully Chris is a bit more modest about his own (well deserved) accomplishments than Jay is of Chris’s accomplishments!

  • I was referring to Chris’s Sacred Theology Doctorate, and the fact that, yes, he probably DOES “know what [he’s] talking about”.

  • Michael,

    The heart of my comment which sparked this is:

    a theological document issued by the bishops has no more authority in any particular diocese than does a statement from that diocese’s bishop.

    If you insert “-n equivalent theological” right before statement, I think your concern about a lack of precision will be met. I certainly agree that not *every* document issued by ecclesiastical authority is equivalent, but this is a conversation about one *particular* sort of document (FC), and I was writing with that in context, not in an absolute sense.

    So, to be concrete: if Bishop N. issued a statement of the same type and level of teaching as FC, FC itself would bear no greater authority in his diocese than does his own statement.

    Agreed?

  • Mark,

    It’s possible… I was in Rome from ’97-’00, and got to know quite a few guys at the NAC, even though most of them went to the dreaded Greg for their theology.

  • Michael,

    Clarification: Unless I totally missed it (and so did my browser’s find function just now) I don’t think that Chris said anything about the relative authority of “documents” or “statements” from Rome or from a national conference. The question was more about the relative authority of individual bishops’ documents vs. national conference documents — and whether it was thus inappropriate at some level for individual bishops to be issuing interpretations of Faithful Citizenship which contradict what some people want it to say.

    In contradiction to what someone said above (and in affirmation of what Michael said) the USCCB does participate in the magisterium when it teaches faith and morals in union with the universal Church. But then, so do individual bishops.

    Now, to echo Chris — I think one of the reasons it’s not a great idea to go into the relative authority question in some circles it that it tempts some people to simply ignore everything the USCCB says which would not be a good idea.

    Subject to the correction of theologians on the thread: It strikes me that the importance of national bishops conferences is not that they provide a more authoritative voice than individual bishops, but that they serve to provide guidance on issues (especially issues relating to local conditions within the Church) which for whatever reason one might not get from one’s local bishop. Thus, if one’s own bishop was not inclined or able to speak on a particular topic, one would know it was appropriate to consult any guidance put out by the national bishops conference on the issue — rather than getting into picking and choosing between other individual bishops within the region.

  • Fortunately, some of us are blessed to live in a diocese where the Bishop is truly Catholic – I’m in the Harrisburg Diocese, where Bishop Rhoades is a stalwart defender of LIFE.

    The PA Bishops state thusly:

    “We wish to reiterate that the intentional destruction of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia, is not just one issue among many.”

    I’m sure there are some bishops out there who wouldn’t be caught dead issuing such a statement. They, and their supporters like MM and VN and Catholic Democrats would rather we just looked at LIFE as another “issue”.
    This is why people groan sometimes at what emanates from the USCCB, because so often what they issue just seems to fog up the mirror.

  • First off, the numbers are even starker than my “guesstimate”: 291 bishops voted for the document, and 4 voted against. That seems to be a pretty firm indication that the vast majority of the American episcopate support the document. And you are not paying due heed to Michael Iafrate’s debunking of Deal Hudson’s claim (by the way, if you think I am partisan, and so not to be trusted, then how do you categorize Hudson?)

    Second, yes I support Obama, just like most of the “usual suspects” at this site seem to support McCain, some eagerly, some reluctantly. I think you are profoundly wrong, and you return the feelings. And that’s fine. The Faithful Citizenship document, with is emphasis on prudence, can accomodate both sets of arguments. It was issued precisely because arguments in previous years had failed to make the necessary distinctions between formal and material cooperation in evil. It is not stricly a “voting guide” but a framework for making moral judgments pertaining to peforming one’s duties in the public sphere.

    Third, my particular problem with the Farrell-Vann letter was that they appealed to Faithful Citizenship, but then distorted some of its analysis.

  • Two more points: the Faithful Citizenship document is not new. It is a summary of orthodox moral theology on this subject. It is a description of the underlying principles involved. As such, it is faithful to the magisterium and thus owed religious submission.

    “What a shame that they so refuse to be taught by our bishops.” How ironic coming from a guy who has a habit of denouncing bishops for being pro-abortion.

  • MM,

    Thanks for dropping by. A couple things:

    -You’ll get no argument from me that Faithful Citizenship is a valid document, widely supported by the bishops, which is worthy of respect. Indeed, not only did I not dispute that — but contrary to your reading Deal Hudson didn’t either. To my knowledge, no one involved in this post or the ones linked to by it is claiming that Faithful Citizenship is a bad document that bishops are or should be repudiating. But I do think that some groups are attempting (inaccurately) to claim that Faithful Citizenship conclusively backs up their own political judgment. And I think a number of the bishops are rightly frustrated by this.

    -I don’t think that you shouldn’t be trusted because you’re partisan. Not really sure where you got that impression. But I do think that nearly all of your political opinions are wrong (some of them dangerously so) and since you mostly write about politics that’s why we don’t see eye to eye very often. However, there’s certainly nothing inherently untrustworthy about being politically opinionated.

    -If you think you showed that Bishop Farrell and Bishop Vann distorted Faithful Citizenship’s analysis — it seems to me that can only because your understanding of Faithful Citizenship is too tinged by your opinions.

    -I have never heard Paul denounce a bishop as being pro-abortion.

  • So, to be concrete: if Bishop N. issued a statement of the same type and level of teaching as FC, FC itself would bear no greater authority in his diocese than does his own statement.

    Agreed?

    Yes, of course. The important question here, though, is whether that is taking place with regard to FC and its “clarifications.”

  • On Paul’s inflammatary rhetoric:

    “You know, as nice as it is to see Cardinal Egan’s comments, I wonder if it doesn’t just cause more harm in the long run if the effect will be to show in even sharper the relief the acquiescence to abortion of prelates like Archbishop Wuerl.”
    (http://proecclesia.blogspot.com/2008/04/deal-hudson-asks-will-archbishop-wuerl.html)
    ———-

    You know, it’s one thing to respectfully disagree with a certain bishop’s reasoning, but to accuse him of acquiescing or cooperating with evil is beyond the pale.

  • MM,

    There is a big difference between criticizing a bishop for not denouncing pro-abortion politicians clearly enough — which is what Paul clearly says in that quote — and “denouncing bishops for being pro-abortion”. If Paul has ever accused a bishop of being “pro-abortion” that quote is certainly not an example of it.

    I can understand that you disagree with Paul, but you should not lie about him. I would hope that as Catholics and writers we could all hold ourselves to a higher standard than that. Words have meanings.

  • It’s interesting that Wuerl is criticized for “acquiescing” yet he is invoked in Hudson’s list of 61 to support his argument.

  • The link that MM provides is from April of this year.

    The post discusses when Cardinal Egan rebuked Giuliani for receiving communion at the papal mass despite Egan having directed him not to receive until he regularized both his marriage and his stance on life. And it asks whether Wuerl will follow suit in regards to various DC pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

  • Thanks to all for the discussion on the role of the USCCB. I am now more informed and will go look at the documents everyone mentioned.

  • MM:

    ‘You know, it’s one thing to respectfully disagree with a certain bishop’s reasoning, but to accuse him of acquiescing or cooperating with evil is beyond the pale.’

    That’s funny; I seem to remember you accusing Archbishop Chaput of doing just that in respect to letting abortion go to the states.

  • Denton – That’s certainly what you accused MM and I of doing, but that’s not what we, in fact, did. I exposed that lie of yours on your blog. Remember?

  • “exposed?” You said “that’s not what I said.” Hardly an “exposure.”

    Furthermore, you objected to me saying that you thought Chaput wasn’t really pro-life. What you cannot deny is that you said this:

    “At worst, he’s simply parroting the Republican platform. Either way, his “leave it up to the states” approach undermines authentic Catholic teaching on killing innocent life.”

    Sounds like you accused a bishop of cooperating with evil. Any more exposing you’d like to do?

  • Pingback: Counting Bishops « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Cardinal Egan’s Excuses For His Failures « The American Catholic

6 Responses to The Other Father Duffy

Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2008

Election fever is catching everybody these days, even bishops, and since it’s so fashionable to issue clarifying statements about the 30+ page Faithful Citizenship document, Cardinal Justin Rigali (chairman of the USCCB* Committee on Pro-Life Activities) and Bishop William Murphy (chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development) have issued a clarification about clarifications of Faithful Citizenship.

Though my tone in stating this is flip, there’s some very good material in the two page letter:

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

  • Darwin,

    I’m getting around to a post about universal healthcare, what I think are many common misconceptions about it, and particularly what is wrong with the American health care “system” and try to get a general consensus of what we can all rally around.

    In my research of healthcare, I have found that not all models or notions of universal healthcare mandate that the government actually run hospitals nor be the delivery system of healthcare. Rather it’s creative ways — some good, others bad — of how we can cover everyone, or at least have the possibility there. The best version of a universal healthcare I have seen (and of which I agree) is put forth by the group “Republicans for Single-Payer,” which is a group that posits a single-payer universal healthcare system (not government-run) while maintaining their committment to a free-market economy.

    In regard to the statement itself, I think the Bishops may being acknowledging charges made at groups like Catholic Answers who advocate applying a litmus test on candidates. You take two candidates: candidate A and candidate B and you look at their views on abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and gay marriage. If candidate A, supports abortion, then you’re morally obligated to vote for candidate B. If both candidates support abortion, then you look at the other four, and if they support all, then you’re allowed to look at other issues and make your decision from there.

    In essence, while I do sympathize with that view, I do think that such a rigid litmus test is not what the Bishops recommend. Though, I’m not at all defending for voting for pro-abortion candidates. In essence, what I’m thinking is this, Republicans are often charged with legally restricting abortion, but not supporting “progressive” policies that would lead women to choose abortion. While there is much folly to that proposition, there is some truth. SCHIP — the child healthcare program — that provides healthcare to socio-economically disadvantaged children allows many families to have their children covered with basic healthcare, while the parents cannot afford it. Republicans (and some pro-life Democrats) have fought tooth and nail to get unborn children covered in this program so that pregnant women feel they have an option. Republicans also routinely vote against expanding coverage, or redirecting funds toward something else, which seems to me a contradiction of their own principles. Why cover unborn children, if you’re going to redirect the funds to something else, thus limiting the recepients and thus limiting the number of unborn babies potentially saved?

    I think that’s what they’re getting at. Then again, I could be wrong.

  • haha…I meant “lead women to NOT choose abortions”

  • I figured that was basically it — but it still strikes me as something of a straw man dichotomy, though perhaps a necessary one in order to get both sides to listen to your critique.

    I’ll be curious to read a piece by your about health care. I would certainly agree that we need some outside the box thinking about it. A while back I did a somewhat unrealistic thought experiment on it focusing heavily on subsidiarity. And I’d be interesting to brainstorm some more realistic ideas.

    In this particular election, I don’t think McCain’s health care plan is all that great — though I don’t like Obama’s either.

  • Health care… what an interesting topic. Personally, I’ve been employed by companies with stellar benefits for the most part. The exception being a temp position at a major firm that Darwin surely remembers. 🙂 Currently, my employer offers several medical packages, one of which is a zero contribution plan (i.e. no payroll deductions, for the whole family). With this, I am truly blessed.

    My sister, on the other hand, is employed by a school district somewhere in north Texas and the medical benefits do not even come close. Her coverage is less than $100 per month. When adding her husband to the plan, the employee contribution jumps to over $500. My brother-in-law recently jumped onto his employer’s plan. In effect, it’s a $400 “raise” a month for them. Others aren’t so lucky.

    Another friend from back in TX is in a similar predicament with insurance. Covering his family is just too expensive, so they pay for some other insurance.

    Looking forward to your piece, Eric.

  • Please consider posting this video and passing it along, it’s amazing. It’s great at showing the distinction between MaCain and Obama in regards to the abortion issue. Please pass this along to everyone you know. We have to get McCain elected… E

    http://americaschoicenow.com/

    Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.
    Ronald Reagan

Both Candidates Are Wrong on Taxes

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2008

With each presidential debate it struck me more that both presidential candidates are wrong about taxes: wrong both in that neither man’s proposals are realistically enactable, in that they are not the correct responses to our current circumstances, and that they suggest some basic problems with their political philosophies.

McCain wants to provide a tax cut to all tax payers — though since the vast majority of real tax dollars paid by those in the top 10% of the income spectrum, the greatest savings will be experienced by “the rich”. McCain also wants to cut the corporate tax rate to bring it in line with other developed nations. And he promises to cut spending so much that he’ll nonetheless balance the budget.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Both Candidates Are Wrong on Taxes

  • You see, as of now it is already the case that roughly 50% of US citizens pay no taxes.

    No income taxes. Those who don’t make enough to pay income taxes still pay other sorts of taxes (e.g. payroll taxes).

  • Even if you would have already got back every dollar of income tax withholding that had been taken from your paycheck during the year, Obama’s plan would provide you with additional money back. The check for your “refund” at the end of the year would be hundreds or thousands of dollars more than the total amount that had been withheld.

    It’s already that way. I receive a refund of thousands more than I put in, in large part to Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich”. It’s both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good in the sense that it helps keep lower income families in the game, so to speak, rather than in the desperate cycle of the public dole. Bush’s cuts gave more relief to larger families like mine – though I’d rather see more proportionality in that regards. I don’t necessarily view it that 50% of the people don’t pay taxes. I know you were referring to federal income taxes, but the reality is that everyone pays taxes. It may not be a right or wise way of doing it but the current scheme merely serves to offset some of the tax burden that low income already bear (gas taxes, utility taxes, property taxes [very punitive in some communities], sales tax, state income tax [even some cities have income tax – Detroit taxes your income if you live in the city and all who work in the city, meaning a double hit if you dare live and work there], and let’s not forget insane tobacco taxes, which like the lottery are taxes directed at the poor who have little of anything but to look for some simple pleasure to cope or a gamble for hope.

    It would seem to me that if we’re going to have a progressive income tax, the standard deductions should be far higher, giving everyone, rich and poor alike a certain threshold of untaxed income.

    Means testing Social Security has benefits and could be just, but I don’t trust the same people who have made it insolvent to do something wise and just. First step I’d like to see with Social Security/Med would be to remove the cap on the base contributions and perhaps create a threshold before employee contributions actually kick in (the numbers would have to be crunched). I’m not a class warfare kind of guy, and don’t like to see anybody soaked, but to keep contributing 7.65% of your wage after $100 K a year doesn’t seem over the top to me and if as a society we’re going to consider SS a good thing, we should do it wisely.

    On the other hand, capital gains taxes shouldn’t be punitive (certainly shouldn’t be taxed higher than your income tax bracket and should have inflation factored in – a long term investment may appear to have a huge gain, but could be an actual wash due to inflation). The idea of an inheritance tax strikes me as outright criminal.

    Still, the problem is that we let the government get too big and screw too many things up. Policies should be made that direct the order of things to desirable outcomes (less burden and assistance of the poor and low income, more of the burden for those who can bear it), rather than merely soaking one person to hand it over to another while skimming off the top to administer it and perpetuate the cycle.

  • Good point on other taxes — I’d been trying to explicitly say “income taxes” since that’s what’s been in play, but I missed a few instances — and as you say: everyone pays payroll, gas, sales, etc. taxes.

    I would have no problem with taking the cap off payroll taxes, and perhaps putting in a floor where the first 2k/mo or something aren’t taxed at all. I know there’s the theory out there that social security and medicare are social services that everyone pays for rather than a welfare/safety net function (and thus the idea of everyone paying alike) but it seems it’s well past time we admit that was pretty much always a fiction.

    Given that social security was all “invested” in the government loaning itself money to spend on other things, we ought to go ahead and develop a slightly more progressive way of funding it just like other government programs, and make it clear that those who are able are expected to fund their own retirements.

    I take your point, Rick, that there are already refundable tax credits via the child tax credit. (I had two years where I got more money back than I put in, and that was with only one and two kids.) However, it strikes me that Obama’s proposal takes things in a significantly worse direction on that, given that he wants to simply issue a credit of $500 per adult, plus other credits for child care and college and such. I’d rather see a move dispense with the tax credits and exemptions for children and instead do income tax on the basis of per capita household income (divide the total household income by the number of members). That would provide a significantly greater benefit for parents of dependant children, and more accurately reflect the real costs people are dealing with.

  • By the way, my understanding is that Obama isn’t proposing to give a $500 tax credit to every adult so much as he’s proposing to keep that credit from going away when the Bush tax cuts expire. The tax credit, in other words, is already in existence, and Obama’s plan counts this as a “cut” only by treating the expiration of the Bush tax cuts as a baseline, rather than a tax increase.

  • Hmmm. I thought the only refundable tax credit I’d seen on my taxes the last few years was the per child tax credit — but I suppose I may be wrong on that.

    Clearly, it would be in the partisan interests of both parties to deny it was a Bush carry over if that’s correct.

  • I think Obama has a lot of other refundable tax credits for things like energy efficiency and college education (from $2000 to $4000).

    I sympathise with your arguments about how everyone should pay taxes, but don’t you think income inequality makes that not very feasible? The median household income doesn’t provide all that much room for taxes if your paying rent/mortgage payments, kids’ college or your own student loans, payroll tax for two income earners, and trying to save a little money.

Bishop Joseph Martino: "No Social Issue Has Caused The Death Of 50 million People"

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2008

27 Responses to Bishop Joseph Martino: "No Social Issue Has Caused The Death Of 50 million People"

  • Do I detect a double standard?

    For some people, the Catholic Church and its Bishops are just a convenient tool to be used in support of their pre-existing political ideology.

  • It’s interesting that the USCCB had near universal approval, but many (61) bishops have come out to ‘clarify’ the document in their own dioceses. Do the bishops actually read what they approve?

    What is a particular issue with me is that sometimes the USCCB is treated as an alternate or parallel national ‘magisterium’. Nowhere in canon law, tradition, scripture, et al do we have a need or a proscription of an alternate magisterium.

    Is the USCCB a way that some (spine-deficient) bishops use as cover to not use their teaching position to express secularly touchy issues? I think it is used in this way by some.

  • Botean’s statement on Iraq was in continuity with the judgment of the Vatican and the USCCB, and he did not speak against the USCCB. As I said in the quote of mine you cited, what Botean did was to give pastoral weight to the view of the USCCB. Martino’s statement, on the other hand, is simply an explicit rejection of the USCCB. It’s hardly a double-standard. The two situations are entirely different.

    The real double-standard is the one I pointed to in my post on Martino.

  • What is a particular issue with me is that sometimes the USCCB is treated as an alternate or parallel national ‘magisterium’. Nowhere in canon law, tradition, scripture, et al do we have a need or a proscription of an alternate magisterium.

    The USCCB is not an “alternative” magisterium, but it is indeed part of the magisterium because it is comprised of bishops:

    “22. In dealing with new questions and in acting so that the message of Christ enlightens and guides people’s consciences in resolving new problems arising from changes in society, the Bishops assembled in the Episcopal Conference and jointly exercizing their teaching office are well aware of the limits of their pronouncements. While being official and authentic and in communion with the Apostolic See, these pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium. For this reason the Bishops are to be careful to avoid interfering with the doctrinal work of the Bishops of other territories, bearing in mind the wider, even world-wide, resonance which the means of social communication give to the events of a particular region.

    Taking into account that the authentic magisterium of the Bishops, namely what they teach insofar as they are invested with the authority of Christ, must always be in communion with the Head of the College and its members,(83) when the doctrinal declarations of Episcopal Conferences are approved unanimously, they may certainly be issued in the name of the Conferences themselves, and the faithful are obliged to adhere with a sense of religious respect to that authentic magisterium of their own Bishops.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_22071998_apostolos-suos_en.html

  • Michael I.,

    First of all congratulations on your newborn child. This has got to be a wonderful and momentous time in your life.

    Second of all, don’t you think you’re clouding the issue with your double-speak (double-standard). Clearly Botean went beyond the USCCB letter. He put his own opinion and conflated with Church teaching to push his particular agenda. He has every right to do so, but it is just the same still a double standard.

  • Oh man, my bad. I wasn’t paying close enough attention and thought this was another website (American Papist). Had I known it was American Catholic I would not have replied to this post. Do accept my apologies. Won’t happen again.

  • Michael I.,

    By saying that “it is PART of the Magisterium” is to lend it the same teaching authority of the Magisterium.

    If you read Pope JP2’s motu proprio carefully it says, “these pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium”.

    So any teaching document that comes out or approved by the USCCB is not part of the magisterium.

  • Second of all, don’t you think you’re clouding the issue with your double-speak (double-standard). Clearly Botean went beyond the USCCB letter. He put his own opinion and conflated with Church teaching to push his particular agenda.

    Yes, he went beyond it, but in continuity with it. What he did was to give specific pastoral guidance to his diocese based on 1) just war teaching and 2) the common view of the Vatican and the USCCB on the specifics of the Iraq War. His pastoral guidance was given in communion with the judgment of the Church. What Martino did was the direct opposite.

  • Good . . . your ideological pre-commitments often prevent any contribution to helpful or honest debate.

  • Michael I.,

    Thank you for your kind comments in comparison to American Papist.

  • By saying that “it is PART of the Magisterium” is to lend it the same teaching authority of the Magisterium.

    If you read Pope JP2’s motu proprio carefully it says, “these pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium”.

    So any teaching document that comes out or approved by the USCCB is not part of the magisterium.

    Tito, to say that the USCCB does not enjoy the authority of the “universal magisterium” means that its teaching is not applicable to the Church as a whole, but only to the Church in the region under discussion. This is obvious, because that is the entire purpose of bishops’ conferences, to teach authoritatively in a particular context. Not every USCCB teaching has the same weight, but USCCB teaching IS magisterial teaching in the context of the united states and “the faithful are obliged to adhere with a sense of religious respect to that authentic magisterium of their own Bishops.” Amazing that you can read the same words I copied there and still say that the USCCB is “not part of the magisterium.”

  • Michael I.,

    I agree that Botean’s letter is within Catholic teaching, but so did Bishop Martino’s extended comments on his particular letter did as well.

    I guess we just disagree on the semantics and/or rhetoric that was attached to the respective pronouncements.

  • Michael I.,

    Likewise. We both read the same motu proprio but come away with different understandings of the late Pope’s document.

    I think we just disagree on what the definition and the utility of what Magisterium is.

  • I agree that Botean’s letter is within Catholic teaching, but so did Bishop Martino’s extended comments on his particular letter did as well.

    Martino EXPLICITLY REJECTED the USCCB document in his comments at a parish session on Faithful Citizenship. Perhaps you missed that part.

    We both read the same motu proprio but come away with different understandings of the late Pope’s document.

    The motu proprio explicitly says that bishops’ conferences are part of the “authentic magisterium.”

    I think we just disagree on what the definition and the utility of what Magisterium is.

    I suggest you do further study on this. The magisterium is the teaching authority of the bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome. The definition is straightforward. It could even be said to be “non-negotiable,” to use language that you could understand.

  • I was just wondering. Are they going to show this video in Churches between now and November 4th?

    http://www.catholicvote.com/

    I stumbled upon this video it by accident and I doubt if most Catholics have seen it. Also, will there be a final “push” by priests in their homilies to vote for the “Culture of Life”?

  • Don’t have much time to discuss further, but I do believe Botean — as Michael Iafrate recognized in his original praise — went above and beyond the USCCB with respect to his statement on the war.

    Cardinal McCarrick, March 25 2003:

    Q: One-third of the U.S. soldiers are Catholic. For them, this war represents a moral dilemma.

    Cardinal McCarrick: Certainly. Because of this, as an episcopal conference we have been very careful not to classify their participation in the conflict as immoral, both because we are not up-to-date on all the facts that have led to the conflict, as well as because these young people do not have decision-making power.

    For Botean this was a clear certainty, and it follows — from his perspective — that the episcopal conference’s reluctance to declare participation on the part of US Catholics in the armed forces immoral was wrong.

    Botean didn’t explicitly challenge the USCCB’s statement, but he did go further.

  • I think it’s also important to be clear on Martino’s comments: Read in context (you approve of reading in context, do you not, Michael) he does not say that the USCCB document is wrong, but rather said forcefully that the USCCB document could not be used in order to undermine what he had said clearly and forcefully in his letter.

    I guess one can quibble with the way in which he chose to say that the USCCB document should not be used to undermine his teaching, but saying that he explicitly reject the document is wrong.

  • Michael I.,

    What Brendan/Darwin & Christopher said.

    Again, we can agree to disagree.

  • Cathy,

    We did post the video here on American Catholic.

    Go here:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2008/10/11/american-catholic-2008/

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • We may be seeing the beginning of the end of the USCCB. Both as a formal organization and as a means of our shepherds to speak with one voice. The events of this year are pulling it apart- the presidential election, the likelihood of a radical pro-abortion advocate to the presidency, Pope Benedict’s lectureat their gathering, the babblings of Senator Biden and Speaker Pelosi. If 61 bishops have felt it necessary to make their own statements about abortion, citizenship and the like; if certain stellar prelates like Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Martino have been much bolder than their peers, the usual okey-doke collegiality may now be a thing of the past. Good riddance. The USCCB format may not work in an atmosphere where there will be- not might, will be- direct opposition by Obama Administration officials against the U.S. Church on Issue Number One. Different wars call for different weapons. The usual nuanced USCCB statement might be a popgun when bigger, more powerful weapons are needed.

  • I am not particularly a fan of the USCCB. It has ‘some’ useful functions, but in my opinion it has been a joke for quite awhile.

    It will be interesting how much tap-dancing the USCCB will be displaying if an Obama presidency materializes. How much certain bishops will speak up for Obama and not against his anti-life policies.

    The USCCB needs to reform or face futher scrutiny. A post may be forthcoming.

  • I guess one can quibble with the way in which he chose to say that the USCCB document should not be used to undermine his teaching, but saying that he explicitly reject the document is wrong.

    Indeed I am a fan of reading things in context. The “context” was a meeting about Faithful Citizenship in which a variety of views on who to vote for were expressed. Martino said that the USCCB document is “irrelevant.” I don’t see how you can say that this is not an explicit rejection of FS. You seem to be abusing the idea of reading “in context.”

    Tito and Gerard, the USCCB is not going anywhere. Paul VI proclaimed the importance of bishops conferences and JPII affirmed it.

  • Michael I.,

    I agree with you. I just want the USCCB to clear and coherent on Church teaching. Not muddy the water and drive over 60 bishops to issue ‘clarifications’ on documents.

  • Michael,

    Context means looking at more than one word. That he used the word “irrelevant” does not mean that he was rejecting Faithful Citizenship as a document. He has presented it as his judgement that there are currently no proportional reasons for voting for a pro-choice candidate — and has done so in a way which is certainly not contradictory to the structure of reasoning laid out by Faithful Citizenship. (I would disagree with some of the commenters above that there is anything wrong with FC as a document — other than being a bit discursive as a result of being committee written.)

    But I can certainly understand his frustration with people trying to use the document which he himself had a part in writing and approving against what he considers to be the obviousl conclusion to draw from it. (Just as you’ve been known to get a little hot under the collar when those who disagree with you about the Iraq War explain their reasoning via just war doctrine.) And I don’t think his words were in appropriate in that context.

    On the question of the USCCB which some of brought up above — I certainly don’t see reason to expect some sort of “crack up” for it in the coming years. Though the centuries, local hierarchies have always been pulled into the political and cultural turmoils of the day, and I don’t think its surprising that we see similar turmoils in the USCCB as they grapple with how to bring the US back towards something more resembling a culture of life.

  • But I can certainly understand his frustration with people trying to use the document which he himself had a part in writing and approving against what he considers to be the obviousl conclusion to draw from it.

    Actually, from what I understand, Martino decided not to attend the meeting at which FS was voted on.

  • Email your comments to Bp. Martino’s priestly secretary,
    Father Christopher Washington. I just spoke to the
    Chancery Office and they said we could use this priest’s
    private address and the bishop would get our words of support:

    Rev-Christopher-Washington@DioceseofScranton.org

  • Moral issues and Voting issues do not mix.
    To argue Morality, then to cleanly slip into Politics is an enormous and wrenching step that the Bishop wants us to believe is simple and easy.

    To vote pro-life is no guarantee that the candidate actually believes in the religious and moral import of the notion, nor that he has any intention of acting according to his beliefs.
    The Bishop seems to think that the label of pro-life being attached to a candidate is enough for the voter.
    An entire life does not render a voter capable of comprehending the complexities of God’s world; not to know why evil exists, not to know why we suffer; just dumb brutes pulling voting machine levers.

    Not to vote if a sufficiently adequate pro life candidate is not in the race means running the risk of allowing worse policies to become law under the leadership of elected officials with no input from voters who reflect on moral law.

    The Bishop’s letter is the product of a wondeful mind, which yet is simple to the point of dangerously allowing candidates under the label of pro life to be elected and to quite possibly foster pernicious policies against the general welfare.

11 Responses to The Lion of Pennsylvania