While most political pundits mull over the stunning defeat the Democrats suffered in the 2010 midterm election (some 60 seats in the House and at least seven in the Senate,) most pundits, including Catholic pundits will not have noticed a striking phenomena. Though practicing Catholics easily went for McCain-Palin in 2008, the entire Catholic vote went for the Obama-Biden ticket somewhere between five to eight percent. Yet, in 2010 we are told that Catholics voted over 60+% against candidates who supported the Obama agenda. I have yet to see a statistic for practicing Catholics, but we can assume it is much higher than 60%. This turnaround is unprecedented in the history of political polling. Though, I do believe the majority of this is the result of economics, we are seeing a fundamental shift among Catholics. Some Catholics have abandoned the Church (and their conscience) to secularism and to entertainment based mega churches, but many Catholics now see the wisdom of Catholic orthodoxy. After the momentous mid-term election results, what a relief it is to see an open practicing Catholic as the new Speaker of the House (John Boehner,) compared to the outgoing Speaker (Nancy Pelosi) who openly defied the Teachings of the Church and her archbishop.
However, the good news doesn’t just end with the incoming new speaker. There were some great Catholic victories and I will highlight two of them. Those Catholics who aren’t ashamed about the 2,000 year old teachings of the Church were rewarded with unabashedly Catholic politicians like Senator elect Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Congressman elect Sean Duffy in Wisconsin, both reliable blue states. Toomey has been a trooper for pro-life causes while Duffy and his wife Rachel Campos Duffy have been big advocates for traditional parenting. They have a growing family and have not been ashamed of standing out in a world that is often hostile to traditional religion. Both were MTV Real World partipants and Rachel was the last one cut from being on the View. One can only imagine her going toe to toe with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar (probably why she wasn’t picked.)
After the liberal perfect storm victory of 2008, I found myself on the receiving end of those who said Catholic orthodoxy, and or the conservative Catholic lifestyle was going the way of the horse and buggy. However, the hangover of liberal Big Government and the moral decay that goes along with those who think every lifestyle, feeling, whim, or urge needs to be embraced has aided many Catholics to see the wisdom of the two thousand year old teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition, I am sure hearing the latest rants of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, along with reading the latest screeds against Catholic orthodoxy from the likes of Catholics like outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and columnists Maureen Dowd and E J Dionne has helped many see the light.
The plummeting poll numbers of liberals coupled with a few announcements from the Holy See must have made for an eternity for the left, primarily the Catholic left. In those days leading up to election day, Pope Benedict XVI gave an address on the plight of migrants and illegal aliens. The Holy Father spoke of the compassion one must have for those on the run, but he clearly stated that nations have the right to defend their borders and accept the integrity of their nation state. This was certainly a blow to those on the Catholic left, including some clergy and even a few prelates who seemed to favor unlimited immigration.
The finishing blow for the Catholic Left occurred when it was announced that Archbishop Raymond Burke formerly of St Louis and now head of the Vatican Court was going to be made a Cardinal. If that wasn’t bad enough, Cardinal Elect Burke made one of his patented unflinching addresses on the grave sin of those Catholics who vote for politicians that support abortion and same sex marriage. It was also announced that Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington DC was also to be named a Cardinal. Though friends with Cardinal Elect Burke, the two have sparred over whether Catholic politicians should be banned from receiving Holy Communion, something Cardinal Elect Wuerl is against. Cardinal Elect Burke has stated that the arguments used by his brother Cardinal Elect Wuerl and others, that state banning pro abortion politicians from receiving the Eucharist would politicize the sacrament and there is still much teaching to be done on the subject, are “nonsense.”
It appears Pope Benedict XVI’s elevation of Cardinal Burke to such a senior position in the Vatican caused the establishmentarian spiritual leader of the nation’s capital (as well as its various legislative bodies) to hold his tongue. It should also be noted that Cardinal Burke will have a strong hand in helping the Holy Father pick candidates from around the world to become bishops, archbishops and cardinals. If that didn’t frost the Catholic Left, perhaps Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent talk at the Saint Thomas More Society did. The erudite Supreme Court Justice spoke fondly of Eucharistic Adoration and visiting Marian Apparition sites around the world, which was probably all too much for the felt banner crowd.
Michael Sean Winters who writes for the liberal National Catholic Reporter and America Magazine mused that he imagined a deceased liberal prelate crying over the news of Cardinal Elect Burke receiving the red hat. The liberal gnashing of teeth didn’t end there. Later the National Catholic Reporter vented about Cardinal Elect Burke’s elevation and the comments section sounded as if they could have written by Rachel Maddow or Maureen Dowd. The fact of the matter is liberals, especially liberal Catholics know their 10 minutes of fame is up. Sadly, some will now commence to call conservatives, every name in the book, even if it is Cardinal Elect Burke and God forbid the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.
Archbishop Edwin O’Brien has said that man will give his life for a mystery, not a question mark. Liberal Protestantism and liberal Catholicism have resulted in people leaving those churches in droves. This is especially made manifest in ordination numbers. 64 to 6 and 14 to 4 stand out. What does this mean? In 2006 when writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64. That same year of 2006 Denver had 14 young men ordained to the priesthood (eleven in May and three earlier in the academic year,) while Los Angeles had four; a staggering statistic when one considers that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 4,300,000 Catholic residents compared to 385,000 Catholics for the Archdiocese of Denver. In 2006, Los Angeles and Rochester were led by two of the most liberal prelates in the Church, while Omaha, Lincoln and Denver were led by three of the more conservative bishops in the US, a revelatory statistic to say the least.
While liberal convents are strapped for cash because they haven’t had a postulant in years, more conservative orders like the Sister of Mary in Ann Arbor, Michigan are running out of room due to the large number of young professional women coming their way. They are not the only conservative order growing; the Nashville Dominicans among others are also experiencing growing pains. Have you ever heard this reported by the mainstream media?
There is certainly some post election glee for Catholics who are tired of seeing their Church pilloried by the mainstream media. While the Catholic Church and various Evangelical churches are growing, liberal Christianity is dying. In Britain it is estimated that more people attend Friday prayers at their respective Islamic mosques than attend Anglican church services on Sunday morning. Recently, the leader of the Anglican Church, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams stated that he welcomed Sharia Law being applied in Great Britain. Yet it gets worse for the Anglican Church. In addition to the laity, the Anglican Church lost a large amount of their clergy as well, and many more are coming to the Catholic Church, thanks to the Personal Ordinate offered by Pope Benedict XVI. (If this last paragraph intrigues you, please read If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Had Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters.) along with The Jesus the Professional Left Chose to Ignore and The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.
Another area in which the mainstream media hammers the Catholic Church is in the area of sexuality. All of the world’s major religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam had always taught against homosexuality. Catholicism had been one of the more liberal religions in that it taught that some people are same-sex attracted and though they should not act upon these feelings, they should be loved and encouraged as this was there cross. The Catholic Church had long taught that every human being is to carry a cross in this world. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members. For many years, some religions took the Catholic Church to task for being too liberal, some said the Church should tell anyone, who acts on their homosexual feelings and does not repent, that they are destined for hell. Now the Catholic Church is catching it from those on the left who say the Catholic Church is engaging in hate speech for saying those who are same-sex attracted shouldn’t act out their feelings.
Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors, quite a fair minded piece by the Old Gray Lady. The article chronicled Tushnet’s growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality, teachings exemplified in a recent letter on the subject from the prelate of Phoenix, Bishop Thomas Olmsted.
For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny, not only what Christ said in Matthew 11:20-24,) but His Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.) In addition to the Apostles, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. In other words, every one of these great religious minds, as well as almost every political mind until about the year 2000 would have to be wrong for same- sex marriage to be right. It should also be stated that a majority of homosexuals don’t plan to get married. If homosexuality is only 5-10% of the population and the majority of that population don’t want marriage, why the push for it?
Many who disagree with the Catholic Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.
Just like Watergate was the magic bullet for liberals to paint all conservatives of the early and mid 1970s as sinister, paranoid and corrupt, the Church Abuse Scandal has given those same secular liberals the vehicle to paint all Catholic who faithfully believe in the 2,000 teachings of the Catholic Church as ignorant. The overwhelming majority of those heinous abusers were those who wanted to change the Church. (On a personal note I want to state that I take the Abuse Scandal very seriously, my childhood small town parish had two priests who were arrested and spent several years in prison. These two priests were there when I went to Catholic grade school and Catholic high school. Sadly, I knew some who were abused. However, I also knew the views of these two abusers, and like many others who harmed children, they wanted to change the Church and society into something most would not recognize.)
When talk radio and Catholic bloggers point out that Saul Alainksy dedicated his infamous book, Rules for Radicals to among others Lucifer, the only mention in the mainstream media is to point out how kooky talk radio and Catholic bloggers must be. According to the mainstream media, one might be tempted to think that many authors dedicate their works to the Prince of Darkness. Yet, when liberal candidates who took campaign money from many questionable sources state out of thin air that conservative campaign money came from nefarious donors, the statement was treated as fact.
In fairness to some liberal journalists who have a hard time with religion, some of it may come down to their understanding of the Judeo Christian model. While they may have seen an “old school Moses” holding back the Red Sea or fighting various enemies of Israel, all too often the Jesus they have seen portrayed on the silver screen or in song may have more in common with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead than the Son of God. The sensitive and ponderous Jesus of The Last Temptation of Christ and various other productions, which many secularists and liberal theologians tried to construct, hardly portrays the historical Jesus that existed before the liberal revisions.
Yet, in both the study of Judaism and Christianity, the long assumed liberal ideas about Julius Wellhausen’s Documentary hypothesis of Old Testament writing, along with the dates and writers of the New Testament has in the last 20 years literally been turned on its head. More and more Bible scholars are refuting the modernist theology that came out of the late 1800s and much of the 1900s. Finally Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X seem vindicated! The revision doesn’t end with theology, it is very much alive in the field of history. The French Revolution is often hailed as the equal of the American Revolution and some even prefer its bloody class and religious war carnage to that of the America Revolution. However, the supposed Liberty, Fraternity and Equality which started at the Bastille only served as vehicle to try and destroy the Catholic Church. Though he never lived to see the French Revolution, Voltaire voiced the opinion that the coming revolution would destroy Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. Yet, liberal theologians and their allies in the mainstream media hail the revolution that saw thousands of Catholic clergy and simple Catholic peasant laity hauled off to the guillotine.
Is it any wonder that some elements of the mainstream media take their cues from Voltaire and construct fictional accounts to try and destroy the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI? Perhaps it is because the Holy Father’s oft repeated remark of the Dictatorship of Relativism drives those who flow with the whims of popular culture up the wall. To his credit, Michael Sean Winters of the liberal National Catholic Reporter called the New York Times hit piece on Pope Benedict XVI an article filled with animus and lies. Former Newsweek Editor Kenneth Woodward, who is not Catholic and hardly a political ally of conservative oriented Catholics, penned a blistering article on the screed that was the New York Times article attacking Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) for his role in investigating the Abuse Scandal. (You may want to this article entitled; CNN Joins the Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church. In addition this article written by several Catholic professors refutes the entire New York Times and CNN story.
A couple of points as I wrap this up; I have stated in previous articles that I believe there are two groups of liberals. The first group, though small in number, is actually sincere and earnest in their beliefs, if not hopelessly naïve. The second group is larger and far more sinister. For them it is all about them, though they do a pretty good job of making others think they are for the downtrodden. The poor have always been their foil. One only need look at the violent protests in Greece and France caused by those who want to keep the retirement age in the 50s, so much for helping anyone but themselves. They would rather bring their nations to the breaking point than postpone their permanent vacation in Greek isles or the south of France.
The American and Catholic Left have always borrowed their radicalism from our European cousins. While some of our more industrious European cousins, best exemplified by Daniel Hannan, a European Member of Parliament from Britain, want to model their selves after American exceptionalism, too many in the America Left want us to model ourselves after the failed Social Democracies of Western Europe. Isn’t it odd that those in Europe, both in government and the Church who truly want what’s in the best interests of their nations instead of themselves, look to America? On November 2, 2010, many Americans thought the wiser and took the advice of Europeans like Daniel Hannan, instead of those such as Voltaire, Karl Marx, Willy Brandt, Francois Mitterrand, James Callaghan and Jose Luis Zapatero. Yes, thank God the tide continues to turn!