Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite: Why Doesn’t That Papist Bishop Just Shut Up?

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, current faculty member and former president of the Chicago Theological Seminary ,(don’t laugh yet), doesn’t think much of Catholic bishops expressing opposition to gay marriage, and she  said so recently at some length in the “On Faith” (trust me that is a misnomer) blog at the Washington post.  Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal, a Protestant who takes up the cudgels in defense of the Church so often that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives her a fisking to remember:

Nobody, and I mean nobody, does pompous, arrogant self-righteousness better than liberal Protestants.  Via David “He Reads ‘On Faith’ So You Don’t Have To” Fischler comes this drivel from the Chicago Theological Seminary’s Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite criticizing a Catholic bishop for being…well…a Catholic bishop:

How can we expect other nations around the world to create and sustain pluralistic democracies when prominent religious leaders in the United Sates, such as Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of New York, fail to grasp the fundamentals of this concept?

Because it’s not the job of “prominent religious leaders” to help “create and sustain pluralistic democracies?”

Elected officials represent the many different people who elected them, not their particular religious organizations.

Really?  I thought all American political parties were public extensions of Christian churches.  Sumbitch.

The private religious doctrines of these legislators’ faith communities cannot dictate their political positions.

Sue, of course, wouldn’t have written anything at all if New York’s Catholic bishops had gone all squishy and Episcopalian, if you’ll pardon the redundancy, and come out as a body in support of this bill.  “Spiritual leadership” is when you agree with me.  “Political grandstanding” is when you don’t.

That would be to effectively “establish” their church’s view as the law of the land, something the Constitution forbids.

Or in DiMarzio’s case, they would be telling Roman Catholics what Roman Catholic doctrine is.  Twit.

But Bishop DiMarzio’s position goes even further over the line that should separate church and state when he advocates shunning all state officials for this vote on marriage equality. “I have asked my collaborators not to bestow or accept honors, nor to extend a platform of any kind to any state elected official, in all our parishes and churches for the foreseeable future.”

Sue, the term you’re looking for here is “moral courage.”  DiMarzio seems to be saying that legislators, Roman Catholic or otherwise, can violate Roman Catholic doctrine all they care to but if they do, one of the prices they should be prepared to pay is that they don’t get free spiritual cover anymore.  So who’s really crossing the church-state line here, hot shot?

One issue, then, will dictate that these churches should shun all elected officials, apparently on any issue and into the foreseeable future.

I wish the Catholics had done it with abortion back in the day but better late than never.

That’s not pluralism, that’s exclusivism. In effect, according to this bishop, “any state official” has to play by the rules of the Catholic Church. That’s not just crossing the line that should separate church and state, it’s drawing a line in the sand that elected officials are not supposed to cross.

Sue?  Is a Brooklyn Baptist obligated to obey the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn?  What about a Floral Park Presbyterian?  Or a Rockaway Beach Muslim?   Or a Montauk Jew?  Or a Binghamton whatever Matt Kennedy calls himself these days?

Or a New Paltz Unitarian?  Or a Nyack Episcopalian? Or an Oyster Bay member of the Assemblies of God?  Or a Plattsburgh Lutheran?  Or a Poughkeepsie Methodist?  Or a Schaghticoke Ethical Culturist?  Or a Schenectady atheist?

Do you see me working, Sue?  Dear LORD, it should be illegal to be that stupid.

Drawing a “line in the sand” preventing marriage equality for LGBT Americans is not where the American people are going. In fact they are going the other way, favoring reducing barriers to marriage equality.

Last I checked, God doesn’t have a Congress.  Just sayin’.

Go here to read the brilliant rest.

Oh, and if you support the Paul Ryan budget you aren’t a Christian according to this nutcase:


She has been writing these types of diatribes for years in the Chicago Tribune.  She is always ready to write out of Christianity those who do not share her far left views.  Once again, this is merely another example of Liberalism as a substitute religion.

She has a history of lambasting the Catholic Church.  I give her some leeway however. She is a minister in the United Church of Christ and it is tough being a rep of a dying organization:

“At the time of its formation, the UCC had over 2 million members in nearly 7,000 churches. The denomination has suffered a 44 percent loss in membership since the mid-1960s. By 1980, membership was at about 1.7 million and by the turn of the century had dropped to 1.3 million. In 2006, the UCC had roughly 1.2 million members in 5,452 churches. According to its 2008 annual report, the United Church of Christ has about 1.1 million members in about 5,300 local congregations.”

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. The stand that the Church has taken (and must take) against homosexual behavior was severely weakened when Bishop Hubbard of the Diocese of Albany, NY gave such a rousing tribute to Governor Andy Cuomo at his inauguration Mass (did I describe that correctly?), knowing (how could one be unaware) of his stated position on abortion, homosexual marriage and co-habitation with his concubine.

    People like Cuomo, Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, Kucinich, Leahy, Guiliani (let’s not leave the RINOs excluded), etc., must be publicly excommunicated (1) to bring them to repentance and (2) as an example to the Faithful. St. Paul set such an example with Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timothy 1:19-20. And worse happened for less to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. Neither one murdered unborn babies or sanctified homosexual sodomy. Worse also happened to Jezebel at the Church in Thyatira as recorded in Revelation 2:20-23.

  2. She and her ilk are treated seriously by the elites who run our country Joe, even if her position boils down to the belief that anyone who disagrees with her should just shut up.

  3. “…her position boils down to the belief that anyone who disagrees with her should just shut up.”

    That is the hallmark of liberalism, progressivism and “demokracy”: two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

    “Well, Don, maybe we should ignore the ‘elites,’ too.”

    We should vote them out of office.

  4. Catholics have been persecuted, put down and belittled for centuries and some of them (martyrs) have died for the faith. It is liberal sport to criticize Catholics. This leftist is no different than the persecutors of old and she will ultimately lose this battle. The truth always wins. “People the Earth” cannot apply to those who practice sodomy. There is a reason for everything within the Catholic Church and all of it stems from Jesus Christ, himself. The depravity of the leftist, modernist progressives knows no bounds: proved by the legalized murder it commits on the unborn. They may be the elites here on earth but they will not be the elites when they burn in hell. God help them all.
    It is up to all of us to remove all of them from power and from our churches. They are Lucifers with College Degrees.

  5. I read her article on Ryan’s plan and Rand. I agree with a lot of what she said. The surge of interest in Ayn Rand does bother me, and I didn’t know that Ryan had been a fan. (Then again, I haven’t checked her sources on that.) But the piece ends with a classic bit of McCarthyism: if you support a plan that Randians support, you’re no better than they are. If a Christian supports the plan for a Christian reason, and a Randian supports the plan for a non-Christian reason, the Christian is acting as a non-Christian. Appalling.

  6. May I gently remind my separated brethren here that it was the Republicans who were key to passing homo marriage in NY. The vote in the Legislature was 32-29 with the GOP posting the swing votes.

    So the idea that you can vote the bums out, as Paul P suggests, is ludicrous. Despite the so-called “shellacking” last November, House Republicans are on the verge of caving to Obama’s demands for either tax hikes or defense cuts, according to the latest scuttlebutt.

    Given that most Republicans pay mere lip service to important social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, there is not much difference between the two major political parties. That, Don, comprises the “elite” you reference. Making them “limp” is an inadequate remedy as long as they can still walk.

  7. Pinky,

    Ryan has read Rand. I think his enthusiasm is for her thoughts on the free market etc. Contrary to what’s out there, he’s not made it required reading for his staff.

    I think reading Rand is the equivalent of reading Marx. A lot wrong in both (more wrong in Marx than in Rand) but not necessarily evil to understand their thoughts and where they may hit the mark.

    I’m sure Thistlethwaite has no problem with reading Marx.

  8. There’s a certain amount of truth to what Joe green points out. I am thoroughly disgusted with the Republicans, but when given a choice between a Demokrat and a Republican, I will always vote Republican. The Republican Party certainly isn’t the party of God, but the Demokratik Party is the party of Satan.

    That being said, I really like the platform of the Constitution Party:


    It is the closest to Church teaching of any of the political parties that I am seen. But the chances of this party gaining ascendency are abysmally low. So…..when the only two choices are the Demokrats and the Republicans, vote Republican. We cannot afford another four years of the Obamanation of Desolation.

  9. In reference to RINOS Joe they are not the main problem. Your example of gay marriage is instructive in New York. The vast majority of Republicans voted against it, while virtually all Democrats voted for it. The Pox on both your Houses stance is silly since it is the Democrats who are the driving force behind virtually all the bad ideas currently afflicting this country in the government arena. I have no problem with voting RINOs out and belaboring them, but I never take my eye off the main cause of bad ideas being made into law: The Democrat party and the voters who pull the lever for it.

  10. “But the chances of this party gaining ascendency are abysmally low.”

    Actually the chance of the Constitution party ever being more than an electoral asterick on the national scene is abysmally low.

  11. Phillip, yeah, that may be the case. I don’t know anyone on his staff. Making an intern read one of her 3000-page books has got to be a violation of some labor law, though.

    I think Rand is a trap that the Buckley-Reagan generation knew to avoid. The conservative movement has never tried to alienate people who have good intentions. The effort is always made to explain why some things that sound like they’d be bad for the poor are really good for everyone including the poor. Conservatives get labelled cruel and uncaring, but always defend their principles as fundamentally good. The Rand trap is to espouse good economic policy in the name of evil. That doesn’t persuade anyone. And as Catholics, it’s our greater duty to identify and condemn evil.

  12. What is depressing is three fold:

    1. The woman’s political thought as exemplified is confused, stereotyped, and crude;

    2. Her conception of her function vis-a-vis her denomination and protestant Christianity generally appears to be to re-imagine it in accordance with the zeitgeist – which is to say her position is parasitic, dishonest, and supercilious.

    3. She has an honored position on a theological faculty.

  13. “She has an honored position on a theological faculty.”

    Ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth – that’s in Scripture somewhere.

    My 2nd sponsor in a 12 step program used to tell us pigeons prideful of our education in Academia, “A thermometer has degrees and you know where you can stick that!”

    We really didn’t take too kindly to his statement (and he didn’t give a hoot because that’s what it took to rid us of the pride that kept us from staying sober), but sometimes it’s better to be without those credentials than to be like this woman – “done educated into imbecility.”

  14. Maybe because Incompetent and Unqualified Obama has not yet repealed the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights . . . He and the commie crowd are working on it.

    Credentialed, infallible ignorance . . . theology: making up stuff about god (purposefully not capitalized).

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