Compassionate Conservatism Revisited

Saturday, January 14, AD 2012

A quasi-confession: One of my favorite politicians of the last fifteen years is George W. Bush. Unfortunately, I don’t mean George W. Bush, the President. I mean, George W. Bush, the candidate for President in 2000. The one who criticized Clinton-era attempts at “nation-building” and promised a “modest” foreign policy. The one who prophetically predicted the events that would undo his own Presidency several years later:

If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I’m going to prevent that.

Well, he may have been a little off on the second prediction. 

Bush the Candidate was able to articulate pro-life principles effectively. He promised to appoint judges who were willing to occasionally glance at the Constitution. He favored raising the Earned Income Tax Credit for low and moderate income individuals. He was committed to implementing accountability in Education. Bush the Candidate advocated for expansion of social services (e.g. what would become Medicare Part D). At the time, it appeared to me that he was the best option by a mile from a Catholic perspective.

Of course, 2000 was an interesting time. No one was interested in health care reform after the Clintonian debacle in the early 90’s (other than Medicare Part D). A bipartisan compromise on welfare reform appeared to be overwhelmingly successful. There were no pressing international political issues, and Bush, as mentioned above, promised to be more modest in our dealings with the world than Clinton had been. Which left culture war issues like abortion and embryonic stem cell research as the primary differences between the candidates in what amounted to a Coke/Pepsi culture clash. Good times, with internet-bubble fattened 401k’s for much of the middle class.

U.S. politics have changed a bit since then. But I still think Bush’s platform was a good one. To be sure, it basically charted a European-style Christian Democrat course for the U.S., but then I like European-style Christian Democracy, which after all, was consciously modeled in part on Catholic Social Teaching. Obviously, there are a lot of complications with any political philosophy, but, on the whole, I’m in favor of both functioning markets and generous social safety nets (taxes on individual earnings and consumption; less regulation and corporatism). Although, unlike Bush in practice (and the Affordable Care Act), I think we need to pay for social services when we expand them. I suppose most AC readers are to the right of this point of view, but I’m curious:

How did you view Bush the candidate circa 2000, and what are your thoughts on Christian Social Democrats, particularly their effortso to model political philosophy on Catholic Social Teaching?

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17 Responses to Compassionate Conservatism Revisited

  • I love George W. Bush. As for Barack Hussein Obama…………

  • I’d distinguish between “compassionate conservatism” with what I’ll call “compassionate libertarianism.” I favor the latter. I don’t want to subsidize churches or married couples. But I do want a generous safety net that’s neutral as to spending.

  • My own policy preference (and come to that knowledge) have shifted a bit since 2000, so it’s hard to line up my impressions of that campaign with my current ones. Generally, I thought Bush was a pretty good candidate (certainly, I’d prefer a reload of the 2000 Bush to any of our current options), but I do think he’d absorbed (or maybe was just parroting) some of the politically expedient isolationism the GOP had fallen into during the Clinton administration (much more so than they have under Obama). I think the US should be “modest” in its foreign policy in terms of not attempting things that aren’t doable, but certainly not in the sense of staying home and letting things go how they go. The more I read about the history of the modern age up until WW2, the more I think that the world is far, far better off with a single superpower that spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined than on having peace rely on a balance of power between “great powers”. And while some consider this not a CST friendly role, I would tend to think that the Church’s history of dealing with hegemonic powers quite happily (the Roman Empire after Constantine, Charlemagne’s empire, the Spanish and the Austro-Hungarians, etc.) is a fairly good template in this regard.

    On economics, I am frustrated with the tendency of many Republicans these days to assume that we’re always on the wrong side of the Laffer curve, but I’m simply not clear that European style social democracy is stable (see example: Europe right now), nor am I all that clear that Bush’s vague “compassionate conservatism” was all that much like Christian Democracy.

    Honestly, neither side seems to be coming out with exciting tax/social policy right now. The Dems seem to think they can have a “New New Deal” without bothering to reference reality, and the GOP is much better at cutting taxes than cutting spending (and perhaps a bit too anti-government to do a good job of redesigning and simplifying programs rather than just eliminating them.

  • Christian Social Democracy is great until the State goes broke which appears to be happening in Europe and here. It also helps if there is a United States of America around so that the amount of the defense budget can be sufficient to defend the nation from the Grand Duchy of Fenwick, but not much else.

    In regard to the Bush presidency I doubt if there would have been any greater involvement abroad than we saw under Clinton. What utterly transformed the Bush presidency was 9-11. Up to that time I think that Bush was completely focused on domestic matters and viewed his presidency as sort of a Texas governorship writ large, with Bush having little interest in foreign affairs and little desire for any great foreign involvements. 9-11 changed all of that.

    I think the finest movement of the Bush presidency was when he got behind the Surge, when very few people inside or outside the administration were in favor of it. His numbers were tanking and it was obvious that his Iraq policy was largely responsible, but instead of cutting and running he backed Petraeus in defeating the insurgency. He will win few accolades until the passions of the present have cooled, but that was perhaps the finest act of presidential leadership I have seen in my lifetime.

  • A Christian Democrat party could easily do well in the United States – and might be necessary as the current Democrat party has failed utterly, and the GOP leadership may fail to understand the revolutionary needs of the moment. The key, to me, is a matter of better educating people on the moral aspect of our crisis – that the debt and the wars are secondary to the fact that we have become an indecent nation. We can cut all the taxes and regulations we want; we can blow the world to smithereens or pull back to Fortress America…but if we don’t have a moral revival, we’re still doomed.

    At the time, I believe this sort of education is possible…more and more people are becoming disillusioned with both Big Government and Big Corporation and if some clever fellow can tie those two monstrosities to the moral degradation of our society (and both sides of that nauseating coin do assist each other, in turn, in breaking down societal morals), we’ll be on our way.

  • Betwixt and between someone might offer the rest of us an understanding of the distinction between ‘social democracy’, ‘christian democracy’, ‘christian social democracy’, and whatever you might call contemporary American political economy. That done, you then might give us a precis of how the social encyclicals could ever be used to adjudicate the disputes parties in this country actually (rather than caricatures of the stances people have). While we are at it, just what is meant by ‘big government’ and why is it that public spending per se (as opposed to public sector borrowing) causes a society to ‘go broke’?

  • As I read your US recent history, are we to reject the former Mr Bush cabinet member who said that 44 was searching for an excuse to get after Saddam, way before 9/11. The Pentagon illegally diverted funds to go into Iraq while the Afghanistan job was not obvviously completed, still is not. I am, to repeat, not a conspiracy theorist or sit at the feet of Left of Right demagogues and respect unbiased history when one can find such!

  • HermitTalker, the former cabinet secretary to which you are referring is Paul O’Neill. People who have been fired for poor performance are not the most reliable of witnesses and even in his rendering what he heard was a solitary flippant remark.

    The Iraq war was explicitly authorized by a joint resolution of Congress.

  • As I recall his work, there were several conversations at cabinet regarding the Saddam presence; “W” did at one point mention that “he tried to kill my Daddy”- a friend who once worked inside the beltway, and is an avid Democrat now retired to FL, sees it in psychological terms, worthy of Greek drama! NOW, as to Mr Blair in the UK here in our Europe, he lost the PM-ship and his Party the election in large part because of the reasons/excuses for Iraq 11 over the WMD and it seems tthe vote to approve was not based on clear, unequivocal evidence at the time Both sides may have fudged the security facts.

  • Paul O’Neill was Sec’y of the Treasury. He was “sounding the alarm” about the housing bubble that government sponsored enterprises (FHLMC, FNMA, HUD, FHA, VA, Fed, FDIC, etc.) had inflated. He was fired. He was right.

    I dunno how that it was related to Iraq or what.

    BTW: Victor Davis Hanson:

    “When you think about it, Obama has kept the detention camp at Guantanamo. He’s going ahead with military tribunals. And where Bush only waterboarded three terrorists, Obama has used drones to execute about 2,600.

    “Obama’s sort of growing on me.”

    If Obama wasn’t destroying the USA, maybe he’d be okay.

  • One of my reasons to retire in Europe was watching the headlong rush to Natural Law chaos in the USA. The fear of how much power the government would have over health care, given the disregard for human life from womb to tomb. There are no greener fields over the fence, but I stuck my tent peg in the ground here where the culture is kinder and the economy is not war driven as president Ike warned those years back. How prophetic of a former US General of the allied forces in Europe and POTUS later.

  • It’s not surprising that getting rid of Saddam would occur to leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. Both the US and UK had had combat troops in the region since the ’91 war, trying to enforce sanctions that Saddam clearly had no intention to abide by. One needs neither complex psychological theories nor conspiracy theories to see why regime change in Iraq was attractive when it had been made the official US policy back under Clinton.

    Of course, if retiring to Europem seemed like a good idea for reasons of culture and stability… We’re just sitting around hoping the EU doesn’t manage to send its collective economy down the toilet and pull the rest of the world spiraling down after it just as we’re getting back on our feet over here. I certainly wouldn’t want to stake a whole lot of my future on European welfare state structures at this point.

  • Thoughtful post Darwin. I had other considerations obviously but you will recall that the donwslide so quickly from the fundamental acceptance of the NATIRAL LAW, as explicitly proclaimed in the Preamble bothered me a lot as a believer and Catholic Christian Humanist. We are not relying on Big Brother/Sister Merkel and Sarkozy for our economic and social security. We are being forced to pay back the gamblers, Bankers and Co. Inc. who caused the problem and we also petition the government to ease up on laying the tax burden on the most vulnerable. As we look back at the USA, we are praying for all the world economies to recover even as we shudder at the very fragile recovery there with the growing awareness that we are in fact a global village and few are thriving with stable health. Time for more prayer and discernment for the next election and the decade beyond.

  • “I like Bush’s argument, that we have a humble foreign policy, when he ran in 2000…”

    – Ron Paul

    “I get to my God through Christ.

    Christ to me, is a man of peace. He is for peace. He’s not for war. He doesn’t justify preemptive declared war. I strongly believe there is a Christian doctrine of Just War and I believe this nation has drifted from that, no matter what the rationals are, we have drifted from that and it’s very, very dangerous and I see in many ways being un-Christian.

    And to justify what we do in the name of Christianity I think is very dangerous and not part of what Christianity is all about. Christ came here for spiritual reasons not secular war and boundaries and geography. Yet we are now dedicating so much of our aggressive activity in the name of God, but God– He is the Prince of Peace. That is what I see from my God, and through Christ, I vote for peace.”

    – Ron Paul

    “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”

    Mathew 5:9

  • Sorry for the confusion with the videos.

    “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”

    Mathew 5:9

  • “The key, to me, is a matter of better educating people on the moral aspect of our crisis – that the debt and the wars are secondary to the fact that we have become an indecent nation. We can cut all the taxes and regulations we want; we can blow the world to smithereens or pull back to Fortress America…but if we don’t have a moral revival, we’re still doomed. ”

    I agree with this.

    So does Ron Paul.

  • “We are being forced to pay back the gamblers, Bankers and Co. Inc. who caused the problem and we also petition the government to ease up on laying the tax burden on the most vulnerable.”

    Could you explain how the current European debt crisis is related to bankers etc and how current European govts. are laying tax burdens on the vulnerable.

19 Responses to Tebowing, We Did It Before It Was Mainstream!

  • I used cringe at seeing Catholic high school basketball players cross themselves before taking a free shot. It seemed more superstition than prayer to me. Tebow is in a different milieu and it is a different age since the pre-Council years. There is no comparison with a priest kneeling at the old Mass rite OR a modern Catholic genuflecting reverently as she enters church. Tim is in a public televised place and being watched and cares not about public opinion and the anti-faith, religion critics. A good witness which is not equally received by all observers or commentators as we expect today.

  • That link to the New Advent article on posture at prayer turned out to be a really interesting historical and bibical review, including:

    Christ assumes that standing would be the ordinary posture in prayer of those whom He addressed:” And when you shall stand to pray”, etc.


  • Even better is that Roman Canon #1 – Eicharistic Praper # 1 speaks of all those CIRCUMSTANTIBUS all standing around, the whole congregation. The kneeling posiiton was part of the process for reconciling public sinners. Those who insist on kneeling ignore that the presiding and assisiting clergy stand. Similarly, standing for Communion and receiving on the hand are ancient practices the others are medieval inventions.

  • So long as Tim is sincere and fervent in his Faith, I am sure his kneeling is acceptable.

    Same same, Herm, as long as all that malarkey you’re commenting is done in charity to correct what you view as errors. Is it after 5PM where you are?

    Kneeling and genuflecting are personal signs of respect. In the military we saluted superiors and returned salutes of subordinates. We saluted the National Anthem at parade. As a veteran, I am allowed to render the hand salute when I am present for the playing of the National Anthem. I was only in a few years. I got out 36 years ago, or so. But, I still get the unconscious urge to snap to and and salute anywhere I here our National Anthem.

    And, reading that post on the movie “Glory”, I recall I served with the finest young men (Asian, Black, Hispanic and white) America ever produced.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think the GIRM even prescribes kneeling. I think it’s the USCCB supplemental norm. Elsewhere, people stand when we kneel and bow when we genuflect.

  • Shouldn’t Tebowing be done on the RIGHT knee?

  • TEBOW may be left-kneed and a kneel on that is as valid as one who is left handed crossing herself
    As to the posture for Mass, the bishops have decided kneeling for the Euch. Prayer and standing for Communion. The more “devout” of the laity and some clerics decide that 1. kneeling is more “traditional” which it is not and 2.that, though they have that choice, baby-feeding on the tongue is more “traditional which it is not.

  • HT,

    Perhaps your reference to “baby-feeding was not intended to be inflammatory, but I took it that way. Tell me, is your arrogance hard-earned or simply natural? In any case the facts are not that simple. From “

    “The history of Communion in the hand is usually told as follows: From the Last Supper on, and during the time of the apostles, Holy Communion was, of course, given in the hand. So it was during the age of the martyrs. And it continued to be so during that golden age of the Fathers and of the liturgy, after the peace of Constantine. Communion in the hand was given to the faithful just as we now do (in the more open and up-to-date sectors of the Church). And it continued to be the common practice until at least the tenth century. Thus for over half of the life of the Church, it was the norm.

    A wonderful proof of the above is held to be found in a text of St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386) in which he counsels the faithful to “make a throne of your hands in which to receive the King [in Holy Communion].” This Father of the Church further counsels great care for any fragments which might remain in one’s hands, since just as one wouldn’t let gold dust fall to the ground so one should take even greater care when it is a question of the Body of the Lord.

    According to the popular rendition, the change in the manner of receiving the consecrated bread came about in this way: During the Middle Ages, there were certain distortions in the faith, and/or in the approach to the faith, which took place and which gradually developed. These include an excessive fear of God and related preoccupation with sin, judgment and punishment; an overemphasis on the divinity of Christ which was virtually a denial of or at least downplaying of his sacred humanity; an overemphasis on the role of the priest in the sacred liturgy; and a loss of the sense of the community which the Church, in fact, is.

    In particular, because of excessive emphasis on adoration of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and a too strict approach to moral matters, Holy Communion became more and more rare. It was considered sufficient to gaze upon the Sacred Host during the elevation. (In fact, this decadent practice of the “elevation”-so the mainstream treatment of this period continues-and the equally unhealthy Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament find their origins during these unfortunate Middle Ages, a period whose liturgical practices we would do well to rid ourselves of).

    It was in this atmosphere and under these circumstances that the practice of Communion in the hand began to be restricted. The practice of the priest placing the consecrated bread directly into the mouth of the communicant developed and -sad to say- was imposed.

    The conclusion is rather clear: we should get rid of this custom whose roots are to be found in the dark ages. We should forbid or at least discourage this practice of not allowing the faithful to “take and eat,” and return to the pristine usage of the Fathers and of the apostles: Communion in the hand.

    It is a compelling story. It is too bad that it is not true.

    The Sacred Council of Trent declared that the custom of only the priest who is celebrating the Mass giving Communion to himself (with his own hands), and the laity receiving it from him, is an Apostolic Tradition.1

    A more rigorous study of the available evidence from Church History and from the writings of the Fathers does not support the assertion that Communion in the hand was a universal practice which was gradually supplanted and eventually replaced by the practice of Communion on the tongue.

    Rather, the facts seem to point to a different conclusion.

    Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461), already in the fifth century, is an early witness of the traditional practice. In his comments on the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, he speaks of Communion in the mouth as the current usage: “One receives in the mouth what one believes by faith.”2 The Pope does not speak as if he were introducing a novelty, but as if this were a well-established fact.

    A century and a half later, but still three centuries before the practice (according to the popular account reviewed above) was supposedly introduced, Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604) is another witness. In his dialogues (Roman 3, c. 3) he relates how Pope St. Agapito performed a miracle during the Mass, after having placed the Body of the Lord into someone’s mouth. We are also told by John the Deacon of this Pope’s manner of giving Holy Communion.

    These witnesses are from the fifth and the sixth centuries. How can one reasonably say that Communion in the hand continued as the official practice until the tenth century? How can one claim that giving Communion on the tongue is a medieval invention?

    We are not claiming that under no circumstances whatever did the faithful receive by their own hands. But, under what conditions did this happen? It does seem that from very early on it was usual for the priest to place the Sacred Host into the mouth of the communicant. However, during times of persecution, when priests were not readily available, and when the faithful took the Sacrament to their homes, they gave Communion to themselves, by their own hand. In other words, rather than be totally deprived of the Bread of Life, they could receive by their own hand, when not to do so would mean being deprived of that necessary spiritual nourishment. The same applied to monks who had gone out into the desert where they would not have the services of a priest, and would not want to give up the practice of daily Communion.

    To summarize, the practice was that one could touch the Host when not to do so would mean being deprived of the Sacrament. But when a priest was available, one did not receive in one’s hand.

    So St. Basil (330-379) says clearly that to receive Communion by one’s own hand is only permitted in times of persecution or, as was the case with monks in the desert, when no deacon or priest was available to give it. “It is not necessary to show that it does not constitute a grave fault for a person to communicate with his own hand in a time of persecution when there is no priest or deacon” (Letter 93, my emphasis). The text implies that to receive in the hand under other circumstances, outside of persecution, would be a grave fault.3 The saint based his opinion on the custom of the solitary monks, who reserved the Blessed Sacrament in their dwellings, and, in the absence of the priest or deacon, gave themselves Communion.

    In his article on “Communion” in the Dictionaire d’Archeologie Chretienne, LeClerq declares that the peace of Constantine was bringing the practice of Communion in the hand to an end. This reaffirms for us the reasoning of St. Basil that it was persecution that created the alternative of either receiving by hand or not receiving at all.

    After persecution had ceased, evidently the practice of Communion in the hand persisted here and there. It was considered by Church authority to be an abuse to be rid of, since it was deemed to be contrary to the custom of the apostles.

    Thus the Council of Rouen, which met in 650, says, “Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman or laywomen but only in their mouths.” The Council of Constantinople which was known as in trullo (not one of the ecumenical councils held there) prohibited the faithful from giving Communion to themselves (which is of course what happens when the Sacred Particle is placed in the hand of the communicant). It decreed an excommunication of one week’s duration for those who would do so in the presence of a bishop, priest or deacon.

    Of course, the promoters of “Communion in the hand” generally make little mention of the evidence we have brought forward. They do, however, make constant use of the text attributed to St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who lived in the fourth century at the same time as St. Basil.

    Henri LeClerq summarized things as follows: “Saint Cyril of Jerusalem recommended to the faithful that on presenting themselves to receive Communion, they should have the right hand extended, with their fingers together, supported by the left hand, and with the palm a little bit concave; and at the moment in which the Body of Christ was deposited in the hand, the communicant would say: Amen.”

    There is more to this text than just the above, however. It also goes on to propose the following: “Sanctify your eyes with contact with the Holy Body . . . . When your lips are still wet, touch your hand to your lips, and then pass you hand over your eyes, your forehead and your other senses, to sanctify them.” This rather odd (or even superstitious? Irreverent?) recommendation has caused scholars to question the authenticity of this text. Some think that perhaps there has been an interpolation, or that it is really the saint’s successor who wrote it.

    It is not impossible that the text is really the work of the Patriarch John, who succeeded Cyril in Jerusalem. But this John was of suspect orthodoxy. This we know from the correspondence of St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine. So, in favor of Communion in the hand we have a text of dubious origin and questionable content. And on the other hand, we have reliable witnesses, including two great popes, that placing the Sacred Host in the mouth of the communicant was already common and unremarkable in at last the fifth century.”

    I take communion in the hand. But it would not occur to me to ridicule those who prefer to take communion in the mouth.

    And your reference to the history of kneeling for communion is similarly simplistic.

  • I intended no sarcasm or disrespect with my comment that babies are fed by hand. That is a fact. I did my doctoral work on Eucharist and Reconciliation and was introduced to Jungmann’s great study of The Mass – (Of the Roman Rite? I think was the fulll title) way back in College before the Second Vatican Council and before my advanced studies- that was in the 60s. You may recall that ST PETER did not want people kneeling to him as if he were God- that gesture in his cultural context said something else than showing reverence/respect. You who are older may recall that the cardinals used kiss the Pope’s feet to show obeisance to him and it shocked people who thought that gesture was bizarre and was totally misunderstood on global TV. Even the kiss on both cheeks by males in that and other cultures is not accepted as normal in the West. Mr Bush 44 in your USA got in some hot water by holding hands in friendship with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in his Texas ranch.
    Therefore I am all in favour of adopting gestures and ;poses for worship that are understood in the culture of the society and age. I forget where but saw a refrence recently to a foreign missionary community where the person of highest dignity had to be the on the highest level at a ceremony, so where did the Eucharist get placed and the presider at Eucharist. If the Church’s leadership had been sensitive as St Parick was in Ireland to convert the naton with no red martyrs, by building on the local culture and respecting it while he transformed it, the Church would have been more successful in Fr Mateo Ricci’s Japan. Instead false “culture ” from Europe trumped him and the Church lost a more successful acculturation.
    The people may not have agreed with the USCCB adaptation of the GIRM, but they are the pastors and however they arrived at their norms for worship, they are the ones that won the vote of the entire group. Same for Italy and Germany. Bl JP 11 witnessed fairly scantily clothed females dancing and celebating at Eucharist in his many foreign pilgrimages. Norwegian friends commented to me that their cultural social customs are so different from the Latins, a handshake is their best effort at friendship when Mama Mia in Sicily and Madresita Carmen in the Andes of Peru wants to kiss and hug. American teens want to kiss on the lips and hug at special celebrations of Eucharist and Church events without the slightest idea that it can be perceived as unwelcome sexually. FINALLY for my one critic above, check your HISTORY and see that The KNEELERS were a class of penitents being returned to reconciliation and Eucharist, after the first stage which was more punishing and then they moved forward. i much prefer discussing issues with people who do not ask what time it is where I am, we are actually in Europe and we have no time to be sarcastic or demeaning and are not very happy when we are treated disrespectfully on a CATHOLIC Christian site. We endure enough of that from people in public office who call the Pope red socks and he is the anti-Christ and our governments are peopled by atheists and agnostics and “humanists” who favour abortion for pre-born humans.

  • Mike Petrik, how was I mistaken? Your links seem to confirm that kneeling is a US-specific norm.

  • For a person who consistently submits comments oozing with contempt and unfounded arrogance, you sure have some thin skin. I guess that is the license of one who posts anonymously. In any case I do not believe you when you say you meant no ridicule.

    And for the record if you think American teens kiss on the lips at Mass (I’m not sure what you mean by special celebrations of the Eucharist) you are mistaken, and if an American male teen decided to express his sign of peace to the American female classmate sitting next to him by kissing her on the lips, I can assure you she would be shocked and discomforted. I chair the board of a Catholic high school. I know hundreds of American teens. What you describe is ludicrous. But my children think you are quite hilarious.

    And I know the history of kneelers, yawn. I’m not interested in going back to the practices of the early Church — if I was I’d be a JW. The Holy Spirit has allowed many positive developments, and our traditional practice of kneeling is one of them. Have you been to Scotland?

  • Ah! So your experience of Church in the USA and elsewhere among teens is the only one. and you cannot distunguish between an unwelcome kiss on the lips by teens who are best friends but not lovers. I pity your lack of experience and your children’;s sense of humour. And you are the arbiter of what is or is not part of the Catholic culture and Church and history, It may not have been you but one person who posted dimissed the fact that kneelers were part of a stage in the sacrament of reconciliation. You call me”oozing and unfounded arrogrance.” And you chair the board of a Catholic high school? By the way, did you actually read my quick overview and see the examples of how cultural gestures are different in each place and some are easily misunderstood. Or are you so sure of your opinion facts are a distraction? Whatever your intent your inability to communicate with simple grace has done it for me. My old grade school Master used say “Beware the man of one book.” Smart man, and that was over sixty years ago

  • I guess that is the license of one who posts anonymously.

    At the very least, maybe everyone on this thread could get Gravatars:

  • At times I work in Puerto Rico. They don’t kneel down there. I thought is was because they think they are too good (pride) to kneel before God Almighty.

    When I was doing my post-doctoral field work in proctology/cranium-rectal surgery, I would read the geniuses’ posts and comments at “vox nova.” I no longer exercise that methgod of personal mortification.

  • HT,
    My comment re teens kissing in church was in response to yours, which specified American teens — and in this you are simply mistaken, not that I will convince you since you have done doctoral work and all. And your strawmen accusations and arguments are tiresome. As far as I can tell no one on this blog is offended by the Church’s historic and ongoing use of acculturation, but your posts assume so much. I can guess why that is.

  • Ah. sweet logic. What reasoning. What ability to read what was written. And not twist it.

    “Wherefore art thou?”

    I miss you so much, sweet logic, reasoning, readers who read what was written, and do not twist what was actually written.

  • Pingback: Genuflection goes Mainstream! « Quodcumque dixerit

Fr. Michael Rodriguez Responds to Bishop Ochoa

Saturday, January 14, AD 2012

The following is a press release from Fr. Michael Rodriguez concerning the unprecedented legal action taken by (his) Bishop Armando Ochoa against him (I formatted the press release to eliminate spaces, content has not been touched or changed):

On January 12, 2012, Most Rev. Armando Ochoa, Administrator of the Diocese of El Paso, filed a lawsuit against me.  Once again, I want to reiterate that his action is dishonest and unjust.  I pose the simple question:  over the course of the past 9 ½ years, who is the one who has been laboring, struggling, sacrificing day and night, and caring for the spiritual and material well-being of San Juan Bautista Catholic Church?  Has it been Fr. Michael Rodríguez or Most Rev. Armando Ochoa?  Based on the factual record, which of the two has greater credibility when it comes to protecting and furthering the spiritual and material patrimony of San Juan Bautista?


Over the course of my 9 ½ years as parish administrator of San Juan Bautista, by the grace and mercy of God, the following spiritual goods were “achieved”:

1) Restoration of the glorious Traditional Latin Mass

2) Gradual restoration of the Catholic Church’s sacred language, Latin

3) Gradual restoration of Gregorian Chant and sacred music

4) Devout and worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist on the tongue and kneeling, accompanied by preparatory and thanksgiving prayers

5) Silence at Holy Mass and a real catholic sense of the sacred

6) Modest dress and reverent behavior at Holy Mass and inside church

7) Two daily Masses at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

8. Holy Hours with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at least four times per week

9) Regularly-scheduled Confessions at least five times per week;  Confession available at any time, day or night, by appointment

10) Stations of the Cross every Friday in both english (12:30 p.m.) and spanish (6:45 p.m.)

11) Parish Lenten Missions in both english and spanish

12) Numerous vocations to the priesthood and religious life

13) Christ the King, Corpus Christi, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Processions through the neighborhood

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35 Responses to Fr. Michael Rodriguez Responds to Bishop Ochoa

  • Pingback: Bp. Ochoa’s Legal Action Against Fr. Michael Rodriguez (UPDATED) | The American Catholic
  • As Fr. R’s defence reads from here, he may be pushing the Latin Traditional Form too much. and seems to be overruling the desire of the US bishops to make standing the norm and the congregation with the choice for the ancient practice of receiving on the hand or the corrupt medieval practice of the tongue which is how babies are fed and can be quite unsanitary, I know both are the choice of HH BXV1 but that is his preference as bishop, not a demand as Pope. Reference to estoring the church building to the 2ancient foms of the Roman Rite” is open to question it would seem. The papal altar in St Peter’s Basilica which faces the people with a separate Sacrament chapel seems to be accepted. I seem to recall that the reserved Eucharist was removed from Cathedral high altars for epsicopal celebratons back there in the pre-Vat 11 days. The Eastern Church does not have the reserved Eucharist for prayer. That is perfectly legitimate for them but allright for the Latin Church. One may have to examine the definition of “reverence ” and not equate Latin Text w, but ut does highlight different ways of expressing Eucharistc devotion. Proper “reverence” is tricky, too many dismiss the Novus Ordo as intrinsically irreverent, and heretical for the extremsists. Father R is undoubtedly a very zealous and sincere but loyalty to one’s bishop is very important unless there are clear abuses of authority on his part which can be resolved by speciifc means

    IF there are fnancial iregularites as one report had it, one presumes that an audit of the books would solve that instead of being a public matter.

  • Did Jesus give Pontius Pilate a list of reasons – all the good spiritual and temporal works he had done – for why he shouldn’t be crucified?

    There is little doubt in my mind that Bishop Ochoa is a flaming lavender liberal Democrat, but should Father Rodriguez even defend himself knowing that Christ (who was always right) never did so.

  • What is not present here is any reference to the actual complaint, which concerns financial shenanigans.

  • Astute observation, Art Deco. It almost seems as though Fr Rodriguez is saying, “Look how many good things I have done,” and that becomes an excuse to ignore that he did them in the wrong way. I post this as a comment on Colleen Hammond’s web site:

    …there is something essential and primary that we need to look at in all of this. The suggestion that perhaps because Father Rodriguez’s intentions were good, his financial errors can be overlooked is incorrect (no, I am NOT accusing him of fiscal malfeasance – I am using this as an object lesson). I learned this from the industry in which I work: commercial nuclear power. In my job it is not sufficient that I do the right thing, but in the wrong way, nor is it sufficient that I do in the right way the wrong thing. I am required to always and everywhere do the right thing in the right way. If I do the right thing in the wrong way, then my failure calls into question before our Federal regulator, the US NRC, whether I even did the right thing in the first place to begin with. And if I obey all the regulations, codes and standards, but have done the wrong thing, then I call into question the engineering practices, procedures and programs that I used which I had claimed were the right way: are they really the right way when the result that I achieved is wrong?

    Now of course everyone will say, “Hey, Paul, you deal with the fires of Creation in nuclear reactor cores, and what you do can affect hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives, so of course you always have to do the right thing in the right way.” While that statement makes unfairly grandiose what impact my work can actually have (I am really not nearly that important), my response to this is simple, “Why wouldn’t the same be true of the oversight being provided for people’s eternal souls.” Using the excuse that money has nothing to do with that is to ignore what St. Paul wrote in one of his epistles, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” As a nuclear engineer (my actual job title is longer and less comprehensible) I don’t have the luxury of telling a US NRC inspector (or even my own boss at my current job) that “I did the right thing.” The inspector could bring civil or even criminal charges against me regardless of the happy outcome I achieved, and my boss would surely bounce my behind on the pavement outside my place of work. And if I had sequestered 31 thousand dollars outside of my department’s allocated funds, or made my mother a beneficiary of company funds, then you can bet criminal charges would be levied and I would be officially barred by the US NRC from ever working at a commercial nuclear power plant ever again. BTW, that has happened to some now unhappy jokers who thought they could play fast and loose with the regulations – you don’t want your name and photo on the inspection enforcement page at the web site of the US NRC.

    As Catholic Christians we are always and everywhere required to do the right thing in the right way. No excuses. No rationalizations. No “Bill Clinton” waffling.

  • I haven’t been following this case particularly closely, but my reaction to this statement is the same as Art Deco. This is a very nice non sequiter, but has nothing to do with the actual charges against him.

  • This is a very nice non sequiter, but has nothing to do with the actual charges against him.

    Exactly… I haven’t been following this either, but, if anything, this response supports rather than refutes the charges.

  • What Fr. Michael Rodriguez is doing is not helping him at all.

    But what Bishop Ochoa did by filing a legal action is unfathomable.

  • Consider the lawsuit
    It dimishes the teaching authority and the slavific ability of the Roman Catholic Church

    Why was the lawsuit filed?
    Was there no way to resolve the differences without making the difference public?
    Was it that priest who in his recalcitrance forced the bishop into this action? And if yes, what would the motivation be?
    Was it the bishop who in his pride who fully engaged the act?

    Consider: The renovations took place over a nine and a half year period. Is it possible that the bishop would be unaware for that long? If this was a serious concern of his, is it likely he would have waited until over a month after he stopped being the bishop of El Paso to file the lawsuit? Or is it personal? The bishop will soon be officially installed in Fresno, and will no longer be the administrator of the diocese of El Paso. He needs to inflict as much personal damage as possible before he is no longer able to. And the cost to the diocesan faithful and the universal church be dammned.

    If a string of San Juan Bautista parishoners is led before a judge in open court, what will their testimony be? Will they say they trust the priest with their money? Or will they say they trust the bishop? What would have inspired them to make their checks out to the priest as opposed to the parish? May personal conclusion is that I have stopped giving to my own bishop’s yearly appeal because I don’t trust him to make Catholic decisions. It makes sense to me that other Catholics in other dioceses would reach the same conclusion. Anyone who is truly Catholic prays incessantly to our heavenly father to send us not the bishops we deserve, but those who can take care of our souls, because the great majority of American bishops are possessed with a great poverty of fortitude, and bow lower before the godless laws of the United States than before the eternal Laws institued by Almighty God.

    My prayer: My God grant the vacant See of El Paso a holy bishop soon, that he may resolve the mess for the greater glory of God and the triumph of the Holy Catholic Church.

  • Father Rodriguez is listing the material and spiritual thing he did for the parrish. Let the lawyers talk now. And father Rodríguez, if you want to really remain catholic, come any time to the Fraternity of St. Pius X. We need priests just like you, to keep the faith and Tradition alive. Modernist Rome is beyond redemption.

  • $1000 / wk x 52 wks = $52,000 yr
    Less expenses, salaries, utilities, upkeep per yr.

    What a common household budget for a family would likely be.

    How the improvements were made – even with volunteer labor – is a good stmt.

    So many opportunities for worship and Sacraments for the parishioners is also a good stmt. And rare. How are these people now? I just wish this flash of oversight were in place for government spending instead of for a parish feeding souls so well.

  • I have not been following this closely, so someone please correct me if I’m wrong. It is my understanding that the issue had to do with the money collected for various renovations was kept in a private bank account rather than in the parish account. There is no suggestion that any money was used inappropriately–i.e. for anything other than renovations. However, the Bishop is arguing that the parish was attempting to keep money it had collected from the Diocese–i.e. that the Diocese had not received its ‘cut’ of the money collected by the parish. Now that money has ALL been taken by the Diocese, but the parishioners want it back, since they had not donated to the diocese but to the parish renovation fund.

  • “Hermit Talker”

    Summorum Pontificum makes it clear that every ‘stable group’ of Catholics who want the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite have that right, irrespective of a Bishop’s wishes. It is Church Law. If Bishop Ochoa wants to deny these people the EF, he is violating the law of the Church. Unfortunately, far too many Bishops have decided simply to ignore Summorum Pontificum, and to act with hostility towards any members of their dioceses who want the EF. We have, in fact, a silent revolution within the Church of modernist Bishops who have nothing but contempt for the Holy Father and tfor Catholic Tradition.

  • I find it amusing that Fr. Rodriguez accuses Bishop Ochoa of not obeying Summorum Pontificum when he himself arguably does not obey it. As he has stated in an interview with the Remnant, he does not believe as the Holy Father states that there is no contradiction between the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman rite, and does not agree with the Holy Father that it would be wrong to as a matter of prinicple refuse to celebrate Mass using the ordinary form.

    Also, the instruction Universae Ecclesiae states that:

    “19. The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.”

    Arguably under this, Father Rodriguez could be forbidden to use the extraordinary form.
    Finally, by teaching that the extraordinary form is the ‘true Mass’ and that the ‘novus ordo’ is a corruption, he is going against the ordinary magisterium of the church himself. So much for the ‘faithful’ priest Father Rodriguez. His bragging of his accomplishments, don’t justify his disobedience, seeding of confusion amongst the faithful, and financial misconduct. With Shepherds like these, who needs wolves?

  • The facts are not known to me. I have absolutely no idea if Fr R. imposed the Latin Extra. Rite on his people, nor about his other theology of Church and whether he in fact is a heretical dissenter from the Bishop of Rome and the Church Catholic. As to finances, there is absolutely no evidence as to that. of which I am aware. So I am off the record on this topic at this ;point

  • Dearest Father,
    Having lived in a religious community during the 1970’s, being forced to attend a “Mass” using pizza and beer, being judged as “dangerous” for practicing private devotions, and that’s only the beginning, I praise God for your priestly service so full of zeal for souls. I promise my prayers as you endure these present trials and remind you that the devil’s anger against a faithful priest is greatly aroused. This time, the scandal is not because of any immorality but the scandal of a Shepherd who appears to have fallen prey to the devil’s intention to destro the Church from within. A passing thought, may the green eyed monster of jealousy be at work here? Stay vigilant before the Most Blessed Sacrament!

  • OK, I’ll bite, please explain your meaning in saying that the Catholic Church is “beyond redemption.”

    That’s a pretty 19th century Protestant statement there. My Lutheran, UMC, and Presbyterian friends wouldn’t say anything so bold.

    Is this your view alone or the official stance of the Fraternity of St. Pius X?

    I haven’t followed this story and only now did some reading. Obedience is hard. It is made all the harder when one is a celebrity. Maybe the Bishop is wrong. Maybe he is being unreasonable. Maybe there is a lot more going on than we can see from the outside. Regardless, a priest obeys solong as doing so does not compromise his duty to God. He obeys even when he disagrees, for what is “obedience” if it applies only tothe things we agree with?

    Counseling priest to abandon his duties and follow you into schism can’t be a Christian act.

  • Alfred Rambit,

    Father Rodriguez does celebrate the OF every day. The FSSP, ICK, and other traditionalist groups of priests never celebrate the OF, but they are not considered to be in violation of that paragraph of SP. Refusing to celebrate one of the rites isn’t a claim about its legitimacy or validity.

    How about the reverse. How many priests refuse to celebrate the EF? Are they in violation of SP? If these two forms of the Roman Rite are equal; if the EF is to be actively promoted…why are bishops acting with such hostility? It seems to me that they are the ones in rebellion against the Holy Father.

  • Alfred Rambit,

    Just another example: The Eastern Catholics never celebrate ithe Roman Rite. Does that mean that they believe it to be invalid?

  • Ivan K,

    “Father Rodriguez does celebrate the OF every day. ”

    No, he doesn’t. Read the ‘Remnant’ interview.

    As for FSSP, ICK, and Eastern Catholics, their preists do concelebrate the OF, and they do not speak of the OF as being inferior, and the EF as being the ‘True Mass’.
    Refusing to celebrate the OF is a violation of that paragraph if the reason for this refusal is that the OF is a deficient or inferior rite, is not the ‘true mass’, is not ‘Catholic’, etc.

    “How about the reverse. How many priests refuse to celebrate the EF? Are they in violation of SP? If these two forms of the Roman Rite are equal; if the EF is to be actively promoted…why are bishops acting with such hostility? It seems to me that they are the ones in rebellion against the Holy Father.”

    That’s my whole point. It’s silly for Fr. Rodriguez and others to criticize those who refuse to follow Summorum Pontificum if they themselves refuse to follow it. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Some bishops and presbyters and the parish councils may consider resources that, given the distribution of presbyters to people today, and the need to provide music and lectors and other liturgical aids for a proper celebration of the Novus Ordo and the Extra’ary form of the Eucharist. There may not be enough of any required elements to provide adequately for all needs. It is also a continuing difficulty that as I read the story around the world, many Latin Mass devotees are in fact not in agreement with the Pope and Catholic Church as orthodox and authentic. I find them getting more evangelical “protestant” in their supposed definition and loyalty to what is orthodox.

  • Please avoid the silly. One knows who are in union with the Bishop of Rome, who are friendly but not in commmunion on all dogma and of course who are at the sign or get out stage!”

  • Pingback: Some additional updates on Fr. Rodriguez « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics
  • The fact that this bishop took the scandalous step of going outside the church to attack Fr. Rodriguez says ALL any of us need to know. First he destroys everything the good priest created and sends him off to the hinterlands but then he must destroy the man’s reputation – and do it outside the church!

  • Given Fr Rodriguez disobedience in financial matters, and given the Bishop’s flaming liberal disobedience, perhaps both ought to read today’s Old Testament reading from 1st Samuel 15:16-23. The late Father Al Lauer has an excellent homily on this which is well worth the 14 minutes to listen to. None of us are pristine when it comes to obedience, especially me. Here’s the web link to the audio recording – hope it works!

  • I read a comment following an earlier article about this controversy. Someone posted a comment that Bishop Ochoa might be the priest, Xavier Ochoa, who fled from Santa Rosa, Calif to Mexico. The Bishop is not that priest. While the internet can be very helpful in researching things, posting such erroneous information without completely verifying such insinuations should be strongly avoided.

  • Sounds like another example of the “sharing/caring” liberal bishop cracking down on Tradition in defense, no doub, of NO novelties…..bring up the first 1900 yrs of Catholicism, watch the smiling drop……..

  • Interesting the dislike in some comments of “the Latin Rite”……does this mean the Mass immorial?
    Also, the comments on “democrats” attributed to the Bishop…must we use inadequate and outdated secular, american terms? No real difference we have seen over last decades in principle in either major party…..a fw minor details….no difference at all…… Catholic should be above attributing Madison ave propaganda slogans and sound bites to internal Catholic issues…..would said Bishop be alright if GOP? Libertarian?
    The issue is Catholic vs Modernist……it appears that this priest spoke up for the Catholic Churches teaching and then, magically, this Bishop finds some “financial issues” wrong with him.
    A Church tribunal/trial should wee this out and if said priest has evidence, lets hear it through proper channels……..perhaps said Bishop has a history against him as a man-man or not liking a trad priest……would not be the first time……..again, liberals in the church have a thin veneer unti la trad comes, then it can be rather harsh, oppressive and hateful…….

  • “Arguably under this, Father Rodriguez could be forbidden to use the extraordinary form.”

    um, no the Moto Proprio was clear that priest no longer have to beg bishops to say it and Pope Pius V (yes, the “bad old days” pre-1962) was clear it was to be said in perp……

  • “IF there are fnancial iregularites as one report had it, one presumes that an audit of the books would solve that instead of being a public matter.”

    Exactly, so why call in the unCatholic state? and, odd timing, no?
    sounds a lot more going on then on surface……pray, pray…….

  • Bishops letter was vague, did not spell anything out…….so, to Rome to trial it should go….or UCCB (heaven help the priest there, in that “good ‘ol boys” club)

  • “too many dismiss the Novus Ordo as intrinsically irreverent”

    well, when one sees who the players are behind said movements for the NO, why it was instituted and how close it parallels the Anglican,etc,etc…..who would not not want to be a part of it… spiritual and pray life has improved since not attending the NO (except, for occ when I go for confessio and stay for NO or, when travelling.Try not to make much of a habit of NO-if I wanted to worship like a Protestant Luthern or Anglican, would be one!)

    2 Churches running on same tracks, one will not get off and leave, like a fungus, it stays and a parasite, it sucks the marrow out…….Luther, at least, left……

  • “Dearest Father,
    Having lived in a religious community during the 1970?s, being forced to attend a “Mass” using pizza and beer, being judged as “dangerous” for practicing private devotions, and that’s only the beginning, I praise God for your priestly service so full of zeal for souls. I promise my prayers as you endure these present trials and remind you that the devil’s anger against a faithful priest is greatly aroused. This time, the scandal is not because of any immorality but the scandal of a Shepherd who appears to have fallen prey to the devil’s intention to destro the Church from within. A passing thought, may the green eyed monster of jealousy be at work here? Stay vigilant before the Most Blessed Sacrament!”

    Well said, many did not live through this time as you and I, or have rose colored blinders on….Satan happy, Christ suffering….

  • The wording used by Pius V in Latin did not imply the tridentine Mass would be forever, it was from this point on. He had reformed and united the various texts and rites in his time, which meant he corrected by unifying- not theologically but liturgically his predecessors’ work. Paul V1 had the exact same authority to allow vernacular translations of the official Latin texts and kept the authority to have his Vatican offices approve them. BXV1 following JP11’s initiative followed through with the same process for re-translating the Latin into English. Some try to say falsely and to me stupidly that Apb Bugnini, a Fremason and seven protestant clergy translated the Mass texts. The whole process was as noted, each episcopal conference or at least language group had input. Ther eference to Lutheranism and Aanglicanism is so humourous- their services were translations of the medieval, Reformation Catholic texts and they have always worked with our more recent texts and imitate them. Most mainline Churches in the USA are following our three-year cycle – and their liturgical scholars are seriously dedicated to healing the rift between us. The more Catholic than the Pope Catholics who are heretical sedevacante -ists and loyal Catholics who do not like the revised translations are using wrong arguments to justify fussing at it all. I remenber serving Mass at a very solemn High Mass for Christmas in the 1950’s in a Dominican church and the priest consectrated the bread and wine while the choir was going all-out with a magnificent Sanctus. That shocked me as a teenager, and as a younger Mass server I used see some priests fly through the Latin of the readings and the Canon, there was only one, the Roman with maximum speed and no sense of reverence. I am simply stating that there is no guarantee that a priest or musicians in the latest NO translations can be less reverent than a legitimate Latin Mass celebration. A dissenting SSPX Mass celebration is unworthy of attendance.

The Non-Electability of Rick Santorum

Saturday, January 14, AD 2012

It has become accepted as a matter of fact in some circles that Rick Santorum is completely unelectable in a general election.  He is so outside the mainstream that Barack Obama would simply wipe the floor with him.  I’ve even seen it asserted by more than one commenter than Santorum wouldn’t even match Walter Mondale’s electoral vote total.

The more extreme claim is patently ludicrous to anyone even remotely familiar with America’s political landscape.  I would suggest that, at a minimum, no Republican candidate can lose the following states in the upcoming presidential election:  Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.  I’ve left out states like Alaska and West Virginia that I think are longshots for Obama as well.  That’s not exactly Mondale territory – that’s not even Dukakis bad.

Fine, you say, Santorum won’t lose every state.  He still can’t hold the line in swing states like Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Missouri and others.  He is just too extreme for these states.

Really?  So the guy who won statewide election in a leaning-Democratic swing state twice has no shot in leaning-Republican swing states?  Yes, I know that Santorum lost by 18 points the last time he ran in Pennsylvania, and that should not be so casually dismissed.  But he did win twice, and he ran as a conservative no different from the man he is now.

As for Santorum’s 18 point loss – yes, it is bad and it looks strange that someone who lost by such a large amount in his last election could possibly win the presidency.  I would just note that in November 2006 Mitt Romney’s approval rating in the state of Massachusetts stood at 34 percent.  The only reason he was not shellacked in his re-election effort is because he didn’t even attempt to run again.

Just saying.

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60 Responses to The Non-Electability of Rick Santorum

  • It has become accepted as a matter of fact in some circles that Rick Santorum is completely unelectable in a general election. He is so outside the mainstream that Barack Obama would simply wipe the floor with him. I’ve even seen it asserted by more than one commenter than Santorum wouldn’t even match Walter Mondale’s electoral vote total.

    Just out of curiosity, to whom are you referring? (In particular, who is it that fancies that Mr. Santorum would receive fewer than 13 electoral votes)?

  • Most recently, a commenter on this thread (can’t link directly, but scroll down a bit to a gentleman named Knappster). I’ve also seen this expressed by commenters on Ace of Spades and Red State. Others haven’t been quite as extreme, but have intimated that he couldn’t win many electoral votes outside of a few southern states.

    Actually, it’s a regular trope of anti-Perry folks that he couldn’t win a single state outside the deep south, to which my response is the same as it is to the anti-Santorum people.

  • In regard to Casey the Lesser and his defeat of Santorum in 2006, Santorum was up for re-election in one of the worst post-war years for Republican candidates. Casey benefited from the good will of the people of Pennsylvania had built up to his father, Bob Casey, former governor of Pennsylvania and one of the great pro-life heroes of our time. Casey the Lesser ran as pro-life, amazing as that is considering his votes subsequently in the Senate. In a blue State like Pennsylvania it is no wonder that Santorum was defeated in 2006 but that he won twice before for the Senate. In 2010 Toomey, running against a very weak Democrat candidate in the best election year for Republicans since Calvin Coolidge was President, managed to win election with only 51%. Pennsylvania is a hard state for Republicans to win state wide.

    In head to head polls against Obama, Santorum is normally only a few points behind:

  • The primary system seems so bizarre. Tromping in the cold and sometimes snow in tiny rural Iowa, then onto the small state of NH, then onto South Carolina. Why not have a little longer shot at it, one same-date primary, pour the cash into national and regional ads as detrmined and vote. It would be a way of eliminating the long-drawn out primaries, tedious ads, waste of cash on the early primaries. I look as an outsider now to the US scene which we still watch faithfully on local and USA TV. There is a lot to be said here for the five weeks maximum allowed in the UK system as in others which allows the parties and candidates time to get their messages across. Big help comes from the generous use of the People’s airwaves for public purposes. No doubt the land masses are smaller, but there is overall not that much different in the overall breakdown of the entire USA when one balances rural, urban, farming, manifacturing and religious groups and not to overlook the unemployed and foreclosed.

  • He won a moderate state 12 years ago. Bush won 12 years ago. You think Bush would be electable today on that basis? A lot can happen in 12 years. I think too much is made of the 18 point loss but a 12-year old win is even less relevant.

    I dont’ wanna say I told you so but the latest polls have Romney surging. There was no ceiling. Or rather there’s a ceiling but it’s pretty high.

  • I think the best primary reform would be to move the first primary to something like May.

    As to Santorum’s electability, unless Gingrich drops out before SC and every one of his supporters moves to Santorum, Romney’s got the nomination 95% sewed up. Taking it a step further, unless Gingrich drops out before FL and all of his supporters go to Santorum, Romney sweeps the primaries. I’d prefer to see Santorum win, but I’m fine with Romney, and anyway, like I’ve said before, I’m in Maryland and have no say in the electoral process.

    The most amusing thing about a Romney 51-state primary sweep would be the number of pundits with egg on their faces.

  • “I dont’ wanna say I told you so but the latest polls have Romney surging.”

    Of course you want to say “I told you so” RR! However, as Lincoln noted, the hen is the wisest of birds: she only cackles after the egg is lain. Let us see how Romney fares in South Carolina in actual voting.

  • “You think Bush would be electable today on that basis?”

    Actually my guess is that Bush could beat Obama today. I would also note that Bush 43 was unable to win Pennsylvania in 2000, when Santorum was re-elected to his second term in the Senate.

  • I think the punditry we saw will be typical going forward. First, they’ll say that Republicans always get behind the next-in-line early. When polls don’t confirm that, they’ll say that extremist Republicans have highjacked the party and are about to nominate an incompetent racist homophobe. Former Republicans will express how disappointed that the next-in-line hasn’t sewn up the nomination and how the party has left them. Then, the next-in-line actually becomes the inevitable nominee and having already cast him as the moderate in the race, pundits suddenly change tune and say he’s the extremist. They’ll say he changed and as proof offer cherry picked statements made in the 80’s. In the end, everyone will vote for the party they were always going to vote for and the independent swing voters will pick the guy they wanna have a beer with.

  • “Why not… one same-date primary, pour the cash into national and regional ads as detrmined and vote. It would be a way of eliminating the long-drawn out primaries, tedious ads, waste of cash on the early primaries…..”
    WHY in the world would we want to do that? That would make it more difficult or impossible impossible for a person like Santorum to get any traction, or for actual voters to get to know what they themselves think of the candidate. You would have to have big money and media before you started! What is wrong with devoting some time to the process and taking it to the regular folks? esp. since the three early states are apparently different social political demographics

  • Most recently, a commenter on this thread (can’t link directly, but scroll down a bit to a gentleman named Knappster).

    Ach. What a bucket of eels.

  • AD: “Bucket of eels.” Good imagery!

    Pray for the best: anybody but Obama. Prepare for the worst: it is all over. Obama re-elected.

    My agenda: Trust in God. Strategic investing: gold, guns and whiskey. Go to Canadian Consulate. Ask for immigration papers. Fish and hunt up there all year round.

  • I thought John McCain was an awful candidate; his team was reactive, petty, and clueless on messaging. He was unable to articulate even rudimentary elements of a political vision for the country, much less successfully respond to candidate Obama’s. The Republican base despised him and he was running in the worst year for a Republican in the last 30.

    And he got 46% of the vote and lost by 7.

    I believe Santorum would lose to Obama; I believe Romney will probably lose (55%-60% chance). But with the way the parties have sorted themselves on ideological lines over the last thirty years, we’re just not going to see Mondale-style defeats for the foreseeable future. And we certainly won’t see them this year with the economy struggling and Obama required by circumstances to run an overwhelmingly negative campaign. All that said, I am relieved that Santorum won’t be the nominee; his extremely hawkish foreign policy suggests to me that he has learned very little from the last ten years.

  • I still defend the ida of having a set number of months, drop the early, a-typical primary states. I forget who it was but decades ago a commentator on the US scene said that if one was dropped blind-folded into any major city of the nation, they would look alike. The people buy the same products, attend the worship style they prefer- many even have switched denominations more than was experienced as late as the 60s. They are “formed” by, or “seduced” by the same TV commercials for food as for political candidates. People are not as loyal to “brands” for faith or food or political candidates as they once were. Use the TV to air the candidates’ views, cut the 30/60 second TV and radio spots and let the nation decide. The obscene amounts needed for any major election today are turning the voters into Pavlov’s dogs or the old Hidden Persuaders of Mc Luhan”s mich simpler days before 24/7 media, social media and often deceptive ads

  • I’ve been noticing “not electable” means “everyone believes them when they say they’re socially conservative” a decent amount of the time.

  • Actualy, RR, I think Bush would probably before electable than any of the current candidates and would beat Obama handily — if his name wasn’t Bush but instead some big state governor with the same positions and personality Bush came to the primary with back in 2000. Having betrayed his base on foreign policy and failed to deliver the mushy middle a magical economic turn around, the GOP ought to have a walk in the park if they had a candidate that basically acceptable.

  • From Victor Davis Hanson:

    “When you think about it, Obama has kept the detention camp at Guantanamo. He’s going ahead with military tribunals. And where Bush only waterboarded three terrorists, Obama has used drones to execute about 2,600.

    “Obama’s sort of growing on me.”

    Seems all that charity, justice and peace stuff was cynical political posturing.

  • Darwin, in 2000, Bush was for a carbon tax and federal education standards. Betrayed his base on foreign policy? The base was for the Iraq War.

  • RR, Darwin was referring to Obama’s betrayal of his base on foreign policy.

  • One thing I do enjoy in regard to Rick Santorum’s run: it certainly brings the anti-Catholic bigots out of the woodwork for easy identification.

  • No wait! There is no longer any doubt that the Obama regime has committed war crimes. The only question is when Obama will be held to account.

  • I thought John McCain was an awful candidate…And he got 46% of the vote and lost by 7.

    Did you ask yourself about the performance of other candidates in that set of circumstances? Prior to 1950, it was fairly common for political parties to be granted a third turn at presidential wheel. Not so since, where the incumbent party has done so once in seven attempts. The situations most analogous to that faced by John McCain were in 1952 and 1968; McCain’s performance did not compare unfavorably to either that of Adlai Stevenson or Hubert Humphrey. It was helpful to McCain that the Democratic candidate was a gossamer figure and the wrong color for a small contingent of their usual electorate; it hurt McCain that seven firms at the commanding heights of our financial sector went into crisis smack in the middle of his campaign. Call it a wash.

    I believe Santorum would lose to Obama; I believe Romney will probably lose (55%-60% chance).

    John Henry the Greek posits something with little precedent. The mean unemployment rate during this administration has been the highest of any in the last seventy years; the rate of growth in production has been the lowest of all bar one since 1932; public sector borrowing as a share of domestic income has each year exceeded that of any year on record outside of the 2d World War; and social survey research indicates that the incumbent is regarded with a disapproval more persistent and intense than that of any post-war president bar Jimmy Carter. Given that we are thirty-one months into the current business cycle and facing God-knows-what in the Eurozone, I do not think we are due for a sudden burst of rapid economic growth to save the incumbent’s bacon. If this man is returned to office, it will be a tour-de-force.

  • Commentary I’ve read said the curious point of the 2006 election is Santorum’s loss margin to a weaker candidate. I am surprised he lost considering how much federal money he brought to the state.

    I think all the candidates, except Ron Paul, is electable to varying degrees.

  • Santorum supported embryonic stem cell research? What’s an “altered human embryo?” Even if this does not destroy new embryos, the research, if successful would lead to the farming of embryos IMO.

    “Santorum and Specter team up on stem-cell bill The compromise measure would involve creating altered embryos as a source for the material.”

  • Without more detail than the article has, he may have been promoting IPSCs. I’ll see what I can find.

  • K, what the bill supported was “Altered Nuclear Transfer with Oocyte Assisted Reprogramming.” Mary meets Dolly, a great go-to site for anything Catholic and cloning related, only opposes it because it involves treating women as a resource. (She’s good about calling folks out on redefining stuff out of existence, like claiming a cloned embryo is different than a non-cloned one.)

    Me, I don’t like ANT-OAR, but some folks that she holds as having very solid chops in the pro-life area thought it was just fine.

  • Santorum also voted for funding birth control. He justified it by saying that it including funding for a lot of other stuff.

  • RR-
    anyone who’s ever voted to fund the military has “voted for funding for birth control.” Did you have something more specific in mind? When I search for Santorum birth control all that comes up is a bunch of liberal fear mongering about him making it illegal.


    So it’s okay to vote for birth control as long as you’re not voting for it for the birth control? Does the same apply to abortion funding?

  • Have you go something BESIDES a shaky, odd-angle youtube video?

    If you can’t boil down what you’re saying he did into specific claims, why should I spend the time trying to make your case?

  • You want me to provide you with a transcript? The video is less than 2 minutes!

  • Darwin, in 2000, Bush was for a carbon tax and federal education standards. Betrayed his base on foreign policy? The base was for the Iraq War.

    Yeah, sorry for the lack of clarity, that clause was meant to refer to Obama: “Having betrayed his base on foreign policy and failed to deliver the mushy middle a magical economic turn around, Obama should be eminently beatable for the GOP, if they had a candidate that basically acceptable.”

    So it’s okay to vote for birth control as long as you’re not voting for it for the birth control? Does the same apply to abortion funding?

    Well, let’s see… There’s the difference that birth control doesn’t involve killing someone.

    While I consider the use of birth control to be immoral, I don’t see its inclusion in spending bills as being the sort of massive issue that funding abortion is. Just because they’re both things that Catholics aren’t supposed to do does not mean that they’re the same.

  • I didn’t say they’re the same. So it’s just a matter of degree?

  • No, it’s a matter of kind.

  • So funding immoral activity is permissible as long as it’s not murder?

  • Straw Man alert! Straw Man alert!

    Here is a handy dandy link to a first rate list and description of logical fallacies:

    Learn ’em and Love ’em. They could revolutionize com box discourse! Or not.

    Ad Hominem
    Ad Hominem Tu Quoque
    Appeal to Authority
    Appeal to Belief
    Appeal to Common Practice
    Appeal to Consequences of a Belief
    Appeal to Emotion
    Appeal to Fear
    Appeal to Flattery
    Appeal to Novelty
    Appeal to Pity
    Appeal to Popularity
    Appeal to Ridicule
    Appeal to Spite
    Appeal to Tradition
    Begging the Question
    Biased Sample
    Burden of Proof
    Circumstantial Ad Hominem
    Confusing Cause and Effect
    False Dilemma
    Gambler’s Fallacy
    Genetic Fallacy
    Guilt By Association
    Hasty Generalization
    Ignoring A Common Cause
    Middle Ground
    Misleading Vividness
    Personal Attack
    Poisoning the Well
    Post Hoc
    Questionable Cause
    Red Herring
    Relativist Fallacy
    Slippery Slope
    Special Pleading
    Straw Man
    Two Wrongs Make A Right

  • You want me to provide you with a transcript? The video is less than 2 minutes!

    No, I want you to state your specific accusation, preferably in the form of “Santorum voted for X bill(s).” Either the video has that information, in which case I don’t know why you didn’t just say what it is, or it’s rather nebulous, in which case I’m not wasting time building your case.

    Generally, when that information isn’t forthcoming, someone along the line for the claim decided that the specific facts weakened their case. Sometimes it’s just to try to get people to waste time, and a few times I’ve seen it used to drive up views on a video, but those are less common…..

    Incidentally, yes, I’d say that contraception is different than slaughtering children. Lovely red herring, though.

  • I don’t know what bill. In the video, Santorum says he voted for a bill that contained funding for birth control. He says he opposes funding for birth control but the bill contained funding for other stuff so he voted for it. What more do you need?

    Yes, contraception is different from abortion. That’s missing the point. Is it permissible to vote to fund immoral activity? Why is nobody able to answer that? If your position is yes, it’s permissible to fund immoral activity but abortion is so bad that it’s almost never permissible to fund it, just say so!

  • I don’t know what bill. In the video, Santorum says he voted for a bill that contained funding for birth control. He says he opposes funding for birth control but the bill contained funding for other stuff so he voted for it. What more do you need?

    As I pointed out, anyone who’s ever voted to fund the military has voted for a bill with contraception funding in it. The details DO matter.

    Why is nobody able to answer that?

    Strawman again. Just because we’re not going to run and do what you think we should do for a point you didn’t even bother to state until now– why do you expect us to drag everything out for you?– doesn’t mean we can’t do something.

    I don’t feel any need to sprint down rabbit holes at your whim, thanks. Rather tiring how it takes, what, three posts for you to clarify your accusation to “Santorum says he voted for a bill that included birth control funding.” (Which is still too nebulous, but better than the original.)

  • I don’t feel any need to sprint down rabbit holes at your whim, thanks.

    What she said.

  • Yes, contraception is different from abortion. That’s missing the point. Is it permissible to vote to fund immoral activity? Why is nobody able to answer that? If your position is yes, it’s permissible to fund immoral activity but abortion is so bad that it’s almost never permissible to fund it, just say so!

    Your phrase “permissible to vote to fund an immoral activity” strikes me as assuming a cleanliness that almost never exists in the real world of a democratic republic — especially as large and messy as our own.

    In the abstract, if one is faced with a choice which is simply:

    a) Fund immoral activity X
    b) Do not fund immoral activity X

    I would assume that the answer would always be B). However, in the real world, funding bills tend to cover a variety of things, good, bad and unknown. I imagine that every funding bill funds immoral activity. After all, most people manage to act in an immoral way most of the time. The question would be: How immoral is the act. How directly am I supporting the act. What positive things am I achieving by voting for this particular bill which contains both good and bad things, and how do the good and bad elements of it weigh out.

    As such decisions go, I would tend to weigh something like abortion (or euthanasia, or eugenic forced sterilization, or genocide, etc.) so highly that few other concerns would be capable of causing pragmatic support. With contraception, however, I’m more inclined (given the society that we’re dealing with) to assume a classical liberalism kind of approach and leave these choices up to individual people. Do I think it’s wrong of them to choose to use contraception? Yes. Would I support forcing it on anyone? Absolutely not. Can I see providing funds to make contraception available as part of a medical care to those who choose to use it in a liberal democracy in which the majority of people do not consider it wrong — yeah, that’s a compromise that I consider worth making. That are levels of error I see it as worth using force to prevent and levels or error I think it’s worth while to allow.

  • The present Pope as head of the CDF used common sense to state the obviously simple. One can vote for a candidate who favours abortion IF one looks at the package of issues in the election, weighs them and the other candidates’ views and decides. The wording is mkine, the reasoining is his. Discernment is called for obviously as the Consistent Ethic of Life is assumed and one does not as a practical Catholic Christian vote for abortion as “choice” if one is so persuaded. Knowledge of the “Seamless Garment” image of the late Cardinal of Chicago USA and the Lordship of Jesus over all Life are presumed. As noted above birth control which is morally evil according to the OT and abortion which is against Natural Law and indiscriminate divorce and re-marriage were once all illegal in the USA. We in Europe have a different political system in that the two houses of Government and a President as in the US can be of different parties and must agree or come to a negotiated decision. The winning PM here is head of the majority party and so that party has more control over taxation, public assistance. The President is not elected in Europe as in the US from a specific party to continue in that office which is honourary at that point. He/she asks the Supreme Court to decide if a proposed law is constitututional so there is none of the layers of courts and appeals and fear of turning the Supreme Court majority to favour abortion or reverse it as is such a crass element in the USA today.

  • That charity, justice and peace stuff is little more than cynical political posturing to buy political power and advance abortion – the Democrat Prime Directive.

    How’s that justice and peace working for you? Since January 2009, more Americans are hopeless and poor.

    And, according to a Pew survey, 67% of Americans hate other Americans because they think the they stole from them.

    Obama must go.

  • Thanks, Darwin and HT. So it’s as I suspected. It’s not formal cooperation if done for other proportional reasons.

    But Darwin, you say, “Would I support forcing it on anyone? Absolutely not.”

    If there was a standalone bill to ban contraception, why wouldn’t you support it? For pragmatic reasons? E.g., inefficient use of law enforcement resources.

  • It’s not formal cooperation if done for other proportional reasons.

    Not being a moral theologian, I’m not going to comment on whether something is “formal cooperation” or not. I’m simply going to say at an everyday moral and political level that I think there’s a lot more room to see proportional reasons for voting for a package of spending that includes funding for an evil such as birth control than there is to see proportional reasons to vote for funding abortion.

    But Darwin, you say, “Would I support forcing it on anyone? Absolutely not.”

    If there was a standalone bill to ban contraception, why wouldn’t you support it? For pragmatic reasons? E.g., inefficient use of law enforcement resources.

    First, let me clarify that when I said: Do I think it’s wrong of them to choose to use contraception? Yes. Would I support forcing it on anyone? Absolutely not. Can I see providing funds to make contraception available as part of a medical care to those who choose to use it in a liberal democracy in which the majority of people do not consider it wrong — yeah, that’s a compromise that I consider worth making.

    The “it” I was referring to was contraception, not my belief that contraception is wrong. I would consider it far worse to supply funding to eugenic efforts that force birth control or sterilization on people against their will than to supply funding that made birth control available to people who wanted it. I could see the possibility of realistic compromise on the latter, but not the former.

    If there were a standalone bill to ban contraception in a country such as the modern US, I would not support it, because I think it would be an inefficient (and probably futile) use of state power. Back in 1900, when birth control was illegal in most of the US and those bans were generally supported, I would certainly have supported keeping them in place.

    The reason why I can see more flexibility on this kind of issue is that people who use birth control are primarily hurting themselves. People who use abortion are seeking to kill another. So in addition to the fact that murder is a worse evil than sexual impurity, abortion is an attack on one person by another rather than an attack on one person by that person himself. Interpersonal wrongs are typically things that are much more addressable by the law than personal wrongs.

  • Darwin, I think we’re in complete agreement, which should scare you.

  • The struggle for Truth, Justice and the American Way will intensify and progress no matter who wins. The state, with the authentic authority to defend virtue and condemn vice, is constituted by the sovereign personhood of the newly begotten human being brought into existence by our Creator.

  • The pro-contraceptive, pro-abortion, pro-transhumanism, pro-genetic exploitation Republican leaders in places of power and amplified arenas like DC and NYC and the press don’t like Santorum. These so-called conservatives are so beaten down by their sins, they’re trying to do what we all do. Crucify and ignore good. If they can succeed in making everyone as bad as they are, or at least squashing any sign of goodness that enters into their view, they hope their guilt will dissipate. They should learn from us other sinners that ignoring, crucifying and placing goodness and the guilt of our failures into the deep dark caves of our mind and covering them with boulders of vice and lies won’t stop the resurrection of God’s love for us and calls to repent.

  • At this point, whether or not Santorum gets elected has less to do now with what he says or does, and more to do with what we do and say!
    It is fun to discuss and debate at arm’s length- but it would be helpful if we put all that brainpower to a strategy and a willingness to help transform this election!
    Looking back at some encyclicals Leo 13, B15, Pius 12– lots of the troubles of world are not laid at the feet of those amorphous “others” but at the feet of the Catholic
    and… think Lepanto

  • My election philosophy is to avoid seeking a “saviour, ” a white-hatted cowboy coming to route the enemy. The ultimate goal is to create a citizenry where the majority demands out of conviction that all human dignity is sacred and legislation and policy reflects that. War, taxation, health care, foreign aid, human rights at home and abroad, the death penalty and the fiundamental right to life in the womb. So often it seems to me the Church’s bishops and their state conferences lobby government and preach only on abortion, that is too often how it comes across, as people do not “listen” outside election years. It hurts as that consistent education is not carried out in the Liturgy as various incidents and readings are proclaimed throughout the year. Sermons on abortion are not really all that helpful as the “choir is already converted” as they say. The whole congregations needs to be moved in that sacredness of life lesson. No need to talk about abortion in Advent and Christmas. Jesus becoming a God-Man is powerful enough to convince us of His Love and life as precious Gift. Faith not head knowledge converts us, so work on the Liturgy and Grace, including biblically rooted lessons in homilies are the key to its growth in our heads and hearts.

  • I stand by the view that Santorum is unelectable but watching tonight’s debate, it’s become clear to me that he’s the most moderate Republican, now that Huntsman is out. That was an impressive performance. On every issue, he stood to the left of all the others (except Paul on foreign policy). He wants the highest tax rate of all the candidates. 28%, the same as Huntsman. Instead of unfunded entitlements like Newt and the status quo like Romney, Santorum wants to cut entitlements for the wealthy. He wants ex-cons to vote. He would not strip US citizens of habeus corpus. He would continue foreign aid, without question. The issues on which he’s perceived to be a right-wing extreme, gay rights and birth control, he’s no more extremist than the others. He has said he would not ban them and he’s even voted for birth control.

    Add the fact that he’s intelligent, articulate, genuine, and actually understands how Washington works and he’s the most appealing candidate. I still disagree with him on his industrial policy and reintroducing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but I disagree with the others on many more issues.

  • “My election philosophy is to avoid seeking a “saviour, ” a white-hatted cowboy coming to route the enemy. The ultimate goal is to create a citizenry where the majority demands out of conviction that all human dignity is sacred and legislation and policy reflects that. War, taxation, health care, foreign aid, human rights at home and abroad, the death penalty and the fiundamental right to life in the womb.”

    I agree. Which is why the last election was a disaster. Obama and his efforts at establishing a European social democracy in America is clearly on multiple levels a failure of authentic Catholic Social Justice. The false utopianism of the left is coming home to roost in the debt crisis of the failed European system which now threatens the American recovery.

    On to pragmatically guided policies that take into account the actual human condition.

  • PHLLIP; The European economic crisis is absolutely tied to the USA disaster. Banks and the over-bloated property market here were led by gamblers. and followed the same US pattern of sub-prime mortgage loans- same as the USA Secretary Geitner came here from the USA to Europe and forced the nations here to pay all the bond-holders here, banks and insurance companies and the ECB ( central bank) forced it all to be repaid, partly on his direction, and the EEC ( commission) say the governments cannot write it down or negotiate it, some are trying to negotiate some of that debt from the later bail-out money caused by the 100 % payment of the bond holders, The UK and Ireland Greek and Italian governments are pushing severe austerity without growth in the economy which is added pain for the most vulnerable. The Banks which are paid up are not afraids to loan money as in the USA. The Global Village is totally interconnected. For better and for worse!

  • “Banks and the over-bloated property market here were led by gamblers. and followed the same US pattern of sub-prime mortgage loans…”

    Then who is the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who follows the fool? Seems again like Europes problems are problems of their own making.

  • Yes- gambling, greed and such are common to flawed human nature. I am not a student of economics or world finances, a family member is. I am into the Humanities, the religious aspect of it all and feel it when anyone is in trouble, especially when austerity hurts those who are down already before the recovery takes off. I hope all the “experts” hide the Keynes textbook, and learn from this Great Depression Rerun, minus some corrections undertaken back then. Do you foresee any severe austerity hitting the US economy or will it recover first? As I also noted earlier, the whole Ethic of Life is part of my concern, the “personal morality” as it were ( which does include others for some immorality) and the social-moral community which embraces all of everything in our human experience and aloving concern for all of Creation,

  • I am also concerned with the Ethic of Life. I believe there is personal virtue of which justice governs the relationship with others. I believe there is morality in the community which is the sum of personal virtue or vice.

    I believe our differences are more of practical application than of belief.

  • PHILLIP I did not sense any conflict between us on the essential points. it took me a while to oppose the death penalty decades ago, and to realise that money spent on war was stolen from the human needs in too many cases. The old principles for war established by St Augustine in the fifth century are still valid, TALK first, proportionate means, no evil to get a good accomplised. JESUS of course said t first in the Beatitudes, meant for us all, not some monastic community. Sherman put it well also, WAR IS HELL!

  • Again I don’t believe we differ on principles taught by the Church. Only on specific prudential applications.

  • I intended to make that clear. I came slowly as a police chief’s son to see the death penalty as opposed to what us today seen as the Gospel of Life, I am referring to the 1970s at this point, also came slowly to see the futility of war. I was surrounded by a very conservative culture. That is why I am a bit impatient at times with many Catholics who were not taught the Gospel of Life in their formative years and some do not understand that it takes a conversion of heart process, not just a “head” lesson. That is why on another site I advocate a regular use of the Liturgy to see the sacredness of life, starting with JESUS becoming one of us at Christmas, to become THE IMAGE of the Unseen God , we are all IMAGES as GENESIS says but we were brought up to see other groups- Protestants, blacks, “Commies” “pinkos” and of late Islam with no distinction between the violent extremists and the majority as decent humans. Conversion is a matter of Grace and being open to it, some take longer, some never accept it and allow “the same mind as was in Christ Jesus to replace our own Aadam-Eve prode- I love PHIL 2:6-11 as a powerful lesson for wnat Jesus did and I need to!

Theme From Glory

Saturday, January 14, AD 2012

Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters US, let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder, and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth or under the earth which can deny that he has earned the right of citizenship in the United States.

                                                               Frederick Douglass

Something for the weekend.  The theme from the movie Glory (1989), which tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first black regiments raised by the Union in the Civil War;   a superb historical film and a long overdue salute to the black Union troops who helped preserve this nation.

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One Response to Theme From Glory

The Lemon Test Strikes Again!

Friday, January 13, AD 2012


Senior Federal District Judge Ronald Lagueux, a 1986 Reagan appointee, has ordered the Cranston High School in Cranston, Rhode Island to remove a mural, pictured above, depicting a school prayer.  The mural had been in the school since 1963.  The suit, as is usual in these modern iconoclastic cases, was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of an atheist student and her father, Mark Ahlquist.  Jessica Ahlquist, the 16 year old atheist who brought the suit, has become an atheist celeb on atheist sites on the internet.  She doesn’t think much of the Catholic Church, is indeed a fallen away Catholic, and Cranston is 90% Catholic, so this suit was her way, actually I suspect more her father’s way, to poke a stick in the eye of local Catholics.  Go here to read the opinion.  Judge Lagueux’s decision is notable for its overall reliance on the Lemon test, and I will leave to Justice Scalia below to set forth my views of that court created doctrine.

In few areas of the law has the Constitution been more twisted and deformed than in the area of First Amendment allowance of religious expression in schools.  Justice Scalia gave a useful summary in 1993 in the Lamb’s Chapel v. Moriches Union Free School District case:

As to the Court’s invocation of the Lemon test: Like some ghoul in a late night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again, frightening thelittle children and school attorneys of Center Moriches Union Free School District.

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18 Responses to The Lemon Test Strikes Again!

  • Scalia’s opinion here is one of my favorites, along with his dissent in Casey. The sarcasm just drips, but it’s well-merited. It’s hard to come up with a more asinine legal doctrine than the Lemon Test. That it survives to this day is both astounding and revolting.

  • It is a pity they did not take down the Heavenly Father two words, replaccew it with a suggestion that the viewer take a moment of silence. That would have ruled out the “Christian” Prayer distraction. It was also sad to see the pro-prayer people be so insulting and judgmental to the anti-prayer crowd but delightful to see the pro-prayer people rebuke them. The whole argument from Lemon was sad, I thought the “Supremes” had abondoned that test outright as I followed the First Amendment dicussions. The separate Church/State argument is being thrown up in Europe now a lot. There is a brewing cultural war in the UK as the PM called for more ethcs in public life recently, echoing one presumes the talks B XV1 gave on the occcasion of his State visit in 2010 . In asking for a return to same, HH repeated that call in an extremely well-crafted talk in his more recent State visit to Germany which was very well received by the Bundestag. So tragic that the simple intent of the Founders was to avoid an Established Church as Mr Jefferson had to deal with first in Virginia. Now an anti-religion former Catholic female, now a high schooler, wins a case for the ACLU to promote her anti-religion agenda iN a case that was supposedly decided to prevent a pro-faith bias by the school. The judge also spelled “mantle” as mantel, easy error to make, in my view not as egregious as his “Lemon” decision, pun intended!

  • The establishment clause should not even apply to local schools. There is no way that one can justify the incorporation of the establishment clause using “due process” or “privileges and immunities.”

  • I thought the principle was that since the achool board and teachers were “goverment” they were “establishing” religion. It makes no sense as the Founders named the CREATOR in the Preamble and the coins have in God we Trust. That one CA Federal Court decided against the Pledge- since it has UNDER GOD in it, for grade schools, but it never went anywhere as the father did not have custody of his daughter who brought the case.

  • Actually, I wouldn’t want my Catholic children saying this “power of positive thinking” kind of prayer. We Catholics always pray “through Christ our Lord,” which this prayer does not. We Catholics pray “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” which this prayer does not. No disrespect intended to those of any other religion. I want my kids growing up to pray like Catholics pray. I don’t want the public school teaching them another way of praying.

  • “Actually, I wouldn’t want my Catholic children saying this “power of positive thinking” kind of prayer.”

    Then vote that way at local schoolboard elections. My problem is having Federal judges acting as “prayer police” in schools because of some sort of constitutional prohibition of prayers in public schools which simply does not exist from the text of the document. We started down this path of course largely because of the influence of Justice Hugo Black, an anti-Catholic bigot, who feared the influence of the Church.

  • Harold,

    I agree about praying in Jesus name and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, I find nothing wrong in the petitions raised to God our Father in this prayer. I wish I had those positive thinking characteristics and practiced them consistently and always. Sadly, I fail.

  • An interesting look at the Catholic Church and the US Supreme Court by Professor James Hitchcock:

  • Thats a very nice prayer, I wish it were hanging in my son’s school. I think I won’t comment on the father bringing this case, my blood pressure is raised enough.

  • Indeed Jasper. I have nothing but sympathy for the 16 year old girl who I doubt is mature enough to understand the issues involved.

  • When she is in front of God, as well as her father, they can point out the great work they did in getting a prayer off a school wall. Hopefully they will go on and on about how injurious it was for her to glance at it in the hall way. How she had a right not to look at it and deny all of the other children the any chance of seeing a prayer without any reference to God in it. How wishing good will among classmates is harmful and wanting to do your best and yet show grace when things don’t go your way is restricting and burdensome. Oh, how triumphant they were to have the court agree with them. Hopefully she is not showing too much glee as she walks the school hallway.

  • One presumes at age 16 “God is not finished with her yet” which is true for all of us at any age whether Catholic or atheist or agnostic. She may end up as many former abortionists do, get a profound conversion experience and become a First Aamendment lawyer and join in suits against the more expreme ACLU positions. That makes more sense to me than trying as so many of the pro-prayer people did, to question her standing before the Last Judgmen in their un-Christian defence of a prayer that was neutral and very positive, but was judged to be the establishment of a religion by mentioning Heavenly Father. As I recall, “GOD BLESS THIS HONOURABLE COURT” is a ritual at the Supreme Court itself. Wonder if a future Hugo Black will find that un-constitutional as well as the daily prayer in Congress and on and on.

  • Atheists are the only Americans that are allowed to use laws to advance their religious beliefs.

  • Jessica Ahlquist, the 16 year old atheist who brought the suit, has become an atheist celeb on atheist sites on the internet.

    I think we have an early candidate for TIME’s person of the year.

  • Any person who repudiates our founding principles set forth in The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, repudiates his own unalienable civil rights. When one person is denied civil rights, all persons are denied civil rights. Therefore, the atheist, denying all unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, denies his own unalienable rights endowed by our CREATOR and has forfeit his legal standing in a court of law. Yes, a person is free to be an atheist, but the atheist is not free to deny any other person’s right to free expression of his response to the gift of Faith from God.

  • When an atheist says: “I AM an atheist”, the atheist uses God’s name: “I AM”, in vain and contradicts himself. Jesus said: “My Father gives testimony to me and my works give testimony to me.” two witnesses establish a judicial fact.

  • Clever try Mary de Voe but I do not think it applies. What does apply however is why and how does he or any atheist that he/she explain how anyone can say ” I am?”.Just how did I get to have “is-ness,” and from whence and is there an end to it here or later! Normal human beings in quiet moments and waking up at night and in sickness ask those questions. That is why we pray for those who have not experrienced God, they have found Him in different ways but not “seen” Him yet, that takes Faith, not intelligence and education by themselves.

January 13, 1862: Letter From Mudd

Friday, January 13, AD 2012

Orestes A. Brownson, a Catholic convert, was the greatest Catholic writer of mid-Nineteenth Century America.  He published Brownson’s Quarterly Journal, an influential and popular magazine which examined the political, cultural and literary scene of the America of its time.  One hundred and fifty years ago one of his subscribers sat down and wrote him a letter.  Dr. Samuel Mudd was an unknown figure at the time, but just over three years hence all of America would know his name as the physician who  treated the assassin John Wilkes Booth after he had slain President Lincoln.  Mudd was arrested in the aftermath of the assassination.  Mudd claimed to be completely innocent.  However, at his trial evidence was presented that established that Mudd had contacts with Booth in late 1864.  What they talked about is lost to history.  Evidence by Mudd’s former slaves helped establish that Mudd had been part of the conspiracy.  He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, escaping the death penalty by a single vote.

Mudd was held for four years at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.  During a yellow fever epidemic in 1867 the prison doctor died and Mudd volunteered to take his place.  His efforts helped stem the outbreak and the soldiers at the fort wrote a petition to President Johnson asking for clemency for Mudd: He inspired the hopeless with courage and by his constant presence in the midst of danger and infection…. [Many] doubtless owe their lives to the care and treatment they received at his hands.  Due to this, and the ceaseless efforts of his defense attorney Thomas W. Ewing, Jr. who was influential with the Johnson administration, on February 8, 1869 Johnson pardoned Mudd.  Since Mudd’s release there have been continuing efforts to clear his name.  In 1992 my former Congressman, Republican Thomas Ewing, co-sponsored with Steny Hoyer, Democrat Maryland, House bill 1885 to overturn the conviction of Mudd.  The bill failed in committee.

Here is the text of Mudd’s letter to Brownson:

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4 Responses to January 13, 1862: Letter From Mudd

Bp. Ochoa’s Legal Action Against Fr. Michael Rodriguez (UPDATED)

Thursday, January 12, AD 2012

UPDATE IV:  Fr. Michael Rodriguez Releases a Second Press Release

UPDATE III:  Excellent synopsis at the El Paso Times

UPDATE IIBishops Ochoa Press Release 2012 01 11 – PDF

UPDATE I:  Court Documents: Bp. Ochoa Lawsuit Filed Against Fr. Rodriguez – PDF

Bishop Armando Ochoa of the Diocese of El Paso has raised serious accusations against Fr. Michael Rodriguez, the brave priest who stood up for the sanctity of marriage at the El Paso city council, by filing a legal action against Fr. Rodriguez due to alleged financial misconduct.

Fr. Michael Rodriguez has released the following statement:

It is unfortunate that Bishop Armando Ochoa, Administrator of the Diocese of El Paso and no longer our bishop, has decided to pursue legal action against me.  Such legal action is unjust.

Over the course of 9 1/2 years as the parish priest of San Juan Bautista Catholic Church, I poured my heart and soul into caring for this parish, both in terms of temporal goods, and especially spiritual goods.  I’m confident that hundreds of my former parishioners will eagerly testify to this.

In his January 11, 2012, press release, Bishop Ochoa stated, “Fr. Rodríguez’s handling and use of donated funds has compromised the financial integrity of San Juan Bautista.”  This is not true.  Bishop Ochoa’s statement also refers to “Fr. Rodríguez’s mishandling of funds.”  Again, this is not true.  I have always honored, respected, and made good use of the financial patrimony of San Juan Bautista.  I stake my entire reputation on this claim.

On September 20, 2011, I opened my heart to my bishop, like a son to a father, and was completely honest and forthcoming with him as to the financial affairs of San Juan Bautista.  I told him everything.  He chose not to believe me.  For the past four months, my canon lawyer has made repeated efforts to resolve this matter with Most Rev. Armando Ochoa, and he has refused.

I have a great love for my former parish of San Juan Bautista, and my former parishioners.  I am ready to fight for and defend them, whatever the cost.  I am also ready to protect my own good name and reputation.  I have never misappropriated or misused parish funds.

Finally, I am convinced that the real reason for my former bishop’s actions against me is due to my defense of the Catholic Church’s teaching with regard to homosexuality as well as my adherence to the Roman Liturgy of 1962.  If necessary, I will present prodigious evidence to support this contention.

I will continue to do my best to be a good and holy priest, no matter the cost.  I will continue to proclaim and teach the truths of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the area of sexual morality, no matter the cost.  I will continue to adhere to the Ancient Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, no matter the cost.  Please keep me in your prayers during this difficult trial.  Please entrust me and my priesthood to the loving protection of Sancta Dei Genetrix, the Most Holy Mother of God.

Thank you and may the good Lord bless you as this joyous Christmas season continues.

End of statement.

This news is just coming in as I type this.  The El Paso Diocesan website has crashed where the bishops press release originates from.  When I am rested early tomorrow morning, I will transcribe the PDF file that I have of this press release in full.

Let us pray for all involved.

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37 Responses to Bp. Ochoa’s Legal Action Against Fr. Michael Rodriguez (UPDATED)

  • Pingback: . . .Bishop Ochoa Sues Fr. Michael Rodriguez. . . |
  • Sadly, I am unsurprised. In the end, the bishop will have to answe to God for doing what he is doing. Pray for our bishops and priests.

    I am absolutely flabbergasted and outraged. 🙁 The liberals in the Church have decided to do dirty fighting.

  • Why, on earth, would a christian, let alone a bishop(!), sue a brother in Christ? I am inclined, though not knowing all the ins and outs of the situation, to think that because the bishop has moved the issue into the public legal arena and is making such irresponsible attacks on a priest, who by the way has publicly suffered for defending the Church’s teaching while the Bishop fell short on defending doctrine, that the bishop has an axe to grind.

    We’ll see.

  • Pingback: Fr Michael Rodriguez Being Sued by Bishop Armando Ochoa « Fr Stephen Smuts Blog
  • Meanwhile, at the Archdiocese of Washington, DC blog, Msgr. Pope hides us all for difficulties we may be having in trusting our bishops. What strange times we’re living in. Oremus pro invicem.

  • That should say “Msgr. Pope chides . . . “

  • Is this the bishop who had two ordinations in ten years in his diocese?

  • Dunno. The report in the El Paso papers listed complaints that were disconcertingly specific. Most were penny ante and concerned with proper procedure and good accountng practice but some were serious complaints about missing funds ($31,000 worth) and making his mother a potential beneficiary of $200,000 in parish funds. I would reserve judgment for the time being.

  • “…some were serious complaints about missing funds ($31,000 worth) and making his mother a potential beneficiary of $200,000 in parish funds. I would reserve judgment for the time being.”

    Mehercule! So it’s possible that the Bishop isn’t all wrong! Scandal and corruption grow ever deeper. 🙁

  • When accused of misdeeds, the saints humbly submitted to the authorities.

  • Some time ago when I was reading the names of the pedophile priests Archbishop Mahony of L.A. was handling in the lawsuits against the pedophile priests, I encountered with the name of a Xavier Ochoa, a pedophile priest of the the Los Angeles Diocese. I kept on tracking the website where this name appeared and found that Xavier Ochoa was sent to Mexico and later on disappeared. The same website also disappeared.

    Soon after Fr. Xavier Ochoa was totally vanished from all websites, we have a bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa consecrated by Archbishop Mahony and sent to El Paso to become the Bishop of the El Paso Diocese. I have always felt that our Bishop has some sort of dubious origin. I have always wondered why he was more affiliated to the Archbishop of L.A. instead of the Archbishop of San Antonio.

    This is a point to ponder.

  • Pinky,

    Excellent point and I agree with your point.

    Not buts, just wanted say also that what Bishop Ochoa is doing doesn’t look right.

    Matthew 5:25 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; (emphasis mine)

    Matthew 18:15-17 [step 1] If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. [step 2]If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. [step 3]But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. [step 4]If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; [step 5]and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (steps and emphasis mine)

    It looks as if, just based on the evidence in this post, that Bishop Ochoa skipped [step 3] and went straight to [step 5].

  • I suggest a comparison:

    What house does the bishop live in?
    What house does Fr. Rodriguez live in?
    What car does the bishop drive?
    What car does Fr. Rodriguez dirve?
    What kind of kitchen does the bishop eat from?
    What kind of kitchen does Fr. Rodriguez eat from?
    What kind of bed does the bishop sleep in?
    What kind of bed does Fr. Michael sleep in?
    What is the total personal wealth of the bishop? (not the diocses)
    What is the total personal wealth of Fr. Rodriguez? (not the parish)

    On a spiritual level —
    Does the bishop guide souls to heaven or hell?
    Does Fr. Michael guide souls to heaven or hell?

    How many hours does the bishop spend in the confessional?
    How many hours does Fr. Rodriguez spend in the confessional?
    How many Masses does the bishop celebrate a week?
    How many Masses does Fr. Rodriguez offer a week?
    How many Eucharistic prayer vigils does the bishop lead?
    How many Eucharistic prayer vigils does Fr. Rodriguez lead?

    Who would you trust with the eternal welfare of your soul?

  • I’m unclear as to why Bishop Ochoa felt compelled to file a civil (not criminal complaint) litigation action. That is publicly available.

    Were all other avenues exhausted? Canon Law? Was Father Rodriguez given the opportunity to make restitition and do penance? Did Father refuse?

    Here’s what pops into my sick mind.

    Bishop Ochoa has a beef with Father and is damaging Father Rodriguez’s otherwise good name by the revealing these non-public faults, not crimes or he would have gone to the DA, of which he believes Father is guilty. If Ochoa believes Father is innocent such as this is called “calumny.”

    I apologize to Msgr. Pope. Maybe it would have been better had I been not taught how to think.

  • Perhaps what is truly revealed is a complete distrust of the faithful in the willingness of their bishop to sanctify, teach, and govern them in a truly Catholic way.

    If they had confidence their bishop would let them build a church to truly glorify God
    If they had confidence their bishop would not tax them to fund activities contrary to Catholic doctrine

    there would never have been a need to keep the money from the bishop.

    It would have been the bishop working hard to improve churches in a way that would truly bring honor, glory and proper worship of God.

    I believe the suit filed is really a greater indictment against himself than the holy priest.

  • The more I read about this, the more I think we have two corrupt clerics, one a liberal Democrat looking for any opportunity to slam conservativism and orthodoxy, and the other a money launderer hiding behind the cloak of conservativism and orthodoxy.

    I could be wrong, but……………..


  • This is really the end, the nadir, of episcopal malice. Bishop Ochoa should be as thoroughly disgusted with himself as we are of him.

    This vindictive move by him does, however, throw some light on things, one of which would be his extreme sympathy with the buggery enthusiasts. Indeed it may indicate that he is more than just sympathetic to them.

    Needless to say, I won’t be holding my breath for Rome to do anything about this travesty.

  • This whole thing could be easily be resolved by Fr. Mike if he would just explain his side of the accusation of money mishandling. Most of us are not qualified accountants but this is not rocket science or corporate stock manuevering. If Fr. Mike can explain the missing $31,000 funds or show he did not receive the missing funds, and if he can show that he did not make his mother a potential beneficiary of $200,000 of parish funds then that should end the argument. It is reasonable to ask these questions since he was in charge ? If he cannot properly answer these “ifs” then there may be something to chew on here. Why don’t we ask Fr. Mike to post his comments and any proof or at least say that he is open to an accounting review to prove his point. Until then we might consider giving him the benefit of the doubt and pray that this ends well for him and the Church that has so many black eyes already. We don’t need this (amen ?).

  • I’m kind of an accountant.

    Give me three or five years of bank statements and canceled checks, paid bills/receipts, three hours, and a fifth of Dewars. I’ll tell you exactly what happened.

  • I can guarantee you that you’re not going to get enough information to fairly judge a fraud case on its first day in the news, even assuming that the newspaper assigned their best reporter / forensic accountant to the story.

  • T Shaw – That last comment wasn’t a reply to you. I didn’t refresh before posting.

  • There seem to be a lot of Catholic faithful demanding money from the bishop
    Is the bishop the culprit here attempting to re-direct attention by accusing another of his own misdeeds?

  • and the other a money launderer hiding behind the cloak of conservativism and orthodoxy.

    I think the precise charges would be some combination of misapplication of property, fraud, and embezzlement, not money laundering. If he is hiding behind a cloak, it is now. I do not think we have any reason to believe his public advocacy was a pose. He has been the pastor there since 2002. If I understand the complaint correctly, the chancery is contending the misapplication of funds amongst parish accounts began in 2009 and the commingling of parish and personal funds began in June of 2010.

    It looks as if, just based on the evidence in this post, that Bishop Ochoa skipped [step 3] and went straight to [step 5].

    In fairness to Bp. Ochoa, it ought be noted that the Bishop of Kansas City is now under indictment for conducting an internal investigation and then informing authorities, instead of immediately informing authorities. (Yes, I realize the issues are different and that this is a civil suit).

  • Regarding the 31K and 200K with Fr. R’s mom as beneficiary: It wouldn’t be the first time a pastor and Parish Finance Board have had a trusted third party hold parish funds to keep them from being confiscated by an angry bishop in retaliation toward a troublesome priest or parish. I’m not saying it’s right, of course. I’m just sayin’.

  • Pingback: Fr. Michael Rodriguez Responds to Bishop Ochoa | The American Catholic
  • This is so unfortunate, but to be expected from the Vatican II hierarchy. Perhaps good Fr. Rodriquez will end up thinking along the same lines I have been recently, that the Vatican II “Ecumenical Catholic Church” may longer be the Roman Catholic Church, but is a schismatic entity.

  • Frank,

    If the V-II Church isn’t the RCC, then what is? And what exactly is incorrect in the V-II documents themselves? Please be precise. Yes, I agree that the liberalism that’s crept into the Church like a cancer post V-II is satanic, but does that mean that V-II was wrong, or that liberalism is wrong?

  • Welcome to the world of Catholics who are attached to the traditional Mass. This is pretty much the attitude of most Bishops toward Priests who celebrate the Tridentine Rite. That’s one reason why the FSSP has not made much progress, in spite of the fact that they have more seminarians than most large Archdioceses: the average Bishop would rather see a parish close, for lack of a priest, than to hand it over to the FSSP or any other traditionalist group. Bishop Ochoa reminds me Bishop Nourrichard of Evreux, France.

  • Ivan K,

    I don’t mean to be a stick in the mud, but as I pointed out elsewhere, the allegation of 31 thousand dollars in missing funds and the allegation of why Fr. Rodriguez made his mother a beneficiary of parish funds both still need to be explained. Fr. Rodriguez’s most recent statement reprinted here at the American Catholic blog site ( does nothing to answer the questions that the law suit brings forth. Rather, it is a list Fr. Roriguez made of 30 spiritual works and 16 temporal works which he asserts that he did. Personally, I found the list to be just a bit more than self-serving. I am NOT, however, saying that Fr. Rodriguez did not do what he asserts he did. Rather, what I am saying is that when Jesus went before Pontius Pilate, he didn’t deliver a list of all the fine spiritual and temporal works that he had done. Perhaps, however, dealing with Federal nuclear regulators in my day job for 30+ years has made me too cynical and jaded, a character defect to be presented in the Confessional (again!).

  • Actually, I believe the parishioners more than the Bishop here, especially since they are the ones who donated this money. The parish was kept in a private account rather than a parish account precisely because they believed that the money would end up in the Bishop’s hands’ and that they wouldn’t be able to use it for parish repairs. The suggestion that the priest was some sort of high roller stealing from the parish is absurd, given everything that has come out about him. The priest listed the works that he had done primarily in order to explain how the money was spent.

  • Look at paragraphs 16 and 17 of Bp. Ochoa’s legal action. The issues are: raising money for building repair without the bishop’s permission and knowledge; and using raised money to ‘build an altar ‘to comply with the ancient norms of the Roman Rite.’

    The Bishop has not proved that any money was used for anything other than parish purposes. His charge is that the parish hid money from him, and used it on projects that he would have blocked. The issue for the Bishop is that this parish somehow got around him in implementing Summorum Pontificum. In doing so, they may very well not have followed all diocesan rules; but that, to me, is understandable given that the Bishop had intended to use those rules in order to block the ‘traditionalisation’ of the altar and sanctuary.

  • I wasn’t able to find any reference to 31,000 unaccounted for. The amount cited in the legal action is $25,000. And, again, there is no claim that it was used for the priest’s private benefit. There is even a suggestion that some of that was used for a family in need. Some, apparently was given to the priest’s brother (5,000, I believe), for ‘unspecified word, even though the brother wasn’t officially employed by the parish. I don’t know–we’ll see. To me it sounds like a Bishop using anything he can in order to harm this priest, and this parish. Small parish finances are by definition messy, and require a good deal of trust. However, when there is any real corruption going on, it’s usually pretty obvious, especially in a parish with such modest resources. There is no obvious malfeasance here.

  • The fact that Fr. Rodriguez named his mother as beneficiary of privately donated funds only means he trusted her to do the right thing in the event he was unable. One is required to do this when you open an account. If this was money that was taken from the Diocese that would be different. It was for the restoration of the sanctuary and the Bishop was trying to obstruct Fathers efforts to improve the Church. Father Rodriguez was not supposed to succeed at San Juan Bautista. He was sent there to disappear. If you go to the website you will see how many classes his brother has taught. $5000.00 is chump change when you compare it to the volume of valuable material on that website; which his brother operated and maintained. You can make innocent things look sinister and I think that is what is happening here. What a shame.

  • Thank you for the clarification, Robert. However, Fr. Rodriguez still disobeyed the established financial rules, however honorable his motives. The ends don’t justice the means.

    That said, I would love to have been in his parish. Indeed, he is a man of God, but like all men of God, he has failings. And yes, Bishop Ochoa’s embrace of liberalism and his focused pursuit of trying to ruin Fr. Rodriguez are wrong on so many levels.

  • Good to see a priest not playing partisan politics, but calling attention to elected officials behavior…..seems in line with ppoints 1 and 2 of the 6 point plan of Fr. Denis Fahey….not sure why this became public in secular media…..

  • “That’s one reason why the FSSP has not made much progress, in spite of the fact that they have more seminarians than most large Archdioceses”

    that and they have to rely on the current hierarchy alone……priests of the SSPX at least have 4 Bishops, with the full Holy Orders, to defend them against the wolves…..

Does Jesus Hate Our Religion?

Thursday, January 12, AD 2012

I encourage my students (past and present) to ask questions and seek the truth, and sometimes some will take up the challenge. Last week we saw the challenge of prior Myths to our belief in the historical Jesus Christ.  This week we have a Christian challenge to Christian religion. I would like to again tap into the collective genius that is American Catholic blogosphere to see what shakes out. I don’t think Christianity could have survived as a loose-knit band of solo believers/wanna-be disciples.  Surely the Bible would never have been standardized. I see Jesus as one who puts all religious persons on notice- to not be hypocritical or without compassion. But in my read He doesn’t throw out the baby of religion with the bathwater of failing pharisees.  I am pointing my students to this blog to consider your arguments and thoughts- so be polite and thoughtful regarding those who may be reading who are young questing souls- not sure of the spiritual landscape just yet.

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21 Responses to Does Jesus Hate Our Religion?

  • Okay, I understand the desire to put out thought-provoking pieces that challenge our beliefs, but I made it through about 48 seconds of this video before clicking off. The very first sentence “What if I told you that Jesus came to abolish religions” is an out and out lie. If that were true, then Jesus would not have lived his life as an essentially Orthodox Jew. He would not have said that he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The stuff about building Churches but not feeding the poor is clearly wrong, as Churches are at the forefront of charity. No one suggests (seriously) that God doesn’t “love” divorced people. Jesus himself – whom the narrator purports to love – explained the purpose of the Old Testament allowance for divorce (Read Matthew 19) before himself saying that it is forbidden.

  • How would the Bible come as far as being put into a canon w/out organized religion?

  • This dangerous video has gone viral. I look forward to more replies before sending out a message to my parish youth group.

  • The heart’s in the right place, but it’s not well thought out. It’s a less mean-spirited version of Anne Rice’s Christ-without-Christianity stuff.

    I’m inclined to point out that it’s no coincidence this came from a 20-something 21st Century American. It’s incomprehensible outside of that localized worldview. It’s a product of pure individualism, and the idea that big churches = not feeding the poor merits the Billy Madison moderator response.

    Ultimately, the failure of the religionless Christianity is that it self-amputates the adherent from the Body of Christ, along with the hard-won wisdom of the past generations who passed the Faith on to us. That bad ol’ “religious” structure of Christianity serves a vital purpose–it reminds us that we and our experiences aren’t all there is.

    “To live entirely in the present, without any of the wisdom that a broad perspective on the past provides, is to live a life of idiocy, vapid distraction, and ingratitude.”

    –David Bentley Hart.

  • Well, first off, like Paul, I frankly kind of found this hard to watch. Maybe this is a function of being in my mid thirties rather than my mid teens, but trying to parse through a bunch of statements that were at times vague or in sentence fragments and “respond” is kind of hard.

    Still, trying to hit the most basic elements:

    There’s a bit of a word game being played here. The makers distinguish “religion” from following Jesus the way they do basically as “them bad, we good”. Those guys fight war because of their beliefs? Oh, that’s religion. Those guys seem (to the speaker) to be building big churches while ignoring the poor? Oh, that’s religion. Those guys act like they’re all holy because the go to church on Sunday but the rest of the time they’re addicted to porn? Oh, that’s religion. Well, what is it that the makers are engaged in if it’s not religion? They’re “following Christ”? Well, go ask an atheist: that’s religion. Instead of talking about one thing as “religion” and the other as “Jesus” — not about not playing word games and admit that “following Jesus” is religion, but like anything else some people do it badly. Some people play basketball and it makes them team players. Some people play basketball and it makes them total jerks. We don’t need two words for basketball as a result, we need to tell people to be good players. Don’t tell people that Jesus came to get rid of religion, tell people that Jesus told people to start faking religion and start practicing it. After all, Jesus says in Matthew 23:3 that people should do as the Pharisees say, they just shouldn’t be hypocrites like the Pharisees were.

    The makers also have a radically individualist view of faith. The speaker claims that religion is man looking for God, but that Jesus is God looking for man. Do we really think that Jesus (who was God) was totally incompetent and didn’t know what he was doing, though? Jesus didn’t just give people some encouraging words and leave them where they were, he said, “Come follow me.” He built an organization while on earth, and his followers lived as an organization after died, rose again and ascended into heaven. If Jesus didn’t intend for there to be “organized religion”, he did a terrible job of explaining that to his followers, because they formed a “religion” in the sense of an organized community of believers right away. And Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:15 that the pillar and foundation of truth is the Church. Jesus comes to us through religion because we’re not meant to all be loners (or to use his phrase “lost sheep”), we’re together in this.

    Finally, the video several times tries to contrast the “rules” of religion with Jesus. But clearly, the makers of the video themselves think there are rules. If there were not rules (what we who are part of a religion call “morality”) then why the criticism of people who don’t feed the poor, who treat single mothers badly, who act of hypocrites, etc.? Moreover, Jesus himself didn’t say “it is finished” to the idea of rules. This is the guy who said (Matthew 5:48) “Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect” and (John 8:11) “Go and sin no more.” Jesus was big time into rules. What he criticized the Pharisees for was making a big deal about rules that didn’t matter and ignoring the most important ones.

    Hope that helps!

  • “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”H. Richard Niebuhr

    The person behind the video desperately needs to read Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood:

  • See, just because we’re called to be more than religious doesn’t mean that we’re not called to be religious. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. The ritual and the rules are where we begin. They’re our soil. We don’t cease to need the soil even as we grow upward.

    No one wants to be religious. We all know intuitiviely that religion is limited. And anyway, religion isn’t as much fun as faith. Faith is self-confident; religion is fear and trembling. But Jesus calls us to both, the hard work and the joy.

    Jesus condemned the Pharisees. He also said that they were doing everything right. That’s the trick. We’re called to be worthless servants. The servant has to do his work every day, then recognize that the work isn’t enough. Being a worthless servant takes a lot of work. What must I do to attain salvation? It starts with obeying the commandments – that’s religion – then we’re supposed to build on it.

  • God’s Only Begotten Son by His life, death and resurrection purchased for us the rewards of eternal life.

    He named Peter the rock on which to build His Church. The Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and Mary and gave them insight. The Church is faithful, unbroken successor to the Apostles.

    Jesus prayed all the time and observed all the rituals. He came to fulfil the Commandments not to abolish them.

    Jesus is True God and True man. He is like us in all ways except sin. He does not sin. Hate is sin.

    Did Jesus hate those that tortured and crucified him? No, he did not.

    Seems the hit TV series, “The Big Bang Theory” is on air all the time. One re-run depicted a budding relationship/marriage which ended because one was “bundle” matter theory adherent and the other was “string” theory (whatever any of that means). The issue was over how the raise the children (heh): bundle or string. One said, “Let them decide.” The other said, “You can’t. They’re children.” That was the end of that. I thought it was profound for farce and likely why young people have little religious inclination.

    How does one receive Objective Trurth if it is not specifically safeguarded and passed on?

    Of course, yer video-boy-genius likely disbelieves there is such a thing as objective truth. Not to mention divine revelation (not the Book of) . . .

  • The video is an insult. The young man, however sincere he thinks he is, is seriously misled. Conversion and repentance, righteousness and holiness come first, and nothing the young man pontificates on reflects that.

  • Maybe there is some truth in what he’s saying that needs to be gleaned. Just as Bahurim cursed David and threw stones David’s men wanted to cut his head odd. David did not allow it and considered that he may have been sent of from the Lord.
    Christ’s seven woes in Matthew 23 against the Scribes and Pharisees I think summs up his problem with “religion.” But he does say in verse two and three of that chapter, “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. ” So right before his indictment of them he says to listen to them.
    Sometimes the pedulum swings too far either way. And I think this is the case with this young man.

  • Difficult to really glean what he means by religion. Seems he does not see following the “rules” or things such as structure as important as actually doing something. Understandable. But ignoring the “rules”, or tossing away the structure in favor of activity is much like trying to run a marathon without training for it, or playing an instrument without any instruction or learning the notes, etc. You may do ok for a mile or two, but then fatigue kicks in. Much like your physical conditioning, your spiritual life needs spiritual conditioning to make it over the long haul. Religion (rules, heirarchy, structure) provide this training and direction, like good coach or music instructor to correct your form when you are off a bit.

  • What is really disconcerting about the video is the immense ignorance on display and the self-righteous vehemence with which it is preached. This so prevalent in our culture now and it is getting worse. This is the precursor of persecution. The ignorance displayed is almost impenetrable.

  • “But if Jesus came to you church would they actually let him in?”

    For the Catholic Church it isn’t a matter of letting Jesus in, we bring Him in….and then eat Him.

  • Here’s another good Catholic response from the “Bible Geek” Mark Hart of Life Teen-

  • Tim,
    A few questions. How old are the students? Is this a college class? What is the purpose or theme of the class? How many students? What do you want your students to learn?

  • We’re talking high schoolers and this isn’t part of the structured class- this was something a student emailed me to find out more about what the orthodox Catholic perspective might be- I want to give them more than just my own take and coax them out into some safe blogging zones where the Church is not going to be trashed and is given a sympathetic hearing by more or less faithful thinking Catholics who aren’t going to be talking way over their heads for the most part.

  • Here is a Catholic priests rap response on you tube title Spoken Word made Flesh.

    It has some excellent talking points such as the 50 year spiritual dryness experienced by Mother Teresa. The line that stood out for me was- Jesus said, don’t be a Church hater, the weeds and the wheat, the get separated later.
    Also check out a blog on this video at Bad Catholic

Catholicism and “Neoliberalism”: Strawmen Are Often Contrary to Church Teaching

Thursday, January 12, AD 2012

David Cloutier at the Catholic Moral Theology blog links approvingly to a post at dotCommonweal addressing Romney’s political views which asks whether “neoliberalism” (the which is here used to mean something along the lines of free market capitalism) and Catholicism can ever be compatible. He says:

Superb exchange going on over at dotCommonweal over a post about how certain political conservatives, like Rick Santorum or Michael Gerson, try to reconcile their Catholicism with the neoliberal paradigm. For once, even the comment thread is worth reading!

I think this is an important – if not THE important – debate about Catholicism and politics in the current election. Often, the debate over particular policies dominates, but in fact, what we should be looking at are the basic principles of the economic order. If a candidate fundamentally contradicts the basic principles, Catholics should have reservations about supporting him. In the post referred to above, “neoliberalism” is cast in terms of a pure free-market conception, in which governments take a minimal role in economic activity, providing for enforcement of contracts, a stable currency, etc. – protection against “force and fraud.” Others claim that Gerson forthrightly support subsidiary actors – such as families, community organizations, and churches – and so is not in fact individualist.

The (frequently made) mistake here is one that goes back to Edmund Burke, that “father” of conservatism. Burke seeks to deal with nascent industrial capitalism by (Warning: blogging oversimplification ahead…) distinguishing between a sphere of “culture” (or “civil society”) that can be fostered, and refuses to attribute social problems to the mechanisms of the market itself. He defends the market as good, over against the landed establishment (the “nobles”) of the pre-industrial order, which is who he is opposing. But for him, the market is not all there is. (One sometimes sees a variant of this in defending Adam Smith by noting one must read both The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments.)

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6 Responses to Catholicism and “Neoliberalism”: Strawmen Are Often Contrary to Church Teaching

  • “First, Burke (like Adam Smith, in this way) is writing prior to the advent of large, joint-stock corporations.”

    That is historical rubbish. The East India Company for example, a behemoth joint stock company of Burke’s day, was chartered in 1599. Smith wrote about the East India Company: “While the East India Company had been a trading endeavor, it had provided great service to the state and its people, justifying the monopoly privileges and helping its stockholders’ dividends to growth. After territorial expansion occurred, this role and its privileges required revision, for Company interests were at cross purposes with those of the state.”

    When someone makes such an elementary historical mistake like this, it is difficult to take them very seriously

  • Yeah, I had to pick what to go after, but I think that the idea that Burke and Smith had an overly rosy idea of what capitalism because it hadn’t got big enough yet strikes me as springing form a simplistic kind of anachronism in which one assumes that everything was simpler in the “old days”. Joint stock companies were, obviously, both huge and very, very powerful in the 1700s. (Heck, the East India Company had its own army.) And Smith and Burke weren’t naive about the temptations of capitalism. It was, after all, Smith who said, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public.”

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  • Hi – Thanks for the attention to my post. It is just a blog post. I am familiar with the extensive ventures organized at joint-stock corporations prior to the 19th century. In nearly all cases, these were (if I am not mistaken) more or less official government-chartered monopolies that made possible extensive investments (i.e. in trade). By “joint-stock corporation” I am speaking about the common usage today, for an eneterprise that is not a kind of state-sponsored monopoly. Mr McClarey comment from Smith indicates the clear purpose of such corporations (i.e. to serve BOTH the state and the shareholders), and that such corporations should have their privileges revised if they no longer serve the state. This seems a far cry from the way joint-stock corporations have functioned for the last century-plus, to which I was referring in my post.

  • Yes David, you are mistaken. Corporations had to be granted existence by Parliament, but they operated in precisely the same way as large publicly traded corporations do today. They often got into bed with government, as Adam Smith noted and dreaded, just as such corportations do today.

You Mean Rick Santorum is Not a Libertarian? Burn Him at the Stake!

Thursday, January 12, AD 2012

I’m going to need to recant my placement of RedState at the top of my favorite blogs list.  Now that Rick Santorum has emerged as probably the leading not-Mitt candidate in the GOP presidential sweepstakes, they, along with a few other conservative websites, have gone absolutely bananas over the prospect of Santorum becoming a leading candidate.  Sure, they all hate Mitt Romney, but can we truly tolerate a candidate who says extremist things like this:

This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone.

My goodness.  I can just see Santorum delivering these remarks on a balcony with a hammer and sickle proudly displayed behind him.  Did he also poound a shoe on the podium, because the man must surely be just shy of being an out and out Communist.

Jeff Emanuel has unearthed two more shocking quotes that reveal Santorum’s obvious Stalinist tendencies.

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16 Responses to You Mean Rick Santorum is Not a Libertarian? Burn Him at the Stake!

  • If only his foreign policy was less interventionist, he would be pretty close to the perfect candidate. Certainly better than Romney, but I still have concerns.

  • I, too, am getting tired of “not libertarian” being conflated with “not conservative.” Libertarianism is easier to identify and defend rhetorically, it just stinks on ice when you apply it to all of reality, instead of idealized reality…..

    I don’t think Santorum is very conservative, BUT there’s a difference between “wrong on this, that and the other thing” and “a lefty.” There’s some overlap, of course, but– like Bush– I think his wrong points are well meant. Meaning well doesn’t solve everything, but it beats a cynical desire for power.

  • Maybe traditional conservatism was more paternalistic but with advances in economic understanding, thanks more to Milton Friedman than Ayn Rand, American conservatism has become more economically libertarian.

  • In other words, don’t use that charity stuff to cede everything to unlimited government.

  • I think there is a genuine fear of more federal expansion disguised as compassionate conservatism. The author’s belief is much of the Santorum’s writings along with his legislative history advocate federal intervention where lower levels of government, or better yet non-government, institutions can do better. It’s not that federal management is always bad, but the “federal government first” attitude leads to expansion of power. I think the author would prefer governance closer to the principle of subsidiarity.

    While he did criticize Santorum’s view of governance, he also complimented him on his desire to want to help.

  • I think Jeff Goldstein knocks it out of the park here:

    GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum defends capitalism, defends Mitt Romney’s earlier engagement of capitalism on capitalistgrounds (as opposed to Romney himself, who appealed for a defense to progressive corporatism), and yet the GOP establishment and its attendant media — as well as an increasing number of sober, pragmatic, “it’s time to rally behind a single candidate” members of the conservative base — tell us that it is Santorum who is unelectable, and throw their support behind the candidate who enacted state-run health care, and who can’t even defend his own engagement in capitalism without retreating to a progressive defense.

    More at the link here.

  • Jeff, I would love to rally around Santorum, but 8 years of compassionate conservatism was hard enough to take. As crazy it sounds, sometimes I feel like rolling the dice with Romney or Ron Paul. And yes, that is crazy! Still hoping for Perry despite his having to work against media mis-portrayals of every word he says. That includes much of conservative media.

  • Read points two and three, because Jeff’s point is precisely that Santorum is not the nanny stater in this contest.

  • My opinion is based on his legislative record. He’s less a nanny stater than Romney and certainly Obama.

  • I just came across this interest article discussing the Santorum & federalism problem. It uses the issue of marriage between homosexuals to illustrate a point.

  • On economic paternalism, Santorum is mostly wrong. Better to alleviate the destruction of creative destruction than to prevent the whole thing. I understand his point that it has social dimensions but even taking that into consideration, protectionism is more harmful than free enterprise.

    On moral paternalism, Santorum is mostly right. We punish immoral behavior to the extent that it prevents more harm than it creates. We also promote moral behavior in a limited way by keeping it free from impediments. While the state may legitimately actively promote moral behavior, I don’t think the track record is great. In Europe, churches live in a culture of dependency where they get government handouts without having to work.

    Where I’m not sure what role the government should play is in quality-of-life paternalism. Smoking bans, trans fat bans, healthy eating campaigns. I.e., limiting or subsidizing amoral choices. One can argue that this sort of paternalism degrades personal initiative. On the other hand, they’re things I may admit that I am weak at controlling and therefore want some help with. Is there any CST guidance on this?

  • There is no perfect candidate and we can’t dig up Reagan and run him again. I feel like Santorum is the best candidate and I will continue to support him. one thing we must all understand is that Congress must be changed. Congress is the root of our problems. Our elected officials have been allowed to corrupt the system and continue to bankrupt our country and our childrens heritage. Don’t compromise on a Presidential candidate, support the person who best represents our beliefs even if some overpaid pundits say he/she is unelectable. And more importantly get rid of the entrenched Congresmen and send some new blood to Washington.

  • There is no perfect candidate and we can’t dig up Reagan and run him again.

    We’re Catholics. If we can dig up a pope and strip him of his vestments, this should be a small matter. Heck, I can’t see how any corpse could be a worse president that the one we have and most who are running, but Reagan’s corpse might do a pretty impressive job.


  • Sometimes, Paul Zummo, rhetorical hyperbole just leaves one looking hyper. I found your defense of Sen. Santorum and his big government conservatism unpersuasive.

    RR’s comments here make a lot of sense to me and RR’s mention of Milton Friedman should remind us all of the Invisible Foot.

    Sometime in the previous century, the federal government went beyond helping localities provide a safety net. Federal provision increasingly became a hammock for those who learned to exploit the system and is now often a sticky spider’s web that traps those who come into contact with it due to a temporary hardship. I have news for Santorum et alia, the Great Depression ended almost 70 years ago. Cease rendering the poor unto Caesar.

  • RL hits it out of the park.

    Any one of the GOP hopefuls is 100% better than that Obama nobody. Two out of three know Obama and his gangsters are very bad news for America.

    Tip to all. Cut the attacks against each other.

    The one with the best depiction of how the Obama wrecking machine is killing America is the most electable.

    Obama must go.

If it Had Not Been

Thursday, January 12, AD 2012

The Guardian is a singularly obtuse Left-Wing tabloid in Great Britain, but they outdid themselves in a story about the most overrated people in history.

In regard to Winston Churchill, this gem was delivered in the story:

Quite a few of his Tory colleagues might have concurred with Lee’s view of Churchill’s hopeless judgment and over-zealous use of the military, at least right up until the summer of 1940. “If it had not been for the fact that he led Britain to victory in the second world war we would have scant memory of [him],” Lee reckons.

Yeah, that whole leading Great Britain to victory in World War II does seem to spoil the meme that the story is pushing doesn’t it?  Let’s see figures we could say were overrated from American history based upon this “standard’.

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34 Responses to If it Had Not Been

  • Wait please. Mr Churchill was a war-monger. What was the result of WW11? Stalin and his followers enslaved all of Eastern Europe, including East Germany which in effect meant that the West lost a major goal of defending/preserving freedom. Who was with Roosevelt and Stalin for that surrender? It is quite possible that the Third Reich would have imploded anyway as so many of his closest generals were upset by Hitler’s mania and temper. In the long human-spiritual look at the war, was the cost worth it in human life on all sides and the seeds sown for the Soviet-West Cold War and the very hot collateral wars of surrogates to defeat “communism” in SE Asia and Central and South America? The sinking of the French navy with the crews on board because Churchill did not trust them to resist the Germans has to be ranked as a horrific war crime, Mr. Churchill’s record is not as glorious as portrayed.

  • That is a complete load of congealed crap HT. Hitler started World War 2 through his insatiable desire for Lebensraum. The British and the French had no choice but to respond, and my criticism of them is that they responded too late. At the end of the War the only way to expel the Red Army from Eastern Europe was to immediately start World War III. This was the course recommended by Patton, but no one else was willing to do so. Opposition to Hitler in the Third Reich was negligible and ineffective. The bomb plot against Hitler in 1944 by factions within the military only occurred when Germany had clearly lost the War. Most Germans were quite happy to follow Hitler as long as he gave them victories.
    As for the sinking of a portion of the French fleet in Oran in 1940, this occurred only after the French admiral was given a chance to surrender, to sail his fleet to the neutral US for internment or to scuttle his ships. Churchill had every reason to fear that Hitler would seize the French fleet from the collaborationist Vichy government and use it in an invasion of Great Britain. If I had been in Churchill’s shoes I would have done precisely the same thing.

  • There is no need for vulgarity. Just make your points with reason and evidence. As to the sinking was there not a move by a French-speaking allied serviceman who was working but the final move was aborted before finalised and the fleet scuttled. That is neither brave, decent nor justifiable. Is the final word said yet about how Hitler’s inner circle was viewing things? As to the German people they were fed the same propaganda that the USSR fed their people against the West and the USA was filled with the same Red Scare to pump billions over time to the military industrial complex that grew more bloated. Same for China. now N Korea is a threat and Iran apparerently has Israel’s Mossad active with its familar tactics. The Pentagon and White House, Reagan and North armed Pakistan with nukes, now look, and courted Osama Bin Laden in the anti-Soviet surrogate war in Afghanistan. They are always fighting the last war or an imaginary future one in the sky or on lumberng aricraft carrries and nuke subs . They started Iraq 11 and could not provide properly armoured SUV’s and armour for the poor grunts walking all through Iraq to be killed by nail EDs and tanks penetrated by the most primitive of weapons. So much for Star Wars and nukes and massive air-craft carriers. What about the billions spent on National Security and a hands-on FBI agent was ignored re the 9/11 gang learning to fly up but not land! Duh.. The stupid rule and the ordinary GI and citizen pays for their misjudgments. This is a Catholic site so provide Christian Humanist responses to sin and war and dirty tricks. Leave the canonisaton process for churchill to the Vatican, they study the entire record and arere not side-tracked by propaganda or puffed biographies.

  • What is vulgar HT is your foolish attempt to distort history in order to grind an axe. History is very important to me and I will not allow fabricated history to be spread on this site.

    As to your paleocon rantings, every last comment is completely at variance with the facts. I am putting you on moderation as I do not appreciate attempted thread hijackings by people who view History as infinitely malleable to support their political agenda.

  • It is quite possible that the Third Reich would have imploded anyway as so many of his closest generals were upset by Hitler’s mania and temper.

    I always love these exercises in delusional alternate history from people whose sole source of history is Pat Buchanan. Yes, if only we had played nice eventually all the Germans would have realized that ole Hitler was a big fat meanie and everything would have turned up roses.

    You know, except for all those dead Jews, and they don’t really count.


  • Sorry you win since you hold the marbles. I studied and taught history and read all of what I did not study formally where I had an interest. I apologise if you think I tried to hijack the site. I was merely trying to give examples of leaders who made awful blunders and cost lives and money. I am neither Left nor Right leaning, I am as I indicated a (Catholic) Christian Humanist. Your attitude seems to be that your version of even the past decades is right; by extrapolation so also WW11 and the later wars were decided and all points considered by the people in power. Do you allow for any other viewpoint on anything you wrote, or are you and your reading of the facts and nuances the only correct ones? I resent your labeling me as you did.

  • Had it not been for Al Gore, I wouldn’t have been able to read this post. Good job, Don.

  • Churchil (his mother was a Yank) also was a Lt. in a cavalry regiment at Omdurman. The colonel charged them into about 10,000 Fuzzy-Wuzzy’s and dervishes, I think.

    “Here’s to you, Fuzzy Wuzzy
    At yer ‘ome in the Soudan.
    Yer a poor benighted ‘eathen,
    But, a first-class fightin’ man!”

    These were the only warriors that ever broke a British square: at Suakim.

    And, I think Churchill as a correspondent during the Boer War had wild adventures.

    Only thing I can think to criticize is Galipoli. But, one may forgive it: “L’audace, L’audace, Toujour L’audace!” The great military minds of that era were obsessed with trench warfare. SIGH

    I guess the ideologue that wrote that dig at Winston thinks Neville Chamberlain had it right.

    The most overrated people in history: the English. As soon as the war was won, they fired Churchill and hired Clement Attlee. That was analogous to replacing John Wayne with Pee Wee Herman.

  • Moreover, if Churchill had got his way in ’37 and ’38 the Nazis might well have been toppled before they’re rearmed enough to be a serious rival to the French and British militaries. The best shot at Hitler’s government imploding would have been if the Allies had thrown him out when he occupied the Rhineland, stood shoulder to shoulder with the Czechs, or as a last chance, counterattacked into the Ruhr when Hitler went into Poland in 1939. This Buchanan-esque nonsense is pretty shockingly ignorant — though I suppose it does underline the squalid admiration that a few elements of the right in Britain and America had for Hitler prior to the war.

    Though as I finish up the second volume of Manchester’s bio of Churchill, it strikes me that the Guardian’s attack is even more off than that. While certainly Churchill was on the outs with the mainstream in the ’30s, he was already by that point one of the major British statesmen of the 20th century (though a quixotic one whose time many thought had passed) and also one of the most prolific and highly paid writers in the English language.

    Even Gallipoli, for which he was so widely blamed, was arguably a fiasco mainly because the local commanders didn’t follow Churchill’s original plan — and the blame for their blunders fixed to him because the public needed a scapegoat and the cabinet was fine with that so long as it wasn’t any of the rest of them.

  • “Your attitude seems to be that your version of even the past decades is right”

    No HT, my attitude is that there is one version of the past, what actually happened. Whenever anyone can establish that I am wrong on a matter of historical fact I am eager to correct it. Everyone has their political beliefs and biases and I am willing to debate them, although that is not what this post or thread is about. It is about History and the men and women who are significant players in History and how we view their lives. Whenever in one of my threads anyone makes statements that I know are historically erroneous, especially in a thread devoted to History, they will be called on it.

  • “That was analogous to replacing John Wayne with Pee Wee Herman.”

    Clement Atlee was actually a brave officer in World War I T.Shaw, and he was usually referred to as Major Atlee as a result. He served as Churchill’s deputy prime minister in the national government during the War. However, he did look like a Caspar Milquetoast and Churchill had fun at his expense with this quote about him: “A sheep, in sheep’s clothing.”

  • “While certainly Churchill was on the outs with the mainstream in the ’30s, he was already by that point one of the major British statesmen of the 20th century (though a quixotic one whose time many thought had passed) and also one of the most prolific and highly paid writers in the English language.”

    True Darwin, although during the Wilderness Years of the Thirties most of his contemporaries thought that Churchill was an anachronism. They viewed his warnings about the rise of the Third Reich as the hysterical rantings of a reactionary alarmist, and a sad ending for a brilliant if erratic statesman. History revealed who was right on that score.

  • By the time of the Yalta conference it was clear that the ‘Big Three’ was in fact the ‘Big Two plus one’. It is easy to criticize Churchill for selling out the Poles, on behalf of whom we had declared war in 1939, but the blame surely lies with Roosevelt who perversely trusted Stalin more than he did his British ally. Of course England could have sued for peace terms in 1940, and indeed for better terms in 1941 when Hitler knew he could not successfully invade and was looking east. But Churchill knew that treaties with Hitler were not worth the paper they were written on, and his claim to greatness was in deciding to stand alone after the fall of France.

    Churchill’s generation still regarded Britain as the pre-eminent world power, and indeed in 1918, when he was already in middle age, Britain (for the only time in her history) had faced the main force of the main enemy in the main theatre and decisively defeated her, and the British Empire was at its greatest extent. In World War II Britain was able to keep going because she was to all intents and purposes on a US life-support machine, and was effectively bankrupt by the end of it. The Empire proved to be what it had been for some time, a drain on the UK economy and a strategic nightmare (and this is in no way to disparage the contribution made by Dominion forces in both world wars).

    The greater the man, the more obvious his flaws, and Churchill had a number of them. In my opinion the greatest man of the last quarter of the 20th century was Pope John Paul II. Yet he was prone to grandstanding and presided over some truly awful ‘liturgies’.

  • “but the blame surely lies with Roosevelt who perversely trusted Stalin more than he did his British ally.”

    The blame actually lies with the sad fact John that the Red Army was in complete control of Poland. Only World War III would have changed that, and only Patton was willing to launch that conflict.

  • Bah, you want over-rated, look at what someone did do and see if it holds up.
    The Beatles? Over-rated. Not BAD, just not the second coming; very successful at riding a fad. Gilbert and Sullivan? Still awesome now.

  • Nolan Ryan was no great shakes if you take away the strikeouts.

  • PHILIP: It’s their wedding or the Vexin back. Those are the terms you made with Louis.

    HENRY: True, but academic, lad. The Vexin’s mine.

    PHILIP: By what authority?

    HENRY: It’s got my troops all over it. That makes it mine.
    The Lion in Winter

  • I left the discussion back there. I do however challenge the view that History is what is written and there are no other viewpoints. That is neither true, accurate nor rational. The old saying is that the conquerors write the history. So true. Every flawed human being who writes brings her/his biases to the craft. That is one reason why reviews are written and the professions have peer-review articles and books that flatly contradict the “other true” account!

  • Major Attlee? Who’d-a thunk!

    RE: WWI trench warfare, the following comes to mind:

    Had he his hurts before?

    Ay, on the front.

    Why then, God’s soldier be he!
    Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
    I would not wish them to a fairer death:
    And so, his knell is knoll’d.

    He’s worth more sorrow,
    And that I’ll spend for him.

    — Macbeth, Act V Scene VIII

    The lost generation.

  • What LarryD said.

  • “I do however challenge the view that History is what is written and there are no other viewpoints”

    No HT, as I stated History is what actually happened. Written history can accord with History or not, depending upon the honesty, skill and source materials of the historian writing it. Interpretations of the meaning of historical events differ, but no discussion is possible about interpretation unless the underlying facts of a historical event are ascertained and agreed to by the participants in such a discussion as a preliminary matter. It is a canard that the winners write the history, usually the losers are also quick to pick up their pens and, as occurred for a long period of time in regard to the American Civil War, the interpretation of the losers can become dominant in regard to the interpretation of a historical event.

  • I wish to respectfully wish to disagree. It is not only the losers who cry foul, I am much more familiar with the dominant group ‘s interpretation and twisting the actual facts. A simple example is from the New Testament about which I am doing some writing now. JESUS worked miracles, He was accused of being in league with the Devil. his trial was so illegal in Jewish law the Temple hierarchs should have been expelled then and not wait until the year 70 to see their cosy system destroyed. The many efforts to link Jesus romantically with the Magdalene which culminated in the Brown Da Vinci Code is a long effort to discredit the Gospel, and the Church’s beliefs. The protestant interpretation of the revolt-amation, my word, is so full of holes, lies and selective redaction, we are are just now sorting out the interpretations and facts. NOW if you want to ask me about the British Empire and its current incarnation, I will not try to hijack your site but it flatly contradicts your thesis that the facts are clear and purely stated.

  • Nolan Ryan was no great shakes if you take away the strikeouts.”



    Nolan Ryan is MY president.

  • “The great military minds of that era [WWI] were obsessed with trench warfare”. This is an odd statement. The usual Great War myth is that the generals were all cavalrymen who didn’t understand trench warfare. Not true, of course. The deadlock on the Western Front resulted from a large number of men deployed in a relatively restricted geographical area (no flanks) and from the fact that military technology at that particular time favoured the defensive. Yet victory on the Western Front alone would defeat the German Empire (all reputable historians are agreed on this). Strategically Haig and Robertson were right, and Churchill and Lloyd George wrong.

    That said, Churchill’s original Gallipoli plan, to force the Straits using mainly naval power was not a bad one. If the Navy had pressed on despite ship losses (they were pre-dreadnoughts and arguably expendable) it might well have succeeded, and in February 1915 the peninsula was virtually undefended. Two months later the situation was very different. The experience of the Gallipoli debacle had a positive result in WWII; Churchill was surely right in resisting an invasion of northern Europe in 1943. However, his faith in diversionary actions was still in evidence – Italy, which he referred to as “the soft under-belly of the Axis” proved instead to be a hard spine.

  • “However, his faith in diversionary actions was still in evidence – Italy, which he referred to as “the soft under-belly of the Axis” proved instead to be a hard spine.”

    Anywhere where there were large number of German troops to fight was going to be difficult. Churchill desperately wanted to avoid the type of massive casualties, one million dead, suffered by the Brits and Empire troops in World War I. Ironically, when the Allies did invade France in 1944, the casualties were far lighter than the most optimistic projections had anticipated, and the fight far shorter. Churchill was right to avoid the 1943 invasion sought by Americans. The men and material simply had not been developed sufficiently, and the Allies benefited by the rapidly moving technology, especially the advent in large numbers of the superb P47 Thunderbolt and the amazing P 51 Mustang, which, in addition to protecting long range strategic bombers, provided first rate ground support for infantry and armor divisions. In 1944 many German units were decimated by these fighter-bombers even before they arrived at the front against the Allies in France.

  • The western Allies also benefitted from the fact that the main theatre of war 1941-1945 was the Eastern Front where attrition rates far surpassed those on the Western Front 1914-1918. Montgomery’s divisional casualty rates after D-Day were in fact higher than divisional casualty rates in the Great War (the highest daily rates for that conflict actually occurred during the ‘advance to victory’ August-November 1918). General Mangin remarked pessimistically but accurately in 1917: “Quoi qu’on fasse, on perd beaucoup de monde”. The less fighting you do, the fewer casualties you will take.

  • Paraphrasing Churchill’s own words – he was the worst prime minister Britain could have had except for all the others. The British Empire was heading into its twilight, the fiction that India would be content to stay on as a colony of a seaborne version of Vichy France is too ridiculous for comment. Churchill ensured that its last days would be among its most glorious. The Poles were probably the most heroic nation in WW11, but they were a victim of geography caught as they were between the Nazis and the Soviets. Once the French fell, it would have been clear to the Poles that they were in for the long night. Churchill tried many expedients to shorten the war and reach the East before the Soviets- Market Garden, the soft underbelly of Italy. But in all cases the cussed Germans proved too strong.

  • Actually, British double-agent Aleister Crowley sunk the Lusitania, thereby instigating the chain of events that would lead to WWII. And Churchill was a eugenicist monster.

  • Thank you OCB for providing us with our daily dose of insanity. Much appreciated!

  • Would enjoy more rational refutation of the points, one by one, or in several posts, made by those who disagree rather than dismissing the people with ad hominem comments such as “congealed crap” and “daily dose of insanity.” We live in a very hostile anti-Church, post Christian Europe, where there is no FCC to keep the in many ways and do not need to see the same stuff dished out on a site where one expects some

  • We here in Europe are exposed to a very hostile anti-Church, post-civilised society where there is no protection against the use of the F and S and A words, even in early evening Tv programming. I would like to see that disagreeements on here would receive replies that avoid sarcastic dismissal of the person, ad hominem rather than point by point refutation of the position. Thank you

  • My last post above was written because the one before it was rejected as a duplicate but published anyway with part of a sentence missing.

  • As for the “Churchill was a eugenisist” accusation, it is true that he was part of a eugenics conference at least once in the pre-war period, however it was a “fashionable” idea at the time and I don’t know if his affiliation with said belief continued afterward. (I do suspect, however, that it would have at least been modified (to understate things) once the Prime Minister found out about the Final Soluation and all that entailed. Anyone have documentation from him about that?)

    Also, I’ve been reading Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud’s “A Question of Honor” (about Polish fighter pilots who flew with the British on behalf of the Polish government-in-exile) and the book details the betrayal of Poland, first by Chamberlain-era Britain and France, and then by FDR and Churchill. (Churchill, at least, had at least private issues with giving in to Stalin’s European demands.) This, along with Don’s post about Patton’s willingness to start WW3 with the Soviets, got me to thinking: What should have been done?

    True, I do think the British and French should have launched a full-scale offensive into Germany as soon as they could when Hitler attacked Poland, but what should Churchill and FDR have done regarding Eastern Europe in general (and Poland in particular) in the post-Barbarossa era? While I do sympathize with Patton’s desire to roll into Moscow and topple “Uncle Joe” from power, could the Anglo-American alliance win an offensive war against the Red Army? Would it have resulted, not in a free Europe, but one completely dominated by the Communists (instead of the half-liberated Europe that resulted from WWII?)

    I’m not sure. I do think World War II in general was a just war (though I disagree with some of the things the Allies did do in bello, to say nothing of the Axis powers); so I’m just throwing these questions out there. What do you think?

  • The Czechs in 1938 had the best army in central Europe and would have resisted had their French ally supported them. The German General Staff were well aware of the deficiencies of the Wehrmacht at that time, as well as the fact that the French army was at least quantitively superior. Unfortunately Daladier and Chamberlain did not have the moral courage of Reagan and Thatcher. After Munich World War II was more or less a foregone conclusion.

    Churchill was a late Victorian romantic imperialist. During the war he was accosted by a female American journalist who demanded, rather aggressively, “What are you going to do about the Indians?” Churchill’s riposte was “To which Indians, Madam, do you refer? Are you referring to the inhabitants of the great sub-continent who under benign and munificent British rule are prospering? Or are you perhaps referring to those other Indians who under successive American administrations are now almost extinct?”

    The fact was that India was moving rapidly towards self-government. Had it not been for the war partition and the ensuing bloodbath might have been averted. Who knows?

Still Want to Defend Romney and Bain?

Wednesday, January 11, AD 2012

People are crying crocodile tears about Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry attacking Mitt’s record with Bain Capital.  While I think some of the rhetoric has been excessive, I also don’t think this line of attack is completely out of line.  As conservatives we tend to reflexively defend all market institutions without first considering that some institutions are a little shady.  Moreover, I find it incredibly amusing that people are using this as a cudgel against Gingrich and Perry when Romney was the one who attacked Perry from the left on social security and basically charged him with wanting to take people’s social security away.  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Whether or not you think this line of attack on Romney is fair, Mitt is going to have to come up with a better line of defense than this:

On the heels of his decisive victory in the New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney took the attacks on his private sector record used by GOP rivals and turned them against President Obama.

Romney’s critics have accused him of destroying jobs in order to increase profits for his investment firm, Bain Capital, but speaking Wednesday on CBS, Romney said that what he did was no different from the Obama administration’s auto industry bailouts.

“In the general election I’ll be pointing out that the president took the reins at General Motors and Chrysler – closed factories, closed dealerships laid off thousands and thousands of workers – he did it to try to save the business,” Romney said Wednesday on CBS.

This is a preemptive strike against a potential line of attack in the general election, but does Mitt really want to imply that what he did was not much different than what Obama did with the bailouts?  He’s already got Romneycare hanging around his neck, and now he’s volunteering a comparison with President Obama that most conservatives are not going to find flattering.

Hey, Mitt, you haven’t sewn up the nomination quite yet.  You might want to keep that in mind before opening your mouth again.

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14 Responses to Still Want to Defend Romney and Bain?

  • Cronyism or crony capitalism is wrong no matter the party of those who do it. I want the Amendment forcing Congress to give up insider trading and having them live by the rules they set for the rest of us! (Of course, I’d require the penalty for a Congresscritter violating this to be citizenship forfeiture.)

  • Laughing, David Axelrod said, “I love it when conservatives trash capitalism!”

    How to stay healthy when obama gets re-elected: don’t get old. (see Instapundit)

  • Yes.

    All the pundits are talking about is how Obama is going to run ads quoting Newt and Perry attacking Romney’s time at Bain. I can excuse Perry because he’s a child. Newt knows better. He just doesn’t care because he’s a horrible person.

  • It is good that Mr Gingrich is falling on his sword to take out the crony capitalists. Such men as Neutron Jack who squeezed “efficiencies” by firing janitors and destroying middle-income pesitions and Carl Icahn – who mutilated a high-tech icon like Motorola should be spoken of in terms reserved for rapists and child molesters.

    David Axelrod said, “I love it when conservatives trash capitalism!”
    He wont be laughing so hard when the guns are trained on Obama, beholden as he is to Wall Street, Solyndra and Jeff Immelt.

  • Over at a more liberal blog, there’s a discussion about why business experience or governing experience even matters. The president can’t repeal a single mandate. In other words, he can’t change what government does, at all. He can hire and fire but how much experience do you need for that? Governing experience seems even less useful. The president’s legislative authority is probably better utilized by someone with congressional experience.

    Also, Obama will have 4 years of executive experience including foreign policy experience, something that Romney has none of. So really does the experience argument hold any water?

  • It is good that Mr Gingrich is falling on his sword to take out the crony capitalists. Such men as Neutron Jack who squeezed “efficiencies” by firing janitors and destroying middle-income pesitions and Carl Icahn – who mutilated a high-tech icon like Motorola should be spoken of in terms reserved for rapists and child molesters.

    1. The word is ‘positions’.

    2. Carl Icahn has been a minority shareholder of one of the two successor companies to Motorola. He did not have a controlling interest.

    3. A ‘crony capitalist’ is one who is able to extract rents derived from his connections to government officials. That does not describe Mr. Icahn or Mr. Romney even in your renderings.

  • He can hire and fire but how much experience do you need for that? Governing experience seems even less useful.

    1. Read Jim Manzi’s posts on The American Scene on this subject three years ago.

    2. Read John Dean’s memoir of the Nixon Administration, Ron Nessen’s account of the Ford Administration, and Richard Nathan’s The Plot that Failed on the Nixon Administration. Contrast what you read with contemporary news reports on the Reagan Administration’s inner workings.

    The president’s legislative authority is probably better utilized by someone with congressional experience.

    Of which Obama had very little.

    Also, Obama will have 4 years of executive experience including foreign policy experience, something that Romney has none of. So really does the experience argument hold any water?

    Yes, and we have been watching how he performed.

    You’ve outdone yourself this time.

  • I was expecting more from Manzi’s post. All he did was lay out correlating facts based on past presidents. Anybody care to explain why business experience matters or how governing experience is any more useful than legislative experience?

  • What is GE worth now? As others have pointed out Neutron Jack bailed out exactly at the right time to keep his reputation as the greatest manager since Josef Stalin intact ie just before Sep 11. The secular trend in the stock markets when he was around would have doubled GE’s value without any effort on his part. Corporate raiders such as Icahn do nothing to enhance the technical competence of companies such as Motorola. Their gambit is to come in as minority shareholders and spread discontent among the other shareholders. Pandering to greed they sow discord in the management ranks. The suitably riled shareholders then prevail on the paternalistic ruling family – in this case the Galvins to move with the times. The upshot is Motorola loses its technological lead as the engineers and salesmen are forced to count beans and watch their backs. And all for nothing, as Motorola soon found out after the locusts left – loosing its lead in both communications and computing.

    Agreed that I used the term “crony capitalist” erroneously.

    Pres Lincoln would have called the wrath of the Prophets down on Icahn, T Roosevelt would have lashed him onto the back of his horse, Howard Taft ridden over him with a water buffalo, Eisenhower would have included a dark reference to such “capitalists” in his farewell speech and Nixon would have ordered a nationalisation. I do not see why the Republican Party of these presidents should carry water for such people.

  • Anybody care to explain why business experience matters or how governing experience is any more useful than legislative experience?

    That may be the most obtuse question I have been posed in the last six months.

  • RR,

    As someone who works for the Executive Branch, I can tell you that these things matter more than you can imagine. There is tremendous wiggle room in the way federal law is interpreted, implemented, and enforced down at the agency level. And some of it (not all) flows down from the Chief Executive. The chain of command matters greatly, because it is their expertise at managing or lack thereof that will affect all kinds of people.

  • Unless you’re a cabinet-level official, the president himself doesn’t affect your job much. The department head calls the day-to-day shots. Sure, it’s important for a president to be able to work with his cabinet but much more important are the president’s legislative and commander-in-chief functions. In terms of legislation, LBJ, former Senate minority leader, is considered one of the most successful presidents. One of the most successful commander-in-chiefs was FDR who was Assistant Secretary of the Navy for 7 years (back when the Navy was it’s own cabinet-level department).

  • Remind me again, how many bondholders did Bain stiff and how much of its money was looted from the taxpayers?

SCOTUS derails women’s ordination…

Wednesday, January 11, AD 2012

As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a church school  cannot be sued in court over an employee’s  discrimination complaint.

In a unanimous decision SCOTUS overturned the earlier ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission et al which had allowed the lawsuit to move  forward, saying the teacher’s work was more secular than religious.

The high court disagreed.

Consistent with precedent, SCOTUS ruled that the First Amendment’s  guarantee of freedom of religion shields churches and their operations from the  reach of anti-discrimination laws when dealing with employees of religious  institutions.  SCOTUS also extended this precedent to include complaints of discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Writing for the Court, Chief Justice John Roberts noted:

The purpose of the exception is not to safeguard a church’s decision to fire a minister only when it is made for a religious reason. The exception instead ensures that the authority to select and control who will minister to the faithful is the church’s alone….(c) Today the Court holds only that the ministerial exception barsan employment discrimination suit brought on behalf of a minister, challenging her church’s decision to fire her. The Court expresses no view on whether the exception bars other types of suits.

The Court’s decision is a clear defeat for those in the U.S. Catholic Church advocating women’s ordination.  While the Catholic Church discriminates in favor of males for theological reasons, civil suits based upon gender discrimination cannot be brought.  “[The] authority to select and control who will minister to the faithful is the church’s alone” [italics added].


To read the SCOTUS decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission et al, click on the following link:


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14 Responses to SCOTUS derails women’s ordination…

  • Although the majority opinion would certainly protect the Church from attempts to litigate female ordination into existence, it tailors a ministerial exception that is far too narrow to provide protection for religious bodies and organizations in their essential missions and functions.

    In contrast, Justice Alito’s outstanding concurrence (joined by, of all people, Justice Kagan) gets to the heart of what should actually be protected by the Free Exercise Clause and it’s ministerial corollary:

    … The First Amendment protects the freedom of religious groups to engage in certain key religious activities, including the conducting of worship services and other religious ceremonies and rituals, as well as the critical process of communicating the faith. Accordingly, religious groups must be free to choose the personnel who are essential to the performance of these functions.

    “The “ministerial” exception should be tailored to this purpose. It should apply to any “employee” who leads a religious organization, conducts worship services or important religious ceremonies or rituals, or serves as a messenger or teacher of its faith. If a religious group believes that the ability of such an employee to perform these key functions has been compromised, then the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom protects the group’s right to remove the employee from his or her position…”

    (emphasis added)

  • Way to go, ” Supremes” nine dancing to the same First Amendment principle. Now on to marriage, and life at all stages and reducing the influence of lobbyists and donations to subvert the Republic’s elections and Banks bailed out when they lose at gambling and the vulnerable have to pay up. OR is that GOD’S work throgh HIS CHURCH? Conversion is the order of the day..

  • Very thoughtful addendum by Justices Alito and Kagan.

  • From my reading, the majority opinion didn’t craft any limitations to the ministerial exception … in fact, CJ Roberts writes:

    We are reluctant … to adopt a rigid formula for deciding when an employee qualifies as a minister. It is enough for us to conclude, in this our first case involving the ministerial exception, that the exception covers Perich, given all the circumstances of her employment. … We express no view on whether the exception bars other types of suits, including actions by employees alleging breach of contract or tortious conduct by their religious employers. There will be time enough to address the applicability of the exception to other circumstances if and when they arise.

    In sum, the majority opinion is much like a man who looks at a postmodern painting or sculpture and says, “Y’know, I couldn’t give you a working definition of ‘art’, but I know what it looks like and this ain’t it!” It also appears that J Thomas had a similar concern to Alito and Kagan’s about how Hosanna-Tabor uses “minister”: “The question whether an employee is a minister is itself religious in nature, and the answer will vary widely. Judicial attempts to fashion a civil definition of ‘minister’ through a bright-line test or multi-factor analysis risk disadvantaging those religious groups whose beliefs, practices, and membership are outside of the “mainstream” or unpalatable to some.”

    All in all, though, it’s still a significant victory. We should also note that Hosanna prevents forcing churches to ordain practicing homosexuals … which should throw a spanner in the current Administration’s works.

  • I hope you’re right, Anthony. But, like Justices Thomas, Alito, and Kagan, I wish the majority opinion hadn’t focused so much on the “ordination” aspect of this case. As I read the opinion, it raised concerns for me that lower courts applying the ruling could distinguish this case from cases where “ordination” wasn’t involved.

    I was, therefore, very glad to see that the concurrences addressed this concern head on. I hope the concurrences are reflective of where the majority of the Justices will be if (or when) future cases involving employees not so “ordained” arise.

  • Yeah, I hear you, Jay. To be clear, I wasn’t contradicting you; it’s very possible a future Court could see Roberts’ focus and deciding he was imposing a “bright-line” standard. So having those concurring opinions may help provide too narrow an interpretation. Maybe.

  • You know who appoionted the lone dissenter to this opinion…..Yep, Barrack Obama….appointed Sonia Sotomayor…the judge who wrote the opinion stating the church was wrong. Thank God she was the only one,Thats the reason he MUST be defeated so he wont appoint any more judges !!!!

  • The opinion was unanimous, Mr Obama’s other female apointee Justice Kagan joined with Justice Alito in raising the future related question. The issue to watch is reversing Roe v Wade which the public has by now understood and seen through the earlier “three month” position which was never there, and the “glob of tissue” and the side-tracked “personhood” red herring distraction.

  • I must confess to being a little surprised at the signs of relief expressed by some writers and commentators over this decision. Let’s cut to the chase: who imagines that a mere supreme court of the USA can overturn the doctrines of the Catholic Church? Such a ruling would be laughable null.

    We are relieved that the court didn’t interfere? What are we all thinking?

    In one way, it is too bad that the court decided the way it did for if it had voted the other way the battle lines would, at last, have been drawn clearly in the sand. True, any number of cowardly Bishops, priests and Cardinals would have folded and complied; but wouldn’t a number of others have risen up in righteous anger at this tyranny? And possibly, just possibly, wouldn’t Rome have finally awakened from its lethargy and started acting like Rome again? Something to think about.

    No mere court of the USA, no matter how “supreme” it may be, has the slightest right to interfere with the one true Church of Christ. But if it did try to do so, and things got ugly (which they undoubtedly would), perhaps that would be the beginning of the end for these monsters who are trying to shove perversion and murder and never-ending war down our throats. It might, just might, awaken the sleeping giant if they had tried to force the Church into “ordaining” women.

    Rejoice and feel “relieved” if you want to. Cower in fear over the supreme court if that is your style. But let us all be thinking in terms of growing a backbone and in praying that Rome grows one, too. And soon.

  • Sad to read that last comment. The “Supremes” have already discounted God’s Natural Law about LIFE in the womb, decied that adult sexual activity between consenters, M with m and F with F is legal. How far away is it for the Court to throw out the Natural Law on marriage as equal to same-gender unions. The dominant culture is already acting and deidiing that way, not that the public does but neither did the public cry for Roe v Wade in 1973 either. Comments about the Vatican and bishops are unworthy here, As an institution the Church from papacy to local Church/diocese is the only consistent bulwark against the rush to secularise the entire culture. China decided to split from the Vatican and ordain its own bishops and clergy and imprison those loyal to the Bishop of Rome. Have you protested that or asked your POTUS to press them for legitimate human rights?

  • I’m glad about this decision. However, most of the people that I know who work at Catholic institutions aren’t in total agreement with the Church. At best, they sign a declaration saying they agree with the Church on a list of teachings, but then turn around and go home and do what they want anyway. It’s good to know that the government won’t interfere with the Church, but when is the Church herself going to enforce her teachings??? (Yes, it happens in some places, but those numbers are small.)

  • The human tendency we have is to compare the Church’s authority and its penalties to the State. The State can slap us in jail, fine us or in many USA States execute. The Church’s Courts are to apply justice and love in Jesus’ Name and Gospel. Even excommunication,as rooted in Paul’s teaching is remedial, not punitive, it was to get the offendingone to reflect. Therefore the bishop’s hands are tied in many ways for dissenting clergy and laity including those in publlc elected or appointed offices. The Protestants of Swiss Calvinism’s Geneva used to around punishing sinners! There is a judgment call to be made, what is pastorally the best rather than throw them all out and move on. It is a time for great discernment, prudence and patience. Above all, prayer for all involved, including bishops in their special role as “episcopoi,” overseers!

  • This quote, “The exception instead ensures that the authority to select and control who will minister to the faithful is the church’s alone…” If this ruling gives the church the authority to choose “who” based on church teachings and it does, then the church can choose “who” ministers to the faithful employees of the church. A “who” can be an individual or an entity. Ministering is the action to provide life guidance to the faithful. Choosing healthcare is a life decision and comes under the life guidance to the faithful. The “who” who provides healthcare insurance should be based on church teaching. The faithful within the congregation can be employees too. So I would argue this ruling can be used to fight the current healthcare mandates.

New Hampshire For the Weathervane

Wednesday, January 11, AD 2012


As expected, Mitt Romney, a\k\a the Weathervane, handily won the granite state.  Romney has been working the state since 2008 and it paid off for him.  Ron Paul (R. Pluto) came in second, which was not surprising, considering the traditional libertarian leanings of quite a few New Hampshire voters.  John Huntsman, who had staked all his cards on New Hampshire, came in third.  Half of Huntsman’s voters in exit polls identified themselves as liberals and indicated that they were satisfied with Obama as President.  I expect Huntsman’s odd campaign to end shortly.

The two most frustrated men in the field were doubtless Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.  They are appealing to many of the same anti-Romney voters, and neither of them could make any headway in New Hampshire with the other man in the race.  Both of them had put minimal effort into New Hampshire and that state is traditionally unkind to primary Presidential candidates who do not spend quite a bit of time there.  Rick Perry came in with a pathetic one percent.  If the Perry campaign were a horse in Texas it doubtless would be put out of its misery soon, and I expect Perry to do the same for his on life support campaign, probably after the South Carolina primary.

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24 Responses to New Hampshire For the Weathervane

  • Herman Cain is being interviewed by Imus on FOXBIZ. He says the real NH primary story is that 18% of Dem primary voters went for someone besides Obama.

    Same time for Clinton, 4% went for somebody else.

  • The advantage for Santorum for Gingrich staying in is that he gets to play good cop to Newt’s bad cop. Rick has refused to join in the fray going after Mitt for Bain Capital. So Newt gets to sully himself, and perhaps take both himself and Romney out. The best case is that Newt sufficiently damages Romney in South Carolina, allowing Santorum to win. He gets the momentum – and then Gingrich (and perhaps Perry’s) endorsement after the primary. A close second to Romney would also be fine. If Romney wins by more than 5% or so, this could be over.

  • It is indeed unfortunate that a few hicks in Iowa and wacko leftists in N.H. can have such disproportional impact on the American political process — as flawed as the BCS Championship.

  • A great column on the Weathervane today by John Podhoretz:

    “But nobody loves him. No one is inspired by him. He cuts an impressive figure and is clearly very intelligent, but he is a man without an ideological core.

    Claiming he should be president because he knows how to run a business may be the least stirring message any candidate has seized upon since Michael Dukakis foundered in 1988 by claiming he could bring “competence” to the White House.

    And his liabilities are undeniable. Even though Gingrich’s assault on Romney’s record of laying off workers when he was running Bain Capital is breathtaking in its disingenuousness, that record does happen to be one of a dozen glaring weaknesses in Romney’s biography, political history and approach that President Obama and his team will be able to use to their advantage.

    So he will win the nomination in a walk. But he will be beaten and battered by the time he crosses the finish line in November — though he may well do so in first place.

    Because, while his own record is problematic, Barack Obama’s is worse.”

    Read more:

  • that record does happen to be one of a dozen glaring weaknesses in Romney’s biography

    A dozen? Gov. Romney has not held a consequential position in the federal government, has not put in some time in Congress, and did not serve in the military. Those three are the holes in his biography. Bain Capital is a PR problem; Romney needs to point out that private equity is commonly an alternative to reorganization or liquidation; the jobs remaining are the jobs you saved.

  • Art,
    You are right about Bain and private equity. I think Romney is trying to get the word out, but damaging news always travels with greater alacrity than rehabilitating news. And for whatever people seem more receptive to the former than latter.

    As you know, every candidate has a biographical deficiencies. We haven’t seen a candidate without some since GHWB. I think Romney compares well to his opponents in this regard. His biggest deficiency in my view is not his resume as such, but the fact that he is perceived, and with some good reason, as a man who is a bit too eager to place ambition over principle. A pragmatic approach and the willingness to compromise are essential for political success, and these are not incompatible with passionate beliefs and guiding principles (see Ronald Reagan). But there is a difference between compromising to move the needle in the right direction versus compromising in order to add an accomplishment to your resume. I’m not sure about Mitt, and I find the efforts by so many to see these human beings running for office as cartoons rather than complex people very unfortunate. I suspect Mitt is a decent man with conservative impulses and a fair amount of talent. Given his record of accomplishment that is good enough for me, even if he may not be my first choice.

  • Let me see if I can come up with a dozen Art.

    1. Flip flops on abortion. From 1994 when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy: ‘But as a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.”
    2. Romneycare.
    3. Judicial appointments while governor of Massachusetts.
    4. Tax increases he sponsored while governor of Massachusetts.
    5. Flip flop on abstinence based sex education.
    6. Flip flop on embryonic stem cell research.
    7. Flip flop on the minimum wage.
    8. Flip flop on gun control.
    9. This quote when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994. “I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.”
    10. This quote: “My sons are all adults and they’ve made decisions about their careers and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard. One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.”
    11. Flip flopping on abolition of the Department of Education.
    12. Flip flopping on allowing prayer in school.

    Mitt Romney’s campaign slogan if truth were a requirement for such things: “If you do not like my views today, they are bound to change tomorrow!”

  • Those are erroneous choices in policy and public advocacy, not defects in his biography.

  • We differ in regard to the term biography Art. To me that has always referred to all the events in a person’s life. My guess is that Podhoretz was using the term in the way that I do.

  • Mike, although I generally respect your political instincts, I have to ask on what basis could anyone possibly suspect that Romney has “conservative impulses”? This is the man who ran against Ted Kennedy by running to Kennedy’s left. He ran for governor claiming to be a “pro-choice progressive” and governed that way. As for the rest of his governing record, he was, at best, a squishy moderate, and I would argue a Northeastern liberal Republican.

    Despite that, it looks as if he will cakewalk to the nomination even though there appears to be a deep and abiding discomfort with – indeed, a distrust of – him by the bulk of the conservative majority in the GOP grassroots (and even his supporters at National Review seem to be experiencing a little buyers remorse – see today’s columns by Lowry and Goldberg). Sadly, if this happens, this will be the first presidential election since I’ve been eligible to vote that I will either sit out or vote 3rd party. I just cannot bring myself to vote for Romney (Obama parade of horribles that will no doubt be marched out to try to convince me otherwise nothwithstanding).

  • I agree with everything you say Jay in regard to the Weathervane, and more. The closer you examine his record the worse it gets. However if Romney gains the nomination I will vote for him, or rather I will vote against Barack Obama. My desire to get Obama out is the only reason I can think of for casting a vote for the Weathervane. In my posts it will be a contest between the “Weathervane” and “Worst President Ever”.

  • Anti-Romney ads are starting to come out down here in SC;the ones I’ve heard on the radio are ‘not supported by any presidential candidate.’ I imagine that it’ll pick up more when the candidates themselves start airing their own ads against Romney (and each other).

    I am with you Donald in that I’d be voting Romney in November only to get Obama out, not as support for Romney.

  • Weathervane… coming from the people who supported half a dozen different candidates and will eventually support Romney. Come join the Republican mainstream guys!

  • The Republican mainstream has always been conservative RR, since the rise of Reagan. As for supporting candidates, I have supported only one for President: Rick Santorum. If Romney gets the nomination I will not be supporting him, but I will be vigorously opposing Obama.

  • I too am with Kyle and Mac. Romney is light years preferable to the tyro tyrant.

    Help me out here.

    I feel more (gut) antipathy toward Huntsman than Romney. If H gets the GOP nomination, or a Soros (or his commie billionaire ilk) funded third party bid, kiss our country good-bye.

  • After we get this gang (I use the word intentionally) out, we can form a third party, or push a candidate that we feel is truly conservative.

    Election 2012 is too important. Sitting it out, or execrating GOP candidates, makes David Axelrod and Bill Ayres happy. That is the only way they can give us (unbelievable as this may seem) “Four Worse Years.”

  • Without the Eddie Haskell demeanor, most notable in his snide and smarmy efforts to ingratiate himself to the media and to liberals by questioning the sanity of all those “other” conservatives, Huntsman would otherwise be considered one of the more conservative candidates in the race based on his actual governing record and policies proposed by his campaign.

    Certainly moreso than Romney. Huntsman is at least fairly strong on the life issues, the 2nd amendment, and taxes.

  • Agreed with Jay. Huntsman has run a rather quixotic campaign, almost the complete opposite of Romney. Whereas Romney is a moderate pretending to be a conservative, Huntsman seems to be a conservative pretending to be a moderate.

  • Huntsman’s problem as been his horrible campaigning. He can’t inspire children to eat candy. If Obama wins, I hope Huntsman learns from his mistakes and runs in 2016.

  • Paul – I think that some of the moderate-liberal Washington press corps started to promote Huntsman as “the reasonable Republican”, and that scared off conservatives.

  • I believe that Romney will eventually get the Republican nomination, because he truly reflects the political opinions of the majority of Republicans in the US these days. He will be voted in by repubs who just about 100% agree with what they see as the true Romney, a Nirth East liberal progressive who wouldnt spit on a real conservative if he even knew one.

    The whole party is that way. Regardless of what died in the wool conservatives think, the actual base of the party are progressive, big gov, anti family values, pro greed, and will vote for this man.

    It’s why I left the party.

    I have seen the enemy, and it us us!

  • Ridiculous. The Republican party as a party is the most conservative it has ever been, certainly far more conservative than in the days of Reagan. The liberal wing of the party is gone, and moderates like Romney have to pretend to be conservatives. The basic problem this election cycle is that only one first tier conservative decided to run, Perry, and he turned out to be a complete dud in campaigning. The remaining conservatives have split the conservative vote and thus allowed Romney to dominate, and none of them have had the money to wage an effective campaign against Romney. The dissatisfaction of the base of the party has been clear from the outset with one after another anti-Romney having his day in the sun. Santorum is the final anti-Romney and we will see how he does in South Carolina.

  • The Republican party as a party is the most conservative it has ever been, certainly far more conservative than in the days of Reagan.

    I think it would be more precise to say the following:

    1. The Republican Party is inner-directed in a way it was not prior to 1978.
    2. At the federal level, the Republican Party has a common perspective on policy and only a few in the tails of the bell curve are properly regarded as dissidents. This was not the case when Mr. Reagan took office.

    The issues and polarities with regard to economic questions are much the same as they were thirty years ago. On questions of foreign affairs, matters are scrambled. On social and cultural questions, Republican and soi-disant conservatives have been floundering and not doing well at articulating a response to the entropic tendencies promoted by the opposition (as made manifest in one of the most recent debates).

It’s In There Somewhere

Tuesday, January 10, AD 2012

I can’t tell you how many times that, when I’ve asked someone to cite the constitutional authority for the point they are arguing, they vaguely give me an Article and Section number without explaining how said article justifies their favored course of action.  Well, you will all be happy to know that our representatives in Congress are not any better at offering specifics.

At the beginning of the 112th Congress, as part of an effort to inject more transparency into the legislative process, the House adopted a rule requiring that each bill be accompanied by a Constitutional Authority Statement.  The purpose of the rule was to expose the cavalier attitude of those members who desire to legislate ‘just because they can.’

Well, after a year of legislating under this rule, it appears that we are in serious need of accountability measures to provide some clarity and specificity to the authority statement.  Otherwise, the rule will be regarded as yet another “transparency” gimmick of Congress.

Republican congressional staffers combed through almost 3800 bills and joint resolutions that have been introduced this year, in an effort to gauge the clarity and specificity of the Constitutional Authority Statements.  For the most part, the results are pretty pathetic.  Here are some of their key findings:

  • Overall, 945 bills contained authority statements which do not reference a specific power granted by the Constitution.  Many of these merely cited “Article 1” or “Article 1 Section 1” “Article 1 Section 8.” In other words, they just cited the fact that Congress has the power to legislate, but failed to divulge which constitutional power or specific clause is supporting their legislation.
  • There were 732 bills which only referenced the commerce clause, 660 which only referenced the general welfare clause, and 321 which mentioned the necessary and proper clause without reference to a previous Constitutional clause to which the necessary and proper clause might apply.
  • In total, there were 2658 Constitutional Authority Statements that were either questionable or vague.  That represents roughly 69% of all bills and resolutions introduced in the 1st Session of the 112th Congress.
  • While more of the vague citations are attributable to Democrat bill sponsors, many Republicans were lax in offering meaningful authority statements.  Almost as many Republicans used the inexplicit commerce clause as Democrats.

This highlights a number of problems with both Congress and our understanding of the Constitution in general.  First of all, attempts to reign in Congress are almost always futile because Congressmen are adept at skirting around clear legislative language.  After all, we’re dealing with a bunch of lawyers – both on staff and in Congress itself.  Lawyers are masters of finding, and then abusing the fine print.

But let’s not just chalk up to maliciousness what we can also chalk up to laziness.  Yes, these are all smart people, but they’re also lazy.  When staff drafts legislation* they don’t have enough time to be rummaging around 100-year old, dry old documents like the U.S. Constitution.  They can vaguely remember their Con Law class and some decision handed down by some FDR-appointed judge that says that the commerce clause covers that, and so VOILA!  Constitutional justification.

*: And, by the way, make no mistake about it – it’s Congressional staff that writes legislation.  Do you think Congress critters are the ones hammering away at their laptops drafting this minutiae?  Of course not.   Do you really think they’re busy putting together 2,000 page documents?  Uh uh.  No, we are governed by 30 year olds fresh out of law school who are just biding their time until they get a job with a K Street firm that will lobby Congress on the labyrinth legislation that said staffer just penned.  Meanwhile, the people who actually have to vote on these bills have, at best, skimmed them, trusting their personal staffers to give them the gist of what is written on paper.  Just what our Framers envisioned, right?

Finally, let’s be honest – the FDR appointed judge probably just muttered something about the commerce clause in the ruling, offering barely much more substance than the Congressional staffer.  Over the years the judiciary, through the beneficence of broad interpretation, has often stretched Constitutional meaning beyond the breaking point.  If staff were inclined to beef up their Constitutional Authority Statements, we would be no more satisfied with the end result.  It would still likely be utter malarkey, just better sourced and more specific-sounding malarkey.

Still, I think this exercise has one useful purpose.  We all knew that Congress was just making it up as it went along, and now we have written proof of that.

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8 Responses to It’s In There Somewhere

  • Defeated Illinois Democrat Congressman Phil Hare explains how most Congresscritters view the Constitution:

  • The Constitutional Authority Statement requirement is the most naive think I’ve ever heard of. It’s the kind of thing a high school US government class would come up with as the foolproof solution to legislative overreach. Other similar ideas include requiring legislators to read their bills aloud or keeping all bills under three pages. It’s a problem with populism in general. People are literate enough to know there’s a problem but not literate enough (or humble enough) to know that the obvious solutions are useless. Conservative thought should, in theory, be less susceptible to this sort of thing but a conservative frame of mind is not the same as political conservatism.

  • “The Constitutional Authority Statement requirement is the most naive think I’ve ever heard of. ”

    Oh, I’ve heard much more naive things than that RR. Now in regard to the Constitution the most dangerous thing I have ever read was said by Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes in 1907 when he was Governor of New York (Hughes would later resign from the Court and run for President on the Republican ticket in 1916): “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is, and the judiciary is the safeguard of our liberty and of our property under the Constitution.” Of course this turns the supreme governing document of our country into a tabula rasa for lawyers wearing black robes to write what they wish. I can think of few thoughts on the Constitution further from the intent of the drafters of the Constitution. The truly dangerous thing of course is that most judges and attorneys would agree with this as both a statement of fact and something desirable.

    Another Hughes quote explains much of the convuluted development of Constitutional law in this country: “At the constitutional level where we work, ninety percent of any decision is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for supporting our predilections.” What an excellent explanation for Roe v. Wade!

  • ” . . . , promote the general Welfare, . . . ”

    And, we know from reading the Federalist Papers and the minutes and the assorted writings of the Framers that they wrote that in order to provide cover for community organizers.

    “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.” Albert Camus

  • An expansive understanding of the commerce clause power is pretty much settled law, and cannot be so easily dismissed as the idiosyncratic understanding of “FDR appointed judges.” Even the most conservative jurists acknowledge this. Scalia may look for a slightly more meaty nexus between a piece of legislation and interstate (or foreign) commerce than Breyer, but the concept that Congress can enact what amounts to police power legislation as long as there exists some significant interstate commerce effect is not only well-established, it is consistent with the text and impossible to police otherwise without examining legislative motives — something impractical. Neither Bork nor Scalia object to this, though I believe Scalia continues to reject the dormant or negative aspect of the commerce clause (but this is completely different). This is not to say that the Framers actually envisioned a legislative branch with such robust powers — they probably did not; but they allocated such powers all the same. The Framers did not envision Marbury v Madison and its implications in consigning tremendous policy powers to the “least powerful branch” either, but Marbury was rightly decided nonetheless. The consequences of legal documents — contracts, wills, statutes or even constitutions are never perfectly anticipated by their architects.

    That said, this does not mean that Obamacare does not present serious constitutional questions. Surely the imposition of an affirmative requirement to purchase a product or service that is not contingent on any voluntary act such as choosing to drive a car presents a fair constitutional question insomuch as it seems to suggest that Congress can prohibit a decision to *not* engage in commerce. But most federal laws, however imprudent and counterproductive we may think they be, are not unconstitutional.

    Just as liberals have a well-developed tendency to believe that any state legislation they do not like must violate the federal constitution under some contrived theory or another, conservatives tend to believe that any federal legislation they do not like must somehow violate the federal constitution. They are both wrong. For better or worse, the constitution gives pretty wide latitude for legislatures, state and federal, to express the will of voters through legislation. Congress may well do harm by its activism, but for the most part such activism is not of constitutional moment; judicial activism on the other hand is — when courts strike down legislation as unconstitutional all too oftern they are simply acting as super-legislatures substitution their own policy preferences for those of legislatures.

  • Congress may well do harm by its activism, but for the most part such activism is not of constitutional moment; judicial activism on the other hand is — when courts strike down legislation as unconstitutional all too oftern they are simply acting as super-legislatures substitution their own policy preferences for those of legislatures.

    Congress overstepping constitutional limits is no less egregious than the Courts doing it simply because it is the democratic branch. All three branches are bound by the same Constitution. This is why I don’t like the phrase “judicial activism.” I’ve made this comparison before, but think of two Supreme Court cases – Wickard v. Filburn and US v. Lopez. Both cases were based on Congressional reliance on the commerce clause. In the former, SCOTUS made a leap of logic in order to uphold legislation that was based on at best, a tenuous connection to the commerce clause. In the latter case, SCOTUS overturned legislation that it deemed unconstitutional because it did not really rise to the level of interstate commerce. Which decision was the correct one? The latter. Yet, that would be decried as activism based on the definition given above. The fact of the matter is that both cases involved Congressional acts of constitutional activism, but only in one case did SCOTUS act as an accomplice.

    Mike is correct in noting that not all bad legislation is unconstitutional. And, similarly, not all constitutional legislation is wise. Sometimes we do get lucky and there’s something that comes along that is both bad policy which also happens to be unconstitutional – like the individual mandate.

    But this is all besides the point. Even if we concede that this requirement is naive, wouldn’t it be nice for Congressional staff to at least make an effort to constitutionally justify their proposals? I’m not asking for 100 page briefs. I just want something a little more substantial than “uh . . . . commerce clause.” Say why the commerce clause (or 14th Amendment or whatever) allows for a certain action. Even if you’re wrong it’s still something more substantive than what we have now.

  • I just don’t see what good that would do. You can’t limit the courts ability to consider other arguments so it’s not a legally binding limitation. So you can mock it but you can do that anyway.

  • Paul, I don’t disagree about the seriousness of Congress overstepping its constitutional authority. I just think it rarely does. Wickard is perhaps the high water mark of Congressional regulation of interstate commerce. While a close call (and personally offensive) it is probably correctly decided. The purpose of the legislation was to drive up the price of wheat — clearly within the clause’s ambit — and the Court was correct that home production and consumption is inimical to that objective. Lopez was probably also correctly decided. When Congress is going to use the commerce clause to effectuate a social/police power objective it must at least articulate some economic/commerce clause rationale — something it did not do in connection with the gun legislation the Court struck down.

Canon 216: Who Are You Calling Catholic?

Tuesday, January 10, AD 2012

49 And John, answering, said: Master, we saw a certain man casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us.

50 And Jesus said to him: Forbid him not; for he that is not against you, is for you.

Luke 9:49-50

On December 15, 2011, the Archdiocese of Detroit stated that Real Catholic TV could not use the term “Catholic”.

In a Dec. 15, 2011 statement addressing the organization’s name, the archdiocese clarified that the Church encourages its members “to promote or sustain a variety of apostolic undertakings,” but forbids them “from claiming the name Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.”   The archdiocese added that it has been communicating with Voris as well as his media partner at Real Catholic TV on the issue for “some time.”

Last month’s announcement also referenced Canon 216 of the Roman Catholic Church’s current Code of Canon Law, which holds that “no undertaking is to claim the name ‘Catholic’” without authorization.   According to the archdiocese, Real Catholic TV’s programming is “disseminated from the enterprise’s production facility in Ferndale, Michigan,” within the jurisdiction of Detroit’s Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron.   But Voris maintains that Archbishop Vigneron is not the “competent ecclesiastical authority” over Real Catholic TV, which is owned by Indiana resident Marc Brammer.   “I don’t have ownership over the name of the organization. It’s not my organization. The headquarters are outside of the diocese,” Voris told LifeSiteNews in a Dec. 23 article. “It’s the wrong person, and the wrong outfit asking the wrong person the wrong question.”

Go here to read the rest at LifeSiteNews.  As for Real Catholic TV, I have no great feeling one way or another.  I have watched very little of it, but what I have seen I have not found very impressive.  The heart of Mr. Voris appears to be in the right place, but his head often doesn’t seem to be fully engaged.  Having said that, considering all the faith destroying drek that I have seen promoted under the name “Catholic” in this country over the past four decades, I find it amusing, although completely unsurprising,  that it was the traditionalist Real Catholic TV that was chosen for this rare application of Canon 216.

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22 Responses to Canon 216: Who Are You Calling Catholic?

  • My comment is here:

    I don’t agree with everything Voris says. But why doesn’t AoD ask why TAC gets to use the name “Catholic” in its title? Now I think that “The American Catholic” is a perfectly fine title for this blog. But do entries at this blog have an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat (not that they need them)? Indeed, the question remains: why single out Voris? I think that it is because he has with his usual caustic personality (I have one of those, so I recognize it well) pointed out the hypocrisy rampant among the US Bishopry and some (er, almost all) liberals really don’t like that.

  • Sounds like trademark infringement.

    Matthew 7:21: “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

    The operative clause is, “competent ecclesiastical authority.”

  • Now if only the Archdiocese of Kansas City will take away the “Catholic” from the National Catholic Reporter.

  • On the other hand, were Real Catholic TV to submit and cease to use the Catholic moniker, it could provide coverage for bishops to do the same with other actual abusers of the Catholic identity and serve as a good witness.

  • @Phillip, so true!

    Can this apply to people? Can we have Nancy Pelosi stop calling herself Catholic?

  • Yeah, to say that I’ve never been impressed by Real Catholic TV is to put it mildly — but this kind of thing seems to show up a nasty passive aggressive streak in the hierarchy: “Oh, you keep pestering us to be more strict in enforcing standards within the Church? Well, if you like that so much, we’ll be strict with you but with no one else.”

  • I’m just finishing a book about Saint Dominic. The author puts a lot of stress on the apostolate of teaching and how certain levels of teaching authority have to fall under the authority of the Church. There really are two separate questions: who is speaking on behalf of the Church and are they properly representing the Church in their statements. One is a question of ecclesiology, the other of theology. A bad sermon is a theological problem; an independent organization implicitly claiming teaching authority is a matter of ecclesiastical discipline. Rorate Coeli is wrong to blur the two.

    But definitely, groups like Catholics for a Free Choice and the National Catholic Reporter should fall under the same scrutiny. And it’s not simply a matter of intellectual property rights. That’s like saying that simony is outside Church prosecution because an exchange of sacraments for money is a legal transaction. The Church may not have the muscle to prevent the unauthorized use of the name “Catholic”, but it has the responsibility to speak against those who falsely claim to be representing Catholicism.

  • So Pinky, should TAC then remain “The American Catholic”?

    Should Steve Ray’s blog remain “Defenders of the Catholic Faith”?

    Should Mark Shea’s blog remain “Catholic and Enjoying It”?

    I have no objection to all three retaining the name “Catholic” just as I have no objection to the same for RCTV.

    But to single out RCTV is unequitable and unfair. BTW, what about the Old Catholic Church in the US that believes in contraception and women in the priesthood?

  • Guys,

    I’ve been thinking again (a dangerous thing for a nuclear trained person, to be sure!). Remember the scandal over Fr. Corapi (whose web site is apparently pulled down now)? Remember how he really irritated a lot of people, and now he is essentially no more. I am not arguing over whether or not he really did something wrong, but rather this: what if a scandal like that is brewing for RCTV? No, I am NOT saying anybody has done anything wrong, but these kinds of things generally start with “You don’t speak for the Church” and then they escalate until all the dirty laundry is waving in the breeze. And again, no, I am not saying that there is any such dirty laundry, but things have a way of turning very ugly even in the best of circumstances (and this isn’t one of them).

    We should for both Voris and Vigneron (interesting that both names begin with “V”). We don’t need another scandal.

  • Darn my fat fingers – we should PRAY for Voris and Vigneron. Arrrrgggggghhhhhhh!

  • Paul, those are fair questions. I think that if anyone misunderstands “The American Catholic” or “Defenders of the Catholic Faith” to imply official status then, yes, the names should be changed. It’s something I’ve never thought about before, but it makes sense. I don’t think that anyone would hear the name “Catholic and Enjoying It” and assume that it speaks for the Church.

    I’m unfamiliar with the Fr. Corapi story, but to my knowledge, things rarely start with “you don’t speak for the Church”. But I can believe that one of the unintended consequences of the Council’s implementation is a confusion about who does speak for the Church. Again, I’m not saying that the clergy or official Church outlets are flawless, but lay teaching has risks, and clarity of status isn’t a bad thing.

  • “Paul, those are fair questions. I think that if anyone misunderstands “The American Catholic” or “Defenders of the Catholic Faith” to imply official status”

    The only thing “official” about this blog is our “official” mascot:

  • Michael Voris is awesome, refreshing, truthful, no-nonsense. I suppose the effeminate types and other liberals who work in these diocese offices would be turned off by him.

  • I get Voris’ daily e-mail which contains “The Vortex”, and their news segment.
    There has been a bit of an argument here at our blog.

    I think Voris gives a direct and unflinching propounding of the Catholic Faith. Sure, he can be critical of many things and people in the Church – he tends to brush over ….”in all things, charity.” Having said that, I have never heard anything that Voris says that is not orthodox Catholic teaching – he gives his presentations in a clear and unambiguous manner, and I think it is this that ruffles many feathers, particlularly the liberal/ progressive element in the Church, and he calls out liberal bishops for their failure to lead the Church firmly, thus giving cause to the multitude of problems that the Church now faces.

    I would be interested to hear directly from Bp. Vigneron. It is the chancery – the Director of Communications that is after Voris’ blood, and he has been employed by the AoD for 20 years when the infamous Bp.(Stumblebum) Gumbleton was at the helm, and he (Gumbleton) allegedly allowed or turned a blind eye to such things as Clown masses, promotion of women priests, and homosexual clergy involved in the abuse scandal.

    Also, the canon lawyer from the Indiana Diocese of Frt Wayne-South Bend considers that there is no issue with

    Interesting when the dust settles.

  • Donald, why did you post the video of Senator John Warner?

  • Isn’t this the issue that came up for Mother Angelica? If I remember correctly from her biography, she admittedly said something very unwise about a bishop, and the fallout eventually was an apostolic visitation for the television station. After the apostolic visitation, she was told that she should not have started her TV station without proper approval. She asked if approval was likely to have been granted. “No,” was the answer. Imagine….. we would have “Catholics” in government destroying our religious freedom with abandon, but no EWTN to teach the faith. Such a sad thought!

  • Tell me, good people, why would any Organization calling itself “Catholic”, coming from another country, refuse to present themselves to the “Local Ordinary” to be officially recognized as a Catholic Organization in their new domicile??? That is the question, Donald. The Canon Law quoted is unambiguously clear and it applies to all. The onus is not on the Ordinary to chase those opening in His See to present themselves to him for official recognition. It is on the Organization coming into a new See to present themselves. May you all be blessed this New Year 2012

  • So Mary, should Steve Ray’s “Defenders of the Catholic Faith” (which by its very title makes itself out to be some sort of authority on or for the Catholic faith) present itself to the local ordinary and get imprimaturs and nihil obstat for all the information on its web site? (BTW, I love Steve Ray’s apologetics and routinely plagiarize his works, though I cite attribution, buty that’s not the point.)

    Should the “National Catholic Reporter” – that liberal bastion of godless dissent – present itself to the local ordinary also?

    You yourself said that the Canon Law cited is unambiguous and applies to all of us. Does it? Really? And is it being so applied? The answer to the last is clearly “no.” Uber orthodox Michael Voris is being singled out. 🙁

    Now no, I do not agree with everything Voris says, and sometimes his mannerism is as caustic as my own. But his heart is in the right place and the liberal elements in AoD hate that.

  • Hey, guys, I can’t find Lionel Andrades comment that I received in my e-mail. I did want to respond to it by pointing what St. Paul wrote in Romans 11, namely, that God has not rejected His people Israel or the Jews, and that as Christians we are simply branches of a wild Olive shoot grafted into the Tree that is Christ. It always upsets me to read or hear criticism of the people through whom God chose to give us His Son. I do, however, agree that the Church is in a sense the “New Israel”, and that Jews and Gentiles alike are called to conversion and repentance, but St. Paul uses that very point in his Epistle to the Romans to caution us as Gentile Christians against arrogance, lest we find ourselves as wild branches cut off from the graft.

  • Paul, when Jesus taught us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, did everybody accept Him? NO. Did that mean that His Divine Identity and Salvation Message was false? NO. It follows therefore, that the Teachings of the Catholic Church and its Magisterium Authority are binding to all those who wish to remain Faithful to Christ’s Church. But God gave us Free Will – to accept His Divine Truth and Salvation Mystery subsisting in the Divinely Constituted Catholic Church by Christ Himself and led by “The Rock” and His Successors or reject that Truth and Salvation Mystery. God created us without our permission, but He shall never save anyone without their co-operation.