Monthly Archives: June 2012

Et Tu, Ioannes?

The Supreme Court has ruled the individual mandate is constitutional as a tax. So the individual mandate is not a permissible use of the commerce clause; however, it is appropriate for Congress to levy a tax that essentially forces taxpayers to buy health insurance.

I will have to wait until I read the entire opinion before rendering judgment, but at first blush this looks like a terrible defeat for the rule of law.

By the way, it looks like it was a 5-4 decision. Kennedy voted with Scalia, Thomas and Alito. Let that sink in.

Correction: I am now reading that it was 6-3. Honestly, I’m reading a lot of conflicting reports, so I’ll refrain from further commentary until I read the opinions.

Correction to the Corrction: Nope, Kennedy, Alito, Thomas and Scalia would have decreed the entire act unconstitutional. It was John Roberts who saved Obamacare.

And now I offer my apologies to all those I scolded for critiquing the John Roberts selection. You were right. I’ve thus changed the post title.

Has the Austrian hierarchy “had it”?

Although the undercurrents have been there for decades and similar ideas and conduct transpires beneath the radar, dissident U.S. Catholic priests had better observe what’s happening in Austria—where 10% of the clergy have formed a dissident group named “Call to Disobedience”—before signing documents espousing their heterodox ideas and conduct.

What does the Austrian group propose?

Similar to American dissident priests, Austrian dissident priests have for decades formed groups that publicly have advocated “reforms,” including the ordination of women and abolishing clerical celibacy.  More recently, they have publicly pledged to break Church rules by giving Holy Communion to Protestants and divorced Catholics who remarry.

 

The dissident priests’ policies are popular in Austria, with public opinion polls demonstrating broad support for them.

But, “the times…they are a’ changing.”

In May, the Archbishop of Vienna , Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, priests in May that dissidents would not be appointed to the post of dean and those who would be coming up for renewal would have to choose between Church teaching or their group’s “reform” campaign.

Clarifying matters, an archdiocesan spokesman Nikolaus Haselsteiner said:

You can easily remain a member of the Priests’ Initiative. You must only distance yourself from the “Call to Disobedience” in an appropriate way.

In an average company, a department head can’t say he doesn’t care what the CEO says.

According to a Reuters report, one priest has withdrawn his support for the reform campaign and kept his job.  Two or three more have yet to decide whether to withdraw their support from the manifesto.  But, the Reverend Peter Meidinger—a founding member of the group issuing the Manifesto—has stepped down from the post of dean rather than renounce the “Call to Disobedience” manifesto.  Meidinger said:

I spoke to the archbishop and perhaps you cannot say I had to choose, but I had the impression that there was no way out for me so I am stepping down and freeing up the spot.

For me what is important is the Priests’ Initiative and not the term “disobedience.”  The term civil disobedience is used when the leaders are simply not prepared to listen to people.

Yes, that’s what the problem has been: The hierarchy is “not prepared” to listen to the people.

 

The Motley Monk is wondering if the opposite is more likely the case.  Namely, might it be that the hierarchy has listened long and patiently and finally has decided “enough is enough”?

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn

Will Cardinal Schoenborn’s more confrontational approach to dealing with dissident priests be exported to the United States?

Time will tell.

 

 To read the Reuters report, click on the following link:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/27/us-austria-catholic-priests-idUSBRE85Q0ZO20120627

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

Fortnight For Freedom Day Eight: Catholics and the Father of our Country

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Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

 

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

 

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the eighth of these blog posts.

America has been blessed by God in many ways but I suspect no blessing has been greater than His granting us George Washington to lead us in our struggle for independence and to be our first President.  Catholics have perhaps more reason than other Americans to keep the memory of Washington alive in our hearts.  In a time of strong prejudice against Catholics in many parts of the colonies he was free from religious bigotry as he demonstrated on November 5, 1775 when he banned the anti-Catholic Guy Fawkes celebrations.

“As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope – He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.”

Order in Quarters, November 5, 1775

– George Washington

This stand against anti-Catholicism was not unusual for Washington.  Throughout his life Washington had Catholic friends, including John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the US.  He would sometimes attend Mass, as he did during the Constitutional Convention when he led a delegation of the Convention to attend Mass in Philadelphia as he had attended Protestant churches in that town during the Convention.  This sent a powerful signal that under the Constitution Catholics would be just as good Americans as Protestant Americans.

Washington underlined this point in response to a letter from prominent Catholics, including Charles and John Carroll, congratulating him on being elected President: Continue reading

Jefferson’s Jesus

In my previous post I may have given the impression that I was simply doing what I accused David Barton of doing, namely, cherrypicking quotes from Thomas Jefferson in order to paint him how I wished. So here are a few more selections from the Jefferson oeuvre that should put to rest any notions that Jefferson was in any way an orthodox Christian. Continue reading

ObamaCare Ruling Watch

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When the decision of the Supreme Court is released tomorrow at 9:00 AM Central Time I will do my best to link to the decision and have some commentary, work permitting in the law mines.  Now of course we can only guess what will happen.  Few things are more futile than attempting to guess what a court will do, but it is fun!  I share in the conventional wisdom that the Court will likely strike down the mandate but uphold the rest.  From a political standpoint, although it would be a travesty under the Constitution, I would prefer that the Court uphold the whole thing, since I think it would ignite a firestorm among conservatives and lead to a devastating defeat for Obama in the fall.  Well, we will see what happens tomorrow.

Fortnight For Freedom Day Seven: The Freemen Have Assented

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Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

 

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

 

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the seventh of these blog posts.

Maryland, the Catholic colony, played an important role in early American colonial history.  Although Catholics in Maryland would eventually be stripped of many of their civil rights in Maryland by a Protestant majority until the time of the Revolution, while they were a political force they helped lay the foundations for a new nation.  One of the most remarkable documents produced during the time that Catholics ruled Maryland is The Toleration Act of 1649, one of the first legislative acts in the American colonies to establish toleration for all Christian faiths.  This was a compromise document between the Catholics and Protestants of Maryland and its text is as follows: Continue reading

Charlie Cook: Hard Election For Obama to Win

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One of the political experts I pay close attention to is Charlie Cook.  His personal politics lean Democrat, but when it comes to predicting elections and reading political tea leaves, he has one of the best records among political mavens.  I therefore assume that alarm bells were going off all over the Obama campaign when they read Cook’s column today in The National Journal:

We are past the point where Obama can win a referendum election, regardless of whether it is on him or the economy. The success of his campaign is contingent upon two things. First, when focusing on the narrow sliver of undecided voters, between 6 and 8 percent of the electorate, the Obama team must make its candidate the lesser of two evils. It has to make the prospect of a Mitt Romney presidency so unpalatable that about half of those undecided voters will begrudgingly vote for reelection. Polling focusing on the undecided voters reveals they are a deeply pessimistic and angry segment of the electorate and don’t particularly like either candidate (fitting, because they don’t tend to like politicians). But they show signs of being more conservative than not. One unpublished analysis gives Republicans a 10-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot test among those undecided about the presidential race. Close analysis of the numbers shows that Obama might have an edge with between a third and a quarter of the currently undecided bloc. That’s cutting things awfully close.

The second key is turnout. African-Americans look solid for Obama and very likely to vote in high numbers, but young and Latino voters’ turnout appears problematic. Obama’s recent announcement of a newly articulated Dream Act-light policy could help, but it is too soon to see any data showing measurable change. It is what many Latino voters wanted to see, though Obama did it less than five months before the election when it could have been done three years ago. After deportations had reached levels higher than those under George W. Bush, it could take a lot to drive up Latino turnout.

This election is hardly over: The totally unexpected could happen that changes everything. Unless the Obama team can discredit Romney, though, convincing voters that he is a ruthless, uncaring corporate buccaneer, this will be a hard election to win. Continue reading

If I Were The Devil

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Man has got to take charge of Man. That means, remember, that some men have got to take charge of the rest – which is another reason for cashing in on it as soon as one can. You and I want to be the people who do the taking charge, not the ones who are taken charge of. Quite.

CS Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  I wasn’t a big fan of the late Paul Harvey but this is pretty good and true.

It struck me that the recent video “If I wanted America to fail” must have been modeled after the Harvey bit.  Always steal from the best!

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In Praise of Gendercide

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The ever insightful and hilarious Andrew Klavan put on his Jonathan Swift hat a few weeks ago and wrote a column in praise of gendercide:

The House of Representatives this past week fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill banning abortion based on sex selection — sometimes called “gendercide” because it’s usually aimed at exterminating baby girls. Most Republicans voted for banning gendercide, most Democrats against.

I have to say, I’m with the Democrats on this one. The Supreme Court has decided that aborting our children is a right enshrined in the Constitution. By what logic, then, do we withhold that right from people based on their motives for exercising it?

If a woman chooses to snuff out her unborn child because it’s retarded or handicapped or female, who are we to say her nay? How would we even know why she’s doing it? Are we going to interrogate her? Administer a lie detector test? And what happens when our genetic testing capabilities improve? Are we going to stop her from aborting a child who is genetically destined to be gay? Or unintelligent? Or untalented? Or freckled? Of course not. How could we? As MSNBC host Alex Wagner said, praising the House Democrats’ decision, “It’s about a woman’s right to choose!” Continue reading

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