Donald R. McClarey

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

32 Comments

  1. Not sure Mr. Akin regards it as a part of his vocation to do ought but explain the Church’s doctrine and moral teachings.

    He’s been (If I understand correctly) quite circumspect in regard to a dozen year’s worth of public meltdowns on the part of a certain member of his staff, so it might just be out of character for him to comment at this time on the conduct of people whose paychecks he doesn’t sign..

  2. It would seem to me that in the Ratzinger/Murphy case, Akin defended the way in which the case was handled against the unfair criticisms of a biased mainstream media.

    Which, come to think of it, is what a professional apologist does.

    In the current crisis, I should think that his silence on Vigano means there’s no defense to be made for what is clearly indefensible. But then, I like Jimmy Akin, so maybe I’m biased here.

    In any event, I would read an absence of vocal criticism as a tacit acceptance of or indifference to what’s going on in the universal Church

  3. Ernst,

    Akin is not above defending the indefensible. As this sorry attempt to spin the notorious footnote 351 in Amoris Laetitia illustrates:

  4. Greg,

    That is hardly unique to Mr. Akin. That President Truman is a war criminal makes him one of many in American history, according to not a few critics. Remember, it’s not uncommon to say America’s entire war effort in WWII was criminal, and merely a ploy of America’s vast military industrial complex and imperialist designs. I find Mr. Akin’s assessment almost restrained compared to some I’ve heard and read over the years.

  5. Dave,

    I’m aware of all that. But when a prominent Catholic apologist of Akn’s caliber engages in this type of rhetoric, it is all the more problematic.

  6. I’m impressed that you have the fortitude to pay attention to him to call him out. It’s the only way I know what he’s up to since I stopped paying attention to him, shea, simcha and that ilk 4 years ago.

  7. Remember, it’s not uncommon to say America’s entire war effort in WWII was criminal, and merely a ploy of America’s vast military industrial complex and imperialist designs.

    Not uncommon where?

  8. I lost any remaining respect for him a few weeks ago when he stated that PF’s change to the CCC about the death penalty was a “development”.

  9. Art,
    If I saw that once, I saw it a dozen times in various discussions at Patheos alone. About four years ago or so, I saw a discussion on CSPAN with a British historian arguing that most of the war as it went down was the result of America’s military industrial complex. Back when I used to frequent the Huffpost, I ran into that narrative multiples times, both in comments and by authors. I had a college professor who argued that WWII, while likely inevitable, was prolonged and waged as it was largely due to America’s interests in solidifying control of the post-war world. That was back in the late 80s. I even saw that mentioned a few times over the years in comments sections on Catholic blogs.

  10. Our Bishop here in Arkansas is trying (my assumption) to ward off a comprehensive investigation of the diocese by law enforcement (I assume by our state AG) by hiring some “outside” organization to review diocesan records of sexual abusive priests and releasing the “results” of said investigation–in the name of “transparency.” The Bishop has just publicly released some of the earliest results. It has not gone over well in more than one population in our state. Some are demanding to know which currently active known predators are currently alive and their offenses. I do not trust our Bishop. I also do not trust any investigation that is paid for by his office. I will be advocating for our state AG to investigate these areas of the diocesean records/history. I am not niave enough to think that law enforcement is impartial. However, law enforcement seems to have less motive to cover up sexual abuse.

    I am praying that God will purify the leadership of the Catholic of sexual predators & perverts–no matter the cost.

  11. Dave Griffey, average, rightly thinking Americans & British do not see America as the enemy in WW2. Just so you would know. The sources you listed of such anti-Anerican revision of history are from the far Left.

  12. Christian Teacher,
    I fully agree about it being revisionism. But that revisionism is increasingly the default cultural narrative. With each generation, it becomes more and more accepted that the worst of America was, in fact, the sole truth of America. Remember, it’s nothing at all to hear ‘America was not founded on freedom, liberty and democracy. It was founded on slavery, racism and genocide.’ That attitude simply spreads over the centuries, including the conflicts like the Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Cold War and up to today. I worked with a young lady when I first entered the Catholic Church. It was at an educational publisher. She was getting her Masters at OSU, having gone to Boston College for her undergrad. She was entirely convinced that the Cold War was the result of American Imperialism, with the hapless Soviets fighting the good fight. When HBO produced the sequel to Band of Brothers, I remember one review mentioning the atrocities committed in the Pacific War. The conclusion was that America was no better than Japan, and our soldiers probably were just as bad as the Axis. I’ll assume the individual was American, though I could be wrong. And so it goes on. That’s now. Imagine, if we continue, what future generations will think.

  13. Dave Griffey,

    I have seen our future in the cations & attitudes of the teenagers with whom I work over the last 30 years & the far Left, anti-American/anti-God teachers with whom I work. It is not pretty.

  14. I hope I’m not giving offense with what I am about to write.

    Regarding the Truman, Akin and war crimes comment, it might give some perspective to point out that, outside the USA, I’ve never ever heard of anyone that has some knowledge of Catholic morals and doesn’t think that the atomic bombings were intrinsically evil acts of the gravest nature and, therefore, probably war crimes (though the latter is not really a theological and moral description). Apparently, it’s just some American Catholics that defend them and, usually, that is not a good sign.

    Myself, I can’t imagine how it can be defended from the point of view of Catholic dogma and morals, but I’m certainly open to correction. So far, I’ve only read the-end-justifies-the-means explanations.

    Maybe The American Catholic could publish an article or something about it.

  15. BTW, I’m a Spaniard and, as you know, we were neutral in WWII. I abhor SJW’s obsessions and I certainly don’t think that the “entire war effort in WWII was criminal, and merely a ploy of America’s vast military industrial complex and imperialist designs” or any such nonsense.

  16. Bruno we have had many pieces on the morality of the atomic bombings.

    “outside the USA, I’ve never ever heard”

    I assume Bruno that you have never traveled much in the Philippines, China, South Korea or in any of the other nations in which Japan slew 20 million civilians during their war of conquest. To understand what happened it helps if there was skin in the game, and too many current commentators on the atomic bombings act as if the bombings were not an ending of a long bloodbath that had been going on for six years, a defiance of reality not available to those who lived through that horrific maelstrom.

  17. It’s a rare duck of a history teacher or religious authority who’s going to speak up and say the bombings were alright.

    There has been some pushback lately, though. Thank goodness. I’d guess that it’s residual USSR tactics behind “dying by nuke is so much worse than dying by firebombing” thing.

  18. “Myself, I can’t imagine how it can be defended from the point of view of Catholic dogma and morals, but I’m certainly open to correction. ”

    Bruno,

    The very quick answer is that Catholic ethics teaches that indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations is intrinsically evil. Thus the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were immoral.

    The problem becomes that Japan had declared that large portions of the civilian population was in fact militarized. From memory, women from 17 to 55 and men from 15 to 65 were now part of the militia. That would make roughly 65% of the civilian population now part of the military. Does this justify the bombings of cities?

    Add to this that I have now read two accounts of priests in the given cities (one from Hiroshima and one from Nagasaki) that argued along the same lines. Some of the members of the given order of the respective city saying it was immoral, while others that it was moral given the level of militarization.

  19. Art,
    I’m aware of that, too. I just find it hard to believe that the multiple examples I’ve seen, heard, witnessed, and read in interviews, classrooms, internet articles and textbooks over the years, in addition to what others apparently have witnessed as well, just happen to be rare, isolated exceptions.

  20. just happen to be rare, isolated exceptions.

    There are 1.5 million post-secondary teachers in this country and, IIRC, somewhere around 20,000 history professors. That aside, if it were ‘not uncommon’ in a certain set of cadres, you’d be seeing it seeping into popular culture and mass entertainment, not comboxes or the sort of garage-sale intellectual who is employed to review motion pictures.

    We have a real problem with how historical data is presented in this country, but systemic defamation of the war effort between 1939 and 1946 really isn’t a problem.

    As for the Cold War, the sort of rubbish trafficked in by people like Gabriel Kolko was falling out of favor when I was taking diplomatic history courses a generation ago, and that was before the events of 1989-92 made the red haze types look like chumps.

    A more general problem is how the intelligentsia and their dependents and hangers-on understand themselves vis a vis the larger society. Unfortunately, we’ve lived in a century where that understanding is self-aggrandizing – vis a vis the vernacular population and vis a vis our ancestors.

  21. The very quick answer is that Catholic ethics teaches that indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations is intrinsically evil. Thus the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were immoral.

    OK. I cannot help but note, though, that people who issue indictments for ‘consequentialism’ are people whose mundane decisions don’t have any consequences of note. Miss Anscombe could make an irritant of herself to her family, to institutional employees, and to students. It’s not merely that Harry Truman is out of her league; someone working in middle management at GM is out of her league.

  22. “We have a real problem with how historical data is presented in this country, but systemic defamation of the war effort between 1939 and 1946 really isn’t a problem.”

    In the late 80s/early 90s, I began hearing here and there, or reading articles or editorials here or there, that suggested opposition to homosexual marriage was nothing but bigotry, and should be treated as such. I remember an ethics professor suggesting that opposing gay marriage should be like opposing civil rights for blacks decades before. I remember those, though the overwhelming majority of Americans at that time opposed the notion of gay marriage. Many still thought it so far fetched it wasn’t worth discussing. Even schools that were beginning to teach homosexual tolerance wouldn’t have gone so far. That was then.

    The same here. I’m sure the basic masses still accept the notion of a heroic America sweeping in to help save the day, despite the emphasis on war crimes and racism and discrimination and sexism and the obvious desire we had to get the upper hand on over the Soviets. But over and over, I hear – and hear and see with more frequency – challenges to that narrative. It’s a trend that seems to be going one direction, and has been going the same direction since my college days in the 80s. Again, I find it hard to believe that I, or CT above, or others I know who are aware of these views are just the unlucky ones who keep running into freakishly rare cases where the heroic narrative is challenged. I’m afraid that, in a couple more generations, if the trend continues, the heroic narrative of America’s war effort will be the rare exception.

  23. Dave Griffey, the Left in general hates all things American and especially the use of American military might. They work constantly to undermine the use & legitimacy of the American military & the use of its power. Regardless of so called “Catholic” ethics re: war, ithe saving & defending of innocent life is thre legitimate use of power. Truman’s use of the A-bomb saved lives of multiple nationalities–military & civilian–on all sides by ending the slaughter. That is without question. Truman’s advisers gave him an estimated loss of 1,000,000 more American military lives (that is just the stone cold dead bodies not including the injured & maimed) if the Allies had to clean out the Japabese islands by hand. Given the horrible options that Truman had in front of him, I would have made the same decision that he made.

  24. Christian Teacher,
    I agree on all counts. I can see that both sides can debate things like the A-Bombs in good faith. What happens is that tendency to use it to score points, typically against the US. My point was that I saw on quite a few Catholic sites the same attitude I have been witnessing for years outside of the Catholic world. An attitude that’s been growing and going in one direction. I don’t think there is a concerted effort to tarnish the US war effort in WWII. Yet. Nothing like the Confederacy, or our Westward expansion. But I’m sure that day is coming. The pieces are already in place, and commonly accepted as the main focus of what happened: US racism, not helping Europe’s Jews, segregation, sexism (Soviets, I’ve heard, were more inclusive than the US), our total war strategy, our aim to seize the upper hand in the world by nuclear might, internment camps, the A-Bombs, are all what frame the subject today. It’s not long before the gaps are filled and WWII gets nothing more than another American Confederacy treatment.

  25. All too often there is a lack of context when talking about the a-bombing of Japan. PBS has a series titled “Nazi Mega Weapons” where they did an episode on the siege of Berlin titled “Fortress Berlin.” As the Russians advanced on the city the Germans were mobilized to its defense. This included the old and the Hitler Youth. The series said that some of the troops were just children.
    *
    Hitler ordered a fight to the death. The siege of the city started with an Allied aerial bombardment that smashed the city. Hitler also ordered a scorched earth policy of destroying all productive infrastructure to keep it from falling into enemy hands. As the Russians entered the city there were roving SS and Nazi extremist death squads that would charge any German found not fighting with treason and desertion and subject to execution on the spot, usually public hanging to make them an example to the remaining Germans. There was also a reported mass suicide of nearly four thousand Berliners.
    *
    The show said that the Russian casualty count stood at over 80,000 and it was said that the German losses were close to double this figure. This places the losses in the conventional assault of Berlin in the same ballpark as the Japanese losses from the a-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    *
    This same series did a show about the tunnels of Okinawa. The show said that Okinawa’s death toll was over 12,000 Americans, over 77,000 Japanese soldiers, and about 150,000 civilians according to this series. The last voice over narration on the Okinawa episode about its tunnels said that the Battle for Okinawa killed more people than both atomic bombs combined.
    *
    PBS also has a show titled “The Bomb” about the US a-bomb program. The two a-bombs that were dropped over Japan were the first deliverable a-bombs that the US had. They were untried in combat conditions, there was the risk that they could have been duds. They were also the entire US nuclear arsenal. When they were used the US had no further a-bombs ready for use. Truman didn’t know anything about the a-bomb program until he became president. One of the participants in the PBS show about the bomb said that it is his view that Truman never actually ordered the a-bombing, that he simply went with the flow because of his unfamiliarity with the Manhattan Project.
    *
    Having said all this we do have to be careful about how we talk about the a-bombing of Japan. Nukes more devastating than the ones dropped on Japan are still with us. A too enthusiastic defense of the dropping of the a-bombs could be used to justify their current use, with no way to exclude their use over US cities. All discussions need to keep this fact in mind.

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