LarryD resides in southeastern Michigan with his wife and 2 sons. Born and raised Catholic, he abandoned his faith during his college years, and returned to the Church a decade later. When not participating in the free-market economy as a manufacturer's rep for several packaging firms and fulfilling his roles as husband and father, he's either blogging at the award-winning Acts of the Apostasy, spending way too much time playing MMORPG's, or when the weather's agreeable, spoiling a fine walk by playing a round of golf. He has -zero- theology degrees, but that doesn't stop him from loving Jesus Christ and defending His Church to the best of his meager, snarky abilities. He also has a cat of whom he's 89% sure is plotting to kill him.

BREAKING! Pelosi’s Guardian Angel Is “Calling It Quits”!!

(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)

(AoftheAP) In what’s being called “one of the most unprecedented theological events ever”, Nancy Pelosi’s guardian angel has tendered his resignation, apparently in reaction to her statement “It is sacred ground”, with regards to late-term abortions.

AoftheA News received a copy of his resignation letter, in which he cites “I can no longer handle accompanying the most unfathomable degree of stupid ever, so I’m calling it quits”, and “I’ve done my best, but when all is said and done, even I can’t believe all the idiocy she has said and done”.

A representative of Celestial Helpers for Eternal Reward Union Brotherhood, Local 94103, told AoftheA News – speaking on the condition of anonymity – that the resignation came as a total surprise. “To be honest, based on Pelosi’s recent actions and statements, I had assumed he resigned years ago.”

It’s believed that this resignation is the first of its kind. Theologian I. O. DeDerrio explained to AoftheA News that guardian angels remain with their charge until the person’s death has always been Church teaching. “Based on this letter, though, it appears that guardian angels might ‘resign’ upon what could be termed ‘spiritual death’, or maybe even irredeemable idiocy. If so, this represents one of the most unprecedented theological events ever. At least since the Ascension.”

It’s not known at this point if the guardian angel’s resignation has been accepted. Pundits are saying that if Pelosi makes even more theologically ridiculous statements in the coming days, it’s a good bet that it was.

Questions to the Celestial Helpers for Eternal Reward Union Brotherhood regarding the status of VP Joe Biden’s guardian angel remain unanswered at the time of publication.

Jimmy Carter: Failure Of Catholic Church To Ordain Women Is A Human Rights Abuse

(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy - and no, this one isn’t satire)

It’s not news when irrelevant people spout irrational opinions, because it happens nearly all the time, but hey – it’s been a slow day.

From Swampland:

Let’s get right to it. This week the Carter Center’s Mobilizing Faith for Women conference will ask the question, “Can religion be a force for women’s rights instead of a source of women’s oppression?” What’s your answer?

Well, religion can be, and I think there’s a slow, very slow, move around the world to give women equal rights in the eyes of God. What has been the case for many centuries is that the great religions, the major religions, have discriminated against women in a very abusive fashion and set an example for the rest of society to treat women as secondary citizens. In a marriage or in the workplace or wherever, they are discriminated against. And I think the great religions have set the example for that, by ordaining, in effect, that women are not equal to men in the eyes of God.

This has been done and still is done by the Catholic Church ever since the third century, when the Catholic Church ordained that a woman cannot be a priest for instance but a man can. A woman can be a nurse or a teacher but she can’t be a priest. This is wrong, I think. As you may or may not know, the Southern Baptist Convention back now about 13 years ago in Orlando, voted that women were inferior and had to be subservient to their husbands, and ordained that a woman could not be a deacon or a pastor or a chaplain or even a teacher in a classroom in some seminaries where men are in the classroom, boys are in the classroom. So my wife and I withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention primarily because of that…

In the Islamic world that varies widely depending on what the regime is in the capital. Sometimes they try to impose very strict law, misquoting I think the major points of the Qur’an, and they ordain that a woman is inferior inherently. Ten year old girls can be forced to marry against their wishes, and that women can be treated as slaves in a marriage, and that a woman can’t drive an automobile, some countries don’t let women vote, like Saudi Arabia.

Yeah, the Catholic Church is just like the Islam religion in how women are treated. Practically indistinguishable. And in case he was unclear, later in the interview, Jimmy mentions the Taliban and Al Qaeda. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

So-Called Same-Sex Marriage, Dr Who, And An Admission

(originally posted at Acts of the Apostasy, and because Don thought this would be a good “geek post” at TAC. So, blame Don if you don’t like it. :-D)

Back in March, I published a post explaining why I wouldn’t be watching Dr Who anymore. In that post, I wrote:

Dr Who is being used – marginally at first, and perhaps more assertively as of late – to push an agenda [of so-called same-sex marriage]. These incongruous factoids, completely irrelevant to the show and worthless as “character development” or “background”, are glaring and obvious… They were included because the writer wanted them there. That’s plain ol’ bad writing.

I had listed four examples in the reboot of the show, where so-called same sex marriage was unnecessary to the arc of the story, and several commenters added others I had forgotten.

I’m mentioning this post two months later, because interest in it has soared in recent weeks. Now, as readers you wouldn’t know that. You eagerly await new material, and when you come here [here being AoftheA] and don’t find much of it, you get bored and perhaps a little dejected. I daresay none of you go back and read the comments of 2 month old posts.

So, rather than read the comments sections of my past posts, you trundle off to other blogs, seeking fresh posts and interesting insights.

But let me tell you – that post on Dr Who continues to draw attention. To the tune of 843 visits in the past 30 days alone. And 38 total comments [now up to 1,005 visits & 52 comments – and some are quite telling]. That’s not small potatoes. I imagine a Dr Who forum of some sort found my post and linked to it, drawing readers like sharks to chum. I have been unsuccessful in finding this elusive forum (WordPress is rather lacking in showing trackbacks), which has been frustrating.

Because I so want to join that forum and leave a comment.

A comment of apology.

Seeing as how I can’t do that, I’m forced to admit my wrongdoing here in front of all you readers. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Cardinals Vote Down Drone Strikes Against Liturgical Abuses

(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)

(AoftheAP) A source out of Rome tells AoftheA News that during Thursday’s pre-conclave meeting, the Church’s cardinals voted down a proposal to authorize the use of drones to identify and eliminate known liturgical abuses.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, was able to provide few details of the vote, but could confirm that the vote was a close one.

“There was impassioned debate,” the source revealed. “Cardinal Burke campaigned for their use, citing Just War Theory, canon law, and the history of the Crusades as justification for the practice. His PowerPoint presentation and video simulations, from what I was told, impressed a good number of the prelates.

Simulated drone strike on a  papier-mâché puppet.

Simulated drone strike on a papier-mâché puppet.

“Equally persuasive, though, was Cardinal Mahony, who feared that many of the churches in his former archdiocese would end up being targeted.”

At that point, the source said, the discussion turned to whether the drones should only be used against Call-to-Action gatherings. That was rejected, because most of their meetings take place in Episcopalian facilities, and some cardinals pointed out that attacks on their buildings would hamper ecumenism efforts.

At Last Night’s Emergency SCHISM Meeting…

(originally posted at Acts of the Apostasy)


Moonlight streaks through moss-covered trees. In the middle of a clearing stands a black-domed structure – the secret hideout for the nefarious super-villain group SCHISM [Society of Catholycs Hellbent on Instituting Secular Modernism].


People seated around a large round table in a dimly lit room. One person is standing, a scowl on his face. It’s KING KÜNG (aka Hans Küng), leader of SCHISM. With him are REESE’S PIECES (Fr Tom Reese); McBRAIN (Fr Richard McBrien);RAINBOWKID (GLBTQ androgynous-looking character); LIVE CURRANT (Fr Charles Curran); COSMIC GIRL (Sr Joan Chittister); and the SOUR PATCH KID (YouthGen member from Call-to-Action).


Ah, fellow SCHISM members, ist everyvun present? EX-cellent. I zhingk you all know vhy I have called zhis meetingk?


You DVR’d the Grammy’s?


Vhat? Vhat’s a “Grammy”?


What’s “DVR’d”?


Ach, be quiet, you dummkopf. No, not you, CURRANT, zee other dummkopf, zee RAINBOWKID. Now listen to me, all of you. Zhis morning, our nemesis, zee German Shepherd…




…announced zhat he ist resigningk at zee end of zee month. A vonderful opportunity has been dropped right onto our face! →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Sandra Fluke Compares BC Coverage To Leukemia Meds

(crossposted at Acts of the Apostasy)

The pertinent portion:

“If you take a step back and think about that, you work at a restaurant or you work at a store, and your boss is able to deny you leukemia coverage or contraception coverage or blood transfusions or any number of medical concerns that someone might have a religious objection to … So the folks who are still objecting [to the mandate] have some very extreme ideas about religious freedom and employee health care in this country.”

(transcript courtesy of NRO)

Religious objections to paying for people’s leukemia treatments? Since when? Didn’t Ms. Fleukemia’s 15 minutes expire hours – or perhaps months – ago?

Apparently not.

Obama And Romney Camps Debate The Debate

(AoftheAP)  As the first presidential debate of the 2012 election nears, scheduled for Wednesday October 3 at the University of Denver, each campaign continues to lower their candidate’s performance expectations, issuing counter statements that oddly seem to flatter their opponent while downplaying any notion that their own candidate will do well.

“If these expectations get lowered any further,” an unnamed pollster said, speaking on condition of anonymity to AoftheA News, “any minute now, they’re going to look up and see the Great Wall of China.”

Members of President Obama’s campaign began the narrative in mid-September, explaining that “the structured — and time-limited — nature of the debates isn’t a natural fit for Obama, who often is long-winded when answering questions during news conferences or town hall-style meetings.” In addition, the Obama camp admitted that Romney’s recent participation in the Republican primary debates could give him an edge heading into the presidential debates.

These statements prompted a reply the Romney campaign, where senior adviser Beth Myers issued a letter stating, in part, that “President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history.”    Thus, Romney’s expectations in doing well against the president are fairly low.

Not long after seeing the letter, members of the Obama campaign responded by saying that while they appreciate Governor Romney’s kind words, their expectations were still lower, because the president has not had the sort of time to prepare that his contender has enjoyed.  Jen Paski, a White House spokesperson, told reporters on Air Force One: “I will just take this opportunity to say that Mitt Romney on the other hand has been preparing earlier and with more focus than any presidential candidate in modern history: Not John F. Kennedy, not President Bill Clinton, not President George Bush, not Ronald Reagan has prepared as much as he has.”  She went on to cite that “the president has ‘been doing some studying’ but cited his travel schedule, unfolding events in the Middle East, and ‘just the constraints of governing’ as preventing Obama from focusing more time on it.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Who’s Your Doctor?, Part II

Way back when, in March 2011, I wrote “Who’s Your Doctor?”, a tribute to the original Dr Who series, and citing my favorite and least favorite episodes of the first 7 Doctors.  Actually, I didn’t include William Hartness (#1) and Patrick Troughton (#2) because I hadn’t seen their entire body of work.

Now, as Season 7 of Dr Who premieres on BBC America tonight, I thought I’d write about the three “reboot” Doctors – again, reviewing my most and least favorite episodes of each one:  Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

St. Augustine: “I Have Other Well-known Sayings, Too, You Know”

(cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)

(AoftheAP)  Earlier today, St. Augustine made an unscheduled visit to the editorial offices of AoftheA, on this, his feast day, to air a complaint.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he said.  “I’m beyond joyful at being a saint, and having been declared a Doctor of the Church.  Deo Gratias and all that.  But really – I have other well-known sayings, too, you know.  Not just the “Our hearts were made for you, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you”, that you have published in your sidebar.

“Sure, I’m proud of that one, to a certain extent.  But you’d think that that’s the only important thing I’ve ever said!  How about ‘Oh Lord, give me chastity, but not just yet’?  Or maybe ‘He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent‘?  Here’s another good one: ‘God loves each of us as if there were only one of us‘?  Hardly anyone remembers that one.  I even wrote a few jokes, and no one remembers those either.”

The AoftheA editorial staff, when asked to comment, merely said that the Reflections From the Saints comes directly from the website, and since they published the quote, perhaps St Augustine should go pay them a visit as well.

“Oh, I assuredly will,” the saint responded, “Believe me, there are quotes literally dripping off every page of Confessions – yet that one gets picked.  It’s kinda disappointing.  I’m feeling pigeon-holed.”

When asked about his own favorite quote, he smiled. “That’s easy.  ‘Thanks, Mom.’”

Obama: We “Took Too Many Medals”

(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)

(AoftheAP) Less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the 2012 Summer Olympics, President Barack Obama announced that, while he was pleased with the sportsmanship and sense of fair play exhibited by all the U.S. athletes, he was disappointed at the level of their success.

“Let me be clear. The Olympics are so much more than mere winning and losing. I believe, and there are many who think as I do, that the Olympics are about fairness, about a cooperative spirit. I think what we as a nation ought to be asking ourselves is, what kind of country do we really want? The way I see it, and again, the way so many others around the world see it as well, is that what you have here…

“Look it, the United States took home 104 total medals. That’s more than the bottom 45 or 46 nations combined – not including those countries that didn’t even receive one medal. The United States took home 46 gold medals – that’s more than all but 3 countries’ – our good friends from China, Russia and Great Britain – total medal counts. Think about how unfair that is. For example, our country received 46 gold medals, while Germany received a total of only 44 medals – gold, silver and bronze combined. The way I see it, the U.S. took too many medals.

“So, in order to make this more fair, I’m issuing an Executive Order this morning declaring that the US Olympic Team will redistribute up to 75% of their medals to nations who received very few, or none at all. I think it’s okay that we keep some of the medals, just not all of them. And I urge our good friends from China and Russia to consider doing the same. What I’m not proposing here is unilateral dismedalment, which I’m sure my critics will accuse me of doing. I’m doing this in the spirit of cooperation and fairness, the sort of values that the Olympics, and our nation, are built upon.

“I think most people would agree, that we ‘won’ those medals because so many others ‘lost’. As proud as I am at the effort and hard work put forth by our nation’s athletes, I just have to say to them, listen – you didn’t win that. Somebody else…made that happen. And that ‘somebody else’ happens to be nearly all the other nations of the world, who just didn’t have the same opportunities, the same quality roads and bridges, which obviously did not lead to equitable outcomes. This Executive Order seeks to remedy that.”

No, Let’s Not Admit We’re All Cafeteria Catholics

(Originally published at Acts Of The Apostasy)

I’ve noticed a trend bubbling around the Catholic blogosphere, particularly in the more progressive, Catholyc publications. I’ve seen it in several places – nuanced and a bit covert.  Until now.  It’s this notion that we’re all cafeteria Catholics to one degree or another.

I reject that premise, totally and without compromise.

Here’s the most recent example, culled from that paragon of progressive prattle, the National Catholic Distorter, in a piece written by Isabella Moyer, on June 6, titled Catholics Need to Rethink Their Strategy:

First of all, let’s admit that we are all “cafeteria Catholics” to some degree. The groaning buffet table that is our universal church is too much for any of us to take in at once or to fully understand and accept with the same level of commitment and passion. We must stop judging each other by what we can fully accept with an open heart and what we continue to struggle to understand or believe.

I’m going to take this apart sentence by sentence, because there’s quite a bit wrong with nearly every word here, quite possibly including the words “and” and “the”.

First of all, let’s admit that we are all “cafeteria Catholics” to some degree.

No, I won’t admit that.  I know plenty of people who are faithful to all of Church doctrine, and suffer sacrifices in ordering their lives as such.  They neither willingly nor knowingly reject any part of Church doctrine or dogma. And if they discover that their conscience or lifestyle is opposed to Church teaching, they take the painful and narrow routes to conform their lives.  They don’t rationalize sinful behavior and hide behind the cowardly excuse of “following one’s conscience”. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

American Classics: The Push Reel Mower

(I admit it – not the sort of topic you’d expect at TAC.  But maybe American Classics can be a new meme for TAC contributors?)

A blog I’ve discovered recently, and added to my reader, is The Art of Manliness.  I wouldn’t be surprised if several, if not most, of the contributors to TAC read it regularly.  It’s mission:  To revive the lost art of manliness.  Now, that has different meanings for different people – to me, I sense that the author and his many guest contributors want to expound upon iconic masculine ideas and interests.  From a photo essay on getting a straight-razor shave at the local barber, to leadership lessons from Gen Dwight D Eisenhower.  From what to wear on your first date, to how to tie a necktie.  They focus on virtues and integrity and traditional mores, and while not everything they publish interests me, I have to say that everything they publish is interesting.

All this to say, I found it timely that they wrote an article titled In Praise Of The Push Reel Mower, earlier this week.

I was in the market to buy a new lawnmower.  My previous model, a gas-powered self-propelled Honda (with bagging and/or mulching options) had serviced me well over the years, but two summers ago, the cable that operated the self-propelling feature snapped.  And the bag was showing signs of serious wear and tear.  Then, a customer service girl at one of the companies I represent mentioned to me that her lawn mower died, and she needed a new one, but she was bummed because she was broke.  So I offered her mine, informing her of its problems – albeit minor ones – but she gladly accepted it anyway.  Now I was committed to replacing it.

I had my eyes set on a model offered at the local Menard’s.  But then….

…then I read the above-mentioned article.  And my mind was changed, then and there.  I bought a push reel mower yesterday, and used it straight away.  So what was it that persuaded me to buy it, when just days before, I was ready to purchase a power mower?

Pure nostalgia wasn’t what convinced me – I grew up in the 10th Ward in Rochester NY – modest middle class homes with city-sized yards, and my dad owned a push reel mower that he *graciously* allowed his sons to use every Saturday.  To be honest, I was envious of my friends who used power mowers, but my father was insistent.  He wasn’t obsessive about how the lawn looked, as small as it was (we were, after all, allowed to play football and Rush the Bulldog on it), but he preferred the cut that the push reel mower provided.

My decision was based on common sense, with a little bit of virtue thrown in.  I’ll list the reasons given by the author why he considered it (in bold), and add a bit of commentary here and there. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Sister Patricia: On The LCWR ‘Crackdown’

(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)

(Sister Patricia Owens O’Flannery, OP, a post-modern pre-traditional omni-spiritual Dominican sister, periodically contributes to AoftheA. Today she’s been invited to offer her unique perspective on the Vatican’s recent decision on the LCWR.)

Hello, dear and gentle readers and friends of LarryD! May the warmth and vicissitude of Nature grace you with immeasurable beneficence! I have been praying for each of you every day, offering supplication that Sophia bless you and surround you with her wise wisdom, inspiring you to dance and play and immerse yourself in Her ephemeral permanence of lasting spontaneity!

You know, I’m not sure that makes a lot of sense, and if it doesn’t, please forgive me. My soul has been heavy as of late, all because of the recent announcement of the LCWR investigation. I know that many of you have been eager for my opinion and insights on this serious matter – I have felt the psychic vibrations emanating throughout the noosphere. Such confusion in your hearts, dear readers! I will try to explain and assuage your fearsome trepidations and trepidacious fears.

Before I begin, let me assure each and every one of you – the Swiss Guard have not put me or any other LCWR representative under house arrest! Those rumors are simply unfounded! We are free to travel as we wish, our passports have not been confiscated, and none of us – I repeat in the most emphatic of terms! – none of us have had our reiki stones taken away or labyrinths dismantled.

Now, as with any traumatic experience, we tend to vividly recall what we were doing at the time of the experience. For some, it was the assassination of JFK; for others, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded; and still others, when the Berlin Wall was torn down. In my own life, I vividly recall every action and emotion that coursed through me when I heard that Polly’s Polyester Pantsuit Palace in Walla Walla closed its doors, back in 1983. I had just been released from the local Catholic elementary school, and was meditating along with Chick Corea’s “The Meeting” album, and my mesquite incense infuser, when Sister Etta Loretta Loreto burst into the room, crying with the news. That was the last day I ever listened to Chick’s music. A sad sad day. The smell of mesquite still evokes a passionate tear.

But this news, hard to believe, was even sadder. I was leading a group of NCReporter editors on a pilgrimage to several Buddhist monasteries in Nepal when my 4S iphone newsfeed alarm went off (I downloaded the voice of Gloria Steinem, and she says “You’ve got fe-mail”! Isn’t that spectacular?), and I read the story with shock. The rest of the trip was ruined, as the thin atmosphere made it difficult for me to conduct any soothing breathing exercises. All I could think about, was how could this be possible? The LCWR – the prophetic voice of the world – and no one predicted this was going to happen! →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Non-Thinking Person’s 2012 Election Decision Tree

(cross-posted at Acts Of The Apostasy)

Okay.  The elections are just under seven months away.  The presidential combatants are *nearly* set – a foregone conclusion, barring a brokered Republican convention this summer that could turn the GOP on its establishment head.  Nonetheless, unless you’ve been under a rock, in a cave, or occupying some city square somewhere, you don’t need me to tell you that the 2012 election season is well in hand – and not just on the national level, either.

But I’ll tell you anyway: the elections are coming!!!

Now, many of us have already decided how we will cast our votes this November.   The libtards have had their marching orders since forever, which is basically vote for the guy who will give you the most stuff, and the most of other people’s money.  It’s a genetic thing – they really can’t help themselves.  When you’re humorless, hopeless and hapless, following simple instructions is about all the strain and stress their poor cerebral cortices can handle.

In fact, I came across their 2012 Voting Guide the other day, what I like to call The Non-Thinking Person’s 2012 Election Decision Tree:

Now, as you can see, following the chart is very easy to do.  Short words, bold arrows and simple concepts.  I’m surprised they didn’t include an “Am I straight?” question.  Of course, once you think and apply some logic to the questions being asked, you can see how utterly inane this flowchart really is. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

About As Non-Presidential As You Can Get

(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)

There is really no other way to describe it.

Except for maybe vulgar, indecent, crass, low-minded, uncultured, beneath contempt…

This is on Barack Obama’s Twitter feed:

Health reform—still a BFD, and now it’s on a t-shirt:OFA.BO/z7FP8M

Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 24, 2012

And here’s the t-shirt –

Remember when Obamacare was signed into law, and VP Biden made a remark to Teh One, that he thought was off-mike but wasn’t?  He said “This is a big f****** deal!”

And now it’s on a $30 t-shirt.

Slimy, and unfit for the office of the President of the United States.  These people have absolutely no respect for any bit of this nation, so I can’t say that I am not shocked.  After all, vulgarity is the exclusive hotness for the Liberal elite.  When you have no moral core, profanity is poetry and cursing is civility.

Which doesn’t mean it can’t, or shouldn’t, be mocked.  BFD could just as easily stand for “Big Financial Disaster”…

November cannot come soon enough.

ht to Hot Air

The US’s 12 Most Influential Catholics…

[cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy]

…as chosen by Stephen Prothero, a self-proclaimed “religiously confused” Catholic.  (Personally, I like my year-end-selected-by-the-readers polls better.)

So who is Stephen Prothero?  He’s a professor at Boston University, and he contributed a column to CNN’s Belief Blog.

1-6: Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor

I know that justices are supposed to stick to interpreting the law rather than making it, especially if they adhere to the judicial philosophy of “original intent,” but I’m not buying it. When it comes to “judicial activism,” there are really only two kinds of judges: those who know they are acting and those who wrongly imagine they are not.

Throughout U.S. history, the Supreme Court has played nearly as important a role as the presidency on the race question, and a more important role than the U.S. Congress. Women seeking abortions do so under a regime written and enforced by the courts.

In a 2011 speech at Duquesne University School of Law, Scalia denied that his Catholicism affected his legal decisions. I’m not buying that either, which is why he and the five other Catholics on the Supreme Court occupy half of this list.

7: Speaker of the House John Boehner

As any child (or parent) can attest, the word “no” is powerful indeed, and as the leader of the House Republicans, John Boehner wields that power today. Before he gave the commencement address at Catholic University last spring, more than 80 professors at that university wrote an open letter to Boehner saying that the budget he pushed through the House contradicted Catholic social teachings by neglecting the poor. But Boehner continues to say “no” to the Obama administration, most recently on its decision to require Catholic-affiliated employers to cover birth control services in their health plans.

8. Vice President Joe Biden

The first Catholic vice president of the United States, Joe Biden wields by most accounts more power than many vice presidents in American history. (Remember Spiro Agnew?) And though Biden has ruffled the feathers of church authorities on the abortion question, he is an observant Catholic who attends church regularly and met with Pope John Paul II four times. “The animating principle of my faith, as taught to me by church and home,” Biden told the Christian Science Monitor in 2007, “was that the cardinal sin was abuse of power.”

9. Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania

For a while, Newt Gingrich was the Catholic Republican front-runner, but that title has been seized by Rick Santorum. Unlike Gingrich, who converted in 2009, Santorum is a cradle Catholic, and he’s a more convincing fellow traveler in Christ to the religious right.

Everyone thought this election was going to be about the economy, but Santorum’s mantra seems to be, “It’s the culture, stupid.” Santorum has grabbed headlines in recent weeks by calling President Obama a purveyor of a “phony theology” and otherwise keeping questions of faith not just on the front burner, but at a rolling boil. This weekend, Santorum said that John F. Kennedy’s famous church/state speech, in Houston in 1960, made him want to “throw up” when he first read it. “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” he told ABC News on Sunday.

10. Archbishop Timothy Dolan

It says something about Catholic authority today that it is hard to think of a member of the Catholic hierarchy who stands among the most influential U.S. Catholics. But Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan is the most likely person for this honor. A theological conservative, Dolan was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2010, and he was elevated to cardinal in Rome last month. In 2008, Dolan took on Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi for their views on abortion, and in 2009, he criticized the University of Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to speak at its commencement.

11. Stephen Colbert

The man behind the Super PAC Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow will not be happy to learn that he fell outside the top 10 here, but he is still one of the most influential Catholics in the United States today. Colbert makes his political jabs with a smile, but they sting nonetheless.

Last year, The Washington Post asked whether Colbert was “Catholicism’s best pitch man,” and he does put a very different face on a church that has been best known in recent years for sex scandals. Both Colbert and the character he plays on “The Colbert Report” are committed Catholics. In fact, Colbert (the character) loves his Catholicism so much that he gave it up last year for Lent.

Colbert (the real person) regularly books Catholics on his show and has appointed Father James Martin, S.J., as the show’s official chaplain. With Martin and other theists (and atheists), Colbert regularly discusses matters of faith. In fact, his character often gives guests discussing such questions wider berth than his more political guests.

12. Blogger Andrew Sullivan

In another era, this final slot might have gone to Garry Wills, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and public intellectual whose writing regularly addresses the intersection of faith and politics in the United States. But we now live in a digital age, so the nod goes to Andrew Sullivan, the Brit behind “The Dish,” a popular blog now hosted by The Daily Beast.

The thumbnail bio is that Sullivan is gay, Catholic and conservative, but his blog is far more nuanced (and coherent) than readers might imagine from that trifecta. In part because of his unpredictability, his site is the go-to blog for all things political and cultural. And the reading is easy because of Sullivan’s refusal to pull his punches. (Obama’s “uninspiring” state of the union was, in his words, a litany of “cramped, tedious, mediocre micro-policies.”)

Imagine that – no one outside of the Washington/New York hub of whatsitpatootie.  It’s almost as if Prothero doesn’t believe there exists an America beyond the Eastern seaboard.  And here’s another ‘not a big surprise':  conservative Catholics are bad, liberal Catholics are good.  Boehner is a Catholic who says “no” to Obama’s compassion and outreach, while Biden sees the abuse of power as the worst sort of sin.  Bias much?  I’m surprised he didn’t include Sister Keehan or Kathleen Sibelius on this list – in fact, with the exception of Justice Sotomayor, there are no women on the list.  *Gasp!*  Not only is the Church misogynistic, but so are Boston University professors!!

And Andrew Sullivan is an influential Catholic?  Who in the world is Andrew Sullivan?  Who outside of Washington/New York cares?

We can do better than this guy, right?  Isn’t Cardinal Burke more influential than Boehner?  Isn’t Archbishop Chaput a bit more influential than Joe Biden?  With the exception of Cardinal Dolan, no one on his list has the power or ability to shape Catholic thought or protect Catholic identity or propose Catholic truths.   Eleven on this list do not have the power to ex-communicate (an influence I wished would be wielded more liberally) or the power to forgive sins.  That’s real influence.

No – the influence wielded by most on that list, to one degree or another,  is to affect religious liberty.  Maybe that’s Prothero’s point.

So who would you include on this list?  What changes would you suggest, or his analysis spot on?  I have a couple ideas, but I’m interested in what you have to say.

Vatican Archivists Discover Unfinished Papal Encyclical!!

(cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)

(AoftheAP) Calling it the “most exciting archival discovery in the post-Reformation era”, Vatican archivists have announced that in October 2011, they discovered what they believe to be the unfinished 13th Rosary Encyclical penned by Pope Leo XIII.  Pope Leo XIII, who had a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother,  issued 12 encyclicals on the rosary between the years 1883-1898.  It is believed this newly found incomplete one was started several months before he died in July 1903.

“We’ve translated the text,” Fr. Hugo Thistleway said at yesterday’s press conference, “and it’s entitled Decursu Saeculorum, taken from the first sentence of the encyclical: ‘Decursu saeculorum, sanctissimam Matrem pietatis manifestatio per fideles in recitatione a sanctissimo Rosario nuncupatur’, which translates to: ‘Throughout the ages, devotion to our Blessed Mother has been expressed by the faithful in the recitation of the Holy Rosary’.”

In all, the encyclical totals six and a half pages, and is clearly incomplete.  But its content has caused an immediate  controversy at the Holy See, as Pope Leo XIII indicated in very precise language how the rosary is to be prayed.  Namely, that the only means by which to receive grace and indulgences from recitation, is to pray the rosary in a counter-clockwise direction.  According to the encyclical, praying the rosary in a clockwise direction would ‘bear no fruit and Heaven would be closed to the petitioner and his pleas’ (‘…fructum nequaquam facient, quod caelum claudatur, et preces eius et actori.’).

“Due to its incompleteness, there is uncertainty as to the encyclical’s binding nature upon the faithful,” Thistleway said.  “But make no mistake, this is huge.”

Fr. Thistleway demonstrated Pope Leo XIII’s instructions to those gathered at the press conference.  “If you hold out the rosary at the crucifix, and let the beads hang down, what the encyclical is saying is that the first decade must be the one to the left of the crucifix, the second decade to the left of the first, and so on, all away around until you return to the crucifix.  Starting to the right would be wrong – not necessarily sinful, at least according to several moral theologians I’ve spoken to, but wrong nonetheless.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

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