“Gay Marriage, No Religion, Legalization of Pot” Mass Media Loves Brad Pitt’s Ideology!

Sunday, June 17, AD 2012

Brad Pitt for Mayor of New Orleans? He didn’t think he’d have a chance due to his stands for “Gay Marriage, No Religion and Legalization of Pot” but the fawning Mass Media Representative Anne Curry doesn’t seem to think this is problematic at all as she gushes all over the place. What exactly does he mean “no religion”? Does that mean only that he personally doesn’t have a religion or that he would like to abolish religion? Curry doesn’t seem to care to find out more- and I doubt that the liberal secularist would mind trying to crush traditional religion down into a tame little side show- in fact traditional Faith is the great enemy of liberal secularism- and vice versa.


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17 Responses to “Gay Marriage, No Religion, Legalization of Pot” Mass Media Loves Brad Pitt’s Ideology!

  • Brad Pitt for mayor of New Orleans? Hasn’t that city suffered enough lately?

  • Hey, he played Achilles in a crappy Hollywood throw-up of Homer . . .

    I bet he’d be a better Mayor for New Orleans than Obama is president.

    He could not do worse than Ray Nagins.

  • He has certainly had his fair share of women.

  • New Orleans: The most overrated city in the world. The French Quarter smells like a giant urinal and I’ve gotten better food from a can of Chef Boyardee.

  • “Gay Marriage, No Religion, Legalization of Pot”….aren’t those Obama’s campaign slogans? (they could also add Abortion for All to the list) Oh, I forgot, Obama and Hollywood are connected at the hip!

  • Hey, Joe – So sorry you had a bad time in the French Quarter. Too bad you missed the rest of this city. and God knows where you ate! It must have been some tourist dive. You are the first person I’ve ever heard complain about our amazing cuisine. I hope I live long enough to sample every fabulous restaurant in town!

  • The strange thing about the Hollywood establishment is how their collective morality seems to be on par with most of us who were raised as secularists who are 20-somethings going to college with something of a social conscience but no real guidance from the adults around us- and having that forever young/deeply vain mentality- so the result is a wicked brew of caring but not rooted in traditional morality or worship of God- so the ego prevails and hedonism is a no-brainer- carpe diem!

    Brad Pitt is around my age- but his politics is still grounded in immaturity- and he is the norm – it is like living as an actor with loads of money and perks and a big time group think around you- makes it next to impossible to break free and be something other than a cookie-cutter liberal secularist. I’m sure that some have broken the mold but are too afraid to break ranks publicly and risk the new Hollywood/Mass Media blackball deadend. I hear a lot about Mark Wahlberg being a devout Catholic these days- which is great- but I doubt even he would break ranks with Hollywood orthodoxy on homosexual lifestyles and definition of Marriage issues- at least publicly. So who is left to influence the young when every media outlet treats celebrity, celebrity, celebrity as the source and fount of all wisdom in our society?

    My advice to Brad Pitt et al is this: Time to grow up, you are a father now, stop promoting pot smoking, stop attacking the belief in God and traditional religions and morality, and love your friends who are involved in gay lifestyles best by trying to help them instead of cheerleading the destruction of traditional Marriage- letting “Everyone get married to everyone” sure turns something holy and special into something routine, commonplace and without any spiritual substance. If Brad Pitt won’t change his ways and stays trapped in politically correct immaturity- he can still do some things good raising money for new homes in New Orleans and helping to feed the hungry in Africa- and we can try to do our part in properly influencing the young by warning them away from celebrity kings and queens who are talented in their craft but their soulfulness seems more a pose than anything worthy of imitation. Advice to the Young- true morality isn’t something we invent or make up as we go- real wisdom is as old as the hills, and the Catholic Church is a great source of information and inspiration having stood up to every imaginable threat for over 2000 years. If you want to follow the Movie Stars- that’s your business- but I am just saying- go deeper, read the Bible and the Catechism and the writings of the Saints- and see what I’m talking about..

  • Wouldnt it be interesting to be with him and his father-in law just having an iced tea and talking about life?

  • The problem is that a lot of actors are immature, or immature yuppies and for some reason actors are considered role models by so many in the US.

  • I just finished watching the movie Gigi. The word gay was used to describe happiness, joy and being carefree. The homosexual radicals have taken the rainbow and a word from those of us who love rainbows and like feeling gay. Just to be on the safe side, I and my husband have been married for 26 years.

  • Edie, I was born and reared in NYC, which has the world’s best restaurants. While in New Orleans for 3 days I sampled a lot of food and didn’t like any of it. Crawfish, yuck. Most of the rest was either unidentifiable or too spicy. Then again, there’s not accounting for taste.

  • typo…no accounting.

    (Aside to Don and Shaw: How about including an edit button to allow posters to fix those embarrassing errors we all seem to make?)

  • Joe,

    Proof-reading takes more self-control than hitting (with irrational force) the “post comment” button.

    If I thought anyone read my comments, I would be embarrassed.

    Shaw

  • During an interview with Fr. Barron and Mike Leonard on the Today show some weeks back Curry admitted that she is a lapsed Catholic. How sad.

  • As usual, the celebrities flock towards the issues they really don’t understand.

  • I have never understood why the media fawns so much over everything Brad Pitt says or does or anyone connected to him. The most ludicrous example I ever saw was about 15 years ago, when a small weekly newspaper in central Illinois did a FRONT PAGE story about a woman who had been a high school classmate of Brad Pitt (back in Springfield, Mo. in the early 80s). No, she didn’t date him or anything, she just happened to be in the same class as him and she sorta knew the girl he went to the prom with. Nor did she provide any great insights into his thinking, his personality or his acting skills, such as they are. It was one of the lamest excuses for a feature story I had ever seen, but when it comes to Brad Pitt any lame excuse for publicity will do, I suppose.

  • Michael Yon (recently referenced in “Never Yet Melted” blog) apparently has taken a sabbatical from excoriating Army brass-hats and is reporting on the theological anthropology of contemporary liberals.

    “There exists in India Aghor, a branch of Hinduism. Its believers worship Shiva, god of destruction. The Aghor belief system is simple: The gods are perfect (unlike Greek and Norse gods). The gods create everything: each thought, each act, each thing, etc. The gods are perfect therefore every created thing is perfect.

    “So, being disgusted by anything or banning any behavior is rejection of the gods. Michael Yon, “This explains why some ardent Aghoris act out to overcome the most gruesome items of revulsion. In my travels I’ve met Aghoris who would just as soon pluck an eyeball from a rotten human corpse and pop it into their mouths as eat chicken. He or she might carry a rotting dead dog over their shoulder for a week, or have sex with a dead cow (holy to other Hindus) or with a rotting human corpse. One Aghori in northern India ate part of the rotting penis of a bloated, vivisected corpse on the banks of the Ganges, engaging in this “sacred ritual” in full view of onlooking police.”

    Sound familiar? I estimate about three-quarters of the delegates at the Dem National Convention think like that, assuming they think at all.

“The Catholic Church Is Dangerous, Outdated And Should Dissolve” Yahoo!

Sunday, June 3, AD 2012

No this isn’t a quote from Catholic Democrats or Obama Administration Catholics- but I suspect it represents the worldview of the typical secular liberal who is feeling his/her oats these days.  With all the propaganda attacking traditional morality and the Hierarchical Catholic Church available in the mainstream media- it should hardly be surprising that an article like this can pass as intelligent commentary on the Church without a firestorm of protest from any corner of American society. If you don’t think that America is heading for a major push to drive the real Catholic Church underground- leaving behind a sort of patriotic catholic church as in China- consider that the Catholics aligned with Obama are probably in agreement with much of this Yahoo commentary- if they are speaking among themselves.  It would be nice to find a journalist who would press the prominent Catholic Democrats into offering their honest critique of this Yahoo piece. I think everyone needs to just come clean and be direct on where they stand- so that we can get this debate out into the open where the Truth longs to be seen.  Here is the article –  http://news.yahoo.com/catholic-church-dangerous-outdated-dissolve-204000761.html  [ Yahoo has apparently taken the link down for now- so here is the content of the piece]- 

The Vatican (generally meaning “the Pope”) is angry with nuns for their behavior, and Cardinal Dolan from the New York Archdiocese is embroiled in yet another pedophile priest scandal. Let’s look at how the two situations prove the Catholic Church is on its last legs.

Starting close to home we have Cardinal Dolan’s little fiasco. It just came to light he might have been part of a plan to pay off child-molesting priests 20 grand each to leave the priesthood quietly, according to a CNN report.

The alleged reason was to hide the pedophiles’ actions and avoid lawsuits by paying them hush money. If it were anyone buy clergy committing these acts my guess is that mass arrests would have already been made.

Another CNN report talks about the Vatican’s recent attack on American nuns. The statement from Rome says they have gone rogue and have become radical feminists. The reason? The Pope thinks they should spend less time supporting social justice and more time opposing same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia.

The Vatican is enforcing sanctions against the nuns, taking punitive action to get them back in line. The Pope is essentially telling each of these nuns, “Shut up and get back in the kitchen where you belong, woman.” Apparently in the mind of the Pope social justice just isn’t a big deal.

It’s possible that Dolan was trying to protect the institution of the Church with his actions. If so he and his Church are broken. I don’t care how loyal he is to the Church — it should be instantly obvious that the well-being of a child rape victim is more important than an organization. Normal people can’t stand the idea of letting child rapists off the hook.

It’s possible the Pope thinks he’s making the right decision biblically — and he might be correct. If so, his scripture is broken. It’s ancient mythology that treats women like property. It’s making him think social justice is irrelevant.

The Catholic Church is out of touch with reality and cares little for social justice and women’s rights. Any religion so broken should dissolve and give its adherents a chance to live better lives without it.

 

Andrew Riggio

Andrew is a freelance writer living in New Hampshire. He is passionate about writing the way Mozart was passionate about music.

and here is one written by a Catholic Democrat over at NCR  – “We are all Sinead O’Connor Now”  http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/we%E2%80%99re-all-sinead-o%E2%80%99connor-now   

 

The thing to remember is that for the secular/catholic liberal mindset- there is no difference between seeking administrative reform and accountability from our clergy and bishops and seeking to uproot official teachings/doctrines and replace them with ideas about morality which pass the mass media/Hollywood smell test. This is a huge distinction- and because Catholic Democrats tend to blur the lines – they threaten to do great damage to our Faith from within- using the ample powers of State and Media who are always ready to chop the Church up into controllable bits.

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64 Responses to “The Catholic Church Is Dangerous, Outdated And Should Dissolve” Yahoo!

  • I think that we are going to come to the same place that the Cristeros came to.

    By the way, don’t these liberal fools know anything? Roman Emperors and modern dictators alike tried what they advocate. The Church still stands.

  • I doubt it, especially if we beat Obama in the fall and demonstrate what bad politics anti-Catholicism is.

  • unlike Hitler Obama sucks at hiding his socialism for more than one year.

  • ….did that second guy just seriously imply that the Church in Europe is in trouble because of the US Bishops that listened to then current psychology on pedophiles??!?!?

  • T Shaw, it’s going to come to that. Liberals won’t respect anything except overwhelming force. There is Scriptural precedence – the Maccabean brothers. But let the liberals throw the first punch. Do NOT initiate violence. But when it’s given – and history says it will be given – then smash them into nothingness.

  • Hate speech, irresponsible journalism, closing minds, and cold hearts have certainly blossomed in the past couple of years under the polarization game of the puppeteers.
    Tonight, I just want to figure out how to cancel email from the host of that article. Back in the 90’s, it was highly recommended by the since retired computer builder with whom I did business. Doesn’t seem right to experience possible assault on sensibilities just going online. Wish he didn’t retire, and wish I had a clue.

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  • Here is my sharper but equally vicious response. “Make the World a better place. Shoot a liberal in the face.”

    That IS a bit vicious, T Shaw.

    It does remind me, however, back in the 70’s, when growing your own weed, and a dislike of some immigrating Englishmen, prompted many tee-shirt wearing Kiwis to buy , and wear with an air of agression, a tee-shirt which read –
    “Grow your own dope – plant a Pom a day.”

    (“Plant” being the local vernacular for “Punch”. 🙂

  • It is not only liberals and socialists who are the enemies of the Catholic Church. There are those who defend practices and currents in Catholicism, which are destructive, who are otherwise “beacons of orthodox/traditional Catholicism”. These too are enemies of the Catholic Church. For me, it is these latter ones who are my clear enemy and a clear enemy of the Catholic Church, but who are extremely difficult to root out because of their apparent orthodoxy.

    For this Catholic, I am glad to see the ire of the leftists raised. I doubt, at least by now, that many decent Catholics of a more conservative view were unaware of their shenanigans and the harm their ilk has done to the Church. At least now they are out of the closet, even for the less discerning puzzled Catholics.

    However, the embedded pseudo orthodox Catholics continue their insidious actions. It is these who are very dangerous because they truly believe they are doing the “right things”,
    when in fact they are self-deceived and allowed, even encouraged to continue in their invasive, clandestine malignancy.

    If the Church must be brought to its knees to get to these predators, who are many, than so be it. This is not the best way to go about it. But these kinds of pests are very difficult to purge, particularly when they are protected by the hierarchy who are much in line with them.

  • I ran across that column yesterday and I was befuddled as to how to respond. I hear no outcry similar to what I would expect if any other group were attacked with hate. Any option I considered felt like yelling alone in the desert, so I decided to pray that the author would have a Damascus Road experience…yea, lets pray that he becomes Catholic.

  • This comment is posted at Archbishop Chaput’s column and is relevant here: The Person of God, the Father and God the Father’s Love for Jesus Christ, the Person of the Holy Spirit, and the Person of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ’s Love for God, His Father, the Person of the Holy Spirit are three Persons in One God – and are addressed as WHO.
    Viva Christo Rey. Government serves its constituents. Government’s constituents serve God. There is no government without God. Communism, totalitarianism, socialism, fascism, their name is Legion and even the herd of swine does not abide them. The herd of swine, 4000, possessed by Legion, the devil, ran off a cliff and drowned itself in the sea. The devil believes in God but atheists choose not to believe in God, “their Creator” from The Declaration of Independence. The United States of America has chosen to be run by atheists, in spite of the Person of God inscribed into its founding documents as “their Creator”. How patriotic is that? How truthful is that? How smart is that? How generous and charitable is that?
    Charity is a virtue. In order for the government to practice the virtue of charity, government must acknowledge, publicly acknowledge God,” “their Creator” and also acknowledge that the practice of the virtue of charity is the domain of the church. Without the acknowledgement, by government, of God, as “their Creator” and the church as the servant of God, and government as the servant of its constituents; government, constituted by the sovereign personhood of its constituents, who are endowed with sovereign personhood by “their Creator” has no sovereign authority to govern, the reason for its existence. Real money must not be given to support a regime without the truth of God. Viva Christo Rey.

  • The Catholic church IS dangerous to every devil, liar, criminal, murderer for upholding the Ten Commandment and the TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. Perfect Justice, virginity and innocence in the world, which is also the government’s job. Government needs to take assessment of itself and follow in the footsteps of virtue and truth or it (the government ) will vanish from the face of the earth. God is infinite. Yet Yahoo insists upon foistering, imposing a finite god of some evil entity on the people. Let Yahoo come forth with some proof that their finite god is a SUPREME SOVEREIGN BEING, THE FIRST PRINCIPLE, THE UNMOVED MOVER, “their Creator” and endower of unalienbale rights of LIfe, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness or does Yahoo’s god not give a damn about the Happiness of the people.

  • Is Yahoo’s silly finite god or godess going to bless immortal souls with eternal life in the presence of the SUPRME SOVEREIGN BEING, THE FIRST PRINCIPLE, or will yahoo’s god or godess leave man unprotected from the evil one , the devil himself, to be preyed upon, tormented and finally damned? Some choice. FREEDOM.

  • Dear embattled Great Leader (Insert name here):

    Having problems with the finances? Marriage problems got you down? The answer is always the same: loot the Catholics. Sure their property technically isn’t yours to take, but when has that ever stopped the Great Leaders of the past? Now don’t you worry, they aways grow back again!

  • Andrew Riggio can’t be this far off from the truth by accident so I can only conclude that he is concocting this story to advance his secular, liberal agenda which is likely his effort to kill religion in the public sector. Here he launches an attack upon the Catholic Church using hyperbole, innuendo, distortion and ignorance. Only it ain’t gonna be so easy because too many Catholics today know what’s going on. So lets disassemble his commentary.

    Cardinal Dolan and the Church have not hidden paying defrocked priests $20,000 because there is no reason to do so. Riggio and other detractors should consider these payments as severance pay. It is given to these defrocked priests to get them to voluntarily leave the Church and it avoids a prolonged and expensive expulsion process; either way these abusive priests are being kicked out of the Church.

    He also deliberately distorts the facts when he says, “Cardinal Dolan from the New York Archdiocese is embroiled in yet another pedophile priest scandal” What pedophile priest scandal? The John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s report, “The Causes and Context of the Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests, 1950-2010 reported that less than 5% of all priests involved in the abuse scandal were pedophiles. So what were they? The report, which is the one and only extensive and fact based study ever done on this issue, concluded that the principle offenders were ephebophiles not pedophiles. Since this report has been widely distributed and covered in detail by the media I think it is safe to conclude that one would have to live in a cave not to have seen and read this report. At best Riggio is just uninformed, at worst he is deliberately distorting the truth to stir up support for his cause.

    With respect to the nuns. This is a canard from the beginning. Characterizing this as an attack on Catholic nuns is a deliberate distortion and a thinly veiled attack on the Catholic Church. Since when does a church have to check in with CNN or Riggio in order to call its members to task for misbehavior? If Riggio would have bothered to read the Vatican assessment he might have reported the following:

    “The Holy See acknowledges with gratitude the great contribution of women Religious
    to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years. Pope John Paul II expressed this gratitude well in his meeting with Religious from the United States in San Francisco on September 17, 1987, when he said: I rejoice because of your deep love of the Church and your generous service to God’s people…The extensive Catholic educational and health care systems, the highly developed network of social services in the Church – none of this would exist today, were it not for your highly motivated
    dedication and the dedication of those who have gone before you. The spiritual vigor of so many Catholic people testifies to the efforts of generations of religious in this land. The history of the Church in this country is in large measure your history at the service of God’s people. The renewal of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious which is the goal of this doctrinal Assessment is in support of this essential charism of Religious which has been so obvious in the life and growth of the Catholic Church in the United States”.

    Now does the above sound like an attack? The assessment then goes on to describe areas where the LCWR has drifted or ignored church teachings…..for years! These instances of dissent are well documented and can be found on-line everywhere. So why didn’t Riggio provide a more balanced commentary…..because it doesn’t feed his bigotry.

    When I read an article that is so duplicitous I am finding it harder and harder to frame a charitable response. This is the best I can do; Riggio should stick to his knitting (web-design I think) because he knows zero about the Catholic Church, scripture and his commentary is rife with errors and misrepresentations. In fact he should be embarrassed to even write such twaddle.

  • We’re promised the gates of hell won’t prevail against the church. And they won’t. And we’re blessed to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

  • I’d be happier if we could keep the shooting-each-other comments to a bare minimum, outside of references to skeet and sportsmen. I’m aware of the Russian proverb: If a person causes you a problem, remember: no person, no problem. It’s one of the things that’s made Russia the pleasant land it is today.

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  • but I suspect it represents the worldview of the typical secular liberal who is feeling his/her oats these days.

    Andrew Riggio can’t be this far off from the truth by accident so I can only conclude that he is concocting this story to advance his secular, liberal agenda which is likely his effort to kill religion in the public sector.

    He’s an out-of-work insurance agent, age forty. Not much of a danger to anyone.

  • “He’s an out-of-work insurance agent, age forty. Not much of a danger to anyone.”

    Actually, big mouth liberal nit wits with a bully pulpit and an ever attentive progressive news media are a threat. People listen to these idiots. I am not sure what we can do about such threats except to respond with our own voices and to pray.

  • Insurance agents work on commission, and very often work for themselves. If he’s an out of work insurance agent, it means he was no better at selling insurance than he is at writing hate speech.

  • “I’d be happier if we could keep the shooting-each-other comments to a bare minimum”

    Indeed, I delete such comments when I see them, although the comment by T.Shaw slipped by me. I have remedied that error of omission.

  • In days gone by, great orders arose for the defense of the Faith. The Dominicans were great preachers. The Society of Jesus were great teachers. What’s needed now? A Holy order of (don’t laugh) lawyers! I believe that much of modern atheism rests upon the tacit acceptance of the claims made by the early Protestant “reformers”. I envision these lawyers writing terse letters to the inheritors of the various rebel denominations demanding the renunciation of the untruthful claims about the RCC which forms the foundation for their denomination. As they will be an order of religious, they will live under a rule of chastity, poverty, and obedience.

    My suggestion is somewhat tongue in cheek. Holy Lawyer? Who couldn’t make a lot of jokes with that kind of material to work with? At the same time, the idea is appealing or has some potential.

    Thoughts?

  • “What’s needed now? A Holy order of (don’t laugh) lawyers!”

    Perhaps Donald McClarey could be petitioned to serve as their Superior General (or whatever the right term is)? I think a letter of recommendation to the Vatican is in order!

    😀
    😀
    😀

  • Hopefully our defense will come in elections, turning of hearts and the eventual realization by the useful idots in media that they are the crucible of lies, and therefore stop repeating the nonsense and mendacity so far strewn.

    Prayer, and more prayer.

  • Mac,

    That comment was intended to highlight Riggio’s thinly veiled blood libel.

    I know! I’m on moderation.

    You and Cdl Dolan need to demand that Obama disavow such hatred.

    See Don the Kiwi, 12:57AM above . . .

    FDR: “You don’t have to wait for the rattlesnake to bite you.”

  • I could not read Ruggio’s column. It would have made me angry all day and I would have taken it out on others.

    This morning, I woke up via the clock radio to hear a phone conversation badmouthing the Catholic Church from some whacked-out evangelical conversationists. Did you know Benedict XVI equals 666? I did not know that prior to 4:50 AM Eastern time June 4, 2012!

    Oh, and there was some Romanian preacher/minister/something or other that prophesized that the United States would be invaded by Central America and South America! I had no idea that my wife was part of the invading Colombian Army. I bet she doesn’t know, either.

    Stupid is not limited to atheists.

  • “Oh, and there was some Romanian preacher/minister/something or other that prophesized that the United States would be invaded by Central America and South America! ”

    As long as the invading horde does not include Chilean penguins, we’re safe. Nothing like a menacing mob of penguins from Tierra del Fuego to put fear into the hearts of men.

  • Goodness. It’s so interesting to hear how much some of you despise me for speaking the truth. It’s also interesting to see just how bad the readers have been at researching who I am and what I do for a living. 🙂 Cheers.

  • Ruggio,

    “Woe to him who calls good evil.”

  • Goodness. It’s so interesting to hear how much some of you despise me for speaking the truth.

    I think pity is a more fitting adjective for how we feel about you.

    It’s also interesting to see just how bad the readers have been at researching who I am and what I do for a living.

    You’re a freelance writer who can’t manage to get a better gig than writing for Yahoo.

  • Andrew Riggio = liberal progressive Democrat.

    That’s all one needs to know.

    And we know what the Democrat Party supports: murder of unborn babies, sanctification of the filth of homosexual sodomy, promotion of the lifestyle of hedonistic sexual promiscuity.

    Yuck!

  • Dear Andy:

    Keep you filthy mits off of our property. What’s the matter with you anyways? Are your entertainments just not giving you the thrill they used to?

  • The Catholic Church yesterday, today, and tomorrow: the “eternal now”.

  • Oh, you make me giggle. T-Shaw, your inability to correctly spell my six-letter surname amuses me. As to not calling good things evil, I could not agree more. Since religion isn’t based in reality, however, it’s tough to consider it “good.”

    Paul Z – your post sounds like it carries a slight undertone of jealousy.

    Paul P – as opposed to a closed minded, regressive republican? I’d say my position wins that contest. Perhaps you think open-minded, forward-thinking people are the ones doing something wrong?

    Darren – what property would that be?

  • Andrew what is your problem? You spontaneously made a post on this article making false accusations and act like a pinhead just wants to get people riled up with your rhetoric.

  • There should be a “who” in between “pinhead” and “just”.

  • Liberal post hippies are some of the most hate-filled totalitarians I know of. I know because I grew up in the generation which have them as parents.

  • Lord Macaulay, one of many authors I am sure Mr. Riggio has probably never heard of, said it best about the Catholic Church and its staying power in 1840:

    “There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.”

    Lord Macaulay was an anti-Catholic, although not a simple minded bigot like Mr. Riggio, and he understood history, something I am certain is largely terra incognita to Mr. Riggio.

  • Andrew make an argument for sodomy other than gay pride.

  • Andy,

    An open mind lets all the knowledge fall on out. Forward thinking? Wasn’t “Forward” Stalin’s motto as he murdered tens of millions of his own people?

    The Church survived – even prospered – under butchering Roman Emperors who thought as you do – Domitian, Tajan, Nerva, Commodus, etc.

    The Church survived Robespierre and his reign of terror. He tried to do what you wanted. He murdered tens of thousands with that merciful instrument of euthanasia designed by Dr. Guillotine. He did it to your own rallying cry of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.” He tried changing the days of the week and the months of the year to prevent the celebration of Christian Holy Days. He ended up at the end of the blade to which he had sent so many.

    The Church survived Plutaco Elias Calles in Mexico, and Josef Stalin in Russia, and Adolf Hitler in Germany. The Church continues to survive the bloodshed wrought by forward thinking people exactly like you – Pol Pot in the 70s, Fidel Castro, Kim Il Jong, and all of the rest of the brutal anti-Christian demonic minions of hell.

    The Church survived and prospered for 2000 years with now 1.2 billion adherents. If the good Lord should tarry another 2000 years, the Church will go on surviving – even prospering while the bones of forward thinking people are crushed into oblivion and all memory of them a fade in the dust.

    Jesus promised in Matthew 16 that the gates of hell shall NOT prevail and they have NOT prevailed. As Romans 14:11 says:

    “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

    That means, Andy, that you WILL personally and individually confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. You will either do it voluntarily in this life now after repenting, or you will do it in the future at the Great White Throne of Judgment as recounted in Revelation 20:11-15. Whether you believe it or not (and your belief is irrelevant to the existence of the Truth), here is what is in store for you and for me if we don’t repent and lead holy lives (as Scripture says, without holiness, no man can see God):

    “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

    Forward think on that, my friend. I do. Every time I go into the Confessional knowing I am not worthy.

    One last thing – for the record: I am not too enamoured with the Republican Party. I personally prefer the US Constitution Party whose platform is closest to Church teaching.

    http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php

    And I do look forward – to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. ” He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20. Obama doesn’t look forward because he knows where he’s going.

    BTW, Blessed José Luis Sanchez, murdered by forward thinking people exactly like you, Andy, knew precisely what St. Paul meant when he wrote in Philippians 3:13-14:

    “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

    Forward thinking people like you murder babies, 14 year olds, the infirm, the terminally ill and the aged. Your father is satan, the father of all lies and all murder. Yeah, I jealous. Right!

    Liberal!

  • I Paul Primavera that was well stated, but I don’t think we should take someone seriously who thinks that two men jacking off is the same as a family.

  • I am referring of course to Andrew.

  • Thanks, Valentin – I knew what you meant. God bless!

  • God bless you with your beautiful Roman speech and statue picture.

  • Always amusing to see somebody like Riggio come by to pat himself on the back.

    The self-esteem movement launches yet another immortal into the pantheon of literary greats.

  • I think Riggio needs a gold star on his web post to show his mommy.

  • I didn’t have time to look at it, but last night there was a NEW post up at Yahoo titled “Islam is Dangerous, Outdated and Should Dissolve.”

  • Rajjio,

    S-a-weet! You stuck it to them knuckle-draggers.

    So, where are the jobs???

    Cliches, sterile hedonism, and lies: how Obama and you cheat in the war of ideas.

    So, how much further will US median household incomes crash-dive?

    You are a paragon of liberal tolerance.

    The one, true Church has survived 2,000 years of desultory persecutions. Holy Mother Church will survive Obama and you.

    Here is your gold star for this 15 minutes twisting the truth to add your putrid dollop of hackneyed lies to the massive trap for fools, which is liberalism.

  • I went on Andrew Riggio’s Facebook web site:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-Riggio-Writer/220038108045864

    This person is a sexual pervert – period. Anyone who believes that the filth of homosexual sodomy may be sanctified as “gay marriage”, or that adultery and fornication are human rights, or that abortion is a woman’s right to choose is a pervert and a murderer. In the earlier days of bygone centuries there were ways to deal with perverts and murderers like this, preferrably by shunning them outside of polite society or imprisoning them to prevent them from preying on the innocent. Today, the best that can be done is to pray for their repentance, deny them publicity in authentic Christian forums, and respond to their lies with the Truth whenever they do come upon the public stage.

    Godless liberal progressive Democrat sexual idolators and baby murderers!

  • People like Riggio are encouraged and promoted by the ruling class who hate our Holy Catholic Church.

    The ruling class adheres to the self-serving philosophy that people are merely animals without immortal souls, so that, by this pretense, those human animals who gain power over the rest are more highly evolved than the remainder of the vast human herd (Social Darwinism). This principle, if it were valid, would justify all of their ambitions and abuses driven by pride, arrogance, greed and lust.

    In sharp contrast, our Holy Church courageously teaches that each human being is equally a child of God, and that each of us has an immortal spirit inherently above and unlike the soul of any mere animal. Where this great teaching prevails, the ruling class is powerless to achieve its ambitions to enslave humanity.

    Therefore, the ruling class and its servants/slaves-to-the-flesh hate our Church and will use whatever means possible to attack it, no matter how twisted, perverse, deceptive, craven or malicious these may be.

    We know, by the promise of Christ Himself, that they will fail.

  • Little foil paper star …

    Thought to search the Scriptures for some word for AR to ponder, but opened to Micah and stayed there with an interesting verse on serpents – what with an eye on Jubilee coverage that reveals civility and unity in a people.

    Prayer of Micah 7: 1 – 7 …

    Alas! I am as when the fruit is gathered,
    as when the vines have been gleaned;
    There is no cluster to eat, no early fig that I crave.

    The faithful are gone from the earth,
    among men the upright are no more!
    They all lie in wait to shed blood,
    each one ensnares the other.
    Their hands succeed at evil;
    the prince makes demands,
    The judge is had for a price,
    the great man speaks as he pleases,
    The best of them is like a brier,
    the most upright like a thorn hedge.

    The day announced by your watchmen!
    your punishment has come;
    now is the time of your confusion.

    Put no trust in a friend,
    have no confidence in a companion;
    Against her who lies in your bosom guard the portals of your mouth.
    For the son dishonors his father,
    the daughter rises up against her mother,
    The daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,
    and a man’s enemies are those of his household.

    But, as for me, I will look to the Lord,
    I will put my trust in God my savior;
    my God will hear me!

    … 7:16 – 20

    The nations shall behold and be put to shame, in spite of their strength;
    They shall put their hands over their mouths;
    their ears shall become deaf.
    They shall lick the dust like the serpent, like reptiles on the ground;
    They shall come quaking from their fastnesses,
    trembling in fear of you, the Lord our God.

    Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
    and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheiritance;
    Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency,
    And will again have compassion on us,
    treading underfoot our guilt?
    You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;
    You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and grace to Abraham,

    As you have sworn to our fathers from days of old.

    Micah was from hundreds of years BC according to notes in the book (between 600 and 500). Then, came from God the Father in his faithfulness and grace, the Son as man to just plainly tell us what we kept forgetting about repentance and love of, for and by God. Oh, and to give us the gift of the Church to safeguard wisdom and hope for “the remnant of his inheiritance!

  • When I read commentary like Riggio’s it is all I can do to restrain myself from sourcing him out and giving the cretin a fat lip.

  • Was this even worth a blog post?

    Every pimply-faced pot-smoking college kid thinks the Catholic Church is dangerous and should dissolve. It’s the most profound thought they will have during these years.

    And Yahoo is about where I’d expect to see such thoughts published.

  • Riggio, you flatter yourself too much to imagine that people dislike you because you speak “the truth.” As they say, I don’t believe you would know what that was if it bit you on the arse. You never seem to learn, either.

    I have looked at your Contributor profile. You do not have serious journalistic credentials — not that it would excuse the nonsense you write.

  • The Catholic Church is “dangerous?” Well, yes, in a world occupied by the enemy, you could say we’re a threat.

  • hey!…..the linked post is ‘unavailable’ now…..can you give a working link?

  • Susan- I found it at another site and posted the text- yahoo doesn’t link to it now for some reason..

  • Tim-
    probably because it’s asinine.

  • Riggio’s retort posts are proof positive he just ain’t up to the debate.

  • HA! HA!

    It would appear after last night’s liberal debacle, it’s the dem party that is outdated and should dissolve.

  • The title of Mr. Riggio’s screed reveals’ his abject ignorance about the nature of our Church.

    He assumes that the Catholic Church is the equivalent of a corporation, a mere creature of human law, since he has taken the position that “it” should dissolve. We who understand our Holy Catholic Church realize that it can never dissolve simply through some human agency, since its origin and continuing vitality is Divine.

    For the same reason our Church can never become “outdated”.

    Mr. Riggio’s devotion to sodomy is likewise abject. He will not realize his God-given dignity until he remove his mind from between another man’s greater cheeks

Need Reader Input: Who Are The Top 10 Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops?

Sunday, June 3, AD 2012

 I would like some help in identifying the most active, passionate, orthodox American Catholic Bishops currently serving. It is a cultural thing that we seem to love rating everything- not a bad thing- and I have a personal interest in this topic because I want to offer my services to a Bishop who needs someone who gets the following Big Three Realities that I have been focusing on in my last three postings here at American Catholic.

 

1. The Obama Administration is threat #1 to the continuance of our Hierarchical Catholic Church- here in America and since we are a Superpower in worldly terms this could damage a big chunk of Christendom. I do not speak as an Obama-basher with Republican talking point tie-ins- I was a lifelong Democrat who only recently gave it up to become an Independent, not Republican. My realization about the Obama threat emerged slowly after being absorbed in a national Catholic Democrats listserve with some of the real heavyweights- like FOB (Friend of Barack) Vicki Kennedy. It was clear to me that Kennedy with her fellow travelers in Catholic universities, and liberal Catholic political organizations, have been intent on much much more than just getting more traction in American policies and legislation for a few political issues often neglected by the conservative-Right. There is blood in the water for the Church Hierarchy due to the notorious Minor Abuse Scandals. These prominent Catholic Dems seem intent on using whatever power they can muster to force changes in the Church to cut the Hierarchydown to size- replace the Teaching Authority with liberal Catholic college professors and liberal political activists who will “save” the Church from irrelevance among the youth. We have seen that President Obama has been systematically assisting in this process- not openly- but consider his choice of Joe Biden as VP with his pro-choice, pro-gay marriage beliefs, and Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary who is pushing contraceptives down everyone’s throats, and I suspect we’ll see that Justice Sotomayor is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage eventually. The threat to religious liberties will hit the Catholic Church Hierarchy first, with the contraceptives mandates and then gay marriage will turn the Catholic Church Catechism into Hate Literature and every orthodox Catholic into a bigot along the lines of the old school racists back in the 60’s. No one wants to be a racist- so I’m sure that Vicki Kennedy et al are counting on most American Catholics to simply abandon their Bishops’ leadership and embrace her brand of progressive Catholicism which is Obama-cool. So- me thinks the Bishops need a few folks around who see this danger and are willing to stand with the Bishops and the Catechism. I’m here to help.  Here’s a link to my piece on the Catholic Dems/Obama “conspiracy”-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/31/obama-working-willfully-to-undermine-hierarchical-catholic-church/

 

2. Having this information about the Obama-Catholic Dem elite battleplan is useful- but I am also interested in assisting a good Bishop at the parish level with practical steps- all perfectly legal- for assisting the process of cultivating a new breed of orthodox Catholic political leaders. Pope B teaches us to free ourselves from ideologies in his last encyclical- the social doctrine of the Church is the stuff we need more of in America- the reason we keep swinging wildly from Republican to Democrat in the races for political power is that at the gut level most people get that each Party has got some things right and some things wrong. There is no Party of God- even if right now the mainstream Democratic Party represents the greater threat to the Church/Christ- we are still talking about lesser evils. The Catholic social doctrine is about building civilizations of love- this is the positive vision that is the corrective of narrow ideologies which feed on anger for the most part. The way to bring Christ’s Way into the marketplace of ideas in American political thought and debate is for more fully informed and inspired Catholic voices to emerge and assume the responsibilities of leadership at every level of our society. There is so much that we could do in every parish and school-  here is my POA (Plan of Action) which I would love to bring into a parish in a diocese where the Bishop is aware and involved to guide the development- I’m not interested in being a lone ranger or riding against the wishes of the local Bishop.  Here’s the Plan-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/10/wanted-orthodox-catholic-political-leaders-time-to-get-serious/

 

3.  Finally, my long experience in the trenches of Catholic high schools has left me with many thoughts on how to inculcate a genuine Catholic identity which has a chance of being transmitted to our very distracted youth. I would love to be part of an orthodox Bishop’s team to help select passionately orthodox Catholic administrators/teachers/staff to be in place to give life witness, along with instructional guidance, to budding disciples of Christ. You can’t give what you don’t have- so if we want Catholic students to come out the other side in love, or more in love with Christ and His Church- then you don’t load up the schools with adults who are full of dissenting views from the Catechetical teachings of the Church. I’m not saying everyone has to be some kind of a stepford-wife cheerleader type of Catholic- we all have our personalities- but if you are an adult working in a Catholic school you should be someone who is thirsty to know what the Church teaches and why- especially if it pertains to your particular discipline or area of responsibility. I get into a lot more detail beyond just the staffing issue in my article below.  I am open to returning to the teaching field or entering new territory in administration under the right Bishop in a diocese that really wants to play it straight-up as a passionately Catholic institution -without being satisfied with a PR-level Catholic Identity which produces nice dog and pony shows for visiting bishops and parents- but scratch the surface and where is the love for the Church? If you fall in love with the Church you will just want to know more and more and to share more and more with the youth and everyone you meet- am I right?  Here’s the last link-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/04/16/a-vision-of-catholic-education-from-the-front-lines/

 

OK- if you are still with me- here is how you can help- write out up to 10 names(and email addresses if you have them!) of Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops here in America- with the name of their Diocese.  You can order them according to your own rating system. I want to follow the science here and the shortest distance between two points is a straight line- I want to begin a new mission in using whatever talents I possess for the sake of Christ and His Church- I have tried to use these talents to produce something helpful to preserve and protect the Hierarchical nature of our Catholic Church- If Christ didn’t desire a Hierarchy why bother with Apostles- He could have just had disciples with no leadership inherent in the Church- but He didn’t- evidence from Scripture, history and logic all persuaded me in my Truth Quest. I don’t want to just apply for jobs blind to the leadership in a given Diocese. Leadership matters, that’s why leaders get targeted all the time, and why assassinations are so unfortunately common throughout human history. I want a meaningful mission within the Church and short of that I will do whatever I can do to provide for my wife and four young children- this is my story and why I need our Reader’s Input. Brother (Sister) can you spare a moment and share what you know? God Bless you.

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22 Responses to Need Reader Input: Who Are The Top 10 Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops?

  • Perhaps we should remember the wise words of Abbé Henri Brémond, whose life (1865-1933) spanned the Jules Ferry laws of 1882 and 1886 laicising public education, the law of 1901 suppressing many religious orders and the law of 1905 on the separation of Church and State, which vested all church buildings and other property in the nation.

    “No law can affect those who believe, those who pray; prayer is silent, prayer offends no one, prayer attacks no one.” – [La prière est silencieuse, la prière n’offense personne, la prière n’agresse personne]

    His response to the Anti-Clericalism of his time were his essays, “Prière et Poésie”[ Prayer and Poetry] and “Introduction a la Philosophie de la Prière”[Introduction to the Philosophy of Prayer] His monumental work “Histoire litteraire du sentiment religieux en France depuis la fin des guerres de religion jusqu’a nos jours” [A Literary History of Religious Sentiment in France from the end of the Wars of Rekigion to our own day] published between 1913 and 1936 in 11 volumes, was based on his unrivalled knowledge of mystical writings and devotional works. His writings on poetry, symbolism and romanticism earned him election to the Académie française in 1923 and a eulogy from the French Symbolist poet, Paul Valéry.

    His influence was incalculable.

  • The current head of the USCCB, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of NY and his I-95 brother (my Archbishop) in Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles J Chaput. (Lori of Baltimore and Aquila of Denver deserve mention as well in my VERY short list.)

  • My only input is cautionary; the plan of action is a good idea, BUT I’d give it about a week before it’s taken over by the same folks who use “social justice” to promote abortion, theft, etc. At the absolute least, it would claim binding teachings where they don’t exist. (I recall one discussion I was having with another Catholic, who pulled the death penalty vs abortion thing– even offering a letter from the man who would become Pope saying there was a valid variety of views didn’t sway him.)

    I do love the idea of equipping people to find out what the Church teaches for themselves, and enthusiastically endorse the answer-religious-questions-kids-as/thirsty-for-theology thing. That would have made my youth a lot more interesting, and might have kept several friends from falling away from the Church. (it would also have meant I could find a babysitter from the Parish– but that’s another rant!)

    If there was a group for something like “Catholic Q&A- Last Wednesday Of The Month Snack and Chat” I’d do it. If I thought I could pull it off, I’d start one myself. (Wed because it’s the middle of the week; schedule it about 6pm. It would have to be sort of small to start with, and a computer with one of those books-on-CD collection EWTN sells would be wise; has soup to nuts of decrees, etc.)

    … Dang it, now I’ve got a post bubbling in my head for designing theology groups. Thank you.

  • Bishop Ronald Gainer of Lexington KY: not as high profile as Dolan etc, but methodically rebuilding an orthodox and dynamic diocese. Yesterday ordained 23 deacons: 3 transtional and 20 permanent.

  • Bruskewitz, Finn, Olmstead, Morlino, Aquila, Sample, Cordlione, Nienstadt, Slattery, Chaput

  • My only input is cautionary; the plan of action is a good idea, BUT I’d give it about a week before it’s taken over by the same folks who use “social justice” to promote abortion, theft, etc. At the absolute least, it would claim binding teachings where they don’t exist.

    I would go a step further Foxfier – or backward actually. I think the other side has already been doing this for many decades. The chanceries and USCCB were chock full dissenting activists with a socialist agenda who were either supported or tolerated by their bishop. I would venture to guess that even with ascension of a large number of orthodox bishops, there are still a large number of these folks in important and influential positions. Even when an orthodox bishop takes over a troubled see, he doesn’t do a housecleaning so to speak. He pushes his agenda of reform with the people he has and tries to lead the chancery operatives to fulfill his mission. The bishops have to lead, but that doesn’t mean all will follow – and many of those people still have power and influence enough to do damage.

  • Sounds good, Tim. I would echo both MichaelP71’s and Jim’s lists, adding only three more solid bishops with whom I’ve had contact: 1) Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, CA (and formerly of Baker, Oregon); 2) Bishop Kevin Vann of Ft. Worth, TX; and 3) Arch-bishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta. There are undoubtedly many other good, solid bishops and auxiliaries around in the US, but they simply don’t have as high of a public profile as do these aforementioned bishops.

  • Oops! One glaring omission did just come to mind (how could we forget?) Cardinal George of Chicago, of course!

  • First of all I think Masculinity has been beat down passive aggressively both in the American Church as well as society, so if we are not willing to reject bad laws and smash the Serpents head to mush than we are bound to lose with the communist attitudes of Obama and other democratic leaders.

  • The dioceses of Wilmington Delaware seam to be getting somewhat more Orthodox but still need improving and the general public of Delaware seems very secular and the cops tend to act like gangsters in their attitudes.

  • By lose I meant lose temporarily.

  • Possibly the most important philosophical law is that because God is all knowing, all powerful, and all good we should take what he tells us seriously rather than throwing his words around like protestants who use his words to justify whatever they fancy.

  • If worst comes to worst there is just war but it would be much better if it did not have to come down to that.

  • One. I’m curious, why did it have to come to your being a Democrat “insider” before you realized your choice of political party clashed with your Catholic religion? I knew it for me when the Democrat Party officially supported and acted to make abortion-on-demand the law-of-the-land.

    Two. When are people like you going to start showing some “love” your talking about to those of us who have been battling people you have been electing to keep abortion-on-demand the law-of-the-land? And, now, thanks to Catholics like you, we have to fight to keep marriage the institution it has always been since God enacted it at the beginning of man-kind. And thanks to the 54% of Catholics like you, the U.S. bishops (equally responsible for what has continued for almost 4 decades) have to sue the President and his Administration they helped put in office just to keep our First Amendment Rights. How about showing some love to Catholics like me for realizing straight on that any organization that supports and defends the murder of innocent human beings, especially infants in the protection of their mother’s womb, could never be serious about “caring for others,” especially the “little guy?”

    Three. How about finding out why almost all the U.S. bishops adopted Cardinal Bernardin’s proposal to change the definition of “prolife,” a word coined by prolifers to counter the pro-aborts calling themselves “pro-choice?” And then, contacting those bishops still alive who voted against that change, to get their recommendations on who should be on that list of bishops you want to put together. While doing that, you ought to read the 1989 favorable biography called “Cardinal Bernardin – Easing conflicts -and battling for the soul of American Catholicism” by the cardinal’s long time friend (30 years) Eugene Kennedy. You’ll learn that that name change was a lot more political than it was spiritual. This is a quote of Bernardin’s motivation for expanding the definition to include prudential judgment issues so-call “social justice.” Page 243,244: “Not only would this move gain greater support from Catholics and others but it would keep the prolife movement from falling completely under the control of the right wing conservatives who were becoming it dominant sponsors.” How about that?! I don’t know where in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the “good” cardinal found that some how being a “right wing conservative” was evil. Maybe you know where that is?

    Anyway – how about showing some “love” for the millions of us who have removed ourselves from the sin of being in the Democrat Party, the main organization responsible for denying the right to life of God’s greatest creation – a human right by the way; and maybe perhaps an apology as well for making people like us have to fight people like you for so long?

  • Stilbelieve:

    Hold on, friend. There’s a parable about that. “Take what is yours, and go your way: I will also give to this last even as to you.” (Mt 20:14)

  • Stilbelieve:

    I’m with you!

    Nd, those people need to stop employing presumed moral superiority to advance evil and to start supporting Church teachings.

  • My own Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo should be on that list. He is the bishop who conducted the recent investigation of the women religious. He is an outstanding and holy and orthodox bishop, and I am shocked, frankly, that he hasn’t been picked in the last few years to lead a higher-profile diocese. The fact that he was chosen to lead the investigation of the women religious indicates that he is at least on someone’s radar in the Vatican.

    Were it not for the fact that Bishop Blair was the Bishop of Toledo, I doubt I would have moved my family to this part of Ohio almost 7 years ago.

  • @Escolonn

    “Hold on, friend. There’s a parable about that. ‘Take what is yours, and go your way: I will also give to this last even as to you.’ (Mt 20:14)” The text in bible has the last sentence of 20:14 reading: “What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?”

    First of all, I’m not looking for “reward.” I’m looking for evidence that this author has obtained wisdom from his experience to be of help to any bishop. The question was raised in my mind soon into reading his article. He says this in the 4th sentence:
    “I do not speak as an Obama-basher with Republican talking point tie-ins- I was a lifelong Democrat who only recently gave it up to become an Independent, not Republican.”

    Talking in a dismissive way about the only major organization that has been trying to save the babies, protect our country militarily and economically, fight for our right to pick our own doctors and make our own decisions on our medical care, defend marriage as God created it, and now have to save our First Amendment Rights to freedom of religion isn’t being a “Obama-baser” using “Republican talking point tie-ins.” It’s being an American who has “eyes to see and ears to here.”

    Second, you would think that someone who contributed with their decision-making and votes all this time to prolonging the evil of abortion-on-demand remaining the law-of-the-land, and to these newer attacks on our safety and freedoms, would be a little more contrite and humble towards those who were wise enough to see the sin of remaining in the Democrat Party much sooner in their lives then he did.

    Third, I think the verse you chose is a parable better suited for the rights of ownership to do with one’s property as one chooses and pay the wages as agreed. Verse 15 completes that thought saying: “[Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?”

  • Jay, it just so happens that my own bishop, Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Ill. is assisting with that investigation as well. He too is known for his orthodoxy and has been on the Vatican-watchers’ radar for some time, so he probably won’t be here forever!

  • Stillbelieve- I can defend my previous Democratic party membership on the grounds that I was quite active as a pro-life candidate and leader in Dems for Life- the fact is that until the 80’s the Dems were more pro-life than the Repubs- I was a Democrat long before I was Catholic- being drawn into politics at the age of 13 by the first Jimmy Carter campaign- and then basically became a believing secular liberal in my 20’s. My introduction and conversion to Catholicism came as I neared 30- in becoming Catholic I gave up previous beliefs on abortion et al- but there has always been two thoughts in my mind- first- the Republican establishment has always been like shifting sand on the issue of abortion since Reagan – lukewarm belief is never attractive as Jesus indicated in Revelation- and second- there has long been the hope that Catholic pro-life Democrats could lead the charge within the Democratic party to restore traditional moral beliefs on social issues- I took up that challenge since I figured I was well-placed as a lifelong Dem who became a Catholic convert- but identified more or less along the FDR-Democratic coalition lines- recall that American Catholics as a community tended the Democratic party way before social issues and the sexual revolution began destroying the Dems from within. Reagan was an FDR Democrat but said that the party moved away from him not the other way around.

    So- in any case- I never publicly supported any pro-choice candidates- and typically voted for third party/populist no-bodies to get around my conscience- and our hierarchy instructed us that we could not vote for a candidate because of his/her pro-choice position on abortion- but it was left open to conscience if there were other compelling reasons to vote for someone who was unfortunately pro-choice- since we are not to be single-issue voters. So- if one supposed that voting for a Republican candidate would bring on potentially nation-ending war or economic ruin and thus render the legal abortion question (in effect) moot in such an environment since no movement focused on a social issue would gain any traction during crisis times- well that would be a paradigm of thought whereupon someone with a Catholic conscience may have voted for a Democrat in some paticular national office like president.

    My own experience with being exposed to the really influential Catholic Democrats was one where I tried my best to evangelize for the orthodox teachings of the Church- to follow the Magisterium and the Bishops on all fronts and not to continue in a heterodox direction- but alas I was confronted by the truly powerful forces that drive those who have actual weight in Democratic party power politics these days- and I was asked to depart from my place of opinion sharing- and at that stage I openly left the Party and my role as a leader for florida Dems for Life- and became a NPA- non-party-affiliation- as Archbishop Chaput did according to what I read in his great book- Render Unto Caesar. So- stillbelieve- I don’t know what to apologize to you about- I think my personal history explains why I chose the paths I took- if the Church had clearly indicated that working from within the Democratic party to try to reform the party on social issues was an immoral choice- then I would have abandoned the effort years ago- I have given up on that front- but I have many good Catholic and Christian friends who are still battling from within and taking the abuse from the dominant sexual revolutionaries – I’m not of a mind to join you in heaping more abuse their way- but if this is how you interpret WWJD in your time on stage blogging then it is something that Jesus Christ will have to determine at the time of our personal judgments- and I look forward to my time with Him so that I can see where I missed His cues and promptings, or just was blind- so that I can apologize to anyone or any group of persons that I did wrong by. I am trying to “live clean” and I have been trying to follow the orthodox directives from Christ’s Church- my wish now is that the American Bishops will now make perfectly clear to all of us that taking public positions opposed to granting the right to life for the unborn, and protecting traditional marriage definitions, and respecting religious liberties- all make any candidate unfit for any Catholic to vote for or support in any capacity- and political leaders who call themselves Catholics who vote for any of the Big Three will have to forego reception of Holy Communion due to the scandal they are producing among law-abiding American citizens. That, I think, would clear up any confusion about the morality of our political choices- given the unusual extremity of our times. I still hope to be of service to our Church and to serve a strong Bishop and take guidance from him- but if you are correct and the Holy Spirit agrees then I will accept another role in my life’s work- at the end of the day I just want to be one of those ‘unprofitable servants’ in the eyes of the Lord- if digging ditches is my true talent then so be it- I will carry a shovel for Christ- that’s my heart-that is something I can know even if many who know little about me doubt it- those in my home know me and from them I draw the human consolation that helps keep one’s spirit from being taken away by the naysayers always to be found.

  • It is important to realise that, for professional politicians, party labels are largely a sham.

    In any democracy, they inevitably group themselves into two parties (or coalitions), the friends of corruption and the sowers of sedition; those who seek to profit from existing abuses and those who seek to profit from the disaffection those abuses naturally produce.

    The policies either faction espouses, primarily to attract funding, but also as a sop to the rabble, is a matter of chance and circumstance.

  • I don’t have much experience with bishops, but I would suggest two: Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, CO and Archbishop Charles Chaput, currently Archbishop of Philadelphia (formerly of Denver, CO). Both have been a strong voice for authentic Catholic teaching and activism.

Obama Working Willfully To Undermine Hierarchical Catholic Church

Thursday, May 31, AD 2012

A few years ago I would have thought the title of my piece was too extreme- I bought into the charisma of Barack Obama- never publicly supported him- but I thought he was someone who could bridge some of the serious difficulties that pro-life Democrats faced within my political party. I read his books, I thought he respected the Catholic Church as much as a secular political liberal could be expected to. Around that time I was trying to work from the inside of the Democratic party- running for Florida State House as a pro-life Democrat, and later serving as Vice President for the Florida Democats for Life organization. This was also the time period where I was invited to become part of a national Catholic Democrats listserve which included such notaries as : Vicki Kennedy, Lisa Sowle Cahill of Boston College, Rev. William D’Antonio and Rev. Anthony Pogorel of the Catholic University of America, Peggy Steinfels of Fordham University, Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown, Vincent Miller of Georgetown/U. of Dayton, Dan Maguire of Marquette, Doug Kmeic of Pepperdine, Suzanne Morse of NCR, Chris Korzen of Catholics United, Alexia Kelly of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Steve Callahan of the AFL-CIO, and others (Eric LeCompte, Nicholas Carfardi, James Salt, Morna Murray, Fred Rotondaro, Kari Lundgren). I never agreed to keep all that passed before my eyes confidential, but I never publicly revealed the basic content until now.

 
My reason for going public now is due to the recent event where the Worcester Bishop Robert McManus weighed in to prevent Vicki Kennedy from speaking at the Anna Maria College commencement. The press I read portrayed the Bishop as being overly vindictive and Kennedy milked the rejection, playing innocent, as though she is doing nothing to try to upend the Catholic Church as we know it- as a Hierarchical Institution. It was my experience on the Catholic Dem listserve that Vicki Kennedy was essentially my nemesis. I defended the Church as a Hierarchy, and the official teachings on abortion et al, and she took me to task almost every time I wrote pro-orthodox Catholic commentary- with plenty of Amens from her fellow travelers on the listserve. I did receive a few positive private emails from some on the listserve, but on the whole it was a very discouraging experience trying to defend the Church as a convert, who would be at a total loss if the Catholic Church put no stock in the teaching authority of the Pope and the Bishops, and taught that contraceptives, legal abortion, and gay marriage were just fine and dandy things. So Soon after posting this on the listserve-

 
“It is deeply troubling to me that this Catholic Democrats listserve membership seems more intent on finding reasons to pull some kind of palace coup against the Catholic Church Magisterium and Hierarchy in general, than to address specific issues related to the Catholic interests in American politics. I am a convert to Catholicism, I knew what I was signing up for in becoming a Catholic, I accepted the teachings and authority lines as prescribed by the latest Catechism. I simply cannot understand why those who seem to relish openly trashing the Apostolic successors retain membership in the Church- that is something that I can only address as an appeal to someone else’s good conscience. Most of my family is of the Protestant variety, I understand that thinking and worldview but reject it, but they are acting in good conscience- they don’t believe what the Catholic Church teaches about her role, so they don’t invest in the Catholic narrative and authority line. Maybe what I’m finding here at Catholic Democrats are many good protestants but not orthodox Catholics as I understand things?

You can remove me from your rolls if it displeases many here that I don’t conform to the groupthink on display here, otherwise I will continue to offer my two bits to challenge the establishment views of liberal, anti-Catholic Hierarchical voices which parallel the hard Catholic Right- in their wrongheadedness- in my humble opinion anyway. One is certainly free to criticize the clerical/Hierarchical handling of sexual abuse cases over the years- but how this all fits in with being a Democratic Party member is something I can’t fathom. Tim Shipe”

My offer to leave was accepted after Vicki Kennedy wrote a smack-down on me; and shortly thereafter I severed my own Democratic party membership and ended my leadership role with Florida Dems for Life- I took Archbishop Chaput route of becoming a political Independent and remain such today.

 
To come up to speed- back a couple of years ago- I knew that the most powerful and connected Catholic Democrats in our country were interested in more than just getting more traction on Catholic social justice issues in our American political system- I would describe the agenda/mind-set of Vicki Kennedy et al for the most part as the following:

 1. Obama embodies the Catholic social tradition- he’s a better guide than the out-of-touch Pope/Bishops 2. Democrats for Life leaders were not welcome – despite my own inclusion for a time- Kennedy seemingly successfully squashed the idea of Kristen Day being invited to be part of the listserve 3. The Bishops who were outspoken for advocating the primacy of the right to life for the unborn were demonized, mocked, ridiculed, and at times the idea of trying to bring on an IRS investigation on these type of Bishops was being encouraged by some ( especially if they dared to consider withholding Communion from Pro-choice Dem leaders) 4. Bishops were described as “self-designated custodians of ‘the tradition’”. 5. Catholic Dems could aptly be self-described for the most part as “intra-Catholic warriors” 6. The Clergy Scandals were to be used to help bring the end of the Bishops line of authority- teaching and otherwise 7. This authority should pass to those who know best- the secular-minded Catholic professors and their liberal political activist friends- since there really can’t be such a thing as a Holy Spirit-guided Catholic Church with Popes and Bishops playing a key role- I suppose they could still hold onto ceremonial roles like the Kings in Europe.

 
I can see clearly now that President Obama has been very conscious of this war for control within the Church- and his choice of Vice President and HHS Secretary- Biden and Sebelius, respectively, was a conspicuous power move to set in place the acceptability of dissenting Catholic leaders and thought into the mainstream of American societal structures and popular imaginations. The fact that Obama “evolved” on Gay Marriage with help from his Catholic buddy Joe Biden, and his determination to mandate contraception as a must-have “medicine” through the offices of Catholic Kathleen Sebelius- all of this plays right into the larger goals of the Catholic Democratic party elite. There has been no such evolution in his comprehension and compassion for the thousands of unborn humans killed every day in abortions, and the threat to religious liberties is finely focused on the authority of Catholic Bishops and the official teachings of the Catholic Magisterium. I believe the Catholic Dems elite would like to re-make American Catholic Bishops in the image of the Anglican church in England- with Obama playing a kind of King Henry VIII role in forcing power transfers ( counting on public/Catholic lay apathy).

 
My conclusion is this- I am not in disagreement with the Catholic Dems elite on an across-the-board basis- I am not a conservative ideologue any more than I am a liberal one. There are political issues where I go left and others where I go right or down the middle- I make the honest effort to stay as close to the official social doctrine teachings of principles, and even the prudential judgment application of those principles as the Bishops and Vatican officials advise. I find that the same powers-that-be that are given Holy Spirit assistance to teach firm principles, are also pretty darn good at putting forth ideas for applying those principles into the real world of political legislation and the like- but I acknowledge it’s not an exact science with one formula fits all simplicities, however. That’s how I would describe my own efforts in being a wanna-be orthodox, faithful Catholic on matters of social doctrine. Others may disagree- I have no doubt that the Catholic Dem elites I list above are well-intentioned- but I believe they are threatening great harm to many souls and to the future of our Catholic Church as the Hierarchical Institution – founded by Jesus Christ. Reforms should be taken up in a spirit that respects the obedience of Faith. I don’t abide by clergy abuses and incompetent administrative decisions made by Catholic bishops- but you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater- just as you don’t kill babies in the womb to solve the problems of women and their mates.

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34 Responses to Obama Working Willfully To Undermine Hierarchical Catholic Church

  • Bravo Tim! The Obama administration is clearly the most anti-Catholic administration in our nation’s history. Now Obama is attempting to play up his supposed ties to the Church:

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/24/obama-the-born-again-catholic/

    The linked to story above requires a strong gag reflex.

  • N.B. The majority (votes democrat) of American Catholic clerics and laity are undermining the Church’s Mission: the salvation of souls.

  • Excellent statement – “…you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater- just as you don’t kill babies in the womb to solve the problems of women and their mates.”

  • Tim, this is a really good post. Thank you for writing it. I never understood the “agenda” of the elite Catholic Democrate. I never saw the big picture that you describe so well.

    I guess my main question regarding your post is in the last paragraph you said that liberal Dem Catholics are well-intentioned. It is really hard for me to believe that.
    In my mind good intentions would mean they are trying to positively change the Church for the salvation of souls, and I just don’t see that.

    Could you go into a little more detail that?

  • The unfortunate truth is that the attitudes you encountered and described are not just those of the Catholic Dem elite, but far too many of the Catholic rank and file.

  • C. Matt is right. I daily interface with many fine, upstanding and wonderful people who are everything a Catholic should be, except when it comes to contraception, abortion and homosexual marriage. The dissent is profound, widespread and almost un-eradical. I have written pages and pages of explanation on what the Bible says, what Humanae Vitae says and what the Catechism says. I have had many discussions with these persons. I even in certain cases went back to the real meaning of certain Greek words that St. Paul used in his Epistles in my verbal discussions and writings. Each one to a person fully acknowledged that I know more about Church teaching and what the Bible says than they do. But they insist on contraception as women’s health, abortion as a woman’s right to choose and homosexual marriage as a civil right. Nothing I have said or done makes even the slightest dent in their obstinacy. With such a sweet smile on their faces, they imply that I am the close-minded and intolerant one, though that’s not how they word their objections. Now they are entirely polite and diplomatic and respectful. And they do acknowledge WHAT the Church teaches with regard to these issues. But they won’t ACCEPT that teaching as applicable to themselves or anyone else who “by right of conscience” disagrees. They REFUSE the authority of both the Church and the Bible, and they do so in such a loving and kind and nice and tolerant and non-divisive way that I just want to scream.

  • chris- I do believe what these folks are doing is willful- but I don’t think anyone is motivated by a consciously-evil paradigm- these are intelligent people but I find that even the very intelligent get tripped up over the supposedly easy stuff. One connective tissue seems to be that general difference between converts to Catholicism and “birthright” Catholics- Mark Shea has written about how converts tend to see the doctrines as being absolutely essential to being a good Catholic- while cradle Catholics such as most of the people I encountered in Cath Dems – seemed proud of their rights of ownership as Catholics and fail to see through perhaps pride or habit- that they could be just re-making the Church in their own image- instead of being transformed they try do all the transforming- when they should be obedient reformer saints- they instead go the route of tearing down the authority lines within the Church and thus causing ruptures rather than repairing the damage of poor administration.

    So- I have to give people the benefit of the doubt in their intentions- even when they are flat out wrong in what they determine as beliefs and course of action- and of course you don’t allow people to do whatever they want based on good intentions- you have to put up resistance and try to convince them to reconsider- that is what I tried to do from the inside of the Democratic Party and within the CathDem listserve- but at a certain point you don’t just allow yourself to become a floor mat- you come to a point where you separate and kick the dirt off your sandals and move on..I reached that stage..and now I am hoping to do some damage control by alerting the Faithful of the real dangers to our Church by these Catholic intellectuals and activists who see themselves as great alternatives to the Pope and Bishops in leading the flock in terms of moral theology/social doctrine. What is the saying- the road to hell is paved with good intentions..

  • Very interesting post. Thanks for writing.

    As I look back in history and at current events, I see the Democrat party as anti-Catholic in principle (pro-slavery, anti-women suffrage, anti-civil rights, pro-abortion, anti-First Amendment, etc.) and in demonstration (KKK, HHS mandate, etc.). They are a party of hate and death.

  • In my reading about Cardinal Mindzenty I am learning how in Hungary, committed Communists divided Hungarian society into groups that could be pitted against each other, how a few so-called “progressive” Catholic priests and intelligentsia were duped into misleading their flock, how criminal anti-establishment types were used, how diminishing the unity of the Church weakened it’s resistance against the plans of the atheistic left, how government subsidies and so-called help kept various constituencies in line.
    Mindzenty: “Our psalm is the ‘De Profundis’, our prayer is the ‘Miserere’; our prophet is Jeremiah; our world is the Apocalypse”
    He knew the tactical cunning and deceit of the Communists and the reality that there must be no compromise.
    “The collaboration of leftist Catholics caused trouble immediately.” p 54

  • One more point to Chris- one thing that stood out for me was that vicki kennedy defended her brand of Catholicism when I made the above charge that this was really another form of protestantism- she claimed that she was upholding the manner in which she was brought up at home and in Catholic schools she attended. This would be a typical cause and effect which I have witnessed to in my previous posting on Education- the schools are often bastions for lukewarm and dissenting adult Catholics as administrators and teachers- and orthodox Catholic parents are few and far between- so with so much company in the ranks of the heterodox it is no wonder to me that various ideologies have become the replacement religion for many cradle Catholics. The biggest threat from the Cath Dems elite is that they have real access to real earthly power and they don’t just have some differences of opinion over some key political issues with the Catholic Hierarchy and Social Doctrine- they want to usurp proper authority within the Church and re-direct the moral authority unto themselves- this is what I am warning about and why I am trying to get a more organized response that goes beyond the partisan Republican-conservative v. Democratic-liberal battlelines. The Bishops themselves need to address this through the USCCB and through the parishes and schools- I would love to help since I am not a partisan- and thus tainted by ideological allegiances of my own.

  • Thanks again for the article, it is very informative. I often find myself in agreement with Democrates on most economic issues (current administration excluded) but am solidly Republican because of social issues.

    I will say you are much more charitable than me giving many of these Catholic Dems the benefit of the doubt. Something I need to work on I guess.

    RE Paul- I have written pages and pages of explanation on what the Bible says, what Humanae Vitae says and what the Catechism says

    Would appreciate any information you could pass along. Especially regarding homosexual marriage as this is a topic that comes up often within my sphere of influence

  • Completely messed up that last post, but didn’t mean to have that last sentence italicized. Guess that’s what happens when attempting to write a post as my two year old daughter is pulling on my shirt!

  • @ Chris,

    In answer to your request, here is the six page letter I wrote back in February to one of these “right to choose” Catholics. The person said that she read the first three pages and then stopped. All further conversation of a religious nature between us has likewise stopped at that point. There is nothing to be had in common with a liberal. We live on different worlds. What planet they come from I know not.

    Dear XXXXX,

    The following discusses the subject of the HHS mandate with which the Administration is compelling Catholic institutions to comply, and the background behind the teaching on homosexuality….The opinions expressed herein when Sacred Scripture or the Catechism of the Catholic Church are not referenced are my own. There is no obligation for you to agree or disagree with me outside of what Holy Mother Church teaches.

    The Church instructs us that abortion and contraception are intrinsic evils. The reason for this teaching is simple: life begins at conception and man does not have the authority to say when life may begin and when it may end. Three verses of Scripture bear upon this.

    1. First, Genesis 1:28 says, “And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’” It does NOT say, “Abort and contracept until you are ready to be fruitful and multiply.”
    2. Second, Jeremiah 1:5 states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” This means that even from conception the embryo is a human being.
    3. Third, Deuteronomy 5:17 states, “You shall not kill.” Abortion kills a living being and is contrary to God’s law.

    Genesis chapter 3 records that in the Garden of Eden the serpent tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and both Adam and Eve succumbed. They were then driven out of the Garden of Eden lest they also partake of the Tree of Life and live forever in a state of sin. Today, humankind has decided to partake of that Tree of Life and determine when life begins and when life ends. The Church teaches that this is evil.

    Now Kathleen Sebelius (who describes herself as a Catholic) has issued a regulation that requires Catholic hospitals, schools, universities, colleges, halfway houses, etc., to provide insurance coverage for drugs that act as contraceptives or abortifacients (i.e., drugs which dislodge the embryo from the uterine wall and cause its ejection from the body, which in turn results in the death of the embryo). President Obama offered a so-called compromise to Catholic institutions by saying that they themselves would not under the regulation be paying for contraceptive or abortifacient drugs. But this ignores the fact that Catholic institutions would still have to pay insurance premiums that cover the cost of these drugs, so the compromise is mere sophistry and changes nothing. The regulation forces Catholic institutions to either stop their social service work or to pay for insurance premiums that cover the provision of intrinsic evil.

    What the US Council of Catholic Bishops has to say about the HSS mandate is available at the following web link:

    Bishops Renew Call to Legislative Action on Religious Liberty
    http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-026.cfm

    The First Amendment to the Constitution states:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Note that the phrase “freedom of worship” is NOT used. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion and is explicit in stating that Congress shall not make a law prohibiting the free exercise thereof. That means that the Catholic Church (or any religious community for that matter) cannot be boxed into the walls of its house of worship; rather, religious people are allowed to practice their religion in the public square. In the case of Christians – especially Catholics – this means that its institutions which heal the sick (hospitals), feed the poor (soup kitchens) and teach the young (schools) may refuse to provide insurance coverage for abortifacients and contraceptives without legal penalty. Indeed, the regulation from HHS against the same is blatantly unconstitutional.

    There is another point that bears on this. The normal functioning of a female body is to reproduce. To stop that functioning is unnatural and against the health of the woman. Therefore, to claim that the provision of abortifacients and contraceptives are in behalf of woman’s health is disingenuous at best and mendacious at worst.

    Now some will at this point declare that a woman has the right to determine what happens to her body without interference from any external agency. That is true. Yet we have to remember that it takes two people to cause conception (the Blessed Virgin Mary being the only exception). I must be perfectly plain here. If a man does not want a baby, then he should keep his pants zipped up. And if a woman does not want a baby, then she should keep her legs closed. Abstinence is 100% preventative 100% of the time. There are going to be no second Virgin Mary’s. Once a person has made a decision to engage in sexual intercourse, then that person has acted on the right to choose and a baby results. God created us in His likeness and image, and having given us sentience, He expects us to act like human beings and not like wild animals. That means that we need to exercise self-control and refrain from sexual activity outside of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony between one man and one woman. No one has any right to commit fornication, adultery or homosexual intercourse (a topic which I will deal with later). Too many people nowadays claim to revere science, logic and reason, but when it comes to the titillation of their genitals, they are wholly given over to the lust of the flesh and for them sexual pleasure becomes an addiction no different in essential substance from addiction to heroin or cocaine. St. Paul explains this in Romans 7:15-25:

    15* I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22* For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, 23* but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. 24* Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    There is a secondary argument that some people raise to justify abortion. They claim that abortion must always be available in cases such as rape or incest. This is illogical. Since when did committing a second crime right the wrong in the first crime? Why should the resultant baby be the victim of capital punishment for a crime that the father committed? The right solution is to make that father support mother and child for the next 18 years and nine months. Furthermore, the percentage of all cases of unwanted pregnancy being due to rape or incest is less than one per cent. The overwhelming majority of reasons given are similar to the following: “I wasn’t ready to have a baby.” The person making that declaration was, however, entirely ready to have sexual intercourse. Thus has abortion murdered 54 million unborn babies since the Roe v Wade decision by SCOTUS on January 23rd, 1973.

    Now a tertiary argument comes. Some claim that while they are personally opposed to abortion, they will vote for an abortionist politician because he claims that he will serve social justice and the common good. This argument is illogical. A man who will sacrifice an unborn baby’s life on the altar of political expediency for social justice and the common good serves neither social justice nor the common good. If he refuses to save the life of an unborn baby, then he will refuse the lives of the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, and the destitute.

    A fourth argument comes, namely that those who oppose abortion support capital punishment or war. Romans 13:1-4 bears on this:

    1* Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3* For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4* for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.

    God gave the State the power to execute the wrongdoer and to defend the people. Yes, the Catechism of the Catholic Church does urge the State to forgo the use of capital punishment (and I agree with that). It also encourages the avoidance of recourse to war (and I agree with that also). But there is no comparison between these and the murder of 54 million innocent babies since 1973. Abortion, contraception, homosexual behavior, euthanasia and human cloning are intrinsic evils. Recourse to capital punishment and war, always to be avoided, are not intrinsic evils.

    One other thing needs to be explained here and that is the warning which Pope Paul VI gave regarding the contraceptive mentality in Humanae Vitae in 1968. The pertinent paragraphs are contained in section 17 of this encyclical and they essentially explain that (1) the contraceptive mentality causes the man to disrespect the women into being a mere sex object, and (2) that same mentality renders unto the State the power to mandate the use of contraceptives contrary to religious conscience. Both of those things are happening today. We see women paraded around as mere sex objects on the television and across the internet, and now our own government is trying to force Catholic institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients on the specious pretext of women’s health care. The actual statements made by Pope Paul VI are given below:

    Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

    Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

    Let us now discuss homosexuality. Paragraphs 2357 through 2359 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church best explain this.

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    Now 1st Corinthians 6:9-10 is quite clear. Because many modern translations incorrectly translate these verses of Sacred Scripture, I will start with the original Greek:

    9 ? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ???? ????????? ?? ???????????????; ?? ????????: ???? ?????? ???? ???????????? ???? ?????? ???? ??????? ???? ???????????? 10 ???? ??????? ???? ??????????, ?? ???????, ?? ????????, ??? ??????? ????????? ???? ???????????????.

    In typical translations into the English, these verses are rendered as following:

    9 Have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? Be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, the reign of God shall inherit.

    The word ??????? in the Greek was used to designate the male who acted as receptor in the act of homosexual intercourse, hence its translation as “effeminate.” The word ???????????? in the Greek was used to designate the penetrator in the act of homosexual intercourse, hence its translation as “sodomite.”

    However, knowing what we now know, we see that these verses actually state:

    9 Have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? Be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexual receptors, nor homosexual penetrators, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, the reign of God shall inherit.

    We modern people get a sanitized version of what St. Paul was writing to the Church at Corinth, yet what he actually wrote was anything but sanitized. Sacred Scripture is clear with regard to homosexual intercourse. Now yes, one may be a homosexual (that is to say, afflicted with same sex attraction). Such persons are never to be discriminated against merely because of a predisposition. Indeed, I have a predisposition to drinking alcohol alcoholically. Being an alcoholic will not send me to hell. Giving in to my alcoholism will, however, send me to hell. The applicable word that St. Paul uses for people like me in the aforementioned verses is ??????? which means “drunken or intoxicated.” Thus, just as I am to remain abstinent of alcohol because of my disease of alcoholism, so also is the homosexual person to remain abstinent of homosexual intercourse. Sacred Scripture cannot be annulled. Romans 1:18-32 states:

    18* For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20* Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21* for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23* and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. 29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

    People at this point may cry that it is unfair that a homosexual person be denied the pleasure of sexual satisfaction. This is a false cry. Homosexuals are subject to the same rules that any heterosexual person is subject to: no sexual intercourse outside of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony between one man and one woman. God does not play favorites. But God does allow us to bear our crosses. In my case, the cross may be alcoholism. In the homosexual’s case, it may be same sex attraction. Romans 8:18 states:

    For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory about to be revealed in us.

    And Colossians 1:24 states:

    I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and do fill up the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh for his body…

    We are called, whether single mother or father, alcoholic, homosexual or whatever, to unite our suffering with those of Christ on the Cross. As the old adage goes, no Cross, no Crown. The Gospel is not about social justice and the common good (though those are important). As Jesus in John 6:26-27 told the crowd who followed Him about after the feeding of the 5000 with loaves of bread and fishes:

    …Verily, verily, I say to you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were satisfied; work not for the food that is perishing, but for the food that is remaining to life age-during, which the Son of Man will give to you, for him did the Father seal — [even] God.

    When politicians promise social justice and the common good, we should remember the example of Judas Iscariot in John 12:1-7

    1* Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4* But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii * and given to the poor?” 6* This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7* Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

    Too many politicians are lying thieves in the tradition of Judas Iscariot. When we look to the State to provide what we need, even what we want, then we render unto the State to take away from us everything we have: house, wife, husband, child, mother, and father. It happened under Maximillien Robespierre in France during the 1790s. In the name of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” he murdered tens of thousands of Catholic clerics and laity using Dr. Guillotine’s “merciful instrument” of euthanasia. Like many in our government today, he was rabidly atheist, and his spiritual descendants today do to unborn babies what he did to the born a little more than two centuries ago. Thus does Jesus declare to Pontius Pilate in John 18:36:

    My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.

    Anyone who thinks (like Robespierre) that he can create a kingdom of Heaven on Earth is guilty of the worst sort of hubris, and that is the exact reason why adultery, fornication and homosexuality run rampant today. 2nd Chronicles 7:14 states:

    If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

    Matthew 6:33 is consistent with this:

    But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

    Conversion and repentance come before, not after social justice and the common good. Sadly, Robespierre had to die by his own guillotine because he refused to learn that lesson.

    Again, you are under no obligation to agree with me. And if you have questions on these matters, then you should give this letter to [ your priests ] to ask them to explain the truth. I am only a lay person and I do not speak for the Church. I can only tell you what Sacred Scripture and the Catechism state [and perhaps give a lesson in Koine Greek every once in a while! 😉 ]

  • Thank you for that link Robert Klein Engler. Please, every American Catholic read it.

  • @Robert, The author seems to say the Church has been willing to cooperate with those in power looking to cheat on the field as long as it advances the ball. And now, it has reached a point where it can continue to look the other way and play both parties or take a stand and become martrys. I can agree to a point, but I think some are taking advantage of this situation by going too far in its accussations against the hiearchy.

    An example is Paul’s Richochet article where it accuses the bishops of giving an endorsement of Obamacare. They never did. The lack of pro-life protections was always a road block to endorsement. While they did not endorse it, they also didn’t reject it. I had problems with the latter, but a lack of rejection does not equal an endorsement. I don’t recall a pro-Obamacare campaign by the bishops, which Paul claims.

    American Thinker article does ask an interesting question. How far will the bishops and the flock go to stand by their principles? Got the guts to take it all the way?

  • “An example is Paul’s Richochet article where it accuses the bishops of giving an endorsement of Obamacare. They never did. The lack of pro-life protections was always a road block to endorsement.”

    Though it was almost endorsed. The Bishops wanted conscience protections and coverage for illegal immigrants. If they got that then Obamacare would be fine. Cardinal George was actively lobbying Republicans not to vote against the Stupak Ammendment (in order to spike the Bill). This in the hope that the bill would ultimately pass.

    http://www.personal.psu.edu/glm7/m711.htm

  • Richochet, “A Pact With the Devil” was good grist… I think the Bishops led by Card. Dolan are taking this kind of goad seriously and instead of looking back, are doing their best to make good decisions now. The need is for unity, clarity and shared effort.

  • Thank you Paul, once I get through all of this material know that it will someday go to good use. I do not have to “re-invent” the wheel so to speak and thank you for the readily availible info to use

    RE: Tim

    Regarding Catholic schools, unfortunatly what you say is very true. I am sure some excellent ones exists, but I have several real horror stories myself regarding Catholic schools. It’s one of the reason why I currently struggle with the idea of sending my son to one. I want to give him every opportunity to learn about our faith. Ultimately he learns the faith at home. It’s sad to say but I am worried about more harm than good being done to him.

  • I’ve seen it on the bumpers of cars in the parish parking lot before Mass: the Obama bumper sticker. It astounds me that any faithful Catholic can even consider voting for a Democrat…even a pro-life Democrat, let alone someone as effectively pro-abortion as Obama. And yet, there they are – my fellow parishoners; some of whom I know from personal experience to have a deep love of Our Lord and his Holy Church. Though I guess its wrong, I do envy them their faith being, at least as I can perceive it, deeper than mine.

    Part of it has to be ancestral – my late father didn’t switch his voter registration from Democrat to Republican until 2008, and that was only about a year before he died. But he also warned me – they are coming after the Church. They want to make an “American Catholic Church” to stand in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church and bid for the support of American Catholics. Ultimately, there really is only the Church, and Her enemies. And the enemies of the Church know one thing for certain: the only thing on earth which stands in the way of their victory is the Church.

    And there’s the other part of it – people who are willing to remain Democrats while still trying to remain faithful Catholics. The trick can’t be done – no matter how solidly Catholic you are if you are also a Democrat then you are magnifying the power of those who wish to destroy the Church, even if (and especially) if the destroyers have found a Bishop who won’t refuse them communion and who continue to pretend to the Catholic faith.

    I understand, Mr. Shipe – you wanted to be a good liberal and a good Catholic. You look at the GOP and, correctly, see many glaring errors, not least of which is the rote defense of “capitalism” in spite of the clear need for an alternative (Distributive) economic system. You’ve now learned a hard lesson – the only thing liberal leaders will allow you to be is a good liberal and that means mindlessly following whatever the leadership dictates, and if you don’t you’ll find yourself attacked until you either knuckle under or depart.

    I’m not asking anyone to give up their political views – but political allegiances must conform to reality. Any Catholic simply must, for the time being, vote Republican – not because Republicans are all wonderful…but because only Republicans offer the chance for faithful people to affect government policy. We can look for a day – hopefully not too far distant – when wise liberals will break completely with their leaders and form a Christian Democrat party to scoop up all those who are not enamored of the GOP but who cannot be faithful Catholics – or, indeed, Christians or Jews – within the Democrat party. I’m a Republican – have been my whole life; but if ever I see the GOP become a party hostile to my faith, I’ll drop it like a bad habit. If our faith does not drive our political actions then what use is our faith?

  • “Regarding Catholic schools, unfortunatly what you say is very true. I am sure some excellent ones exists, but I have several real horror stories myself regarding Catholic schools. It’s one of the reason why I currently struggle with the idea of sending my son to one.”

    I have some real ones too. This because my wife taught in Catholic schools for years. The level of knowledge and/or practice of the Faith is limited among most teachers. Some co-habitating. Some with Gay “marriage” stickers on their cars. Most actively communicating this very “modern” life to students.

  • There are too many blank spaces in the Obamacare contract where Sebelius can write in a prison term as Hillary Clinton did in Hillarycare, criminalizing and penalizing the very act of healing and the practice of medicine. Hilliarycare criminalized the practice of medicine with a TWO year federal prison sentence for every doctor who treated a patient not in his group.
    Obamacare promises everything a person might need, if one does not mind waiting a year or more for an emergency. The only surgery that will be done is abortion because the baby grows and is born according to the nature of the human being. In Canada, socialized medicine brought many people to the United States for heart surgery because the wait in Canada was over two years. My friend’s brother moved to Texas where he had the heart surgery.
    It would be interesting If Obama was a doctor poised to go to Federal prison for as long as Sebelius sends him, otherwise, the blank contract without informed consent is entrapment of the taxpaying citizens and a violation of civil liberties. Not those civil liberties endowed by the American Civil Liberties Union or Obama, but of those First Amendment Freedoms guaranteed by our founding principles and endowed by God, our God Who has been removed from the public square. How convenient.
    How very convenient. In this instance, Obama is taking advantage of the devil’s evil genius.

  • Evil is as evil does. Intentions pave the road to Hell. It is good that some are crossing over into the light, but forces of Darkness are many. Giving them any credit at all only weakens our defenses and strengthens thier resolve.

    There can be no compromise.

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  • Prior to the 2008 election, many of us had serious problems with Obama’s voting record and his promises for the future. We were ridiculed and called racists and hard-hearted, among among other names not printable here.
    It does now seem like the incubation of time has proven the concerns of 2008 to be real as the plans of this administration move forward.
    Subtle evil is still as evil as openly displayed evil.
    We must not allow this administration to control the bishops – and thus the Catholic Churh – in this country.

  • In my opinion, these heretics have been tolerated for way too long. Everything about them is “un-Catholic.” They have interpreted Vatican II as a license to make up their own Magisterium if they don’t like the Church’s official one. They openly mock the Pope, the Bishops, the Church. To them, it is the “faithful” that determine the Catholic Magisterium, not the Holy Father in conjunction with the heirs of the apostles. They openly declare that the “patriarchal” heirarchy has lost its legitimacy and they see the doctrinal “retrenchment” of Blessed JP II and BXVI as perhaps the greatest tragedy to befall the Church since the Reformation. They believe the Pope and Bishops are dead wrong on abortion, contraception, gay marriage, women’s ordination, etc., etc. and that they are “destroying” the Church by holding fast to their positions on these issues. These heretics should be excommunicated, en masse, immediately. The situation has gotten so dire that, in my humble opinion, every Catholic should be required to pledge an oath of loyalty to the Pope, their local Bishop, and the Magisterium of the Church or face excommunication. The “Catholic” population of the United States would be cut in half almost immediately, but at least those who remained would be true Catholics. This would certainly mean closing many parishes, schools and hospitals. It would mean supposedly Catholic universities formally breaking from the Church. It would mean dramatic loss of political influence. But, it would rid the Barque of Peter of these servants of Satan who are intent on destroying it from within and re-molding it in their own image. We know what happens when the route of accomodation to popular culture that they propose is taken – just look at the rapidly approaching extinction of Mainline Protestantism.

  • Donald, I have to disagree with your statement the “Obama administration is clearly the most anti-Catholic administration in our nation’s history.” If you look back in our nation’s history, the Masonic influence and the nativist movement of the first half of the 19th Century was clearly more anti-Catholic than the Obama admistration.

  • Disagree Chuck. One of the friendliest of the Founding Fathers to Catholics was George Washington, a mason. The Know Nothing Party prior to the Civil War had some influence, but never succeeded in electing a President. No, when it comes to the White House, the Obama administration is clearly the most anti-Catholic administration by far.

  • Wow! Excellent article.
    Thank you for explaining to me what is really happening.
    It’s all clear now.

  • In the beginning of this article you talk about your piece being important are talking about your gun or was that a typo?

  • From my own experience I can tell you that you shouldn’t hang out with poisonous people especially if you are a convert.

  • valentine- the reference was to the title of the “piece”- not my gun or a typo!

    Maureen- thank you so much- I wrote this for those who have leaned Left or Independent- those who have long been on the Right were already on the attack of anything Obama. I wanted to believe that Catholic Democrats were more faithful, not less. I really tried to make a dent in what I found was an extreme belief that the Magisterium- the Pope and Bishops- really weren’t not the proper teaching authorities for the Church. That role apparently is to go to the majority of Catholics- or perhaps society- with the critical role of authority going to the academic and the politician- the professors and political activists are the ones who know and care the most- more than distant popes and bishops- so the thinking goes. The consequence of this twisting of Christ’s will is that we have Catholics supporting legal abortion, widespread contraception, anything goes marriage definitions, and who dare say that women and active homosexuals can’t be priests, bishops or even the pope?? So- I am one who is sounding the alarm- I think I have credibility because I entered into this debate with an open heart and mind- I really tried to find a way to influence the Dem Catholics- but now I see that they are dead-set on something much more than moving the country a bit to the Left on the economy and environment- they are palace revolutionaries in their willingness to use the powers of state to push through an agenda that goes decidedly against basic and obvious official Catholic teachings. We need to talk about this in circles larger than the die-hard Republican grouping. I want politically-independent orthodox Catholics to get more facts to use for their own understanding and to help move the national discussion/debate on religious liberty

  • “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The public square, all public places belong to the people in joint and common tenancy. You own it all and I own it all. Government is called upon to keep the peace. Government may not usurp the public square that belongs to the people to be used by the people for any legitimate purpose, public prayer, public politicking, recreation, education, leisure, work, any good thing. To ban the Person of God and to ban the acknowledgement of the Person of God from the public square is unconstitutional. If persons desire to be acknowledged as persons, all persons must be acknowledged, beginning with the Person of our Creator. Now that the Person of God is banned, the people of God are being banned and soon all human life will be indicted as unfit to live.

Wanted: Orthodox Catholic Political Leaders (Time To Get Serious)

Thursday, May 10, AD 2012

My adult conversion to Catholicism came about through many converging spiritual streams, but one of the things I remember that had perhaps, the biggest positive impact, was my introduction to the Papal Social Encyclicals. I was immediately impressed by the non-ideological, Biblically-consistent worldview expressed by the Catholic Magisterium. As my initial conversion led to graduate Theological studies, teaching in Catholic high schools around the world, and a run for Florida State House; I have remained an ardent admirer of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

It is one of my lifetime goals to find ways to promote the social teachings of our Catholic Magisterium, and to find practical ways to cultivate Catholic political leaders who are similarly dedicated to the work of building civilizations of love founded upon the principles of our complete corpus of social doctrine teachings. As a candidate I discovered that most parishes are ill-equipped to nurture future Catholic leaders or even assist in the process of educating and informing the laity of how they can better influence elections on the basis of the many important moral issues (which have specific Magisterial guidance). It is great to pray for Christian Justice in our world, and it is necessary to take up the responsibility of voting when given that opportunity. But grace builds upon nature, and there is so much more that we could be doing as Catholics to better organize ourselves to have more positive collective impact on our communities and American society.

I urge that we work on two fronts simultaneously-1. Educating the Catholic laity to the Catholic social teachings and the guidance given by our Pope and Bishops’ 2. Use our religious freedoms more effectively at the parish level. I often make use of the story of William Wilberforce, a Christian politician who fought tirelessly to stop the slave trade in Great Britain- he was eventually successful utilizing organizational tools which we could use today (as the Civil Rights Movement here in America demonstrated). I hope my practical advice will be of some use for all those interested in maximizing our public Catholic witness in the social (temporal) realm.

Here are some specific practical proposals:

1. Every parish should organize “Social Doctrine Nights” where specific issues are discussed in the context of the social doctrine, as taught in official sources like Papal Encyclicals, the Compendium of Social Doctrine, the Catechism, US Bishop Pastoral Letters, and so forth. The parish priest should be front and center publicizing the Nights from the pulpit and being present for the meetings to put teeth into the promotion.

2. It would also be good if every parish started a “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church book club”. This would help to locate a core group of lay persons who are truly interested in fulfilling their responsibility to the Temporal Order, to reform the world according to Christ’s teachings and will, as revealed by our Church’s authoritative documents. These hardy souls will go far in sharing their knowledge on those Social Doctrine Nights. At the least, we will give the laity many chances to inform their consciences on public policy matters.

3. As the election cycle nears, every parish should start scheduling town hall meetings and Candidate Forum events. Political candidates should be held accountable before the election takes place. They need to go on record with their thoughts on the issues that our parishioners deem important. The only requirement for such forums is that all candidates are invited with no
obvious bias during the event. Town hall meetings should be convened on singular issues of great importance, and local leaders and potential leaders should be invited to participate or attend.

4. Documents from the U.S. Bishops’ Conferences should be distributed widely in every parish. These documents can easily be inserted into every Sunday Bulletin.

5. Questionnaires for candidates from Catholic Conferences and reputable Catholic Pro-Life organizations should be distributed with information on the issues providing the reader with a clear idea of what the official Church is advising/teaching on the political issue being raised. These questionnaire results should be widely distributed well in advance of the actual Election Day.

6. Potential Catholic political leaders need to be groomed and supported by the Church by all legal means. We cannot be hamstrung by laws that seem bent on keeping an artificial (and false) wall of separation between Church and State. Both the Church and State have particular functions in society, they are not the same, but they are not to be pitted against one another. One way to cope with the reality here, in the United States, is to help private Catholic action groups and organizations, to form apart from the official dioceses and Catholic conferences. These private Catholic organizations could form PACS and contribute directly to Catholic individuals who are seeking to serve the common good first and foremost. They should be committed to serving the official Church social doctrine.

7. Catholic schools should also do more to promote the social doctrine among the youth. I once organized a debate for all congressional candidates in the Catholic high school where I was teaching. The students wrote the questions and had a chance to mingle with the candidates afterwards. It was the only such debate for those candidates in the entire election cycle and many students were positively impacted by the experience. Another area of improvement would be in the development of textbooks with a Catholic perspective, and that covered such areas as Literature, History, Media, Social Studies and so forth. The Catholic worldview and social doctrine have been confined to religion classes, and this has contributed to the compartmentalization of Catholic understanding and expression. Catholic students, with rare exceptions, are not graduating and moving the public debate beyond the narrow partisan/ideological confines of Political Left/Right.

I offer these suggestions because I believe that, as Catholics, we have the blueprint for building a civilization of love at every level of human society. The blueprint is our social doctrine and the gift of our Magisterium in guiding the principles and teachings of Christ into our complex world. As a candidate for public office I discovered a huge void in our Catholic parishes for offering a

place of contact between budding political leaders and the Catholic laity. Nurturing orthodox Catholics to become political leaders in our society is something that also seems missing from the average parish. Having a unique Blueprint (our Social Doctrine) but not having sound organization to carry out the plan is a terrible waste of potential. It is time to go from the drawing phase to building and implementing- to make visible this civilization of love our beloved popes write about with such strong conviction. This is our potential, this is an essential part of our Catholic evangelization. There are a lot of Catholic groups and organizations who lobby politicians after the fact of their election, but we should be intervening in the process from the beginning- nurturing leaders, educating every generation of voter, and providing candidate forums and town hall meetings in our churches (all perfectly legal!).

Once again, these strategies involve the following precepts:

– social doctrine promotion
– town hall meetings
– candidate forums
– encouragement of private Catholic PACS
– Catholic youth mentoring

Pope John Paul II insisted that was necessary for Catholics “to seek the Kingdom of God in dealing with temporal realities and in ordering them in accordance with the divine will.” And he urged us to be courageous in giving witness to our faith in the public arena.

Quoting from “Lumen Gentium”, No.36, Pope John Paul II said that lay men and women, after receiving a sound catechesis and continuing formation, have a clear mission “to extend the Kingdom of God in and through their secular activity, so that ‘the world will be imbued with the Spirit of Christ and more effectively attain its purpose in justice, in love and in peace” (No.3). Hence, the faithful need to receive clear instructions on their duties as Christians, and on their obligation to act in accordance with the Church’s authoritative teachings, the Pope added. And to those who object that such instruction has overly political tones John Paul II stated clearly: “While fully respecting the legitimate separation of Church and state in American life, such a catechesis must also make clear that for the faithful Christian there can be no separation between the faith which is to be believed and put into practice and a commitment to full and responsible participation in professional, political and cultural life” (No.3).

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10 Responses to Wanted: Orthodox Catholic Political Leaders (Time To Get Serious)

  • Good thoughtful post Tim; definitely good considerations to ponder. All who seek to be faithful to the magisterium should have the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, along wth the Catechism, and work to be familiar with both in their entirety; not cherry picking a favorite section here or there. For most of us their will be plenty that will challenge our political orientation. What I we should encourage others to work for is building The Faith, as a secure foundation first, with politrical involvement and activism following. Building that foundation is a must, and can seem tedious. It is indispensable for any social activism which follows to bear fruit for Christ. Your ideas are a good start.

  • I have emailed this to our St. Philip Neri Oratorio ministry chair (whose name is also Tim, so he should be pretty receptive.)

    This is exactly the kind of thing that we should be doing, as Americans, as Christians, as Catholics and as free men & women. Excellent on all fronts, Tim.

  • I would love to tack this article to the doors of all the churches in my Deanery…hmmmm…perhaps I will…:)

  • Thanks for the feedback and follow-ups- this is my companion piece to the Catholic Education Vision- http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/04/16/a-vision-of-catholic-education-from-the-front-lines/ I would like to see faithful Catholic make a deeper impact than we are currently- we have schools and parishes- why not maximize their potential for good? What are we afraid of?

  • Thank you– that is well thought out and should be do-able for many many parishes and parish clusters.

  • The problem with the USCCB when it comes to socio-economics is that their approach is often more ideological than pastoral. Their leftist tilt on issues like economics, immigration, capital punishment and the like often does more to distort an authentic Catholic understanding of how the faithful are to form their consciences on these matters than it does to inform.

    Catholic teaching on these matters admits of a much greater diversity than the USCCB often portrays them. In so far as they function in their official capacity they need to remain neutral, thus allowing them to hold both sides accountable to Catholic moral principles. their taking sides leaves them vulnerable to exploitation by one side and needlessly alienates the other. A recent example was the unjust USCCB attack on Paul Ryan’s budget. I am not saying they should endorse it, but they should defend it as legitimate from a Catholic point of view.

    Instead of inserting USCCB letters into parish bulletins, excerpts from papal encyclicals that stress the importance of the principles of subsidiarity as it pertains to economic issues as one example.

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  • I Love You!!! Yes, yes, yes!!! As a religious education instructor for over eighteen years I thought I would lose my mind trying to deal with other teachers and administrators who threw all knowledge of the faith out the door, and some who had NO knowledge of the faith to throw but just made it something up as they went along and that sufficed as educating our children. One of my main pleas was to “educate the educators”. We cannot pass on the true faith when the “flock” has such little knowledge of it. This is why I feel we have such a crisis of faith today. Big shock. Anyway we all could use on going education of the truths of the faith. Then if you don’t want to be a Catholic you shouldn’t be one.

  • Here’s one easy way I have helped strengthen the Church in my state:

    Donate subscriptions to the Knights of Columbus magazine Columbia to every Catholic high school & college library and to every Catholic student center on secular campuses.

    If you’re a knight in a good council, you should organize this project and propose that the council fund the subscriptions.

    Work to get it into the public libraries in Catholic parts of town, too.

    It was fantastic to see the Columbia issue on the HHS mandate at my lukewarm local Catholic college’s periodicals section.

    I am working on taking this project nationally, more will be forthcoming.

  • I realized today: All Catholic Doctrine is Social Doctrine.

    While hearing the readings at Sunday Mass today (May 13, 2012), I realized that ALL of Catholic Doctrine is Social Doctrine! Social Doctrine is not some off-to-side sub-specialty of interest only to a few. It is all there is! Listen to some verses from today’s Mass readings:

    Reading 2 1 Jn 4:7-10:
    Beloved, let us love one another,
    because love is of God;
    everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
    Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
    In this way the love of God was revealed to us….

    Gospel Jn 15:9-17:
    Jesus said to his disciples:
    “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
    Remain in my love.
    If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
    just as I have kept my Father”s commandments
    and remain in his love.”
    “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
    and your joy might be complete.
    This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
    No one has greater love than this,
    to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
    You are my friends if you do what I command you….
    It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
    and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,….
    This I command you: love one another.”

    So, why do I think that ALL Catholic Doctrine is Social Doctrine?

    Because all Doctrine has but one purpose: To lead and guide and help and inspire and attract us to fulfill this from Jesus: “This I command you: love one another.” (Jn. 15:17).

    Learning or holding or adhering to doctrine for its own sake is not the end or purpose of the Catholic life on earth.

    Rather, the end and purpose of life on earth is to fulfill that from Jesus: “This I command you: love one another.” (Jn. 15:17).

    Even the Catholic Doctrine about the Holy Trinity is Social Doctrine, since the Trinity is a unity of three divine Persons who love each other. Even the Catholic Doctrine about the Holy Eucharist is Social Doctrine, for reasons that are all too obvious.

    Consider this from America magazine: “As Pope Benedict made clear in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, life issues are social justice issues and social justice issues are life issues.” See https://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?id=74835840-3048-741E-7052836844684028

    But I would go much further. Yes, Life Issues are Social Justice Issues. But there are nothing but Social Issues, ultimately, if you define “Social” as embracing all the relationships that pertain to Life on Earth and Eternal Life: The Holy Trinity; The Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints; The Works of Mercy; The Unity of Humankind; The “Greatest Commandment” according to Jesus, having two parts, love God with all of your mind, heart, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself; loving strangers; loving enemies; loving your spouse and remain faithful to him or her for life; and so on.

    In sum, Social Doctrine is all that the Church has.

    The fact that people don’t think of things this way shows, I respectfully propose, how far we are from where God wants us to be.

A Vision of Catholic Education (From the Front Lines)

Monday, April 16, AD 2012

There are many interesting parallels between military operations and the operations of the Church Militant. One such area where I have some personal experience is in the area of Catholic secondary education- with 6 years of National Guard experience giving me a taste of the military. One of the biggest issues that makes genuine reform difficult is the “dog and pony show” syndrome whereupon the politics of assessing the true situation and implementing the right reforms becomes corrupted and confusion and/or bitterness sets in. The foot soldier, those closest to the direct action often have excellent insight into the immediate problems, but the chain of command- which is set up to run a smooth line of good intel to the top levels of authority- may get bogged down or corrupted by those with imperfect motives or general incompetence.

On the subject of what is wrong with our Catholic schools- or framed positively what is a proper Catholic Education Vision- I have been on the front lines. For over a decade I have been a Catholic religion teacher in American Catholic high schools. I have also taught overseas in Catholic and secular teaching assignments. What I have put together is a short Vision of Catholic Education based upon my own study and direct experience in classrooms and professional meetings.

I am one of those orthodox Catholic adult converts, if it is taught in the Catholic Catechism I believe it, and I will teach it without objection. My own conversion came about after a heavy dose of study of Papal Encyclicals- it was essential for me to see how the thread of Scriptural wisdom continues operating to this very day. I buy into what my favorite professor, Dr. Scott Hahn, said about the Catholic Church being either True or a spiritual dictatorship- not much wiggle room in my estimation. With this understanding of my perspective as a Catholic, it is my contention that the Catholic Schools problems begin with the reality that these schools are often run and operated by individuals who are either lapsed, lukewarm or dissenting in their own Catholic beliefs. Unfortunately, religion departments are also often bastions of dissent- with views on the ordination of female priests and the Church’s teachings on homosexuality being two of the biggest fronts of opposition to orthodoxy. I understand what Mark Shea, noted Catholic author/blogger, says about the striking difference between many cradle and convert Catholics- for me, as a convert, I simply don’t get Catholicism without loving adherence to Doctrine. With that being said- here is my Vision:

I have recently been reading Yves Congar’s book, The Meaning of Tradition, and I ran across a couple of passages that seem to speak to the situation of Catholic education as well as to the idea of Sacred Tradition in the Church:

“Education does not consist in receiving a lesson from afar, which may be learned by heart and recited, thanks to a good memory, but in the daily contact and inviting example of adult life, which is mature, confident and sure of its foundations; which asserts itself simply by being what it is, and presents itself as an ideal; which someone still unsure and unformed, in search of fulfillment and in need of security, will progressively come to resemble, almost unconsciously and without effort. A child receives the life of the community into which he enters, together with the cultural riches of the preceding generations (tradition!), which are inculcated by the actions and habits of everyday life.” P.23

“But all teaching aims at reaching the ‘heart’ of those to whom it is given, that is, at going beyond an intellectual understanding of an academic or scientific explanation to reach the conscience- that level of intimate appreciation and feeling, inseparable from our moral personality itself. It is in this sense that a milieu is educative. It forms a certain spirit in us, or rather it forms us, starting with our most elementary reactions, and guides us in a definite direction.” P.24

My own thoughts on how to lead a Catholic school most effectively begin with the insight that “You can’t give what you don’t have”. I love teaching, and it is because I love to teach, that I feel that I may have some qualities of leadership. I also love my Catholic faith and the orthodox theology that articulates the love and truth collaboration that is our Church and her teachings/worldview.

I believe that the biggest task for any Catholic administrator is to assemble a team of teachers, administrative staff, support staff (even janitorial staff), that have that combination of specialty competence AND a genuine enthusiasm/passion/love for serving Christ and His Catholic Church. If one feels called to service in a Catholic school setting then it should be expected that they really and truly love the Church and young people. There should be no question that a professional Catholic teacher would already be interested in reading the latest Papal Encyclical for their own personal edification, and any insights that may be applicable to their classes.

Developing and enriching an authentic Catholic identity should be at the very top of any administrative agenda- I have thought of some ways to help achieve this goal and I will give you some short summations to consider:
• Catholic Identity is #1- Teachers and staff should see the school as their Catholic mission field, passing the torch of Christian discipleship to the “little ones”. I like to say that my being “in love” with my wife and kids makes it easy for me to talk about them all day long. And it is the same with God, Christ, and His Church- when you are in love, it just comes naturally to share and bear witness to that love in all kinds of ways. There are tough times, and dry patches in our spiritual lives, but love never quits. We have to have teachers and staff in place who will reinforce the ‘real love’ aspects of being truly and authentically Catholic. I would also lobby for textbooks that better reflect our Catholic identity across subject area curriculums. For example History texts could have elements of Church history embedded, and Literature texts could feature Catholic authors. We need to help our teachers who sincerely want to bring a Catholic identity/Worldview into their specialized disciplines.

• Spirituality- Attentiveness to the need for everyone on campus to be cultivating a personal call to holiness. Praise/worship must have a primary place in a Catholic school to re-energize the faith on a daily basis. I would like to pipe in contemporary Christian music between classes and during lunch to provide inspirational energy and counter some of the secular music that continues to pull teens in with dubious lyrics and messages. A Eucharistic-centered spirituality would be encouraged by bringing in guest speakers who can give personal testimony to the youth on the value of this great Sacrament. Theology of the Body instruction would be the cornerstone of our enabling Catholic youth to combat the negative pressures in the mainstream related to human sexuality and body image.

• Social Doctrine Promotion- Reading the Papal Social Encyclicals played a huge role in my own personal conversion, and it should be a major concern in a Catholic learning center. It is part of the evangelizing mission of the Church, and it should be appealing to young people to know that they can play a key role in building a “civilization of love” at every level of society. We should have a high-energy pro-life presence as a school, and a student body that comprehends even the intricate teachings relating to bioethics. We can invite Catholic Relief Services to bring their many Fair Trade opportunities to the entire school community and beyond. If we understand the social doctrine as an interconnected corpus of teachings and worldview, we can promote something better than the narrow human ideologies which presently dominate our American political landscape. Loving our neighbor is made much easier and more efficient when we draw upon our rich Catholic social teaching tradition. I would call upon the experts in social doctrine from the Diocese, Catholic Conference of Bishops, and Pro-Life leaders to be regular fixtures on campus.

• Catholic schools as economic/environmental models for community- Like the monasteries of old and new (see lasermonks.com), Catholic schools can do better at offsetting tuition increases by developing endowment funding, and also being creative in other pursuits. If we can develop consumer products for market, we can give our students real-life experiences in business rooted in our Catholic moral approach to economics. We can also look for individuals and companies to partner with us to bring renewable energies to our schools. We could find donors for solar roofing, wind, and other sources of safe, clean energies, and use these as laboratories for the students to learn more hands-on lessons in the scientific realms.

• All-Boy/All-Girl Schools- I have taught at all-boy schools in the past (American Samoa, Hungary). I think that this type of approach may be popular with parents who are properly concerned over the over-sexualized culture we live in. Distractions related to boys and girls are nothing new, but there are advantages to be considered as we look to market Catholic schools to Catholic parents, who are looking for the best ways to protect their beloved children. This concept of boy/girl separation could also take the form of classes being segregated by gender, as opposed to whole schools.

I’m not sure where all of this advice fits in with your current mission, but perhaps it can help in making longer term strategic plans. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, I am pleased to be at your service. I will add one last item- I am exploring the market for secondary religion teachers at present for next school year. If you or someone you know shares the Vision I present here and want to explore a professional collaboration in teaching, administration in-training, ministry or organizational work- please contact me personally at [email protected] I have my M.A.’s in Education and Theology- Theology was studied at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

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8 Responses to A Vision of Catholic Education (From the Front Lines)

  • I am a 1976 graduate of an (at that time) all-male Jesuit prep school. We were taught a little about Jesus and less about the Church but a whole truckload of wishy-washy 1970s feelgoodism.

    My German teacher, one of the Jesuit priests cloistered on campus, was a leading proponent of Liberation Theology, and even took field trips with selected students to Nicaragua and El Salvador during the summers. “Selected” meant “sons of local Democrat-party bigwigs who could both foot the bill and bless the intent for the trip.”

    He once told his German class, (and this is a close to a quote as 37 years of sleep and other distraction will allow,) “The human body is ugly. There is nothing about it that should be admired.” Of course, Jesuit education being what it was, one never knew whether a well-founded reposte would get you a commendation for critical thinking, or, in the case of this particular person (who would later go on to become Dean of Students) a slam up against some lockers and a Saturday “Jug” for insubordination.

    Hence, the scar on my tongue from where I barely summoned the might to not reply “So God is ugly, too, since we are made in His image?”

    I wish I’d had the courage of conviction then that I have today. I’d have taken the slam, and the Jug, and then given the man reason to take me before the Disc board. That would have been an interesting conversation, I’m sure.

    All that aside, my greater wish is that the environment you describe had been extant instead of the one I knew. It was still a vastly superior education to the public alternatives at the time, but when placed on the bigger scale of “what could have been,” I think I feel a little cheated.

  • This article really struck a chord for me, something that’s been on my mind the past few months but that I’ve never been able to articulate until now. The distinction between church employees and ministers has bothered me. A parish office manager has as much responsibility to represent the Faith as the pastor. In your example, a janitor as much as a teacher. When did we give up on that notion? Each level of employment in the Church has a different role, but they’re all ministerial, properly understood.

  • Mr. Shipe—-I haven’t been so pumped after reading an article since a memorable pre-race speech by an esteemed college coach nearly 39 years ago. Your excitement and passion is inspiring on many levels, not the least of which is that your “Vision”, honed on the ‘front lines’ and clearly nurtured by Gifts of the Holy Spirit, offers Hope. I am curious and it appears fitting to ask but some like me, at the tail end of a career and thinking of ‘getting out’ of the law business, may be curious about transitions to such more important and Godly work, ie teaching. Your thoughts or insights are appreciated.

  • My humble advice kind cthemfly is advice I am now giving myself- make sure you present yourself and your vision very clearly to any school you approach to teach for- if you don’t have an environment where you and the school’s powers-that-be are on the same page- you will be isolated and made to feel that something is wrong with you because you are orthodox and on fire. So- be clear in your resume, your interview and open in discussions with colleagues so that if you are hired you can have higher hopes that there is a team concept at work which you are going to be empowered to be part of- you can’t do it alone- Catholicism is all about teamwork- a team with many competing visions is going to be rough going and the students will have influences that take them all over the spiritual map but ultimately away from the clarity of the orthodoxy. I am in the midst of looking for a school or organization that has the type of Vision I have put forth here- I don’t want to have useless conflicts with fellow Catholics in an educational setting- they only serve to confuse the youth who really need and deserve solid guidance from Catholic elders and educators alongside their own parents. So- if you know of any schools that are all about this Vision- let me know and maybe we’ll both sign up to teach there and we will share our passionate love of our Catholic Faith! My own Vision has grown and solidified along with my personal life witness- so now I am looking for the right environment to personally and professionally thrive.

  • A perceptive old priest once remarked to me that Catholic education was often like inoculation: you got just enough of it to keep you from catching the real thing.

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  • I’m a “revert” and a product of 12-years of Catholic school. I have 4 kids – 2 have completed 12 years of Catholic “education”; the other two are currently in our parish elementary school. The way I see it is that at some point parents – my self included – relegated the the teaching of the faith to the nuns (and a few priests that were still teaching in the high schools). As long as the kids came home once in awhile and had to memorize the beatitudes or the corporal works of mercy or somethign else they were familiar with it was assumed that they were being taught by orthodox teachers. As a result we now have multiple generations of Catholic-school-educated people who haven’t a clue as to to what the Church really teaches and why they teach it.

    Just the other night I found myself arguing with my 73-year-old mother, who also had 12 years of Catholic schooling, about whether or not hell exists! You should have seen the look on her face when I told her not only does hell exist but most people go there according to Jesus’ own words. The timing of the discussion was interesting becasue I am reading Ralph Martin’s, “The Fulfillment of All Desire” and had just read a section where he describes how the saints often spend alot of time meditating on the “narrow gate” in Matthew 7.

    Keep fighting the good fight!!

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:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.

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  • 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- http://catholicyouthministry.com/watching-youtube-religiously/

  • 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.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLF7yJOBn78&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    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 http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/

22 Responses to Does the Story of Horus Disprove the Reality of Christ?

  • For every Truth God has, satan has a dozen counterfeits.

    I look at Wikipedia’s description of Horus, and its separate entry on a comparison of Jesus Christ with pagan myths, and it is obvious from even from such a secular resource as that, that the You Tube video series entitled, “Trutrh about Religion”, Parts 1 through 3 takes a lot of liberty with what apparenty passes for truth.

    But the video was well done.

  • The previous-Myths similarities argument against the historical “Case for Christ” was never one that jeopardized my own Faith because I view the Paganism before Christ as oftentimes noble attempts by men of sentient motives to discern the mysteries of existence and the universe. Natural means of detecting spiritual movements and truths. I see Jesus Christ as coming to fulfill the best of the best of Man’s spiritual desires- Way, Truth, Life. The fact that Jesus has historical grounding while Horus et al do not, only makes me marvel at God’s gift of Christ- to make real our heart’s deepest longings- and not just predisposed “Christian hearts” because most people deep down want a Saviour, a SuperMan, a Justice to prevail over history and mercy to be granted to our loved ones and the innocent others- the rising out of the ashes, the cinderella story, the love that lasts forever. The Beauty is that it is all True- and Jesus Christ has come to deliver the captives- bogged down in our sins and graves. I would think it odd if Jesus Christ would arrive with no similarities to previously conceived dieties, with the exception that He is the Real Deal, without the errors of the human imagination putting on sinful baggage to our Christ.

    Having said all this- I want to address any particular intellectual difficulties my former student, or anyone else, may have with the similarities criticism of Christian belief. So I open this portal to more of a Catholic collective of intellectuals to assist in overcoming this particular challenge which is probably a staple for young intellects in the college scene who may have dark suspicions that their religious education up to this point has been some kind of a ruse to control them, rather than the means to liberate them from sin and death. So, please continue to weigh in on this subject and thank you for contributing to this discussion!

  • I think the video is pretty liberal with the truth. As far as I am aware, crucifixion was not used as a method of punishement and death 3000 BC. The fact that the previous ‘personages’ are accepted as mythical by the author of the video speaks volumes. The historical evidence for the human existence of Jesus is overwhelming and indisputable.
    There is no doubt that some of the early writings of the Jewish scriptures were taken from some of the mythology of say, Egypt. e.g the Egyptian hymn to the sun god Aten bares such a close resemblance to Psalm 104 in the bible, that the author probably borrowed from the pagan hymn to express his praise of the True God. There is no problem with that.
    Likewise, a poem from the Ugaritic civilisation in the land of Canaan around 1500 BC. gives us a poem where the principal god El guessing that the god of storms and rain, Baal, will be re-born, and uses the phrase …” the heavens rain down fat, the torrents flow with honey”. , arguably giving the phrase, “ a land flowing with milk and honey” in the Old Testament describing the “Promised Land”.
    So there is no issue with Christianity borrowing from previous cultures and their pagan religions to honour the One True God. But what has survived? If we hear the council of the good pharisee Gamaleil, “if it is not of God, it will not last; but if it is of God, there is nothing that can stop it.” or words to that effect.

    So all the myths of the ancient world are interesting, some arguably with an element of truth, but exagerated thus deifying human events. Even the Romans claimed for a while that their emperors were gods; one of the prime reasons for the bloody persecutions in the early centuries of the Church.

    So no, those stories do not hinder my Faith – if anything, they help strengthen it, because they point to an enduring Truth.

  • I don’t know all of these, but I’m familiar with Mithra. We know very little about his worship, because it was a secret cult. The three most common depictions of him are: being born as an adult out of rock (just like Jesus!), killing a bull (just like Jesus!), and ascending into the heavens (ok, that one does match).

    The “born of a virgin” thing comes from the idea that the rock symbolized unplowable soil; in other words, virgin soil. It’s also sometimes said that the solid rock represents a cave, just like the manger was. In other words, it’s a reeeeeeal stretch. Likewise, the killing of the bull is sometimes treated as synonymous with Jesus’s defeat of evil or His destruction of the Roman Empire.

    If you come to the study of mythology looking to see everything as identical, you’ll find a lot of similarities between cultural myths, and a lot of things you can stretch to make them look similar. There are also a lot of things that don’t match. It’s been a while since I looked at the Horus one, but it’s the same kind of thing. It looks just like Jesus if you drop 80% of both of their stories.

    I haven’t watched more than the first few minutes of the video yet. I’ll get to it more seriously later, if someone else hasn’t already. But you should be able to find a lot of Christian/evangelical websites that debunk this in detail.

  • Oh, and I just have to say – the fact that Virgo’s symbol in Latin looks like an M is the explanation for why the Buddha’s mother Maya’s name also starts with an “M”? This is Lincoln/Kennedy level stuff.

  • No. Nor does it disprove His Divinity.

    It’s not as if I know anything about Theology.

    This is like all the “sasquatch” specials on cable TV and whatever. Here they start with their conclusion: Christianity is a fraud. They know what they think; it’s just they don’t know how to think. Then they throw about to come to prove what they think. And, they trump up “evidence”: conjecture, wrong analysis, incorrect comparison, coincidence, distortion, fabrication, etc. and voila – QED.

    Myths, euphemisms, and paganism are stuff dreamt up by man maybe with Satan’s covert help. Christianity is revealed truth. Myth is all magic. Horus, isis and Osiris were human and became gods: not eternal, not omnipotent, not omniscient, limted. Our God is eternal and omnipotent. That is not something that the human mind can fathom.

    Here the Horus, Isis, Osiris fables were concocted as a national religion and then used by the pharaohs. Where is there any incarnation and/or reincarnation stuff in Christianity?

    Here’s a major difference between Christianty and most pagan religions. Most mythic religions have to do with fertility and are cyclical like the seasons and/or the annual floods of the Nile and Tigrus an Euphrates. Christianity is linear to an end: The Second Coming.

    And, how many times and by whom was the Wiki Horus entry edited, revised, etc.?

    They say there are sasquatches in the Adirondacks where we hunt deer. I never saw one.

    I told my brother if I saw a sasquatch I’d shoot him and prove, once and for, all there are sasquatches. He said, “You can’t do that. That will enrage the aliens!”

  • OK, this is like some Rocky Horror thing for me now. I’m shouting the errors at my computer screen. The sun doesn’t stop moving for three days, and its movements aren’t imperceptible. All ancient civilizations knew how to gauge the sun’s movements with better precision than that. And why wasn’t the mythological Jesus crucified on December 22nd? That’s the only way he would fit the “dies on the cross and rises after three days” story that the narrator is trying to say. And actually, if the important thing is the constellation Virgo the virgin, he should have been born in August. Otherwise, there’s no reason to mention the Virgo virgin, because it doesn’t have anything to do with the narrative.

    But sure, it makes sense to celebrate the August constellations and the western cross in April. Kind of obvious, really, once you pound your head against your desk like I’m doing right now.

    I’ve got to stop watching this. It’s not even a good presentation of the “all myths are the same” proposition.

  • What a crock of congealed rubbish. It reminds me of conversations I have had with an in-law who devours old Rosicrucian books. The attempt to draw a connection between Christ and Egyptian mythology was one of their stock beliefs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosicrucianism

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and this has one part knowledge to nine parts tripe.

  • “Then I read Chesterton’s Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole outline of Christian history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense. Somehow I contrived not to be too badly shaken. You will remember I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive “apart from his Christianity.” Now, I veritably believe, I thought-I didn’t of course say; words that would have revealed the nonsense-that Christianity itself was very sensible “apart from its Christianity.” But I hardly remember, for I had not long finished The Everlasting Man when something far more alarming happened to me. Early in 1926 the hardest boiled of all the atheists I ever knew sat in my room on the other side of the fire and remarked that the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was really surprisingly good. “Rum thing,” he went on. “All that stuff of Frazer’s about the Dying God. Rum thing. It almost looks as if it really happened once. “…

    CS Lewis, Surprised by Joy

  • This site has a pretty good description of Horus. Not really any Christian parallels.

  • Thanks for the comments- I’ve alerted my former student to check out this article and enter into the discussion if additional questions come up for him- hopefully he’ll check it out and maybe get some friends at college to look into this as well before any damage is done to their perception of the Christian faith. May God help and bless all searchers and bring all wanderers of good will back home to the Church.

  • I suspect Pinky’s light on several inaccuracies would be manifold if one did research on each name but the author knows the majority will not check. Augustine on the other hand agrees also with the first post by Paul. In the City of God, Augustine notes that the demons would have an interest in inspiring similarities to the Christ account in mythologies of peoples so as to discredit the Christ accounts when they did happen…..
    thus Hercules is born of the union of a god and a woman…Zeus and the earthly woman Alcmene. As later Hercules dies, Zeus turns him into a god.

  • Bill – That’s a valid point, but I don’t think it’s one that is necessarily persuasive. You know how environmentalists sometimes say that warmer temperatures are a sign of global warming, and colder temperatures are a sign of global warming? I think that the argument you’re making can come off the same way to a non-believer or someone in serious doubt.

    Again, I go back to the original stories. Zeus had sex with everything: humans, animals, whatever. He had multiple children, none of whom were virgin births. I think that lists like the one made in this video are very deceptive. You can say that the names on the list all have aspects in common with Jesus’s story, but really only one or two were virgin births, maybe one had Sunday worship, a few others had rays of the sun behind them that sort of look like crowns of thorns but look more like rays of the sun, et cetera.

    And yes, if anyone’s curious, that last paragraph was so derivative of Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man” that I should probably send his estate $.15 reprint fee.

    Again, more Chesterton – the two basic truths that myths tried to convey were the sense that God is bigger than we can imagine, and God is closer than we can imagine. The specifics of the myth changed over time and distance because they weren’t as important as the need to set up an altar to something that everyone intuitively knows is worth worshiping. If God isn’t big, he isn’t God, and if God isn’t close, there’s no point in trying to have a relationship with him. But Christianity never treated Jesus as a changing myth. Paul said that if what he says happened didn’t happen, then they’re all idiots. Eleven friends didn’t get tortured to death defending a story they made up about a constellation.

  • Pinky
    I’d just say to be careful that religion and science are not parallel in terms of persuading people. Augustine’s point persuaded me when young because I was being guarded by God.
    Christ (Jn10:5) said of his flock….”a stranger’s voice they will not follow.” Christ did not persuade all hearers into belief and actually had to leave one town where He could do little because of their unbelief…Mt.13:58. Christ produced as persuaded converts simply a small group of Jews (the predicted “tents of Shem”) …. whereas empirical science has persuaded the entire world that airplanes are possible and things fall downward. After 2000 years, the majority of the
    world is unpersuaded about Christ but all are persuaded that things drop downward… not up.

  • My venomously agnostic English teacher– it wasn’t anything personal, he was venomous about most everything that wasn’t thought out and presented to his satisfaction– brought up this sort of claim as a way to introduce Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces.

    If you simplify things down enough, there’s going to be a lot of overlap– for example, Goldilocks is the same as the Star Wars movies. Going into the unknown, a search for the plot coupon (can’t remember the real term– knowledge of father, knowing the best porridge/bed), and final discovery before return to the known world, changed.

    I can’t watch the video, but I do remember there wasn’t a virgin birth for Horus, although people being delicate about it might excuse the notion– his father’s….er… man-bits were thrown into the waters, and that’s where his mother conceived.

    I don’t know the specific video, but I know the type– a good way to counter it is to apply the “reasoning” to things that are known to be true, like that the sun is “reborn” each day and at the solstice, or claiming that a stool is clearly a symbol of the Trinity because there are three legs. This site has a “Napolion as myth” essay, it looks like. ^.^ (also some debunking of similar videos, looks like)

  • The thing about the alignment of the stars reminded me of Romans 1:19-20

    ” 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ”

    The idea that God put in His creation signs for us to see reminds me of a parable, a physical parable, if you will.

    Remember all nations are God’s children and He desires all to come to Him yet He chose Israel to be the “First-born” that would lead the other nations to Him. How would they recognize the Savior when He came?

    As far as the Horus/Christ parallels mentioned they are not accurate. For one thing there is no mention of the date of Christ’s birth in the gospels. The Dec 25th date was an adoption of the Catholic Church in the first half of the 4th century AD specifically used to overcome a large pagan cult.

    Check this link and page down to “zeitgeist on horus” for more.

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/HORUS.htm#ZEITGEIST

    I think the video uses false history/facts to encourage doubt. They depend on the deceptions and think no one will actually fact check their premise.

  • The Dec 25th date was an adoption of the Catholic Church in the first half of the 4th century AD specifically used to overcome a large pagan cult.

    No, the date seems to come from Jewish reasoning about great men leaving the world on the same date they enter it, and some counting from Mary agreeing to be His mother. The 25th was mentioned as Christ’s birthday not too long after 200AD… a lot of the confusion seems to come from it not being THAT big of a deal, compared to the whole rising-from-the-dead thing.

  • Another comment: Orion’s belt (or the “three kings” as the video calls it) does not at all align with Sirius.

  • And, some think Ron Paul is crazy.

    These people believe in aliens and Sasquatch.

    They’ve been brainwashed with what to think.

    If they knew how to think, the labors of tens of thousands of NEA members would be for naught.

  • Donald, I am certainly not an intellectual but a simple widow – 73-year old Cradle Catholic. So here goes my humble comment about these myths of pagan gods : Man was created by a Loving God for God and has always been drawn to Him without his comprehending what was drawing him or what he was looking for. Man has always been aware there is a higher power far beyond what he knows or what he sees in the world. Hence, the pull is from His Creator. Whether it is pagan religions, or like the religion of my African forefathers who believed, worshiped, prayed and sacrificed to the “Unknowable Creator” the Giver of all that is good and noble, man is always experiencing the pull of God. And as the Holy Holy Spirit speaks to us in the Holy Book : In the fullness of Time God sent His Only Begotten Son – the full Revelation of Himself. And that, Donald humbles me when I contemplate that this Loving God decreed I would be born in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which His Divine Son founded and within which He Subsists and shall remain “Emmanuel” until the End of Time. Happy Epiphany. May you all have a Blessings-filled Year 2012

  • The Dec 25th date was an adoption of the Catholic Church in the first half of the 4th century AD specifically used to overcome a large pagan cult.

    Evidence?

My Body My Choice, Drill Baby Drill, Hmm… Not So Much

Sunday, June 13, AD 2010

There are two political mantras which have come to symbolize big problems in our mainstream party choices- “My body, my choice!” and “Drill baby! Drill!”. The liberal and conservative camps get so excited when their political heroes shout out these short catch-phrases. For me, they represent some really huge moral deficiencies.
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30 Responses to My Body My Choice, Drill Baby Drill, Hmm… Not So Much

  • The problem is the mixed economy you were mentioned. The government nominally regulates the oil companies, not to mention forcing them to drill off-shore (much riskier than on-shore) and then they are forced to operate in deep water environments compounding the risk. Then the contribution heavy legislators try to protect the oil companies by capping their liability. If they were fully liable for damages does anyone think they would not have taken many more precautions, like the acoustic shut-off valves required in Europe?

  • Perhaps if corporations were made fully liable as well the personal riches of their Executives- then if they would say well, no we aren’t going to be able to go offshore and take the risk- come up with another plan for domestic energy or allow us to drill on public lands with the same liability, with the public getting generous royalties, and maybe since all the right parties are made accountable, and The People are given financial reward- either by each citizen getting a check or by having the money earmarked for some for very obvious public work that has popular support- something like this could work better since corps would have more ammo for making the case that they can do the drilling on dry land if given the chance, and do it much more safely than at Sea- but are also willing to hang their profits and Executive net worth out as collateral to keep everyone honest- could work as the government would still have a hand in seeing to it all such agreements were met, and that plans and sites are inspected by competent, neutral parties to make sure nothing sinister is in the works by real baddies who are at the level of James Bond villians!

  • If they were fully liable for damages does anyone think they would not have taken many more precautions, like the acoustic shut-off valves required in Europe?

    Me. They are fully liable for clean up costs. Only their civil liability is capped and even that can be lifted upon a showing of gross negligence. You think billions isn’t enough of an incentive to install shut-off valves? What we should have learned from the banking crisis and Enron and Worldcom before that is that large corporations left to their own devices, will take excessive risks. Poor corporate governance (including poor executive compensation structures) is partially to blame but there are also unavoidable agency costs.

    I never had a problem with “drill, baby, drill” but I never understood the cost until this tragedy. Sometimes the risks are just too great in relation to the potential benefits. If deep-water drilling can’t be 100% safe, it should be banned entirely and I’m very skeptical it can be made 100% safe.

  • What would be the effect on the economy of $10 a gallon gasolin/heating oil?

    As if THE OIL SPILL (an accident that big gov and big oil can’t fix, big gov inspected and didn’t shut down the rig or ensure safety violations were corrected!) is the moral equivalent of 47,000,000 murders of unborn babies that big (the one you voted for) government sanctions, protects, and funds.

    People employ moral and intellectual contortions to salve their consciences for voting for Obama and abortion.

  • BIG government refused (Jones Act a relic of Depression econ protectionism) to allow many foreign specialized ships to help mitigate the enviro damage.

    The environazis are giving Obama a free pass on this one, too. Also are Obama-worshiping imbeciles . . .

  • T. Shaw wrote:

    What would be the effect on the economy of $10 a gallon gasolin/heating oil?

    As if THE OIL SPILL (an accident that big gov and big oil can’t fix, big gov inspected and didn’t shut down the rig or ensure safety violations were corrected!) is the moral equivalent of 47,000,000 murders of unborn babies that big (the one you voted for) government sanctions, protects, and funds.

    People employ moral and intellectual contortions to salve their consciences for voting for Obama and abortion.

    I do not think this very well written article was attempting to draw a moral equivalency between the spill mismanagement and the abortion holocaust. I did not get that sense at all. The author was attempting to bring the light of faith to bear on two current problems in our society – and they are both current problems – and the deficiencies in how partisan political factions have addressed them. Christians owe it to society to offer something more than mere party spirit – which St. Paul calls a work of the flesh (Gal 5:20). We owe it to society to provide a critique based on the Word of God.

    The author’s point stands, and stands correctly: it is wicked to brutalize the living space entrusted to us by God for the profit of a very few; it is also wicked to murder children. One does not detract from the other. A Christian is not bound to rush off and vote Republican because they pay lip service to the pro-life cause (they have now fronted pro-choice presidential candidates and the chairman of the party is on the record as being pro-choice). We cannot in conscience vote for an abortionist, either.

    We must start looking for and thinking of third options.

    T. Shaw, your response kind of demonstrates the need for the underlying principle that the author is applying. I have gone to the March for Life 23 or 24 of the 33 years I’ve been alive. I’ve spent hundreds of hours praying outside of abortion clinics. And I can honestly say that some pro-lifers go ballistic about the topic. If one says abortion is a big problem, another flips out and says it is the problem, and that moreover the first person – praying at the same clinic – is “soft” on abortion because they didn’t use the same word choice or because they think terrorism is also a problem. This attitude is uncharitable and often counterproductive.

  • hey have now fronted pro-choice presidential candidates

    Rudy Giuliani went nowhere in 2008, and no pro-choice GOP candidate has really made much of a dent in the presidential primaries.

    and the chairman of the party is on the record as being pro-choice

    Michael Steele has said many stupid things in the year and a half that he has been chairman, but he has not ever said that he was pro-choice.

  • Mr. Zummo,

    You are incorrect, sir. Michael Steele said in an interview with Lisa DePaulo of GQ on 11 March 2009:

    Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
    Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.

    You do?
    Yeah. Absolutely.

    Are you saying you don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade?
    I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.

    Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?
    The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

    Do pro-choicers have a place in the Republican Party?
    Absolutely!

    (http://tiny.cc/1hg4q)

    Note the interviewer’s shock at his answer. His subsequent clarification flatly contradicts what he said in the interview. Flatly.

    Laura Bush made some choice pro-choice comments early in her husband’s tenure, including that she thought Roe v. Wade should stand. She has recently reiterated these sentiments.

    These aren’t insignificant slips. This is the chair of the RNC/GOP and the wife of a president-elect (at the time of her first instance). How strongly do you think Bush could feel about it to marry a woman who might very well abort her own child? How strongly do you think the GOP in general can feel to allow Steele to stay in his position after a tip of the cards like that?

    Moreover, these aren’t isolated. RINO is getting to be a bit trivial when it comes to abortion, given the number of votes cast in Congress in favor of abortion with (R) after their name.

  • Michael Steele answered that question as horribly as he could, I won’t deny, and he’s been cringe inducing at times as chair as the head of the RNC. But he is not pro-choice.

    Laura Bush made some choice pro-choice comments

    I didn’t realize that Laura Bush ever ran for President or was a GOP candidate.

    ow strongly do you think Bush could feel about it to marry a woman who might very well abort her own child?

    This is honestly one of the silliest comments I have ever read, and the leap of logic here hurts my brain.

    RINO is getting to be a bit trivial when it comes to abortion, given the number of votes cast in Congress in favor of abortion with (R) after their name.

    Which votes in Congress “in favor of abortion” have occurred recently where there were large numbers of Republicans voting for said measure. Specifics please.

  • If deep-water drilling can’t be 100% safe, it should be banned entirely and I’m very skeptical it can be made 100% safe.

    That’s a pretty high hurdle, and I’m not sure the cost-benefit calculus justifies it. Yes, this is a major environmental accident, and there is a need to reconsider the engineering involved in deep sea drilling, but there are vast deepwater oil reserves that will probably need to be tapped even if we make a best-case switch to alternative energy.

  • If driving/flying/the Church/schools/electricity/fire can’t be 100% safe, it should be banned entirely and I’m very skeptical it can be made 100% safe. Really?

  • Michael Steele is pro-choice. He said it. He wont’t say it any more, but he is. Wisc. Congressman Paul Ryan said on MSNBC a few days after the Michael Steel affair:

    “There are pro-choice Republicans in Congress. There are pro-choice Republicans that is I represent in Wisconsin. We are a big tent party. I’m pro-life. Michael Steele is pro-choice. And you know what? We both fit within the tent of the Republican Party.”

    Hmmm…

    I do believe that George W. Bush is pro-life. As for Laura Bush, she was the president’s other half. Would you marry a pro-choice woman, Mr. Zummo? I do not think it a trivial point at all that a “pro-life” president did.

    Republicans in Congress are voting pro-life now because they are voting anti-Obama. They were singing a different tune when Dede Scazzofava was running for Congress, weren’t they?

  • Steele’s comments during the interview may have been sincere or may have caught him off guard. Here is his clarification after the interview. Take it as you will:

    “I am pro-life, always have been, always will be.
    I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a “choice” before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances. They did that for my mother and I am here today because they did. In my view Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be repealed. I realize that there are good people in our party who disagree with me on this issue.
    But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.”

  • Would you marry a pro-choice woman, Mr. Zummo?

    I almost did.

    Republicans in Congress are voting pro-life now because they are voting anti-Obama. They were singing a different tune when Dede Scazzofava was running for Congress, weren’t they?

    This comment makes no sense to me whatsoever. What does Dede Scazzafova’s aborted (sorry for the pun) candidacy have to do with pro-life Republicans and how they vote? There are non sequiters, and then there are comments like this.

    And again, I ask you to identify the votes in “favor of abortion” that large numbers of Congressional Republicans have made. Perhaps you’re thinking of the health care bill, in which a whopping zero Republicans voted in favor of? Specifics would help.

  • Today is Flag Day and the 235th anniversary of the United States Army.

    Pray for our gallant troops!

    Pray for Victory and Peace!

    God bless America!

  • Charlie Crist, prior to running for governor of Flordia described himself as pro-choice. Now an independent, he just vetoed an ultrasound/informed-consent law (http://tiny.cc/vw6yr).

    Arlen Specter sat as Republican senator for Pennsylvania for twenty seven years with an increasing approval rating from NARAL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlen_Specter). He has switched political affiliation, but not his voting pattern.

    Reps. Lance and Frelinghuysen of NJ are both Republicans who consistently vote pro-choice.

    Tom Ridge, former governor of PA, was on the record at the time as being pro-choice.

    Rob Ehrlich, former governor of my own fair state of Maryland, a Republican, voted consistently pro-choice except in the most extreme cases. He is joined by Wayne Gilchrest (R, MD-1) in this basic stance. Connie Morella, a Catholic and Republican, served Maryland for 16 years as a congresswoman, never failing to get NARAL’s ringing endorsement.

    George Pataki, New York’s governor for eleven years, was pro-choice the whole time, and proud of it. Susan Molinari served New York’s 13th in like fashion through most of the 1990s. Sherwood Boehlert served three different districts from 1983 to 2007-ish, pro-choice the whole time. Benjamin Gilman who served three districts from ’73 to ’03 was on NARAL’s good list – he scored 100% with them. A Republican.

    Do I really need to continue? Really?

    Paul, we’re getting pretty far afield from my point and from the author’s. I am not trying to gun down the GOP. I am not going to sell my soul to them, either, just because “the Dems are worse.”

  • “Do I really need to continue? Really?”

    You mean, since you didn’t really answer the question asked?

    “I ask you to identify the votes in “favor of abortion” that large numbers of Congressional Republicans have made.”

    I’d say yeah, you probably need to continue.

    No one denies that there are pro-choice Republicans (but, interestingly, you seen to only be able to name a couple of EX-Republicans, some FORMER Governors, and a handful of FORMER congresspersons).

  • Ryan:

    Everybody knows about these particular men. I never said that the GOP was perfect – far from it. Clearly there are numerous pro-choice Republicans; however, they are the minority. You still haven’t responded to my question about specific votes where large numbers of Republicans have voted “pro abortion.” You can’t find it because no such vote exists.

    Even the list you gave is pretty weak. Crist has been exiled in favor of a strongly pro-life candidate, Specter is gone and would have lost to Toomey had he not switched parties, Pataki is gone and is considered a joke by most Republicans, and Ridge is also no longer active in politics. And then of course we see what happened to people like Giuliani and then Scazzafava.

    Yes, there are pro-choice politicians within the GOP. You have not made your case that they represent a significant enough interest within the party to continue this holier than thou third party shtick.

  • And I write what I wrote above as someone who comes fairly close to despising the Republican Party. The GOP has its own culture-of-death issues that make membership in that party untenable.

    But, honestly, it’s not even a close contest for who bends over backward the most in service of Moloch.

  • T. Shaw – My juxtaposition of these two mantras is not meant to convey that I believe that the mass killing of the unborn over long decades is on par with the current ecological disaster brewing in the Gulf- sorry if you misread my intent there- re-read my article to re-assess if you will.

    I am someone who tries to follow the lead of the popes and the Holy See- and they do spill – no pun intended- a lot of ink on issues other than abortion- and there is no way one could miss that the Catholic Hierarchy stands strongly for the unwanted, unborn child. I am also similarly predisposed to care about every life threatened by avoidable actions leading to human and environmental damages. The Gulf Leak is a big concern- bigger still for those of us living in the region- you have to be able to walk and chew gum sometimes- it’s called multi-tasking- we do it all the time as parents- say one child is sick or all of your children are sick- you prioritize yes, but you don’t neglect any of your children and use the priority system as your cop-out excuse. We Catholics have a lot of battles to wage, but only One War- the War for souls starting with our own- I am following my conscience and continuing to properly form my conscience my doing in-dept readings of Scripture, and the Catholic official documents- like the pope’s encyclicals and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church- from these sources I am picking up the idea that there is a strong interrelationship between all of the Church’s social teaching themes- it does the cause of pro-life no good, to act like all other social concerns are lame or not to be considered at all.

    If lives and God’s creation are at risk- I bet God is concerned, and He is my guide- not partisan political pundits. Catholics should always be at the forefront of any and all good fights for the causes of justice for all and protection for the weak, vulnerable, and for the sustainability of life here on earth for our children’s children and beyond. That’s living a both/and Catholic theology out in the real world where we are tested and ultimately judged by the standards of “The Judgment of the Nations” and “the Beatitudes” along with the Ten Commandments.

  • j. christian, my position on this has change. Had the leak been plugged early, I would have no problem with deep-water drilling but this has proven far costlier than I’ve ever imagined. Costly enough to consider an outright ban.

  • Oh Please!
    “It seemed to me that in the “Sunshine State” this would be the perfect place to begin bold and broad experiments in net-metering solar energy- turning every home and business with a roof into an energy producing unit- start with one county and see how it goes. The very idea of just mindlessly supporting more drilling in the Ocean to get at more oil without exhausting other less polluting options- seemed like the type of thinking that leads to the groupthink of machismo- macho men who like drilling holes and blowing up stuff, drilling random women ( if they could), and parading their toughness in public to perhaps offset their own deeper masculine insecurities.”

    So, green weenie senstitivities drive a stake in the heart of on-shore, and shallow water drilling. So companies are (maliciously I would say) left with the most dangerous, most potentially disastrous (in terms of liability), and most dangerous (to the environemnt and other living things) option of drilling deep offshore.

    If you saw this happening in a horror movie, you would be shouting at the screen “NO! Don’t go through that door!”

    Then somehow, we seem to get to the author’s point; the people doing this drilling are testosterone-crazed mysogynists who offend the more refined among us.
    Please excuse my disgust as I call you what you deserve to be called- a petty little wimp!

    And while you are huffing and puffing, please explain how all the solar collectors and wind farms in the world obviate the need for even one reliable fossil or fissile-fueled plant. If you have fixed the ultra-high capacity electrical charge storage problem, then you ought to be too busy becoming a trillionaire to spend time on this blog.

  • RR,

    I suppose our expected value calculations are just different. Although this spill is very bad, I look at Ixtoc I and conclude that it is not a world-ending disaster. There are clear engineering lessons to be learned from this — BOP rams actuated manually or by secondary means, anyone? — and I expect the likelihood of another such accident to be remote.

    On the other hand, most of the large reserves left to be put into production are of the deepwater variety, such as the recent discoveries off Brazil. Like it or not, oil is the whole energy game right now. Unless it becomes economically viable to produce oil from kerogen shale, I don’t see where else it’s coming from. What other choice do you think we have?

  • I don’t know how much oil we get from deep-water drilling off American shores but I’m sure it’s a much less than we get from other sources so I doubt a ban would add more than a few cents at the pump. A small price to pay in my guesstimation, especially considering that we have relatively cheap gas to begin with.

  • And it’s not like the oil is going anywhere. If future technology makes it easier to get at deep sea oil or we get desperate, it will always be there.

  • I took “ban” to mean indefinite and global; what you and BA are saying sounds more like a national moratorium, which is a sensible conclusion given the current state of the technology and regulatory regime.

  • Though part of the problem seems to be that BP may not have followed standard industry practices. Time will hopefully sort out the truth:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704324304575306800201158346.html?mod=MKTW

  • The problem I have with Kevin in El Paso- besides the fact that he calls me “a petty little wimp” is that my criticism with the “Drill Baby” crowd had more to do with the blind enthusiasm for drilling off-shore- it was not typical to hear the fine-tuned critique that the deep off-shore drilling was a risky business- that is hardly the message being sold out there in the mainstream. Back before this BP disaster, the primary noise I was hearing was that any and all drilling anywhere/anytime should be going forth- that is the attitude I compare to machismo- now it is fine to go back and try to correct the record- but the mainstream candidates certainly did not do a good job of using the bully pulpit to lead the populace into more uplifting debate on the facts and choices we must deal with.

    Myself? I publicly support Green options like Nuclear energy with some very specific qualifications like standardized plant designs making it easier for authorities to keep inspections current and simplified- also I put forth the idea of having more passively-safe small plant designs such as the type I promoted when I spent a year in the Czech Republic in the year after their Velvet Revolution- I met personally with President Havel and handed him such materials and also had a formal meeting with their Industrial Minister- Havel did have positive things to say about such nuclear possibilities but I don’t think the country could afford to implement the newer technologies unfortunately. I also supported the French-mode of recycling the nuclear waste instead of having to deal with all the storage issues- but again we are not having very edifying discussions on nuclear energy, oil drilling options, or solar energy/net-metering at the national popular levels- which leaves the discussion in the hands of opportunistic political hacks playing to the liberal/conservative groupthink and the mass media dumbing down effect. Too bad.

    I’m one who is always open to constructive dialogue and sound facts and rational planning- don’t know if that puts me in the “petty little wimp” camp- but I know that blessed are the meek and blessed are the peacemakers and suffering insults well can actually assist my journey to sainthood- so thanks for your remarks:)

  • I’m sorry, but it’s just hard for me to take the article seriously. It calls Sarah Palin a “she-male,” it says off shore drilling is some form of machoism, it gives no summary of the events leading up to the spill- in which government’s culpability is severe- it somehow associates “drilling random women” with looking for and aquiring oil (and come on; who is traditionally more promiscuous, environmentalists or conservatives), and it assumes that the government can somehow breathe life into solar technology, and through an act of legislation, cause a break through in technology by willing it (pumping money into a project doesn’t count as much more).
    The autor doesn’t address any of those concerns, and is just plain intellectually dishonest in his conjured associations between promiscuity and offshore oil drilling.
    As I finish the post, I question my sanity that I commented on this article. I won’t be commenting again, so take my objections for what they are.

  • Ike- I would agree that religious conservatives would tend to be less promiscuous than liberal religionists- at least in theory given their more traditional take on moral values- but with secular conservatives I wouldn’t necessarily take that bet that they are more chaste than secular environmentalists- I’ve encountered many different sorts of political conservatives – some religious some not- it makes a big difference- many secular conservatives would seem to me to be very inclined toward machismo in many ways- sexual attitudes, attraction to violence and so forth- Rush “Elizabeth Taylor” Limbaugh and the neo-conservative Straussians, along with some of the male libertarian Randian-types also seem to be cut from the macho groupthink that would be seen lustily cheering on the sound of Buzz saws cutting down old growth forests or shouting mindlessly- Drill baby, Drill! I’m not a fan of ideologies or ideologues so I’m not interested in carrying the water for liberals/conservative, Dems of Repubs-

Sorry Charlie, Crist Vetoes Florida Ultrasound Bill, Bottom Line – More Babies Will Be Killed

Saturday, June 12, AD 2010

The following is from Florida Right to Life Organization:

“THE MOST IMPORTANT PRO-LIFE, PRO-WOMEN LEGISLATION IN FLORIDA HISTORY WAS VETOED BY GOV. CRIST ON JUNE 11, 2010!

HB 1143 was a pro-life and a pro-choice bill. It required that an abortionist give an ultrasound test before an abortion. 82% of the abortion clinics in Florida already do, but they do not all give the woman the option to see or discuss the ultrasound.

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17 Responses to Sorry Charlie, Crist Vetoes Florida Ultrasound Bill, Bottom Line – More Babies Will Be Killed

  • Mr. Crist seems to be showing his true colors, hmm?

  • A sad day for our most vulnerable, precious, and innocent unborn babies. Praying for Crist’s soul…

  • The only way to properly frame this issue is to realize that the two sides have different prospectives.
    Pro-lifers see it as a just and moral cause to protect women and their children from harm.
    That’s good enough for discussion and debate but far short of the response needed to stop the slaughter of the innocent lives as pictured in this article.
    The abortionist and their subjects who go under the banner of Pro-Choice are not interested “causes”; they are far beyond that stage. They have declared WAR with any and all opponents of their religion and the “industrial complex” which powers the advance of their “Crusade”. They are rich and powerful and unfortunately know for the most part that the enemy’s main weapon is simply conversation which can be matched word for word.
    We have to likewise be willing to adjust to the conditions of war. The many of faith must become Christian Soldiers and march into battle willing to give more than voices to a cause. How you say?
    It would only take 10 to 20 thousand tax paying citizens refusing to file next year united and willing to go to jail unless all public funding for abortions be stopped immediately by say “executive order” followed by proper legislation. That, I’m afraid, is too much to expect. And there would be Bishops against it sighting “civil disobedience”.

  • Crist has left the Republican party as I explained in this post:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/09/political-weasel-of-the-year/

    He realizes he has no chance of getting pro-life Republican votes against Marco Rubio in the Senate race, so he is going after pro-abort votes.

  • Marco Rubio responds to the veto:

    “Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio said Crist’s veto was coldly calculated politics, not compassion for poor women faced with paying for ultrasound exams.
    “Once again, Charlie Crist has put politics ahead of principled policy-making,” said Rubio. “This veto will now make it harder for Florida to fight Obamacare, since the bill would have enabled our state to opt out of the abortion coverage mandate in the federal health care law.”

    http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20100612/NEWS01/6120313/1006/Abortion+bill+gets+vetoed

    Here are the responses of the the two Democrats vying for their parties’ nomination in the Senate race:

    “Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek, D-Miami Gardens, called the veto “a no-brainer.” But he agreed with the Republicans that Crist was trying to move back to the political center after a political lifetime of opposing abortion.
    “The governor wants to put politics ahead of public policy,” said Meek.”

    “Democrat Jeff Greene, also running against Crist for the Senate, said the governor should have “opposed from the start” Hudson’s bill.
    “The fact that Charlie Crist even had to think about whether or not to veto this bill is just more evidence that Crist is a flip-flopper,” said Greene.”

  • Is the political center pro-abortion?

    Bottom line: you vote for Dems more babies will be exterminated, and almost certainly you will not get into Heaven.

  • I have an update to my post to include something from National Geographic’s “In the Womb” documentary to assist those who are actually on the fence in this debate- those who could be persuaded by facts like pictures of the end products of abortions and video of actual children in the womb and making their tiny presences known in very impressive and dramatic effects.

    If it is beneficial to show the world the realities of birds stuck in an oil spill and dead or dying, or innocent victims of a controversial just/unjust war- why would objections come from the political Left over the raw footage of Life and Death in the womb or I should say when the womb is turned into a killing field? I admire that the Left will go to great extremes to analyze a military action which may or will kill foreign persons- but where is that interest in determining the validity of the Life claims made by those who know something about the lives of the unborn children?

    Before my first child was born, I really didn’t fully get what was going down- I had no idea that that tiny life I first glimpsed on a grainy ultrasound would end up being a child that I would consider more valuable than all the material wealth of our entire planet- more valuable than a million of my own lifetimes- her value completely transcends all of this- at one point in my early 20’s I joined with others to counsel a good friend to have an abortion, and even sat in the clinic waiting for her while her boyfriend went back to his life a thousand miles away- literally. She and I eventually came to our senses, came to become Catholics, and we both were just full of extreme sorrow and guilt over what went down- both of us blaming ourselves for our roles more than putting blame on the other. I only wish I had been the man I am now back then. I can’t, and my friend has since passed away, childless, except for the child no one thought should be coming into our world. Forgiveness came to both of us in Confession, and in Repentance- I still actively pray with and through my friend and her child in ways I need not describe to fellow Catholics. Part of my own Repentance is to take a very aggressive position on Abortion- as some kind of Woman’s Right. I am a pro-Woman, pro-Child, pro-Humanity, pro-Environment, pro-humane treatment of Animals kind of Catholic watchdog- I do not shy away from those who want to tar me as anti-woman because I care about women in tough spots- I am all for mobilizing the culture and economic forces to help every women in the situation of bringing a child into the world through her own precious body. I simply do not value the opinion that it is ever, the right decision to kill an innocent child- if that makes me a Right Wing Catholic extremist in the eyes of pro-Death Choice believers then So Be It. I know the score, I aided the process of one demonic abortion- I am forgiven, but in my mind I have some serious work to do to help make this whole situation of the genocide against unwanted, unborn children- come to a rapid conclusion. I have no truck with the “state’s rights” pro-life strategists and mainstream politicians because I don’t see that as an incremental strategy, I see it as a tragic end game legal strategy- one where even if you win it, you lose the war for the unborn.

    My advice is for the Catholic priests and Catholic Sisters to begin a bold movement- since they do not have spouses and children they are more free to conduct some very intense non-violent non-cooperation exercises by praying in front of abortion mills until the authoritites drag them off- and if Catholic parishoners want their Jesus on Sunday- they will have to find their priests or demand that the system changes to end the genocide going on in our collective names. The Catholic clergy must hold the laity to a minimal standard, just as we must hold the Catholic clergy to a minimal standard- the laity should not tolerate the legal and systemic killing of unborn children, and the clergy should never tolerate the molestation of a single child.

  • I await the sophists over at Vox Nova to tell us why this is a great thing that Crist has done, and how Tim is more evil for putting that picture up…

  • How many wars, tornados, earthquakes, and other natural disasters is it going to take for America to wake up to the fact that abortion is murder?

  • Sydney,

    My thoughts too, at least on the picture.

    Consequentialism!

  • The sophists over at Vox Nova inadvertently “hit on” a Catholic principle – possibly first time ever.

    One of the Corporal Works of Mercy is:

    Bury the dead.

    Let’s say the pro-life Democrats (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!) enact a law that exterminated babies be accorded Christian/Jewish burials, as appropriate?

    Pro-life Democ . . . (I’m about to bust a gut).

    I can imagine a vegetarian hyena. I cannot, in my wildest hallucination, imagine a pro-life Dem.

  • Well, perhaps you’ve never met a pro-life Democrat.

  • T. Shaw,

    I’ve known some very principles pro-life democrats, though sadly it may be a lost cause when it comes to actual candidates for high office in the party.

    Tim,

    I agree that it’s important that people see those kinds of images — though I must admit that I also appreciate your moving that one below the fold. I sometimes have my kids around when I’m reading down the TAC main page, and at their ages I’d rather keep the full depravity of our nation concealed from them a little longer.

    God forgive us…

  • Most probably, these tiny ones, considered pathological waste, are incinerated, turned into ash, and taken to a landfill. Thus, not only is the child murdered and disposed of in such a cruel manner, but it has also been denied the opportunity to love and be loved. It has been denied sleeping peacefully in its mother’s lap, of being playfully tickled and cuddled, of taking its first steps and learning its first words under the guidance of its father. Everyone in its family, including grandparents, has been denied the opportunity to experience divine love. Some Catholic cemeteries are setting aside land for memorials in remembrance of these tiny ones. One cemetery has the statue of Rachel, who is weeping, to give comfort to those who have experienced the tragedy of abortion. Like the poster above, I wonder how much longer God will bless our country with blue and sunny skies while this vile darkness covers our nation like a shroud. I really do think we are on the precipice of destruction. Charlie Crist has made a heinous decision to try to gain earthly treasure, but the eternal heavenly treasure may just elude him.

  • I expect the debate over the use of graphic pictures of aborted children will continue- my own decision is based on a consistent standard- I agree with the Left when they wish to show the realities of war, and to put up posters of baby seals being clubbed to death or birds dying soaked in BP Oil- that is fine in my book- but if the Left objects to the use of real pictures of aborted children then I would call them out big time- didn’t they claim that George W. et al was keeping photos of dead soldiers and Iraqi civilians from public view because of his fears of public opinion turning against his policies? Well- ok then- why would it be so wrong to use undoctored photos of aborted children to convey the truth to try to convince people of goodwill that their taste for pro-choice politics is the wrong choice?

    Now within the pro-life community- as Darwin brought up- what about the stray child who takes in the aborted children pictures? I found confirmation from Fr. Pavone of Priests for Life who understands the dilemma- first- the pictures are effective, it is akin to seeing those dead bodies stacked up in the Nazi concentration camps- it is chilling but it is educational- helps solidify the ideal- “Never Again”. And why does the media keep showing video of oil soaked pelicans in the Gulf- as Brian Williams et al says things like- “these images are tough to watch”- so why show them when children may be watching- it might make them cry or have a nightmare? Well, Fr. Pavone added that his contacts with mental health counselors has given him assurance that the disturbing images will only leave some negative residual feelings for children who are left to themselves after viewing the graphic sorrowful images- if parents don’t use the image exposure as a teachable moment and explain why something is really bad, and should be stopped- then all bets are off as to what effects will linger in that child.

    For me, my wife and I have had a difference of opinion on this when we have driven down the road with out kids and sometimes there is an elderly couple out holding up a huge sign with an aborted child picture on it- my wife opposes abortion obviously, but she is thinking that children shouldn’t be exposed to these nightmarish images- my take on it was along the lines of Fr. Pavone’s even before I heard his view. I say to my kids when they see those signs- “sweathearts- those pictures are abortions- children inside their mama’s bellies are killed by the people who are supposed to be their protectors- this is why mama and papa are fighting against abortion- do you understand?”. Children get that abortion is evil, insane, unbelievable once they see a single picture- it is that obvious- only deceitful adults can find ways to cover up or explain away such brutishness. I think it is along the lines of how we are to become like little children, and the wisdom of the world is not on par with the truths transmitted through the Gospels.

    Now my experience with my kids who have seen big photos of dead children in these street protests has fit with what Fr.Pavone described- they aren’t traumatized, they speak with a firm conviction about the right to life for all babies- they are interested in knowing more and even wanting to help save babies. They know from the experience at home- how we are so careful about the unborn child and mama when she is pregnant- as she is right now- due very, very soon- how we are praying for the little guy and mama at every meal, and in our night prayers, how we are all stepping up to do more work at home and have better attitudes all to help make life more peaceful for mama so she can focus on being healthier for the sake of the baby and for herself. This is the way that should be normal- as Peter Kreeft writes about in his – Philosophy of Jesus- humanity has become abnormal- Jesus is the one who is truly normal- we become more human, more ourselves when we become more and more like Jesus- with the Holy Spirit enabling us. Human families should be modeled on the Holy Family in the openness to life – even in unusual or threatening conditions- and to love unto death, not cause the death of a loved one- as the warped logic of pro-choice would frame it.

  • Darwin & Tim S.,

    I moved the pic below the fold so the YouTube video could get some exposure.

    At first it was an accident as I was trying to embed Tim’s link into the post, so I miss-embedded it at the top.

    It looked good that way so I rearranged the pic below the fold.

  • No problem Tito- I trust your judgment on that- I want people to see the juxtaposition of beautiful life on latest ultrasounds with the hideous reality of abortion- this should maybe tame some of the outrageous celebatory comments being tossed around on mainstream Democrat blogs and facebook pages- I mean really- you want to cheer for Abortion? When I was a serious Pro-Death Choice guy back in my 20’s at least I could say I was completely clueless about fetal development and what abortion even did- it was just a reflex reaction to what seemed cool and smart in liberal secular circles- which was my world then. When I first saw “Silent Scream” I was pretty much blown away- cold, hard facts hitting me in the face of my conscience- but before I even got to the point where I was introduced or open to seeing something like “Silent Scream”, it took several people I knew and trusted- many of them women- to get me thinking twice about the whole pro-abortion choice idea. I pray this posting gets viewed by at least some who have not already converted to a pro-life comprehension. Come Holy Spirit!

Vatican Weighs in On Middle East Christian Crisis

Tuesday, June 8, AD 2010

The Vatican  released a working paper during Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to Cyprus to prepare the way for a crisis summit of Middle East bishops in Rome. What I take away from this- along with the Holy See’s call for lifting the blockade of Gaza- is something of a vindication for my more raw views urging for a sea change in American Catholic opinion and action regarding the overall situation in the Middle East, and in Israel-Palestine in particular.

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14 Responses to Vatican Weighs in On Middle East Christian Crisis

  • We really need to get even-handed if we even want to have credibility in the larger Arab world- something the polls indicate we are sorely lacking- to be it mildly.-Tim Shipe

    “Even-handed” in relation to the Arab world of progrom-states and their target is… what, exactly?

    Hamas and extremist Jewish settler movements…

    Conjoining those two categories leads one into a muddle. Let’s have a look at how many missiles, homicide bombers, etc. the two groups, normal Hamas supporters and ‘extremist’ Jewish settlers, have used to terrorize their neighbors.

  • Bravo. There won’t be peace in the Middle East until Americans, including Catholics, stop spoiling Israel and start treating it like we treat every other nation.

    I think this is the one area of Obama’s presidency where I think Obama has been more positive than negative-though he still does too little.

    Conjoining those two categories leads one into a muddle. Let’s have a look at how many missiles, homicide bombers, etc. the two groups, normal Hamas supporters and ‘extremist’ Jewish settlers, have used to terrorize their neighbors.

    The settlers have no need of such tactics since they’re supported by the Israeli military. If they need force, they don’t strap on a bomb; they have the planes drop a bomb instead. It is unquestionable that settlers, at the behest of the government, have continued to expand and continued to take Palestinian land. This is clearly not a motive of peace but one of a desire to usurp and it ought to be opposed.

  • “The settlers have no need of such tactics since they’re supported by the Israeli military.”

    The body count would seem to indicate that the Israeli military then is doing a poor job. From 2000-2008 I believe 45 Palestinians have been killed at the hands of Settlers while 238 Settlers have been killed at the hands of Palestinians. In regard to umbrage at the Settlers, I am a bit puzzled. I have heard some people here at AC condemn Arizona’s law against Mexican illegal aliens as Nazi-like. Perhaps any moral difficulty with the Israeli Settlers could be cured if we simply consider them to be illegal aliens on the West Bank?

    Of course I believe the preferred term would be undocumented immigrants. Someone else on the net has already taken the Israeli Settlers as undocumented immigrants concept and ran with it:

    http://bikyamasr.com/wordpress/?p=12393

  • Tim, the political leadership in the West Bank, Gaza, and the camps want no settlement that is not constructed on the ruins of the Jewish state. Deal with it, please.

  • The body count would seem to indicate that the Israeli military then is doing a poor job. From 2000-2008 I believe 45 Palestinians have been killed at the hands of Settlers while 238 Settlers have been killed at the hands of Palestinians.

    Don:

    Here is an opposing view which objects to the stats you and your favorite paper, the NYT, toss about.

    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/media/nyt-report.html

    Statistics are like “you know whats”. Everybody has one.

  • Art Deco – I agree with your post whole-heartedly.

    The Pope is wrong here. Israel can give up its blockade after he sends the Swiss Guard home. Before this flotilla stunt, did anyone know that Gaza was being blockaded? A response like this from the Holy See indicates that the stunt has worked.

    The Jews have built a beautiful, thriving country in the desert within the span a 50 years. A feat the Arabs have not managed to do in their own countries for centuries. This whole thing is about envy.

    Arab Christians are being routed by whom exactly? This is not a difficult question to answer.

  • Fuji, your calling the New York Times my favorite newspaper is almost as humorous as your citing If Americans Knew, an organization which is bitterly hostile to Israel. Paul Findley is on its board. Findley was the pro-abort and pro-PlO Republican Congressman from Springfield in my state of Illinois. Thanks to my efforts, along with the efforts of many others, he became an ex-Congressman in 1982.

    I would as soon accept a press release from Hamas as a credible source, as I would anything put out by If Americans Knew.

  • The ADL has some interesting information linked below on Alison Weir who runs If Americans Knew.

    http://www.adl.org/Israel/anti_israel/alison_weir/anti-Semitism.asp?m_flipmode=3

  • Fuji,

    You’ve completely misunderstood the purpose of the If Americans Knew “study” — it doesn’t deal at all with whether the statistics which the NY Times publishes about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict are accurate, it deals with how often deaths on each side are mentioned in the headline or the first paragraph of an article. Its claim is not that the NY Times presents false information, but that it talks more about the deaths of some people than those of others.

    An example of this would be, if one news story said, “A Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up in a shopping center, killing three Israeli adults and two children.” and then the next day another story began, “The Israeli defense minister promised to take ‘strong action’ in retaliation for the attack Monday which killed five Israelis, including two children, at a crowded shopping center,” this ‘study’ would consider that to be reporting 200% of the number of Israeli dead, since they were mentioned in two separate stories.

    Nor is the statistic that Palestinians kill more Settlers than Settlers kill Palestinians inconsistent with the fact that overall far more Palestinians have died in the conflict than Israelis, since obviously not all Israelis are settlers and not all Palestinians killed (indeed, very few) are killed by settlers.

  • You can take your rose-colored spectacles off when viewing Israel and still conclude that Hamas and other Islamofascist groups are evil. Not blindly supporting Israel is not a tacit approval of all things Arab and/or Muslim.

    In regards to this so-called peace flotilla – it is obvious that it was a false flag operation designed to denigrate Israel and it is working. In regards to Israel – they are a far better friend than Arab/Muslim states – but they are not a very good friend.

    Israel has a right to exist and to defend herself and I would argue to occupy territories the UN and the British gave to Egypt and Jordan for her defense. Who constantly gets screwed as Muslims and Arabs use the Palestinian Arabs as a tool to beat the West with? Not Israel – the Palestinian Arabs do. The people, especially the children and most especially the Christians suffer at the hands of so-called Palestinian leadership, a secular Jewish state that engages in horrible behavior and the UN and other Arab states.

    Now that we have allowed the Isalmofascists to indoctrinate generations it is practically impossible to work for peace and no one wants it anyway – no one save for possibly the Pope and the poor Christians who live in the Holy Land.

    Can peace be brokered – we can hope – but it is doubtful until the King returns. Muslims specifically never enter a permanent peace with anyone in Dar Al Harb (the House of War). They certainly won’t enter a permanent peace with Jews – Mohammad practically built his religiology on capture of booty, imperialism and slaughter of Jews. Not to mention copious copies of the Torah and Nestorian heresies.

    Strategically speaking, the USA would be fools to turn our backs on Israel – but having blind support for her is just as foolish. I don’t necessarily fault Israelis for their bad behavior, historically speaking – they were coming from a very frightening place and fear makes you do stupid things – they are nevertheless, still responsible but that does not absolve the British for solving their Jewish-problem with better PR than the Nazis. Instead of killing the Jews, the British shipped them out of England to their own homeland – neglecting to tell them they promised the same land to the Arabs that had lived there since the 7th century.

    What did they think was going to happen? Had a different and more balanced solution been developed between 1917 and 1947 – the current mess could have been avoided. I doubt that is what those who want a weak and unstable mid-East wanted. Lebanon and Palestine had the best chance for Christianizing the rest of the Arab and Muslim lands – however, just like the Crusader Kingdoms – the West dropped the ball on supporting them and the price is war and the shrinking of the Christian population and the ascendancy of Islam. Make no mistake – Islam is an imperial totalitarian ideology and will align with the subversive Left in the West to gain entry and then turn on their tolerant, peace-loving, pot-smoking friends.

    If anyone can broker an honest peace in the Middle-East it would be the Pope, but he may need American guns.

  • How would the gallant Turkish (NATO member) army/navy respond to the following? A bunch of Armenian-Americans (two Israeli humanitarian groups already are planning such) get up a couple tons of humanitarian aid and stage a huge guerrilla theater propaganda extravaganza of bringing it to the six Armenians not yet murdered in Turkey. Or better analogy, do it for the Kurds fighting for their independence.

    Hamas, Hizbollah, etc. will end the terror war against Israeli civilians, women and children (and the Arab women and children they use as human shields) when the last Israeli is either murdered or driven into the sea.

    The Pope ought to denounce the Holy See bureaucRAT that came up with this hateful paper.

  • I don’t think you can figure out the justice of a conflict simply by counting up bodies. However, it is a fact that far more Palestinians than Israelis have died in the conflict.

  • I’ll take the Vatican seriously on matters concerning the Middle East, if they would express themselves in the same forthright manner on other wars and conflicts that plague the globe, in particular those that concern Catholics and Christians. The Catholic Church’s hollowness in these matters could be seen most clearly at work in early 2009. In December of 2008 the Israelis invaded Gaza to put an end to the constant rocket barrage, and my how the Catholic press and heirarchy waxed eloquent, counterpoising each other with elavated talk about ‘just war’, ‘human rights’ and the rest of it, not stinting to blame the Israelis by name for all manner of wrongs real and imagined. The bishop here in Singapore (where I live) got on the bandwagon and launched an appeal for Gaza.

    Three months later, in March the Sri Lankans launched their final push into Jaffna, when the dust settled more than 20,000 civilians were dead. Given the proportion of Catholics in Jaffna, it is reasonable to surmise that the number of Catholic dead alone exceeded the total death toll in Gaza. Yet where was the Vatican in all this? Why was no appeal launched for them? Does the criteria of ‘just war’ not apply to the darker nations? Apart from generalised handwringing, nothing much was heard from our Vatican friends. No one tagged the Sri Lankan army with brutality. Their reticence doubtless owed much to the restraining hand of Msgr Malcolm Ranjith, himself a Ceylonese and thus in a position to know that the government would take out any displeasure on the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka.

    This in essence is the well established pattern of Vatican hypocrisy; when it comes to Israel, break out the tomes on jus ad bellum and set them terms that no nation in history has been able to follow, and thereby not incidentally burnish the Vatican’s own street cred with the Muslims at the expense of Jews. On the other hand, when it comes to countless attacks against Christians, from Nigeria to Pakistan to Indonesia, put out a pro forma declaration hoping that the problem goes away.

  • An aside. But perhaps an example of how diplomacy doesn’t work, or at least works poorly:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/08/AR2010060805406.html

U.S. Involvement in The Great Game Realpolitiks in Gaza

Friday, June 4, AD 2010

With the news of Israel’s blockade of Gaza still hot all around the world because of the Israeli attack on the activist boats- I think it is important to look back and assess how we have got to this point of chaos, confusion and rage.

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46 Responses to U.S. Involvement in The Great Game Realpolitiks in Gaza

  • Excellent analysis, especially on the historical tie between the Christian’s moral responsibility with the Roman Empire and our own responsibility with the American experiment. In this article you call to mind the sad obligation of the prophet. Amos, Micah, Isaiah and Jeremiah had the unhappy responsibility to call the Hebrew community to moral accountability and unfortunately their words went unheeded and Israel had to learn through hardship and suffering. Jesus Christ also spoke the moral truth to a corrupt social power and within a generation Jerusalem was destroyed. What will be are lot.

    We seem to have such an unreflective society and this in the end will make us morally bankrupt as well. But hope in God we have and struggle we must to awaken the American population to the great values that once guided this nation and to the post war principles that it helped to create in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • Frankly the fact that Hamas was elected in a quasi-Democratic election in Gaza is of no more moral significance to me than the fact that the Nazis came to power in 1933 in German in a legal fashion. Of course the article you cite is completely wrong-headed. Hamas has always had a stronger following in Gaza than Fatah, because Hamas is regarded, rightly, as being much more wedded to the idea of waging war ceaselessly against Israel, which is what most Gazans want. The policies followed by the Hamas government are completely in accord with what a majority of the Gazan population want. Their war against Israel, unfortunately for them, simply, and predictably, is not going well.

  • It seems that what you’re saying is that Hitler should have been supported because he was legally elected. We should not have stopped his rampage throughout Europe or his extermination plans? Or perhaps the world should have waited until Germany’s next election to vote Hitler out of office? No matter the millions of lives which would have been terminated by then? It is legal in our country to perform abortions…should we cease fighting against the extermination of life in the wombs of mothers because, after all, it is the law of the land? I don’t understand you…

  • wow- so Hamas equals Hitler? In essence the Palestinians are Nazis who are just crazy to kill every Israeli they meet? I can’t argue with such fantasies- and I won’t because it is such a worn out rhetorical device used by the Left and Right to cover their own inadequacies in presenting the facts on the ground. I’m looking for more thoughtful comments- anybody out there?

  • wow- so Hamas equals Hitler? In essence the Palestinians are Nazis who are just crazy to kill every Israeli they meet?

    Considering that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians don’t believe that Israel has a right to exist, and that many if not most have little moral problem with strapping bombs to people in order to murder scores of innocent Jews, I’d say the comparison is a little less fantastical than that.

    I’m looking for more thoughtful comments-

    You first.

  • “wow- so Hamas equals Hitler?”

    Not quite Tim. Hamas lacks the power to kill every Jew in Israel. If they had the power, based upon prior statements made by Hamas leaders, I have no doubt they would kill every Jew until Palestine was Judenfrei.

  • I think the analogy holds up fairly well if you consider that the extermination of Jews was an objective of the Nazis, but not necessarily of the German people. A good number of Germans were apathetic over what the Nazis were doing, those who would have strongly objected remained silent and inactive out of fear.

    Similarly, a distinction should be made between the Islamic Palestinian people and Hamas and other groups. Thing is the extermination of Jews has a religious character here and it seems the average Islamic Palestinian is far more likely to be inclined to support Hamas’ rhetoric and objectives than the average German was to the Final Solution. I’m distinguishing between Islamic Palestinians and Christian Palestinians because I think the Christians have have suffered at the hands of Israel and would certainly want things differently, but they don’t necessarily hate Jews and want them cast into the sea.

  • Tim,

    I agree with Donald that the Vanity Fair article is completely wrong-headed (Vanity Fair? Really?). IT starts, it seems to me, from an assumption that Israel = wrong/support of Israel = wrong.

    I also disagree with your analysis of what you describe as our Realpolitik, and I disagree that our Yes should mean Yes and our No should mean No as a practical guide to international relations. While it is an ideal to be pursued, it can’t and won’t work in our international community until *everyone* approaches international relationships this way.

    Our government’s first concern should be the preservation of the state. Our country has a right to exist (as does Israel, as does Iran, as does Turkey, etc.). One could argue that the Palestinian people have a right to a homeland too; of course, they’ve never had one (and that isn’t the fault of the US), so it’s hard to say where that should be.

    As to the way events unfolded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip…well, I for one cannot blame the Bush administration for trying. Was it a correct move to try to force Hamas out? Uh…Yeah it was. Hamas is bad. Fatah is to, but the enemy of my enemy being my friend, Fatah had to look like a pretty good compromise. Are there bad people in Fatah? Of course there are. Apparently, there were some pretty bad people among the “peace activists” on that Turkish-flagged vessel, too (good people don’t beat downed soldiers with pipes).

    Governments sanction actions that harm people all the time in order to pursue their national interests. In the case of a war, a government would sanction the killing of other people (objectively evil) in order to protect its country; cities sanction the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers against evil-doers in order to protect its citizens. Your outlook about America’s support for Israel and work against Hamas in the Gaze Strip is simplistic at best.

    THanks.

  • – I’m a bit unclear what the author of the article thinks should have been done. He blames the US for supporting elections when Fatah was not in a position to win them, but he also blames the US for not accepting the results of the elections when Hamas won. He seems to think that Fatah was a better group to remain in charge — yet he blames the US for backing them and he emphasizes their torture and killing of members of Hamas much more than he emphasizes the (at least equally prevalent) torture and killing of members of Fatah by Hamas. He blames the “quartet” for cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority, but he also blames them for trying to direct and influence Palestinian affairs. I suppose he could think that we should fund them, but not try to influence them in any way, but even then we’re left with having them in a near constant state of war with Israel, and that doesn’t seem great either.

    – Regarding the comment discussion that has developed: I’m not actually clear why comparisons of Hamas to the National Socialists are necessarily that far off. Both are militiant political parties which gained support through street fighting and popular support for their promise to restore national/ethnic dignity. Both endorse a genocidal racial policy towards a designated enemy group which is seen as at fault for the people’s sufferings — a policy which many of their supporters may not enthusiastically share, but which they are willing to overlook. Both came to power in the wake of poverty, military defeat, occupation and perceived loss of standing in the world. And both promise to reverse all of those misfortunes through greater world prestige and military adventures. It’s not a bad comparison, and unless one has particularly grotesque stereotypes about the nature of ordinary German people in the 30s and 40s, I’m not clear why it’s less flattering to the Gazan population than accuracy would demand.

  • I love it. If people discuss the way Israel seems to follow Nazi policy, we are told about “Godwin’s Law.” And that ends all conversation, like usual. But it is perfectly fine to suggest the Palestinians are like Nazis. Of course, I am sure we will also hear how Native Americans were the Nazis, too…

  • Henry,

    One of the main things people have pointed out in regards to your repeated claims that Israelis are “like Nazis” is that it’s incredibly historically insensitive. Which is true.

    In the comment thread above, the logical sequence was as follows:

    Several people pointed out that if it was necessary to support a political faction merely because they won an election, it would have been necessary to grant recognition to the Nazis after 1933.

    In return, Tim questioned whether people were accusing the Palestinians of being “crazy Nazis”.

    RL and I then both pointed out that the sense in which such a comparison might be apt would be that most Palestinians are not “crazy Nazis”, but have ended up supporting a militaristic and radically anti-Jewish faction for fairly understandable reasons — kind of like many non-Nazi-fanatic Germans did in the ’30s.

    You then show up and accuse everyone of saying that “Palestinians are like Nazis” and then go on to suggest that people will say that Native Americans “were the Nazis” too.

    How about this one: Why is it that you are convinced that Hamas is as admirable as Chief Joseph or Sitting Bull? Has Hamas ever behaved as honorably, or sought the good of their people above their own power? Hamas is an organization that routinely kills and tortures its own people, while seeking to kill Israeli civilians in order to relieve their desire for revenge. Their existence has done nothing but hurt the Palestinian people. Why do you see the need to defend them?

    Defending Hamas is not the same as defending the Palestinian people — one may care about the latter while despising the former.

  • All comparisons of present politics to Nazis and Communists that are devoid of direct connections are a stretch and should be avoided.

    With that said, Henry, there are in fact direct connections between the Nazis and Islamist Palestinians. You can begin with Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, continue to the many efforts to kill Jews for being Jews, and head right on up to the present and beyond with the Hamas charter, a document and an ideology that enjoys very strong support. All of this information is readily available, quite twisted, and beyond historical dispute.

  • Why is it necessary even to compare anyone to anyone here? Granted, there are arguably strong parallels between National Socialism and Islamic militancy as practiced by Hamas; that being said, can’t we just deal with history?

    Israel became a state in 1948, whereupon it was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbors. They one that war. Israel was again attacked in the 50’s, the 60’s (which resulted in the destruction of three countries’ military apparatus and the annexation of the Sinai, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Golan Heights. They were attacked again in 73, again in the 80’s, the 90’s and the 00’s (how do you say that in a word?). Each time, its attackers suffered military defeat at the hands of a much smaller (but better trained, equipped and motivated) IDF.

    Ya can’t blame the 48 war on Israel
    s treatment of Palestinian Arabs. Nor can one blame the ’67 or the ’73 war on that. And it is axiomatic that Israel has a right to protect its existence by any proportionate means necessary; we may argue about the definition of “proportionate”, but it is up to the National Command Authority in Israel to determine what is proportionate, and to be liable for the judgment before God.

    The Palestinians are pawns in a game whose goal is the elimination of the state of Israel. If Hamas would do as it’s been asked, this would all be over. They won’t; it’s not. Why do we beat them up so?

  • I love it. If people discuss the way Israel seems to follow Nazi policy, we are told about “Godwin’s Law.” And that ends all conversation, like usual.

    The ‘conversation’ is unnecessary because the analogy is stupid and malicious and not worth discussing. The most militant sector of public opinion in Israel (KACH, Moledet, &c) has advocating expelling the Arab population and forcing them to take up residence in neighboring states. The most precise analogy might be the post-war Czech government’s dealings with Sudeten Germans or the Croatian government’s dealings with Krajina Serbs during the recent unpleasantness in the Balkans. Neither Gen. Tudjman or Eduard Benes had a political programme that resembled that of the Nazis in the least.

    But it is perfectly fine to suggest the Palestinians are like Nazis.

    Repair to the YouTube Mr. McClarey posted a while back. There is a sector of public opinion in the Arab world which has aspirations very like that. For a majority party to advocate liquidating a neighboring state is highly unsual – nay unique – in the world today. Even absent a considered programme of extermination, such a project would comprehend a great deal of killing. The precedent in the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-18 is sadly relevant here.

  • Regarding the premise that an elected Hamas government is akin to Hitler’s Nazis being elected- so this scores points for the side that says the U.S. should feel free to use any means to upend the Gazan government- be it pouring money into political alternatives or funding armed resistance or perhaps even overt or covert plans of assassination. This is the slippery slope we are on here at American Catholic blogosphere.

    Here’s a little analogical monkeywrench to loosen up the pro-Israel crowd- and I do mean crowd around these parts.

    Let’s say that there was a “quasi-election” in a large nation and a regime that openly supported the termination of unborn children in the wombs of mothers was “elected” by a majority of the citizens. It is determined that in fact 3-4000 children are murdered each day in this hate-filled society. It is also determined that many of these mothers are profoundly disturbed enough to actually volunteer to take their unborn children into a medical clinic to have the personnel there dispose of these children God entrusted to them. This is the consequence of a mass insanity inculturated by a political and economic order that propagandizes that this is no big deal, that this is an expression of women’s rights and so forth. And the mainstream opposition to this situation is a major political party that claims only that this right to kill unborn children should be an issue decided by individual states- not at the federal level.

    Now suppose you live in another nation that universally recognizes the rights of unborn children to live and be born without fear of termination at the hands of their mothers/fathers/society. Should you use your ample resources to undermine the sovereignty of that evil nation of baby killers? Should you stop at public scoldings or should you send monies secretly to agents of influence who would use those foreign monies in ways illegal to their own nation’s electoral laws? And what about organizing a coup with some handpicked military men, or even stage an invasion if you have a superior military yourself?

    Surely, a nation that kills 3000 children a day in a genocide of unborn, unwanted persons is akin to a democratically-elected Adolf Hitler led Nazi Germany? For even as Hitler attempted to export his brand of Nazi ideology and invade other countries with his military- this modern nation exports the propaganda in many varying forms to the rest of the world encouraging the practice of murdering the unwanted unborn. And it is noted that millions of dollars of private monies are coming from the demented citizenry of this nation to actually fund the killing places on an international level. This is all occuring with an apparent majority of these citizen’s support- these people must for the most part be hideous anti-child, anti-decency- whatever comes of them can only be seen as justified by any truly decent citizen of the world. Why should the good people of the world allow for such Hitler/Nazi-like tendencies to continue without doing something now?? I’m sure there are a few decent members of that society who don’t see the killing of their own little ones as a human right, or as a state’s right to choose- but they are so few and have no powerful position in the mainstream political and economic order- they should be overjoyed for a foreign power such as ours to take control of their situation and nation- and save the children!

  • Tim Shipe:

    The most salient characteristic of the Nazi regime in Germany was its revanchism and the consequent impossibility of developing a stable political equilibrium in Europe absent submission to or destruction of the regime. It presented a much more acute problem for foreign governments than would the incorporation of gross injustices in the mundane social practice of a foreign state.

  • “Surely, a nation that kills 3000 children a day in a genocide of unborn, unwanted persons is akin to a democratically-elected Adolf Hitler led Nazi Germany?”

    The analogy only works Tim if they are engaged in forced abortions, a la China. Legalized abortion is an abomination, but our primary problem is with people utilizing the law to slay their own offspring. Neither Hitler, nor Hamas, would rely on private actors to kill the Jews. All the killing would be by actions of the State. When a regime is dedicated to that type of genocide, I weep no tears over efforts to remove it.

  • Let me get this straight:
    Claim: if it is morally acceptable for the US to intervene against NAZI policy to exterminate Jews, it should be morally acceptable for the US to intervene against Hamas policy to exterminate Jews.
    Counterclaim: If it is not morally acceptable for a hypothetical pro-life nation to intervene against US policy to not prohibit private abortions, then it is not morally acceptable for the US to intervene against Hamas policy to exterminate Jews.
    Is that really the level of argument here?

  • Tim,

    I don’t think anyone here is disputing that it’s fairly natural for those in Gaza to resent the idea of the US messing with their elections or providing support to Fatah in relation to a coup.

    The thing I don’t get about the article, though, (and perhaps you don’t support this aspect of it) is that it seems to be taking both sides and no side. The author blames the US for pushing for elections because Hamas won, but it also blames the US for seeking to leverage Hamas out of power again after the election.

    Yet if the US has simply not encouraged elections in the first place, then Hamas would not have come into power since Fatah wasn’t scheduling open elections.

    Then the author both blames the US for cutting off aid money to the PA because Hamas was elected, and also blames the US for giving aid money to Fatah to fight Hamas. But if the US had not encouraged elections, and had not stopped giving aid money in the first place, than Fatah would have been free to use the money to buy weapons and keep Hamas out of power via kidnapping, assassination, torture and street fighting — which is pretty much how Fatah and Hamas were mixing it up in the first place during the time when Fatah wasn’t holding elections because they weren’t “ready”.

    Now, if the answer is simply that the Palestinians would rather be left alone to have elections or coups or civil wars or whatever occurs, but without the US having a hand in it — which I would certainly understand that. On the other hand, cynical though this may sound, there are some benefits to being a region that the major first world powers are constantly sticking their noses into. The Palestinians have been in a state of recurring strife with the Israelis for sixty years now, and in that struggle they’re massively out-gunned. If the Middle East was an area that no one paid much attention to (like Chechnya or Congo or Sudan or Somalia) would the situation of the Palestinians be better or worse?

    Because there’s so much scrutiny on the area, if the Palestinians are able, somehow, to get some leaders who care more about them than about greed and violence, there are a lot of people who would very much like to see them become a peaceful and state. Israel and Ireland are both good examples of countries which made the transition very quickly from being terrorist states fighting much stronger regional powers to accepted members of the international community.

  • Well, guys, let’s not give the Allies too much credit, either. If the Nazis had never attacked any of their neighbors, but had simply pursued the Final Solution quietly within their borders, it strikes me as doubtful that anyone would have fought a war simply to end the holocaust — at least not till it was far too late.

    It’s the fact that Germany attacked their neighbors that ended in their being fought and defeated.

    The beef people have with Hamas is not that they include many anti-Jewist fanatics among their ranks — it that they tend to launch rockets at the country next door. If they kept things within their borders, the “land for peace” thing would have worked.

  • Perhaps Darwin, although I would note that Sir Winston Churchill was tireless in raising the persecution of the Jews throughout the 1930s in his indictment of Nazi Germany, as he sounded the alarm to a Britain still shell-shocked from World War I. He was joined in this, interestingly enough, by two Englishmen sometimes accused of anti-Semitism: G.K. Chesterton, until his death in 36, and Hilaire Belloc. There were others speaking out in England and elsewhere. Pius XII of course had some involvement in an anti-Hitler plot in January of 1940. If WW2 taught us nothing else, I suspect it is the folly of regarding the type of persecution that Hitler unleashed upon the Jews as ever being simply an internal matter. That, and that when a government has a long record of calling for the extermination of a group, do not be surprised that they will act upon it when they have the power to do so.

  • That, and that when a government has a long record of calling for the extermination of a group, do not be surprised that they will act upon it when they have the power to do so.

    So very very true Don.

  • I certainly agree that some people saw what the Nazis were up to, Don. But it wasn’t till the war started and the Germans were almost to the Channel that Churchill was actually called on to form a government. I fear he would have remained a voice in the wilderness if the Nazis had not actually invaded a British ally.

    That said: As I think about it, Tim, I should apologize for pushing the Nazi analogy further. The 30s being a period that particularly fascinates me (and rejecting the theories that are along the lines of: Ordinary Germans supported the National Socialists because they were eeeeeviiiiil) I’m particularly interested in the question of what pushes people to support extremist/militarist political factions which end up driving them into situations that only hurt them more — but as the “Goodwin’s law” point underscores, usually when Nazi’s are brought up in a conversation it’s because someone is trying to claim that a group of people are so lost to hate that one doesn’t need to think of them as human.

    And I recognize that by bringing up your views on this topic here, it’s already enough like facing a firing squad without terms like “Nazi” being discussed.

  • Darwin,

    I think there were about 800,000 Jews in Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland ca. 1930. Per William Rubenstein, around 360,000 Jews emigrated from Germany during the years running from 1933 to 1939. Absent the war, < 5% of the Jewish population of Europe would have accessible to the SS, so no 'final solution'.

  • When a country faces economic and social stressors, you can have spikes of transient atavism in the political sphere. David Duke’s career in Louisiana during the years running from 1989-93 would be a minor example. The 2d incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan, which had 4,000,000 members in 1924, a quarter that in 1930, and was formally dissolved in 1944, would be another. The Nazi Party was inconsequential in Germany in 1928 and nostalgic parties even more so in the post-war period; their Austrian counterparts were a modest minority readily contained by the Dollfuss-Schuschnigg ministries. One can readily imagine a counter-factual history which would have certain contingencies breaking the other way and the Nazi Party rapidly imploding. They lost support in the last parliamentary election held before Hitler was appointed Chancellor.

    What is disconcerting in comparison is that the — uh – ambitions of Arab particularists of various strains have abided for many decades now.

  • But it is perfectly fine to suggest the Palestinians are like Nazis.

    When you consider that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was Hitler’s guest in Berlin during WWII, that there were Palestinian SS troops, and that “Mein Kampf” is a permanent best-seller on the West Bank (and indeed, throughout the Arab world), I don’t see why Henry considers this some sort of outlandish comparison.

    Godwin’s Law is in effect when you compare people who really aren’t Nazis to Nazis. When you compare people who enthusiastically embrace the goal of making the world Juden-frei to people who enthusiastically embrace the goal of making the world Juden-frei, I call that – an apples-to-apples comparison.

  • I think there were about 800,000 Jews in Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland ca. 1930. Per William Rubenstein, around 360,000 Jews emigrated from Germany during the years running from 1933 to 1939. Absent the war, < 5% of the Jewish population of Europe would have accessible to the SS, so no 'final solution'.

    I suppose, to the extent it would have been easy to simply drive all the Jews out of Germany and Austria, that’s so. (Actually, as I recall, it wasn’t until part way into the war that it was decided for sure to exterminate the Jews. Prior to that, deporting them somewhere suitably out of the way, I believe Madagascar was considered, was considered by the Nazis.)

    On the other hand, I imagine that if all Jews left the Middle East, the anti-Jewish feeling in Hamas would die off pretty soon there after. It’s hard to hate someone who’s not around.

  • It’s hard to hate someone who’s not around.

    I wouldn’t bet on it. Anti-semitism is still alive and kicking in Europe, which now has very few Jews. One of the truly noxious anti-Semites I “met” on the Internet a few years back was from Wyoming. Are there enough Jews in Wyoming to form a synagogue? Yet he knew all about them, without ever having met one in the flesh.

    Just as there sure seems to be a fair number of fundamentalists living in notably non-Catholic areas who know all about the evils of the Pope and Catholicism although they meet Catholics seldom or never.

  • Well guys my impression taken from first hand observation and from the opinions of the Catholics who are actually living in the Holy Land- overwhelmingly the impression I take away is one that is radically different from the positions you hold- it makes me feel ashamed because the Catholic Church is supposed to be a universal, global brotherhood- what I find here is that most of the American Catholics here and elsewhere are so enamored with the propaganda that comes from non-Catholic sources. It seems that no one here wants to take the Palestinian Catholic viewpoint on the subject of Israel-Palestine- I’m not sure what to make of this- some sense of superiority on the part of Americans in general- you really feel a kinship with secular Jews more than Catholic Arabs? I don’t know what else it is because when facts are presented from a Palestinian viewpoint- even from the Latin Patriarch in the Holy Land- these facts and views are immediately dismissed by this crowd-

  • I’m going to move on to other issues because I feel a sick sense of being an alien in alien territory like being on a pro-abortion site and trying to present a case for the unborn- I’m kicking the dirt off my sandals on this issue on this blog in search of another front where there is at least a chance of finding common ground- there is always the easy pro-life zone- it seems to be the one place I can converse with loud and proud conservatives and not experience that sense of dread knowing what is around the next corner- a huge disconnect of mind and heart. These issues may be prudential issues but real people are being killed over them so I am deadly serious about the differences of opinion but I don’t have the time to give these things the necessary documentation to refute the overwhelming number of naysayers- I wasn hoping to attract more of my like-minded brothers and sisters to help make the case while I take care of my 3 little ones and my very pregnant wife- but alas the debate never got off the ground so I’m checking out- do few things but do them well- I can’t do this debate on my own right now- I would suggest maybe taking in Deal Hudson’s reporting- he is a devout conservative and has had lot’s of contact with Holy Land Catholics in the past few years- I have found him to be very informative- you may want to check out his reports at insidecatholic.com or email him about the Palestinians- part of the problem I do find is that the Palestinians for the most part have not defending themselves very vigorously here in the U.S.- some times it seems like I am pulling more weight on this issue than many American Catholic Palestinians- maybe they are afraid to speak out publicly? I know they have strong views when I speak to them privately- so this is a bit of a mystery- I admire the fight in those Jews who support the Israeli position here in the U.S.. I like to model my own activism on their example- even as I disagree with their position.

  • For the stray open-mind that may be reading this- for more on Middle East issues from an Arab Catholic witness- check out Monsignor Labib Kobti’s excellent web site http://www.al-bushra.org God Bless, God please bring justice to the peoples of the Middle East and the Holy Land in particular- this scandal of violence, injustice and indifference must conclude- God Willing

  • Tim,

    I recognize that this is a tough topic in a tough venue for you, so feel free not to respond to this, but I’m trying to bridge some understanding here if possible. (Grabbing a moment while my own pregnant wife is keeping the four kids under control.)

    – Do your Palestinian Christian friends agree that Hamas (and the fact that they managed to get 56% of the vote) is part of the problem, with their rocket attacks on Israel? For instance, with Northern Ireland my first instinct was always to blame the Brits for the impact their actions were having on the Catholic population — but at the same time I loathed the IRA and considered them the instigators.

    – I certainly think that living with and talking with your Palestinian friends, you probably have a better understanding than most of us as to what the impact of Israeli actions are on ordinary, non-militant Palestinians. However, do you think it’s possible that, especially given that travel is pretty locked down and news media is all controlled by one side or the other, ordinary Palestinians may often rather less appreciation for the attacks inflicted on Israel which motivate Israeli actions? For instance, on the flip side, I used to work closely with several Jews who’d grown up in Israel, and could tell stories about taking shelter during rocket attacks and seeing the carnage left by suicide bombings. Obviously, formed by this, they tended to be in favor of very militant responses to Palestinian attacks — since they were familiar with the Israeli side of the picture, which the reprisals were in “the other guy’s” territory. Might this same effect not actually make Palestinian opinion rather biased?

  • Good post, DC. I don’t doubt Tim’s sincerity or his attachment to his Palestinian Catholic friends, but it frankly, disturbs me that he appears to see it as a matter of “rooting for our tribe.”

    Rachel Corrie has gotten a tremendous amount of publicity. But she’s very far from being the only Rachel who has been killed in Israel. Here are some Rachels who had no plays written about them or ships named after them:

    RACHEL Thaler, aged 16, was blown up at a pizzeria in an Israeli shopping mall. She died after an 11-day struggle for life following a suicide bomb attack on a crowd of teenagers on 16 February 2002.

    Even though Thaler was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents still live, her death has never been mentioned in a British newspaper.

    Rachel Levy, 17, blown up
    in a Jerusalem grocery store

    Rachel Charhi, 36, blown up
    while sitting in a café

    Rachel Gavish, 50, killed with her
    husband and son while at home

    Rachel Kol, 53, who worked for
    20 years in the neurology lab at
    Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital,
    murdered with her husband in a
    drive-by shooting by the Fatah
    al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in
    July 2005 (in the midst of a
    supposed Palestinian truce)

    Rachel Ben Abu, 16, killed with
    her teenage friends by a suicide
    bomber at the Netanya shopping
    mall, in July 2005 (in the midst
    of a supposed Palestinian truce)

    Rachel Shabo, 40, murdered with
    her three sons aged 5, 13 and 6,
    while sitting at home

    Should we not care or sympathize with those deaths because those women were Jews and not Catholics?

    http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/TheForgottenRachels.html

    Of course, the link is from a non-Catholic source and so, I suppose, can be dismissed as Zionist propaganda.

    Yes, I realize innocents have, tragically, been killed on the other side too. And the Arab Christians there are in a very difficult bind. If the Arabs laid down their arms tomorrow, there would be peace. If the Israelis did so, they would be slaughtered pitilessly, right down to the last infant. I firmly believe that, and that thought really does kinda bother me, even though they’re not my tribe.

  • Darwin- I really appreciate your effort to understand- I do think that American Palestinians as well Americans here now from Israel will have some obvious points-of-view- it helped me in formulating my own view to spend time with both Palestinians in a village 1/3 muslim, 1/3 Catholic, 1/3 Orthodox, and then a few weeks in West Jerusalem living with an American with a Russian Emigree wife. This was in the early 90’s during a lull after the first intifada which was truly serious overkill by the Israelis- and I went into the West Bank and saw what occupation looked like in Hebron- the Israeli military was there to police the Palestinians- something like 100,000 of them so that a couple of hundred of extremist settlers could set up shop and take over some Arab homes and establishments- this was rubbed in the Palestinian faces every day- I was supposed to take a U.S. AID job teaching English there and I turned it down because I really thought that it would be tough for some Palestinians not to respond to me with violence in their frustration.

    The facts as I saw then and have read more extensively about ever since- is that no matter if Palestinians respond collectively without violence- they do not get rewarded with a true statehood on the 1967 border lines- it seems obvious to me that Israel’s leadership has simply been buying time to move more settlers into West Bank and East Jerusalem- and when they provoke violent responses like when they assassinate some Palestinian or build up some settlement- then they respond with overwhelming and extreme force- look at the numbers of Palestinians killed over the years and especially during intifada times- how many suicide bombers were there back during the first intifada in 1987? If Israel were to give to the Palestinians what has been set forth by the UN resolutions and then continued to receive the suicide attacks of rocket attacks- then I would say- yes- this is self-defense time- I would even agree that the US should make their defense of Israel a part of the peace agreement that gives the Palestinians their WEst Bank/East Jerusalem/Gaza State and gives monetary repayment to those Palestinians forced out during the 48 War- recall that as part of geneva conventions you cannot permanently settle on lands taken during war.

    Now here is Pat Buchanan on the Gaza situation: http://www.lewrockwell.com/buchanan/buchanan138.html

  • Donna- I did not see your response when I was writing one to Darwin- I am in agreement that civilian deaths all around are horrible- that is where my deepest concern begins and ends- we differ as to who is primarily to blame for the root causes of all the violence, and also what steps should we take with our American resources and clout to do everything we can to bring an end to these tragic circumstances.

    If you look back to the First uprising by the Palestinians from 1987-1993 the First Intifada- and here is a link to Wikipedia on that- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Intifada

    You find that the Palestinians were responding to Israel’s dominance and some extreme examples of violence, and that in the beginning the Palestinian citizens responded on their own with many acts of non-violent protests, and with youths mostly throwing rocks and such- the Israeli response was not to stop and listen to the just complaints for the need to allow the Palestinian people a homeland of their own to address the situation of the post 1967 borders whereupon the Palestinians of Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem were placed under Israeli occupation- instead of taking the clue that the long term peace depended upon granting autonomy to the Palestinians- Israel instead decided to try to break down the Palestinians at every level- brutal tactics, and increasing Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories just heaped gasoline on the fire and was also illegal by international legal standards- you cannot permanently settle your folks on land taken during a war- and this is exactly what Israel did and actually has continued to do for reasons that appear to indicate that they hope to one day create a duplication of the American experience with the Native Americans- squeeze them out or put them into little tribal land reservations- this strategy is what I believe is the leading cause of the violence putting the Israeli and Palestinians into a quagmire of repeated violent cycles. This has not historically been a Muslim Jihad thing if you just look at the history of the Palestinian people and their leadership- it threatens to become such with the emergence of Hamas as a new model of extreme Palestinian response to the extreme position of Israel’s establishment. If you choose to see all of this as a Hamas-Jihad problem I would suggest that you have come late to the game- I was in the area in the early 90’s and the Palestinians at that time were a mix of secularists, Christians, and Muslims, Hamas had been initially a group supported by Israel to drive a wedge between palestinians who were led by mostly secularists along the PLO model- so don’t give me the storyline that the Palestinians are just a bunch of Islamists who only know about killing infidels- that fiction is one that will only serve the cause of more and perpetual killing of future civilians.

  • Tim, DC and Donna: I was dimayed by the orginal discussion attempting which attempted to paint the issue by tossing around the “nazi” label. Louis Black’s recent contribution at the Daily show to critique this type of politically bantaring hit it home for me to dismiss this type of political arguement.

    But the conversation has thankfully moved on to address the real issues of suffering and our need to create policies of compassion. Our Catholic religious community, the Passionist, has a house in Bethany and in 2005 “The Wall” was built through our property. Priority must be given for the population that is in the midst of suffering must be listened to. Scripture reminds us that the cries of the suffering goes up to heaven. If we do not tend to these systemic forms of violence then God will tend to us for the role we did or did play in tending to our brothers and sisters in the holy land.

    Both sides of the wall have faced great pain and violence. The Palestinian community suffer from a brutal occupation. The Israeli community suffer acts of terrorism to their communities. What makes the situation difficult is that neither side wants to budge. Groups have tried to bridge this ethnic divide and the Jewish voice for Peace stands out for their great work in attempting to reconcile this ethnic violence.

    Our community has a vested interest for peace. Many of our Catholic community comes from Palestine and violence againts the Palestinians makes no distinguishing difference between Muslim and Catholic Arabs. Not that a policy for peace should but of course it is only human to be concerned primarily with ones own family member. To address this concern our UN NGO, Passionist International, has taken to work with other Catholic NGO’s to go back to the legal international framework that started this entire issue. The violence that both sides face is systemic and that system is particularly rooted in the international organization called the UN. It behooves the United States to return the international body where this situation originated and to again work at empowering this body to force both sides to come to the table by applying real international pressure (primarilly through economic pressure) If Israel knew that their military financial subsidy (which is enormous) is about to be touched don’t you think their tone would change. Likewise if the Palestinian people thought for one second that they would get an actual chance to have a real and secure state that their own political tone would not change. I am not a betting man, but I would money on that possibility. A possibility that no one has wanted to really approach because the self interest of so many players have gotten in the way. Below I will share the position for Passionist International.

  • Freedom Flotilla and Israel’s Attack:
    The attack by Israeli forces on a flotilla carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza might have left more than 10 activists dead. The survivors, mostly Turkish, have been taken to Ahshod, where dozens have been hospitalized.

    As Christians, we tend to naturally sympathize with the Jewish people because of the connection of Christian origins with Judaism, and because of the suffering the Jewish people endured with the Holocaust. Post September 11, we also tend to view terrorist organizations will little sympathy and therefore can identify with Israel, feeling it is justified in its actions of blockading Gaza. So perhaps some important clarifications are needed to gain some perspective on what is happening.

    It is true that innocents, including children, have been killed on and by both sides in the conflict that has raged between Palestinians and Israelis, and both sides have violated international law in doing so. But the violence by Israelis and Palestinians does not have the same roots, nor are the 2 sides culpable in the same way.

    Palestine has been under military occupation for some time, and this in itself is illegal. All Israeli violence in the occupied territories stands in violation of international law – specifically the Geneva Conventions that identify the obligations of an occupying power to protect the occupied population.

    The blockade is a de facto occupation of the territory, asserting control over the land and halting vital aid. The amount of material and food provided is inadequate, precipitating a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Building materials such as cement are disallowed. Occasionally, Israel will dispense with strictness and show a tempered quality of mercy, but given the destruction of homes in Gaza and the need for building materials, that quality is thin.

    Palestinian violence is the violence of resistance, and has escalated as conditions of life and loss of hope breed greater desperation. It is carried out primarily by individual Palestinians and those linked to armed factions, and is aimed mostly at soldiers and settlers in the occupied territories. The rocket attacks in recent years have targeted civilians and are themselves a violation of international law. But the overall right of an occupied population to resist a foreign military occupation, including through use of arms against military targets, is recognized as lawful under international law.

    Israel has every right to arrest and try anyone attempting to attack civilians inside the country. But it does not have the right to occupy a neighboring country, not block aid to the civilian population. And, if it is serious about ending attacks on its own civilians, it must be serious about ending that occupation.

    It is an important fact to remember that Israel’s admission to the United Nations in 1948 was conditioned on its willingness to abide by General Assembly resolution 194, which states, “Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return,” something Israel has never complied with.

    Also, Security Council Resolution 242, passed after the 1967 war, identifies “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” That is understood to mean that the territory Israel captured by war must be returned; that to keep it is inadmissible.

    Unfortunately the combination of the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship” and the vast superiority of Israel’s power in the region, with the 5th most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world and one of the most powerful conventional militaries anywhere, means that other countries in the region and around the world will tend to limit their diplomatic imagination to what they think Israel will accept. That means acquiescence to continued U.S. control of any negotiations. And here in lies the danger, for the U.S. position has never placed international law and U.N. resolutions at its centre.

    Branding activists as terrorists and denying the human situation in Gaza will not help an Israeli cause that is proving more alienating the longer it persists. If there is an inquiry into this incident, it will have to be wide ranging and international.

  • Thanks John for your extensive comments- we will see if anyone who spoke out earlier will take up your challenging perspective.

    As for my own use of the “Nazi” comparables- I did so only to show that such linkages can be cover almost any political situation where there is a conflict with Jewish involvement if one wants to play the Holocaust card in the Israel-Palestine Conflict- but it could also be applied to any situation where there are mass killings taking place with seeming public indifference of support- like the Germans who mostly accepted Hitler’s plans, or much closer to home- Americans who don’t see or don’t want to see the humanity of human lives being terminated in abortion clinics- some 50 million lives according to reports I’ve heard- so when I see the Palestinians- Hamas in particular called out as Hitler Wanna-Be’s- I think that is more than a bit much- it is way to tough to separate out how much of Hamas’ rage against the Jews is really just rage against the Machine of Israeli occupation and assassinations et al. And we have to make clear that our own society is full of contradictions such as our stated ideals of democratic self-determination and aversion to foreign influences- and then taking on the right to intervene in all kinds of ways in places all over the world without really defining how our interests are coinciding with the interests befitting a majority Christian nation.

    Finally- to Donna et al- it is important to place special interest on Catholic Palestine and take care to help with special concern the Catholic Palestinian community- this is something that the Church has always upheld- one of the defenses of the Pope during WWII was that he was compelled to attempt to defend his flock wherever they may be- the reason being is that for the Church to fulfill her evangelical mission She must spread and inculturate everywhere- The Church implanted first by foreign missionaries, is to become impregnated with indigenous priests and bishops- this is what has happened in the Palestinian community- as evidenced by the Latin Patriarchs in the Holy Land- we need to take special interest in listening to their cries, their perspectives must be taken deep, deep into our consciences especially when they are calling out their American Catholic brothers and sisters- I am and I have been listening very intently- I don’t believe that many of the commentators here at American Catholic are quite getting the significanse of this necessary point of contact between Catholic communities. If we are indeed concerned over the possibility of a global radical Islamist movement- then we should do everything in our power to assist the smaller Catholic communities in the Middle East- they are the seeds of hope for the future- to be peacemakers, to be the bridge between peoples- Middle Eastern and Western. Now according to Fr. Mitch Pacwa of EWTN, he estimates that in Israel upwards to 80% of the citizens of Israel who are “Jewish” are actually atheistic or agnostic- so “Jewish” has come to indicate something cultural/biological for some and not really connected to a belief in the Torah/Judaism. This is relevant since we are always debating the Israel-Palestine conflict along the lines of how being on the side of Israel is to be on the side of those closest to us and our way of living and believing- this would be true only if by “we” we are referring to the secular liberal American society- which I don’t think most conservative Catholic commentators are suggesting. So this is just more food for thought for those who have taken a hard position in favor of “Israel- good guy- yesterday and today- Palestinians- violent- not appreciative of Israel’s good faith offers- Islamic radicals bent on wiping out all Jews- just like Hitler”. I will continue to challenge those who pen such beliefs at every turn- they may feel like they and Israel are receiving so much unfair criticism all the time- but just follow the money and the military hardware- Israel has received billions of American public and private dollars every single year for decades- Israel has received American political support in international bodies at every turn as well- American Catholic Israel supporters are hardly the “Davids” in this debate- they are the all-time, big-time, winners if one judges by the facts of where all the American establishment clout has been directed- short answer- it hasn’t been to support the Palestinian Catholics and their leadership’s views on how Americans should act in the Holy Land. I stand with my brother and sister Catholics in the Holy Land- if you wish as Catholics to stand with the mostly secularized Israelis- that is your call- I’m just here to challenge your stated positions and check your influence as Catholic witnesses who are actually harming the Catholic peoples of the Holy Land- contradictions abound here at American Catholic.

  • No sooner did I post the above – then I read that the Vatican shares the perspective that religious freedom is vital in our relationships with Muslim countries- as I wrote a blog entry about a couple of weeks ago about- and also blame is attached to Israel for undermining the Catholic community in the Holy Land- read the article for yourself at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100606/ap_on_re_eu/eu_cyprus_pope

  • Tim,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply, I hope that you’ll feel that I live up to the tone in responding to it.

    I must admit, if I’m understanding your description of when Palestinians would see as a suitable point to consider attacks against Israel unacceptable:

    If Israel were to give to the Palestinians what has been set forth by the UN resolutions and then continued to receive the suicide attacks of rocket attacks- then I would say- yes- this is self-defense time- I would even agree that the US should make their defense of Israel a part of the peace agreement that gives the Palestinians their WEst Bank/East Jerusalem/Gaza State and gives monetary repayment to those Palestinians forced out during the 48 War

    it gives me very little hope that there will ever be peace in the region. It represents pretty much a best-case demand, and I can’t think of any situation in history where insurgent nationalists have received that. (Also, a few elements are notably one-sided: I don’t imagine anyone is stepping forward to compensate the equal number of Jews expelled from surrounding Arab countries in the ’48 war.)

    Consider, by comparison, the way the Irish won independence:

    During the Irish War of Independence of 1919-1921 (which was only the most recent of centuries of Irish rebellion against British rule), the Irish civilian population suffered frequent reprisals from British military/police organizations such as the Black and Tans. One egregious example was the football massacre on Bloody Sunday, when in reprisal for the targeted assassination of 13 British intelligence officers and military personnel, British auxiliaries sent to look for IRA gunmen at a soccer match ended up firing randomly into the crowd with rifles, pistols, and a machine gun mounted on an armoured car.

    In the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921, the Irish delegation led by Michael Collins got far less than they had hoped for. They sought a united and independent Irish republic — they got an Irish Free State, which had to acknowledge the British crown, and they didn’t get Ulster.

    In many ways, perhaps, it was the same as the situation that Arafat found himself in the Camp David Summit. Fortunately, however, Collins was a much greater man than Arafat. The treaty was put up for a public referendum, and Collins (who had won popularity through his leadership of the IRA during the war) supported it publicly.

    When the treaty was in fact passed, a significant minority of the revolutionaries refused to accept it, and the Irish Civil War began. Irish Free State leaders who until months ago had seen their comrades tortured or put before firing squads by the British, had to turn to the British for arms and supplies and fight their own former comrades in order to secure the imperfect free state.

    That was the price for freedom and peace. Once the Irish had shown themselves as a peaceful and responsible neighbor, and once the wounds felt on both sides had healed, there was no violence when Ireland declared full sovereignty in 1937, or left the commonwealth in 1949.

    Keenly though the Palestinians feel their injustices, it’s important to understand that the Israelis also believe themselves in the right — and given the amount of blood spilled at this point there will never be peace if the condition for stopping the violence is that the Palestinians get everything they want. One can only pray that there will someday be a Palestinian leader with the moral and personal courage of a Collins (who was himself killed in the Civil War).

    recall that as part of geneva conventions you cannot permanently settle on lands taken during war.

    I probably shouldn’t bring this up, since it’s a tangential point, but this strikes me as an example of how the UN and modern international agreements are sometimes more an obstacle to peace than a move towards it. The fact is, wars have, throughout history, resulted in the acquisition of territory. And indeed, there’s a certain irony that it was enacted in 1949, as from 1945 to 1950, the Allied powers had set new boundaries in Europe as a result of being the victors in the war, and engaged in the largest act of ethnic cleansing in recorded history: deporting around 14 million ethnic Germans from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and the Netherlands in order to make the ethnic makeup of Europe match the newly drawn borders and assure that a resurgent Germany would never again justify aggression by claiming they were only “liberating” the German-speaking populations in neighboring countries.

    By holding out the promise that property loss 60+ years ago will somehow be made right at some point in the future, if only people will hang around in refugee status indefinitely, I think our international community probably makes nasty conflicts of ethnic nationalism (such as that in the Middle East) even worse than they would otherwise be.

  • Tim Shipe,

    The Arab leadership passed on three clear opportunities to obtain an Arab state on portions of the former mandatory Palestine demographically dominated by Arabs. That, without a lot of deal-breaking paraphenalia, is simply not a political goal of theirs.

  • The highest ranking Catholic in the Holy Land (just recently retired), has been the Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah (lpj.org). The Patriarch has been pleading for years that American Catholics need to work to change the American policy of financing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. He has stated that: “ The State of Israel encompasses 78% of historical Palestine…the remaining 22% was occupied by Israel in 1967, and this is all Palestinians want- a small part of what they had before 1947. They want that 22% to be free of occupation, all of it. Israel cannot have both things- security and occupation. They must give up occupation for security.” (As quoted in the St. Anthony Messenger). The Church has stood behind the Geneva Conventions regarding the right of people displaced by war to return to their homes, and the UN Resolutions 194, 224, and 478, as well as Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of human rights.

    I’ll stand by the Holy Land Catholics- if American Catholic commentators want to deny them and write off their view of their own immediate situation then that’s your deal- I can only urge you do some Deal Hudson type of research instead of relying on whatever dubious sources you have been up to this point- has anyone commenting here actually spent any time in a Palestinian city, town, or village?

  • By holding out the promise that property loss 60+ years ago will somehow be made right at some point in the future, if only people will hang around in refugee status indefinitely, I think our international community probably makes nasty conflicts of ethnic nationalism (such as that in the Middle East) even worse than they would otherwise be.

    Exactly so. Since 1948, the Palis have lived as human title deeds on the West Bank and Gaza. That was not done out of concern for the Palestinians’ well-being (I believe their fellow Arabs could care less) but solely out of a desire to hurt the Israelis.

    Tim, again, you might discount this source because it’s not Catholic, but the renowned Israeli novelist Amos Oz wrote back in 2002 that he recalled his parents telling him that in the Poland of the 1930’s, graffiti abounded saying “Jews to Palestine.” Now graffiti writers in Europe scrawl (and American journalists say): “Jews out of Palestine.”

    Amos said “We are not supposed to be in Europe. We are not supposed to be in Palestine. The message is: don’t be.

    Where, Tim, do you think the Jews should be?

  • This article appeared in the Asian Times:

    It may seem odd to blame the Jews for the misery of Middle East Christians, but many Christian Arabs do so – less because they are Christians than because they are Arabs. The Christian religion is flourishing inside the Jewish side. Only 50,000 Christian Arabs
    remain in the West Bank territories, and their numbers continue to erode. Hebrew-speaking Christians, mainly immigrants from Eastern Europe or the Philippines, make up a prospective Christian congregation of perhaps 300,000 in the State of Israel, double the number of a decade ago.

    The brief flourishing and slow decline of Christian Arab life is one of the last century’s stranger stories. Until the Turks killed the Armenians and expelled the Greeks, Orthodoxy dominated Levantine. The victorious allies carved out Lebanon in 1926 with a Christian majority, mostly Maronites in communion with Rome. Under the Ottomans, Levantine commerce had been Greek or Jewish, but with the ruin of the Ottomans and the founding of Lebanon, Arab Christians had their moment in the sun. Beirut became the banking center and playground for Arab oil states.

    The French designed Lebanon’s constitution on the strength of a 1932 census showing a Christian majority, guaranteeing a slight Christian advantage in political representation. With the Christian population at barely 30% of the total and 23% of the population under 20 – Lebanon’s government refuses to take a census – Lebanon long since has lost its viability. The closing of the Christian womb has ensured eventual Muslim dominance.

    Precise data are unobtainable, for demographics is politics in Lebanon, but Lebanon’s Christians became as infertile as their European counterparts. Muslims, particularly the impoverished and marginalized Shi’ites, had more babies. In 1971, the Shi’ite fertility rate was 3.8 babies per female, against only 2 for Maronite Christians, or just below replacement. Precise data are not available, but Christian fertility is well below replacement today.

    Lebanon was a Catholic project from the outset, and the Vatican’s thinking about the region is colored nostalgia for a dying Christian community and a searing sense of regret for what might have been. If only the State of Israel hadn’t spoiled everything, many Arab Christians think, the Christian minority would have wielded enormous influence in the Arab world. It is true that in many Arab countries, Christians comprised a disproportionate share of merchants and intellectuals. But the same was true of the 130,000 Jews of Iraq before 1947, who owned half the businesses in Baghdad.

    Contrary to the Arab narrative, the peak of Arab Christian influence occurred a generation after the founding of the State of Israel, when Boutros Boutros-Ghali became Egypt’s foreign minister in 1977, and Tariq Aziz became Foreign Minister of Iraq in 1983. In fact, the founding of the State of Israel propelled Christian Arabs into leadership positions in Arab governments. The Arab monarchies installed by the British in Egypt, Jordan and Iraq failed miserably in their efforts to crush the new Jewish State in the 1947-1948 War of Independence. Young military officers replaced the old colonial regimes with nationalist governments, starting with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s 1952 coup in Egypt.

    Nationalism opened the door of political leadership to Arab Christians. The Syrian Christian Michel Aflaq founded the Ba’ath party which later took power in Syria and Iraq. The rise of secular Arab movements with strong Christian influence was a response to the Arab failure to prevent the founding of the State of Israel. After the Turkish destruction of Orthodox Christian populations in the Levant, the Arab Christian elite – for centuries graced by not a single name the world remembers – saw its chance to shine. Lebanon, previously a backwater, and the pugnacious Maronite population, a marginal group except for their ties to France, improbably emerged as the focal point of Levantine Christianity.

    But Arab nationalism failed just as miserably as did the monarchies invented by the British after the Turks were thrown out. Having rolled the dice with Arab nationalism, Arab Christians were left with diminished leverage and declining numbers on the ground in the advent of political Islam. Both in politics and demographics, the Arab Christians largely had themselves to blame. Understandably, they find it more palatable to blame the Jews.

    A case in point is Father Samir Khalid Samir, a Jesuit of Egyptian Arab origin who prominently advises Pope Benedict XVI on Islam. I reviewed his fine book 111 Questions on Islam last March [1]. Samir is circulating what he calls a “Decalogue for Peace”, leaked August 9 on the website of veteran Vatican analyst Sandro Magister [2].

    According to Samir:
    The problem goes back to the creation of the state of Israel and the partition of Palestine in 1948 decided by the superpowers without taking into account the population already present in the (Holy) Land. There resides the real root of all the wars that followed. To repair a serious injustice committed in Europe against a third of the world Jewish population, Europe (supported by the superpowers) decided to commit a new injustice against the Palestinian population, who are innocent of the martyrdom of the Jews. The original decision-making was shaped largely as reparation by the superpowers for doing little or nothing to end a systematically organized persecution against the European Jews as a ‘race’.
    Samir’s plan includes international troops on Israel’s borders, recognition of the Palestinian right of return, an international commission to decide the future of Jerusalem – in short, what the Israelis would consider the end of their sovereignty and the liquidation of the Jewish State. That a prominent Vatican Islam expert would take such a stance speaks volumes about the power of nostalgia.

    There is not a single fact in place in Samir’s presentation.

    Leave aside the fact that the League of Nations in 1922 confirmed the object of the British mandate to establish a homeland for Jewish people in Palestine, and that preparations for the Jewish State were complete before World War II. Leave aside also the pope’s Biblical belief that the Jews are in the Land of Israel because God has commanded them to be there. The fact is that most Israelis, contrary to Samir, descend not from the Jews driven out of Europe by the Holocaust, but rather from Jews driven out of Arab countries after 1947.

    There were 600,000 Jews in Israel on the day of its founding; an additional 700,000 were expelled from Arab lands, including Iraq, where the Jews had lived for 1,000 years prior to the arrival of the Arabs. By expelling the Jews, the Arab countries created a population concentration in Israel that made possible the country’s emergence as a regional superpower. The results were an exchange of populations of roughly equal numbers, Palestinians leaving the new State of Israel and Jewish refugees arriving from Arab countries.

    No, Tim, I haven’t lived in or visited any Palestinian Christian communities. I haven’t lived in or visited any Israeli Jewish ones either. Have you ever considered that your closeness to Palestinian Catholics might be distorting your views a bit?

    Palestinian Christians might think they’ll get a better shake under Muslim Arab rule than under Israeli rule. The facts seem to point in a different direction.

  • Tim, your recommendation makes sense only under the assumption that American aid to Israel in an impediment to some sort of settlement. That aid gives the Jewish population the wherewithal for greater resistance, but that is not a problem for the United States and would not be much of a problem for the Arab population either if the Arab leadership and populace maintained a set of political goals which could be incorporated into a stable political equilibrium. They do not, and no amount of ‘research’ by Deal Hudson or gas from the Latin Patriarch are going to change that one bit.

    Why do the Jews have a state? Because they built one. What problem do you have in the Fertile Crescent? The entrepreneurial sector have other things to do with their lives than cope with the environment created by that region’s wretched political elite and emigrate – to the Gulf emirates, to the United States, to France. The process is most advanced on the West Bank and Gaza where the field has been left to capos, gangbangers, and ululating hags.

  • I have to say that I spent only two weeks in Israel and the West Bank. Went there with a Franciscan priest who lived there for 19 years. Met with both Israelis and Palestinians. Found both prejudiced in their own way. Felt hate towards the other by both. Israelis can be biased. Like American Catholics, so can Palestinian Catholics also be biased.

Some Information You Should Know About The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (From Jewish Voice For Peace)

Wednesday, June 2, AD 2010

It is always time to step back and review the record whenever a discussion starts up on “what’s the deal with that crazy Israel/Palestine conflict?”.  It is tiresome to be on the losing end of the political fight in shaping American policies regarding the Middle East- It is maddening to have to always be on the defense against the charges of anti-Semitism when one is highly critical of the policies of the State of Israel- especially when being anti-Semitic as in being anti-Arab is all the rage today, while being anti-Jewish is one of the worst things any American could be accused of. I am bold in my own words and deeds on this issue because I have nothing to hide, no shameful anti-Semitism, no axe to grind, no family connections- just a strong desire to see the Holy Land be a place that is humane and just, and to see to it that my own nation is a contributor to a positive outcome for the peoples of the Middle East.  That’s it- that’s my storyline- that’s my truth.

I don’t hate America, I hate the sin but love the sinner.  I love my nation but I hate when my nation does something in my name as an American citizen that I believe is really evil, really stupid, or both. It is a glaring fact that America has been the #1 ally and supporter of the State of Israel- both in economic and political terms. This fact of life is not missed by those who believe that the State of Israel has been the primary agent of violence and injustice in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Iagree with this perspective, and I want to change the reality because it is the right thing to do, and many lives all over the region, and even here in the U.S. are in present or potential harm’s way due to some really bad, one-sided, and misguided policies emanating from Tel Aviv and Washington D.C.

I am not going to run over my own story of the time I spent with Archbishop Elias Chacour of Ibillin, Galilee  many years ago- and what I saw in Hebron at that time. And I am not going to run down the list of books I have read to get additional background to the Conflict which has shaped and emboldened my position on this important Catholic and American issue. I am not going to take the chance of being charged with any sort of anti-Semitism with this blog entry because I am going to use a source that is decidedly Jewish. I want an elevated discussion to get going and I don’t want my Catholicism to get into the way- one could (I suppose) make the charge that the organization Jewish Voice For Peace is full of self-loathing Jews, who hate Israel, hate themselves- whatever.  But I think they can manage such charges for themselves- I met some of them when I used to visit San Francisco frequently- they seemed pretty secure in themselves. I think they are a good source of information and here they provide a primer on the Israel-Palestine Conflict 101  (from Jewishvoiceforpeace.org):

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24 Responses to Some Information You Should Know About The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (From Jewish Voice For Peace)

  • A: The ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories is the single most destabilizing factor in Israeli-Arab relations. The Arab League has offered full normalization of relations with Israel if the occupation ends

    You touched on so many issues that I’m going to deal with them one by one as the days go by.

    This one being the first that caught my eye.

    As soon as the Arabs recognize Israel’s right to exist then Israel should give up the “occupied” territories.

    Israel was attacked on its birthday by hostile Arab and Muslim forces.

    The lands get returned first only when the Arabs recognize their right to exist.

    Everything else is secondary.

  • Q: Didn’t Ehud Barak offer the Palestinians almost everything they wanted at Camp David in 2000? And didn’t the Palestinians respond to that offer by launching this much more violent Intifada?

    Arafat had nothing to give. It was a farce from the beginning.

    Until the “Palestinians” recognize Israel’s right to exist, the “Palestinians” won’t negotiate in good faith.

  • Q: Don’t we have to support Israel because it is surrounded by countries that want to destroy it?

    A: The ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories is the single most destabilizing factor in Israeli-Arab relations. The Arab League has offered full normalization of relations with Israel if the occupation ends

    Again, the Arabs/Muslims need to recognize Israel’s right to exist before any negotiations can move forward.

    Israel defended itself and won fair and square.

    The Arabs/Muslims can’t have it both ways.

  • And now, a few notes of reality:

    1. Missed is the fact that Israel became the occupier of the West Bank, etc in a defensive war. The Palestine Liberation Organization was formed prior to 1967 – it is designed to “liberate” that part of “Palestine” currently making up the State of Israel, proper. You start a war and then lose, you take the consequences. Sorry, but Israel gained dispositive authority over the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and Sinai. They can do with it as they please – Moslems are supplicants at the table of the victor as far as this goes, and if the Israelis volunteer to give any of it back, then that is sheer generosity on their part.

    2. If we accept, for the sake of argument, that it is the occupation which causes the problem, then where does “occupation” end and Israel begin? Is there a border line where the Moslem world will agree that Israel has given as much as it can and must not be pressed to give any more? Anyone who looks at the situation knows that the answer to this is, “no”. It isn’t, then, “occupation” but “Israel” which is the bone of contention.

    3. Its a nice bit of gliding over the political differences…Israel is just kinda, sorta democratic and not much better than the Moslem nations. But there are, currently, 14 Arab members of the Knesset – how many Jewish members of, say, the Saudi government? The last time there was a Jewish cabinet minister in Egypt? In fact, how many Jews live in, say, Libya?

    Boiled down we’ve got here a list of half truths – all ultimately designed to undermine the Israeli position. True, it is a Jewish group putting it out…but if ANSWER puts out some opinions about America, would any American of wisdom pay them heed? Should any foreigner rely upon such a group for a true appraisal of American actions and interests? Just because something bears kinship with another doesn’t mean they are on the same side.

    The fact of the matter is that Israel is there and not only must it not go away, it can’t go away – there must be a place in the world where Jews, as Jews, can be absolutely assured of protection. Too much blood has been spilled for us to contemplate a world without Israel. Unless and until the Moslem powers recognize this fact, there simply will not be peace – grasp that: until THEY change, there’s nothing we can do.

    The best form of change would be for the Moslem world to become democratic in governance – I absolutely assure one and all that once the governments of the Moslem world have to cater to the needs of the people, the concern about Israel will dry up…and the Palestinian “refugees” will be swiftly integrated in to their host societies, rather than being kept in cages as political pawns and living title deeds.

    Justice is what works – would you volunteer to go live under Moslem rule? Do you think that if you came in to conflict with a Moslem in Moslem nation that you would receive equal justice under law? You know darned well you wouldn’t – and unjust things cannot demand justice. Its just not possible – until the Moslem world becomes just, all we can do is fend them off and try to change them, but we can’t make peace – and neither can Israel.

  • Q: Isn’t Israel the only democracy in the Middle East, surrounded by dictatorships?

    A: While it is certainly true that Israel?s democratic structures are considerably more advanced than those of its neighbors, Israel fails on many counts. Discriminatory laws and bureaucratic practices in Israel bar Arabs in Israel from many privileges, especially owning land.

    When I see free and open elections in the Arab world like in Iraq, then negotiations can begin in good faith once they recognize Israel’s right to exist.

    And if they don’t, then we know with full certainty the ‘hate’ they have for Jews.

    The blame ‘colonialism’ card only works in the classroom.

    In the real world it’s called racism when your opponent calls lower than apes and dogs.

  • Q: But didn’t the Arab countries kick a million Jews out of their countries after the 1948 war?

    Again with the ‘colonialism’ charge.

    It’s typical that the other is always to blamed for ones situation.

    Arabs invaded Israel and lost.

    Israel has a right to defend itself.

    If you deny that then we have deeper problems to deal with.

  • Q: I see people compare Israeli law to Apartheid, what’s the truth?

    When Christians in Muslim dominated countries can have their issues addressed the same way you all accuse Jews of ‘apartheid’, then we have a starting point.

  • Q: But I have heard that the Palestinians and other Arabs sided with the Nazis in World War II.

    Arafat’s uncle was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem that wanted to “wipe the Jews out” of what was then called Trans-Jordan.

    Pretty much explains itself.

  • Q: I keep hearing about the Palestinian Right of Return. What is this about?

    When Christians get their issues resolved of their ‘Right of Return’ then this issue can be honestly addressed.

  • Tim,

    I appreciate that you have great passion on this issue, and FWIW I certainly don’t think that you are anti-Jewish. I would, however, like to point out what I think are a couple of the actual divisions between pro/anti Israel viewpoints on this issue — in that I really don’t think (given what you quote here) that it’s to any great extent the historical facts that are in question or the desire to the Palestinian people live under a stable and just government.

    While I understand the reasons why you’re so gunshy to being accused of anti-Jewish feeling, I’d point out that those who take the Palestinian side in this conflict (and oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) have an equally inaccurate tendency to reflexively accuse their opponents of being anti-Arab in sentiment regardless of the evidence.

    1) Many of us have a very low level of tolerance for terrorism as a means to achieving what a faction wants politically, and thus have little sympathy for the idea of making major concessions to Palestinian representatives who are actively engaged in terrorism (which the PLO and Hamas have both been to a great extent). One of the reasons why the more hardline elements of Israeli politics have been increasingly successful over the last couple decades it that Palestinian organizations have, by their actions, lent a lot of credence to the claim that if they are given concessions they will simply make more demands and continue to use terrorism against Israel. I think I can claim a fair amount of consistency in this regard as I had exactly the same attitude towards negotiating with Sinn Fein/IRA leaders the The Troubles which started up again in the 60s and ran through the 90s, despite the fact that I sympathize very strongly with the desire for a united Ireland free of British rule.

    2) I have a lack of sympathy with nationalism and old grudges. At this point, the ’67 war was 43 years ago, and for the 20 years from 47 to 67, Jordan owned the West Bank and Egypt owned Gaza. Prior to that, the whole area belonged to the Brits, and before that Turkey. I don’t think that the Israeli’s had an inherent right to have their own country in which they’re the majority either, but the fact is that Israel exists and has been fairly stable and responsible for 60+ years now. So it strikes me as troublesome and unjust to question their right to continue existing. A Palestinian state, on the other hand, has never existed. And I don’t really see why it should be unacceptable for them to either become part of Jordan or become part of Israel — other than that by this point the region has become so troublesome that no one really wants it. If their leadership can show some ability to behave peacefully and responsibly, I certainly have no objection to Palestine being an independent state. But I don’t see why we should see it as a necessity. Indeed, I think far too many people put far too much energy into ethnic nationalism, and we’d all be a lot better off if everyone laid off on that. It’s been one of the most destructive forces of the last 200 years.

  • Suppose for the sake of argument that Barak’s offer was not generous as the Israelis made it out to be. What was the harm then to take what was on offer and wait for better times? One must recall that in 1996-2000 the Israelis were negotiating from a position of strength. Why rachet up the conflict with suicide bombs? Why engage in an unnecessary war which you are bound to lose? It is obvious that for Muslims, peace mean something different than commonly understood. For them peace means a total vindication of their position, given anything less they would be much happier extending the truce and living off the Israelis. And in the meantime they can justify themselves with stories of Saddam Hussein the new Saladdin, or the return of the Iranian Mahdi or now Erdogan Pasha who will restore the caliphate and banish a thousand humiliations.

  • Lost in all this verbiage is the following:

    1. You will not construct a consensual settlement if one of your stipulations is that one party’s obligation is to bend their neck for the axe.

    2. The ultimate and abiding political goal of the Arab leadership in the West Bank, Gaza, and the camps is an ethnic cleansing extravaganza. There is no indication that the bulk of their constituency objects to this.

    3. One cannot help noticing that mention of Sephardic and Oriental Jews is absent, for all that you said.

    4. One also cannot help notice that mention of other refugee problems on the table in 1948, their dimensions and resolution, is absent.

    5. ‘Palestinian refugee’ is defined by the UNRWA as anyone resident in that territory prior to 14 May 1946. Now, just where was it that Yasir Arafat spent three-fourths of his formative years, and Edward Said spent all of his?

    6. There are currently two sovereign states where speakers of the Levantine vernacular Arabic compose nearly the entirety of the population, and a third where they form half the population.

  • Lot’s of he said, she said going on. Would help if Israel released all video footage taken by the passengers.

  • I write as a Jew who has long been active in the Catholic Worker movement and lots of social justice causes over the years. There is too much above to respond to it all. One thing I want to say though is that the Arab world on numerous occasions, including Hamas, have formally or de facto accepted Israel’s existence. It is Israel that has never declared what it’s borders ought to be in a way that truly would allow a viable Palestinian state to exist.

    Christians have been killing Jews and Muslims and Arabs in droves for a long time, but I am not calling for retribution against today’s Christians. I would like us to stop blaming Muslims and Arabs for so much of the violence of the world. The US is responsible for half the arms trade in the world and half the military spending. We’re no real peacemaker. A local synagogue newsletter had an absurd commentary in January about why Martin Luther King Jr (okay, not a Catholic, I know) would support Israel. My general response can be found in the following link, and I hope you will check it out . I also edited the War Resisters League Peace Calendar of 2008 which featured case after case of nonviolent organizing and cooperation across the Arab and Muslim world. Very few Muslims are Wahabists, just as few Catholics are Opus Dei and few Jews are as violent and intolerant as the settlers in Hebron.

    Finally, I hope some of my Catholic Worker and Christian Peacemaker Team friends see this discussion and chime in.

  • “One thing I want to say though is that the Arab world on numerous occasions, including Hamas, have formally or de facto accepted Israel’s existence.”

    Quite right, in English or some other Western language. Then they go back to calling for Israel’s destruction in Arabic to their own populations.

  • Christians have been killing Jews and Muslims and Arabs in droves for a long time,

    Come again?

  • Jim,

    Welcome to the blog, glad to hear your thoughts.

    This is a tangential point to your comment, and I’m not sure if what you say the result of actual misconception, or just reference to pop culture stereotypes, but it’s worth pointing out in reference to your remark:

    Very few Muslims are Wahabists, just as few Catholics are Opus Dei and few Jews are as violent and intolerant as the settlers in Hebron.

    Contrary to popular imagination, Opus Dei is not a remotely fanatical or violent group. (Nor are there such things as Opus Dei monks — even albino ones.)

  • Leaders held Zionists Twenty-three conference since 1897 and the latest conference, held in Jerusalem for the first time in August 14, 1951 to discuss the surface, the issue of immigration to Israel and the question of borders and the purpose of all these Conferences is to study the plans that lead to the establishment of the Kingdom of Zion International, which is one of the most important goals Brotokolathm.

    Met in the conference last hundredth of the hardest of the Elders of Zion, they represent the fifty-Jewish society, and decided in secret plan to enslave the whole world under the crown of king of the descendants of David and through:

    * Come to grips with things in the world

    * Create chaos and pornography among peoples

    * Shed doctrines corrupt and reprehensible calls on the minds of his sons

    * Undermine the foundations of every religion and national ethics and

    Schemes, these criminals, dangerous and highly confidential and it is impossible to give any person (of course this in the past but today they are scattered), but how you became months of fire on science and translator for all languages

    Are the Jews deliberately disseminate these protocols and Tzahero people as confidential, and it leaked to Istfedo of sales or some kind of hype people want to acquire and intimidate those who want to terrorize this expectation can arise in our minds

    But the best known and famous in the history books is to tell the Agreed:

    Is said to be able to master France during the meeting with the leader of the Jews in Akaber hotbed of Secret Freemasonry in France, and misappropriation of those protocols to flee ….

    Received the documents to the ((Alex Nicholas)) a large group of notables Russia East at the time of caesarean section and who pushed her to the world (Russian (Sergei Nilus)), which studied carefully and compare them with the events of the current policy that day and was able to because of it to predict much of the serious events that took place a few years later, such as:

    1. Predicted the fall of the Ottoman Islamic caliphate at the hands of the Jews before the founding of the State of Israel

    2. Prediction of fomenting world wars for the first time in history, losing the victors and the losers together and not accrue Bmganmha only Jews

    3. Predicted the fall of monarchies in Europe were still property already in Germany, Austria, Romania, Spain and Italy

    4. Predictable deployment of strife and unrest and economic crisis internationally, the structure of the economy on the basis of the gold which is monopolized by the Jews

    And other predictions which have been confirmed in large events over the years that followed the era of world, the Russian ((Sergei Nilus)) such as the fall of the Tsarist Russia and spread communism and ruled by a brutal authoritarian rule and to take a center for the dissemination of conspiracies and Kulql in the world

    What is the purpose of these protocols??? You will find the answer through your reading of protocols, but you sum up some of these objectives:

    Develop a Jewish plan to control the world, as the case led Gmawhm This plan is derived from the hatred of religions

    * Jews seek to destroy governments and the temptation kings persecuted peoples and the lure of the people to disobey the kings, and by disseminating the principles of freedom, equality, and so on with the interpretation of a particular interpretation is impossible to achieve

    * Publication of chaotic and pornography through the secret societies, religious, artistic, sports and Masonic Lodges

    * Jews believed that the methods of governance present in all the world and to increase the corrupting included in until it is time for the Jewish kingdom on the world

    Must Statute governed on the people as vile beasts and have to deal with any others with non-Jews, even of the rulers excellent spare chess in the hands of the Jews and enslave most susceptible to money and women, or lure them into positions and the like

    Search the means of printing and publishing, journalism, schools, universities, theaters and the role of cinema and its role and arts of seduction and speculation, and others should be placed under the hands of the Jews

    * Global economy must be based on Gold, Jews monopolized the most powerful of the labor force and production and other forms of wealth

    Develop a Aloguetsaa’almi founded on the basis of the gold which is monopolized by the Jews to be the gold of the strongest weapons to corrupt the young and the elimination of conscience and religions and nationalities, and family and to arouse public opinion and lure people Blshahuat bestiality harmful

    * The need to make a global economic crises always so for Ajriah the world and never gives in the end of the Jewish control of

  • You know, one of the reasons I am a philo-semite in regard to the Jews is because so many people in this world believe the poisonous tripe that emmy is pushing.

  • except for emmy, a great exchange.

    how about this:

    http://westbankspiralplan.blogspot.com/

  • You really going to allow “Protocols” sort of stuff to remain on the comments?

  • You know, one of the reasons I am a philo-semite in regard to the Jews is because so many people in this world believe the poisonous tripe that emmy is pushing.

    That is exactly how I feel, Donald!

    I have a dear Jewish friend who has developed quite a spiel on the “Jews run the world” theme. She says she keeps hearing about how Jews control this, that, and the other – but the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem has yet to give her a call and invite her to join the plot to control the world. She feels quite slighted.:-) She often says, “I’m dying to be a part of this big Zionist cabal that runs the whole planet, but nobody calls, nobody even sends me a lousy postcard. What am I, chopped liver?”

    A lovely lady. When I was sick with the flu this winter she turned up at my doorstep with a big pot of chicken soup.

  • Indeed Donna, I have a similar friend, a young Jewish judge. I only wish all Christians I have encountered in this life had the same kindess, and wonderful good humor, that I have experienced in my interactions with him from his days as a young attorney just starting out.

    n4nadmin, the hate-filled comment remains up because it serves a useful purpose in this thread of reminding readers of the reality of the irrational hatred that motivates anti-semites.

  • Donald- I also will allow the comment to stand- I just now saw it- not to encourage folks to take the easy way out and go- “Oh see, everyone who criticizes Israel must be a Jewish conspiracy nut!”- but to allow that there are some and always will be some who take their criticism of Israel to irrational lengths- just as some who criticize President Obama do so from ulterior motives like they just believe in the inferiority of black people- but it doesn’t follow that all or even most people who don’t like the Obama presidency are simply angry racists.

    A better discussion of sorts is the one still lingering over at the Gaza thread dealing with my complaint against U.S. Realpoliticking there.

25 Responses to Why I am Filing for Separation from the Democratic Party

  • Welcome to the world of independent idealism. Good to have you on board. It’s still (maybe especially) possible to be a good citizen being off the party rolls. I encourage the strategy.

  • I know exactly how you feel. I live in Washington DC, where it’s all politics, all the time. For a few years now I’ve answered the question “Are you a Republican (Democrat)?” with “I’m a Catholic.”

  • I simply must repeat what I said when you mentioned this to me privately — this is a great loss for pro-life Democrats, but God as you seem to have discerned may need your gifts and talents elsewhere for the sake of His Kingdom and, temporally speaking, for the common good.

    I need not ask to know whether I still have your support and you need not ask if you have mine. Have faith, there are sincere pro-life Catholics in the trenches my friend. You have simply chosen a new battlefield; there is only one Enemy.

  • Congratulations to you, and welcome aboard, Tim! But one question: am I completely imagining this, or didn’t you announce/decide this a couple of months ago? I thought I remembered reading a post you had written to that effect, but without all of the outlines for an independent party based on Catholic moral teaching and the Natural Law.

  • What’s wrong with the US Constitution Party?

    It’s platform is the closest to Chrcuh teaching:

    http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php

    I understand, however, that it doesn’t fit the false gospel of the common good, social justice and peace at any price.

    It seems like the writer just wants a socialist party that can call itself pro-life and be Christian in name instead of advocating for a return to the truly Christian Constitutional Republic we once were.

    Why not read and study what this country was founded at insteda of trying to invent some socialist utopia. The common good didn’t work for the Church in the time of Ananias and Sapphira. It won’t work now. And I (along with many, many other Constitutionalists) shall never, ever support it.

  • Paul, it is quite arrogant to assert that people whose views are different than yours and do not think that the U.S. Constitution Party is the closest reflection of Catholic social teaching in the U.S. are merely socialists who want a “socialist party.”

    I think it is an unfair judgment of our Catholicism and our commitment to the teachings of the Church, which requires on some issues much prudential judgment that naturally creates a discussion — and not clear-cut policy positions or views we must embrace.

    Moreover the idea that the United States was ever “truly” an explicitly “Christian” constitutional republic is quite arguable. I find it hard to believe that an authentically Christian society had legal slavery rooted in irrational hate of ethnicity; other points could be made, but I think you are romanticizing history and my argument need not be taken as saying the current situation of America is better or superior but simply that the U.S. was never a “truly Christian constitutional republic” in the sense that you seem to suggest.

    Lastly the idea that people who fail to subscribe to what you have suggested have neglected to “read and study what this country” was founded on “instead of trying to invent some socialist utopia” is nonsense.

    I was not even aware that any sort of disagreement (at least it seems that way in the way you frame your argument, there appear to be only two options) with the position you offer logically implies subscription to socialism. Moreover, it is nonsensical for you to appeal to Catholic social teaching — from Leo XIII to Benedict XVI — and say that the “common good” does not work.

    It would be more credible to argue that what the political left, by and large, presents as the common good is (in your view) a pseudo-common good and the actual common good is something much different — and you could detail it with what you think would work better. But to say the common good “did not work” and will not “work now” while appealing to Catholic social teaching where that very concept is integral to the whole body of the Church’s social doctrine is unbelievably dubious. Honestly, I am not saying this to be harsh; it simply is the case.

    I suppose it is a way to look at things but it is a perspective that I would never, ever support. The political left often gets attacked for claiming to have the correct political translation of Christian values in action and I, to a considerably large degree, can concur that in the current political situation criticism is very warranted. But the political right in the GOP and in my view in conservative third parties, at present, in my view, cannot lay claim to Christian values in their entirety. Many questions are again prudential and need not be dogmaticized — perhaps it is time that we Catholics, particularly those of who choose a specific political avenue or entity, whether it be a party or some other organization, stop trying to box the Church’s teaching into acceptable political language and contrived concepts that derive primarily from secular schools of thought. It is telling when what we call “Catholic social teaching” begins to look conveniently like our party’s platform. Indeed, the Gospel easily transcends all these things.

  • Eric- thanks for your eloquent defense and support- Kevin in Texas- I have been hinting at such a move but I retained my position as vp of florida dems for life until this week- my good friend at the organization- a Catholic- had asked me to take some more time before I made a formal decision- out of respect for this great friend, I decided to wait, pray and see if the Spirit would reveal more- at this point, I really feel that being a non-partisan will be advantageous as a Catholic teacher and in trying to open channels of dialogue working on specific issues rather than risk being written off as a Democratic Party operative or Republican mole inside the Dem party. This decision just feels like a spiritual breath of fresh air- something rare in the political trenches:)

  • Tim,
    Blessings… I too left the party of my youth, however, I came from the opposite side and have landed at Independent as well.
    Eric,
    Wonderful defense.
    Peace

  • Tim,

    Interesting post. It reads to me like you are not rejecting the Democratic party so much as you are rejecting politics per se. I think this is OK; not every Catholic is meant to act in the political sphere. But I do not think such a position can be normative. It is part of the lay vocation to transform our politics from within, and to the extent that you did this as a pro-life Democrat it was a good thing.

    I think generally speaking it is good for Catholics to consider themselves unwedded to any political party. Catholics are wedded to the truth and must understand themselves as Catholics first and then Republicans or Democrats. A Catholic can be a Republican or a Democrat, but they must be a Catholic first.

    Although I’m not thrilled that there is yet another good person giving up on American politics, I am happy to hear that someone is leaving the Democratic party, which in my opinion is virtually unsalvagable. The Democratic party is in principle the party of death.

  • Eric,

    “I find it hard to believe that an authentically Christian society had legal slavery rooted in irrational hate of ethnicity;”

    Slavery had nothing to do with “hate” as we think of it today. It was certainly based in an erroneous view of race, but it was no more hateful in 1788 than it was in 300 B.C. or so when Aristotle was justifying slavery. It was seen as a part of the natural order.

    A lot of the founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, struggled with the issue. So, avoid blanket condemnations in the other direction. The northern states abolished slavery right from the beginning. The southern states had “rational” economic reasons for wanting to keep it – but “rational” does not = morally right.

  • The democrat and republican parties are not the same.

    If more people voted for McCain, we’d have a chance overturning Roe v Wade with the nomimation of more good supreme court justices like Roberts and Alito, but no, we get Sotomaer and Kagan.

    Thanks alot 54% Catholics who voted for Obama or Indepedants! Like you really care about the unborn…rightttt.

    A Catholic with a well formed conscience can not in any way vote for the party of death.

  • Zach- I don’t think you are reading me correctly- I’m not giving up on American politics- I am just backing out of the Democratic party since I could not find any traction for pro-life Dems in my geographic area- I tried through offering a viable candidacy and having a presence in the local media and making contact attempts- but it didn’t happen. I decided it was best for me to purify my own end of things and come clean as an Independent who will work with partisans on the various issues of importance- but will be a non-partisan about it. In a way I am following the lead of Archbishop Chaput who was once one who identified more closely with the philosophy of governance represented by the Democratic Party, but because of the emergence of social liberalism and hardcore secularism in the heart of Democratic Party activism- he has chosen the Independent political path- and since I am a Catholic teacher myself, I think it is prudent to stake out non-partisan territory myself- not to avoid the political fight over the important issues of our times, but to be taken more seriously and to be seen as more consistent than those who seem to allow their Party loyalties to determine their political consciences. We’ll see if this decision makes sense over the longer haul- I am a Catholic first- that is my core message in all this.

  • I pray a lot and the Holy Spirit reveals a lot to me.

    When he talks to me, he starts with “Shaw, love humility, live the Gospels, obey the Ten Commandments, and adhere to the teachings of Holy Mother Church handed down from The Apostles and today from the Pope.”

    He revealed to me “Shaw, you can’t be both a democrat and be pro-life.” And, “You won’t be getting into Heaven if you vote democratic.”

    Early in 2008, this Pope gave four non-negotiables. Despicable dems are 180 degrees, and violently (47,000,000 exterminated unborn), opposed to each and every one.

  • I agree with Jasper and I’m ashamed of being a (cradle) Catholic these days, when 54% of them voted for Barack Obama, a pro-abortion and pro-infanticide politician. As a matter of fact, the Democratic Party has become the party where the Culture of Death has taken hold, and I’m glad I abandoned them over 10 years ago.

    Jasper is correct in that with the GOP, at least we got two solid, pro life, conservative Supreme Court Justices, but with Obama, we’re getting rabidly pro-abortion ones. Way to go, my brothers and sisters in the Church. Next time, please use the God-give reason you were born with and LEARN the candidates’ record on abortion!

  • Paul – Pope Benedict doesn’t agree with you

    Pope calls for ethics in world economy

    “Benedict said the search for common good must inform globalization and be the goal of progress and development, which would otherwise merely serve to produce material goods.”

    http://tinyurl.com/29d528y

  • Non-partisan? Transpartisan?

    I think there’s room for a Christian-Democratic political and social presence in the United States, and it can grow if it plays by the populist playbook, particularly the experience of the Non-Partisan League.

    Perhaps you can take the whole matter up with Oscar De Rojas? I have a hunch he has an interesting perspective on this whole thing.

  • Putting one’s faith in a political party will inevitably lead a sincere Catholic to a sense of disillusionment with politics in general. However, as a means to an end, parties may be used as an imprecise apparatus and like an imprecise apparatus they more often than not accomplish the task with less success than we would like.

    I have yet to see a practical way out of the 2 party system we have in the US that does not, as a by-product, result in one party dominance, after the other party fractures it’s base.

  • Dear Mr. Shipe,
    I was very touched by, and sympathized with, your declaration. I would like you to know that a group of citizens are forming a new centrist political party: The Christian Democratic Union of the United States (CDUSA). We are in the process of redesigning our webpage, but please use my address for any additional communication or request for information. We invite you to please advise us and be in touch with us.

    Our basic political philosophy is quite straight-forward: we are “center-left” (i.e., agree with many Democratic party positions) on most economic and political issues, while we are “center-right (i.e., agree with many Republican party positions)on most social and cultural issues. We are, essentially, the OPPOSITE of what libertarians and Tea-Party groups stand for. Indeed, we reject the labels of “liberal” or “conservative”, because these can have different meanings, depending on what standpoint you look from.
    We do hope to hear from you and your friends, and, in the meantime, remain, sincerely yours,
    Oscar de Rojas
    Executive Director
    Christian Democratic Union of the United States

  • “We are, essentially, the OPPOSITE of what libertarians and Tea-Party groups stand for.”

    That’s unfortunate. Are you sure you know what they stand for?

  • we are “center-left” (i.e., agree with many Democratic party positions) on most economic and political issues, while we are “center-right (i.e., agree with many Republican party positions)on most social and cultural issues.

    That sounds agreeable as stated. The difficulty is that ‘center-left’ on economic matters (at this time and in this country) means the continuous multiplication of patron-client relations between politicians and lobbies, in which the politician is a broker who supplies constituency groups with the fruits of the state’s extractive capacity in return for the fruits of the constituencies’ fundraising, labor, and brand-loyalty. You could call it crony capitalism, but the beneficiaries are not merely favored business sectors but also the social work industry and the public sector unions and provincial and municipal politicians. Call it crony capitalism, crony philanthropy, crony syndicalism, and patronage.

    That’s unfortunate. Are you sure you know what they stand for?

    Joe, it is somewhat disconcerting that ‘TEA’ is an acronym for ‘Taxed Enough Already’. The focus should be on the ways in which the public sector might be circumscribed. Once you have come to an understanding of the appropriate boundary of the public sector, the tax rate is implicit. Complaints about taxation per se enhance the stupidity of the political culture. One can address complaints about tax rates by reducing them, but without a willingness to circumscribe the public sector, you just get deficits. The federal government’s statement of income was in far more parlous shape when Mr. Obama took office than was the case when Mr. Reagan took office, so we no longer have the margin for an extended game of let’s pretend.

  • Thank you for the interesting comments.

    What I mean by center-left in the economic area is that we do believe in a necessary and appropriate level of government regulation of the “free market” to avoid situations of abuse such, as for example, the financial disaster that we still have not gotten out of. And, yes, we are for more progressive taxation — meaning taxing the really reach -not the middle class, certainly not the poor- to further the common good.

    The fact that there is so much cronyism, lobbying, corruption etc. in the political system is somehting that we clearly have to tackle with, but hopefully, with a more just society, these things might also become more repugnant and begin to change.

  • Art,

    Give the people a break.

    “The focus should be on the ways in which the public sector might be circumscribed.”

    There is plenty of focus on that. If you don’t know it, you haven’t interacted with the people in the movement.

    “Complaints about taxation per se enhance the stupidity of the political culture.”

    No they don’t. Statements like this just reveal the extent to which you aren’t affected by taxes. You realize that over half of the tea party is made up of one of the most unjustly-taxed brackets of income earners in America, right? We’re talking people who make somewhere between 50 and 100 thousand or so a year. They pay through the nose.

    “One can address complaints about tax rates by reducing them, but without a willingness to circumscribe the public sector, you just get deficits.”

    Why would you assume this willingness isn’t there? It is.

    “The federal government’s statement of income was in far more parlous shape when Mr. Obama took office than was the case when Mr. Reagan took office, so we no longer have the margin for an extended game of let’s pretend.”

    Again, if you don’t think the tea party acknowledges and address this, you’re really quite out of the loop. Fiscal responsibility, dealing with the debt, stopping the spending and related issues are probably more important to it than the tax rates, I would say.

  • And, yes, we are for more progressive taxation — meaning taxing the really reach -not the middle class, certainly not the poor- to further the common good.

    Um, if, by ‘the rich’, you mean a class of rentiers or latent rentiers (along with senior corporation executives), I think you will find on inspection that you are speaking of around 2.5% of the population who corral about 15% of the nation’s personal income.

    If, by the poor, you mean individuals whose wage and private pension income (w/ salaries or proprietor’s income or annuities in some few cases) is below the cost of a basket of staple commodities as calculated by federal statistical agencies, that would be perhaps 20-25% of the population who corral about 4% or so of personal income.

    The ‘middle class’ (salaried employees and small proprietors) corral north of 45% of personal income and the more prosperous wage earners corral the balance of roughly 35%. You are not going to tax any of these people? Do you plan to finance the state with lotteries?

  • My comments were not derived from my personal fiscal situation (which does include considerable tax liability, though that is none of your business).

    Federal and state income tax codes are so rococo that it is simply impossible (with any degree of thoroughness) to say from descriptive statistics which strata are being ‘unjustly taxed’ and which are not.

    I did not name the ‘Tea Party’. I am not sure to whom the moniker is attributable. It does make me anxious, however.

    I am pleased if you can find a generous slice from among the miscellany of people who are protesting who are thinking seriously about the ways in which the public sector can and should be circumscribed. Any movement has quite a mix as regards its degree of sophistication and seriousness.

    I was a witness to the political discourse engaged in by Mr. Reagan and his acolytes during the period running from about 1978 to 1989. It is not a happy precedent and is one I hope the Republic can avoid. In general, it has not been my observation that an understanding of the relative size of the public sector and the distribution of expenditures between various categories thereof is (in schematic outline) well understood even among the quarter or so of the population who follow public affairs. If there are many counter-examples in the Tea Party, that is all to the good.

  • Tim –

    I’ve also thought about a party based on Catholic Social Teaching principles that could go by the name “The Common Good Party” – which has the great benefit of being shortened simply to the Good Party, with a membership of Good People.

    I’m not nearly as politically astute or experienced as you (or Oscar) though, and very much look forward to your thoughts on how practically to develop such a political force.

    If you want/need any help from the Pacific Northwest, do let me know, and I’ll do what I can!

Praying the Rosary for our Priests- A Pro-Life Proposal as Well

Wednesday, May 19, AD 2010

A nice reminder of all the positives in the Catholic priesthood- why we need our priests, and why we can’t throw them under the bus when they fail our expectations. (hattip Domenico Bettinelli of BettNet blog).

I had a thought a while back- what if a large percentage of priests went over to the nearest abortion clinic, and just camped out there, praying a silent protest? If Catholics wanted Mass they would have to go to where the priests were; and if the authorities told the priests to move on, and the priests refused, then they would all go to jail, and so the laity would not have Eucharist. Forget about denying Communion to this or that politician- why shouldn’t the priests deny all of us Communion- except for those in prison- until we got serious about stopping abortion.  The priest is not ordinarily a zealot, but when a genocide of the unwanted, unborn children gets so little notice by a very distracted society- well it would seem time for Jesus’ priests to overturn some spiritual tables outside the temples worshipping the cult of consumer choice for the life or death of  innocent children.

The priest is perfectly suited for such a protest- he isn’t a businessman, he doesn’t have a wife and children depending on his securing money for the day. Yet, he is needed by every Catholic who knows his/her duty to participate in a weekly Mass- what if the priests said – “hold on a minute- you, the laity, need to fulfill some minimal requirements yourselves- you have a primary responsibility to set the temporal order straight- you can’t keep up this killing of our children on America’s Main Street- get hold of yourselves, and take care of these women and children- for God’s sake as well as your own.” The priests and bishops have had their problems- but the laity have a greater scandal to deal with- our lack of seriousness in seeing to it that all children are able to live and thrive- inside the Superpower and in all the world.

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One Response to Praying the Rosary for our Priests- A Pro-Life Proposal as Well

  • Tonight at 7, our Respect Life Group will pray a Rosary for the unborn as we do every Thursday. I appreciate being reminded to keep our priests in our prayers,too. At our very active parish, one priest has to do the job that formerly was done by two. Our Catholic priests work hard in service to God and their parishes.

    Tom Q.

Christian Versus Christian on Ultrasound Law

Monday, May 17, AD 2010

In this past Sunday’s Florida Today editorial page “letters to the editor”, there was an interesting juxtaposition of letters taking radically different sides on the debate in Florida over an Ultrasound requirement for women seeking abortions.  The bill is currently awaiting Gov. Charlie Crist’s signature- which is anything but guaranteed.

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5 Responses to Christian Versus Christian on Ultrasound Law

  • Abortion is against Christian beliefs
    God is my King!

  • I think you expressed yourself well here.

    Michele strikes me has having an inherent contradiction in her argument: She urges men supporting the measure to consider that “These are your moms, your sisters, daughters and friends”. This seems based on the misapprehension that pro-lifers would want their relatives to be able to receive abortions without fuss. The whole point is that we don’t want people to get abortions — both because we believe it’s wrong (being the killing of an innocent person) and because we believe it hurts the mother, morally and emotionally. As such, suggesting to us that this would inconvenience our female friends or relatives is no counterargument, since we don’t want them getting abortions either.

  • Good points Tim. I pray Governor Crist doesn’t veto the legislation. I’m also glad to see Florida Democrats for Life really behind this bill.

  • “Why do women seeking an abortion, who have the right to their privacy and the right to a legal medical procedure, have to be subjected to an ultrasound and be required to pay for it”

    “Subjected” to an ultrasound? She makes it sound like these poor women are being forced to endure some horrendous torture, when just about any woman who has had kids knows that the ultrasound is usually one of the LEAST invasive and/or uncomfortable procedures performed during pregnancy.

    And even being “subjected” to a transvaginal ultrasound — the type that would be performed very early in the pregnancy before the baby became large enough to be seen via abdominal ultrasound — could hardly be any more invasive or painful than being subjected to a surgical abortion, wouldn’t you think?

  • I think her point is even further nullified by the fact that it is quite typical for an abortion doctor to give a woman an ultrasound (with the screen facing away from her) to view the unborn child to determine its age and point of development in order to decide what particular abortion procedure is most appropriate to terminate the child at whatever its stage.

    Ultrasound laws require that they simply offer to turn the screen — the horror!

One Percent/End the Fed (Nader-Paul, Paul-Nader American Presidency!)

Sunday, May 16, AD 2010
I just watched the documentary “One Percent” with my wife and I have been reading Ron Paul’s book – End the Fed. Very interesting points of contact and dissonance between the two viewpoints.
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3 Responses to One Percent/End the Fed (Nader-Paul, Paul-Nader American Presidency!)

  • The little guy is getting shafted by the World Bank?

    Today’s little guy will usually be the least prepared to weather economic changes. Tomorrow’s little guy has the most to gain but he doesn’t know it yet. Thus, the appeal of protectionism. It’s better to aid the adversely affected than to shield them.

    Lots of little guys depend on big banks and multinationals.

    Both Nader and Paul are experts at proposing the wrong solutions to the right problems. I was swept up in the Ron Paul Revolution in 2008 but I’ve recovered. My biggest issue with him is that, to my knowledge, he’s never articulated how he expects to pay for anything.

  • So the very wealthy investor class member has found a way to get government to print up money to cover the biggest of losses, and enough extra money is spread around giving people some unemployment bail out monies, dubious temporary stimulus paychecks, and other little social service type funds- so that no one wants to completely overturn the current establishment.

    For the record, the folks receiving ‘bailouts’ thus far are as follows:

    1. The Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

    2. Citigroup and the Bank of America.

    3. Chrysler and General Motors

    4. The American International Group.

    5. Miscellaneous finance and insurance companies who received access to the soft loan windows opened by the Treasury department and the Federal Reserve.

    The last were ancillary beneficiaries. The shareholders of the American International Group saw their stake in the company diluted to the tune of 80%. It was the creditors of AIG who were bailed out. That would be institutions like Citigroup who bought credit default swaps from Mr. Cassano’s outfit, and miscellaneous others.

    The shareholders of Citigroup saw the value of their holdings fall by more than 90%, and those of Bank of America more than 60%. Who got paid in full were the owners of bank bonds. Bank bonds are owned by insurance companies and pension funds, whose clientele may be affluent as a rule, but far from ‘very wealthy’.

    The shareholders and owners of mortgage backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac likely are an affluent crew, maybe even ‘very wealthy’. Commercial banks held about a quarter of the outstanding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt, and commercial banks have depositors. Sovereign wealth funds held another large bloc, so defaulting would likely create a political problem with the Far East. Please recall that these are leftover New Deal programs and that efforts by the Bush Administration to reform their accounting practices and increase their capital cushions were sabotaged by Barney Frank, whose boy toy was a Fannie Mae official. Frank ‘cares’ about housing, dont’cha know.

    The Chrysler and General Motors deals were a gift bestowed upon the United Auto Workers, whose clientele are certainly better off than the average American, but not ‘very wealthy’.

    The folks who were bailed out were those whose defaults might generate systemic problems and those who had connections. The latter are not the generically wealthy, ‘very’ or not.

    They are both very good at identifying the wastefulness of most of the wars that now seem to be perpetual,

    Identify for me a bloc of years prior to 1940 when there was not armed conflict in progress somewhere on the globe.

    If you are speaking about the United States in particular, we have not been subject to a general mobilization since 1945. In the intervening 64 years, we were at war for 3 years in Korea, 8 years in Indo-China, < 1 year over Kuwait, and 8 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. That would be about a third of the time, which falls short of 'perpetual'. The wars in Korea, Kuwait, and Afghanistan were initiatives of the other party without qualification and none of our opponents in any of these wars were of the character of the Hapsburg or Hohenzollern empires.

    and they both see that the little guys in this country and around the world are basically getting shafted by the global econom

    Yeah, they are being shafted by reductions in excise taxes on imports.

  • I certainly agree with both men in the video. Both parties are owned by the same people behind the scenes. It is easy for us to fall in lockstep with that idea because we hear that American Electorate process is so civil and gives the people real choices.

    The more I learn what it means to be Catholic, the more I reject our broken political process. I really can’t believe my choices last year were John McCain and Obama just like people were forced to choose between Bush and Gore. Believe what you will, but they are all the same people. They are basically owned.