More Mush From the Wimps

Saturday, April 4, AD 2015

no wimps


R.R. Reno at First Things reminds us that under the current pontificate Catholics who stand up for the traditional teachings of the Church are strictly on their own:




As I expected, the leaders of the Catholic Church have done everything they can to avoid saying anything in response to the furor over the Indiana RFRA. Their counsel is “dialogue,” an unfortunate weasel word long used by administrators who don’t want to take a stand.

On its face, the wording of this bland statement suggests the bishops believe the Indiana law could permit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. (They’re calling for “dialogue” to make sure that doesn’t happen.) But this is an over-reading of the statement. It’s really just a political evasion of responsibility searching for words.

Some months ago, I predicted that Catholicism in America would basically accommodate itself to whatever sexual regime dominates our society. The accommodation won’t be explicit. The Church won’t endorse homosexuality or gay marriage. Instead, the bishops will step aside, avoid controversy, and just stop talking about things that carry a high price for dissent. This duck-and-cover non-statement fits perfectly into this trajectory.

My first impulse is to laugh. The statement tries to signal support for religious freedom, but qualifies. “The rights of a person should never be used inappropriately in order to deny the rights of another.” And so maybe Tim Cook is right to denounce the Indiana law. Time for dialogue. Oh, “justice and mercy” too. But wait, religious liberty is important. Except when it’s not. But sometimes it really is . . .

But I can’t laugh, because the tragedy is too poignant. Doubtless there are faithful Catholics in Indiana who think marriage is only possible between a man and a woman. Doubtless they resist the pro-gay propaganda their children are subjected to by the media and often in school. Doubtless they try to support the Church’s teaching on sex, family, and marriage. In the midst of a propaganda blitz denouncing all dissent from the coming regime of gay rights, this anodyne non-statement says to them, “You’re on your own.”


Go here to read the rest.  Here is the statement of those fearless Hoosier Shepherds with my comments:

April 1, 2015

The date is appropriate.

The recent passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana appears to have divided the people of our state like few other issues in recent memory.

They supported the bill.

We urge all people of good will to show mutual respect for one another so that the necessary dialogue and discernment can take place to ensure that no one in Indiana will face discrimination whether it is for their sexual orientation or for living their religious beliefs.

Translation:  We are in favor of both sheep and wolves so don’t protest us.

The Catholic Church is convinced that every human being is created in the image of God.

Well, duh!

As such, each and every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

We are also in favor of mom, apple pie and baseball!

This includes the right to the basic necessities for living a good life, including adequate healthcare, housing, education, and work.

Hey, can’t we change the subject to the full throated endorsement by Pope Francis of endless giveaways by Caesar?

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22 Responses to More Mush From the Wimps

  • Listening to lots of Fulton Sheen these days…. can’t imagine why it came to mind…..

    A plea for Intolerance
    In the face of this false broadmindedness, what the world needs is intolerance. The world seems to have lost entirely the faculty of distinguishing between good and bad, the right and the wrong. There are some minds that believe that intolerance is always wrong, because they make “intolerance” mean hate, narrow-mindedness, and bigotry. These same minds believe that tolerance is always right because, for them, it means charity, broadmindedness, and American good nature.

    What is tolerance? Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil and a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. But what is more important than the definition is the field of its application. The important point here is this: Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth, but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error.

    America is suffering not so much from intolerance, which is bigotry, as it is from tolerance, which is indifference to truth and error, and a philosophical nonchalance that has been interpreted as broad-mindedness. Greater tolerance, of course, is desirable, for there can never be too much charity shown to persons who differ with us. Our Blessed Lord Himself asked that we “love those who calumniate us, for they are always persons,” but He never told us to love the calumny.

  • The original wimpy mushmeister had trouble setting priorities, making decisions, and building connections with members of Congress. He was also a Navy veteran, engineer, agribusinessman, athlete, and carpenter. He also had brother Billy to mock him and wife Rosalynn to shame him (“aides said his visibly toughened stance after taking the call was pure Rosalynn”). What’s Blaise Cupich got?

  • 1) The bishops get a lot of their spending money from the state. In some dioceses, vouchers for their diocesan schools, or for their “social justice” projects, or adoption through CFS or some such.
    2) I suspect many bishops and priests likely have homosexual leanings themselves, or have good friends who are homosexuals, etc.
    I do have to wonder, however, if “religious freedom” would allow a Muslim taxi cab driver to refuse to transport someone with a seeing eye dog, or allow a Muslim cashier to refuse to check out bacon or ham at the grocery store. Could Muslim men be allowed polygamy? Could they set up Sharia Law courts?

  • In 1532 Henry VIII threatened England’s bishops and extracted the infamous
    “Submission of the Clergy”. Of all the prelates of the kingdom, only one
    bishop, (St.) John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, stood up for the Church and for
    the the Church’s belief in the sanctity of marriage. The Church in this
    country seems to have the same ratio of good shepherds to mushy wimps
    as 16th century England.

  • I do have to wonder, however, if “religious freedom” would allow a Muslim taxi cab driver to refuse to transport someone with a seeing eye dog, or allow a Muslim cashier to refuse to check out bacon or ham at the grocery store. Could Muslim men be allowed polygamy? Could they set up Sharia Law courts?

    Cab service is not a monopolistic common carrier. If he owns his cab, let him define his custom. The cashier works for the firm. If she’s costing her employer sales, let him deal with it by telling her he’s not in the business of promoting her dietary laws so she’d best suck it up or go work elsewhere. Islam permits but does not require polygamy and it generates social problems where it is practiced. One can make this clear to aspirant immigrants. As for ‘Sharia courts’, they can set up whatever private tribunals they care to; it’s just that they cannot call on constables to enforce their decrees.

  • 1) The bishops get a lot of their spending money from the state.

    Catholic hospitals do and agencies like Catholic Relief Services may. Not the diocesan administration.

  • I suspect many bishops and priests likely have homosexual leanings themselves, or have good friends who are homosexuals, etc.

    Per some social research, 20% to 33%. Per Andrew Greeley, a large fraction are not part of any gay social scene. Richard Sipe, who despises the Catholic clergy, put the share of active homosexuals at 10%. Doesn’t explain why the vast majority seem to be men without chests.

  • Does anyone know if this bill will be able to be used by Muslims to have internal sharia law councils?

  • No, they would not be able to have sharia courts on the basis of a law protecting religious freedom. They could have voluntary courts for religious matters whenever they please, which almost all denominations have.

  • Donald,

    I was referring to the dust up over the issue in the following link. Would this law supersede what Irving is trying to do?

  • The town ordinance would be unconstitutional under both the Federal and Texas constitutions. No government in the United States can prevent a religion from establishing a voluntary tribunal.

  • Art Deco wrote, “Cab service is not a monopolistic common carrier.”
    It is, insofar as it requires a hackney carriage licence from the Public Carriage Office, which restricts the number issued to prevent over-supply. They have always been governed by the Prætorian Edict Caupones, Nautæ, Stabularii. Hence a cab standing in a cab rank, or plying for hire, cannot refuse a fare, where the destination is within the area of his licence.
    A private hire company, whose drivers respond to telephone requests may refuse a fare for any reason or none (but have no lien over their fare’s luggage, in the event of non-payment)
    This is why the The acts 1537 c 61 and 1587 c 91 obliging an advocate to plead causes whether he chooses or not if in the one case a client and in the other the court pleases to insist on it is popularly referred to as the “Cab rank principle.” Again, their exclusive right of audience in the higher courts is the justification.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “They could have voluntary courts for religious matters whenever they please, which almost all denominations have.”
    There is the more general right to submit virtually any civil dispute to arbitration, which is an enforceable contract. Most legal systems favour this and both Scotland and France have procedures to compel the appearance of witnesses and havers of productions before arbitrators and decrees arbitral can be registered for summary enforcement.
    Likewise, the parties are free to choose the governing law of their contract.
    However, a decree arbitral can be reduced for misconduct by the arbitrator; this ranges from taking a bribe to misdirecting himself in law.
    This is quite different to the position of the courts of the Kirk. Their jurisdiction rests on the Ministers Act 1693 (still in force), not the consent of the parties. No court can reduce or suspend their sentences; on the contrary: “Their Majesties with Advice and Consent foresaid Doe Hereby Statute and Ordaine that the Lords of their Majesties Privy Councill and all other Magistrates Judges and Officers of Justice give all due assistance for makeing the Sentences and Censures of the Church and Judicatures thereof to be obeyed or otherways effectuall as accords.”

  • “There are many ways to fall but only one way to stand. ” G. K. Chesterton
    I suspect that after gay pride will come beastiality pride, pedophilial pride, etc.

  • How is it going against your faith to serve gay people pizza? It is not a sin to serve gay people pizza. How will the owners know if a person is gay? Will they ask everyone that comes in what their sexual orientation is? Owners of a bake shop making wedding cakes for a gay marriage is another matter, but I don’t understand how the pizza owners were going to deny gay people without asking their sexual orientation, which would be ridiculous.

  • The pizza parlor owners were set up by the tv interviewer desperate for a story. They said that they would serve pizza to gays and had. In the unlikely event that they would be asked to cater a gay wedding, who would serve pizza at a wedding ?, they would decline to do so. The television station ran with the story, and the gaystapo went into action with over the top hatred directed at this small town pizzeria. The hilarious thing is that the owners have now received $800,000 in donations from people who thought, rightfully, that the owners got a raw deal.

    Most merchants would have no problem dealing with gays, without even considering the fact that most of the time who would know. I have represented homosexuals in my practice and thought nothing of it. Forcing people however to participate in a gay marriage is another thing.

  • Those people are Christian haters. They constantly slander Christ’s religion and brawl against His teachings. Christ will forsake the haters (bless their hearts) and lying liars when He comes in glory.

  • Wimps milktoasts. They’ll pull all stops though when it comes to attacking or punishing those attracted to the traditional Latin Mass. Believe me, my family and I have been on the receiving end from Bishop Doherty.

  • And some say homosexual practice is a victimless activity!

  • Not Mush:

    When some homosexual couple comes to your Christian business for services at their immoral event, don’t panic. Go ahead and take their business!
    Then explain what is going to happen next.
    Tell them that the food and services will be just fine. And then inform them that all of the money that they pay for the services will be donated to a traditional pro-family lobby. If it is something like catering, where your employees have to be there to provide services, tell them that all your people will smile, be professional, and everyone of them will be wearing crucifixes and have the Holy Family embroidered on their uniforms. Then show them pictures of your uniforms. When the truck pulls up, speakers will be playing Immaculate Mary. Show them the truck and play the music.
    “Oh, you would be offended by that? I’m so sorry. You approached us because we are Christians. Right? We are happy to provide services for you and we are grateful that you chose to come to our Christian catering business. We just want to be of help.”
    Then tell them that you will take out an ad in the paper to let everyone know what you did with their money, thanking them by name for their business so that you could make the contribution.
    I suspect this approach, if adopted far and wide, would put an end to attacks on Christian businesses.

    Some commentors have their doubts, but I think they’re overthinking it.

  • “I suspect that after gay pride will come beastiality pride, pedophilial pride, etc.” – Kadlec.
    Sadly, Kadlec we are there. In this, the City of Saint Francis (tr.: “San Francisco,” for those born after 1985), one of the main protest groups positioned against Archbp. Cordileone and his attempt to have Catholic teachers sign an agreement upholding “Catholic identity” in diocesan institutions, is of course, our old friends, Dignity USA.
    “An integral arm of DignitySF is ‘The Defenders’, an s/m group that practices “Leather Spirituality.” (California Catholic online 4/1/15). From a false notion of love to bondage and sadism— it is only a short distance.

  • Some months ago, I predicted that Catholicism in America would basically accommodate itself to whatever sexual regime dominates our society. The accommodation won’t be explicit. The Church won’t endorse homosexuality or gay marriage. Instead, the bishops will step aside, avoid controversy, and just stop talking about things that carry a high price for dissent. This duck-and-cover non-statement fits perfectly into this trajectory.
    –R.R. Reno, First Things

    Will we see in 50 years a book titled Sodomy’s Pope?

Do the Girl Scouts Really Help Girls?

Thursday, June 14, AD 2012

Founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low with two Girl Scouts (1912)

With the bishops in the United States investigating the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) this question seems to be on a lot of people’s minds. Do the Girl Scouts really help girls? In many ways, what they teach goes against how I want to raise my own girls, but I never really thought about why. The Girl Scouts have this whole attitude about them that is just, frankly, not feminine.

I grew up with the “you can be anything a man can be” cultural message, and I took it seriously. As a child, I tried to run faster, climb higher, and make better grades than the boys in my classes. Heck, I even hauled hay and shot rifles (still can) as a teen. When Hillary Clinton made her comment about staying home and baking cookies and having teas, I even remember thinking how proud I was that I was just like that in my twenties. Nope, no standin’ by my man like Tammy Wynette. At that point I was a single mother, and an unstoppable force as a scientist on a career path of success (so I stupidly told myself). Older, wiser, and full of regrets, I have come to regard such messages to young women as dangerous to the institution of the family – and to a young woman’s own sense of happiness and fulfillment.

Enough of the trip down memory lane. Do Girl Scouts help girls now?

Rather than base my opinion only on my personal experiences though, I decided to ask my friend Mary Rice Hasson about it. She is also a mother of seven and a lawyer who serves as a Fellow in Catholic studies at the conservative think tank in Washington D.C., Ethics and Public Policy Center. She is an expert on these issues, particularly on Catholic women’s views of  faith, conscience and family. A LifeNews article cites her as agreeing that the bishop investigation is needed, and then quotes her.

“A collision course is probably a good description of where things are headed,” she said. “The leadership of the Girl Scouts is reflexively liberal. Their board is dominated by people whose views are antithetical to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

That got my attention. I asked her about the Girl Scouts, and for advice about raising girls in general. I am more interested in guiding principles than details. I was struck by this advice: “My parents raised us girls (7 of us) to believe we could do anything—but to value motherhood and to retain the sense of femininity that flourishes by embracing womanhood, not aping masculinity.” Bingo!

Value motherhood. Be feminine. Embrace womanhood. Do not ape masculinity.

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28 Responses to Do the Girl Scouts Really Help Girls?

  • So girls and women shouldn’t shoot rifles and bale hay because it isn’t “feminine”? Women shouldn’t be leaders in their communities because they’re more suited to being mothers? What about fathers?

    I agree with a lot of your points, but you seem to imply that girls should avoid certain activities just because they’re “not for girls.” If they have a genuine interest in shooting or boxing or politics, why not pursue it?

    And while not all girls are called to be leaders in their communities, others aren’t called to be mothers, either, and may not benefit from learning how to be homemakers.

  • Thanks Kristin! Girls and women should use whatever gifts God has given them, which necessarily means they honor their femininity and appreciate men for their masculinity. It’s possible to shoot a rifle and still be womanly. 😉

  • The reason I don’t support the girl scouts any more is that they promote planned parenthood.

  • Girls should shoot, do physical work, dream of being a board member and/or be outspoken in class because it’s a good development of who they are, not because they’re told they’re supposed to ape a stereotypical male. Heavens knows that when I got my little .22 rifle, I wasn’t thinking about it as “success”– I was thinking that I could be like my mom, who could take down a jack rabbit from a moving pickup on a bouncy field. (I managed it, too!)

    Heaven knows that when I was outspoken in class and got mocked for it, it’s doubtful Girl Scout’s leadership would’ve objected– I was usually voicing either conservative views or contrary-to-the-narrative facts. (Really bites to be a leftwing manhater when the little loudmouth in front had BOTH grandmothers through college before the second world war, or who insists on correcting you when you say “all” Vietnam Vets are crazy and “all” draftees hate the US, now. In her defense, once she figured out I wasn’t blowing smoke we got along a lot better.)

  • “Girls and women should use whatever gifts God has given them, which necessarily means they honor their femininity and appreciate men for their masculinity.”

    Okay, gotcha. I’m not sure what it means to honor one’s femininity, though. In the eyes of the Church, what is femininity, and how does a woman embrace it?

    “Girls should shoot, do physical work, dream of being a board member and/or be outspoken in class because it’s a good development of who they are, not because they’re told they’re supposed to ape a stereotypical male.”


  • The author’s point, as I read it, was that making out as if the only measures of success (not e the word, “only”) are doing those things. Was/is there any mention of motherhood in Girl Scout materials? I’m on my fourth Girl Scout; I haven’t seen anything. Girls should aspire to use their talents for good, in any way that serves God’s purpose for their lives. but teh *lie* that a woman can *have it all*, and be better/faster/stronger than a man, to the point that no man is necessary, ignores the complementarity built into the Man and Woman He Created Tehm (to shamelessly pplagiarize Blessed John Paul II’s title).

    My wife and I have always taught our girls to seek to be the *women* of God they were created to be; that doens’t exclude motherhood, should they be called to marriage. But it DOES include striving to be MEN. They won’t ever succedd at that (the body parts are wrong, I’m pretty sure).

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  • “My parents raised us girls (7 of us) to believe we could do anything—but to value motherhood and to retain the sense of femininity that flourishes by embracing womanhood, not aping masculinity.”

    Sounds much like what I was shown by example by my Girl Scout Leaders back in the 1960s and 1970s. Not only were we expected by our leaders to learn and use all the camping skills our brothers in the Boy Scouts did, but to also be able care for someone sick at home, take care of babies and toddlers, AND plan and prepare a party menu, and to serve it, during a power outage!

    Being a Girl Scout meant that you knew proper behavior, at an awards function, at a Memorial Service, and at a parade. Sadly, after witnessing some of my much younger sister Girl Scouts last weekend (Rock the Mall) I find, we ARE no different than any other youth group.

    We were once “prepared” for adulthood;
    1. Develop to full individual potential.
    2. Relating to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect.
    3. Develop values to guide actions and to provide the foundation for sound decision-making.
    4. Contributing to the improvement of society through the use of abilities and leadership skills, working in cooperation with others.

    Now? We are told to DISCOVER, CONNECT and TAKE-ACTION. The problem being that so far, there are many girls and adults that have discovered, have connected with others, and our action taking is to take leave of the Girl Scouts USA, Inc.

  • I don’t understand why girls should aspire to be Men rather than Women. There are more differences between Men and women than just bodily features. I can understand girls being taught to act like gentlemen because Gentlemen refers to Men as in Mankind, and the Gentle in Gentlemen doesn’t mean a unwillingness to throw a punch but rather Gentiles who are the ones who run the Villa to make sure that it runs well so Gentlemen are people who make sure society runs well.

  • Stacy it’s interesting that you mention rifles because I have a friend Germany who I as well as others ocassionally skype with (we study the German language) and more recently she got a hunting license which in Germany is pretty tough to get but now she has this huge shotgun so whenever we skype with her you see her pink room with a hello kitty blanket and she say “I shot a boar this weekend.”.

  • Sandra the problem with saying “You can do anything” to a child is that it is false and just bad advice and if you tell a boy that he will say he wants to be a dinosaur.

  • We must not carry the distinction of the sexes to the point of making men and women two different species.

    St Augustine insists that the mind or spirit (mens, anima) is the same in both men and women, who only differ in their bodies. He is very instructive on this and I hope you will excuse some rather lengthy quotations.

    Thus, in his Literal Commentary on Genesis, he says, “Some people have suggested that it was now (Gen 1:27) that the human mind was made, while the human body came later, when scripture says, ‘And God fashioned man from the slime of the earth’ (Gen 2:7); so that where it says ‘he made’ (1:26), it refers to the spirit, while ‘he fashioned’ (2:7) refers to the body. But they fail to take into account that male and female could only be made with respect to the body.”

    And again, he says, “the woman too, who is female in the body, she too is being renewed in the spirit of her mind, where there is neither male nor female, to the recognition of God according to the image of him who created her (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23, Col 3:10, Gal 3:28)”

    He also points out that mind itself has a masculine and a feminine side, “the human mind, in which the human being is made to God’s image and which is a kind of rational life, has two functions: the contemplation of eternal truth and the management of temporal affairs; and that thus you get a kind of male and female, the one part directing, the other complying; it is still the case that the mind is only rightly called the image of God in that function by which it adheres in contemplation to the unchangeable truth. It is to symbolize or represent this point that the apostle Paul says that it is only the man who is the image and glory of God; ‘but the woman’, he says, ‘is the glory of the man’ (1 Cor 11:7)”

    St Augustine is always keen to demonstrate the agreement between Reason (as exemplified by his beloved Plato) and Faith.

  • The message GSUSA wants to convey is what is helpful: that you, a girl/young woman, are alike in dignity with boys/young men, and your gender will not automatically preclude you from participating in society to the best of your abilities with your God-given talents whatever they are. Many character traits and actual skills are gender neutral. If boys grew up knowing how to cook, they could better serve their wives and children should something happen and the feminine arts can’t be attended to by the wife/mother. And if girls grow up learning practical skills like customer service with people who are not related to them, they can feel confident they can function as independent adults, because in this broken world, there are very few valiant white knights around who are providers worth standing by. (Of course, now it seems necessary to hedge against critique and admit what is implicit in the previous line is the disagreement with the notion that letting women know how to provide for themselves creates the slacker man. Taking St. Augustine’s thought as correct, both adults have the same level of mind and ability, and ergo shouldn’t use the other sex’s use of the intellect preclude his ability to use his.)

    The area where Girl Scouts now fails girls and young women is in the application. I agree with the post that it is not helpful to not affirm all choices (motherhood, religious consecration, being happy with “stereotypical” womanly things like cooking and knitting, etc.). That being said…why does it have to be one or the other (only selling cookies vs. only baking cookies)? It certainly seems more holistic to children’s discernment of talents and ways to be God-serving people to find what works for each individual child.

    There is a profound problem of girls/young women and their concepts of self esteem, value, and capabilities – which leads to earlier sexual activity – which leads to larger socioeconomic problems. So it is not wrong to try to find a group that inspires commitment, time away from randy teen boys, service to one’s community, and a sense of worth about yourself (which helps delay sexual activity). But as the post says, the Girl Scout leadership is going about it all wrong. If more Catholics got involved with promoting groups that fostered all the above, but embraced the totality of the feminine genius, we could be the change we seek.

  • Michael I think the word you meant to use is genera not species because species means looks and I am willing to assume that you meant something deeper than looks, species comes from the Latin word specarae which is where the words circumspection, spectacles, and inspector come from. i am not implying that Men and women have different types of souls but rather different bodies, different minds, and different roles in a family, as well as society. I also think the story about woman come from the man’s ribs keeps us from being matriarchal because otherwise we would just realize that men came from women due to women giving birth.

  • I did not mean mind but rather brain.

  • Michael are the quotes you quoted from the Latin St. Jerome Bible? because there are noticeable differences between the Latin Bible and the New American Bible.

  • Michael when you said that both the man and women have both feminine and masculine qualities did you take into account that Men should act like Men and appreciate Women by having some understanding of how great they are in their way of thinking and vice versa? I truly think that one of the reasons why all Men have to a certain extent be sissy-boys and all Women to a certain extent be tom-boys is because otherwise we wouldn’t be able appreciate the beauty of the other sex, Men would otherwise not appreciate the way women jump from one thing to another which make it hard for boys to talk to girls.

  • Stacy, well said.
    Proverbial Girlfriend:
    “The message GSUSA wants to convey is what is helpful: that you, a girl/young woman, are alike in dignity with boys/young men, and your gender will not automatically preclude you from participating in society to the best of your abilities with your God-given talents whatever they are. Many character traits and actual skills are gender neutral.” No, the GS message does not take into account “God given” talents or God’s plan for us. The GS message is actually narrower than the Church’s message for girls and women. The GS have one outcome that is considered successful, the church has many and that success is God’s plan for us.
    My daughter and I are in American Heritage Girls which is a Christ centered scouting organization for girls. The program focuses on building virtue and service to God, family, community. We do that through many different activities including outdoor skills like camping, fire building, hiking etc. And “indoor” skills too. AHG has a memorandum of understanding with Boy Scouts that allows us to use facilities and attend programs. AHG is taking advantage of the successful model and programs of Boy Scouts and adapting it for girls. Girls do benefit from non “traditional” activities like camping and shooting. 1. they learn both the specific skill (fire building), 2. they develop perseverance and discipline by sticking with the task, 3. they learn things boys know which are fun to know and 4. they develop their own interests along the way which might be camping, hiking, and a love of the great outdoors that they would not otherwise have without the exposure. More “traditional” skills are also developed. Girls need to know how to cook and sew and all that good stuff too. All these activities takes place in the context of our values as Catholics recognizing that all our gift and talents come from God and we give them back to God through our service withing the troop, family, church and community. Our troop scripture verse is 1 Cor. 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” You will not get the Christ centered approach in GS. In GS you will walk away with thinking that you control the universe.
    BTW, boys in Boy Scouts will learn to cook. Otherwise they go hungry when camping. As Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts my sons learned meal planning, shopping and cooking (camp and home).

  • I often hear radio spots during “cookie season” about how selling cookies is preparing some scout for managing money and a career in business. Sorry, it’s a lie, like so much we’ve talked about here (the only money handling the girls do is to take it from the cookie buyer and hand it to Mom–the moms are held accountable for all the money, not the girls). If the Girl Scouts can’t be honest about their signature event, how can we believe anything they say about the appropriateness of their goals, let alone how their actions supposedly support those stated goals.

  • Valentin

    In fact, the Vulgate frequently uses genus and species synonymously, as in Genesis 12,
    “et protulit terra herbam virentem et adferentem semen iuxta genus suum lignumque faciens fructum et habens unumquodque sementem secundum speciem suam”

    I was translating from St Augustine’s De Genesi ad litteram, mainly from chapter 22 and I did not check St Augustine’s scriptural quotations against any version, Latin or English

    The distinction between “made” (fecit) and “fashioned” (finxit) is based on “ Et finxit Deus hominem de limo terrae” and the quotation from St Paul is partly in indirect speech “Paulus apostolus virum tantum dicit imaginem et gloriam Dei: ‘Mulier autem,’ inquit, ‘gloria viri est ‘”

    St Augustine develops his point about the male and female aspects of the mind at some length in the De Trinitate, book XII. His distinction between the contemplative and active functions (illa parte consulente, hac obtemperante).

    He always uses “homo” in its usual Latin sense of “human being,” thus, glossing “faciamus hominem,” he says “secundum id quod et femina homo erat, habebat utique mentem suam eamdemque rationalem, secundum quam ipsa quoque facta est ad imaginem Dei – According to which the woman was a human being (homo) and they both had the same rational mind, whereby she was made in the image of God”

  • I’m sure the women of Israel during the Exodus would have been startled to learn that camping was a traditional male skill.

    “Yup, dear, God says you have to set up the tent tonight! Rebecca and I are checking into a hotel in Canaan, because all this wilderness stuff is a man’s job. See you in forty years!”

    As for killing animals, that’s a female skill as soon as something shows up in our ecological niche that looks like food or could kill babies.

  • The question at hand is “Does girls scouts really help girls?”. Let us rephrase the question “Does feminism help girls?”.

    We choose the lacy veil!

    We can teach the kids to start fires, hunt, fish, camp and farm without GS.

    There are many other leadership opportunities for girls to participate in where they will learn to work together, as a team with the opposite gender. This is a much more valuable life skill.

  • Ok, the woman who wrote this article has a phd. She refers for advice to her friend who is a lawyer at a conservative think tank. She is also a woman. So education for these two women is good but our girls should just learn to cook and clean? so by their standards they aren’t feminine.

  • well said Claire….

  • Back when Catholic schools excelled in reading comprehension, the Girl Scouts was a wholesome organization.

  • @Claire,
    The article doesn’t say you shouldn’t learn and be educated. She is questioning why the girl scouts do not hold motherhood as a goal to be achieved by young girls. It should be held at just as high an esteem as the business women. There is absolutely nothing in the article that says girls should just learn to cook and clean.

    I would also say from reading the article that she is a professional who has experienced both worlds and finds motherhood to be more rewarding then business world. Hooray…every young girl who feels called to motherhood should do so and society needs to support them in their “career path”! They deserve the recognition and esteem as the business professional…(really they deserve more)

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:

    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

    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.

  • 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.

Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

In this spring’s debate over the healthcare bill, one of the disagreements that raised eyebrows most in Catholic circles was that between the US bishops conference and the Catholic Healthcare Association and other similar groups. The bishops claimed that the healthcare bill would lead to federal funding of abortions, while CHA et al. concluded that it would not.

In my opinion and that of numerous observers (including most of my fellow contributors here at TAC), the bishops were correct and CHA was horribly, terribly wrong.

There is another question, though… was CHA disobedient? That is, were they obliged as Catholics to accept the conclusions of the bishops conference? Was the activity of the bishops conference an act of their teaching charism which American Catholics were obliged to give their assent to?

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34 Responses to Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium

  • Thank you for raising this important question, Chris.

    I do not think the Catholic Health Association was “disobedient” for not taking the same position as the Bishops. I do think it was a bad political decision and I am not sure if the official stance reflected the views of every member of the CHA. The responses in the media and the internal “church war” did little to serve the visible unity of the Church. I think it could have been a more tactful disagreement — a suggestion, perhaps, that the Bishops’ reading of the legislation might need a second analysis. But it was a very pronounced disagreement that was unfortunately hijacked by the political operatives and partisan Catholics more than ready to paint the USCCB in bed with the Republicans — and we’ve surely gotten portraits of the opposite, that is, of the USCCB having succumbed to liberal politics. I’d like to think that both sides seriously needs to rethink their Catholicism before trying to translate their faith into contrived, acceptable political platforms rooted in secular schools of thought.

    I do thinks the Bishops were right in their basic analysis, but I do think some of the criticisms of their conclusions were actually very legitimate. I think there more at stake in the health care debate — something deeper than — than health care policy, or even the right-to-life issues.

    There was a lot of misinformation, single-word slogans, and rhetoric and willful partisan fighting to simply win. This was most unfortunate.

    I do not think the Senate compromise on the abortion language was necessarily immoral. Politically, it was not what we would desire first, but I don’t think it was a riot. It surely wasn’t the Capps’ language that required in explicit terms abortion funding. I thought that claims that the language was absolutely unacceptable were terribly exaggerated. I believe the scare over CHC’s were a bit naive.

    The serious overriding issue was that the legislation did not say explicitly, leaving room for no ambiguity that no provision in the Act would allow funds to be used to subsidize abortion. The Act did not say that abortion could be funded rather it remained silent. The problem is — to my understanding — is that abortion jurisprudence in the last few decades has a clear tradition of allowing abortion funding when Congress does not explicitly exclude it when it calls for, say, “comprehensive services.” The logic obviously being that abortion is a legal medical procedure and if it is not singled out, then it should be included amongst “comprehensive” and/or “preventative” services.

    There was a Colloquy (a pre-scripted dialogue that goes on the record to clarify and illuminate Congressional intent on certain provisions of a bill) before the House vote on the health care bill that clearly stated that the legislation would be subject to the spirit of Hyde as is all other federal programs.

    Such a colloquy could be cited in Court as evidence to clarify the intention of Congress (when debating whether Congress intended to allow abortion to be funded). An Executive Order obviously would be overturned if it contradicted an explicit statutory law. The problem is that President Obama’s EO does not contradict statutory law and therefore is not absolutely guaranteed to be overturned by a court. But that doesn’t mean that it would hold up in Court either. It could, but then again, it could not.

    Therefore the security of the pro-life provisions are undesirably weak. I think this would be reason enough — even though there were plenty of other reasons — to hold out for amendments to statutory law to ensure that there would no insecurity and no ambiguity over the fate of the pro-life provisions of the bill.

    This is obviously a prudential assessment of the situation and it is clear that I, with a few disagreements, came to agree with the Bishops.

    However, anyone who sincerely and honestly disagreed may not be “disobedient” or a dissident Catholic. Obviously they could be. But I’m not really talking about party operatives or Catholics who are pro-choice or for whom abortion was never really an issue.

    Someone may come to a different conclusion and I’m sure they would present the case for the EO and the final abortion language quite differently. I don’t think they would be correct but I’m not ready to claim that they are a “disobedient” Catholic.

    This brings us back to your fundamental question: was the Bishops’ position on health care an act of the Magisterium? No. I think the approach was very political and pragmatic. The Bishops mostly focused on abortion, conscience clauses for health care professionals, and access for legal immigrants. But there was so many other concerns — voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, government and private-sector rationing of medical care, abuses regarding organ donation (particularly those resulting in euthanasia) mostly because of the dubious concept of “brain death,” not to mention, financial sustainability and the overall structure of the health care system itself. The moral principles are all there but there be an array of policy perspectives from those who fundamentally agree. So I’m not sure sharing the conclusion of the Bishops (as long as one was agreeing morally) was necessary to remain a Catholic in good standing. I’d say it is probably wise not to tread too far from the Shepherds for they have a vast resource pool from which to draw to form very informed and moral conclusions.

    But if the Bishops’ analysis of legislation is an act of the Magisterium then their endorsement or opposition to any legislation whether it’s health care, immigration, or any such thing, no Catholic could disagree. And I’m pretty sure a number of Catholics, particularly in conservative circles, don’t share the USCCB’s position on immigration and therefore I’d suspect that wouldn’t go so far as to say we must always agree with the Bishops’ prudential policy judgments.

  • Can one be disobedient and not violate the Magisterium? If so, I think that happened here.

    I don’t think there was anything close to dogmatic in the bishops’ evaluation of the bill (other than abortion funding is wrong). That said, even in non-dogmatic matters deference is owed to the bishops. If one disagrees with them, one must do so after prudential consideration. Furthermore, I think one ought not to be actively campaigning against them.

    So while the CHA could disagree with the bishops, I don’t think they cared one hoot about what the bishops thought. Indeed, many of the liberal Catholics started painting this picture of the bishops as silly old buffoons easily misled by the NLRC and other Republican groups masquerading as pro-lifers. Worse, the CHA and others went out of their way to show their Catholicism in support of the bill, clearly frustrating the bishops message.

    Nothing the left did shows any support or obedience to the bishops, even if dogma did not require them to agree with them.

  • “So while the CHA could disagree with the bishops, I don’t think they cared one hoot about what the bishops thought. Indeed, many of the liberal Catholics started painting this picture of the bishops as silly old buffoons easily misled by the NLRC and other Republican groups masquerading as pro-lifers. Worse, the CHA and others went out of their way to show their Catholicism in support of the bill, clearly frustrating the bishops message.”

    Bingo! The magisterium that they are loyal to has little to do with the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

  • The misnamed Catholic Health Association was in bed with the Obama administration from the beginning on ObamaCare:

    Abortion simply was not a priority for them in comparison to passing ObamaCare.

  • It seems to me that Sr. Keehan, the CHA et al. went out of their way to snub the Bishops, ignored the Bishops prudential judgment, and were indebted to helping the liberal establishment in passing any type of socialist or national health care regardless of what the consequences are going to be for unborn babies, elderly, and the rest of the most vulnerable human beings. They did not feel any obligation to follow the Magisterium and avoid scandal or a scandalous perception.

  • Obviously the bishop’s position on the health care bill was not a magisterial teaching. Lay Catholics take no vow of obedience to their bishops.

    I am one who thought Capps-Stupak would’ve been great but not absolutely necessary for me to support the bill. I ultimately opposed the bill on the grounds that the bishops told me to and, considering the politics, there was more to be lost in opposing the voice of the Church in America than opposing the bill.

  • Every time I see “the bishops” presented as some kind of Magisterial body I nearly want to go postal. The USCCB and “the bishops” in NO WAY have any teaching authority.

    Cardinal Ratzinger addressed this in “The Ratzinger Report” where on page 60 it says;

    “No episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission; its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops.”

    In other words the USCCB is not an “American Magesterium” – despite the efforts of the bureaucrats who manipulate “the bishops” efforts to pose as such.

    There is an old saying that there are two things you never want to see being made – sausage and the law. I would add a third, a document from the USCCB.

    Their watered down “documents” more often than not muddy crystal clear church teaching after laborious twisting and contorting aimed at preventing anyone form being “offended”. If you don’t believe me – watch the TV coverage of the next USCCB Conference where endless debates over every punctuation mark will bring you to tears. Our “Shepherds” have become congressmen.

    Call the USCCB what it is – an administrative body stuffed with career bureaucrats that speaks out on politics – mostly with liberal positions. The entire mess should be shut down.

  • It could be their hospitals’ solvency was the main motive. Yet that is not supportable, unless . . .

    Else, the “nuns-in-pants-suits'” prudential judgement is that “free lunch/something for nothing” always overshadows liberalisms’ insidious aspects – exterminating 47,000,000 more unborn persons, class envy/hatred, ESCR, gay privileges, immoral public school brainwashing of youth, etc.

    Their priorities seem to lie with secular, humanist progressives. For the secularist, man is the end all and be all and the greatest good is not saving souls but making life better for the convict, drug addict, drunk, felon, fornicator, illegal invader, murderer, rapist, thief, et al: all at the expense of the evil, racist, rich unjust American taxpayer.

    The COMMON GOOD???? Likely (my opinion), every (except the rulers in DC) American will be reduced to an equal level of health care misery and desperation.

  • It is a moral teaching and directive – not to support a law that promotes or supports abortion.

    It has Magisterial binding power coming from each individual bishop who concurred with that. And the pols under the bishop’s authority is obliged to obey as the Lord is to be obeyed. “He who listens to you, listens to me.”

  • I don’t think it’s a matter of being obedient or disobedient to the Bishops per se…it is a matter of being obedient or disobedient to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Lawyers studied the bill and I have read part of it where the bill gives Kathleen Sebelius major authority down the line to distribute federal funds as she sees fit and we know that ‘Catholic’ Kathleen Sebelius is rabidly proabortion, was a friend and colleague of George Tiller who terminated viable babies in the womb…abortion is a grave evil and anyone participating in any way is cooperating with this evil…Sr. Keehan and her group can disagree or not with the Bishops but – they have defied the teachings of the Church which teaches that abortion is the killing of a human in the womb…Canon Law states clearly that anyone publicly promoting such evil cannot receive the Eucharist…our Bishops do not enforce this which is, I believe, why these ‘Catholics’ are becoming more and more defiant and arrogant in their advocacy for abortion. I was told that Joe Biden went to Africa to convince them to legalize abortion in order to receive aid…the Africans don’t want to kill their babies!!! Pelosi preaches about how ‘the Word’ is so important to her…the word was made flesh…where does she think the word became flesh???? In the womb of Mary the mother…would Pelosi have fought so ferociously to exterminate the baby in the womb of Mary? I don’t think we are obliged to follow the advice of Bishops but we surely are not meant to publicly defy them…I think it’s time for the Vatican, for Pope Benedict,to speak into this issue just as he did in his letter to the Irish Bishops – he spoke strongly and forcefully against the abuse of children in Ireland…well, we are talking here about the extermination of human babies in the wombs of their mothers…millions and millions of them!!!!! It must be stopped…please God the Bishops will have the courage to tell Pelosi and Biden and others who advocate for abortion that they are not Catholics in good standing and that until and unless the publicly reject their pro abortion stand they cannot receive the Eucharist…until they do, the slaughter will go on…and on and on…

  • Samwise,

    I completely agree!

    But, I would like to point out that the Pope just recently talked to the priests about using the “rod” against heresy.

    “The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod,” he said, “the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray.”

    “Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented.”

    This is a step in the right direction.

  • The Health Care Bill put together with the USCCB and CHA equals a headache. But I’m glad that you’ve narrowed down the discussion with your last paragraph: “Does the authority of the Magisterium extend to this sort of legislative analysis? If it does not, then how ought faithful Catholics respond to this sort of activity on the part of bishops?

    As previous commentators have said already very thoroughly, the USCCB has no teaching authority. They do serve as a guide for how to apply real Church teachings to real life for Catholics but this does not mean everything they say or suggest is infallible and in fact is sometimes quite the contrary.
    Faithful Catholics ought to listen respectfully and try and understand what the USCCB stands for and may be trying to teach us. I think though, that if one does disagree with some or all of a statement or a posistion of the USSCB they do have a duty to disagree tastefully and respectfully. If love is not part of the motivator behind the disagreement then there’s a problem.

  • Does the authority of the Magisterium extend to this sort of legislative analysis? If it does not, then how ought faithful Catholics respond to this sort of activity on the part of bishops?

    It does not. The bishops do not, as bishops, have the authority to interpret the meaning and consequences of civil legislation. If the bishops had this authority and competency, they would be able to provide an official Catholic interpretation of other documents, such as the U.S. Constitution. But, of course, we don’t look to the bishops for whether we ought to interpret the Constitution as a “living document” or as its writers intended. Such questions reside outside their domain.

    On the other hand, I understand the frustration the bishops feel at the very public disagreement with them made by the CHA and others. They have sought to understand the legislation as best they can, have judged it to be morally problematic, and have, because of their concerns about the potential immoral consequences of the legislation, spoken out against it. Then they see other public Catholics disagree with their conclusions about it. A messy situation, to say the least, but then, the moral life is messy.

    In the case of “Obamacare,” at least, we will soon know who was right. Either it will fund abortions or it won’t.

  • Kyle,
    I agree that the Bishops don’t have the authority to make it obligatory for Catholics to either support or oppose specific pieces of legislation when it comes to the Bishops’ prudential judgments. But, if after researching a particular piece of legslation the Bishops oppose that piece of legislation because of coming to a conclusion that that particular piece of legislation will indeed cover abortions or fund abortions, wouldn’t that fall under the Magisterium’s authority since abortion is an intrinsic evil?

    I would rather be safe than sorry, and be absolutely sure that this piece of legislation does not have federal funding for abortions on demand or taxpayer funded abortions then find out later that Obamacare does fund abortions.

  • But, if after researching a particular piece of legslation the Bishops oppose that piece of legislation because of coming to a conclusion that that particular piece of legislation will indeed cover abortions or fund abortions, wouldn’t that fall under the Magisterium’s authority since abortion is an intrinsic evil?

    Nope. The question here isn’t whether or not abortion is evil or whether or not funding abortion is evil – questions Catholics believe the bishops have authority to speak on. The question here is whether or not this legislation will fund abortion, which isn’t a question of faith and morals, but of legal meaning and consequence.

  • Kyle,
    Then one could draw a similar consclusion when referring to legislation related to border security or immigration, and matters of national security.

  • If the question is “Will immigration legislation do X?” or “Will national security legislation do Y?”, then sure.

  • “…we will know soon know who was right. Either it will fund abortions or it won’t.”

    Though on the question of conscience I think it may take longer.

    Are there any protections for health care workers or hospitals that are Hyde Ammendment-like. That is, will Catholic health care workers and hospitals be able to refuse medical treatments that violate medical ethics? Can the state say to them that if contraception or abortion, etc. is not provided, then they can be denied health care dollars?

  • I would also say that Bishop conferences can teach with magisterial authority but that this is limited to a doctrinal matter and seems to require a unanimous vote (see Apostolos Suos). When it comes to prudential application of doctrinal principles, a Catholic may licitly disagree.

    Thus the arguments that some (not all) in CHA and others offer are licit though I think wrong especially beyond questions regarding abortion. When others disagree with immigration policies or even the general thrust of a document such as Faithful Citizenship, they are also free to do so.

  • Here is an example of why we need to heed our Bishops words, and why our perceptions as to what constitutes “prudential” judgement may not merely fall under the umbrella of prudential judgment in the case of health care reform.

    “Federal funds in the Act can be used for elective abortions. For example, the Act authorizes and appropriates $7 billion over five years (increased to $9.5 billion by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) for services at Community Health Centers. These funds are not covered by the Hyde amendment (as they are not appropriated through the Labor/HHS appropriations bill governed by that amendment), or by the Act’s own abortion limitation in Sec. 1303 (as that provision relates only to tax credits or cost-sharing reductions for qualified health plans, and does not govern all funds in the bill). So the funds can be used directly for elective abortions.
    The Act uses federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover abortions. Sec. 1303 limits only the direct use of a
    federal tax credit specifically to fund abortion coverage; it tries to segregate funds within health plans, to keep federal funds distinct from funds directly used for abortions. But the credits are still used to pay overall premiums for health plans covering elective abortions. This violates the policy of current federal laws on abortion funding, including the Hyde amendment, which forbid use of federal funds for any part of a health benefits package that covers elective abortions. By
    subsidizing plans that cover abortion, the federal government will expand abortion coverage and make abortions more accessible.
    The Act uses federal power to force Americans to pay for other people’s abortions even if they are morally opposed.
    The Act mandates that insurance companies deciding to cover elective abortions in a health plan “shall… collect from each enrollee in the plan (without regard to the enrollee’s age, sex, or family status) a separate payment” for such abortions. While the Act says that one plan in each exchange will not cover elective abortions, every other plan may cover them — and everyone purchasing those plans, because they best meet his or her family’s needs, will be required by federal law to fund abortions. No accommodation is permitted for people morally opposed to abortion. This creates a more overt threat to
    conscience than insurers engage in now, because in many plans receiving federal subsidies everyone will have to make separate payments solely and specifically for other people’s abortions. Saying that this payment is not a “tax dollar” is no help if it is required by government.”

    I found this here:

  • Teresa,
    First, I agree that disagreement with the USCCB is not in and of itself disobedience in any proper sense. So I have no quarrel with the CHS if its interpretation of the law differs.
    That said, the explanation you quote is pretty compelling. Has the CHA ever responded with similar clarity? As an attorney, I am well aware that reasonable people can in good faith interpret a law differently. I am prepared to believe that is what is happening here, but given the USCCB’s general affection for liberal causes its opposition to the health care legislation does seem credible.

  • For example, the Act authorizes and appropriates $7 billion over five years (increased to $9.5 billion by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) for services at Community Health Centers.

    CHAs haven’t performed abortions. Many if not all of them would have to change charters in order to do so.

    These funds are not covered by the Hyde amendment
    This is a point of dispute.

    The Act uses federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover abortions.
    It is presently legal for health plans to offer an abortion benefit. Federal highway dollars cover roads driven on by drunk drivers too. More anon.

    Sec. 1303 limits only the direct use of a
    federal tax credit specifically to fund abortion coverage; it tries to segregate funds within health plans, to keep federal funds distinct from funds directly used for abortions. But the credits are still used to pay overall premiums for health plans covering elective abortions.

    There is no moral requirement to limit indirect funding. Federal housing dollars do not discriminate between women that have and have not had abortions. The tax code does not distinguish deductibility of premiums between plans that offer abortion and those that don’t. Further, there is no substantive difference between this and the USCCB’s endorsed Stupak compromise of requiring a rider be offered to the policies. With an executed abortion rider, a subsidy would still be offered to plans that “cover abortion.”

    everyone purchasing those plans, because they best meet his or her family’s needs, will be required by federal law to fund abortions.

    And this is really no different than today. As a consequence of where one works, one may be forced to subscribe to a plan that covers abortion. However, the idea that the plan that will “best meet his of her family’s needs” will be the one that covers abortion is malarkey and product of closing one’s ears to what insurance company’s have been saying. Insurance professionals have been claiming that they hard pressed to offer a plan with abortion due to the additional costs involved. Due to the additional costs, insurers believe they will have difficulty capturing subscribers on plans that offer abortion benefits.

  • Any thoughts on conscience protections?

  • I’m not sure Phillip. Do you (or anyone) happen to know what is current law regarding conscience protections?

    What are the laws on the books and are they being properly enforced? I think this question is getting regularly overlooked and new laws are being crafted unnecessarily when we could simply enforce or clarify existing law.

    But that is all contingent on whether existing law is sufficiently pro-life.

  • A primer:

    Don’t know what it will all mean with the new Health Care legislation.

  • Finally, how something like this might play in to the discussion:

  • Thank you Phillip for doing a bit of research.

    The next time there is a Republican Congress, the Hyde amendment needs to cease being an budgetary amendment attached to appropriation bills and voted on year-after-year and rather introduced as federal-wide legislation governing any and all monies. This could in effect end domestic subsidizing abortion and act as a permanent “Mexico City Policy” that prohibits funding of abortion on the international stage.

    The other thing is with such widespread abuse on conscience rights as the Bishops note (which I’m assuming didn’t just start happening post-November 2008), current conscience laws should be updated and clarified.

    I’m not sure how this has just now become an issue. We most certainly have dropped the ball on the first item.

    I think the latter story involving the Catholic college could be solved with contracts and this is a solution from a perspective of subsidiarity. But all employers of Catholic institutions should sign a contract stating in clear terms that all medical care and benefits offered to employers, spouses, children, etc will be in line with the clear and consistent teachings of the Catholic Church and no comprehensive plans or benefits will include abortion or birth control.

    The obvious point is that such things if people were to choose those things — unfortunate as it is — they would have to use their own funds.

    There really shouldn’t have to be a need to resort to such protective measures, but it has become increasingly necessary.

  • I think the conscience clause became an issue in Jan/Feb 2009 when the Obama administration stated it was rescinding Bush era protections. Before this it was undoubtedly a problem at local levels which prompted Bush era efforts. Prior to Bush I think most organizations/states accepted that health care professionals could refuse certain procedures that violated their conscience. I know as a medical student and resident I refused to take part in abortions, sterilizations and prescribing birth control. No one gave me grief over this (this was in the 80’s after all.)

    In the new millenium this started to change when organizations such as the American College of OB/GYN insisted that residents be trained in abortion procedures and some states supported this. See here:

    This may have been further made urgent by the Benitez case:

    Thus the prompting of the Bush efforts. It seems to have taken on import with the USCCB with the Obama administration efforts noted above.

    A brief history that may require more unearthing and likely has more parts.

  • The position from the USCCB that points out the need to conscience protections. The threats seem to originate as I noted in the new millenium. Thus the Bush protections and the threat to such protections from Obama administration efforts:

  • “…because the issue here is the competence of the Magisterium to determine the consequences of a particular legislative bill.”

    I suspect that the National Bishop’s council is a different entity than the “magesterium” and as such has “no hierarchal authority.”

    I still await their justification of failing to engage the Catholic issue of solidarity and their earlier approval of “the Welfare state”(Obamacare without abortion) so excoriated by JPII – not to mention their silence on the “death panels” government intrusion into end of life moral decisions by free citizens.

    I wonder why the eccleasial construction of the three bishops who wrote the final turnaround letter after the Stupak fiasco blew up in their faces was labeled the “migrant” bishop? Could that be that socialized Obamacare was really about immigration which the Catechism says is the business of the laity?

    Do they yet have any outside objective investigation ongoing or in the pipeline to find out how they jeopardized charity for the poor itself, by funneling all those millions to ACORN (long known to be of questionable character) to help elect the most pro- abortion pro-infanticide president in history. (thy still haven’t written a pastoral letter of protested about Obama”s installation of the principle of intent allowing the slaughter of a baby outside the womb because the mother intend to abort or simply asked -how long Obama, does such intent last?

    There are far too many unanswered questions about the national bishop’s council to blindly follow what appears to be their politics, as opposed to their obligation to lead souls to salvation.

    I also think the question of the “smoke of Satan in the tabernacle” finally raised by the late Pope Paul continues to require some housecleaning and serious redirection of the American Chiurch at its highest levels. Notre Dame honoring Obama (the first openly infanticide president in history)and the public silence of more than two thirds of our shepherds in the face of that scandal ought to have been the clue that more than healthcare needs to be reformed.

  • These nuns think they can speak for the Church. So, they offer an alternate teaching. And the media whores quickly pick up on the scandal that they’re causing. They’re applying American principles of independence and feminism in places where those do not apply. The community of faith is not a democracy even if they want to make it such and have themselves voted into power. The community of believers are not independent from their traditional and historical origins and an American revolution will not change that nature. But deluded with their degrees and having too much time in their hands plus the limelight of a secular press, these women forge on and wound the very people that they pretend to serve.

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52 Responses to Expiration Dates

  • If Bishop Roger Morin continues his indefensible defense of the CCHD, he should be making that list soon.

  • I don’t see this list as very constructive, and some of the choices are downright baffling. For instance, I have a great deal of respect for Bishop Loverde in Arlington, Va. A bishop who personally marches outside abortion clinics, and writes series on the danger and prevalence of pornography; who sends his future priests to good seminaries. Why is it that we are eager to see him resign?

    The same could be said for many of the bishops on that list, I am sure, although I am not familiar with all of their work. I don’t understand why we would speak so uncharitably about so many dedicated bishops, and I think this type of flippant derision is in tension with the Catholic mission of this site.

    It’s not that I think the bishops are beyond reproach. I just think our criticism of the bishops should be more measured. As it is, I have no idea why most of those bishops are on the list.

  • Couldn’t disagree more John Henry. Many of the bishops in this country over the past four decades have been an ongoing affront to faithful Catholics. Blog criticism is a small penalty for the wholesale clerical malpractice they have been engaged in. As to Bishop Loverde, a good starting place would be to become familiar with the case of Father James Haley.

  • I hadn’t heard about the Father Haley case (not sure how I hadn’t). At the same time, I notice you, like a good litigator, have changed the subject. The question is not whether bad bishops should have to endure the criticism of irrelevant bloggers, but whether you have evidence that every one of these bishops is, in fact, a bad bishop, and whether the type of flippancy displayed in your post is a constructive way to address the (admitted) problem of bad bishops.

  • How many people actually PRAY for their Bishop?

    Oh, it’s true that I can’t stand liberal Democrat clergy (bishops or priests) who place the false gospel of social justice and peace at any price ahead of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    But that said, how many of us lift our priests and bishops up in prayer? If we have time to criticize them at a blog site (I confess my guilt!), then surely we have time to pray for them.

    PS, I think the Bishop for my Diocese (Raleigh, NC) is absolutely great and I pray for him every night, but I would do that even if he were a liberal Democrat – perhaps more so if he were.

    I won’t mince words: CCHD and much of the USCCB is biased towards that stupid liberal Democrat idea that we can somehow create peace on Earth by social justice programs. Horse manure. Only the Second Coming of Christ will do that.

  • Ditto what John Henry said. Couldn’t agree more.

  • In regard to each of the bishops mentioned on the list John Henry I believe they are bad bishops and I would be happy to give chapter and verse as to each bishop noted as time allows. Flippancy and humor can often be important tools when pointing out that authority has been abused. Heaven knows that silence and polite criticism seems to have been little good in bringing reform to the “hapless bench of bishops”, in Bishop Bruskewitz’s ringing phrase.

  • I understand where John Henry is coming from.

    Granted I may not have taken the same approach as that website, but our bishops are not above criticism.

    Decades of inaction and gross display of horrible management have boiled to the top in the form of blogging.

    Now the faithful have a forum to express their joys and displeasures of our Catholic faith.

    A bishop that not only does nothing, but does things that tear down our faith, for example the terrible bishop from LA, Cardinal Mahony, are leading thousands astray with their form of leadership.

    To stand by and do nothing probably falls under the sin of omission.

    My two cents worth.

  • I would be happy to give chapter and verse as to each bishop noted as time allows.

    Right. But you haven’t. I don’t mind criticism, but the person criticizing bears the burden of proof. If I put you on a list of ‘bad Catholic bloggers’ (which I would not do), I doubt you would be particularly impressed by the assurance that I could cite chapter and verse about why you’re a bad Catholic blogger.

    You’d want to see the evidence prior to being placed on the list, or at least at the time you were placed on the list. And blogging isn’t nearly as hard as being a bishop. Given the difficulty of the job, I think we owe a little more upfront courtesy to bishops.

    And, notice, you’ve said that ‘flippancy and humor can be important tools when pointing out authority has been abused,’ but you’re not pointing out any abuse here; just highlighting a ‘bad bishop’ list and saying you hope they retire. We should at least provide reasons if we’re going to be rude enough to compile a list of who we’re hoping will retire soon. And, really, the list seems unconstructive anyway, even assuming arguendo that humor can sometimes be constructive, and that these are bad bishops.

  • I’m not too impressed with Loverde. He encourages Altar girls. That’s enough for me to not trust him.

  • There are some Bishops on this list that really shouldn’t be on here. My own Bishop – Donald Wuerl – made the list, and I don’t think he belongs in the company of Trautman and Clark. I think he’s been too weak when it comes to the issue of dissident Catholic politicians, but he’s more outspoken than his predecessor, and is generally a very Orthodox and good Bishop.

  • Phil – I think that’s hilarious. There were two dioceses in the country that didn’t permit altar girls. Loverde changed the policy to allow them. I have my own criticisms of Loverde (and I’m shocked by the Fr. Haley case), but if altar girls is one of your main criticisms of any bishop I’d say he’s doing a great job. I’d also agree with Paul on Wuerl – again, criticisms can be made, but he is no Mahoney.

  • Don,
    You’re familiar with Bishop Lucas, I would assume. What are the criticisms of him?

    Regarding Fr. Haley, we have only ever heard his side of the debate. Arlington is by far the most conservative and traditional (politically, liturgically, morally) diocese I’ve lived in (Chicago, Green Bay, Peoria, and Washington D.C.). Regarding female altar servers (hardly an essential issue, I would think), he’s made it optional – up to the pastor’s discretion. Neither my current parish nor the one I worshipped in when I first moved here has them.

    I think the people who run that website are in for some disappointment when some of the Bishops are moved to more prominent assignments, as recently happened to Lucas and is likely to happen to Gregory and Kicanis. That the Pope selected Wuerhl for DC and made O’Malley a cardinal when the previous cardinal was still under 80 (which he hasn’t done for any other archbishop in the US, and not for many elsewhere) seems like has confidence in them too.

  • Cute. Two things.

    First, if you’re going to time things down to the hour, minute, and second, the least one can do is correct for the proper time zone in which these bishops live.

    Second, I love the emergence of political correctness in the Catholic Right. “Bad bishop” has suddenly come to mean “a bishop who insulted me by some subtle or significant dig at my own very special and excellent personal faith.”

    The time zone error belies the narcissism behind this kind of an effort and its support.

  • “Right. But you haven’t.”

    But I shall. As a matter of fact a “bad bishops” series of posts is taking shape. Thank you for the inspiration!

    “And blogging isn’t nearly as hard as being a bishop.”

    By the “fruits” of many bishops over the past few decades I doubt if hard work necessarily equals productive or good work.

  • “I don’t see this list as very constructive…” I have to agree w/ John Henry. And your claim that this list was “Something cheerful for a Thursday morning!” proved false. Wasn’t it St. Francis who always knelt upon seeing a priest no matter how scandalous that priest’s behavior? And as a rather well-known priest and preacher to millions has said, if we spent as much time praying for our bishops as we do criticizing them…

  • I think John Henry is correct on this one. Even if you have qualms with the Bishops, this might not be the best avenue or way of expressing it. I’m not sure that one can quite so easily create a list of “bad” bishops and for it to be entirely accurate. Obvious mishaps aside, one does not live in every diocese and observe every move and action of a Bishop. A lot of it has to hearsay and even then, some conceptions are inevitably biased. There is much a Catholic can be doing to promote God’s reconciling action in the world, being an actual agent, rather than compiling a list of Bishops you can’t wait to see gone retired from their office.

    In any event, I think the list is absurd. I’ll pray for the Bishops and the whole church and for everyone who has no qualms with this list.

  • I would disagree with some of the bishops on this list. I would also add my bishop who just directed the local Catholic Charities not to do any work on behalf of pro-life issues in the coming Legislative session. Only economic issues are to be pursued. Pro-lifers have been advised, essentially, to find other means and resources to pursue pro-life legislative progress. No help from the diocese.

    I would disagree somewhat with saying bishops are above reproach. I agree with praying for them. This first and foremost. But when they enter the political arena, then criticism is fair. When there is outright dissent from Church teaching – even more so. Life’s tough, they’re not babies and I do have a voice.

  • I don’t think anyone offering criticism here is saying that the Bishops are above reproach. I’m disagreeing with this general method.

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  • In regard to Bishop Lucas I thought he did a poor job in cleaning up the Bishop Ryan mess. I live just to the north of the Springfield diocese so I am painfully familiar with the details.

  • Fair enough Eric. Though such an approach is sometimes effective with thick, clerical skulls.

  • “Wasn’t it St. Francis who always knelt upon seeing a priest no matter how scandalous that priest’s behavior?”

    Mary Beth I think it is precisely that type of attitude, and I was guilty of it, that unknowingly aided and abetted predatory priests and the bishops who concealed their crimes. I will never give a priest or a bishop a pass on criticism simply due to their office, but rather hold them to a higher standard than I would a member of the laity.

  • One recalls Erasmus’ “In Praise of Folly.” Rather cutting critique of the clergy of the day. Perhaps Donald can name his bishops list after that.

  • John Henry,

    You can laugh all you want. It is as laughable as people who say that single issues should not determine how people are going to vote. We, who oppose abortion see it as laughable. Here’s what is not laughable to me, a Virginian from the diocese of Arlington:

    While Loverde scores well with the abortion issue, he has failed miserably when it comes to protecting the sacred liturgy. Any bishop who cannot understand how promoting girl servers leads to a road we all hope we won’t end up on (women ordinations) is either blind to the mysticism of the sacraments or just doesn’t care about the historic fabric of the Church.

    When a bishop decides to invites girls to serve, because he feels backed up in the corner by the Vatican into permitting the Latin mass for people who want it, that is not good leadership. That is plain politics.

    When a bishop tells a woman she cannot receive the precious Body on her knees because of his misunderstanding or his misinterpretations of written documents, that is leadership gone astray.

    Where are the boys lining up to jump at service to the Lord on His altar where the priests have taken Loverde’s words into action?

    I tell you, I worked at a parish where I had to instruct girls on how to serve and never have I felt more confused at the lack of honor and commitment by both sexes who decided to stay on and serve at the altar.

    When a bishop gives in to pressure from groups that don’t desire holiness from the liturgy, but some sort of political correctness, then we have failed leadership.

    OK..let’s talk about Fr. Haley now

  • Did I miss something, but what controversies was Christoph Cardinal Schonborn involved in?

  • Bret,

    He officiated a “balloon” Mass in Vienna, and then had the audacity to claim that it wasn’t really a balloon Mass.

    Then yesterday he took a month-long vacation to Medjugorie.

    He’s a big fan of those fake apparitions.

    Regardless of where you stand on Medjugorie, a bishop is not allowed to violate another bishop’s ruling on matters such as these. His mere presence is already causing a scandal.

    He’s lost all credibility in my eyes.

  • I’m with John Henry on this one.

    I’ve been critical of particular bishops in the past, but I never thought anything of it until I started looking at some nasty “progressive” Catholic sites. I was able to recognize their contempt where I’d never noticed my own. (That’s how sin usually is, isn’t it?)

    Donald McClarey is right about the danger of undue respect. Personally, I’m afraid that I’m off-the-charts erring in the other direction. There’s got to be a way of showing respect, obedience, and suspicion. I haven’t figured it out.

  • When criticizing bishops or priests, one must ask if it is criticism aimed at improving the Church, or at settling scores. Much of the criticism I see online seems more of an exercise in amusing or gratifying the like minded rather than actually doing anything constructive. The website linked above seems like a perfect case study of this sort of sniggering attitude.

    Just my five cents.

  • JohnH,

    I already gave you two cents.

    You accept Canadian peso’s?

  • “I already gave you two cents.”

    Tito, two cents don’t go as far as they used to!! 🙂

  • I’m old.

    I remember when I could buy a small round bubble gum in one of those glass globes at the supermarket for a penny!

    Or was it a dime?

    Anyhoo, I pretty much put all my pennies in a jar labeled “retirement fund”.

  • A penny. I remember those days too.

  • Any bishop who cannot understand how promoting girl servers leads to a road we all hope we won’t end up on (women ordinations) is either blind to the mysticism of the sacraments or just doesn’t care about the historic fabric of the Church.

    Maybe if the Right-wingers didn’t spend so much time in the 1940s telling everyone there was no need for the Dialogue Mass because the altar server making the responses represented the laity of the congregation, people today might buy the Right-wing new assertion that the altar servers are “little priests”.

  • Don, I have lived in the Springfield diocese for the past 4 1/2 years, and I didn’t see what was so awful about Bishop Lucas. He inherited a real no-win situation and while he could have done better cleaning up the mess Bishop Ryan left behind, he also could have done a whole lot worse. (At least he didn’t leave the diocese bankrupt from sex abuse lawsuits.)

    It’s true he didn’t come out publicly swinging against pro-abort pols like Springfield’s own Dick Durbin; but maybe it wasn’t necessary. When the pastor of the parish Durbin attended, or used to attend (Msgr. Kevin Vann, now bishop of Fort Worth, Texas) said he wouldn’t give Communion to Durbin, Bp. Lucas didn’t publicly say anything, but did he really have to? He simply let the pastor’s decision stand, and to this day (according to a conservative Catholic blogger of my acquaintance) Durbin attends Mass in Chicago or D.C. whenever possible, since he knows he can’t go to Communion at home.

    Needless to say his successor will still have a tough job ahead of him. Until further notice, on the last weekend of every month, all parish Masses in the diocese are offered for the intention that God send us a good and holy bishop. Hopefully those prayers will be answered.

    The episcopal rumor mill, such as it is, has been pointing to Auxiliary Bishops Paprocki and Perry of Chicago as possible contenders, but we shall see. (If new bishop rumors reported by local media were infallible, your bishop’s name right now would be Vigneron!)

  • Also — Tito, what the heck is a “balloon Mass”? When I Google that phrase all I get are results related to mass balloon launches and/or balloon events in Massachusetts!

  • Elaine, I think Bishop Lucas was far too slow to act and left too many of Ryan’s cronies in positions of power for far too long. For the benefit of people who don’t live in Illinois here is a brief overview of the sordid story of Bishop Ryan:

  • In regard to Bishop Ryan, he might have remained Bishop of Springfield but for the agitation of a small group of lay Catholics who were widely denounced as nuts. I thought they were nuts at first. How foolish I was.

    These people knew what was up in the nineties. I find it impossible to believe that Bishop Lucas didn’t have precisely the same information from the moment he took over in 1999.

  • Don, the story you linked to is from 2005. Since then there have been no further scandals or revelations of past scandals, and no new multi-million-dollar lawsuits — which is more than can be said for some other dioceses. It appears that the Msgr. Costa incident (which occurred just before I moved to Springfield) might have been the catalyst that finally got Bishop Lucas to act. The investigation mentioned in the story finally wound up in 2007, and confirmed what everyone already knew about Bishop Ryan, Msgr. Costa, et al.

    If Bishop Ryan’s actions inflicted potentially fatal wounds upon the Church in the Springfield Diocese, Bishop Lucas at least stopped the “bleeding” and got things stabilized; it will be up to the next bishop (and probably one or more after him) to make it healthy again.

  • Oh by the way Tito — never mind — I found pictures of the balloon Mass, which is exactly what I suspected it was… a Mass with lots of balloons, and Eucharistic bread that looks like it was picked up at a 2-for-1 sale on pita pockets at the local supermarket. Has Cardinal Schonborn gone off his rocker or what?

  • I am sorry that many folks do not see the crassness of this website. I am also sorry for the coy sophistry with which the owner denies detracting from them. Some of the men on the website could have done truly disturbing things. Some of them were favorites of mine until I heard about one scandal or another – filthy art exhibits in the cathedral, Holy Communion knowingly given to Protestants, and so on.

    In private and personages are the key phrases, though.

    In private we may feel how we feel, and may share our feelings with others privately. But to publicly broadcast our misgivings does little to help the Church. Moreover, if we join our adversaries in hostility to our leaders, whose side, exactly, are we on? I do not see how this website can possibly be said to build up the faith, hope, or love of the Catholic faithful.

    Personages is precisely not what these persons are. They are not primarily “famous people,” even if they themselves have gotten too comfortable in their role as “really important.” They are primarily human beings, individuals with souls every bit as much as you or I. They are not cardboard cut-out supervillians, but real people with shoes and socks, stains on their shirts, bad stomachs or consciences, nieces and nephews who think they’re “the best,” and anxieties or regrets about the future and about their mistakes. Those bloated with pride have unfortunately become so as a consequence of their position. All the more reason for us to remember that they are just who they are – damaged souls in need of their Savior.

    To be frank, the solicitation for prayers on their behalf rings tinny and hollow given the clear intent of the website. I wonder, sometimes, what scandals I might cause if put into such a strong limelight. What scandals, brothers and sisters, do you think you might cause if your peculiar vices and foibles were magnified by greater opportunities to sin than you yet possess? These men are not unique in experiencing or capitulating to cowardice or lust, to greed or sloth.

    The site is clever and well-designed. I wonder whether it is of any benefit to souls out there, or whether it is rather only a misplaced outlet to really very legitimate anger over the mis-shepherding of the Church in so many places. A better outlet might be prayer and fasting for our shepherds, and encouragement to others to model for our bishops the sort of calm, strong love that they wish to receive from them. Needless to say, this site does not in any way model for us the sort of respect and obedience we are supposed to demonstrate for our bishops.

    God bless.

    Ryan Haber
    Kensington, Maryland

  • To be clear, by “this website,” I meant the GoodbyeBadBishops one… not American Catholic, of which I am very fond.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    “Mary Beth I think it is precisely that type of attitude, and I was guilty of it, that unknowingly aided and abetted predatory priests and the bishops who concealed their crimes.”

    No, sir, deference to the office of priest is not to be confused with complicity in the crimes of one. A petty example to make my point. Today I sat in line for sometime to make my confession at a large church in the area with several, often long, lines. Only one line was in use until a man, dressed entirely in black with a sweater zipped up to his chin (and so without a visible Roman collar, if he wore one) decided to leave the line and stand in the second, vacant line for the same set of confessionals, thereby perhaps intending to bypass those of us in the first line. I said to him, “Excuse me, sir. There is only one line in use right now; we have been waiting.”

    The man in line next to me whispered, “He might be a priest.”

    I responded, “I don’t know if he’s a priest, but I do know that there’s a line.”

    There is no call to “give a pass” on criminal or immoral behavior. At that moment, I would not have fought the man in black for my place in line, but I took sensible measure to ensure that everything was on the up-and-up.

    If I personally know of criminal or immoral activity going on, I will do what I can to stop it. Publishing a list of bishops I do not like and the times at which they are projected to retire hardly accomplishes – or even advances – this goal. Moreover, a number of the men on that website have not actually even been accused of anything miscreant or malfeasant. They are only managing their diocese in a way that somebody else does not like.

    It is a funny thing, how much their detractors feel they know about most of these bishops and their circumstances, compared to how little they probably actually know about either.

    If one of these bishops intervened in my family and said, “Hey, look, you’re not raising your daughter right!” I’d be right to ask what the heck he knows about my daughter. It’s very much the same situation. There is so much going on even in a parish that only the pastor knows about. So many of his decisions are based on factors of which I am totally unaware – of which I must, for good reasons, remain totally unaware. I am not here speaking about gross criminality, like child abuse; but about decisions I do not understand, like who excommunicates or does not excommunicate whom.

    It is very easy to stand back and carp at Catholic bishops, but on precisely whose side does such ugliness place us? Are we then advocates for Christ and His Church, or are we playing the Devil’s advocate?

  • One last note before going off to bed, Mr. McClarey. I note your case for Fr. Haley comes from the Washington Times. While we are perhaps more sympathetic to that paper’s overall bias than we are to its competitor’s, I still wonder how reliable on religious matters a source may be that is owned by the Moonies. The Rev. Sun Myung Moon believes that he is Jesus Christ, and in true ecumenical spirit presided over the marriage of (Catholic) Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to a Korean acupuncturist.

    I know something of Fr. Haley’s case through personal contact with some people directly involved, and know that it is not as clear-cut a case of the mean bishop persecuting the orthodox priest as it the WT makes it sound.

    All this illustrates a point I made in my previous post – there is a LOT of information a bishop considers in some of his decisions that we just do not know. It is dangerous to think that we know more than we do, and to make rash judgments as a result.

  • Ryan, the Father Haley story has been all over various media sources, and the fact that I cite the Washington Times is completely irrelevant as to what happened to Father Haley.

    In regard to priests and bishops, I think an exaggerated deference to them did cause too many Catholics to turn a blind eye to manifest corruption among the clergy. I know that was certainly true in my case, and it is an error I am not going to be guilty of again. I respect the priesthood and the bishops, and I will follow their lead as shepherds of the church. However, when they act like fools or corrupt shepherds I believe it is the duty of the laity to point this out.

  • Not to get off topic but is this assertion accurate?

    “Maybe if the Right-wingers didn’t spend so much time in the 1940s telling everyone there was no need for the Dialogue Mass because the altar server making the responses represented the laity of the congregation, people today might buy the Right-wing new assertion that the altar servers are “little priests”.”

    And even if it is, how many Catholics are still around that remember or paid attention to what “right wingers” were saying in the 1940s about the server taking the place of the laity? (One would have to be past age 70 to fall into this category.) So how is it relevant to the current situation?

  • I agree with Donald’s last post.

    Too many times have these bishops and priests been given a pass.

    Many of them may have been alerted of their behavior and mismanagement, ie, as in Cardinal Mahony, yet they still continue to abuse their positions and the faith.

  • Right, but it’s a red herring, Donald and Tito. I said right off the bat that I was setting aside criminal and grossly immoral behavior, about which we have a duty to challenge anyone, and publicly if the behavior is public.

    Many of the bishops listed on the website aren’t even accused of anything criminal or grossly immoral, but only of running their diocese in a way that others don’t like. That’s a whole different question.

    That’s a whole different question.

    Moreover, the point remains that the WhenWillTheBishopRetire website is crass and uncharitable. It will help, as far as I can tell, precisely zero souls grow in faith, hope, or charity – and that is supposed to be the work of every Christian.

  • Katharine,

    If you are still reading this post and its comments, what the heck is a right-winger, and what has one got to do with liturgy? Is a right-wing liturgy one with swastikas? What? I don’t get it.

  • Ryan,

    I see where you are coming from.

    But the website can serve as a warning to the faithful. The faithful can take the knowledge that they may be in the diocese of one of these bad bishops and not be led astray from Christ.

    Jesus will take care of the rest of them as he fashions millstones for each one of them.

  • Tito,

    A well-formed conscience smells a rat a mile away. We do not need to weigh in on every battle over whether people in a diocese are kneeling or standing during the consecration.

    The simple fact is that the website in question does not build unity in our Church, but rather suspicion and discord. A website devoted to catechesis would very likely accomplish the same effect of fortifying souls, without the deleterious effect of setting flock against shepherd. That is my chief objection to Michael Rose’s book, “Goodbye, Good Men,” which is mentioned on the website’s FAQ. I spent 3 1/2 years in seminary, and before I “shipped out,” I had dozens of well-meaning but entirely ignorant people ask me if I was being sent to a “gay seminary,” (I was not) and even telling me that I should, “tell the bishop to send me only to a good one.” The real problems with the book were numerous; first and foremost, that Rose was a day late and a dollar short. The problems cited were mostly eliminated as far as 10-20 years before the book went to press, and he knew it when the book went to press.

    This website will have only one effect: it will increase people’s the distrust of their bishops. It is a vent for (legitimate) anger, but it is not a legitimate or productive vent.

    Again, I am not talking about criminal behavior or gross immorality (like breaking vows of celibacy). I am talking about the management (or lack thereof) of a diocese. When we begin to criticize without knowing the full story, and we rarely know the full story, we are treading on thin, thin ice.

    Saints have upbraided popes; they have not publicly maligned them.

    It would be good to remember that not only bishops will have millstones about their necks in the life to come.

  • Ryan,

    Your charitable and fine comments are duly noted.