My friend Jay Anderson comes out temporarily from blogging retirement to note the recent history of Democrats atttempting to control the Catholic Church:
In case you’re wondering, the “middle ages dictatorship” that is the Catholic Church and her Bishops is right there in the middle of Hillary Clinton’s so-called “basket of deplorables”. And the Clinton team had a plan to rid themselves of these troublesome priests by “plant[ing] the seeds of the revolution” against the Catholic hierarchy and its teachings via infiltration and subversion.
Some of us caught on to this plan a decade ago…
Vindication. Yes, an opportunity to gloat. To say “I told you so.”
Not a very pretty sentiment, but that’s about the only thing that could bring me out of blogging retirement (but only for this one post) in the electoral Annus Horribilis that is 2016.
So it turns out that what we knew ALL ALONG about the Soros-funded DemoCatholic front groups Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and its sister organization Catholics United was, in fact, 100% on the money. We have an admission right out of the horse’s mouth (or, rather, out of the horse’s leaked emails). I haven’t the time nor the inclination to get into a long retrospective detailing the war of words that I and other like-minded bloggers waged over several years — beginning a decade ago — against Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United. Instead, I will direct you to the links below, which will more than fill you in and give you a taste of what was being said and what was at stake.
In short, my part in this drama began a decade ago during the 2006 elections, when Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good published a Catholic voter guide that played down the priority given by the Church to traditional life issues in favor of a hodge-podge of issues straight out of the Democrat Party platform. At first, I began by just blogging about and linking to what others were saying about this mysterious group who had suddenly appeared on the scene in the midst of a mid-term election. As the evidence poured in, especially evidence that linked the group to funding provided by none other than George Soros, it soon became clear that Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good was little more than a front group for the Democrat Party and its efforts to blur the lines on life issues with Catholic voters.
And then, the week before the November 2006 elections, our own Catholic Chronicle — the usually fairly orthodox newspaper of the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio — published a front-page puff piece on the efforts of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good in our own diocese to promote their vision and their voter guide (the story reported the efforts in a straightforward manner, without questioning the problematic aspects of the group and its voter guide).. The proverbial you-know-what must’ve hit the fan in the Chancery offices once the very orthodox then-Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair (now Archbishop of Hartford, CT) caught wind of it, because the article was gone from the Chronicle’s website within a matter of hours after it was published. Alas, it was too late to remove the article from the print editions, which went out the weekend before the elections on the following Tuesday to parishes Diocese-wide. So, in response to the Chronicle’s article, I penned a letter to the editor taking the Chronicle and the main protagonist of the article, Prof. Richard Gaillardetz, to task for the misrepresentation and manipulation of Catholic teaching. The Chronicle eventually published my letter, along with a few others disagreeing with the article and its timing, a couple of months later. Following the letter’s publication, the response from the Catholics in Alliance crowd was swift and predictably unpleasant. You can read the comments here for a taste. This war of words against Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United (and various offshoots like Catholic Democrats, etc.) went on for several years and took many twists and turns, which you can read about in the links at the bottom of this post.
In the end, it is my belief that, ultimately, those of us leading the charge against these groups lost that war (at least in the short term covering 2006, 2008, and 2012). Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United accomplished their aims of convincing Catholics that voting for a party that views government-funded abortion on demand as a sacrament, and that views the destruction of the traditional family as a prerequisite to achieving its policy goals and destroying the institutions — such as the Church and other religious people and organizations — that might stand in that party’s way of achieving said policy goals, was not only morally acceptable, but was, in fact, the MOST Catholic way to vote. See, e.g., Doug Kmiec. “These groups are merely drawing attention to long-ignored issues of importance to Catholics,” some said. “These groups are doing the Church a service by focusing on the need for a ‘consistent ethic of life’,” they said (never mind that these groups NEVER talked about such life issues as abortion, euthanasia, or the sanctity of the family). Entire blogs were established for the purpose of propagandizing the issues that the DemoCath groups argued were being ignored because of Catholic voters’ allegedly “obsessive” focus on “a narrow spectrum of issues regarding family and sexuality” (i.e. the sanctity of life and the family). Sometimes, these blogs had well-meaning founders who definitely raised important issues for Catholics to consider when they were deciding how to vote, but these blogs often quickly devolved into DemoCath propaganda organs as certain bloggers and frequent combox commentators used those fora to press forward the agitprop that ultimately undermined the good of the Catholic Church and her teachings in favor of the pursuit of Democrat Party policy goals. Far too many Catholics who should have known better allowed themselves to be swayed by the arguments of those whose only purpose was to weaken the resolve of Catholic voters to stand for the Catholic Church’s teachings on the primacy of life and family issues, and instead were duped by these malefactors to trade that birthright for a mess of feel-good leftist policy pottage. And that party repaid them by, among many other things, suing nuns to force them to provide birth control in their medical policies. And, in response, Catholic voters had so weakened their resolve to stand for traditional life issues, that they re-elected the guy who has consistently attacked their Church. Which was the goal of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United all along. Today, there is no identifiable “Catholic Vote” left to speak of thanks to the likes of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United.
So, it turns out to be a rather bittersweet bit of gloating, at best, when I read the latest WikiLeaks email dump, which includes a 2012 email exchange in which HilLIARy Clinton’s current campaign chairman, John Podesta, openly brags about being involved in efforts to infiltrate the Catholic Church and foment a “Catholic Spring” (i.e. a bottom-up rebellion against the Church hierarchy and its teaching authority akin to the “Arab Spring” — albeit without the violence, one hopes — that led to revolutions in Egypt, Libya, and Syria). The means of fomenting this takeover of the Church? Why, none other than Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United:
This whole controversy with the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage even though 98% of Catholic women (and their conjugal partners) have used contraception has me thinking . . . There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church. Is contraceptive coverage an issue around which that could happen. The Bishops will undoubtedly continue the fight. Does the Catholic Hospital Association support of the Administration’s new policy, together with “the 98%” create an opportunity?
Of course, this idea may just reveal my total lack of understanding of the Catholic church, the economic power it can bring to bear against nuns and priests who count on it for their maintenance, etc. Even if the idea isn’t crazy, I don’t qualify to be involved and I have not thought at all about how one would “plant the seeds of the revolution,” or who would plant them.
Just wondering . . .
Hoping you’re well, and getting to focus your time in the ways you want.
Sandy Newman, President
Voices for Progress
Date: 2012-02-11 11:45
Subject: Re: opening for a Catholic Spring? just musing . . .
We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up. I’ll discuss with Tara. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the other person to consult. (emphasis added)
There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre.
The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour.
The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe.
The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all.
She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, in his review of Von Ranke’s The Ecclesiastical and political History of the Popes of Rome, during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. (1840)
One of the many maladies afflicting the Church since Vatican II has been neo-pacifism. Violence is denounced as if it is the problem rather than a manifestation of conflicts that arise from many different causes. That is why while Jihadis compile an impressive body toll, the reaction of the leaders of the Catholic Church is to cluck non-violence at all and sundry as if that is a reaction that solves anything. Traditionally the Church has often taken a much more robust attitude towards combating evil, not shying away from armed force when necessary. That tradition in the Church is as dead as full pews at Mass and full confessionals prior to Mass. Oakes Spalding at Mahound’s Paradise takes Bishop Barron to task for his embrace of non-violence in the wake of the Paris Massacres:
Now, anyone familiar with Catholic history or Biblical exegesis would realize that Barron’s description of the traditional Christian response to violence and war–while superficially plausible to those with, say, a Cliff Notes exposure to the Bible–is false. The tradition is not pacifist or even “non-violent” when it comes to resisting aggression. In a sense Barron is sketching out a new interpretation of Christian tradition (after 2,000 years)–some sort of out of context melding of the thoughts of the quasi-Baptist Martin Luther King and the quasi-Hindu Mahatma Gandhi (as Mullarkey earlier suggested). In addition casually interchanging the concepts of sin, violence and “dysfunction” (whatever that is) is dangerously misleading, even (dare I say it) heretical.
But let’s leave those precise considerations aside and instead ask these questions: are Bishop Barron’s views on Christianity and violence attractive? Are they persuasive? Do they make, say, a non-Catholic want to become a Catholic? After all, presumably we want to reverse that 6.5:1 statistic. Don’t we?
Bishop Barron wants to be liked by the secular world. Indeed, I would say that is the driving force behind his own apparent intellectual dysfunctions. And if you put it to him politely, I think he might even sort of agree. “But that’s how you evangelize,” you can imagine him saying. “Talk to them on their own terms, without finger wagging.”
Of course, many non-Catholics will applaud. Finally (so goes the response of the applauders), here’s a Catholic who admits it’s all a bit too much to fight for the Catholic faith (or even to non-physically defend it). See, in doing so, he’s admitting what we have said all along, that much of what the Catholic Church has stood for and done over the last 2,000 years has been wrong.
They will applaud. But they won’t become converts. They will patronize Bishop Barron as they would the dim Anglican vicar. But in the end they won’t take him seriously.
If this is evangelism, it’s for those who have an IQ below 80.
Christ took on violence and swallowed it up with his mercy.
If that’s the best argument for Christianity, then Christianity is obviously false. There’s at least as much violence in the world now as there was 2,000 years ago. Christ didn’t vanquish it. Unless the Bishop means, metaphorically or whatever or, you know, in some deeper sense. If that’s the case, then applause. Finally (according to the applauders) Catholicism has been denuded into just another silly and harmless religious affectation.
(Correct answer: Christ vanquished sin, or at least the eternal consequences of sin for those who honestly repent and ask Him to forgive them.)
Respond to violence with non-violence. Violence tends not to work.
Now, again, this is calculated to get applause. But it is also imbecilic. And as much as some will say they believe it, almost no one actually does. Tell it, by the way, to the Holocaust survivors who were liberated by troops and tanks, not Buddhist floral arrangements. I suppose it might get some of the New Age crowd. Then again, why should the New Age crowd become Catholic when they’re already getting their oatmeal somewhere else? Continue reading
On April 29, 1865, President Johnson in his second Presidential Proclamation postpones the national day of mourning that he proclaimed in his first Proclamation:
By the President of the United States of America
Whereas by my proclamation of the 25th instant Thursday, the 25th day of next month, was recommended as a day for special humiliation and prayer in consequence of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, late President of the United States; but
Whereas my attention has since been called to the fact that the day aforesaid is sacred to large numbers of Christians as one of rejoicing for the ascension of the Savior:
Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby suggest that the religious services recommended as aforesaid should be postponed until Thursday, the 1st day of June next.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 29th day of April, A. D. 1865, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-ninth.
By the President:
Acting Secretary of State. Continue reading
In response to President Obama’s ignorant exercise in moral equivalency in invoking the Crusades and the Inquisition, ( as T.Shaw noted fewer people were turned over for execution by the Inquisition, actually Inquisitions, in all of history than die in American abortion clinics on any week day), go here to read about it, Jonah Goldberg quotes from his book Tyranny of Cliches which explains why such Catholic bashing is ahistoric and unfair:
As a fairly secular Jew I cannot and will not speak to the theological questions, in part because I do not want to. But mostly because I do not have to. The core problem with those who glibly invoke one cliché after another about the evils of organized religion and Catholicism is that they betray the progressive tendency to look back on the last two thousand years and see the Catholic Church — and Christianity generally — as holding back humanity from progress, reason, and enlightenment. They fault the Church for not knowing what could not have been known yet and for being too slow to accept new discoveries that only seem obvious to us with the benefit of hindsight. It’s an odd attack from people who boast of their skepticism and yet condemn the Church for being rationally skeptical about scientific breakthroughs.
In short, they look at the tide of secularism and modernity as proof that the Church was an anchor. I put it to you that it was more of sail. Nearly everything we revere about modernity and progress — education, the rule of law, charity, decency, the notion of the universal rights of man, and reason were advanced by the Church for most of the last two thousand years.
But isn’t the greater madness to make a real force for good the enemy because the forces of self-anointed perfection claim to have some glorious blueprint for a flawless world sitting on a desk somewhere? It is a Whiggish and childish luxury to compare the past — or even the present — to a utopian standard. Of course there was corruption, cruelty, and hypocrisy within the Church — because the Church is a human institution. Its dark hypocrisies are the backdrop that allow us to see the luminance of the standard they have, on occasion, fallen short of. The Catholic Church was a spiritual beacon lighting the way forward compared to the world lit only by fire outside the Church doors.
You know that you live in loony tunes times when a secular Jew like Goldberg has a better appreciation for the role of the Church in History than some Catholic bloggers: (Ahem, that is your cue Mark:)
“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ…
“So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.
“And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.” (source)
Father Z and I have similar feelings about what is going on in the Church today:
Some wag out there used his photoshopping skills to Hello-Kitty-ize some heroes of the silver screen.
No… I just don’t have the heart to post Batman. Or Superman, for that matter. I just … can’t.
These days, this is what I feel is being done to our Church right now.
Yes, I wrote “feel”. I’ll start thinking again after a couple shots of espresso and some fresh air. Continue reading
John L. Allen Jr.’s name came up during an introductory meeting between the new owner of The Boston Globe, John W. Henry, and the editor of the same daily, Brian McGrory. It was an auspicious meeting because it was taking place one day after the Boston Red Sox winning the 2013 World Series, which Henry also owns.
Taking note of the popularity of the new Pope and wanting to capitalize on it, Allen’s name was floated to anchor this new online Catholic magazine named Crux. Crux would be an addition to the online publishing niches that the Globe operates. Considering the large Catholic population of the Boston area and the appeal of Pope Francis, it was a natural fit.
Henry was a self made man in financial trading and also successful in breaking the ‘Curse of the Bambino‘ by winning the 2004 World Series. Looking back at Henry’s track record, it can be said that he took bold ventures in unfamiliar territory and did well.
It’s the unofficial end of Summer and it’s my annual gratuitous post of myself day. The pic below was taken in mid-July, but I waited to fix the feed to The American Catholic in order celebrate the Summer. Needless to say, it’s fixed and the Summer is almost over.
During the Summer I asked my fellow blogger Don for some book recommendations for the French Revolution. Of the few he did mentioned, I picked up Simon Schama’s ‘Citizen’. The reading is in-depth, interesting, and balanced. I’m a bit over halfway finished of the 948 pages and am so far impressed. Considering that we are in the post-Cold War era, I wanted to know a bit more on the French Revolution since their errors have already engulfed Europe and has almost metastasizing here in the United States. The book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens.
My opinion on the subject is that the French Revolution is the confluence of anti-Christian ideas emanating from the so-called era of enlightenment. These very same ideas unleashed the short-term devastation of the rape of nuns, the execution of priests, and the degradation of houses of worship. The long-term affects have furthered the cause of eliminating God from all aspects of life blossoming further in the Communist Revolution in Russia and continued to bear the fruit of death in World Wars I & II. From this compost grew what we now call modern liberalism & democratic socialism.
I admit to some puzzlement as to why the Church in this country is so stridently in favor of illegal immigration. The Church in America being in favor of legal immigration I can understand, with so many Catholics tracing their ancestry to the waves of immigrants from Europe in the 19th and early 20th century. But until the day before yesterday in historical terms the Church was never in favor of illegal immigration. I think much of it tends to be that many of the powers that be within the Church in this country tend to favor the political left in most contexts. They are embarrassed that fights over abortion, gay marriage and religious liberty aligns the Church with political conservatives. Being in favor of illegal immigration allows these clerics to align with political forces they find much more congenial. Jack Cashill at The American Thinker gives us a case in point:
Motives, however, are rarely as simple as money. On the question of the church’s motives, one local Catholic explained how the noisy “peace and justice” cliques within the church seized a new opportunity to lure the Church leftward. As she explained, these cliques were attempting to negate the rightward drift of practicing Catholics on life issues by elevating workers’ rights to a comparable status. In the 2000 election, she noted, they tried the same tactic with the death penalty.
The problem for the P&J crowd is that the Catholic Church considers abortion “always morally evil” — “murder” in fact — but has no official position on immigration, legal or otherwise. One can read all four gospels and every encyclical ever written without encountering a single “undocumented immigrant” swimming across the River Jordan. Serious Catholics treat the hierarchy’s showy preference for immigration issues over life issues as some sort of Job-like test of their fidelity.
I had absolutely no intention of saying anything at the press conference. But with the woman’s lucid argument still resonating in my head, I could not resist the urge to inject a note of realism into the Q & A happy talk that followed the speeches.
The Bishop looked at me as if I had just peed on his shoe. “What are you talking about?” he scoffed. As respectful as I try to be to my Catholic clergy, I did not appreciate the public dissing. “Let me tell you what I mean,” I answered and elaborated in more detail what I had already said.
I had expected the other reporters to give me the evil eye, but they did not. My question seemed to remind them of the role that reporters used to play, “Bishop,” said the next fellow. “You keep saying that the Church is supporting immigration. Isn’t this really about illegal immigration?” I did not have time to listen to the answer. I had a 12 o’clock appointment across town, and I had already spent $9.00 on parking.
A few months later the unions repaid the Catholic Church for its support in a way that left me feeling much more insightful than I actually am. The Los Angeles Times summarized the issue succinctly enough: “California’s leading union organization, bucking organized labor’s long-standing neutrality on the issue of abortion, is for the first time taking a strong stand in favor of abortion rights.”
Specifically, the union asked its 2.1 million members to reject Proposition 85. This initiative would merely have required abortionists to honor the standards of ear-piercers and aspirin dispensers and get parents’ permission before going to work on their daughters.
Spearheading the union assault on parental rights was none other than Dolores Huerta, star of the press conference I had attended at the Cathedral. As the Times noted, Huerta, “a Roman Catholic,” had persuaded a pro-choice group to put its many interns to work passing out pro-abortion propaganda to the union delegates before the vote was taken. The union support proved crucial in defeating Prop 85 by a narrow 53 to 47 margin.
Said Tod Tamberg, an Archdiocesan spokesman, “It doesn’t preclude us from working together on those areas where we do share common concerns.” The “it” in question is the union’s decision to sanction what the church considers to be murder. In the battle for the Hispanic soul, the Church hierarchy had already surrendered, and God only knows why. Continue reading
One of the sources of ever renewing strength to Catholicism has ever been our converts. My bride is an example of this. A United Methodist when we married, she converted to the Faith after two years. Her doubts about the Eucharist were resolved when she drew my attention to these lines from a translation of Tantum Ergo, the masterpiece of Saint Thomas Aquinas:
Faith tells us that Christ is present,
When our Human senses fail
Now she is a far better Catholic than I, and if I ultimately behold the Beatific Vision it will largely be I think because of her prayers for me.
Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, directs our attention to a recent convert:
You guys should have a spring in your step tomorrow morning because you just picked up someone who I would consider to be a MAJOR convert and his family, a guy who may astonish some of you. I’m not going to quote from his outstanding piece because it’s too long and too personal and you really do need to read the whole thing anyway. Continue reading
Hattip to Dale Price. An interesting article written by Michael Brendan Dougherty at The Week. Saint Blog’s is going to be arguing about this one for quite some time:
When you add to this the fact that the cultural formation of most engaged Catholics is primarily the ideological combat of political and cultural factions, they tend to treat the pope as their “party leader,” and to treat “the world” as an opposing party. It’s difficult to describe how distorted this mental image is to true faith, but some examples could suffice.
Look for instance at the reaction of conservative Catholics to the pope’s phone call to Jaquelina Lisbona, a woman in Argentina civilly married to a divorcée, in which Francis supposedly counseled her to practically ignore church teaching on divorce, adultery, confession, and Holy Communion.
Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture speculated, “[F]or all we know, she and her husband are now living as brother and sister, in which case there would be no reason why she could not resume receiving the sacraments.” Of course, if this were the case the parish priest could have determined this without the extraordinary phone call from Christ’s vicar.
Before deleting it (perhaps in embarrassment), Jimmy Akin reminded his readers at the National Catholic Register that the pope has the power to act as the church’s chief legislature and to execute judgments immediately, and so therefore he could annul the first marriage and radically sanction the second, implying all this could be done over the phone. That he would have short-circuited the church’s entire juridical process, undermined faith in the church’s discipline, and undercut Catholic priests seems to bother Akin not at all. This same defense was used to justify the pope’s breaking of liturgical rubrics, essentially employing the Nixon defense that “when the pope does it, it’s not illegal.”
Let me suggest that these two good Catholic men are acting not as church men but as party men, and falling into what Hillary Jane White aptly diagnosed as “papal positivism.” Lawler and Akin are not alone. The bulk of Catholic media is devoted to moon-faced speculation about how the discreet governing decisions, words, and gestures of the pope are accomplishing some larger goal that we further speculate must be in the pope’s head or heart. It’s very easy to make the pope into a saintly superhero when you act as his ventriloquist. Continue reading
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
William Butler Yeats, Second Coming
For any who think that there are not bishops and higher prelates rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of ditching most of the morality in sexual matters taught by the Church since the time of the Crucifixion, Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives you the cold shock of reality:
Roman Catholics? Many of us former Anglicans know from bitter experience that the Episcopalianization of churches always starts small. A bishop here, a bishop there:
Two Catholic bishops in the UK have expressed hope that the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family, to be held in Rome in October, will bring about massive changes to the Church’s approach to marriage and human sexuality.
Bishop Terence Drainey of Middleborough told the far-left magazine The Tablet that he is hoping for and expecting a “radical re-examination of human sexuality.”
“The Church has to hold in tension its imperative to proclaim the high Christian ideals to which all should aspire with its desire at the same time to welcome with love and compassion those whose lives are complicated and messy,” the bishop said.
“A careful discussion of this dichotomy could yield pastoral solutions in the areas of family life where many are struggling, enabling the Church more readily to welcome and include these people,” Drainey said.
Bishop Drainey said the issues to be addressed by the Synod and brought up in a Vatican questionnaire are “multifaceted and complex” to which there are no “simple soundbite answers.”
Sound familiar? If you’ve been hanging around here long enough, it better. So you might want to hold off criticizing those Catholics who are worried about such trends or you may see a day when you yearn to hear their voices and find that they’re no longer there. Continue reading
After the events of this week, with the election of the 266th Pope, this quotation from the anti-Catholic writer Lord Macaulay written in 1840 comes vividly to mind:
There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.
Cardinals speak of feeling as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders. While we watch the awe and majesty of a Conclave to pick the next pontiff, the Princes of the Church speak of it with trepidation, some with fear. The 115 cardinals who will pick the next pontiff rightfully feel their solemn responsibility. The Church’s greatest task is to save souls and the man who will figuratively grasp the keys given to St Peter by Jesus assumes an awesome responsibility.
The procession from St Peter’s to the Sistine Chapel may be one of the most moving and beautiful events a believer (and even a non-believer) may ever witness. As the Litany of the Saints is chanted the cardinals process into the Sistine Chapel, pulling themselves away from the outside world to pray and vote for the Successor of St. Peter. For the truly faithful, the days of the Conclave are often one of the rare moments in the public life of the Church where the mainstream media isn’t dictating who the cardinals should pick and why the Church’s Teachings need to be changed. Now some will attempt to do just that, but it often comes across as shallow and shrill due to the solemnity of the moment.
Monday on ABC’s World News Tonight, Diane Sawyer interviewed South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier. His Eminence, who was present at the last Conclave, was asked what it was like picking the future pontiff. The Cardinal from Durban spoke of looking at Michelangelo’s Last Judgment painted above him in the Sistine Chapel, and pleading for Jesus to help him make the right decision. Continue reading
Both World Wars Were A Catalyst For Religious Growth; What Future Tragedy Will It Take For Another Revival?
Sadly it often takes tragedies for religious faith to grow. It seems an unfortunate part of our fallen nature. We have been hit by a spate of tragedies as of late; in its wake we often see churches full of worshippers seeking answers where once there were but a few. Following both world wars, there existed a religious resurgence that unlike the recent tragedies did not ebb and flow. It remained constant due in large part to the horrific loses of human life.
Modernism was alive and well and condemned by the likes of Pope Pius X even before the Guns of August began in 1914. The Catholic and Protestant churches were increasingly seeing relativistic elements entering their seminaries. However unlike recent times, they were quickly addressed. Though we are gaining the upper hand, it has been 40 years since Pope Paul VI lamented that “The Smoke of Satan” had entered the Church. In my just released book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I speak about the positive events occurring within the Church, as well as those movements who aim to do us harm. In addition, the book delves into how we got into this mess in the first place.
Following World War I there was a great return to religious devotions, especially those having to do with the Blessed Mother. The events of Fatima which had occurred during the war and were being followed closely around the Catholic globe. As I mentioned in my article on the Schoenstatt Movement, the likes of Father Josef Kentenich chastised theological authorities who were giving short shrift to these devotions as well as those who dismissed popular devotions to those who recently passed away like the future Saint Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower.) Father Kentenich reminded these scoffers that Jesus did indeed say that we must become like little children if we are to enter the Kingdom.
The well heeled of Europe and many American ex pats found their way to Paris to rebel against the religious side of the equation. On the whole, they were a gloomy lot who seemed to drown their sorrows in all matter of drink and sexual exploits which only made them more unbearable. Some even found their way to more exotic locales like Casablanca, as did the fictional Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in the epic film Casablanca. Continue reading
Let me explain, in as clear and precise terms as I can, why social conservatives are not going anywhere, nor should they go anywhere, but should remain right at the heart of the conservative movement and gain acceptance among libertarians as well, and should reject as the foolish garbage that it is all suggestions to the contrary.
First, our principles are not electoral losers. Leftists believe they are on “the right side of history”, comparing the campaign for “marriage equality” with every civil rights struggle of past eras. They believe that this fact is reflected in the way the youth vote splits and the purported reasons why. At the same time, they gloat and brag about the size of the Democratic share of the minority vote.
The merits of the “marriage equality” campaign don’t need to be discussed here. I’ve discussed them to death on this blog in previous posts. The fact remains that minorities are opposed to “marriage equality.” If Hispanics can be won over to the GOP on the immigration issue, it will put a stop to this “wrong side of history” nonsense for a generation. The uncomfortable alliance between racial minorities who hold socially conservative views and white liberals will finally be blown apart. Unlike them, when racial minorities finally do side with the GOP en masse, we won’t attribute white liberal hatred for them to “racism” (even though it sure looks like it sometimes). This is a battle of values, not skin colors, and a failure to see that is one of the reasons why the white liberal left will never win the future they mistakenly believe to be theirs.
Some six years ago my first book; The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism came out, which detailed the Good news happening in the Catholic Church. Since then and especially this year, I am often asked is the tide still turning? Rest assured I am not looking at the world and the Catholic Church through rose colored glasses, the book not only gives positive spin on what is going on through stories and anecdotal evidence, but I outline a lot of statistical and demographic data to prove my point.
Honestly writing a book requires a great deal of time and patience, and though I had enough material for about half a book, I was waiting for the right time to finish it. However last summer, I felt God really pushing me to get this out. Providentially many events within the Church and the political realm helped to convince me that now was the time. I am glad I listened and finished the book this spring because recently my wife and I welcomed another baby into our home, and with two small children, writing a book would have been very difficult.
The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn (Aquinas and More publishing) picks up where my previous book left off detailing the Good News occurring in the Church, but also, and this is very important, I address why the Catholic Church and religion in general is coming under attack in our modern world. Readers of my articles and first book continually asked my why we are facing these attacks? This is nothing new. Ever since the French Revolution in 1793 the Catholic Church and religion in general in the Western world has come under attack from powerful forces that for some demented reason have a problem with God.
In the book, I take a look at timelines in World History and examine revolutions like the American Revolution where religion was embraced compared to those like the French Revolution where it was attacked. This helps us in 2012 figure out why some in government and academia don’t like the Catholic Church and for that matter most religious institutions. The book also looks at the HHS Mandate and the political upheaval that unjust mandate has brought. Continue reading