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

Sunday, June 3, AD 2012

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

    His influence was incalculable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • By lose I meant lose temporarily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Stilbelieve:

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

  • Stilbelieve:

    I’m with you!

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

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

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

  • @Escolonn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama Working Willfully To Undermine Hierarchical Catholic Church

Thursday, May 31, AD 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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34 Responses to Obama Working Willfully To Undermine Hierarchical Catholic Church

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

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

    The linked to story above requires a strong gag reflex.

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

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

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

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

    Could you go into a little more detail that?

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

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

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

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

  • Very interesting post. Thanks for writing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • @ Chris,

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

    Dear XXXXX,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The First Amendment to the Constitution states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And Colossians 1:24 states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Matthew 6:33 is consistent with this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    RE: Tim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    There can be no compromise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stupak to Retire?

Thursday, April 8, AD 2010

Hattip to Gateway Pundit.  NBC’s First Read is reporting that Stupak is considering retirement.

Stupak to call it quits? With just a few days to go before the end of this recess, House Democrats are cautiously optimistic that they could get through it without a single retirement announcement. That said, there is still a concern that some important incumbents in districts that they are uniquely suited could call it quits. At the top of the concern list this week: Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak. The Democrat best known this year as the Democrat who delivered the winning margin of votes for the president’s health-care reform bill is said to be simply exhausted. The criticism he received — first from the left, and then from the right — has worn him and his family out. And if he had to make the decision now, he’d probably NOT run. As of this writing, a bunch of senior Democrats (many of the same ones who twisted his arm on the health care vote) are trying to talk him into running. The filing deadline in Michigan is still a month away, but veterans of that state’s politics are skeptical anyone other than Stupak can hold that district in this political climate.

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24 Responses to Stupak to Retire?

  • Whether Stupak retires now, or runs for reelection and loses, he’s already suffered plenty of humiliation.

    Just look at the poster at the top of this post — that’s an internet meme that will be around long after he’s gone from Congress (hopefully soon). His very name has become a synonym, at least in some circles, for being betrayed or screwed (“Stupak’d”)

    No matter what he does, he’ll still get his Congressional pension, and still be in line for some high-paid lobbying job or whatever. Either way, his last-minute cave-in cost him his seat in Congress and that’s good enough for me.

    Of course, there’s always a chance he’ll win if he runs again… though at least one Gateway Pundit commenter, who recently visited Sault Ste. Marie and says Stupak is “toast” there, indicates otherwise.

  • “Any decision, he said, would come after the April 15 deadline by which his opponents would submit financial statements to the FEC but before the May filing deadline.”

    With the iron determination he demonstrated in voting against his own amendment, my guess is that his ultimate intentions are a complete mystery to him at the present time.

  • True. But don’t underestimate the call of power, especially when those about him proclaim him a hero for his vote.

  • He’s apparently announcing his retirement today at 12:30.

  • Thank you for the update Chris.

  • Stupak’s fall reminds me of something out of a Greek tragedy. It’s a shame–I’m reasonably convinced he thought he was doing the best he could, but his collapse at the last minute has the potential to damage the country and the pro-life cause for decades.

  • Dale, I don’t see it. The shrill attacks on him have deeply damaged the pro-life movement in the public eye. It may well be that a few fringe folk orchestrated the attack on one of our own. But critics like the ones on this web site have allowed their focus to shift far away from the defense of the unborn and the persuasion of women in crisis (real or perceived) pregnancies.

    We never save so much bile as for those once loyal we perceive to be disloyal.

    And a “fall?” You speak as if public life were some high calling. If the man’s family has been the target of harassment and obscenity, the man is a hero for sacrificing his own career for the greater good.

    This is a sandals-and-dust moment for Mr Stupak. His district, the country, and the pro-life movement are the losers here.

  • Todd, how do I fit the pattern of “shrill,” “fringe” and “bile” that you decry here? I’m going to decline the invitation to be your straw-y sparring partner. I’m sure someone else here will be happy to take up the gauntlet, though.

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  • Oh well, wrong again. Or maybe I should be happy. 🙂

  • “His district, the country, and the pro-life movement are the losers here.”

    Yeah, self-serving cave-in artists are always in short supply.

  • Dale, I used your name, “shrill” and “bile” in the same post, but careful reading here would indicate I accused you of neither of these. I’m sure you and your colleagues here have also typed “Obama” and “pro-life” in the same post, but I’m sure no connection was intended.

    “Bile” is associated with “we,” and I was careful to include myself as part of the human condition of our reaction to disloyalty.

    You can engage my argument or not: that’s your choice. But don’t play the aggrieved when you are quick to paste labels on me and others based on your own perceptions.

    That said, it’s remarkable how quickly you folks zero in on the critic here, not his argument. Mr Stupak is taking his toys and going home. It’s not tragedy; it’s a career decision. Moral adults make such decisions every day.

    My sense is that a pro-lifer finally got something substantive done in the political sphere, and danged if he happened to be a Dem.

  • “My sense is that a pro-lifer finally got something substantive done in the political sphere, and danged if he happened to be a Dem.”

    “Substantive” as in an executive order that can be rescinded at any time, that did not remedy the problem with abortion funding that Stupak saw clearly in the Senate bill before his cave-in and that would not stand up for a moment in court, because an executive order cannot prevail over a law.

  • Timothy Noah at Slate explains just how completely meaningless Stupak’s executive order is:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2248490/

  • Ah, so you were talking *at* me and not *to* me. That’s an improvement over insults, yes, but I tend to bow out of “conversations” where people ride up to me on a hobbyhorse and start barking about the bad behavior of the disliked other.

    If you want to springboard off my comments to make a point about what you regard as the many failings of the pro-life movement, it’s a free internet. Just do me the courtesy of bracketing me off from what you’re going to harangue the comment box about. As an additional example of the peril of talking at, not to:

    “You speak of public life as if it were a high calling.”

    Yeah, Todd, I do. Given that public service is what I have done for the bulk of my professional life, I like to think I make a difference and that it’s not some transactional time serving.

    Oh, and just where “have I been quick to paste a label” on you, Todd? Maybe an old liturgical thread from a few years back? Seriously–what?

    Finally, a substantive point: Stupak took a lot of threatening hate from the pro-abortion left prior to the vote, too, with him describing it as “a living hell.”

    http://thehill.com/homenews/house/87519-its-been-a-living-hell-says-rep-stupak

    Having the pro-lifers pile on afterward was almost certainly the breaking point, but the left had rolled out a primary challenger and was making his life miserable, too. It just didn’t get on CNN.

  • “Oh, and just where “have I been quick to paste a label” on you, Todd?”

    The other day, the other thread.

    Look, my friend: I may or may not be angrier today than I was a few years ago. Odds are you can pick out two days in my life and say I was more angry here, less angry there. It’s also easy enough to make other people angry on the net. Some of our blogging friends are experts at it. And I don’t deny I’ve been the cause of vituperative upset on the part of some folks. To a degree, we all make choices every day about putting a shine on things or moping around.

    As for your comment about bracketing, point taken and accepted. I apologize for rendering guilt by association. You don’t have a character limit here at AC, so I will take the extra minute, the extra sentence to be careful, not only with you, but with your blogging comrades.

    Because I know you to be a man dedicated to truth and faith, I mention a final suggestion directed at you, Dale. Why is it that you chose to ignore my point that pro-lifers behaving badly damage the movement in the perception of the abortion fence-sitters as more significant than Mr Stupak’s “betrayal” to the hard-core movement? This political defeat was hard for the GOP–no doubt about that. But women may well choose not to have abortions, even in the hundreds of thousands in the years ahead, and this would be a victory for the pro-life effort, wouldn’t it?

  • Please point out the other thread. I simply do not remember it–not the weasely “do not recall” but rather complete amnesia–and from what you say, it appears I owe an apology.

    Pro-lifers behaving badly damages the movement–I would be an idiot to argue otherwise. They do it often, and I think the shellacking administered to Stupak by the hotheads was excessive. I think he was [given that his political career is now gliding to its end], in the main, a decent public servant.

    The political defeat was not of the GOP–that happened in 2006 and 2008, for which it paid rightly for its sins.

    Rather, the defeat–the tragedy–is two-fold. First, the pro-life movement in America is now, and entirely for the worse–anchored politically to the Republicans. Stupak’s fold–and that’s what it was, intentions aside–means that the pro-life Democrat is dead and buried at the national level, for at least a generation. Pro-lifers need voices in both parties, and while Stupak and his colleagues held out, we thought we did. Now we don’t. Instead, we have a sorta voice in the GOP and the finger from the majority party.

    Which brings me to the second fold: we can’t celebrate women who choose to do the right thing under the legislation when that same legislation pays them to do the wrong thing. The bottom line is that funds abortions and herds people into exchanges where there may be only one insurer who doesn’t. Stupak understood that, otherwise he wouldn’t have crafted his amendment as he did and decried Casey’s semantic re-write of Capps. The fact he sought out an an executive order to “correct” it speaks volumes about the legistation as passed. [As an aside, I think Bob Casey Jr.’s actions are by far more troubling than Stupak’s.] Our HHS secretary has assured us that it funds abortion, and I have every confidence in her judgment and the impotence of the executive order that it will.

    As I said in another thread that I remember (if having no desire to re-argue), I’m happy with the bits of the legislation that support working mothers and help women and men make the right decision. In a related vein, I’d be altogether delighted with the passage of the Pregnant Women Support Act. But I can’t support expanded abortion. The pro-life parts of the legislation still strike me as equivalent to adding a vitamin supplement to a goblet of hemlock. Yeah, in some sense it’s better but it’s still bad overall.

    Thank you for the courteous response, not so by the way.

  • If I could get my comment out of moderation, I’d appreciate it. I think the software’s glitching.

  • I’m not going to say there weren’t things said in reaction to Stupak’s move that reflected poorly on the pro-life movement, but why do those who feel it important to make the observation not consider that Stupak himself made the pro-life movement look bad?

    Stupak was held out as a staunch defender of the unborn. He was bucking his own party, crafting iron clad legislation, condemning the Senate bill and the sell-outs and unethical political payoffs that came with it, etc. Good stuff. Then, when things came down to the wire, his district was awarded federal funds for airports, he voted against his own legislation, and voted with his party and justified it with the magic beans of the EO.

    Who made the pro-life movement look bad?

  • Well now we know he didn’t do it for political gain. If I were pro-choice and in favor of ObamaCare, I’d send him a letter of gratitude and another letter to Obama urging him to award Stupak a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • I appreciate the reply, Dale. We’ve often butted heads, especially in the early days of the St Blogosphere, but I always respected you–and still do–for piecing together a decent argument. Not to mention being a guy I know I could sit down for a coffee or a beer and have a solid man-to-man chat.

    To answer your question, it was your last post on the Gomez thread referring to my anger and bitterness. If anything, I’m willing to concede that since Nov 2008, I don’t avoid getting under conservative skin here and there. And also willing to concede that I’ve been delivered a pink slip or two in the aftermath of ’08, so I have fewer qualms about sticking a sliver under someone’s philosophical fingernail. All for the cause of keeping the opposition honest, if not above-board.

    And I confess: you and Donald are far more politically aware on this level than I bother to be. Honestly, I have no stomach for national politics. I stopped reading serious history and politics years ago. Local action in fighting arts-and-music cuts and volunteering as an election official–that’s a whole lot more appealing to me. I know I can make a difference there. Fighting Big Oil and DuPont and media empires–not so much.

    Lots of good Catholics knowledgeable about insurance reform and the goings-on in Washington thought Mr Stupak got as much as he could out of this. And more, they convinced me the bill was sound for the pro-life effort. The president was going to the wall for insurance reform, and seemed prepared to make concessions on the abortion front. And quite honestly, given the level of rhetoric on FOCA (I may not know much, but I do know the basics of how legislation happens) if Deal Hudson and a few others try to tell me this is bad, I’m inclined to believe the opposite.

    If you were in Mr Stupak’s shoes, you would have done differently. I can respect that. My problem with your site here is that too many of you bloggers lack basic respect. The photoshopped slogan on the image at the top shows it. Whatever kind of man Bart Stupak is, he doesn’t likely deserve that level of disrespect. But I think it’s pretty clear that on this issue, the blog author hasn’t risen above the sandbox at second grade recess.

  • Todd:

    As God is my witness, I didn’t comment on any of the Gomez threads, nor did I ask anyone to take down a comment on them. Darwin and Don did, and perhaps you confused “D”ale with them, given the alliterative quality of our handles. 🙂 That said, I can’t imagine that I *haven’t* given you ample and rightful reason to feel cheap shot offense in the past, given our clashes, and for that I offer an overdue apology.

    As to Rep. Stupak, I sincerely hope he’s *right* and that his EO prevents abortion funding. I’d note that my archbishop, Allen Vigneron, was careful to hope for the same in a recent speech and avoided condemnation. For my part, I simply can’t see how it will work. I hope and pray to God I am wrong, but I am morally certain I am not.

    Keep fighting the good fight on the arts front. I’m trying to make sure my kids get drenched in the arts, and Detroit area museums are taking it in the shorts in this economy. It’s the first thing that faces the knife, and it shouldn’t be.

  • Dale, I offer my unconditional apology to you. It was Darwin. I need to check my own reading comprehension. Or my glasses.

3 Responses to Set Me Free (From Ideologies) Part 1

  • Just a word of caution on the authority of the Compendium. Even the Compendium itself recognizes that some of what is in it does not partake of infallibility:

    “In studying this Compendium, it is good to keep in mind that the citations of Magisterial texts are taken from documents of differing authority. Alongside council documents and encyclicals there are also papal addresses and documents drafted by offices of the Holy See. As one knows, but it seems to bear repeating, the reader should be aware that different levels of teaching authority are involved.”

    Also Catholic Social teaching as you point out, does not fit any particular political position. Fortunately, CST also notes that it does not propose any particular political solutions. That is in fact left to the prudential judgment of the laity (yes it is up to the use of prudence – the practical application of moral norm to a specific problems.) Thus CST also notes that Catholics in good faith can disagree on particular solutions. To say otherwise is in fact to act contrary to Catholic Social Teaching itself.
    Now it seems you are not doing so but you do head near the shoals of Ultramontanism (as some other Catholic blogs do) by thinking that by reading the Compendium you will come up with a specific solutions. You won’t. Specific moral principles to apply – yes. Particular solutions that all are called to adhere to as good Catholics – no.
    I agree that one has to avoid ideologies that reduce the truth to sound bites. But there is a distinction between ideologies and ideas. Long, hard, cold thought out ideas that have internal coherence and which can provide specific political solutions. These ideas which form from the understanding of history, politics etc. have internal validity as expressions of human reason and if solidly based are a valid means of approaching problems of the world today. Even you admit to some with your FDR approach. This is okay.
    Its okay to have internally consistent ideas that propose solutions to political problems as long as one is open to new understanding as the study of history, politics, etc. develop. Even the Church (in one of JPII’s social encyclicals which is lost on me now) admits this much. That some of what is in CST is based on current understanding of history, economics etc. and can develop as these disciplines and as human understanding itself develops (see my first admonition above about differing degrees of authority.)
    So the bottom line is, I don’t have a problems with Conservative/Liberal etc. But let all come forth with solid, reasoned arguments and not the raw emotionalism that Charity in Truty decries. Let the best current understanding of social problems be presented with solid economic, historical etc. understanding. Then let Catholic laypersons with solid ideas (and not ideologies) make solid, prudential decisions.

  • Appreciate the insights Phillip- I suppose my goal is not to replace a brother/sister’s ideology with another one- but to get every serious Catholic who makes a big show of being a out and proud “conservative” or “liberal” and so forth- to think again- not to convert to another ideology, but to just leave off the self-labeling when saying you are Catholic- a Christian disciple- should suffice. I recall cringing at Sen. Brownback after receiving Father Pavone’s personal endorsement for President, going around saying that he was the “true Conservative”. Is that a good public witness for Christ, given that Christ is giving us a social doctrine that doesn’t lend itself easily to ideological adherences? Personally, I don’t see how an honest reading of all the social doctrine materials can lead me to voluntarily accept the imprisonment of any merely political ideology. I have tendencies toward the FDR Democratic party mold, but I recognize the fallibility of such to address all issues for all time- I won’t suggest that it wasn’t surprising that so much of the Catholic Church faithful were inclined to the FDR-Dem party – even in the Hierarchy- given the connections people were seeing between the social teachings and the political visions offered at the time. Of course times change, and appeals to FDR are not what I am much concerned with.

    I believe we are living in a bit of a new Barbarian Age- more subtle than before, very high-tech, but also very deadly to bodies and souls- I see the Barbarian movement in the establishment Left and Right- with abortion killing millions and a serious lack of global solidarity leading to unnecessary military conflicts and unjust economic situations. America is part of the problem and part of the solution- I’m focused on getting my nation to get out of the business of being part of the problem.

    As for the Compendium- I realize that differing levels of teaching authority are in play- but the fact that they are now given new circulation in the Compendium which is a concise rendering of the entire corpus of our social doctrine should be cause for new appreciation for all of it’s contents. At minimum what is in there must be taken deeply into our developing consciences- to say that only the most explicit detail of a particular principle of social teaching is worth reading would be a major error in prudential judgment. I figure if the Magisterium or Church leader puts something down on paper for our consumption, we should attempt to take time to consume it, let it work through our minds and imaginations, so that when we set about proposing specifics on major issues, or vision statements- we will have the benefit of all of the Church’s vast wisdom. I think that too many Catholics abuse the notion of prudential judgment to simply short-circuit the papal words that don’t mix well with their chosen ideological adherences- I’m not making a personal accusation to you Phillip or anyone in particular- but I am suspicious of everyone who clings too closely to something like what Brownback said “I am the true Conservative” I’m very suspicious of true believers in political ideologies.

  • Thanks for your reply. Will respond more fully after Easter. Quick reply is that I appreciate and look forward to your insights also.

What We Know Now

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

As it so happened, I was in Washington DC on that National Mall as congress was voting on the mess which is our “health care reform” bill. I hadn’t been to our capitol city before, and it was a simply beautiful afternoon — one on which it was hard to believe that our elected representatives were bringing us one large step closer to a major budgetary crisis point, and Representative Stupak was busy selling out the principles everyone had imagined to be as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar for a rather paltry executive order which may (or may not) come after the fact. (Call me a cynic, but I could well imagine the EO never coming. Though in a sense, why not issue it: It would have no effect and could be repealed at any time. Still, there would be a great deal of justice and truth in Obama using the old Microsoft line, “Your mistake was in trusting us.”)

Still, though sun, green grass, and stone monuments are fresh in my mind, and the largest looming problems in my mind revolve around children wailing that they need a bathroom right now while traveling on the metro (let’s just say that didn’t end well) I don’t want to seem as if I’m discounting the importance of what we’ve just seen. And there seem to be some fairly clear conclusions we can draw:

1) Stupak had no desire to be to abortion what Joe Lieberman chose to be to foreign policy. Lieberman was hounded out of his party and continues to hold office only because of people who disagree with him on nearly every other issue admired his principled stands on Iraq, Israel, etc. If Stupak had brought down the Health Care Reform bill in defense of the unborn, he would have received similar treatment from his own party to what Lieberman has received, and he clearly didn’t want to be that person. Instead, having talking himself into a corner he really didn’t want to be in, he seized upon a fig leaf when it was offered and did what he’d clearly wanted to do all along:

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21 Responses to What We Know Now

  • Thanks for your thoughts on this Darwin. Though I will say this: I am not so sure Stupak’s principles failed today as much as his intelligence. What was he thinking, putting the status of abortion in the health care program in the hands of Obama?

    He was willing to go to war just to keep the Hyde language in the bill, but now he caves and gives the president what amounts to carte blanche? What idiocy. What foolishness! It’s irrational behavior.

    The rabidly pro-abortion Dems who threatened to block the passage of any bill that denied public coverage of abortion are clearly confident that this EO would have little to no effect. Pro-life Republicans also clarified how EOs really work during the debate running up to the vote.

    I will be writing soon on the prospects of nullification.

  • I mentioned upon the election of Brown that it’s possible that his election would result in a more liberal bill. Without Brown, Stupak would’ve had a much better chance of getting his amendment.

    Anyway, surprising indeed.

  • It is rare for a political party to walk off a political cliff in lockstep, but that is precisely what the vast majority of Democrats did in the House last night. Most of them I assume have no idea of the political whirlwind they sowed last night.

  • Donald,
    I hope you are right, but if ‘pro-life’ Dems have not figured out their party by now is there any chance that they ever will?

    Party affiliation first and foremost!!!

  • What do you guys think of Bill McCollum, et al and their posturing to kill this in the courts? Do you think they have a shot? I mean, large parts of this monstrosity strike me as blatantly unconstitutional, but I’m no lawyer.

  • restrainedradical,

    Given that the text of the Senate bill, with its more liberal abortion language, predates Brown, I’m unclear how it is the result of his election. Are you theorizing that if the Democrats still had a 60 seat majority in the Senate they would have been more willing to accept Stupak’s language even though they’d initially refused.

  • I mentioned upon the election of Brown that it’s possible that his election would result in a more liberal bill. Without Brown, Stupak would’ve had a much better chance of getting his amendment.

    Nice try, rr, but I do not think the psychology commonly attributed to battered wives is salable in this forum, whether the huckster is you or David Frum.

  • Nice try, rr, but I do not think the psychology commonly attributed to battered wives is salable in this forum, whether the huckster is you or David Frum.

    Oh yes, pro-lifers were the victims in all this. Aren’t they always? I can’t say I didn’t warn you, not like you were listening anyway. Pro-lifers got more out of this than they deserved politically. It’s time for the pro-life movement to stand up, and admit they are facing the adult consequences for their adult choices. Of course that would mean actually holding leaders accountable and not continually giving them a pass. For all the complaining about McClarey’s favorite representative, he’s probably the only reason you have the half loaf you have.

  • Victims? Not particularly, that I can see. We lost lost a battle but won some side engagements along the way, and while it could have been a lot better, we certainly did better than if we’d simply sat around on our hands. (BTW what’s with all this 2nd and 3rd person?)

    That said, we did lose, and in directly because of a loss of either wisdom or principle on the part of one of the main players. In that sense, it’s hardly surprised to see him blamed.

    The point about battered wife syndrome is more that it hardly makes sense to argue that we somehow would have got even more concessions if we hadn’t pushed for anything at all. The Democratic Party is overwhelmingly pro-abortion at this point, and they run congress, so clearly, if pro-lifers had not tried very hard to get pro-life restrictions forced into the bill, the folks who think that killing the unborn is a form of health care would have had their way in its entirety. If there’s a lesson in all this, it’s that the “let’s shut up and be good patsies for the Dems because they’re only ones who care about people” crew would never have got any pro-life concessions at all if they’d been left to their own (lack of) way.

  • I mentioned upon the election of Brown that it’s possible that his election would result in a more liberal bill. Without Brown, Stupak would’ve had a much better chance of getting his amendment.

    I’d considered this possibility too, but ultimately I don’t think it works. The language to be included in the Conference bill had already been worked out prior to Brown’s election, and it wasn’t the Stupak language (that’s what the whole Cornhusker Kickback thing was all about). If Brown hadn’t been elected we would have ended up with the same result w/r/t abortion.

  • MZ, rr fancies we are responsible for this mess because we did not play the angles in some complicated way, e.g. being frightfully clever and casting a ballot for Martha Coakley. Now, I am not impressed with such a thesis or the bloke who offers it, but then I am just an ass who doesn’t want to take responsibility for anything.

    not like you were listening anyway.

    You got me there. I do not pay you much mind, for reasons you should be able to discern.

  • DarwinCatholic, I disagree with you assertion that “the Democratic Party is overwhelmingly pro-abortion at this point…”

    I’m a 30-year-old pro-life Catholic and spent the last decade voting Republican solely on the abortion issue. But I’m done with that. The Democrats of 2010 are a far cry from the party that silenced Bob Casey 18 years ago. Case in point: as Stupak took the podium last night he was greeted with loud, sustained applause from his caucus. Imagine that, 250 Dems cheering a pro-lifer as he champions the pro-life provisions of a piece of Democratic legislation.

    Frankly, the fact that you and others on this blog find yourselves in the same camp as Planned Parenthood and NOW, lambasting Obama over abortion, should give you pause.

  • What a ludicrous thing to say Mr. Kelley. The Democrat party is the most pro-abortion that it has ever been. Stupak sold out the pro-life cause for a meaningless Executive Order that is unenforceable. That is why he was getting cheers from the overwhelming pro-abort Democrat caucus. Vote Democrat if you wish, but do not delude yourself that you will be voting pro-life when you do.

  • Frankly, the fact that you and others on this blog find yourselves in the same camp as Planned Parenthood and NOW, lambasting Obama over abortion, should give you pause.

    Put that bong down, and crash.

  • Donald:
    I didn’t say I was vetoing Democrat, just said I’m done with the Republicans.

    Art Deco:
    Huh?

  • oops. “voting”

  • Chuckling at Art Deco.

    If the Dems weren’t overwhelmingly pro-abortion, there wouldn’t have been any provisions in this bill for abortion from the beginning. Only a handful of Democrats in the house held out for an abortion exclusion. “Pro-life” senators were bought off with promises of pork. The leadership maintained that the bill will still allow funding of abortion and consider that a cost saving measure. Even going as far as to call this a “life-affirming” bill.

    We know to some Catholics abortion isn’t a big deal to begin with, and to most of them the end justifies the means. But the Church’s teaching on life, abortion, and justice resonates with and informs some of our consciences.

  • I don’t blame those who voted for Brown. I wouldn’t have voted for Coakley. But I did think the celebration was premature.

  • RR,

    Yes, the celebration was premature.

    Let’s see if the Democrats can control both houses of congress come the November elections.

  • ” as Stupak took the podium last night he was greeted with loud, sustained applause”

    Whereas just days before, he was greeted with vicious hate. For everyone from the liberal bloggers to the House Dems to suddenly love Stupak says one thing, and one thing only to me: that he agreed to a deal that will do absolutely nothing for the pro-life cause, because any bill that would, would have been shot down by the pro-abort Dems.

    The viciousness with which he then attacked pro-life Republicans during the following vote was like a victory dance with salt-coated shoes over open wounds. And all they were trying to do was get HIS language in the bill – his reason for berating them was that he had the utmost confidence in Obama’s EO.

    What a chump. What an irrational, foolish man.

  • We also know that the people begging and praying for the congressional critters to obey God and the Constitution aren’t being heard by most, both those in the Capitol and anyone outside of the four block radius.

    According to the reporting there were a 1000 ‘Tea Partiers’ and hundreds of Catholics for Health Reform making their cases.

    The sad fact is there is no such thing as a Catholic who is in favor of this ‘health care reform’. I know you misguided lefties are going break your keyboards responding, but the fact is you are wrong. You may have won this battle, but you are still wrong. Engage whatever mental gymnastics you want, you can’t contort the Catholic faith into making this OK.

    I spoke to these poor fools when I was on the hill the past two days and nights. At one point there was some confusion over the boundaries of the pro-Constitution group and the anti-life group and I ended up on the anti-life group side. I admit that after the confusion was cleared up I stayed there because I wanted the cameras to know that we are not all nuts, in favor of collectivism and that there is NO SUCH THING AS A PRO-ABORTION Christian. The camera men told me to, ‘get out of my face, I’ll film whatever I want’. I was told by Capitol police not to cause a commotion and I told them that I was just correcting a lie. The cops were very cool, they did there job well with a few minor exceptions who were chastised.

    One poor woman holding one of the professionally fabricated signs that were given to them by Demon Pelosi ‘catholics’ told me that I wasn’t allowed to be there. I responded that Catholics aren’t allowed to be for killing babies. I was met with silence. No matter how much we sin, that conscience is always there, as misguided and disfigured as it is – even Judas could have repented.

    The interesting thing was that after the ‘staged’ pro-abortion promoters were scheduled to leave – the pro-life, pro-Constitutionalists stayed and prayed and chanted and prayed. Sure I found the Our Father a little long, you know with the Novus Ordo doxology tagged on to the end of the Lord’s Prayer, but that was OK. We sang the national anthem and said the pledge of alliegence and emphasized REPUBLIC and UNDER GOD! (tangent: funny how Bible-only Chrhstians pray the Lord’s prayer differently that it says in the Bible). Some of the younger fools came to our rally carrying their professional signs and acted like fools – some of us fell for it and engaged, sadly, I wish I had recalled that Jesus didn’t say one word to Herod – but I caved into temptation and engaged.

    I am not sure that all of the ‘Catholics for Health Reform’ were actually Catholic or just very, very poorly catechized Catholics, but they are certainly wrong and misguided. They behaved like ignorant fools. It is sad that each subsequent generation since the 60s is devolving into barbarism. Having attended Mass in DC, I also noticed that the Washington DC diocese is not nearly as conservative and traditional as the western part of the Arlington diocese just across the river. That may have something to do with it – lefties and unorthodox, even downright heretics are in our Church and to be silent is to allow the Devil to sweep souls away.

    Oh – as for those racial slurs – I saw none of that – it hasn’t been proven and none of the thousands that I met behaved that way. Not to mention I met many black Americans that were with the alleged perpetrators. There were also many agent provocateurs among us to malign patriotic Americans – don’t fall for the lies. As for Barney Frank being called a fag**t, I didn’t see any of that either, despite the fact that he is a proud Sodomite. We did call him a treasonous traitor – another term that is accurate for that man.

    There were thousands standing up for life, for America and for freedom to worship and honor God. If you can’t be there in person you must pray and fast with those on the front line. This isn’t a joke. This is how a society succumbs to Jacobins, Leninists and Brownshirts. It is so sad that so many have been mentally conditioned into believing that it can’t happen here and that it isn’t happening.

    Of course, this bill is not ushering in collectivism tomorrow – we’ve been working on that for 100 years and the Enemy bides his time. The damage from this will be slow enough for most to not notice it and that will fool many into thinking their conscience is OK with it and then one day they’ll look back and wonder when it happened – when did we become Communist slaves? Or, worse, actually be happy about it and embrace it.

    Thanks for coming to DC – perhaps we bumped into each other. 🙂

November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

Last November during a town hall meeting near the Upper Peninsula Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, an alleged “pro-lifeDemocrat that recently voted for government funding of abortion, made it clear that he was never going to vote “No” on ObamaCare.

Biretta tip to Sydney Carton and Alicia Colon.

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30 Responses to November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare

  • From the Weekly Standard:

    The GOP is now offering its motion to recommit: the Stupak-Pitts amendment which passed the House 240 to 194 in November to ban abortion-funding. If it passes, the bill will have to go back to the Senate for approval, which means at least 25 Democrats will flip-flop on their previous vote on Stupak.

    Stupak is now urging fellow members to vote it down.

    Update: The Stupak amendment fails 199 to 232.

  • “The American Catholic”? Really? So you are American first, and Catholic second? Or what?

  • Yeah, and as Roman Catholic, I’m Roman first and Catholic second. Yeesh.

    You guys should have named this blog The Catholics Who Live in the United States of of America, Don’t Really Hate it, and Aren’t Self-loathing. Not that some would appreciate it, but you’d be denying them juvenile semantic plays.

  • I’m pretty sure I heard about this at the time. Wasn’t it excused by some pro-life leaders (or maybe his spokesman) as a necessary profession of open-mindedness?

    In his defense, a man in Stupak’s position can’t afford to appear totally uncompromising all of the time.

    I am disappointed that so little came out of the Stupak fight. He fought and lost but wouldn’t commit political suicide over it.

    How can pro-lifers limit the damage and strengthen a bipartisan pro-life coalition for the future? If Stupak had real help in the Senate, for instance, he would have had less need to compromise.

    (Juvenile semanticism should often be deleted to stop tangents. Don’t feed the pedants.)

  • I think I remember reading that Stupak is Catholic.

    That being said, and given the smart-mouth remarks previously posted, I would guess that Stupak’s label would best be a “Democrat Catholic” in regards to his way of voting. Political Party man first, God’s second.

  • No one has worked harder than Mr. Stupak to protect the unborn throughout this whole process. No one… not one Republican, not any bishop. I love the Church. I am 100% Catholic, by God’s grace. I am particularly concerned with the plight of the unborn. I think that Mr. Stupak is very sincere and his conscience is clean before God. He and his fellow pro-life democrats have been the voice of reason in this debate. Both pro-abortion Dems and anti-health care reform Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Neither group has taken account of the poor and downtrodden

  • Patrick,

    If he was sincere, he would’ve voted “no” on the final bill.

  • It puzzles me that he held out for so long to only give in to a worthless piece of paper. Not to be all conspiratorial, but my feelings are that this was done intentionally by the Democratic leadership in order to buy themselves more time. They did not have the support of those on the far left (i.e. Kucinich) who wanted a strong public option and/or a single payer system. So, in order to garner the support of the severe leftists, they made it sound as if there were pro-life democrats who were holding out.

    The thing is: there is no such thing as a pro-life democrat.

  • When given the chance to support his own amendment, Representative Bart Stupak described it as “cynical”.

  • Mr. Stupak straddled two logs, upholding the great tradition of political BS in this cgreat country. He milked the pro-life folks and it is concievable that he was not sorry he lost the vote there. His vote on the Medical reform bill no longer mattered. He was free to abstain in accord with his professed “conscience” or again vote negative on the Reform Bill. To vote for the Bill truly stinks since it allows him to straddle both sides of the debate which in turn allows him to advance his own personal poliltical agenda from the pro-life folks was well as from the abortion folks. A true Solomonic/Satanic choice. He didn’t save the baby, so he cut the baby in half!

  • FYI: Cheboyan is in the lower peninsula of Michigan. Oh yeah, Stupak sucks.

  • Another politician that bears all the traits to be in the Congress of the USA. 1. Liar 2. Cheat 3. favors genocide(abortion). If the Government were serious about health they could make it free for every American (legal) and stop giving away our tax dollars to themselves and foreign countries that are against every thing that we stand for. YOU DO THE MATH……

  • Will,

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    I’m not a Michigander, but it sure is close to U.P.

  • The question I have is this. Did Richard Doerflinger who led the last minute rush to include the Stupak amendment in the House bill know about this, did Nat’l Right to Life know about this. Where has this been. Why are we just know getting it!!!!!!

  • If the Bishops knew about this and if Nat’l Right to life knew about this at the time the Stupak amendment was put in the House bill, then our own Bishops and our own Right to Life groups have betrayed us!!!!!

  • To Patrick:
    Charity for the poor and downtrodden is a good thing. But only if it’s FREE WILL VOLUNTARY! The entire governmental welfare system is corrupt as it is never moral to forcibly take from one person, even if the intent is to give to another person for a “good” intention. The original theft negates any possible “good.” Taxes should only go to things that have equal possible use for everyone, i.e. police, fire protection, infrastructure, etc., never to force anyone to give even one dime to another for nothing in return. Theft by “majority rule” is still theft. All government forced wealth transfer is immoral, period, whether for “health care” or anything else.

  • Stupak went through months of hell from pro-abortion advocates, gets a concession from a politician like Obama, and now he gets this vituperation from people who were singing his praises days before?

    He lost in the Senate and had no good options, supporting his party gave him an opening to fight another day. Pelosi already had votes in reserve, but Stupak just helped out his threatened fellow Democrats who were allowed to vote no. That’s how you advance in a party.

    Stupak has pledged to go back and fix things if it is necessary:

    During the press conference announcing his last hour support for the bill, Stupak said: “the statutory language, we’d love to have it. But we can’t get it through the Senate. And we’re not giving up. If there was something we missed, we’re coming back with legislative fixes. These right-to-life Democrats, who really carried the right-to-life ball throughout this whole debate, we will continue to do that. We will work with our colleagues to get the job done.”

    If he really were only a craven opportunist, he would have abandoned his pro-life fight long ago. His situation is ugly, and the EO is almost useless, but he got more done than if he had just followed the party leadership.

    His months of fighting was a show of loyalty to the pro-life cause. Doesn’t he deserve pro-lifers’ critical loyalty rather than critical rejection?

  • “Doesn’t he deserve pro-lifers’ critical loyalty rather than critical rejection?”

    No. He caved and settled for a useless fig leaf to hide his abject surrender. He deserves all the scorn he is reaping. I regret every positive word I wrote about Stupak. In the final analysis making his peace with his party was more important to him than the pro-life cause.

  • @ Jim S.

    “The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side.”

    (Words given by Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate.)

    If you ask around I believe you will find that your consideration of paying taxes as theft and thus a moral evil incapable of bearing any good to be very isolated and unacceptable to 99% of people(including Christ Himself see: Mt 22:17-23)

    You mentioned charity, but reduced it to government run almsgiving. Upon further reflection I hope you find that charity is much more dynamic than you propose (see 1 Cor 13 for example).

    As Catholic followers of Christ we should look to HIM and not to figures like Rush Limbaugh for answers. Christ is our model. See how he had compassion on the multitudes and fed them (Mt.15:32), taught them (Mk. 6:34)and yes, healed them of their infirmities (Mt 14:14; 20:34; 1:41; etc… He gave His very life for us and has asked us to do the same (Mt 16:24).

    St John asks: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1Jn. 3:17)

    True charity, a real love of our brothers, is the priviledge and the gift given by God to us. Social Darwinist, ultra-conservative “Christians” may very well find themselves in the same predicament as the rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day, oblivious of the righteous man Lazarus sitting outside his door. (Lk 16:19-31).

  • I missed the part in the Gospels Patrick where Christ decreed that it was the duty of Caesar to take care of the poor. Statist attempted solutions of taking care of the poor have an abysmal track record. Christians have a duty to care for the poor personally. I do not think we have a duty to have the State confiscate funds from taxpayers under the pretext of caring for the poor.

  • Duh. The Catholic faithful haave suffered enough while the Church goes chasing after socialis progressive ideals. I suggest you read the history of Marx, Lennin and Saul Alinsky

  • “Doesn’t he deserve pro-lifers’ critical loyalty rather than critical rejection?”

    I think Stupak deserves our forgiveness and prayers, but not our loyalty. My prayers go out to both Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak for I think both of them have consciences and are suffering and perhaps even condemning themselves more than we are condemning them. They are both casualties, and Lord only knows of all the other casualties due to the tactics used by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et al. The problem therein lies within me as my heart tells me that there is unconscionable evil abounding in Washington in the form of Obama and Pelosi, those who will continue exploiting others for their own selfish ends, yes, even the perhaps noble motions of Stupak. Once Stupak examined his very ignoble acquiescence of yesterday followed by drinking and partying, one would hope his disillusionment set in about the deal he had just struck. Pelosi and Obama, however, seem to be stuck in perpetual happiness with themselves, totally. We are told to pray for their conversion, but would it do any good? As C.S. Lewis said, “should they be confirmed forever in their present happiness, should they continue for all eternity to be perfectly convinced that the laugh is on their side?” I detected no mocking tone or cavalier attitude in Stupak’s interview today, but perhaps confusion. It is not his intent, nor Ben Nelson’s, to eliminate undesirable elements of society. But what is the intent of our most pro-abort President ever, who would deny medical care to a still-alive aborted fetus, and the 100-percent NARAL rated Pelosi, who voted against the ban on partial birth abortion? I cannot fathom the evil that lurks in their hearts and souls.

  • Read the reply list and you will soon recognize the problem. We are much closer to Anarchy than we are to Socialism. Stupak is playing his own game (anarchy) just like all other congressmen do. Read some history about other empires and how they failed. You need not be a scholar to figure it out. The United States and the Catholic Church needs to step back and look at the one thing that creates good and rejects evil. It is called UNITY. Remember the Trinity?

  • The cynicism is overwhelming. We won’t even allow a matter of days to play out before we cast our stones at Mr. Stupak, who has probably spent the last few weeks and months agonizing over how to do the right thing in the midst of this complex and relatively poor political system. I am amazed that we already feel the authority to judge not only his actions, but his culpability. Time will tell what the fruit of his labors will be, and may we pray that those fruits will be the preservation of many lives; yet, no amount of time will ever reveal to us the inner thoughts or intentions of a man’s heart.

  • Thank you TM for a mature reply.

  • To Patrick,

    It is not the place of the government to take money from its people to freely give to another group of people and we as citizens should not accept this. This precept is not Christian nor Catholic for it breaks the 10th commandment. We are called as Christians to give to the poor and downtrodden. We are not called as Christians to have money taken from us and given to someone else because the government deamed it something good. Charity comes from people not from governments. Our welfare, medicare, etc systems are in a mess and do nothing but hold people down in poverty. Welfare is to help people until they get on their feet not to sustain them their entire lifes even though they have the ability to work. This is evil not good.

  • TM: Since we know that in November 2009 Stupak indicated that he NEVER intended to vote no on Obamacare, where do you get the idea that he has spent “the last few weeks and months agonizing over how to do the right thing?” Your defense of him is clearly negated by what the man said himself, right in front of a camera.

    He used the unborn as pawns in a political game designed to fool gullible pro-lifers and place himself in the spotlight. Now that’s what I call cynicism.

  • Be careful–Stupak will lie about other things as well. The key word is FOOL and we are that FOOL…

  • My only intent in posting this is to edify those who may not know. Bart, Jr., Stupak’s youngest son, committed suicide approximately ten years ago. I don’t know whether this tragic event played any role in Stupak’s initial heroic stance on abortion and his subsequent shameless cave-in, but, in any event, he and his family certainly deserve our prayers.

John Murtha, 1932 to 2010 Anno Domini, Requiescat In Pace

Monday, February 8, AD 2010

John Patrick “Jack” Murtha, Jr. died Wednesday morning at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA, after complications from gallbladder surgery. Murtha was 77.[1]

Congressman Murtha was a Democrat with a relatively populist economic outlook, and is generally much more socially conservative than most other House Democrats. He is opposed to abortion, consistently receiving a 0% rating from NARAL and 70% rating from National Right to Life Committee; however, he supports embryonic stem cell research. He generally opposes gun control, earning an A from the National Rifle Association.  Murtha was also one of the few Democrats in Congress to vote against the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 and also one of the few Democrats to vote in favor of medical malpractice tort reform.[2]

May he rest in peace.

_._

[1] Fox News entry by Chad Pergram.

[2] Wikipedia entry for John Murtha, Political Views

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5 Responses to John Murtha, 1932 to 2010 Anno Domini, Requiescat In Pace

Fiscal Health Care Reform: The Publics Option

Friday, December 11, AD 2009

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama continue to spend, spend, spend away money we don’t have.  With the public option now firmly established in the current Senate version of the health care bill, Election 2010 comes to mind.

Kick the bums out.

I love democracy.

(Biretta Tip: Glenn Foden of NewsBusters)

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13 Responses to Fiscal Health Care Reform: The Publics Option

  • Give me an alternative to Republicans, and I’ll happily comply. Let’s not forget that the borrow-and-spend mantra was begun by Mr Reagan, and continued by both Bushes, especially the last one.

    Lucky thing for the GOP that in our political system, you might be in last place, but you’re never more than one election from ascendancy.

  • Borrow and spend began with Reagan Todd only if Reagan’s name is spelled Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s Depression deficits, not including World War II, peaked at 5.4% of gdp. Obama’s deficit this year was 7.2% gdp. During Reagan and the first Bush the deficits averaged 4.3% gdp. Both parties have done a lousy job since the onset of the Great Depression of balancing tax receipts and spending, with the exception of Eisenhower and for a few of the Clinton years due to the dot.com bubble, and we are all going to be paying a high price for this for a very, very long time.

  • Running a deficit during a war of national mobilization, a banking crisis, or an economic depression is not unreasonable. During nearly all of Mr. Roosevelt’s tenure, the country was either producing below capacity (and had latent unemployment of such a level that public expenditure might actually be ‘stimulating’) or engaged in a war global in scope. Please note, the Roosevelt Administration did make a serious attempt to balance the federal budget in 1937.

    What has been troublesome has been the inability (since 1960) of the political class to balance the federal budget over the course of any one of the seven business cycles which have run their course since that time. We have had a few balanced budgets near business cycle peaks.

    It is not that difficult to manage. You have to fix your expenditure stream at where your revenue stream would be if the economy were producing at mean capacity. They do not do it because they just don’t feel like it.

  • Let’s not forget that the borrow-and-spend mantra was begun by Mr Reagan, and continued by both Bushes, especially the last one.

    Todd, you are of an age to recall that during a period of economic expansion lasting ten years and featuring improvements in real domestic product a mean of 4% per annum, the administration and Congress balanced the budget just once. Name the political party which had majorities in the upper and lower chamber of Congress during that entire period, and held the presidency for eight of those ten years.

  • When was the last time anyone heard of Congress raising our debt limit to aproximately 2 Trillion dollars. With our debt cost apprroaching 50% of our national income, and the new health bill
    and more stimulus spending to come..some thoughs..the
    government takes money from someone, it has none of its own, and giving money to others has to come from those who work for a living. When those who work for a living realize that if they didn’t and then the government would care for them, then what is their incentive to work and that is the begining of any nation to fail..the fact is that you can not mutiple wealth by spending it and dividing it.

  • I should have added that Medicare’s chief actuary states that Medicare under the proposed bill would spend 35.8 Trillion from 2010 to 2019. Wonder where the money is going to come from?

  • “Name the political party …”

    I would love to see national politics turned on its head, and some degree of sanity restored to foreign and economic policies.

    That either major party will effect that change is a vain hope. Given an alternative to an incompetent, lawless GOP, I’d prefer to hold my nose and take my chances with the current status quo. If nothing else, seeing the Republicans whine in defeat is more entertaining than the alternative.

    Seriously, I do think 2010 and 2012 will be an outlet for much anger if the job market doesn’t perk up. The feds borrowing money isn’t news; it’s been SOP for the last three decades. But unemployment is a crusher right now. The federal deficit? That’s just a useful tool for partisans. As of right now, it still means nothing, and either party is as much to blame as the other.

    Now let’s get back to Obama’s one-child policy.

  • I do not think it will be all that amusing if the U.S. Treasury suffers a failed bond sale. When the ratio of public debt to domestic product comes to exceed 0.9, the willingness of participants in the bond market to buy your scraps of paper diminishes considerably. And that won’t mean ‘nothing’.

    Quite a number of us have had occasion to assess what causes you to hold your nose.

    http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/2005/11/settlement_in_s.html

  • Excellent research, Art. With the change in topic to Catholics behaving badly, I’ll accept your concession on my point that major party politics are bad news for economic good sense. I’m really curious about one point. Stocks are up forty-some percent and the Christmas bonuses for bankers are rolling through the economy. Just what is it that the GOP would have done differently? Mr Bush and the Fed starting the bailout to the tune of a third of a trillion last Fall. Would Mr McCain have ended all that?

    Now can we please get back to the secret Muslim/socialist takeover?

  • Stocks are up forty-some percent and the Christmas bonuses for bankers are rolling through the economy. Just what is it that the GOP would have done differently?

    I am not making any concessions, Todd.

    Counter-factual speculation is usually idle.

    Barney Frank was one of the obstacles to implementing debt-for-equity swaps to recapitalize the bulge bracket banks and in general casino bankers like Robert Rubin have more intimate relations with the elites of the Democratic Party; however, it is true that debt-for-equity swaps for these institutions and for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also rejected for obscure reasons by Mr. Paulson and his camarilla.

    I have a suspicion a Republican Congress and Administration would have told the United Auto Workers to pound sand. They’d have had to accept a pre-packaged legislated re-organization or the corporations would have had to trudge through the standard proceedings of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, not to mention the ministrations of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. It would have been a good deal less sweet for General Motors’ legatees.

    As for the stimulus, by what accounts have appeared in the newspapers, it appears to have been an omnibus of programs Democratic members of Congress have had on their wish lists for some years. A Republican Congress and Administration would likely have preferred a legislated tax cut.

    There is quite a bit of dispute between economists as to the actual value of the multipliers associated with public expenditure in these circumstances, which is to say a dispute about the degree to which public spending crowds out private spending (one macroeconomist who has written on the subject has said recently that crowding out vitiates the effect of public spending so long as unemployment rates are below 12%). A suspension of payroll tax collections could have been implemented rapidly and would have dispensed a disproportionate share of its largesse to the segment of the population with the highest propensity to consumption, thus having the most impact toward the goal of maintaining aggregate demand. There was the anxiety that the demand for real balances was so intense last year that such would simply be added to people’s stock of cash reserves. The results of monetary policy innovation since then indicate that that concern was misplaced. I do not think the Republican caucus would have favored a payroll tax cut over an income tax cut.

    I think the Republicans, given a free hand, might have put the kibosh on scheduled increases in the minimum wage. The labor market would be in less parlous condition for a’ that.

    The Republicans likely would not have pissed away valuable time on a tar baby like Mr. Obama’s medical insurance proposal.

    I have no clue about what sort of mortgage modification plan might have been drawn up by a Republican Administration.

    So, we did not get debt-for-equity swaps, we got fleeced by the United Auto Workers, the Democratic Party got to do $787 bn in favors for their friends, we priced a good many low wage workers out of the market, we were saddled with a means-tested mortgage modification program that encouraged people to restrict their earnings, and we have had no action as yet on a revised architecture for the banking system or a general plan for working out underwater mortgages because Congress has wasted so much time debating a non-acute problem. It is possible that a Republican Congress and Administration could have done a worse job. It is also possible that I am Marie of Roumania.

  • “It is possible that a Republican Congress and Administration could have done a worse job. It is also possible that I am Marie of Roumania.”

    Ouch! Give it up Todd! You are batting way out of your league with Art. (When it comes to economics, so would I if I tangled with Art!)

  • No, president is can solve these problems. There is more going on behind the scene that we can’t see. Why don’t movie stars like Oprah and Jolie and many other people in the US try to help but stand and watch our country go down and stand before the camera with six kids from all around the world. Im sorry Oprah im black and I may just have to mail her. Why do people from out of the country get free education but not homeless vets? Or just homeless people?. And Obama is making it worse sending troops because he just gonna piss off those people and that’s the last thing we need here in America along with a race war. America is fake, why would anyone believe any presedent. Denmark, France are happy countries with healthcare but they pay a lot in taxes, not many people want to do that in America. America is not use to change. Change is easier for an eastern countries philosophy speaking.

  • “I am not making any concessions, Todd.”

    Then on the next thread we find ourselves conversing, I suggest you stick to your expertise, as Donald terms it, and set aside the desperate historical research.

The Flames of Dissent and Discord

Saturday, October 24, AD 2009

Patrick Kennedy

Politicians make asinine statements all the time, but sometimes there is one that stands out from the crowd for its sheer cluelessness, duplicity and perversity.  Patrick Kennedy, yep, one of Teddy Kennedy’s sons, a Democrat member of Congress from Rhode Island, lambasted the Church for not falling into line behind ObamaCare. Here is a statement that he made  to CNSNews.

“I can’t understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time, where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we’re caring and giving health care to the human person–that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured,” Kennedy told CNSNews.com when asked about a letter the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) had sent to members of Congress stating the bishops’ position on abortion funding in the health-care bill.

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9 Responses to The Flames of Dissent and Discord

Catholic Democrats Attack Glendon And Run Into Father Z

Wednesday, April 29, AD 2009

catholic-democrats1

Father Z plays whack-a-mole here with the attack on Mary Ann Glendon by Catholic Democrats, a group which has experienced a ferocious fisk from him before.   Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia has some perceptive thoughts in his post “… Dollars to Doughnuts …” regarding the attacks on Mary Ann Glendon now coming from some elements of the Catholic Left.

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7 Responses to Catholic Democrats Attack Glendon And Run Into Father Z

Catholic Democrats of Ohio vs. the Catholic Bishops

Friday, April 24, AD 2009

Rich Leonardi (Ten Reasons) posts some particularly damning evidence as to where the Catholic Democrats of Ohio’s loyalties reside on the matter of Notre Dame’s honoring Barack Obama with a law degree:

In the event you are unsure which word in the group name “Catholic Democrats” is more important, this release should provide some clarity

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7 Responses to Catholic Democrats of Ohio vs. the Catholic Bishops

Catholic Democrats Come to the Defense of Notre Dame

Friday, April 17, AD 2009

catholic-democrats

Catholic Democrats come to the defense of their leader in regard to Georgetown and Notre Dame and run into a buzzsaw named Father Z here.

Update:  Good analysis of why Catholic Democrats and other Obama-philes are so concerned about the fallout from Notre Dame is given here by the always readable Damian Thompson across the pond at his blog Holy Smoke.

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10 Responses to Catholic Democrats Come to the Defense of Notre Dame

  • Isn’t Fr. Z the man whose writing verges on pornography, whenever he muses lyrically on his intense love for certain U.S battleships?

  • Obviously Mr. DeFrancisis you know nothing about Father Z. Enjoy the fisk. I know I am!

  • Isn’t Fr. Z the man whose writing verges on pornography, whenever he muses lyrically on his intense love for certain U.S battleships?

    Only in the perverted imagination of a couple rather odd bloggers. He just likes naval architecture. Many people have worse hobbies.

  • Mark,

    And you wonder why I call you a dissident Catholic.

  • He just last year salivated in writing over the armored appendages of one US battleship, one that he pointed out delivered missiles in the (unjust)U.S military aggression on Iraq of the early 90s.

  • Mr. DeFrancisis, doesn’t it get tiring dragging red herrings across the screen? Deal with the substance of Father Z’s fisk and stop babbling about battleships.

  • Tito – Opposing war makes one a “dissident” Catholic? Someone better notify the Pope.

    If find it outrageously funny that you people did the same thing to Bush and yet you’re criticizing Obama’s folks when they rush to defend him. Are you surprised? I’m not.

  • Tito,

    Fr. Z is a phenon in an obscure corner of the Catholic blogosphere. His pronouncements have no authority over me, as he is neither a bishop nor a priset in my diocese. Additionally, despite all of his clains to Catholicity, his views on the liturgy and other matters are mostly the predilictions of an ideologue and an aesthete, not ones which mirror the necessary pronouncements of Mother Church. I wish him all the cyber-success he seeks out, but, otherwise, we have nothing to do with each other.

  • We should pray for Fr. Z. He will surely lose a lot of sleep over Mr DeFrancisis’ poor opinion of him…

  • Pingback: Catholic Democrats Attack Glendon And Run Into Father Z « The American Catholic

The Catholic Liberal Case for Sanctioning Pro-choice Politicians

Monday, February 9, AD 2009

I was talking with a good friend who is both a faithful Catholic and a principled progressive the other day, and she said something which (sometimes feeling mildly guilty about how politically convenient calls to sanction pro-choice Catholic politicians are for me) I had not thought of before.

“I think the bishops are partly to blame,” she said, in regards to the difficulties pro-life Democrats have in getting elected. “There are so many fears of seeming like shills for the Republicans that pro-life and pro-choice Catholic Democrats get treated much the same.”

I’d never thought of this, but really: what a slap in the face. If you’ve taken the politically difficult stand of being a pro-life Catholic Democrat in the historically Catholic-heavy regions like New England or the upper mid-west, and the Church leadership treats your candidacy exactly the same as the pro-choice Catholic incumbant you’re running against, how much incentive is there to take the courageous stand?

And so we end up with this kind of situation.

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25 Responses to The Catholic Liberal Case for Sanctioning Pro-choice Politicians

  • So, is your friend arguing that the Bishops SHOULD impose sanctions against “pro-choice” Catholic politicians? Makes sense to me that a pro-life Democrat would want that distinction to be drawn between those not in line with Catholic teaching and those who, at great risk to their political fortunes, are following Catholic teaching with respect to abortion. Clearly, there being no downside to being Catholic and a “pro-choice” Democrat means there’s little if no upside to being Catholic and a “pro-life” Democrat.

    But, then, that raises the question of why we don’t hear this from more pro-life Democrats. This is a generalization, of course, but we often see pro-life Democrats cautioning (and even railing) against suggestions of the Bishops taking such corrective measures.

    On the other hand, the prospect of Rudy Giuliani winning the GOP nomination for President had many pro-life Catholic Republicans talking of abandoning their party. Many of those same folks also took issue with Rudy receiving Communion at a Papal Mass during Benedict’s visit last year.

  • Picking up from Jay- Cardinal Egan was right and proper to lay out Rudy. But to concentrate on him is to miss forest for trees. The Dem party its own self is the issue- and the baptized Catholics who conveniently ignore the Church’s teachings on any and all life issues. Agreed, the bishops have not exactly been Profiles In Courage candidates up to this summer. Mostly due to their desire to issue safe, politically correct documents. Trying to win the approval of Dems. Only to get back of hand in return. Slapping escalated after Roe. Therefore a bit of reluctance to endure stinging faces. Much like poor Pope Paul after the firestorm from Humanae Vitae. Never issued another encyclical of such importance again. With a fairly new set of shepherds, who got their marching orders from Pope B last April, we can reasonably expect them to act stronger and bolder. But like the couch potato who orders PS90, hard to break old and bad habits.

    To counter DC’s friend, consider a recent conversation between mineself and a bright young friend, working on her master’s degree. Secular upbring, with all it entails. She had never heard of Humanae Vitae. Thus our dilemma.

  • So, is your friend arguing that the Bishops SHOULD impose sanctions against “pro-choice” Catholic politicians?

    That was her take, though I agree with you that it often seems a lot of people simply stick at complaining that their party is getting beat up too much.

    Her opinion was that as long as the Kennedys and Pelosis of the world get treated as reputable Catholic politicians by their bishops, there’s really no incentive for Democratic candidates to put in the work of bucking their party on the abortion issue.

  • Hilarious. My heart goes out to those many, many Catholic Democrat politicians who are persecuted for their “pro-life” convictions by the Roman hierarchy. Is your friend a unicorn, peradventure?

    “Her opinion was that as long as the Kennedys and Pelosis of the world get treated as reputable Catholic politicians by their bishops, there’s really no incentive for Democratic candidates to put in the work of bucking their party on the abortion issue.”

    For one thing, that doesn’t even make sense. According to that line of reasoning, if bishops are treating pro-choice Democrat candidates like “reputable Catholics,” then these mysterious and rarified “pro-life Dem candidates” would have all the more cause to trumpet their life-affirming values within a Catholic political context, if it’s really Catholic approval they seek! No bishop could fail to draw the distinction between a pro-life Dem candidate and a pro-choice Dem candidate. Moreover, if the playing field for pro-life and pro-choice Democrat candidates is equal in the eyes of bishops (as you say your friend opines), then what “incentive” is needed, pray tell, for a pro-life candidate to act according to conscience, all things being equal? What your friend is failing to admit, in all this obfuscation, is that the goal of winning votes is more important than Church teaching on the life issue, one way or the other. It’s astonishingly clear.

    This is all so much smoke-and-mirrors…a Democrat semantic dance-in-the-dark. No wonder so-called progressive Catholics are confused and generally adrift. They can’t even get their excuses straight.

    Episcopally persecuted/unchampioned pro-life Democratic candidates. Yes, that’s GOT to be at the root of the problem. I’ve heard it all, now. Please: there aren’t enough little violins in the entire world.

  • Well, as a Catholic Democrat, I think there is something to her argument. In a spirit of good charity, I disagree with many of you have find the perspective to be some sort of a joke.

    First, to be a pro-life Democrat is to walk a fine line. It is essentially hell to run in Democratic primaries; elections are usually a cake walk compared to the primary run against the monetary force of pro-choice groups. But there are times in general elections when the party won’t back pro-life Democrats with money, though still incumbent pro-life Democrats generally don’t lose their seats to Republicans in elections; they lose them in primaries. Often times, very principles pro-life Democrats have to drop out of races or they don’t even run.

    Secondly, there is this mentality that you cannot be Catholic and a Democrat, sometimes even if you are pro-life and are working in the trenches. I was reading an article in the Human Life Review, I’m not sure if it was a magazine or if it was online, but either Representative Tim Ryan or Bob Stupak, both of which are pro-life Catholic Democrats with consistent 100% pro-life voting records. Whomever it was, discussed his Catholic faith and his difficulties in public office and one was this mentality that you cannot be Catholic and a Democrat, or kind of mocked the idea of voting for such candidates as if the ethical dilemma was voting for a Democrat not a “pro-choice” candidate — the two are not always synonymous.

    In fact, there was a little bit in the article, which was nearly 20 pages about tension between pro-life Democrats and the National Right to Life, including instances where the NRTL endorsed a single candidate with two pro-life candidates with proven records voting against each other and a quarrel over the NRTL monetarily supporting Republican candidates, but not so eagerly lending that support so readily or abundantly to proven pro-life Democrats (whom they repeatedly give 100% ratings) in close, hard fought elections when what is truly at stake is keeping a seat pro-life. I think any sensible pro-life person would rather two pro-life candidates run against each other than allow the risk of a pro-choice candidate winning at all. If anyone is interested, I’ll look into finding the article — though, I’m not entirely sure if it’s online. I think I might have wrote about it at some point before.

    Now, DC made says that his friend says the Bishops are “partially” responsible for these complications. I am not sure if this means that Catholic bishops are clearly condemning pro-life Democrats. I don’t think it does. I think it is implicit of the fact that certain Bishops who make comments without further clarification almost make statements that voting Republican is non-negotiable and this may inadvertently effect the pro-life Democrats, particularly those who are Catholic. As a Catholic myself, there is always seems to be a question of my orthodoxy even after it becomes clear that I am unapologetically pro-life. So, while some may in good charity disagree, I humbly ask that you not so harshly laugh off such “absurdness” before really considering what it’s like to be on the other side.

    I think it is clear that if we’re going to win the battle for the unborn, we cannot allow the pro-life movement to be locked to one side of the political spectrum; I believe it would be more effective if there wasn’t a war of rolling back pro-life gains and fighting to get them back after a pro-life sweep because really building a “Culture of Life” in my view has been cheapened to a political slogan talked about every election cycle in order to ensure votes. Hence, I don’t think the pro-life movement should be confined to a single side of the American political discourse.

    That’s my two cents.

  • As much as I disagree with the democrats on almost every issue, the abortion holocaust so vastly outweighs that I completely agree the your analysis. A pro-life Democrat party might be bad news for the Republicans it would be great news for the unborn, and so I am wholeheartedly in favor of it.

    Ian,

    are you kidding? The US bishops with few exceptions take grand steps to avoid condemning pro-abortion politicians of either party, to the detriment of the pro-life cause and at the expense of pro-life politicians of both parties.

    That being said, there really are only a very small number of pro-life democrats, most of them are just pro-choice lite.

  • Eric,

    Secondly, there is this mentality that you cannot be Catholic and a Democrat, sometimes even if you are pro-life and are working in the trenches. I was reading an article in the Human Life Review, I’m not sure if it was a magazine or if it was online, but either Representative Tim Ryan or Bob Stupak, both of which are pro-life Catholic Democrats with consistent 100% pro-life voting records. Whomever it was, discussed his Catholic faith and his difficulties in public office and one was this mentality that you cannot be Catholic and a Democrat, or kind of mocked the idea of voting for such candidates as if the ethical dilemma was voting for a Democrat not a “pro-choice” candidate — the two are not always synonymous.

    Who did those 2 pro-life congressmen support for speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi? Who did they endorse for president? Barack Obama?

    100% pro-life? I think not. I would not suggest it is necessarily immoral for a Catholic to support these candidates, but it is certainly not morally acceptable to give Nancy Pelosi control of the House of Representatives. I believe that completely justifies NRTL’s stance on pro-life Democrats. Look at the example of Casey? So many of these are just providing cover for the abortion pushers.

    I would also be interested to know their stances on other non-negotiable items.

    To be clear, I believe YOU are not in this category.

  • The Democratic party is opposed to principles. They are relativist to the core. Sure, certain people who fancy themselves Democrats have principles, and may even really want to put them into practice, sort of. But the Democratic politicians, the people elected to office, by and large, do not have any principles, and they actively work against those who do, calling them dogmatic and narrow minded and opposed to change. Democrats, enlightened, appeal to whatever people seem to want at the moment and then try to give it to them. After all, as Keynes said, “in the long run, we’re all dead”. Principles tend to get in the way with what we might want right now.

    In short, the party is a bad match with Catholicism.

  • I’m not sure on who either of the two voted for in the past election. As far as I know, they did not publicly come out and endorse a presidential candidate. Nor do I know who they voted for, for Speaker of the House.

    As far as voting goes, to the end of the 2008 year, both of these two Congressmen have voted completely pro-life on legislation in regard to abortion and ESCR. As a matter of fact, the Pregnant Woman Support Act which is the Democrats for Life of America’s 95-10 initiative which was re-introduced in both chambers of Congress — supported by the U.S. bishops — has actually become more pro-life. In the House version, I’ve noticed that Ryan removed public funding of contraception as a means of combatting abortion.

    Sen. Casey is not his father, certainly. But I don’t think it is fair to let the failures of some be grounds to withhold approval and/or assistance to honest-to-goodness men of good will, particularly pro-life Democrats like Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska who has voted consistently with pro-life Republicans his entire career in Congress.

  • Well, if the Democratic Party is opposed to principles, then I think it’s a noble cause to transform it from the inside and make it open to principles.

  • Can’t find anything on the votes for Speaker, but here is Tim Ryan’s record:

    http://www.ontheissues.org/OH/Tim_Ryan.htm

    * Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)
    * Voted YES on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
    * Voted YES on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
    * Voted YES on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
    * Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother?s life. (Oct 2003)
    * Voted YES on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research. (Feb 2003)
    * Rated 10% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)
    * Expand contraceptive services for low-income women. (May 2006)
    * Rated 80% by the NRLC, indicating a mixed record on abortion. (Dec 2006)
    * Provide emergency contraception at military facilities. (Apr 2007)
    * Ensure access to and funding for contraception. (Feb 2007)

    * Voted NO on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
    * Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
    * Rated 63% by the HRC, indicating a mixed record on gay rights. (Dec 2006)

    * Rated 25% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-family voting record. (Dec 2003)

  • Bart Stupak does much better on abortion.

    http://www.ontheissues.org/MI/Bart_Stupak.htm

    * Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)
    * Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
    * Voted YES on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
    * Voted YES on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
    * Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother?s life. (Oct 2003)
    * Voted YES on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research. (Feb 2003)
    * Voted YES on funding for health providers who don’t provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)
    * Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
    * Voted YES on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001)
    * Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000)
    * Voted YES on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)
    * Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)
    * Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance. (Dec 2006)
    * Prohibit transporting minors across state lines for abortion. (Jan 2008)

    He appears to be in conflict on other non-negotiables:

    * Voted NO on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
    * Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
    * Voted NO on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)

  • Like it or not the US is a two party political system. It is in the best interest of the nation to have a strong, and healthy (meaning not in favor of abortion and other fundamentally immoral positions) Democrat and Republican party.

    I have a more pessimistic assesment of pro-life Democrats than Eric, but he is entirely right that the a strong stance by the bishops would help pro-life Democrats, and be a good thing for the nation.

    A strong stance by the bishops would force the Democrats to reform into at least being neutral, or face electoral decimation.

  • Now, DC made says that his friend says the Bishops are “partially” responsible for these complications. I am not sure if this means that Catholic bishops are clearly condemning pro-life Democrats. I don’t think it does. I think it is implicit of the fact that certain Bishops who make comments without further clarification almost make statements that voting Republican is non-negotiable and this may inadvertently effect the pro-life Democrats, particularly those who are Catholic.

    I think her point was that too often bishops (in an effort not to seem partisan) congratulate Republican Catholics for what they see as typically Republican Catholic issues (such as protecting the unborn) and Democratic Catholics for what they see as typically Democratic Catholic issues (such as helping the poor) but are afraid to be seen as taking sides when a pro-life Democrat who is Catholic runs against a pro-choice one.

    Specifically, she wished that rather than continuing to give the Kennedys and similar Catholic political dynasties that turned pro-choice respect as Catholic laymen, those politicians’ bishops had explicitly endorsed pro-life Democratic challengers in the primaries.

  • Correction: Representative Davis introduced PWSA not Ryan. Ryan co-sponsored it. I thought it was the other way around.

  • Maaaatttttttt:

    ~Read~

    I did not say a word about the amount of episcopal support or non-support of political candidates of either persuasion. I made my remarks based upon Darwin Cath’s contention, i.e. that his politico-pal lamented this perception of bishops as giving no explicit endorsement to one sort of candidate over the other.

    Hence, that would mean the playing field is allegedly equal, and, all things being equal, what could possibly impede a Dem candidate who *already espouses genuine pro-life convictions* from simply following their conscience? Could it be that they require a reward, an incentive, (specifically from bishops!) if they already possess such convictions?

    DEM CANDIDATE: “As a Catholic, I already have pro-life convictions but you bishops need to publicly endorse me or else I’ll lie to myself and my constituents and follow my Party’s most popular opinion. Nyah.”

    What a commedy of errors. One can clearly see that, if a genuinely pro-life Democrat politician whines and deflects some sort of milquetoast blame to bishops, this is a smokescreen. When that politician rejects their own conscience and publicly proclaims a pro-choice allegiance they do not necessarily feel, they do so ostensibly to “get elected,” and in doing so reveal that *this* is their ultimate concern–not any sort of hypothetical approval from the episcopate or, apparently, even from their own consciences. Such a hypocrite does not admirably represent the Church or the Democratic constituency, in this case–and this IS the specific scenario mentioned by Darwin Catholic within this conversation, from the very lips of his political friend.

    Please. You dear rocket scientists need to read between the lines of all this Democrat prevarication and obfuscation concerning the life-issue. We all know the history of the Democratic Party and the RC Church in this country (or we should). We know how that relationship was forged, formed, and changed over the decades based upon the thrust of the Party’s changes, Catholic demographics and sundry. The relationship is changing now, due to the Life-issue, which was not a political issue until Roe v. Wade made it an issue and it took the church, as a whole in the US, a couple of decades to process that development and begin to shift (even a bit) in terms of its political colouring.

    No one is saying that Catholics cannot be Democrats. Let them be Democrats and espouse pro-life convictions and reap whatever reaction they reap within their Party. There is no ~law~ stating that a democrat cannot be a Democrat if they hold pro-life convictions. Let them be Democrats and, for sake of argument, subjugate their consciences for politically expedient purposes, following Party lines and espousing pro-choice convictions and I guarantee they will face some consequences from certain people in the Church, bishops or not bishops. Let them be Democrats and publicly promote genuinely pro-choice convictions, in which case, they are NOT Catholics. The bishops have made this latter point quite clear, at least.

    Moreover, the bishops in the US have been generally quite clear, as a body, that they will not publicly endorse one candidate over another. In fact, to do so poses a potential problem for them, in case you are unfamiliar with tax exemption/conflict-of-interest laws in this nation. Where’s the big surprise in all of this?

    So, no, amid everyone else’s evasive maneuvering around the real issue (personal responsibility and integrity, even for–gasp!–politicians), amid all this self-victimization of Democrat Catholic candidates, I was not kidding. And you, apparently, were not reading.

  • Iaaaaannnnn,

    I think it’s you who was not reading. I highly doubt that DC or I, or Eric is saying that pro-abortion Democrat politicians would suddenly become pro-life if the bishops supported them actively… but that the pro-life ones would be more inspired to act and they would actually be successful.

    There is no suggestion that the bishops are opposing pro-life democrat candidates or oppressing them, but they aren’t giving them the support that would make them, and potentially the pro-life cause successful.

    Again, don’t get me wrong, I totally oppose most of the positions even pro-life democrats hold, and I think they are mostly pro-choice lite… all the more reason for the bishops to put the whole party’s feet to the fire.

  • Ian,

    I think you underestimate the importance of incentive structures. Politicians, like most people (perhaps more than most people), respond to incentives. For the last thirty years, Democratic Catholic politicians who vote pro-choice have received relatively little criticism from the bishops. And when they are criticized, the bishop who criticizes them is often characterized as an extremist or a Republican flack.

    The argument in the post is that this scenario creates little to no disincentives for Catholic politicians to be pro-choice. Arguably, if the bishops were more forceful in their criticisms, these politicians would have at least some disincentive to support pro-choice legislation. After all, Ted Kennedy went from saying abortion wasn’t acceptable in civilized society in 1976 to his current position by around 1980 when he wanted to run for President. Politicians respond to incentives.

    Regarding your point about sincerity, I vote for politicians based on what I think they will do. I’ll take someone who doesn’t care one way or the other about an issue but will do what I want over a politician that sincerely disagrees with me (particularly on abortion) every time. Sincerity is relevant to me as a voter only to the extent it is predictive. I don’t care as a voter whether a politician is sincerely pro-life, conflicted, or sincerely pro-choice; I care about how they will act on the issue. As we have plenty of evidence that politicians respond rather quickly to incentives, the actions of the bishops in providing incentives or disincentives is relevant.

    It may be, again, that bishops do not have enough influence for this to matter. But it’s not crazy to suggest it would in some cases, and bishops have a responsibility in any case to prevent the scandal of public Catholics muddying what the Church teaches.

  • Along the lines of what Matt and John Henry said, but being a Darwin type I can’t help pointing out what we’re looking at is basically a selective pressure. Look at it this way:

    Among likely Democratic voters there exist three groups:

    a) Those who are are actively pro-abortion.
    b) Those who are to some extent pro-life (and to make things simple, let’s assume that they listen to the bishops as well)
    c) Those who don’t care.

    Imagine that two Democratic politicians who are Catholic are running for a nomination in the primary. One is pro-choice and one is pro-life.

    A) will vote for the pro-choice candidate. C) will split unpredictably between the two. Thus if the pro-life Democrat is going to stand any chance of winning, he desperately needs B) to vote for him. In this regard, it might help if the local bishops denounce the pro-choice Catholic loudly and make clear how unacceptable his position is, while allowing the pro-life Catholic to make his case. If instead the bishop treats the pro-choice candidate gently (perhaps because he’s a Kennedy or a member of some other political dynasty), the pro-life candidate is far more likely to lose.

    That does not by any means mean that the pro-life candidate will change his convictions (though he might) but it does mean that the pro-life candidate is unlikely to hold office.

    So the argument is essentially: If bishops don’t give pro-choice Catholic Democrats a hard time, they make it harder for pro-life Catholic Democrats to defeat them in the primaries — and thus those pro-life Democrats there all will almost never win (except in areas that would otherwise go Republican.)

  • Have all of you forgotten the situation in which religious leaders find themselves, in this nation, concerning the explicit endorsement of political candidates?

    Gents, please tell me that you understand this much, at least, or all of our discussion is in vain.

    It is pointless to look for excuses within this context. You say that you want bishops to explicitly endorse pro-life candidates, because it would really be an “incentive” for these poor, afflicted, wilting-flower Democrat politicians.

    I will counter by telling you that the bishops most clearly and incontrovertibly endorse pro-life candidates by virtue of their unwavering and unmistakable teaching about life’s sanctity. Period. There’s your unmistakable endorsement. No other incentive is required. My point is that, if “incentive” is required to uphold one of the most clear and basic tenets of Catholicism, then the motives of the one seeking said incentive are patently aberrant, if one is even remotely talking about ethics. And if we’re not talking about ethics, then this conversation is pointless.

    DEMOCRAT CANDIDATE: “I’m not sure I’ll believe what I’m supposed to believe, or what I’m clearly told I’m supposed to believe, unless I have some incentive from Catholic bishops (whine whinny whine whinny).”

    BISHOPS: “Political candidates who publicly espouse or vote for pro-choice legislation should refrain from receiving the Eucharist and consider themselves no longer in communion with the Church. How’s that for incentive?”

    It’s clear, fellas. And, John Henry:

    “As we have plenty of evidence that politicians respond rather quickly to incentives…”

    This means what, exactly, John? That we should encourage, indulge, revere and simply accept the neediness of politicians for their multifold incentives? That Roman Catholic bishops should alter their teaching and orthopraxis to conform to the oft-shady world in which American political incentive thrives so often at the cost of ethics? Really? Are you truly trying to make a case for that?

    That issue is relevant only if you are seriously considering or promoting the notion that Catholic bishops should act in such a fashion. Otherwise, it is relevant only to condemn such an idea as ethically and morally unacceptable.

    Rather, I would urge you to start holding Catholics in-the-pew, as it were, the political and non-political, to far greater accountability when it comes to identifying themselves as Roman Catholic and when it comes to accepting their fellow Catholics as such. There are canon laws regarding scandal, lest you forget. Do not think that this is a negligible point.

    Compared to the Catholic episcopate, evangelical leaders have a much less well-defined doctrine about the sanctity of life, but maintenance of this belief is nevertheless enthusiastic and pervasive in its enthusiasm. Even then, evangelical leaders (like Catholic leaders in the US) must be very guarded about public endorsement of specific political candidates. Very guarded. The brilliance is that, in their churches, they don’t need to publicly endorse or offer “incentives.”

    I guarantee you that a publicly pro-choice Democrat politician who (hypothetically speaking) claimed full membership in, say, Saddlebrook Church, would feel considerable heat, a most considerable degree of discomfort. This discomfort would come largely from the congregation, rather than the pulpit.

    If pro-choice Democratic candidates find it easy to justify their viewpoints and attend Mass simultaneously, it is because they find the ambience and climate in their local Catholic congregations to be quite welcoming and impartial. Why?

    Should not lay Catholics, who far outnumber bishops, and who form the vast majority of political constituencies themsleves (!), be considered far more responsible than bishops when it comes to the giving of certain “incentives” to their fellow-Catholics who happen to be political candidates?

    Certainly you must be able to perceive this reality, at least. The teaching and accountability of the bishops has been and remains clear and unmistakable on the issue of the sanctity of life. The climate in our congregations, among Catholics in general, is ~not~ clear and unmistakable. Lay the blame for this wherever you wish but it remains a fact.

    I believe you’ll find that this is more pertinent to the point, particularly when speaking of large numbers of people who vote, and those who claim to represent large numbers of people who vote, and any and all “incentives” such people may require from the religious sphere, and what sorts of incentives are there to be given from the religious sphere.

    Think about it.

  • Ian,

    the bishops most clearly and incontrovertibly endorse pro-life candidates by virtue of their unwavering and unmistakable teaching about life’s sanctity. Period. There’s your unmistakable endorsement.

    this is where you are wrong. There are precious few bishops who do so, it is rarely or never preached. Most bishops have completely refused to act against pro-abortion politicians. Are you aware of estimates that as many as half of the US Bishops actually voted for Obama? Where have you been?

  • Respectfully, Matt, you misunderstand. I did not say nor am I saying that the bishops are out there showing-up by surprise in the churches, patrolling regularly in the bushes, waiting to leap out and pontificate, or standing in the pulpits and hammering away at congregations about the evils of abortion. I think we all agree that this does not happen.

    However, the episcopate’s teaching, its official position about abortion (and thus that of the entire Church) is crystalline in its clarity. Every year, in numerous and often high-profile clashes with various opponents, the bishops have opportunity (and are usually required) to reiterate that teaching in one official capacity or another. People do get frequent opportunity to be reminded of the Catholic position, and reminded that it is an uncompromising position.

    For my own argument’s sake, I believe in the “say it, then say it again” approach.

    The episcopate’s position on abortion is fundamental, clear, and unmistakable. No Catholic needs or should require an “incentive” to publicly uphold that teaching about the sanctity of life and continue to call themselves Catholic, no matter who/what that Catholic may be (animal, vegetable, mineral, politician).

    That being noted, I mentioned above that congregations of Catholics across the nation/world have a very real responsibility to police their own churches, to create and maintain truly Catholic environments at the parish level. This is far more pertinent to the original matter because of the simple fact that large numbers of Catholics = large numbers of voters. If Catholics in-the-pew were enthusiastically adhering to the clear teaching of the Church, teaching of the bishops, etc., then the politicians who represent those Catholics would court them and need no “incentive” to waffle (or not waffle) on the abortion issue, would they? There you have it, and I suspect you would/should quite agree with this.

    Yet, the conundrum (or one of them): we know that the vast majority of Catholic congregations/constituencies are not composed of well-catchetized or enthusiastic Catholics. It was after making this assertion that I was careful to note that one can drop the blame for poorly evangelized Catholics at any number of potential doorsteps. Sure, you can blame the bishops. You can blame the priests. You can blame Catholics themselves. Every Catholic has the responsibility to seek-out and establish their own firm foundation in the Faith–even if bishops and priests are not doing a proverbial bang-up job of teaching.

    But that is a separate issue, this assigning of blame for the poor state of catechesis in general and subsequent correcting of the problem.

    Upholding the most basic and well-known tenets of Catholic doctrine, like the position on abortion, under all circumstances (without the need for incentives and rewards) is quite another issue. After all, I am fairly certain that far more “Catholics” can tell you that their Church categorically condemns abortion and brooks no argument than the number of average Catholics that can give you even a slightly coherent definition of the Trinity, or the Incarnation.

    I’m certain you get my point. I, too, was a little bit stunned by the polling figures of lay Catholics in regard to Obama. I am not aware of any credible polling stats about related episcopal votes and would consider any publicized estimate about how bishops voted to be very speculative and questionable. In any case, Obama is a man who (among other things) basically voted for legislation that favors a form of infanticide. I was aware of that fact, but most lay Catholics, apparently, were not as inclined to inform themselves. Perhaps that was the case? There are other reasons, as well. None of them excusable.

    To finish: I understand your point. We are living in very disturbing times–particularly and peculiarly disturbing times, given the general lavishness of our blessings and gifts and creature comforts and means, etc. (while they last, at this rate). These times require a greater amount of discernment on the part of Catholics, who are not, for the most part, inclined or encouraged to *discern*.

    The issues before us are complex and all of these things merit vigorous discussion, which is exciting to do, and it’s pleasant to have discovered this forum, and I respect the opinions rendered here. Things seem very well delineated and worthy. Though some answers may seem more apparent than others, and even simple at times, the actual solutions are not so. Basically, all things being noted, it seems we are in agreement. Cheers~

  • Ian,

    The proof is in the pudding. It is a strange contradiction, but the reality is, one of the gravest and most common evils is is rarely preached strongly and sanctions are not made in the many cases where it is called for.

    Look at the other seriously neglected sin… contraception? When did you here a priest or bishop preach against it?

  • I don’t disagree with you, Matt. I’ve made that clear. But do look at the complexity of the matter and the responsibility individual Catholics have to root-themselves firmly in their Faith if they are ignorant concerning that Faith, regardless of the disinterest or poor leadership on the part of clerics.

    And, of course, I’ve heard maybe two or three things about contraception from the pulpit in nearly 30 years (!), but in personal friendships with various bishops and priests here in the USA and Europe, it has been discussed. I’ve never, ever met a bishop who allows even a hint of wiggle-room on abortion, but I’ve met several who feel privately that contraception should not be considered “sinful.” But remember: the majority of bishops across the world were once prepared to officially allow contraception before Paul VI thwarted the will of the majority of bishops on this specific matter, as was his prerogative, of course.

    The bottom line is that these matters are currently part of Catholic teaching and, if one wants to be genuinely, fully Roman Catholic, one ought to adhere.

    But, if a lay Catholic knows Church teaching on these matters and chooses to flaunt such teaching, then they have some responsibility for the tepidity of the Catholic dynamic, too.

    Let’s pray that both the episcopate and the laity get their respective acts together. We can do our part in this via strong Catholic witness.

  • Ian,

    but do look at the complexity of the matter

    you need to stop implying that your interlocutors are idiots for not agreeing with your assessment.

    and the responsibility individual Catholics have to root-themselves firmly in their Faith if they are ignorant concerning that Faith, regardless of the disinterest or poor leadership on the part of clerics.

    Nobody here is saying that there is no culpability or responsibility on all Catholics to be pro-life and work hard for the cause of the unborn. This discussion is about the responsibility of Bishops to make sure they do.

    I’ve met several who feel privately that contraception should not be considered “sinful.”

    Which position is materially heretical and is in itself “sinful”. This is precisely why they don’t preach it, because they don’t really believe it’s sinful. In fact I’ve heard priests suggest that they believe if they preached it, then it would become sinful for their flock, so they avoid the subject, trying to protect “innocence”. What a sad state of affairs.

    are currently part of Catholic teaching

    Always and forever. These are definitive and infallible teachings, they don’t change.