Now America Is Against Dissent

Sunday, February 22, AD 2015

20 Responses to Now America Is Against Dissent

  • If the discussions now under way are NOT a matter of doctrine, then how can disagreement be dissent? I thought we were only discussing pastoral practice which, we are assured, is safely removed from doctrine and dogma?

  • When an orthodox like Benedict XVI or John Paul II is Pope, then dissent is required.
    .
    When a liberal progressive like Francis is Pope, then dissent is treason.

  • The pretenders to the faith view it as a giant slice of Swiss cheese. When asked about what the faith is–they cunningly point to the holes, but, when asked about what it should not be–they point to the cheese.

  • Irony squared. Was it not Cardinal Wuerl and his predecessor McCarrick who dissented from Popes JP and Benedict on the issue of the Eucharist and openly pro abort pols? Is it not Wuerl now openly suggesting that Cardinal Burke is a dissenter because Burke advocates the integrity of Church doctrine and warns against the possibility of a hierarchy bound and determine to undermine that doctrine. The left is breathtaking in its chutzpah.

  • Liberals are so predictable. Hillary Clinton famously said that dissent was the highest form patriotism. If she gets elected president, something tells me she will change that tune. The Jesuit hierarchy is no different.

  • Durbin and the rest of the pro-abort “catholic” politicians will be the first to bust hell wide open. Wuerl and the rest of the pro-abort bishops will join them in hell. When the church needs a strong, traditional leader a marxist Jesuit liberal is elected pope. Liberal, homosexuality-advocating bishops have all but destroyed the Church.
    Pray and pray a lot with leftist modernist bishops like Wuerl, Dolan and Kaspar leading the Church, with Francis signing off on any piece of anti-Catholic garbage that comes his way.

  • Go back to what I said about Donald Cardinal Wuerl. Praise from America Magazine is as damning as any criticism from anyone else. America Magazine is a left wing rag.

    I repeat that I am happy he is gone from Pittsburgh. We are stuck with a Catholic high school named for him. My boys won’t go there.

  • Cardinal Wuerl is a Democrat first and a Catholic second. If this were not true, he would long ago have refused Holy Communion to a gaggle of so called Catholic pols in his Archdiocese. Don’t need to name who these people are; we all know that list of evil people.

  • Well here’s a way Francis can get rid of “dissent”. Run off any seminarian that actually wants to teach the authentic Catholic faith. Limp-wrists little Wuerl-clones highly sought after. Godly men that actually want to model their life after that mean old Cardinal Burke, don’t bother applying. Franciscan University and Ava Maria might as well close down. Francis is on the loose. When does he speak at that bastion of Catholic teaching called Notre Damn and Georgetown? Maybe he can fit it in after he meets with Obama and Dolan in September.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/was-pope-francis-warning-against-bishops-ordaining-traditionalist-seminaria

  • My comfort comes from verse 13 in Marks reading chapter #1. This mornings 2nd reading is Mark 1:12-15;
    13″..and he (Jesus) remained there for forty days and was put to the test by Satan. He WAS WITH WILD ANIMALS and the angels looked after Him.”

    It’s comforting to know that while wild beasts abound the Church will be preserved. A rabid clergyman nor a hundred will harm Holy Church since the promise of victory is given to her in the end.

    Satan is constantly putting us to the test especially pious souls because he knows what losses he can expect if they live holy fruitful lives. More will wake up from their sinfulness and repent, leading to an loss for Satan.

    Truth will not be swallowed up and eaten by beasts. Truth will win the day.
    In October we will see if Satan’s testing of PF will prove to be a disappointment for Holy Church, or a victory. I pray the doctrine will be upheld and Satan will agian be humiliated.

  • D Black.

    (sigh) I thank you for the link.
    Upsetting and disturbing!
    To falsely accuse traditionalist clergy being disturbed and inflexible is a illnesses that is blackening pf’s soul.

    Purge! May he purge the demons out of his heart….and quickly!

  • In my calm faith in Christ’s promise to Peter and the Church, I do not expect the Pope or the Synod to overturn established doctrine.
    That said, I should ask hypothetically how does one dissent from heresy?

  • D black I love the photo at the top of the linked article at Lifesite! What a Look!

    That ad for Jesuit education featuring Dick Dubin will certainly be counter productive. “America” and Durbin etal. might not realize it, but the days of the Left are winding down.

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  • I am increasingly convinced that Pascal’s assessment of the Jesuits in his Fifth Provincial Letter has lost none of its relevance:-
    “Know then that their object is not the corruption of manners- that is not their design. But as little is it their sole aim to reform them-that would be bad policy. Their idea is briefly this: They have such good opinion of themselves as to believe that it is useful, and in some sort essentially necessary to the good of religion, that their influence should extend everywhere, and that they should govern all consciences. And the Evangelical or severe maxims being best fitted for managing some sorts of people, they avail themselves of these when they find them favourable to their purpose. But as these maxims do not suit the views of the great bulk of the people, they waive them in the case of such persons, in order to keep on good terms with all the world. Accordingly, having to deal with persons of all classes and of all different nations, they find it necessary to have casuists assorted to match this diversity.”

  • If one “dissents” from doctrine one is OUT of the Church. If one “dissents” from heresy, one is IN the Church.

  • “If the discussions now under way are NOT a matter of doctrine, then how can disagreement be dissent? I thought we were only discussing pastoral practice which, we are assured, is safely removed from doctrine and dogma?”

    Fr. Andrew: to use the Catholic term–Bingo.

    The Kasper proposal is either (1) a little ol’ pastoral pastoral practice tweak–just showin’ the mercy of Jesus to a limited, penitent few–or (2) a full-bore assault on the notion of marital indissolubility. If it’s the former, there’s no possibility of dissent in opposing it. Especially before the fact.

    If it’s the latter, then the game is up and the real dissenters are Kasper, et al and those blowing smoke in their favor (i.e., Wuerl).

    I hope everyone is enjoying the last few months before the progressive schism.

  • “If the discussions now under way are NOT a matter of doctrine, then how can disagreement be dissent?”
    But there may be dissent from laws and policies, as well as doctrine, as witness the quarrel over the Temporal Power, when Catholics who defended the Unification of Italy were subjected to ecclesiastical censures.
    Even the great Catholic historian, Lord Acton was rebuked by Cardinal Manning for quoting Swinburne’s praise of the Italian patriots in a public lecture at Cambridge:

    “Only her bosom to die on;
    Only her heart for a home,
    And a name with her children to be
    From Calabrian to Adrian sea
    Famous in cities made free
    That ring to the roar of the lion
    Proclaiming republican Rome.”

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The Majority Dissent

Monday, February 3, AD 2014

John Zmirak breaks down widespread resistance and dissent among Catholics on the issue of contraception in “The Shame of the Catholic Subculture” for The Catholic ThingThe most salient facts of the situation:

On a grave moral issue where several popes have invoked their full moral authority short of making an infallible declaration, 95 percent of U.S. Catholics (the number is surely higher in most of Europe) have rejected the guidance of Rome. They are not “bad Catholics” so much members of a new, dissenting sect – which happens to occupy most of the seats in most of the churches, and many of the pulpits and bishop’s offices, too.

I’m not sure that I agree that they are not “bad Catholics.” To the extent that they have been poorly catechized, this might be the case. Many of us know from personal experience however that there are plenty of people who say that they are Catholics, understand that Catholics must abide by the dogmatic teachings of the Church, and simply don’t. However they rationalize it is really not important to me.

On the other hand, Zmirak makes a convincing case for extending a tolerant and understanding olive branch to well-meaning dissenters (and that does not include all dissenters, mind you); they’re over 90% of the Church, perhaps over 95%, at least in the developed West. H also makes a good point about conservative/traditionalist circles that, while doctrinally orthodox, suffer from ideological stagnation and social isolation. The 90-95% need those who believe that truth is not optional to speak boldly for it, but not in a way that is alienating or unsympathetic to their concerns.

If, for instance, the problem with contraception is that an otherwise willing Catholic family feels it simply can’t handle the financial burden, then those of us who would have them hold to the teaching of the Church should be devising creative solutions to that problem. Perhaps living as self-contained nuclear families in a mass consumer society is not the way to live as Catholics. Perhaps local, voluntary, and bold projects are needed to unite people who wish to live the faith authentically, to share burdens and responsibilities – something beyond the mere handouts so often advocated by leftists. The pro-life movement has had great success with crisis pregnancy centers and other forms of relief for pregnant women; I see no reason why we can’t take it a step further and devise forms of relief for struggling parents.

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33 Responses to The Majority Dissent

  • I do see John Zmirak’s distinction between “Bad Catholics,” who do not follow, whilst nevertheless acknowledging, the moral teaching of the Church and “a new, dissenting sect” that rejects that teaching.

    How they contrive to do so, whilst still considering themselves Catholics may puzzle us, but we should recall Lord Macaulay’s words about another “dissenting sect,” “We know through what strange loopholes the human mind contrives to escape, when it wishes to avoid a disagreeable inference from an admitted proposition. We know how long the Jansenists contrived to believe the Pope infallible in matters of doctrine, and at the same time to believe doctrines which he pronounced to be heretical.”

    Am I alone in finding an eerie similarity between the “Truce of 1968,” as George Weigal calls it, when the Congregation for the Clergy decreed that Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington should lift canonical penalties against those priests whom he had disciplined for their public dissent from Humanae Vitæ and the “Peace of Clement IX” during the Jansenist controversy?

    In both cases, after the Church had been riven by a decade-long dispute, a papal document was issued that was intended to be definitive.

    In both cases, the original quarrel was immediately forgotten and argument raged over the scope of papal authority to decide the question. In the Jansenist case, peace, of a sort, was achieved, when Pope Clement IX brokered an agreement that neither side would argue the question, at least, from the pulpit.

    The “Peace of Clement IX” lasted for about 35 years and ended in 1705 when Clement XI declared the clergy could no longer hide behind “respectful silence.” Eventually, in 1713, he issued Unigenitus and demanded the subscription of the clergy to it. There was enormous resistance, with bishops and priests appealing to a future Council (and being excommunicated for their pains, in 1718). As late as 1756, dissenters were still being denied the Last Rites.

    Will the “Truce of 1968” end in a similar fashion?

  • Contracepting and receiving the Eucharist will bring eternal condemnation on many catholics.

  • I owned and operated a Catholic bookstore for 14 years. As approximately 40% of my customers were men, it was not uncommon to find Saturday afternoon discussions concerning living a Catholic life. Artificial contraception was certainly one of the topics discussed. Over the years, ten of these men shared that they had a vasectomy and an eleventh one’s wife had a tubal ligation for birth control purposes. Each of them said, in almost the same words,”Now when I make love to my wife, I can’t get close enough to her.”
    By contracepting, they had inadvertantly destroyed the unitive aspect of their relationship. When they cut God from their relationship, the marital act became profane. It does not matter whether the contraception is the result of a vasectomy, tubal ligation, or the use of any other artificial method, the result is the same. Sexual intercourse is sacred, and self-giving, when God is the center of the marriage. Artificial contraception is a most selfish and destructive act.

  • Having taught about contraception (Humane Vitae) at a Catholic High School, where the subject was nervously ignored, even shunned, along with homosexuality, I experienced many adults who rejected the teaching (including religious) and few if any who could explain it. Nonetheless, the high school students were very open and challenged to learn the design, meaning and purpose of sexuality and it had much impact on their thinking. It should be central to marriage preparation, but again, my experience was absolute fear to even whisper it, or simply a polite chuckle for the insiders on how passé it was.
    In the past I used to speak about it at various college, parish and other venues. (Once to a panel of not Catholic medical doctors). Always lively, always surprising, always greatly appreciated and always fruitful. I have long dropped from the scene and raising my family, but have wondered how to reach out again. Not sure I know a way. It certainly is greatly needed.

  • Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said that many people hate what they think is the Catholic Church. Very few people hate what they know is the Catholic Church. So, it is with pure conjugal love and the use of contraceptive. The 95% of Catholics who purportedly use contraceptives must know the joy of life in truly cherishing the gift of his wife in the marital act and the difference of disfiguring that conjugal love with the barrier to life and love that is contraception. Is it possible to be married and not know the difference? Marriage consists in knowing the joy of life in cherishing the gift of a wife in the marital act.

  • Over my sixty some odd years I have come to a realization that is a sad one. In this ‘contraceptive issue’ both those who hold to the teaching of the Church as well as those who ‘dissent’ have lost sight of the fact that God wants us to be happy-eternally happy [eternal beatitude]. We are created for this, ‘wired’ for this. This happiness is complete communion with God, participating in His very Life and Love

    I used the word ‘wired’. Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis are using the term: “human ecology’. In the past we would be speaking of this reality using such phrases as ‘natural law’ and ‘Christian anthrolopology’. However, they all speak of the same reality, the same truth, that we have been created in such a way that we reveal a certain order, law, ecology within us, that simply is. We can later become conscious of what this is and what it implies, but it is that fundamental that it precedes all human constructs, rationalizations etc

    Animals have sex to continue their species. It is a drive within them that is on the instinctual level. Something much deeper, more awesome is present within man and woman. Man and woman unite in love within a bond that is God-given.

    This conjugal love is HUMAN: it has very little in common with what takes place in the animal world. It is not a matter of instinct and or sentiment but an act of free-will, a fundamental expression of the GIFT-of-SELF intended to continue and grow throughout the life of the couple united in this bond

    This conjugal love is TOTAL It is a unique and very special form of human friendship in which the man and woman share everything, with nothing being held back or reserved from the gift of self to the other.

    This conjugal love is FAITHFUL and EXCLUSIVE until death. This at moments and for even certain periods of time might seem very difficult but it is not humanly impossible. People are indeed capable of making and keeping faithful, exclusive promises and commitments which are virtuous, meritorious and bring lasting happiness

    This conjugal love is ‘FECUND’: life-giving. This reveals that marital love does not ‘end’ with the union of the couple. Love, seeking the good of the other, is diffusive. The couple’s love does not end with itself but gives of themselves in the giving of new life

    Some of you may have realized what I just wrote, but most will not. It is the very core of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae. It is both Good News and life-giving. How many Catholics who are dissenting even really know what they are dissenting against. The teaching is far richer than “Thou shalt not”. It is an invitation and a challenge to live a really human, total, faithful, exclusive, life-giving love. I believe many are actually hungering for this ‘vision’ of marriage and love that raises them above the ‘lab rats’ of the Kinsey Report.

    Donald raises an extremely important point in his comments. How can we who believe in this assist those who both struggle with it or perhaps even ‘reject it’? Certainly casting ‘condemnations’ will not help. Every person, every couple are created for, meant for “happiness”. Do we not have the Good News of Jesus Christ, “the Way, the Truth and the Life”? Now how can we share this-not just with our words but our actions and our lives-in this extremely important aspect of life?

  • Zmirak writes: “We need to stop treating people who don’t “get” the Church’s teaching on contraception as if they were clones of Judas, or heretics like Arius whom St. Nicholas rightly slapped.” He frames the issue almost as if people with lots of kids are ostracizing others. As a father of eight children, I can assure you it’s the reverse. The 95% tend to look down their noses at people like me. This includes priests who ask if we’re in some sort of competition to parents at the parish school that we can’t afford who think if we would just sacrifice a little more we can come up with tuition. If you send them to public school you’re damaging your children, and if you homeschool them you’re weird and isolating your kids. Or the people who during the sign of peace comment with some dismay “Um… there sure are… um… a lot of you.” I think if I became Southern Baptist I’d probably have more and better friends at Church.

    While I appreciate much of his work, Zmirak is completely off the mark here. The parents of large families aren’t pushing people who contracept away from Church teaching through snottiness. They are making real material sacrifices and ruining much chance at a social life and while enduring both subtle and overt discrimination by the majority.

  • Alphatron,

    You are to be commended not criticized or condemned. As for Zmirak I did not see him attacking large families-but maybe I missed it. I did see him call for an end of ‘condemnations’ and working toward both sharing the Good News and assisting/gently challenging those who dissent. Donald asked if we do not have a responsibility to actively reach out and assist those Catholics struggling with this issue.

    I would add however that we need to reach out and assist families such as your own. For example, there are parishes in America where the weekly income is over fifty thousand (most will gasp at that) They completely finance their own Catholic schools and members of the parish can send their children there tuition free-all in the parish sharing the ‘load’-sharing all things in common, This is not just an ideal it can happen and is already happening

    I want to keep the focus on the actual article and Donald’s statement but I do think we Catholics owe families such as your own a great deal of gratitude and support.

  • There may be a middle ground for contraception, without changing any of the Church teaching. One possible first step is to convert the pro-abortion/pro-contraception camp, into the pro-life camp, even if they still hold pro-contraception views. Doing this could save millions of babies in utero. The way to do this is to teach the concept that when birth control fails, as it will eventually in a significant number of people, no matter what BC method they use, that they keep the child. This is the attitude used in NFP. In other words, teach that artificial contraception is a sin, but that abortion is murder.
    Otherwise it will be much harder to decrease the still tragically high numbers of abortions, as over ½ million abortions in the US are performed because birth control failed, and ½ million did not use birth control.
    If one has to chose battles, abortion is the one to work on first.

  • I think Alph’s comments very pertinent to the issue, although I did not catch any slight by Zmirack myself. I happen to be one of 17 children and had I not married so late, probably would have had a large family myself. As it is 3, and my wife unfortunately was culturally prejudiced against a large family. But he is quite correct in the negative attitudes expressed even by Catholics, let alone others. And it is directly related to the contraceptive issue, as it is considered “responsible” unlike the “irresponsible breeders” to be anti-life and avoid “too many” by contraception. We say and teach the right things about family, but I never thought we were true to these teachings in actual support for family and marriage.

  • In the Novus Ordo Church we also have encountered quite scandalous responses from ostensible Catholics over 4 kindern (let alone Alpha’s 8). Here in the ever so intellectually profound San Francisco Bay Area, in our parish, we actually had a self-identified Catholic woman of some “rank” and much more chutzpah say to Mrs Phoenix: “Oh, my GAWD, you have four CHILD-REN?! Couldnt you STOP yourself!?” (I kid you not.)

    Suffice to say that the glacial gaze she received from said-same lady of the house had absolutely no effect: The aforementioned woman of social rank and chutzpah proceeded to explain the usefulness of contraception. (Can you spell “t-o-ne d-e-a-f”?)

    At the diocesan approved TLM, a family with several children receives smiling faces and implicit approval, even on bad-hair days. I am sure the notorious SSPX Churches are the same.

  • The original article addressed the isolationism of the more orthodox Catholics. I have likened it to a small circle of people in the center of a crowd, who at their best are facing outward and trying to pull people in, but at their worst can be facing inward and trying to push people out. Of course the more orthodox may be sneered at; that’s just part of following Christ, although it is more irritating when it comes from fellow Catholics. But the priority has got to be increasing the number in the circle.

    This article reminds me of a recent discussion about the Jake Tapper interview, specifically: when did people stop expecting the truth? Actually, now that I think about it, it reminds me of a reply I wanted to make to the Pope Wunnerful article. I think the same thing applies, that people aren’t worried if the Pope says a few things against abortion because, they suppose, he probably doesn’t mean them. We’re at a point in our society, thanks to spin doctors or modernism or whatever, that people don’t assume that the person they’re talking to is being honest. They don’t judge you harshly for lying – I wish they did! – but they just assume that you’re not being honest. My guess is, you show up with a family of ten, they know you’re serious. But most of the time, people just sort of nod along when you talk about morality and assume that you’re as kinky or kinkier than most.

    That’s I think the new hurdle we face. You have to convince people that you really believe what you’re saying. Or maybe it’s not a new hurdle. Maybe people have always just sort of nodded along, just now they’re admitting it to the pollsters. I don’t know.

  • One thing that is not really clear to most people, at least until one talks with the 95% of women who use artificial contraception, is that many are not really engaged in a ‘hard’ dissent with the Church.

    Yes, most feel justified in what they are doing, many feel they have no choice. Yet when you ask them what do they think of the 5% who use NFP, you get variations on what is really admiration. Many if not most of the women who are in the 95% admire the 5% and wish they could be like them. They know sanctity when they see it.

    This is why these women do not leave the Church. Their dissent is a ‘soft’ dissent. They do not question the basic truths that are to be found in the Church’s teaching. They just cannot bring themselves to adhere to it.

  • Let me partially answer my own question. After the SOTU, Limbaugh echoed a lot of the comments I saw under the Tapper thread. He also said that speeches are given to evoke emotions, not present facts. I think that’s a lot of what I’m seeing. People don’t trust each other’s content because they assume it’s spin.

  • Wow! I hadn’t read any of the comments before I posted mine. I really believe these comments are accurate and that there are chutzpah contraceptive Catholics out there. I do believe Mrs Phoenix suffered what she suffered, and I believe that we all suffer with her.

    But, my experience is that they must be in the minority, at least as far as active parish life is concerned, and at least outside of San Francisco. I really believe, based on my experiences, in the facts on my first post.

  • A family of three or four or five or eight ought to be finding nothing but support and affirmation within the Catholic Church. The question remains from the article and Donald’s comments, how can we who believe the Church’s teaching reach out to struggling families, those beyond our own comfort zone etc.?

  • Too many women today are developing breast cancer; it is epidemic.
    .
    The World Health Organization has identified the contraceptive pill as a Class 1 Carcinogen. Ingesting the Contraceptive Pill causes breast cancer.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/surgeon-birth-control-pill-a-molotov-cocktail-for-breast-cancer/
    .
    Is it really worthwhile for any woman to assume the risk of developing breast cancer and not being available to raise one’s children just to satisfy a cultural zeitgeist that is anti-children. From a purely temporal perspective, contraception is deadly to a woman’s well being and that of her entire family.
    .
    Practical, fact based, health disclosures dissemintated in parishes will assist women who may not be aware of the risks of contraception.
    .
    If one prints out the above linked article and leaves it next to the Sunday bulletins (with your pastor’s consent), I believe you will perform a great service for many women and their families.

  • Actually, Botolph, I am to be criticized because I didn’t start out as a faithful Catholic. I was with the 95% and came around after a few years of marriage. I have the advent of the internet to thank for my reversion. I was able to read the Catechism, and papal encyclicals for the first time. Poor catechesis in my youth left questions unanswered, so I rejected it. I am hopeful that others will come around as well. The Church provides mercy and forgiveness, for which I am grateful. I found nothing but support from orthodox Catholics who bore with my struggles and deficiencies with patience and love. It was the 95% from which I had come who put barriers in my way.

  • Pinky wrote, “He also said that speeches are given to evoke emotions, not present facts.”

    Λόγοσ ούδέν κινεί – Reason moves nothing – Aristotle

    Orators have always known that if one wants people to actually do something, rather than just nod in approval, it is necessary to “call the passions to the aid of reason.” If one wants them, for example, to make war on Philip or impeach Warren Hastings, then inspiring indignation and (moderate) fear is the way to move them to action.

  • “how can we who believe the Church’s teaching reach out to struggling families, those beyond our own comfort zone etc.?”

    A more liberal political site would call for government programs. I think the answer here would be to do it the Republican way. Private donations, say to the local Catholic school, encouraging a multi-student family discount. Support for the parish. Or just talking – “outreach”, I guess it’s called. Become friends with a big Catholic family. There are a lot worse families your kids could be hanging out with. Babysit, playdates, whatever.

  • Pinky,

    I believe it was Chesterton who said Christianity has not been tried and failed, it has not been tried. How about a Catholic approach-first of all renewal of our parishes in which large families would not only not experience what has been reported above, but the person attempting to sneer at them would be the one who would be seen as ‘not with the program’. Certainly as you say, and I had said in the post above, a greater sharing of resources of parishioners etc within the parish etc. so that no family etc will ever be left high and dry, etc

    I would take this further however. Encourage (don’t push) priests to bring the good news that the CHurch indeed has concerning marriage and marital love more to the fore in their preaching, If a Catholic is challenged for having a large family or believing in the Church’s teaching on this subject, turn the table around-ask that “Catholic” on what Catholic grounds do they base their argument. This will get them to begin to think and hopefully begin to see that the basis of their position is an ideology that belongs ultimately to the culture of death [it might not be the same as abortion but behind both contraception and abortion is an anti-life, anti-human ideology-the contemporary form of the god Moloch

  • You’re right about the pulpit. I think a lot of priests are embarrassed to talk about sex, and it makes them come off as embarrassed by the Church’s teaching. I also – pet peeve here – am tired of the way “vocation” has come to mean “please, kids, consider the priesthood”. I respect the priesthood, and it’s important to get kids to think about the consecrated life. But we’ve got to get kids, and adults, to realize that the married life is also a vocation, a lifelong commitment to an important, sometimes difficult, state of witness and service.

  • Pinky,

    I totally agree that being ‘married in the Lord’ is a Christian vocation which also needs to be put out there and prayed for.

  • Pinky: Vocation is following the will of the Lord in one’s life.

  • The trouble with the nuns on the bus is that in trying to become priests, they are not being who they are supposed to be, creating a vacuum, a vacuum that nature abhors.

  • As a man who came to the Church somehwat later in life, after the birth of my kids and a vasectomy, I am genuinely curious about what, if anything, the Church would be able to do to restore my “wholeness?” I do not mean this as a petulant challenge; reversals are expensive (as in there’s no way I can afford one,) and after a time not medically recommended, so what is somebody in my position to do?

  • Wk Aiken,

    If you haven’t already done so, the Sacrament of Penance: “Confession” And if you have not done so, ‘be not afraid’

  • Botolph-

    That I did, the first time just before Easter upon finishing up RCIA; I did not hide the topic then and was granted absolution. I have continued to avail myself of that Sacrament on a regular basis in the dozen-ish years since.

    However, an old and uncomfortable chord was struck by Victor Claveau’s words: “Over the years, ten of these men shared that they had a vasectomy and an eleventh one’s wife had a tubal ligation for birth control purposes. Each of them said, in almost the same words, ‘Now when I make love to my wife, I can’t get close enough to her.'”

    I know that Reconciliation absolves me of sins past, including my ongoing sterile state. But I am now celibate, in a sense, without being called to celibacy by service in Clergy. There is an inherent wrongness to this.

    I will talk to my parish priests. They’re good, trustworthy men; the younger one graduated college in 4 years with a 3.9 GPA carrying 5 majors: History, Chemistry, Physics, Theology and Philosophy.

    And thanks – I do appreciate your concern and input.

  • WK Aiken

    You will be in my prayers

  • “I do not mean this as a petulant challenge; reversals are expensive (as in there’s no way I can afford one,) and after a time not medically recommended, so what is somebody in my position to do?”

    I had a friend in a similar position. I advised him to ask a very good priest I knew. He came back and said that there was no requirement to reverse the vasectomy for forgiveness.

  • Thank you, Phillip. That is comforting. I’ll still have a chat, if for no other reason than to get it off my chest, but it’s good to know others have found answers. Thanks again!

    And thanks, Botolph, for the prayers. It is impossible to obtain too many of those graces.

  • Mr. Aiken,
    .
    I recall some time ago viewing an EWTN television show “Women of Grace” which is hosted by Johnnette Benkovic in which she discusses in detail the issue of vasectomy reversal with a Catholic surgeon who performs these procedures as an apostolate for a very reduced cost. Some of the experiences raised by you and other men in this thread are addressed by Johnnette and the surgeon.
    .
    Here is a link to the tv program:

    Vasectomy Reversal: Taking Care of the Damage, Part 1
    http://www.womenofgrace.com/en-us/media/tv/details.aspx?id=608

    .
    See, “Lifesite News” article pertaining to same:

    “Texan surgeon gives hope to sterilized men seeking wholeness”

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/texan-surgeon-gives-hope-to-sterilized-men-seeking-wholeness
    .
    Hope this is helpful to you.

12 Responses to Küüünnng!

  • One of the last things that the text at the link above says is this: “Instead of reconciling with the ultra-conservative, anti-democratic, and anti-Semitic SSPX, the Pope should rather care about the majority of reform-minded Catholics and reconcile with the churches of the Reformation and the entire ecumenical movement. Thus he would unite, and not divide.”

    Well, the Pope is reconciling with both. He’s bridging the gap with SSPX, and he’s welcoming orthodox Anglicans into the Church. He’s also done a lot with reconciling with the Lutherans and the Eastern Orthodox. Even at the local diocesan level, lots has been done. For example, about 2 years ago Bishop Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh met with the Superintendent of the Assemblies of God to discuss the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I am sure many other things like that are being done.

    So what exactly is the Pope doing EXCEPT uniting? Geez, I must come from a planet different than what Hans Kung comes from. Or maybe he wants uniting to be done with the pro-aborts, pro-gays of Bishopress Schori of the ECUSA, the commie pinkoes of the Unitarian Universalist Church, and other liberal monstrosities.

    Ain’t
    A’gonna’
    Happen.

  • Oh, man, he is so envious of his old theology classmate getting elected Pope that it just oozes out. Is it really that hard, to figure out that he should submit to the will of God and stop acting like such a maroon?

    And what a maroon. He got offered a deal already; the poor pope gave him a nice lunch right after his election. He could probably pick up the phone today and get a deal within a few hours. But he doesn’t want to repent and come to terms; he wants to be both pope and a feted dissenter.

  • Hans, I’m laughing at the “superior” intellect.

  • What, exactly, has Kuuuuuung done for unity?

    (I really don’t want to see Kuuuuuung in that Ricardo Montalban outfit – something tells me he couldn’t pull it off).

  • No, he’s just tweeting his location and current activity: “From hell’s heart, I spit at thee.”

  • Pope Benedict: [Calling Kung] This is Pope Benedict. We tried it once your way, Kung, are you game for a rematch? Kung, I’m laughing at the “superior intellect.”
    Kung: Full publication of my unpublished manuscripts!
    Kung Minion: No, sir! You have “Infallible? An Inquiry”. Your work will endure…
    Kung: [grabs Minion in anger] FULL PUBLICATION! DAMN YOU!

  • Hans who? Does anyone outside of his own small club even know Kung is still alive and kicking? Back in the 70s his thick “On Being A Christian” was the toast of mainline Protestants, but since then, I am unaware of anything he has written making a splash. I don’t see why he his carping now should gain him any notice. Beter to do his embarrassed former dissertation advisor Louis Bouyer a favor and just ignore him.

  • Is that the caddish Catlick, HMV Tone Blair?

  • Thank you, Donald McClarey for your clarification of Kung. He demands an IMPRIMATUR for his writing which may or may not deserve an IMPRIMATUR. It is good to see Kung’s humility. Thanks again.

  • Paul W. Primavera: “Or maybe he wants uniting to be done with the pro-aborts, pro-gays of Bishopress Schori of the ECUSA, the commie pinkoes of the Unitarian Universalist Church, and other liberal monstrosities.” and other liberal monstrosities. bears repeating.

A Dead Horse and All That…

Friday, September 24, AD 2010

I shouldn’t have, but I did.

Today I read Fr. Richard McBrien’s article on Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the new head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. As the prefect for this congregation Cardinal Ouellet will play a crucial role in the appointment of the Church’s bishops in the years to come.

In his article McBrien makes the following observation:

When commenting on the greatest crisis to confront the Catholic Church since the Reformation of the 16th century, Ouellet seemed to blame the scandal of sexual abuse in the priesthood on the weakening of moral standards in society — a common explanation given by those who are reluctant to address the internal problems of the church, including obligatory clerical celibacy, the role of women, and the declining quality of pastoral leadership.

While there might be some who see the clergy sex scandal as the greatest crisis for the Church since the Reformation, I am certainly not one of them. But what I found completely absurd — again, I should’ve avoided the article to begin with, because it was to be expected — was McBrien’s reference to the role of women in this context. How, exactly, would priestesses have prevented the abuse of children by clergy?

Father McBrien: your vision of the Church and of the Second Vatican Council is both erroneous and dying. Only a tiny fraction of young Catholics in general and those seeking degrees in theology in particular accept that erroneous reading.

Might I propose that you get with the times?

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19 Responses to A Dead Horse and All That…

  • I think the rationale is that women in decisionmaking positions within the Church would not have cooperated with the cover ups. Possible but there’s no way to prove it one way or the other.

  • But even that doesn’t make sense after a few moments of reflection, RR… what in womanhood makes participating in coverups such as this less likely?

    And if I understand Fr. McBrien correctly, the scandal is the abuse itself, as well as the coverup, and having priestesses wouldn’t have prevented the former.

  • You can never be sure that the horse is dead until a veterinarian confirms it, so please kick it a few more times just to be sure.

    The French Revolution, communism, modernism, WWII, half the stuff the Jesuits have done over the years…the history of the Church is one of nonstop crises. I wouldn’t want to have to rate them, but I bet that the rise of evangelicalism in Latin America has put more souls at risk than the current pedophilia scandal.

  • I think the rationale is that women in decisionmaking positions within the Church would not have cooperated with the cover ups.

    The Church did not make its personnel files public or turn them over to law enforcement. It settled law suits rather than going to trial. In most cases this may have had something to do with:

    1. The confidentiality of personnel files is the default among American employers;

    2. Attorneys in civil practice very seldom take cases to trial because trials are crap shoots;

    3. Priests hear a great deal of dirt in the confessional and are not in the habit of reporting dirt to law enforcement;

    4. The accusations against priests were generally made 10, 15, 25 years after the fact and it is very difficult to reach satisfying conclusions about their veracity.

    I would not wish to deny the horror stories you hear of episcopal non-feasance (the cases of Maurice Grammond or of Cdl. Madeiros’ handling of John Geoghan comes to mind), but in most cases honest bishops faced impossible dilemmas in attempting to evaluate accusations.

    Women are less likely to commit predatory crimes than men. The notion that the mundane integrity of the female population exceeds that of the male population is characteristic of someone who does not know many women or who is engaged in status-seeking behaviors in a certain sort of milieu.

  • “…..than the current pedophile scandal.”

    Repeat a lie often enough, it will become the “truth”.
    The clerical sex abuse scandal was homosexual – not pedophilic. Very few cases were actaully pedophilia.Its just not PC to call it as it is unless we upset the gay movement, who have gained acceptance within the wider secular society, and are trying to infiltrate the church to a small degree.

    Michael Rose makes a good exposee in his book, “Good bye, Good Men.”

    Many women (some ex nuns) who had inveigled their way into positions of desisionmaking on entrants to clerical studies turned away “manly” men, in favour of “soft” men, in whose ranks were many SSA men. So feminist women were , to some extent, part of the cause of the problem.

    However, I consider that it is a cleansing of the priesthood, which will be the stronger and more humble, orthodox and obedient because of it.

  • “I think the rationale is that women in decisionmaking positions within the Church would not have cooperated with the cover ups. Possible but there’s no way to prove it one way or the other.”

    The abuse situation in public schools is far worse, and there are plenty of women in decisionmaking positions in those institutions.

  • Chris, motherly instinct. Unless, you don’t believe such a thing exists. Also, the cover ups sometimes led to more abuse.

    Don, were the victims not mostly minors? You make it sound like it was consensual.

    Brian, I’m not aware of a widespread sex abuse cover up in public schools. Do you have a link? For now, let’s put aside the fact that you’re comparing public school teachers to men of God.

  • RR,

    Your questions weren’t posed to me, but I’ll reply to a couple anyway. 🙂

    I believe in a motherly instinct as well as a fatherly instinct. Unfortunately in this fallen world and in particularly this fallen culture those things have been disordered in many. Based on first hand interactions as well as observing events in the news and discussing matters of family law I would say that women are no more immune to losing the parental instinct than men – perhaps they’ve fallen even further. Never mind that a woman who doesn’t feel called to the vocation of motherhood may very well not have that motherly instinct in the first place.

    The victims were mostly minors. However that doesn’t necessarily constitute pedophilia. This was clearly a case of pederasty and pointing that out in no one implies it was consensual.

  • RR.

    Agree with what RL has to say. Pedophilia applies to pre-pubescent children – the vast majority of those offended against were from around 9 or 10 into early to mid teens. The abusers were in a position generally to groom and then seduce the victims, but that dos not imply consensual involvement.

  • RL, but that’s not what Don was pointing out. He broadened the actions to mere “homosexual” acts and places it in the same category as consensual gay sex. I’d also remind people that this “It’s not pedophila. It’s pederasty!” line of defense is counter-productive especially when put in the tone that Don put it. It’s like the people defending the Ground Zero mosque on the basis that it’s not technically a mosque. They’d be missing the point, not addressing the actual issue, and looking petty in the process.

  • “Never let a ‘good’ crisis go to waste . . . ”

    Sorry for the cliches (you started it: dead horse): a stopped clock is correct twice a day. O’B doesn’t meet that standard.

  • RR,

    From what Don wrote I don’t get that he’s trying to broaden the actions to mere homosexuality, nor do I get the impression that he considers any homosexual act as “mere”. To the contrary I think he is trying to narrow it down in order to correctly identify the problem.

    I realize the term pedophilia sounds worse to most people and might be a preferable term due to that, but I assure you the damage done to these kids is every bit as bad at age 12 or 14 as it would be if they were 6. Still, if we want learn from this scandal and proactively address and correct it going forward we would do well to identify the true nature of it. This was in part what the John Jay study was about (and it was that report which substantiates what Don said about it primarily being a pederasty problem).

  • I believe McBrien’s concept of how things should be are erroneous but I do not believe they are dying.

    They are wholly present and merely adapting to rear their heads in other disguises. To think otherwise is too stupid to address.

  • Karl, they may be present among the uninformed, but for those who *want* to learn more about their faith, dissident notions aren’t nearly as popular as they were 30 years ago.

  • My guts say otherwise, having lived through all of this since 1954. I would bet against your position and hope to lose, as bizarre as that sounds. I think, I would take the pot.

  • As for the notion that putting women in charge would have prevented the sex abuse scandals or the cover ups… well, not too long ago Fr. Z’s blog had links to stories saying that the LCWR (the “liberal” nuns’ group) had been stonewalling attempts to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of children by nuns of the member orders:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/06/lcwrs-long-standing-coverup-of-sexual-abuse-of-children-by-nuns/

    The reason I post this link is not to argue whether or not nuns of whatever ideological/liturgical stripe are better or worse or “as bad” as priests when it comes to abuse, but simply to point out that cover-up and denial is not strictly a male thing.

  • You are correct. You shouldn’t have bothered reading Fr. McBrien’s article, and quoting from it. It is another episcopal scandal that his column is printed in so many diocesan bulletin. The man never did learn to think, but only to orate.

  • Elaine, that is an excellent observation, as it shows that not only is the
    sexual abuse of children not the exclusive preserve of men, but also that
    men do not hold the patent on covering up that abuse.

    The sexual abuse of children that takes place in our public school system
    dwarfs the Church’s problem with such abuse, not merely in number but
    in offenses per capita. The school system’s habit of transferring offending
    employees is also well-documented. These offenses are committed and
    covered up by both men and women, married and unmarried. It is simply
    laughable to blame the Church’s sex abuse scandal merely on the fact
    that it was caused by celibate males.

  • Oh, and Fr. McBrien is such a tiresome hack.

    Can anyone imagine a respectable institution holding a symposium
    on his collected works? In a generation, will anyone in his field
    remember his ‘contributions’?

I Would Abjure This Heresy If It Existed

Tuesday, January 5, AD 2010

I was very struck by a comment which was made on another post on this blog by a defender of liberation theology. I’m not going to attempt to speak in this post to what liberation theology is and whether or not it represents a correct understanding of Christ’s message, but what does interest me a great deal is this response to the concerns expressed by Benedict XVI at the time that he was the head of the CDF about liberation theology, and the similar concerns expressed by John Paul II. As has been observed elsewhere on this blog, liberation theology has not been officially condemend by the Church.

However, a number of aspects of liberation theology have been criticized by the Church, and in reponse to the mention of these criticisms, we are given this defense:

I don’t dismiss what they say. If the version of liberation theology that they critique actually exists, then they are right about those versions. But they cite NO ONE and in my studies I have seen no evidence of the distortions that they claim exist. Here they are not distinguishing between the practice of various Christians and liberation theologians. When they critique something called “liberation theology” I assume they mean the latter. But the image that they critique is just that: an image with little reality. In fact many liberation theologians have actually praised the CDF statements on liberation theology, saying that if such a theology existed it should rightly be criticized, but that what they are doing bears little resemblance to those caricatures.

This defense reminded me very strongly of some reading that I did a while back on the Jansenist heresy.

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100 Responses to I Would Abjure This Heresy If It Existed

  • This post would contain a valid argument IF the blog contributor in question (as well as Ratzinger for that matter) demonstrated ANY evidence of having read much liberation theology.

    The “you don’t seem to understand us” response would be too easy of course if Joe actually read the texts and offered a critique based on those texts. But Joe has not done so. He has admitted that he has not read any liberation theology. Let Joe read some liberation theology and then criticize specific authors and texts. Until he does so, “you don’t seem to understand us” is a PERFECTLY VALID and ACCURATE response to make.

    Do you understand the difference?

  • Probably one of the reasons why the CDF did not explicitly link to any actual work of Liberation Theology was, in part, they were trying to criticize without actually naming names. It is a good way to deal with people, as long as it is understood by the readers what is going on, who is being criticized, and where those remarks can be found.

    The problem I see is how these documents have been handled by the non-specialist. They have tended to read the CDF comments are condemnations, and of universal tendencies within LT. This is not the case.

    Instead of dealing with the condemnation of Jansen, which is a condemnation of a specific person, and therefore one can more readily examine the issue and know who exactly is being criticized, we should look at the CDF documents along the lines of Tempier’s condemnations of “radical Aristotelians.”

    Many could and did use Tempier’s condemnations as a way to reject the whole scholastic method; of course, we, in hindsight, see the differences in the schoolmen, and appreciate some of the things which were initially censored. Liberation Theology really is like this, especially when dealing with generalities and “certain” ideas within the “school of thought.”

    I think a better comparison with the situation around Jansen would be to look at the CDF on Haight. I believe in both situations the Church is correct, though I know defenders of Haight are critical of the CDF’s reading of him, and it is similar to what you say about Jansen here.

  • Michael, it would be very unlike Ratzinger to have issued a correction of aspects of LT without having familiarized himself with it to begin with. His work — personal and ecclesial — always indicates a familiarity with his subject matter, regardless of his agreement or otherwise. I’m thinking, for instance, of the Jacques Dupuis case… having read the work that was reviewed by the CDF, it was clear that Ratzinger was familiar with it and the general discussions in question.

    That’s not to say that he could have done otherwise in this instance, but it would be completely out of character, and hence extremely unlikely. I’d prefer to give *him* the benefit of the doubt and presume that he had in fact familiarized himself with these works.

  • Very interesting article. BTW there’s a typo in the title. “Adjure” should be “Abjure”

  • And again, let me make clear, I have no interest at all in discussing liberation theology on this thread. My point is that the method of argument itself is very dangerous. After all, I’m sure that Antoine Arnauld was sure that he had a much better understanding of the virtues of Jansen’s work and the body of theology that had grown up around it than critics in the French monarchy or in Rome. From the inside the argument will always appear to be valid.

  • DC, it is dangerous, and yet, abusus not tollit usum… that it is dangerous doesn’t mean that there are not instances in which it is in fact the case, as you seem to grant in your OP.

  • Chris – The only liberation theologian that Ratzinger tends to cite is Leonardo Boff. The exchange he had with Boff was quite in depth but even there you see some glaring misreadings of Boff’s positions. Have you read Boff’s Church: Charism and Power and the CDF statement on it? His criticism of Boff’s supposed “Marxist” understanding of the sacraments, for example, is embarrassingly backward.

    I’m not suggesting that Ratzinger has NO familiarity with liberation theology. He surely has had some exposure to a few early works. But it is clear that he bases his judgments on a very narrow selection of texts. To anyone who has read the stuff, his critiques simply make no sense. Surely he attempted to “familiarize” himself with “liberation theology,” but to think he could get an accurate picture of it from Germany or from Rome with his European assumptions about theology and ecclesiology is absurd.

    You and Joe and all your buddies here are welcome to take Ratzinger’s word for “it”, but none of you should claim to be able to pronounce on liberation theology’s strengths and weaknesses if you have not read it yourself or if you have no connection to or interest in (and in fact often loudly and actively oppose) the social movements of the poor from which it was born.

  • Darwin – To reiterate: “that type of argument” is not dangerous at all when it is clear that the person in question knows nothing about the intellectual and ecclesial movement in question. “You don’t understand this theology” is an acceptable response to someone who admits he has not read any works of that kind of theology.

  • How is it that the Holy Father has so clearly demonstrated that he is unfamiliar with the strands of liberation theology? Because the criticism was not as detailed as a claimant might wish?

    Two things are mutually reasonable and applicable at the same time: 1) the reasonable ability to disagree, up to the point of being honest with one’s own soul and abandoning a claim to Catholicism 2) wide deference, particularly in matters of theology, to one of the unquestionably great theologians of our time, and the successor to St. Peter who occupies an office under the protection of the Holy Spirit.

    And so in the Pope’s condemnations, it is reasonable to follow his lead concerning theology.

    As for the method of argument, context is always king. It is not feasible for any rationalizing, unrational human to be seperate from experience, hubris, and bias. “Objective argument,” being impossible, should in this case take us back to my first point about theology and those that wish to claim Catholicism.

  • How is it that the Holy Father has so clearly demonstrated that he is unfamiliar with the strands of liberation theology? Because the criticism was not as detailed as a claimant might wish?

    He demonstrates it when he says that liberation theologians believe certain things that they in fact do not believe. The classic “reducing faith to politics” line is one very general example. Endorsement of “class warfare” is another. No liberation theologian that I have ever read believes either of those two things. Yet that myth continues to be perpetuated. Ratzinger cites no theologian in these charges. The only way that you would be able to know this, though, is to be familiar with liberation theology and no one here is willing to give LT the time of day to see for themselves.

    And so in the Pope’s condemnations, it is reasonable to follow his lead concerning theology.

    First, Ratzinger did not “condemn” liberation theology. That is another myth. And no, it is not reasonable to follow his lead on liberation theology when his judgment has been shown time and time again to be inaccurate. Catholicism does not mean “check your brain at the door,” [personal attacks removed.]

  • Jonathan

    Once again there were no condemnations of Liberation Theology as you just suggested. That’s the problem. There were concerns and criticisms of certain tendencies of some people within the movement, the same as Tempier with Aristotelians.

  • In fact, jonathan, it is clear that you do NOT “take Ratzinger’s lead” on liberation theology if you would characterize his position as one of “condemnation.” Not only have you obviously have not read liberation theology, you don’t seem to have read the Vatican’s statements on liberation theology in which you supposedly place your trust.

  • to think he could get an accurate picture of it from Germany or from Rome with his European assumptions about theology and ecclesiology is absurd.

    And yet somehow you manage to get an accurate picture of Ratzinger’s views with your assumptions from your own geographic locale? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, Michael.

  • But at the same time, it strikes me that Arnauld was doing a very dangerous thing in asserting that he agreed with the pope’s correction but not with the pope’s conclusion that the condemned propositions were in Augustinus.

    …and yet that’s precisely what the American bishops did in the 19th century when Pope Leo XIII condemned the Americanist heresy. “They just don’t understand us” was the cry of many an Irish Catholic prelate in America during the late 19th and early 20th century — you can even hear echoes of it today.

    Fascinating history, though I would argue that Americanism still lingers; Jansenism not so much.

  • Michael,

    Yes, it’s true that if leaders of the Church genuinely do not understand a school of theology, they may issue condemnations which condemn beliefs that members of the school do not actually hold. It’s a possibility. It may have happened at some times in history.

    At the same time, anyone who is going to come at their faith with the faintest shred of humility much recognize that for someone who at the same time believes himself to be in union with the Church and holds some belief which the Church is accurately condemning, it may invariably look like the Church does not understand their thought.

    It is a self-fullfilling argument from the dissenter’s point of view. “I hold a set of beliefs. The beliefs are true. My beliefs are compatible with Catholicism. Thus, if the Church tells me that my beliefs are not compatible with Catholicism, it must be because the Church doesn’t really understand my beliefs.”

    As several people have pointed out, it’s rather hard to believe that Ratzinger was as deceived/lazy as one has to posit in order to follow your theory. While I think that the argument is valid in certain circumstances, it’s something we should be very hesitant about rolling out, and which is usually going to lead us to false conclusions.

  • Given an “I agree with what you say, but no one is saying otherwise”-type response to ecclesial criticism, I’d say the first thing to do is confirm the agreement — that is, to make sure everyone has the same understanding of what the Church is saying. A cardinal may certainly misunderstand a theologian, but then a theologian may also misunderstand a cardinal.

    I think I’ve read somewhere that Vatican criticism of liberation theology named no names at least in part to settle the doctrinal questions without getting into the “but you misunderstand what X is saying” swamp.

  • It is a self-fullfilling argument from the dissenter’s point of view. “I hold a set of beliefs. The beliefs are true. My beliefs are compatible with Catholicism. Thus, if the Church tells me that my beliefs are not compatible with Catholicism, it must be because the Church doesn’t really understand my beliefs.”

    I understand what you are saying and I agree that the kind of defense you are targeting is easy to make. But it’s a whole lot easier to see what is going on if you are willing to hear out what the “dissenter” says and actually take the time to see what kind of conversation is taking place. You and Joe and everyone else on your blog refuse to actually give one side a hearing, assuming that they are “dissenters” and not worth listening to at all which is precisely NOT what JPII or Benedict have ever suggested that you do. Your method is to ignore liberation theologians and the things they say. That’s irresponsible both intellectually and ecclesiologically. It’s not how the church works. It’s not how believers are supposed to think. In fact, it is precisely an evasion of thinking.

    You can’t point to my defense of liberation theology as the “dissenter’s self-fulfilling argument” unless you can show that liberation theology and/or particular liberation theologians are in fact at odds with church teaching. And you can’t do that unless you are willing to hear some of them out.

  • “I hold a set of beliefs. The beliefs are true. My beliefs are compatible with Catholicism. Thus, if the Church tells me that my beliefs are not compatible with Catholicism, it must be because the Church doesn’t really understand my beliefs.”

    This is an excellent summary of some arguments I have heard. This would seem to stand in constrast to the Bible: “Anyone who goes ahead as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.”
    – 2 John 9

  • Michael,

    Personally Michael I know you don’t want to associate with things that have been condemned by the Church, so I know that you are trying to speak honestly and do so from a superior position to me at least, having studied LT for some number of years.

    But if you’ll let me I’ll say one thing to the point you make above – Fr. Gutierrez very much believes in class warfare, at least in his “A Theology of Liberation”, where he holds that the wealthy and aggressive Western nations have created their wealth at the expense of the poor in the Southern hemisphere. If this cannot be understood as class antagonism I do not know what the concept could mean. As you know, I tried to do what I consider to be an extensive study of this book, and I posted my comments on it on my personal blog. For whatever reason, at the time, you did not respond but to say a few things. Perhaps I can pull those out and post them here and we can have another round.

  • Michael, can you point to a primer on LT? If it hasn’t been given a hearing here, it’s only because you haven’t made one, only asserted that we’re all idiots who don’t know what we’re talking about, more or less. So: is there an online resource which you find does a competent job of presenting LT?

  • Zach – As I think I probably mentioned to you before, you are getting Gutierrez wrong, but you are not alone in this. He indeed believes that “the wealthy and aggressive Western nations have created their wealth at the expense of the poor in the Southern hemisphere” but this is not to believe in “class warfare.” In other words he does not believe in creating “class antagonism” because it already exists as an inherent feature of colonial capitalism. He believes that the church should “take sides” with the oppressed classes in their desire for liberation from a system that itself creates class antagonism.

    Chris – Yes I can suggest some good books as introductions but I’d have to poke around to see what’s out there online. Surely any of Oscar Romero’s pastoral letters would be a good introduction to liberation theology. As would the documents of the Latin American Bishops conference at Medellin and Puebla. Those are likely available online.

  • Chris B.,

    abusus not tollit usum

    I learned something new today, thanks!

    Good conversation gentlemen.

  • Michael,

    I’m not trying to say that you are a dissenter. I’m saying that this is a very dangerous way of dealing with criticism of the Church. I agree that if I wanted to personally issue a condemnation of liberation theology or point out errors in liberation theology, I would need to make a thorough reading of some liberation theology texts and be very clear about what they said and why it was wrong. Because I do not have the time (and frankly, the interest) for doing that, I’m making absolutely no attempt to issue such a critique or condemnation. Indeed, in my post I said that the Church has not condemned liberation theology.

    I’m just pointing out the danger of accustoming oneself to always insisting that when the Church criticizes one’s sacred cows, it must be because the Church doesn’t understand them. I do hear you saying that it’s obvious to you and unnamed other liberation theologians that Ratzinger and others in the Vatican do not understand liberation theology. That I don’t assume you to be correct in your feelings on this is mostly a matter of my having much more confidence in Ratzinger’s understanding of the Church than in yours.

    (I’m sorry if it frustrates you that many of us have little interest in studying liberation theology. Everyone ends up making decisions about what to spend time studying in depth, and not everyone makes the same decisions. Nor do they necessarily have to never talk about topics they haven’t studied, or haven’t studied from the inside. For instance, you routinely make a lot of assertions about free market economics, about business, about conservative politics, etc. which I think are quite misguided and display a fair amount of ignorance. However, I don’t go around insisting that you need to cite chapter and verse from Adam Smith or Milton Freidman or F A Hayak or the Federalist Papers or Burke or what have you before you blast classical liberalism or capitalism or what have you. I may not take your arguments in regards to these topics very seriously, but trying to tell people what they can and can’t speak about just doesn’t work that well.)

  • “But if you’ll let me I’ll say one thing to the point you make above – Fr. Gutierrez very much believes in class warfare, at least in his “A Theology of Liberation”, where he holds that the wealthy and aggressive Western nations have created their wealth at the expense of the poor in the Southern hemisphere.”

    So that is what you mean by class warfare? So, you would agree that the following statement is in support of class warfare:

    “The poor ask for the right to share in enjoying material goods and to make good use of their capacity for work, thus creating a world that is more just and prosperous for all. The advancement of the poor constitutes a great opportunity for the moral, cultural and even economic growth of all humanity.”

    Or

    “The Marxist solution has failed, but the realities of marginalization and exploitation remain in the world, especially the Third World, as does the reality of human alienation, especially in the more advanced countries. Against these phenomena the Church strongly raises her voice. Vast multitudes are still living in conditions of great material and moral poverty. The collapse of the Communist system in so many countries certainly removes an obstacle to facing these problems in an appropriate and realistic way, but it is not enough to bring about their solution. Indeed, there is a risk that a radical capitalistic ideology could spread which refuses even to consider these problems, in the a priori belief that any attempt to solve them is doomed to failure, and which blindly entrusts their solution to the free development of market forces.”

    Or

    “More than forty years after Populorum Progressio, its basic theme, namely progress, remains an open question, made all the more acute and urgent by the current economic and financial crisis. If some areas of the globe, with a history of poverty, have experienced remarkable changes in terms of their economic growth and their share in world production, other zones are still living in a situation of deprivation comparable to that which existed at the time of Paul VI, and in some cases one can even speak of a deterioration. It is significant that some of the causes of this situation were identified in Populorum Progressio, such as the high tariffs imposed by economically developed countries, which still make it difficult for the products of poor countries to gain a foothold in the markets of rich countries. Other causes, however, mentioned only in passing in the Encyclical, have since emerged with greater clarity. A case in point would be the evaluation of the process of decolonization, then at its height. Paul VI hoped to see the journey towards autonomy unfold freely and in peace. More than forty years later, we must acknowledge how difficult this journey has been, both because of new forms of colonialism and continued dependence on old and new foreign powers, and because of grave irresponsibility within the very countries that have achieved independence.”

  • Shaun,

    I think you make a good point. It is, I think, very human not to see ourselves reflected in criticisms. Usually when someone tells me that I’m wrong about something or doing a bad job at something, my first tendency is to think that they must not really understanding.

    In personal interaction this may often be the case (though, of course, often those who criticize us have something of a point as well) but it seems to me that, hard as it is, we have to take criticism from the Church pretty seriously. I try to apply this as best I can on my own intellectual hobby horses, such as democratic government, classical liberalism, and free market economics — all things which the Church has at times criticized aspects of (though as with liberation theology, certainly not condemned). Where I haven’t yet worked out to my satisfaction the right understanding of these topics from a Catholic point of view, I try at least to stick to the basics that I’m sure of and not go around telling people what “the church says” on the topic.

  • I suggest the latter documents knowing that they are official ecclesial documents but liberation theologians were involved in their writing.

    Might also check out liberationtheology.org. He has a broad definition of LT though.

  • We tend to understand heresies from a distance: Jansen said “X”, the pope said “not X”. In truth, theological disputes take decades, as each party fleshes out what each side holds to be doctrinally correct. Additionally, each heresy has a proto-, a semi-, an ultra-, et cetera. Each proposition has to be teased out before it can be accepted or condemned.

    And that was in the old days, when it was all written in the same language. It’s worse now.

    Even valid movements were sometimes condemned, or placed on “watch lists”. At such times it is essential that the followers of the new movement submit to Church authority. If Luther had had a more humble heart or if Gonzaga were arrogant, church history would be completely different.

    Now, it’s possible to humbly submit to the Church while contending that theologians have mistaken your writings as heresy (or disobedience or whatever). Aquinas had to grovel; why shouldn’t I? But in practice, it’s tricky. You look at Regnum Christi over the last few years and you can see how even a hint of insubordination can snowball.

  • In fact, michael, what is clear that you wish to remain quick in the personalizations and heavy in the hostility. That’s you issue, as at the end of the day you have to live with your own hatreds.

    I think it is more than reasonable 1). to characterize the Holy Father’s reaction to some strands of what is commonly understood to be liberation theology as a condemnation 2). to follow his lead, as a great theologian and as the successor to St. Peter, on these issues, particularly as they relate to theology.

    Obviously I am not as well versed in the literature of this subject as you are. But I wouldn’t, and haven’t in the past, react as you have if were discussing my areas of expertise, Anglo-American political philosophy. This sort of pathetic negativity may mask insecurity, or something else, or nothing at all, but it’s an e-representation you should drop.

    Now, michael and Henry, why did I again make the same point 1.) ? Take the Guiterrez example, cited by Zach. The Holy Father’s “ten observations” were indeed a condemnation of politicization and of supporting something like a temporal messianism.

    And, as folks that we should safely assume are familiar with this sort of history (one of several examples), I understand you can quibble about what makes for a “condemnation.” But it is quite reasonable to label it as such, and it quite reasonable – particularly as we are all folks that wish to claim the Catholic mantle – to state that we should give the Holy Father wide and deep deference on these questions, given his role as theologian, steward, successor, and chief priest.

    One need not be well versed in the diverse texts of this movement (I certainly am not) to easily recognize Vatican condemnation, particularly of the elements of Marxism and comfort with violence.

  • Jonathan

    Condemnation is not a word to be used lightly; criticism and investigation and concern about various ideas is not condemnation. Playing fast and loose with the idea of ecclesial condemnation is not wise.

  • Henry,

    You are quite correct that words should not be used lightly. And let me make more explicit that I am aware of and appreciate the point that it is cheap and easy to “cherry pick” from marginal and extremist claimants, and then broaden to smear a whole. That is not my intention – and such is the difficulty of this medium (one reason why I will reinterate my point about charity and not assuming the worst of an “opponent”).

    All the same, condemnation is a word that fits (of the extremist/marginal elements, certainly), and this is noteworthy. I refer, specificially, to the Holy Father’s view, expressed in his writings throughout the 80s most notably, that much of liberation theology (“much” being measured by political influence) viewed reality as “political,” making “liberation” also first and foremost a concept of politics, thus making “liberation” to be a guide to political action. In sum, that which he thought to be a fundamental threat to the faith of the Church deserves the label “condemnation.”

  • One could also quote these thoughts:

    “Finally, development must not be understood solely in economic terms, but in a way that is fully human. It is not only a question of raising all peoples to the level currently enjoyed by the richest countries, but rather of building up a more decent life through united labour, of concretely enhancing every individual’s dignity and creativity, as well as his capacity to respond to his personal vocation, and thus to God’s call. The apex of development is the exercise of the right and duty to seek God, to know him and to live in accordance with that knowledge.”

    “The modern business economy has positive aspects. Its basis is human freedom exercised in the economic field, just as it is exercised in many other fields. Economic activity is indeed but one sector in a great variety of human activities, and like every other sector, it includes the right to freedom, as well as the duty of making responsible use of freedom. But it is important to note that there are specific differences between the trends of modern society and those of the past, even the recent past. Whereas at one time the decisive factor of production was the land, and later capital — understood as a total complex of the instruments of production — today the decisive factor is increasingly man himself, that is, his knowledge, especially his scientific knowledge, his capacity for interrelated and compact organization, as well as his ability to perceive the needs of others and to satisfy them.
    It would appear that, on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs. But this is true only for those needs which are “solvent”, insofar as they are endowed with purchasing power, and for those resources which are “marketable”, insofar as they are capable of obtaining a satisfactory price.”

    “The Church acknowledges the legitimate role of profit as an indication that a business is functioning well. When a firm makes a profit, this means that productive factors have been properly employed and corresponding human needs have been duly satisfied.”

    “Marxism criticized capitalist bourgeois societies, blaming them for the commercialization and alienation of human existence. This rebuke is of course based on a mistaken and inadequate idea of alienation, derived solely from the sphere of relationships of production and ownership, that is, giving them a materialistic foundation and moreover denying the legitimacy and positive value of market relationships even in their own sphere. Marxism thus ends up by affirming that only in a collective society can alienation be eliminated. However, the historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.”

    “Returning now to the initial question: can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?
    The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”.

  • Hey Michael,

    What you say about Gutierrez makes sense. Maybe I can explain why I think this still constitutes class antagonism, or why it’s an indirect way of advocating for perpetual class warfare.

    “In other words he does not believe in creating “class antagonism” because it already exists as an inherent feature of colonial capitalism. He believes that the church should “take sides” with the oppressed classes in their desire for liberation from a system that itself creates class antagonism.”

    I think this is an attempt to project a vision of reality onto the world, rather than an attempt to know the world as it is. I also think that the attempt to project a vision of reality onto the world is what constitutes ideology. Why? Because I think it is factually untrue, strictly speaking. It is reductionistic and absolutist in its claims to understanding the myriad causes of human wealth and human poverty. It’s not simply that there is a system in place which oppresses people in South America. That’s an easy way out of understanding an extremely complicated problem.

    Then again, I agree that the Church should take sides with the poor. I agree wholeheartedly that as a society we should have a preferential option for the poor, and think and talk about how the poor are treated and served in a public way. But I do not believe its necessary to posit that the poor are an oppressed class of people. This also ignores the fact that poverty itself has myriad causes, some of which are not social, as unwilling as we are to admit that. Some poor may be oppressed, but not all poor.

    I also think this binary distinction that is made between the oppressed and the oppressors detracts from the complicated ways in which the poor are actually rich and the rich are actually poor. I think this philosophy implicitly assumes that material reality is all that matters, and I do not think this is true.

    Further, if you begin from the premise of “oppressed” and “oppressors”, you begin by dividing people. I do not think people are or need to be divided like this. I do not like the language.

  • Then again, I don’t think it’s always bad to make distinctions between people. But I don’t think distinctions always divide. If you’ll allow me that nuance 😛

  • Zach,

    I agree with your criticism. Good points.

    And I reject the notion that the Church should “take sides” in a political struggle. The strength of Catholic social teaching is that it outlines the rights duties of all members of society. Unlike some schools of social thought it does not deny the existence or importance of class, and unlike still others, it does not claim that existence of classes is inherently evil.

    The Church does not need to “take sides.” The Popes have been Distributists, calling for the spread of property ownership among more workers, and for it to be used by communities. Private property is an inviolable right, and its social/communal use is also a strong moral obligation.

    If Catholic social teaching, as it has been written and not as it has been reworked by quasi-Marxists, were followed, and Distributism more widely impelmented, classes would exist the scene not with a bang, but with a whimper.

  • It’s clearly not worth discussing with you jonathan.

    Zach – I think the idea that the poor are not oppressed is puzzling. As for your critique of the “binary” language, this is in fact a critique that liberation theologians have come to see for themselves. They still used “oppressed/oppressor” language, but they admit that it’s much more complicated. Oppressors are often also oppressed and vice versa. Some people and groups suffer from multiple and complex oppressions. I will say that despite your discomfort with the language, people are in fact divided along these lines. It is difficult for people with various degrees of privilege to see it. This is why we need to make an epistemological option for the poor and oppressed too: they help us to see things we couldn’t see before.

  • Joe – Thanks, and I see your point as well. But I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of stratification of material wealth. Not sayin’ we shouldn’t try. Distributism is an interesting idea, but I wish I knew more about its practical implementation. Perhaps you can suggest some books that speak to this? I’m familiar with it theoretically but in theory it is not persuasive to me.

  • Unless… you can say that the Church should “take sides” against injustice…. and the struggle for justice is a political struggle…but the Church is not a political force really… so perhaps it can stand against injustice? I’m not sure.

  • I see Darwin’s point, but being as I am part of some all too often misunderstood and misrepresented communities – Catholicism, postmodernism, deconstruction – I am very sympathetic to Michael’s defense to liberation theology and his insistence that its critics deal explicitly with its flesh and blood arguments, and I furthermore find it not unlikely that many of its critics, even among authorities in theology, criticize what they mistakenly believe it to be.

    Danger is my middle name…

  • Kyle – then liberation theologians ought to be more precise in what they say. why shroud the discipline in gnostic language that is accessible only to specialists. It’s not very catholic.

  • Zach,

    Distributism doesn’t promise to get rid of stratification of wealth. It might result in less stratification, which is good, but nothing could abolish it totally.

    Moreover, Distributism can encompass a wide, wide range of things. It does not just exist ‘in theory’ – there are more workers in Employee Stock Ownership Programs than there are in labor unions.

    As for more information on practical stuff, start here:

    http://www.nceo.org/

  • Unless… you can say that the Church should “take sides” against injustice…. and the struggle for justice is a political struggle…but the Church is not a political force really… so perhaps it can stand against injustice? I’m not sure.

    Yes, that the Church should take sides against injustice is simply another way of saying it. But “injustice” is abstract. What many sectors of the Church in Latin America came to realize is that taking sides against injustice needs to be made concrete. And in an extreme class based society like Latin American ones opting for justice and opting for the poor means opting for concrete classes of people and against systems that create classes of oppressed people.

    And yes, the Church IS a political force! How anyone could claim otherwise is beyond me. Of course the Church is more than that, but it is indeed a political force.

    Kyle – then liberation theologians ought to be more precise in what they say. why shroud the discipline in gnostic language that is accessible only to specialists. It’s not very catholic.

    But the point, Zach, is that with the exception of yourself, no one here is even reading liberation theology and yet they make claims about what “it” says.

    Your concern about “gnostic language” for “specialists” is off the mark as well — liberation theologians have always been criticized by the theological mainstream for being too simplistic, not academic enough, etc.

    A great introductory text is Gustavo Gutierrez’s We Drink From Our Own Wells. Its language is not “gnostic.” It is less academic than Theology of Liberation. It is a beautiful book. A new 20th anniversary edition is out now from Orbis, with an introduction by Henri Nouwen. Will not take you long to read it.

  • Zach – Let me say again that I think it’s really commendable that you took the time to read (some of?) A Theology of Liberation. If I neglected your posts, it was because of my school work (I think I was in the middle of a comp). Happy to discuss it with you via email if you like.

  • I think the idea that the poor are not oppressed is puzzling.

    Well, obviously it’s invariably oppressive to be poor, if that’s what you mean. But it is not necessarily the case that people who are poor are poor because someone actively made them poor — because someone oppressed them. They might just be… poor.

    For instance, many of the poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa are those who are still living semi-nomadic hunter/gatherer lives in exactly the way that people have done in the same region for centuries. When their ancestors lived under pretty much the same physical conditions 1000 years ago (except for the occasional UN, NGO or missionary representative driving in to dispense immunizations, anti-biotics, and other modern help) there was clearly no one oppressing them and keeping them poor. They simply lived the way they did. That they still live in similar conditions now does not necessarily mean that someone is keeping them from changing to a more affluent way of life (though certainly, that is sometimes the case) it could just be that they haven’t changed.

  • “I’m sorry if it frustrates you that many of us have little interest in studying liberation theology. Everyone ends up making decisions about what to spend time studying in depth, and not everyone makes the same decisions.”

    Fair enough. It’s virtually a concession that the bloggers on this site barely know what they’re talking about when they post or comment on liberation theology.

    And that’s fine. You don’t want to visit my blog to get info on auto repair, economics, or any number of other subjects.

  • Fair enough. It’s virtually a concession that the bloggers on this site barely know what they’re talking about when they post or comment on liberation theology.

    Exactly. For people who have “little interest” in liberation theology, they sure do post on it a lot.

  • Being statistically minded, I did a search on the number of posts containing the worlds “liberation theology” which has been written on this site and found a whopping 14 out of 1677. Of these, the only one I wrote was this one.

    Clearly, I need to write less about topics I don’t focus on. (Though as I pointed out several times, this post was written to deal with Jansenism and with how people deal with correction from the Church — it’s not about liberation theology.)

  • By “post” I mean it comes up a lot on this blog, in “posts” or in the comments.

  • “And yes the Church is a political force.”

    How is this so, particularly in light of this:

    “The Church has no models to present; models that are real and truly effective can only arise within the framework of different historical situations, through the efforts of all those who responsibly confront concrete problems in all their social, economic, political and cultural aspects, as these interact with one another.84 For such a task the Church offers her social teaching as an indispensable and ideal orientation, a teaching which, as already mentioned, recognizes the positive value of the market and of enterprise, but which at the same time points out that these need to be oriented towards the common good. This teaching also recognizes the legitimacy of workers’ efforts to obtain full respect for their dignity and to gain broader areas of participation in the life of industrial enterprises so that, while cooperating with others and under the direction of others, they can in a certain sense “work for themselves”85 through the exercise of their intelligence and freedom.”

  • Ah the same stupid discussions, circling around perpetually.

    Phillip – Just because the church does not offer particular political programs (so it says, but it clearly does sometimes) does not mean the church is not a political force.

  • 14 out of 1677: not a lot, but the last two sure seem to be very popular with us in the commentariat.

    It’s a false logic to cite similar behavior in heretics and LT advocates/sympathizers. We’re dealing with a good theologian (Cardinal Ratzinger) who seemed to have a very selective reading in LT. The advocates/sympathizers protested. No problem there; the protest dealt simply with the facts of mischaracterizing LT. Lots of human beings protest. Terrorists are protesters of sorts. So are political parties when they are out of power.

    To equate Jansenism with LT isn’t a stretch unless you bring Republicans, terrorists, and my ex-neighbor in Chicago who thought my Memorial Day flag was out too long and stuffed it in my mailbox the last Tuesday of one May.

    That Cardinal Ratzinger might get LT wrong doesn’t merit some whitewash. In a healthy Church, theologians would have the opportunity to present their accurate position and discuss accordingly. Sort of like a blog like this, only with more Latin.

    Phillip, you have a long quote there. Citation?

  • Michael,

    Fine, but in what sense do you mean the Church is political?

    Todd,

    All the above quotes from Centessimus Annus

  • I would think by “political force”, MI means the Church can influence government policy through moral suasion. That seems to be the case to a greater or lesser degree depending on the time and place. If that’s what he means, or close to it, then I would wholeheartedly agree and endorse such political forcefulness.

  • To be more precise, that influence can be direct (eg, getting legislators to pass the Stupak amendment) or more indirect, such as addressing moral issues with the voting public that then act on particular representatives/legislation (eg, the ssm referenda). It’s pretty hard to deny the Church is a political force in that sense.

  • That would be fine when the moral choices are clear (for example when Pius XII instructed Italian Catholics not to vote for Communists in the 50’s.) Where prudential judgment is in play, I think the Church herself would be shy to promote specific programs. Though as pointed out, promoting Stupak would probably be reasonable though I think a Catholic could licitly disagree with such a choice by the Church as a prudential judgment. Especially as such would not be a judgment of the “Church” but rather of a regional conference or even a specific bishop.

    That is in distinction to moral principles themselves which the Church presents to society for the laity to enact through the political process. Though with such political processes Catholics of good will will frequently come to different conclusions on how to enact the principles.

  • c matt – Yes, the church is political in the sense of influencing government. But more than that it influences persons, societies, alternative communities, the church itself as a community, etc.

  • In other words being church (when church truly exists, not a white middle class american conservative social club) is a political act.

  • Where do you come up with this idea that people think of The Church or their parishes as a white, middle class, American, conservative social club? First off, not all of us here are “white” (and frankly, my Hispanic half is getting very tired of being lectured on being white-focused by Mr. West Virginia), and further I have yet to belong to a parish which isn’t at least half Hispanic, with significant groups of Vietnamese, Filipino, Lebanese and Nigerian parishioners. There’s nothing white about American parish life.

  • Michael,

    So that which is political is that which influences other things.

  • Michael,

    I’m a whitexican and I find your comments awfully racist and belittling.

  • I believe the discussion could go on indefinitely for a fairly simple reason: the lack of a definition of “liberation theology”.

    Such as has been written by its promoters make it sound like sociology.

    Certainly there is much to be done in the impoverished countries of the world. The Church has been among the leaders in attempting to alleviate the poverty [the chief problem]. this is called a corporal work of mercy.

  • I’m half Lebanese and I’m a little sick of it too.

    Here in Orange County, the Churches I’ve gone to have been overwhelmingly Asian and Hispanic.

  • Its part of the class struggle.

  • In the context of the whole “Church in politics” discussion, I think people often use “Church” when they mean “Magisterium”… the *Church* *should* be involved in politics, although her bishops may — out of prudence — speak publicly only on occasion. Although the phrase is employed by unorthodox groups, it bears remembering that “we are [the] Church”. In fact, the *role* of the laity *as members of Christ’s body* is to bring Him and His Gospel into the world.

  • Michael, thanks. I did end up reading the whole book. I have written something on it but its nothing polished or scholarly. I will try to pick up the conversation sometime in the near future. I understand about the busyness and school… I’m surprised half of us find the time to do anything on the internet. And I may check out “We Drink from these Wells” in the near future. When I do I will try to write about it in the hopes of having a fruitful conversation.

    And Chris, great point! That is a very helpful distinction.

  • Darwin – Apologies if I contributed to the derailing of this thread. I totally agree with your logic as expressed above, and I have a hard time staying focused especially when the conversation can get so damn interesting around here.

  • Joe,

    What exactly is half Lebanese? ANd why is it making you sick? I was born in Lebanon, but that doesn’t make me Lebanese (well at least not anymore). I’m not sure Lebanese is a race, heck, its barely a country.

    I still get the question, “where are you from?” and when I answer, “Northern Virgina” the response is, “I meant your nationality” and I tell them to just drop the Northern part.

    I thought Catholic meant universal. What would make anyone think a Catholic parish would be homogeneous? If it wasn’t for praying in Latin, I probably wouldn’t be able to communicate with half the people in my parish. My Latin is improving but my Tagalog, Mexican, Honduran, Bolivian, Korean and Liberal ain’t so good. 🙂

  • Darwin:

    1) I didn’t say people think of the church in those terms. But that’s very much what many u.s. parishes are like, whether or not the congregation thinks so. It’s for good reason that someone (I forget who) said that Sunday churchgoing is the most segregated hour in america.

    2) I didn’t lecture you. The comment was not directed to you.

    3) Of course there are many people who are not white in u.s. parishes. It is worthwhile to ask whether or not the style of worship is white, the theology is white, and to what degree non-whites are expected to act white.

    Phillip: No. Try again.

    Gabriel: The point of liberation theology is not the insistence that “there is much to be done in the impoverished countries of the world,” but that there is much to be done in the so-called First World, i.e. conversion that is both individual and communal, and that is both spiritual and socio-political.

    Joe: Have the churches been Asian and Hispanic, or have a lot of the people in those churches been Asian and Hispanic? These are important distinctions.

    Chris Burgwald: When I say the Church is political or a political force I mean the whole Church – laity, clergy, and religious.

    American Knight:

    I thought Catholic meant universal. What would make anyone think a Catholic parish would be homogeneous?

    Your first point is true. Part of the problem is that in the united states parishes might look awfully diverse sometimes but all are expected to be americans first. Oppose a u.s.-led war? Then shut up. Live in the u.s. but disagree with its foreign policy? Shut the hell up. Live in the u.s. and have deep deep suspicions about its relationship with your home country or race? Get the hell out. Etc. Etc.

  • Michael,

    1) I didn’t say people think of the church in those terms. But that’s very much what many u.s. parishes are like, whether or not the congregation thinks so. It’s for good reason that someone (I forget who) said that Sunday churchgoing is the most segregated hour in america.

    3) Of course there are many people who are not white in u.s. parishes. It is worthwhile to ask whether or not the style of worship is white, the theology is white, and to what degree non-whites are expected to act white.

    You know, I’m sorry, but that it total BS. Try telling that to any of my last three pastors that churchgoing in the most segregated in America — two were from Mexico and the third was from Lebanon. Try telling our previous associate pastor, who was ordained in Nigeria. (And let me assure you, our Nigerian community has by far the most traditional liturgical taste in the parish, you wouldn’t like them a bit.) Try telling it to our parish lay leadership, which put together an Our Lady of Guadalupe mass in nine languages (and sung in Spanish, English, Latin and Igbo) — which you would have hated because the Mexican immigrant community want the US and Mexican flags hung together behind their massive reconstruction of the Hill of Tepeyac.

    This “I the mighty white man who has studied radical theology must hector all of you about how undiverse you are” routine is not only tiresome and inaccurate, it’s a bit ridiculous as well.

    This is the beauty of our Catholic faith: It is not made up of white liturgy, Hispanic liturgy and African liturgy — we have one liturgy which is universal and celebrated by all, in unity. We do not have “white theology” and “black theology” and “brown theology” — we have Catholic theology.

    Part of the problem is that in the united states parishes might look awfully diverse sometimes but all are expected to be americans first. Oppose a u.s.-led war? Then shut up. Live in the u.s. but disagree with its foreign policy? Shut the hell up. Live in the u.s. and have deep deep suspicions about its relationship with your home country or race? Get the hell out. Etc. Etc.

    Actually, I think here we get to your real gripe. I’ve never been in a parish where the pastor or the lay leadership tells people they need to shut up or get our because the have opinions which are not within the American political mainstream. However, every pastor I’ve known seeks to avoid division and acrimony within the parish, so they tend to keep any loudly political groups (conservative or progressive or “radical”) from using parish resources or imposing themselves on parish activities. In a parish which is seriously diverse, it’s going to cause problems when you allow one group to make a lot of noise about topics which offend other groups. (After all, it’s not just what people think about the US — often you’ll have groups within the parish whose countries of origin are actively hostile to one another.)

    As such, the sort of race baiting and “radical” advocacy which you would probably like to see imposed on everyone is generally not going to be encouraged by any sane pastor of a highly diverse parish. It’s not, however, because he’s trying to tell people to shut up or get out — it’s because he doesn’t want people like you telling lots of other members of the parish to shut up or get out.

    If you don’t like that — well, I’m sorry. As you observe, Catholic parish life should not involve telling people you don’t like to shut up or get out.

  • “But more than that it (the Church) influences persons, societies, alternative communities” Michael

    “So that which is political is that which influences others.” Phillip

    “No, try again.” Michael

    Actually Michael, given that’s what you said you need to try again.

  • Darwin,

    I have to say that my experiences have been quite similar. I don’t know what world MI lives in, but it isn’t the one I live in.

    And what the hell does it mean to “act white” anyway? At the TLM I attend, everyone acts the same way – reverent. They dress the same way – respectfully. They all give off the same vibe – civilized, whether they are Asian, Hispanic, mutts like me, or white.

    Race doesn’t come up. And that’s a good thing. I’m sick of race pimps trying to create problems where they don’t exist so they can see a world view to which they are psychologically attached come to life before their eyes, and give their post-graduate thesis on racial oppression in America a valid reason for existence.

  • AK,

    LOL, I didn’t mean I was sick of being half Lebanese!

    I meant sick of MI and other’s constant invocation of race when no one else is thinking about it or letting it ruin their lives. Oh yes, I know – next we’ll hear, “that’s just the problem – you don’t think about it!” Right! We were all just existing together, praying together, treating one another like Christians and human beings, without realizing how we were oppressing and dominating!

    Please! Accept this reality that doesn’t correspond with anything you experience in your life!

  • And what the hell does it mean to “act white” anyway? At the TLM I attend, everyone acts the same way – reverent. They dress the same way – respectfully. They all give off the same vibe – civilized, whether they are Asian, Hispanic, mutts like me, or white.

    Yeah, I’m not sure what what that’s supposed to mean. Certainly, I see different dress from different communities, though everyone is wearing their best. You’ll hear a couple different languages in the breezeway after mass, and goodness knows there’s a variety of food at parish events.

    Is the expectation that there should be a bunch of people jumping around like “happy natives” for National Geographic?

  • Aside from some fairly substantial issues in worldview between Michael and myself (and presumably others in this forum), I think one problem here might just be a matter of ignorance.

    West Virginia is a state where the white population is 96% (and less than 1% Hispanic) and a Catholic population of only 8%. I have no doubt that there is very little diversity in the parishes he is accustomed to in WV (contrast with Toronto where he probably experienced a great deal more diversity). However, it should go without saying that WV is not a very good sample demograhpic for the country as a whole and projecting observations from there on the rest of the country would be innacurate and perhaps even unjust.

  • Darwin,

    Considering your experiences are CA and TX, I’m not surprised. CA isn’t considered America for most discussions of the American experience. TX is much like the rest of the South in that there simply isn’t much Catholic tradition except in a few enclaves. TX is a little more unique in that whatever Catholic tradition is like CA and tracing itself to Mexico and ultimately Spain.

    Although somewhat an accident of history, the catholicism of the Upper Midwest to the East is pretty much separated by race and class. This is somewhat an artifact of their being separate parishes for the different ethnic groups such as the Irish and Germans.

    I can’t speak to the TLMs as much, but they are mostly ghettos anyway and not normative. No offense against the TLM. I don’t think our diocesan TLM has more than 300 families in a diocese with about 400,000 catholics.

  • TX is much like the rest of the South in that there simply isn’t much Catholic tradition except in a few enclaves.

    Although your next sentence is a bit of a qualifier, this one isn’t accurate. There is a strong and deeply rooted Catholic tradition in Texas. This is true among the Mexican, Anglo, and Asian populations, although not the African one. And the state is more “Southwest” than “Southern,” but that’s not really accurate either. I’d say that Texas is unique in that its history and geography shape a geographic mindset of isolation and uniqueness, and one that exists not just in the minds of its citizens but also exerts itself in policy. Demographics might well change this, however, as libertarian and independent-flavored policies have facilitated more statist voters.

  • I’m not a TX historian but any means, but I thought even in Texas the wealthy whites were more likely to be Anglican or Methodist and the poor whites were more likely to be Southern Baptist. That has probably changed some. I seem to recall that prior to the Texas Revolution, the wealthy families converted to Catholicism and then became Protestants once they joined the States.

  • It’s obvious, isn’t it? Michael has lived a segregated life in an all-white state, and he has an unfortunate but common cognitive bias of assuming (wrongly) that everyone else’s experience is like his own.

    He needs to grow up and experience the world before pontificating — maybe get to know a few of the black and brown people whom he has never met but for whom he dares to pretend to speak.

  • MZ,

    I think even that perspective is somewhat dated. Here in “white” Idaho my parish has two priests, one from Kenya and one from Mexico. The last two seminarians ordained for the transitional diaconate were from Latin America originally. The next parish over has a pastor from Colombia. They do have a token “white” Polish priest there. The celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was well attended even by “whites.” Major feasts at the Cathedral are bilingual services (at times trilingual with Basque or Polish depending.)

    Having lived in the East, there was not much of the separation that you refer to. Historically that was the case but many parishes have so changed demographically (at least in the major cities) that if they are ethnic, it is a mix of varied latin cultures/Asian and even African. Go to the Arch Street Shrine in Boston and you will see a mix of races and socioeconomic groups that range from major financial dealers to the recent immigrant.

    Actually the most uniform parishes I have been to have been in Mexico and Europe.

  • I thought even in Texas the wealthy whites were more likely to be Anglican or Methodist and the poor whites were more likely to be Southern Baptist.

    That’s not wholly inaccurate (and it would be nice if this were an easily empirical question), but it hasn’t been accurate in the main for some time, probably since the influx of farmers 150 years ago. In Central Texas, for example, the presence of Catholic whites (from Germany, mostly), is very strong.

    That has probably changed some. I seem to recall that prior to the Texas Revolution, the wealthy families converted to Catholicism and then became Protestants once they joined the States.

    I think there were some “high profile” cases, but not much in the way of statistical significance.

  • Well this thread became kind of amusing, simply because of a fairly peripheral comment.

    I lived in Toronto for over 3 years. It’s one of the most diverse cities in north america. The parish we belonged to (and other parishes I visited) were demographically diverse. But they were still by and large white parishes. I’m not sure why you can’t catch the distinction, other than the fact that something rages inside of you when I say such things, clouding any thought processes you might normally go through.

    Darwin – When you say This is the beauty of our Catholic faith: It is not made up of white liturgy, Hispanic liturgy and African liturgy — we have one liturgy which is universal and celebrated by all, in unity. We do not have “white theology” and “black theology” and “brown theology” — we have Catholic theology.

    This is about the most liberal thing I’ve heard you say. It’s “catholicity” filtered through north american liberalism. The beauty of the C/catholic faith is unity in diversity. Forget the second half and the first half is meaningless and impossible. Catholic theology is a multitude, symphony, and even tension of theologies, not a single thing. If it were a single thing, then unity would simply be uniformity. And that ain’t catholicity.

  • Uh-oh. Is jonathan going to start talking about the need to keep communities homogeneous again?

  • 43% of Toronto’s population is part of a minority group, and more than half of those are Asians. The black population is 8.4%, and the Hispanic population is 2.6%. There are easily thousands of towns in America where you’ll meet more black and Hispanic people than in Toronto.

  • Uh-oh. Is jonathan going to start talking about the need to keep communities homogeneous again?

    The hostility, status posturing, and preening remains pathetic, and now is ironic given your calls the past few days for others to engage arguments and texts at the expense of such frivolity. Feel free at any point to actually do that with me or anyone else on such issues, although given your history one can’t help but remain quite pessimistic you will actually do so. As a pacifist that we all respect wrote in a private forum, you write and respond in a bitter spirit of contention, and you will be responsible for the hearts you harden. It has been evident here as well. Follow his charge to you to drop that spirit and I will be happy to discuss cultural issues with you.

  • It’s true that having primarily lived in CA and TX, I may have a somewhat biased view on this. (Though the inner city parish I know in Cincinatti is now majority Hispanic.) In both Southern California and Central Texas we have very large Hispanic communities, dwarfing anything Toronto would have. We also have a large population of African Americans who are Catholic (mostly via Louisiana) and given that this is such a tech hub we have a lot of African immigrants, Indian immigrants, and Vietnamese immigrants.

    I think what we have here may just be a case of Michael having a particularly parochial set of personal experiences, filtered through a very strong ideology which tends to make him see what’s in his head rather than actually paying attention to the real human stories of people.

    And yes, I’ll admit that hearing Michael do his “I [the white man] understand how minorities want to be be and you [the mutt] don’t” makes me angry– not only because I think it’s very culturally imperialistic (in the worst way) but also because it is something he rolls down via ideology with little to no interest in what real people are like.

    This is about the most liberal thing I’ve heard you say. It’s “catholicity” filtered through north american liberalism. The beauty of the C/catholic faith is unity in diversity. Forget the second half and the first half is meaningless and impossible. Catholic theology is a multitude, symphony, and even tension of theologies, not a single thing. If it were a single thing, then unity would simply be uniformity. And that ain’t catholicity.

    Unity in diversity, of course. But that unity is in Truth, the one truth that is the one God. As such, it makes no sense to talk about ethnic theologies. Aquinas was Spanish, Augustine was North African, von Balthasar was Swiss: so what. They all studied the one true God in different ways, but not because God is different things to different races or nationalities, and not because different races and nationalities have different abilities to address God. They are shaped by their times and places, but the Truth remains the same. This is because God is real, there is a real object to theology. Having a theologies for different ethnic groups would be as nonsensical as having different mathematics for different ethnic groups.

    Similarly, while there is a certain diversity even in liturgy (between the different rites) the liturgy itself is the same, and the “style” we bring to it is (or should be) minimal. A Nigerian choir and a Vietnamese choir will sing the Kyrie very differently, because of the different rhythms and speach patterns to which they are accustomed, but the Kyrie itself is the same, and the mixing of those differences is one of unity, not divergence.

    If my blood boils when I hear your race-baiting approach to Catholicism and to life in general, it’s for two reasons:

    First, it’s because I see this approach as trying to emphasize what divides us rather than what unites us. As Catholics, this is fundamentally contrary our faith and culture.

    Second, this kind of identity politics fundamentally clashes with what I am as someone who is mixed race. I’m not Hispanic and I’m not Anglo, I’m both and neither. I see people who are primarily interested in stirring up conflict between races and ethnicities as doing something fundamentally anti-human and anti-life. (Indeed, I generally refuse to select a single race on principle when filling out forms, I think the idea of pinning everyone down to a specific race is corrosive.) And so I see your insistance that people go fit into pre-determined ethnic advocacy boxes which you’ve come up with through your reading as fundamentally wrong.

  • And yes, I’ll admit that hearing Michael do his “I [the white man] understand how minorities want to be be and you [the mutt] don’t” — not only because I think it’s very culturally imperialistic (in the worst way) but also because it is something he rolls down via ideology with little to no interest in what reall people are like.

    This is the most disgusting attempt at twisting my words that I have ever seen on this blog. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Really? You don’t think that when you go around insisting that Catholic liturgy and parish life consists of forcing minorities to “act white”, you might perhaps be imposing on minorities your own ideological pre-conceptions of what minorities should act like, and doing so in a way that they would themselves disagree with?

    Nor do I see why you are surprised to recieve spirited responses when you accuse the Catholic Church (at least in this country) of essentially being oppressive and racist. Seeing as most of us here love the Catholic Church deeply, people are not going to appreciate the accusation.

    Still, perhaps I’m being deeply unfair to you. Your approach to race does, as I admitted, make me very angry. I’ll put it before anyone else who’s reading at this point, and if people whom I respect tell me that I’m being unfair to you, I’ll certainly apologize.

  • Think you’ve been fair Darwin. Suspect that Michael doesn’t get out of his academia sphere much and can’t understand when people disagree with him. Can only be the result of stupidity, racism or class suppression.

  • That’s another twisting of what I said, not quite as severe as the previous one. Keep it up; you might be able to outdo yourself.

  • You’re being more than fair. mike always deploys the colorful adjectives when he’s been cornered.

  • Darwin, you are not out of line at all. There’s a fairly long history of michael’s e-persona being called to task for the inability, or unwillingness, to engage charitably, and with the benefit of “doubt” granted to “opponents.” The hostility, derision, and name calling get old fast, as not just the “oppressors” or whomever have told him more than once. This has been expressed by a variety of people with a variety of opinions, and maybe one day he’ll actually take some of the feedback to heart.

  • [While everyone loves affirmation — even cold-hearted SOBs like me — let me just say that there’s no need for everyone who doesn’t think I stepped out of line to pile on, unless you particularly want to. I wasn’t trying to beg for backup — just provide an opportunity for correction if I really had allowed rage to get the better of me. Also, I have a feeling the topic of this thread has become “things Darwin and Michael disagree on” which is obviously something which extends rather widely, so short of being called on to apologize, I’ll just leave things rest at this point.]

  • You didn’t twist his words at all . . . you just revealed the ugliness and cultural imperialism that lies behind his thoughts. I’m impressed that you have as much patience as you do in dealing with the likes of him.

  • I guess my only constructive advice is to step away from the exchange in question for a while, let the adrenalin levels drop and re-read it from a fresher, calmer perspective. That’s what I did with the two times on the web that I realized I’d done someone a major injustice.

    Of course, it helped that the two persons in question weren’t reflexive, snarky, manichean a-holes unable to put their assumed personas aside.

  • “LOL, I didn’t mean I was sick of being half Lebanese!”

    I know, but you left an opening and I couldn’t resist. Anyway, I’m pretty sure the Church is against us being Lebanese, or is that lesbians. 🙂

    Most people don’t even know where Lebanon is. Here’s a clue, it isn’t in western Virginia (and, no I don’t recognize West Virginia, that land is ours and we are going to get it back!)

    Iarfate, I have become confused by the direction of these posts. Are we being anti-white or anti-American or making the false assumption that those are the same thing? What happended to justice and Charity?

    I’ve tried acting white, it helps that I am a Caucasoid, but I tend more to the olive end of the white spectrum. It hasn’t worked out to well, I end up doing a bad Eddie Murphy impression. That is one of the most ridiculous things I have seen. How do you act white? Either you are white or you are not, either way, there is no white behavior, it is a physical characteristic.

    We’ve established that I am Semitic (which means I descend from Noah’s sons, which we all do, it is not exclusive to Jews anymore). Yet, I fly the stars and stripes and the stars and bars on national holidays. Most ignorant people (especially Yankees and liberals) would think that makes me a member of the KKK or a neo-Nazi. Of course we know how they feel about Catholics of any color so that is ridiculous. Does flying the flags of my chosen national heritage mean I am acting white? Or, does it mean that I am acting american (I did notice the use of the small a, please tell us how you really feel?)

    I see nothing wrong with acting American. It is our responsibility to embrace our chosen culture and national identity; rather, than expecting our new home to conform our old culture. Somehow anti-Americanism has been established to hint that white parishes are requiring people to be American first. That’s not true, we are required to be Catholic first. Of course it is reasonable to expect someone who makes permanent residence in our parish to accept our culture. What’s wrong with that? My experience is that there are more intolerant people outside of the uSA – most of them feel the way Iarfate feels about the uSA.

    Since when does being American force you to support ideas you disagree with? Our national standard is to allow the murder of the unborn, none of us on here accept or support that (at least not those with eyes on Heaven).

    The proper order should be Catholic-family-community/parish-state/commonwealth-Confederation.

    It seems some on here choose to be Left wing/heterodox catholic/anti-American. Someone needs to get their head screwed on right. I am not condemning; this is a charitable correction, for your own good and the peace of the discourse on this site.

    American Knight, former middle-Easterner, Proud Virginian-American and Catholic too!

  • Darwin: “I’m not Hispanic and I’m not Anglo, I’m both and neither. I see people who are primarily interested in stirring up conflict between races and ethnicities as doing something fundamentally anti-human and anti-life. (Indeed, I generally refuse to select a single race on principle when filling out forms, I think the idea of pinning everyone down to a specific race is corrosive.) And so I see your insistance that people go fit into pre-determined ethnic advocacy boxes which you’ve come up with through your reading as fundamentally wrong.”

    Bravo! Bravo! Thank you for that.

    Technically we are one race. We were one race in the Garden. Sons of Adam and then sin brought about genetic corruption, migration (because we were expelled) and division followed by Babelization. So one could argue that we are different races. Of course that misses the most important fact, we are all made new creatures in Christ Jesus. So we are actually a new race, sons of God in Christ through Mary. It seems we are one shiny, new race. We need to act like it.

    In any event, our divisions are usually cultural and/or ideological, they are seldom actually racial. That is a tool of the Devil to divide the soldiers of Christ. We needn’t help him in that effort.

  • “I [the white man] understand how minorities want to be and you [the mutt] don’t”

    My guess is Michael read this as, “I, the white man, understand how minorities want to be and you, the mutt, don’t,” making it an imputation of more or less explicit racism.

    I took the meaning to be “I* understand how minorities want to be and you** don’t.”
    *The white man in this exchange
    *The mutt in this exchange
    Making it an imputation of ironic tone-deafness.

  • You might have a point there, Tom. My intention was the second of the meanings you list.

  • Michael I.,

    It seems you are the only one obsessed with color. Why is it always the liberal that starts a race war? We’re all Catholic (I’ll give you that), so why is it important?

    Especially if in the same Latin Rite!

    Now to other nonsensical items…

    To be more accurate, I’m actually a Japhethite with a little Shemite, but does it really matter?

    I’m Catholic first, everything else second.

  • Michael Iafrate writes:
    “Gabriel: The point of liberation theology is not the insistence that “there is much to be done in the impoverished countries of the world,” but that there is much to be done in the so-called First World, i.e. conversion that is both individual and communal, and that is both spiritual and socio-political”.

    I did not ask what is its point [or purpose]; I asked what is it?

    What you describe seems to be the ordinary [difficult] work of the Church.

    The Holy Office does not condemn persons; it examines and question books and writings. When Fr. Curran asked who had referred him to the Holy Office, Cardinal Ratzinger replied: “Your books”.

  • Aquinas was Spanish? tell it not in Gath nor in Naples.

    As I am of half-Irish back ground, I can calmly look at all these discussions about ethnic background with a certain calm condescension. Hard as the wild geese tried, not everyone can be Irish. But it’s no one’s fault.

The Anchoress On Fire

Saturday, August 8, AD 2009

government

The Anchoress is on fire here about the ham-fisted efforts of the Obama administration to stifle dissent.  Eventually someone in Obama’s administration is going to have a “Yamamoto moment” and turn to him and say words to the effect of:    I fear all we have done is to rouse a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

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6 Responses to The Anchoress On Fire

  • The Anchoress is one of those bloggers that continues to be an inspiration to me. There is a duty for Christians to speak out and champion those individuals that are simply asking questions and voicing their opinions about systems that they think are inhuman and/or unfair. I think our President and Congressmen, in order to disguise their greed and lust for glorification of power, are attempting to befuddle us and chaos has resulted and will intensify. But we all share responsibility for the state of the world today. Why haven’t there been such intense town meetings and outrage over the sacrifice of our most defenseless? We angonize over the possibility of the executioner’s axe hanging over our heads, but where is our zeal about speaking out over the millions of children we have murdered? Those seniors who might face the death panel at least have had the chance to love and be loved. Is it not poetic justice that the very generation that sacrificed millions of children might ultimately be sacrificed themselves? Worship of the State will not save us, but perhaps we will be saved by the prayers and sacrifices of devoted souls. I think Christianity still has the capability of producing martyrs.

  • “Why haven’t there been such intense town meetings and outrage over the sacrifice of our most defenseless?”–Moe

    Why? Because pro-abort legislators are too cowardly to call a so-called town meeting to sell constituents on the “benefits” of their government-sponsored abortion programs, that’s why.

    Had Obama’s acolytes in the legislature suspected that their great munificent gift of government-approved “health insurance” would be opposed, the cowards wouldn’t have dared to open their meetings to the public.

  • death panel?
    please. you need better info than Sarah Palin.

  • Do you think I could get better info from Ezekial Emmanuel?

  • Just as society is undaunted by a physician performing a “surgical procedure” to terminate a pregnancy, likewise we will become inured by euthanasia. Murder of our most defenseless is merely a “surgical procedure,” and murder of our elderly and mentally handicapped will be described as a “socially sustainable and cost effective” act. A panel deciding care based on these criteria sounds quite benign and less likely to offend our sensitivities than “death panel”. I rather like Sarah Palin’s jargon better than Zeke’s.

Jesuitical 7: Jesuits and Polarization

Friday, June 19, AD 2009

Father Drew Christiansen, SJ-Current Editor in Chief of America

Part 7 of my continuing series commenting upon the follies of modern day Jesuits.  None of the following of course applies to Jesuits who are orthodox in their faith and are often among the harshest critics of the antics perpetrated by their brethren.  An editorial in America, the Jesuit magazine, expresses concern about the dangers of polarization in the Catholic Church in America.   Father Z, the Master of the Fisk, in one of his finest efforts, gives the editorial a fisking to remember here.

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16 Responses to Jesuitical 7: Jesuits and Polarization