Goerge Weigel: The Betrayal of Religious Freedom by Liberal Catholics

Monday, February 20, AD 2012

 

George Weigel has a post on National Review Online regarding the betrayal by some liberal Catholics of religious freedom in regard to the HHS Mandate:

Thus “liberal Catholics” who refuse to grasp the threats to religious freedom posed by the Obama administration on so many fronts — the HHS mandate, the EEOC’s recently rejected attempt to strip the “ministerial exemption” from employment law, the State Department’s dumbing-down of religious freedom to a mere “freedom of worship” — are betraying the best of their own heritage. And some are doing it in a particularly nasty way, trying to recruit the memory of John Courtney Murray as an ally in their attempts to cover for the Obama administration’s turning its de facto secularist bias into de jure policy, regulations, and mandates. More than 50 years ago, Murray warned of the dangers deracinated secularism posed to the American democratic experiment: a warning that seems quite prescient in the light of the Leviathan-like politics of this administration, aided and abetted by baptized secularists who insist that they are “liberal Catholics.” I daresay Murray, who did not suffer fools gladly, would not be amused by those who now try to use his work to shore up their own hollow arguments on behalf of the establishment of secularism.

The HHS-mandate battle is bringing to the surface of our public life many problems that were long hidden: the real and present danger to civil society of certain forms of Enlightenment thinking; the determination of the promoters of the sexual revolution to use state coercion to impose their agenda on society; the failure of the Catholic Church to educate the faithful in its own social doctrine; the reluctance of the U.S. bishops’ conference to forcefully apply that social doctrine — especially its principle of subsidiarity — during the Obamacare debate. To that list can now be added one more sad reality, long suspected but now unmistakably clear: the utter incoherence of 21st-century liberal Catholicism, revealed by its failure to defend its own intellectual patrimony: the truth of religious freedom as the first of human rights. That liberal Catholics have done so in order to play court chaplain to overweening and harshly secularist state power compounds that tragedy, with deep historical irony.

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5 Responses to Goerge Weigel: The Betrayal of Religious Freedom by Liberal Catholics

  • The response of liberal (small ‘c’) catholics, “We have no King but Caesar” (Jn 19:16).

  • Excellent Marc,

    I think they would declare, “We have no religion but socialism.”

    Judas hanged himself.

    Hanging is too good for them.

  • If you have the stomach, check out the commenters at HuffPo and Daily Kos on any subject pertaining to Catholicism (or Christianity as a whole, for that matter). The Catholic Left managed the feat of overlooking and ignoring the demented, raging hatred the secular Left has for all Western religions for many years, although doing so is akin to eating a popsicle while sitting next to a wasp’s nest and imaging that you will be left alone because you’re not poking the nest with a stick. Just being there is going to get you stung. I would commend them for being charitable (if naive), but I noticed quite a while ago that that leftist Catholics never display the same charity to conservative Catholics that they to toward Obama, Pelosi, Hugo Chavez and any other tyrant who uses the term “social justice.” Those 2 magic words absolve all sins, it seems.

  • Sadly, I recently talked to someone I knew in high school– their mom was the “Sunday school” teacher. (folks who’ve heard me complain about my education in the faith know she was…well intentioned, and that’s the biggest praise I can offer)

    Basically: they love the idea of forcing someone else to buy their free-sex supplies, and can’t see how there’s any issue with it. Anything that gets trampled in the rush wasn’t worth saving, anyways.

    There’s a reason I don’t socialize with my generation all that much, and haven’t since I was forced to share a room with them for hours a day.

  • The polestar of liberal American Catholicism is opposition to Humanae Vitae. Full stop.

    They’d sacrifice social justice on that altar in a heartbeat.

Shea, Voris and Amazing Grace

Monday, July 25, AD 2011

An interesting spat has developed between Catholic blogger Mark Shea of Catholic and Enjoying It and Michael Voris of RealCatholic TV.  In the above video Mr. Voris attacks the use of the Protestant hymn Amazing Grace at Mass.    Amazing Grace was composed by John Newton, an eighteenth century captain of a slaver, who converted to Christianity, was ordained in the Anglican Church and became an abolitionist.  The song is used frequently at Mass in my parish.

Mark Shea, who has never had any use for Mr. Voris as far as I can tell, attacked the video in a post at his blog:

Voris’ sole message is “I am the measure of Real Catholicism and those who agree with me have the right to call themselves Catholic, while those who disagree are liars and lukewarm fake Catholics”.

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131 Responses to Shea, Voris and Amazing Grace

  • Imus on Fox Business just played Billy Joe Shaver’s “If you don’t love Jesus go to hell.” Truth. How appropriate is that?

    Was Shea staring at his own reflection in the screen as he typed that?

  • Truthfully, I have no use for Shea. Now perhaps I don’t agree with everything Michael Voris says in his video. Still, 99% of what he puts out is right and correct. Shea’s self-glorification is however different and the less publicity given to him, the better.

  • Shea ought to commit himself to writing exclusively for publication. When his utterances are not redacted by Brian St. Paul, they can be just godawful.

  • As far as singing Amazing Grace at Mass is concerned, I might have some stylistic qualms with it, but it is certainly not heretical hymnity as Voris would lead us to believe. I think Voris is becoming way too invective prone for his own good.

    As far as Shea is concerned, I agree with Paul. I find Shea to be a calumnious windbag. Although I agree with Mark in this instance, he is lobbing grenades from a glass bunker in going after Voris.

  • This whole Amazing Grace thing started on Dave Armstrong’s blog. He didn’t like Voris’s take on AG either. I defended MV by saying if we are Catholic, we should be singing our own Catholic songs and hymns. Why bother with music from a tradition that is hostile to us? Armstrong labeled me a Pharisee and another commentator told me that we would be barren without those Prot songs and hymns! We have a 2000 year heritage of sacred music, and we would be barren without those Prot thingees? ROTFL!

  • I’ll stick with Voris. Never heard of Shea. Just As well.

  • Shea’s a pompous tool… of all people, to criticize someone because they put forth themselves as the measure of Catholicity. Physician, heal thyself.

    Look, I think it’s silly and stupid to have Prot hymns at Mass. But un-Catholic? Eh…. there are so many hymns in the Catholic arsenal that we can BOTH get rid of the modern pablum AND the Prot stuff. We do it at my parish, there are plenty of good hymnals to make it work.

  • Most Catholics today ARE protestantized. It began in the 50’s and was revved up by the liberal apostates at V2.
    An informed, orthodox Catholic–say Cardinal Burke–could sing A. G. and, knowing what it means, find nothing heterodox. The general run of the laity, who see little distinction between one denomination and another (“Hey, it’s all the same God”) understand AG as linking them with the general anglophone population who are nice people who support the place of worship of their choice.
    If Catholicism is not adherence to the one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic (Pope-run) it is not too much, just another church. This has been the theme of Voris: let’s be truly and wholely Catholic.
    Voris is trying to reverse the protestantizing trend and start a Catholicizing on.

  • Nothing like a catchy Gregorian chant to get toes tapping. I like Amazing Grace, especially when sung a capella by a great soprano. It’s like Auld Lang Syne, an oldie but goodie.

  • As for ‘dressing like a Protestant,’ would this include wearing Calvin Klein? 😆

  • I don’t track Voris or Shea, but I’ve heard the first part of Voris’s argument from others. “Wretch” means “unhappy or vile person”, from the Old English word for “outcast”. That sounds about right. The argument is that “wretch” indicates that man is rotten to the core, which is a Protestant view. And maybe the word had that meaning at one time. Heck, maybe it has that meaning *now*. I just don’t make that association.

    I’ve never heard the second argument before, and it sounds valid on first hearing. But the hymn doesn’t deny the existence of actual grace. It says that we recognize the value of grace in our first moment of belief, not that grace appears in our first moment of belief.

    Could a person hear the hymn and come away with a Protestant understanding of grace? Sure. A Catholic understanding of grace? Again, sure. Are there better hymns in the world? Yup, a bunch of them. But as Donald points out, in an average four-hymn mass, there are at least two hymns worse than this one.

  • I think the explanation that Voris may be suffering from overly Protestant hair would actually clear up a number of issues.

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  • Don’t like Voris — he annoys me. I do think he’s right about the song, although I like it. It’s a protestant song. And I too have sung “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” in church and found it hilarious. There’s another one we sometimes sing that talks about being “the elect.” I forget which one it is. But we are definitely NOT “the elect.”

    However, yesterday I had to endure a hit parade of awful contemporary songs, ending with the execrable “Anthem” (“Who is justice to the poor, Who is rage against the night, Who is blah blah blah blah blah blah, Who is light…” That is TEN THOUSAND TIMES WORSE than “Amazing Grace,” which one can at least choose to interpret in a Catholic way no matter what it actually means. There is no way to interpret crap like “Anthem” except as crap. “We are question, we are creed” — WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN????

  • I specifically requested “How Great Thou Art” for my uncle’s funeral Mass last year, not being the least deterred by its Protestant origins. There is no reason why Catholics and Protestants cannot share hymnody as long as they do not present theological problems. It is important to remember that Protestants are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are in communion with them even if that communion is imperfect.

    Amazing Grace is a fine hymn, even if it suffers a bit from over-use. The complaint regarding the word “wretch” has had currency in Catholic circles for well over 40 years, but I find it unconvincing. When one examines Newton’s life, his self-description is entirely apt.

  • I’d sing “How Great Thou Art” any day.

  • Funny, the referring to oneself as a wretch was what I considered the best part of the song. There’s humility, an admission of sinfulness, and acknowledgement of God’s mercy and grace in that line. Very Catholic, in my mind. The problem with it though is the “saved” – as in it’s a done deal. I know one can sing that line with a Catholic sensibility, but I have no idea how most Catholics think about it, if many even do at all (it is possibly just one of those rote things for many).

  • If Voris is complaining about the casual attire that people wear to church, I can’t fault him. I’d like to see people show more reference to the Blessed Sacrament in their manner and dress. Then again, Protestants used to dress up for church too. The problem isn’t the Protestantizing of American Catholicism; it’s the casualizing of American culture.

  • The hymn Amazing Grace is one of Christendom’s favorites. It’s been exported all over the world. It resonates because its message is simply Christian. It moves from the beginning (conversion) to the end (glory). It expresses a very basic experience shared by all Christians. Such a universal hymn is universally well loved.

  • I attend the 0730 Mass. Then, I don’t cringe through a protestant hootenanny.

    I prefer “Holy God We Praise Thy Name”” and just about any hymn in a 1956 Catholic Hymnal.

    AG is clownish on the pipes. That’s when I speculate what’s under them kilts?

    Yes. Many people come to Mass dressed like they’re going to the beach, and too many don’t know about genuflection or proper reverence for the Holy Eucharist.

  • AG is clownish on the pipes? How so? I think the pipes give it further dignity.

  • I agree, Pat. In some contexts it can be a bit cliche-ish, but cliches often develop for sound reasons. Years ago, when my daughter was a toddler, I decided that Pachabel’s Canon in D would be played at her wedding. Little did I know that since that time it would so dramatically increase in popularity that today it could fairly be described as a cliche. Still beautiful though. And hardly clownish either.

  • Donald:

    How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity. FWIW, I hold no brief insisting that any Catholic *must* sing AG. I merely draw the line at calling it “anti-catholic” and implying that any Catholic who sings it is a protestantized semi-Catholic as distinct from Michael Voris, STB, Real Catholic.

  • Mr. Shea,

    While I might be inclined to agree with you that there is nothing really offensive about Amazing Grace, you still act very arrogantly and appear to be very full of yourself. I recognize this so well because it is one of my own chiefest defects of character. It’s sort of like looking in a mirror. Remember: you are NOT the spokesman for what’s Catholic and what isn’t. I suppose Michael Voris isn’t, either. And I am certainly not. But the fact that you closed down comments on your little piece about Michael Voris indicates you can’t take the criticism. Perhaps I am wrong. Nevertheless, I hope this will be my last interaction with you because you are best when you ignored. PS, feel free to ignore me, too. 😉

  • “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.”

    Agreed Mark! Catholic blogdom is just one big happy family! 🙂

  • Donald: I love you man! 🙂

    Paul: “But the fact that you closed down comments on your little piece about Michael Voris indicates you can’t take the criticism. Perhaps I am wrong.”

    Yes. You are wrong. I closed down comments because, as I have said repeatedly on my blog, I’m super busy. I didn’t want to net.nanny the flood of hysterics coming in from pewsitter and elsewhere, so I closed comments. As a cursory glance at the out of control combox war which has broken out over at Creative Minority Report in the thread about me and Voris illustrates, the tongue is a flame. I decided to save myself the hassle while I’m trying to get other work done.

    Seriously, dude. My comboxes are full, every day, of criticism. I get it all the time. Most of the criticism is fairly rational. Corapi/Voris hysteria quickly becomes insane. When I’m busy, insane people are serious times sucks. Mystery solved. If you are going psychoanalyze my inmost motivations at least pay attention to obvious evidence that you are wrong. Thank you.

  • Oh! One other thing, Paul. You write: “Remember: you are NOT the spokesman for what’s Catholic and what isn’t. I suppose Michael Voris isn’t, either.”

    You know, I couldn’t agree more.

  • Shea certainly has been making a lot of noise lately via ad hominem attacks directed here and there…often against those who either cannot or won’t reply. What I don’t understand is how such a one of such a “brotherhood” gets paid for doing such.

    And ever notice how, in the comments afterwards, he has to react immediately against anyone who just might have a differing opinion! How dare they!

  • Rosie,

    Lest I be accused of an “ad hominem attack,” I am not saying this applies to any specific person. Just draw your own conclusions and apply the lesson therein as you see fit.

    If I act like a baboon, behaving as though I am God’s gift to the Catholic blogosphere while making a sanctimonious pretense at pious objectivity, the best thing you can do is to ignore me. Paying attention to arrogant buffonery gives it its power. Denying it publicity is truly the best that one can do.

    In the meantime, we should pay attention to people like Michael Voris. True, he makes mistakes on occasion. But by and large he is quite orthodox and that is exactly what irritates certain self-appointed so-called Catholic experts in the Catholic blogosphere so much. Being by nature heterodox, they get jealous, especially when the orthodox have a better media outlet than they do. I imagine that irritates them no end, and I couldn’t be happier. I believe the saying is “green with envy.” Hmmmm…..doesn’t the last Commandment say something about that?

  • PS, I do like how Michael Voris really doesn’t pay much attention to what people say about him. In fact, whatever defects of character he does possess, being envious of someone else’s reach into the Catholic media doesn’t appear to be one of them. And he doesn’t seem to have this constant need to quote himself. By all appearances, he is quite Catholic and does indeed enjoy it!

    😀

  • “Lest I be accused of an “ad hominem attack,” I am not saying this applies to any specific person.”

    Profile in courage.

  • I tend to get the cringes when i hear ‘Amazing Grace’ sung during Mass. I guess its because I remember the song coming out as a hit record back in the late 60’s by Judy Collins, and followed up not too long after by Joan Baez. I loved their renditions of the song and the religious tone of the lyrics, but to me, it was a secular ‘hymn’ – not some sacred music. I also loved the bag-pipe instrumental – stirred that part of my blood which retains a strong but distant Celtic Highlander strain.

    To me, its not sacred or holy (old English for ‘set apart’) music, even though the lyrics have been slightly modified from its originally ‘folksy’ format. i recall many years ago at Mass one Sunday, when no organ was available at the church at Mt.Maunganui, one of the choir members started singing ‘Amazing Grace’ for the communion hymn. The priest at the altar interupted him and asked him not to sing it. Undaunted, he again commenced with the opening lyrics, and the priest again interupted him and told him not to sing that song, as it was not a proper or appropriate hymn to welcome Christ in Communion. I agreed with the priest, despite the offended looks on the faces of the ‘touchy-feely’ bunch – mainly women. 😉

    With regard to Michael Voris, I like the guy and get his daily e-mail and
    video clips. IMO he is a bit extremely orthodox, but that is certainly needed today in the battle we have to combat secular humanism and atheism, and the errors in the Church – that is why he is critical of the bishops, our leaders. I do recall many saints in the Church being extreme at times – St.Francis of Assisi comes to mind.

    And if anyone doesn’t like Mark Shea’s pugnacious boisterous style, don’t visit his blog. I quite like him, actually, but nowadays only a lurker rather than a commenter – that may change. Everyone doesn’t have to agree with everyone, as long as the Truth of the teaching of the Church is not being meddled with.

  • “And if anyone doesn’t like Mark Shea’s pugnacious boisterous style, don’t visit his blog.”

    I visited only once or twice. That was sufficient to see my worst defects of character in simultaneous action: arrogance, pride, ego, envy of others, intolerance of orthodoxy in others, etc.

    PS, if it were pugnacious style that was offensive, then I would never have listened to either Fr. Corapi or Michael Voris, both of whom Mr. Shea derides with impunity. I rather like pugnacious orthodoxy. Apparently Mr. Shea does not.

    I shall now go back to ignoring him. He merits not the publicity of even talking about him. 😉

  • As an objective observer with no dog in this fight, can’t help but wonder why Catholics are bashing Catholics over such a trivial matter whether a hymn composed in 1779 is suitable in church. Aren’t there bigger fish to fry? The last thing Catholics need right now is more disunity — especially over mundane matters. Where is the brotherhood that you so famously claim to have?

  • I really liked Mark’s book By What Authority? and because of that I started following his blog. The one time I posted something wasn’t in agreement with his view on the matter and was quickly slashed with his razor sharp pen. I have a feeling that if I were to ever meet him I wouldn’t like him. Or rather, he wouldn’t like me. He’d probably call me an oaf or something like that.

    I started listening to The One True Faith podcast some years ago and really liked Voris’ direct approach. That got me to look at The Vortex. I commented on one video and was dealt the same pen sword that Mr. Shea likes to use. If I ever met Voris he’d probably call me a lemming or something worse.

    Big EGOs at play here.

  • Joe,

    Remember the story wherein the mother of James and John (the Sons of Thunder) asked Jesus that they might sit one at His right hand and the other at His left when He would come into His Kingdom? The Scripture tells us that afterwards the other ten disciples were indignant over this. Truly not much has changed in 2000 years, and I speak as a guilty party. Yes, I need to go to Confession – again.

  • For the life of me I do not see how Judy Collins or Joan Baez covering “Amazing Grace” renders the song secular. Its lyrics are plainly Christian and stirring, as the song’s history makes abundantly clear. Why a Catholic pastor would be offended by the song is beyond my comprehension, but disobeying his instructions during Mass is inexcusable.

  • While I understand that some people may not like Shea’s style, as far as I can tell, the man has never said a single heterodox thing since becoming Catholic. Claiming that he does not like Voris and Corapi because they are orthodox is silly, and it ignore the point he is trying to make (a point that I actually quite agree with), which is probably why he gets so frustrated by the responses he gets — they miss the point. So, for the record, does discussion about whether Amazing Grace is a Catholic hymn or whose side you take.

    She’s point is that Voris’ attempts at being Catholic are primarily focused on cutting down and attacking, as if orthodoxy were primarily a sword and not primarily something beautiful and life giving. Sure, orthodoxy has to defend itself from heresy or fake orthodoxy. But its main job is to help us have life and have it abundantly. And when the self-appointed guardians of Catholicism — and the ones who tend to make headlines — focus primarily on destroying this or that evil thing (especially when the thing is only questionable) they make converting the culture that much harder by presenting an entirely unattractive and mostly false picture of what orthodoxy looks like.

    Shea is sensitive to this fact. So are all of us with friends who don’t understand why one would want to be Catholic but are open. People like Voris make the task of talking to those friends that much harder. And that is a far worse thing than singing Amazing Grace.

  • We know that arguments on the internet tend to (a) get personal, and (b) escalate. If we can do so, let’s keep the conversation about hymn-good versus hymn-bad, rather than Voris versus Shea. We’re Catholics; we’re supposed to be charitable.

  • I apologize. “AG is clownish on the pipes? How so?”

    I think the pipes once were called “war pipes.” I prefer the pipes for “tunes of glory,” for funerals to tunes of adoration, and for the Sword Dance. The pipes were meant to get the blood up when war was “up close and personal”: cleaving assunder the other clan’s gallowglass with a claymoor or battleaxe. “Clownish” probably is the wrong word.

    Does AG express a confidence (arrogance is opposite of humility) of salvation (justification by conversion/Faith?) which may not comport with Catholic teaching: Hope for Salvation, the forgiveness (repentence, confession, penance, amendment of life) of sins, etc.?

  • I agree, Pinky. For whatever reasons, argumentation over the blogosphere tends to become much more sharp-elbowed much more quickly than argumentation over a Guinness. When participating, I try always to have a Guinness either in my hand or on my mind.

  • I disagree, T, on both counts.

    Hymns are types of prayers, of which their are 5 types: adoration, contrition, love, petition, and thanksgiving. AG falls into the last category — no need for it to touch the other bases as well.

    The use of the pipes for reflective prayer is effective precisely because they are powerful and associated with getting the blood up. It is the reason why the hard rock group Nazareth’s most popular song was the ballad “Love Hurt,” and why Steppenwolf’s subdued “Another’s Lifetime” was the most moving version of that song ever recorded. There is something very powerful in restraint.

  • Opinons are like noses. Everybody has one.

  • A competent musician, and certainly any composer, will offer that music itself conveys a message, one that altogether bypasses the analytical filtering faculties of the listener: “Music is language without words.” Hence it requires a scrutiny perhaops more careful than the lyrics, which we presumably scrutinize as a matter of course. With few exceptions, Protestant music exhibits a characteristic style or range of styles, styles which appear in not a few post Vatican II ‘Catholic’ hymns. The style is marked by a relatively heightened celebration of sentiment (‘enthusiasm’ in Fr. Knox’s sense), which, given the non-sacramental nature of the ordinary Protestant life of faith, stands to reason. Our religious experience must be as sensory as it is spiritual because we are physical creatures no less than souls, and where physical instruments of grace are rejected, an emotional experience of worship must compensate. Given that the musical message is assimilated along with the lyrics, and Amazing Grace is the product of a radically Protestant sensibility, its view is obviously averted from the sacramental life of Catholicism. We are obliged to ask as well, does the message of Protestant music comport with Catholic faith?

  • The problem with Shea’s blogging is not so much his “style”. It is the fact that he often engages in calumnious swipes at those he disagrees with particualrly in matters of politics and national security issues as well as capital punishment. On the latter he accused Tom McKenna of wanting “death, death, and more death” simply because McKenna supported the execution of Saddam Hussein. He has also portrayed Mr. McKenna’s support in general for capital punishment, a position that is perfectly legitimate from a Catholic moral perspective coupled with the fact that Mr. McKenna has specific expertise on this subject as a prosecutor with experieince with capital cases in like fashion. You can also read Shea’s despicable attacks on good Catholics like Marc Thiessien for daring to make the case for the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques employed by the Bush Administration to glean intelligence from high level terrorists when other means failed. These are only two examples, but there are scores more.

    Even worse, MArk has been given a pass on this by the entire Catholic apologetics and writers establishment including outlets like Catholic Exchange, Catholic Answers, and Crisis Magazine. This is a problem that makes whatever failings Voris has look like small potatoes in comparison.

  • Since the Church teaches us that we can only be saved through God’s grace, I simply cannot see any real theological issue with AG.

    And while I find J Pelham’s comments regarding the music itself interesting, I find them far too speculative and subjective to be instructive in assessing AG.

    On the other hand if I were to speculate, I’d say Voris’s assessment of AG is largely a function of his rather notoriously disproportionate animus toward Protestants and Protestantism. If the very same hymn had been written by Newman rather than Newton, Voris and others would have no issues.

  • J. Pelham – I understand the argument, but I don’t think it reflects the history of our hymns, in which Protestant and Catholic tunes and lyrics are mixed. I’ve noticed that a lot of the great hymns from my youth were written by Charles Wesley, for example. There was also an Anglican hymnist, William Chatterton Dix, who wrote “Alleluia, Sing To Jesus” and “What Child Is This”. I mean, “here on earth both Priest and Victim / in the Eucharistic feast”? Are you going to find anything more Catholic than that? We’d also have to give up Bach for not being Catholic.

  • Greg,

    I can’t disagree more; Shea isn’t engaging in calumny when he goes after Marc Thiessen. He is doing exactly what pro-lifers argue our apologists should be doing more of: pointing out the hard truth that one cannot favor certain policies and be a Catholic in good standing. And it was frustrating to see supposedly orthodox catholics bend over backwards to be orthodox Republicans first, trying to twist their Catholicism to justify whatever policies Bush could come up with next. I think what you are calling calumny was merely Shea’s frustrations boiling over.

    As for the death penalty stuff, I don’t recall what you are talking about so I’ll take your word for it. But Thiessen was doing exactly what pro-choice politicians do all the time and he deserved to be called out for it. And pewsitting Catholics deserved to know that one cannot advocate with Thiessen was advocating and remain a Catholic in good standing.

  • There is no comparison between the death penalty and abortion. Romans 13:1-7 gives the State the power of the sword to execute justice. It is ludicrous to make capital punishment and abortion morally equivalent. Quantitatively, there is no comparison between 60 million murdered innocent babies and a few thousand hardened criminals who received what a jury of their peers determined that they deserve. Qualitatively, there is a world of difference between a murderer or rapist being sent to God for final judgment, and an innocent baby being mortally evacuated from his mother’s womb by the most tortuous methods possible. At least the criminal is treated more humanely.

    No I did NOT say I support the death penalty. I prefer (as my father did) solitary confinement for capital offenders with perpetual Bible reading and hymn singing (even Amazing Grace) under a continuously illuminated 100 watt light bulb with no respite. Let the criminal have his bed and blankets, and feed him, and give him a clean toilet with toilet paper. But keep him forever in solitary till God calls him to stand before the Throne of Justice. Of course, all the bleeding heart liberals will hate that just as much as capital punishment. Too bad. Regardless that that is ever unlikely to be done, it’s what I support in lieu of simply sending the criminal to where he belongs.

  • Hymnody doesn’t always represent theology. Poetry can’t be fully faithful to one’s set of views or philosophic points. I find Amazing Grace to be an extraordinary hymn. Sometimes a poem or lyrics manage to capture something. I think that’s what Newton did.

  • I think, too, there comes a time in one’s life when one can say, justifiably, that they possess salvation. Amazing Grace, if it offers that level of confidence at all, is better for it.

  • “I think, too, there comes a time in one’s life when one can say, justifiably, that they possess salvation.”

    That is the sin of presumption. Not as deadly as the sin of despair but a sin nonetheless.

    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3021.htm

  • I think it CAN be presumptuous if one really isn’t saved. But if one IS and has been so, to acknowledge the obvious signs and reach the correct conclusion is merely a reflex.

  • It’s not presumptuous to say that I have been saved from dying with a heroin needle in my veins (hopefully my detractor won’t yell at me for violating my anonymity again). That’s a reality for which I am grateful. And it’s not presumptuous to say that every day when I ask God for help, I am being saved. As for whether or not I will be saved, I’ll simply be happy to make it as far as Purgatory (because everyone who gets to Purgatory ends up in Heaven).

  • I believe one can reach a point, and will reach a point, where they know they are a child of God. John the epistle writer wrote that his readers may know that their sins were forgiven and that they passed from darkness to light.

  • Isn’t “once saved, always saved” a Calvinist doctrine? I thought Catholicism teaches otherwise.

  • If Pat’s point isn’t correct, then I may as well go back to using heroin and cocaine, and frequenting prostitutes, and stealing and lying as I used to.

  • No, it’s not a Calvinist doctrine, although it’s shared by Calvinists. It’s simply the way it goes. If God calls you home, then a point will arrive where that’s evident to you.

  • No one is saved until after death and safely in Heaven or Purgatory. Even the greatest would be Saint can fall prior to death, and even the greatest sinner can taste God’s mercy prior to death. The proud Pharisee and the poor sinner at the Temple is a telling parable about the dangers of presumption.

  • But I think poor man Divies really did look forward to the promised land. The Pharisee was the one kidding himself.

  • Even the greatest would be Saint can fall prior to death, and even the greatest sinner can taste God’s mercy prior to death

    How so, Don?

  • What you are stating pat has never been Catholic doctrine. It is the false doctrine of Eternal Assurance, or Eternal Security, and has never been taught by the Church.

    http://www.catholicbasictraining.com/apologetics/coursetexts/1s.htm

  • John, the epistle writer, told his readers that he wrote in order that they may know who they were, what they experienced, and what that meant. It’s implications, both temporal and eternal.

  • “Even the greatest would be Saint can fall prior to death, and even the greatest sinner can taste God’s mercy prior to death

    How so, Don?”

    Very easily indeed Joe. The great sinner on his death bed humbly turns to God and asks for forgiveness of his sins, in bitter regret for a mispent life. The lost lamb that is found is ever pleasing to God.

    The great Saint commits a great sin and does not repent of it before he is called before God for the Particular Judgement. The use by Our Lord of analogies of the first being last and the last being first indicates that this may happen more frequently that we humans reckon. On this Earth, no one is ever so high that he cannot fall, and no one is ever so low that he cannot rise.

  • Don, so save the best for the last, right?

  • There is an interesting article at Catholic Answers about assurance of salvation:

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Assurance_of_Salvation.asp

  • DOnald, I think the writers of the New Testament bear this out: patterns exist in the lives of those called home to God. Christians should indicate that God’s Holy Spirit is at work in them through holy living. Progressive sanctification is the direction I believe it takes. Deathbed conversions occur. Those people know they are saved and die peacefully.

  • How can one have peace with God? They know their sins are forgiven. Christ died for them. He rose again and they will be resurrected in Him. This is reconciliation through the cross.

  • I think pat that anyone who presumes to know his eternal destination in this life is a fool, and such has always been the teaching of the Church.

    From the Council of Trent:

    “CANON XVI.-If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end,-unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema.”

    Unless one is promised paradise, as the kids were at Fatima for example, by a special revelation, assuming that one is saved is sinful nonsense. It isn’t as sinful as assuming that one is damned, but it has always been rightly condemned by the Church.

  • “Don, so save the best for the last, right?”

    Rather Joe we should all live as if today will be our last day, because for some of us, present company excepted I trust, it will be.

  • Which is why, Don, I suppose, that there will be people in heaven whom we thought we’d never see. Who knows? Maybe Hitler made a deathbed confession?

  • I disagree. I’m aware of numerous N.T. passages that deal with knowing one is a child of God. Like most else, it remains a matter of faith. But it is a faith that says I’m saved forevermore.

  • Kind of makes a mockery of Pascal’s Wager, doesn’t it, Don?

  • “How can one have peace with God? They know their sins are forgiven. Christ died for them. He rose again and they will be resurrected in Him. This is reconciliation through the cross.”

    Christ died for all pat, including the souls burning eternally in Hell. Our lives determine our eternal destination as Christ stated time and again in the Gospels.

  • I think we live by faith in the Son of Man and what he did. He died for the whole world. Whosoever will may come forth to take the free gift of life that inevitably bears fruit.

  • “Maybe Hitler made a deathbed confession?”

    Considering his last will and testament which endorsed his appalling crimes, the accounts of witnesses to his last hours, and the fact that he put a bullet through his brain, I think the chances of last minute repentance by the Austrian Corporal were minimal. However, not being God I will not presume to guess what happened in the very last instances of Hitler’s life.

  • If one doesn’t know what road he’s on (e.g., the one to heaven), then perhaps one ought to rethink where one is headed. I am NOT saying we should presume that we will stay on the road to end up in Heaven. But we should know what road we are on by doing an examination of conscience and going to Confession. Additionally, we can and should take comfort in knowing Jesus loves us and is a merciful and just Judge. Lastly (at least in my case) we can be grateful that we are saved from a life of self-destruction. Again, I don’t say we should presume we make it to Heaven, but if we can’t look forward to that as our goal, then what’s the point?

  • 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

  • “Again, I don’t say we should presume we make it to Heaven, but if we can’t look forward to that as our goal, then what’s the point?”

    Oh look forward to it all you want Paul, just don’t presume that you’ll get there until you get there.

  • I don’t believe God plays games with us. If he calls us home, then at some point we will find ourselves on the path that leads there. It’s not presumptious to recognize what street I’m on when driving to my physical home, is it?

  • And if I’m called to my spiritual home, I should be aware that I’m heading there. Otherwise I’m going in no particular direction at all, or perhaps zigzagging.

  • I don’t so presume, Donald, because I know what I deserve, and I am well aware I am but one drink or drug away from screwing up royally.

    BTW, I would suspect you, too, are on the road to Heaven. But like any imperfect human being, you too could screw up and not make it there.

    Someone somewhere in the Catholic blogosphere wrote a little essay explaining from Scripture why salvation is a process, i.e., “I have been saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved.” The point wasn’t the doctrine of blessed assurance that the Protestants profess, but the idea that salvation is a journey.

  • Salvation is a destination, rather. We are saved from something. We are saved to something. We find salvation in Christ. Christ died for the salvation of the world. ‘Whosoever will’ represents all those who do come. But I think God initiates this. We also knwo that “He who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion.”

  • I read in Romans:

    If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[e] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  • Yes, I think it really comes down to faith in what God has done. Do we really believe it? THen we are included, and we will bear the inevitable fruit.

  • A few random thoughts of my own:

    All other things being equal, a meal served on fine china with cloth napkins and real silverware will be more pleasing and indicate a higher degree of respect for the guest than if the same meal were served with plastic or paper plates, plastic utensils, and paper napkins. However, if one is starving or really, really hungry and only gets one decent meal per week, one is probably not going to complain too loudly about being served on plastic vs. china as long as the meal is edible.

    To me, a Mass done with perfect reverence and with strictly “Catholic” hymns and chant would be like the meal served on china; a Mass done with a four-hymn sandwich that included “Amazing Grace” would be served on plastic; a Mass done with “Ashes” or “City of God” would be served on used paper plates. Yes, it would be much more pleasing served on the elegant china, but as long as it’s a valid Mass and Eucharist and I don’t hear or see anything grossly heretical or liturgically forbidden — if the “food” is not contaminated or spoiled beyond palatability — I’m not going to complain.

    I really don’t see where being excessively picky about liturgical correctness if you are not one of the persons responsible for the conduct of the liturgy (i.e. the priest or the parish music director) is any sign of superior intellect or virtue.

    As far as the doctrine of “eternal security,” obviously no one can be 100 percent certain they will be saved or 100 percent certain that they will be lost. However, there is a lot of range in between into which most of us fall.

    “Living saints” like Mother Teresa might have a 99 percent chance of being saved whereas a hardened criminal or serial killer may only have a 1 percent chance of being saved. Neither is absolutely 100 percent, but the probability can be pretty strong one way or the other.

    Assuming that most of us on this blog are practicing Catholics who are conscientiously attempting to avoid mortal sin, grow in holiness and conform to the mind of the Church — or in the case of Joe, someone open to the truth and sincerely striving to find it — I’d say we have about a 60 to 80 percent chance of being saved. However, that is not absolute certainty, any more than a weather forecast of a 70 percent chance of rain guarantees that you personally will get wet. Hence we neither presume nor despair of our salvation.

  • I probably should clarify that my reference to Mother Teresa as a living saint refers to the way she was perceived during her lifetime, of course, and not to the present, since she is now a Blessed on her way to sainthood (100 percent chance of salvation).

  • I think the tenor of scripture has been that those whom God calls respond and do so with their lives, bearing out that pattern. John, the epistle writer, wrote that we may know our sins are forgiven and that we are children of the light, that we walk in light and are part of the kingdom of light. There is almost a dichotomy, and perhaps there is, in his first epistle.

  • In other words, one is either on one side or the other, and if one is ‘in the light,’ one should realize it at some point.

  • ““Living saints” like Mother Teresa might have a 99 percent chance of being saved whereas a hardened criminal or serial killer may only have a 1 percent chance of being saved. Neither is absolutely 100 percent, but the probability can be pretty strong one way or the other.”

    True Elaine and throughout most of her adult life Mother Teresa endured a long dark night of the soul where she felt no sign of God. If her confessor had asked her about whether she thought that she was saved I doubt if he would have elicited a positive response. Yet another aspect to me of the greatness of Mother Teresa in that she persisted in her wonderful service of God when she did not feel His presence at all.

  • “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

  • Yes, to perist in the Christian life apart from those feelings is difficult. But the conviction that one is a Christian, a saint, and bound for heaven can actually remain amidst that darkness and silence. It is only important that the life continues to be characterized by holiness.

  • “It’s not presumptious to recognize what street I’m on when driving to my physical home, is it?”

    It certainly is if you have no idea when the trip will end and whether you will persist in the journey until you arrive home.

  • Quoting Elaine: ‘As far as the doctrine of “eternal security,” obviously no one can be 100 percent certain they will be saved or 100 percent certain that they will be lost. However, there is a lot of range in between into which most of us fall.’

    Not exactly the certainty I was looking for, Elaine, which I remain a doubter. As a sometimes gambler, the odds don’t look good for me. I’m probably in the low single-digits, percentage-wise. Now if I could get up to 70 to 80 percent I’d feel pretty good. So it comes down to a numbers game, I guess.

    All my life I have been seeking just one certainty. Who was it who said, “Tell me of your certainties. I have doubts enough of my own.” Which is why I am stuck in that worst of all places — agnosticism.

  • “But the conviction that one is a Christian, a saint, and bound for heaven can actually remain amidst that darkness and silence.”

    I can think of few things more spiritually poisonous pat than presuming that one is a saint on earth. For me, I hope I will meet my maker as I am, a poor miserable sinner praying for a mercy that I do not deserve.

  • “Yet another aspect to me of the greatness of Mother Teresa in that she persisted in her wonderful service of God when she did not feel His presence at all.”

    My father, a Pentecostal (Assemblies of God), used to paraphrase a certain verse of Scripture to state, “We do not live by feelings alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

    BTW, my Dad died at 72 years of age where he wanted to die: in church on a Sunday night worship service. The place wasn’t exactly Catholic, but God granted him his wish and if he doesn’t make it / hasn’t made it to Heaven (and none of us know for certain), then my chances are quite minimal.

  • Donald, I don’t find it presumptuous to say where I’m going when I die if I’ve believed and confessed, and if this has been borne out over a long period of time (in a progressive way). I just consider that ‘naming’ the experience. Salvation in Christ. Faith in his work. A life that bears fruit as a result of the Spirit’s work. Forensic justification and future justification on the basis of all that God accomplishes throughout that timespan when judgement comes.

  • God judges us pat, not us. The human capacity for delusion is limitless when it comes to judging oneself, which is why the Church condemns both presumption and despair as sins.

  • I think God reveals himself to his people. I think those people can know what He decides to reveal to them. I believe the tenor of the Bible bears this out: Noah, Abraham, the Prophets, the early Disciples, Paul, believers generally who are called by Him.

  • God encounter us. He initiates a response. There’s a dialogue. If it’s real, we ought to know it’s occurring. Don’t you agree?

  • Presumably Judas thought he had an inside track on salvation when he was chosen by Christ as an Apostle. Martin Luther and John Calvin thought they were assured of their salvation. We are often the very worst judges of our own spiritual state. In any case we do not do the judging, but pray for God’s mercy. Lucifer fell because of his pride, and the Church has always regarded such spiritual pride as a very deadly sin.

  • I think you’re confusing different things. If a person has confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and Messiah, and believe that in their heart, they are saved. They can go forth confidently knowing God loves and forgives them, and that they are his children.

  • “If a person has confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and Messiah, and believe that in their heart, they are saved. They can go forth confidently knowing God loves and forgives them, and that they are his children.”

    And throughout that person’s life they can still fall into mortal sin that can send them to Hell. That is precisely why we say in the Hail Mary:

    “Holy Mary, Mother of God,
    pray for us sinners,
    now and at the hour of our death.
    Amen.”

    In the Our Father Christ has us pray:

    “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

    Until we are dead we all feel the lure and temptation of sin, and it is possible for any of us to fall, no matter how cock sure we are of our salvation.

  • Well Donald, if we have salvation through Christ, then it is precisely the mercy of God that has met us. It intersects at the point of our deepest sin, all of which is atoned for. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, has been sent, given to empower and enable, through Christ, to accomplish the will of the Father. The Christian, then, is one who has been called by God, saved in Christ, and is led by the Spirit. To accept this knowledge is not presumptious. It is merely to acknowledge what God has already revealed in the Scripture and in our own life.

  • So I think the following is a good quesion to ask: Do our lives accord with the Scripture?

  • “Well Donald, if we have salvation through Christ, then it is precisely the mercy of God that has met us.”

    God’s mercy is always available to repentant sinners pat. Until death, anyone can die a repentant sinner, and, conversely, until death anyone can die an unrepentant sinner.

  • In this dialogue on salvation, the one word that is missing, is HOPE .
    We cannot say we are saved because we are living according to Christ’s teaching – that is not our call. What we can say is that by following Christ’s teaching, we live in Hope of salvation.
    Hope is, after all, one of the three Theological Virtues – Faith, Hope and Charity.

  • Well said as usual Don! Christ is our Hope.

  • Exactly, Don.

    Pat, there have been some saints who have spoken with confidence about their afterlifes. There have been others who professed no confidence. A good number struggled on their deathbeds. Joan of Arc was asked if she was in a state of grace. She answered, “If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.” Paul, who late in life said that he’d fought the good fight and would possess the crown of righteousness, also warned us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    We are repeatedly warned against both despair of salvation and certainty of salvation. We are told to hope in salvation.

  • Chris:

    Mark Shea’s attacks on Marc Thiessen most definitely ARE calumnious. There is nothing in the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques employed by th Bush Administration that are inconsistent with Catholic morality. If they were then Catholic teaching is inconsistent with itself. Think about it, the Church teaches that it is morally licit to put a criminal to death to protect the common good (i.e. the death penalty), but not impose discomfort to a terrorist to get him to cooperate so he will divulge intelligence that save innocent lives is a clear contradiction. This is what people like Mark Shea are positing as Catholic teaching and equating anyone who disagrees with such idiotic reasoning with pro-aborts as he does Marc Thiessen here:

    http://markshea.blogspot.com/2010/05/cathleen-kaveny-and-marc-thiessen.html

    As far as his dispicable attack on Tom McKenna, you can read that here:

    http://markshea.blogspot.com/2006/11/tom-mckenna-is-predictably-angry-with.html

    And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Any intelligent Catholic who does not regard Mark Shea’s conduct as the scandal that it is shows they have absolutely no respect for the integrity and credibility of Catholic apologetics and evangelization. This is especially true about the apologetics and writers establishemnt who make their living off of that very thing.

    American Catholic’s own Chris Blosser has a good piece on Shea’s behavior here:

    http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/blog/2007/06/rewarding-bad-behavior.html

  • We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. And we are told to make our calling and election sure. Sure, here, means certainity in the realm of faith, as far as that goes.

  • Greg,
    I am no fan of Mark’s style, but I think you are on very weak ground as to the morality of torture, and yes while the definitional boundaries of torture might lack perfect clarity, the notion that waterboarding is not within those boundaries is simply not reasonable. The comparison to the death penalty is inapt for all manner of reasons, and a fair-minded analysis of Church teaching leaves little room for doubt. I say this even as one who admits a discomfort with (i.e., lack of complete understanding of) Church teachng in extreme cases, such as the proverbial ticking time bomb scenario. The waterboarding of prisoners is not humane, and the Catechism plainly and expressly demands humane treatment.
    All that said, our Church’s teaching in this respect is not especially intuitive despite being grounded, presumably, in natural law. In this respect it is more like the death penalty than abortion, not because the death penalty can be admitted in exceptional cases, but because the case against it as an ordinary matter is not intuitive to most people despite its natural law origins.
    In the end, you are simply mistaken in saying that waterboarding prisoners is not against Catholic teaching. Notwithstanding my discomfort with Catholic teaching in this respect, the teaching is clear to anyone who approaches it fairly and objectively.
    All that said, I do think that given Catholic teaching’s somewhat counter-intuitive nature in this respect, exceptional charity is called for when judging those who refuse to assent to such teaching by basically stubbornly distorting it.

  • And I should have added that I do think that Mark has occasionally failed to display such charity in my view, though in some of these cases his intemperate assertions were themselves responses to intemperate assertions.

  • Shea is clearly in the wrong, and Voris’s orthodoxy offends him.

    If you’ve been banished from Shea’s comboxes, join the support group at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/bannedbymarkshea

  • Why create a Facebook web page on a pompous donkey full of himself and what he thinks? It is always best to ignore such people and continue to give credence and publicity to any and all whom they think they can deride with impunity. Michael Voris makes mistakes sometimes, and it is his very orthodoxy which the envious hate. Ain’t nothing orthodox about him who edifies himself as God’s gift to the Catholic blogosphere.

  • I think there are lots of folks who are not aware of Shea’s methods. It’s not just his blustering and foaming at the mouth whenever a “Rad Trad” shows up….It’s the way he censors his comboxes so as to hide the weakness in his arguments. He doesn’t just kick out the obscene and the blasphemous; he ruthlessly puts down well-informed and well-documented objections to his drivel.

    And, satire is inherently fun: https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B3sg9KJVweh1ZWZlNDIxYmMtMWYxMy00ODM4LTgzNTQtZTk3YTQ1Yjk1MGQw&sort=name&layout=list&num=50

  • All this convinces me more than ever that the real patron saint of the Catholic blogosphere ought to be St. Jerome, who was known for being irascible.

    St. Paul could get kind of snarky when he wanted to as well. In Galatians he ends an extended rant about the “Judaizers” who insisted that Gentile converts to Christ had to first become Jews (which included, for male converts, circumcision) by saying “Would that those who are troubling you would mutilate themselves,” or in my favorite version — think this is from the Living Bible or one of those more “modern” translations — “Tell those who are troubling you (about circumcision) that I’d like to see the knife slip !”

    If the Church survived those two it can probably survive a few combox flame wars, even though flame wars are not my style at all and I actually prefer Shea to Voris (since Shea does at least have a sense of humor).

  • I think Amazing Grace was found troubling because it communicated a level of certainty: it assumes that the Christian person has passed from death to life, that they are a new creature. I frankly embrace that. After all, St. Paul tells us that that’s what it means to be in Christ.

    The writers of the epistles addressed their audiences as people redeemed in Christ. True, some of them had yet to make their calling and election sure. Others were warned or said to be in need of discipline. Still others were considered outsiders. But the writers assumed that the bulk of them were already in Christ and bound for glory. The writers possessed confidence that many or most of those addressed believed, bore fruit, and in doing so, had revealed that heaven was their destination. Confidence and assurance of salvation was sought, encouraged, and acknowledged in numerous ways throughout the epistles.

  • Pat – A theme on this thread is the proper way to argue and/or challenge someone who’s presenting theological error. With that in mind let me say that as far as I know, the teachings of the Catholic Church have consistently spoken against the kind of certainty you suggest. I don’t know if you’re Catholic or if Catholic doctrine carries any weight with you, but you should look into this issue more seriously than we’re likely to get on a comment thread.

  • Pinky, it seems the hymn found disagreement with someone because of its message. What I suggest is that the Scripture witnesses to the theme of grace and that one could reach assurance of their salvation. This has been my experience too. Your thoughts?

  • Mike:

    To say that waterboarding, which cause no permanent injury, is not within the boundaries of Catholic morality because it is inhumane, but capital punishment is, would mean Church teaching contradicts itself. In the case of waterboarding terrorists who we know have actionable intelligence upon whom innocent lives depend and refuse to divulge it. In both cases, legitimate means are being employed to protect innocent people from an unjust aggressor.

    By the way, the Church DOES NOT I repeat DOES NOT teach that torture is intrinsically evil. No, Veritatis Splendor #80 doesn’t teach that either. If you read it closely, along with torture it lists deportation, unsuitable living conditions, etc. You mean to tell me that deportation is wrong under any circumstances? That’s what intrinsically evil means. You cannot define something as intrinsically evil if you have no clear definition of what that something is. Furthermore, if the Church now teaches that torture is intrinsically evil it would contradict her own past since she had no problem with it in past ages.

    Even Mark Shea unwittingly admits that waterboarding is not intrinsically evil when he says that it is morally acceptable for our military to use it to train troops. If it is intrinsically evil that means it cannot be employed under any circumstances, including the training of troops.

  • Greg,

    You are wrong from beginning to end. AMAZING

    Church teaching does not contradict itself.
    Yes, Veritatis Splendor teaches that torture is intrisically evil:

    “Whatever is hostile to life itself, … whatever violates the integrity of the human person, … whatever is offensive to human dignity: … all these and the like are a disgrace.”

    Yes, Veritiatis Splendor teaches that deportation is intrinsically evil. (It not the same as exradition, which Paul VI himself spoke well of.)

    Whether or not members of church practiced or approved torture in the past has no bearing on the intrinsic nature of the evil. (A lively discussion on the matter you may be familiar with: http://zippycatholic.blogspot.com/2009/05/tale-of-two-documents-or-fallacy.html)

    No, what’s-his-name does not “unwittingly admit” that torture is a-ok because the military uses it to train troops. If you read anything at all about the SPECIFIC nature of what was done to KSM and the other terrorists, and compare it with the SPECIFIC nature of waterboard training — as so many of us in this debate already have done — you would know how different they are.

  • Larry Coty, Math Professor at Georgia Perimeter College and stalwart defender of the courage of Josef Mengele and the SS! Have you shared with the folks here your vigorous and enthusiastic encomiums to the greatness of the SS? Or your sympathies with David Irving, Holocaust Denier? http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ACAW_enUS400US347&q=%22larry+coty%22+David++Irving

    Really, if you are going to go around trying to gather a little group to help you in your Hate Mark Shea project, you really at least ought to tell them a little about your background. They do have a right to know. So sad you pulled down your little bookstore chocked with encomiums to the “great” Adolf Hitler.

  • Hmmmm….are you going to do an expose on everyone who recognizes the kind of person you are?

  • Shea,

    1. You told me in a private email that you “couldn’t care less” whether I left up my “Big Fat Phony” blog, as long as I “stayed out of your comboxes.” I have done so; but apparently the “Banished by Mark Shea Support Group” on Facebook is too much for you. You continue to run your silly little mouth while censoring those who effectively disagree. I am interested to see just how many of us “banned” people are out there. Link here, folks: http://www.facebook.com/groups/bannedbymarkshea/?ap=1

    2. I have never defended the greatness of “the SS.” I have tried to explain to you that many Waffen-SS units fought in the field admirably and against tremendous odds. This is a matter of history, not opinion. I have also tried to explain to you that the “camp guard” units were not drawn from the Waffen-SS but from the Allgemeine-SS, which was a completely separate organization and which was *not* under the control of the OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht). These distinctions seem too difficult for you to process.

    3. I have not defended Mengele’s entire career. I merely pointed out that the record shows that, *before* he was sent to Auschwitz, and *while* he was fighting the Russians in the 5th W-SS Division “Wiking” he apparently acted heroically in rescuing two crewmen from a burning tank. He got the Iron Cross for this. You, though, insist on a comic-book version of history in which the “Angel of Death” Mengele must have been a crazed villain at every moment of his life. [By the way, folks: This all started when Doktor Shea attacked some Tea-Party candidate simply because he took part in a battle re-enactment group which identified itself as the 5th W-SS Division. These groups are very common, and can be found re-enacting battles from many wars. It seems silly to me; but Shea treats it as a hanging offense.]

    4. I do not have a “bookstore.” I have used an on-demand service to reprint a number of out-of-print books, including two by Savitri Devi, who was a rabid National Socialist. She is an important writer, and has been the subject of a number of scholarly studies (such as Goodrick-Clarke’s “Hitler’s Priestess.”) I have also reprinted books such as “The Divine Liturgy” by Nikolai Gogol, a collection of essays dedicated to Hilaire Belloc, and Dante’s essay “De Monarchia.”

    5. Your repeated efforts to embarrass me or to cause trouble for me (such as by calling the “ethics hotline” of the University System here in Georgia) are doomed to failure. I have written nothing that I would not proudly defend in any public forum. I think it is very significant that you would go to such lengths to try and silence one of your critics. I guess you are afraid that if the word gets out to your fans that you manipulate your comboxes to exclude not only the “wild stuff” but also clear challenges to or refutations of your theses, then you might be seen for the addled egomaniac you so clearly are.

  • Mr. Shea,
    The Hate Mark Shea project was created by you and only you. No one can disagree with you or you corner people to death or you delete our comments or you call their bosses??? NICE. We aren’t the ones that run our mouth and post a blog at everything that comes into our minds like you do. Again, that project – you created. Maybe if you thought first and investigated before you posted and then thought of possibly being charitable in your posts, then more people wouldn’t feel so strongly about your rudeness! My advice? Grab a mirror and take a hard look at thyself. Seriously!

    oh and BRAVO Paul Primavera!!! Perfectly said, “Why create a Facebook web page on a pompous donkey full of himself and what he thinks? It is always best to ignore such people and continue to give credence and publicity to any and all whom they think they can deride with impunity. Michael Voris makes mistakes sometimes, and it is his very orthodoxy which the envious hate. Ain’t nothing orthodox about him who edifies himself as God’s gift to the Catholic blogosphere.”

  • Oh for crying out loud, are we headed down yet another torturtous torture debate rabbit hole? (Having to scroll through or moderate one of those threads would be my personal idea of blogger purgatory 🙂 )

    And how does participation on the German side of a WWII reenactors group make someone a “defender” of the Nazis any more than participating on the Confederate side of a Civil War reenactment automatically makes one a secessionist or traitor?

  • “Your [Mark Shea’s] repeated efforts to embarrass me [L. Coty] or to cause trouble for me (such as by calling the ‘ethics hotline’ of the University System here in Georgia) are doomed to failure.”

    It seems that someone behaves worse than my atheist ex-wife. I am not, however, in the least surprised. Yet it is dismaying that such a person should escape with impunity for criticizing his better – Michael Voris.

  • Well, I am glad I have internet connection this morning as the comments in this thread seem to be devolving into a back and forth on Mark which was not the intention of my post. I am therefore closing the comments and getting back to my vacation. Three comments before I do:

    1. Jasper, I didn’t delete your comments or anyone else’s comments on this thread.

    2. The Waffen-SS had a habit of massacring POWs they captured. They did this for example to American troops at Malmedy. The myth of the simon pure Waffen-SS is just that, a myth.

    3. Writing about Mengele receiving a medal for courage is rather like mentioning that Hitler served with courage in the First World War, both strike me as utterly besides the main point. Both men were monsters and the world was a vastly worse place due to their having lived.

The Coming Open Rebellion Against God Part II

Sunday, February 6, AD 2011

In my first article The Coming Open Rebellion Against God, I spoke of a time where God would reveal his omnipotence and some would simply leave their faith behind.  Why? Because just as in John 6, some would say it simply doesn’t make sense and walk away. Some have prayed that if only God would show His omnipotence; many would fall on their knees and believe. I truly believe the time is coming when some of our intelligentsia, including clergy will see the hand of God and say; “No thanks, this doesn’t mesh with my worldview.”

Father Dwight Longenecker recently wrote a review of the movie The Rite Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, a movie somewhat inspired by a real life Italian exorcist. The movie was given praise by many Catholic writers including Father Longenecker for actually showing the Church in a positive light. Perhaps this was due to the film’s producers using a California based exorcist Father Gary Thomas who actually was present at the filming of the movie. In a key passage Father Longenecker pondered the fact that far too many in this modern rationalistic world see the idea of the devil and demonic possession as beyond them, even though if they truly followed their rationalistic approach, they would come to see that there simply was no medical or scientific explanation for some cases. Sadly, for too many the sin of pride all too often is their downfall.

Recently Father Gary Thomas was interviewed by Leticia Velazquez of Catholic Exchange; some of his remarks about the way in which the teachings of the Church with regard to evil were defiantly rebuked by some within the Church including bishops were more than a little disconcerting. This movie review of The Rite by Father Raymond Schroth SJ associate Editor of America Magazine is one such example. As you can see, the devil is so passé to Father Schroth SJ. It hardly jibes with the high mindedness of those to which he and his urbane friends associate. Check out the comments section in the article, some of the comments left are as elitist and depressing as his treatise on who God is and who He should be.

George Weigel has noted the sad state of some quasi dissident bishops that Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI have had to confront. They came from a mindset that preferred the adulation of the dissident intelligentsia of the Ivy League rather than the working class Catholic roots from which many came.

With regard to Jesus and the devil, Jesus spent a good deal of his time fighting the devil and his minions, but alas those who don’t believe in such things seem to indicate that Jesus and the Gospel writers got it wrong, Jesus was not fighting demonic powers but those who were dealing with bouts of depression and epilepsy. According to these liberal dissident elites, Jesus was the precursor to Dr Phil and Deepak Chopra helping those poor seemingly possessed people get their groove back and find their Zen destiny. Never mind what the Church teaches on the subject or the fact that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have specifically spoken of evil and the needs for more exorcists in the Church, these elites know better. Talk about hutzpah, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been labeled as intellectually brilliant, even by their detractors, but no matter to those who don’t believe in such archaic things as the devil. Perhaps we should ask those in the Church, especially in the Church Hierarchy, if you don’t believe what Jesus said about the devil and the manifestation of evil, what else don’t you believe?

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5 Responses to The Coming Open Rebellion Against God Part II

  • Thank you for referring to my interview of Fr Gary Thomas. When I read the book, I was impressed at how deeply their experience of the devil moved both Fr Gary and the book’s author Matt Baglio. I was therefore thrilled to hear that the US bishops had a special meeting about exorcism before their general meeting last November.
    As you assert in your book, the tide is turning. Let us pray that it is in time to save our fellow Catholics, many of whom are hostage to the enemy, thanks to poor catechesis and their own selfishness.

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  • FIRST OF ALL THE RITE WAS AN EXCELLENT MOVIE….BUT TO SAY THE DEVIL IS PASSE IS SAY FOR ANY PRIEST….BUT KNOWING FR. SCROTH, SJ HE PROBABLY THINKS THAT GO IS PASSE TOO…SAD FOR ON JUDGEMENT DAY…HE MAY HAVE TO BEG TO THE MERCY OF JESUS….

  • Slight spoiler

    The Rite was very well done. Respectful of the Church and enough spookiness to keep you on edge without overplaying ala The Exorcist. Maybe overplayed the “doubting young priest out to prove science over belief” a bit, and showed the Church to be a little too “faith over reason,” in particular I am recalling a scene where our hero challenges his exorcism instructor with scientifically based rationals for the various instances of possession, and the intsructor’s comeback was rather weak – sort of a “you gotta have faith” and left it at that.

    I also think the movie left you with the impression that the Church believes possession occurs far more often than the Church actually believes it does. But then, they gotta sell tickets, don’t they.

  • and by faith over reason, I mean portraying the Church as pitting faith against reason, as opposed to recognizing them as complementing each other.

"The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II" — George Weigel's sequel to "Witness to Hope"

Wednesday, September 29, AD 2010

George Weigel’s new book, The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, which was published by Doubleday on September 14, is the fulfillment of a promise the author made to Pope John Paul II less than four months before the pope died. In “A Promise To Pope John Paul II” (“The Catholic Difference” 9/17/10), Weigel gives his account of his parting words to the late Pope before his death:

The conversation over dinner was wide-ranging, and at one point, after the usual papal kidding about my having written “a very big book,” John Paul asked about the international reception of Witness to Hope, his biography, which I had published five years earlier. He was particularly happy when I told him that a Chinese edition was in the works, as he knew he would never get to that vast land himself. As that part of the conversation was winding down, I looked across the table and, referring to the fact that Witness to Hope had only taken the John Paul II story up to early 1999, I made the Pope a promise: “Holy Father,” I said, “if you don’t bury me, I want you to know that I’ll finish your story.”

It was the last time we saw each other, this side of the Kingdom of God.

The End and the Beginning covers the last six years of John Paul II’s life, including:

  • Karol Wojtyla’s epic battle with communism through the prism of previously classified and top-secret communist files
  • the Great Jubilee of 2000 and his historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land
  • September 11th, and the Pope’s efforts to frustrate Osama bin Laden’s insistence that his war with the West was a religious crusade
  • the Long Lent of 2002, when the Church in America grappled with the twin crises of clerical sexual abuse and episcopal misgovernance;
  • John Paul’s ongoing efforts to build bridges of dialogue and reconciliation with the Churches of the Christian East
  • his struggle with illness, “which brought him into at least one ‘dark night’ spiritually; and his heroic last months, in which his priestly death became, metaphorically, his last encyclical”

(Given that Weigel was personally engaged in the Catholic just war debate over the war in Iraq, it will be interesting to see the extent to which he covers this aspect of John Paul II’s pontificate).

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6 Responses to "The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II" — George Weigel's sequel to "Witness to Hope"

  • Witness to Hope was very well written.

    I never enjoyed a book that long ever since I read the Summa in under a week*.

    *not really.

  • I’m having dinner with him next week. (Weigel, not JPII.) Any questions you’d like me to ask?

  • Patrick,

    Not a question, but a request. =) I think of all the books by Weigel I’ve read, besides Witness to Hope I particularly appreciated Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace (1987). Unfortunately, it’s out of print and I’ve often wondered, with the various developments in just war debates since the time of publication, whether he would consider revising, expanding and putting out a new edition?

    Just a thought. =)

  • I ordered the new book on Monday… should arrive next week… can’t wait! As Christopher knows, I’m not always in agreement on Weigel when it comes to the interaction between Catholicism and liberalism (broadly speaking), but Witness to Hope was, all in all, fantastic, and I’m looking forward to this one.

  • I’ve put it at the top of my Amazon wish list!

  • (Given that Weigel was personally engaged in the Catholic just war debate over the war in Iraq, it will be interesting to see the extent to which he covers this aspect of John Paul II’s pontificate).

    That will be interesting to see. Personally, I found the sections of Witness to Hope on the lead-up to the Gulf War particularly interesting, as here to Weigel was clearly grappling with an application (or some would say, development) of just war teaching that he found himself fundamentally at odds with. I think the way he dealt with that controversy in the book was thoughtful and to his credit, and I’ll be interested to see the treatment of the second half of the war in the new book.

George Weigel: Defend Religious Freedom

Tuesday, May 18, AD 2010

George Weigel wrote a timely article in National Review Online titled, Defending Religious Freedom in Full.

In it cites the extremist attacks in expressing our Catholic faith in the public square.

The forms of these attacks are egregious because they that attack us are also tearing apart the moral fabric of this nation.

Case in point is the Washington Post, and in my opinion they represent secular humanism, when it comes to natural law they painted those that hold to natural law as extremists:

This past October, in the heat of a political campaign, the nation’s political newspaper of record, the Washington Post, ran an editorial condemning what it termed the “extremist views” of a candidate for attorney general of Virginia who had suggested that the natural moral law was still a useful guide to public policy.

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Lent 2010; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

Monday, February 22, AD 2010

As we work our way through Lent 2009, we need to rejoice in the turning tide. Though there has been much negative news about the Catholic Church this past decade, much of the negative news had its roots in actions taken during the 1960s and 1970s. Yet, the seeds of the good news planted during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI is just now seeing its shoots and blossoms become visible to the naked eye.

What are the shoots and blossoms?  They can be seen in increasing vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the strong orthodox nature of these new, young priests. A new crop of Catholic bishops is also boldly showing their orthodoxy, which often befuddles and mystifies the mainstream media and the secular culture in which we live. In addition to this, many in the laity have for years now been writing and blogging about the desperate need for Catholic orthodoxy in a world full of hurt and self absorption. Many ask how can the Church possibly grow when the Church’s active laity, especially the young along with those who serve her in ordained and professed ministries, are so different from the culture in which they live? It is that culture in which they live that causes them to see the wisdom in Christ’s words and the Church He started through the first pope, the Apostle Saint Peter.

There were fewer shoots and blossoms in the 1970s when the seriousness of the Catholicism was questioned after the Church seemed to be trying to be relative, whether it was related or not, thousands of priests and nuns left their vocations. However, starting in 1978 with the election of Pope John Paul II, the tide began to turn. All of the Polish pontiff’s hard work began to be seen in the shoots and blossoms of events like World Youth Day 1993, which was held in Denver. Later in his pontificate thanks to events like World Youth Day, vocations to the priesthood and religious life began to increase.

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5 Responses to Lent 2010; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

  • Amen Dave. The Tide is indeed turning as witnessed by the young men and women who attended the Right to Life in DC The way they handled thenmselves was remarable and edifying. The young orthodox priests are proclaiming the true tenets of the Church in their homiles and many so called “cafeteria catholic” are figgeting in the pews. RCIA teacher are getting back to what Catholism is and not just trying to bring anyone into the Church. More and more orthodox Bishops are taking a stance against those that try to justify their approach to public service aand their faith, as well as those in the academia who are trying to justify their relativism in their teaching and examples.

  • I think you rightly point out that the future of the American Church is being moved by the fact that only conservative young men are becoming priests.

    But I think a clarification needs to be made between orthodox and conservative, between heterodox and liberal, and between traditional and progressive. The meanings of these words seem to change from person to person.

  • Mr. Hartman,
    I see you are blind to the actual facts and are writing about a Catholic Church that is crumbling away. The lack of acknowledgment of wrongdoing at the very head of the Church has caused many to leave. Parishes are closing and there are fewer priests to run them. Catholic schools are closing due to declining enrollment. The vision begun by Pope John XXIII sadly were buried by Paul VI and Pope Benedict’s continued push to the right is continuing to push people further away.
    I think the Church I was raised in and have always been proud to be a member of, has turned it’s back on me and the many children who have been abused and shunned by the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Barbara, at first I thought your post was a tasteless April Fool’s joke. However, I see now that you are serious and I am very sorry that you are either this misinformed or this week. If you want the Church to become the same as the liberal Protestant churches who are in a statistical free fall then, shame on you. If you are week and run at the first sign of trouble, than I will continue to pray for you.

    My childhood parish had the distinction of having one of the highest number of molestors in my entir state, let alone diocese. I remember these molestors well, they were all liberals who wanted to change the Church and not defend it, some of the victims were people I knew.

    Even in the midst of this scandal, more and more young people, who are very orthodox in the Catholic faith, are becoming priests and nuns. In addition, the Church continues to see an increase in the number of converts (as evidenced by the last few years and this year in particular.)

    When Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, he prayed that God would give him the courage not to run when the wolves come. I pray Barbara that you find a backbone and stand up for the Faith when it is under attack by people who solely want to destory the Church by making outrageous accusations against Pope Benedict, without a single shred of evidence to back it up. There are even writers from the liberal America magazine who have said the conduct displayed by the NY Times and others is outrageous. I prayerfully ask you to consider these points.

As Our Modern, Western Culture Begins To Implode, The Catholic Church Is Our Last, Best Hope

Sunday, January 31, AD 2010

Channel surfing the other night, I came across a slew of 1980s “coming of age” movies on cable television. With all of their flaws (too much sexual innuendo, which is mild by today’s comparisons,) one can easily see a positive theme of a bright future and endless possibilities running through this genre of films. I had almost forgotten that in the 1983 film Valley Girl, Julie played by Deborah Foreman actually chastises her hippy parents for their suggestion that if she and her new boyfriend Randy, played by Nicholas Cage, want to explore their sexuality it would be alright by them.  Julie rebukes her parents for having such beliefs as well as the nostalgia surrounding their involvement in the 1960s anti war movement; after all it was the era of Ronald Reagan. Everything seemed possible; it was Morning in America again. Many of these movies were set in California which at the time exuded excitement for those of us growing up in colder, Midwest climates. Economically, California was booming and it was also the heart of a growing and diverse music scene.

Fast forward some 25+ years later and many of today’s films have a dark undercurrent with more than a little subtle leftwing political and cultural propaganda running through them. While there are certainly hopeful signs in Hollywood, especially with the advent of stars like Eduardo Verastegi and his movie Bella and associated Metanoia Films, (Click here for my interview with Eduardo Verastegui,) the secular film industry has fallen even farther into the cesspool. Sadly the Golden State’s economic boom seems but a distant memory, which was bound to occur when California’s Big Government mentality rivaled that of Sweden or the Canadian province of Quebec. The bigger question remains; is California setting the trend once again for the nation and the western world, and if it is what hope is there? The hope remains as it always has not in mortal man and the latest left wing hypothesis about the world’s failings, but in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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4 Responses to As Our Modern, Western Culture Begins To Implode, The Catholic Church Is Our Last, Best Hope

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  • Fulton Sheen said that the time of evil would come upon mankind. Pope John Paul said a great darkness has descended on the earth. And we are living in this age of darkness and evil made transparent . The light of Christ is shining so brightly now that all of mens hearts and actions are coming into the light and being exposed for who and what they are. This is a great time of purification and God is getting ready to move mankind into a very important direction. You are either with Christ or against Him, There will be no middle ground. That is why it seems that it is all imploding but what is really happening is a time of great grace before the time of great judgement!

  • Man, where have I been for not finding your web site earlier – loved every word spoken.

    will be e-mailing you later brother. Praise Christ for you taking a stand and speaking His truth. We are so hungry for JUST the truth. Fr. John Corpie tells it like it is – and there is standing room only when he speaks somewhere. Holy Mother Church needs to feed her sheep – I am so tired of shim milk. Where is the beef that I may feed on the deep things of God.

    God bless brother – Later.

    In Christ,
    Don

If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Monday, January 25, AD 2010

There is a undercurrent in American society that somehow believes that if the mafia ran things, the country would be better off. There was one city (Newark, New Jersey) where the mafia once controlled much of the city. When their grip on power was done, the city was in tatters. The same could be said for liberals running religion.

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40 Responses to If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 5-13-2009

Wednesday, May 13, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1.  Mark Shea has accused the pro-life anti-abortion torture defenders for creating the ‘nightmare’ of Patriot Act abuse.  A homeschooled kid was arrested under suspicion of sending death threats to President Obama via his computer.  It seems as if someone hijacked his IP address to issue those death threats.  As of now he is in jail and hasn’t been allowed to meet his family nor lawyers.

To read Mark Shea’s posting on this click here.

2.  Child molesters in the Church again?  Nope, but the mainstream media isn’t picking up on the story of a Los Angeles school district ‘repeatedly’ returning child molesters to the classrooms.  In a front page story on May 10 the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) “repeatedly” returned teachers and aides credibly accused of child molestation back to classrooms, and these individuals then molested children again.  The major networks, MSNBC, and CNN have failed to pick up on this story.

For the full story by Dave Pierre of NewBusters click here.

3.  It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.  Which is directly contrary to Pope Benedict XVI’s (as well as the Magisterium’s teaching) statement that condoms were not the solution to the problem of AIDS.  Fr. Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, is a board member of Millennium Promise which promotes condom use to fight the spread of AIDS.

For the article click here.

[Update I:I want to make an addendum that so many of you insist I make.  I want to also add that Fr. John Jenkins seems to support abortion as well as condom usage.

Millenium Promise, the organization that Fr. John Jenkins is a board member of clearly states on their very own website the following:

(http://www.millenniumpromise.org/site/DocServer/Millennium_Development_Goals_Report_2008.pdf?docID=1841)

Which can be found on the main webpage of Millenium PromiseEmphasis mine.:

Page 84 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

Budget and Procurement. The budget for the HIV/AIDS response depends on a number of factors. On the treatment side, the major budgetary concern is the provision of ARV drugs to those in need. Beyond ARV costs, other costs include staffing, other medication, CD4 counts, prevention programming, condom provision, nutritional supplementation, and VHW support.

Page 85 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

Communication for Preventing Disease and Changing Behavior: Behavior change communication plays a key role in preventing the spread of HIV and must be seen as a central element in any response to HIV/AIDS. This core intervention includes education, awareness building, advocacy, condom distribution, and education (both male and female), rights building, and voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) promotion among other activities.

Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

Contraception and family planning: Family planning and contraception services are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Services include: (1) Counseling; (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral, transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs

Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on abortion:

Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established. In villages with a nearby district center with sound surgical capacity, these services can be referred. However, in instances where no district center or alternate post for safe abortion practices is accessible, abortion services can be offered at the village level, provided that sufficient surgical capacity exists.]

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88 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 5-13-2009

  • It is unfortunate, but unsurprising, that Mr. Shea’s response to the evidence that there is more to the story – in fact, that the underlying premise is 100% false – is to retort, “But Charles Krauthammer is eeevil.” Well, perhaps, and I’m no supporter of Charles K’s stance on torture, but that doesn’t make the story one is relating any more true.

  • I’m a bit surprised by his statement, but that is what he wrote and I printed it word for word. I can understand his passion, but to paint a whole swath of good Catholics as part of the problem in abusing the Patriot Act is a bit much.

  • Yeah, it sounds like on Shea’s story, the kid was arrested on a standard federal warrant (no Patriot Act invocation), the charge is that he repeatedly called in false bomb threats to schools in return for money from students (who wanted the day off), and he’s a known internet prank caller — though his mother disputes that he ever made bomb threats, and he has in fact been charge and appeared in court several times along with a state appointed attourney.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/05/teenage-bomb-threat-suspect-was-an-internet-prank-phone-call-star/

    So nearly everything Shea is basing his post on is wrong, but aside from that…

    I hope this isn’t a sign of Bush derangement syndrome morphing seamlessly into Obama derangement syndrome. There are enough real bad things to decry about the current administration without people insisting that homeschoolers are being scooped up by a Patriot Act weilding Obama and imprisoned without charge.

  • Very good news from Egypt, though. Especially as per the discussion we were having on that topic last week.

  • These comments on Mark’s blog sum up the problem with his post:

    Some kid gets arrested because of a law passed in 1939 which, sensibly enough, makes it illegal to make bomb threats by phone. His mother believes him to be innocent and says that this law passed in 1939 is somehow connected to the Patriot Act. Obviously she’s partial in this, and doesn’t know anything about the law, and is upset by the charges against her son. But what’s Mark’s excuse? What would make Mark spread the lie that this is about the Patriot Act, or uncritically repeat the kid’s mother’s assertions of his innocence?
    Thomas | 05.10.09 – 11:00 am | #

    ——————————————————————————–

    I do not like cops or the government. However, from the press release issued by the Department of Justice, the kid was arrested under Title 18, USC Sec 844(e). The press release also states that the charge is unrelated to the Patriot Act. A Federal Warrant was issued which means a Judge signed off on it.
    Rafael | 05.10.09 – 1:18 pm | #

    I am saddened by this article from mark Shea. If time had been taken to read three or four “current” articles on this situation, one would clearly see that the Patriot Act was not used in this instance, that long standing law was utilized, that the initial stories from the mother have been retracted and further that the quote from Charles Krauthammer (sp) has nothing to do with this case and that the quote used actually misrepresents the article that it is taken from. I enjoy Mark Shea’s articles on theology and catholic belief but this article is shameful for its lack of research and representation of incorrect facts as truth.
    Mike in Lebanon Kentucky | 05.11.09 – 11:30 am | #

  • It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    This does not seem to be supported by the linked to article. Father Jenkins apparently sits on the board of an organization that supports the Millennium Development Goals. Well, the Vatican also supports the Millennium Development Goals. If the fact Father Jenkins sits on a board that supports the MDG means that he believes in promoting condom use to fight AIDS, then logically one would have to conclude that the Vatican also supports this, which is absurd.

  • Darwin,

    Yes that story from Egypt is heart-warming. The judge could still rule against the convert, thus denying his right to a new ID card showing him as a Christian. But the convert has all his paperwork in order, so it will be interesting how the judge rules and what reasoning he uses to deny his request to change his ID card to show that he is a Christian and not a Muslim.

  • Thomas,
    Furthermore, it is possible that the mother may not be as innocent as we might otherwise assume:
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,519570,00.html

    Mike,
    Yes, Mark has a short trigger. He has sound moral instincts, and I’m sure he is a good egg, but he routinely lets himself get offended before he has all the facts. And as the facts come in he shifts to painting straw men with a very broad brush and then proceeds to vigorously argue with them. It is torturous to observe, and since I oppose torture I seldom visit there anymore.

  • Blackadder,

    The Vatican supports the MGD, but the Vatican is not on the Millennium Promise as a board member.

    Logically you don’t make sense.

  • Vatican is not on the Millennium Promise as a board member.

    That’s true but irrelevant. The supposedly bad thing about Father Jenkins being on the board of Millennium Promise is that the organization supports the Millennium Development Goals, which the Vatican also supports.

  • BlackadderIV,

    Yes, it is true that both the Vatican [ed.-actually, the Vatican doesn’t support MGD after further research] and Fr. Jenkins support the Millennium Development Goals, but the Vatican is not on the board of Millennium Promise and Fr. Jenkins is.

    Hence since Millennium Promise pushes condom use to prevent the further spread of AIDS and that Fr. Jenkins is a board member, then Fr. Jenkins by default supports condom usage.

    That in itself creates a scandal, even if the perception of a scandal is apparent, then Fr. Jenkins should not be a board member at all.

  • Hence since Millennium Promise pushes condom use to prevent the further spread of AIDS

    What is the evidence that Millennium Promise pushes condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS? The only evidence cited in the article is that the group supports the MDG. Clearly this is not good evidence, as the Vatican itself supports the MDG.

    Maybe Millennium Promise supports condoms. Maybe it supports Satanic child sacrifice. Who knows. All I know is that the linked to article provides no evidence in support of the claim that the group (and by extension, Father Jenkins) does support condoms.

  • BlackadderIV,

    The Vatican clearly does not support the MGD’s. You know it and I know it. The Vatican would not support condom usage and abortion. Besides, nowhere in the article does it say that the Vatican supports MGD’s.

    Fr. Jenkins on the other hand by his being a board member MP that supports condom usage and abortions, has not distanced himself from those MGD’s that support it.

  • Tito:

    I agree with Blackadder on this one. The article provides a weak link, too weak to charitably launch a criticism that assumes Jenkins is weak on contraception.

  • Michael Denton,

    As a board member of a pro-life organization I would not want my organization endorsing causes that go counter to Catholic teaching. I would resign or work towards amending the predicament.

    Fr. Jenkins has compromised himself by being a board member of said group. Fr. Jenkins is also president of Notre Dame, so we can assume he is very careful about what organizations he is a member of. He holds a high profile position and should be careful as a representative of the Catholic Church and her teachings. By being a board member he gives unwarranted assurances that it is o.k. to pass out condoms and procure abortions for whatever reasons.

    We can debate where the link is weak or not.

    The fact remains that it is causing scandal by his mere association, even more so now that he has made the monumental blunder of not only inviting the most pro-abortion president to speak, but also giving him an honorary degree in which creates more scandal.

  • The Vatican clearly does not support the MGD’s. You know it and I know it. The Vatican would not support condom usage and abortion. Besides, nowhere in the article does it say that the Vatican supports MGD’s.

    The title of the article from Zenit I linked to is “Holy See Promotes Millennium Goals at U.N.” The first sentence of the article states “The Holy See urged the United Nations to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, saying that ‘it is an obligation in justice.'” I’m not sure how you can say that “nowhere in the article does it say that the Vatican supports MGD’s.”

    Fr. Jenkins on the other hand by his being a board member MP that supports condom usage and abortions

    Again, there’s no evidence that Millennium Promise does support condom usage and abortions. If you can produce some evidence that it does so, then okay, you’d have a point about Jenkins being a board member. But one shouldn’t accuse Father Jenkins (or anyone else) of supporting condom usage or belonging to an organization that supports condom usage unless one has some evidence that these claims are actually true.

  • BlackadderIV,

    I don’t have the link to the Zenit article you are referencing.

    The mere fact that MP supports MGD is enough to cause scandal. Even the perception of support is enough to cause scandal.

    Clearly you and I disagree on whether Fr. Jenkins supports condoms and abortion.

    We can leave it at that.

  • Tito,

    The link is here.

  • Here’s part of the article if you are having trouble with the link:

    NEW YORK, SEPT. 18, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- The Holy See urged the United Nations to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, saying that “it is an obligation in justice.”

    Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, stressed the importance of the development goals, which include eradicating half of the world’s poverty by 2015, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday.

    “It remains an obligation in justice in the service of human dignity to attain and even to surpass the Millennium Development Goals, thereby establishing an essential pre-condition for peace and collective security, and for the elimination or substantial reduction of the threat from terrorism and international crime,” he said.

  • BlackAdderIV,

    Thank you for the link.

    It seems the Vatican is clearly backing the MGD’s in rectifying the situation of the poor. That’s what I read in the article.

    I do see where you are coming from and I do agree with it to an extent. But assuming you are correct, Fr. Jenkins is still causing scandal by the mere appearance of support of condom use.

    Thank you for the vibrant discussion. You never fail to offer a positive and constructive debate.

  • Btw, where did the stuff about abortion come from? You started out by saying that Father Jenkins supported condom use to fight AIDS, and then at some point started adding “and abortion” to the end of your claims that Father Jenkins supports condoms. What’s up with that?

  • Tito:

    Since you say:

    But assuming you are correct, Fr. Jenkins is still causing scandal by the mere appearance of support of condom use.

    I think that then you should alter these claims in the original post:

    It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    and

    Fr. Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, is a board member of Millennium Promise which promotes condom use to fight the spread of AIDS.

  • But assuming you are correct, Fr. Jenkins is still causing scandal by the mere appearance of support of condom use.

    I don’t think scandal can be properly based on false accusations made against someone. Suppose I said that the American Catholic blog supported condoms, and repeated the claim a bunch of times. Would that mean that you should resign from the blog, because even the mere appearance of support of condom use was causing scandal? I don’t think so.

  • I continued reading the MGD and it shows that abortion is a contentious issue within the UN in further developing the MGD’s to include abortion.

    What’s up with your hostility?

  • Michael Denton,

    No such thing will be done.

  • BA,

    There is a clear link between the MGD and MP. You can debate until your face turns blue, but you can’t argue with facts.

  • I think Tito might have picked up on one of these articles:

    http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?s=228024285a02e66b8f754d589f7b900a&showtopic=93977&mode=threaded

    A further issue of concern is Millennium Development Goal #5 which is to “Improve Maternal Health.” In 2005 there was an enormous campaign to change MDG#5 to include women’s reproductive health – a code word for abortion. This campaign failed, but there is still an ongoing power struggle over this issue. Some organizations such as UNICEF and UNFPA have issued public documents stating that women’s reproductive health is indeed now included as part of the Millennium Development Goals.

    Since those seeking to incorporate abortion rights in the MDG failed in their efforts, it seems unfair to include abortion in the litany of accusations against Fr. Jenkins. That said, MDG#6 is pretty clear in its promotion of contraception.

  • I continued reading the MGD and it shows that abortion is a contentious issue within the UN in further developing the MGD’s to include abortion.

    It’s contentious, but for now abortion is not part of the MDGs. On that particular score, it thus unfair to imply that Fr. Jenkins has an abortion problem.

  • No such thing will be done.

    Y’see, Michael, Tito is infallible.

  • Michael I.,

    What are you studying again?

    Paul & BA4,

    I see where abortion hasn’t quite made it on the MGD agenda so I’ll refrain from accusing Fr. Jenkins on that point. Though he is still causing scandal for supporting condom distribution which is contrary to Catholic teaching.

  • Though he is still causing scandal for supporting condom distribution which is contrary to Catholic teaching.

    Even though I do agree that there’s an undeniable link between the Millennium Project and the Millennium Development Goals, and as a board member Fr. Jenkins is at least tacitly responsible for the end product, this still might be an over-reach. What was/is Fr. Jenkins role in developing those goals? Did he push back against MDG #6? Did he decide to continue to support the MDGs despite of this provision? And what of the Vatican’s seeming support?

    I don’t completely dismiss your concerns, but I think this matter deserves further serious exploration before we declare Fr. Jenkins to be a supporter of condom distribution.

  • I don’t completely dismiss [Tito’s] concerns, but I think this matter deserves further serious exploration before we declare Fr. Jenkins to be a supporter of condom distribution.

    Agreed.

  • I don’t completely dismiss [Tito’s] concerns, but I think this matter deserves further serious exploration before we declare Fr. Jenkins to be a supporter of condom distribution.

    Likewise, agreed.

  • I agree with the previous three commenters.

    Tito:

    You are out of line if you don’t retract. You have asserted that a priest openly rejects the teaching of the Church on contraception. This would be a very serious sin if true, and is a very serious charge, especially against a priest, and especially against a priest of high prominence.

    You, by your own admission, lack the evidence for such a charge. Perhaps Jenkins does support them, but you have not one bit of evidence other then “he’s on a group which is associated with this group that includes contraception.” You need much stronger evidence then that to accuse someone, particularly a Catholic priest, of such wrongdoing as you accuse.

    If you do not update the post with a correction, this post is calumny [ed.-if you continue to slander me you will be placed in moderation].

  • John,
    I agree as well. I do not think that being a board member of an organization that does has perfectly sound purposes but also supports condom distribution automatically makes one a supporter of condom distribution. For all we know Fr. Jenkins opposes condom distribution and has faithfully registered his objections at board meetings. One is not required by Catholic teaching to resign from each and every organization that takes actions or positions inimical to Church teaching — that is a prudential decision. That is exactly why we can have pro-life Democrats, and indeed it is good that we do. I have served on the local United Way board off and on for 15 years notwithstanding the fact that the local Planned Parenthood agency as a grantee. If fact, I have been instrumental in ensuring that donors can elect to direct their donations so as to exclude Planned Parenthood and helped devise the accounting procedures that give that actual effect. We cannot resign from the world. While one might argue that it is imprudent for Fr. J to remain a board member for reasons of potential confusion or scandal, that is a prudential calculus that belongs to him. The fact that he has chosen to remain a board member is very weak evidence that he actually supports condom distribution.
    All that said, perhaps Tito has other evidence and I missed it (in a hurry — lots to do).

  • Michael Denton,

    You will be guilty of slander if you continue with your uncharitable and dishonest accusations against me.

    I will not repeat what I’ve already explained why Fr. Jenkins seems to promote condom usage. Your obtuseness will not be tolerated if you continue with your behavior. This is your first and only warning. If you continue you will be placed on moderation.

  • Mike Petrik,

    By the simple fact that you are a board member of United Way makes you in formal cooperation with evil. United Way funds abortions and it is something not to be proud of. [ed.-I was wrong here, United Way operates independently at the local level.]

    I can see why there is hostility to my position. You clearly are going against church teachings.

    You cannot be publicly for abortion, but privately against it. Just like many typical ‘pro-life democrats’.

  • Everyone,

    That is the problem with complacency and nuance. By giving excuse after excuse to why Fr. Jenkin’s is on the board for an organization that promotes condom usage and quite possibly abortions is to fall into relativism.

    [ed.-edited for charity] Too many good and well-meaning Catholics make excuses for those Catholics that continue to drift away from Catholic teaching to the point that they are completely in camp with evil. Such as Fr. Jenkin’s honoring the most pro-abortion candidate in the history of the United States and Mike Petrik sitting on the board of an organization for 15 years that funds abortions is inexcusable.

    We need to change the culture, not be changed by it.

  • There is a clear link between the MGD and MP.

    First, it really should be MDG, not MDG. It’s Millennium Development Goals, after all, not Millennium Goals Development.

    Second, I’m not arguing that there’s no link between Millennium Promise and the Millennium Development Goals. That is very clear. The question is whether supporting the Millennium Development Goals means supporting condom use. Given the fact that the Vatican (which certainly does not support condom use) supports the Millennium Development Goals, I would argue the answer to this question is no.

    The specific MDG in question is number six, which is to “[c]ombat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases.” Whatever some UN bureaucrat might say on the matter, isn’t it obvious that one could support that goal without supporting the use of condoms as a means to prevent the spread of AIDS?

  • BlackAdder4,

    I agree with your statement that you can support the goal without supporting the use of condoms as a means to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    What I say is that due to Fr. Jenkins actions of late he has brought the light of scandal upon himself. If he has done this, he may have made other mistakes as well. One of them being that he is a board member of MP. Assuming that he is there for the correct reasons, he is still causing scandal by bringing attention to such a scandalous position.

    And I do like MGD (Miller Genuine Draft), but yes, I was referring to MDG. Thank you for the fraternal correction.

  • Tito,

    No doubt Father Jenkins has made many mistakes and is open to criticism on many fronts. That doesn’t mean that one has free reign to accuse him of whatever one wishes.

    This doesn’t have to be difficult. You didn’t look into a matter very carefully, and ended up making a charge against Father Jenkins that isn’t supported by the evidence. Okay, it happens. The thing to do when this is pointed out to you is just to own up to the mistake, retract the charges, and move on. Retrenchment on such a matter will only serve to further damage your credibility.

  • Tito:

    Mike Petrik making excuses for those who actually support the very things you mention?

    My dear friend, you seem to be conflating one’s residence within a certain organization/entity with direct allegiance & support of the very activities it purportedly sponsors.

    If that were indeed the case, that this Guilt by Association automatically renders a person culpable of the very crimes you seem wont to prosecute him for, then that would make any citizen of the United States who pay their taxes guilty of similar crimes, given that the U.S. government provides monies to national abortion programs (and, even now, in light of Obama’s fierce Pro-abortion Crusade, it would seem globally as well); and, therefore, by that very same logic you’ve applied thus, makes every tax-paying U.S. citizen guilty of formal cooperation with evil, too.

    You’re better than this — or, at least, I should hope.

  • BlackAdder4,

    Again we can agree to disagree.

    I made no mistake and will not retract my facts on the matter.

    e.,

    Fr. Jenkins causes scandal by his mere association of such an organization.

  • Tito,

    The claim that “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS” is unsubstantiated, and I agree with Michael Denton’s recommendation that it should be retracted.

  • Christopher,

    I made no mistake and will not retract my facts on the matter.

    You have your opinions on the matter which are incorrect. Fr. John Jenkins is causing a scandal by his board membership to an organization that supports the promotion of condom use.

  • I think that the baseless of Tito’s accusation has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of everyone but Tito, and demonstrating it to his satisfaction does not seem to be possible, so I’ll leave the conversation here.

  • BlackAdder4,

    Just because your unsupported accusations are supported by others doesn’t make it right.

    You are not satisfied unless your able to smear me which is uncharitable to say the least.

    The conversation would have been better served if you hadn’t participated in the first place.

  • Re: Millenium Promise

    Millennium Villages Handbook

    Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in
    controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established. In villages with a
    nearby district center with sound surgical capacity, these services can be referred.
    However, in instances where no district center or alternate post for safe abortion
    practices is accessible, abortion services can be offered at the village level,
    provided that sufficient surgical capacity exists

    Contraception and family planning: Family planning and contraception services
    are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat
    sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the
    reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Services include: (1) Counseling;
    (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral,
    transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs

    So, while the absolute evidence is not in the articles, it is clearly in their approach.

    The insidious use of euphemisms like “prevention services”, “maternal health”, “reproductive health” etc. does not change the reality of what Millenium Promise is doing. None of us should be so naive as to believe they are being moral.

  • Off topic (and perhaps simply for comic relief at this point), is the icon typically used in Tito Edward’s posts a painting of the very man featured in the icon in blackadderiv’s posts?

  • Tito,

    Paul Zummo’s questions stand, and I note you have not bothered to respond:

    What was/is Fr. Jenkins role in developing those goals? Did he push back against MDG #6? Did he decide to continue to support the MDGs despite of this provision? And what of the Vatican’s seeming support?

    Until you actually provide evidence to substantiate your accusation, the claim that Fr. Jenkins personally support condom use is groundless.

    That you preface your claim with “it seems” indicates your own uncertainty in making the accusation.

  • Everyone,

    I am adding substantial evidence of Millenium Promise‘s goals for condom usage AND abortion to the posting.

    It will take a little while since Millenium Promise‘s handbooks have this burried in over 200 pages of “nuance”.

    Christopher Blosser,

    You continue to ignore my statement that Fr. Jenkins gives cause for scandal. [ed.-off topic]

  • e.,

    I use El Greco’s ‘Conde Ordaz’ picture.

    I’m not sure what Black Adder use’s but it’s not what I use.

  • Tito:

    Personally, I believe the charitable thing to do at this point is for you to retract your accusation.

    Although I can see your point concerning how the opinion of the mob does not automatically render theirs correct (argumentum ad populum); still, I can’t see how the accusation you’ve made against Jenkins can seriously be considered as anything but baseless at this point.

    While Jenkin’s own actions during the past months may appear downright reprehensible, I don’t think that faithful Catholics such as yourself should sink so low to the point of what appears to be calumny.

    As I’ve attempted to explain before, I don’t quite think that Jenkins simply being a board member automatically renders him guilty of personally perpetrating the very crime of which you seem to have prematurely prosecuted him for, no more than I would deem you — for simply being a tax-paying U.S. citizen — guilty of supporting national programs for abortion being that such programs are prominently financed by taxpayers’ monies.

  • Christopher,

    Until you actually provide evidence to substantiate your accusation, the claim that Fr. Jenkins personally support condom use is groundless.

    with respect, where exactly does Tito make the claim you are claiming he did? It is your own accusation which is groundless. Tito only claimed that Fr. Jenkins SEEMS to support condom use since he’s on a board of an organization, that despite suggestions to the contrary DISTRIBUTES CONDOMS and PROVIDES ABORTIONS.

    That you preface your claim with “it seems” indicates your own uncertainty in making the accusation.

    No, it’s a statement about APPEARANCE, in being on the board of an organization it APPEARS or SEEMS one is in support of their activities.

    Being on the board of an organization which spreads evil is clearly scandalous, if not outright material cooperation with evil, even if one does not personally support those evils.

  • Matt,

    “Being on the board of an organization which spreads evil is clearly scandalous, if not outright material cooperation with evil, even if one does not personally support those evils.”

    Are you quite serious about this?

    Do you also apply this same sort of logic to executive-level, middle management or even ordinary employees of companies, too? To even citizens of countries that happen to provide such monstrous support for abortion that they themselves do not personally advocate?

  • While we’re at it. Until the Church declares the particular techniques defended by some to be torture, it is completely uncharitable to refer to refer to those who defend them as “torture defenders”. The argument is clearly about the definition of torture, not whether or not we should be using torture, which, we should not, and most everyone in the debate agrees.

  • In regard to Mike Petrik there is no firmer pro-lifer.

    In regard to accusations, there should be evidence presented. As to Jenkins I think in order to claim that he supports condom use we need more than he is present on the board of Millenium Promise. I do agree with Tito that it strikes me as a fairly dubious organization.

  • I want to make an addendum that so many of you insist I make. I want to add that Fr. John Jenkins seems to support abortion as well as condom usage. I have added this to the original post as an addendum.

    Millenium Promise, the organization that Fr. John Jenkins is a board member of clearly states on their very own website the following:

    (http://www.millenniumpromise.org/site/DocServer/Millennium_Development_Goals_Report_2008.pdf?docID=1841)

    Which can be found on the main webpage of Millenium Promise. Emphasis mine.:

    Page 84 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

    Budget and Procurement. The budget for the HIV/AIDS response depends on a number of factors. On the treatment side, the major budgetary concern is the provision of ARV drugs to those in need. Beyond ARV costs, other costs include staffing, other medication, CD4 counts, prevention programming, condom provision, nutritional supplementation, and VHW support.

    Page 85 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

    Communication for Preventing Disease and Changing Behavior: Behavior change communication plays a key role in preventing the spread of HIV and must be seen as a central element in any response to HIV/AIDS. This core intervention includes education, awareness building, advocacy, condom distribution, and education (both male and female), rights building, and voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) promotion among other activities.

    Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

    Contraception and family planning: Family planning and contraception services are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Services include: (1) Counseling; (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral, transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs

    Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on abortion:

    Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established. In villages with a nearby district center with sound surgical capacity, these services can be referred. However, in instances where no district center or alternate post for safe abortion practices is accessible, abortion services can be offered at the village level, provided that sufficient surgical capacity exists.]

  • Tito, look at it this way. From another thread:

    The way Fr. Z links homosexuality with “rats” and the “devil” is scandalous and inappropriate for a priest of Jesus Christ.

    To which was replied:

    This is what Father Z wrote:

    “While it is true that the laborers in the Lord’s vinyard should be perfect enough in their spirit of dedication never to have to need any praise or thanks, they remain human beings. Furthermore, they are also under constant attack by the enemy of the soul.

    It takes but small crack for a rat to slip into a house. It takes hardly anything at all for the devil to insinuate his venom into a man’s daily reflections.”

    Would you agree that it was incorrect and wrong for the first person to say what he did? I think so. If you do, then please step back and see how what you’re saying about Fr Jenkins is similar (and I’m not sying Fr Jenkins isn’t wrong on a number of issues, but justice is justice).

  • e.,


    Matt said: being on the board of an organization which spreads evil is clearly scandalous, if not outright material cooperation with evil, even if one does not personally support those evils.”

    e. said: Are you quite serious about this?

    Absolutely. To clarify, I’m not talking about mundane evil, but the profound evils of abortion and contraception.

    Do you also apply this same sort of logic to executive-level

    Most probably yes.

    , middle management or even ordinary employees of companies, too?

    To a lesser extent, but yes in those cases too. This can be excused if there’s no direct involvement, and the individual has no choice to make a living for their family but to be employed at the organization. It would also depend on the amount of evil being spread. Let’s say Coca-Cola on the lower level, Proctor & Gamble in the middle, and Planned Parenthood at the highest. This group seems to be somewhere between P&G and PP in it’s promotion of evil.

    To even citizens of countries that happen to provide such monstrous support for abortion that they themselves do not personally advocate?

    Not to a substantial extent because citizenship is not a voluntary assocation. If the evil activity becomes so substantial that the nation is wholly corrupt, and there are alternatives we should leave, but in our current circumstances, I don’t see that as the case. There is still a “Culture War” going on, and really no safe haven elsewhere, we have no choice but to stay and fight.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    RE: Mike Petrik, I agree.

    RE: Tito’s suspicion about the organization, I agree.

    RE: Jenkin’s purportedly supporting those particular measures as detailed therein; that remains to be seen.

    Personally, even seeming to act on behalf of Jenkin’s is the last thing I’d ever countenance; however, given the subtle workings of certain boards I happen to be acquainted with, given its own “political” workup and their various agendas which not all unanimously agree to, this very detail would leave me initially skeptical.

  • Fr. Jenkins is on the board of a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization of Millennium Promises which at minimum gives scandal.

    I have not accused Fr. Jenkins of being personally for condom usage (or abortion). But I have said he seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization.

    Notwithstanding all the evidence that I have provided that many of you have chosen to ignore.

  • It would seem that self-described “pro-life Democrats”, by virtue of their being Democrats, are actually pro-abortion.

  • Tito:

    “But I have said he seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization.”

    Respectfully, the very same can be said almost about any one of us.

    If a person can automatically be condemned as being somebody who “seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization”, then a person who simply works for a corporation who also happens to do the same can likewise be condemned as such.

    Now, to be fair, Jenkins may well be guilty of having actually supported those very measures detailed in the handbook; however, as it stands, there is yet to be convincing evidence of the sort that would actually corroborate such a claim — even a claim as tentatively articulated as “he seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization”.

  • e.,

    Yes, I see your reasoning.

    The difference is that Fr. Jenkins is a Catholic priest. One who is the president of a world-renowned Catholic university. One that can be argued made a mistake of offering an honorary degree and an invitation to speak to Notre Dame’s graduates. He is now under the microscope because of his questionable actions. One can rightly say “is this a pattern of behavior?” Someone who goes contrary to Church teachings?

    It is only fair to ask if his example is giving scandal to others. His mere association with Millenium Promise gives credence that it’s ok to abort and use condoms since such a prominent Catholic is on a board of a UN NGO!

  • Just so we’re clear, my point was that Krauthammer says that if we have “the slightest belief” that torture will save “an innocent”, then this kid should, by Krauthammer’s own logic, be tortured. Obviously, the Feds have “the slightest belief” that his alleged bomb threats have some sort of substance to them or they wouldn’t still be holding him. So by Krauthammer’s logic it is a “moral obligation” to torture the kid, lest by some oversight he or his compatriots actually kill innocents. The post isn’t really about the Patriot Act: it’s about the logic of the rhetoric that is being put forward by major pundits and representatives of allegedly “conservative” thought. By Krauthammer’s standards, the Feds were actually neglectful of their moral obligations when they didn’t instantly start torturing him. Suppose the threat had been real!

  • With all due respect… (That being the general precursor to rhetorically laying into someone.)

    Obviously, the Feds have “the slightest belief” that his alleged bomb threats have some sort of substance to them or they wouldn’t still be holding him.

    Actually, that’s not clear at all. Calling in bomb threats is illegal even if they’re known to be false. From what I’ve seen, it’s pretty clear that he’s being prosecuted for making fake bomb threats, not on the suspicion that he was really going to bomb anything.

    it’s about the logic of the rhetoric that is being put forward by major pundits and representatives of allegedly “conservative” thought. By Krauthammer’s standards, the Feds were actually neglectful of their moral obligations when they didn’t instantly start torturing him. Suppose the threat had been real!

    I’m not really clear that his is put forward by “major pundits” or “representative of allegedly ‘conservative’ thought” either. Sometime along these lines was said by Krauthammer (a quirky sort of fellow himself, politically) once. I strongly doubt that, if ask, he would give the interpretation to his words that you are giving. And if one went around the country asking pundits and ordinary citizens the number (even among Fox News watchers) who would assert that the government has a moral obligation to torture anyone it has the least suspicion of being about to bomb innocent people is pretty clearly vanishingly small.

    I don’t think that your admirable witness against consequentialist arguments for torture is helped by assembling what amounts to a fairly preposterous straw man. Your arguments themselves are better than that.

  • Once again the clown Mark Shea has bombed. Certainly even now he’s scouring online archives, Krauthammer’s rubbish bin, Halliburton dumps, anything at all in a desperate attempt at uncovering some comeback lines. In this valiant Hamburger Hill like effort at misdirection he’ll be well advised to decline any offer of relief from Mr Comerford, the Walter Mitty of the blogosphere.

  • Ivan,

    Without the rudeness please?

  • Ditto Ivan’s remarks.

    Shea has sunk so low, he has himself become a self-parody; simply allow the guy to dig his own grave and he will… eventually.

  • Shea is no clown and needs no defense from the likes of e. and Ivan. They are best ignored.

  • Mark, Darwin Catholic

    I apologise for writing “the clown…”. I regretted that once it was posted.

  • “I apologise for writing ‘the clown'”

    Yeah, ‘Bozo’ would’ve been more apt where Shea is concerned!

    (apologies, Darwin Catholic — only messin’).

  • Christopher,

    Christopher Blosser Says:
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 A.D. at 2:27 pm

    It would seem that self-described “pro-life Democrats”, by virtue of their being Democrats, are actually pro-abortion.

    You know that’s not what I or Tito said, so it’s simply a strawman.

    Since you asked though, membership in the Democrat party is material cooperation with evil and may be scandalous. Whether this is sinful or not would depend on a number of factors. Particularly to the degree one avoids apparent or actual support of the platform or pro-abortion candidates.

    Now, simple membership in a party is not the same thing as being on the board of an organization, which is done specifically to lend credibility to the cause and/or as a reward for faithful support. I have not heard Fr. Jenkins actively rejecting the approach of the group he is on the board of, and it’s likely that he would not be on that board if he was. As a prominent Catholic priest lending credibility to an organization which substantially spreads evil, he is giving scandal.

  • Matt,

    If Tito had expressed concern about Fr. Jenkin’s presence “lending credibility” to an organization that promotes condom use, I would be in complete agreement with him.

    In fact, I don’t think you would find a number of his colleagues voicing their dissent as happened on this post.

    But you and I both know he didn’t frame the argument in that manner.

    Rather, he publicly speculated that “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    One is an expression of charitable concern, voiced in a respectful manner.

    The other is a deliberate misrepresentation and an unsubstantiated charge.

  • Christopher Blosser,

    If Tito had expressed concern about Fr. Jenkin’s presence “lending credibility” to an organization that promotes condom use, I would be in complete agreement with him.

    That’s good.

    In fact, I don’t think you would find a number of his colleagues voicing their dissent as happened on this post.

    But you and I both know he didn’t frame the argument in that manner.

    Rather, he publicly speculated that “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    Chris, that is one of the most aggregious attempts at changing the substance of a persons statement by quoting out of context I’ve seen in awhile. All you had to do to present your Christian brother’s statement in a more reasonable light is to quote the WHOLE sentence, instead of slicing it up for your own purposes.

    What Tito actually said:
    It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    seem
    ??/sim/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [seem]

    –verb (used without object)
    1. to appear to be, feel, do, etc.: She seems better this morning.
    2. to appear to one’s own senses, mind, observation, judgment, etc.: It seems to me that someone is calling.
    3. to appear to exist: There seems no need to go now.
    4. to appear to be true, probable, or evident: It seems likely to rain.
    5. to give the outward appearance of being or to pretend to be: He only seems friendly because he wants you to like him.

    There is an appearance of support.

    One is an expression of charitable concern, voiced in a respectful manner.

    And that is what Tito was trying to do, regardless of whether or not he expressed it exactly as you wanted.

    The other is a deliberate misrepresentation and an unsubstantiated charge.

    And that is what CHRISTOPHER BLOSSER did by misquoting Tito’s statement.

  • Christopher,

    “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    I said “seems”, not “believes”.

    I believe you misquoted me. Or it seems you misquoted me. See the difference?

    Which changes the entire context of what I wrote.

  • Tito,

    I thank you and Matt for proving my point.

    Let’s examine your sentence as a whole:

    “It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    We can see from this:

    1) Tito is uncertain that Fr. John Jenkins actually BELIEVES in the promotion of condom use.

    2) He qualifies it with “it seems”

    3) But in the simple fact of doing so, he plants the thought in the public realm and casts aspersion on Fr. Jenkins.

    Again, if Tito had framed the argument in such a manner as:

    1) Fr. Jenkins is a member of the board of an organization that endorses the Millenium Goals
    2) Said organization has been known to advocate contraception in the fulfillment of the “goal”
    3) Fr. Jenkins lends the appearance of advocacy to this by his being on the board

    I would have little objection, because rather than rumor-mongering, you instead extend the invitation to Fr. Jenkins for clarification, and treat him with Christian charity such as every Catholic deserves.

  • Christopher Blosser,


    I think you and Matt for proving my point.

    Let’s take your sentence as a whole:

    “It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    We can see from this:

    1) Tito is uncertain that Fr. John Jenkins actually BELIEVES in the promotion of condom use.

    2) He qualifies it with “it seems”

    3) But in the simple fact of doing so, he plants the thought in the public realm and casts an unsubstantiated charge against Fr. Jenkins.

    Are we clear on why I object to this?.

    Tito didn’t plant the thought in the public realm, Fr. Jenkins did by being ON THE BOARD OF A PRO-CONDOM, PRO-ABORTION ORGANIZATION, which is a further complication of his support for honoring a rabidly pro-abortion politician and rejecting the correction of his own bishop. Tito brought it up for discussion on the blog, it was always in the public realm. Tito revealed nothing.

    Are you HONESTLY denying that Fr. Jenkins position on that board implies support for it’s operations in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, especially in light of his decision to reject the instruction of his bishop and honor a pro-abortion/condom politician?

  • Christopher,

    We are splitting hairs at this point.

    For me I take people at their word and I believe what you are saying is sincere. I take your fraternal actions to heart, but we’ve exhausted this debate well enough.

    Pax vobiscum.

  • Matt,

    I’ve stated my case. I’m done with this.

  • It “seems” that Tito does not fully understand the concept of material cooperation, but pontificates on it with great confidence anyway.
    It “seems” that Tito has no idea how United Ways are organized or governed, but pontificates on them with great confidence anyway.
    It “seems” that Tito feels he can reach factual conclusions with great confidence simply by taking bizarre inferential liberties.
    It “seems” that Tito thinks that he is entitled to make all manner of unfair accusations, most especially if he qualifies them with “seems.”

  • Mike,

    I’ll concede that you aren’t in material cooperation, but in remote material cooperation with abortion.

  • I’ll concede that you aren’t in material cooperation, but in remote material cooperation with abortion.

    No more than any of us who live in this society.

    Tito, are ad hominem attacks wrong? If so, how does “It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS” differ from what Mike said? Best I can tell, the only difference is that while Mike slipped in “it seems”, his observations can actually be connected to your own words, whereas there is much less to go on regarding Fr. Jenkins.

  • As far as the rest of your ad hominem attacks, you need to think twice before you post or you will be banned.

    Tito: You really need to relax. You have now generated into ad hominem and ridiculous charges against someone who is merely pointing out the spuriousness of your charges. If you feel like lashing out against and banning Mike and anyone else who shows even the slightest hint of disagreeing with you, then frankly I have no use in visiting this site anymore myself.

  • Rick,

    If you want to delve into moral relativism, be my guest.

    It is scandalous that a prominent Catholic priest is a board member of an organization that actively promotes condom usage and abortion.

    But if you want to mock me and what I wrote I am fine with it. You can attack the messenger, but the fact remains that Fr. John Jenkins is a board member, not a volunteer on a Sunday morning passing out flyers, but a board member that has the authority to debate the direction of an organization that actively promotes moral evils contrary to Catholic teaching.

    Go ahead and attack me, but you won’t distract from this very fact.

  • Everyone,

    We all need to cool down about this (me included).

    So I am closing down the comments for this thread.

    We all need to think twice before posting comments and remember that we are all children of Christ. It would behoove all of us to be more charitable in how we treat each other.

    I appreciate fraternal correction, but that can’t be used as a weapon to bludgeon someone you disagree with.

    Pax!

  • Pingback: Res & Explicatio for A.D. 5-20-2009 « The American Catholic

George Weigel on Narratives & 'Bush Derangement Syndrome'

Wednesday, February 18, AD 2009

In an essay entitled A Campaign of Narratives in the March issue of First Things (currently behind a firewall for non-subscribers), George Weigel writes:

Yet it is also true that the 2008 campaign, which actually began in the late fall of 2006, was a disturbing one—not because it coincided with what is usually described in the hyperbole of our day as “the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression” but because of how it revealed some serious flaws in our political culture. Prominent among those flaws is our seeming inability to discuss, publicly, the transformation of American liberalism into an amalgam of lifestyle libertinism, moral relativism, and soft multilateralism, all flavored by the identity politics of race and gender. Why can’t we talk sensibly about these things? For the past eight years, no small part of the reason why had to do with what my friend Charles Krauthammer, in a nod to his former incarnation as a psychiatrist, famously dubbed “Bush Derangement Syndrome.”

Raising this point is not a matter of electoral sour grapes. Given an unpopular war that had been misreported from the beginning, plus President Bush’s unwillingness to use the presidential bully pulpit to help the American people comprehend the stakes in Iraq, plus conservative aggravation over a spendthrift Republican Congress and administration, plus that administration’s failure to enforce discipline on its putative congressional allies, plus public exhaustion with a familiar cast of characters after seven years in office, plus an economic meltdown—well, given all that, it seems unlikely that any Republican candidate could have beaten any Democrat in 2008. Indeed, the surprise at the presidential level may have been that Obama didn’t enjoy a success of the magnitude of Eisenhower’s in 1952, Johnson’s in 1964, Nixon’s in 1972, or Reagan’s in 1984.

Still, I would argue that the basic dynamics of the 2008 campaign, evident in the passions that drove Obama supporters to seize control of the Democratic party and then of the presidency, were not set in motion by the failures and missed opportunities of the previous seven years but by Bush Derangement Syndrome, which emerged as a powerful force in American public life on December 12, 2000: the day American liberalism’s preferred instrument of social and political change, the Supreme Court, determined that George W. Bush (the candidate with fewer popular votes nationally) had, in fact, won Florida and with it a narrow majority in the Electoral College. Here was the cup dashed from the lips—and by a court assumed to be primed to deliver the expected and desired liberal result yet again. Here was the beginning of a new, millennial politics of emotivism (displayed in an astonishing degree of publicly manifested loathing for a sitting president) and hysteria (fed by the new demands of a 24/7 news cycle).

[Emphasis Mine]

I think this analysis gets things exactly backwards.

Continue reading...

35 Responses to George Weigel on Narratives & 'Bush Derangement Syndrome'

  • Good post. Ultimately, this defeat may in fact be the best thing for the Republican Party as it embarks on a return to principles and examines what led to the public’s dissatisfaction.

    On a tangential note, your observation that “the press embarked on what was, in my view, a credibility-shattering love affair with the Obama campaign; it became difficult for me to separate the official Obama campaign spokesmen from the unofficial, honorary spokesmen at our major newspapers,” ABC’s Jake Tapper blogged an interesting story on former-journalists-turned-Obama-appointments.

  • John Henry,

    good post. I’m not sure about this though:

    In short, the polling data suggests events, rather than a mysterious political pathology, were responsible for Bush’s unpopularity.

    If we examine the actual events which led to his popularity drop, many of them really are not justified. The liberal media’s hatchet jobs had their intended effect. That is not to say there weren’t PR and real blunders, but not anywhere near what could legitimize the rage.

    Look at the “One’s” blunders in his first weeks, and yet nary a peep of rage at him… Harriet Meiers may have been unqualified as a SC justice, she at least, as far as we know, paid her taxes.

  • Poor Weigel.

  • Spot on by Prof. Dr. Weigel. But would go back further to that ghastly Tuesday night in November 2004 when both Houses of Congress went into hands of Wascally Wepublicans. Unhinged the Dems big time- power as a matter of their sheer force of righteousness. Setting stage for hanging chads nonsense with led to Bush Derangement Syndrome. Which will account for the rushrushrush to move Porkapalooza Bill down assembly line. In fact may be release of pent up energy building up far back as 1965- Great Society, War on Poverty, etc. Perhaps even waaay back to 1933. Note that when Messiah of Hope and Change signed Porkapalooza into law, among casualties was that grabbag of regulations known as Welfare Reform. Agreed to by Slick Willie in summer of 96 before boarding plane to Chi-Town Convention. Gone gone gone. More lifetime serfs dependant on Federal subsidies for very existence. Took some cold logical thinking in the midst of BDS to insert those clauses into Porkapalooza.

  • Chris,

    Thanks for pointing out that story; I hadn’t seen it. Given the financial state (and the politics) of the journalism industry, I suppose it’s not very surprising (although I wonder why anyone would want to work as part of Joe Biden’s communications team).

    Matt,

    I think it’s true that Bush received harsher coverage than a similarly-situated Democratic President would receive. At the same time, I think that type of thing moves the approval rating from 50% to 46-47%, rather than from 50% to 30%. Bush, after all, was re-elected in 2004. Events drove the difference in perception between 2004 and 2008.

    Gerard,

    Your comments almost invariably make me laugh; I think we have to agree to disagree here. I certainly acknowledge that something akin to ‘Bush Derangement Syndrome’ exists; what I dispute is that ‘the basic dynamics of the campaign’ were set in motion by it rather than Bush’s (very real) mistakes.

  • events drove the difference in perception between 2004 and 2008.

    Of course without any events it would have been much harder to drive the perception, but that does not explain it without a massive and misleading campaign by the liberal media.

  • Major correction- big time derangement since 1994 congressional election- revenge inflicted in part with Porkapalooza.

  • I cannot believe George Weigel is still defending the Iraq war, and his infamous “charism of political discernment” (“Bush’s unwillingness to use the presidential bully pulpit to help the American people comprehend the stakes in Iraq”). Shame of Weigel for going against the Church on this from the beginning, and even bigger shame on him for not repenting his earlier mistake.

    Plus, he’s a good friend of notorious torture defender Charles Krauthammer????

  • I’m not clear why defending the Iraq War now would be less tenable now than it was four years ago. From a just war perspective, it was either just or it wasn’t in the first place. Some Catholics such as Weigel (and I) thought and continue to think that removing Hussein from power was a worthy and just cause of war. Some, such as you and apparently John Paul II and Benedict XVI, did not think the war was justified.

    But there’s not a specific position of the Church as a whole on the topic, and I’m not clear why the passage of time would necessarily make Weigel’s position any different than it was in the first place.

  • Plus, he’s a good friend of notorious torture defender Charles Krauthammer????

    “Morning’s Minion” — Honestly, I think I’d be more understanding if you voiced similar outrage about somebody’s being a good friend of “notorious defenders of” Roe v. Wade.

  • Or, for that matter, voting for “notorious defenders” of Roe v. Wade.

  • methinks M.M. can be right about the warmongers and sadists…AND still not vote for or support either them or the “notorious defenders” [i.e., abortion had NOTHING to do with M.M.’s comment]

  • Darwin:

    Many who supported the Iraq war did so because: (i) they believed Saddam presented an imminent threat, based on his WMDs; (ii) they believed the war would be quick and costless, as the Iraqis would welcome the invasion. For a Catholic, (i) would take care of the “last resort” criterion and (ii) would address “proportionality” from a just war perspective. I would argue (and did argue) with these interpretations but there was at least the semblence of an argument there. And, honestly, given the lies and obfuscation of the last regime, I can understand why somebody would fall for (i)– unaccustomed to being told lies of this magnitude, I believed it myself at first.

    But we now know that both (i) and (ii) proved false, and that the war has been a disaster– up to a million Iraqi deaths, a quarter of the population displaced, God hows how many future terrorists nurtured on the killing fields of Iraq. So, yes, I would expect Mr. Weigel and others who take just war teaching seriously to show just a little remorse and humility. Is that really too much to ask for?

  • And, honestly, given the lies and obfuscation of the last regime, I can understand why somebody would fall for (i)– unaccustomed to being told lies of this magnitude, I believed it myself at first.

    I guess I’m a little confused by this, since as a war supporter I did not at all think that Hussein and his potential weapons presented an imminent threat to the US. Nor did I think that the administration presented a very strong case that he did. The case that I did and do think was strong was that Hussein was an illegitimate ruler who had already invaded several of his neighbors, who did not abide by the treaty that ended the Gulf War (which should unquestionably have gone all the way go Bagdad) and who had been almost unimaginably cruel to his people. He had also made it clear he was unwilling to leave power of moderate his tyranny, thus making it obvious that nothing short of a war would remove him from power. So clearly, war was a last resort when it came to removing Hussein from power.

    As to proportionality — anyone who thinks any war will be quick and costless is not only a fool, but a dangerous fool. If someone thought such a I thing, I think he was very wrong to. But at the same time, it seems to me that your approach to proportionality here is rather flawed. The decision to overthrow Hussein’s regime pretty clearly did not directly result in all the civilian deaths and displacement that occurred. (I think the numbers you’re citing are incorrect, but it’s not a numbers game so that’s irrelevant.) Most of that death and displacement was caused by attacks on the Americans and especially on the general population made by factions within Iraq that were unhappy with the sort of government that came into being after the invasion. It was (as I recall you pointed out on more than one occasion) a civil war. Now I think that many in the DOD and administration were very much to blame for the fact that things became sufficiently destabilized after the invasion to get to that point, but one can hardly cite the methods of civil war factions within Iraq as reasons why the original decision to get rid of Hussein via an invasion was disproportionate.

    I could certainly see supporters of the war wishing that it had been run better, and bitterly regretting the amount of unnecessary destruction which resulted from poor planning for the post invasion period. But I really can’t see why you’d think this would change one’s assessment of whether the invasion itself was just. (Though it might make people more inclined to be realistic about the capabilities of military power, which is always a good thing.)

  • Now I’m confused, Darwin. If that is the reason you supported the removal of the pesident of Iraq by force, then I could probably come up with maybe 20 equally odious regimes that nobody would miss. Do you really want to go down that road?

    As for proportionality, I think you are missing the point. I never said the US was directly responsible for the carnage that ensued. But by storming into this tempest, without heed for history, culture or context, it bears responsibility for what happened in the aftermath. And there were many voices warning that this was going to happen (including from the Vatican), but they were ignore.

  • Now I’m confused, Darwin. If that is the reason you supported the removal of the pesident of Iraq by force, then I could probably come up with maybe 20 equally odious regimes that nobody would miss. Do you really want to go down that road?

    I’d have to hear the examples, but I might well consider it to be entirely just for one to wage a war to remove any one of those regimes. The fact that it would be just certainly does not mean that one absolutely must do it. (Or at least, I would assume that you don’t argue that simply because it would be just to wage a war in a given circumstance, that it would thus be immoral _not_ to.)

    For example, I would consider it entirely just for the US to intervene in Darfur in order to protect civilians from government backed militias — but the fact that one would be justified in doing so does not necessarily mean that one _must_ or that it would be evil not to.

    As for proportionality, I think you are missing the point. I never said the US was directly responsible for the carnage that ensued. But by storming into this tempest, without heed for history, culture or context, it bears responsibility for what happened in the aftermath. And there were many voices warning that this was going to happen (including from the Vatican), but they were ignore.

    The just war criteria is that the wrong being addressed must be proportionate to the evils that inevitably result from war. That’s different from the instigators of the war being responsible for every possible resulting occurrence.

    Also, I think you’re eliding the fact that simply removing Hussein did not necessarily have to result in nearly the problems that did in fact happen. The incredibly bad decisions made by Gen. Tommy Franks and Ambassador Bremmer (among others — and of course Rumsfeld and Bush in that they approved those decisions and picked those decision makers) make things far, far worse than they need have been. For that I do have a lot of regret, but it’s not regret that the war took place at all, but rather than the follow through was so poor.

  • I guess I’m a little confused by this, since as a war supporter I did not at all think that Hussein and his potential weapons presented an imminent threat to the US.

    I may have misunderstood Just War theory, and the Catechism is necessarily a simplification, but it says that “governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed,” and when it sets forth the conditions, it says “The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration…” If you don’t believe the U.S. had a legitimate claim to acting in self-defense (as I didn’t), doesn’t that preclude the invasion regardless of proportionality?

    For example, I would consider it entirely just for the US to intervene in Darfur in order to protect civilians from government backed militias

    I think there is a distinction between a humanitarian intervention to protect citizens within a country, and a situation like Iraq, where it was frequently argued that Iraq was a military threat to the United States. There was some language about humanitarian intervention in the run-up to Iraq, but my recollection is that this consideration was a distant second or third to other objectives. I do not think it is accurate to characterize the invasion of Iraq as motivated primarily by humanitarian concerns, and I didn’t think the U.S. had a strong case for self-defense.

  • John Henry,

    you don’t believe the U.S. had a legitimate claim to acting in self-defense (as I didn’t), doesn’t that preclude the invasion regardless of proportionality?

    Legitimate defense can apply to the defense of others, including the population of the country itself. I don’t believe anyone argued that Iraq was a direct military threat to the US. They were in no means capable of attacking the continental US, and nobody argued it. What was argued (irrefutably), was that Iraq was a threat to it’s neighbors and by extension to legitimate US security interests. It’s apparent attempt to develop WMD only heightened the level of that threat.

    do not think it is accurate to characterize the invasion of Iraq as motivated primarily by humanitarian concerns

    correct, but this justification doesn’t require us to have this primary motivation as the primary goal (provided the end itself is not immoral).

    I didn’t think the U.S. had a strong case for self-defense

    How many National Security briefings were you privy to? The same number as the Holy Father, and the USCCB? I’m not saying you don’t have a right to your opinion and voice, we all do, and must express them. At the end of the day, we are not aware of much of the information that the president has. Even conservative commentators have stated that Bush was no longer best equipped to make such judgments the day after he took office.

  • What was argued (irrefutably), was that Iraq was a threat to it’s neighbors and by extension to legitimate US security interests. It’s apparent attempt to develop WMD only heightened the level of that threat.

    Well, part of the difficulty with Just war theory is that the standards are unavoidably ambiguous. At a high level of generality I suppose Iraq was a threat to its neighbors in the same way Iran is a threat to Israel, and Israel, Iran; the same way India is to Pakistan and Pakistan is to Israel; and the same way that Russia is to its former satellites. But my interpretation is that the threat should be more imminent than the general threat that exists any time countries have long-standing animosities and military capability, otherwise Just War theory is basically a green light to attack whenever you feel ‘threatened’ in some sense. To me Iraq was not sufficiently distinguishable as an imminent threat, and this rendered our response illegitimate. It’s hard to argue it was in ‘self-defense’ or even defense when no attack was imminent.

    How many National Security briefings were you privy to? The same number as the Holy Father, and the USCCB?

    Judging by the reliability of some of the pre-war intelligence, one may have been better off not being in those briefings…

  • “I don’t believe anyone argued that Iraq was a direct military threat to the US.”

    What world were you living in during 2002-03?

  • John Henry,
    Well, part of the difficulty with Just war theory is that the standards are unavoidably ambiguous. At a high level of generality I suppose Iraq was a threat to its neighbors in the same way Iran is a threat to Israel

    Generality? So training and funding terrorists to blow up school buses and markets is just a “general” threat? You’re joking right?

    and Israel, Iran

    Israel is only a threat to Iran because of it’s own attacks by proxy against Israel. The threat is by no means “general”… if Iran gets to close to it’s bomb, Israel will attack, be assured of that.

    the same way India is to Pakistan

    It’s a different situation there, far different, and not “general” either. There is a threat though, and under the right theoretical circumstances either party may be justified in attacking, of course those circumstances couldn’t exist because of proportionality.

    It’s hard to argue it was in ’self-defense’ or even defense when no attack was imminent.

    Aside from the attacks which were ongoing against our aircraft performing a legitimate humanitarian and security function?

    I think part of your problem here, is that you are trying to deal with all of the justifications in isolation from the other, that is not giving you the whole picture. Iraq was violating the terms of the truce, the whole purpose of a truce is that it prevents the offender from being able re-arm and pursue it’s agenda again.

    How many National Security briefings were you privy to? The same number as the Holy Father, and the USCCB?

    Judging by the reliability of some of the pre-war intelligence, one may have been better off not being in those briefings.

    You and I are STILL not in a good position to know everything the president knew, nor do either of us know if Syria is now in possesion of Iraqi WMD materials or technology. Even IF the intelligence was as bad as you might think, it doesn’t change the the moral justification if it was reasonably believed to be accurate.

    Mark D,

    did you think that Iraq had missiles, bombers or warships capable of attacking US soil? I never heard anyone claim such, but maybe you have different sources than I.

  • While I don’t necessarily agree with every detail of what Matt said above, I think he’s pretty clearly right that no one serious claimed that Iraq was a direct military threat to the US back in the lead up to the war. There was a lot of discussion of Iraq’s potential to cause trouble for us in Afghanistan or to provide aid to terrorists who would in turn attack us directly, but aside from shooting at our planes in the No Fly Zone, Iraq wasn’t really capable of being a direct military threat to us.

    Thus, if one takes just war as only applying in situation which are directly self defensive in nature, than I would see a pretty clear argument that the way isn’t just. It doesn’t seem to me, however, that just war must always be defensive. I already pointed out the possibility of “humanitarian” wars, and I would tend to consider removing a manifestly aggressive and oppressive regime that was destablizing the region as a reasonable casus belli in certain situations.

    At root: I think that getting rid of Hussein’s baathist regime was the right thing to do in 1991, and short of it massively changing its way of behaving (which it clearly hadn’t) I continued to support removing it at any point thereafter.

    It’s perhaps key that the Vatican opposed the original Gulf War as well (which strikes me as odd, in that that struck me as a pretty classic example of a just war) and so I’m hardly surprised that they opposed continuing it to its logical conclusion.

  • It doesn’t seem to me, however, that just war must always be defensive…

    Is this view in tension with Just War theory as it is presented in the Catechism? Granted, the CCC is a starting point rather than the definitive understanding, but it seems to suggest that ‘self-defense’ is the primary consideration, and when it sets forth the Just War conditions it says: ‘the strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force…’.

    I already pointed out the possibility of “humanitarian” wars,

    I think the use of force for humanitarian intervention can be justified under the right circumstances, but I do not think Iraq was understood to be primarily a humanitarian enterprise. This is a different type of ‘defense,’ but it is still defense.

    At root: I think that getting rid of Hussein’s baathist regime was the right thing to do in 1991, and short of it massively changing its way of behaving (which it clearly hadn’t) I continued to support removing it at any point thereafter.

    Well, I guess the point is moot now, but while I think this justification works theoretically, it’s always left me cold. I tend to think there was an end to the hostilities in the original Gulf War, and that the renewal of large-scale military activity required a separate justification. That said, aside from diplomatic considerations (the appearance of Vatican-sanctioned Christians v. Muslims), I’ve always thought the original Gulf War was basically a slam dunk case for military intervention. The U.S. was not directly threatened, but they stepped in, along with much of the international community, to assist in the restoration of Kuwaiti sovereignty. I’ve always been puzzled by the Vatican’s opposition to the original Gulf War.

  • Pingback: George Weigel Cannot Leave the Bubble « Vox Nova
  • How can anybody seriously claim that Iraq was bit presented as a direct threat to the US in 2002-2003? Doesn’t anybody remember that the imminent threat of Iraq justified preemptive war?

  • Wj,

    shouldn’t be hard to come up with a citation then.

  • Matt,

    Here’s George Weigel, for example, in January 2003:

    As recently as the Korean War (and, some would argue, the Vietnam War), “defense against aggression” could reasonably be taken to mean a defensive military response to a cross-border military aggression already underway. New weapons capabilities and outlaw or “rogue” states require a development of the concept of “defense against aggression.” To take an obvious current example: it makes little moral sense to suggest that the United States must wait until a North Korea or Iraq or Iran actually launches a ballistic missile tipped with a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon of mass destruction before we can legitimately do something about it. Can we not say that, in the hands of certain kinds of states, the mere possession of weapons of mass destruction constitutes an aggression—or, at the very least, an aggression waiting to happen?

    This “regime factor” is crucial in the moral analysis, for weapons of mass destruction are clearly not aggressions waiting to happen when they are possessed by stable, law-abiding states…If the “regime factor” is crucial in the moral analysis, then preemptive military action to deny the rogue state that kind of destructive capacity would not, in my judgment, contravene the “defense against aggression” concept of just cause. Indeed, it would do precisely the opposite, by giving the concept of “defense against aggression” real traction in the world we must live in, and transform.

  • John Henry,

    this citation does not suggest that the threat is directly against the US. In fact it’s clear from his use of the Korean War, and Vietnam that Weigel is not necessarily concerned with direct military threats to the US, but also with with threats against neighbors and threats against US interests.

  • It sounds like he was talking about a threat to the U.S. to me…

    “…it makes little moral sense to suggest that the United States must wait until a North Korea or Iraq or Iran…”

  • John Henry,

    “…it makes little moral sense to suggest that the United States must wait until a North Korea to attack South Korea or Japan, or Iraq to invade Kuwait again, or Saudi Arabiaor Iran…” attack Israel.

    Now, the scenarios I listed are all eminently more realistic than the idea that Iraq attacking the US directly. The scenarios are also very real threats to US and world security.

  • John Henry,

    The scenarios are also very real threats to US and world security.

    Exactly the point. It was argued that preemption was necessary to protect against “real threats to US” security.

    Ok, so what do we disagree on? I’m simply arguing that an unrealistic direct attack by Iraq on the US was not the used to justify the invasion, but a very real threat of Iraq attacking other nations in the region causing instability and a serious impact to US security.

    We can disagree on the level of threat or whether it provides sufficient justification, but it has to be based on an acknowledgment of the facts. Iraq was a serious threat to the region and indirectly to the US.

  • Matt,

    It seems to me that Weigel himself suggests that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iraq could constitute a direct threat to the U.S.. I don’t know why you thought it was particularly relevant to alter his phrasing to add other countries; he only mentioned the U.S.

    Here’s Bush in the 2003 State of the Union, suggesting Iraq could provide such weapons to terrorists:

    Our nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq. A brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States….

    And this Congress and the American people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/transcripts/bushtext_012803.html

    Iraq was described as a threat to the United States, often a direct one, and a preemptive attack was justified on those grounds.

  • John Henry,

    Weigel did not say ““…it makes little moral sense to suggest that the United States must wait until a North Korea or Iraq or Iran…” to attack the US.

    What did he mean? It’s entirely likely he meant attacking neighbors in the region. Which is an indirect attack (as would, say putting a nuclear weapon in the hands of Al Queda).

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An Audit for the Legionnaires & Regnum Christi?

Sunday, February 8, AD 2009

George Weigel argues that a papal delegate should be appointed to audit the Legionnaires and Regnum Christi. This is a rather drastic step, but, I think, a necessary one. An excerpt:

Assuming, as we can and must, that this remains the Holy See’s intention, it must now move without delay to address the accelerating train-wreck-heading-toward-the-cliff that the Legion and Regnum Christi have become over the past ten days, as credible reports appeared in the blogosphere that Fr. Maciel had lived a life of sexual and financial scandal, probably for decades.

The reports have emanated from those who had been advised of the Legion’s own investigation of Maciel, but there is still no formal statement from the leadership of the Legion as to what its internal investigations have uncovered. There has been no full disclosure of what is known about Fr. Maciel’s corruptions. There has been no disclosure as to the nature and extent of the web of deceit he must have spun within the Legion of Christ, and beyond. And there has been no public recognition of what faithful, orthodox, morally upright Legionary priests believe have been grave corruptions of the institutional culture of their community.

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14 Responses to An Audit for the Legionnaires & Regnum Christi?

  • The whole organization should be disbanded.

    Too may leaders were complicit in a prolonged coverup of the founder’s grave misdeeds and remain inside.

    Combine this with the mythical accounts of Maciel’s “saintly” life that were ’til this very week the everyday ‘spiritual nourishment’ for LC-RC members, and the center of everything the LC-RC is/was about, and we still have a disaster only waiting to get worse.

    Too many good lives have be ruined and are in the process of ruining, as attachment to the Maciel myth and the cadre of its knowing, complicit perpetrators persist.

  • Mark,

    this would most certainly NOT serve the interest of saving souls, I’m sure the Holy Father would reject it out of hand. If we’re going to treat them so harshly, considering that they are very orthodox and loyal to the Holy Father, then perhaps we should disband the Jesuits, and a whole lot of other orders that have lost their Faith.

    I’m not fan of the LC-RC, but they need reform, not banishment (same with the Jesuits).

  • I think the jury is still out on what the best approach forward is. As Matt notes, there are some very good, faithful Catholics in these organizations. As Mark notes, there are good reasons to suspect that the entire organizational culture is corrupt.

    I think Weigel’s proposal warrants serious consideration: Let an outside source evaluate the organizations. I would probably prefer a committee to one individual, but I think it’s a necessary step in the process. Disbanding the organizations without this step might hurt a lot of innocent people; on the other hand, the current leadership cannot be trusted. An independent evaluation is necessary (although I would expect membership to drop precipitously in any case after the recent disclosures).

  • An open letter to the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi, by Dr. Germain Grisez, Flynn Professor of Christian Ethics at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

    This morning I found the attached Catholic News Service report posted on the National Catholic Register website, which suffices to convince me that the report’s content is substantially accurate. I attach it so that you may know exactly what has moved me to write this message to you, who are the only Legionaries of Christ I know well and regard as friends.

    I hope that you will realize without my saying so that nothing true of Father Maciel could ever lessen my admiration and affection for you, my readiness to associate with you, and my desire to cooperate with you whenever our different vocations make doing so appropriate. As your friend, I am thinking about your plight, and wish to offer the help I can give you.

    You must be feeling great pain at your spiritual father’s betrayal of Jesus, of his Church, and of you and all your good and faithful confreres. You also must be feeling great anxiety at the dimmed prospects for the unfolding of your vocations to priestly life and service. I try to imagine and do sympathize with those feelings and pray that the Holy Spirit will console you and strengthen you to console your good and faithful confreres.

    In my draft of chapter three of my volume on clerical and consecrated service and life, I wrote:

    While good close collaborators never renege on their total self-gift, some do leave the diocese or institute to which they first committed themselves in order to enter another, form an entirely new institute, or undertake a different sort of consecrated life. But they only undertake such a change if convinced that God is calling them to make it. Many saints have discerned such a calling and responded. Their example makes it clear that their commitment to and membership in particular dioceses or institutes is a stable but not always unalterable way of carrying out their fundamental commitment, namely, their self-gift to Jesus and his Church.
    If I were you, I would bear in mind that your fundamental commitment is to Jesus and his Church. The question that should be uppermost in your minds is how to continue carrying out that commitment most faithfully and fruitfully.

    You and all your good and faithful confreres share a common good that includes realities of great value: your communio with one another, your experience and habits of working together, and material means of carrying on your common service and life. All that should be protected, salvaged, and, if possible, kept intact. I do not think that good end can be realized by the juridical person, the Legionaries of Christ, and its present leadership.

    Sex-abuse involving diocesan clerics and members of religious institutes has been dealt with up to now solely by sanctions against those guilty of abusive activities and by measures to prevent such activities. The bishops, religious superiors, and others who were guilty—of complicity in such wrongdoing, lying about it, irresponsibility toward victims, and so on—have in general not honestly admitted, much less rectified, what they did and failed to do. For that reason, the injury to the Church continues to fester. Still, those past experiences might seem to some Legionaries to provide a model by which your present plight can be overcome.

    That would be a grave mistake for two reasons.

    First, no matter how corrupt the hierarchy may be, faithful Catholics cannot do without it, but we can do without any particular religious institute. Everyone realizes that Father Maciel’s double life required the complicity of associates, some of whom surely are still members of the institute, and some of whom probably are functioning as superiors. Unless those who shared in the betrayal are identified and faithful Legionaries cleanly separate from them, the latter group’s common good will not continue receiving the support of faithful Catholics, and will not be preserved.

    Second, when a bishop dies, the diocese’s priests cease cooperating with him. But even after the death of an institute’s saintly founder, its members’ service and life continue as cooperation with him or her. Regardless of Father Maciel’s subjective moral responsibility—which only God knows—the evidence of his objective betrayal of his commitment makes it impossible for you and other good and faithful Legionaries any longer to carry on your service and life as cooperation with him. Unless you and your confreres proceed as quickly as possible to terminate the juridical person, the Legionaries of Christ, and reorganize yourselves into a new institute, the common good you now share will begin to decompose: very few new men will join you, many in formation will leave, some professed members will separate, and the collaboration and support of the lay faithful will shrink.

    The Pope is the ultimate superior on earth of every religious institute. Only the Pope can oversee the termination of the Legionaries of Christ, the salvaging of its faithful members and other assets, and their reconstitution into a new institute. Therefore, if I were you, I would at once appeal to the Pope to fulfill his responsibility toward you, to appoint two or three prelates—members neither of the Legionaries nor of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life—as an ad hoc papal commission to conduct a thorough visitation, identify those complicit in Father Maciel’s wrongdoing and its concealment until now, and work closely with faithful, professed members in carrying out an orderly termination of the existing Institute, election of a small group to serve as founders of its replacement, and the preparation of an entirely new and reformed body of particular law for the new institute.

    Some of your good and faithful confreres undoubtedly will tell you that following my advice would violate your vow of obedience and constitute grave disloyalty to your superiors. Those sincere men will be mistaken. Your vow is to obey morally acceptable precepts. In the present disaster, it is, in my judgment, your grave moral duty to appeal to the Pope, as your superior, to save the common good of the faithful members of the Legionaries of Christ by terminating the present juridical person, and seeing to the formation of a new institute. I am sure that most who were complicit in Father Maciel’s wrongdoing were constrained by a false sense of loyalty. Do not follow their bad and disastrous example. Remember instead your responsibility to Jesus and to his Church—to all those whose souls are still to be saved by your service and that of the members of the new foundation

  • Thanks for posting Dr. Grisez’s letter. I updated the post to include a link to the letter.

  • Not sure what was “uncharitable” about my last post on Tito’s thread. care to explain, Tito? I’m serious.

  • Michael,

    It’s been four days since that post. Tito apologized. Let it go.

  • John Henry

    He didn’t really apologize — that’s the problem. And his insistance to characterize the victim as uncharitable shows the extent of his error.

  • Hrmmmmmmm — I thought this post was about the Legionnaires & Regnum Christi?

  • Henry,

    As I said, I understand your concerns, and there are differences of opinion among the contributors here. But this thread is not intended as a place to discuss those differences, and honestly I don’t feel that VN contributors are in the best position to cry foul given their own rhetorical excesses. Feel free to either post on this at your blog or discuss differences via e-mail. Any future comments on this thread unrelated to the topic of the thread will be deleted.

  • I suspect that something on the scale of what Weigal or Grisez suggest will be necessary, and I hope that the Vatican exceeds its usual speed in doing something sooner rather than later.

    I would assume that a large portion of the 800 LC priests around the world are good men who knew nothing about all this, and finding a positive direction to channel their energies rather than leaving them in freefall under a leadership now in question would seem an important move.

  • I think disbanding them is too drastic and leaves too many adrift, as has been ably noted above. But a decapitation of the upper echelon of the leadership would not be. The rot is both too pervasive and too obvious to avoid a serious housecleaning.

  • The adulation of Maciel was so excessively unhealthy. I remember, for example, how some LC leaders shared gleefully with me a story of how during a Maciel visit Nuestro Padre went onto a soccer field during a game and put his hand up to signal a stoppage of action,.One LCer either did not see Maciel’s action, or. in the passion of the game ignored the signal, kicking the soccer ball. As a result, Maciel banned soccer in all LC facilities for at least a few years, as seminarian/priestly recreation. As the story was told, everyone at the table was all smiles about how Maciel issued such orders despotically, and how all then showed such willing, unconditional obedience.

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