My friend Jay Anderson comes out temporarily from blogging retirement to note the recent history of Democrats atttempting to control the Catholic Church:
In case you’re wondering, the “middle ages dictatorship” that is the Catholic Church and her Bishops is right there in the middle of Hillary Clinton’s so-called “basket of deplorables”. And the Clinton team had a plan to rid themselves of these troublesome priests by “plant[ing] the seeds of the revolution” against the Catholic hierarchy and its teachings via infiltration and subversion.
Some of us caught on to this plan a decade ago…
Vindication. Yes, an opportunity to gloat. To say “I told you so.”
Not a very pretty sentiment, but that’s about the only thing that could bring me out of blogging retirement (but only for this one post) in the electoral Annus Horribilis that is 2016.
So it turns out that what we knew ALL ALONG about the Soros-funded DemoCatholic front groups Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and its sister organization Catholics United was, in fact, 100% on the money. We have an admission right out of the horse’s mouth (or, rather, out of the horse’s leaked emails). I haven’t the time nor the inclination to get into a long retrospective detailing the war of words that I and other like-minded bloggers waged over several years — beginning a decade ago — against Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United. Instead, I will direct you to the links below, which will more than fill you in and give you a taste of what was being said and what was at stake.
In short, my part in this drama began a decade ago during the 2006 elections, when Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good published a Catholic voter guide that played down the priority given by the Church to traditional life issues in favor of a hodge-podge of issues straight out of the Democrat Party platform. At first, I began by just blogging about and linking to what others were saying about this mysterious group who had suddenly appeared on the scene in the midst of a mid-term election. As the evidence poured in, especially evidence that linked the group to funding provided by none other than George Soros, it soon became clear that Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good was little more than a front group for the Democrat Party and its efforts to blur the lines on life issues with Catholic voters.
And then, the week before the November 2006 elections, our own Catholic Chronicle — the usually fairly orthodox newspaper of the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio — published a front-page puff piece on the efforts of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good in our own diocese to promote their vision and their voter guide (the story reported the efforts in a straightforward manner, without questioning the problematic aspects of the group and its voter guide).. The proverbial you-know-what must’ve hit the fan in the Chancery offices once the very orthodox then-Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair (now Archbishop of Hartford, CT) caught wind of it, because the article was gone from the Chronicle’s website within a matter of hours after it was published. Alas, it was too late to remove the article from the print editions, which went out the weekend before the elections on the following Tuesday to parishes Diocese-wide. So, in response to the Chronicle’s article, I penned a letter to the editor taking the Chronicle and the main protagonist of the article, Prof. Richard Gaillardetz, to task for the misrepresentation and manipulation of Catholic teaching. The Chronicle eventually published my letter, along with a few others disagreeing with the article and its timing, a couple of months later. Following the letter’s publication, the response from the Catholics in Alliance crowd was swift and predictably unpleasant. You can read the comments here for a taste. This war of words against Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United (and various offshoots like Catholic Democrats, etc.) went on for several years and took many twists and turns, which you can read about in the links at the bottom of this post.
In the end, it is my belief that, ultimately, those of us leading the charge against these groups lost that war (at least in the short term covering 2006, 2008, and 2012). Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United accomplished their aims of convincing Catholics that voting for a party that views government-funded abortion on demand as a sacrament, and that views the destruction of the traditional family as a prerequisite to achieving its policy goals and destroying the institutions — such as the Church and other religious people and organizations — that might stand in that party’s way of achieving said policy goals, was not only morally acceptable, but was, in fact, the MOST Catholic way to vote. See, e.g., Doug Kmiec. “These groups are merely drawing attention to long-ignored issues of importance to Catholics,” some said. “These groups are doing the Church a service by focusing on the need for a ‘consistent ethic of life’,” they said (never mind that these groups NEVER talked about such life issues as abortion, euthanasia, or the sanctity of the family). Entire blogs were established for the purpose of propagandizing the issues that the DemoCath groups argued were being ignored because of Catholic voters’ allegedly “obsessive” focus on “a narrow spectrum of issues regarding family and sexuality” (i.e. the sanctity of life and the family). Sometimes, these blogs had well-meaning founders who definitely raised important issues for Catholics to consider when they were deciding how to vote, but these blogs often quickly devolved into DemoCath propaganda organs as certain bloggers and frequent combox commentators used those fora to press forward the agitprop that ultimately undermined the good of the Catholic Church and her teachings in favor of the pursuit of Democrat Party policy goals. Far too many Catholics who should have known better allowed themselves to be swayed by the arguments of those whose only purpose was to weaken the resolve of Catholic voters to stand for the Catholic Church’s teachings on the primacy of life and family issues, and instead were duped by these malefactors to trade that birthright for a mess of feel-good leftist policy pottage. And that party repaid them by, among many other things, suing nuns to force them to provide birth control in their medical policies. And, in response, Catholic voters had so weakened their resolve to stand for traditional life issues, that they re-elected the guy who has consistently attacked their Church. Which was the goal of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United all along. Today, there is no identifiable “Catholic Vote” left to speak of thanks to the likes of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United.
So, it turns out to be a rather bittersweet bit of gloating, at best, when I read the latest WikiLeaks email dump, which includes a 2012 email exchange in which HilLIARy Clinton’s current campaign chairman, John Podesta, openly brags about being involved in efforts to infiltrate the Catholic Church and foment a “Catholic Spring” (i.e. a bottom-up rebellion against the Church hierarchy and its teaching authority akin to the “Arab Spring” — albeit without the violence, one hopes — that led to revolutions in Egypt, Libya, and Syria). The means of fomenting this takeover of the Church? Why, none other than Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United:
This whole controversy with the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage even though 98% of Catholic women (and their conjugal partners) have used contraception has me thinking . . . There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church. Is contraceptive coverage an issue around which that could happen. The Bishops will undoubtedly continue the fight. Does the Catholic Hospital Association support of the Administration’s new policy, together with “the 98%” create an opportunity?
Of course, this idea may just reveal my total lack of understanding of the Catholic church, the economic power it can bring to bear against nuns and priests who count on it for their maintenance, etc. Even if the idea isn’t crazy, I don’t qualify to be involved and I have not thought at all about how one would “plant the seeds of the revolution,” or who would plant them.
Just wondering . . .
Hoping you’re well, and getting to focus your time in the ways you want.
Sandy Newman, President
Voices for Progress
Date: 2012-02-11 11:45
Subject: Re: opening for a Catholic Spring? just musing . . .
We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up. I’ll discuss with Tara. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the other person to consult. (emphasis added)
A guest post by my friend Jay Anderson of Pro Ecclesia:
On this day 200 years ago – 10 September 1813, Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry, United States Navy, won a resounding victory over a British fleet near Put-in-Bay, Ohio, in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812:
At dawn on the morning of September 10, 1813, a lookout spotted six British vessels to the northwest of Put-in-Bay beyond Rattlesnake Island. Immediately Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry issued a flurry of orders and made preparations to sail forth to engage the British.Oliver Hazard Perry by Gilbert Stuart
With Perry’s fleet on Lake Erie the British supply route from Fort Malden to Port Dover had been severed. The British had to either fight, or abandon Fort Malden. The British squadron consisted of six ships with sixty-three cannons, while the American flotilla comprised nine vessels and fifty-four guns. The British were armed with long guns that could throw a cannonball approximately one mile, accurately to about one-half mile. The American ships primarily armed with carronades had less than half the range of a long gun. The carronades could inflict much more damage at close range. Perry needed the wind to his back to close within carronade range. When the squadron sailed from Put-in-Bay harbor at 7 a.m. the American vessels were steering west-northwest; the wind was blowing from the west-southwest. For more than two hours Perry repeatedly tacks his ships in an effort to put the wind to his back, but with no success. The frustrated Perry, conceded to mother nature at 10 a.m., issuing orders to turn his fleet in the opposite direction. But before the order could be executed the wind suddenly shifted and blew from the southeast, placing the wind directly behind the Americans. Perry’s opponent, Commander Robert Heriot Barclay, was an experienced Royal Navy officer who had fought with Lord Nelson at Trafalgar in 1805, and two years later he lost an arm fighting the French. Barclay’s options did not alter when the wind shifted, so the Scotsman pointed his bow sprits to the westward, and hove to in line of battle. With the wind at his back and the British battle line finally revealed, Perry made his own tactical adjustments. The Schooners Ariel and Scorpion were placed off the flagship’s weather bow to engage the first British vessel and to prevent the enemy from raking his fleet. The Lawrence, a 20-gun brig serving as Perry’s flagship, was third in line and would engage the Detroit, Barclay’s 19-gun flagship. Next in line floated the Caledonia, a small brig with only three guns. Fifth in the American line of battle was the Niagara, Perry’s other 20-gun brig and the Lawrence’s sistership. The Niagara, captained by Master Commandant Jesse Elliott, would engage the 17-gun Queen Charlotte, the second largest British ship. Lastly came the smaller schooners and sloop; these would engage the smaller British vessels. Just before the engagement opened Perry hoisted his battle flag to the flagship’s main truck. The large navy blue banner was emblazoned with the crudely inscribed words, “DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP”. For his battle slogan Perry used the dying words of Captain James Lawrence, a friend of the commodore who was killed on June 1, 1813. Perry’s flagship was named for the fallen Lawrence, and the dead hero’s inspiring words clearly indicated Perry’s determination to prevail.Perry’s Battle Flag, “Don’t Give Up the Ship”U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, MD Continue reading
My good friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia often delivers some of the most insightful commentary on Saint Blog’s. Here is commentary that he did today fisking Mark Shea’s observations of Joe Carter’ post at First Things, where Carter took a look at Generation X conservatives, and which may be read here. This gave Mark an opportunity to voice his disdain for forms of conservatism other than the paleocon version he embraces, and to go “O Tempora, O Mores”, over the coming generation of conservatives. Jay’s commentary is priceless:
He has been one of the few voices in the conservative movement to speak out of actual conservative values and not out of the Consequentialism that dominates the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism. So I was interested in his description of “X-Cons“, the rising generation of conservatives (so-called) who have been coming of age in the past decade. I think his description is accurate, rather depressing, and a further proof that Chesterton is right when he says that each revolutionary movement is a reaction to the last revolution–and that it typically knows what is wrong but not what is right. I appreciate Carter’s clear-eyed analysis and suspect that he, like me, is not altogether thrilled that this is the desperate pass in which the Thing that Used to be Conservatism now finds itself.
Later on, Mark continues:
X-Cons know little about history and their deepest influence is disk jockeys, who “taught us X-Cons to appreciate confirmation of our political views.” The perfectly reasonable thing to ask in light of this crushing diagnosis is, “What, precisely, is being conserved by such a ‘conservatism’?” A conservatism that knows nothing of engagement with ideas outside the Talk Radio Noise Machine (including engagement with ideas from its own intellectual history) and which has learned, as it’s primary lesson, “to appreciate confirmation of our political views” is a conservatism that is intellectually barren and open to manipulation by demagogues who flatter its adherents and teach them to remain safe in the echo chamber.
Mark goes further in his assessment of “X-Cons” as the dupes of demagogues:
When Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are your intelligentsia and Buckley is a sort of a ghostly eminence gris you no longer bother listening to, one must again ask what, exactly, is being conserved by such a conservatism. Much that bills itself as anti-elitist is just a celebration of intellectual laziness and a resentment of people who have done the hard work of thought. Yes, there are pointy headed intellectuals who pride themselves on their learning. That’s not an excuse to be a wahoo who prides himself on his ignorance.
Mark concludes his analysis of Joe’s piece lamenting Joe’s acknowledgement of the fact that “X-Cons” will soon displace the generation that came before us. Joe writes:
• X-Cons will soon be replacing the Boomers as the dominant cohort within the movement. We’ll be fielding presidential candidates in 2016 and dominating elections in 2020. We are, for better and for worse, the future of the movement. And of America.
… and Mark responds:
Bleak words indeed…
First, let me note that I tried to leave my thoughts in comments on Mark’s blog, but the commenting tool Mark uses rejected the comment as too voluminous. Rather than breaking it up into several comments, I decided to blog my view on the matter here.
While I commend Joe on his piece at First Things, I call B.S. on at least parts of Mark’s analysis of Joe’s piece, and ESPECIALLY on some of the commenters who have responded favorably to Mark’s analysis by blaming the so-called “X-Cons” for the commenters’ decisions to continue to support the party of abortion-on-demand.
The “X-Cons” aren’t responsible for “the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism” (hereafter, “the Thing”) – in fact, we are increasingly skeptical of “the Thing” and especially the Republican Party claiming the mantle of “the Thing”. As evidence, I submit my own blog as well as a piece today at National Catholic Register by Pat Archbold (recently described by one of Mark’s sycophants as a “Republican shill”).
No, the folks responsible for bringing us huge deficits, Wilsonian foreign policy, and consequentialism dressed up as “the Thing” were decidedly NOT members of the “X” generation, but were baby boomers and even members of the so-called “Greatest Generation”. Given that fact, Mark’s assessment as “bleak words indeed” of Joe’s acknowledgement of the rise of the “X-Cons” to replace the previous generation seems completely without merit. Surely we can’t do any worse with respect to “the Thing” than the generations that have come before us. In short, given our increasing distrust of what “the Thing” has become and the party that champions it, it is the “X-Cons” who are the antidote to “the Thing”, not the purveyors of it.
In addition, rather than criticizing the “X-Cons” for rejecting elitism and embracing what they see as middle-class authenticism, why not ask whether the elites have actually served them well and, if the answer is “HELL NO!” (which it most assuredly is), whether there are better alternatives for leadership from among the “riff-raff” who actually share the values of the “X-Cons”? Mark asks what is it that is actually being conserved? Well, if you ask me, the traditional family values of protection of life, protection of the institution of the family, hard work, integrity, loyalty, etc., etc., are being protected far more on the front porches, parish halls, and town halls of flyover country than they are in the halls of academia and, yes, even on the pages of National Review. Maybe “X-Cons” see the people Mark derides as base and demogogic as being the actual preservers of the values we hold dear (i.e. they’re the ones doing the “conserving” these days), as opposed to the new generation of Buckleys who view us as so much white trash and instead embrace The One.
My friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia takes the clueless David Brooks, a “conservative” commentator who endorsed Obama in 2008, to the verbal woodshed.
… The center has been losing political power pretty much my entire career. But I confess that about 16 months ago I had some hope of a revival. The culture war, which had bitterly divided the country for decades, was winding down. The war war — the fight over Iraq and national security — was also waning.
The country had just elected a man who vowed to move past the old polarities, who valued discussion and who clearly had some sympathy with both the Burkean and Hamiltonian impulses. He staffed his administration with brilliant pragmatists whose views overlapped with mine, who differed only in that they have more faith in technocratic planning.
Yet things have not worked out for those of us in the broad middle. Politics is more polarized than ever. The two parties have drifted further to the extremes. The center is drained and depressed.
History happened. The administration came into power at a time of economic crisis. This led it, in the first bloom of self-confidence, to attempt many big projects all at once. Each of these projects may have been defensible in isolation, but in combination they created the impression of a federal onslaught…
Yeah, that’s it – “History happened”. What a bilious load of vomitous nonsense and absolute crap!
How about this for a REAL explanation, Mr. Pantcrease Admirer:
All the “post-partisan” posing was a lie. You KNEW it was a lie, but WANTED to believe the lie, so you CHOSE to believe it. You then aided and abetted the lie by writing glowingly of the “moderate” credentials of a man who had NEVER exhibited one iota of political centrism in his entire (albeit short and unremarkable) political career, all the while trashing the REAL centrist in the race who, ironically, you had up until then spent the previous 8 years heralding, fellating, and otherwise trying to foist upon the rest of us.
Meanwhile, all us yokels out here in Jesusland saw right through the lie and chose NOT to believe it. For that, you belittled us, called us a “cancer”, questioned our intelligence and intellectual curiosity, and treated us as generally inferior to your more sophisticated and urbane sensibilities. Maybe the “uneducated class” is a whole lot smarter and more politically astute than the coastal elites in the “educated class” give us credit for. At the very least, it appears that the riff-raff are a whole helluva lot smarter than you are.
Salvete AC readers!
Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in the world of Catholicism:
1. Sadly most of us will miss the Catholic Report blog run by Dave Hartline. Due to pleasant new circumstances of a new member of the family, Dave will be rolling back some of his extra-curricular activities to attend to his growing family. In addition Dave will be the newest contributor to the American Catholic website and joining our family of writers.
2. Since First Things began gobbling up good bloggers such as Spengler, Wesley J. Smith, and Elizabeth Scalia and adding writers such as the American Catholic’s own Christopher Blosser, Jay Anderson, and Joseph Bottum under the First Thoughts blog, their website has gotten a WHOLE lot better. Many interesting stories and newsbites all neatly marketed in a spiffy new look.
I suggest you all check it out here.