Paul Ryan & Subsidiarity

Thursday, April 12, AD 2012

Ever since Congressman Paul Ryan announced his budget plan, claiming that it was inspired by his understanding of Catholic social teaching (CST) in general and subsidiarity in particular, old debates about the meaning of CST have flared up once again. Michael Sean Winters of NCR blasted Ryan’s conception of “subsidiarity”; then Stephen White of Catholic Vote critiqued some of Winter’s own oversimplifications. Since everyone and their aunt in the Catholic blogosphere will weigh in on this at some point, I’ll get it over with and throw in my two-cents now.

First: I do believe that some of Ryan’s statements are oversimplifications. For instance, he claimed that subsidiarity and federalism were more or less synonyms for one another. They are not. Stephen White pointed out that these concepts are complimentary, however, and they are.

Secondly: Winters, and he is not alone in this, repeats Vatican statements about “access” to health care as if they were an exact equivalent with Obamacare or other types of government-run healthcare schemes. As White pointed out, Winters presents his leftist policy preferences as non-negotiable points of CST.

Third: I think the entire framework of this discussion needs a serious overhaul.

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27 Responses to Paul Ryan & Subsidiarity

  • Very good, you added to excellent White’ piece.

  • As well, Rights being naturally endowed unto us by God, their exercise cannot entail any kind of need to obtain the service or labor of others, except in their mutual defense. If Health Care (or housing, or food, or any other lefty favorite) is a natural right, then this entails the enslavement of those who provide it, as rights cannot be purchased, but only exercised.

    How this quiet little piece of logic goes unshouted by the establishment GOP is, or at least used to be, beyond me.

  • generally I agree with you, but here ( in your “on one level” paragraph) something sticks:
    to me “precedes” the State does not just mean preceding in time, but precedes in another way– a ranking — now that we are technologically capable, for instance, of feeding and hydrating T Schiavo, charity calls us to that–
    we are not called to live like we are BC era,; I think we are called to work with what we have.. natural law does not take us back to some primitive state-but applies here and now with what “wherewithal” we have… that’s why “precedes” does not necessarily mean “precedes in time”
    once again I am more than willing to be corrected as needed!
    I think you are saying extraordinary measures are not a human right — like heart transplant etc–

  • Anzlyne,
    I suspect that you and WK are not in agreement. WK is making the fairly time-honored case in favor of the proposition that rights are negative rather than positive. Libertarians point out, quite correctly, that the trouble with affirmative or positive rights is that they logically require the functional enslavement of others. This position has never been accepted by the Church, and in fact has been pretty directly criticized. That said, my sense is that the Church’s view and that of libertarians in this limited respect are not necessarily contradictory insomuch as libertarians are criticizing affirmative “rights” that are enforceable by government whereas the Church is affirming the importance of such rights vis-a-vis society, and government and society are not synonymous. More specifically, the Church is saying that society must be ordered in a way so that its members rights to basic needs are satisfied; liberarians do not oppose that as such, as long as the term right does not mean a legal right that can be enforced against others via government coercion. The Church does not oppose the latter, but does not require it either.
    All that said, I like the fact that Ryan seems to take his Catholicity seriously. I worry that he also takes Ayn Rand seriously, and while Rand had her insights her “philosophy” is ultimately not remotely compatable with Roman Catholicism.

  • All good points here. Consider that Mortimer Adler in his book “10 Philosophical Mistakes” makes the point that a human right to something doesn’t mean that a person must have that thing provided by either the government or his neighbors if he can’t get it for himself. It means that no one, whether government or anyone else can morally PREVENT the person from fulfilling that right. Often fulfilling that right is based on good fortune and circumstance. We see that in the right to bear arms. The government or anyone else doesn’t have the resposnsible to buy you a gun if you can’t afford one.

  • I think I am not in opposition to WK Aiken’s post– I do think that our rights precede the state, that they are not “posited” by the state… they are negative in that they are not imposed but are natural– I apologize that I wasn’t very clear who I was responding to– it was Bonchamps paragraph:

    ” On one level, something that has only been available for roughly a century or so cannot possibly be a “basic human right.” Rerum Novarum establishes that the natural rights that belong to each individual precede the state; this
    categorically excludes something as specific and dependent upon a high level of technological development as a lifetime of health services. Such goods and services can only be “accessed” to the extent that a technologically advanced society can produce them, and this capability in turn depends upon on a level of economic freedom that cannot be attained with purchasing mandates, excessive tax burdens, and bureaucratic control.’

    And I do agree with Bonchamps about all of this generally –at the end of the paragraph
    I agree we have to recognize that economic ability/ freedom to act which describes the level of burden to provide access to advanced health care. I agree that none of this burden (brother’s keeper) can be coerced by the state, but is social construct of individuals within families/ communities.
    my only question to Bonchamps was about our social burdens/responsibilities in his words since “roughly a century ago” — it sounds like our rights are defined a bit by the technical ability to intervene..
    so I say we do have the rights and mutual responsibilities and some of those responsibilities depend upon our “wherewithal” what we can and should do here and now is different than what would have been morally required back then or over there : )

    once people didn’t know how to read, but an education I think is a basic human right– provided first and foremost by the parents

  • I think I am not in opposition to WK Aiken’s post– I do think that our rights precede the state, that they are not “posited” by the state… they are negative in that they are not imposed but are natural– I apologize that I wasn’t very clear who I was responding to– it was Bonchamps paragraph:

    ” On one level, something that has only been available for roughly a century or so cannot possibly be a “basic human right.” Rerum Novarum establishes that the natural rights that belong to each individual precede the state; this
    categorically excludes something as specific and dependent upon a high level of technological development as a lifetime of health services. Such goods and services can only be “accessed” to the extent that a technologically advanced society can produce them, and this capability in turn depends upon on a level of economic freedom that cannot be attained with purchasing mandates, excessive tax burdens, and bureaucratic control.’

    And I do agree with Bonchamps about all of this generally –at the end of the paragraph
    I agree we have to recognize that economic ability/ freedom to act which describes the level of burden to provide access to advanced health care. I agree that none of this burden (brother’s keeper) can be coerced by the state, but is social construct of individuals within families/ communities.
    my only question to Bonchamps was about our social burdens/responsibilities in his words since “roughly a century ago” — it sounds like our rights are defined a bit by the technical ability to intervene..
    so I say we do have the rights and mutual responsibilities and some of those responsibilities depend upon our “wherewithal” what we can and should do here and now is different than what would have been morally required back then or over there : )

    once people didn’t know how to read, but an education I think is a basic human right– provided first and foremost by the parents

  • Throughout 2009 during the purported “health care debate”, the version of CST as has been corrupted by modernity, legal positivism (as nicely mentioned by MP), liberation theology, etc., was manifest in ways not herebefore many Catholics had known with the exception of the flick in time CHD scandal. I can leave to others the root causes of that corruption but the domestic policy people at the USCCB and many bishops contributed greatly to the present day impoverished notions of what constitutes CST. I haven’t done this in a while as it’s simply too depressing but over the years one could witness first hand how the USCCB gave the Democratic Party platform its “theological” approval as it promoted higher taxes, cap and trade, mortgage bailouts, the Fannie/Freddi debacle, and many other statist oriented laws. Subsidiarity gets nothing but lip service. Free enterprise receives nothing but disdain.

    I like what George Weigal said in a lecture, From Centesimus Annus to Deus Caritas Est, The Free and Virtuous Society of the 21st Century, about subsidiarity and federalism:
    “The principle of susidiarity teaches us that decision-making in society should be left at the lowest possible level (i.e., the level closest to those most effected by the decision), commensurate with the common good. American ‘federalism’ is one empirical example of the principle of subsidiarity at work in actual political life. Articulated under the lengthening shadow of the totalitarian project in the first third of the twentieth century, the principle of subsidiarity remains today as a counter-statist principle in Catholic social thinking. It directs us to look first to private sector solutions, or to a private sector/public sector mix of solutions, rather than to the state, in dealing with urgent social issues such as education, health care, and social welfare.”

    As I’ve stated before, our constitutional federalism offers us the template for the reality of subsidiarity, which we should cherish.

    Finally as to any “worry” that Paul Ryan takes Rand’s “philosophy” seriously, I find that not being helpful to the discussion inasmuch that it is a random perjorative. Ryan, like many of us, have read Rand and particularly Atlas Shrugged. I would hope most college students do read it. Rand, as Ryan read it and as most of us have, provides keen insight into the simple understanding that economics, at its heart, is a behavioral ‘science.’ Where Ryan and any Catholic reading Rand depart radically from her is with her depressing notions of glorifying human depravity, egoism, selfishness and objectiveism…..but then that is the flip side of the coin known as freedom….the same coin which gives us the choice to obey Him, to live out authentic Charity and not the faux charity of government coercion, confiscation, dependency, etc. And when you really think about Rand’s depressing view of human nature, it’s not much different than the ideological ingredient found in socialism, or statism.

  • Paul Ryan speaks the truth regarding destructive, massive government spending and sky-rocketing debt that will enslave your children.

    The truth damages Obama’s narrative.

    Paul Ryan must be destroyed.

    Left-wing gangsters cloaking themselves in their version of CST politicize the Gospels to smooth the way for socialist serfdom.

  • Anzlyne,

    Thanks for the comments. By “precedes”, I actually think that Rerum Novarum – other natural rights doctrines too, in fact – really means “morally precedes.” It is a way of stating that man’s rights are not derived from the state, they do not depend upon the state, and the state can’t have some obligation to actually provide things for people; the state is instituted for a very specific purpose, which is to safeguard natural rights.

    “my only question to Bonchamps was about our social burdens/responsibilities in his words since “roughly a century ago” — it sounds like our rights are defined a bit by the technical ability to intervene..”

    That’s now how I would have it. I don’t think our rights should depend on technology. I don’t think new technologies that make the mass production of goods and services possible can create new rights to those goods and services. If something was not recognized as an entitlement 1000 years ago mainly because of reasons of scarcity, it can’t be recognized as an entitlement today, because we still have scarcity – just less of it. It is still impossible for everyone to get everything they want.

    The main reason people are agitated and clamoring for egalitarian “social justice” is precisely because the system they despise, capitalism, has made so many people so much better off that the presence of a marginalized underclass really sticks out like a sore thumb. But even this underclass, at least in the Western world, lives better than much of the rest of the world today and most of humanity throughout history. So there is a lot of impatience.

    More people die each year in auto accidents in this country than die from a want of health insurance. I would say that there’s just as little we can efficiently and justly do at the federal/bureaucratic level to prevent all auto accidents as there is all deaths related to a lack of health insurance. The amazing thing is that this rules out nothing for people whose imaginations can possibly operate outside of federal bureaucracies. But you’d have to be uninterested in controlling and plundering your neighbor for that, and I guess that’s too much to ask from fallen man.

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  • Hi Bonchamps
    so we agree on what “precedes” means– that it is a moral ranking so to speak –
    your reference to our rights as related to time ( last century) and the development of technology threw me. I think you said that the ability to offer these things only for less than a century means we cannot see the application of technology as something that could be coerced by the state– ok
    I have no probem understanding negative or natural rights given by God preceding the state– but our real choices change a bit because we
    live now

  • Anzlyne,

    My point is to warn against the illusion that things have changed so much that we can declare specific goods and services “rights”, as if they existed in super-abundance and only some sort of irrational prejudice was preventing an unlimited supply to meet an unlimited demand.

  • Yes. Good point. Thank you. Also BPS point is well taken.

  • First among the many things I like about Paul Ryan is that he sees the need to take the CST narrative away from the left (which unfortunately includes the USCCB when it comes to issues like this) and proceeds to do just that.

  • If it’s Socialist to have Social Security, Medicare, and Medicade, than count me as a Socialist! What we need now is Socialized Healthcare. Healthcare for PROFIT no longer works! 50% of the population can no longer afford Healthcare! And 50% of the Country lives at or below the POVERTY LINE! Remember, the early Christians were Socialists! They held everything in Common! Don’t tell me that there is no money for these programs-that is pure BS! Stop giving BILLIONS of dollars away every year as “Foreign Aid”! Stop trying to police the world and cut back on the more than 1000 military bases we have around the world! Tax the RICH! Vote Democratic! Let Obama lead-not the Rich Republicans!

  • The notion of subsidiarity has captivated my attention for years, and I’m hoping that this concept soaks in to the public mind. As stated by others here, subsidiarity can be applied more broadly than rule-making. Specifically, charity needs to happen in person to person contact rather than through the organs of the State. State-run charity, welfare, had the promise to be more efficient than churches operating through disorganized but well-meaning individuals, but the state operates as would a machine between the donor and recipient. Without contact between the donor (taxpayer) and recipient (poor) there is no sense of charity and thankfulness, but only their opposites. A machine cannot convey love.

    In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the first two passers-by likely wished that someone else would help.

  • Richard,

    Use your inside voice.

    The “poverty line” is an arbitrary line. To be at the American “poverty line” today is to be wealthier than at least half of the people in the world, if not many more than that.

    I do agree that we should stop policing the world and slash the military budget significantly. But that money ought to be returned to the taxpayer, not siphoned into an inefficient bureaucratic monstrosity.

    I also think it is pretty absurd to cite such concerns and then scream about voting for Obama and the Democrats. Obama went into Lybia and is threatening Syria and Iran. And in case you’ve forgotten, Bill Clinton went into the Balkans, twice, and LBJ gave us the Vietnam War. If you want to go even further back, it was FDR who got us into WWII and Wilson who got us into WWI. I’ll leave aside the value judgments of these military adventures. The point is that Democrats get us into more wars than Republicans do, because they have always been more idealistic and willing to believe that ideas can be spread and imposed by force. It is nothing but an extension of their socialistic philosophy, which imposes ideas by force domestically. Republican war-idealism is a new thing (hence why we call those who promote it NEOconservatives).

    Obama is a warmonger. And unlike Bush, his war in Lybia had no Congressional approval.

  • Richard you are a thinking person and I invite you to read about the “Light to the Nations” Pope Leo XVII. That would be a good start.

  • Anzlyne,

    You mean Pope Leo XIII, right?

  • hahaha
    sorry sometimes I type too fast! ha– I do mean Thirteenth! and I see that I also wrote light to the nations! Lumen gentium! what a goofy post– I meant Light in the Heavens! ( remember St. malachy called him that)– Thanks Bonchamps

  • CAPS ON!!! EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! NO ARGUMENT!!!!

  • yes I know very well he didn’t write that– I was just saying that in my gooofy post I meant to write” Light in the Heavens” but my brain slipped to that other familiar phrase– which is the title (taken from the first sentence) of the Dogmatic Constitution–

  • I really don’t follow the argument that a service that has become highly technical cannot be a right.

    Whether we have a right to healthcare, or to access to healthcare, depends on the fundamental nature of the service (that is, the removal of suffering and the preservation of life), not the cost or sophistication of the technology. People are not to be left to die on the street, because they have a right to life. If, for example, someone passes out in my house, it is my obligation to apply CPR. This is my level of knowledge. CPR was unknown in prior generations, but I have the knowledge, and I am duty bound to apply it. If someone was shot on the battlefield during the Civil War, there was an obligation to perform an amputation or apply a tourniquet.

    It seems to me you are saying that, if someone is ill, they are entitled to whatever care one could naturally give them without technology – bed rest, dressing a wound, etc., but otherwise it is moral to let them die. This seems so ludicrous that I can’t imagine that is your position.

  • “I really don’t follow the argument that a service that has become highly technical cannot be a right.”

    I don’t know why you would try, since that isn’t my argument at all. My argument is that something that hasn’t been a “basic human right” throughout most of human history cannot possibly be a basic human right today because it suddenly looks like we might have the wealth and resources for everyone to have it (we don’t). Scarcity isn’t an “injustice”; its just a natural condition that all of the ideological temper-tantrums in the world can’t make go away.

    “Whether we have a right to healthcare, or to access to healthcare, depends on the fundamental nature of the service (that is, the removal of suffering and the preservation of life), not the cost or sophistication of the technology. ”

    My point is that you can declare whatever you want a “right”; if reality prevents it from being produced and distributed for all who might need it, then such declarations are not only meaningless, but potentially harmful to society.

    ” If, for example, someone passes out in my house, it is my obligation to apply CPR.”

    That’s not “healthcare.” That’s charity. And it isn’t your legal obligation to apply CPR, but the advocates of universal healthcare want to force us all to pay into a healthcare system to satisfy their social ideals.

    “This is my level of knowledge. CPR was unknown in prior generations, but I have the knowledge, and I am duty bound to apply it. If someone was shot on the battlefield during the Civil War, there was an obligation to perform an amputation or apply a tourniquet.”

    Yeah, I don’t know what this has to do with anything. I mean, if in your battlefield there are more injured people then there are tourinquets, no one is going to say it is a situation of profound injustice that some people will simply bleed to death. The reality of scarcity was understood by all. There isn’t always enough to go around. If and when there is enough, then YES, of course charity obliges us to provide what we can for those who need. My argument is against those who think they can overcome the realities of scarcity with government edicts and philosophical pronouncements of new rights.

    “It seems to me you are saying that, if someone is ill, they are entitled to whatever care one could naturally give them without technology – bed rest, dressing a wound, etc., but otherwise it is moral to let them die. This seems so ludicrous that I can’t imagine that is your position.”

    I certainly never said that. If you think I said that, maybe you could copy and paste what I said that gave you such an impression.

  • You in fact said:

    “On one level, something that has only been available for roughly a century or so cannot possibly be a “basic human right.” ”

    Now, you pretend you didn’t say any such thing, and that you were only talking about “scarcity.” It’s quite plain where I got the idea that I considered your argument to be based on modern technology – because there is no other way to intepret the sentence quoted above. So much for intellectual honesty.

  • I can see why your comments are put on moderation. It doesn’t occur to you that there might be a miscommunication here: you jump right to the uncharitable accusation of dishonesty.

    This is how you cast my position: “if someone is ill, they are entitled to whatever care one could naturally give them without technology – bed rest, dressing a wound, etc., but otherwise it is moral to let them die.”

    First, I never said anyone was entitled to anything. No one has ever been entitled to any of these things. People have had individual moral obligations to provide what they can, when they can, for those in need.

    Secondly, what I said has only been available for a century or so has been cradle-to-grave healthcare. This is what is demanded by those who classify “healthcare” as such as a “basic human right”, and who believe that this “right” obliges governments to provide it.

    And yet this thing they demand as a right, has only been available for about 100 years. So how can it be something that people have always been entitled to? No one in the past insisted that cradle-to-grave healthcare was a “basic human right” because it would have been impossible to provide it for every single person. Such a thing couldn’t even be imagined. No one said, “we live under a regime of injustice because we can’t snap our fingers and make the resources to provide everyone with this basic human right appear before us.” It was just a fact of life. There was no “right” to that which couldn’t exist.

    My argument is that it still doesn’t exist today. It just so happens that our level of technological advancement has made it so that SOME people, and in fact, a significant majority of people, can afford it, while others cannot. And this strikes people as unfair. And so they imagine that what some people have, everyone ought to have in order for fairness to be achieved. And they then insist that the government has an obligation to make it fair. And they clothe these presumptions in the language of “rights” in order to strike a chord in our hearts.

    You accuse me of saying that it is MORAL to “let people die.” I am not proposing that it is some positive act of morality to say to a person, “we’re not going to give you what you need because you can’t afford it.” But I would say that you can’t classify a situation of scarcity itself as a state of injustice or immorality, because that is simply the way the world is. Nor can you overcome such a state by saying that the thing which cannot be made available to all is a “basic human right” that governments MUST make available to all.

CNN Joins The Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and The Catholic Church

Sunday, September 26, AD 2010

It would appear that those in the mainstream media who want to do hit pieces on Pope Benedict XVI need to take a number. The latest to engage in Yellow Journalism is CNN. The “network of record” dispatched Gary Tuchman to do the dirty work. One might recall that it was none other than Tuchman who remarked how distressing it was travelling in the heartland during the 2008 Election campaign. He complained that some who recognized him told him that their Middle American views and ideas were repeatedly mocked by the mainstream media, all the while those of the liberal establishment were hailed. Tuchman’s words were quite revealing when it comes to this story.

CNN has been advertising their hit piece on Pope Benedict XVI as if he was already guilty of some sort of cover up, even though during the Abuse Scandal it was none other than the New York Times who praised then Cardinal Ratzinger for tackling the tough problems. What tough problems did he tackle? The most notable example being Father founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Father Marcial Maciel was one of the few prominent conservatives caught up in the Abuse Scandal, most of the abusers were Church liberals who wanted to change the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger took on Father Maciel at the height of his power and popularity. One might recall that Father Maciel was quite close to Pope John Paul II. So from this example we can see that Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) showed no favorites and pulled no punches. The Legionaries of Christ were shaken to the core and as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI removed their leadership and installed his own, hardly the work of someone who was timid.

The CNN piece was perhaps even more despicable than the New York Times hit piece, because in the interim much of the modus operandi of the Old Gray Lady was exposed. Still CNN used the same material and claimed that they had something new. There is nothing new here. The crux of their argument comes from material provided by Jeffrey Anderson the attorney who has made millions off the scandal. Anderson says he is one a mision to “reform the Church.” What kind of reform would that be? Some Catholic dioceses have been forced into bankruptcy, which means the poor whom they dioceses assisted through their social programs are left in the cold. For all his concern of “reform”  Anderson hasn’t provided a penny to these particular poor.

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18 Responses to CNN Joins The Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and The Catholic Church

  • This is a message for Dave Hartline:
    I was in Woodlawn in Chicago during the early years of
    The Woodlawn Organization when it was taken over by the
    Alinsky operatives, including, Fr. Egan, Nick Von
    Hoffman,et.al. I was one of two clergy who opted out
    of the movement for moral and ethical reasons. I read
    your article with comments on Alinsky and the”Radical”
    modus operandi in Fr. Dick Kim’s blog last week. You
    have a far different perspective than the Chicago Diocese at that time. Interesting.

  • Thank you for your post. I do believe there were many people like Alinsky who had great influence on those in the pre Vatican II Church. It was reported that Pope Pius XII wanted to convene the Conference but became too ill to do so. In some US Archdiocese, as well as a few in France and Belgium, movements arose that today one would view as being heretical or schismatic. I do recall the Catholic author Dave Armstrong (who was brought into the Church by Father Hardon SJ) saying that Father Hardon would often say, “The Revolution began…” Dave Armstrong couldn’t remember the precise date but it was sometime in the 1930s or 1940s.

    Anyway, what I am getting at it is before the modern communications era there were folks like Alinksy who claimed to be in line with what the Church was teaching (even though Alinsky was an Agnostic.) In reference to those who say that Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals,” which was dedicated to Lucifer among others was really sort of tongue and cheek. One generally doesn’t dedicate books to the leader of the dark side as some sort of joke. I find that dedication intersting because it happened in 1971, the twilight of his life. Why didin’t he dedicate his previous books to Lucifer? The reason I feel this happened is because it would have caused a stir. Perhaps in the twilight of his life, Alinsky was being more open about his agenda.

    The first time I had heard of Alinsky occurred in my freshman year of college when some radical graduate students were quoting him like most fervent believers would quote the Gospel. In the turmoil that was the Church in the 1970s, I don’t think many people paid much heed to the role of these radicals until recently. However, I dare say that the likes of Father McBrien were quite familiar with the lofty aspirations of Alinksy and those of a similar mindset. This doesn’t even touch on those in the media who were influenced by Alinsky, and who today run those organizations. Does anyone think that the hit pieces on Pope Benedict in particular and the Church in general would have been possible had not these poeple been calling the shots?

    Fortunately as I have said before the tide is turning. I can’t help but refer back to a priest I know who was ordained some five years ago. There was quite a stir when he made no bones about his orthodox or conservative views. I spoke with him recently and he laughed saying, “those in the seminary now make me look like a milquetoast moderate.” Now that is what really drives the left up a wall, they thought the Election of 2008 would end any talk of conservatism prevailing in any sector of society. With the coming election, it appears that it is liberalism whose back is against the wall.

  • For my taste, Mr. Hartline, you seem too optimistic.

    Also, not just from you but from others I keep hearing of how good “new” seminarians are but I have not seen much to bouy my spirits among those have seen.

    Benedict is too little too late. The trials are upon us.

  • Karl with all due respect, it isn’t about your taste or mine, it is about facts. The fact is the Church was ruderless in the 1970s, Pope Paul VI said as much when uttered his famous words, “The Smoke of Satan had entered the Church.” However, Pope John Paul II’s Springtime of the Evangelization is here. We didn’t get into the mess we are in overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight either. However, with Pope Benedict at the helm (perhaps fulfilling St John Bosco’s vision of the Twin Pillars) we will make great strides. The trials have been upon us many times before; the Islamic Invasions, the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, the 1960s Cultural Revolution, and yet here we are still Fighting the Good Fight!

  • I see the same facts but interpret them differently. It is not about taste though, you are spot on. The shoes we walk in influences our take. I remember into the early sixties. I have lived throughout this tempest. I believe we have seen, nothing yet.

  • In light of the customary, infernally low level of intellectual honesty in the Commie News Net pile-on piece of journalistic excrement, here’s my proposed response:

    Keep the Faith.

  • Karl, I certainly agree with you on your concluding point. However, I think we are in much better shape that we were 35 years ago. Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI, through their leadership and those seminarians, women religious and laity whom they influence, are at least beginning to waft out the Smoke of Satan that had entered the Church.

    T Shaw, the Haku War Dance. I wonder if the Knights Templar did something similar before battle? May God Keep Us All Safe from enemies within and without!

  • “All one has to do is read the writings of those who started the French Revolution (which is often widely praised and celebrated in the West)…”

    During the 1780’s, many who made up the Third Estate, particulary the bourgeoisie (merchants, bankers, lawyers, etc), were fed up with the inequities of the ruling class.

    The First Estate (Clergy) and the Second Estate (Nobility) were a small minority of privileged men who made up the Aristocracy. As a result of the blurred lines between the two classes,(holding high positions under the Church’s provision, for example) the Aristocratic ruling class was exempt from almost all taxes. Many of the bourgeoisie were also exempt, which left the burden of paying for wars, affairs of state, etc. on the backs of the peasantry.

    The causes of the French Revolution were many and historians still argue over them but there are aspects of the Enlightenment that conservatives, particularly American conservatives, should appreciate and identify with.

    Those who advocated for change at the time, pushed for positions in government, the Church and the military to be open to men of talent and merit. They fought for a constitution and a Parliament that would limit the king’s power. Religious toleration and fair trials were also part of their agenda.

    Now, as we all know, the French Revolution got totally out of hand but there are reasons for those of us in the West to identify with the philosophes of the 18th century.

  • DP

    It was Louis the XVI who called the Estates General. The likes of Robespierre, Danton et al were not interested in what you suggest above they wanted real power and to remake society as they saw fit. They wanted to import their revolution to all of Europe.

    You know sort of like Lenin and Stalin.

  • Afghani Stan, excellent point. I would also ask that our friend DP consider that some of the ideas that Enlightenment is given credit for dates back to the Magna Carta. In addition, there were already primitive forms of government in some Swiss Cantons (Catholic cantons at that) which espoused early democratic ideals. Sadly, Ulrich Zwingli tried to put a stop to that, which in some ways was the start of the Left’s War on Rural Inhabitants.

  • If memory serves (John Robinson, Dungeons, Fire and Sword), the Templars entered battle assuring each other that, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are The Lord’s.”

  • Stan and Dave,

    Yes, Louis XVI did convene the Estates General at the last minute but only after a hiatus of 170+ yrs and to no avail.

    Robespierre was, of course, an extreme leftist and a tyrant as well. But there are other Enlightenment notables such as Locke (a champion of America’s Founding Fathers), Newton and Montesquieu who contributed a great deal with regard to the expansion of thought and science in secular society.

    In fact, Pope Benedict XIV respected Montesquieu and the advances of the Enlightenment (especially tolerance) even though many of his bishops didn’t share his sensibilities at the time.

    In any case, some of the ideas and ideals of the philosophes should be celebrated by both the West and the Church.

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Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator?

Tuesday, August 31, AD 2010

I’m on record as not being a member of the Glenn Beck fan club. I don’t like his overly emotive mannerisms, his politics, or his theology. I’d rather the president of my alma mater was more circumspect in praising him, and I’ve written to the university to that effect. At the same time, I’m somewhat fascinated by the accounts of his rally in DC this past weekend. For instance, here is David Weigel (erstwhile Washington Post reporter and Journolist member) reporting on the event:

“It’s about as angry as a Teletubbies episode….The Democrats who pre-butted Beck’s rally by predicting an overtly political hateananny were played for suckers. They didn’t pay attention to Beck’s “Founder Fridays” episodes on Fox, his high-selling speaking tour, or his schmaltzy children’s book The Christmas Sweater. It’s not his blackboard that makes him popular. It’s the total package he sells: membership in a corny, righteous, Mormonism-approved-by-John Hagee cultural family. The anger is what the media focus on, he says, joking several times about what “the press” will do to twist his words.

Beck’s rally ends just as he said it would—without incident, political or otherwise. He’s just taken the world’s most derided TV audience, put them in the National Mall, and presided over the world’s largest megachurch. “Bring out the bagpipes,” he says. Bagpipe players then walk onto his stage, and the sound of “Amazing Grace” fills the mall.

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85 Responses to Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator?

  • I’m more or less on the fence about Beck, though perhaps a little less critical than you. I watched a few minutes of the event on Saturday, and am mainly glad I didn’t wade through Metro and/or traffic in order to get down there myself.

    That said, I think he gave his critics very thin gruel indeed. I don’t know that this will mark a turning point as much as he claims it will, but really, what was the harm? And I’m not sure those that were there were there for the man or for the message. Perhaps a bit of both, but I think it was more an opportunity for these folks to come out and celebrate together,

  • Goes to show you how out of the loop I am with the rest of the “well-organized, narrative-shaping right-wing smear machine” that I didn’t even know about this thing on the Mall until I read after-the-fact accounts about it online yesterday.

  • The often crazed Beck, no Woodrow Wilson was not the fount of all evil, is not to my taste; most of the people who attended his rally are. They had a good time and are motivated to change the country come November. It does not surprise me that it was not overtly political. Beck has always been far more concerned about making cultural points than political ones.

  • I’ve got this theory bouncing around in my little brain, that we’re seeing a turf war between the evangelicals and the non-religious for control of the Tea Party movement. I think the Beck event was a deliberate show of force by the religious branch.

    When the dust settles after November’s elections, any victorious Republicans are going to have to figure out to whom they owe their loyalty. The party will have less claim than usual. Right now, an argument could be made for the traditional fiscal/social conservatives, or the fiscally conservative independents. Some people like Palin straddle both groups. Not many do.

  • no Woodrow Wilson was not the fount of all evil

    Nah, just most of it it. 🙂

  • I really don’t care what I think. And, you shouldn’t either.

    It seems that a segment of the “cognitve elites” and assorted liberal brahmans react to Mr. beck with malice.

    He has got to be doing something right.

  • John Henry, I think you hit the nail on the head, especially for the last part. Increasingly, the Catholic Right is sounding like the Catholic Left, moving, as C. S. Lewis warns, from political activism in the name of Christ to Christianity in the name of activism.

    Beck infamously called on his followers to reject any church that teaches “social justice,” which either means “reject Catholicism” or “Catholicism is a collection of churches that believe different things, and you don’t have to follow the Pope.”

    For many Catholic Republicans, the meaning of “pro-life” has been lost into “voting Republican at all costs” the way “helping the poor” and “protecting minorities” have become “voting Democratic at all costs” for the Left.

    This weekend, I had a brief exchange on Facebook with a woman who had attacked one of my FB friends for criticizing Beck. She said Beck is a “good and decent man.” I pointed out her that the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding apostates is abundantly clear, and that Beck cannot be “a good man” because he’s on the fast road to Hell as an ex-Catholic. I also pointed out that Beck supports artificial contraception and opposes conscientious objection rights for pro-lifers in the medical profession.

    She replied with some ecumenical gobbledygook, and said, “I am pro-life, and that’s all that matters to me, and Glenn Beck is pro-life, and I’ve never heard him say otherwise,” and of course she said he’s her friend. I reiterated that no one who leaves the Catholic Church intentionally can be saved, and that no one who supports contraception can claim to be pro-life. She replied, “You, sir, are an evil man,” and she blocked me.

  • I reiterated that no one who leaves the Catholic Church intentionally can be saved, and that no one who supports contraception can claim to be pro-life. She replied, “You, sir, are an evil man,” and she blocked me.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call you evil, but you have a rather novel interpretation of Church teaching as regards to those who leave the Church.

  • I reiterated that no one who leaves the Catholic Church intentionally can be saved,

    It’s important to be precise here. If someone – fully knowing that the Catholic Faith is true – decides to reject it, then that may be accurate. But none of us can assess with regard to any individual person whether that is true, and it seems rather unlikely that it happens very often (if, for no other reason, than that catechesis in the United States is abysmal). As it is written, your statement is inaccurate, presumptuous, and implies a knowledge and authority to judge that you do not have.

  • @GodsGadfly – I enjoyed reading your comment. I feel that as a Catholic there is no good option when it comes to choosing between Democrats and Republicans. I suspect that Glenn Beck is probably more of a “humanist” than a Mormon. Humanists whether of the deist type or the atheist type think that morality should not be tied to religion. That makes morality a subject of endless debate since they claim there is no absolute Truth. I think Beck is just a right-wing humanist who uses religion as a shield to hide behind. For comparison there is Obama who is a prototypical left-wing humanist. (No wonder people are confused about Obama’s religious affiliation.)

    So anyway, I wrote an article that deals with some of these issues in relation to so-called gay “marriage”. I think you might find it an interesting read. I’d be interested in getting your comments.
    http://publicvigil.blogspot.com/2010/08/gay-marriage-war-against-religion.html

    Here’s an excerpt:
    “Even though many conservatives claim to be motivated by religion, they are so thoroughly indoctrinated by the rationalist (atheistic) philosophies that they steadily lose ground to the so-called liberals. In fact there is little difference between most conservatives and liberals. They are mostly just engaged in a battle between themselves for power over who will reap the economic benefits of the increasing secularism of society.”

  • John Henry,

    Are you so certain that your own statements don’t imply too great of a desire to appear tolerant and inclusive to those who are always slamming Christianity for being intolerant and exclusive?

    You said his statement may be accurate, then inaccurate. Your “but” doesn’t change the substance of the statement.

    And talk about presumption… catechesis may be abysmal indeed, but there is some personal responsibility involved; if the condition of sufficient knowledge is some first class catechism course, then few are going to make it.

    Don’t underestimate the will, the desire, for things that are evil in turning people away from the Church. It isn’t all about what you know or don’t know, but what you value and devalue. If you really value goodness and truth, then you will make an effort to learn what the Church truly teaches. If you really don’t value it, then a few superficial disagreements will serve as all the pretext one needs to go one’s own way.

    This was hammered home to me quite recently in a long and drunken debate with old high school friends who are proud and vulgar apostates.

  • Joe,

    There are a few basic issues here that I want to separate out:

    1) Are people who reject the Church, knowing that the Catholic faith is true, rejecting Christ and salvation?

    I think the answer is yes, and agree with the commenter.

    2) What level of knowledge is necessary for such a rejection to be a rejection of Christ?

    I tend to think this level of knowledge needs to be pretty high; most people don’t really know that much about the Church or even basic philosophy/theology, much less have an opinion on its truth. You may have a lower standard of necessary knowledge.

    3) Should we assume that individuals we know who leave the Church a) had that level of knowledge; and b) rejected Christ and the Church in this way?

    Here I think charity demands that we assume they did not, absent strong evidence to the contrary (‘judge not, lest ye be…” and all that). We don’t know the hearts, minds, motivations, or level of knowledge of most other individuals, and so it is presumptuous, in my view, to judge them in this regard (and inaccurate to imply, as the commenter did, that our judgment is definitive).

  • There’s also the lack of sacramental support to consider. An individual who leaves the Church, even out of ignorance, loses access to the established channels of grace. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel like I’m just barely functioning as a Christian, and that’s with the graces of the sacraments. I can’t imagine what I’d become without them.

  • Pinky, I’m with you 100% on that one. We are all spiritual infants in this society.

    John,

    Perhaps I’m reading you wrongly, but it seems to me that you’re saying that a person basically has to have the equivalent of a college degree in Catholic theology before they become culpable for their choices.

    But, if, as you say, people don’t even have a “basic” knowledge, then naturally it doesn’t need to be pretty high, unless you consider even this basic knowledge to be attainable only through rigorous and prolonged study.

    At the end of this road is gnosticism.

    And it doesn’t even apply to someone like Glenn Beck, quite honestly, because the man has enough material and intellectual resources to fully understand what he is accepting and rejecting spiritually. Now of course no one can “know” anything for certain, nor judge another’s soul.

    But you’d have to shut your brain off to look at someone like that and not have a pretty strong inclining as to where he’s probably headed. There is no excuse for apostasy, and I include my own as a child.

  • I mean, after explaining the “basic” teaching of the Church about God, Christ, and our reason for existence, my apostate friend said, “f— that, I don’t want that.”

    What level of knowledge do you think he needs before that becomes a mortal sin?

  • For those who may be unaware of the many odd twists in the life of Glenn Beck.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Beck

    I truly believe that the man is loosely wired to put it mildly.

  • I truly believe that the man is loosely wired

    ‘fraid we are everywhere.

  • Drugs and alcohol will do that.

  • That was in response to Beck’s history. No assertions about Art Deco’s youth.

  • Does everyone agree that this country and its citizens need to return to God and/or Godly principles? Would everyone agree that there is an encroaching secularism that challenges Christianity and those principles every day? So, if you said “yes” to either or both of those questions I don’t understand why anyone would take issue with Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally.

    There are some Catholics that believe that helping the poor can only be achieved thru socialism and that the Church is in favor of socialism, when the Church has consistently condemned socialism.

    Plus, there is a difference between the Church’s definition of “social justice” and liberals or progressives definition and implementation of “social justice”. The Left has perverted the meaning of social justice and called for “economic justice” and are promoting class warfare against any wealthy or “rich” person who have earned more income than lower income families due to their hard work and success. The economically disadvantaged feel that they are owed or have a right to a healthy sum or large portion of his income to achieve “equality”. The Church also teaches against progressive taxation.

    Here is a post I have written covering this subject: http://teresamerica.blogspot.com/2010/06/social-justice-catholic-doctrine-versus.html

  • I deny a history of heavy drinking.

  • Joe,

    Just my $0.02, but I’d tend to say it’s not so much academic study/knowledge which is the determining factor, but whether rejection of the Church is the result of a “I prefer my way” decision or an honest (though clearly mistaken) belief that the truth is elsewhere.

    The trick is, it’s awfully hard to tell from the outside which of these has gone on in any given circumstance. We really have no idea how the final encounter between sinner and God will go.

    That’s why I think it’s generally better for Catholics not to go around speculating (or even stating flatly) where particular people are headed.

    This is not meant as any particular defense of Glen Beck, whose show I’ve never even seen, but it is something that very much bugs me about the behavior of some of the more rigorist Catholics one runs into.

    (Of course, on the flip side, I love Dante, who put some rather big name people into hell. On the other hand, he put some surprising people into purgatory and paradise as well — and he’s just too beautiful a writer for me to object to.)

  • “The Church also teaches against progressive taxation”

    Huh? That’s news to me. Does this mean the Church endorses only flat taxes (everyone pays the same dollar amount) or flat rate taxes (everyone pays the same percentage of income, property value, etc.)? Does this also mean that the Church opposes Earned Income Tax Credits and other means that effectively enable the poor to pay little or no tax, which has the same effect as a progressive tax?

    “it’s not so much academic study… but whether rejection of the Church is the result of an ‘I prefer my way’ decision or an honest (though clearly mistaken) belief that the truth is elsewhere.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself there Darwin.

  • Elaine,

    When I stated progressive, I was referring to excessive progressive taxation and not referring to the concept that people who earn more in income should pay what is considered to be a reasonable higher percentage in taxes of their earned income than lower income persons do. The key question is what percentage of taxation should be considered “reasonable” and what should be considered “excessive”?

    From RERUM NOVARUM:

    15. “And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property. This being established, we proceed to show where the remedy sought for must be found.”

    47. “Many excellent results will follow from this; and, first of all, property will certainly become more equitably divided. For, the result of civil change and revolution has been to divide cities into two classes separated by a wide chasm. On the one side there is the party which holds power because it holds wealth; which has in its grasp the whole of labor and trade; which manipulates for its own benefit and its own purposes all the sources of supply, and which is not without influence even in the administration of the commonwealth. On the other side there is the needy and powerless multitude, sick and sore in spirit and ever ready for disturbance. If working people can be encouraged to look forward to obtaining a share in the land, the consequence will be that the gulf between vast wealth and sheer poverty will be bridged over, and the respective classes will be brought nearer to one another. A further consequence will result in the great abundance of the fruits of the earth. Men always work harder and more readily when they work on that which belongs to them; nay, they learn to love the very soil that yields in response to the labor of their hands, not only food to eat, but an abundance of good things for themselves and those that are dear to them. That such a spirit of willing labor would add to the produce of the earth and to the wealth of the community is self evident. And a third advantage would spring from this: men would cling to the country in which they were born, for no one would exchange his country for a foreign land if his own afforded him the means of living a decent and happy life. These three important benefits, however, can be reckoned on only provided that a man’s means be not drained and exhausted by excessive taxation. The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man; and the State has the right to control its use in the interests of the public good alone, but by no means to absorb it altogether. The State would therefore be unjust and cruel if under the name of taxation it were to deprive the private owner of more than is fair.”

  • No one who leaves the Catholic Church can possibly be saved regardless of the level of knowledge they have for two reasons:
    1. The gift of Faith is imparted at Catholic Baptism and is lost through the sin of “Rejecting the Holy Spirit” which can not be forgiven.
    2. All Catholics have the duty to know their Faith, so ignorance is no excuse.

    No one who is so dead wrong about eternity as Glenn Beck is could possibly be right about the infinitely less important field of politics.

    Read the Bible Republicans. It says among other things “The poor are entitled to their alms.” “The man who defrauds a laborer of his hire is brother to the man who sheds innocent blood.” What do you think a minimum wage below subsistence is? “Thou shalt not muzzle the oxen while he treadeth grain.” Yet the Republicans attack unions.

  • “No one who is so dead wrong about eternity as Glenn Beck is could possibly be right about the infinitely less important field of politics.”

    Rubbish, or Christ would never have said Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars. I can think of countless great leaders who were wrong about religion by my lights. I can also think of countless great saints that I most definitely would not have wanted setting economic policy or defense strategy.

  • Agreed Don. Jefferson comes to mind as an example of the former.

  • I think the common thread that runs through Bob DeClue’s comments is a misunderstanding of the Catholic view on the relationship between grace and nature. Grace builds on nature; it does not obliterate it.

  • OK, Teresa, that makes sense. The Church is not in favor of taxation that promotes class warfare or punishes the rich simply for being rich.

    It’s one thing to see the goods other people have and resolve to obtain them yourself through honest work and wise investment; it’s quite another to decide that whatever you don’t have, no one else should have either. The first kind of “envy” is not sinful while the second kind is.

  • “I can also think of countless great saints that I most definitely would not have wanted setting economic policy or defense strategy.”

    Although she is not officially a saint and may never be, Dorothy Day comes to mind here. I think she was unquestionably holy, and SOME of her economic ideas made sense (she was, for example, no fan of nanny-state liberalism), but I sure would never have wanted her to be Secretary of State!

  • @Teresa – You quoted from Rerum Novarum which was written by Pope Leo XIII in the 1880’s. I’ve been going through and reading some of the encyclicals by Pope Leo XIII and have become a huge fan of his. He clearly states the importance of private property. He also believes that the State has a role to play. And he admonishes the rich for not giving more to the poor. But I think what is most central to his teachings (and the teachings of the Church in general) is that these things can only come about when the laws of the State are based upon the laws of God. And when society accepts the Truth taught by Jesus. Charity cannot be legislated through the income tax system or any other set of laws. Charity must be a basic principle that is embraced by individuals in society through their devotion to Jesus Christ.

    While the majority of Americans at the time of the American Revolution were devoted Christians, many of the “founders” were not. People like Jefferson were deists. Today we would probably refer to them as “humanists”, although not “secular” humanists (which is really just a form of atheism).

    If you want to get a good idea of what people like Jefferson really thought about Christianity and the Bible, read “Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine. (It’s available online.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Age_of_Reason

    “Age of Reason” is really quite shocking, including suggesting that Mary was a woman of low character. Humanists believe (or at least pretend to believe) that morality does not need to be based on religion. We’ve seen what comes from this sort of thinking, and the bar just keeps getting lower over time as people become conditioned to a particular level of “morality”.

    Anyway, I think Beck is just using religion to further his political agenda. The founders did this by making some oblique references to God in the Declaration of Independence. But when it came time to write the Constitution it doesn’t talk about God at all – only “we the people”. This is placing Man above God! Only the devout Christianity of the population has kept America from falling into disbelief in the past. Today’s humanist are waging a cultural war against religion using the same tactics as marxists. In this struggle we Catholics will need all the allies we can get and I think this includes other religious groups like Mormons and even Muslims. But not people like Beck, who has some of the characteristics of an anti-Christ.

  • Paul,

    What I wrote is *not* “novel.” You can find it, among many other places, in Karl Adam’s _The Spirit of Catholicism_, a book highly regarded by both “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics (and converts like Hahn and Howard) as anticipating Vatican II. Adam gives the best explanations of extra ecclesia nulla sancta and baptism by desire that I’ve ever read. His book was vetted by the Holy Office and criticized for being a bit too liberal in some of his views on other religions, and he edited them according to the Holy Office’s corrections.

    And that’s not the only place I’ve read it. But if people would spend time reading actual Catholic theology instead of watching FOX News, maybe the teachings of the Church wouldn’t seem so novel.

    In any case, Catechism 818 says that those born and raised outside the Church cannot be charged with the “sin of disunity”, implying that those who are born in the Church and leave Her *can*.

    Culpability rests on the reasonable ability to know something. If one has the ability to learn the truth and is not blocked by practicality or invincible ignorance, and one does *not* know the truth, one is culpable for that lack of knowledge. A basic knowledge of the teachings of the Church is all that’s required for culpability.

  • Beck presents himself as a knowledgeable man. He associates regularly with Catholics. He has plenty of access to know the teachings of the Church.

    He teaches a masonic concept of religions “working together.” He teaches that contraception is OK. He teaches that conscientious objection is wrong. He teaches that “social justice” = socialism (and is literate enough to have studied and learned the difference),and calls on his followers to reject any church that teaches it. He even says gay marriage is OK. I think it’s safe to say he’s consciously rejected the teachings of the Church.

  • But if people would spend time reading actual Catholic theology instead of watching FOX News, maybe the teachings of the Church wouldn’t seem so novel.

    Well, so much for intelligent discourse from GodsGadfly.

  • 500,000+ conservative voters rallying on the Mall… if I were a Leftist I’d try to marginalize Beck, too.

  • 87,000 people were at the mall. I am not a leftist. I am a Catholic and that is why I am marginalized by Glenn Beck. You can not serve two masters. The Left and Right are artificial constructs with random positions that force people to accept some type of evil with each regime change. Abortion and sodomy, promoted by the Democrtats are so obviously evil I did not find it necessary to list them, but oppressing the poor is the same as committing murder according to Ecclesiasticus, a book Protestants, the original Republicans before Vatican II, conveniently purged from the Bible. They invented capitalism, not Catholics, whose social order, and yes, justice, built western civilization. They legalized the gravest sin of usury, stole the churches property in their revolution,created both despotic government (with Luther’s divine right of kings doctrine) and a permanent poor class of Europeans and are happy to have their enemy, Catholics, serve as their useful idiots as they use fraudulent paper money and purchased politicians to rule America for their own gain. It irks me to no end that Catholics have enough people to start their own political party where they can have a 100% moral platform but instead split themselves between Democrats and Republicans as the lesser of two evils, and then begin to follow political leaders instead of church doctors.

  • Glenn Beck is not the problem for anyone here. The noose around the neck of the Church, tenaciously held there by the grasping hands of our own bishops, is the tax exempt status that stops all Christians short of our obligations to society.
    As long as the Church refuses to speak for Christ in the public square, it leaves the podium open to whoever chooses to ascend to it; Glenn Beck, Barack Obama, or Adolph Hitler. Whining about Beck doesn’t put Father Pacwa or bishop Take-your-pick in front of a microphone. Then again, considering what we often get out of our bishops when they do speak in the square, maybe we should accept Beck as the lesser of two evil effects.

  • They legalized the gravest sin of usury

    A discussion of the ambiguities and contingent circumstances to be considered in assessing whether it is moral to put a price on credit can be found here:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15235c.htm

  • @Bob DeClue – When that other culture war against Catholicism, Kulturkampf, was launched by Otto Von Bismarck in 1800’s Germany, the response was to create the Catholic Centre Party which became a powerful political force and eventually forced Bismarck to back down.

    In Europe there is still the Christian Democrat movement which was founded on the idea of giving Christians a political voice. Wikipedia says, “In practice, Christian democracy is often considered conservative on cultural, social and moral issues (social conservatism) and progressive on fiscal and economic issues.” That sounds like what you and I are looking for. But in Europe they have a parliamentary system which gives power to minority parties, whereas in the US our “winner takes all” system insures that only two parties will dominate.

    There is also the practical problem that the Church cannot get too involved in politics because of its non-profit tax status. I was doing some reading and apparently this was not enforced very strictly until the abortion issue came around, at which time the pro-abortion groups started pushing for tighter regulation of the political activities of religious groups.

    Ultimately, we need to realize that politics reflects the culture. We need to work from the bottom up to re-evangelize America. We need to become like St. Paul and preach the Gospel throughout the (American) Empire. We have to come to terms with the fact that we are no longer living in a Christian nation. If St. Paul were alive today, he would be doing everything possible to come to Washington (Rome) to spread the Gospel. Remember though that his message was not political, and he taught that all Christians should be model citizens. It took hundreds of years, but eventually Christianity triumphed in Roman society.

  • I find most these musing about Beck to be quite interesting, often hilarious and relatively misguided.

    Mr. Beck is a commentator. He is an entertaining radio/TV personality who engages in presenting his editorial view of things. He has never claimed to be otherwise.

    He is not a teacher, preacher, religious or political leader. The reaction that he gets from the left and the right and just about every other ideological position in between is amusing because it betrays more about the opposing view than it does about Beck.

    Beck is a recovering addict. Beck felt that the Mormon Church was a good home for him to turn to God. We all know that Mormonism is a false religion. Most people, including most Mormons, don’t know that and don’t know all that much about Joe Smith’s mental delusion. What I know about Mormonism makes me sick, not the least of it being that it is stealth Masonry. What I know about Mormons is that most of them are moral people who adhere to the commandments as best they can. I also know that in practice it may be the best religion for an addict. They are certainly far more disciplined than main line Protestants and Catholics too.

    Beck calls it as he sees it and he has responded to God’s call to vocation. I don’t think he wants to be the catalyst for a religious revival in the USA, yet God gave him the biggest microphone and it seems Mr. Beck said yes.

    Unlike those who saw some of this on TV or read about it on some blog, I was at the restoring honor rally. It was wonderful. No, not because it was a particularly moving spiritual experience. We often forget how blessed we are – I can assist at Mass or go to Adoration and have a real spiritual experience. It was not wonderful because I particularly like Gospel music, the way Protestants pray or even some of what Beck talks about.

    It was wonderful because I was able to stand on the cross of the Mall and pray with other believers. The National Mall is in the shape of cross. That sort of renders the idea that we are NOT a Christian nation void huh? I was standing there with over 500,000 other Americans who believe in God and want to do His Will. People who want our country to realize that we are supposed to be a nation under God and we are supposed to act like it. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the National Anthem and Amazing Grace and prayed. Sure, the prayers were a little odd, but they were good and directed to the One Triune God (despite the fact that Mormons are polytheists – the only Mormon I could identify was Beck).

    Imagine what would happen if more Americans prayed to God in public! First, the lefties’ heads will explode – that’s not only fun to watch but could be quite purging too. Perhaps God will continue to favor the USA – I say continue, because no matter how bad things are now, and they are quite bad – relativism is the religion of the modern era – yet, in all the West (Christendom) the USA alone remains strongest in adherence to God’s Will – no, not our government or our leaders – the American people.

    That is a sad comment because we are not doing a very good job – especially Catholics. Of the 70,000,0000 Americans who self-identify as Catholics – over 90% are NOT. Most of us can’t even keep 6 precepts, let alone 10 commandments. I’d rather pray with a believing heretic than a lying Catholic.

    Before any one goes and criticizes this event, especially because you may not agree with Beck – think about what you are criticizing. You are denigrating hundreds of thousands of Americans who think our country, our culture, our way of living is in such dire straits that they traveled to the capital to stand for hours on end, some over 36 hours, in the excruciating heat and humidity of DC in August to pray together. Knowing that the only answer is God. To celebrate the three theological virtues – sure, they don’t understand the virtues the way we do – that is not an opportunity for Catholic-arrogance; rather it is an opportunity to teach those who are receptive what Faith, Hope and Charity really mean. As for honoring those who serve in their vocation with Christ in their hearts, including our military men and women and the merit badge honorees and a healthy dose of patriotism – what exactly is wrong with that? Patriotism with humble acknowledgment of God is awesome; rather than some hollow nationalism that is practiced by the Republicants and the Demoncrats.

    I find it distasteful that something as monumentous as this was is denigrated simply because one has a problem with the messenger. You don’t have to like or agree with Beck in order to acknowledge that this was a healthy, necessary and wonderful event.

    Do any of you think we could get over 500,000 Catholics to have a Eucharistic procession and pray the Rosary on the Mall? Sadly, probably not.

    If Our Lady gave the West a victory at Lepanto, what do you think she would obtain for us if we did that.

    Instead of attacking Beck, how about heading his call. Get up and pray. Would any of you come to DC to Adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and pray the Holy Rosary so that God may spare us from relativism, secularism and all the other modern ills we are facing?

    That would be something to witness.

  • Two masters? Cute. You’re preaching to the wrong choir, I don’t worship Obama.

    The CBS number of 87,000 is debatable. That Glenn Beck was able to rally 500,000+ people who are rightfully concerned about the path that Obama and the Leftists Democrats are taking this country is something to be admired. Two and a half years ago the MSM was having an orgasm over Obama and believed that the entire country felt the same way. NO – we don’t like what Obama and the Left are doing to this nation.

    And who exactly are you accusing of oppressing the poor? Your statement makes no sense. I did not attend the rally, did Beck call people to oppress the poor? Resource link please.

  • “I am not quite sure what to make of this particular event, which I had assumed would be political,”

    The key word here being ASSUMED. Usually best to investigate & get some facts, don’t you think? The only effort that’d require on your part is turning on FOX for an hour in the afternoons & watching Beck’s show.

    Then you wouldn’t have been at all surprised at what happened on the Mall last Saturday.

  • A friend of mine went to the rally and was talking about it at a homeschool party last night–can you say “awkward”. He decided to go at the last minute when Chris Matthews ticked him off berating and insulting the SC Tea Party director. He said of all the buses the SC Tea Party had organized to go, they only had 6 remaining seats when he called. So it would seem that the best way to estimate would be to see how many organized groups went.

  • Paul,

    How was that not an intelligent comment? You accused me of expressing a “novel” idea, and I explained that it wasn’t. The obvious, logical conclusion is that you’re not very well-read.

    It is quite an intelligent comment to point out that people are better served reading books than watching the news, and that is my gripe with overly political Catholics of either side, and also the temptation I myself struggle the most with.

  • I truly believe that the man is loosely wired to put it mildly.

    Well, perhaps, Donald. I have watched Beck’s show twice and was not terribly impressed. ( I think I was put off by the fact he cried both times. Haven’t seen such weepy males since the ’70’s 🙂 His radio show is much funnier and sharper.)

    I knew nothing about Beck’s background or upbringing before I read the Wikipedia entry you posted. Really, as someone who didn’t go to Mass again for 25 years after leaving Marquette, can I blame Beck for leaving the Church after a Jesuit education? My goodness, given my education (Daniel McGuire), I’m thankful Beck and I didn’t run off to join the Shining Path under the impression that we were being good Catholics by doing so:-)

    Actually, Beck’s story confirms that this country is still great. A guy with a high school education, a guy with drug and alcohol and family problems, a guy who was at the bottom of the barrel in 1994 managed to climb out, embrace faith (I’ll take a Mormon over an atheistic addict any day), and achieve fame and fortune. Only in America!

    I didn’t like his show much and yet I was moved by the man when I saw Chris Wallace interview him on Sunday. He doesn’t strike me as insincere. He seems like a guy who is willing to admit his foibles and errors, who knows he’s very far from Presidential material, and whose populism is tempered by the knowledge there are things he doesn’t know – and he wants to! He’s searching for knowledge and he sometimes embraces spurious cranks – well, I still prefer Beck’s mistakes to the arrogance of our ruling elites, who think they don’t need to learn anything. The astounding fact is that a high school grad put F.A. Hayek on the Amazon bestseller list a few months ago – how many college grads have read Hayek? I never even heard of Hayek or the Austrian school until the mid-90’s.

    So, Beck is frequently mistaken, and sloppy and goofy – but he brought good people out on the Mall en masse to pray and reaffirm their traditional values. Are we Catholics really going to turn up our noses at him and say “Yes, we want allies in the culture war – but not those allies…not people of that faith or that background.” I’ve seen that attitude from fundamentalists. It’s no more attractive when Catholics display it.

  • The obvious, logical conclusion is that you’re not very well-read.

    Because I had a different interpretation of Church teaching than you? Yeah, that obviously follows.

    No, it was an unintelligent comment because you relied on a lazy trope rather than engage in substantive argument. Frankly it’s boring at this point to hear the “Fox News” talking point echoed back by some “independent” parrot who thinks he is above everyone else.

  • Lisa,
    I listen to Glenn Beck frequently and I almost never see a show of his where he isn’t oppressing the poor verbally. I heard him call unemployed Americans unAmerican, I heard him scream at a woman begging for a job, and I don’t need to give further examples. People have different opinions, and they always will. The fact that somebody disagrees with you or me on an issue doesn’t make them evil or unAmerican.

    I am 56 years old, and never in my life, including the Vietnam years, have I seen such an orchestrated campaign of hate, fear, and terror directed against the legally elected, in a landslide, president of the United States. I was raised in a Conservative Republican family and thought, as Glenn Beck does, that the Left was unAmerican. By the third time I read the Bible I was forced to admit that I had been wrong most of my life about politics. That doesn’t mean I think that right wing people are evil, and it doesn’t mean I think the left wing is always right. A logical analysis of either party’s so called “philosophy” reveals no consistency in either one. Me, I pray for the day that God returns Saints to rule our church, and Catholic Kings to rule the world.

  • I am 56 years old, and never in my life, including the Vietnam years, have I seen such an orchestrated campaign of hate, fear, and terror directed against the legally elected, in a landslide, president of the United States.

    You have not been paying attention. He was not elected in a landslide and I would wager you a content analysis of media would show he is treated more agreeably by the political opposition than three of his eight immediate predecessors.

  • Baba,
    I believe you are correct, the Christian Democrats are closer to Catholicism than anything in America. About the fear of losing tax exemption I think Vatican II is the real problem. Before Vatican II, legalized abortion was inconcievable, sodomy was a crime people went to jail for, and the threat of removing the Catholic Church’s tax exemption would have brought down the government quicker than a no confidence vote in the British Parlaiment.
    My wife is European, so I have an inside look at the life that the right wing demagogues are always trying to scare us with, and it really doesn’t sound so bad.
    I read a book called “Life and Work in Medieval Europe” by Pierre Boissinade. I recommend it for anyone who has never been exposed to anything but the two establishment sides of the same economic coin, capitalism and communism. In it you will find systems in both empires totally different, yet providing stability and sustaining growth for centuries.
    I submit that a stable economy is the most important function a government can perform. I remember life before LBJ debauched the currency and Richard Nixon floated the value of the dollar on the world marketplace. What I grew up in is a different world than what it is today. When I grew up crimes against nature were punished. People bought their homes and had no fear of losing them. Women stayed home to raise their children. People were secure in their families, jobs, and homes.The communities were knit together. Now we hardly ever see our spouses and our children are raised by day care, and we never know when the economic axe is going to fall on our jobs. That is no way to live. If anyone is interested I will tell you what I think caused this situation, but won’t offer it if it isn’t asked for.

  • Art,
    I am spammed with shocking, racist and worse stories, jokes, and cartoons about Obama every single day of the year. The Democrats victory in all three houses was most certainly a landslide and was a clear mandate to the president, one he seems unwilling to run with. This hatred and attack is coming through the internet more than the TV media, but it is there, it is unrelenting, it is orchestrated, and it has the purpose of bringing down our government. Since so many Republicans blindly hate Obama (Who is the most conciliatory and compromising president I have ever seen)this anti American campaign, which quite possibly could be orchestrated by radical moslems, will never even be investigated.

  • Bob,

    Some of what you say sounds good; however, some the undefined terms could cause confusion.

    What do you mean by poor? Are you referring to the poor in spirit? Because that would be most of us, including Beck. Or, are you defining the materially poor? If that is the case, then it is highly unlikely that you’ll find any poor in the United States of American. Those who our twisted government bureaucrats define as poor have far more material wealth than most of the people on the planet, more than the wealthiest of the wealthy had 200 years ago and they have more than most of us in the so-called ‘middle-class’. I am not attacking what you stated, I am simply trying to understand who the ‘poor’ that you allege Beck is oppressing are. Especially since as a TV/Radio commentator I am not sure he has any power to oppress.

    As for the rally, from my vantage point, in the middle of it, it seemed that Beck was calling the poor in spirit to pray on our knees to God for forgiveness, for virtue, for character because he recognizes that the problem in American today is a moral problem and that politics is merely the practical application of our moral state. I would also argue that we are very, very poor – morally speaking. Though I suspect we are still far better off, dismal as that is, than the rest of the Western world.

    Me thinks thou doth give Mr. Beck too much credit – he isn’t that powerful. In fact, he seems to do nothing but humbly tell us what he thinks. He also encourages his viewers/listeners to think for themselves and research his postulations on their own. That hardly seems oppressive, right wing, or even wrong. If we are too lazy to actually think for ourselves and do our own research we certainly can’t blame him.

    Additionally, I grew up in Europe and the Middle-East, not in theory, but I actually lived there, and I can tell you – it sucks. The Middle-East has been plagued by the Moslem heresy and Europe is plagued by the same heresy, albeit, without reference to God. For all of those who think that social justice is better defined by Communists/Socialists/Fascists and other collectivists rather than the Church, I will be happy to buy you a one ticket to Europe. If it is so good, go live there and leave the USA with our ‘unjust’ Constitutional Republic – we like it and the option you’d rather change it to already exists. Last I checked we don’t secure our border, so one can leave just as easily as all of those ‘poor’ Mexicans can come. Gee I wonder why the ‘poor’ from south of our border keep coming here, I mean it sucks so bad, you’d think they’d just go to Venezuela or Cuba.

  • Whoa!

    Wait a minute. Beck is now an instrument of the destruction of the American Republic that has Obama as its champion, and he’s working for the Moslems! I had no idea.

    That’s it – I’m turning him off. Thanks for pointing out this deep conspiracy. Obama is such a nice guy and has everyone’s interest at heart. Especially the millions of pre-born children he wants to kill, the US Constitution and Jesus Christ. I expect Obama to walk on the reflecting pool just to show Beck up, I HOPE he can do it and then maybe he can CHANGE water into wine – wouldn’t that be cool.

    Seriously? Please tell me that last post was an attempt at humor.

  • “This hatred and attack is coming through the internet more than the TV media, but it is there, it is unrelenting, it is orchestrated, and it has the purpose of bringing down our government.

    Gee… why would we want to attack or fight against Obama when we disagree with approximately 99% of his policies? I know you would just lie down and make nice if the president was conservative and implementing policies that you believed were hurting both America and the American people? The Left are still a bunch of hateful cranks even with being in control of both Houses of Congress as well as the presidency. I would love to know what will make the Left happy? It seems nothing at this point. Well, maybe, having absolute control over our lives — being able to tell us what and when we can eat, what kind of energy products (wind, solar, etc.) that we can use, infringing on our free speech, and removing all things related to Chistianity? This sounds a lot like socialist or communist policies.

    Since so many Republicans blindly hate Obama (Who is the most conciliatory and compromising president I have ever seen)this anti American campaign, which quite possibly could be orchestrated by radical moslems, will never even be investigated.”

    Excuuuuse Me!!!! I think I just became sick from entering the twilight zone at warp speed. What reality have you been living in? Obama is the most divisive President in American history!!! What edited clips have you seen of this president crossing the aisle? His idea of reaching across the aisle is reaching across the aisle, is reaching around with his arms, grabbing the person and dragging them across to his far leftist side of the aisle. This president has a “my way or the highway approach” to his policies. He has NOT compromised one iota!!

    He wouldn’t do what is right for the American people when it came to health care reform. He had to bribe congressman to get this debacle passed. The GOP had an alternative health care plan and gave suggestions but he refused to compromise. It was all about he and the Democratic Congress having more power and control over our lives, and nothing to do with lowering costs of health care or making health care more accessible.

    First, the Libs got a hold of our education and that has gone downhill in a big way and now there will be more bureaucracy with our health care, making it much harder for our doctors to treat us properly, higher costs, and health care rationing. Obama tries to act as a referee when speaking but then changes the rules midway during his speech by slamming the other side and violating the rule he imposed at the beginning, that obviously applies to everyone except himself.

  • Hi Bob,

    I agree that economic and job stability is very important to maintain strong families and communities. We just don’t have that in today’s economy. Maintaining the pace of “progress” dictates that this will not happen.

    I hope you’ll reconsider your opinion of Vatican II. I love the Church and it saddens me to see people in conflict over Church policies or doctrine.

    From what I have read, the US Bishops did all they could to oppose abortion. In fact they were taken to court for their pro-life positions, and pro-abortion groups demanded that the Catholic Church be stripped of its tax exempt status. This case went to the Supreme Court in 1988. (The case was United States Catholic Conference v. Abortion Rights Mobilization. The ACLU supported the coalition of pro-abortion groups.)

    We need to strongly defend the Church because she is under attack from all sides. I can’t imagine a world without the Catholic Church. I’m fortunate to be a member of a great parish with great priests.

    Peace be with you,
    baba

  • “Not quite sure what to make of this.”

    …at least some poeple are sure, such as Glenn Beck.

    Shall we just see the face? Must we dissect every creature of God? Maybe just Bob.

  • American Knight,
    Thanks for the thoughtful response and question. I am glad to see a few people on this website that still retain a Catholic sense of honor.
    Poor is a relative term and in some respects even subjective. Objectively speaking, we have teenagers in this country who live lives as luxurious and hedonistic as any Satrap in Ottoman Empire. At the same time we have a society in which much of the blue collar class are six paychecks or less away from losing their home. By contrast even the poorest serf ( a slave class) in Europe could never be evicted from his home, and his children inherited it. State constitutions in the Old South required slave owners to provide homes, food, and medical care to their slaves. In that respect many Americans are poorer than antebellum slaves.

  • Teresa,
    I am sorry, I just find no possible way to respond to what you wrote.

  • Baba,
    I know the American bishops fought abortion, but the public dissent that Vatican II encouraged with its ambiguous doctrines destroyed the Church’s appearance of solid unity and thus its political power. Before Vatican II, when a bishop spoke to a government official, the official heard millions of Catholics, now he hears just a single bishop.

  • Teresa,
    I didn’t mean to sound as abrupt as what I see when I posted to you just now. I just don’t see from rereading your posting again that there is any common experience, belief, interest, education, or personality between us that could be a basis for any type of meaningful communication.

  • Anyone,
    I am new to this website. How do you get your photo to display with your name?

  • Bob DeClue,

    Here is the link:

    http://en.gravatar.com/

    It should be easy to follow. If you have any problems, just post another message or contact via email and I’d be happy to walk you through it.

  • Bob DeClue,

    I don’t blindly hate Obama. I hate him for very clear reasons: 1. He single-handedly shot down the Illinois Born Alive Protection Act. Even Hillary Clinton and NARAL dare not actively oppose Born Alive Protection. Illinois tried to pass a law making it illegal to suffocate or starve a baby born from a “botched” Abortion, and Obama called it a threat to the “right to choose.”
    2. Obama said that if one of his daughters made a “mistake” (ie, committed the sin of fornication), he wouldn’t want her “punished” by having a baby!
    3. Obama said he believes Jesus is just one of many great moral teachers.
    4. Obama is endorsed by every major New Age Guru from Chopra to Oprah.
    5. Obama says his greatest mistake was voting in favor of the Terri Schiavo Act.

    You asked for more Catholic teachings and not politics?

    How about this: “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope”–John Paul II
    “How can you say there are too many children; that’s like saying there are too many flowers.”–Bl. Teresa of Calcutta.

  • Paul, I don’t think I’m above everyone else, and one man’s “parroting” is another man’s catechesis.

    A person who is Catholic and rejects the faith is an apostate and cannot be saved. You say that this is a “novel interpretation” of mine, but it is not. You claim not to know something I’ve read in numerous Catholic texts.

    And I’ve already said that I said it in part because listening to too many secular sources and not enough Catholic ones is a fault with which I convict myself.

    I’m not “independent.” I’m conservative. I don’t like FOX News because it paints conservatives as idiots, and all the “Catholics” on it are pro-contraception and otherwise oppose a consistent life ethic. Also, there’s what Rod Dreher found out at the 2002 Bishops’ Conference, when a FOX News correspondent told him there were orders from the highest levels of NewsCorp NOT to talk about homosexuality in the Sex Abuse Scandal.

  • God’s Gadfly,
    What you wrote about Obama is true. It is also, I fear, now true of a large percentage of Americans, if not the majority. I don’t hate Obama, or other Americans for their errors, or their truths if I am the one in error. As I get older and more relatives and friends pass away, the horror of God’s justice fills my soul. Ignoring hell and its eternal pains does not make it go away. If there actually is any global warming, it is caused by the millions of souls a day who are cast into hell and increase its heat accordingly. Meditating on the four last things helps to cleanse hatred from the soul because God’s punishment on the unrepentant is greater than anything our hatred can dream up for our enemies. I know it is a joke to say “Can’t we all just get along”, and we can’t because to get along according to Christ we have to be what the politically correct call “intolerant”. We can, however, try to imitate Jesus, who hated none of his enemies, even the former Lucifer.
    On your response to Paul, there is a clear division of thought between pre and post Vatican II Literature, perhaps this accounts for different perception in some of the church’s more esoteric doctrines. I limit my trust in Catholic authors to pre 1900 writers, because the Early Church Fathers stressed fidelity to Tradition, even St. Paul who said listen not to a different Gospel, even if preached by an Angel of Light.
    I presume you have political views akin to Conservatives who liken themselves to Jeffersonian Democrats, as I once did. I was truly astounded when I discovered that this was the Liberalism condemned by the Catholic Church. It required 20 years and an entire library of Catholic saints and doctors for me to finslly understand the Catholic position and I now have no political ideology at all, except that I judge every issue independently of the party that proposes it, and in light of my own imperfect understanding and guess of what Jesus would do. I rarely vote for candidates for public office in elections because I believe there should be no compromise with evil and as a man of honor will not vote for the lesser of two evils. I did however work as a campaign volunteer for Patrick Buchanan, which will probably surprise the two people here who attacked me as Liberal and Communist in their posts.

  • Hi Tito,
    Thank you. I had 3 pictures on my computer. I used all 3 at Gravatar and two show up solid black. This one is 40 years old.

  • @GodsGadfly

    Those are the main reasons I cannot support Obama in good conscience. Abortion is murder and by supporting or voting for those politicians who support the murder of the most vulnerable innocents, catholics are supporting a grave and intrinsic moral evil.

    Yes, I do believe that in God’s eyes he sees a big difference between a terrorist who is trying to kill us, has murdered, is trying to destroy the West (yes, even from within via mosques) and an innocent baby who is an innocent human being and a “surprise” for some people due to their promiscuity, and who has committed NO crimes, and how the two are treated accordingly. There is love. But, then there is “tough love” and loving the person and hating their actions, and it seems like a decent number of catholics have totally discounted “tough love” and how that can be implemented for the common good. PLus, there is the whole defense of nation or national security issue at hand also. Our Congress and President took an oath to protect and defend this country’s citizens and they must not quash their duty to fulfill that pledge, by totally discounting the necessary use of “harsh” methods in extraordinary circumstances to achieve that goal.

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/10/controversial-torture-issue-as-related.html

  • …a bit off topic but…

    I’m a Glenn Beck fan. He makes me laugh and he’s very entertaining. I agree with many things he has said.

    But I’m getting tired of his attacks on Social Justice and the Catholic Church. And now he’s berating Dorothy Day as a “Marxist” and un-American.

    Someone needs to contact him or his people and explain to him how wrong he is about Dorothy Day.

    He isn’t that bright if he thinks Dorothy Day is pro-big-government and a Marxist.

    Has anyone tried to explain that to him?

  • Tito,

    Have you?

    Perhaps Beck can’t reconcile her involvement with socialist organizations, although I think she may have been a Episcopalian at that time.

  • I will be next week.

    Pat Gray who co-hosts the radio program with Glenn Beck ripped into Dorothy Day and that was the last straw.

    Pat Gray used to have his own local Houston talk radio program and I like him a lot, so I’ll be seeing if I can talk some sense into him.

    As far as Dorothy Day, like many saints and other people of holiness, they made mistakes prior to their conversion.

    Does anyone hold Saint Augustine’s libertine behavior prior to his conversion against him each time he is quoted?

  • @Tito

    I am a Glenn Beck fan also. I think Beck is mistaking distributism for Marxism.

    But I’m getting tired of his attacks on Social Justice and the Catholic Church. And now he’s berating Dorothy Day as a “Marxist” and un-American.

    The type of social justice that has been passed down from the Time of Jesus is not the form of social justice that Beck is attacking. He is attacking the liberal/socialist distorted version of social justice that says “spread the wealth” as well as promoting class warfare between the rich and the poor.

  • Tito,

    Most people don’t consider St. Augustine a saint. They like his ‘literary’ works and sadly, some like what he has to say precisely because he was a libertine. We live in strange times.

    Also, remember, Beck is trying to be a good guy and I like him and think he is doing a lot of good, but, he is an apostate and a Mormon – pray for him.

    Teresa,

    I think you’ve got it right and Glen did explain that to his viewers/listeners, but without a Catholic worldview, it was somewhat inarticulate. I got what he meant, so did you, others, maybe not so much.

    The devil is cunning. Look at the words used by those who promote inequality, favoritism, theft, plunder and are the architects of the culture of death: Progressive, liberation, tolerance, choice, peace, giving back and, yes, social justice.

    Everyone of those words is ‘good’, yet in the context commonly used all stand for very, very evil things.

    Even before Glen talked about it, the words ‘social justice’ cause me to cringe. Social Justice is only valid as understood by the Church and orthodox Catholics – most of the time and in most common use, they do not mean what the Church teaches, they mean the opposite. See Isaiah 5:20.

  • AK,

    Most Catholics do consider Saint Augustine a saint.

    He’s borderline besmirching the Church with his outlandish comments about Catholic Social Justice and Dorothy Day.

  • It appears to me that Glenn Beck supporters are believers in our current form of economics they generically call Capitalism. Capitalism is as equally condemned by the church and is as intrinsically evil as communism.
    I see the following points his supporters seem to make and will respond:
    1. They grant an inordinate importance to what is called private property. This is warned against by the original apostles in the “Didache”. The Catholic concept of material goods is that they belong to God and that man is steward of them and they are to be used in the service of God. The Catholic teaching of distributism is simply that God gave the Earth to mankind as a whole so that all of us could have some of it, not so that some of us could have all of it. Conservatives have been hoodwinked into calling this redistribution and have not been taught by their appointed leaders how capitalism based on a debt money system redistributes wealth from those who produce it to those who control the paper.
    2. A belief that people own whatever they can get their hands on by whatever means they do so. This is not true. The ruling elite have consolidated the world’s wealth into their hands through the mortal sin of usury. The primary function of the Church’s inquisition was to hunt down and exterminate usury. The penalty imposed by the church for almost a thousand years was to seize all assets of the usurer and distribute them to the community he preyed off. The Bible itself clearly grants absolute ownership to the fruits of one’s labor and toil “under the sun”, and very little else. Defrauding the laborer of any portion of his fruits is one of the four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. I spent fifteen years of my younger days as a fur trapper. I wonder now why every bird had a nest, every groundhog had a den, every living animal I came across had a home, but for some reason conservatives think that humans are the only life on this planet without a God given right to a piece of this Earth.
    3. A belief in the capitalist principle that something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. This is not true. A “laborer is worth his support”, for instance. The “Philokalia” warns monks to always use lay brothers to procure goods for the monastery because it is almost “impossible to buy or sell without committing sin”. The reason for this was the Catholic concept of something having a fair value. To pay less than the fair value when a sellor is distressed, or to require more than the fair value when a buyer is desperate are both violations of the 7th commandment.
    4. A belief that government regulation in general is wrong. This belief can not be supported by Catholic Tradition.
    5. A belief that Samuel Adams economic theories are actually laws and not just theory. I would be happy to correspond in depth with anyone concerning any economic principles or theories. Also an agreement with his conclusion that Laissez-faire economics(basically economic Darwinism)produces the most wealth. This is a debatble point.
    6. A tendency to quote sophisms given to talking heads by their masters as if they are facts. Please, somebody throw me a sophism and ask me to respond.
    7. A belief that because the Republican Party figured out how to perpetually milk the pro-life cow while never feeding it that they are right about everything they believe and that because the sexually amoral who want abortion took power in the Democrat party when Catholics deserted it that their platform is wrong about everything.
    8. A belief in seperation of church and state. I do not believe in seperating them.
    9. No understanding of the difference between the Free Market System our government created in this country based on Adam’s theories and the modern capitalism that the Rothschild-Rockefeller cabal replaced it with.
    10. A belief that unions are bad. Unions are the modern day incarnation of the medieval guilds. Guilds were created by the Catholic Church in the dark ages. They were structured on the old Roman Corporations which created centuries long economic growth and stability for the Roman civilization and in turn guilds created the material half of Christendom.
    11. I believe Glenn Beck supporters as a whole have a tendency to worship the founding fathers and the United States Constitution, but possess limited knowledge of them, especially the Catholics.
    12. No belief whatsoever in the laws God the Father set forth for the just government of people when he authored the Biblical books “Numbers”, “Deuteronomy”, and “Leviticus” through the hand of Moses.
    13. No knowledge that any economic systems other than Capitalism and Communism ever existed. It is not entirely their fault. I attended 6 colleges and universities after high school and none offered any courses in alternate economics.
    14. No knowledge of the Jewish and Protestant heresies that created capitalism and how the Catholic Church fought them.

    I would be very happy to enter a dialogue with anyone in depth on any of the points I listed, or any of Glenn Beck’s points I did not list.

  • Tito,

    I agree with you, most Catholics, both the Protestant and orthodox type consider St. Augustine a saint, most of the rest of the world does not and our culture is overwhelmingly secular and not Catholic.

    Beck, being an apostate and a Mormon, is going to have a problem with many, if not most of the doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church. Yet, he also seems to recognize the ‘mere Christianity’ that C.S. Lewis talked about. I agree that he sometimes does seem to border on anti-Catholic bigotry – perhaps that betrays a subconscious animosity to the Church, or it could be a more subversive Mormon/Masonic thingy.

    I must admit that I agree with his attack on ‘social justice’ and I don’t think it is a problem for orthodox Catholics. The type of ‘social justice’ that Beck seems to be attacking is steeped in liberation theology, Communism and other collectivist schemes designed to destroy humanity while veiling the destruction in ‘good works’. ex. the Shriners have hospitals for children, which is good and no sane person would argue against; yet, their purpose is to spread the Lucifarian religion.

    Granted the Masonic influence of the Mormon heresy may have perverted Beck, yet I see no evidence of that – yet, and hopefully never will.

    I also think that we can agree with Beck on those perspectives and issues that are in line with Catholic teaching and reject those that do not. There needs be no compromise and Beck is merely a commentator and not a theologian. It seems many people, regard those of us, like you, me and Teresa as blind followers of Beck; rather, than free-thinking individuals who happen to agree with Beck on some things based on our own criteria, which hopefully is Catholic thought.

  • Bob,

    I can’t say I agree with everything you stated; however, a couple of points ring true. Often, when we begin to escape the mass delusion perpetrated by mass propaganda, advertising and other psyops control devices we find many more points of agreement than division with each other, yet, some of our preconceived prejudice stemming from the false left-right paradigm still exist. That being said, some of what I perceive as your views stemming from the left, give me pause.

    A few comments on your points, solely from me perspective:

    1. Private property is absolutely necessary in this world to secure personal freedom and the good of the community. The truth is that the world is one giant estate and it all does belong to God. Stewardship, without temporal regard for private property, is currently impossible. Without private property no natural free market can exist – I believe God intended us to have a natural free market after the Fall and that a natural market can be redemptive.

    2. Usury is one of the gravest ills conceived by man and may have been the chief sin that gave a fertile ground for the spread of Mohammadism because it correctly condemns usury, although the Islamic definition of usury is mostly incorrect. Capitalism/Communism are essentially slightly different means to the same evil end. However, what most people in the West, when referring to ‘capitalism’ mean is a natural free market. Capitalism is effectively corporatism and will lead, if it hasn’t already, to the control of resources, wealth and people by a very few individuals and they do not have good intentions. Communism will lead to the same goal. I think Beck is grasping, imperfectly, at this idea.

    3. The price mechanism is the best way to determine the temporal value of material things. Business ethics based on Moral Truth will manage that system in justice as far as is possible for fallen man.

    4. In principle government regulation is NOT wrong and is, in fact, necessary. The problem is that Communist/Socialist government regulation benefits the few at the cost of the many and so does Corporatist/Capitalist government regulation. Until such time as we restore limited Republican (format not party) government, I believe it is a virtue to oppose government regulation because it is for the purpose of subjugation and not an authentic attempt to make things regular.

    5. I think there is a difference between creative destruction and economic Darwinism. Capitalist/Corporatist machinations are predetermined economic Darwinism; however, a natural free market will destroy the less efficient and effective actions of man for the benefit of the whole community. The elimination of horse-carriages by the automobile is a benefit. Sure the horse-carriage drivers and dung disposers lost out, but cab drivers and mechanics did not (simplistic example.)

    6. & 7. Although true to some extent, are gross generalization and I don’t think they deserve a comment in this context.

    8. It depends on what is meant by separation of Church and Sate. I think that the State should not encroach on the Church, yet the Church is designed to be the moral compass of the State. I think the original intent of the Founders is correct, I think the modern perversion is the worst thing we are facing in politics today.

    9. On this point you actually agree with Beck. The usurious, debt-paper money system is not natural, it is not free, it is not moral and it is very, very destructive. I think that is beginning to change. We need to end the Fed.

    8. Again, unions, as a concept, are NOT bad. Unions as they are in practice only benefit the money-power and the political opportunists.

    9. To paint all of Beck’s audience as ‘worshipers’ of men and a legal document, is unfair, condescending and not constructive.

    10. Ignorance may not be intentional and perhaps beyond someone’s control, but it is a bad excuse. If someone wants to be educated the knowledge is available and corporatist, liberal educational institutions are not the place to get a good education, or even a practical one. As Fr. Corapi often says, most ‘intellectuals’ have been educated into imbecility. Mr. beck is uncredentialed (although he recently received an honorary doctorate), yet he is educated.

    11. Secular Jews and Calvinists are in large part responsible for the Corporatist Capitalism & Socialism/Communism we are subjected to and the solution is quite obvious, the only question is do we have the courage to stand against the status quo.

    From your points, I am quite surprised that you do not find more in common with Glenn Beck. The beauty of knowing what orthodox Catholics have been given is that Truth is absolute and much, certainly not all, can be deduced through human reason. Beck is capable of being correct about many things, totally wrong about others, simply because he is trying to be a truth-seeker. This makes him no different than most of us and we need to be very grateful that we have the graces of Christ received through His Church, most people don’t. We also have to check our hubris, because being Catholic gives us no right to be arrogant.

  • American Knight,
    Very good. Thank you for responding. I have further comment on some points.
    5.I don’t believe the natural free market exists anymore and we are now in the C/C phase. When Reagan deregulated the financial industry the Wall Street Robber barons decimated the free market. Through gambling machinations on the stock market they drove the stock price of almost all small and midsize manufacturing concerns in the country one at a time to a price significantly below the value of their capital assets. At that point they initiated a hostile takeover and immediately liquidated them pocketing the profits but leaving a decimated rust belt behind. This concentrated the means of production into the hands of a few multinational corporate elites. Although there are many companies in the Fortune 500, they are controlled by a few interlocking directorates. As you pointed out, the net effect is the same as Communism. Modern mass media has eliminated efficiency and quality as the primary factors of product success and replaced it with marketing.
    8. After a century of struggle, unions in the US have brought us labor laws and practices almost as elightened as those King Phillip II promogated in New Spain in 1547 (?), so in practice they have benefited us all.

    Not much in common with Genn Beck:
    The corporate elite wage a class war against the produers of wealth and we are on opposite sides. In 1999 I left upper management in a fortune 100 company with the statement that “the executive board’s arrogance is exceeded only by its incompetence”. From my experience in the corporate world, I do not believe that company very different from most. I owned a small business for a while and now belong to a union and work side by side with others building the offices these pompous jackasses sit in when they call us lazy, ignorant, smuggle in illegal aliens to take our jobs and then sneer at us and tell Amwerica we don’t want to work. Art, I sat in board rooms where the air literally dripped with the contempt they held the little people of the company in. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Glenn Beck says the rich create jobs, and his listeners don’t even remember Economics 101: Demand in the marketplace creates jobs. He says the rich earned their millions and implies if your not rich you are lazy or stupid, when all their incomes are by definition unearned income. I believe God gave a few of us extra intelligence so that we could elevate our fellow man, not enrich ourselves at his expense.

  • Bob,

    I am not sure we are listening/watching the same Glenn Beck. He is a libertarian leaning conservative with a nod toward acknowledgment of politico-economic conspiracies and recognizes that America is a nation under God (of course, I am not too sure that he means the Blessed Trinity because he is an apostate Catholic and a Mormon.) As for his statement that the wealthy create jobs, I think he is referring to the entrepreneurs (small business) and not the uber-wealthy trans-nationalists. In a true free market it is the consumer that demands production, hence the creation of jobs, yet it is the entrepreneur that manages the market risk and innovates products and services, hence the creator of jobs.

    Additionally, I don’t see Reagan as responsible for the consolidation of the corporatists and neither does Glenn Beck. Beck favors blaming both Roosevelts, Wilson, Johnson and other progressives along with the trans-nationalists (Rothschild, Rockefeller, et al.)

    Reagan was a brief light in the darkness of the last 100 years of political leadership in the these United States. The machine is just too big for any one man to overcome. Reagan desired to reduce government, to promote a natural free market, to end the Federal Reserve and other than JFK, another president who fought against the money power, was shot. I am not necessarily saying they were shot because they both opposed the trans-national financiers, but it is suspicious.

    Unions may have provided benefits in the past; however, they are instruments for the Communist/Capitalist pincer movement now. That does not disparage union members, who are as much victims as the rest of us. The problem is with the opportunistic union leadership, the corruption of a criminal-political nature and the danger that union power poses to what little free market, if any, we have left. These days, unions are tools of division, class warfare and political consolidation.

    Again, I think, a more objective, second look at Mr. Beck, might show you that you do have more in common with him than you think. You just have to watch out for the misuse of words that we are all victims of – Newspeak has been slowly implemented for so long, we often get caught up in terminology rather than intent and context. In any event, none of us need agree with everything he says, but there is no denying that he has a big microphone and that for the most part he is doing more to stem the corporatist/communist tide than most.

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  • American Knight,
    I understand that it is Mormon belief that when the males die they become gods and rule over their own planets, and that females can only be saved by marrying a Mormon man, but I don’t know what saved means in their context. Do his harem serve him the way the Moslems 40 virgins do? I have no interest in learning any more of their cult. Was involved with trying to save Jehovah’s witnesses at one time and no far more about them than I want to. It is better to follow the admonition of the Apostles:”
    Speak to heretics once, maybe twice, and then have nothing further to do with them.”

  • American Knight,
    Some entrepeneurs actually take risks, start businesses and make money. As a general rule they become wealthy by some definition after doing this, not before. In a free market system, profit is the reward one receives for taking risk, and I have no objection to that. I do have objection to the biggest profits being made by companies who take no risk.

  • Wallace fought against the money system. He too was shot. You may be right about a connection.

  • Bob,

    Mormonism is a strange, twisted heresy. What we have to keep in mind is that like Freemasonry and to some degree Mohammadism, it has secret levels of initiation and most Mormons don’t know the dark secrets of the heresy. Like Masonry and Islam, on the surface and at the lowest levels of initiation it is presented as good, of course, we know that demons often appear as angels of light. Most Mormons follow the moral precepts of the heresy, which are based in truth. No heresy can get started unless it roots itself in the ancient and true doctrines of our Church. Many Mormons are ‘good’ people, in the secular term. I am not sure what they mean by ‘saved’ either. Keep in mind that most of Beck’s audience listens to him regarding practical matters and not theology.

    My only interest in discussing religion with Beck would be to address the common secular religion of the West, based on the doctrines of the Church, and also, to attempt to witness to the Truth in order to be a tool to bring him back to the Church.

    As regards risk-taking, the only way a business can avoid risk, which is inherent to business, is to use the force of the government to eliminate it through the burdensome ‘regulation’ of its competitors, through the enforcement of cabals and cartels and by socializing their loses through bailouts. The problem here is the greed of certain ‘wealthy’ individuals and the parasitic nature of politics and government. The US Constitution created an authentic free-trade zone within the United States and a protection of that zone from without. Today we have the opposite, the trans-nationalists, through our general government, control trade within the US and we are afforded little to no protection from without. See Isaiah 5:20.

  • “Wallace fought against the money system. He too was shot. You may be right about a connection.”

    So did Lincoln.

  • To all: I will leave the reading of what is written upon this mans heart and the judgment of his soul to you. Additionally, I will not be the one to bring up his past faults or make fun of his sensitivity – perhaps y’all are in a position to cast that stone, I am not.

    Respectfully, the Divine Destiny Event on 8/27 was a truly inspiring event that brought together Christians, Jewish, and Muslim leaders from across the country, for the single purpose of finding points of unity and methods for education and tolerance across the nation.
    I am mystified that so many can find fault with that noble effort, regardless of who’s in charge. Check out the Black Robe Brigade if you are truly interested in the truth about what happened that evening when over 2,000 religious leaders came together. Then take a moment to think where such a movement can lead.

    The Restoring Honor Rally was awesome!

    Not only did he manage to raise a ton of funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a group that steps in to assist families and specifically children after the loss of their parent, but, more importantly showcased these contributions were duties as defined by the Lord in James 1:27. How can we argue with that message? Because of the man who orchestrated the event? I applaud him for his efforts. His message all along was that charity is a God inspired selfless gift to others. I don’t find anything wrong with that message.

    The Rally itself was filled with inspirational speakers from various faiths, gospel songs, and badges of honor given out for faith, hope and charity. At the end of the rally over 200 clergy stood arm-in-arm on the stage – I cried like a baby and felt a presence in my heart that I had never felt before.

    His presence filled my heart and soul – it was a truly amazing day and event. I still tear up when I see a video of the geese flying overhead – the whole event was a testament to the unifying power of the Lord.

On Media and Mosques at Ground Zero

Saturday, August 14, AD 2010

One of the interesting (by which I mean dull, predictable and repetitive) aspects of the 24 hour news cycle is that all forms of media have incentives to magnify and actively seek out controversy. Not only does this increase ratings/page views/newspaper sales, it provides media outlets with something – anything in a slow news month – to talk about. I can’t help but feel that the recent outburst of commentary about the construction of a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks is the type of story designed to increase media consumption and accomplish little else. The First Amendment is not in dispute here; freedom of religion is well established and protected by settled case law. Furthermore, the proposed mosque is to be constructed on private property, and there is no legal reason to challenge its construction. And so most of the discussion revolves (and frequently devolves) around taste and symbolism.

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44 Responses to On Media and Mosques at Ground Zero

  • I take your point about media generated controversies, but I’m not sure I’d place the mosque controversies at least entirely in that category. I find the following aspects of this controversy to be very remarkable and worthy of reflection:

    1. The legal right of Muslims to build houses of worship has been called into question.

    2. Islamic terrorists are being conflated with all Muslims.

    3. It’s being proposed that Islam really isn’t a religion.

    I really see our country at a crossroads right now. The increased presence of Muslims challenges our national narratives (e.g., we’re a Christian nation) and the extent to which we value are willing to extend religious liberty. This controversy is forcing us to ask ourselves who we are, and that question is as serious as anything.

  • I suppose, in turn, I take your point Kyle. There are important issues connected to the controversy (although points 1 and 3 strike me as rather fringish, self-marginalizing ideas). I think it is a matter for serious concern that so many voices on the right have picked this particular battle. At the same time, I do not see why it is a national, rather than a local, issue. There is no legal basis for challenging the mosque’s construction, and there is virtually no chance of that changing in the near future (barring a cataclysmic series of events). I am glad that liberals have stated these truths and criticized the over-heated rhetoric from the right, but I still see this more as a controversy-of-the-day, rather than a matter of significant national import.

  • John Henry,

    There are a lot of things I can say about your perspective, and few of them would be very flattering. I’ll limit myself to this: as a Catholic, you ought to have a better understanding and appreciation of the symbolic. To dismiss the importance of symbolism in the manner you have seems rather crudely materialistic to me. Symbols are generally representations of real things.

    “there is little reason for anyone else aside from the families of the victims of 9/11 or residents of that area of New York to comment”

    And yet here we are, in a free society, in which people don’t need reasons deemed acceptable by others to engage in public discourse. Don’t let it burn you up too much 🙂

    Kyle,

    “1. The legal right of Muslims to build houses of worship has been called into question.”

    It has not. And someone ought to question the wisdom of the builders.

    Moreover, people have a right to make legal challenges if they like. It doesn’t mean they will succeed, and they may even be charged with the court cost if their case turns out to be frivolous.

    Finally, some suspect that the mosque is funded by a man with ties to terrorism.

    “2. Islamic terrorists are being conflated with all Muslims.”

    No, I think it is more accurate to say that Islamic terrorists are being portrayed as consistent Muslims, while the “moderate” Muslim is being portrayed as inconsistent, given the clear teachings of the Koran on the relations between Muslims and infidels. You won’t find anything like that in the New Testament.

    “3. It’s being proposed that Islam really isn’t a religion.”

    Yes, I don’t see the point in that. It isn’t a religion like others, to be sure, but in the West we tend to think of religion as something different (though not entirely unrelated) from politics, and from science, a legacy we can thank the Church for. These distinctions are what enabled Western society to advance far beyond others, I believe.

    Then again, I believe communism is a religion, just a secular one. Environmentalism is also fast becoming a religion, neo-pagan for some, secular for others.

    “challenges our national narratives (e.g., we’re a Christian nation)”

    We are a Christian nation, if for no other reason than that the majority of Americans are Christians. If you mean in the substance of our policies, well they rest upon a Christian legacy anyway.

    In Lebanon, Islam “challenged the national narrative” of a Christian nation by repeatedly attempting to slaughter all of the Christians. Only God and the impenetrability of the mountains of Northern Lebanon saved them from that fate.

    Now I’m not saying that the Muslims who live here now either desire such a thing for the United States, or that they could do it if they did. I do wonder however how the picture will change if/when they become 20% of the population or more. This isn’t an observation limited to Islam either: ANY group with ANY ideas will seek to impose them more and more as their numbers grow. That’s just rational human political behavior, it is universal.

    Perhaps looking at Europe’s experience we would be wise to take certain precautions sooner, rather than later.

  • To dismiss the importance of symbolism in the manner you have seems rather crudely materialistic to me. Symbols are generally representations of real things.

    Symbols can be important, but they can also be ambiguous or frivolous. I wasn’t categorically rejecting arguments about symbolism; just saying that this particular one wasn’t particularly fruitful given that there are very few repercussions for public policy.

    And yet here we are, in a free society, in which people don’t need reasons deemed acceptable by others to engage in public discourse. Don’t let it burn you up too much

    This is silly, Joe. Saying that I don’t think a particular controversy is very valuable is hardly the same as saying I am upset that people are free to have it. I’m consistently on the side of freedom here – whether it be of religion or speech.

  • A commenter on a friend’s facebook page remarks that Muslims have the right to practice their religion in their own countries, but not in ours. I’d say that qualifies as denying the religious freedom of Muslims in the U.S. Teresamerica asserts that the sensitivity of the 9/11 families is grounds to refuse the building of the “ground zero” mosque. She’s not just questioning the wisdom of the building planners, but their legal right to build in that location. I can also point to the opposition the president has received in response to his statement that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as we all have. As for lawsuits: Exhibit A.

  • Cordova House: Why don’t we start a $100,000,000 fund to build a cathedral dedicated to St. Perfecto, a Spanish martyr murdered for the faith in Cordova during the 700 years the mass murderers held Spain?

    You geniuses will see how this plays out in November.

    Meanwhile, you will see a representative sample of 80% of US at 2PM on 11 September.

    You insensitive America-hating geniuses . . .

    Practicing their religion . . . flying large airplanes into tall buildings.

  • Regarding jihad, Adams states in his essay series,

    “…he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.”

    Confirming Adams’ assessment, the late Muslim scholar, Professor Majid Khadduri, wrote the following in his authoritative 1955 treatise on jihad, War and Peace in the Law of Islam :

    “Thus the jihad may be regarded as Islam’s instrument for carrying out its ultimate objective by turning all people into believers, if not in the prophethood of Muhammad (as in the case of the dhimmis), at least in the belief of God. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have declared ‘some of my people will continue to fight victoriously for the sake of the truth until the last one of them will combat the anti-Christ’. Until that moment is reached the jihad, in one form or another will remain as a permanent obligation upon the entire Muslim community. It follows that the existence of a dar al-harb is ultimately outlawed under the Islamic jural order; that the dar al-Islam permanently under jihad obligation until the dar al-harb is reduced to non-existence; and that any community accepting certain disabilities- must submit to Islamic rule and reside in the dar al-Islam or be bound as clients to the Muslim community. The universality of Islam, in its all embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.”3

  • Kyle,

    Well, frankly, the cited examples all strike me as fairly marginal views. Your Facebook friend isn’t in favor of the First Amendment (and likely hasn’t really thought much about the history of Catholics in the United States); Teresaamerica is proposing manipulation of a city zoning requirement protecting landmarks to prevent the construction of the mosque, which is a rather startling example of using a facially neutral requirement for discriminatory purposes. As to lawsuits, they are unlikely to make it past summary judgment, if they even make it that far. As I said, there are important questions connected with this controversy, but for the most part these conversations involve issues more significant than – and distinct from – whether or not New York has another mosque.

    I should add, though, that I appreciate you taking the time to provide examples. It may be that I’m wrong about the significance of this particular controversy, or have chosen a poor example to illustrate the point I was trying to make.

  • T. Shaw – the purpose of this thread is not to debate the place of jihad within Islam; please try to provide comments that relate more directly to the topic of the post.

  • Right.

    “Taste”: I would use “sensitivity” or “sensibilities.” I know where your “head” is on this.

    Of course, the media actively magnified the immaterial, tragic events of 11 September 2001 (the boring History Channel mini-series they air each September need to cease and desist, too), so widows and other survivors have their evil bowels in an uproar over the religion of peace building a pacifist training camp two blocks away from where their little eichmann’s got it for liberating Kuwait from Saudi Arabian bases and supporting Israel.

  • “Muslims have the right to practice their religion in their own countries, but not in ours. I’d say that qualifies as denying the religious freedom of Muslims in the U.S.”

    This is one of the most laughable statements posted here in quite some time.

    All over the Muslim world, Muslims are denied the right to practice as they see fit. No whirling Dervishes if you are in Saudi Arabia. Want to wear a burqa in Turkey? Have fun in jail. Surely the hundreds of thousands of Muslims arrested each year on charges of “crimes against Islam” reveal the claim as absurd?

    And, with regards to Muslims not being able to practice in the US, what could your Facebook friend POSSIBLY mean by THAT allegation? Is she suggesting that opposing the building of a mosque at Ground Zero represents an absolute bar to the practicing of Islam in New York City or the United States as a whole? If so, she has lost her furry little mind.

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with opposing the building of Cordoba House at Ground Zero, we shouldn’t jump on the victimized bandwagon just yet. Lets face it, Cordoba House isn’t the first mosque to be built to praise Allah for a great victory… The Blue Mosque in Constantinople is.

  • John,

    “I wasn’t categorically rejecting arguments about symbolism”

    That wasn’t very clear originally. I thank you for the clarification.

    Kyle,

    Your link is just a link to people who want to stop the construction of one mosque. That is a far cry from arguing that “Muslims don’t have a right to practice their religion.”

    You know, we deny a lot of different religious groups the right to certain practices. We prosecute Christian “scientists” who refuse to give their children medicine when they are sick, for instance. So this idea of absolute religious freedom is as detached from history and reality as those who proclaim an absolute right to free speech. I don’t claim that there are grounds at the moment to deny certain aspects of Islam, but they could well arise at some point.

    My compromise would be this: today, right now, before 10% of our population is Muslim, we pass state or even federal constitutional amendments forever barring the implementation of Sharia law at any level. We make resolutions to avoid what has happened in Europe and some of the commonwealth countries, in which “culture” or “religion” has been used in courts of law to defend honor killers and rapists. We subject Islam to the same scrutiny that Christianity is subjected to in the public school system, and we stop these ridiculous charades in which children are forced to act like Muslims for a week as part of “cultural awareness.” It’s absurd.

  • G-Veg, I think your comment reflects a misunderstanding. Kyle’s FB friend was expressing their view of what should be rather than what is. Obviously, there are a lot of problems with his friend’s desired state of affairs and that (fortunately) is not currently the state of things in the U.S.

  • The constant invocation of Cordoba itself reeks of mealy-mouting of Catholics and the Christian faith in general. The legends of Al-Andalus and the alleged tolerance of Muslims for other religions have been amplified beyond caricature by Jews who couldn’t forgive Catholics for the expulsions and fabulists such as Borges and Fuentas who projected their fantasies onto a mideaval past. The strange thing is, Muslims themselves never cared for the comity of Cordoba, one can hardly find references to that aspect in their earlier writings; bin Laden wasn’t rueing for the Cordoba of fantastic memory. The remaking of Cordoba into some kind of wonderland was the work of (a few) Jews, thus it is no surprise that Bloomberg is taken in. I look forward to the day when the very same boosters, complain when some Sheikh or other compares Jews to monkeys at Cordoba House.

  • Pauli’s link makes my point in an indirect way. What was the need for that anti-Catholic bigot Foxman to invoke the Auschwitz nuns to frighten off CAIR, when the salient comparison to the destruction of the WTC is in fact Pearl Harbour? It seems as though he wants us to forget that Catholic Poles in their hundreds of thousands perished in that camp. Is McGurn a Catholic? If so, he needs to stop drinking the ADL Kool-Aid.

  • I agree that symbolism is important. That’s why I think the efforts to stop the building project are so awful.

  • I wouldn’t try to stop them through the courts, but I would impress upon them how much they will rightfully be resented for failing to respect the wishes of the people. To do something simply because one can is hardly a persuasive argument.

    There are a thousand and one good ways to foster better relations between Muslims who wish to disavow the violent teachings of the Koran, and Christians in the United States. This is not one of them.

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  • I would impress upon them how much they will rightfully be resented for failing to respect the wishes of the people. To do something simply because one can is hardly a persuasive argument.

    I agree. Muslims don’t “do” persuasive argument. Never have. Why should they? They like their methods better. From passive aggressiveness all the way up to not-so-passive, that’s where they excel.

    In many ways I’m glad they are building this at ground zero to show their absolute smugness and insensitivity. It will further expose their nature.

  • Pauli,

    I think such generalizations are unfair, dangerous, and inaccurate when applied to a group of 1 billion people. A disturbing pattern is found in many long-running feuds/persecutions: 1) a group of individuals is lumped together on the basis of a distinguishing feature (whether it be race/religion/nationality/etc.) and identified as ‘the other’; 2) that group is then accused of having various negative characteristics to an unusual degree (e.g. greed, stupidity, or guilt for certain crimes); 3) these negative characteristics are then used as a pretext for denying rights to this group that other citizens enjoy. I am concerned about the implications of your comments.

  • I should have written “Muslim leaders” rather than merely “Muslims”. That’s my point. Islam doesn’t have one billion leaders. One billion people are not building a mosque. I can “generalize” about these leaders based on their past and present behavior. They don’t show the kind of sensitivity of the Holy Father in the link I posted.

    John Henry was wise to delete his former comment where he compared me to a Klan member and a jihadist.

  • John Henry was wise to delete his former comment where he compared me to a Klan member and a jihadist.

    My point was about language and the structure of your argument; to say language is similar is not to say the people are similar. Substitute Catholics/blacks/Israelis for Muslims in your comment above, and the similarities in language are quite striking. Btw, I frequently re-write my comments multiple times to try and make them clearer within the first few minutes after they post.

  • I frequently re-write my comments multiple times to try and make them clearer within the first few minutes after they post.

    Mmmmm, I see. That also provides a benefit that those subscribed to the comment thread get to see what you really think before your discretion kicks in and you self-censor. Maybe you should just write your comments down on scratch paper first and read them out loud to yourself. That’s what I do.

    Let me clarify my views further WRT the smugness and insensitivity of the Muslim leaders behind the building of the ground zero Mosque. I don’t think I would say the same about black leaders in general, Israeli leaders in general or Catholic leaders in general, and my proof for the third is in the link I provided earlier. This rules me out as a Klansman if there was any further question.

  • Pauli – you seem to be missing the point. I wasn’t saying that you feel similarly about Catholics/blacks/Israelis, etc. I was observing that your comment above about Muslims is very similar to the type of statements that the Klansmen of yore made about Catholics and Blacks, and radical Muslim groups today make about Israelis. You’ve said now that you were only speaking about ‘Muslim leaders,’ but I think, again, your statement still reflects a disturbing prejudice.

  • John Henry, here’s a question. Can you think of other comparable situations involving different religions other than Islam? Keep in mind that this project will be large costing millions of dollars. If I am prejudiced against Islam, then I have overlooked all the other times a different religion has done something comparable.

    Prejudice means to prejudge, to judge someone before you see any of there actions. For example, I see a black person and I think, “That person is probably a lazy bum, because blacks are lazy.” If I think this, then I am prejudiced. But what if I am able to observe a black person for several months and note many instances of laziness? Then I can state “He is lazy” without prejudice, can I not? This would only appear to be prejudice to a third person who didn’t know that I had many occasions to observe the laziness and who then made an assumption that the reason for my judgment was my own prejudice against blacks. This third person would himself be guilty of prejudging me.

    So give me some comparable situations throughout history to the ground zero mosque. Otherwise this word substitution exercise you are proposing smells like a red herring.

  • I really see our country at a crossroads right now. The increased presence of Muslims challenges our national narratives (e.g., we’re a Christian nation) and the extent to which we value are willing to extend religious liberty. This controversy is forcing us to ask ourselves who we are, and that question is as serious as anything.

    There are some disputes about the proportion of the population which is Muslim. (Robert Spencer offers that the most valid estimates appear to place that population at 3,000,000, or 1% of the whole). I do not think a minority that size ‘challenges national narratives’. (The appellate judiciary and the public interest bar have insisted on the adoption of enforced secularization, because that is the preferred policy in the social circles in which they run).

    Both you and John Henry might consider the possibility that past is not prologue, and that a muslim minority might eventually prove tragically incompatible with the general population, and that such an outcome is more likely if elite policy rewards rather than ignores (or penalizes) aggressive postures on the part of novel minorities.

  • The remaking of Cordoba into some kind of wonderland was the work of (a few) Jews

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04359b.htm

    “Owing to the peace which the Christians of Cordova then enjoyed, some knowledge of their condition has been preserved, among other things the name of their bishop, Joannes, also the fact that, at that period, the citizens of Cordova, Arabs, Christians, and Jews, enjoyed so high a degree of literary culture that the city was known as the New Athens. From all quarters came students eager to drink at its founts of knowledge. Among the men afterwards famous who studied at Cordova were the scholarly monk Gerbert, destined to sit on the Chair of Peter as Sylvester II (999-1003)”

    I suppose it’s possible Jews infiltrated the Catholic Encyclopedia’s editorial board.

  • Yeah, those silly martyrs didn’t know when they had it good!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_of_C%C3%B3rdoba

  • restrainedcatholic, the article you linked to in its entirety, shows that Catholic scholars were not among those going gaga over Cordoba. The quote does not accurately convey the thrust of the article. By the sheer dance of things, there is bound to be a period when Christians and Jews enjoyed a measure of peace living among Muslims. This by itself is not sufficient to inspire the paens to Cordoba. Where for example is the equivalent Christian city? We know that there were Christian monarchs in the Iberian peninsula who were tolerant by the standards of that era. Yet no one is concerned to inflict their saga on us.

  • sorry I should have addressed the above to restrainedradical..

  • Donald, you should substitute the phrase “female African slaves” for “martyrs” in your sarcastic remark. How’s it sound then? Answer: very disturbing.

  • Let us assume that those financing Cordoba House are sincere in their desire to present the most tolerant face of Islam possible and that harkening back to an enlightened period of the Cordoban princes is meant to be a signal of the kind of tolerance they seek in America. Let us further accept the claim that the proximity to Ground Zero is meant to give voice to moderate and modern Islam – as an answer to the kind of religious extremism that brought the towers down and the world’s economic Goliath to his knees.

    It was surely possible to be a practicing Christian or Jew in Cordoba at various points. We have fairly modern examples to suggest that a calm, judicious application of the Koran and the Hadith to the interactions between religions leads to some degree of stability and freedom of worship. However, at its very best, this isn’t anything approximating Freedom of Religion. This is because Sharia law absolutely requires Theocracy. It presumes that Islam is right on a host of human interactions that allow for no deviation. However “tolerant” of other religious teachings an Islamic state seeks to be it cannot permit deviation on critical issues such as the nature of God, the duty of man to his family and to the community, and how work is organized. In even the most tolerant of Islamic states (indeed, I would argue that this is true of ALL theocratic states and that we are concentrating on Islamic states because they are the last of this old order), no Christian can be allowed to evangelize because, at its core, tolerant Islam nonetheless requires absolute adherence to basic Koranic doctrine as expressed through the Hadith. This is to say that the Spanish Caliphates may have been “tolerant” but only so long as the other faiths knew and stayed in their place. (This shouldn’t be surprising. There was a reason for the brutality and vindictiveness of the Spanish Inquisition and I doubt it was “payback” for six centuries of Islamic FAIR treatment.)

    Bringing my point back to Cordoba House: even IF those financing the project intend to signal the kind of “tolerance” that was supposedly exhibited under Muslim rule in Cordoba, that kind of “tolerance” is nothing akin to Freedom of Religion. Further, it “feels like” building a mosque so close to the place where the American economic model of a hundred years was destroyed is a sort of “victory dance” or, at least, a shrine to thank Allah for victory. My guess is that our ancestors felt the same way about the conversion of the Basilica at Constantinople into the Blue Mosque.

    If this is not what is intended… if the Cordoba House builders are honest in their desire to forge bonds and further understanding, they have picked a damn awful way to do it. Appearances DO matter.

    One final note: please do not interpret my writing to suggest that I believe that the engines of law ought to be brought to bear to prevent the building of the mosque. Indeed, even if it were called the “Usama Bin Laden Victory Mosque” and have individual shrines to the 911 “martyrs,” I would not want the state to act in an unconstitutional way. However, I take great exception to those who suggest that protesting the building of the mosque is un-American. Nothing is more democratic than to stand up for one’s views and to speak for oneself – not expecting the government to intervene

  • G-Veg: If this is not what is intended… if the Cordoba House builders are honest in their desire to forge bonds and further understanding, they have picked a damn awful way to do it. Appearances DO matter.

    Yeah, this is pretty much how Michael Medved phrased it today on his show. Either it’s a victory dance which means it’s horrible, or it’s an extremely poor and insensitive attempt at reconciliation.

  • Should you be glad that it’s named after a place that became exclusively Catholic?

  • Wow, why didn’t I think of that? Cordoba as a backhand compliment to Ferdinand and Isabelle; tell the hardhats its alright, they must get to work. Expedite the construction.

  • Good Morning restrainedradical,

    I’m not sure I follow you because I didn’t think we were talking about what I would do if I were going to sponsor a religious community in a place that would deeply offend. For this conversation, it is enough to articulate why I am offended and how the decision to build this mosque in a place where it appears to glory in misery is inappropriate.

    I’ll range farther though to say that I understand the impulse of the victor to raise monuments – to celebrate victory in a way that visits new injury on the defeated every time they are forced to accept and contemplate their impotency. It is a basic and base impulse. I mentioned the Blue Mosque as an example but there are many others such as the obelisk at the Vatican (doubly so if Wiki is right in noting that the obelisk was the center-point of the Circus Maximus).

    Monuments are built to channel human vision such as the Smithsonian and to inspire the way the Statue of Liberty does. They are built to control the divine (Stonehenge) or to refocus culture such as St. Petersburg. Sometimes they are merely the extension of man’s feeble attempt to control what happens after death (Pyramids at Giza). Often they are build to “immortalize” conquest such as Trafalgar Square and to put a face on a particular victory such as Admiral Nelson’s monument at Trafalgar. There are a lot of reasons to put mortar to stone and not all of them are base and mean.

    It is a fair question as to why those who seek to build Cordoba House at Ground Zero choose that location. The explanation given – that they seek to put a moderate face on Islam and to answer the extremism of September 11th with the understanding and tolerance of a thoroughly modern and moderate Islam – is difficult for many people to accept. I am one of them.

    I look at the speeches of its lead spokesman, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and wonder how a man who believes that America invited the 911 attacks through its policies over the previous century can simultaneously believe that the building of a mosque on the site of those attacks would be perceived as other than a victory monument by extremists. The questions about funding further alarm me since our culture is accustomed to look with skepticism upon projects whose funding is hidden. I admit to looking with jaded eye on attempts to present the Koran and Hadith as purely religious – i.e. having no pre-requisite political, legal, and economic structure – strictures.

    Cast against this backdrop, calling the project “Cordoba House” and then withdrawing that name when confronted about its implications appears to me to be revealing. It suggests that the name choice was more illuminating about the hidden agenda of those building the center than they wished it to be.

    In many ways, the rise of Islam in the Americas presents a unique challenge to both Muslims and the broader society. Primary in the challenges is recasting the political, social, and economic structures inherent in the Koran and, particularly, in the Hadith as idealized analogies rather than divine order. Stated more simply, the Koran and the Hadith are incredibly specific as to how society as a whole, family life in particular, and the daily lives of individuals are to be organized. While it is true that the burqa and other such trappings of modern Islam are not ordained in the written word, it is fair to note that the vast majority of religious, economic, and political obligations are spelled out.

    In a modern, constitutionalist state such as the United States, there is an assumption that the duties of man to man and man to the broader society are limited by law maintained by virtually universal suffrage. The framework is set by the democratic institutions. The individual actions inside of that framework are set by our personal codes. Religion, in one sense, must accept the overall legal framework in order to be practiced freely. Stated differently, lest I be misunderstood to be saying that religion is subordinate to the State, the modern, diverse culture, the State guarantees a field of contest on which the worldviews can compete without being oppressed by organs of government. So long as those worldviews accept the framework, virtually any can operate freely (Scientology for example) without damaging the State.

    It remains to be seen whether Islam can exist within a constitutional state.

  • G-Veg, similar things can be said of Judaism yet they developed doctrines that allow them to integrate into a pluralistic society. Christianity went through a similar transformation. Even if the Bible doesn’t command certain public policies, it became conventional wisdom that, for example, heresy should be a capital offense. Freedom of conscience didn’t hold as high a place as it does today.

    I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibilities that Islam can develop doctrines that can allow them to deemphasize teachings that prevent them from integrating. There will still be fundamentalists but they may become a tiny fringe minority with no mainstream support.

    We can aid in this process by supporting the moderates within Islam who are willing to abandon the more radical teachings.

  • It remains to be seen whether Islam can exist within a constitutional state.

    Constitutional monarchy has functioned in Morocco for most the the last 50-odd years. Malaysia has always been a parliamentary state, if an illiberal one. There are several West African countries which have had elected governments for the last 20 to 35 years. The Arab world is peculiarly resistant to electoral and deliberative institutions; outside of that, it is doubtful that muslim societies are more prone to tyranny than other societies at similar levels of economic development.

    A better statement of the question is whether a muslim minority can be amicably incorporated in a society where the judiciary, the social services apparat, the educational apparat, and much of the political class considers the vernacular society of the natives something which needs to be contained and leavened, and makes use of (often rude) immigrant populations in its battles with that vernacular society.

  • Bernard Lewis in his book The Jews in Islam writes,

    “The claim to tolerance, now much heard from Muslim apologists and more especially from apologists for Islam, is also new and of alien origin. It is only very recently that some defenders of Islam have begun to assert that their society in the past accorded equal status to non-Muslims. No such claim is made by spokesmen for resurgent Islam, and historically there is no doubt that they are right. Traditional Islamic societies neither accorded such equality nor pretended that they were so doing. Indeed, in the old order, this would have been regarded not as a merit but as a dereliction of duty. How could one accord the same treatment to those who follow the true faith and those who willfully reject it? This would be a theological as well as a logical absurdity.”

  • Art Deco,

    The Arab world is peculiarly resistant to electoral and deliberative institutions.

    Isn’t there a whole history of colonial (mis)administration here that is being calmly passed over–as though we can leap from the time of the caliphate to contemporary world politics without addressing the serious harms imposed upon the middle east and northern africa by various european powers.

    Even the case of Iran (not Arab, but Muslim country) complicates the situation. We did depose their legitimately elected government and instituted a dictator in his place, as we’ve done several other times in various places.

    My point is that an awful lot of this analysis passes over modern history as though it didn’t have any effect on how Islam first encountered representative systems of government.

  • Most of the Arab world was under colonial rule by Europe for a very brief period from shortly after World War I to shortly after World War II. The pathologies that afflict the Arab world are homegrown. It is representative institutions and the Western concept of human rights which are the legacy from Europe.

    In regard to Iran it is more accurate to say that we deposed a dictator, Mossadegh, and restored the Shah. The Shah was a squalid tyrant, but he gleams as positively enlightened compared to the rulers thrown up by the Shia Revolution.

  • Isn’t there a whole history of colonial (mis)administration here that is being calmly passed over–as though we can leap from the time of the caliphate to contemporary world politics without addressing the serious harms imposed upon the middle east and northern africa by various european powers.

    Even the case of Iran (not Arab, but Muslim country) complicates the situation. We did depose their legitimately elected government and instituted a dictator in his place, as we’ve done several other times in various places.

    I keep having this argument with Maclin Horton’s troublesome blogging partner. I offer you the following inventory.

    European colonization in the Near East, North Africa, and Central Asia was limited to the Maghreb and to a small knock of Levantine territory (the Valley of Jezreel and a portion of the coastal plain running between Gaza and Haifa) difficult to see in an atlas of ordinary scale. In Morocco (and I believe in Tunisia as well), the French agricultural colonies were small (the total number of households being under 10,000), although a good deal of common land was enclosed and delivered to them. Demographically obtrusive colonization was found in Algeria (state supported and enforced) and in the Levant (as private and voluntary immigration financed by the Jewish National Fund, etc). I have seen some figures I do not quite trust that there was quite a bit of settlement in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica as well.

    Egypt, the Sudan, Aden, the south Arabian sheikhdoms, the Trucial sheikhdoms, Bahrain, Kuwait, the Transjordan, and Iraq were all dependencies of Britain or France for periods ranging from 14 years to 72 years. Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Syria were dependencies of France for periods ranging from 26 years to 75 years. You had a rotating population of civil servants and soldiers and a foreign resident population there for business or missionary work (e.g. the founders of the American University of Beirut). There were, however, no colonists other than the aforementioned population of farmers. Morocco’s agricultural colonies were founded around 1928 and fully liquidated by about 1971.

    You may have noticed that Indonesia has had an elected government for the last 11 years, that elected administration has been modal in South Asia since 1947, and that elected governments are (at this point in time) rather more prevalent in Tropical and Southern Africa than they have been in the Arab world at any time in the last 50 years. The encounter between Europeans and natives was a good deal more durable, intrusive, and coercive in these loci than it ever was with regard to the Arab world.

    You may have noticed the United States had scant involvement in this enterprise of collecting overseas dependencies, and none at all in the Muslim world.

    You may also have noticed that the 9/11 crew were recruited not from Algeria (which did feel the French boot rather severely), but from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Egypt was a dependency of Britain in a juridically odd arrangement from 1881 to 1922; any complaints about this are not exactly topical. Neither the Hijaz nor the Nejd (united now as ‘Saudi Arabia’) was ever a dependency of any European power. Britain and Russia established some concessionary arrangements with Persia for a period of time (1907-25) in the early 20th century, but it was never a dependency of any European power.

    The four Arab countries which have had the most extensive experience with constitutional government (Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait) are all over the map as regards the duration and features of their encounter with Europe.

    As for the ‘legitimately elected government’ of Iran, parliamentary executives are generally dependent on the pleasure of the head of state, most especially when they have arbitrarily prorogued the country’s legislature (as Iran’s had been in 1953). Mohammed Mossadegh was no more entitled to rule by decree and disestablish the Persian monarchy (his ambitions) than was the Shah to run a royal dictatorship, but you win some and you lose some. Now, run down the list of states in the Near East, North Africa, and Central Asia which were sovereign for some time during the period running from 1953 to 1978 and identify those which had some measure of competitive electoral politics and public deliberation more often than not. That is a low bar that about 2/3 of the Latin American states could have met. The list will read as follows: Morocco, Kuwait, Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, Pakistan, Libya (perhaps), and Jordan (perhaps). That would be 6 or 8 of the 25 states of the region. It is just not fertile ground for parliamentary government, and a multi-ethnic state with a literacy rate of 8% is not promising material for a durable constitutional order in any case.

    I do not care what bilge Noam Chomsky or John Prados are pushing. The machinations of the CIA are not the reason competitive electoral politics has often been a transient state of affairs here there and the next place in this world (as it was prior to the CIA’s formation in 1947). The only good example of something resembling a democratic political order iced by the CIA would be Jacobo Arbenz’ government in Guatemala in 1954. Personally, I think Arbenz bears more resemblance to Juan Domingo Peron and Salvador Allende than he does to Latin America’s authentic constitutionalists, but it is difficult to find trustworthy histories of his life and times.

  • Muslims don’t “do” persuasive argument. Never have.

    Clarification. I would like to take my second phrase back: “Never have,” which I wrote in ignorance. (Never say never, right?) It turns out that for a time, Muslim thinkers were at one time more reasonable and more at home with the use of reason. I learned that from this excellent piece interviewing Robert Reilly on his new book, the title of which is “Closing of the Muslim Mind”. It’s particularly germane to this discussion and sheds quite a bit of light on the B16/Regensberg thing as well.

    I believe my larger point stands, i.e., currently Muslims do not so much engage in apologetics as they do in a certain type of assertiveness about their beliefs, which is possibly a more useful word than aggressiveness for describing the particular tendency I wish to describe for purposes of this discussion.

Anglicans And Catholics To Reunite, Reaction And News Roundup

Tuesday, October 20, AD 2009

St. Thomas More

I will be updating this post as often as I can throughout the day [Last update at 10:01pm CDT].  I’ll be reporting on reactions and news concerning this groundbreaking development that came from the Vatican this morning.  The Vatican issued a note explaining a new provision in an upcoming Apostolic Constitution that will allow for a structure to be in place to receive Anglicans and Episcopalians into the Catholic Church.  Basically a corporate reunion!

To read the full text of this announcement from the Vatican click here.

To read the full text of the joint press release of the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Gerard Nichols, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, click here.

Reaction and news from around the world [all emphasis mine]:

Last Update of the day at 10:01pm CDT (Earlier updates further down this post)

Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London.  Offers a brief history of what transpired the last couple of years between Anglo-Catholics, and those inside the Vatican, both faithful and dissident Catholics.

Rome has parked its tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn [Interesting choice of words, but nonetheless accurate in my opinion] after manoeuvres undertaken by up to fifty bishops and begun two years ago by an Australian archbishop, John Hepworth [The leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion].”

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18 Responses to Anglicans And Catholics To Reunite, Reaction And News Roundup

  • Does this action reverse Apostolicae Curae?

  • A brilliant stroke on the part of Pope Benedict. He has the mental agility and energy of a prelate half his age. Disaffected Anglicans now have a home and the powers that be in the Anglican Church have a major problem. To all of our Anglican brothers and sisters who will be joining us I say that we are overjoyed to have you!

  • Might I just add that this is what Ecumenism is supposed to be about: Conversion into the Catholic Church, and not the other way around (i.e., Catholics mutating into Protestants)?

  • e.,

    In addition to what you said, Ecumenism is about conversion, not dialogue that continues without resolution.

  • Tito: I was having problems earlier at the website. Would you kindly remove the first instance of my comments above since it’s merely a duplicate?

    Also, would you happen to know if in that ordinariate in the Anglican ultimately means that a person can actually be married and yet become a priest in that rite (for lack of a better word)?

    Thanks!

  • e.,

    Yes, I read the Note that was released early this morning the same way.

    Married men can now become priests in the Catholic Church, but only within the Anglican Personal Ordinariate. Very similar to Easter Catholic Rites.

    But they may not become priests in the Latin Rite, which encompasses the vast majority of Catholics worldwide.

    I’m sure once the mainstream media gets to reading the details they’ll begin to make hay about this pretty soon.

    Take note though, only unmarried priests can become bishop within the Anglican Personal Ordinariate, just as in the Easter Catholic Rites and the Easter Orthodox Churches.

  • Tito:

    Thanks for the info!

    I’m just wondering if a person who is seeking to become a priest and yet at the same time be married, alls he need do is pursue such vocation but within that same Anglican Personal Ordinariate which you mention; in other words, will this be at long last that loophole for those married but yet feel a calling to serve the Lord in the priesthood.

    Here is The Wall Street Journal scoop:

    Vatican Opens Door for Anglican Converts

    ROME — Pope Benedict XVI introduced a fast track for Anglicans seeking to join Roman Catholicism, paving the way for conservative Anglicans frustrated by their church’s blessing of same-sex unions and homosexuality in the priesthood to enter the Catholic fold.

    The Vatican on Tuesday announced plans to create a special set of canon laws, known as an “Apostolic Constitution,” to allow Anglican faithful, priests and bishops to enter into full communion with the Vatican without having to give up a large part of their liturgical and spiritual traditions.

    With the measures, Pope Benedict is attempting to reclaim ground lost by the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century when King Henry VIII defied papal authority to found the Church of England. The move clears the way for entire congregations of Anglicans to join the Catholic Church and makes it easier for married Anglican priests to convert without embracing Catholicism’s traditional code of priestly celibacy…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125604916994796545.html?mod=rss_Today's_Most_Popular

  • e.,

    As much as the mainstream media hypes that the solution to a declining pool of priests is to allow married people to pursue this vocation, it won’t be anything more than a trickle.

    We all know that families that practice and teach the faith to their children, ie, foster vocations, in addition to participating in orthodox Catholic parishes will create large pools of seminarians.

    As evident in the Lincoln and Omaha dioceses of Nebraska.

    Allowing married men and wymyn priests is a band-ade at best.

  • Tito:

    Obviously, woman priests is clearly forbidden and should never be allowed — ever.

    However, allowing married priests is more of a disciplinary rather than a doctrinal matter; I don’t see how such a thing can actually even be considered subversive.

    In fact, even Fr. Corapi admitted as much in his Catechism of the Catholic Church series on EWTN.

  • e.,

    I know that it is a discipline and not doctrinal.

    I agree with you completely on this point. You may have misread my comment on this, but to be clear, I believe you and I are on the same page.

    I’m fine with allowing married priests. Especially how it will be set up in the upcoming provision in the Apostolic Constitution.

    …and I looove Father Corapi!

  • I got to see Fr. Corapi in Buffalo this past August on Our Lady’s feast. He is wonderful. A true son of the Church.

    I prefer that the Latin Rite keep the celibacy discipline. We are at a point right now where experience is teaching us that when we are orthodox we grow and when we are hetrodox we wane.

    Even though the Pope could lift this I think it diminishes the priest’s efficacy if he has to worry about the formation and protection, etc. of children of his own flesh – it is actually a freedom to be able to care for all the children in his parish.

    Nevertheless, whatever the Pope decides is fine by me. I think everyone except the Holy Spirit underestimated our German Shepherd. He rocks.

  • AK,

    I agree 100%.

    Celibacy needs to be kept for many apparent reasons, one of the most basic is he has dedicated his life to Christ. Adding a good wife would only shorten his time on earth.

  • Fr. Grandon is a distant relative of mine by marriage, whom I met for the first time when he had just become Catholic and had gone from being an Episcopal priest to a Catholic layperson. Great guy with a really interesting conversion story.

    On another blog I read that Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, retired Episcopal bishop of Quincy, Illinois (its cathedral, however, is in Peoria), was more or less stripped of his episcopal status by the “High Priestess” referred to above… he also is a great guy, good friends with Bishops Myers and Jenky, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him jump the Tiber now. Since he’s married and has kids he wouldn’t be able to be a bishop anymore, but given how he’s been treated by his own denomination of late, he’d probably have little to lose if he did convert.

  • Also, maybe I’m getting WAY ahead of everyone here… but could this approach to ecumenism be carried even beyond the boundaries of the Anglican or Orthodox churches? Could we someday (probably centuries from now, if ever) have a Lutheran Rite or Baptist Rite or Pentecostal/Charismatic Rite that combine their distinctive styles of worship with the sacraments, doctrines and teaching authority of the Church?

  • Elaine,

    I briefly touched on that in the next posting.

    In my opinion, I could possibly see something for the Lutherans in a Personal Ordiniate.

    But after them, there are no vestiges of any signs of an apostolic church. Maybe the Methodists, but that is stretching it a bit.

    But again, it’s strictly my opinion.

  • Tito:

    No disrespect; however, if you actually felt that way about married priests, then why did you put it up there with woman priests which, in fact, can never be allowed as it directly goes against Christian doctrine itself?

    Also, I don’t think there could ever be rites that would cater to such Protestant sects as the Baptists who clearly do not hold the same Christian beliefs that we do, like the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Ironically, it is folks like the Lutherans who we have more in common (relatively-speaking, of course) in comparison with those sects who are far more heretical in degree.

    Yet, I do greatly appreciate the fact that you are keeping us apprised of such news. Keep it up.

    Adding a good wife would only shorten his time on earth.

    This reminds of precisely what Saint/Sir Thomas More once said as regarding marriage; that is, once a man is married, he can never be free of worry!

  • e.,

    Now your reading into things way to much.

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Which Comes First, the Church or the Party?

Wednesday, September 2, AD 2009

Well, I’ve read and talked more than I ever cared to about Ted Kennedy recently, may he rest in peace. And Darwin has already ably responded to this defense of the late Senator Kennedy from Michael Sean Winters. But something about Mr. Winters response has been ringing in my ears, and I think it’s because it summarizes in a few sentences what I perceive to be the tragedy of Catholic Democrats in the U.S.: they could have taken a stand for unborn life but were unwilling. As a result, faithful Catholics have either been driven into the Republican Party, become independents, or become disconcertingly comfortable with the status quo on abortion. Currently I think both the first and last options are incompatible with Catholic thought – at least without substantial departure from party orthodoxies. Where familiarity (with both parties) should have breed contempt, it has instead yielded unconscionable familiarity and acceptance. And Mr. Winters’ post provides a clear illustration of this reality:

To dismiss his [Senator Kennedy’s] career because of his stance on abortion is to be ignorant of the complicated way the issue of abortion manifested itself in the early 1970s: I think Kennedy got it wrong but I do not find it difficult to understand why and how he got it wrong.

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5 Responses to Which Comes First, the Church or the Party?

  • Well said. I think your argument is strengthened by the fact that for over thirty years, Sen. Kennedy had ample opportunity to reevaluate his position in the light of advances in prenatal medicine. He had the opportunity to take firm stances against the pro-abortion absolutists’ increasingly irrational demands. He appears to have done very little in this way, though I will give him credit for his efforts on behalf of handicapped children.

    The tendency to appoint oneself theologian-in-chief is, sadly, far too common. Not only did Kennedy succumb to this failing, he seems at a critical decision point to have surrounded himself with members of the clergy suffering from the same disorder.

  • I appreciate the analysis but I wonder if we are creating an unjustified distinction in favor of Sen. Kennedy’s interpretation of social justice.

    It was, for me, far more than his stance on abortion that offended me. Sen. Kennedy evoked a viscoral reaction whenever I saw or heard him. The root cause was that the “social justice” that he spoke so eloquently for was coupled with an hypocracy and a complete disregard for the effects of social liberalism, as opposed to social justice, on American society in general and American Catholicism in particular.

    As to the hypocracy, it was far more than his lack of remorse about leaving someone to die, though I admit that his lifelong denial of substantive responsibility colors my perception of the rest. Plainly stated, he remained an unrepentant, vice-ridden person his whole public life and saw no responsibility to act as an example to others. Born into a life of privelege, power, and wealth, he made no continuous efforts to bolster charitable giving of time or talents. He could have championed causes of every stripe that involved individual charity and concern. Instead, he championed only government intervention. In my opinion, no Catholic can take credit for what the state compels him to do, however just or right, so this utter failure to call others to charity or to engage in its himself stacks strongly against him. The hypocracy comes from his unceasing lectures to others for their individualism and failure to support Statism.

    Finally, in a related vein, he advocated far more than abortion – even though abortion would be enough to show him as having excommunicated himself in my book. He drew heavily from Catholic roots and used that tie-in to preserve political power and to use it in advancing others who directly opposed Catholic values. To advance those who furthered gay marriage, abortion on demand, no-fault divorce, euthenasia, sex-ed sponsored by Planned Parenthood, and other causes directly opposed to our beliefs surely invalidates his claim to being a Catholic in other than name only.

    At the end of my analysis, I must conclude that his Catholicism was merely a cloak to hide grave evil. Whether he saw it that way or not is between him and God. However, that he was little more than a well-hidden cancer is not, to my mind, in doubt.

  • G-veg,

    I agree with your assesment of Kennedy’s viewpoint on social liberalism, and I agree that it is in error. I think we need to be cautious with other than black and white issues such as abortion and euthanasia. What I’m saying is, no matter how much I believe modern liberalism is completely opposed to the Church, the Church has not spoken such and so I merely “speculate”.

  • The problem with not being more explicit about what we, as Christians, oppose is that the other voices advocating for a better way of living, like the Mennonites, Hassid, and LDS, NEED all the support they can get.

    For example, school has started this week and the alley beside my house is a major thoroughfare for kids going to our public high school. Frankly, many of the girls are dressed like tramps and the boys’ behavior is atrocious: rude, unseemly, and unkind. We should be calling such behavior what it is – unChristian.

    I have been reading a lot about the early Church and am struck by the ability of so few to affect so many simply by living well and stating the truth loudly. It is more than their evangelization – though the power of seeking out the lost and inviting them to find community is a resounding lesson worth applying to a world so lost in the false claims of modernity – it is also the social norms that so impressed the heathen communities where they were established: standing apart from the rituals and sinfulness of the world around them.

    How can we call ourselves Catholic while sending our daughters out for Halloween dressed sexily? How can we call ourselves Christian while allowing our sons to taunt and abuse the weakest among them?

    More to the point of the post above, how can we allow public figures to call themselves Catholic and derive power from their warped association with the faith without calling them on it when they act in a distinctly un-Catholic way?

    Yes, Kennedy and Pelosi, among others, have probably excommunicated themselves and there is no need for the Church to take such formal actions. However, their crimes were and are well known and it creates confusion and scandal for our Bishops to ignore it in them and speak eloquently to the rest of us.

    By making oneself a public figure, you invite comment on your life and forgo the right to protest that your Christian identity is between you and God alone.

    “To those to whom more is given…”

  • Finally! This is the first article that I believe was well, and thoughtfully written! I admit I am new to The American Catholic, so I haven’t seen many articles – I have mostly seen rants and blind partisanship in many of the posts – but this one actually gets to some important issues and even though I disagree with some of the opinions, this one at least gives a foundation for discussion that I think can be useful.

16 Responses to Was Kennedy "More Right Than Wrong"?

  • Actually Kennedy was more Left than either Right or Catholic, and that was his whole problem.

  • Outstanding post, Darwin!

    Kennedy is being lauded by the Catholic left for being a far-left Democrat, but they’re trying to dress it up as something more (witness Sr. Fiedler’s “he made me proud to be Catholic”). That’s the sum total of the lionizing the so-called “Lion of the Senate” is receiving by “progressive” Catholics.

  • Abortion, and the outrageous judicial power grab that forced it from the democratic process, is the most important issue in the public sphere.

    Here, Sen. Kennedy was a grave failure – both in his lamentable treatment of Judge Bork and in the many lamentable votes he cast related to the issues of life, abortion first among them.

    Just as his detractors should respect his passing and leave the scoring of “political points” for another time, so too should partisans like Winters and various bloggers refrain from elevating Kennedy as a great “Catholic example.”

    On the biggest issue of our time, he was gravely in the wrong.

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  • To dismiss his career because of his stance on abortion is to be ignorant of the complicated way the issue of abortion manifested itself in the early 1970s: I think Kennedy got it wrong but I do not find it difficult to understand why and how he got it wrong. If the pro-life leaders would stop ranting for a second and study that history they might become more effective at advancing their cause.

    I find this paragraph fascinating. Mr. Winters apparently believes that all he has to do is assert that something is ‘complicated,’ and that ‘only ignorance’ could account for the criticism Mr. Kennedy received, and voila, it’s washed away. Moreover, if pro-lifers – you know, Catholics who agree with the Church – would stop ‘ranting,’ they would be able to more effectively advance their cause (despite the Herculean efforts of politicians like Mr. Kennedy to prevent such advancement, it is supposed).

    The fact of the matter, of course, is that Mr. Kennedy fought tooth and nail against the protection of unborn life. It was a deliberate political decision that was both tragic and reflected a near-complete rejection of the Catholic conception of the human person and the common good. His accomplishments in other areas should be given their due, but his faults were very real. Let’s not ignore either, particularly with patronizing nonsense about how ‘complicated’ abortion was in the 1970’s (through the late oughts?), or how voting along party lines was somehow a deep reflection of Catholic conviction. I should add that my intention here is to criticize Mr. Winters, rather than Mr. Kennedy. It is telling that Mr. Winters, while stating that he thinks Mr. Kennedy was wrong about abortion, shows far more sympathy to Mr. Kennedy than to either his “fellow” pro-lifers or the persons for which they seek legal protection.

  • It perplexes me that so much attention and credibility to given to a writer at AMERICA [THE Catholic weekly, except THE Catholic weekly is the Nat Cath Rep, except that Commonweal is THE Catholic weekly …].

    That journal [and the others] are quietly but vociferously declining. They are as like as peas in a pod. They have nothing interesting to say. Be kind; let them expire.

  • “I am an American and a Catholic; I love my country and treasure my faith,” Kennedy said. “But I do not assume that my conception of patriotism or policy is invariably correct, or that my convictions about religion should command any greater respect than any other faith in this pluralistic society. I believe there surely is such a thing as truth, but who among us can claim a monopoly on it?”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32595251/ns/politics-edward_kennedy_19322009/

    Vile, pure and simple.

    What can be more wrong than facilitating and, thereby, enabling the deaths of what will amount to be so many millions of children?

    “Cruel & Unusual Punishment” has nothing on deliberate dissection of your very person while still alive in your mother’s womb!

    If only Catholics would stop trivializing abortion (and, more importantly, stop abortion altogether) as if it were some casual thing to be selected on some diner menu, then perhaps they would start acting and, even more, start being “Catholic”!

  • “I think we can be assured that such a deviation from liberal orthodoxoy would be considered far less “incidental” by Catholic progressives than his deviation from Church teaching on abortion.”

    Sadly, I believe this observation is 100% accurate.

  • A friend of mine remarked in an email that even those Catholics who didn’t have much respect for Kennedy attempted to deal initially with his death with sympathy. That it was the over the top attempt by some on the left to virtually canonize the reprobate that basically called for voices to be raised in service of truth.

    If I read something like that a couple days ago, I would have rejected the idea that we should take the bait and speak up. Not today. The attempts by the leftist ideologues to write a hagiography on Kennedy has only served to make us recall and shine a light on his true character and deeds. Let’s pray for him because if he’s going to experience the Beatific Vision it’s not going to be because of his defining deeds but in spite of them.

  • Rick,

    I have to agree. One would like to let time pass to assess the man. But at the same time, if that time is used to distort the record, then the demands of truth AND charity require speaking up.

  • Rick, you took the words right out of my mouth.

    Because Ted Kennedy’s life and legislative legacy have been so overrated and puffed up by the mainstream media and liberals, some on the other side can’t resist the temptation to go equally overboard in trashing him. I have in mind those bloggers (not here, of course) who were absolutely vicious about his cancer diagnosis and saying he deserved to suffer as much as possible, or those right now who are openly saying he is or should be burning in hell and expressing glee at the prospect.

    Gifted speaker, yes. Skilled politician, sure.
    Champion of the poor and downtrodden (provided they made it out of the womb intact), maybe.
    Lion of the Senate on a par with, say, Daniel Webster or Henry Clay — I don’t think so.
    Exemplary Catholic politician — excuse me while I go get a barf bag.

  • Has anyone read Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer column? Check it out here

  • The fact of the matter, of course, is that Mr. Kennedy fought tooth and nail against the protection of unborn life. It was a deliberate political decision that was both tragic and reflected a near-complete rejection of the Catholic conception of the human person and the common good.

    John Henry’s point is very important in understanding Kennedy’s legacy to Catholics in America. In rejecting the human-dignity principle, Kennedy kicked the base from under the many authentic human-rights causes he espoused–and thereby rendered almost all of them suspect in the minds of Catholics loyal to the magisterium. Some of these Catholics today reject not only Kennedy’s party but every plank in its platform–sometimes just because it is in that platform. Those who remain Democrats tend to cite their support for an assortment of “progressive” causes as evidence of their faith, even as their opposition to basic tenets of Catholic teaching–and to the authorities who periodically remind them of those tenets–grows ever more strident.

    There is no way to throw holy water on the ugly divide in American Catholicism that Senator Kennedy’s cynical choices may not have caused but certain helped to entrench. Everyone who posts here today but used to post on Vox Nova surely understands and regrets it.

  • I believe there surely is such a thing as truth, but who among us can claim a monopoly on it

    What garbage. If you cannot know the truth, what good is it?

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Day 2: Reaction To The Passing Away Of Ted Kennedy Around The Catholic World

Thursday, August 27, AD 2009

Ted Kennedy young

Day II of what Catholics are saying on the passing away of Edward Moore Kennedy around the web (will be continuously updated until tonight at 7:00 pm CST):

A Catholic Funeral for Ted Kennedy by Dr. Edward Peters of Canon Law

A Catholic Funeral for Ted? It’s a Lie, a Sham, a Scandal, a Pretense, an Insult to faithful Catholics by Robert Kumpel of St. John’s Valdosta Blog

Dissident Catholic America magazine doesn’t want to talk about Ted Kennedy’s stance on abortion and trashes Patrick Madrid by Father John Zuhlsdorf of What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Who can have a Catholic Funeral & more by Elizabeth Scalia of The Anchoress via First Thoughts

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