Man Bites Dog: Newsweek Runs an Anti-Obama Story

Monday, August 20, AD 2012

 

 

Having followed the political scene in this country since 1964, few things surprise me.  Newsweek running an anti-Obama story did.  British historian Niall Ferguson writes a damning article on Obama as he calls for his defeat:

Unemployment was supposed to be 6 percent by now. It has averaged 8.2 percent this year so far. Meanwhile real median annual household income has dropped more than 5 percent since June 2009. Nearly 110 million individuals received a welfare benefit in 2011, mostly Medicaid or food stamps.

 

Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.

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14 Responses to Man Bites Dog: Newsweek Runs an Anti-Obama Story

  • Some belated payback by the MSM for Obama’s shunning of them? I’m sure more than a few media egos were wounded when Stephanie Cutter delightfully said it was as important for Obama to go on Entertainment Tonight and morning talk shows to chat about his favorite superpower as it is to have WH press conferences. They’ve carried water for him all these years and this is what they get in return? Being put on a par with the Morning Zoo guys? (Actually, I think most of them ARE on a par with the Morning Zoo guys, but we know they all see themselves as the second coming of Edward Murrow.)

    Anyway, a great article by Ferguson. I have read several of his books (“Empire” and “The War of the World” are fine works) and he is always worth reading. It’s too bad in this case that News Weak is seldom read outside dentists’ offices these days. But you know that cover is causing grand mal seizures over at Daily Kos 🙂

  • Does this mean Newsweek is no longer part of Obama campaign apparatus?

    Anyhow, RACISTS!!!

  • I think this is a good issue to buy to boost sales. Maybe Newsweek will print more such articles. If so, it might get contagious.

  • OK, Donald I am putting this in the “WAAAAAYYY Too Good To Be True” category, but will you take a look at this:

    “A poll conducted by Illinois-based pollster and political strategist
    Michael McKeon found Obama leading Republican Mitt Romney by 49 percent
    to 37 percent in Cook County, the home of Chicago. That puts him ahead
    by a far thinner margin than expected in a county he should be winning
    handsomely.

    Cook is the most Democratic leaning county in the state. It is also the most populous.

    Those numbers do not bode well for the president. ”

    Can I permit myself to dream, just for a moment? I very seriously doubt that Obama will lose Illinois, because, as we all know, the dear departed vote in Cook County and they always vote Dem, but just imagine…..If I saw Illinois turn red on the electoral map, my ticker would give out on me. I would simply lie down on the sofa and wait for the angels to take me. But it would be a happy death. 🙂

  • I saw that today Donna. It is hard to underestimate just how unpopular Governor Quinn is in Illinois. Last week he was booed so intensively at the State Fair that it looked as if a riot was going to break out. Illinois is reeling under increased state taxes, a fiscal meltdown and a very lousy economy, and a lot of that is rubbing off on Obama. Do I think Obama will lose Illinois? Probably not. Do I think it might be close? Yes.

  • Too bad it’s in Newsweek.

    Graffiti in an interstate truck stop bathroom stall has more readers.

  • “Too bad it’s in Newsweek.

    Graffiti in an interstate truck stop bathroom stall has more readers.”

    That’s probably why Newsweek ran the story, Dale.

  • If he can’t win by 40 percent in Crook County, he is toast. Also: at least ten million people live pretty near to Crook County, in several states — and THEY are watching the meltdown of Illinois.

  • Its funny considering what I have been reading lately about Newsweek being on the verge of total collapse due to its rigid, unbending left-wing ideological partisanship.

  • Albert Gore, who was then much less disoriented than he is now, lost Tennessee in 2000. He had stood as a candidate in six elections therein and in only one was held to less than 60% of the vote. Bilge Clinton managed to carry Tennessee twice. Until comparatively recently, Illinois was the most competitive state in the country in presidential elections. It would be sweet if Illinois flipped the President the bird.

  • Donna V. “It’s too bad in this case that News Weak is seldom read outside dentists’ offices these days. But you know that cover is causing grand mal seizures over at Daily Kos” LOL

  • “It is hard to underestimate just how unpopular Governor Quinn is in Illinois. Last week he was booed so intensively at the State Fair that it looked as if a riot was going to break out.”

    The booing was done, NOT by ordinary fair attendees, but by members of AFSCME ticked off at his efforts to reduce pension, health care and other benefits for state employees and retirees. AFSCME is currently almost two months past the expiration date of its last contract with the State and they are still negotiating with no end in sight. No one will comment on the record, but reportedly the State is insisting upon what amounts to a 10 percent pay cut for unionized employees, plus closures of several State facilities. Needless to say this has AFSCME members hopping mad.

    What’s even more interesting about this situation is that this push for rollbacks/givebacks in the union contract — which seems to go way beyond anything Scott Walker, organized labor’s devil incarnate, ever asked for — is being pushed by a DEMOCRATIC administration, run buy a man (Quinn) who until he became governor, had a reputation for being a populist gadfly who stood up for the “little guy.” However, Quinn and other Democrats are betting that this stance will win them more support among the general public than it will lose them among members of government employee unions.

  • I can tell you Elaine that Quinn’s brilliant idea on teacher pensions, shift the bankrupt system from being a state responsibility to local property tax payers, is as popular as poison in a small county like Livingston. As the failed Special Session last week in the legislature indicated, Quinn can’t get this rubbish through a General Assembly dominated by his party. I don’t know about Springfield, but in my neck of the State Quinn is cordially despised. One of the interesting features about the poll showing Obama doing poorly in Cook County in comparison to 2008 is Quinn’s dismal ratings in Cook County.

    “I wouldn’t bet the farm that Romney has a shot in Illinois. He’ll do much better in the suburbs and Downstate than John McCain four years ago. But a shot at winning Illinois? Not yet.

    Also, notice Gov. Quinn’s ratings. Not good at all. The person who probably should be worried is Gov. Pat Quinn, not President Obama.”

    http://capitolfax.com/2012/08/20/um-probably-not/

  • which seems to go way beyond anything Scott Walker, organized labor’s devil incarnate, ever asked for

    Wisconsin and New York are the two states whose public sector pension plans are closest to being actuarially sound. Illinois is at the bottom of the pile.

The First Gay President

Monday, May 14, AD 2012

 

Some things truly do not need any commentary, but this is too sweet a target to forego the obligatory ducks in a barrel:

1.  Somebody buy our rag, please!:  Newsweek has been suffering financial woes for a very long time.  Since 2007 it has lost 50% of its subscribers.  I assume that the management at Newsweek now thinks they have nothing to lose from being an open arm of the Democrat party, rather than a hidden arm of that party, which was their usual mode of operation in the good old days, for them, when the magazine actually managed to make money.

2.  Bubble people:  The powers that be at Newsweek obviously live in an ideological bubble where calling Obama the First Gay President will help him.  Most of the country does not inhabit that bubble.

3.  Halo Twofer:  The halo above the President is of course no accident.  The folks at Newsweek regard Obama as a saint, if not higher in the celestial hierarchy.  As for gays, they are by definition on the side of the angels, a somewhat patronizing attitude on TV these days where gays are trotted out to deliver lines filled with wit, wisdom and tolerance, occupying the slot previously alloted in television land decades ago to ministers, priests, nuns and rabbis.

4.  Not a Put On:  No clever satire is intended by Newsweek.  They are in deadly earnest.  More is the pity.

5.  The meaning of Gay:  Judging from my teenage daughter’s use of the term, “gay”, among the younger generation, frequently means “lame” or “weak”.  In that sense Obama is most assuredly a gay president, albeit far from the first one.

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63 Responses to The First Gay President

  • “Truly Sullivan is a man of many talents and his manifold skills are wasted as a contributor to a dying newsmagazine that mainly serves as liner for litter boxes and birdcages.”

    My two cats, Worf and Gabby,” have more self-respect than to enter a litter box lined with the trappings of that rag. Nor would the human whom they own insult them in such a fashion by so lining their litter box.

    😉

  • Since Bill Clinton already claimed the title of “first black president” (bestowed upon him by author Toni Morrison) I guess Obama had to claim “first gay president.” Perhaps the people behind the “war on women” meme will next try to claim he’s the “first woman president” because he is the first to truly understand just how desperately women need abortion on demand and free birth control….

  • The worst POTUS (Who thought it was possible to be worse than Carter?) is the second black POTUS.

    AS is one of the vile 13 lousiest oxygen thieves on the planet.

    Lucifer is an archangel of many talents and manifest . . .

  • Confusing polls suggesting that urban and suburban Americans are OK with same sex marriage with the thinking that we are active supporters of the practice is a grave error that is being made all over the Left.

    Most of the people I know are no more sympathetic to gay activism than they are to my belief that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman. They simply don’t care and don’t want to discuss it. The subject is so far down on their lists of concerns that it barely registers.

    This is bad for activists on both sides of the spectrum and begs the question “what are the President’s handlers thinking?”

    The timing iof this devisive foray into the Social Wars is particularly mind-boggling when youconsider the issues that the President controls that resonate with middle-age, somewhat religious, married, parents. Hehas the GOP over a barrel over student loan debt but dumped the issue just as it got interesting. He has Republicans over taxes for the wealthybut dropped that issue just when the GOPwas running out of ammunition.

    His campaign staff must be more out of touch than I thought.

  • I assume that the management at Newsweek now thinks they have nothing to lose from being an open arm of the Democrat party, rather than a hidden arm of that party, which was their usual mode of operation in the good old days, for them, when the magazine actually managed to make money.

    That was Jon Meacham’s plan during their first round of re-invention. The problem was that they had a staff which thought and wrote in the manner of people recruited and trained to produce reportage rather than essays and commentary. It gave you an appreciation of an organ like The New Republic whose (much smaller) staff knows how to write this stuff. The magazine was explicitly liberal (and smug and banal and bigoted rather like … Jon Meacham). Their current editor seems to wish to re-invent Newsweek as a close kin to New York.

  • On August 2, 2010, 91 year-old, billionaire Sidney Harmon (of Harmao/Kardon) paid the Wa Post Co. $1.00 for Newsweek.

    Sidney was robbed.

  • Don, perhaps the title fits and Obama is or was a bit light in the shoes. But his sexual orientation, while now perhaps suspect, is not the story. As the Chicago Tribune headlined, “Obama’s gay marriage stance sets off money rush” According to Lawrence O’Donnell, 1 out of 6 of Obama’s fundraisers is gay.

    I’m not fan of Alexander Cockburn, but he did have an interesting take on the matter: “So the liberal progressives glory in Obama’s ‘courage’ and many a doubting heart about the President’s betrayals is lighter and more forgiving. Trashing the constitution, green-lighting torture, claiming the unilateral right to order the execution of anyone, anywhere on the planet… wiped clean off the windscreen.”

  • Rather attractive, but frightening, breastfeeding Mom, or angelic gay Obama with gay halo…

    That’s just too tough a call to make.

  • Brokeback Barack. Newsweek can’t quit him.

  • “Brokeback Barack” – Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! LOL!

  • Here we go again with the misplaced brain problem. Above the shoulders, sir.

    ” But what resonates with me the most is a theology that seems crafted from solitary introspection into a perfect, abstract unity of belief. It is so perfect it reflects a life of withdrawal from the world of human relationship, rather than an interaction with it. Of course, this kind of work is not inherently homosexual; ”

    ‘solitary introspection’ – what? study and teaching of God’s Word and Church Fathers would prohibit misplaced brainwork of me, myself, and I.

    ‘life of withdrawal from the world of human relationship’ – what, you mean chaste for the sake of integrity, prayer and finding ways to communicate help for the human race for God? Trying to relate this to us from a pure love…

    ‘this kind of work’ – A courageous man who can bear arrows of hatefulness and still care for God’s people and their souls so that they can find eternal rest from this kind of onslaught by servants of you know who.

  • This may be this campaign’s Dukakis-in-a-tank moment. I hope someone in the opposition has the brains to buy every copy of Newsweek they can get their hands on for use later.

  • Pingback: President Obama Newsweek Gay President Gay Marriage SSPX | The Pulpit
  • The gay agenda stole the rainbow colors from the Rainbow Coalition, an organization working for the advancement of Black People. Unbeknownst, Barack is playing the race card. Newsweek is enabling Obama. The Rainbow Coalition should take back their Rainbow. Let the gays find their own.

  • Not the First Dog-Eating President! That honor goes to James Buchanan. He was said to be discreet about it, but it was common knowledge among his friends. There are also rumors about Lincoln. Historians have speculated that this was the cause of the strain on Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln’s marraige. The Dog Nabbin’ Republicans, a group of pro-canine-eating GOP’ers, derived their name from this speculation.

  • 8 Gay Pope. I remember when the Pope was so maligned. It was insinuated that the Pope was a practicing gay. I did not know that it was Andrew Sullivan. Let the plagiarist, intellectual property theif be brought to Justice.

  • If Obama is so holy, he does not need a health care plan, he can heal the sick and raise the dead all by himself, and for free, so what is he waiting for? after the election when he has more flexibilty? that would be extortion, sometimes called black male.

  • …what.

    When I first glanced at this picture, I thought it was from an extreme right-wing magazine. This has to be the most unintentionally embarrassing cover I’ve ever seen. I actually feel kind of bad for Obama.

    So if I became the first female president and advocated men’s rights, would I be just another male president?

  • “So if I became the first female president and advocated men’s rights, would I be just another male president?”

    Its not that easy. Will you be advocating white, black, Hispanic or Asian rights? Will they be gay or strait rights? Will men be able to marry their pets? These things are important.

    You obviously are not a sophisticate. 😉

  • The evil POTUS and his cynical puppeteers may have provided us with yet another “teachable moment.”

    The black (separate but equal) churches talk the talk on Biblical morality in many contemporary arenas.

    In November, we will learn if the black man and woman walks the walk.

  • “Will men be able to marry their pets?” When the taxpayers are forced to fund the codification of such an abomination, the human being, man, has been redefined as a demon. When men do demonic acts, they will go to hell, but to extort money and legalize crime and codify sin as the true nature of man is a lie. People who tell lies are called liars.

  • You are excoriating Obama for the simple dignity of him recognizing the humanity of those who live a different lifestyle as yours. For almost fifty years, I was a very devout Catholic, but am now a lapsed Catholic because of hypocrisy like the opinions expressed here. Believe me, Jesus Christ would not have marginalized a person because they were gay. Unfortunately, though, the Catholic church today is more about rules and bureaucracy than it is about the teachings and life of Jesus Christ. That’s why I’m lapsed.

  • “You are excoriating Obama for the simple dignity of him recognizing the humanity of those who live a different lifestyle as yours. For almost fifty years, I was a very devout Catholic, but am now a lapsed Catholic because of hypocrisy like the opinions expressed here.”

    You understand the post Roger as well as you understand the meaning of the word “hypocrisy”. The post was focused on the over the top Newsweek cover and the equally over the top Andrew Sullivan. As to the substance of Obama being personally in favor of homosexual marriage, it is deeply cynical. He expressed his personal opinion and then said it is up to the states, which is a short hand way of him not having to do anything about it. Gay marriage proponents should be outraged that Obama thinks they can be bought off so cheaply. Of course as a formerly “devout” Catholic, you of course understand that the teaching of the Church has always been that marriage is between a man and a woman. Continuing to be for what the Church has always been for is not hypocrisy but rather consistency.

  • While he wouldn’t have marginalized the homosexual, Jesus would have condemned the sin and admonished the person not to sin again. The ultimate marginalization actually is the work of the person who, through sin, marginalizes himself from God. The ultimate marginalization of course is going to Hell. Something Jesus does not wish, but which he allows humans, in their freedom, to choose.

  • Phillip/Donald:

    You have such archaic views of Catholicism and Christ. To me, my personal Jesus was an accepting liberal who fought for the disenfranchised and marginalized –in his time, the lepers, the prostitutes et al. It’s all in the bible.

    The fact of the matter is, today’s Catholic church is more about following stupid rules like not eating meat on Friday’s during lent or fasting before Communion or stupid rituals during a boring “celebration” of the mass that. It’s about time the church got a little “real” in understanding that Catholicism is not about rules and regulations but about liberation for all humanity.

  • “The ultimate marginalization of course is going to Hell.”

    C’mon, do you really believe that a good and loving God would create a Hell to punish and torture his own creatures? That’s up there with Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast!

  • “To me, my personal Jesus was an accepting liberal”

    Accepting of all except those who have the termerity to disagree with Roger Chiocchi apparently.

    “the lepers, the prostitutes et al. It’s all in the bible.”

    Indeed, he healed the lepers, forgave the sins of prostitutes, and called all and sundry to follow Him, and His Church which He established. It’s all in the Bible.

    “stupid rules like not eating meat on Friday’s during lent or fasting before Communion or stupid rituals during a boring “celebration” of the mass that. It’s about time the church got a little “real” in understanding that Catholicism is not about rules and regulations but about liberation for all humanity.”

    This is a parody comment right? Either that or I implore you that after you are dead you order that your body be stuffed, and placed on display in a museum with a sign indicating that you are a prime example of Liberal Catholic, now extinct.

  • “C’mon, do you really believe that a good and loving God would create a Hell to punish and torture his own creatures? That’s up there with Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast!”

    Somehow Roger I suspect that Christ knows a good deal more about Hell than you do, yet.

    “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
    Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

  • To me, my personal Jesus

    Me, my, personal. Preening individualistic narcism expressed in one succinct sentence.

    Pick up the receiver. I’m sure someone can make you a believer.

  • You don’t get it, my friend.

    There’s a little bit of Jesus in each of us just yearning to come out and express himself. He’s a powerful presence who has been misinterpreted in so many ways by oh so many well-meaning people.

  • “You have such archaic views of Catholicism and Christ.”

    Have Catholicism and Christ changed? Or are you talking about your personal Jesus?

    “There’s a little bit of Jesus in each of us just yearning to come out and express himself. He’s a powerful presence who has been misinterpreted in so many ways by oh so many well-meaning people.”

    How do you know you’re not misinterpreting him?

  • No Catholicism and Christ haven’t changed, just the people who interpret them. All I can say is that I have a very personal understanding of Jesus. That’s what we call faith. Do you think your faith is better than mine?

  • Roger, Your personal understanding – and mine – count not in the least. Narcissic hippified luv-in kumbaya nonsense. Sorry. Can’t help myself. I will now crawl to my corner for penance. 😉

    Jesus Christ died a brutal death on a Cross to save men from sin like homosexual perversion and abortion and adultery and fornication. Righteousness and holiness come first.

  • OMG! We should be very proud of ourselves, Paul. We’ve been the first two human beings to connect via a wormhole. What century is it you’re from, the 12th or 13th?

  • @ 8:48
    ‘ The fact of the matter is, today’s Catholic church is more about following stupid rules like not eating meat on Friday’s during lent or fasting before Communion or stupid rituals during a boring “celebration” of the mass that. It’s about time the church got a little “real” in understanding that Catholicism is not about rules and regulations but about liberation for all humanity. ‘

    The Catholic Church, following the teachings of Jesus who was with God our Father before the world was created as He said, serves to protect, hallow, and teach God’s law for the love of humanity. Humanity chooses whether or not to strive to be holy or sinful. Striving to be holy, not given to being a slave to things of the flesh and world, is true liberation. Read Job, Isaiah, about Moses, Daniel, about Jonah, and the people in the Gospels you mention; courage, strength, going and sinning no more, learning about the depth of love for and by God as a gauge to what depth and richness there is for humanity to be found in the Catholic Church.

  • There’s a tremendous amount of humanity in the teachings of Jesus Christ and I cherish that. But most of the rules of the Catholic church have nothing to do with the teachings of Christ. They were made many years after his death. And the fact that in my generation in the US, the nuns filled us with guilt to get in line and follow Christ, in my opinion, was a perversion of his true message.

  • @ 10:19
    All the ‘perversions of His true message’ are probably a reason to thank Him for teaching the Lord’s Prayer, a way to order priorities.

  • Okay, here’s what it says:
    Our Father is in heaven – got it
    Holy be thy name – agreed.
    They Kingdom Come – agreed
    They will be done — ok
    On earth as it is heaven – ok
    Give us this day our daily bread – hopefully, if the republicans don’t take over!
    And forgive us our trespasses – yes, the basic message of JC was forgiveness
    As we forgive those who trespass against us – the basic essence of Christ’s message
    And lead us not into temptation – hopefully
    and deliver us from evil – of course
    Amen.

    Ok, agreed, it’s a masterpiece. But don’t see there how it answers the question I posed: i.e why was our generation of Catholics brought up on a foundation of guilt rather than of liberation?

  • First, The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer from someone to our Father, not a statement.

    See Matthew 6: 5 – 21. Or the whole Gospel, even the four Gospels for help.

    Verses 9 – 13:
    Our Father in Heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread;
    and forgive us our debts,
    as we forgive our debtors;
    and do not subject us to the final test,
    but deliver us from the evil one.

    Your question:
    Verses 14 – 15:
    If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.(liberation?)
    But if you do not forgive others,
    neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

  • “…and deliver us from evil – of course”

    I’ve slept quite restfully during the night. Have not missed anything that I have not read in the National Catholic Reporter or heard from 70’s era priests. Donald et al have given a more than adequate defense.

    My only addition is that there is evil. The assaults on the Truth of the Church over the past 50 years are indeed evil and exemplified in those 70’s sentiments on display here.

    Hell indeed exists. Thankfully mercy and forgiveness first. But nonetheless Hell for those who resist the Holy Spirit.

  • But most of the rules of the Catholic church have nothing to do with the teachings of Christ. They were made many years after his death. And the fact that in my generation in the US, the nuns filled us with guilt

    Boo hoo.

  • “Boo hoo.”

    I’m certainly not crying over it, but trying to respond intelligently and with a spiritual sensitivity. BTW: guilt is usually used as a weapon when someone wants to control you and keep you in your place.

  • Guilt is the condition of being in a state of unrepentent mortal sin. Only the blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross may serve as the expiation for sin.

    Don’t want to feel guilty? Stop sinning and start repenting!

    No one gets into Heaven without righteousness and holiness.

  • In response to Roger’s previous question last night, “What century is it you’re from, the 12th or 13th?”

    I would have considered it an honor to have lived in the 13th century and had met St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Francis of Assisi. Alas, I live in the modern Sodom and Gommorah of the 21st century.

    In response to Roger’s previous comment, “C’mon, do you really believe that a good and loving God would create a Hell to punish and torture his own creatures? That’s up there with Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast!”

    Jesus talked a great deal about hell (Gehenna, hades, etc.) in the New Testament, over and over again. He often talked bout it more than He did Heaven. Obviously He “believed in” it. Why? Because Jesus doesn’t want any of us to go to hell, but that’s exactly where we will send ourselves by being in a state of unrepentent mortal sin. Jesus didn’t die on the Cross for nothing.

    Jesus is not some luv-in, peace and justice, hippified liberal in 1st century AD clothing. He is the Son of the Living God.

    BTW, since Jesus’ adopted father was a “teknon” (often translated as carpenter, but more properly a stone mason), Jesus likely shared in his adopted father’s work prior to his public ministry. As a result of lifting heavy stones and pieces of wood, he very likely didn’t appear as the effeminate wimp we see in so many paintings, but rather quite probably gave an imposing appearance of muscle and mass. Everything in Jesus’ day was done by manual labor, so no hippified weakling was he.

    Manly men are something liberals can’t stand, and Jesus was just as much a manly man as He was God Himself.

  • trying to respond intelligently and with a spiritual sensitivity.

    And I am attempting to be intelligently insensitive.

    BTW: guilt is usually used as a weapon when someone wants to control you and keep you in your place.

    No, it is not. Common-and-garden individuals have much about which to feel guilty. There are few people in this world who are given to reminding you of that (family members, mostly). There are few whose vocation it is to remind you of that. Teaching sisters are among those whose vocation it is (just like the sister your mother bore you).

  • Yo, Paul — that’s a leap, equating liberalness and being a “hippie” with being effeminate. Wow! I suppose there are effeminate liberals and effeminate conservatives. I see no correlation (unless, perhaps you’re a conservative homophobe). In the end, I suppose we each have our own personal Jesus. I believe he was a liberating, forgiving force, who life was an example to us all. You, apparently, believe otherwise.

    Art Deco: Perhaps that is the job of teaching sisters, but I think many of their tactics during my generation were extremely counter-productive. Heck, they made you scared of your own puberty — isn’t that a gift from God

  • Roger,

    We need to repent and convert to accept such forgiveness.

    “I suppose we each have our own personal Jesus.”

    No. There is only one Jesus – the Great “I AM”. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God….” You and I don’t get to pick and choose our personal Jesus. You and I either submit to the Great “I AM” or you and I send ourselves to burn for an eternity in hell. Those are our only choices.

    No hippified liberal weakling Jesus, but rather the Son of the Living God, Lord and King of the Universe, Savior of sinners from hell. Submit. Resistance is futile!

    Sorry. Can’t help myself for using that phrase. I’m bad! 😉

  • I believe there’s a little bit of Jesus in each of us, my friend. Perhaps that’s what makes us human.

  • Geez, Roger, I don’t know what to say. If I want Jesus in me, then I must repent and convert on a daily basis, and partake of the Sacraments. That means participating actively in the Sacraments, especially Penance and Reconciliation, and the Holy Eucharist. It means (among many other things and not necessarily in this order) reading the Bible, praying the Rosary, doing good works for others instead of selfishly pursuing what makes me feel good, and giving all honor and glory to God. It’s not a kumbaya around the camp fire luv-in. It’s actually hard work that places God first and others ahead of myself. Faith without works is dead.

  • Paul: We just have different views of Christ and Christianity,let’s leave it at that.

  • Roger,
    Do you honestly visualize your own personal Jesus as a Rabbi in a ‘wedding’ in between two persons of the same sex?

    Do you really see him turning water into vine at such a ‘wedding’ and congratulating the couple?

    Please answer me that.

  • Does anyone else see a pattern here?

    GM = Gay Marriage; GM Government Motors . . .

    I love it when a plan comes together!

    Post GM evolution:

    Thirteen Percent More Likely to Vote Hope And Change!

    Twenty-Six Percent Less Likely to Vote Hope and Unemployment!

    Clue for social scientists: That is not a good thingy for Obama.

  • Ciocchi:

    Do you believe there is such a thing as objective truth?

    Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

    Do you believe that Christ entrusted His authority on Earth to His Holy Catholic Church?

    If not, it seems that you recognize no authority outside of yourself.

    Go forth and fabricate whatever “reality” and “truth” you prefer.

  • Ciocchi:

    Do you believe there is such a thing as objective truth?
    I’m not sure what you mean by that. Explain.

    Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

    Yes.

    Do you believe that Christ entrusted His authority on Earth to His Holy Catholic Church?

    He began a church when he designated Peter as its “rock” – that church is the holy Catholic Church. Many of it’s rules were made hundreds of years after Jesus’ death

    If not, it seems that you recognize no authority outside of yourself.
    I believe that one of the gifts that God gave us his the human mind. He meant it to be used.

    Go forth and fabricate whatever “reality” and “truth” you prefer.

  • Anyone who claims to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God must believe in objective Truth. If he does not believe in objective Truth, then his claim to believe that Jesus is the Son of God is nothing more than a sham. Indeed, Truth is not a thing but a Person – the Person Christ Jesus. He is objective Truth.

    I agree with Roger that God does expect and furthermore require that we use our minds, for we are created in His image and likeness. That means that we are NOT supposed to wallow in sexual filth like a mindless baboon. To the point of this blog post – The First Gay President – that means no sexual intercourse outside of marriage between one man and one woman. No homosexual sodomy. No adultery. No fornication. No pornography.

    We are called up to use our minds and subjugate the passions of the flesh to the desires of Objective Truth Himself. That is true freedom and anything else is licentiousness, the very hallmark of godless liberal progressive Democracy – two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

  • Doesn’t only God/Jesus know for sure that they are together with the Holy Spirit one God? If that’s the case, the only “persons” with the objective truth about God is the Trinity itself. For everyone else, it’s an act of Faith. We can believe in God, but we don’t know for sure.

  • Roger – You’re right that a person can get so caught up in the rules that they lose sight of the big picture. But that doesn’t mean you should walk away from the commandments in protest against those people. It’s as wrong to try to love without following the commandments as it is to try to follow the commandments without love. We’re called to do both. And that’s tough. Tell me, have you forgiven the nuns that taught you poorly? Forgiveness is one of the commandments, and it’s tough. They all are. That doesn’t mean we get to ignore them in the name of love, any more than we get to ignore love by following the commanments. If you think about it, love and obedience are impossible without each other.

  • God bless you Roger Chiocchi
    Two things you say jump out at me– 1) concern about guilt, (which we can not run away from or deny, but which we can embrace and repent and reform our lives..
    and 2 ) concern about the authority of the Church..

    Here are some of the thoughts of other Christians about that..

    “Christian is my name, and Catholic my surname. The one designates me, while the other makes me specific. Thus am I attested and set apart… When we are called Catholics it is by this appellation that our people are kept apart from any heretical name.”
    Saint Pacian of Barcelona, Letter to Sympronian, 375 A.D..

    “Always remain close to the Catholic Church, because it alone can give you true peace, since it alone possesses Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the true Prince of Peace.” Blessed Padre Pio…

    “It is because Christ is the sole canon of her preaching that the Church adheres so obstinately and so rigidly to His traditional message. It is for this reason that she can endure no modernism, no fraternizing with the spirit of the age.”
    Karl Adam, The Spirit of Catholicism…

    “The Catholic Church understands its opponents, her opponents do not understand the Catholic Church.”
    Hilaire Belloc, the Great Heresies…

    “People can relate to a crucified Christ displayed in Catholic Churches, as each one of us has a cross to carry. None of us can relate to a risen Christ, as none of us has ever risen from the dead.”
    Fr. Groeschel…

    “Dogmas of the Catholic Church are interconnected. If one is rejected, such as the infallibility of the Pope, then all are rejected.” Fr. Trujillo…

    “You blind guides who strain out the gnat but swallow the camel.” Matthew 23:24…

    “The Catholic faith does not teach what we used to think and vainly accused it of.”
    St. Augustine, Confessions, 6,11, 400

    “Heretics bring sentence upon themselves since they by their own choice withdraw from the Church, a withdrawal which, since they are aware of it, constitutes damnation.” St. Jerome Commentaries on Titus, 3,10 386 A.D..

    “Where Peter is, there is the Church.” St Ambrose of Milan, On twelve Psalms 381 A.D..

    Saint Augustine…

    “The Catholic Church Always Has What The World Is Lacking.” G.K. Chesterton…

    “When the world goes wrong, it proves that the Church is right.” G.K. Chesterton…

    I think Chesterton also said something about our Church could boil others to rags!

    “You must all follow the lead of the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed that of the Father; follow the presbytery as you would the Apostles; reverence the deacons as you would God’s commandment. Let no one do anything touching the Church, apart from the bishop. Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it. Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not permitted without authorization from the bishop either to baptize or to hold an agape; but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God. Thus everything you do will be proof against danger and valid.”
    Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrneans, 107 A.D..

    “From what has been said, then, it seems clear to me that the true Church, that which is really ancient, is one; and in it are enrolled those who, in accord with a design, are just… We say, therefore, that in substance, in concept, in origin and in eminence, the ancient and Catholic Church is alone, gathering as it does into the unity of the one faith which results from familiar covenants, – or rather, from the one covenant in different times, by the will of the one GOD and through the one Lord, – those already chosen, those predestined by GOD who knew before the foundation of the world that they would be just.”
    Saint Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, 202 A.D..

    “It is therefore, the Catholic Church alone which retains true worship. This is the fountain of truth; this, the domicile of faith; this the temple of GOD. Whoever does not enter there or whoever does not go out from here, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation… Because, however, all the various groups of heretics are confident that they are the Christians, and think that theirs is the Catholic Church, let it be known: that is the true Church, in which there is confession and penance, and which takes a salubrious care of sins and wounds to which the weak flesh is subject.”
    Lactantius, The Divine Institutions, 304 A.D..

    “Let us note that the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian.”
    St. Athanasius, Letter to Serapion of Thmuis, 359 A.D..

    “I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.”
     Saint Augustine of Hippo, Against the Letter of Mani, 397 A.D..

    “This Church is Holy, the One Church, the True Church, the Catholic Church, fighting as she does against all heresies. She can fight, but she cannot be beaten. All heresies are expelled from her, like the useless loppings pruned from a vine. She remains fixed in her root, in her vine, in her love. The gates of hell shall not conquer her.”
    Saint Augustine of Hippo, Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed, 6,14, 395 A.D.

  • 1. You can not believe that Jesus is the Son of God without accepting the Holy Catholic Church as the one true Church set up by the all knowing, all good, and all powerful God.

    2. You can’t forgive someone who is not sorry for what they did.

  • 1. You can not believe that Jesus is the Son of God without accepting the Holy Catholic Church as the one true Church set up by the all knowing, all good, and all powerful God.S

    So what you’re saying is that very devout Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Episcopaleans et al and need I say devout Muslims, can’t go to Heaven

    2. You can’t forgive someone who is not sorry for what they did.

    Agreed.

  • “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”338

  • ‘2. You can’t forgive someone who is not sorry for what they did.

    ‘Agreed.”

    You must forgive or you will not be forgiven. Christ forgave us on the Holy Cross. That was the most evil act in Creation. And, we were not repentent.

    That is not to say you must not fight against evil. You must confront evil with charity, with no hatred or vengeance in mind.

    As Kipling in a poem wrote, “I’d just as soon respect the man I’m paid to kill.”

  • This forgiving can be done without the ability to change or like the forgiven, just try to understand the source and move on. Tough enough.

Fr. Barron Eviscerates Dandy Andy

Wednesday, April 11, AD 2012

It’s Easter, so naturally it’s time for idiocy like Newsweek’s cover story written by Andrew Sullivan.  It looks like Sullivan has added theologian to his list of other professions, which include pundit and gynecologist.  It’s about what you’d expect from the combination of Newsweek and Sullivan.  Christianity is dying and it’s because of all those stuffed-shirts who have distorted Jesus’s message.

Fr. Barron is on the case, and he completely dismantles Sullivan.  A few highlights:

The solution Sullivan proposes is a repristinizing of Christianity, a return to its roots and essential teachings. And here he invokes, as a sort of patron saint, Thomas Jefferson, who as a young man literally took a straight razor to the pages of the New Testament and cut out any passages dealing with the miraculous, the supernatural, or the resurrection and divinity of Jesus.

The result of this Jeffersonian surgery is Jesus the enlightened sage, the teacher of timeless moral truths concerning love, forgiveness and non-violence. Both Jefferson and Sullivan urge that this Christ, freed from churchly distortions, can still speak in a liberating way to an intelligent and non-superstitious audience.

As the reference to Jefferson should make clear, there is nothing particularly new in Sullivan’s proposal. The liberation of Jesus the wisdom figure from the shackles of supernatural doctrine has been a preoccupation of much of the liberal theology of the last 200 years.

The Jefferson “Bible” is, if nothing else, an impressive work of art.  Jefferson took passages from Scripture written in English, Latin, Greek, and French.  He carefully pasted the passages side-by-side.  It’s an awesome display of craftsmanship.  Of course it completely distorts the life and mission of Christ and turns our Lord and Saviour into nothing more than a wise philosopher.  It’s a good representation of Jefferson’s uber-rationalistic mindset, and part of an extended effort to de-fang the real Christ.

Fr. Barron has more.

The first problem with this type of theorizing is that it has little to do with the New Testament. As Jefferson’s Bible makes clear, the excision of references to the miraculous, to the resurrection, and to the divinity of Jesus delivers to us mere fragments of the Gospels.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were massively interested in the miracles and exorcisms of Jesus and they were positively obsessed with his dying and rising. The Gospels have been accurately characterized as “passion narratives with long introductions.”

Further, the earliest Christian texts that we have are the epistles of St. Paul, and in those letters that St. Paul wrote to the communities he founded, there are but a tiny handful of references to the teaching of Jesus. What clearly preoccupied Paul was not the moral doctrine of Jesus, but the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Indeed, by removing the miracles and resurrection from the account of Jesus’s life you’ve almost completely stripped his mission of any meaning.

And this leads to the second major problem with a proposal like Sullivan’s. It offers absolutely no challenge to the powers that be. It is precisely the bland and harmless version of Christianity with which the regnant culture is comfortable.

Go back to Peter’s sermon for a moment. “You killed him,” said the chief of Jesus’s disciples. The “you” here includes the power structures of the time, both Jewish and Roman, which depended for their endurance in power on their ability to frighten their subjects through threats of lethal punishment.

“But God raised him.” The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the clearest affirmation possible that God is more powerful than the corrupt and violent authorities that govern the world — which is precisely why the tyrants have always been terrified of it. When the first Christians held up the cross, the greatest expression of state-sponsored terrorism, they were purposely taunting the leaders of their time: “You think that frightens us?”

The opening line of the Gospel of Mark is a direct challenge to Rome: “beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1). “Good news” (euangelion in Mark’s Greek) was a term used to describe an imperial victory. The first Christian evangelist is saying, not so subtly, that the real good news hasn’t a thing to do with Caesar.

Rather, it has to do with someone whom Caesar killed and whom God raised from the dead. And just to rub it in, he refers to this resurrected Lord as the “Son of God.” Ever since the time of Augustus, “Son of God” was a title claimed by the Roman emperor. Not so, says Mark. The authentic Son of God is the one who is more powerful than Caesar.

Again and again, Sullivan says that he wants a Jesus who is “apolitical.” Quite right — and that’s just why the cultural and political leaders of the contemporary West will be perfectly at home with his proposal. A defanged, privatized, spiritual teacher poses little threat to the status quo.

This is a great passage, and one of the reasons that Fr. Barron is truly a treasure.  I love how he completely turns around Sullivan’s argument and makes him the champion of the status quo.  It’s a really great insight, and one that completely sticks it to Dr. Sullivan.  Well played.

(Thanks RL for the tip.)

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25 Responses to Fr. Barron Eviscerates Dandy Andy

  • Sullivan should stick to subjects where he’s less likely to embarrass himself.

    Such as gynecology.

  • CS Lewis put paid to the notion of Jesus as only a great sage for any one who is intellectually honest:

    “Then comes the real shock. Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.

    One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to. I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself. You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of his conduct. Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned; the person chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history.

    Yet (and this is the strange, significant thing) even His enemies, when they read the Gospels, do not usually get the impression of silliness and conceit. Still less do unprejudiced readers. Christ says that He is ‘humble and meek’ and we believe Him; not noticing that, if He were merely a man, humility and meekness are the very last characteristics we could attribute to some of His sayings.

    I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

  • One quibble, Jefferson was an old man when he made his cut and paste Bible. This was the culmination of a lifetime of thinking, not a whim of youth.

  • An elderly Jefferson attempting to edit the Gospels to remove the supernatural has always struck me as either inexpressibly silly or inexpressibly sad. Tom Jefferson, on occasion, was the wisest of the Founding Fathers, and on other occasions the daffiest.

  • I am afraid that Thomas Jefferson was an alcoholic and probably had become senile. Jefferson’s bible cutting probably resulted from his trying to make his concept of God fit the Sacred Scripture. How sad.

  • “Dandy Andy.”

    Niiice. 😀

  • Mary, I doubt the senile alcoholic bit very much. I worked on the recent conservation of the bible. So I’ve examined it first hand. Only someone very lucid and dexterous could have meticulously put that book together as he did. As for his motivation, he was a complex man with many contradictions. I thing you are right about making the Bible fit his views. One of the curators suggested that Jefferson cutting up the Bible was comparable to marking up your own copy with your favorite passages underlined. I don’t buy that line of reasoning. He was making a bold statement even if he intended for the book to be for his own private use.

  • Yeah, there is no evidence that Jefferson was either an alcoholic or senile. In fact letters from his latter years reveal a rather sharp mind into his 80s. His “bible” is a reflection of long-held religious views. The man was a radical, and I don’t think it was the vino that made him one.

  • Jefferson did not call his editing of the Bible a bible. I wonder what his own statements were in response to people’s reactions to his book.
    The title he gave it was “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.”… which could have been an effort to see what mere mortals can learn from Jesus about how to live– an early version of WWJD. I read that somewhere a long time ago. I don’t know his motives but it does seem plausible.
    He was, I think, an immensely practical man, curious and intelligent– and perhaps he wasn’t discounting the miracles but wanted to see in a graphic way what he could learn from Jesus that could be applied to his own life —

  • From Jefferson’s letter to Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803:

    The question of his being a member of the Godhead, or in direct communication with it, claimed for him by some of his followers, and denied by others, is foreign to the present view, which is merely an estimate of the intrinsic merits of his doctrines.
    1.He corrected the Deism of the Jews, confirming them in their belief of one only God, and giving them juster notions of his attributes and government.
    2.His moral doctrines, relating to kindred & friends, were more pure & perfect than those of the most correct of the philosophers, and greatly more so than those of the Jews; and they went far beyond both in inculcating universal philanthropy, not only to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, but to all mankind, gathering all into one family, under the bonds of love, charity, peace, common wants and common aids. A development of this head will evince the peculiar superiority of the system of Jesus over all others.
    3.The precepts of philosophy, & of the Hebrew code, laid hold of actions only. He pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man; erected his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head.

    Jefferson also challenged the veracity Gospel and Epistle writers, noting that they wrote long after Christ had departed from the Earth. Christ was unable to write about his own life, and thus his teachings have been distorted through the years. Jefferson held that Paul had distorted the teachings of Christ. In Jefferson’s view, Paul was a “Platonist who had brought beclouding mysticism to Jesus’ clear moral teachings.”

    Jesus discounted the miracles and the resurrection not because he wanted to highlight Jesus’s teachings, but because he thought the supernatural elements of Christ’s life were just myth.

  • Thank You– there it is from the horse’s (Jefferson”s) mouth– I was wondering– I appreciate your response! I always want to see people in what I think is a good light– sometimes it’s just not that way

  • Of course, what Sullivan really wants is what most post-moderns want – a Jesus who will ratify gay marriage, contraception, fornication, women’s rights, and the rest of the leftist egalitarian agenda.

    Christianity brought to the world approximately as much egalitarianism as it could possibly handle without falling apart, summed up by St. Paul in Galatians (and I paraphrase): neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave or free, but all one in Christ. And yet in spite of this spiritual and moral truth, St. Paul recognizes slaves and masters, husbands and wives, as distinct and necessary parts of the social order with specific duties and obligations towards one another.

    It takes a mind unclouded by fanatical rage and envy to understand how it is possible to have a society in which there simultaneously exists a hierarchy and a concept of equality and how these work together to maintain peace and harmony. Such minds are an increasingly rare commodity. And so there is an attempt to re-cast Jesus as a 1st century Che Guevara, or at least a 1st century American liberal-Democrat, a milquetoast little nothing of a man who had no strong opinions on anything and simply lived and let live.

    No one can read the Gospels and honestly agree with these people.

  • The late greatest Catholic theologian the United States has ever produced Cardinal Avery Dulles (son of Secretary of State under Eisenhower and namesake of Dulles International airport on DC John Foster Dulles) has an excellent article on the whole issue of Deism and the Founding Fathers:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/08/the-deist-minimum–28

    …and in it he gives some great insights into Jefferson.

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  • Thank you Fr Barron. It was Jesus rising from the dead that has made the church what it is after 2000 years. What you wrote has once again made me feel liberated being a Catholic. Keep up the good work. God bless.

  • I read the Newsweek article carefully (as I’m sure the rest of you did), and didn’t come away with the feeling that Sullivan was calling for a revision or a stripping down of the New Testament to mere moral teachings, but rather was using Jefferson’s cut-up Bible as a mental exercise to get us to think about what Jesus said (and didn’t say), without the trappings of current political contexts and what politicians and get-rich evangelists are doing to Christianity. What did Jesus actually SAY about homosexuality? What did he SAY about marriage? What did he SAY about family values? What did he SAY about gay marriage? And what DIDN’T he say about these things?

    In fact, (as you all know, because you all read it; but it’s strange no one mentioned it above), most of the Newsweek article is about Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint F. took the words of Jesus to heart: he renounced his inheritance, gave away everything he had, and sought to serve others without ever having any power over them. He was humble. Winsome. ‘The lesser brother’. And the reluctant founder of an order that lasts to this day.

    Now contrast Saint Francis to our leaders and would-be leaders of today. They gain votes by spouting supposedly Biblical positions on inflammatory topics. But what do they want? To serve Christ in humility? To feed the poor and help the suffering? Or, maybe, just maybe, they want power. And cash. And food for their sizable egos.

    “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  • There is merit in the intellectual exercise of examining Jesus’s teachings and life stripped of the supernatural. Jesus is a clever speaker, a provocateur, a gadfly, who reminds me of Socrates in Athens. But Jesus’s teachings and life stripped of the supernatural probably puts Jesus into the company of the top 100 philosophers. Still pretty impressive, but He’s not special without the supernatural. Jefferson’s Bible shows us that Jesus, without God, is impressive, but not enough. I’m glad Jefferson did this.

  • Thank you Father Barron!
    More Catholics need to learn from and follow his example!

  • I don’t waste eyesight or time reading the noisome opinions and grammar-appropriate rantings in Newsweek or from Sullivan (that is since March 2003 when he termed Pope John Paul II’s opposition to the Iraq invasion, “traditional, Catholic anti-semitism” – they fired the Derb for far less).

    “Twain, “If you don’t read the papers, you are uninfrmed. If you read the papers, you are misinformed.”

    I prayerfully spent the commuting days of Lent reading through the four Gospels, twice. I say, “prayerfully” because I read them in order to learn what Christ taught; to recall that through His Life, Death and Resurrection He purchased for me eternal life; and to amend my life as necessary.

    The purpose of the Gospels is to save souls, NOT to justify worldly opinion.

  • I didn’t read it either, but I did see Sullivan’s Easter morning appearance with Jake Tapper talking about this– I was irked. That seems to be pretty much my condition lately.

  • John 12: 30 – 33, Our Lord says, “Now is the time for ths world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be overthrown. When I am lifted up from the Earth, I will draw everyone to me.” (In saying this He indicated the kind of death He was going to suffer.)

  • I will not be surprised if someone levels a charge of “hate crime” against Fr. Barron. After all, Mr. Sullivan is a man with same-sex attraction, and we all know one cannot disagree with a person with same-sex attraction without being called a “homophob.”

  • Personally, I’ll accept the Bible in its present form which has survived around 1700 years of criticism by scientist and theologian alike rather than succumb to a revisionist interpretation composed by a handful of political egotists looking to substantiate their own agendas…!!!

  • Mrs. Zummo: Thank you for the information. I believe you are correct, especially with hands on experience. Thomas Jefferson tried to separate the Son of God from the Son of Man, the hypostatic union, Christ from Christ’s divinity. Thomas Jefferson could not have been saved if Jesus was not God. May Thomas Jefferson rest in peace seeing the God-man in all His glory.

  • Jason: Every practicing homosexual came into our world through a mother and a father, and the homosexual practicioner’s parents want grandchildren. How hateful is it in not giving his parents grandchildren? “Honor your father and your mother that you shall be long-lived upon the face of the earth”. If Father Barron, a spiritul father of multitudes out lives Dandy Andy, it will not be because Father Barron did not give Dandy Andy the TRUTH to live by. Long live Father Robert Barron.

Archbishop Chaput and the Media

Friday, August 26, AD 2011

One of the most irritating aspects of life for faithful American Catholics over the past several decades has been how quiet most of our bishops have been in the face of outrageous attacks on the Church.  Too many of our bishops have acted as if they had their spines surgically removed upon consecration.  Fortunately there have always been a handful who have been willing to speak out and suffer the media attacks that then ensue, along with the ambushes of heterodox Catholics frequently eager to lend a hand to anti-Catholics in their ceaseless war against the Church.  One of the more outspoken bishops is Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who has never been afraid to proclaim the truth, and to do so eloquently.  He is at it again over at First Things.

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32 Responses to Archbishop Chaput and the Media

  • “Some of the usual suspects on the Catholic Left are upset at the Archbishop for naming some of their cherished propaganda organs…”

    I think that’s true for some. I also think that for some on the Catholic Left the NY Times reflects their view of the Church or, perhaps more accurately, what they want the Church to become.

  • Well Phillip, over the years certainly some members of the Catholic Left have been far more faithful to the magisterium of the New York Times than they ever have to the magisterium of the Church!

  • “Some of the usual suspects on the Catholic Left are upset at the Archbishop for naming some of their cherished propaganda organs…”

    They’re also upset that the Archbishop didn’t call out their own fave Catholic publications – Commonweal, America, National Catholic Distorter – as good sources for Catholic commentary. Thing is, they’re not good sources for Catholic commentary, and the Archbishop knows this. The Distorter especially – a vanguard for all that is opposed to Catholic teaching.

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  • An excellent resource on this subject is the Get Religion blog, which examines coverage of all religions and religious traditions in the media and points out gaps or inaccuracies. In many stories, Get Religion says religion is present only as a “ghost” — an unnamed reference to people doing works of charity or attending rallies or “vigils” without mention of the fact that a religious motivation was behind it.

    From reading the mainstream media, you would think that thousands of people feed the hungry, travel to disaster zones, spend long hours at a sick or injured person’s bedside (doing what? PRAYING, maybe?), devote themselves to improving their communities, etc. for no apparent reason, other than, perhaps, some vague reference to their “values.”

  • “We make a very serious mistake if we rely on media like the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or MSNBC for reliable news about religion. These news media simply don’t provide trustworthy information about religious faith”

    and CBS, ABC, NBC, NPR, Wash. Post, Boston Globe, etc, etc, etc

  • We make a very serious mistake if we rely on media like the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or MSNBC, NPR, Washington Post, Boston Globe, for reliable news about ANYTHING.

  • I would include as unreliable the Catholic News Service, which if I mistake me not, is a service of the USCCB. It gave a favorable review to the homosexual movie Heartbreak Mountain. Another disservice of the bureaucracy of the USCCB.

  • “It gave a favorable review to the homosexual movie Heartbreak Mountain”

    I take it you are referring to BROKEBACK Mountain?

    Aside from the movie reviews, whose suitability can and often will be disputed, whether or not Catholic News Service is a “reliable” source of Church news depends on how you define “reliable.”

    In the Catholic press, there is always going to be a tension between the need to promote and adhere to Church teaching and the need to realistically report what is going on in the Catholic world whether or not it is agreeable to Church teaching. I have to admit that I am somewhat biased in favor of CNS due to the fact that I once worked for a diocesan newspaper that relied heavily on CNS news, and some of whose personnel personally knew people from CNS.

    If you rely solely on traditional/conservative leaning publications, you may get the impression that conservative/orthodox/traditional Catholicism is a lot more popular and widespread than it actually is. On the other hand, if you rely on left-leaning sites like National Catholic Reporter, you get the impression that the “spirit of Vatican II” crowd still reigns supreme, which is also not the case. There still needs to be a reasonably middle of the road source of Catholic news which doesn’t actively promote dissent but doesn’t ignore its real-world impact, or ignore the fact that the Church still has a long way to go in getting most of its members fully on board with its teachings.

    While I understand the disillusionment many people have with the mainstream media, and yes they do often get things wrong, still, I think it is VERY dangerous to dismiss them completely and insist on getting ALL your news only from sources that agree 100% with your political or religious leanings. Balance is the key here.

  • Wow Elaine,
    It almost sounds like you should be writing for Vox Nova. 😉
    Well put.

  • Nah, Brett, if Elaine were writing for Vox Nova she would have to say something truly absurd like mentioning Chaput in mouth disease, and I doubt if Elaine would ever say anything like that. Finally, I doubt if Elaine could make it past the Vox Nova entrance interview:

    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/6987327/welcome-to-vox-nova

  • You’re right Don, I would not get past Rule #2. I certainly would flunk out by Rule #5 (“Paul Krugman is the living embodiment of Catholic social teaching.”)

  • Don’t worry Elaine. They let me write whatever I want and I don’t even know who Paul Krugman is!

    Also Don, no one at VN has ever forced me to say anything “truly absurd.” Elaine wouldn’t HAVE to say anything of the sort.
    😉

    All peace and good,
    B

  • “Also Don, no one at VN has ever forced me to say anything “truly absurd.” ”

    That is good to know Brett. Judging from Minion’s posts I assumed there was some sort of requirement.

  • I’ve got to agree with Elaine — the Catholic News Service (and even the movie reviews, though I certainly don’t always agree with them) serves a useful purpose, and I’ve never found it to be an organ used for questioning or undercutting the faith.

    Brett,

    To not even know who Paul Krugman is, you’d have to be skimming MM’s posts pretty thinly. After all, in the very post linked to here MM chides Archbishop Chaput for not listening to Krugman more:

    Why does Chaput not mention any of this? Is he so insecure that he cannot handle criticism of the Church in the New York Times, and must instead run to those who use the Church for their political aims? Does he see no nuance and complexity? Is he not aware that he can learn far more about the economic mess from Paul Krugman in the New York Times than anybody on any alternative media source?

    I mean, I agree with those who knock people like Voris for bishop-bashing at the drop of a hat, but this is, if anything, worse.

    I will say, though, that I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts, which are both fair and intellectually curious. (I just wish that you’d keep a separate blog like Kyle does, so that it isn’t necessary for those of us bullies who might be divisive pamphleteers of the verge of kicking off a new Reformation to wade through the main site to read your stuff.)

  • “Judging from Minion’s posts I assumed there was some sort of requirement.”

    “…I don’t even know who Paul Krugman is!”

    Brett is clearly not reading Minion’s paeans to Krugman.

  • The quoted bit from MM on Krugman hardly tells me anything beyond the fact that he writes about economics for the New York Times and that MM thinks he has some insight. Surely that is not enough for me to know whether he is “the living embodiment of Catholic social teaching,” or even if MM considers him to be such.

    Perhaps the very favorable recent posts linking to the Distributist Review should give certain people pause before they announce exactly whom the Vox Novans think accurately represents CST (or is Krugman a Distributist?) or that all Vox Novans must be of the same opinion on such matters.

  • Brett,

    VN is well known for being disobedient to the Magisterium and for attacking orthodox Catholics.

  • Tito,

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any of the current frequent posters on Vox Nova dissent from Catholic doctrine.

    That many of them do specialize in “friendly fire” towards other orthodox Catholics is arguably true, though.

    Brett,

    Well, unless the Distributist Review is not an alternative news source, it would seem that MM does believe Chaput could derive more benefit from reading Krugman than from reading the Distributist Review. (Actually, this is probably not surprising, as MM is probably too educated in regards to economics to be terribly impressed with the Distributists.)

    But to be fair, that hilarious parody dates back to when Henry, MM, MZ and Iafrate were the mainlines of Vox Nova. The place has, somewhat diluted its craziness since then.

  • Tito,

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any of the current frequent posters on Vox Nova dissent from Catholic doctrine.

    That many of them do specialize in “friendly fire” towards other orthodox Catholics is arguably true, though.

    Brett,

    Well, unless the Distributist Review is not an alternative news source, it would seem that MM does believe Chaput could derive more benefit from reading Krugman than from reading the Distributist Review. (Actually, this is probably not surprising, as MM is probably too educated in regards to economics to be terribly impressed with the Distributism, at least where economics is involved. Chesterton and Belloc were admirable in lots of ways, but their economic analysis was not necessarily great. MM is probably right to rely more on Keynes and Krugman than on Chesterton and Belloc when it comes to actual economic theory.)

    To be fair, though, that hilarious parody dates back to when Henry, MM, MZ and Iafrate were the mainlines of Vox Nova. The place has, somewhat diluted its craziness since then — in regards to contributors at least. (Oddly, the comboxes seem to have gone even further off the deep end — though perhaps that’s just a matter of the “other side” not bothering to show up much anymore. I suppose in some ways we’ve had an equal and opposite history here. Given the natural affinities of belief, it may be that political sites natural sort themselves into either right or left with few dissenting voices bothering to show up.)

  • Darwin,

    I wasn’t aware that killing children in the womb was part of Catholic teaching.

  • I’m not either, but I was giving them credit for the fact that Gerald L. Campbell hasn’t posted there in a very long time. (Though I agree it was disgraceful that everyone at the time defended his claim that being pro-choice was a legitimate exercise of subsidiarity.)

    People like MM and MZ do everything possible to support pro-abortion candidates, because those candidates happen to also be leftists, but they insist that they are not in fact pro-abortion themselves (and would vote for anti-abortion leftists if they existed) so I figure it’s fair to categorize them as unwise rather than dissenting.

    Ditto on the tendency to attack pro-lifers far more often than pro-aborts while at the same time claiming to be pro-life.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have no desire to defend them. I just want to be precise in my attacks. 🙂

  • OK, I’ll back track.

    Certain bloggers are disobedient.

    The rest of the bunch are essentially good guys and it would be nice to share a beer with them because it would make for interesting conversation(s)!

    😀

  • Precision is always appreciated. As is beer.

  • As for a personal blog, here you go:
    http://vox-nova.com/category/brett-salkeld/

    I’m only tempted to set up something a little more formal because I think “Ein Brett Vorm Kopf” would be a great name.

  • Can’t let a name like that go to waste!

    I guess I should just bookmark the category link. For some reason, it’s not possible to put the category links into an RSS reader.

  • It would be helpful though if those bloggers on Vox Nova who are not in dissent do correct those who post comments who are. That would make it appear less likely that they are dissenting.

  • “MM is probably too educated in regards to economics to be terribly impressed with the Distributism, at least where economics is involved. Chesterton and Belloc were admirable in lots of ways, but their economic analysis was not necessarily great. MM is probably right to rely more on Keynes and Krugman than on Chesterton and Belloc when it comes to actual economic theory.)”.

    Yes, as regards “economic theory”. But economics in practice? A good antidote to Keynes [Krugman is not worth the effort] is J.K. Galbraith’s ALMOST EVERYONE’S GUIDE TO ECONOMICS. He makes the point that economics is not that difficult to understand. Thus, in the controversy about raising the debt limit, it is not difficult to understand that you cannot keep writing checks on an account without money. Belloc understood this; GKC understood this. Even B. Obama as a senator understood this.

    In May 1939, shortly after learning that unemployment stood at 20.7%, Henry Morgenthau, the secretary of the Treasury, exploded: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.” Morgenthau concluded, “I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!”

  • From the other side of the pond, I rate the orthodoxy of your bishops according to extent that they are excoriated by the liberal media – Burke, Olmsted, Chaput et al. The fact that none of ours has yet to be targeted by the Tablet, the English equivalent of the National Catholic Reporter, is cause for concern.

Newsweek and the Demonization of Michele Bachmann

Tuesday, August 9, AD 2011

Newsweek, the newsmagazine worth every cent of the dollar it was recently sold for, is running a hit piece against Congresswoman Michele Bachmann this week.  They aren’t especially subtle about what they are doing as the cover indicates:

 

 

Here is a photograph of Michele Bachmann by a photographer not employed by Newsweek:

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22 Responses to Newsweek and the Demonization of Michele Bachmann

Political Miscellania 5/12/10

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

A wrap-up of various items of political interest.

1.  The video that heads this post is one of the reasons why my vote for McCain in 2008 was a two handed vote, with one hand holding my nose.  McCain has long been an ardent supporter of amnesty and open borders.  Now that he is in a tough primary race with J.D. Hayworth, he is a born again believer in locking down the border against illegal aliens.  I certainly favor in making it tougher for illegals to get across the border, but I do not favor politicians who embrace positions simply to save their political skin.  I hope that the voters in Arizona will finally bring McCain’s political career to a screeching halt  by voting for his opponent in the primary.

2.  It looks like Hawaii will soon have a new Republican Congressman.  The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee is pulling out of Hawaii 1 and basically conceding that Republican Charles Djou will win the special election on May 22. The Democrats have two candidates running who are splitting the vote and thus allowing the Republicans to take a Congressional seat that has been in Democrat hands for two decades.

3.  The tea party movement claimed another scalp by causing the defeat of Republican Senator Bob Bennett at the Utah Gop Convention in his attempt to get the Republican nomination for a fourth term in the Senate. This should be a warning for all politicians:  this year is different, no re-nomination or re-election can be taken for granted.

4.  Faithful readers of this blog will know that I have quite a bit of respect for blogger Mickey Kaus who is taking on Senator Barbara Boxer in the Democrat primary in California.   Shockingly last week the LA Times refused to endorse Boxer:

On the Democratic side, we find that we’re no fans of incumbent Barbara Boxer. She displays less intellectual firepower or leadership than she could. We appreciate the challenge brought by Robert “Mickey” Kaus, even though he’s not a realistic contender, because he asks pertinent questions about Boxer’s “lockstep liberalism” on labor, immigration and other matters. But we can’t endorse him, because he gives no indication that he would step up to the job and away from his Democratic-gadfly persona.

To have the LA Times refuse to endorse Boxer is a strong indication of just how weak she is this election year.  She is probably strong enough to defeat Kaus (sorry Mickey!) in the primary, but there is blood in the water for the general election.

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5 Responses to Political Miscellania 5/12/10

  • Bob Bennett is a bit of an outlier. The Utah Republican party is becoming VERY VERY conservative, and there was an organized effort to push him out because of TARP and his Appropriations Committee role. It began two years ago when Jason Chaffetz beat Chris Cannon for his Congressional seat. While there may be a grassroots movement to “throw the bums out” Utah’s movement has been going on a bit longer.

  • Newsweek was put up for sale by the Washington Post last week. Last year the news magazine adopted a strategy of serving as an opinion journal of the Left. The decision has proven a disaster in the marketplace, although to be fair Newsweek has been losing money for quite a while.

    And a strange decision it was. The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker are about the only publications directed at that sort of audience which have been aught but philanthropic concerns during the lifetime of Newsweek‘s current editor, and the latter two are leavened with considerable reportage and fiction and offer little straightforward commentary. Comparing Newsweek to The New Republic also demonstrates that their is an art to producing an opinion magazine that not every collecting pool of journalists has; there would not be much point in a patron like Arthur Carter or Mortimer Zuckerman employing this crew.

  • The Hawaii election is very special to me.

    Having been raised the majority of my life in the Aloha State, we have never had a Republican elected to Honolulu’s 1st congressional district.

    Inouye’s “pre-selected” appointee, Hanabasu, is power hungry and feels entitled to that position held by the granola-eating Abercrombie.

    Case also feels a sense of entitlement, but then again, many Punahou School grads feel they are entitled to many things in life (Case is AOL founder Steve Case’s cousin; Punahou is the elite private school that silver spooned Obama attended as well).

    GOP Djou needs all the support he can get to rip that seat from the most powerful Democratic machine in the nation!

  • Re: #3… Here in WA, the state GOP (executive board) is looking at automatically endorsing whomever the GOP incumbent may be, even in the presence of a stronger, more conservative challenger… even if the PCO’s overwhelming support the challenger. It will be up to the voters both in the primary and the caucuses to decapitate weak incumbents.

  • McCain has proven he works for the people that voted him to office. The media would say this is flip flopping, I would say, any politician that thought one thing and turned around when hearing what his constituents believed, is exactly what govt is about. As for JD, well that is a long story that should not even be an issue. JD is as bad as they come…JD cannot find an endorsement, I am sure he will start paying people to say they like him! JD leaves us with many great memories, whether it be Abramoff, losing his seat to a democrat, ethical issues, issues about his lack of intelligence, being a huge blowhard, being a huge boozer, being a continuous egomaniac who does not have the experience needed to succeed in Washington (and he has already proven that to us!) I had decided JD was far too inexperienced, immature, egotistical and unethical to vote for him. McCain is the third most fiscally conservative member in Senate and that along with his integrity, we have a solid Senator.

Archbishop Niederauer Instructs Nancy Pelosi on Free Will, Conscience and Moral Choice

Sunday, January 17, AD 2010

A few weeks ago I had posted my thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s scadalous Newsweek interview, in which she chalked up her disagreements with the Bishops on Catholic moral teaching as a “difference of opinion.” At the time I had expressed my curiosity (and honest frustration) as to when her local bishop, George H. Niederauer, would be moved to respond.

He has, and I am thankful for it:

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7 Responses to Archbishop Niederauer Instructs Nancy Pelosi on Free Will, Conscience and Moral Choice

  • From the many times this professed Catholic has stated her views and had conversations with her Bishop as stated by her, when will she be asked to refrain and adhere to the tenets of the Church as she contiunes to embrassed the Church by her public statements and actions. She has been instructed enough. Is is time the Bishop ask her to refrain from the Eurchrist or leave the Church until she conforms to its teachings.

  • I wish this response could be published in Newsweek, or some place people would get to read it.

  • Enough! Without the use of Excommunication, the Bishops have become toothless watchdogs. The discussion devolves into opinion, with no authority to resolve or end it.

  • Unfortunately, I rather doubt that excommunication would mean much to Pelosi et al… her protestations to the contrary, she seems to have little taste for authentic Catholicism.

  • If your child was doing terrible things, drugs, stealing, etc. and you told him to stop and he refused and you did not give him/her a consequence, that would indicate to the child that what he’s doing is no big deal and so he would go right on doing it. Pelosi and other ‘Catholic’ pro-abortion politicians thumb their noses at the Bishops constantly and the Bishops still permit them to receive the Eucharist…this emboldens Pelosi and her colleagues to tell others that they are right and the Bishops just have another ‘opinion’ especially when the Bishops themselves do not agree with each other…

  • To be fair, this is the first I have heard of the Bp. making a clear public statement directed right at Pelosi. Perhaps this is the first step towards more concrete action should the public reprimand prove unfruitful.

  • I heard Nancy Pelosi speaking last night about her favorite word. I suspect you’ve heard or possibly seen the video, but in case you haven’t, you can find it at youtube and you particularly want to hear the question from one of the reporters in the audience. Ms. Pelosi basically said that “The Word” is her favorite ‘word’ and then went on to say and The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. The question was when did Jesus first come into the world made flesh; at the Annunciation, conception or at The Birth of Our Lord. Ms. Pelosi’s response was she would rather talk about that in church where we all bow our heads at these words, although she just talked about it from a podium in from of a roomful (at least with the exception of one) of secularists and had no problem with that. My point is that she’s making a mockery of the Catholic faith. If you haven’t seen the video, try to locate it. I believe the true Catholic Church is very strong and faithful. Its those that are pretending to be Catholic and using Her for political gain or otherwise that gives the Church the appearance of being split. We’re not. It’s as though we’ve been infiltrated by nonbelievers whose sole purpose is to create discension within the Catholic Church, to do nothing but harm the Church. History does have a tendency to repeat itself and I believe this has happened in the past. It will take great fortitude but I believe we can overcome this obstacle if we recognize it and act.

Are You Listening Madame Speaker?

Friday, January 15, AD 2010

Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco addressed on January 13, 2010 a free will defense of abortion by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House:

In a recent interview with Eleanor Clift in Newsweek magazine (Dec. 21, 2009), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about her disagreements with the United States Catholic bishops concerning Church teaching. Speaker Pelosi replied, in part: “I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have the opportunity to exercise their free will.”

Embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom. These misconceptions are widespread both within the Catholic community and beyond. For this reason I believe it is important for me as Archbishop of San Francisco to make clear what the Catholic Church teaches about free will, conscience, and moral choice.

Catholic teaching on free will recognizes that God has given men and women the capacity to choose good or evil in their lives. The bishops at the Second Vatican Council declared that the human person, endowed with freedom, is “an outstanding manifestation of the divine image.” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 17) As the parable of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, makes so beautifully clear, God did not want humanity to be mere automatons, but to have the dignity of freedom, even recognizing that with that freedom comes the cost of many evil choices.

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5 Responses to Are You Listening Madame Speaker?

  • So what next? Nice statement and all, but what hapens, in the highly probable event that this goes in one Pelosi’s ear and out the other (there being nothing in between to catch it)? What will he do when she comes back with some form of I politely disagree but must follow my own reason and conscience which tells me campaign fund– I mean, a women’s right to choose, is an inviolable right necessary for her dignity?

  • To answer the question posed by the title of this post: No.

  • What a great statement by the bishop! And thanks for posting it in its entirety, Donald.

  • Thank you Pinky!

  • Even though Speaker Pelosi may not take the archbishops instruction, this is a positive sign that many bishops in America are finally defending life in a public manner in the correct circumstances.

    Especially from this archbishop who is breaking the stereotype of a “personally orthodox” but “episcopally lax” mold a la Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC.

Nancy Pelosi to Bishops on Abortion: I practically mourn this difference of opinion

Wednesday, December 30, AD 2009

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was interviewed in a recent edition of Newsweek, in which she had the opportunity to set the bishops straight on the participation of Catholics in public life.

I think you have had some brushes with [church] hierarchy.

I have some concerns about the church’s position respecting a woman’s right to choose. I have some concerns about the church’s position on gay rights. I am a practicing Catholic, although they’re probably not too happy about that. But it is my faith. I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will.

Is it difficult for you to reconcile your faith with the role you have in public life?

You know, I had five children in six years. The day I brought my fifth baby home, that week my daughter turned 6. So I appreciate and value all that they want to talk about in terms of family and the rest. When I speak to my archbishop in San Francisco and his role is to try to change my mind on the subject, well then he is exercising his pastoral duty to me as one of his flock. When they call me on the phone here to talk about, or come to see me about an issue, that’s a different story. Then they are advocates, and I am a public official, and I have a different responsibility.

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf applies the necessary fisking and muses: “I cannot fathom why she hasn’t been told she must not receive Holy Communion. How much more public scandal does she have to give before the bishops of the places where she resides take concrete action?”

My thoughts exactly. Note that she has already received an admonishment from the Holy See and an invitation to “converse” from San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer.

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11 Responses to Nancy Pelosi to Bishops on Abortion: I practically mourn this difference of opinion

  • Can a person rise to a political position so powerful that Bishops are unable to preform as they should in fear of retaliation? Not just the House Speaker but all so called Catholic politicians. Even after much discussion by the Bishops with these persons, nothing is done other than rarely. . If so, are they not therefore condoning the acts of this person by omission of action, and putting politics ahead of their beliefs.

  • The Lying Worthless Political Hack before breakfast is a bit hard on the digestion. Seeing the look on her face after she is no longer Speaker of the House is all the inducement I need for all of my political activities and donations in the coming year.

  • “When I speak to my archbishop in San Francisco and his role is to try to change my mind on the subject, well then he is exercising his pastoral duty to me as one of his flock.”

    At least she admits that much; which means that she would, logically, also have to admit that he would be within his bounds of “pastoral duty” to bar her from Communion. However this is not likely to happen since Abp. Niederauer seems not to be known for possessing an episcopal spine.

    Pelosi points out that she had five children in 6 years and “appreciates all that they (bishops) want to talk about in terms of family.” Does she bring this up in order to establish some kind of “pro-life” street cred — “Hey, I had lots of kids so I was really pro-life when it counted” — or as a subtle dig at the Church — “I kept myself barefoot and pregnant all those years because the Church demanded it and now look what they are doing to me.”

  • “I practically mourn”? What the heck is that? She does or she doesn’t. It means she doesn’t. What a wretched woman who has shipwrecked her faith.

  • St. Paul in 1st Timothy 1:19-20 shows our Bishops how to deal with this; why won’t they simply just do it?

    “Some, by rejecting conscience, have made a shipwreck of their faith, among them Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”

  • TDJ Says: “I practically mourn”? What the heck is that?

    It means she mourns… right up to the point where the campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood and the gay brigades come in. Then the sack cloth and ashes turn into singing and dancing. Put another way…

    “I voted against abortion before I voted for it”

  • I echo the comment on Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s post. It is creepy that a woman who has five children is so adamant in supporting abortion.

  • Mrs. Pelosi is quite correct to say that she has free will. It has been the Church’s position since the beginning. It has been only the Church which has defended the free will of women, which is part of their dignity.

    Mrs. Pelosi fails, however, to acknowledge that women may also choose badly. They may talk themselves into hell.

  • Spot on, Gabriel. Pelosi is rated 100% by NARAL. She also voted against the partial birth abortion ban act. How dare Pelosi be a catalyst for the heinous sacrifice of infants when her Savior hung from a scaffold for her sake! She is trampling on the blood of Jesus. I would think she would tremble mightily when she hears the sound of the trumpet. Along with Ben Nelson.

    On a slightly different note, I was glancing through Good Housekeeping Magazine today and happened upon an eye-appealing ad reflecting a pretty American girl named Nina, from Chicago, aged 22, who wasn’t sure which job offer to accept. Contrasted was Wanjiru, 22, from Nairobi, who isn’t sure she can handle her fifth pregnancy. The ad states, “If you lived in a place like Kenya, chances are you’d have little say about when and how many children you’ll have. For these women and girls, life isn’t about choices.” This ad immediately gave me the willies, especially in this particular magazine. Unfamiliar with EngenderHealth, I did a little checking and found out that it was awarded the United Nations Population Award for its contribution to reproductive health care in resource-poor third world countries. I also discovered that EngenderHealth group was formerly the Steirlization League for Human Betterment. The pro-choice movement under the Obama administration has become very audacious in its ad campaigns. “Pro Choice” is simply a fashionable catch-all for eugenics, but since the Nazi regime, it’s uncool to use that terminology. Ironically, our secular world, oblivious to sin, but intent upon Utopia, is creating the very antithesis of a perfect society. They plot evil and they will perish in it. To create a perfect society, we must strive to emulate the sanctity of the Holy Family, and Our Lady, the most perfect of all mothers, is the premier example of every virtue. Perhaps Nancy Pelosi’s five children will pray for her salvation.

  • Oh, I get it. So for the BotoxBiddy it’s “MY will be done.” Not, “THY will be done.”
    Mmmmm ka-ay.

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25 Responses to Obama and Notre Dame – a Belated Follow-Up

  • Agreed 150% on the PWSA as a good common-ground measure. Heck, it’s good legislation regardless of whether it brings folks together or not.

    But, if you google around a bit, you’ll find that there is a lot of resistance in left-wing circles to the Act, coming from the mindset of the “reducing pregnancies, not number of abortions” crowd. The PWSA forthrightly (and rightly) presumes that abortions are bad and discourages them, which is a no-no in those circles.

    Given that the President appears to share that mindset, I think the odds of him putting his clout behind the PWSA are vanishingly small at this point in time. If/when he needs pro-life Democrats to get something he truly cares about passed, then you might see the horse trading.

    Sadly enough, I think we’re much more likely to see Rep. Slaughter’s “Prevention First Act” than the PWSA. And, make no mistake, Slaughter is in the hard-core choicer camp.

  • Father Jenkins- surprise still in his job- received his 15 minutes of fame. Dear Leader received another day of adulation. Both care about the unborn about as much as the crumb sitting on my desk. By me. Lovely rhetoric about Dialogue and such. But no other significant issue- and this is as significant as it gets- is more polarizing. Designed to be no other way. Tim notes those rare creatures known as pro-life Democrats- endangered species who should receive legal protection. Perhaps Dear Leader will open up TARP money for Planned Parenthood and non-franchise clinics. Might have the same beneficial effect as to Ford and Chrysler. Oh, just to note before posting- Tiller The Killer’s big time abort business is shutting its doors. What a shame. Maybe it could have qualified for TARP funding.

  • (1) Scalia does not really believ ein Original Intent

    (2) I don’t know what you mean by the “American Right” wanting to wash it hands of abortion by sending it to the States. First many on the right are for the Human Rights Amendment. ALso the “AMerican Right” would be working in their respective State legislatures to prohbit abortion. Activity does not stop just because it does not happen in the District of Columbia

    (3) Archbishop Chaput said recently there was no “Catholic way” to the interpret the Const. I think he is right.

    (4) what you refer to as States Rights is more commonly know as Federalism that has not been abolished. I think if you are proposing that getting this issue back to the States is against Catholic SOcial Doctrine you need to flesh that out some.

    (5)THere are Natural Law folks on the right such as Arkes and Robert George etc etc that are trying to influence the Court and polticy

    (6) There is nothing to probhibit Legislators from legilsating based on the Natural law

  • Let me add the whole Subsidarity , Federalism, abortion issue was fleshed out in some detail in response to Kmiec.

    See this entry at America magazine

    http://americaelection2008.blogspot.com/2008/10/different-take-on-kmiecs-book.html

  • Yeah, I would say that States Rights is quite consistent with Catholic Social Teaching. Subsidiarity and all. That is a principle you know.

  • I will grant that labels like American Political Left and Right are very general- but I think that those who feel comfortable self-labeling themselves liberal or conservative, will fit those larger categories. I reject these labels for myself because I believe like Archbishop Chaput- I use his great book “Render..” in my classes- that there isn’t going to be a Catholic political party- as the Compendium states we are always to be critical members of any political party- that implies that there is always going to be an incompleteness in any purely political party.

    I don’t mean to take a cheap shot on those who take the Federalist position, that abortion can only be resolved at the state level because that’s how our Constitution was written- but I advise all Catholics to read Notre Dame prof. Rice’s book on Natural Law. He describes Justice Thomas as pretty much putting the idea of natural law reasoning to death, when he backtracked during his confirmation hearings on previous positive assertions on the role of such reasoning in juridical decision making. I do view Scalia and Thomas quite negatively for the way they come across in interviews when they seem proud to assert that their Catholicism has absolutely nothing to do with their work as Justices- I don’t think anyone in any position should say that- the natural law is everyone’s responsibility- especially those with juridical and political power- this is an intellectual dodge- even if it is an honest one- to come across as some kind of progressive, non-partisan in contrast with those who do use reasoning beyond the deciphering of the original intent of the Constitutional framers.

    Professor Rice says that on abortion we don’t even have to pull out the natural law trump card- it would be rare to have to do that given that much of positive law in the Constitution is already rooted in natural law reasoning- if we apply the 5th and 14th Amendments to the unborn, we would be good to go- but this is not on the radar in the Scalia/Thomas circles as far as I know- and I would say that these Justices are very well regarded in general by conservatives/ American Political Right.

    I am offering a critique that isn’t designed to play well to liberals or conservatives, I don’t think Jesus played to such narrow audiences, and I don’t find the complete social doctrine of the Church to be in conformity with any ideology that I’ve encountered thus far- so I work in both liberal and conservative circles depending on the issue- but sometimes neither camp seems to get it right- like on abortion- the liberal juridical approach is ice cold, while I grant the Scalia et al approach is luke warm- not sure I can get on board with lukewarm even if it offers a legislative endgame in every state. I want the unborn to be safe in every state, all over the world- the Law should reflect this- the Law must reflect this, and then all other aspects of society will need to reform to adjust to this reality- economically, culturally- all of it needs to upgrade to deal with the children we will be welcoming into the world instead of terminating.

  • Subsidiarity is not to be viewed apart from the universal common good and solidarity- it also isn’t a replacement for the natural law requirements for all people- Catholic or not. This emphasis on natural law is found throughout the social doctrine and papal encyclicals

  • Thank you for a thoughtful diary. Another bill that I hope starts gathering support is the “Newborn Child and Mother Act”. Approximately 1500 mothers die in childbirth across Africa EVERY DAY. I gather most of their babies die, too.

  • TIm

    Let me say I am not saying that Natural Law Jurisprudence is forbidden. As Arkes says where in the Const does it forbit it? I am just saying that if lets say a Catholic Judge does that think that was part of the Document then I think he can in a valid way interpret it otherwise. I mean in the end his Power and authority come from the Document or the “Pact” as it were. So when Scalia looks at the text he does not that think he has the power to change it

    It is in a sense similar to the situation of the Federal Judges that lets say were anti Slavery. They might have been anti Slavery but because their power and authrotiy came from an agreement that made an compromise with this evil they very well could not just ban it nationwide.

    Again as to Natural Law and the Social Compendium what should Catholic Judges do. I can’t imagine that they would start citing the Comepndium of SOcial Justice. In fact what authority would they have to base Opinion on that at all.

    I am not sure Scalia or THomas for that matter have an agenda to end abortion nationwide. I think they probally think that is not their job but the job of the legislator. I strongly suspect that Scalia thinks Gay marriage is wrong. However I doubt he would think he ahd any authority to “ban” it in lets say Iowa.

    TO quote Chaput in Full
    “CHAPUT: The Supreme Court doesn’t make law, as we know. It interprets the law. I think it’s much easier from a moral perspective to be a justice – a judge – than it is to be a legislator. Legislators are the ones who make laws and change laws. But to interpret the law in its fidelity to the Constitution is a much less morally compromising kind of position to have, I think.

    I’d rather be a justice than a politician, in terms of dealing with my conscience, because if we write bad laws in this country that are constitutional, then the judges – the justices – have to interpret the laws as allowed by the Constitution, even if they don’t like them, even if they would think they’re not good for the country, it seems to me, even if they think they’re not moral. That’s what justices do. So I had the impression that Wendy thinks that the Supreme Court writes the law. Certainly that’s not my impression. I know it can’t write the law. In terms of not wanting all the justices to be Catholics, I agree with you, Michael. That would not be a good idea in the United States”.

    http://pewforum.org/events/?EventID=213

    Now I think Judical attitudes matter that is for sure. The attitude of the Iowa Supreme Courts Justices was frightening as they basically shot down arguments because they thought they could smell religous intent.

    I just think from a Natural Law standpoint that the key is if one wishes to adovcate that is to start in the legilatures. That is where the action is.

    As Chaput stated

  • “Subsidiarity is not to be viewed apart from the universal common good and solidarity- it also isn’t a replacement for the natural law requirements for all people- Catholic or not. This emphasis on natural law is found throughout the social doctrine and papal encyclicals”

    Well Tim I don’t think Federalsim gets rid of that. I mean what is changed or what is at issue is what branches of the Governements have the responsibility, power , and authority to act as to the common good or solidarity.. As to the abortion question is it the States or the Federal Govt or a combination of the two.

  • What other aspects of the natural law should the Justices be concerned with? Should a Catholic-based interpretation mandate that all homosexual acts be outlawed? Should a natural law view of the Constitution mean a ban of contraceptives? How far do we take this? And what do we do when we have a majority of Justices whose interpretation of the natural law leads to conclusions quite the opposite of our own?

  • Tim

    I think my other post did not go through for some reason

    Let me clear I am not saying that Natural law Juridprudence cannot be had. As Arkes says where in the COnst is it forbidden.

    I just think that if you really want Natural Law and to have it part of our system one needs to start with the legislature where the real action is at. THat is not to ignore the Judiciary. We should recall that Iowa Supreme Court mandated Gay marraige and in that argument they shot down opponets of it because they say said they could smell religious reasoning. That is a problem

    I am not sure at all that THomas and Scalia have a “plan” to end abortion. I suspect they don’t think that is their job but that of the legislature. Just Like how I think that Scalia is against gay marraige but I could never seem him overturning a state law allowing it because it goes against the natural law or because he does not like it.

    I suppose if we are going to get natural law more in the discussion first the Catholic schools nned to be teaching it more.Then we are going to have to have an discussion with our neighbors about it.

    Political parties are not going to be able to do that. In fact in GOP circles where such an approach has fans in some segments there would have to be some on the evangelical side that would have to embrace it. SOme are open others are wary.

    So as to Natural law principles I think there is a lot of work to be done before we can expect polticos to start using it. In fact we might need to breed a whole new generation of polticos that understand it.

    When I talk to Catholic about the natural law it sometimes seems like they look at me like I am from Mars. That has nothing to do with left, right, or center but just horrid Catholic education in the Puplit, in CCD , and in the schools.

    As to Catholic social justice concerns and principles I think there will be porgress till each “side” that is engaging this start talking to each other instead of yelling at each other.

  • Tim,

    Of course subsidiarity is to be seen in the context of the common good and solidarity. Just as solidarity is to be seen in the context of the common good and subsidiarity. The claim of solidarity does not rule out allowing more basic units of society tend to the common good. Catholic Social teaching never says this. In fact higher units of society are to take over only when lower units cannot meet a common need. States rights fits perfectly in this framework.
    When to allow higher units to take over from lower is a prudential judgement in many cases and you will not find such a criteria in the Compendium.

  • My impression from reading the social doctrine is that the common good is the only real reason for having governing authority in the first place- when this focus is lost then that authority can soon run amuck- I do not dispute or ignore the principle of subsidiarity but we are talking about abortion here, and that is something that cannot be left to even a popular vote- it smacks of the whole scene with Jesus being condemned by popular vote, and Pilate standing by, washing his hands of the affair, even as he seemed to side with Jesus on the level of basic justice- Pope John Paul II even used this comparison with abortion and Christ with over-reliance on democratic outcomes in determining all important matters- now Pilate has not gone down in history as a heroic figure- and I don’t think that a State’s Rights approach to abortion is going to be seen as the best we could do at the level of civil authority.

    We have a problem with subsidiarity as a primary principle to view abortion or the global economy through right now- with the power of multinational corporations usurping even the power of national governments- read Bailouts- it would seem that the local government powers have not kept up with the times- and Free Trade Pacts have taken economic decisions far afield from local control. With abortion, we simply have to have everyone doing what they can with whatever power they have to establish the legal and moral sense that an unborn child is worthy of our human rights. Natural Law reasoning does not have to be overused to the point where we have an effective theocracy- but we ignore the Natural Law to our own peril as a nation, as a people.

    Again- I cannot go into the detail here on this as Professor Rice did in his book- 50 Questions on the Natural Law- if anyone has read that book and has any comments I would love to hear of your thoughts. I think he represents the most orthodox Catholic position on the importance of Natural Law, and how we can promote it without having to force the nation to convert to Catholicism wholesale. There is something religious behind the Natural Law, and the Catholic social doctrine is a necessary guide- but the Natural Law is something reasonable and can be argued with non-believers and believers alike. We cannot continue to cede everything to the secularists- at some point we have to fight for more than merely symbolic gestures like Nativity Scenes on government property- we need Catholics willing to stand behind Natural Law reasoning and Catholic social doctrine- the Natural Law reasoning is all we need to use in public debates, and all the Justices need to make certain that Justice prevails when opportunity comes for them to render decisions that obviously offer life and death for many. Imagine if genocide came up for a vote? Abortion is a genocide of unborn, unwanted children- millions of them- if this doesn’t call forth a universal decision on the part of our Supreme Court- then they may as well pack it in, and leave our Capital empty of Justices and Justice.

  • Tim

    So a vote on the Supreme Court is legitimate but a vote in the Staer Houses is not. Also one can amend State Const a heck of a lot more easier than you can the U.S. COnst to show these natural law principles

    Again it is not a principle of “State Rights” but Federalism. I am not saying fight for a Human Rights AMendment. In fact I suspect that a HUman Ruights amendments would gain steam when it returned to the States.

    You know we can’t just blame nameless polticos in D.C. for not getting the pro-life cause done. It is suddennly much more in our faces where we must convince our neighbors

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  • Tim,

    Its not a problem of seeing subsidiarity as a primary priciple for in fact it is. As are the principles of the common good and solidarity. They are an organic unity. The problem becomes how do we apply these primary priciples to concrete situations. You have your problems with multi-nationals. I have a problem with strong (an ever increasingly stronger) national and international governments. The Compendium does not have a policy to address these. Catholics in good conscience apply the primary principles. At times Catholics in good conscience disagree, sometimes strongly. That’s life in the secualar for the Christian.

  • Honestly, Tim, I think your argument sets up a couple of straw men that you then proceed to effectively slaughter; I disagree with a couple of your premises, and must, therefore, disagree with your conclusions.

    First, I believe you fall victim to the same illogic that drives most who claim to not be “right-wing” Catholics: namely, you choose to lump all Catholic Social Teachings, and abortion, into the same mass and call it legitimately Catholic. I disagree for a couple of reasons:

    1. You mentioned that you would have invited neither PResident Obama nor President Bush to speak at Notre Dame, given the authority to make such a decision. You cite both men’s lack of conformity to basic principles of Catholic Social Doctrine as your reason.

    This comparison sufers for at least two reasons. first, abortion, and , say, the death penalty are not equivalent issues. The authority to make the decision to mete out a penalty of death rests with duly elected civil authorities. SOLELY with them. And while the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching may decry the occasional necessity to mete out such a sentnece, and while it may state that the circumstances which should require such a penalty are so rarae as to be almost nonexistent, in the end, the judgment of the circumstances lies SOLEY with those duly elected to exercise such authority.

    Similarly with the exercise of war powers. The Church rightly decries the use of military force in *any* circumstance; however, it recognizes the right of governments to enter into armed conflict against those nations or entities which pose a credible threat, and which cannot be subdued by other means. That right flows from the national leader’s responsibility to provide for legitimate defense of its territory and citizens. And the authority to make such a decision rest, again, SOLELY with the likes of President Bush and President Obama.

    Man, this is brain-wracking. I will amend my opening statement to include the thought that I can only respond to one at a time.

    But i fwe are goin gto use Catholic Teaching to justify our positions, it wold seem prudent…to use ALL of it, not jsut the parts that nicely fit our preconceived schema.

    God bless.

  • Totally apart from the extremely interesting issues and discussions in this thread, it occurred to me [somewhat belatedly] that Father Jenkins was greatly disingenuous in the reasons he gave for inviting Mr. Obama to speak at the Commencement exercises.

    Commencements they are meant to be – but commencements to the world wider than the campus in South Bend.

    Now if the graduating students had not pretty well covered the subject – personally and intellectually – in four years’ attendance at the school, what is the purpose of a dialogue about it just as they are about to leave? Surely their teachers must have discussed [dialogued?] the issues during the campaign a year previously.

    I said disingenuous; I repeat disingenuous.

  • And the authority to make such a decision rest, again, SOLELY with the likes of President Bush and President Obama.

    But it does not end there. The authority to pass judgment on the decision made by presidents lies with the Church and SOLELY with the Church.

  • Tim,
    I would go further in this line of consistent criticism of the American political Left and Right. I don’t believe that the state’s rights approach to abortion rights is truly consistent with Catholic social doctrine. The juridical philosophy called “Originalism”, which is championed by many Catholics supportive of the American political Right, is not one that is rooted in Natural Law.

    Conservative Catholics hold to the belief that the laws of the land should be rooted in Natural Law. They belief that the way to change those laws is through democratic processes which are established in the United States constitution and the constitutions of the several states which it comprises. There is nothing in Natural Law which states that a judiciary should act in contravention of the laws which are established.

    Professor Rice says that on abortion we don’t even have to pull out the natural law trump card- it would be rare to have to do that given that much of positive law in the Constitution is already rooted in natural law reasoning- if we apply the 5th and 14th Amendments to the unborn, we would be good to go

    I agree completely.

    but this is not on the radar in the Scalia/Thomas circles as far as I know- and I would say that these Justices are very well regarded in general by conservatives/ American Political Right.

    I’m not so sure, have they ruled that way? If a case came before them which way would they rule? I think you’re mistaken. Those justices have consistently ruled in a way that would allow us to infer they do in fact believe that the unborn are human persons and are protected. Their Catholic faith (and basic empbryology) teaches them that, and there is no contradiction with the Constitution which would preclude them as “originists” in ruling that way.

    we simply have to have everyone doing what they can with whatever power they have to establish the legal and moral sense that an unborn child is worthy of our human rights. Natural Law reasoning does not have to be overused to the point where we have an effective theocracy- but we ignore the Natural Law to our own peril as a nation, as a people.

    Absolutely, but I think there is limits to what a Catholic is compelled to do given the restrictions of his office, especially if he has taken an oath to be bound by those restrictions. Now, no Catholic is permitted to commit an immoral act regardless of his office, but that doesn’t mean he is obliged to use their office illegally in their actions.

    Michael J. Iafrate,

    But it does not end there. The authority to pass judgment on the decision made by presidents lies with the Church and SOLELY with the Church.

    No. Wrong. While the Church has the authority to pass judgments when a public act is in objective violation of Church teaching, she does not make such judgements on purely subjective reasoning (sound thought it might be), nor does the Church pass judgement where she does not possess all of the relevent facts that the civic authority does. She may and often does issue opinions based on what is known and the preponderance of evidence, but that is not the same thing. Ultimately the judgement falls to the Lord God Almighty.

    Jh,

    I just think that if you really want Natural Law and to have it part of our system one needs to start with the legislature where the real action is at.

    exactly!

    Deacon,

    awesome! You nailed it.

  • No. Wrong. While the Church has the authority to pass judgments when a public act is in objective violation of Church teaching, she does not make such judgements on purely subjective reasoning (sound thought it might be), nor does the Church pass judgement where she does not possess all of the relevent facts that the civic authority does. She may and often does issue opinions based on what is known and the preponderance of evidence, but that is not the same thing.

    No, YOU are wrong. The Church has the right to make judgments on wars. Period. That it does not do so regularly with unambiguous force does not mean it does not possess this authority.

    Your mistaken view is precisely one of the results of buying into the americanist separation of secular and sacred authority. Too many Catholics (usually so-called “patriotic” ones) fall for it. What you do not realize is that you are contributing to the marginalization of the Church by promoting such nonsense.

  • “There is nothing in Natural Law which states that a judiciary should act in contravention of the laws which are established.”

    Because the Natural Law, i.e. the Law of Human Nature has no conception of “judiciaries.” However, the moral principles to which we’re oriented would suggest that laws that are not in accord with true justice–thus, not actually being laws should be contravened. Simple establishment makes no case in itself for not contravening it. Now you’ll argue that’s the role of the legislatior; I’m establishing that the Natural Law is not silent about the matter.

    “I think there is limits to what a Catholic is compelled to do given the restrictions of his office, especially if he has taken an oath to be bound by those restrictions. Now, no Catholic is permitted to commit an immoral act regardless of his office, but that doesn’t mean he is obliged to use their office illegally in their actions.”

    Well, I see your point. But this is again my problem with Scalia’s philosophy. I talked about it in a different thread. Effectively, I think the American conception of “justice” and “law,” at least in terms of judicial philosophy is based largely on positive law philosophy and Western Enlightenment philosophy rather than natural law thinking, and therefore, a proper notion of justice and law. Therefore, I think the “originalism and textualist” position might do-the-least-harm, it remains fatally flawed.

  • Eric,

    so how do you propose a “natural law” based judiciary should act? Do we need a legislature at all, just for administrative types of laws? Why not just a system of judges who base their rulings on their understanding of natural law? What reference documents for natural law would be used as a basis?

    I reject this idea because it is akin to anarchy. Each judge applying his own understanding of a very broadly contentious set of rather non-specific rules.

    I believe self-governance is in accord with natural law, and so the people guided by conscience establish the system of laws, the judges do not overturn them they simply apply them.

    There may be certain cases where heroic violation of laws will not cause more harm than good, that any moral person should stand up against them, this can not be the general case.

  • Matt,

    Well, I am no constitutional law scholar. However, I do think that the “originalist” and “textualist” position contradict, to some degree, my understanding of both law and justice because of the inherent lack of consideration of natural law principles. This, I think, is a built-in recipe for disaster. Granted, while the philosophy itself might be, relative to other theories, the “lesser of evils” because of its do-no-harm mantra, it still can create quite a few ethical problems for Catholics.

    I earlier used the example of pre-Civil War slavery. Hypothetically speaking, if there were a case regarding slavery before the United States Supreme Court, tied 4-4, and I’m a Catholic sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court, I certainly would not rule to uphold slavery as the law—and with no apology. It seems that the American notion of “justice” is not whether or not a law is in conformity with the natural law, reflecting the eternal law of God. No, rather, “justice” means having laws conform immediately to the written letter of the U.S. Constitution strictly and legal precedence. While this is not immediately a problem (I’m not saying that the U.S. Constitution should be irrelevant), while it is not in and of itself wrong—it does give rise to ethical issues.

    From the originalist viewpoint regarding slavery, a Justice would have to rule in favor of an unjust law which contradicts the very essence of their title: Justice. An unjust law is not a law according to the scheme of the natural law. However, to an originalist, that point is irrelevant. If law is not meant to be in conformity with the natural law, which reflects perfect justice, then our inherent goal is not to uphold real laws at all but human decrees with no consideration or concern of objective conformity with the laws written into Nature. This, to me, seems to be clearly antithetical to Plato’s The Laws, Cicero’s On The Law, Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Treatise on Law which are four of the most important works in the natural law tradition. There is a fundamental disagreement then about the nature of law itself, about the nature of justice, and therefore, the likeliness to reach just conclusions, while not impossible certainly, is more difficult.

    Alexander Hamilton put it this way: “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of Divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” Even the more secular-minded Thomas Jefferson agreed: The “only firm basis” of freedom, he wrote, is “a conviction in the minds of people that their liberties are the gift of God.”

    These words are clearly a natural law commitment (and I’m not suggesting they are advocating it be used by the U.S. Supreme Court). Yet contemporary judicial philosophy is based largely on the Enlightenment-borne philosophy of legal positivism—that is, there is no inherent or necessary connection between the law and ethics, but rather laws are rules made by human beings entered into a social contract with no regard for moral objectivity because the contract is inherently relative.

    If you consider such broad phrases such as “cruel and unusual” or “unreasonable searches and seizures,” it seems to me that the Founders presuppose that you would reference some sort of objective moral criteria that exists outside of the text of the Constitution to know what constitutes such activity. What is cruel? What is unusual? What is unreasonable? Unless there is some objective, unchanging standards that it is presupposed, that is known and can be known because of a common human nature with an unchanging law—the natural law—then it seems that the “concepts” of these things evolve and change with society; thus, this lends itself to the argument for a “living Constitution” that should be read in light of the relative values of the contemporary people. Yet the “originalists” pore scrupulously over the text for some criteria, the Founders (in a world yet to have fully abandon the natural law) may have presumed to be self-evident, or they commit to some legal precedence judged to be in conformity with their judicial philosophy versus what it may be the Founders actually intended. Again, to what do you reference as the criteria to define such “concepts” (cruel, unusual, unreasonable)? Their time period? Our time period? And barring natural law ethics, it becomes inherently relative, which requires one to inject their “personal values” into the constitutional text.

    Simply put, I cannot fully embrace this judicial philosophy and am rather interested in projects to rethink, reasonably, how to interpret the Constitution and develop an American legal system that is more harmonious with the ongoing project of Catholic legal theory. Though, I will add that originalism does guarantee some sort of consistency in judiciary judgments and protects Americans from arbitrary changes in constitutional interpretation. Moreover, to fully reject originalism there needs to be a ready, clearly articulated criterion for interpreting the Constitution, otherwise the matter of law will be solely at the discretion of political inclinations of sitting Justices. Perhaps, at best, originalism constrains the worse temptation of Justices to overreach.

    But it still remains that originalism isn’t perfect. It faces hermeneutic difficulties to which Justice Scalia admits, when he said, “It’s not always easy to figure out what the provision meant when it was adopted…I do not say originalism is perfect. I just say it’s better than anything else.” That is, anything else so far. So while I am not in favor of a hasty departure from originalism to an anything-goes Court, I’m not going to back the theory.

    I still think that it poses quite an ethical dilemma and I’m weary of the Catholic support it gets despite the fact that its philosophical underpinnings, i.e. legal positivism, are fundamentally contradictory to Catholic moral and social thought. While I am sympathetic to the intellectual commitment to protect the integrity of the legal system and the constitutional order, I don’t think that requires an immediate advocacy of originalism over attempting to find some other way to interpret the Constitution. I am not convinced it’s all or nothing—either originalism or the “living Constitution” theory.

    As Edmund Randolph set out at the Constitutional Convention, the goal was to “insert essential principles only; lest the operations of government should be clogged by rendering those provisions permanent and unalterable, which ought to be accommodated to times and events.” Now, this quote, granted, can be misconstrued and interpreted as advocacy of an “evolving” doctrine in regard to constitutional interpretation. However, it seems to me, that the U.S. Constitution seeks to create a government that recognizes and respects the natural, inalienable rights that are self-evident in the natural moral law which are enshrined within the text of the Constitution. While the “essential principles,” which are moral, cannot change—as the moral law does not change; positive laws, however can. Different situations, different circumstances, different cultural values may have a need for different positive laws to best accommodate and promote human flourishing and the protection of human rights. (I’m not saying these laws come from or should come from the Court.) Now how such a view could reasonably and practically be played out in terms of judicial philosophy is quite a debate.

    Nevertheless, originalism strikes me as too keen on preservation of the status quo, that is, order rather than on actual Justice, ifthe circumstances puts the two in contradiction. It brings to mind Machiavellian principles (which I think is the actual beginning of modern philosophy) specifically the re-definition of prudence as a purely pragmatist virtue oriented more toward some end, judging and weighing consequences, i.e. consequentialist and utilitarian ethics that masquerade as natural law thinking when it really is not. It seems the concern is not necessarily on what is moral, but to what works (pragmatist). Therefore, one of the Cardinal Virtues is employed in such a way that its immediate and direct concern is not necessarily intertwined with its sister virtue of Justice, real justice. And the divorce of the two, characteristic of modern thinking, is precisely what I am arguing against.

    Again, I’m not constitutional law scholar, but I do find it curious that the framers of the Constitution did not indicate, in the text itself, how the Constitution should be read. I have no idea why. Perhaps they could not agree on a method themselves, as we cannot.

    Though, I do wonder if one is arguing “original intent” or “original meaning,” does this include taking into account the fact that the words (diction), come from other common law traditions based largely around natural law thinking? Do you seek to understand the words in those light as to get a greater understanding of the words in light of the historical situation? This might be comparable to using the historical-critical method as a tool for scriptural exegesis. In other words, one would read the U.S. Constitution in light of the Declaration of Independence and the natural law tradition? Or, does one read the text strictly, isolated from such references?

    My question arises because of this: The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. The Bill of Rights establishes natural human rights. Yet in the U.S. Constitution there is legalized slavery. A natural law thinker would see that as a blatant contradiction. If such a matter were before a Catholic on the Supreme Court, should the Catholic uphold the unjust law as a matter of originalist intent even if contradicts the natural law and say, the majority of the United States citizens refused to conform with natural justice and outlaw it legislatively. For instance, what if abortion was a right written verbatim into the U.S. Constitution. Would I have to be complicit with an intrinsic evil until such a time that society changed its mind? I know I certainly wouldn’t. I am not sure if any oath or commitment can exempt you from stopping an objective moral evil. Consequences aside, as judging whether or not to end slavery or abortion based on how the populace will respond is judging the rightness or wrongness of the act based on the consequences–which again, is consequentialism and not natural law morality. The problem again persists.

    This is the challenge and difficulty of natural law jurisprudence, of which, I am profoundly interested in. Perhaps, I should send Prof. Robert George, a proponent of the “New Natural Law Theory”, another email and ask him a few questions about the matter; he usually replies rather quickly.