Pope Benedict XVI, A Pontificate Steeped In Humility

Monday, February 11, AD 2013

Pope Benedict XVI has taken the ultimate step in humility and has decided to resign, because he felt the duties of the Petrine Ministry were too important to continue in a diminished state. I have no doubt that this will be the wave of the future for successive popes. Our previous Holy Father, Pope John Paul II soldiered on to help the show the world that disability was no disgrace. However, Pope Benedict XVI must have felt that since that example was already shown to us, he would chart a different path.

The humility of the Holy Father was first seen when then Father Josef Ratzinger had his sister listen to his homilies and his college seminary lectures for he did not want to go over the heads of his parishioners and seminary students. The Holy Father was somewhat of a prodigy as a child. Though he liked to play soccer with the rest of the boys in Traunstein, a small town in Bavaria, he realized he would never become a great athlete, so he throw himself into his studies and into the History and workings of religion in general and Catholicism in particular.

During the eight years of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI reached out to everyone, the poor, the marginalized, the wealthy and creative, those of other faiths, schismatic Catholics as well as those whose world views were totally different than his. However, the man from Bavaria never compromised on the issue of truth; he railed against the Dictatorship of Relativism and against the idea of social engineering which seems to have engulfed the Western world.

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3 Responses to Pope Benedict XVI, A Pontificate Steeped In Humility

  • The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415, at the Council of Constance

  • Many great saints have tried their best to shun power. Francis of Assisi and Martin of Tours avoided becoming priests. Ambrose was cornered into being a bishop. Frances de Sales did everything he could think of to avoid promotion to the Archdiocese of Paris. Philip Neri set up the Oratorians with an eye to making sure that he didn’t have power over the other houses. Francis of Assisi stepped down from leadership of his order as soon as he could.


Pope Resigning

Monday, February 11, AD 2013

There is a report just in that Pope Benedict is resigning on February 28.

VATICAN CITY) — Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will resign Feb. 28, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.

The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals Monday morning.

This would be the fifth time that a Pope has abdicated in the history of the Papacy, the most recent being Pope Gregory XII in 1415.  Further details as they come in.

Update:  Here is the statement of the Pope:

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30 Responses to Pope Resigning

  • Wait a minute…he can’t do that…he has to die in office…did anyone tell him that?

    Truly, he will be missed…let us pray for him and the next Pope.

    (Chaput for Pope 2013…just saying.)

  • Well I am stunned by this development. My guess is that what is motivating this is what Pope Benedict witnessed during Pope John Paul II’s long period of ill health and death. He does not want the Church to go through that with him.

  • One thing for sure – Pope Benedict XVI won’t be bashing his successor like some presidential-types are wont to do. Deo gratias for that!

    Part of me wonders if his physicians have indicated he only has months to live. I certainly hope that’s not the case – but given the out-of-the-blue announcement this morning (and yes, I know he’s hinted at this very possibility in the past, but come on, this is still a shock), I’m left wondering.

  • The Vatican normally leaks like a sieve, so I assume that Pope Benedict probably gave very little advance warning to anyone about his decision.

  • That’s very true, Don. Good point. Fr Lombardi was quoted as saying that he was surprised by the announcement, and that PBXVI’s aides were unaware.

  • As far as “what should I give up for lent?”, I don’t think I can top this one.

    It took me a while to be convinced this is for real. (I fully expected to see a LarryD-type satire here.) I hope his health is well, and I hope he continues to be influential through his books. Part of me wonders, though, if Benedict XVI does not complete disappear from public view, whether his successor will have to compete for attention on matters of importance or controversy.

  • Soambot – when I saw the first couple tweets reporting the resignation, my first thought was “The Onion? Eye of the Tiber?” Alas, not to be.

  • I suppose the Pope could also be motivated to wish to influence the selection of the next Pope, perhaps an African or American Pope.

  • My wife’s first reaction was that this must have been satire as well.

    I suspect that rather than a short-term illness, rather he has something that he fears will incapacitate for a long time that he feels necessitates such a drastic course.

    Sadly, we will now hear a chorus of liberal Catholics who will be calling for a Pope who will “set a new course” or similar weasel words, though the honest ones will be upfront in their demands for a Pope who will contradict 2,000 years of Church teaching. I am very confident that they will be disappointed.

  • Given how much else we entrust to the pope, I don’t know why trusting that this is the right decision is so hard, but it is. This will be quite a Lent.

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  • We will never have had a Conclave before with modern mass communication where the old Pope was still living. After his resignation I wager that Pope Benedict will be incommunicado for the length of the Conclave and, if he can manage the feat, for the remainder of his life.

  • He must be very ill for him to step down. Let’s see what the Holy Spirit will do. I know it’s a long shot, but I’m hoping that Raymond Burke will be our next Pope.

  • SuburbanBanshee has a pretty good take on it, and a couple of stories about when it’s happened before.

  • Well Donald who isn’t stunned by this? Interesting times for the Church just got a lot more interesting.

  • I am still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor! I first saw this news at my local newspaper website as a brief headline stating “Pope announces his resignation”. I clicked on it thinking, “Is this about THE Pope? Nah, it’s got to be about some local official NAMED Pope.” I thank God I did not yet have my morning coffee in hand when I saw that it was, indeed, THE Pope….

    “he has something that he fears will incapacitate for a long time”

    Perhaps Parkinson’s, as John Paul II had?

  • Donald R McClarey wrote “We will never have had a Conclave before with modern mass communication where the old Pope was still living”

    Tue, but Gregory XII was an influential figure behind the scenes at the Council of Constance, which appointed him bishop of Porto on his resignation

  • I find the news shocking but not entirely surprising. No good Pope wants to be elected. I recall that as Cardinal Ratzinger, as he increased in his years he had petitioned John Paul II not once but twice to be relieved of his post as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (John Paul II wisely denied him). So I would expect his election in 2005 was as much of a shock and a burden to him as it was to many.

    He carried the cross of his election and has born it well; the contributions of his pontificate — liturgical, intellectual, spiritual — are great.

    Difficult, yes, but I will trust that he has made the right decision.

  • I feel bereaved. However, the Holy Father intimated on more than one occasion that he would resign should his health deteriorate to the extent that he felt he could no longer carry on. He is the same age as his predecessor was when he died.

    Unlike retired politicians, I don’t think he will be writing his memoirs. But I wouldn’t rule out another book.

  • You know, we say that the Vatican leaks a lot, but how true is it really? I think of every rumored document that I’ve heard of, that ends up coming out five years later and says something different from what had been reported. And anyway, this wasn’t a Vatican decision. This wasn’t decided by a gaggle of feuding prelates. I’m sure it was personal and prayerful, a “small” decision no matter how big its consequences.

  • I remember as a very stupid teenager I was initially dismayed at Ratzinger’s selection. I thought he looked like Senator Palpatine, and was clearly not cut from the same cloth as the smiling, charismatic JP2. There’s no way he could follow that act.

    Boy was I wrong. Although he wasn’t as charismatic as John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI was such a profoundly wise and brilliant leader of our Church. In our age of formless spirituality and rampant relativism, this incredible theologian was exactly what the Church, and the world needed. God bless you for your service.

  • Quite a surprise.
    And so now the speculation will begin on his successor. It will be very difficult, I think, to find another like Benedict – his great intellect and arguably the greatest theologian in the world today.
    Lord, hear our pryaer.

  • We need to remember, through the times to come, what he said at the end of his letter. He will concentrate his life on prayer for the Holy Church of God.
    A lesson for us, a good and generous thing to do:

    “I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”

    Imagine the grave matters that his prayer involve – the integrity of the Church.

  • Gazing at his portrait on the wall, I remember the profound relief our family felt when “B-16” was elected. He has been our good shepherd ever since. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide, inspire and provide; and yes, this is going to be one very interesting Lent.

  • Just a reminder. There have been 265 popes over the past 2000 years, for an average of 8 years per papacy. This pope’s reign was going to seem brief after John Paul’s long time in the chair (the second-longest in history) but actually he’s had an average time in office.

  • I wonder what sort of role the next one will fill? Besides being, well, The Pope….. JPII was a very “showing” type person– a Face that everyone knew, perfect for TV. B16 is a very “explain” type of person– good heavens, just look at his bibliography, let alone the letters!

    Charisma, intellect… what next? A physical sort of person? What will that look like?

    Or is the contrast just because they’re the only two Popes I feel like I know, and if you have two folks one is going to be more outgoing/talkie and one is going to be more wonk/geek/brain/explain?

  • I will miss Pope Benedict XVI. I hope he enjoys his rest.

    I know it’s everywhere but one place, the word “resign.” I can’t stand it. It makes him sound like a quitter. Only EWTN News has referred the pope’s exit as “retiring.” I think that more accurately describes what is happening.

  • Bingo, Kyle. He is retiring. It’s not like he was some hothead who didn’t like his boss and stormed out the door, geez!

Pope Addresses Our Truly Confused Age

Friday, December 28, AD 2012



We live in a time of technological wonders and “let’s pretend” denial of basic facts of the human condition.  Pope Benedict looked at one pernicious aspect of this “let’s pretend” mindset in an address on December 21:

 The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.

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7 Responses to Pope Addresses Our Truly Confused Age

  • Extraordinary letter!
    Thanks for the post.

    When Jesus asked the new followers; “What do you seek?”, my thoughts turned to the confused minority of deniers that struggle with their identity. Are they seeking to be equal to God? Are they saying God made a mistake, I decide what & who I am?

    Thank you for passing this along.

  • “Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will.”

    It is remarkable how many self-professed materialists adopt a sort of Cartesian mind-body dualism that often really does amount to “a ghost in a machine,” in the hackneyed, but expressive phrase. Not only are they oblivious of the fact that “mind” is merely an hypostasised abstraction, they have even turned the humble reflexive pronoun “self” into the very ground of their existence.

    Is the concept of “rational animal” really too hard to grasp?

  • St. Michael the Archangels words echo throughout the ages; “Who is like unto God.”

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  • “the only meaning sex will have is copulation, and that will have no greater significance than merely satisfying a physical appetite.”

    I was alarmed recently by the disturbingly obvious parallels in Aldous Huxley’s “A Brave New World,” with much of the “social engineering” being carried out today by organizations like Planned Parenthood, and aided/fueled by the homosexual and communist agendas.

    1) The demand for the acceptance of the contraceptive mentality and more recent push for free contraceptives and abortion.
    2) The whole scale attempt to rob children of their innocence through graphic sex education programs beginning in elementary school
    3) The reversal of the virtues with PP’s recent instructional videos telling the youth that being a slut should by viewed positively
    4) The normalization of homosexuality and so called same sex “marriage”
    5) The undermining of parental authority and rights
    6) The proposal to replace Father and Mother with Parent 1 & Parent 2 on birth certificates
    And most importantly for their plan to work, remove God from the public sphere and undermine the moral authority of the Church.
    The list goes on and on, but I don’t want to stray far from the context of the Pope’s address. If they have their way, we’re headed for a Godless, parentless over-sexualized socialist society.
    Lord help us!

  • Aldous Huxley, the prophet of our sad, confused time.

  • “Like all attempts by Man to play God, this will all end in tears after immense human suffering.”

    Good line, DM.

    BTW friends; you may notice on some other internet forums that “gender” is listed for users. You will see a few listed viz: “I don’t have a gender, I have a sex”
    (Gender is a grammatical term). Small victory over PC. Let’s all do it.

Both World Wars Were A Catalyst For Religious Growth; What Future Tragedy Will It Take For Another Revival?

Sunday, December 16, AD 2012

Sadly it often takes tragedies for religious faith to grow. It seems an unfortunate part of our fallen nature. We have been hit by a spate of tragedies as of late; in its wake we often see churches full of worshippers seeking answers where once there were but a few. Following both world wars, there existed a religious resurgence that unlike the recent tragedies did not ebb and flow. It remained constant due in large part to the horrific loses of human life.

Modernism was alive and well and condemned by the likes of Pope Pius X even before the Guns of August began in 1914. The Catholic and Protestant churches were increasingly seeing relativistic elements entering their seminaries. However unlike recent times, they were quickly addressed. Though we are gaining the upper hand, it has been 40 years since Pope Paul VI lamented that “The Smoke of Satan” had entered the Church. In my just released book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I speak about the positive events occurring within the Church, as well as those movements who aim to do us harm. In addition, the book delves into how we got into this mess in the first place.

Following World War I there was a great return to religious devotions, especially those having to do with the Blessed Mother. The events of Fatima which had occurred during the war and were being followed closely around the Catholic globe. As I mentioned in my article on the Schoenstatt Movement, the likes of Father Josef Kentenich chastised theological authorities who were giving short shrift to these devotions as well as those who dismissed popular devotions to those who recently passed away like the future Saint Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower.) Father Kentenich reminded these scoffers that Jesus did indeed say that we must become like little children if we are to enter the Kingdom.

The well heeled of Europe and many American ex pats found their way to Paris to rebel against the religious side of the equation. On the whole, they were a gloomy lot who seemed to drown their sorrows in all matter of drink and sexual exploits which only made them more unbearable. Some even found their way to more exotic locales like Casablanca, as did the fictional Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in the epic film Casablanca.

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7 Responses to Both World Wars Were A Catalyst For Religious Growth; What Future Tragedy Will It Take For Another Revival?

  • In Spain, the Franco regime and its views led to pent-up hostility towards the Catholic church after Franco died.

    France began slipping away from the Faith at the time of the Revolution and not even the numerous apparitions of Mary have been able to return the French to her former status as Eldest Daughter of the Church.

    The unification of Italy in the 19th century unleashed hostility towards the Catholic clergy, seeing them as privileged (gross oversimplification).

    Germany, Holland, Austria….others know the reason for the decline better than I do.

    In the USA, I blame the turn in popular culture as well as the Kennedys. In the 1950s, during the beginnings of the Cold War, Hollywood made many movies based on Old Testament stories. Fr. Peyton and Loretta Young made Catholic themed programs and Bishop Sheen was popular.

    The 1960s…there was the heartwarming Dragnet episode where the little Latino boy returns the Baby Jesus to church before Christmas Eve Mass.

    The 1970s were indifferent to religion.

    Today, there is open hostility to religion from Hollywood and academia, and far too many young people eat it all up.

  • Dave.
    Fr. John Hardon, (d.2000) gave striking warnings of a future American landscape if Catholics didn’t return to the sacraments.
    Catholics because they are the privileged members of the Body of Christ.
    Fr. Hardon; “If American Catholics do not return to the true faith, return to frequent the sacraments, then they will experience the sufferings of First century Christians.”

    The battleground is Christian America.

  • Penguins Fan wrote

    “France began slipping away from the Faith at the time of the Revolution…”

    The “slipping away” began almost a century and a half earlier, in the aftermath of the Wars of Religion in France (1562-1598) and the Thirty Years War in Germany (1618-1648) These ended in a stalemate; the Reformation gained no new territory, but it proved impossible to restore the unity of Christendom. The all but inevitable result was the growth of scepticism: both sides could not be right, but they could both be wrong. Theology, as a science (a means of knowledge) was generally viewed as discredited. It was to such people that the Pensées of Pascal were addressed.

    On the eve of the Revolution, few of the middle classes went to Mass in the great towns, hardly any of the artisans. The faithful were a sincere though ill-instructed and dwindling minority. Nothing better illustrates the condition of the Church than that priests like the Abbé Sieyès and bishops like Talleyrand were not untypical. Acton notes that “Those among them who had been chosen by the Church itself for its supreme reward, the Cardinal’s hat—Rohan, Loménie de Brienne, Bernis, Montmorency and Talleyrand—were men notoriously of evil repute.” Maury, afterwards Cardinal and Archbishop of Paris, was a man whose character was below his talents.

  • ‘However, what price will it take for our hubris and narcissism to defer to God’s love, truth and reason?’

    Vital question. Something like pulling the plug or a ‘forty’ day or year span of character building or voices to balance the scale in culture.

    ‘In the USA, I blame the turn in popular culture as well as the Kennedys. In the 1950s, during the beginnings of the Cold War, Hollywood made many movies based on Old Testament stories. Fr. Peyton and Loretta Young made Catholic themed programs and Bishop Sheen was popular.’

    The 1960s…there was the heartwarming Dragnet episode where the little Latino boy returns the Baby Jesus to church before Christmas Eve Mass.

    The 1970s were indifferent to religion.

    Today, there is open hostility to religion from Hollywood and academia, and far too many young people eat it all up.’ –

    … to the point of Churches being locked due to the victimization.

    The violent insane seem to attack the defenseless, such as in schools, theaters, and gatherings. What provokes violent behavior are celebrated elements of the culture which have lost civility and balanced character traits of decent restraint.

    I think of some not funny comedians, the loss of board games to computer ones played alone, the gang phenomenon, the irony of the women’s liberation movement and the outrageous displays of today’s women, artisans becoming ‘artists’ of the useless, and more, and vaguely, electronic replacement of human activity/work. Mental inability and illness, loss of human care to gov. regulations and courts strangling progress.

    ‘On the eve of the Revolution, few of the middle classes went to Mass in the great towns, hardly any of the artisans. The faithful were a sincere though ill-instructed and dwindling minority.

    … a man whose character was below his talents.’ ***

    Education becoming unrelated to the character building of good judgement or virtue. Lifetimes given to learning from the inspirations and beauty of our Creator have value. So what will bring more than a temporary turn to religion in reaction to sorrowful tragedy is what M P-S wrote. Character. The culture of death is deterring religious growth and its strength of character; so maybe, simply accepting God’s gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love (in even horrible circumstances brought on by evil afoot) would serve to rebuild His recommended culture of life.

    People finding the great comfort of a more religious life, however found, will grow to see the discomfort in a solely material world and loss therein. Hunger and thirst for more works both ways.

  • I think this is a complete misreading of the past century.

    WWI saw the collapse of faith in state, royalty, race, and progress, which were the reigning beliefs in Europe. The facade of faith was slipping away, and France drifted into despair. Nihilism, drugs, and eventually existentialism did little to fill the void. Russia fell. The US won the war and retained its optimism or something like it, until the decadence of the 1920’s collapsed into the Great Depression. Germany went a different route, re-embracing race and progress in an awful way. By the end of WWII, the spirit of despair ruled most everywhere. European countries gave up their empires and gave in emotionally to the Soviets. America held together because of its devil rather than because of its god.

    There are little ripples throughout history which can make it seem like one decade is holier than another. And we are affected by (not controlled by) our culture, so I shouldn’t say that all of us within a given country move in lockstep. But the trendline for the past 100 years has been ugly. The wars led to loss of faith among millions.

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  • There are some great posts here. Yes, Penguins Fan when faith begins to slip it can fall in a hurry, much like someone climbing a mountain, a momentary slip can take the climber a great deal of time to return from where he momentarily slipped.

    Philip, Father Hardon was prophetic, he was fond of saying the modern rebellion began in the 1930s. I can’t remember exactly the date he was referring to but it had to do with a group of priests in pre- WWII (Belgium?) taking liturgical matters in their own hands. He saw the slipping away of reverance and the degree to which the sacraments were being dismissed as a harbinger of something awful to come.

    Michael Paterson Semour, yes few realize the true impact of the Reformation when it was put into the hands of men like Jean Calvin who saw to it that mystery was dismissed. In addition, Calvin saw to it that churches were closed during the week to prevent “superstitious rituals” like Marian Devotion and Eucharistic Adoration from continuing. Putting doubts in people’s minds certainly set the stage for the unholy terror that was the French Revolution. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton saw it for what it was but even thinkers like Thomas Jefferson were fooled into thinking that it was an Englightened event.

    PM, yes as I indicated in my article it is hard to believe that Hollywood helped the faith with many fantastic films, and it even had powerful messages in TV dramas as late as the 1970s. However, Father Peyton saw the troubling signs years before and tried to prevent the catastrophe which is now controlling our media culture. In the 1940s, Father Peyton believed Hollywood could evangelize the world through films, but he also knew it would also become a target of the dark side.

    Pinky, true we are responsible for our actions but wealth and prosperity have always been the tool to which the dark side lures societies going back to Sodom and Gomorrah, Nineveh, Rome etc to walk away from God. However, tragedies have sobered people up long enough to see the error of their ways. For a decade starting in the mid 1990s, Poland was ordaining half of Europe’s priests. Look at the saints France gave us after the nightmare of 1789.

    It is important to note that we will be the last man standing so to speak. The faithful will come our way because Jesus predicted that it would happen (The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.) Let’s hope and pray that in the final showdown large segments of the populace see through the demonic disguise of the evil one.

Bleeding Christians

Wednesday, August 8, AD 2012

The two churches nearest to him, I have looked up in the office. Both have certain claims. At the first of these the Vicar is a man who has been so long engaged in watering down the faith to make it easier for supposedly incredulous and hard-headed congregation that it is now he who shocks his parishioners with his unbelief, not vice versa. He has undermined many a soul’s Christianity. His conduct of the services is also admirable. In order to spare the laity all “difficulties” he has deserted both the lectionary and the appointed psalms and now, without noticing it, revolves endlessly round the little treadmill of his fifteen favourite psalms and twenty favourite lessons. We are thus safe from the danger that any truth not already familiar to him and to his flock should over reach them through Scripture. But perhaps bur patient is not quite silly enough for this church – or not yet?
At the other church we have Fr. Spike. The humans are often puzzled to understand the range of his opinions – why he is one day almost a Communist and the next not far from some kind of theocratic Fascism – one day a scholastic, and the next prepared to deny human reason altogether – one day immersed in politics, and, the day after, declaring that all states of the world are equally “under judgment”. We, of course, see the connecting link, which is Hatred. The man cannot bring himself to teach anything which is not calculated to mock, grieve, puzzle, or humiliate his parents and their friends. A sermon which such people would accept would be to him as insipid as a poem which they could scan. There is also a promising streak of dishonesty in him; we are teaching him to say “The teaching of the Church is” when he really means “I’m almost sure I read recently in Maritain or someone of that sort”. But I must warn you that he has one fatal defect: he really believes. And this may yet mar all.

CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters



Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who takes up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, has a brilliant fisk at Midwest Conservative Journal detailing how upset some Episcopalians are at the Pope, because so many other Episcopalians are swimming the Tiber:

I said once before that if one of the marks of a genius was the ability to drive otherwise-sane people absolutely bat crap, then Pope Benedict XVI is Albert Einstein.  Come to find out that some Episcopalians are STILL bent about the Ordinariate.  Last weekend, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly did a story about a Maryland Episcopal parish that recently swam the Tiber:

In Bladensburg, Maryland, the Catholic service unfolds smoothly, a comfortable routine for priests and parishioners alike.

But one year ago, members of St. Luke’s parish were devout, devoted Episcopalians. This is the first Episcopal church in the country to convert to Catholicism under Vatican rules designed to attract disaffected Episcopalians.

Father Mark Lewis and his congregation preferred Roman Catholic order to the Episcopal tendency to make crap up as they go along.

We left the Episcopal Church not because we were running away from the issues of the Episcopal Church. We left the Episcopal Church because we were running to the Catholic Church. We came to the point where we realized the theology of the Episcopal Church is what was lacking. The theology of Rome, the authority of Rome, the unity in the Holy See and in the bishops: that was appealing to us.

As did Father Scott Hurd.

There is a real hunger amongst some Episcopalians and Anglicans for authority. It was the question of where can true Christian authority be found that was a key element in this community’s journey.

There wasn’t one particular reason, said congregant Stephen Smith.  There were a whole lot of reasons, each building on the last.

There’s not any one real incident you can point to, but it’s like the strands of a rope giving one by one, and each one weakens the rope as a whole.

Anne Marie Whittaker agrees.

All of a sudden it was do-your-own-thing mass, and there was a lot going on, for instance, a clown mass. I would come in and someone put a red nose on me! I saw children circling altars. One by one, parishes started to succumb to some of these practices in order to attract people, and it made it difficult for me to worship in that atmosphere.

Maryland Episcopal Bishop Eugene Sutton tried hard to be diplomatic.

I like to say that we are really one spiritual family. We believe about 90 percent of things in common. Where we disagree is on matters of authority and some other spiritual matters. But the important thing is that we are not fighting; we are not in competition with one another.

On the other hand, the Rev. Ian Markham, president and dean of the Virginia Theological Seminary, didn’t even try to hide his anger at the papists.

There’s quite a lot of traffic currently going both ways between the two traditions, especially at the level of congregants. What’s interesting here is you’ve got entire congregations and clergy making the shift. So, yeah, I think the Roman Catholic Church is a threat, because we’ve lost the sense of our theological understanding and identity.

How so?

There was a perception that this was poaching by the Roman Catholic Church of Anglicans around the world. It was discourteous, it was stealing sheep, it was unecumenical.

Stealing sheep?  Unecumenical?  In what way?

It’s viewed as not recognizing the value of and integrity of our traditions.

I’ve been covering the Current Unpleasantness since it began nine years ago.  And while some of you might feel the need to get into a theological argument with that line, I have arrived at a point where words like those just make me smile.

I wonder if Markham realizes how pathetic he sounds; I can’t conceive of an Orthodox or Roman Catholic Christian uttering those words or ever feeling the need to.  Because those words could not possibly occur to any person who is confident about his or her Christian tradition as Markham seems to imply here.

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10 Responses to Bleeding Christians

  • “bat crap” I love it. It is interesting to see how some Episcopalians do not understand that man has a ree will and reason and a love for God that is only fulfilled in the Catholic Church.

  • Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who takes up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith

    Hehe. It reminds me of Grandpa Simpson flashing back to his time as a minesweeper in WW2 and repeatedly blowing up his own forces and after the flashback concludes with, “And that’s how I won the Iron Cross!” 🙂

  • Let me do that again, as I was late for Mass.
    “bat crap” I love it. It is interesting to see how some Episcopalians do not understand that man has a free will and reason and a love for God that is only fulfilled in the Catholic Church.”
    Scott W.: Simpson was injuring his own and good people. Christopher Johnson is redirecting the wayward into the TRUTH.

  • Interesting discussion.
    I was interviewed for about 45 minutes and much of what I expressed, unfortunately, was not included.
    At first, I merely dipped my toes into the Tiber, and retreated; I had loved the Episcopal Church’s doctrine and liturgy. It was heart-wrenching for this sheep to leave; but my shepherd abandoned me and was not attentive to the instructions from his Master. It’s wasn’t easy, but I needed to leave for my own soul’s sake. The transition is actually easier than I had imagined. However, I have subsequently learned, to my horror, that many Roman Catholic parishes have also celebrated the infamous, ‘Clown Mass’! I hope that bishops, Archbishops, and Rome put a stop to that sacriligious behavior. At least St. Paul’s Chapel in NYC had a bit of an excuse: after all, they are on Broadway.

  • Anne Marie I am glad you came over! I hope there are no clown masses or other liturgical messes anymore! That seems a lot less likely now with the new translation of the Mass.
    In the parish here the tabernacle was just moved to the center back of the sanctuary from a side place– progress is steady I think. Now if we can just move away from that Dan Schutte music!

  • The problem for the Anglican Church is that, once having rejected authority at the Reformation, it can never succeed in imposing its own. History bears this out: if Canterbury could reject the authority of popes and councils, why should the Puritans submit to the authority of the Convocation of Canterbury?

    Bishop Eugene Sutton really goes to the heart of the matter, when he claims, “we are really one spiritual family.” This only works, if “we” has a definite meaning in extension. Now, for the Catholic, this is simple. As Mgr Ronald Knox put it, “The fideles, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome.”

    This is a real test, for it avoids the question-begging approach of defining the Church by its teaching, or the faithful by their tenets, which, inevitable leads to a vicious circle: “The true church is the one that teaches the true faith” and “The true faith is what the true church teaches.” It is also remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

    It is worth noting that the Edict of Thessalonica (Cunctos Populos) of 380, which established Christianity as the religion of the Roman empire and which stands in pride of place at the beginning of the Codex of Justinian contains no mention of doctrine, but speaks of ““that religion which from then to now declares itself to have been delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness.”

  • “It’s viewed as not recognizing the value of and integrity of our traditions.”

    About what “traditions” is Spanky speaking?

    Is it the “clown masses”, or the sanctification of sodomy?

    Liberals are stupid.

  • Anzlyne “Now if we can just move away from that Dan Schutte music!”

    Dan Schutte’s music is irreverent and ought to be removed from the church. I agree with you, Anzlyne.

  • I had forgotten that phrase of Lewis, “bat crap crazy”. Or perhaps I was young enough in my journey of life that I could not relate to the full measure of what that could mean. Now I can place a perfect example of what has happened to me and my thought processes in perspective! For in my study of the leadership and direction of my beloved Faith, and the forked road that has been taken what else could it possibly be? We are ALL being driven “bat crap crazy”! “Skrewtape, Skrewptape, Skrewtape!! Ye are alive and well.

  • *blink*
    I’m not sure if it’s an insult to Mr Lewis or a HUGE complement to TAC (or a comment on my sleep deprived self) when I read a long quote from CSL and interpret it as an opening comment from one of our good writers, rather than a classic quote…..

    It’s sad that I can see Priests that would be both, with great ease– as folks might guess from my talk of Father Hippy, Father Vietnam, etc.

Fortnight For Freedom Day 2: Martyrs for the Liberty of the Church

Friday, June 22, AD 2012


The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.”

Sir Winston Churchill



Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the second of these blog posts.

June 22, is the feast day of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher, the two great martyrs of the Church who died for the liberty of the Church when King Henry VIII, in order to secure a divorce, sundered the Catholic Church in England from the Catholic Church and placed this new Anglican Church under his control.  Throughout her history the Church has stood foursquare against the attempts by governments to exercised domination over her, and More and Fisher were two in a very long line of martyrs who have died fighting against such attempts.

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2 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day 2: Martyrs for the Liberty of the Church

  • ‘ … We are commanded by Christ to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things which are God’s. Pope Benedict on September 17, 2010, while visiting England, reflected upon Saint Thomas More and the liberty of the Church: ‘

    ‘ … The liberty of the Church and religious freedom are our birthrights as Catholics and as Americans. Eternal vigilance and prompt action in defense are ever necessary to safeguard these treasures. … ‘ Donald MacClarey


    ‘ … but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.” ‘ Sir Winston Churchill

    Would these “c”atholics, who bash and betray their Lord ( who is in their churches and the deposit of their faith for them ), with their heartless ways of detraction, mocking, and turned backs, begin to do the same with Caesar and one another when that is what’s left for them? Will their media, the LCWR, the liberal naysaying clergy, Mr. GS and crew of hired hands, and their government parties legislate, order, and report spiritual comfort to fill the deadly emptiness of having none?

    If only they could take a step to lift up their hearts to God, who waits, their funerals, weddings, baptisms and holidays (Holy Days) could start wonder at the mysteries of their lives (first, of course) and God in His Ways.

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Need Reader Input: Who Are The Top 10 Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops?

Sunday, June 3, AD 2012

 I would like some help in identifying the most active, passionate, orthodox American Catholic Bishops currently serving. It is a cultural thing that we seem to love rating everything- not a bad thing- and I have a personal interest in this topic because I want to offer my services to a Bishop who needs someone who gets the following Big Three Realities that I have been focusing on in my last three postings here at American Catholic.


1. The Obama Administration is threat #1 to the continuance of our Hierarchical Catholic Church- here in America and since we are a Superpower in worldly terms this could damage a big chunk of Christendom. I do not speak as an Obama-basher with Republican talking point tie-ins- I was a lifelong Democrat who only recently gave it up to become an Independent, not Republican. My realization about the Obama threat emerged slowly after being absorbed in a national Catholic Democrats listserve with some of the real heavyweights- like FOB (Friend of Barack) Vicki Kennedy. It was clear to me that Kennedy with her fellow travelers in Catholic universities, and liberal Catholic political organizations, have been intent on much much more than just getting more traction in American policies and legislation for a few political issues often neglected by the conservative-Right. There is blood in the water for the Church Hierarchy due to the notorious Minor Abuse Scandals. These prominent Catholic Dems seem intent on using whatever power they can muster to force changes in the Church to cut the Hierarchydown to size- replace the Teaching Authority with liberal Catholic college professors and liberal political activists who will “save” the Church from irrelevance among the youth. We have seen that President Obama has been systematically assisting in this process- not openly- but consider his choice of Joe Biden as VP with his pro-choice, pro-gay marriage beliefs, and Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary who is pushing contraceptives down everyone’s throats, and I suspect we’ll see that Justice Sotomayor is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage eventually. The threat to religious liberties will hit the Catholic Church Hierarchy first, with the contraceptives mandates and then gay marriage will turn the Catholic Church Catechism into Hate Literature and every orthodox Catholic into a bigot along the lines of the old school racists back in the 60’s. No one wants to be a racist- so I’m sure that Vicki Kennedy et al are counting on most American Catholics to simply abandon their Bishops’ leadership and embrace her brand of progressive Catholicism which is Obama-cool. So- me thinks the Bishops need a few folks around who see this danger and are willing to stand with the Bishops and the Catechism. I’m here to help.  Here’s a link to my piece on the Catholic Dems/Obama “conspiracy”-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/31/obama-working-willfully-to-undermine-hierarchical-catholic-church/


2. Having this information about the Obama-Catholic Dem elite battleplan is useful- but I am also interested in assisting a good Bishop at the parish level with practical steps- all perfectly legal- for assisting the process of cultivating a new breed of orthodox Catholic political leaders. Pope B teaches us to free ourselves from ideologies in his last encyclical- the social doctrine of the Church is the stuff we need more of in America- the reason we keep swinging wildly from Republican to Democrat in the races for political power is that at the gut level most people get that each Party has got some things right and some things wrong. There is no Party of God- even if right now the mainstream Democratic Party represents the greater threat to the Church/Christ- we are still talking about lesser evils. The Catholic social doctrine is about building civilizations of love- this is the positive vision that is the corrective of narrow ideologies which feed on anger for the most part. The way to bring Christ’s Way into the marketplace of ideas in American political thought and debate is for more fully informed and inspired Catholic voices to emerge and assume the responsibilities of leadership at every level of our society. There is so much that we could do in every parish and school-  here is my POA (Plan of Action) which I would love to bring into a parish in a diocese where the Bishop is aware and involved to guide the development- I’m not interested in being a lone ranger or riding against the wishes of the local Bishop.  Here’s the Plan-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/10/wanted-orthodox-catholic-political-leaders-time-to-get-serious/


3.  Finally, my long experience in the trenches of Catholic high schools has left me with many thoughts on how to inculcate a genuine Catholic identity which has a chance of being transmitted to our very distracted youth. I would love to be part of an orthodox Bishop’s team to help select passionately orthodox Catholic administrators/teachers/staff to be in place to give life witness, along with instructional guidance, to budding disciples of Christ. You can’t give what you don’t have- so if we want Catholic students to come out the other side in love, or more in love with Christ and His Church- then you don’t load up the schools with adults who are full of dissenting views from the Catechetical teachings of the Church. I’m not saying everyone has to be some kind of a stepford-wife cheerleader type of Catholic- we all have our personalities- but if you are an adult working in a Catholic school you should be someone who is thirsty to know what the Church teaches and why- especially if it pertains to your particular discipline or area of responsibility. I get into a lot more detail beyond just the staffing issue in my article below.  I am open to returning to the teaching field or entering new territory in administration under the right Bishop in a diocese that really wants to play it straight-up as a passionately Catholic institution -without being satisfied with a PR-level Catholic Identity which produces nice dog and pony shows for visiting bishops and parents- but scratch the surface and where is the love for the Church? If you fall in love with the Church you will just want to know more and more and to share more and more with the youth and everyone you meet- am I right?  Here’s the last link-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/04/16/a-vision-of-catholic-education-from-the-front-lines/


OK- if you are still with me- here is how you can help- write out up to 10 names(and email addresses if you have them!) of Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops here in America- with the name of their Diocese.  You can order them according to your own rating system. I want to follow the science here and the shortest distance between two points is a straight line- I want to begin a new mission in using whatever talents I possess for the sake of Christ and His Church- I have tried to use these talents to produce something helpful to preserve and protect the Hierarchical nature of our Catholic Church- If Christ didn’t desire a Hierarchy why bother with Apostles- He could have just had disciples with no leadership inherent in the Church- but He didn’t- evidence from Scripture, history and logic all persuaded me in my Truth Quest. I don’t want to just apply for jobs blind to the leadership in a given Diocese. Leadership matters, that’s why leaders get targeted all the time, and why assassinations are so unfortunately common throughout human history. I want a meaningful mission within the Church and short of that I will do whatever I can do to provide for my wife and four young children- this is my story and why I need our Reader’s Input. Brother (Sister) can you spare a moment and share what you know? God Bless you.

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22 Responses to Need Reader Input: Who Are The Top 10 Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops?

  • Perhaps we should remember the wise words of Abbé Henri Brémond, whose life (1865-1933) spanned the Jules Ferry laws of 1882 and 1886 laicising public education, the law of 1901 suppressing many religious orders and the law of 1905 on the separation of Church and State, which vested all church buildings and other property in the nation.

    “No law can affect those who believe, those who pray; prayer is silent, prayer offends no one, prayer attacks no one.” – [La prière est silencieuse, la prière n’offense personne, la prière n’agresse personne]

    His response to the Anti-Clericalism of his time were his essays, “Prière et Poésie”[ Prayer and Poetry] and “Introduction a la Philosophie de la Prière”[Introduction to the Philosophy of Prayer] His monumental work “Histoire litteraire du sentiment religieux en France depuis la fin des guerres de religion jusqu’a nos jours” [A Literary History of Religious Sentiment in France from the end of the Wars of Rekigion to our own day] published between 1913 and 1936 in 11 volumes, was based on his unrivalled knowledge of mystical writings and devotional works. His writings on poetry, symbolism and romanticism earned him election to the Académie française in 1923 and a eulogy from the French Symbolist poet, Paul Valéry.

    His influence was incalculable.

  • The current head of the USCCB, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of NY and his I-95 brother (my Archbishop) in Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles J Chaput. (Lori of Baltimore and Aquila of Denver deserve mention as well in my VERY short list.)

  • My only input is cautionary; the plan of action is a good idea, BUT I’d give it about a week before it’s taken over by the same folks who use “social justice” to promote abortion, theft, etc. At the absolute least, it would claim binding teachings where they don’t exist. (I recall one discussion I was having with another Catholic, who pulled the death penalty vs abortion thing– even offering a letter from the man who would become Pope saying there was a valid variety of views didn’t sway him.)

    I do love the idea of equipping people to find out what the Church teaches for themselves, and enthusiastically endorse the answer-religious-questions-kids-as/thirsty-for-theology thing. That would have made my youth a lot more interesting, and might have kept several friends from falling away from the Church. (it would also have meant I could find a babysitter from the Parish– but that’s another rant!)

    If there was a group for something like “Catholic Q&A- Last Wednesday Of The Month Snack and Chat” I’d do it. If I thought I could pull it off, I’d start one myself. (Wed because it’s the middle of the week; schedule it about 6pm. It would have to be sort of small to start with, and a computer with one of those books-on-CD collection EWTN sells would be wise; has soup to nuts of decrees, etc.)

    … Dang it, now I’ve got a post bubbling in my head for designing theology groups. Thank you.

  • Bishop Ronald Gainer of Lexington KY: not as high profile as Dolan etc, but methodically rebuilding an orthodox and dynamic diocese. Yesterday ordained 23 deacons: 3 transtional and 20 permanent.

  • Bruskewitz, Finn, Olmstead, Morlino, Aquila, Sample, Cordlione, Nienstadt, Slattery, Chaput

  • My only input is cautionary; the plan of action is a good idea, BUT I’d give it about a week before it’s taken over by the same folks who use “social justice” to promote abortion, theft, etc. At the absolute least, it would claim binding teachings where they don’t exist.

    I would go a step further Foxfier – or backward actually. I think the other side has already been doing this for many decades. The chanceries and USCCB were chock full dissenting activists with a socialist agenda who were either supported or tolerated by their bishop. I would venture to guess that even with ascension of a large number of orthodox bishops, there are still a large number of these folks in important and influential positions. Even when an orthodox bishop takes over a troubled see, he doesn’t do a housecleaning so to speak. He pushes his agenda of reform with the people he has and tries to lead the chancery operatives to fulfill his mission. The bishops have to lead, but that doesn’t mean all will follow – and many of those people still have power and influence enough to do damage.

  • Sounds good, Tim. I would echo both MichaelP71’s and Jim’s lists, adding only three more solid bishops with whom I’ve had contact: 1) Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, CA (and formerly of Baker, Oregon); 2) Bishop Kevin Vann of Ft. Worth, TX; and 3) Arch-bishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta. There are undoubtedly many other good, solid bishops and auxiliaries around in the US, but they simply don’t have as high of a public profile as do these aforementioned bishops.

  • Oops! One glaring omission did just come to mind (how could we forget?) Cardinal George of Chicago, of course!

  • First of all I think Masculinity has been beat down passive aggressively both in the American Church as well as society, so if we are not willing to reject bad laws and smash the Serpents head to mush than we are bound to lose with the communist attitudes of Obama and other democratic leaders.

  • The dioceses of Wilmington Delaware seam to be getting somewhat more Orthodox but still need improving and the general public of Delaware seems very secular and the cops tend to act like gangsters in their attitudes.

  • By lose I meant lose temporarily.

  • Possibly the most important philosophical law is that because God is all knowing, all powerful, and all good we should take what he tells us seriously rather than throwing his words around like protestants who use his words to justify whatever they fancy.

  • If worst comes to worst there is just war but it would be much better if it did not have to come down to that.

  • One. I’m curious, why did it have to come to your being a Democrat “insider” before you realized your choice of political party clashed with your Catholic religion? I knew it for me when the Democrat Party officially supported and acted to make abortion-on-demand the law-of-the-land.

    Two. When are people like you going to start showing some “love” your talking about to those of us who have been battling people you have been electing to keep abortion-on-demand the law-of-the-land? And, now, thanks to Catholics like you, we have to fight to keep marriage the institution it has always been since God enacted it at the beginning of man-kind. And thanks to the 54% of Catholics like you, the U.S. bishops (equally responsible for what has continued for almost 4 decades) have to sue the President and his Administration they helped put in office just to keep our First Amendment Rights. How about showing some love to Catholics like me for realizing straight on that any organization that supports and defends the murder of innocent human beings, especially infants in the protection of their mother’s womb, could never be serious about “caring for others,” especially the “little guy?”

    Three. How about finding out why almost all the U.S. bishops adopted Cardinal Bernardin’s proposal to change the definition of “prolife,” a word coined by prolifers to counter the pro-aborts calling themselves “pro-choice?” And then, contacting those bishops still alive who voted against that change, to get their recommendations on who should be on that list of bishops you want to put together. While doing that, you ought to read the 1989 favorable biography called “Cardinal Bernardin – Easing conflicts -and battling for the soul of American Catholicism” by the cardinal’s long time friend (30 years) Eugene Kennedy. You’ll learn that that name change was a lot more political than it was spiritual. This is a quote of Bernardin’s motivation for expanding the definition to include prudential judgment issues so-call “social justice.” Page 243,244: “Not only would this move gain greater support from Catholics and others but it would keep the prolife movement from falling completely under the control of the right wing conservatives who were becoming it dominant sponsors.” How about that?! I don’t know where in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the “good” cardinal found that some how being a “right wing conservative” was evil. Maybe you know where that is?

    Anyway – how about showing some “love” for the millions of us who have removed ourselves from the sin of being in the Democrat Party, the main organization responsible for denying the right to life of God’s greatest creation – a human right by the way; and maybe perhaps an apology as well for making people like us have to fight people like you for so long?

  • Stilbelieve:

    Hold on, friend. There’s a parable about that. “Take what is yours, and go your way: I will also give to this last even as to you.” (Mt 20:14)

  • Stilbelieve:

    I’m with you!

    Nd, those people need to stop employing presumed moral superiority to advance evil and to start supporting Church teachings.

  • My own Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo should be on that list. He is the bishop who conducted the recent investigation of the women religious. He is an outstanding and holy and orthodox bishop, and I am shocked, frankly, that he hasn’t been picked in the last few years to lead a higher-profile diocese. The fact that he was chosen to lead the investigation of the women religious indicates that he is at least on someone’s radar in the Vatican.

    Were it not for the fact that Bishop Blair was the Bishop of Toledo, I doubt I would have moved my family to this part of Ohio almost 7 years ago.

  • @Escolonn

    “Hold on, friend. There’s a parable about that. ‘Take what is yours, and go your way: I will also give to this last even as to you.’ (Mt 20:14)” The text in bible has the last sentence of 20:14 reading: “What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?”

    First of all, I’m not looking for “reward.” I’m looking for evidence that this author has obtained wisdom from his experience to be of help to any bishop. The question was raised in my mind soon into reading his article. He says this in the 4th sentence:
    “I do not speak as an Obama-basher with Republican talking point tie-ins- I was a lifelong Democrat who only recently gave it up to become an Independent, not Republican.”

    Talking in a dismissive way about the only major organization that has been trying to save the babies, protect our country militarily and economically, fight for our right to pick our own doctors and make our own decisions on our medical care, defend marriage as God created it, and now have to save our First Amendment Rights to freedom of religion isn’t being a “Obama-baser” using “Republican talking point tie-ins.” It’s being an American who has “eyes to see and ears to here.”

    Second, you would think that someone who contributed with their decision-making and votes all this time to prolonging the evil of abortion-on-demand remaining the law-of-the-land, and to these newer attacks on our safety and freedoms, would be a little more contrite and humble towards those who were wise enough to see the sin of remaining in the Democrat Party much sooner in their lives then he did.

    Third, I think the verse you chose is a parable better suited for the rights of ownership to do with one’s property as one chooses and pay the wages as agreed. Verse 15 completes that thought saying: “[Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?”

  • Jay, it just so happens that my own bishop, Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Ill. is assisting with that investigation as well. He too is known for his orthodoxy and has been on the Vatican-watchers’ radar for some time, so he probably won’t be here forever!

  • Stillbelieve- I can defend my previous Democratic party membership on the grounds that I was quite active as a pro-life candidate and leader in Dems for Life- the fact is that until the 80’s the Dems were more pro-life than the Repubs- I was a Democrat long before I was Catholic- being drawn into politics at the age of 13 by the first Jimmy Carter campaign- and then basically became a believing secular liberal in my 20’s. My introduction and conversion to Catholicism came as I neared 30- in becoming Catholic I gave up previous beliefs on abortion et al- but there has always been two thoughts in my mind- first- the Republican establishment has always been like shifting sand on the issue of abortion since Reagan – lukewarm belief is never attractive as Jesus indicated in Revelation- and second- there has long been the hope that Catholic pro-life Democrats could lead the charge within the Democratic party to restore traditional moral beliefs on social issues- I took up that challenge since I figured I was well-placed as a lifelong Dem who became a Catholic convert- but identified more or less along the FDR-Democratic coalition lines- recall that American Catholics as a community tended the Democratic party way before social issues and the sexual revolution began destroying the Dems from within. Reagan was an FDR Democrat but said that the party moved away from him not the other way around.

    So- in any case- I never publicly supported any pro-choice candidates- and typically voted for third party/populist no-bodies to get around my conscience- and our hierarchy instructed us that we could not vote for a candidate because of his/her pro-choice position on abortion- but it was left open to conscience if there were other compelling reasons to vote for someone who was unfortunately pro-choice- since we are not to be single-issue voters. So- if one supposed that voting for a Republican candidate would bring on potentially nation-ending war or economic ruin and thus render the legal abortion question (in effect) moot in such an environment since no movement focused on a social issue would gain any traction during crisis times- well that would be a paradigm of thought whereupon someone with a Catholic conscience may have voted for a Democrat in some paticular national office like president.

    My own experience with being exposed to the really influential Catholic Democrats was one where I tried my best to evangelize for the orthodox teachings of the Church- to follow the Magisterium and the Bishops on all fronts and not to continue in a heterodox direction- but alas I was confronted by the truly powerful forces that drive those who have actual weight in Democratic party power politics these days- and I was asked to depart from my place of opinion sharing- and at that stage I openly left the Party and my role as a leader for florida Dems for Life- and became a NPA- non-party-affiliation- as Archbishop Chaput did according to what I read in his great book- Render Unto Caesar. So- stillbelieve- I don’t know what to apologize to you about- I think my personal history explains why I chose the paths I took- if the Church had clearly indicated that working from within the Democratic party to try to reform the party on social issues was an immoral choice- then I would have abandoned the effort years ago- I have given up on that front- but I have many good Catholic and Christian friends who are still battling from within and taking the abuse from the dominant sexual revolutionaries – I’m not of a mind to join you in heaping more abuse their way- but if this is how you interpret WWJD in your time on stage blogging then it is something that Jesus Christ will have to determine at the time of our personal judgments- and I look forward to my time with Him so that I can see where I missed His cues and promptings, or just was blind- so that I can apologize to anyone or any group of persons that I did wrong by. I am trying to “live clean” and I have been trying to follow the orthodox directives from Christ’s Church- my wish now is that the American Bishops will now make perfectly clear to all of us that taking public positions opposed to granting the right to life for the unborn, and protecting traditional marriage definitions, and respecting religious liberties- all make any candidate unfit for any Catholic to vote for or support in any capacity- and political leaders who call themselves Catholics who vote for any of the Big Three will have to forego reception of Holy Communion due to the scandal they are producing among law-abiding American citizens. That, I think, would clear up any confusion about the morality of our political choices- given the unusual extremity of our times. I still hope to be of service to our Church and to serve a strong Bishop and take guidance from him- but if you are correct and the Holy Spirit agrees then I will accept another role in my life’s work- at the end of the day I just want to be one of those ‘unprofitable servants’ in the eyes of the Lord- if digging ditches is my true talent then so be it- I will carry a shovel for Christ- that’s my heart-that is something I can know even if many who know little about me doubt it- those in my home know me and from them I draw the human consolation that helps keep one’s spirit from being taken away by the naysayers always to be found.

  • It is important to realise that, for professional politicians, party labels are largely a sham.

    In any democracy, they inevitably group themselves into two parties (or coalitions), the friends of corruption and the sowers of sedition; those who seek to profit from existing abuses and those who seek to profit from the disaffection those abuses naturally produce.

    The policies either faction espouses, primarily to attract funding, but also as a sop to the rabble, is a matter of chance and circumstance.

  • I don’t have much experience with bishops, but I would suggest two: Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, CO and Archbishop Charles Chaput, currently Archbishop of Philadelphia (formerly of Denver, CO). Both have been a strong voice for authentic Catholic teaching and activism.

12 Responses to Küüünnng!

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

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

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


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

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

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

  • What, exactly, has Kuuuuuung done for unity?

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

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

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

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

  • Is that the caddish Catlick, HMV Tone Blair?

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

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

The Anti-Catholic Party

Thursday, May 10, AD 2012

Cardinal Dolan yesterday released this statement regarding Obama’s announcement that he had “evolved” and now, as he did in 1996 when first asked about it, supports gay marriage:


May 9, 2012 WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement:

President Obama’s comments today in support of the redefinition of marriage are deeply saddening. As I stated in my public letter to the President on September 20, 2011, the Catholic Bishops stand ready to affirm every positive measure taken by the President and the Administration to strengthen marriage and the family. However, we cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better. Unfortunately, President Obama’s words today are not surprising since they follow upon various actions already taken by his Administration that erode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage. I pray for the President every day, and will continue to pray that he and his Administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. May we all work to promote and protect marriage and by so doing serve the true good of all persons.

When the Tokugawa shogunate was stamping out Christianity in Japan, it made use of Fumi-e (stepping on pictures).  Regime officials would place pictures of Jesus or Mary before suspected Christians and order them to step on them.  Refusal to do so, if persisted in, would end in execution.  In our own country we are seeing the growth of a movement just as antithetical in theory to Catholicism and traditional Christianity as the Tokugawa shogunate, and it finds its home in the Democrat party. 

What we have seen over the past few decades is the evolution of the Democrat party into an overtly anti-Catholic party.  The Obama administration is the culmination of this trend.  This of course is deeply ironic, because the Democrat party is a major party in this country with the help of the votes of tens of millions of purported Catholics.

In the past four decades the Democrats, with honorable exceptions, have championed abortion which is anathema to the teachings of the Church.  The embrace of homosexuality followed, which has caused governments around the nation to drive the Church out of adoptions because the Church refuses to arrange adoptions by homosexual couples.  In California, a state wholly controlled by the Democrat party, homosexual indoctrination, masquerading as education, is now mandated in public schools.  For cynical political purposes the Obama administration this year has proposed that Catholic institutions, and individual Catholic employers, be required to provide “free” contraceptive coverage, and is quite willing to run roughshod over the First Amendment to accomplish this goal.  Now we have the President’s support of gay marriage, although, until he further “evolves” I guess, he “generously” stated his opinion that churches opposed to gay marriages should not be required to officiate at them.  These changes in society are the modern Fumi-e by which believing Catholics and traditional Christians are made to renounce, in effect, the teachings of Christ step by step.

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64 Responses to The Anti-Catholic Party

  • I don’t see how any Catholic can now vote Democratic unless they are so ideologically blinded that they cannot see what they are doing. I also believe that one now has to vote to limit the evil that is the Obama Administration. Unfortunately, at least as I see it, one must vote for Romney unless they are in a very red state.

  • No thanks to you traitors that keep voting democrat.

    You and your politicians are enemies of the Kingdom of God.

    The worst president in history needs gay marriage, class hatred, etc. in order to distract drones and serfs from endless war and the depressed economy.

  • There are two Catholics from birth at my place of work. One (I know) goes to Mass regularly. Both support gay marriage and contraception. One (the individual who goes to Mass) supports abortion. I have spent hours (and many written pages) discussing these things with each of them. Even last night I discussed for 45 minutes with one of them why I supported NC Amendment One (in response to his question). Nothing I have done or said can persuade them, though both admit that I know much more about the Catechism and the Bible. They are blind – completely, totally and hopelessly blind – as is perhaps 50% of the Church.

    BTW, the company for which I work is completely in favor of LGBT rights. We have to go through annual diversity training on this very issue. We’re not good nuclear professionals unless we support and agree with LGBT rights. I suspect this is true in any large, mulitnational or regulated company or corporation nowadays. You cannot imagine my disgust and anger.

  • On a positive note: Obama is not all failure all the time.

    Using mathematical formulas, math geniuses have calculated based on Ministry of Truth methods for calculating the unemployment rate, it will be zero by 2022, and negative a month later.

  • Here’s our old friend Tony trying to pretend that his party is anything BUT the overtly anti-Catholic monstrosity that it has become:

    “Support the Big Tent of the Democratic Party

    With the Republican party becoming completely unacceptable as a valid electoral choice, this initiative assumes greater importance than ever. Please sign, and please pass on!

    The idea is to support the following language in the Democratic platform:

    “We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our Party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues.

    However, we can find common ground. We believe that we can reduce the number of abortions because we are united in our support for policies that assist families who find themselves in crisis or unplanned pregnancies. We believe that women deserve to have a breadth of options available as they face pregnancy: including, among others, support and resources needed to handle the challenges of pregnancy, adoption, and parenthood; access to education, healthcare, childcare; and appropriate child support. We envision a new day without financial or societal barriers to bringing a planned or unplanned pregnancy to term.”


    I’ll agree with Tony re: the Republicans (at the very least for this presidential election cycle), but for different reasons than he would conclude. But he’s either completely delusional or completely dishonest (and those really ARE the ONLY options) regarding his party of choice. I’ll be charitable and go with delusional.

  • There are no big tents in Heaven.

    “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, * that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14

  • Obama’s announcement that he had “evolved” and now, as he did in 1996 when first asked about it, supports gay marriage

    I suppose it’s more accurate to say he “revolved” than evolved. Although the truth is he simply lied about his ambivalence or lack of support.

    As far as I know, abortion and the death penalty are not issues of personal conscience, and certainly not from a Catholic perspective. There is an objectively right and objectively wrong answer on both.

    And what is this pablum about diversity of views being a source of strength?!?! HA! The Demoncratic Party has the LEAST diversity of views of any organization on Earth!!

  • I don’t know who “our old friend Tony is,” but at the risk of sounding naive, the piece has a snarky, passive-aggressive sarcastic demeanor to it; a kind of “if they were who they said they were, this is what they would do, but we all know the truth” nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

    The very notion of a “Big Tent” Democrat Party is so absurd that there really can’t be anything but absurdity in the whole thing. It can’t be seriously taken seriously.


  • One (I know) goes to Mass regularly. Both support gay marriage and contraception. One (the individual who goes to Mass) supports abortion. I have spent hours (and many written pages) discussing these things with each of them. Even last night I discussed for 45 minutes with one of them why I supported NC Amendment One (in response to his question). Nothing I have done or said can persuade them, though both admit that I know much more about the Catechism and the Bible. They are blind – completely, totally and hopelessly blind – as is perhaps 50% of the Church.

    What is their counter-argument? From where are they taking their cues?

  • WK,

    If you knew Morning’s Minion (aka Tony) like we know him, you’d know that he’s 100% serious.

  • If I recall, Tony is either Irish or Canadian. He is not to my understanding a naturalized American citizen. He showed up on blogs before the last election using the wars and torture issues to turn votes away from Republicans. Used the standard “social justice” lines to justify voting for the most anti-social justice President in history.

    Now going about spreading his distorted presentation of Catholic Social Teaching to enshrine voting for Democrats.

    Why he doesn’t just go back home is beyond me. Unless he is some fellow traveller type presenting himself as Catholic.

  • Paul, I can relate to what you’re saying. Unbelievably, the people that I work with who voted for Obama the first time are going to vote for him again. And I work for a Catholic Church! I do not for the life of me understand their logic and blindness. This man is an “anti-christ” and they cannot see his evil. I know we must pray for them, and I too have on occasion discussed the issues with them, but it is no longer any good. We are at a point where we have to pray to Our Lord and Our Lady for ourselves and everyone we love to be placed under their protection and to be a part of the remnant that will remain faithful to Him during the coming chastisement that is now inevitable.

  • Pingback: THURSDAY MID-DAY EXTRA: Catholic Reaction to President Obama on Same-Sex Marriage | The Pulpit
  • While EVERY person may choose to love God in his own way, public funds and those in public office compensated by public taxes may not deconstruct our Declaration of Independence by removing “their Creator”, the Person of God, WHO endows unalienable rights to all men, WHO created all men equal and keeps them in existence, from one moment to the next. The Person of God speaks to us through our founding principles, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution for the United States of America, with laws that protect and provide for each and every Person, especially the PERSON OF GOD, because the Person of God is “their Creator”, and as persons, all men are the image of God in sovereignty expressed as free will in FREEDOM, the will of the people and the voice of the people. God gives us freedom and the state may not remove our freedom nor the knowledge of our freedom, such as conscience, from the people using the public money. Private persons may agree with the HHS mandate, gay marriage, abortion, but they are not free to use tax dollars to deconstruct out First Amendment rights to freedom, or to use the public forum to deny people knowledge of their First Amendment civil rights, or any freedom of our founding principles.

  • Only a shameless partisan hack would somehow turn Obama’s support for gay marriage into a post condemning Cardinal Dolan and Lockean liberalism. And luckily, Tony is just that kind of partisan hack.

  • The USA doesn’t have an anti-Catholic party. It is an anti-Catholic country, founded by anti-Catholics, using an anti-Catholic political philosophy. The USA isn’t just anti-Catholic by inclination. It is anti-Catholic by design. (Which means that it’s point of reference is still the Catholic Church in that the program models itself upon being against what so ever the Catholic Church is for.)*

    Root meet fruit.

    The point of attack has to be against the the tacit assumptions upon which this castle of sand is founded: Protestantism, and it’s unnatural progeny Liberalism. Every ounce of Catholic effort has to directed towards completing the counter-reformation. The Roman Catholic Church is the higher order of government. Washington must be brought to renounce London and kneel before the Chair of Peter.^

    *First Rule of Catholic blogging: make sure to write “Catholic” as many times as possible.
    ^Second Rule of Catholic blogging: aim high (be ye not lukewarm). God likes to do the miraculous.

  • It is an anti-Catholic country, founded by anti-Catholics, using an anti-Catholic political philosophy.

    Channeling Don here: rubbish. Although your writing does vaguely resemble that of the blogger mentioned in the previous comment. You even have that first name, last initial thing going for you.

    General Rule of Blogging: try to be at least minimally coherent.

  • Paul Zummo:
    You might want to check the best-before-date on your Ph.D in politics. Have you investigated going back and trying to get a refund? What? No warranty? Sucker.

    General rule of history: read it. Oh, wait, you are a political science guy. Never mind.

  • Darren:

    You might want to check this out. It more than ably refutes your contention that this country was founded on an anti-Catholic political philosophy:


  • Paul Zummo:

    Look, I am sorry. I’m new here and I don’t know you. Nobody likes to get their comments treated so dismissively, but that doesn’t give me the right to resort to snark. I hope that you can accept my apology.

    My name is Darren Ouellette. I’m from Canada, which I gather is a negative around here. Whatever. We like to surf.

  • Greg Mockeridge:
    Well, that establishes that Jefferson was highly influenced Catholic sources, but it would surely be a leap to say that this establishes Jefferson as a Catholic. Important distinction, no? In addition, he was probably the only framer that knew he cribbed from Catholic sources. It is safe to say that he was very well read. In deed, this has to be one of the great cover-ups of history to only now have the DOI unmasked as a stealth Catholic document. The article you link to actually only pertains to the DOI. An insufficient counter-balance to the otherwise thorough-going Protestant character of War of Independence-era colonial America, IMHO.

    Interesting never the less.

  • “My name is Darren Ouellette. I’m from Canada, which I gather is a negative around here.”

    Not by me since my late mother was a proud Newfie and I spent most of the first four years of my life in Saint John’s. My mother became a naturalized citizen of the United States, but she never lost her fondness for her home land, a fondness I share as the previous blog posts I have done on aspects of Newfoundland culture can attest.

    “It is an anti-Catholic country, founded by anti-Catholics, using an anti-Catholic political philosophy.”

    No. The Founding Fathers, although some of them shared in the anti-Catholic prejudices of their day, established a country where Catholics, as well as Protestants, could live in freedom, practice their faith, and participate in the government. The greatest of the Founding Fathers, George Washington, was ever a friend to Catholics:


    Here is what Pope Leo Xiii had to say about American and its founding:


  • No worries Darren. I certainly instigated with my own snark, and I do apologize to you.

    But yes, considering the time period the Framers were generally respectful of Catholicism, with certain exceptions of course. John Adams had a grudging respect for the Church, though I recall him not caring much for the Latin Mass.

    And while I know the comment was made in sarcastic jest, some of us poly sci guys still love our history – at least those of us not trying to find the median voter in Chicago’s 11th ward on windy and rainy Tuesdays in March.

  • Jay Anderson, thanks for the insight. In that case, the man truly is certifiable.

    “My name is Darren Ouellette. I’m from Canada, which I gather is a negative around here.”

    Not a chance, unless some NDP blather starts leaking out . . .

    My Dad is the first American on his side of the family tree. Nowadays the clan hails from Trenton, Ontario, and there’s even an “Aiken’s Road” that leads out to where the RCAF base is, or used to be if it isn’t anymore.

    I have an Uncle Danny who used to work for Chrysler Canada, the makers of the largest cargo van Chrysler made. I had an Uncle Sonny who used to work for Labatt’s, and supervised the loading dock. Back in the day, we had family reunions up in the area every July.

    You do the math.

  • Wow, Darren. Think about what you’re saying. Massive colonial territories in the Western hemisphere were ruled by a country where to be Catholic meant either persecution (executions, having monasteries stolen or destroyed, priests hiding in tiny holes in the floor of homes) at worst and second class status at best (a lot of history on these in Ireland). To this day no Catholic can become the Monarch. The War of Independence freed Catholics of that rule and the resulting government reaffirmed their dignity and free exercise of religion.

    Your last name indicates that you’re French, at least partly so. You realize that while Quebec was French (The US attained french territories as well), most of the rest of your nation was ruled by an anti-Catholic regime, right? You realize that Canada wasn’t borne out of explicitly Catholic principles either? Though I would argue that while the founding of the United States wasn’t borne out of explicit Catholic principles, most were compatible with Catholic understanding of the dignity of man. These were ahead of their time and answer to a seriously problem of an older age. This has been affirmed repeatedly over the last 200 years by popes and bishops.

  • The USA isn’t just anti-Catholic by inclination. It is anti-Catholic by design.

    I think I recognize the writings of John Rao here. That is spoilt Vegemite you should not eat.

  • Art Deco:
    I have no idea who John Rao is. My reading of history in this instance is more influenced by Hilaire Belloc. I will look him up.

    I am not saying any other countries are better and freely acknowledge that some were significantly worse. In fact it would not occur to me to separate out the developments in European culture and its transatlantic extension in terms of one country vs. another. I view it to be all of a piece, namely: to watch how a house turned against itself falls.

    My name indicates that I am Canadien (you will not find it in France prior to Quebec), and I am well aware that many of my cousins were loosing their heads to anti-Catholic traitors in France, but my kin had been away from France for well over 100 years by then.

    The DOI was compatible with natural law reasoning which, being written upon our hearts by Him who created us, should not cause surprise. Men, in searching their hearts for the truth, will often make recourse to natural law reasoning. The Catholic faith is truly the teaching of the heart, so, no surprise that there is a rich load of natural law reasoning tradition to be sieved by those with the charitable inclination. Never the less, I do not see the recourse to natural law reasoning by the F. F. as sufficient grounds to admit that this indicates a widespread pro-Catholic inclination (at best a toleration) among the general population or intelligentsia. They were Protestants and Masons, keenly given over to reasoning models fully untethered from sound Orthodoxy. I just do not see how these clearly anti-Catholic dispositions can be of no account when the foundation of the USA and it’s subsequent course of development is brought before one’s consideration.

    No, the most compatible understanding of the true nature of Man is the Catholic understanding. The inherent contradictions of those traditions that explicitly reject or do not fully assent to the Catholic understanding bring forth the fruits we in the West enjoy {sic} today.

    Now to the meat of your point: the FF’s allowed room for Catholics to practice the “cult” aspect of their religion, so long as accepted the Protestant-style deal with the secular powers. That deal, while probably better than nothing, is less than it should be.

  • Oh, and thank you to all for your expressions of affection for your northern neighbours. Perhaps the feeling will not last towards me, but at least I will know it will be centred in your disagreement with my historical interpretations and not a knee-jerk reaction to my non-US subjecthood.

    Again, my thanks.

  • Don McClarey:
    Please accept my thanks for your efforts in providing this wonder blog with so many richly interesting posts. It pains me that I am in disagreement with you upon your assessment of the USA has having an if not pro- then at least not anti-Catholic character, but I just do not see sufficient grounds on the basis of a few isolated instances of less than a handful of FF having a magnanimity towards Catholicism in general and Catholics in particular, to accept that, in the great tumult of post-reformation European culture (noting that I do not separate the USA from the European nations for purposes of culture), the USA can be considered as a Catholic nation.
    Granted, I’d be hard pressed to actually name ANY nation that would be considered Catholic by my admittedly high standard, but in affirming to all the tenants which the Catholic faith purposes to my reasoning, I am obliged to expect nothing less.

    I do not wish to be an ungrateful guest. I hope that I do not become an unwelcome one in my dissent.

  • Now to the meat of your point: the FF’s allowed room for Catholics to practice the “cult” aspect of their religion, so long as accepted the Protestant-style deal with the secular powers. That deal, while probably better than nothing, is less than it should be.

    The ‘meat’ is institutional architecture, not cogitations about institutional architecture. The architecture may have its defects, but it is neither more nor less compatible with a Catholic society than any other architecture. As for the ‘Protestant-style’ deal, there was and is no Catholic society upon which to construct a confessional state. There was a modest (and much abused minority) in Maryland and a presence in three other colonies. The society was not merely protestant but modally Calvinist. A confessional state would have injured the Church and would continue to injure it (see the relation between state and society surrounding the “Church of Sweden”).

  • Art Deco:
    No, I do not mean a confessional state, I mean a subsidiary governing structure, ie: a state, but necessarily a state, being in acknowledgement of the fact that the Pope and the Hierarchy of the Church is the superior source of governing authority because it maintains the deposit of faith upon which truth in society may be maintained. The USA most definitely does not acknowledge this relationship. That is an architectural, not dispositional, element of the governing structure of the USA. The concept I put forward supposes that those states that so acknowledge the Chair of St. Peter will have a sizable percentage of the population actively practicing the faith and forming their morality in accord there with, while the balance of the people do not actively attempt to undermine it.

    My reading of the Protestant revolution is that the rebel novel confessions sought to place themselves under the protection of secular rulers violating the relationship between the Christian religion and secular authority by inverting it. Supporting this inversion paid hansom dividends for some, but rent Christendom.

    For Catholics in Protestant dominated states, as I said above, you are free to engage in those aspects of the Catholic faith that can be placed under the distinction of cult, for it is held that one “cult” be of no different value than any other denomination (heresy of denominationalism), but Catholics may not make claims, in defense, that the law of the Church (teaching magisterium, code of canon law, traditional worship) precludes the practicing Catholic from actions of the secular state that violate the Faith. Nor is appealing to the Pope likely to do one much good today as the praxis of “how many divisions does the Pope command?” or “You and what army?” is the order of the day for almost all states. This is the out come of the Protestant rebellion. I do not see how the USA, in drawing so heavily upon the claims constellation of Protestantism, specific exceptions noted, can be considered as Catholophilic except in so far as Catholics accept the deal to abjure the status of the Magisterium as higher authority. In practice, so long as it is convenient for the interests which have domiciled themselves in the governing architecture of the USA, there can be good times. Inherent, however, is the inevitability of a clash between the unable to change Catholics and the change as needed secularists.

  • being in acknowledgement of the fact that the Pope and the Hierarchy of the Church is the superior source of governing authority because it maintains the deposit of faith upon which truth in society may be maintained. The USA most definitely does not acknowledge this relationship. That is an architectural, not dispositional, element of the governing structure of the USA

    No, it is a dispositional and not architectural feature. There is a distinction between spiritual and temporal power.

    Parastatal authority could be found in the hands of diocesan bishops and also abbots, but the papacy was not typically the locus of temporal power outside of central Italy.

  • I am not claiming that the Church Hierarchy is, except in tertiary functions, a temporal power.

    It could relent in the dispositional/architectural distinction.* The USA could, in theory, start acknowledging the authority of the Church Hierarchy, making it dispositional. I am incapable of determining if that would affect governing structures in already in place and active for some period of time within the USA, leaving aside the obvious cultural issues.

    *I could also not relent. I highly doubt, for example, that the SCOTUS could overturn federal law because it was deemed to be in conflict with the teachings of the RCC, no? That would be architectural.

  • Correction:
    I could relent in the…

  • “The USA could, in theory, start acknowledging the authority of the Church Hierarchy, making it dispositional.”

    That would never happen. The great thing for Catholicism in this country is that the State left the Church alone. One of the popes in the early portion of the nineteenth century, no fan of new fangled democracies, said that in no country was he more the Pope than in the United States. The experience of the Church with Catholic confessional states has often been far from happy, because of constant government interference with the Church, up to and including controlling the nomination of bishops. The Church in America has flourished with the hands off policy of the government. Currently we are battling against the Obama administration because it is diverging from that salutary policy, but for over two centuries freedom from government interference has been a boon for the Church in this country.

  • Donald R. McClarey:
    Which is largely my point, in that the Obamba reading of American liberal democracy is not without source material, even if that potential has been rarely actuated over the course of American history.

    It is my purpose to attempt to understand this phenomenon and search for more suitable ground upon which the Faith may flourish. It will likely be difficult to now have status quo ante.

  • What Obama is attempting to do is in direct contradiction to the intention of the Founding Fathers and the express language of the Constitution. There is no source material in our country’s history for his actions against the Church. That is why his actions are being challenged in our courts and why Obama has an excellent chance of being a one term president.

    I do not think you can find a government in history where the Church has so rapidly expanded as it has in the United States over the past two centuries and with virtually zero interference from the State.

  • Darren:

    I was not asserting Jefferson was a proto-Catholic, but that the political philosophy that undergirds the Declaration of Independence and thus America herself, is in line with Catholic political thought. In any case, the U.S. was not founded on an anti-Catholic political philosophy.

  • Greg:
    I thought you were suggesting that he was a crypto-Catholic. By your standard, Protestants are in line with Catholic theology because they read the Bible. You overstate your case. Congruence in a few particulars is not synonymous with concordance in generalities.

    It is my position that every post 1517 Western intellectual development – in the non- and anti-Catholic camp – is an ostracon of the Catholic Faith. Why should I drop my panties when someone manages to finds a fragment of what was lost in the Frankenstein cobbled together to save face after the original was shattered?

    Seriously, how does one find a political philosophy that is “of this world” that isn’t anti-Catholic? The capital “T” Truth has been established. Any other attempts at restatement are necessarily going to be bizarre fun house mirror images.

    I realize that being a foreigner & pulling out the j’accuse is likely to cause the wagons to circle, but I at least thought on a site for those claiming fealty to the RCC there would be a little more awareness of how American Exceptionalism probably isn’t quite so.

    My bad.

  • Let me give another perspective from a political progressive. Our sense is that there is a distinct movement in the Church hierarchy to a “take or leave it” mentality as it relates to issues like abortion, birth control and homosexuality. The USCBB has been uneven, if not totally hypocritical in its use of a false “religious liberty” argument with respect to PPACA regulations relating to access to birth control. The Church’ teaching on that matter is certainly not an inerrant one and as recently as 1968 a commission sent a recommendation to Paul VI to allow birth control, which he unfortunately declined to do.

    It is the liberal perspective that the Church lives and thrives when it engages in constructive dialogue with all parties and evolves in its teachings that are not core to the faith. Revealed Gospels say little if not anything authoritative about marriage, birth control, abortion and homosexuality once you read the texts and understand the context. From my personal perspective, it’s the lack of textual literacy, bad interpretations and lack of constructive dialogue within the Church itself that leads to our current divisions.

    I just listened to a Town Hall in which Cardinal Dolan spoke. He sounds like a very nice man on a personal basis. My sense is that he is either so out of touch with how a large number, if not the majority of US Catholics feel about these issues, or doesn’t care. That ultimately is sad.

  • Don:
    I get that you rebuff my suit on the basis of the intention of the FF*, but the original effort to found/constitute the USA isn’t the only instance of an act of constituting in the course of American political development. I believe that it is fair game to state that there have been other acts of constituting AKA re-constituting. I forward for your consideration, the Gettysburg Address in which Lincoln re-constituted America. I suspect that the New Deal would be an additional candidate as would Marbury vs. Madison, as would the 1913 founding of the Federal Reserve, or Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I do not agree with what he is doing, quite the contrary, but it is upon this president that, rightly or wrongly, Obama draws.

    Cavet: I am not putting his actions in the same class as the above noble/ignoble events, and would suggest his reading of history is on par with his recent demonstrations of his understanding of Christian theology.

    *and your position of “proof in the pudding” numbers of Catholics on the ground. To paraphrase your position, “How could there be an anti-Catholic character to this great nation, when there are so many Catholics around?”

  • Correction:
    … it is upon this precedent…

  • “Our sense is that there is a distinct movement in the Church hierarchy to a “take or leave it” mentality as it relates to issues like abortion, birth control and homosexuality.”

    Your problem Stephen is with 2000 years of Church teaching on these issues. The Church since the time of Christ has consistently condemned abortion, birth control and homosexuality. This quotation from the Didache from the first century demonstrates the antiquity of the teaching on abortion and homosexual acts:

    “You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born. You shall not covet the things of your neighbor, you shall not swear, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not speak evil, you shall bear no grudge. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is a snare of death. Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed. You shall not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.”
    The condemnation of birth control is of equal vintage. Your quarrel is not with the current bishops but with the clear teaching of the Church founded by Christ for the past two millenia.

  • “I forward for your consideration, the Gettysburg Address in which Lincoln re-constituted America.”

    Lincoln’s entire political career was spent upholding the Declaration of Independence.

    Here is my take on the Gettysburg address:


  • ” I suspect that the New Deal would be an additional candidate as would Marbury vs. Madison, as would the 1913 founding of the Federal Reserve, or Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
    Yes as to the New Deal. No as to Marbury as to judicial review as the courts in colonial America played that type of role in numerous cases citing the unwritten English constitution. No as to the Federal Reserve, crazy Glenn Beck notwithstanding. No as to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. American political history since the beginning has largely been a fight over the legacy of the Founding Fathers, and that fight continues today and is the true major issue in the 2012 Presidential election.

  • “To paraphrase your position, “How could there be an anti-Catholic character to this great nation, when there are so many Catholics around?””

    My position is that the Church has flourished where the government has left it alone. Church-State conflicts have been a constant theme in the history of the Church. American history, until very, very recently, largely avoided such conflicts, to the great benefit of the Church.

  • This may be opening up a huge can of worms and might be a topic for another thread, but I’ll tackle it anyway.

    Some conservative/libertarian types seem to push the idea that if you truly believe in conservative or federalist ideals, you have to view Lincoln as a villain who created the intrusive big federal government we know today, and the Civil War as an unjust War of Northern Aggression.

    Well, I don’t agree with either premise. But I am beginning to wonder if a situation might not eventually develop where some “red” states would secede in order to preserve something resembling a Judeo-Christian culture based on the rule of law against a tyrannical and aggressively secularist/atheistic federal government dominated by (ahem) Democrats. I’d almost rather it came to that, than to have Catholics or evangelicals forced to flee to South America or some remote, dirt poor Third World country in order to practice their faith. It would certainly be a lot easier to emigrate to Texas than to Chile or Argentina, right?

    My question is, it is possible, or logically sound, to believe that Lincoln did the right thing and the Southern states weren’t morally justified in seceding in 1860, yet also believe that secession MIGHT be morally justified in the 21st or 22nd century if things get really, really bad?

  • If there is any seceding to be done Elaine it will be by blue states. I intend to win this fight for the political future of this country, and I believe I am far from alone in that determination.

  • Don:
    Declaration of Independence is not a constitutional document. At the G. A. he reconstituted on the basis of the preamble of the DoI.

  • No, it is more important than the Constitution. The Declaration established the United States of America and what this nation stands for. The Constitution is merely the mechanism to carry forward the philosophy of govenment embodied in the Declaration.

  • “The Church since the time of Christ has consistently condemned abortion, birth control and homosexuality.”

    Actually, the Church has NOT condemned birth control per se, but contraception. Otherwise, even so-called NFP (which if used to avoid pregnancy is a form of birth control) would have to be likewise condemned by the Church. This is not by any means splitting hairs. Contraception acts against the meaning and purpose of the body regarding the reproductive system, whereas so-called NFP acts according the natural function of the reproductive system. That’s a major distinction. In fact, not understanding this distinction, which the “Church has condemned birth control” mistakenly implies, has contributed in no small part to the misunderstandings people have about the Church’s teaching and thus to its rejection of it.

  • Not to change the subject or anything, but did everyone notice how today’s Gospel reading is so relevant to our society’s normalization of sexual promiscuity, abortion and homosexuality with its concurrent ridicule and marginalization of Christianity?

    John 15:18-21

    Jesus said to his disciples:
    “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
    If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
    but because you do not belong to the world,
    and I have chosen you out of the world,
    the world hates you.
    Remember the word I spoke to you,
    ‘No slave is greater than his master.’
    If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
    If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
    And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
    because they do not know the one who sent me.”

  • “This is not by any means splitting hairs.”

    Oh there is nothing wrong about splitting hairs Greg, I make a decent living doing it. 🙂

    Pius XII was the first pope to give limited approval to abstinence during infertile periods in his allocution to midwives in 1951:

    “Here again we are faced with two hypotheses. If, one of the parties contracted marriage with the intention of limiting the matrimonial right itself to the periods of sterility, and not only its use, in such a manner that during the other days the other party would not even have the right to ask for the debt, than this would imply an essential defect in the marriage consent, which would result in the marriage being invalid, because the right deriving from the marriage contract is a permanent, uninterrupted and continuous right of husband and wife with respect to each other.

    However if the limitation of the act to the periods of natural sterility does not refer to the right itself but only to the use of the right, the validity of the marriage does not come up for discussion. Nonetheless, the moral lawfulness of such conduct of husband and wife should be affirmed or denied according as their intention to observe constantly those periods is or is not based on sufficiently morally sure motives. The mere fact that husband and wife do not offend the nature of the act and are even ready to accept and bring up the child, who, notwithstanding their precautions, might be born, would not be itself sufficient to guarantee the rectitude of their intention and the unobjectionable morality of their motives.

    The reason is that marriage obliges the partners to a state of life, which even as it confers certain rights so it also imposes the accomplishment of a positive work concerning the state itself. In such a case, the general principle may be applied that a positive action may be omitted if grave motives, independent of the good will of those who are obliged to perform it, show that its performance is inopportune, or prove that it may not be claimed with equal right by the petitioner—in this case, mankind.”

    Humane Vitae 16 broadened this approval:
    Recourse to Infertile Periods

    “16. Now as We noted earlier (no. 3), some people today raise the objection against this particular doctrine of the Church concerning the moral laws governing marriage, that human intelligence has both the right and responsibility to control those forces of irrational nature which come within its ambit and to direct them toward ends beneficial to man. Others ask on the same point whether it is not reasonable in so many cases to use artificial birth control if by so doing the harmony and peace of a family are better served and more suitable conditions are provided for the education of children already born. To this question We must give a clear reply. The Church is the first to praise and commend the application of human intelligence to an activity in which a rational creature such as man is so closely associated with his Creator. But she affirms that this must be done within the limits of the order of reality established by God.

    If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained. (20)

    Neither the Church nor her doctrine is inconsistent when she considers it lawful for married people to take advantage of the infertile period but condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception, even when the reasons given for the later practice may appear to be upright and serious. In reality, these two cases are completely different. In the former the married couple rightly use a faculty provided them by nature. In the later they obstruct the natural development of the generative process. It cannot be denied that in each case the married couple, for acceptable reasons, are both perfectly clear in their intention to avoid children and wish to make sure that none will result. But it is equally true that it is exclusively in the former case that husband and wife are ready to abstain from intercourse during the fertile period as often as for reasonable motives the birth of another child is not desirable. And when the infertile period recurs, they use their married intimacy to express their mutual love and safeguard their fidelity toward one another. In doing this they certainly give proof of a true and authentic love.”

  • “The USCBB has been uneven, if not totally hypocritical in its use of a false “religious liberty” argument with respect to PPACA regulations relating to access to birth control.”

    Yes, because it’s so painfully difficult to get ahold of contraceptives these days.

    One has to go as far as one’s local gas station, and that’s such an injustice.

  • Don:

    Do you know what they call a lawyer with a .0000001 IQ?

    Your honor.

  • The 1951 allocution to Midwives was also a veiled slap at theologians who were basically equating NFP with contraception. Founding father of the present day pro-life movement the late Fr. Paul Marx put it this way:

    “In 1951, Pope Pius XII twice addressed the subject of natural fertility control. In his first address (to midwives) he said, ‘There are serious motives…that can exempt for a long time, perhaps even the duration of marriage, from the positive and obligatory carrying out of the act. From this it follows that observing the non-fertile periods alone can be lawful only under a moral aspect.’ (Address to Midwives, 29 October 1951, n. 36). He studiously refused to use the term ‘birth control,’ which implies that babies are a kind of a product to be manufactured through the whim and will of the individual couple. In that first address, Pius XII showed himself quite aware of what had developed and was still developing in the field of NFP. He therefore admonished the midwives to base their advice not on popular publications but on scientific objectivity and the authoritative judgment of specialists in medicine and biology (n.30).

    Note that he recognized the possibility that some couples would find themselves in such a difficult situation that they could legitimately avoid all births; they would place their sexual relations in the infertile phase of the cycle exclusively. The rule that couples consult a priest before practicing NFP was the unfortunate invention of theologians, not of Pope or Church. This Pope once told a confidant that he would give his right arm if he could solve the problem of regulating births.

    I recall theologians of that era who thought that the conservative Pius XII had become rather liberal about the control of fertility through use of only the infertile phase of the cycle. Apparently their opinion was reported to him Less than a month later, 26 November 1951, he spoke as follows to the Congress of the Family Front. He did not hesitate to affirm a wide latitude in the legitimacy of regulating births by using the infertile times only: ‘ Therefore, in our last allocution on conjugal morality, we affirmed the legitimacy and at the same time, the limits–in truth very wide–of a regulation of offspring, which is unlike so-called ‘birth control’ is compatible with the law of God’ (n.21)” (Faithful for Life pp 101-102)

  • “The USCBB has been uneven, if not totally hypocritical in its use of a false “religious liberty” argument with respect to PPACA regulations relating to access to birth control.”


    Perhaps in the spirit of dialogue you can explain why arguing from religious liberty is hypocritical. You cite the theological commission’s recommendations to Paul VI to allow birth control. But such commissions’ recommendations are not Magisterial pronouncements. Such pronouncments are the Pope’s and those bishops in union with him. A minor analogy would be Obama and his debt commission. The commission made recommendations to cut the deficit. Obama did nothing with these recommendations even though he set up the commission. Again not a precise analogy but, just because there is a commission, does not mean the recommendations need to be followed by those with the ultimate authority.

    “It is the liberal perspective that the Church lives and thrives when it engages in constructive dialogue with all parties and evolves in its teachings that are not core to the faith. Revealed Gospels say little if not anything authoritative about marriage, birth control, abortion and homosexuality once you read the texts and understand the context. From my personal perspective, it’s the lack of textual literacy, bad interpretations and lack of constructive dialogue within the Church itself that leads to our current divisions.”

    Please take this in the spirit of dialogue. The Gospels say little about many things. They say nothing about welfare being provided by the state. Does this mean it shouldn’t be done? Of course not. Jesus said precious little about many things. That’s why he gave us the Church to continue His mission in the world. This includes, as noted above, the Pope and bishiops in union with him teaching on morals and Faith. This is their charism given to them from God. A charism which theologians do not share in the same way. So, going back to your argument about the Pontifical Commission, no number of commissions will have an authority that the Pope has.

    And Revelation is not limited to the Gospels. It includes the whole of the Bible and the Churches Tradition. So for a little of the Bible see here:


  • “It is the liberal perspective that the Church lives and thrives when it engages in constructive dialogue with all parties and evolves in its teachings that are not core to the faith.”

    /gas station snark off

    That sounds nice, almost persuasive even, but quickly gets shoaled by vagueness. Starting with the insurmountable obstacle that there is no agreement as to what is “core to the faith.”

    Roger Haight, after all, argues that an empty tomb is not “core to the faith.” With one honorable exception, the liberals I read defended the poor confused apostate tooth and nail.

    Without agreement as to the core (and the liberal understanding is that this is a much smaller sphere than those to their “right”), “dialogue” is an exercise in dumbshow.

  • Liberals have no use for the Truth except to subvert it to serve the vile agenda.

    The Truth is not susceptible to dialogue or debate; nor to whining and gnashing of teeth.

    Plato: “Opinion is not Truth.”

  • Maryland has a Catholic name but is filled with protestants so most people pronounce it “Ma-riland”. In comparison with it’s neighbor Delaware where at least in Newcastle county lots of people are baptized Catholics but there are also a lot of Heretics like Mike Castle and Vice President Joe Biden, And if you live in Newark lots of College professors.

  • T Shaw has a point people should have their opinion tailored to the truth.

  • “He who is not with me, is against me.” Jesus Christ, Luke 11:23. Simple as that.

  • I totally agree with His Eminence but would adjust it to anti-Christian and anti-Jewish and Moslem (except for the Christians and Jews who have let today’s un-Natural Law views contradict their official Bibles which endorse the Natural Law that is imprinted in our Nature)

Pope Benedict on Saint Athanasius, a Saint For Our Times

Wednesday, May 2, AD 2012


His epitaph is Athanasius contra mundum, “Athanasius against the world.” We are proud that our own country has more than once stood against the world. Athanasius did the same. He stood for the Trinitarian doctrine, “whole and undefiled,” when it looked as if all the civilised world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius—into one of those “sensible” synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which, then as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. It is his glory that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.

                                                        CS Lewis

Saint Athansius stood for the Trinity at a time when the Emperor, Constantius, was Arian, and much of the Church in the East had embraced some form of Arianism.  Exiled five times by Constantius and his successors, Athanasius was a pillar of iron who never bended and tirelessly proclaimed the Truth, no matter the forces arrayed against the Truth.  His relevance for our day needs no elaboration from me.  Here is Pope Benedict on Saint Athanasius:

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13 Responses to Pope Benedict on Saint Athanasius, a Saint For Our Times

  • Pope Benedict XVI is a gift from God

  • According to St Athanasius, some heathen philosophers visited St Anthony, expecting to make fun of him, because he could not read.

    “Antony said to them, ‘What do you say? which is prior, the mind or letters? And which gives rise to which, mind to letters, or letters to mind?’ When they answered that mind was prior, and invented letters, Antony replied, ‘He, then, whose mind is in health, does not need letters.'”

  • Kind of a good thing that after Constantius, Julian the Apostate focused more on paganism and not arianism.

    Missionaries always had an easier time converting pagans, opposed to those who fell into Arianism.

  • Johnny5.

    “…….opposed to those who fell in to Arianism.”

    Correct – think mormons, JW’s and Advetists.

  • Arianism was a persistant heresy, enduring for centuries. Unfortunately most of the barbarian tribes that overran the Western Empire were Arians converted by the Arian missionary Ulfilas, a converted Goth. Here is his creed:

    “I, Ulfila, bishop and confessor, have always so believed, and in this, the one true faith, I make the journey to my Lord; I believe in one God the Father, the only unbegotten and invisible, and in his only-begotten son, our Lord and God, the designer and maker of all creation, having none other like him (so that one alone among all beings is God the Father, who is also the God of our God); and in one Holy Spirit, the illuminating and sanctifying power, as Christ said after his resurrection to his apostles: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) and again “But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8); being neither God (the Father) nor our God (Christ), but the minister of Christ … subject and obedient in all things to the Son; and the Son, subject and obedient in all things to God who is his Father … (whom) he ordained in the Holy Spirit through his Christ.”

  • Athanasius is without a doubt one of my favorite theologians. Ever since I read his magnificent “On the Incarnation of the Word” I was hooked. Additionally, the Life of St. Anthony is probably one of the most inspiring biographies (and probably partial hagiography!) I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.

  • The conversion of the Visigoths and Vandals from Arianism to Catholicism was actually quite rapid.

    The Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse accepted the Nicene symbol after the battle of Vouillé in 507, at which Clovis himself killed their king, Alaric II in combat. In sending his congratulations, the Pope, St Symmachus, addresses Clovis as “the most Christian King of the Franks,” [Christianissimus Rex Francorum] a title born by his successors.

    Clovis [Louis in French], a convert from paganism, but married to a Catholic, St Clotilde and instructed by St Gaston, Bishop of Cambrai, he was baptised on Christmas Day 496 by St Rémy, Archbishop of Rheims. Their names remain very popular baptismal names in France to this day. St Gaston [Latin Vedastus] became popular in England, under the Anglicised form of St Foster, a name found amongst the first Catholic settlers in Maryland.

    At the First Council of Orléans, convened by Clovis in 511, all the Gaulish bishops, to the number of 33, subscribed the Nicene symbol. Diplomatic efforts on the part of his successors secured the deposition of the Arian bishops in Burgundy.

  • The Visigothic kingdom of Spain remained Arian until 587 when King Recccared converted to Catholicism. The Vandals remained Arian until their African kingdom was conquered by the Byzantines under Belisarius in 533. The Ostrogoths in Italy remained Arian until their conquest by the Byzantines, with the aid of the Catholic Franks, in 560. The strife between the Byzantines and the Ostrogoths cleared the way for the Arian Lombards to conquer most of Italy. They remained Arian until the latter part of the seventh century.

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  • Donald R. McClarey

    Arianism lasted just so long as it enjoyed the patronage of the civil power and it was willing to intrude Arian bishops into the sees under their control

    Arianism had been adopted by the commanders of barbarian auxiliaries, when it was fashionable att he court of Constatinople and remained the religion of the ruling class, rather like the Protestantism of the Ascendancy in Ireland. It never became the religion of the masses.

    That is why its eradication was so rapid and complete, once that support was withdrawn.

  • “Arianism lasted just so long as it enjoyed the patronage of the civil power and it was willing to intrude Arian bishops into the sees under their control”

    Actually Michael the same argument could have been made about Catholicism in the wake of the Protestant Reformation in the areas that went Protestant, and it would have been just as faulty. Arianism was defeated through a combination of conversion, the Visigoths in Spain and the Lombards in Italy, and catastropic military defeat, the Ostrogoths in Italy and the Vandals in North Africa. Like most creeds it found it hard to sustain itself when the secular government was in the hands of its adversaries. The same thing happened in regard to Catholicism after the Protestant Reformation, with a notable exception to this rule being the land of my forefathers, Ireland. If the Arian barbarian successor states had been able to hold power for far longer than they did, they might well have been able to convert the subject masses to Arianism, as was the case in the areas conquered by Islam in North Africa and most of the Near East.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    “If the Arian barbarian successor states had been able to hold power for far longer than they did, they might well have been able to convert the subject masses to Arianism…”

    Civilised men will never adopt the manners and customs of barbarians. You can see this very clearly, in the case of France; South of the line of the Loire, from Geneva in the East to the mouth of the Charante in the West, where the barbarians were too few in number to displace the Gallo-Roman population, the tradition of municipal government and the written law was never lost.

    As for Protestantism, England was the only former province of the Roman Empire that adopted it. There, the pirate kingdoms of the South and East coasts had severed Britain from the continent from the withdrawal of the legions in 410 to St Augustine’s mission in 597, thus breaking the continuity of civilised life. Protestantism was, and remained, the revolt of the outer barbarians against the Roman order.

  • “Civilised men will never adopt the manners and customs of barbarians.”

    That is quite untrue, as the history of the successor states of the Roman Empire in the West indicates, with the Roman aristocracy being lost amidst the barbarian aristocracy in a few generations. The barbarian artistocracy adopted some of the customs of the Romans, but it was mostly a one way street.

    “As for Protestantism, England was the only former province of the Roman Empire that adopted it.”

    It was a near run thing in France and Austria, only decided ultimately by military force in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Parts of Switzerland of course became Protestant. The idea that Protestantism was the revolt of outer barbarians is incorrect. Protestantism had adherents throughout Europe. They were quite strong in all parts of Europe in the first half of the sixteenth century except for Spain and Portugal. The ultimate dividing lines between Catholic and Protestant, with the notable exception of Ireland, was determined by which creed the ruling house of an area followed, with military force ultimately determing whether Protestantism or Catholicism became the order of the day. Cuius regio, eius religio, “Whose realm, his religion” at the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 merely recognized the reality on the ground in the Holy Roman Empire between Protestants and Catholic rulers. This was what happened throughout Europe in the wake of the Reformation.

Happy Birthday to the Pope!

Monday, April 16, AD 2012

As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that — in a manner of speaking the guillotine would fall on me — I started to feel quite dizzy. I thought that I had done my life’s work and could now hope to live out my days in peace. I told the Lord with deep conviction, ‘Don’t do this to me. You have younger and better (candidates) who could take up this great task with a totally different energy and with different strength.’ Evidently, this time he didn’t listen to me.

Pope Benedict XVI


Happy 85th birthday your Holiness!  If I attain that age in 3o years and have a quarter of your mental acuity I will consider myself deeply blessed!

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6 Responses to Happy Birthday to the Pope!


  • God Bless our beloved Pope!

  • Happy Birthday Holy Father! I have a friend named Sarah who shares the same Birthday.

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  • Full in the panting heart of Rome, beneath the apostle’s crowning dome, from pilgrims’ lips that kiss the ground breathes in all tongues one only sound: “God bless our Pope, the great, the good!” [Nicholas,Cardinal Wiseman]

  • A Belated Happy Birthday our Beloved, inspiring, prophetic Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Mankind is blessed that God did not listen to your pleas to spare you from taking the mantle of the Seat of Saint Peter. His Choice is always the Best.

Pope Benedict Easter Vigil Homily

Sunday, April 8, AD 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

  Easter is the feast of the new creation.  Jesus is risen and dies no more.  He has opened the door to a new life, one that no longer knows illness and death.  He has taken mankind up into God himself.  “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”, as Saint Paul says in the First Letter to the Corinthians (15:50).  On the subject of Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection, the Church writer Tertullian in the third century was bold enough to write: “Rest assured, flesh and blood, through Christ you have gained your place in heaven and in the Kingdom of God” (CCL II, 994).

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4 Responses to Pope Benedict Easter Vigil Homily

  • A happy and blessed Easter to all American Catholic bloggers and commenters!

    It is sometimes hard for me to remember. but although sin and death surround us, they do not have the final word, because He is Risen.

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  • In the Holy Father’s sermon there are two images that are particularly striking to me:

    “Today we can illuminate our cities so brightly that the stars in the sky are no longer
    visible. Is this not an image of the problems caused by our version of enlightenment?”

    “… the Church presents the mystery of light using a unique and very humble symbol:
    the Paschal candle. This is a light that lives from sacrifice. The candle shines inasmuch
    as it is burnt up.”

  • I am an Episcopal priest who hangs on every word the Pope says. He is the world’s preeminent preacher, scholar and author.

Pope Benedict’s Sermon on Freedom in Revolution Square

Thursday, March 29, AD 2012

Yesterday Pope Benedict capped off his visit to Cuba with a huge mass in Revolution Square in Havana.  The theme of his homily, freedom, probably made the Cuban officials at the mass squirm, at least I certainly hope so.  Here is the text of the Pope’s homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,


“Blessed are you, Lord God…, and blessed is your holy and glorious name” (Dan 3:52). This hymn of blessing from the Book of Daniel resounds today in our liturgy, inviting us repeatedly to bless and thank God. We are a part of that great chorus which praises the Lord without ceasing. We join in this concert of thanksgiving, and we offer our joyful and confident voice, which seeks to solidify the journey of faith with love and truth.

“Blessed be God” who gathers us in this historic square so that we may more profoundly enter into his life. I feel great joy in being here with you today to celebrate Holy Mass during this Jubilee Year devoted to Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

I greet with cordial affection Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana, and I thank him for the kind words which he has addressed to me on your behalf. I extend warm greetings to the Cardinals and to my brother Bishops in Cuba and from other countries who wished to be in this solemn celebration. I also greet the priests, seminarians, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful gathered here, as well as the civil authorities who join us.

In today’s first reading, the three young men persecuted by the Babylonian king preferred to face death by fire rather than betray their conscience and their faith. They experienced the strength to “give thanks, glorify and praise God” in the conviction that the Lord of the universe and of history would not abandon them to death and annihilation. Truly, God never abandons his children, he never forgets them. He is above us and is able to save us by his power. At the same time, he is near to his people, and through his Son Jesus Christ he has wished to make his dwelling place among us in.

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31). In this text from today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals himself as the Son of God the Father, the Saviour, the one who alone can show us the truth and give us genuine freedom. His teaching provokes resistance and disquiet among his hearers, and he accuses them of looking for reasons to kill him, alluding to the supreme sacrifice of the Cross, already imminent. Even so, he exhorts them to believe, to keep his word, so as to know the truth which redeems and justifies.

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6 Responses to Pope Benedict’s Sermon on Freedom in Revolution Square

  • Thank you, Donald – shared on Blogger & Facebook.

  • “The Church lives to make others sharers in the one thing she possesses, which is none other than Christ, our hope of glory (cf. Col 1:27). To carry out this duty, she must count on basic religious freedom, which consists in her being able to proclaim and to celebrate her faith also in public, bringing to others the message of love, reconciliation and peace which Jesus brought to the world.”

    Spoken at the very center of the fascist left’s idyllic paradise, with their godless icon looking on in the distant background.

    ” Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph 6:10-17

    Praise Jesus!

  • Amen, WK Aiken. This is about the 10th time I have seen St. Paul’s Armor of God discourse quoted in a very few number of days. My “sponsor” would say that that’s not a coincidence or even a soft whisper, but a booming shout from the mountain top.

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  • Watching the Mass, I was impressed by the quiet, respectfulness of the people of Cuba.

  • Bishop Lori, during this hour, is discussing Religious Freedom on Sunday Night Prime on EWTN.

The Pope in Cuba

Tuesday, March 27, AD 2012

Apparently, he’s staying busy.

SuburbanBanshee has two very good posts on the topic– the first has the great opening of “seldom have I enjoyed myself more watching a speech at an airport.”  The second one is on what he said at Mass, with the bonus of an honorary mention of the Swiss Guard Ninja Death Squad Elite.  (Which doesn’t exist.)

Have I mentioned lately that the fellow has guts?

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One Response to The Pope in Cuba

Prayer for the Pope in Cuba

Monday, March 26, AD 2012


“There is not one single social or economic principle or concept in the philosophy of the Russian Bolshevik, which has not been realised, carried into action, and enshrined in immutable laws a million years ago by the White Ant.”

                                                              Winston Churchill

Let us pray today for Pope Benedict while he is in Cuba that, like Moses, he may help lead a people in bitter bondage out of slavery.  Pope Benedict XV named Our Lady of Charity patroness of Cuba in 1916, and therefore we will beseech her aid:

Our Lady of Charity, we humbly ask you to intercede with Our Lord, Your Son, for your suffering people in Cuba.  Inspire the hearts of your people to turn to God and pray for their deliverance from sin and from the tyranny that has deprived them of their freedom for more than five decades.  Strengthen Pope Benedict as he brings the truth of Christ to your people of Cuba longing for that truth and for spiritual and temporal freedom.  Let this year O Lady, if it be the will of God, be a year of Jubilee and Freedom for all Cubans.  We ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.



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Pope to Castro: Drop Communism!

Friday, March 23, AD 2012

7 Responses to Pope to Castro: Drop Communism!

  • I have to think that THAT is what scares dictators like Castro and would-be dictators like Obama the most. Should the good Lord tarry, the Church will still stand even after their day has come and gone. Everyone from Caligula, Commodus, and onward, everyone from Robespierre, Stalin and Hitler are all gone. But the Bride of Christ still stands. Castro and Obama know their fate. And that irritates them no end.

  • “And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.”

    Very nearly came to pass in the person of Sir Keith Parkes. 😉

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  • Quite true Don, but for the efforts of the Defender of London and his brave pilots!

  • Lord Macauley lives! But even more so, the Church!!

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  • Cuba has a leader for life unless resigns (such as Fidel). Fidel would still be president if it wasn’t for his health.

    People, as President Obama is, at most worse case he will ONLY be president (God forbid) for four more years. That’s it. That’s why his policies must be made in such a way they can be revoked and not in place for decades to come…long after the next president comes along.

Rick Santorum & the Data Behind the Catholic, Evangelical, Youth & Women’s Vote

Wednesday, March 7, AD 2012

The divide between the truth of the election results and the punditry of the mainstream media is seemingly growing every major primary election night. Perhaps none more than the recent Super Tuesday results, especially those of Ohio. How could it possibly be that Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator won the youth vote, all voters under 44, and the married women vote? If one listens to the mainstream media, especially that of NBC, MSNBC and the New York Times one would think the only people voting for Rick Santorum would be rust belt pre-Vatican II ordained Catholic priests, and an amalgamation of southern characters such as Jed Clampett, Mr. Haney, as well as some assorted extras from the set of Deliverance. However, the true exit poll results tell us something quite different.

The mainstream media seemed shocked that Rick Santorum didn’t win the Catholic vote and won the Evangelical Vote as well as the others I indicated earlier; young people and married women. I want to delve into the nitty grtty of the statistics and demographics in a few paragraphs but first let me give you some background on those in the heartland who became liberals even though they grew up in GOP circles and folks like myself who became conservative after growing up in a Democratic household.

I grew up in a working class steel and railroad town in Ohio. My family, like many around us was Democrat in party affiliation and social conservative in our mindset. I was educated in Catholic schools (during the 1970s & 80s) and though it was the warm fuzzy era of Catholic education, our nuns and lay teachers never completely bought into the liberal model that was so the rage in cool, upscale areas.

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9 Responses to Rick Santorum & the Data Behind the Catholic, Evangelical, Youth & Women’s Vote

  • “The area west of I-75 in western Ohio might simply be some of the most conservative political real estate in America.”

    The same could be said of the area south of I-80 in Illinois, with a few exceptions such as East St. Louis and university communities like Champaign-Urbana. Our primary is less than 2 weeks away and it will be interesting to see whether the results reflect yours.

    Perhaps it ought to be emphasized here that — in my estimation — while it would be extremely difficult if not impossible for an observant Catholic at this point to vote in good conscience to reelect Obama, I don’t think we should assume that a “good” Catholic MUST or will always vote for Santorum over Romney or Gingrich or Paul. A faithful Catholic could vote for any one of them for a number of reasons and we should not presume Santorum is the one and only “true Catholic” candidate.

  • I love this:

    “Ohio voters who think Paul is too conservative went 45% for Romney. Voters who think Paul is not conservative enough went 39% for Romney.”

    Even The Weathervane’s supporters blow with the predominant breeze.

  • It’s a shame R.Paul is not more eloquent in speech and better looking. He is the better candidate because he is better for America overall than anyone else running on either side. When we focus on “wedge” issues, we lose sight of the bigger picture. He fully supports the constitution, wants to get rid of the FED and his ideas of foriegn policy make much more sense than what we’ve been doing for many decades. I would rather lose a fight that is important to me now (say abortion), but to continue to focus and educate on it locally and get someone in the white house (or senate/congress) that is a true statemen and patriot. Everyone else are simply politicians…

  • Excellent article, David, which I hope the Democratic strategists never read.
    At a pro-life pancake breakfast on Long Island, former friend of Rev Jackson and frequent guest on EWTN, Delores Bernadette Grier, told how Jesse who was himself nearly aborted as a baby, was a pro-life activist with the Archdiocese of New York,and convinced her to become active in the pro-life movement. She said he was told he had to be pro-abortion in order to run for the presidency and gave in.
    So many Catholics followed suit, in order to be accepted by the wider culture, and have the luxuries they craved, they used birth control and voted pro-abortion. They are the Cathoiics who voted for Obama and like, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, are cultural Catholics from the Coast.
    They have no clue that there is a large, vibrant John Paul II generation just now coming of age to vote. Its been said that home-schoolers are Rick’s secret army, and even here in Eastern CT we are organizing for him, and praying for him. Rick knows, I think he intentionally chose Steubenville, OH for his speech on Super Tuesday, since it is the home of JPII Catholic bastion, Franciscan University. I bet he has a lot of support there.

    John Kerry, another cultural Catholic found this out the hard way in 2004 during a campaign rally there. Catholic Evangelist Scott Hahn’s son led half of t he student body to the rally carrying signs reading, “You can’t be Catholic and Pro-abortion!”.
    I pray that such a surprise awaits our president on a November evening when the new wave of Catholics deliver a Santorum victory.

  • Very interesting analysis. Dave Hartline and many other “socially conservative” Catholics were Democrats back in the day. Same could be said for countless others–Abp Chaput, for instance, wrote about working on the Carter campaign. Obviously back in the day the parties were not clearly defined on abortion and, in fact, the Democratic party was actually more socially conservative than the “country club / wasp” dominated GOP prior to Reagan. GW Bush’s whole “compassionate conservative” campaign was specifically designed to win these largely Catholic socially-conservative, economically moderate voters.
    Which brings me to Santorum, whom I find interesting b/c on the one hand he appeals to the same folks as the compassionate conservatives (think Huckabee in ’08, Chris Smith, Norm Coleman in MN, et al). Yet on the other hand he has won the support of many “tea party conservatives” whose anti-government liberterian-laced rhetoric does not jive very well with the Catholic communal ethos. In this light, it makes sense that Romney wins with Catholics b/c he is perceived as more “moderate” and less draconian. Note I am not talking about actual policy differences so much as perceptions, taste and culture.
    Santorum has more appeal with these voters, but as Thomas Sowell pointed out, it is not clear that he is the best candidate to take on Obama. Running for President is ultimately an audition for a job, and the successful business doesn’t hire someone b/c they like them best or b/c they have the same sympathies, but b/c they have the best skills and will do the best job. On the other hand Romney has failed to convince many that he is the one best qualified to knock off Obama and address the nation’s pressing economic and social issues.
    I will continue to follow the votes of Catholics in this election with interest.

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  • “Younger Catholics who attend Mass regularly are more pro-life and adhere to the Church’s teachings more than their baby boomer parents.”

    This may be true. However what percent of the population are these younger Catholics?

  • First of all, I’ve never liked the “compassionate conservative” schtick of GW Bush. It unwittingly implied that conservatism, in and of itself, was lacking in compassion. Likewise, I find Santorum’s “supply side economics for the working man” suffers from the same type of false dichotomy, albeit unwittingly. I think what made Reagan’s approach so effective is that he saw the natural win-win in his conservatism.

    I also think Santorum being an orthodox Catholic and assuming he is knowledgable enough about the faith, I think he needs to start presenting his economic policy in the context of the principle of subsidiarity, which is in line with mainstream conservatism, especially when he speaks to Catholic audiences. He would also do well to show its consistency with mainline conservatism to non-Catholic audiences, particularly in light of the HHS Mandate viz. Obamacare.

    To my knowledge, Santorum has yet to do so.

    Believe it or not, that would be well received by most of the Tea Party. Given their cohesiveness (which smacks of a “communial ethos) and political effectiveness, they are not like Libertarians in that sense who are, to quote Michael Medved, “Losertarians”.