Roundup of Catholic Blogosphere Reaction to Pope’s Condom Comments

Monday, November 22, AD 2010

The Pope’s comments in an unauthorized excerpt release from Peter Seewald’s latest book, “Light of the World, The Pope, The Church and The Signs of the Times”, has caused quite a stir.

Basically he said, as an extreme example, if a male prostitute was to use a condom during sex, it was a step towards a better morality.

Pope Benedict wasn’t speaking ex-cathedra.

Nonetheless, the secular media, like clockwork, has declared that condoms are now allowed by all fornicators (not like dissident Catholics were following the teachings of the Church anyways).

So here is a short roundup of the better informed among us:

Pope Approves Restricted Use of Condoms? – M.J. Andrew, TAC

Understanding Pope’s Dilemma on Condoms – Jimmy Akin, NCRgstr

Condoms, Consistency, (mis)Communication – Thomas Peters, AmP

Pope Changed Church Condoms Teaching? – Q. de la Bedoyere, CH

A Vatican Condom Conversion? – Mollie, Get Religion

Pope: Condoms, Sex Abuse, Resignation & Movie Nights – John Allen

What The Pope Really Said About Condoms in New Book? – Janet Smith

Ginger Factor: Pope Approves of Condoms! – Jeff Miller, The Crt Jstr

The Pope and Condoms – Steve Kellmeyer, The Fifth Column

Condoms May Be ‘First Step’ In Moralization of Sexuality – Cth Herald

Pope Did Not Endorse the Use of Condoms – Fr. Zuhlsdorf, WDTPRS?

Did Pope Change Teaching About Condoms? – Brett Salkeld, Vox Nova

(Hat tips:  The Pulpit & Henry Karlson)

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15 Responses to Roundup of Catholic Blogosphere Reaction to Pope’s Condom Comments

Thoughts on Health Care as a Right

Friday, November 19, AD 2010

As MJ posted yesterday, Pope Benedict was in the news this week in regards to health care this week. A couple things struck me as interesting about this article, and the debate that immediately sprang up around it here.

1. It’s Not All About US Politics

It’s not often that those in the Commonweal and National Catholic Reporter set get to rub their political opponents noses in something and play the, “You’re not a very good Catholic, are you?” game, so it’s hardly surprising if there’s been a bit of crowing in some circles. However, as is often the case, I think it’s a mistake to see this as primarily relating to recent US political struggles, much though Catholic Democrats would like to imagine that the pope is admonishing the USCCB for not supporting ObamaCare. Indeed, the pope’s sentiments should be rather castening to those of us in the developed world:

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41 Responses to Thoughts on Health Care as a Right

  • I think the distinction between the different types of right is useful. If it hadn’t been poisoned by how it is used in this country, the word entitlement is perhaps a better term than right. I.e., I have the right to do X, I am entitled to Y by the society I live in (whether by the government, churches, etc.).

    I also agree that this is not, nor should not be looked at as a chastisement of the current health care bill (I object to the term ObamaCare for two reasons, 1. it was written substantially by congress, and 2. large parts of it were based on Republican ideas for Health Care reform from the 1990s). Certainly, the Pope made clear that the right extended to unborn as well (Which was the key reason the Bishops opposed it.

    I do however, think that at least some of the Pope’s talk can and should be applied to the United States. In particular I object to your characterization of the Health Care debate in this country as being about “an insurance policy which absolutely guarantees that no matter what ails him, he will never have to pay more than he can comfortably afford out of pocket for state-of-the-art care”. I don’t know your personal history, but based on this statement, I can only conclude that you have never faced a major medical bill. Even something as basic as the birth of a child can cost $10,000 or more — even if there are no complications. Even with insurance (Which normally will pay 80% after the deductible… which would be applied both to mother and child), the bill can easily hit $3000.

    Now, I don’t know about you, but $3000 is beyond what I would consider comfortably affordable… particularly if it was for a medical emergency which is harder to plan for than the birth of a child. And remember this is with insurance. As the sole income earner of a young family, a $10,000 (pretty much the minimum I expect for a hospital stay without insurance) bill would exhaust my rainy day fund (You might think I should have saved more… but I invite you to find space in my budget to save more than I do), and require that I did into retirement and/or college savings.

    Of course, anything really serious, and the bill will run into the many tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars (without insurance).

    To give a little example.

    My brother, who also happens now to be a priest, has lived in England for almost 20 years now. Before he entered the seminary, he was working in the sort of temporary job that doesn’t pay much, and in this country is unlikely to come with insurance. He found a lump. In this country, he may have put off going to get it checked out because of how much it would have cost; that decision would have cost him his life. The lump was cancer, and the English Medical system saved his life. I know the English “Socialized Medicine” is not a popular idea in the United States (by either the left or the right), but it not only saved my brother’s life, it saved the life of a future priest. Even if he had gotten it checked out in this country, he would have ended up deeply in debt (and likely taken out the savings of my parents, myself, and my other brother as we tried to help him as much as we could have!).

    Obtaining adequate health care is an issue in the United States, just as much as it is in the third world. Yes, the United States has better health care available, but in both, making it affordable to all is the basic challenge. I don’t know if going to a socialist approach to medicine is the answer (Though frankly, at the rate our society is aging, a large proportion of our population is already in a socialist system or soon will be), but I do know the current system is broken. We pay far more for health care than anyone else in the world, and yet many of our outcomes are worse than the rest of the industrialized world (which do have socialized medicine).

  • DarwinCatholic – I really enjoyed reading both your and MJ’s post/comments. I had a good laugh about the need on waiting for Pope Weigel’s analysis. That my friend is the best line of the day if not of the entire week. I need to re-read both posts so this entire dialog sinks in a little deeper. Truth be told I am a Hillbilly Thomist therefore I have more questions than a statement.

    Is health care a moral matter? Is the view of the Church or the Holy Father on this secular topic infallible? Can good Catholics disagree and still be faithful Catholics? What about the autonomy of the temporal order as it relates to this topic? Health care, at least the prudent application of it, falls in the role of the laity. To be sure we can agree to disagree at that juncture. I am not attempting to be herectical here either and that’s why I am asking questions.

  • Darwin,

    “Perhaps rather more central to the pope’s thoughts than these issues of American politics is the plight of people in the developing world who can’t get basic medicines and treatments which would cost only a few dollars per life saved.”

    You know, I don’t doubt this, but that makes the statements even LESS realistic. How on Earth can you declare a universal, inalienable right to a scarce resource! If it is scarce then not everyone can have it and anyone who does have it can lose it; if it isn’t scarce than no one needs to have a right to it.

    Here is ONE area I think the Pope and many libertarians can agree on – modify or get rid of intellectual property rights! It’s through that nonsense that more efficient producers in the third world have been barred from making cheap medicine because first world behemoths own the patents. We don’t need to declare more inalienable rights – we need to strip certain entities of the “right” to be rent-seeking parasites.

    And yes, there is a difference between active and passive rights. The language of natural law, of classical liberalism and of Pope Leo XIII had been active – you have a right to DO something, not necessarily to have something. Social democrats, American liberals, and I guess the modern Church now uses passive rights; you have the right to have something given to you. You have the right to some good or service.

    The only good or service that I think we recognize as a right – according to our Anglo-American heritage anyway – is to an attorney if we are arrested. And even that’s been problematic time and again. Public defenders are severely overworked, innocent people slip through the cracks because they didn’t get a good defense, state budgets can’t afford to lighten the load by hiring new people; yet everyone has a constitutional right and to counsel.

    Declaring things a right doesn’t help get them to people who need them. It creates a mess of problems instead. We should focus on abolishing the real obstacles between the world’s poor and the medical treatments they need – rent-seeking parasitism from the first world and a lack of respect for property rights and markets in the third world. The WTO has little to do with free trade; its regulations are a part of the problem too.

    http://mises.org/daily/1380

    I finally “get it.” Glad it happened before I turned 30.

  • Is health care a moral matter?

    Well, it has a deep moral dimension insofar as the Church teaches it is a basic right. It’s hard to deny that when the Church says it is derived (i.e., entailed by) the right to life and it describes the right as “basic” and “inalienable.” You are definitely correct that there is much prudential judgment involved in determining how best to fulfill that right. The moral dimension involves the obligation to fulfill and protect the right rather than the mode of fulfillment and protection.

    The Catholic view on rights is that they are BOTH negative/passive and active. They entail prohibitions and moral obligations of fulfillment.

    Is the view of the Church or the Holy Father on this secular topic infallible?

    Probably. The teaching was not issued via an exercise of extraordinary infallibility, but it’s hard to imagine the Church being wrong about a statement about a basic inalienable right. I see this very much along the same lines as the authority of the Church’s teaching on contraception.

    Supposing the Church is not infallible on this matter (i.e., the Church may be in error on a matter of basic human rights), it would still be an authoritative teaching. After all, infallible teaching and binding teaching are not extensionally equivalent (Lumen Gentium 25; First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ 3).

    Can good Catholics disagree and still be faithful Catholics?

    Probably not, since they would be challenging a moral teaching issued in a papal encyclical and continually affirmed by subsequent popes and bishops. This would not be the same as, say, challenging Leo XIII on the role that women are most suited by nature to fulfill.

    The Church’s doctrine of rights [iura] goes back at least to St. Isidore, and finds its fullest and most lucid formulations in Aquinas (which is why CST picked up Aquinas’ view). On this view, moral obligations toward others are derived from a set of basic, inalienable rights, so it would be odd to think that a Catholic can knowingly reject the Church’s position on a source of moral obligation and still be a “good Catholic.” I would say that those who deny that there is a right to access to adequate health care are either woefully ill-informed about the Catholic tradition on right (and reject the teaching on account of pride in one’s own learning and misunderstanding) or they are disposed to challenge the authority of the Church on moral matters. In either case, it’s hard for me to think of such a Catholic as a “good Catholic.”

  • You know there’s quite an irony here.

    I’ve been hearing from MJ since the beginning of this Locke debate that there is this really important difference between Locke and Aquinas – the position they take on the source of good; is it independent of God, or is it God’s will? I don’t think it has one darned thing to do with our debate, but I will say this: it is interesting to me that people who seem to me to be taking the position that we shouldn’t obey God’s will just because it’s God’s will are the first to argue that we should obey the Church’s teaching just because it’s the Church’s teaching.

    What happened to reason? What happened to “reasonableness” as this wonderful criteria for determining what we ought to do? What happened to declaring obedience to the will of a higher authority as “voluntarism”? All of this was at least implied in our discussions.

    I think this is a problem of language more than anything else. I think everyone with a conscience wants everyone who needs health care to have access to it. But I also think it is short-sighted to declare a tangible and scarce good an inalienable, universal right. That has implications that no society can prepare to meet.

    I’m sorry you don’t consider some of us “good Catholics.” But I would have been considered a bad one a long time ago for going to Latin Mass by the same people who shifted away from Leo’s understanding social teaching to this modern view. So I’ll just add one more thing to the list.

  • …Could he mean “right” the same way that my daughter has a “right” to me mothering her? It’s the right thing to do kind of “right”….

    Argh, English!

  • it is interesting to me that people who seem to me to be taking the position that we shouldn’t obey God’s will just because it’s God’s will are the first to argue that we should obey the Church’s teaching just because it’s the Church’s teaching.

    Did I say where I stand on the intellectualist/voluntarist debate? I have not counted myself publicly in either camp. All I have said is that this debate has enormous implications for the nature of rights and how they are to be understood, which is one of the main reasons Locke and Aquinas disagree on the nature of value, rights, and, more specifically, the right to property.

    But I also think it is short-sighted to declare a tangible and scarce good an inalienable, universal right. That has implications that no society can prepare to meet.

    So you are, after all, accusing Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessors Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, of “short-sightedness.” And, naturally, you do not suffer from such short-sightedness since you know better than to think that access to adequate health care is a right.

    As for scarcity, to my knowledge, there have been physicians dating back to the earliest civilizations. It appears you are confusing the difference between a right to something and the historically contingent availability of that something. Indeed, you are not the short-sighted one. Perhaps we can blame the Ludwig Von Mises Institute or Acton Institute for not having the answer you need for this.

    I have a right to life, which puts moral obligations on others in the form of prohibitions against killing and doing injury as well as positive duties to fulfilling that right. Now, imagine I am drowning in a lake and someone walks by. Do they not have a moral obligation to save me if they can? On the Church’s view, yes. But suppose now that there is no one to save me. It’s just me drowning in the lake. Do I suddenly have no right to life since there is such a scarcity of people available to save me? Of course not. The same is true in the case of all basic rights on the Church’s view. Wide availability of means for fulfillment is not a necessary condition for a basic right on the Church’s view. Incidentally, the same is true of libertarian negative rights; no informed libertarian would say that scarcity of means is an indication that there is no basic inalienable right.

    To help you with this, imagine another case. Suppose there is a time period in the world when virtually all the food has been consumed, material resources have been depleted and rendered unusable, and the earth is so polluted that we have no hope of growing crops or tending livestock anytime soon. Would this mean that, since there would be such a scarcity of private property, a tangible and scare good, a libertarian would say that there is not an inalienable right to private property? OF course not. Again, scarcity of means of fulfillment has no bearing whether there is a inalienable right.

    The place where you would need to argue against Pope Benedict XVI is where he derives the right to access to adequate health care from the right to life. That’s where the Pope is doing the work. Focusing on scarcity is a dead-end for the one wants to bring a case against the Pope’s “short-sightedness.”

  • I don’t so much want to argue with the right’s origins – I’ll accept that such a right exists if the Church really says so. What I cannot accept or understand are the utterly empty definitions provided by the Pope and other Bishops.

    The right is contentless. “Health care” can mean so many different things.

  • MJ,

    “So you are, after all, accusing Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessors Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, of “short-sightedness.”

    If they are saying what I think they are saying – but I’m not even 100% sure about that.

    “Perhaps we can blame the Ludwig Von Mises Institute or Acton Institute for not having the answer you need for this.”

    What insulting garbage. It’s sad you can’t argue without this. Pitiful.

    “I have a right to life, which puts moral obligations on others in the form of prohibitions against killing and doing injury as well as positive duties to fulfilling that right”

    That’s not all the right does, first of all. The right to property is a corollary of OUR obligation to preserve ourselves and others. But this does not mean a right to any particular thing, any scarce commodity. It is a right to obtain what need to live from nature by our labor or from the property of another through theft. But as RC points out, you may have a right to steal bread in order to live, but you don’t have a right to have bread continually supplied to you if you can support yourself through labor. It’s for extreme cases only.

    “But suppose now that there is no one to save me. It’s just me drowning in the lake. Do I suddenly have no right to life since there is such a scarcity of people available to save me? Of course not.”

    It’s you who obviously doesn’t understand what scarcity means. Let me put it to you this way: if by some magic health care wasn’t a scarce resource – meaning it could be produced in abundance to satisfy all demand – and we could declare it a positive right, you wouldn’t lose that right because for some reason it couldn’t be supplied to you. But no tangible good that is the product of human labor and subject to economic laws will ever be able to satisfy all demand. So to declare that EVERYONE has a positive right to it is short-sighted if there’s no way everyone can actually have it.

    The word “access” is perhaps where we are getting lost; theoretically everyone has as much a right to “access” health care where it is available, just as everyone has a right to the fruits of their labor and what they can obtain by exchanging those fruits for another thing. But to say it is a positive, universal, inalienable right almost always leads to the conclusion that someone or something must provide that thing for everyone. “Access” isn’t a scarce resource, fair enough. But the actual thing being accessed is.

    I suppose as long as we keep that in mind, no one has to disagree with what the Pope said. But no one EVER disputed “access” in the sense that people have a right to a service they can make a legitimate exchange for. So either this is saying nothing new at all, or it is saying something profoundly new.

    “Would this mean that, since there would be such a scarcity of private property, a tangible and scare good, a libertarian would say that there is not an inalienable right to private property? OF course not.”

    So then the Pope is agreeing with the libertarian view of rights? Ok, sounds good to me. There is an inalienable right to property, including health care, which you have to exchange your property in order to get, but not a positive one. When you combine those two, on the other hand, you get the argument that it is immoral for a person NOT to have health care, even if they have the right to “access” it but can’t because they can make no legitimate exchange. That’s how I see it.

    So to be clear, its this view I am calling short-sighted. I’m not even sure that is the pope’s view, because it was you and not he who said “positive right.”

  • Lets look at an example to illustrate my point: the right to counsel. It is one of the few – it may be the only, in fact – positive rights in our entire theory of rights in the Anglo-American tradition. Everyone has the right to have a lawyer appointed to them if they are arrested and charged with a crime.

    In practice, we’ve seen individual states’ public defenders offices come to the point of bankruptcy and collapse; overburdened defenders get spread out among too many clients, innocent people going to jail because their defender was taxed to the limit, and the modern notion of the right to due process could be put in jeopardy if we continue along this path.

    I don’t know what constitutional implications a fiscal impossibility of providing free counsel to all would entail, but it is clear that the mentality that issues forth from declaring something to be a positive right is that the government has to provide it. And that’s the short-sightedness of which I speak, since it ends up actually depriving people in some cases of their rights. Same with broken down national healthcare systems.

    These are, in other words, economic questions. They are technical problems that cannot be resolved with decrees.

  • Just a small quibble here, Joe. A couple times now you’ve written something like this: “But as RC points out, you may have a right to steal bread in order to live, but you don’t have a right to have bread continually supplied to you if you can support yourself through labor.”

    It’s technically incorrect to describe a man who takes bread from another in this situation as “stealing” or “thieving” the bread. His particular condition, combined with the universal destination of property, entail that in such situations there is no stealing at all. (Aquinas’ and Leo’s position is not that in some instances stealing is morally legitimated; it is that in some cases the taking of another’s property isn’t stealing at all.)

  • WJ,

    It is a quibble. I get your point, but what are we supposed to call the act? “Appropriation by means other than labor?” Distinctions need to be made because of the different circumstances. And it helps if we can sum them up in one word. There is labor, and there is…. what? Taking?

  • “Justice in health care should be a priority of governments and international institutions”

    If health care is dependent upon the UN, I predict the return of Theodoric of York:

    http://www.myspace.com/video/vid/23497313

  • If access to health care is indeed an inalienable human right, then our first priority ought to be doing what we can to get health care to the people MOST in need of it — that is, the Third World peoples who die from treatable conditions and diseases. There are, of course, many people already working on this via medical missions, etc.

    One thing people who are in a position to help (i.e. medical R&D people, physicians themselves, pharma companies, etc.) absolutely cannot do is turn our backs on people like the children dying of cholera in Haiti on the grounds that it’s not our problem, or on the Rushian grounds that we “already gave” to help these people through our taxes. Nor should we, needless to say, be stocking Third World clinics with condoms when they could really use antibiotics, vaccines, and reasonably up to date medical and surgical equipment.

    What I hear the pope saying is that the right of the least of our brothers and sisters not to die or be disabled for life due to easily preventable diseases is a universal, i.e., Catholic, concern. With those needs in mind, I’d say fixing the imperfect but still basically functional healthcare system in the U.S. and Europe might be a bit lower on the priority scale.

  • It is regrettable that the Pope used the term “right” in relation to a person’s ability to obtain health care. Health care cannot be a basic human right because it requires the actions of at least one other person – the rights we have from God are individual, not collective. We all have a moral obligation to ensure that everyone in our society has adequate health care, housing and food – but moral obligations are strictly voluntary. Everyone is perfectly free to be a rat bastard about such things – though, of course, there will come a time when the real Judge will ask for an accounting. I ascribe the use of such terminology as “right” in relation to health care to the Pope’s European background, where such things as government health care are so entirely embedded in society that only deep and long thought on the matter by an European would allow a different conclusion.

    The truth is that the more government provides, the more anti-life government becomes – because the ultimate business of government is not human needs, but power and wealth. If our governments could be staffed entirely by saints, we would have a different circumstance and could safely turn over all decisions to them – but as we simply won’t get that, our only safety in the long run – the only way to have a society of life rather than a Culture of Death – is to strictly limit government’s roll in our lives.

    Now, that being said, there is quite a lot government can do to help ensure that people have basic health care, housing and food – but the best means of doing this is to simply use a surplus in one area to help a dearth in others, and to allow local groups – especially those attached to the Church and other religious bodies – to distribute what is needed to those who are in need (what this boils down to is that wealthy areas like New York would provide things for poor areas like Detroit…but rather than having a person in New York decide what to do, it would be people in Detroit making the call).

    People need help, but government must be limited – if we fail to help or allow government to get too large, we have failed in our moral duty. Striking a balance is what is necessary, and that is what I read in the Pope’s statement.

  • I was too quick to imply that the Pope was short-sighted. It was what I was absolutely certain that every Catholic socialist was going to get out of it that I was reacting to.

  • Maryland Bill,

    In particular I object to your characterization of the Health Care debate in this country as being about “an insurance policy which absolutely guarantees that no matter what ails him, he will never have to pay more than he can comfortably afford out of pocket for state-of-the-art care”. I don’t know your personal history, but based on this statement, I can only conclude that you have never faced a major medical bill. Even something as basic as the birth of a child can cost $10,000 or more — even if there are no complications. Even with insurance (Which normally will pay 80% after the deductible… which would be applied both to mother and child), the bill can easily hit $3000.

    As it happens, I’ve paid for the birth of five children over the last seven years — the first two via insurance (with one of those dreaded HMOs, Kaiser, the cost out of pocket was $500 total) and other three out of pocket via a midwife because our insurance didn’t cover midwifery. We’re not rich, so this was certainly a financial difficulty. But given that food, shelter and medical care are the three major expenses necessary to keep body and soul together in this world, I don’t think it’s necessarily inappropriate that paying for health care be similar in cost to paying for life’s other necessities. I certainly agree as to the necessity of insurance to cover truly catastrophic expenses, such as the experiences our family has had with cancer, in which insurance came very much in handy. But at the same time I think that an excessive reliance on insurance for normal expenses (and I’d consider a normal birth to be a normal expense) is one of the things which has allowed the cost of health care to become so absurd.

    Most of the world would find it almost impossible to imagine getting the level of care that Americans get from a normal HMO — I don’t think we should be shocked at the idea of having to give up some of our wealth (again, rather staggering from a global point of view) in return. There are certainly advantages in certain cases to a system such as that of the UK — but there are also very clear reasons why it is that one’s life expectancy with heart disease or cancer under their system is lower than one’s life expectancy under the US system, individual examples not withstanding.

    So while I certainly think that there are things which could be done better in the US system, I don’t think that we have something so obscenely impossible or expensive that we’re entitled to get worked up about our “rights” being denied.

    Joe,

    How on Earth can you declare a universal, inalienable right to a scarce resource! If it is scarce then not everyone can have it and anyone who does have it can lose it; if it isn’t scarce than no one needs to have a right to it.

    Well, primarily because I don’t think that by calling something an inalienable right the pope means that it must be provided “free” to everyone or that it magically shows up on its own. (That would indeed be pretty silly.) The Pope also talks about a right to food and water and shelter at times — but no one imagines that these are provided without work or without pay, and in all but the most backward and desperately poor countries, they are not generally distributed by the government. They’re produced and paid for by most people on their own, and provided by society to the few who are not able to get their own or receive help from more immediate institutions such as family, church, clan, etc. I would assume the his discussion of health care is in the same area.

    MJ,

    Maybe I’m off, but it seems to me that talking about “inalienable rights” is at best an attempt to translate Church moral teaching into the terms of secular modern discussion (of a European variety, in this case) so I guess I’m unclear what it would mean to say that the Church teaches infallibly that something is or is not a basic human right. It seems more like this is a case of the pope saying something which has been understood by Catholics for a very long time in a new and less clear fashion in an attempt to fit it in with the terminology which modern people normally use.

  • Perhaps this would help clarify thing: It seems to me that one of the basic moral issues at play in the Terri Shaivo case was the refusal of her husband to provide her with the food and water to which she had a basic human right.

    This doesn’t mean that everyone has a right to unlimited free food, but the human person cannot live without food and water, and thus it is (in that use of the term) a basic right. That she was denied this right was clearly wrong (and resulted in her death.)

  • Darwin,

    “Well, primarily because I don’t think that by calling something an inalienable right the pope means that it must be provided “free” to everyone or that it magically shows up on its own. ”

    If it doesn’t mean that, then no one has ever disagreed with this sentiment, from the most radical anarcho-libertarians to the most statist-socialists. I don’t even see why it needs to be said. “Inalienable” means you can’t give it away or have it taken from you; you cannot “alienate” it.

    But if its something you have to make a legitimate exchange for – if it isn’t free, like the right to counsel (“if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed for you”) – then it IS alienable. You can buy it and you can sell it.

    It’s just like saying you have a right to what you can afford, what you can make a legitimate exchange for. That means I have as much a right to health care as I do a new video game or anything else that isn’t blatantly immoral or harmful to the common good (like hard drugs or child porn). No one can rightfully deny me access to Best Buy, and absolutely no one is arguing that people who have the means to afford health care could or should ever be denied it.

    You see, what commies and social democrats mean when they say everyone has a right “access” to health care is that it has to be made available to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. What libertarians mean is that society should look for ways to lower costs so that more people can afford it, and it usually involves getting rid of regulation and bureaucracy. This is an economic problem and a technical problem. Everyone wants everyone to have access to health care. But everyone disagrees on how to provide it. So this statement – the way you’ve presented it in your last comment – is meaningless.

  • “Did you think that money was Heaven sent?”

    I am abjectly uninformed and rapidly approaching senility (Thank God!).

    It appears . . . We all have repented of our sins; gone to Confession; done penance; amended our lives; and through GOOD WORKS glorify Almighty God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior (True God and True Man) in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor for ever and ever. We are all daily praying the Rosary and contemplatng/meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption . . .

    I am probably wrong.

    Anyhow, Bastiat, “The state is that fictional thing wherein everyone lives off of everyone else.” Or, something like that.

  • It is regrettable that the Pope used the term “right” in relation to a person’s ability to obtain health care. Health care cannot be a basic human right because it requires the actions of at least one other person – the rights we have from God are individual, not collective.

    This is not quite right. While a right is, indeed, something held by an individual, a right entails obligations for others (on this point, Joe and I are in full agreement, though he uses the term “corollary” for that relation while I use “entailment”). Aquinas’ discussion of rights is embedded in his Treatise on Prudence and Justice. Justice, he says, is a virtue that always involves interpersonal relationships. Rights, which are a key aspect of justice, therefore always involve interpersonal relationships. To use your words, a right, indeed, “requires the actions of at least one other person.” It makes no sense to speak of rights or justice without also speaking of the actions required by others to protect, respect, or fulfill that right.

  • “It makes no sense to speak of rights or justice without also speaking of the actions required by others to protect, respect, or fulfill that right.”

    I might add to that, “…to the extent possible in a fallen world without violating other rights.”

    That I think would fully encompass CST.

  • Joe,

    If it doesn’t mean that, then no one has ever disagreed with this sentiment, from the most radical anarcho-libertarians to the most statist-socialists. I don’t even see why it needs to be said. “Inalienable” means you can’t give it away or have it taken from you; you cannot “alienate” it.

    But if its something you have to make a legitimate exchange for – if it isn’t free, like the right to counsel (“if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed for you”) – then it IS alienable. You can buy it and you can sell it.

    It’s just like saying you have a right to what you can afford, what you can make a legitimate exchange for. That means I have as much a right to health care as I do a new video game or anything else that isn’t blatantly immoral or harmful to the common good (like hard drugs or child porn).

    Honestly, I’m not sure what’s meant by inalienable in this case — among other things I’d be curious to know what words the pope actually used, as I imagine he didn’t write in English. But in your response here it seems to me that there must be some middle ground between a something being always and everywhere free, and something being a good which is sought via exchange which it’s not anyone else’s concern whether you have or not.

    Let’s start with food, and posit that there is something or other called a right to food. It seems to me that this does mean that if I live in a community and I have plenty of food and fungible resources, and there are also people in the community who, for whatever reason, are unable to get sufficient food to stay alive and basically healthy, this becomes my problem. This is because nourishment and water and basic human necessities to which people have a “right” in some sense.

    Now, at the same time, I don’t think that admitting this means in any way that no one should ever have to pay for food or drink. Indeed, I think clearly people should pay for food and drink pretty much all of the time — in all circumstances except those in which it’s virtually impossible for them to provide for themselves. And what is provided to them by others does not necessarily have to be top notch — it may be the duty of society to make sure that those who lack get a basic amount of bread and meat and dairy and drinking water — but that doesn’t mean they owe them filet mignon or artisan breads or imported wines or even soda. Things which are luxuries beyond the level of necessity are things one clearly needs to get for oneself. Nor, I think, is there any necessity that some sort of social dole give everyone “basic food” when most people are much happier getting their own better food with their own earnings.

    Now, on the other hand, if someone comes to me and says, “There are some poor people in your community who don’t have the money to buy Tour Of Duty 5 at Best Buy,” I may or may not decide that this is something that I want to personally help out with, but it’s clearly not something to which anyone has a “right” in this sense. If someone comes by saying he wants to set up a government program to provide everyone with video games, I’m well within my moral rights to tell him to sod off.

    Now, I think the thing that becomes problematic when you figure out what to do in this regard with health care is that in this day and age it is possible to do so much in regards to health care if one is willing to spend nearly unlimited amounts of money. It seems to me that there are good and realistic ways to see that everyone in society has access to the sort of basic medical treatments which make our life expectancy so much higher today than it was 100 years ago without breaking the budget in any way — while leaving most people responsible for paying for most or all of their care. Just as we don’t feel that we need to have everyone get food stamps, I don’t see that we need to have everyone in some sort of government health care system. And I think that the attempts to put everyone into one are mostly a cynical power play cloaked in progressive language — a program which everyone relies on gives you a lot more power than one that only helps the truly needy.

    But at the same time, no one (including the Church) seems to have managed to come up with a very clear idea of what we do in a situation in which there are almost always additional medical treatments available which have at least some small chance of making a condition better — but the cost is so high that it is clearly impossible to provide such a level of care to everyone.

  • If it isn’t clear, then the Church shouldn’t be making such pronouncements. It doesn’t help to say that everyone “has a right to access health care”, because the word “access” can mean different things.

    Does it mean no one can deny you access? If so, then I agree, and so does virtually everyone else. There are some people who would deny even emergency care to illegal immigrants, but that’s a radical position. Everyone has a right to “access” that which they need to live.

    The question is how one “accesses” this thing. Do they have to make an exchange for it, or do they have it provided for them? Well I think we agree that people who can pay, should. And if we can bring down costs, more people will then have access. But that’s unacceptable to social democrats, who don’t trust the market, and who conflate the absence of the technical means to provide everyone with a thing with the absence of a WILL to do it.

    Supply and demand works; command economies don’t. But no system can provide everything that everyone needs to live; that is why the right to these things is an individual right that follows from a law that all individuals (and not societies) are bound to obey – the law of self-preservation. Our right to property is nothing more than a corollary of our obligation to live.

    If given the chance, technology + markets will deliver to people who demand them the goods and services that they need. Get rid of the rent-seeking conglomerates, modify patent laws so that some company can’t buy a patent on cheap medicines and never use it or allow anyone else to, get rid of any protections or subsidies that hinder the flow of medical goods and services, let people who have the ability and the will to mass-produce them deliver them to those who have need of them. That’s how you will have the most people have the most access, and that’s what we want.

    But if it means they have to have these things provided for them, free of charge, then this is totally destructive to the common good. National healthcare was a luxury of Europe’s post-war arrangement with the US. We rebuilt their shattered society with the Marshall Plan, we shouldered the vast majority of their defense needs, and they had extra resources to play around with. That deal is over. Add to that the fact that their collapsed birth rates mean that fewer and fewer people put into the system than take from it. The fiscal burdens of these programs are unsustainable in the long run.

    Statism doesn’t work. And that’s part of what makes it immoral. If it did work would still be immoral if it violated man’s natural rights. But it doesn’t work, partially because it does violate his rights. It attempts to do by sheer force what is better done by initiative and mutual cooperation. It is artificial, invasive, reactionary, narrowly focused and economically calamitous.

  • A couple of hard sayings which should be put into the discussion:
    Our Lord: “The poor will always be with you”.
    St. Paul: “Who does not work will not eat”.

    It has always seemed to me that discussions about charity fail to realize that charity is a personal virtue. No amount of government aid will replace the virtuousness of charity, which is to say, our obligation.

    There is a reason why Death Panels were included [and will always be included] in such as the latest legislation. It is a question of money. What limits are to be imposed on the expenses of treatment?

  • MJ,

    Which is why I put it as “regrettable” rather than “wrong”. In moral terms, if I came across you starving in the snow, you would have a right to expect that I, as a moral person, would pull you out of it and give you at least sufficient to prevent death. But you have no right to compel me to do so – even God doesn’t take that office; its purely voluntary.

    Far too many things are classed as rights in our modern society, and very mistakenly. Our entire world view is deformed by a series of lies which have been presented with such force and persistence that hardly any one is willing to challenge the underlying lies. In order for us to come to correct conclusions, the underlying data must be correct – to speak of a fundamental right to health care plays too well in to the hands of those who wish to compel us to do things which are going to be counter-productive.

    Remember, right now the Church is battling those who would use the health care law to compel Catholic hospitals to provide abortion and birth control. If health care is a right, then abortion is a right – so goes the thinking of the Culture of Death. Great care needs to be taken that we on the side of life provide no hand hold for the Culture of Death.

  • A couple of hard sayings which should be put into the discussion:
    Our Lord: “The poor will always be with you”.
    St. Paul: “Who does not work will not eat”.

    Context, context, context.

    Christ said this to Judas (John 12), who objected to costly perfumed oil being used on Jesus just before the Last Supper. Judas objected that the oil could be sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus, knowing that Judas did not care for the poor, told him that the poor will always be there for ministry, but that Jesus would not always be with them. The insinuation is that even if oil had not been used on Jesus, Judas would never care about giving money to the poor. The context of this line is Jesus’ preparation for his death. It surely has nothing to do with saying that there must be poor
    among us or that there will always be poor people.

    St. Paul (2 Thess 3) is admonishing the Christians at Thessaloniki to avoid being busy bodies and involving themselves in others affairs. The ones who “refuse to work” are the ones who are acting disorderly, involving themselves in the affairs of others rather than being willing to”work quietly and to eat their own food.” Paul tells the Thessalonians to “shun” these individuals and not to keep table with them (recall that St. Paul is insistent throughout his letters that Christians should not share table with those who mock the faith or live immoral lives). For Paul, a Jewish Christian, sharing meals was an intimate affair reserved for family. In the context of faith, that would be the brethern in Christ. What Paul certainly is not making is a statement about labor, wages, and food supplies.

    It has always seemed to me that discussions about charity fail to realize that charity is a personal virtue. No amount of government aid will replace the virtuousness of charity, which is to say, our obligation.

    Bear in mind that Aquinas, whose treatment of justice was adopted by the Church, treats Charity and Justice separately. The latter treatment involves the basic rights of individuals and the moral obligations that fulfill/respect those rights. On Aquinas’ and the Church’s view, fulfilling/respecting the basic rights of individuals is a matter of justice primarily, and society is charged with solving those co-ordination problems that violate these rights. As Christians, we are called to go above beyond this minimum, which would be by why of charity.

    There is a reason why Death Panels were included [and will always be included] in such as the latest legislation. It is a question of money. What limits are to be imposed on the expenses of treatment?

    If a “Death Panel” is that panel of persons who determines whether or not to allocate monetary resources for medical treatment, then “Death Panels” are not a problem with “the latest legislation.” On your view, my health insurance carrier has got its own “Death Panel” that decides how much and to whom monetary resources will be distributed. The “who pays” question is tricky one that plaques private and public health care systems.

  • But you have no right to compel me to do so – even God doesn’t take that office; its purely voluntary.

    If by “compel” you mean “force,” then you’re right: God probably won’t causally force you to perform your duty. But neither would a government that legally obligates you to discharge your duty. One thing is probably certain: God and/or the government will punish you for not discharging your duty. So really, your point here is irrelevant when it comes to determining what rights individuals have and which moral obligations are entailed by those rights.

    Far too many things are classed as rights in our modern society, and very mistakenly.

    Agreed. But what criteria are we to use to determine what are rights and what are not rights? I think the Church, who is the leading authority on moral questions, provides good criteria.

    In order for us to come to correct conclusions, the underlying data must be correct – to speak of a fundamental right to health care plays too well in to the hands of those who wish to compel us to do things which are going to be counter-productive.

    But this certainly would not mean that such a right does not exist. This is a lot like Joe’s point on scarcity; scarcity of means and possible misinterpretations are irrelevant as to whether or not there is a right to something. Rights, since they are part of our nature and necessarily flow from the value of our nature, are prior to any contingent events in the world, such as scarcity of means or government coercion.

    If health care is a right, then abortion is a right – so goes the thinking of the Culture of Death. Great care needs to be taken that we on the side of life provide no hand hold for the Culture of Death.

    Agreed. Yet, part of taking “great care” is speaking the truth about human nature and value. Downplaying or disavowing an inalienable right would not be proclaiming the truth about human dignity.

  • MJ,

    “Rights, since they are part of our nature and necessarily flow from the value of our nature, are prior to any contingent events in the world, such as scarcity of means or government coercion.”

    Let’s just cut the crap.

    If “right to access” means obligation to make affordable to all, then we are obliged to consider scarcity; it has a direct bearing on whether or not any number of people can actually access that to which they have a right.

    If “right to access” means obligation to provide for all regardless of cost, then we’ve entered la-la land and are insisting upon the impossible.

    It costs governments and societies NOTHING to recognize natural rights, and a little more to protect them, and that is why scarcity doesn’t apply to them. My right to property isn’t contingent upon the availability of property, but it doesn’t oblige the government to provide me with it. In Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII says that it would be good if governments would find ways to encourage more widespread property ownership. But nowhere does he say that the right to property entails a societal or governmental obligation to provide everyone with property. It only means that you have a claim to what is RIGHTFULLY yours – that which you earn by your labor, or in extreme cases, you take from another without their consent.

    The same with healthcare. If an “inalienable right” to healthcare does not oblige governments to provide it – as it would appear to do if it is also a “positive right” – then I agree, there is an inalienable right to health care that could just as well be subsumed under the right to private property. There would be no need to single out health care as a specific right.

    And if we find that people are without it in large numbers, and we want to rectify that situation – which is clearly what the pope wants, and what we all want – then it is the naming of it or unnaming of it as a right that is irrelevant, while its scarcity is of the utmost relevance.

  • If “right to access” means obligation to make affordable to all, then we are obliged to consider scarcity; it has a direct bearing on whether or not any number of people can actually access that to which they have a right.

    I don’t think the “obligation” is specified as “make affordable to all.” Rather, access to health care could be instantiated in many different ways. You are correct that one particular instantiation (e.g., affordable health care) would then take into account scarcity. But it is not true that scarcity need to be considered when discussing the right itself, whose corresponding obligations might have several instantiations, some of which would not involve scarcity.

  • Ok. Let me just ask: which “instantiations” would not involve scarcity?

  • Ok. Let me just ask: which “instantiations” would not involve scarcity?

    Like when we consider the putative right to private property, we admit that there is scarcity of all material goods and, consequently, the arts that make use of those material goods (e.g., manufacturing, medicine), insofar as matter is finite and limited. But I think you and I agree that this necessary scarcity is not what you are focusing on, since it would provide the same dilemma for a putative right to private property (and, note well, I am not thinking of a right to any specific thing, like that piece of baguette or that Toyota Corolla).

    The putative right to private property is a general, unspecified right whose fulfillment can come by why of prohibition of acts that violate it (when it is considered as a negative/passive right) or by way of some positive act (when it is considered as an active right). The putative right needs some content, which is to say that the individual does not exercise this general right until the individual takes into possession some material thing (let’s leave aside for now things like “intellectual property”). That material thing would be an instantiation of private property. Whatever that material things is, say, a blue Honda VTX1800, is a specification of that instantiation. The act by which you acquired the VTX, say, by purchasing it, would be a particular instantiation of a positive action whereby you exercise your right. The regime of private property and the market in the United States would be specific instantiations of fulfilling/protecting your right to private property in general, and the possession of your VTX specifically.

    You do not have a right to a blue Honda VTX1800. You have a putative right to private property, and the possession of the VTX would be an instantiation of that. The regime of private property in the U.S. would be an instantiation of an act of protecting/fulfilling your right. VTX1800 is a scarce good–there just aren’t enough produced to go around to everyone who wants them. Further, our regime of private property operates by and large on money and credit, and these are themselves scarce and limited. So, again, there is no individual right to a Honda VTX1800, but there is, on your view, an individual right to private property in a general, non-specific sense. Now, the regime of private property in the US is one many different imaginable instantiations of measures to protect/fulfill your right to private property, and this regime is a contingent, historical arrangement. Further, that Honda VTX1800 is a contingent, historical product. Neither it nor the US regime of private property are necessary, whereas your putative right to private property, like every historical human being’s putative right to private property, is, you would grant, a necessary aspect of being human. The scarcity of Honda VTX1800s or any specified thing has no bearing on your general right to private property, just as whether there is a coordinated market system for exchange like the one in the U.S. has no bearing on your general right to private property. Your right is prior to specific things and regimes that protect it. We can imagine other instantiations of the exercise of your putative right, the way it is protected/fulfilled, and the system in which these actions take place.

    Now move to health care. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that we agree that there is an individual right to access to adequate health care. So you have an individual right to health care, and that right is a general right. You have no more right to a specified treatment, such as a CAT scan, than you do to a specified thing like a Honda VTX1800. Like the right to private property, you do not have a right to any specific medical product or treatment. The exercise of your right to health care, like in the case of the putative right to private property, takes place historically within contingent arrangements, techniques, and products. Now, the fact that health care in, say, the U.S. today, is market-based, privatized, and rendered by way of money or credit is purely contingent. Health care in the U.S. (like in the U.S. regime of private property) is embedded in a purely contingent system, and within that system money and credit are scarce and limited. Moreover, the specific advanced technologies that are used are themselves scare and limited. But who says that health care can only be instantiated in such ways? We can imagine arrangements for health care that do not look like this, and we can find real, historical arrangements that did not look like this. The scarcity that you and I are talking about is not built-in to a general notion of health care. Surely we can think of alternative means of health care that do not utilize the same arrangements, treatments, and tools as, say, Westernized health systems do, and we can imagine exchange systems that are not arranged in the same way as that in which U.S. health care is embedded. Adequate health care ranges in its instantiations from, say alternative medicine to the business model of health care. If you want me to say that CAT scan machines and hospitals are scarce, then you got it. They’re scarce. But what has this contingent fact to do with a right to access to adequate health care that is general and necessarily flows from the right to life?

    By “health care” we should not focus on any one historical instantiation of a health care system and how access to it is given. By “adequate” we should not think that this means entitlement to every single state-of-the-art treatment, technique, and rehabilitation there is.

    Now, going back to instantiations, if the current health care system in the U.S. is so arranged that it has created scarcity of services, instruments, etc., then it is, indeed, a special challenge for it to meet the right to access to adequate health care. But the scarcity issues is a problem of that specific instantiation of health care, not a problem for the right that is prior to any concrete arrangement.

    A bigger, related question is: Where do we find the notion of right, be it in Aquinas, Locke, or any major rights thinker, involving scarcity? In other words, do any of these thinkers say anything implicitly or explicitly about scarcity of means of fulfillment being a defeasor of rights claims?

  • MJ,

    “The scarcity of Honda VTX1800s or any specified thing has no bearing on your general right to private property”

    Right. That’s exactly what I said in the last post:

    “My right to property isn’t contingent upon the availability of property, but it doesn’t oblige the government to provide me with it.”

    All the right to private property entails is that I have a right to that which I produce by my labor, and to things produced by the labor of others by legitimate exchange under normal circumstances, and “theft” under extreme circumstances, and that the government has an obligation to protect my property and to not prosecute me when I break the civil law against theft in order to fulfill my natural obligation to live.

    No one can produce health care solely by their own labor. They either have to exchange for it, receive it as a free gift, or steal it (or have someone steal it for them). Which of these a person has a right to do depends entirely upon their circumstances. A person who isn’t dying and who isn’t living below subsistence level has no right to petition the government to steal from others to provide them with it, or accept what amounts to stolen property.

    All I want to know is, and all I care about is, what this “right to access health care” obligates or does not obligate government to do, whether it obligates it to plunder from the rich to give to the poor, or whether it obligates it to stop catering to special interests and allow the market to work. The right has to have some implication for the actions of government, which is charged with the protection of natural rights.

    But to say health care is a POSITIVE right creates in the minds of many a government obligation to provide it to everyone, in the same way everyone has a right to a lawyer (and that doesn’t work either). It means someone’s gotta give it.

    This doesn’t work because healthcare is a scarce resource, and because it is wrong to so grossly violate property rights. Scarcity matters IF it is a government obligation to provide health care for everyone, if that is what this right entails. And it matters still regardless of whether we are talking about CAT scans or tongue depressors – they all have costs, they are not infinite. It matters whether the scheme is a “Western” one or a Chinese one, since no treatments are going to be made without scarce resources unless they involve nothing but prayer. Acupuncture needles have costs as surely as MRI’s, and even they can’t be distributed without cost.

    The bottom line is this: Government obligation to provide + scarcity = bloated budgets, deficits, more borrowing, more inflation, fiscal instability, rationed care, decline in quality, and so on. To maintain a universal, inalienable, positive “right” to health care in such an environment, under such a mandate, is to invite social calamity.

    But if we agree that the inalienable right to health care doesn’t mean that the government is obliged to provide it, then I suppose we have no disagreement.

    But if it doesn’t mean that, then I don’t even see why it needs to be declared a right. It can be subsumed under general property rights. Where there is a demand, people will use their property rights to produce a supply and earn a profit.

    Think about it this way: the natural right to property doesn’t mean that the government has an obligation to provide everyone with property (if it did then we would have to consider its scarcity – and none of the great thinkers considered scarcity because they didn’t understand the right to property as entailing a government obligation to provide it), but it DOES mean that the government has an obligation under the social contract to PROTECT it.

    Now if health care is a natural, inalienable right, that would mean that governments are obliged to protect it too. How would they do this? What would this look like, assuming that protection does not = providing? Nothing more than protecting your right to make a legitimate exchange of the product of your labor for health care goods and services, or to receive emergency care if you are in danger of death regardless of your ability to pay. And no one contests this or denies it, or at least few do (and those that do aren’t going to be writing policy any time soon). It protects this right in the same way and for the same reason it protects your right to any other good or service.

    So what purpose does isolating and singling-out health care serve? If we want to prioritize health care because it is a right and people don’t have it, a government mandate isn’t going to deliver, even though people assume that this is what the right entails. If the goal is to get as many people health care as possible, then we don’t need to declare it a right, we just need to make its production and distribution more efficient.

    And it seems to me that is the goal of these declarations – to impress upon people the urgency of the problem, which wasn’t even considered in the past. All of the sudden this inalienable right to this specific thing springs up?

    You bring up the example of the medieval doctor – everyone had a right to access his limited time and resources. Ok. Well everyone has a right to access any doctor today. So nothing’s changed there. But that medieval doctor was supported by his lord. Today’s doctors aren’t. They sink or swim on their own, unless the government is paying for them. But unless we want medical care to sink back down to medieval standards, we’d better figure out a way to get off that.

    The real problem is that we now live in a society in which some people have adequate and more than adequate health care, while others go without. But rather than seeing the glass as half-full and encouraging the process by which it came to be so, social democrats see it as half-empty and want to arrest that process, which they think can’t fill the glass. That’s what it comes down to.

    And now we come to this:

    “Neither it nor the US regime of private property are necessary”

    That’s what you said. And I accept that, only because I don’t even think that the US has an acceptable “regime of private property” entirely in accord with our natural rights. It’s just not as grossly in violation of them, yet, as the EU or Canada is.

    But the pope, I realize, is speaking to a world audience. And in some places “right to” means “right to have someone give it to me for nothing”, whereas in other places it means “right to acquire it through my labor.” I’ve spent a lot of time around socialists, and a lot of time around libertarians. I know what those words mean to them.

    So what are we talking about?

  • Let me go at it from yet another perspective.

    There is a natural right that places an obligation on others to provide something for someone else: children have a natural right to the property of their parents. Parents have an obligation to provide for their children. They don’t just protect their child’s right to provide for themselves as the government does for adults; the have to actually provide FOR them.

    So unless the government is to become our mother and our father – which is the goal of all commies and pinkos – then this obligation can’t exist under natural law.

  • Why would you need to define a right to health care if all it means is that no one can stop you from accessing it?

    Are some people denied adequate health care by something other than a lack of resources and money?

  • “Are some people denied adequate health care by something other than a lack of resources and money?”

    Well, aren’t residents of some Third World countries denied health care (as well as food, water, shelter, and a means to make a living) by the action or inaction of their corrupt and oppressive governments?

  • Why would you need to define a right to health care if all it means is that no one can stop you from accessing it?

    Wait, there are places doing that– I seem to remember some fairly high profile ones where children deemed terminal wouldn’t be released into their family’s custody, but they wouldn’t be treated, either.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there were policies in place to forbid even basic treatment of some folks, since we are in the same world where the Church had to point out that “offer water to drink” isn’t medical treatment.

  • Good point Foxfier. Elaine, too.

    Maybe the Pope is talking to these issues?

  • The reason why medical expenditures are through the roof is because of federal mandates to begin with. Get the government out of our medical care is essential to a free market system. That and the 10th Amendment never gave government the authority to regulate in such matters.

    Want costs to go down? Get rid of unconstitutional government intervention.

  • Though limited resources may play a role in providing a right and thus limiting what can be done. From the Pope:

    “Because an individual’s health is a “precious asset” to society as well as to himself, governments and other agencies should seek to protect it by “dedicating the equipment, resources and energy so that the greatest number of people can have access.”

    Note the Pope does not say that “all people” have access but rather the “greatest number.” This is quite consistent with CST and not just because the Pope said it here. This is clearly an aspect of CST. CST is not a utopian project where “inalienable right” necessarily translates into “must be provided.” CST takes into account human, economic and political realities including limits in human knowledge, redistributive efforts and resources. CST accepts that provision of rights will not necessarily be universal even if the right applies to all.

  • I think there are several take home messages. First, that there are numerous principles of CST. Understanding those principles in their totality is difficult and at times not clearly defined even by the Church. That doesn’t mean we don’t seek to apply them but that Catholics may disagree on their application.

    Principles like subsidiarity and solidarity are cornerstones of CST. They are supplemented by principles such as the right to private property and the preferential option for the poor. Neither of the latter two are absolute in that property and the preferential option for the poor must be in accord with the common good. If these goods threaten the good of others then there can be reasonable limits placed. (Thus another reason why rights in the Church, which do not appear to generally be absolute but for the most part limited by one factor or another, do not necessarily have to be met in all circumstances.)

    Part of CST is that govt. does have a role in regulating these issues but that these matters, as a matter of solidarity and not just subsidiarity, may be met by more primary institutions such as family, local bodies etc. That the teachings of the Church are not themselves a “third way” in the world but rather are the principles to guide the laity in forming the world is itself a core principle of CST. As such, Catholics may disagree on the particular policies and still be good Catholics.

    All this, even if Locke is inconsistent with CST. 🙂

In An Unprecedented Move, Left Leaning Bishop Kicanas, Vice President Of US Bishop’s Conference Passed Over For Right Leaning Archbishop Dolan

Tuesday, November 16, AD 2010

It was as stunning, as it was unexpected; by a vote of 128-111 the left leaning Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Vice President of the US Bishop’s Conference was passed over for President of the US Bishops by New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan. In the history of the US Bishop’s Conference, a sitting Vice President has never been passed over for another candidate. It had been assumed to be a foregone conclusion that Bishop Kicanas of Tucson, who is a protégé of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and his seamless garment theology, would easily win.

A number of factors may have tipped the scales toward the gregarious and well loved new Archbishop of New York. Tim Drake wrote an article about Bishop Kicanas which called into question his role as head of Chicago’s Mundelin Seminary. Some had questioned why the future bishop would allow a man who to be ordained even though many had questions concerning the prospective priest’s background. The priest would later be charged with molestation.

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11 Responses to In An Unprecedented Move, Left Leaning Bishop Kicanas, Vice President Of US Bishop’s Conference Passed Over For Right Leaning Archbishop Dolan

  • I’m sure most people will be pleased, not the least, our own Bishop Owen Dolan of Palmerston North diocese (retired) who is the cousin of Archbp. Timothy, and paid a visit to him earlier this year after leading our Diaconate retreat inj Auckland.

    Orthodoxy will prevail. 🙂

  • The Tide is certainly turning, though lets see if good Abp Dolan can back his words with action.

  • Hey Don the Kiwi, I’ve been meaning to ask you about the Archbishop down in Wellington and his level of orthodoxy…

    I visited your beautiful country for a month back in 2007, all of the north island and most of the south island (didn’t get down to Dunedin or the southeastern corner of that island), and I really fell in love w/ Wellington for its mix of people, physical beauty, and vibrant culture. I went to an evening Mass on a Sunday at the cathedral, and was fortunate enough to see the Archbishop preside then. I spoke with him briefly afterwards, and like all good kiwis, he was friendly to this Yank. I don’t remember his homily being anything extraordinary, but it was solid, although I do remember seeing a couple of altar girls serving, as well. Any thoughts on the Archbishop of Wellington?

    Kevin

    P.S. I did pass through Palmerston on my way to the wine country near Hawkes’ Bay. Some delicious wines are produced down there!

  • It’s unfortunate that there are “left-learning” Bishops and “right-leaning Bishops.” Is it possible to use the categories “orthodox” and “heterodox” instead?

  • Zach, if you only knew the hornet’s nest I stirred up by using the word heterodox and orthodox at a church gathering some time ago. There are still some people who won’t speak to me today simply because I used those words. I am of the belief that since I didn’t invent the labels; orthodox or heterodox, along with liberal or conservative, I shouldn’t be held to account if I or someone else fits or doesn’t fit into these particular labels. It seems to that those who are secure in their beliefs don’t mind being called liberal or conservative, and or orthodox or heterodox.

  • Hi Kev in Texas.

    I visited your beautiful country back in 2007……..”

    Keep that up mate, we’ll make you an honorary Kiwi. 😉

    Wellington is indeed a pretty city, but depending on the time of year you visit. Winter time brings very cold and strong southerly winds – the city is known as “windy Wellington”; its also on a major techtonic faultline, so like San Francisco, is gonna get a big one one day in the not too distant future.

    The Archbishop of Wellington diocese is John Dew, and is probably the 2nd most liberal of our 7 bishops in NZ, the most liberal being Bp. Peter Cuneen of Palmerston North diocese (Bp.Dolan is retired and more conservative) I live in Tauranga in the North Island, and part of the Hamilton diocese. Our bishop is Denis Browne, and is slightly liberal of centre, but a fine bishop. Our most orhtodox/conservative bishop is Barry Jones of Christchurch, who is the only Bp. in NZ who sticks to the old traditional “Our Father”. But being such a small country and a small number of bishops, they can’t stray too far from the centre without arrousing comment – although the Church in NZ generally is slightly liberal, but with a strong orthodox bent – like me (forget the liberal though 🙂 )

    And yes, we are blessed with some regions that allow the grape to provide some great beverages. NZ Savignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are world beaters, and our reds are getting better all the time. I’ve gotta say though, that its very hard to beat the Aussies for great reds – but we’re catching them.

    And if you happen to be visiting again, be sure to contact me and we’ll see if we can meet up. ( Don McClarey has my e-mail)

    Bless you, brother.

  • BTW Kev in Texas.

    What part of the State are you? I correspond from time to time with Mark Windsor in Dallas.
    Just sayin’. 🙂

  • So what’s going to change as a result of this? The liberal bureaucracy of the USCCB remains in tact (and will continue to undermine the efforts of orthodox, pro-life efforts).

    It’s great that Archbishop Dolan “speaks out.” But actions speak louder than words. Obama still got his award. Pro-aborts in Milwaukee and NY continue to receive the Eucharist. And in Wisconsin, a bill that forces Catholic pharmacists and Catholic hospitals to distribute the morning after pill went unopposed by Archbishop Dolan–providing cover to enough RINOs that the bill was passed into law despite a Republican-held legislature.

    I don’t mean to be uncharitable, and I’m glad for Dolan’s victory. But let’s not pretend like the landscape has changed. We need heroes, and aside from Cardinal-Elect Burke, they are few and far between.

  • Zach, left-leaning isn’t always synonymous with heterodox… in this particular instance, I’m fairly sure that Bishop Kicanas *is* a left-leaning but orthodox bishop.

    I’m overjoyed that Archbishop Dolan will be the public face of the USCCB, but I don’t think we need to wait to have a bench full of right-leaning bishops in order to do what is ultimately the most effective form of social, cultural and political transformation: our own sanctification.

  • The homosexualists had their last, great hope of transforming the church snuffed by this election. We can be sure that another orthodox, Abp. Kurtz, will be elevated from the vice presidency to replace Dolan three years from now.

Midterm Election Results Show The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

Wednesday, November 3, AD 2010

While most political pundits mull over the stunning defeat the Democrats suffered in the 2010 midterm election (some 60 seats in the House and at least seven in the Senate,) most pundits, including Catholic pundits will not have noticed a striking phenomena.  Though practicing Catholics easily went for McCain-Palin in 2008, the entire Catholic vote went for the Obama-Biden ticket somewhere between five to eight percent. Yet, in 2010 we are told that Catholics voted over 60+% against candidates who supported the Obama agenda. I have yet to see a statistic for practicing Catholics, but we can assume it is much higher than 60%. This turnaround is unprecedented in the history of political polling. Though, I do believe the majority of this is the result of economics, we are seeing a fundamental shift among Catholics. Some Catholics have abandoned the Church (and their conscience) to secularism and to entertainment based mega churches, but many Catholics now see the wisdom of Catholic orthodoxy. After the momentous mid-term election results, what a relief it is to see an open practicing Catholic as the new Speaker of the House (John Boehner,) compared to the outgoing Speaker (Nancy Pelosi) who openly defied the Teachings of the Church and her archbishop.

However, the good news doesn’t just end with the incoming new speaker. There were some great Catholic victories and I will highlight two of them. Those Catholics who aren’t ashamed about the 2,000 year old teachings of the Church were rewarded with unabashedly Catholic politicians like Senator elect Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Congressman elect Sean Duffy in Wisconsin, both reliable blue states. Toomey has been a trooper for pro-life causes while Duffy and his wife Rachel Campos Duffy have been big advocates for traditional parenting. They have a growing family and have not been ashamed of standing out in a world that is often hostile to traditional religion. Both were MTV Real World partipants and Rachel was the last one cut from being on the View. One can only imagine her going toe to toe with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar (probably why she wasn’t picked.)

After the liberal perfect storm victory of 2008, I found myself on the receiving end of those who said Catholic orthodoxy, and or the conservative Catholic lifestyle was going the way of the horse and buggy. However, the hangover of liberal Big Government and the moral decay that goes along with those who think every lifestyle, feeling, whim, or urge needs to be embraced has aided many Catholics to see the wisdom of the two thousand year old teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition, I am sure hearing the latest rants of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, along with reading the latest screeds against Catholic orthodoxy from the likes of Catholics like outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and columnists Maureen Dowd and E J Dionne has helped many see the light.

The plummeting poll numbers of liberals coupled with a few announcements from the Holy See must have made for an eternity for the left, primarily the Catholic left. In those days leading up to election day, Pope Benedict XVI gave an address on the plight of migrants and illegal aliens. The Holy Father spoke of the compassion one must have for those on the run, but he clearly stated that nations have the right to defend their borders and accept the integrity of their nation state. This was certainly a blow to those on the Catholic left, including some clergy and even a few prelates who seemed to favor unlimited immigration.

The finishing blow for the Catholic Left occurred when it was announced that Archbishop Raymond Burke formerly of St Louis and now head of the Vatican Court was going to be made a Cardinal. If that wasn’t bad enough, Cardinal Elect Burke made one of his patented unflinching addresses on the grave sin of those Catholics who vote for politicians that support abortion and same sex marriage. It was also announced that Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington DC was also to be named a Cardinal. Though friends with Cardinal Elect Burke, the two have sparred over whether Catholic politicians should be banned from receiving Holy Communion, something Cardinal Elect Wuerl is against. Cardinal Elect Burke has stated that the arguments used by his brother Cardinal Elect Wuerl and others, that state banning pro abortion politicians from receiving the Eucharist would politicize the sacrament and there is still much teaching to be done on the subject, are “nonsense.”  

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28 Responses to Midterm Election Results Show The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

  • Yes, because nothing is so close to our Holy Mother Church as the platform of the Republican party in America.

  • Glad you finally recognize that. 😉

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  • I wouldn’t conflate electoral trends with trends in the Church more generally, still less (shudder) the Republican Party. Did the 2008 elections show the tide was turning away from Catholicism?

  • Do you have an example of Cdl-Des. Wuerl’s past chiming in about considering the greater good and one’s conscience?

  • John Henry, every political wave has an impact on religion and vice versa. I am sure I am not the only one who has heard anecdotal evidence of some saying after 2008 that they didn’t need religion and or specifically the Catholic Church. This is not unusual. For example, not everyone who went out to San Francisco during the Summer of Love in 1967 was a budding liberal. Some were conservative kids who went on a moral bender (so to speak) and came home and once again embraced the truths they were taught growing up.

    However, what I believe to be of greater significance are those liberals who thought after the Election of 2008, that they truly were the “ones we have been waiting for” (remember that speech?) However, world peace and economic nirvana didn’t come to fruition, actually far from it. Because of it, some realized what Big Government could never do and resumed their quest for the truth. In those quests, a 2,000 year old institution (the Church) becomes an interesting option. Now I am not asserting that it is anything but a tide. I hope some day to talk about a tsunami. However, a tide sure beats stagnant water.

  • There are very few Catholic Bishops and Prelates that support unlimited immigration. Theere are many that support comprensive immigration reform

    Conservative Catholic job will also include pointing out the extreme no amnesty crowd that there is a differnce especilly in this COngress

  • Dave:

    I’ve read those links. In fact, I double checked them before posting my question to you.

    Neither of them quote Cdl-Des. Wuerl talking about considering the greater good and one’s conscience.

    Do you have an example where he does what you say he “usually” does?

  • Tom K, in the interest of clarity I have reworded the paragraph to state that both men have a disagreement over denying Holy Communion to pro abortion politicians. Cardinal Wuerl doesn’t agree with it, while Cardinal Elect Burke says there is no other choice.

  • It’s helpful to remember that being a Cardinal or being a Pope makes one neither prudent nor wise.

    I have come to believe that there are two Magisteriums: that of the bishops, and that of the saints. While the bishops generally do a very good job articulating the dogmas of faith, they generally do a poor job of living those dogmas out. They generally an even worse job of articulating the prudential application of those dogmas. In other words, they can tell you that the Golden Rule is right, but they generally don’t live it, and hence, they usually don’t know how to explain it.

    The saints, however, live the truth in love. Their living Magisterium teaches us what all those encyclicals and councils mean. I speak, of course, not simply of the saints officially recognized by the bishops, but of all the saints.

    When it comes to Cardinal-to-be Burke, then, I remember the words of Christ: “do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”

  • Dave:

    Capital!

    I remain fascinated by this statement: “It appears Pope Benedict XVI’s elevation of Cardinal Burke to such a senior position in the Vatican caused the establishmentarian spiritual leader of the nation’s capital (as well as its various legislative bodies) to hold his tongue.”

    Cdl-Des Burke, of course, held his current position in the Vatican when Cdl-Des Wuerl gave the interview in the link you suggested to me, and as you indicate they will both be made cardinals at the same time. To me, that makes it appear that Pope Benedict’s elevation of Cdl-Des Burke is demonstrably not the reason Cdl-Des Wuerl held back a comment on Cdl-Des Burke’s statement. But then it’s not even apparent to me that he had a comment to hold back.

  • Dowd is Catholic? Really?

  • Yes! Cardinal Burke and I seem to agree. You probably will not be getting into Heaven if you vote dem.

    Nate: OUCH. I know you have good intent. The real Church counsels charity and truth in all things.

    Teachable Moment: Calumny is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary (1992) as a “false statement maliciously made to injure another’s reputation.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) places calumny as a serious sin under the Eighth Commandment, “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neihbor.” The Catechism states, “He becomes guilty of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them” (2447). The Catechism notes that calumny offends “against the virtues of justice and charity” (2479).

    Please don’t emulate them vile, kool-aid drinking marxists.

  • Maureen Dowd’s uncle was Tommy (“the Cork”) Corcoran. He paid her way when she was an undergrad at Catholic University.

  • Dave is very clear that the connection between the Faith and yesterday’s voting pattern is based on the tendency of many individual Republicans at this time to believe in the holiness of life and the dignity of the individual. I understand that several generations ago those who identified themselves as Republicans were less protective of the unborn than those who then identified themselves as Democrats. The stability and the consistency are in the Faith, not in shifting party labels.

  • “Cardinal Burke and I seem to agree. You probably will not be getting into Heaven if you vote dem.”

    Well, in that case I’m doomed because I did actually vote for ONE Democrat this time… a candidate for a local office. I did so because the incumbent Republican has demonstrated what I consider to be egregious mismangement of his department to the point of threatening public safety (too long to explain here) and I felt he needed to go. (Didn’t do any good; he won anyway).

    At the local level sometimes you get people who run as Democrats, Independents, or Greens or Libertarians simply in order to provide opposition to the incumbent and not out of any affinity toward the Democratic party platform. Plus, their jobs cannot impact abortion, same-sex marriage or any of the non-negotiable Catholic issues anyway.

  • Yes Mack, I specifically avoided using party labels for the very reasons you chronicled. There was a time (in the early 1970s) when there were probably more pro-abortion Rockefeller Republicans than pro-abortion Democrats in the South & Midwest.

    The article was about the faithful removing their faith in Big Government liberalism and putting it back into the core teachings of the Church.

    There was a time (decades and centuries ago) when the faithful and not so faithful came to the Church for aid, and not the government. Sadly for some today, Big Government is their belief system.

  • T Shaw, really??? I don’t vote, but I am really tired of hearing people damn others for voting Democratic.

    Give me a break. You really think people deserve an eternity of torture for supporting political candidates you don’t like? First, at an individual level voting does not change political outcomes. So, who you vote for is only of symbolic importance, making the notion that one’s electoral preferences constitute grave matter suspect. Second, people might sincerely believe in alternatives to criminalization as a means to combat abortion. Those arguments may or may not stand up to scrutiny, but being incorrect doesn’t mean a person deserves hell. Finally, who qualified you to decide who is probably not getting into heaven?

  • “I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64.”

    This is the ‘proof’ in EVERYTHING you write…

  • I can’t really agree that voting Democrat ipso facto is a sin, etc. There are some decent local Democrats who are good candidates. It is the individual candidate’s qualifications/position on issues that need to be judged. Particularly in the South, there are a lot of pro-life Democrats.

  • T. Shaw, I should clarify that it is not simply the bishops who generally fail to follow Christ, but all of us who are not yet holy. It isn’t, I think, an act of calumny to remind ourselves that we are indeed sinners, even our bishops and popes.

    Now, a bishop or pope who is not only an authoritative teacher, but a holy teacher, is a rare and precious gift from God! John Paul the Great comes to mind.

  • I think the Supreme Court has 5 Catholics, but wouldn’t count on them as a solid block when it comes to voting. As encouraging as GOP gains in legislative races has been, social issues are generally decided by the Supremes and the addition of Sotomayor and Kagan, along with their Lib colleagues, makes any reversal of abortion policy highly dubious.

  • Yes Mark DeFrancisis, I will continue to regularly mention those statistics which highlight the demise of once proud places like Rochester, where leadership has simply given short shrift to orthodoxy. In addition, I will continue to highlight places where vocations are growing like Lincoln and Denver. There are blogs dedicated to the subject in places like Rochester where vocations are sparse. I would hope as a Catholic you would want to know why places like Denver and Lincoln are thriving, while the reverse is happening in locations like Rochester. Wouldn’t you want to know why Lincoln and Omaha combined had nearly 10x the vocations as did Rochester, even though Rochester is bigger than both Lincoln and Omaha combined? In locations such as Lincoln and Denver the Church’s teachings are embraced and dissidents are not welcomed. In addition in places like Denver and Lincoln, Marian Devotions and Eucharistic Adoration are widely practiced.

  • I wonder, Mr. Hartline, if the link between vocations and orthodoxy isn’t rather a link between vocations and traditionalism?

    Orthodoxy and traditionalism aren’t always the same thing. The Amish are quite traditional, and have been growing well for quite some time. They have a strong sense of identity rooted in a counter-cultural lifestyle. But obviously they aren’t orthodox.

    I’ve noticed that vocations do blossom where traditional practices are practiced, where young Catholics can feel part of a strong counter-cultural social body. But traditional practices do not always translate into orthodoxy.

    Orthodoxy, and orthopraxis, are right belief and right action. Many traditional doctrines have undergone development within the Church–especially (and most importantly) the social doctrines. I have noticed that many of the younger priests are very pro-life (thank God!), but do not seem to understand that peace and justice constitute (in the words of the Church) an integral and essential aspect of evangelization–of the Gospel. Many do not even seem to understand what justice is.

    The danger, then, is that in promoting traditional practices and thoughts, though we may gain many vocations, but we may also end up with many priests who are deaf to the ‘Church in the Modern World’.

    My best, Nate.

  • Francisco,

    Take a nap. That comment is hyperbole and a wild-eyed generalization. I do not dislike dem candidates. I hate innumerable evils they impose on America.

    Nate, You wrote up bishops. If you wrote thusly about me, it would be appropriate.

    Mark D: How’z it been, you Obamacatholic?. Are you okay after Tuesday nite?

    I was about to commit detraction. I am likely the vilest person any of you ever imagined.

  • Nate, on the surface your point seems to have much merit. However when you dig deeper, you can see that it really doesn’t hold water. For example, the Amish completely ignore the modern world, and while they seem to be growing, they are not. There is much consternation over some young Amish leaving the fold and living outside the community during the day (working and partying), only to come back late at night. I have even heard there is a theological battle over cell phones, since many believe that because they use battery power they aren’t techincally electrical-modern devices.

    As for Catholicism, I have spoken to a number of seminary rectors and they point out an interesting finding. Often, the young men coming their way are those young men from smaller cities outside the wealthy urban and suburban areas. These young men are often well adjusted and quite liked and successful. They come to understand their vocation, sometimes in college and sometimes in their late 20s. They fit in well with the world around them and often have successful jobs, many friends and a girlfriend. However, they come to find that they have the greatest love for the Church and feel she is the only hope in a world that has embraced pleasure and possessions at a break neck level.

    In addition, they feel truth has become hostage to what Pope Benedict XVI calls, “The Dictatorship of Relativism.” Incidentally, the same dynamic holds for young woman who are embracing a more traditional view of the religious life, complete with embracing the habit and or veil. I am not saying every seminarian is going to make a stellar priest, but the days are long gone when the seminary would take some young man who didn’t fit in and hoped he could as a priest. As one rector told me, the results of that practice were disastrous. The rectors, who have been rectors for quite some time, have told me that they can’t remember a time when they have seen such a period where class after class has such stellar seminarians. Nate, I hope this explanation helps. Take care!

  • Unfortunately the tsunami, or should I say Tea-nami, failed to make a dent in the liberal stronghold that is my home state of California. Saints preserve us from those who got this state in the mess we’re in and those who had the audacity to keep them in office.

Voting, the Pope and What Really Matters

Friday, October 29, AD 2010

Hattip to Rich Leonardi at his blog Ten Reasons, a blog I read every day.  Pope Benedict in his current visit to Brazil gives all the Faithful in the US food for thought as we go to the polls next Tuesday:

“First, the duty of direct action to ensure a just ordering of society falls to the lay faithful who, as free and responsible citizens, strive to contribute to the just configuration of social life, while respecting legitimate autonomy and natural moral law”, the Holy Father explained. “Your duty as bishops, together with your clergy, is indirect because you must contribute to the purification of reason, and to the moral awakening of the forces necessary to build a just and fraternal society. Nonetheless, when required by the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls, pastors have the binding duty to emit moral judgments, even on political themes”.

“When forming these judgements, pastors must bear in mind the absolute value of those … precepts which make it morally unacceptable to chose a particular action which is intrinsically evil and incompatible with human dignity. This decision cannot be justified by the merit of some specific goal, intention, consequence or circumstance, Thus it would be completely false and illusory to defend, political, economic or social rights which do not comprehend a vigorous defence of the right to life from conception to natural end. When it comes to defending the weakest, who is more defenceless than an unborn child or a patient in a vegetative or comatose state?”

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AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

Monday, October 25, AD 2010

National Public Radio’s ludicrous firing of Juan Williams and a subsequent mainstream media article on Catholic bloggers may seem to be two separate issues. Some may say what does the overwhelmingly conservative leaning Catholic blogosphere have in common with the liberal leaning Juan Williams? The answer is quite simple; both scare the mainstream media because Juan Williams and the majority of the Catholic blogosphere put forth interesting solutions to often discussed questions.

The modus operadi of some in the mainstream media is to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. Combine this with a Juan Williams quote which most of America agrees with and voila you have it; the ultimate straw man from which you can tear apart any minority who appears on Fox News or any Catholic blogger who faithfully defends the teachings of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church.

In this Associated Press article on the Catholic blogosphere, the piece mentions Thomas Peters and Michael Voris (who is known for his videos not his blogging,) but focuses on harsh unnamed Catholic bloggers. The article quotes John Allen who calls elements of the Catholic blogosphere “Taliban Catholicism.” The highly respected Mr. Allen, who though working for the dissident leaning National Catholic Reporter, is often known for his many high ranking Church contacts and his fairness. He should have know better than to give the quote that he did. To take a few bloggers from the right (or even from the left) and call them the Catholic blogosphere is the type of journalism that would not pass muster for a high school paper, let alone the AP. This would be akin to taking the worst rated college or pro football team and telling the world this is the best of American football, or perhaps watching the Walla Walla Community theater production of Hamlet and saying this is Hamlet at its finest. John Allen should have realized where this article was going and chosen his words more carefully.

The AP article continues by naming a Church official who seems worried about the Catholic blogosphere. One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Semple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana. I worked for years in a diocesan office and I have yet to meet, even in my travels, a diocesan official who is well versed in the blogosphere. It seems to be a generational thing and most diocesan officials are not to be confused with the younger, more conservative seminarians or young priests being ordained.

While some in the mainstream media snicker at the Pope and Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church) they in reality have their own magisterium. In their secular magisterium anyone who believes in the Catholic Church’s authority is hopelessly outdated, because according to gatekeepers in the mainstream media, true thinkers are those in the dying liberal churches who don’t know what they believe. Sadly, GK Chesterton prophetically predicted this would happen. He said, “It’s not that atheists and agnostics believe in nothing, they believe in everything.” In modern parlance, “It’s all good.” How sad that some who proclaim to be “open minded” can’t see the obvious; liberal Christianity is dying on the vine.”

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19 Responses to AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

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  • Keep preaching brother!

    I nominate the following excerpt to be the quote of year here at The American Catholic.

    “One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Simple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana.”

  • Nothing to “wonder” about. The answers are self-evident.

  • Well said, excellent, wonderful!

  • Uh…it’s “magisterium.”

    Good piece, though.

    🙂

    -Theo

  • It’s not clear to me that Allen was interviewed for the AP story. He was using “Taliban Catholics” in his own writing at least as far back as February.

  • Great piece with good insight. I especially like your quote about people not knowing the difference between Catholic bloggers and others.

    One note: Allen’s quote reveals more about himself than it does about Catholic blogging or orthodox Catholics. For all those who believe him to be fair, you might want to read his work more closely and don’t forget that he chooses to work for the dissident Reporter. His work displays some real blind spots.

  • It’s just funny that in article that to some extent is bemoaning in the incivility of the blogosphere, the term “Taliban Catholic” is so casually tossed about as though there is nothing uncivil about that comparison.

    But that, of course, is par for the course for people who yelp the loudest about tone and the harshness of dialogue. What it really is is an attempt to change the topic and avoid having to defend indefensible positions.

  • Defending the indefensible?

    As in an article that defends the civility of Michael Sean Winters but paints Catholics who are righteously standing up and saying enough as fringe.

    30-40 thousand readers a month may be ‘nobody reading’ to you, but I think it is enough to get an army of Catholics to get folks who espouse the opinions of dissent, silenced.

    It is half past time we take our parishes and schools back.

    We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Carry on.

  • Someone should ask John Allen when was the last time a Catholic blogger destroyed millenia-old works of art. Or shot a woman in the back of the head as halftime entertainment at a soccer match. Or sponsored terrorists who flew airplanes into buildings killing 3000 people.

    For the life of me, I’ll never understand why people who should know better consider John Allen to be “fair”. “Fair” people don’t make such idiotic comparisons.

  • We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Umm, what? I was critiquing the Allen quote and the condescending tone of the AP article, not Dave’s post.

  • Please, please, please – check your spell-check and correct “magEsterium” to “magIsterium”. The word comes from the Latin – magister.

  • Paul,

    Yes, my comments were about the article, not your comments which I completely agree with and thank you for stepping up to the plate to say.

  • p.s. I am not of the opinion that the article had coded message in it that needed to be cracked.

    There are many of us that are finished with letting teachers and priests preach and teach dissent and we area shutting it down by exposing what is going on with teaching, sanctifying and governing.

    Writing intellectual treatises on the internet is swell but it is not helping our children down at the local school being hoodwinked by Sister Mary Wear the Pants and Fr. Hehirtic. We have had to flee from our parishes, pull our children out of schools.

    What are we running from? It’s time to go back and demand our religion be taught.

    1. Pour through every bulletin and expose every problem, naming names and exercising your gifts by explaining the theological problems and consequences to our children.

    2. Start holding the priest accountable.

    3. If the priest won’t be held accountable, go to the Bishop.

    4. If the Bishop won’t be accountable, go to the Nuncio.

    5. If the Nuncio won’t hold them accountable, go to the Holy See.

    Round up as many in your area who are willing to do it.

    If in time, they do not intercede and do something to stop the people poisining the wells our children are drinking from, start a campaign to hold up the money on the annual Bishops appeal.

    Build it and they will flee.

    People may call it harsh. People like this author will call it fringe. Whatever hits you have to take from the author of this article on The American Catholic or anyone in the AP – Do it anyway.

    :O)

  • Anna, I do hope your not talking about me as being part of the dissent, or just sitting at my computer composing essays while Rome burns. I do think my bona fides as a writer, educator (working in the Church and taking a lot of heat from Church liberals) etc should fit pass muster. I would hope so anyone, considering how many nasty names I have been called by the liberals in the Church. If I have misinterpreted your remarks, please forgive me. However, it would appear to me that you think this article is somehow not orthodox enough. I don’t know how that is possible. It would seem to me that the first three or four commentors (among others) like what I have to say. Anyway, God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I actually never knew you existed before I found your article, but I can see that you are not a dissident.

    It has been such a refuge to come to the internet and read solid opinions. But we need those opinions to get into our schools and parishes and it is time to do something a little different.

    As a Boston activist who is part of the blogging community described in the AP, those of us on the ground doing this difficult ministry not only get called ‘names’ by dissidents, we are undermined by people on the right, sitting staring at their computers using their orthodoxy and bonafides to take cheap shots at us.

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    Is blogosphere a game of “who is the bigger player”? Is it about chumming around with folks who post comments telling you how great you are?

    Oh wait…

    Look, I’ve done my share of years of writing and defending the Magisterium.

    But you know what we realized?

    Not a single dissident in our children’s schools been removed from teaching children by the things we are writing on the internet (myself included)

    A lot of us have been parish shopping for ten years.

    It’s time to go to plan b.

    I can appreciate your frustration with the article that they failed to recognize the big wazoos who have been banging away at their keyboards. But the work we are doing is critical new work and the author of the AP article knew more about that then you did!

    Nobody on the ground is a threat to your thunder. We will not be competing in who is the greatest of them all contests. At ease.

    We are people who are trying to focus getting orthodoxy to our own children, family and friends while you bang away at your ministry doing it for people in the com boxes. Not as worthy as the work you are doing, but it is nonetheless, worthy work that did not deserve your cheap shot.

    The kicker was your respectful attitude towards John Allen, who in between working with Joan Chittister, Tom Roberts, Michael Sean Winters and Bishop Gumbleton (talk about fringe!) serving up poison to Christ’s souls, characterized parents fed up with dissent that is continuously being taught no matter how much you write with concerns to your Bishop, as lecherous murderers.

  • Goodness Anna I think the liberals have got the best of you. I spoke kindly of John Allen? I took him to task for his comment. I only said he was respected by many. Have you ever read what Father Zuhlsdorf says about John Allen? Father Z calls him “his friend and highly respected.” Do you think Father Z has gone wobbly too?

    I understand what you must be going through living in Boston. You may remember that I mentioned in my article that my childhood parish was scourged with not only one priest sent to the slammer for molestation, but two. Some of those these two deviants molested were my friends, so believe me I don’t need any lectures on that subject.

    I would suggest you take some time to pray over the whole matter, calling those that are on your side not wholly orthodox doesn’t help. God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I must not be making myself clear.

    I have the greatest respect for Fr. Z. But I disagree with his characterizations of John Allen. I am NOT attacking Fr. Z or his orthodoxy. Nor, am I attacking your orthodoxy. Nor am I attacking you.

    Phew.

    There is no need to be defensive. Be at peace.

    The AP wrote an article about a new ministry in the Church and your reaction to it was a knee-jerk.
    Look here:

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    The good people in Boston are getting off their fannies and taking our schools and parishes and chancery back. That’s what the article was about.

    What is it about that you wouldn’t embrace?

  • Anna, there is nothing about what you said that I wouldn’t embrace. God Bless you and the good people of Boston who are helping turn the tide. May God Be With You All!

Two Momentous But Little Remembered Dates In Western & Church History

Tuesday, October 12, AD 2010

Recently two momentous events in Western and Church History passed with hardly a mention. Actually, these events may be better known in the Muslim world than the Christian world; the Islamic army’s desecration of St. Peter’s in Rome, along with St John Lateran and other churches in 846, and the stunning defeat of the Islamic military onslaught by Charles  the Hammer Martel at Tours, France in 732. Though these two events occurred over 100 years apart, they do point out that until the Ottoman-Turkish Islamic defeat in 1683 at the gates of Vienna; Europe was facing a never ending threat from radical Islam. Yet how is it that according to the mainstream media it was the fault of Christians, and specifically Catholics? In my last article, I wrote of the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the land at the Gates of Vienna in 1683. Some wondered why I didn’t right about Charles the Hammer Martel and some of the earlier Islamic incursions into Europe. Now is a good time to delve into that subject. (For more on Charles the Hammer Martel and the Battle of Tours please read this excellent article by my colleague Donald McClarey.)

Ask most practicing Catholics, Evangelicals and mainline Protestants who Charles the Hammer Martel was and you would probably get blank stares. Perhaps a few young people might be under the false impression that he is some sort of up and coming professional wrestler. However, you would probably stand a better chance of having someone in the Islamic world tell you about Charles the Hammer Martel. The same might be true for the sack of Rome in 846 by Muslim forces who disembarked at Ostia (the Tiber port) and marched right into Rome desecrating holy sites like St Peter’s and St John Lateran and leaving the Eternal City with their plunder. Many in the western world might be surprised why they have never heard this and why those who reside in the Islamic world are better informed of these events than in the Western World. Let us peer back into time to see what we can learn about the past and what it might mean for the future.

It is said that God can make the best out of the worst. As Charles Martel grew older and realized that his mother was simply a consort of his regal father, Charles must have realized that he could have been abandoned to poverty, or worse yet aborted (if that had happened Christianity might have been confined to Ireland!) Charles must have developed a thick skin and a courageous spirit that enabled him not to run at the first sign of trouble. Europe was in a state of near panic by 730 as the well seasoned professional Islamic Army had laid waste to much of the Middle East and North Africa leaving the homes of those past saints like Augustine in ruins. Europe was in the Dark Ages, armies were merely feudal in their makeup, a far cry from the type of regimented units needed to stop the largest invading armies Europe had seen since the days when Rome ruled the world.

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4 Responses to Two Momentous But Little Remembered Dates In Western & Church History

Why Is Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda's Crosshairs?

Sunday, October 3, AD 2010

The target of the Notre Dame Cathedral seemed a bit out of place. Every other Al Qaeda target listed by the captured Ahmed Sadiqui was secular in origin, be the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate and Alexander Platz TV tower in Berlin, or the United Kingdom movements of the British Royal family. Why Notre Dame (which means Our Lady in French i.e. the Blessed Virgin Mary) and why not any other churches like St Paul’s in London or St Peter’s or St Michael’s in Munich make the list which has caused world governments to issue terror warnings and travel updates? To understand this question one has to understand the mindset of Al Qaeda. To the tried and true jihadist, Western Europe was almost under their control until two critical events occurred; the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the Siege of Vienna in 1683, when Our Lady intervened and stopped the Islamic armies in their tracks.

Now some would falsely point out that the Crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries were western victories and thus Islamic sore points, this is far from the truth. The Crusades actually were seen as a great victory in the Islamic World. Though we are now told by those in the mainstream media that the Crusades were a heinous act, they were in fact a small defensive action taken by the west to defend themselves against the Islamic armies who had been invading historical Christian lands for centuries. Long before they were Islamic lands, the Middle East and North Africa were filled with vibrant Christian centers and revelatory figures like Saint Augustine.  The very argument that Christianity was not appealing to the masses was left empty by the need of the Islamic armies to have a military conquest. Now my colleague Joe Hargrave has written a great piece on the Crusades which I highly encourage you to read. It is not my intention to go into any further detail about the Crusades for this article. I would again refer to the above link for Joe’s article or a similar article I wrote entitled; A Review of Al Qaeda’s Little Reported On War Against The Catholic Church.

Getting back to the 1571 Naval Battle of Lepanto and the land battle outside the Gates of Vienna in 1683; they were the turning point for Islamic military conquest and military failure. Islamic armies would never again threaten the heart of Europe. The hoped for world Caliphate did not come to fruition. To the militant jihadist it must have seemed as if defeat was snatched out of the jaws of victory. For the faithful Christian, especially the faithful Catholic the Islamic defeats were miraculous seen as the Hand of God working through His Son Jesus Christ and specifically His mother Mary.

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72 Responses to Why Is Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda's Crosshairs?

  • The news is saying Ramstein AB personnel are being advised to beware and not wear uniforms downtown.

    In addition to Our Blessed Mother’s aid in Lepanto and Vienna, the French intelligence service has been strong in counter-terror efforts.

    No US Catholic targets?

  • Pingback: Why Is Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda’s Crosshairs? « Deacon John's Space
  • “The defeat for the Turks at Vienna came about because of a last minute appearance on September 11 and 12, 1683, by the Polish cavalry under the leadership of Jan Sobiesksi. He had his men pray the Rosary before their lightning appearance.”

    The Polish winged-hussars were certainly an important part of the victory, but some credit has to be given to the Austrian infantry in the relief army, who fought their way into the Ottoman camp.

    “As for the battle, military tacticians still can’t figure out how the superior Ottoman Turkish Navy was defeated.”

    Prayer and superior firepower. The Holy League had more, and far more powerful, cannon than the Turks. The six sailing ships at the front of the Catholic formation that had been converted into firing platforms caused substantial damage to the Ottoman line.

    Niccolo Capponi has a great book on Lepanto, called Triumph of the West, that came out a couple of years ago.

  • Anyone interested should also read Yelena Chudinova’s novel “Mosque of Notre Dame 2048”. The English language version is not yet published but the Russian original is readily available.

  • Thank you for this post. I have a book on the battle of Lepanto that I have not yet read that I will now surely check out.

  • I re-read Chesterton’s fine poem LEPANTO every year at this time.

  • Last I heard the Cathedral of Notre Dame is owned by the French government, and that the politicos graciously let Catholics borrow state property under certain conditions alla revolucion.

  • This summer I traveled with Bob and Penny Lord as we traced the life of Saint Peter Julian Eymard and in Toulouse France on the hill over looking the river is a Shrine to our Lady where he visited often.
    Inside this shrine is the most magnificent mosaic of the Battle of Lepanto that exists. We plan to incorporate this mosaic in the program because of its importance to what happened then to keep it from recurring. Our Lady pray for us.

  • I would go back further to 732 and Charles Martellus “The Hammer”. Radical Islam simply can’t get past this one. If one believes the prophecies of hundreds of Catholic Saints (Catholic Prophecy by Yves DuPont), another French hammer is on the way. Deo Gratias

  • The Battle of Tours was on October 10th, 732 btw.

  • We need more people like you. Great post.

  • Every Catholic School in the world ought to have the pictures of Don Juan, King Jan Sobieski and Charles “The Hammer” Martel on the walls of every classroom (In a less prominent position than that of the Crucific, picture or Our Lady and the portrait of the Divine Mercy)

  • “Every Catholic School in the world ought to have the pictures of Don Juan, King Jan Sobieski…. on the walls of every classroom.”

    Check this out — I hope this link works for you:

    If this link doesn’t work, google “Rome of the West,” a blog by St. Louis resident Mark Scott Abeln, and click on his link to pictures of “Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, Illinois”.

    This is a stained glass window depicting Jan Sobieski kneeling on the battlefield to thank God for his victory over the Turks at Vienna. The windows here all show great moments in Catholic history both in Europe and in the United States, up to the 1920s when the cathedral was built.

  • Notre Dame is in the crosshairs as a chastisement because the French are the most wicked, promiscuous and blasphemous of the “Catholics”.

  • Aside from Mickey, great comments everyone. We certainly shouldn’t forget Charles Martel. Where would we be without him? I hope to get a chance to write about him, as well as the heroic martyrs of the Middle East, North Africa and southern Europe. Mickey, you might want to be a little more charitable with your posts for it sounds as if you are posting from some cave in Pakistan.

    Everyone let’s keep the comments coming and perhaps even throw out some names of famous Catholics who fought the good fight and perhaps were even martyred. Sadly, even among practicing Catholics, I am sure many of the saints and heroic figures mentioned in the article or in your comments, are not known.

  • good article but we forgot what happened at the battle of Covadunga Spain thats why the battle of Lampato happened. at Covadunga Spain angels were seen to fight on the side of Catholics on the verge of being annihilated.

  • in response to who owns Our Lady of Notre Dame guess who owns the tomb of St. Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross the European union.guess who owns the Sistine chapel the japan government.

  • Interesting article on the Blessed Virgin, however one must also note that Catholics and Christians are not at present at war with Islam, in fact the Vatican and many Islamic centers want to keep the peace – therefore I wouldn’t use history as to re-ignite the wars of religion – as many christian sects would love to see – however for your perusal I have cataloged most Marian intercessions in times of war – Vienna and Lepanto are only 2 out of at least 90 intercessions during well known battles, for this please see the following – the major war today is in the hearts and minds of men and women, the soul is the battle ground –
    click here
    .

  • Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

    Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

    How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)

  • Another blow to Turkish pride was their defeat in Malta in 1565. Sicily and the Italian peninsula would have succumbed. Though it must be added that the Knights of Rhodes recently settled in Malta had done their utmost to provoke the Turks.

  • “French are the most wicked, promiscuous and blasphemous of the “Catholics”.

    Mickey, why such a heinous and false comment about French people? I feel peculiarly offended.
    Do you want I list all the sins that deserves an equal chastisement to America and England?
    Yes France will be chastised and America and all the west countries will be chastised too, due to their current apostasy.
    France was the most catholic country for centuries and was at the tip of the fight against Islam and heretics. She provided the greatest saints in the Chuch’s history.
    Without the French priests, monks, nuns and laymen who went in America long ago before the Brits, how many would be the Catholics here?

  • Jacques, thank you for reminding us about the great French saints. In my next article, I may write about them as well as Charles Martel. As for Mickey, I doubt he is English, American or Christian. Maybe he is posting from some cave in Pakistan.

    Mario, thank you for reminding us about the faithful in Malta who have been a beacon of hope and courage to the Christian world for centuries.

  • I don’t remember seeing this in the article, but Oct 7 is also the anniversary of US and allied forces taking care of things in Afganistan. I took great comfort that day, knowing the feast day and its history.

  • The claim the Catholic fleet was superior in firepower and size is secular lies and totally untrue. In fact Protestant countries, including Britain, either actively or tacitly supported the Islamic attempt to wipe out Catholicism. For this sin Queen Elizabeth I will be punished in hellfire as only Catholicism is the true Faith.
    I have no doubt Our Lady would truly have been weeping when England, her ‘Dowry’, sided with the enemies of the true Faith and the true Faith is Catholicism.

  • Bravo Jacques for speaking out for the Holy Kingdom of France. I study the History of Catholic France (is there any other history in France?) and this history is simply amazing. France is truly the Land of the Blessed Virgin, the Eldest Daughter of the Church and if we are to believe hundreds of Catholic Saints (and why wouldn’t we?), France will someday soon rule the ENTIRE world.

    France was given such rich gifts by God starting with the Faith which her missionaries then took around the world. France was blessed with the most incredible gifts of culture, natural resources, and people. However, the evils of rationalism, socialism, communism, and freemasonry flourished first in France and then spread around the globe like an virus. France also killed their divinely appointed King. Thankfully, by the grace of God, Luis XVII was NOT killed and the monarchy will return.

    For these crimes will France pay dearly and her people will turn back to the faith after this chastisement. France is the eldest daughter of the Church and she is supposed to set the example. There are some dark days ahead for France but peace will be restored with the lily returns to the throne.
    An excellent dvd about the Catholic history of France is “The Heart of the Lily” and “Where the World Begins”. It runs on EWTN every so often.

  • Brian Gregory, I am glad you reiterated my point that the Ottoman Turks had far superior naval firepower at Lepanto. It was Divine Providence accompanied by the courage of the Catholic Fleet that led to the Ottoman Turks defeat. I don’t see how anyone can get around this fact.

  • Seeing the images of King Jan Sobieski during a Google search, I couldn’t help but notice a similarity in looks with Lech Walesa when he was younger and had darker hair. As we all know, Walesa had a lot to do with the toppling of communism, apparently like Sobieski did with the Muslim marauders.

  • When I was in grade school ( Immaculate Heart of Mary ) I was the first to crown the new statue of the Blessed Mother. This reading has brought me back to her. Thank you.

    John Claypool

  • I’m sorry Pax Christi of Bakersfield but Lech Walesa had nothing whatsoever to do with the collapse of Communism. The secular press often associate the collapse of Soviet Communism with the American president of that time (Ronald Reagan),the British primeminister of the time (Mr. Thatcher)and Mr. Gorbachev.However,Mr. Reagan, Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Gorbachev all acknowledge the role of the Holy Father in the collapse of Soviet Communism – neither they nor the Holy Father say ‘SOLIDARITY’ brought down Communism. It is claimed in the secular media which is athiestic the Holy Father helped fund ‘SOLIDARITY’, however, ‘SOLIDARITY’s’ uprising was put down in 1981.Soviet Communism did not fall until the Holy Father consecrated the world and especially Russia to her Immaculate Heart on 25 March 1984 (‘The Feast of the Annunciation’ or ‘Lady Day’). Mr. Gorbachev did not come to power until after then unless I am mistaken but that is irrelevant. The Soviet coup took place in August 1991,during the octave of the Assumption,but ended peacefully on the vigil of the Queenship of Mary (August 22nd).Those who use the ‘Extraordinary Form’ of the Mass will know August 22nd in the traditional calendar is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the vigil of which is on 21 August. Mr. Gorbachev about the USSR officially on 25 December 1991. Our Blessed Mother told the shepherd children at Fatima in 1917 the Bolshevik (Communist) uprising would take place one year before it did (in 1918). She also promised if Russia was consecrated to her Immaculate Heart there would be peace. Russia was and there has been peace between Russia and the west, however,to save many souls Our Blessed Mother asked for the Five First Saturdays’ Devotion.

    Referring to England – England was called ‘Mary’s Dowry’ or ‘Our Lady’s Dowry’ because there was a large shrine to Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk with a replica of the Holy House. This vision was seen by Lady Richeldes de Faverches in AD1061. The shrine was destroyed by Henry VIII,however, three shrines were built there in the early 1900s.
    An Anglican shrine http://www.walsinghamanglican.org.uk/,for history see http://www.walsinghamanglican.org.uk/the_shrine/the_story_so_far.htm;an Orthodox shrine which is contained in the Anglican shrine http://www.westernorthodox.com/walsingham and the Catholic shrine http://www.walsingham.org.uk/romancatholic/ see history http://www.walsingham.org.uk/romancatholic/history.html
    In fact many events and services are truly oecumenical with members of other Christian denominations taking part as well.

    There is also the Shrine of Our Lady of the Taper in Wales http://www.ourladyofthetaper.org.uk/

  • My other comment are taken from my blog on MYSPACE.

    ‘NOTIFICATION: ‘CHRISTIAN CONCERN FOR THE BENEFIT OF CHURCH AND NATION’ has launched it’s campaign ‘NOT ASHAMED’ http://www.notashamed.org.uk/ calling on all Christians to wear the symbol of our Faith – the Cross or the ‘NOT ASHAMED’ emblem especially on national ‘NOT ASHAMED DAY’ which is on Wednesday 1st December 2010

    I hope all believers, throughout the world, irrespective of their denomination, rich or poor, famous or unknown will visit their website, offer their support and wear the Sign of our Faith and if possible the ‘NOT ASHAMED’ emblem on ‘NOT ASHAMED DAY’ – Wednesday 1st December 2010.’

    Please consider doing this and letting everyone know about this UK event which I hope will go global.

    My other ‘MYSPACE’ blog I would like to draw your attention to is:
    ‘MAKING OUR FAITH MORE VISIBLE: I hope all believers will consider making their faith more visible by making the Sign of the Cross, saying ‘”God bless you”‘ and if possible wearing a cross or crucifix. Please read the Archbishop of Westminster’s 24/09/2010 ‘PASTORAL LETTER’ http://www.rcdow.org.uk/diocese/default.asp?content_ref=3031

    Thank you

  • I cannot compare better the Lepanto victory but to that of Midway: The balance of strength was strongly in favour of the Japs and truly it was a MIRACLE that the Navy’s aircrafts could drop their bombs and their torpedoes onto the japanese carriers at the very moment when the japanese hunters couldn’t take off for momentary technical reasons (they were all being replaced their bombs for torpedoes) to protect their carriers.

  • Mario, the defeat of the Turks against Malta in 1565 was also a miracle since the Turkish troops were half a million vs 30000 Malta’s knights and soldiers.
    But they were much helped by a bubonic plague outburst that occured among the turks.
    This makes me remind of the capture of Malta by the french troops of Napoleon 2 centuries later in a couple of weeks. Then the knights of Malta were only the shadows of themselves.

  • “The claim the Catholic fleet was superior in firepower and size is secular lies and totally untrue.”

    I never said the Catholic fleet was larger. The Turks had more ships. But the Holy League had much greater firepower. Capponi does an extensive analysis of the armament on the different types of ships present. The Catholic fleet was more technologically advanced, which people probably find hard to believe because of the disinformation they have been fed on the Church and science.

    “Brian Gregory, I am glad you reiterated my point that the Ottoman Turks had far superior naval firepower at Lepanto. It was Divine Providence accompanied by the courage of the Catholic Fleet that led to the Ottoman Turks defeat. I don’t see how anyone can get around this fact.’

    Because it’s not a fact. The use of the six Galleasses at the front of the Catholic formation and the devastating firepower they produced had a tremendous impact on the course of the battle. That was part of the plan put together by the Catholic leaders. Give the men who plannned and fought the battle some credit.

  • “Give the men who planned and fought the battle some credit.”

    I haven’t really heavily studied Lepanto or any of the other great Christendom vs. Muslim battles, but even if the Catholic fleet at Lepanto was not quite as outnumbered or outgunned as we have been told — does that really make its victory any less an answer to prayer? The same way that a healing accomplished through ordinary medicine may not be a bona fide miracle but is still just as much an answer to prayer as if it were.

  • “but even if the Catholic fleet at Lepanto was not quite as outnumbered or outgunned as we have been told — does that really make its victory any less an answer to prayer?”

    Don’t get me wrong. The Turks had more galleys, had veteran crews, and were led by very experienced commanders. It was a hard fought battle and certainly could have resulted in a disasterous defeat for the Catholic fleet.

    There are plenty of instances where prayer could be regarded as the difference in the multitude of events that made up the battle.

    Beyond the battle itself, it is almost a miracle that Pius V had been able to weld together the bickering factions that made up the Holy League to create a fleet that was able to defeat the virtually invincible Ottoman fleet.

  • On the contrary Brian English it is a fact. I don’t care what Capponi says.
    Victor Davis Hanson tells us Capponi announces at the outset of his book: ‘I also admit to having something of a soft spot for the Turks as a fighter,my great-great-grandfather,a Crimean War veteran, describing them as the best soldiers in the world.’ http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson071207.html

    Hanson,quoting Capponi,writes: ‘How did the Christians win the battle? They were probably outnumbered, both in ships and men. Lepanto was fought in Turkish-controlled waters near the Ottoman winter port at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth opposite Patras, the present-day Naupaktos. The Venetians had lost Cyprus and were demoralized from increasingly bold attacks on the coast of Italy.’
    http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson071207.html

    First of all there is no ‘probably’ about it – we were outnumbered. Just by using the word ‘probably’ shows Capponi is attempting to ‘revise’ history. Will he dare say next the Turks were outnumbered?

    Yes,Capponi does mention the use of the six galleasses,however,I reject his claim and that of pseudo-science the galleasses would have been as successful even if God,through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin,had not willed it to be so.If the galleasses,were successful,it was because Our divine Redeemer willed it that way in response to the prayers of Our Blessed Lady because of the Masses, Rosaries and prayers offered for our victory.

    At least Capponi admits we ‘were outnumbered,both in ships and men’ and that ‘Lepanto was fought in Turkish-controlled waters near the Ottoman winter port at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth opposite Patras, the present-day Naupaktos.’He also tells us ‘the Venetians had lost Cyprus and were demoralized from increasingly bold attacks on the coast of Italy.’http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson071207.html

    Hanson,again referring to Capponi’s book,tells us ‘The Christian League ….. was never really much more than the galley fleets of Spain, the Papal States, and Venice. England and France kept clear. Both had long ago cut their own deals with the Ottomans. Indeed, during the winter of 1542 the French had even allowed the Ottoman corsair Barbarossa the use of their harbor at Toulon to refit, as he conducted raids along the Italian coast.’http://www.victorhanson.com/articles /hanson071207.html

    Brian English and perhaps Niccolò Capponi seem to imply we could have won at the Battle of Lepanto without the aid of Our Lord and Our Lady – because of superior firepower. Interesting point. Why then were the Soviet Russians defeated by the Taliban in Afghanistan? Why on the three (or four occasions) in the past when Britain has been in Afghanistan have we been defeated? Why is it the west,in spite of it’s superior firepower and inspite of the secular media which claims to the contrary,did we lose in Iraq and are losing in Afghanistan?:
    (i) The Soviet Russians being athiest denied God.
    (ii)Britain had rejected the true Faith, the Catholic Faith,at the Protestant Rebellion (or Revolution).
    (iii)The western allies consisted of nations which had either become athiestic or rejected the true Faith (the Catholic Faith).
    The only way to win a war against terrorism is to ask the protection and help of Our Lord and Our Lady.

    9/11/2001 does have one thing in common with the Battle of Vienna – the date. The Battle of Vienna ran from 9/11/1683-9/12/1683.

  • “On the contrary Brian English it is a fact. I don’t care what Capponi says.”

    No, it’s not.

    “Brian English and perhaps Niccolò Capponi seem to imply we could have won at the Battle of Lepanto without the aid of Our Lord and Our Lady – because of superior firepower.”

    See my response to Elaine.

    “Why is it the west,in spite of it’s superior firepower and inspite of the secular media which claims to the contrary,did we lose in Iraq and are losing in Afghanistan?:”

    Wrong again.

    “(i) The Soviet Russians being athiest denied God.
    (ii)Britain had rejected the true Faith, the Catholic Faith,at the Protestant Rebellion (or Revolution).
    (iii)The western allies consisted of nations which had either become athiestic or rejected the true Faith (the Catholic Faith).”

    Last time I checked, the Taliban didn’t follow the True Faith either.

  • Brian Gregory you have a warped view of history and of reality.

    The Soviets and British were defeated by a race of people who lived and breathed war. As soon as there hands could support weight they were holding AK-47’s. That coupled with Afghanistans extremely inhospitible geography gives you a war that cannot be won. Alexander the Great and Geghis Khan, two of historys greatest conquerers were unable to defeat the Afghans, how do you expect us to?

    And to suggest that human beings werent capable of defeating the Turks at Lepanto as well as Vienna is frankly insulting to our species. To suggest that winning battles is “all in the hands of god” is bringing us back to a very medieval viewpoint which is honestly dangerous. You want to live in an age of faith? Go check out Naples in 1342 where they would burn you alive for questioning the Pope. Or if you want a modern example, check out Saudi Arabia and see how great religion is at running that country.

    By the way, your idea that Catholiscm is the “one true faith” only causes more conflict and is pretty much the reason why thousands of people died in the 1600’s. Accept peoples differences and move on or else your going to have serious problems in the future.

  • Steve what is the point of your post? Is it to advance ego, pride or the atheist cause? What is this nonsense about Naples and the pope in 1342? The Catholic faith was started by Jesus, who was both human and divine, quite unlike the beliefs systems started by the likes of Voltaire, Marx, Stalin or Mao. Whatever your likes or dislikes are concerning Christianity, during the first 300 years the Faith grew by love and compassion, all the while the faithful were being vicioulsy killed for the kindness they exhibited. There never was a peaceful era under the likes of Voltaire, Marx, Stalin or Mao.

    We have too many examples of the pride of man thinking he could do better than God. What a disaster; from the bloody French Revolution to the Soviet death camps, to Hitler’s death camps to Mao’s Culutal revolution to Pol Pot. They all thought they knew better than God and didn’t need God. Look at where it got them. There are over 100 million dead because of it. Keep that in mind, as the people who you mock on this site pray for you.

  • In 1342 (Rennaisance period) in Naples, which was aligned with the Papacy, you could be burned alive for heresy, which would be disagreeing with the Pope.

    Yes but the teachings of Jesus are just as unreasonable as those of Mao and Stalin. In fact if you look at Christianity’s fundamental teachings, there purely Communist! Lets make everyone equal and lets share everything. Draw your own conclusions.

    I love how Christians love to point out all the things “atheists” have done, but never what they have done. And I love how Christians always point out how great there matyrs were, dying at the hands of those evil romans. Then again, Christians have been killing atheists since they have been in control. In fact, once we see Christians begin to lose power we see them become more “moderate”. If they had any power they would be exactly like the Taliban or the Saudis.

  • In fact I’d like to point out I’m not an atheist, I believe in god just I feel what he and his chruch has to say is a bunch of crap

  • Steve: you bring up 1342 – the atheists in China and the USSR were murdering tens of millions in the 20th century, not 700 years ago! You blithely ignore that the Christian wars of religion ended hundreds of years ago, while the Communist atheists got “warmed up” during the French Revolution – killing many thousands in the Vendee – and really came into their own in the century just past, slaughtering 100 million. The Inquisition was child’s play compared to the gruesome evil committed by those who believe they will not have a God to answer to.

    Your equivalence of Saudi Muslims and Christians makes me believe you are woefully ignorant of the basic tenets of both religions. You are, in fact, a prime example of the suicidal tendencies that have infected the West. No other culture on earth tears down its founding religion and the building blocks of its culture the way Western atheists attack the foundation of their society. Atheistic society will not survive. In Europe, secularism is giving way to Islamic fundamentalism. If you are European, your children and grandchildren might very well find themselves longing for the good old days of “Christianists.” I promise you, Islam will not be as gentle with you as modern-day Christians are.

  • PS. A clarification to my post above: the murderous atheist ideologues of the French Revolution were not “Communists.” The French Revolution was, however, the birthplace of the modern Left and the Great Terror has been copied many times by those who wish to place “Man” at the center of the Universe, while not hestitating to slaughter all those humans who stand in the way of “Progress.”

    That includes Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, many of whom studied in Paris in the 1950’s and learned the lessons of the French Revolution well. Ah, yes, Steve, you atheists have really done well in the world. I’m sure that eventually you’ll get it right – maybe after your crew kills 100 more people or so.

    What does it matter to you anyway? After all, humans are only glorified animals in your book. It’s not like they have souls, or are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights. Nope, according to an atheist, we’re no better than any other animals (just ask PETA). Why not kill the humans you deem troublesome? There can no higher morality in your book… no good reason NOT to murder people….

  • In fact I’d like to point out I’m not an atheist, I believe in god just I feel what he and his chruch has to say is a bunch of crap

    Goody for you, Steve-o! And you feel free to say it because you know darn well nobody is going to blow you up or issue a fatwa on you for insulting Catholics.

    My, my, what a brave fellow you are!

  • Donna V, excellent posts. It seems to me that Steve represents this sort of new (but very old) way of thinking that yes there is a God, but He’s not doing it my, so he’s wrong. Talk about hubris, pride and narcissism. Yet, isn’t this the same line of thinking we saw displayed in Lucifer when he said, “I will not serve!”

  • Ah but were they killing in the name of atheism? Did Stalin say “lets go kill all the christians because there christians?” No, he just killed people for his political goals, to turn Russia into a modern country and to unify it under the Soviet banner. In fact, Stalin promoted the Orthodox church as a source of Russian nationalism.

    You dont understand the context of the French Revolution, where the church literally had oppressed people for hundreds of years. Why wouldnt they slaughter all the priests then? If a priest had taxed your family to starvation, taken your house, then said you were going to hell, wouldnt you want to kill him too?

    The Saudi government is pretty much the way much of Europe was run until the 1700’s. The Church had all the power and didnt allow anyone to think or learn or anything. In fact once society starts to become secular (starting with the Rennaisance) the society begins to progress. Religion holds people back from realizing there full potiential.

    You dont understand that Christianity and communism are one in the same! Jesus taught communism and the early Christians practiced it. Our country wasnt founded on Christianity. The founding fathers detested it, I think Jefferson called it the “most digusting institution on earth”. Ben Franklin was in fact a Satanist. Look at our Constitution and then look at the Satanic bible and you’ll see some striking similaritys.

    I dont think people are glorified animals, in fact the opposite. I believe mankind is the greatest of things to ever come to this planet, it is Christian theology that makes people seem worthless and unimportant. We needed to be “rescued” and “saved” because we are scum and filthy and sinful. Everything we do is wrong. Humanity is fantastic, but Christianity by nature is pessimistic about it.

    Of course Catholics arent going to issue a fatwa (or Crusade in Christian terms) on me, but if they had any sort of real power they sure would. All religions are the same in the sense that there all intolerant once they are in charge.

    And what is your obsession with killing people? Just because I am non-religious doesnt mean I want to kill people. Perhaps you have some feelings toward ending anothers life, but are halted by the news they will go to hell after they die. Religion is a crutch for people who are fundamentally miserable and need something to make them feel good about themselves because they havent done anything of any importance.

  • The French Revolution Dave was planned and begun by the illuminized Masonic order in France and this is a fact.
    http://www.freemasonrywatch.org/frenchrevolution.html

  • A website that trafficks in conspiracy theories is not a fact site Brian

  • So ‘The New Encyclopedia Britannica’ does not deal in facts but you do and the Masons themselves are lying when they actually acknowledge they were behind it?:

    ”The New Encyclopedia Britannica’ tells us that in France there arose a political system and a philosophical outlook that no longer took Christianity for granted, that in fact explicitly opposed it… The brotherhood taught by such groups as the Freemasons, members of secret fraternal societies, and the Illuminati, a rationalist secret society, provided a rival to the Catholic sense of community.”‘

    The same website tells us: ‘Secret society researcher and author Nesta H. Webster was even more pointed, writing in 1924, “The Masonic book ‘A Ritual and Illustrations of Freemasonry’ contains the following passage, ‘The Masons… originated the Revolution with the infamous Duke of Orleans at their head.'”

    Still Steve you know best don’t you?

  • “Ah but were they killing in the name of atheism? Did Stalin say “lets go kill all the christians because there christians?” No, he just killed people for his political goals, to turn Russia into a modern country and to unify it under the Soviet banner. In fact, Stalin promoted the Orthodox church as a source of Russian nationalism.

    You dont understand the context of the French Revolution, where the church literally had oppressed people for hundreds of years. Why wouldnt they slaughter all the priests then? If a priest had taxed your family to starvation, taken your house, then said you were going to hell, wouldnt you want to kill him too?”

    In regard to Stalin, he waged a war of extermination against the Orthodox Church explicitly because they were Christian. The war entered a period of remission during World War II when Stalin needed the support of Christians for the war effort. Agressive and murderous atheism was always a hallmark of the Bolshevik movement.

    As for the Church under the Old Regime in France, it had almost no secular power, and was noted for its good works in helping the poor. The war waged on the Church by the French revolutionary regime was massively unpopular in France which was the main reason that Napoleon as First Consul engineered a concordat with Pope Pius VII in 1801.

  • The Church had all the power and didnt allow anyone to think or learn or anything.

    Statements like that indicate that ignorance is alive and well and that the Church cannot be held culpable for it.

  • Steve asks: “What is your obsession with killing people?”

    Now that’s rich. Steve pops in here, accuses the Church of murder and then, when it is pointed out that secular regimes have murdered far more people, turns around and accuses us of having an “obsession with killing people. It’s always funny to me that people who attack religion for its’ “irrationality” are seldom models of reason and logic themselves.

    Steve, who thinks the Church “didnt allow anyone to think or learn or anything” apparently never learned that the modern university system was founded by the Church, as were hospitals. Do you think the Sorbonne or Oxford and Cambridge started out as secular institutions? Have you ever wondered why the vast majority of hospitals in this country have (or once had) some sort of religious affiliation? I realize that’s not the sort of thing that occurs to someone who apparently has learned his history from Bill Maher and Jon Stewart, but you really should try broadening your reading a little (if you read). You might find that Church history is a bit more complex than the simplistic cartoon you have your head.

    Finally, ah ha, the old “religion is a crutch” accusation. Gee, we’ve never heard that one before! Clearly, you’re not miserable and you do many things of great importance – like seeking out Catholic blogs so you can berate believers. My, what a highly significant existence you lead, Steve – unlike, say, a devout Catholic physician friend of mine who spends time working in Haiti as a medical missionary every year. No, attempting to destroy the faith of other people by is doing so much more for humanity, Steve.

  • Ha! Its obvious you Christians have misenterperted my statement. You continued to mention how it would be cool for me and my “crew” to kill people, as well as my apparent lack of morality which would lead me to kill people because they werent “worthy”. After all, all atheists are essentially bad people who would rape and murder if they had the chance.

    Yea thats great, but who were those unviersitys open to? Only the rich. Even earlier universities were used as priest training centers. They were by no means open to all, which you see only happening when secular authorities took over education. Religion is always exclusive.

    Haha more atheist cliches! Yea sure I dont have anything to be proud of, except I’m getting a Army commission in June and begin work in the Intelligence branch. I’m going to be making desicions that can potientially effect the foreign policy of our country. Yea sure I live an unfufilled life.

  • God help the Army if an ill educated bigot like you is actually receiving a commission. By the way, a second lieutenant doesn’t get within shouting distance of having any impact on this country’s foreign policy. Oh, and I hope you are covering your internet tracks well. Military Intelligence background checks tend to be very comprehensive.

    In regard to Universities in the Middle Ages, poor scholars regularly studied at them. Your knowledge of history is as rudimentary as your spelling.

    “After all, all atheists are essentially bad people who would rape and murder if they had the chance.”

    Not all atheists, but I wouldn’t lay any bets on you, considering your belief that it was fine that thousands of priest were murdered during the French Revolution.

    Piece of free advice: stop acting like a jackass and actually do some hard study of both history and theology.

  • Wow so I’m suddenly not qualified to lead soldiers because I dont agree with you? When have I ever said anything bigoted, I came here simply to inform Mr. Gregory that he was wrong on his warped history views.

    I think the real bigots in this community are YOU. Ever since I got here I’ve been talked to like a child, which I am not at all surprised because from exprience most Christians treat non-religious this way.

    And I never condoned the French priest killings, I merely stated I understood why the French would do that.
    Keep letting religion to rule your life, see how much you enjoy it with a god who wont even let you use your free will

  • Steve, why don’t you go back to HuffPo or Daily Kos or I Think Church Sux. com or some other site where nobody will argue with or challenge your goofy and semi-literate assertions. You’ve been talked to like a child here because you write and think like one – a nasty, bigoted one. You sound like a 14 year old who knows nothing and thinks he knows everything.

    As Donald noted, Army standards really are going down the tubes. I thought a basic knowledge of the English language was required of our military officers. You do know that many, many servicemen and women are believers, don’t you? I feel very bad for any enlisted Christian men and women who end up under the command of a such a narrow-minded bigot.

    “Keep letting religion to rule your life, see how much you enjoy it with a god who wont even let you use your free will”

    You have us confused with Calvinists. Do you know what Calvinism is? Do you know how it differs from Catholicism? No, you are ignorant of just how ignorant you are, which is why your attempts to “instruct” us are so risible.

    Good night to you.

  • “I think the real bigots in this community are YOU. Ever since I got here I’ve been talked to like a child,”

    You are a child Steve K. You are a high school student apparently at a Catholic high school. Unfortunately the money that your parents spent to send you to parochial school has been wasted, and you have developed a hatred for the Church. Oh well, you are young and have a lot of life ahead of you. Study hard, work hard and see a bit of the world after you enlist in the Army and check back here in a few years. I’ll be interested to see what you have learned. Good luck to you.

  • Donald, if Steve K. really is a high school kid, I have been a bit too harsh on him. I said similarly silly things when I was 18 (I cringe when I recall coming out of the movie theater after seeing “Reds” and saying “I think I’m a Communist.” That was, as I’m sure you can guess, before I actually knew something about Communists.)

    Your advice is sound. I hope Steve follows it.

  • I remember some of the things I said and did in High School and College Donna and I cringe even three decades later.

  • My last name starts with a C, what are you talking about? I did indeed go to Catholic school and that is indeed where I lost my faith but I have no idea where you got the idea that I’m still in high school.

    I think its disturbing that Mr. McClarey actually went looking for me online, but if you actually think my real name is Steve you are sadly mistaken.

    I am now leaving this discussion. Goodbye Christians, get off the train before it crashes into the mountains.

  • I do wish Dr Charles Krauthammer could take a look at “Steve’s” posts. If “Steve” had went to a liberal Catholic high school, he could have been turned off by their ideoloy and thought Catholicism as being silly. However, “Steve” seems quite certain of God’s existence, but questions God’s ways. I wonder if Steve went to a pretty orthodox minded Catholic school and either realizes a flaw in his own character and doesn’t want to change it, or was of another faith tradition (outside Christinaity) and refuses to acknowledge the truth of what he was taught.

    Whatever the case, I will pray for Steve and if you are reading this Steve know that we all have flaws. God points them out to us so we can become better human beings. Please keep this in mind and know that people are praying for you that haven’t the slightest clue of how you look, where you live and what you think of them. They pray for you because an interior calling brought up by their faith beckons them to pray for people they have never met, but whom they care about nonetheless. They do so because for centuries the saints and simple believers asked God to help those they never met as well following the teachings and practices of Jesus and His Apostles, along with those who initially persecuted the faith, but came into the light like St Paul.

  • Steve, you didn’t “lose” your Catholic faith at a Catholic School, you never had any faith, perhaps our Lord will give you some soon. But in the meantime please write nothing further. Your inane arguments about communism are quite dull. Just skimming your first two posts I can see you’re one of those who literally believe “religion has killed more people than all war in history.” This liberal balderdash you heard somewhere along the way during your liberal education and now you come here to talk about the truth as if you know. But the reality for all to see here is that you don’t know anything but the brainwashing bs taught in liberal schools.

    If you actually knew anything about the French revolution, for example, you’d understand that the average French person at the time of the revolution had a higher standard of living than any country in Europe and probably the world. But, like the good communist that you are (based on your writings), never let an opportunity pass to distort the facts and pedal lies.

  • “My last name starts with a C, what are you talking about? I did indeed go to Catholic school and that is indeed where I lost my faith but I have no idea where you got the idea that I’m still in high school”

    Steve, when you comment on this blog and we have your ip address and your e-mail address, it takes no great skill to learn quite a bit about people who contact us. I looked you up because of your statement about being commissioned in the army which I found hard to believe. If you are going to troll on blogs, truly a waste of time, you need to conceal your internet footprints with greater skill.

  • I suggest Steve you grow up. When the true and only Church God founded, the Catholic Church,was the Church in England before Henry VIII dared think he could make himself Pope by picking what he should and shouldn’t believe(just as you sound like you are doing)there were many chantry chapels set up in peoples’ wills to offer the Mass for their souls after death and the wealthier as part of their Mass bequests left an amount to help the poor and needy. Attached to these chantry chapels were schools to educate poor children. It was only after the 1600s, under Protestantism,that children were indoctrinated with anti-Catholic hate and teaching poor children was thrown out in favour of ‘the work house’. Perhaps you should read Charles Dickens’ novel ‘Oliver Twist’which shows how Protestant Churches really treated orphan children.
    In fact it was a Church of England clergyman in real life, the Revd. Thomas Malthus, who speaking of the poor and starving,who said ‘”the poor should die and decrease the surplus population.”‘However, this Anglican clergyman was Satan’s fool as there was not a surplus population and there never will be.
    In his short story ‘A Christmas Carol’ Dickens has Scrooge say this at the beginning – only later is it revealed to him by the Ghost of Christmas Present, quoting Scrooge back at him,that it was not for him to decide who should live or die (an arrogance of the wealthy).

    Thanks Dave,however,as I will show later while Communism is athiestic Karl Marx,it’s principal founder,as Marxism is just another word for Communism was not an athiest but a Satanist intent on bringing the world to ruin,not bettering it,who knowing he would not go to Heaven because he had chosen to side with Satan so would end up in the Abyss (Hell) which is where he wanted all mankind to go. This is in his own writings. I’ll put a link to some of them later to prove it as I never make statements unless I can back what I can say.

    As for you Steve,if you are at a school labelling itself ‘Catholic’,I wonder if your parents know the anti-Catholic,unhistorical,pro-Communist,pro-Protestant drivel you’re being taught because whoever is teaching it shouldn’t even be in a ‘public’ school (state school)teaching.

  • So,Steve, which is it? Are you at school or in the military? And if you are not a practising Catholic what are you? Lapsed Catholic,a convert to another Christian denomination or another religion!!!! Or are you an agnostic or athiest?

    I believe we have the right to know.

  • I have little doubt that Steve lost his faith at a Catholic high school. Our local Catholic high school works hard at doing this. That way, when they get to Catholic colleges, they are primed for becoming Communists.

  • I’m facebook friends with a few old high school classmates (a Jesuit school) that are defiantly atheist. Looking back on my high school education, this is not surprising.

  • A couple of points to consider: Who knows what if any truth came out of Steve’s keyboard. I have no idea if he is in high school (public or private) is in the military, or wants to be in the military. However since he says he believes God exists and still hates His ways, then we know one thing for surel Jesus said the evil one was the master of all lies.

    Another point as far as Catholic schools goes, I have worked in them and worked as an administrator in a diocesan office. There are some bad ones, but we shouldn’t discount the fact that there are some good ones. I can tell you in some of the schools I have been at recently, the religious instruction and religious curriculum is far superior than when I was a student in the 80s. Order run schools probably have the bigesst disparity. Sadly as Paul pointed out there are far too many Jesuit schools that are known for their high academic standards (which is all the parents care about) and goofy “Zen” oriented religious classes.

    A rather new phenomena to Catholic education are the students who are far more orthodox than their parents. They are serious about their faith and eagerly go to Sunday Mass (and sometimes Daily Mass at school) while their parents nurse a hangover. A recent study showed that those under 25 who go to Mass are more orthodox in their views (especially supporting the Church’s teachings on life) than their parents or grandparents.

    Yet, far too many Catholic youth don’t go to Mass because after having them baptized their parents never taught them thing one about Catholicism. I am increasingly meeting young people who say they were baptized Catholic but never went to Catholic school, CCD, and have only a vague memory of going to Mass for someone’s wedding or funeral. However, I think it should be pointed out that many of the new, more orthodox priests being ordained did go to Catholic school and want to correct the abuses that took place in the Church in the time of their parents generation.

  • I’m not in the military I’m training for the military, I get my commission in June.

    I’m a maltheist. I believe that god is a cruel and unjust and is therefor unworthy of my worship. He is a liar and a thief. I realize worshiping god only gives him more glory, glory which he does not deserve. It does not benefit me in any way to be with god or follow his base teachings.

    Thats my opinion

  • Steve this might be the most ridiculous post I have ever read. You aren’t smart enough to know the history of all the events you recite, and you are all of 18, 19, 20 21, maybe 22. In addition, you hide behind a false name and then you tell us that you are smarter than God and think that He’s doing it all wrong? Steve this is akin to a child who is barely able to mouth a few words telling a Nobel Prize Winner in Physics that he’s wrong. Please tell us that you are yanking our chain. You can’t be this ignorant.

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Praying the Holy Rosary in October

Saturday, October 2, AD 2010

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary — by personal recommendation of Pope Leo XIII:

In a letter of September 1, 1883, mindful of the Rosary’s power to strengthen faith and foster a life of virtue, he outlined the triumphs of the Rosary in past times and admonished the faithful to dedicate the month of October to the Blessed Virgin through the daily recitation of her Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in order to obtain through her intercession the grace that God would console and defend His Church in her sufferings.

Beginning on September 1, 1883, with SUPREMO APOSTOLATUS OFFICIO, Pope Leo wrote a total of eleven encyclicals on the Rosary, ending with DIUTURNI TEMPORIS in 1898. (Source: Rev. Matthew R. Mauriello, Catholic.net).

The spread of the devotion of the rosary is attributed to the revelation of Mary to St. Dominic, who sought her help in battling the heresy of the Albigenses. Robert Feeney’s “St. Dominic and the Rosary” gives a detailed account,

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One Response to Praying the Holy Rosary in October

  • Every day: beginning to end using a small prayer book (my grandmother gave me) with the prayers, meditations and scheduling.

    Prayer Before the Rosary
    “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, you have deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption which are recalled in it, I may be enriched with its fruits and obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners and (was Russia) America, and the favor which I ask of you in this Rosary. I ask it for he greater glory of God, for your own honor,and for the good of souls, especually my own. Amen.”

    The Blesed Virgin Mary (my Mother); legions of angels at her bidding; and the Holy Rosary have brought me through many “issues.”

    Each day last year my Rosary was for my son in Afghanistan. Now, it’s for another son or a brother with a chronic disease.

    When my mother was dying, we left her each night with her Rosary in her hands. She prayed the Rosary all her life. When I was taking a test for a scholarship, she was simultanepusly praying that Rosary for me. I scored enough to go to college. It may not have happened otherwise.

    Today and tomorrow will be the Glorious Mysteries.

E. J. Dionne & Maureen Dowd Are Playing With A Dangerous Fire

Tuesday, September 28, AD 2010

In a recent column Washington Post columnist, E J Dionne noted that the Tea Party movement is a great scam. Quite an indictment coming from the self described progressive Catholic who still thinks government can never be big enough and the Church should tell the faithful more about the teachings of the agnostic Saul Alinsky than that of 2,000 year old teachings of the Catholic Church. Dionne has made it his business to comment on all matter of politics and religion for quite some time. His partner in left wing chicanery is New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd who never hesitates to go for the jugular.  Though she says he she comes from humble Washington DC roots, you would never know it by how she mocks those who really came from humble surrounding and never forgot it. She probably grew up with many Sarah Palin’s and Christine O’Donnell’s around her. Yet, I doubt she mocked many to their face as she gleefully does now to the backs of Palin and O’Donnell.

Dionne and Dowd seem to have it backwards, they don’t think citizens should voice their views about the fallacies of liberal Big Government, but they do believe everyone knows better than the divine about religion. This is quite common for liberals who often seem to think they are divine. Dionne and Dowd are part of a movement who thinks they should control government and religion, and those who disagree with them are often labeled as unintelligent; the worst sin as far as liberals are concerned. However, who is the unintelligent one? Big Government has never worked. It has only brought huge debt which has to be repaid by future generations. Individuals who go into debt face a series of tough measures. Yet Dionne and Dowd seem oblivious to this and advocate the same disastrous path for the government, the end result being tough measures for everyone.  In other words Big Government is a disaster that doesn’t work.

However, Big Government isn’t the only disaster Dionne and Dowd advocate. They want the Catholic Church to turn her back on its 2,000 year old teachings and embrace the Dictatorship of Relativism, so named by Pope Benedict XVI. Dionne and Dowd are happy to embrace dissident Catholics who espouse this sort of thinking. It seems Dionne and Dowd are more comfortable with the views of Marx, Alinsky and Freud than they are with Christ, St Paul, St Thomas Aquinas, St Joan of Arc and Pope Benedict XVI.

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2 Responses to E. J. Dionne & Maureen Dowd Are Playing With A Dangerous Fire

  • Apologies in advance: Top ten reasons to vote dem:

    10. I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t.

    9. I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

    8. I vote Democrat because Freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

    7. I vote Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

    6. I vote Democrat because I believe that people who can’t tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Prius.

    5. I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies through abortion so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

    4. I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits.

    3. I vote Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the democrats see fit.

    2. I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

    1. I vote Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my @$$ that it is unlikely that I’ll ever have another point of view.

  • T Shaw did you come up with this? If you did something tells me that this might show up across the internet. Who knows old EJ and Maureen might heartily approve, not realizing your satire (well at 2-10.)

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

Sunday, September 26, AD 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keep the Faith.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • DP

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

    You know sort of like Lenin and Stalin.

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

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

  • Stan and Dave,

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

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

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

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

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In Britain, the Triumph of Pope Benedict XVI And the English Martyrs and the Tragedy of Those Who Would Not Listen To Them

Monday, September 20, AD 2010

It seemed unfathomable, even a few short years ago; an aging German pope arriving in Britain to the cheers and rapt attention of many, all this while his detractors were dismissed as everything that is wrong with Britain and the modern world. Saint Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and the rest of the English martyrs must be smiling in heaven. The English martyrs, like the well known (like Sir Thomas) and the unsung Saint Margaret Clitherow found their views more often than not supported by the rank and file. However, the same rank and file didn’t have the courage to make the stand as did these courageous men and women who were martyred. Though Catholicism was widely practiced, the fear of blood thirsty king, left many too weak to fight the good fight. (If you don’t believe this, read Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars.)

Yet, the truth will either set you free or convict you of false witness. It was the brutal King Henry VIII, who left Catholicism because Pope Innocent III wouldn’t give him a divorce. The king later had two of his wives beheaded, a rather odd sort of person to start a church, but start a church he did. Starting in 1534 Catholics would be killed and a legal Catholic Mass wasn’t allowed to be celebrated in Britain, or conquered Ireland, for nearly 300 years. The creation of King Henry the Anglican Church would reach the far flung corners of the mighty British Empire. As recent as fifty years ago, the Anglican Church in Britain had one of the highest rates of church attendance in the western world. Her teachings were mirrored by the life of those CS Lewis. Fifty years later, her teachings are mirrored by the likes of Elton John. However, to be fair to Sir Elton, even he is to the right of the Anglican Church on matters like welcoming Islamic Sharia Law to Britain as the spiritual leader of the Anglicans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams recently did.

The Catholic Church has been derided and mocked by the mainstream media for some time. One might think that with all of this and the horrible Abuse Scandal within the Church; it would be the Catholic Church that would be withering and not the liberal Anglican Church, who is modeling the whims of the modern world. Yet, the Catholic Church continues to grow and even rapidly so in Africa and Asia (Christ told us this would be so Matthew 16:15-20.)  The faithful aren’t as ignorant as the militant secularists would like to believe. The religious faithful of all stripes are beginning to clearly understand what Pope Benedict XVI is saying about the dangers of the Dictatorship of Relativism. It cannot work, as Jesus reminded us; we cannot serve two masters. Sadly that is what modern Anglicanism and liberal Christianity has tried to do. The results have been disastrous.

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14 Responses to In Britain, the Triumph of Pope Benedict XVI And the English Martyrs and the Tragedy of Those Who Would Not Listen To Them

  • I wonder how More would view the current state of affairs with divorce, annulments and those of us who have sought Roman intervention as our adulterous spouses are welcomed, unrepentant, in the Catholic Church?

    We are ignored, as we remain faithful to our vows.

    Our children are abused as well, taken from innocent abandoned, faithful, parents and the new lovers are listened to, by the Church in our place as we
    are allowed no place in our childrens lives but what is allowed by the state and our violators.

    I had NO SAY AT in our children’s sacraments! What good is a refused annulment, when it means nothing, except postponing a Church wedding
    until our deaths are hastened, with the full cooperation of the Church, and then the unrepentant lovers can have their cake andeat it too.

    No, Benedict does not impress me.

    He knows what is going on and he does nothing to come to our aid.

  • Karl I am sorry for your pain. I think it would be wise for all readers to pray for people in your situation. However, I don’t believe any of this is Pope Benedict’s fault. The fault lies with a society that condones immorality and believes there is no black and white, only gray.

  • The Popes visit seems to have gone not according to the secularist vision of things. We are fortunate to have this man as our Pope.

  • Doug, you are absolutely right. I think the Holy Father has caused the militant secularistss fits since the day the Holy Spirit helped inspire his election. Pope Benedict goes against everything the secularists believe and lacks the charisma of his predecessor Pope John Paul II. Yet, he draws bigger crowds than anyone expected, both in Vatican City and his international trips. May God keep him safe and healthy for many more years.

  • I live in the UK and in my eyes the most striking event was the fact that the protesters were utterly and completely ignored.
    Ignored by both the people – who gathered at the roadside and at the official celebrations in huge numbers – and the media – who kept largely silent about them in view of their utterly obvious irrelevance -.

    For months in this country, liberal media have tried to identify the Church with the (homosexual) pardophile priest scandal; many a tv station and particularly the BBC would mention the Church **exclusively** in connection with the (homosexual) paedophile priest scandal.

    This visit was a brilliant reminder that the media cannot shape public opinion to more than a very limited extent. People continue to think with their own heads and whilst they are often weak or indifferent (as in the largely secularised United Kingdom) they are most certainly not anywhere near as stupid as our smug journalist class thinks they are.

    Mundabor

  • Mundabor, good to see someone from the UK weigh in on this, your personal observations are very heartening. I do believe even in the UK the tide is beginning to turn!

  • After this truly triumphant visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain, not only are the British martyrs smiling in Heaven but, also, I can just hear Queen Mary saying “Hah!” to both her father and her sister!

  • Apollo,

    Hopefully, she doesn’t have to shout that a long way down, as it were.

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  • If you seek the true faith of the ancient church, see orthodoxinfo.com, monachos.net, ancientfaith.com, “The Orthodox Study Bible.”

  • Thank you for posting Eastern Orthodox. Due to the onslaught from militant scularism and radical Islam, our churches are closer than they have been since the 11th Century. However, I do think it is fair to remind the readers that it was to Rome that the Early Church always looked. From those in Corinth who wrote to Pope Clement in 96 AD, to those in the East who pleaded for the Pope’s intervention during the Iconoclast Movement. One must also remember that the Orthodox Patriach pleaded to Pope Urban for help during the Islamic Invasion (which lead to the First Crusade.) I hope and pray the division can cease and we can become One as Christ commanded (John 10:16.) Judging from the cordial visits Pope Benedict XVI has had with various Patriarch, this may soon be a reality. God Bless & take care!

  • And to think of how deflated are those who thought they had the pope right where they wanted him.

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Benedict at Westminster

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

The text of Benedict’s keynote speech on his trip to the UK is here; video of the speech can be found here.

Obviously, you read or watch the speech in its entirety, but I will present a few highlights for readers:

And yet the fundamental questions at stake in Thomas More’s trial continue to present themselves in ever-changing terms as new social conditions emerge. Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: what are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved? These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse. If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident – herein lies the real challenge for democracy.

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Suspected Al Qaeda Plot to Kill Pope Benedict XVI Foiled In London By Scotland Yard

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

A sophisticated attack to kill Pope Benedict XVI was appearently foiled in London by Scotland Yard. The Middle Eastern Intelligence website Debka, normally on top of such matters reports that the attack was foiled at the last possible moment.  Several men are in custody. Obviously this is still a breaking news story. However, while many people will say the Holy Father and the police were lucky, the faithful look to providence as the answer. How ironic that this is the feast day of the famous German Saint Hildegard. Something to ponder on this momentous day. May God keep our Holy Father healthy!  Below you will find my article that appeared last week which discussed Al Qaeda’s little reported on war against the Catholic Church.  UPDATE: Police in London have released those arrested.

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43 Responses to Suspected Al Qaeda Plot to Kill Pope Benedict XVI Foiled In London By Scotland Yard

  • First heard about it this am on NPR though there was no mention of Al Qaeda or Muslims. I thought it was those dreaded Amish terrorists again.

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  • I have not heard any confirmation that it was Al Qaeda. There is one report that they are Algerians, but nothing is confirmed. We should wait and see before blaming Al Qaeda.

  • Michael, Debka is reporting the Al Qaeda link. I linked to their story in the article. They are the premier intelligence site in the world, which is good enough for me.

  • Didn’t know there were Algerian Amish.

  • Does anybody know when Obama is scheduled to give his next: “Islam is a religion of peace” speech?

  • P.V., don’t confuse Islam with Al Qaeda. That is just plain ignorant.

  • I think Al Qaeda members consider themselves Muslim. Not all Muslims are extremists but some are and there is justification in the Koran for their extremism.

  • Your Debka link isn’t working…at least not when I tried it.

  • take it back…I tried it again and now it works!

  • Debka is not what Dave claims it is; indeed, if you look around, there is indications of it being a propaganda organization, nothing else but that.

  • Scott,.Don’t be so naive/politically correct.

  • Henry, I want to thank you for this post. It shows how little you know. Whether you like it or nor, Debka is made of former intelligence officials. Not only does the US and western intelligence officials read it religously, but so do many countries who are not so friendly to the West, like Iran, Syria etc.

    Debka won Forbes Best of the Web Award. In addition, it spoke of 9-11 style attack on NYC in 2000, one year before the event. In addition, it predicted the 2006 Hezbollah War against Israel months before it occured.

    Perhaps you can rationalize the world in your own Big Government-Kumbaya style parallel universe, but this is not how the world really works.

  • Whether or not people read them is different from whether or not their assessments are true, and whether or not they have been caught misrepresenting facts for the sake of propaganda. They have been caught doing this. They are not “the most credible.” People read all kinds of non-credible sources, because even those sources get something, even if their bias, interpretation, and presentation ends up being false.

    Many also question if they are “former intelligence officials.”

    Your response, therefore, does not deal with the problems behind Debka, and why they are not as absolute a source as you (and many others who do not have an ability to judge credibility of sources) are making them out to be. Just because you read people on the net, like WorldNetDaily, approving of their work does not mean their work is free from an agenda (and many sources which approve of them also have an agenda).

    I love how you end up talking about “big government.” I thought you were orthodox and followed the Vatican. Guess you follow a cafeteria style Catholicism when it comes to government. The Church is not opposed to “big government” and much of its teachings require “big government” intervention.

    BTW will you stop using every post of yours as an advertisement for your book? Really, you would do yourself better if your posts didn’t read like a marketing scheme.

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  • Henry,

    Dabbling in politics again? Tsk tsk.

    The Church most certainly does not “require big government intervention” – that is a delusion, a fantasy, cooked up by power-hungry authoritarians who lust for control over other people’s lives, who have no respect for the free will and dignity of persons.

    The Church requires that each of us consistently choose to do what is good in every sphere of life – social, political, and economic. And she absolutely requires that the state play a LIMITED role in overseeing this process, for, as Leo XIII said of state intervention: “things move and live by the spirit inspiring them, and may be killed by the rough grasp of a hand from without.”

    I know the idea of people spontaneously doing good without being told by a man in a uniform that they have to is an alien, strange, foreign concept to a bona fide statist control-freak, but it can happen and it will happen when people like you give it a chance and let go of your ultra-Calvinist pessimism about the general and inherent propensity of man to always be evil.

    Oh, and Dave – thanks for the plug again! Great work as always.

  • Really, you would do yourself better if your posts didn’t read like a marketing scheme.

    Awww, don’t be mad that his book will be read by more than three bored theology professors.

  • Awww, don’t be mad that his book will be read by more than three bored theology professors, who pretended to read the book.

  • The police aren’t saying anything about it and they’re still arresting people. Regardless of what one website says, I think we should wait for confirmation.

    BTW will you stop using every post of yours as an advertisement for your book? Really, you would do yourself better if your posts didn’t read like a marketing scheme.

    I never noticed this until the Catholic Fascist made fun of it. While I agree it does seem to be overkill at times, quite frankly if I spent the time to write a book that got published, I’d be talking about it every post I got too. My feeling is that those mysterious figures behind the Catholic Fascist secretly wish they could find someone to publish their own books.

  • I’ve long suspected the green-eyed monster of having taken possession of various personages at certain websites.

  • Uh, Henry, is it really necessary to so often invite conflict through the construction of straw men?

  • Joe thanks for the kind words about my article. I also appreciate the support of everyone else who came to my defense. You know I was able to watch the Holy Father for a bit and interestingly enough, he warned the assembled audience about the very thing Joe mentioned in his post. I then came back and was treated to Henry’s screed. I know the fortunes of the political and religious left have plummeted as of late. However after reading Henry’s childish rant all I can say is; goodness how the mighty have fallen.

  • The official news release makes no mention of Al Qaeda and if they do, remember, Al Qaeda was an
    invention/creation of the CIA during the Soviet-
    Afghanistan war in 1979. Al Qaeda translated into
    english means ‘data base’. Keep falling for the
    Nazi propaganda as a pretext to keep these illegal
    wars continuing using Muslims as fictitious enemies.

  • Mike S – I’ve always been curious. When making tin foil hats, what is your preferred brand of manufacture? These Reynolds ones just don’t seem to hold muster.

  • Its not the brand. You need thickness. You need heavy duty tin foil.

  • “Its not the brand. You need thickness. You need heavy duty tin foil.”

    De-magnetized of course.

  • The problem is you can’t get real tin foil these days. The government conspired with the ALCOA machine to supplant tin foil with aluminum. Everyone knows that tin offers far superior wave blocking ability and has the best weight to blocking ratio, which is why lead foil never really took off.

  • The world media is hiding the identity and nationality of these terrorists in a very sugestive way. Only the britanic Guardian mentioned they are believed to be muslim and algerians.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/17/five-arrests-pope-terror-threat

  • Its not the brand you need. Its the thickness….

    And of course, thickness of the skull is also a tremendous help. 🙂

  • I do hope you will now write as lengthy a piece on how all the men have been released without charge…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11360568

  • “The six – who work as street cleaners in Westminster – were arrested after they were allegedly overheard in the works canteen discussing an attack.

    Police refused to confirm reports that the men were joking, saying they had a duty to investigate.”

    And perhaps the authorities will release just what the six men were saying when they allegedly “joked” about murdering the Pope. It would also be nice to have their names so that information can be obtained as to their backgrounds and any terrorist affiliations they might have.

  • James you have a rather interesting post. First of all, I did not write a lengthy piece describing the arrest. I believe it was one paragraph. At the end of that paragraph, I noted that I would repost much of a previous article I wrote about Al Qaeda’s War on the Catholic Church. Is that to what you are objecting? It is a factual article using Al Qaeda’s own statements. As Don has already pointed out, the arrests were not without good reason.

  • I have no doubt that Al Qaeda would love to kill or get their hands on the pope in some way. Bojinka was in many ways the predecessor or inspiration for 9/11.

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  • Algerian street-cleaners? Better to get some Christians or Hindus from the Phillipines and India instead. They at least would be grateful for the opportunity to make a living and will not keep the security forces busy.

  • Dave – thanks for your reply.

    Read your first paragraph again in the light of the fact that all the men have been released without charge, along with your headline. ‘Al-Qaeda plot’, ‘sophisticated attack’, ‘foiled at the last possible moment’. All these statements are completely untrue and that is what I am objecting to. It was a rush to judgement based on some very precautionary arrests. Do you not believe in innocent until proven guilty?

    Also, since you claim Debka are ‘normally on top of such matters’, it is interesting to note they haven’t yet reported all the men were released without charge. You may have to work out for yourself why you think that might be.

  • James, thank you for your reply. I really enjoy these types of exchanges and I find them very fruitful and revealing. Yes of course I believe in innocent until proven guilty. I didn’t draw this terrorism link out of thin air. As I noted before, Debka is the most widely read and believed intelligence site out there, they have a Forbes Best of the Web Award to prove it. Now with respect to the Debka article, you may have read Donald’s post about the street cleaners joking about harming the Pope. In light of this news and the continuing Al Qaeda threat and presense in the UK, Debka reported some news that many believed was inevitable, another Al Qaeda attack in Britain.

    Now I have a question for you. With all of the many things one can post about on a Catholic site, why would you post so quickly in making sure that Al Qaeda was not blamed for a possible attack? Do you believe Al Qaeda has an agenda against Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, why or why not?

  • Dave – My original point was simply about the recent arrests in London, not about the wider article.

    Debka wrote: ‘the five Algerians reached their London rendezvous overnight to prepare for their operation’. This is clear fiction. I’m sorry you believe this is ‘premier intelligence’. (I have to agree with Henry on this point.)

    I live in the UK so was aware of how our media was (generally) extremely cautious about these arrests. So where did Debka get this completely untrue info about a rendezvous from? And my point remains – why have they not told their readers that all these people have been released without charge. If they are so reliable, why do you think they have they not been honest enough to bring their readers up to date?

    I’m pleased to hear you say you believe in innocent until proven guilty. However, if you read your headline and opening paragraph you do appear to have jumped to conclusions. For example, on what basis did you call this a ‘sophisticated plot’?

    As for Donald’s comment – these guys were innocent. The cops would not have let them go after one day if they thought there was anything serious here (in UK, they can be held for 4 weeks without charge). In that case, neither Donald nor anyone else has the right to know their names.

    I’m sorry but I don’t have the time to go through everything else in your article. However, I note, for example, your mention of an Al-Qaeda plot to blow up St Petronio’s. Your link goes to a Guardian article which says it was a ‘suspected’ plot. Can you link to newspaper reports of the successful prosecution of the people involved in this ‘plot’?

  • James, I know that through the years there have been many arrests in Italy concerning jihad. Off hand, I have no idea who or how many were arrested, nor what their sentences might have been. However, living in he UK, you should know better than I that the Guardian is hardly the type of publication that is often sympathetic to the views and goals of the Catholic Church.

  • Dave – sorry you didn’t feel able to answer the other questions I asked. However, on the point you did reply to, you said in the article that there ‘WAS an Al-Qaeda plot’ to blow up the church in question. In your reply you said you don’t know ‘what their sentences might have been’. That assumes there was a successful conviction. But you don’t produce any evidence that anyone was prosecuted for such a plot. One vague article pointing to an arrest proves nothing (as the Pope arrests shows).

    And I note that Debka STILL hasn’t written about the six men being released without charge, three days on.

  • James, this is really become intriguing to me. Of all the issues one can write about on a Catholic site, you seem quite annoyed about an intelligence site. Now I have no idea how Debka handles these sorts of matters, they are not a news site, they are an intelligence site, and the most respected site at that. After all, they did win the Forbes Award. However, you seem upset that the arrest of a few men joking about the death of the pope is a great form of human injustice, even though they were set free. Surely, you will admit that in places like Egypt they may very well be in prison for years, for this sort of offense. Then you refer back to the very liberal Guardian article, a publication that is hardly a friend of the Catholic Church. They print an article about a plot in Italy and you want to see Italian arrest and court records.

    In the above article which I wrote, I linked to another article in which Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri threatens “the infidel,” and the “lukewarm Muslim” as he so often does. He also goes on to demand that Pope Benedict convert to Islam. Seeing as that there was a highly sophisticated attack in London some five years ago, as well as others in the UK that were foiled at the last minute, do you believe Al Qaeda poses a threat to the UK and the Western world in general?

Burleigh Defends the Pope

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

My second favorite living historian, Michael Burleigh, who has written stunningly original works on subjects as diverse as Nazi Germany, religion and politics in the last two centuries,  terrorism, and morality and World War II,  has taken up the cudgels against the despicable attitude of many Brits of the chattering classes regarding the visit of the Pope to the Island next to Ireland.

Under normal circumstances, one might say “welcome” rather than “receive”. But the multiple sexual scandals that have afflicted parts of the Catholic Church have created a window of opportunity for sundry chasers of limelight – including human rights militants, crusading gays, Islamist fanatics, and celebrity God-botherers – to band together to “arrest” the Pope under laws so obscure that few knew they existed. Because child abuse is involved, rather than the more widespread phenomenon of homosexual predation on young men, these manifestations will receive much media attention, especially from the BBC, to the guaranteed perplexity of a less involved general public in a nominally Protestant country. It will require some effort of mind to tune out this noise to hear what the Pope will be saying.

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3 Responses to Burleigh Defends the Pope

The Pope Of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI Is In The UK

Thursday, September 16, AD 2010

Many in the mainstream media have failed to see the obvious concerning Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United Kingdom, the truth of the Catholic Church has won out. The Pope of Christian Unity (as he is often called by the blogging Father Z) is reaching out to serious minded Christians. The Holy Father is asking them to unite as they once were under the leadership of the Successor of Saint Peter. Now I realize Pope John Paul II went to the UK, but the Anglican Church is in a far more dilapidated condition than it was then.  In addition, I am aware that many in the United Kingdom, and Western Europe for that matter, have little to do with religious matters, but the same could be said in the early days of the Roman Empire. Against all odds, three centuries later Catholicism would be the dominant faith.  It can happen again.

The Holy Father is about to beatify John Cardinal Henry Newman. He was a towering figure in the 19th century state run Anglican Church. He came to the Catholic Church and gave us this memorable quote; To go deep into history is to cease to be Protestant. I am not bringing this up in the spirit of triumphalism but in the spirit of truth. Christ promised us that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, and though it has been through many rough patches (we are currently in one) the truth is winning out. (Matthew 16:15-20.)

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13 Responses to The Pope Of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI Is In The UK

  • Just a small point Dave.

    The pope is going to beatify John Henry Newman – not canonise him. 🙂

  • God bless the Holy Father and good Queen Elizabeth.

  • Thanks Don, I didn’t realize that I got ahead of myself and had Pope Benedict making him a saint!

  • Poor Europe being led by hateful,intolerant,godless fools who know nothing about religion.They have turned away from God and have built and worship their golden calf of secularism.They revolve their lives around perishable things of the world while their enemies grow within their borders.They promote a culture of death through abortion and gay rights which produces no life while the Muslims continue to multiply…the liberal left that espouse diversity,tolerance and promote sin will be the first to taste the fruits of persecution that they have sown and nurtured by setting themselves up against God.Open your eyes Europe..turn back to God and stop living sel centered lives where everything is based on passing pleasures.

  • Be sober in spirit and the truth will be made clear. Pope John II once referred to Queen Elizabeth II as the queen of Israel. There is an ancient truth here that supercedes “the truth of the Catholic Church” (as you refer to it). Jesus was fully aware of this truth Matthew 10:6. The real house of rebellion is not the “Protestant” house, it is the house of Israel herself. The Catholic Church would do well to be honest about what she already knows, and submit to the Lords will concerning the lost sheep, being careful not to impose her own agenda over them.

  • Excellent article…@John your comments ring so true. But we all aren’t without recourse. This article is one of hope: the promise that is sure to come and triumph: victory by preservering love and sacrifice. We also have recourse in prayer before the Eucharist in adoration and benediction, recourse in prayer through Mass
    in Communion, and recourse in prayer through the Rosary and Liturgy of the Hours. This staves off the tide if error, quiets the crashing sea foam of sin through its reparation and its remission, and facilitate the conversion of those souls obstinate in sin. I suggest you knights and prayer warriors put your man-on and gear-up to battle by the above means. Of course by all means go to confession (on a regular basis) like all good soliders before entering the battle. For it is good to be here while the mouthpiece of our Lord, the Pope, implement his prophetic strategies and embattlements among priests, with universal authority, among the faithful.
    Roll on, Good Pope, God’s Representative, Roll on!

  • @Chris I would have to disagree. The Queen of Israel is the Spouse of Christ, the Mother Church he founded. The queen in judaic culture has always been the mother of the king…not the wife of the king! Queen Mother of the Catholic Church is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus. As for truth: the Church, the mystical body of Christ, and her Groom are one in the same as for Truth. However, we, as members of this same Mystical Body, have much to suffer and gain in our response and to living this Truth.

  • Winkyb.. Thank you for your response and your desire to follow Him. I was relaying what was reportedly said by Pope John Paul II when he visited England several decades ago… We agree on this. The spouse of Christ are His people the Church. What we do not agree on is the exclusivity of the Roman Catholic Church in that role. For one thing, without past decent by His people, God’s word would be quite different than it is today. Witness the politically correct changes in the New Catholic bible, hymns…etc. Done seeming incredulous to the warnings of Revelation 22:18-19. To be blunt, I’ve seen American Catholicism turn more young people away from Christ than I can number. When 70,000 nuns give congress the out they needed to turn their back on the Hyde Amendment and the innocent lives it protected, you can begin to see why the young have turned away (not to mention the more obvious issues). As a non-catholic, I went to mass for 30 years. I have known priests who confided to me their doubts about faith as they faced death, and priests who left the church altogether. All of it a shame, because Christ came to give us abundant life free from fear and doubt. Please be sober in Spirit, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Why not strengthen your Anglican brothers and sisters rather than cannibalize their membership and destroy them in their weakness.
    Yours in Christ ~Chris

  • @Chris your rhetoric keeps redefining the truths and traditions of the Faith of Christ, the Apostolic, True Vine, which evangelized the Anglo-Saxons and founded the Catholic Church in England. Your country still celebrates to this day as St. Ninian. The Archbishop of Canterbury also acknowledges the reality of this True, Apostolic Vine and also its respective title of the Peter and Chair, the Pope, Benedict XVI as The Servant of Servants. The ArchBishop of Canterbury also acknowledges the Apostolic See of Pope and Saint: St Gregory the Great and his influences on the Catholic Church of England. The ArchBishop of Canterbury also incensed, knelt, and prayed before England’s titled Defender of the Faith and king, St. Edward the Confessor whose feast day is stlill celebrated on the litugical calendars of the Catholic Church and Anglican. Chris you keep taking things out of context and redefining them e.g. “The spouse of Christ [are His people-error] (is-truth) the Church. I recommend that you speak the truth. The Archbishop of Canterbury today at Vespers in the present of the Pope, Anglican hierarchy, and media does not even refer to the State Church of England as Catholic but rather as Christain. There is no such thing as American Catholicism: there is only One, True, Holy, and Apostolic catholic church. In America the Latin Rite is practice but there are rites such as Maronite Rite, Byzantine Rite, etc all of one faith and still in union with the Apostolic Chair of Peter. No one is disputing the state church of England abdication from the Church in Rome with its self appointed Head as British Monarch no one disputing that the Queen Elizabeth and Archbishop of Canterbury both references itself as Christian entity despite its historical catholic roots and heritage. No one is disputing that this abdication was vilolently solicited by the king’s demand for adultery and divorce as evident by writ and auguments displayed in the Lambeth
    museum. No one is disputing the martydom of England’s innocent catholic citizens and chanchellor in defense of this state church. And as evident by the invitation of the Queen and acceptance of the Pope that there is a great love and a great moment in between these two kingdoms and among christain brethren 1500 years ago which I will enjoy very much with every replay on the telly for what I see is a joyous occassion despite history. I will say it would be even more joyful if the entire Anglican church reconcile to its true roots and true faith under it Roman Latin Rite for England’s kinship is clear to even those with a blind eye. Lastly, we, Christ’s True Church are not cannibalistic but we do love a bit too much: enemies and friends alike. But how can you do otherwised with Jesus’ arms so much suffered nailed to the Cross to remain opened to all. Cheer up ‘ole boy… today is a great day!
    do hug fr

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  • God Bless our good Pope

  • It is heartwarming to see Pope Benedict reach out to those that want NOTHING to do with the Catholic Church. May God bless his witness.

  • @Nancy, correction: The pope didn’t crash the party he was invited by the prime minister and received by the queen. Your view contradicts the 65,000-100,000 in attendance to Mass, the 125,000 lining the streets to view the pope in his pope mobile…and the attendance/host of the archbishop of Canterbury, Anglican bishops and priests and British hierarchy vying to greet and
    shake his hand. Not to mention worldwide media coverage…look like everyone wanted something to do with the pope…you even bother yourself…about the pope…with an unrealistic comment.

Are you ready for Pope Benedict's next gig?

Monday, September 13, AD 2010

Preparing for Pope Benedict’s journey to England and Scotland later this week, Catholic bishops have likened the Pope to the headline act at a series of gigs in a ‘cringe-worthy’ guide, exposing the Church to new heights of ridicule.

The Daily Mail reports (September 12, 2010):

In a list of ‘useful terms’ in the official booklet, the three open-air Papal masses – the most solemn occasions of the historic trip – are referred to as ‘shows’ or ‘gigs’, terms normally associated with rock concerts.The document also compares the clergy who organise services – known as liturgists – to ‘performers’ or ‘artists’ …

The unusual glossary raises fresh questions over the handling of Pope Benedict XVI’s four-day visit, which starts on Thursday and has already been mired in controversy.

The Church is distributing thousands of copies of the glossy, eight-page booklet produced by the Papal Visit Team, overseen by Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols. Its cover carries the official slogan of the visit – the first to Britain since 1982 – Heart Speaks Unto Heart.

Insiders said the pamphlet is aimed at workers from companies arranging events, police officers, broadcasters and journalists who may not be Catholics and are unsure about the Church’s rituals and beliefs.

Thomas Peters (The American Papist) puts the Bishop’s phrasing in the most charitable light:

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8 Responses to Are you ready for Pope Benedict's next gig?

  • I see it as condescending to the press

    And? The press has thought that the pope wore green to show his support for environmental causes. People attacking the papal visit team forget the endless bounds of stupidity and ignorance shown by the press. While “gig” & “headline act” might be a stretch, it’s not unthinkable and the rest of the terms I believe I’ve seen used before in previous coverage of catholic events.

  • Michael,

    The press has displayed abominable ignorance at times. There’s no denying it. But this should be seen as an opportunity to lift up and educate. Instead of providing a brief-but-substantial dictionary of Catholic terminology, the Bishops’ take the opposite approach by ‘dumbing down’ the language.

    Treating the readership as if they were in elementary school only encourages this ignorance. An elementary paper like USA Today could have done a better job.

  • Yeah, this is tough. Probably better off having said nothing. The real scandal in my mind is that too many Catholics seem to think of the sacred items in the list like the “similar terms”.

  • I hope he is “taken care of”….so to speak.

  • And by taken care of, I mean given great accomodations!!!

  • “it’s hard to see how this type of glossary can be received as anything other than an insult to the reader”.

    I don’t find it hard at all: this is an insult to the Eucharist and to the Mass. This is not an “explaining” of anything to anyone, this is a willed banalisation of the sacred for the sake of appearing “hip” and “connected”.

    I also suspect that those who have thought this genial initiative have no clear idea of what a Mass or what the Eucharist is. If they had had it, they would have never dared to make such comparisons.

    M

  • Apparently, we’re wrong. It’s not to the press, it’s the people producing the Papal Event-people for whom “gig” and “headline act” are common usages. This appears to be a hatchet job.

    See Thomas Peters who has a statement from the Papal Visit team and the document in full: http://catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=10241

  • I still can’t see your argument, Denton.

    The last page of the document is delirious even following the pages of the documents.

    No one in his right mind would ever dare to make any comparison whatever between a Mass and a “Gig”, and say that for a non-catholic the one may have the merest resemblance to the other.

    No one has ever tought or said that the last page is everything there is in the document, it is not about that.

    As for the affirmation that there is no intention of being patronising, this is more than risible. The explanations made in the previous pages make the last page even more offensive for a journalist, not less.

    The last page could have been cut out entirely, and no one would have missed it. But no, the “see, my Mass is a kind of gig” part had to be inserted.

    M