PopeWatch: Suffering Paul VI

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2014

4 Responses to PopeWatch: Suffering Paul VI

  • Pope Paul VI was genuinely courageous for issuing Humanae Vitae in the face of liberal progressive opposition.
    .
    Pope Francis will consider himself courageous for issuing something – anything – that angers and irritates conservative traditionalists while receiving applause from liberal progressives.
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    Pope Paul VI suffered from liberal progressive rebellion – the Winnipeg Statement by Canadian Bishops comes to mind.
    .
    Pope Francis will consider himself suffering when what he writes of a questionable nature is opposed by conservative traditionalists while he himself receives accolades from liberal progressives.

  • Pope Paul VI did give us one of the great social encyclicals of the 20th century in Populorum Progressio.

    As for the aftermath of Humanae Vitae, am I alone in finding an eerie similarity between the “Truce of 1968,” as George Weigal calls it, when the Congregation for the Clergy decreed that Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington should lift canonical penalties against those priests whom he had disciplined for their public dissent from Humanae Vitæ and the “Peace of Clement IX” during the Jansenist controversy?

    In both cases, after the Church had been riven by a decade-long dispute, a papal document was issued that was intended to be definitive.

    In both cases, the original quarrel was immediately forgotten and argument raged over the scope of papal authority to decide the question. In the Jansenist case, peace, of a sort, was achieved, when Pope Clement IX brokered an agreement that neither side would argue the question, at least from the pulpit.

    The “Peace of Clement IX” lasted for about 35 years and ended in 1705 when Clement XI declared the clergy could no longer hide behind “respectful silence.” Eventually, in 1713, he issued Unigenitus and demanded the subscription of the clergy to it. There was enormous resistance, with bishops and priests appealing to a future Council (and being excommunicated for their pains, in 1718). As late as 1756, dissenters were still being denied the Last Rites.

    Will the “Truce of 1968” end in a similar fashion?

  • Paul VI as “the great helmsman of the Council”? Not a shred of factual evidence exists to support this view, if you study Michael Davies (“Pope John’s Council”), Romano Amerio (“Iota Unum”) or Roberto de Mattei (The 2nd Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story”). He was more like the Flying Dutchman, punished to be driven without surcease by a Zeitgeist and its winds he could no longer control and by unscrupulous progressives who would not let him correct the course.

  • “…like the Flying Dutchman, punished to be driven without surcease by a Zeitgeist and its winds he could no longer control and by unscrupulous progressives who would not let him correct the course.” wow – that really paints a scary eerie picture!
    .
    Paul VI spoke very eloquently about the devil too didn’t he, in a general audience

    ” Paul VI’s famous speech, who reserved the catechesis of the general audience for this argument, stating that, “one of the greatest needs of the Church today is that of defending against the evil which we know to be the devil”. Pope Paul VI placed emphasis on the fact that, “evil is not simply a force in the background but rather truly present, a living being who is spiritual, perverse and who renders perverse. He is a horrifying reality, a mysterious force who spreads fear. Anyone who refuses to recognise his existence is distancing themselves from the framework of Biblical and Church teaching.

    Paul VI warned against the widespread beliefs of the time, saying, “some think that they can find sufficient reward in psychoanalytical studies, psychiatric studies or in spiritualist experiences, which have now sadly become widespread in some countries. There is a fear of falling back into old Manichaean ideas, or to get sidetracked by fearsome fantasies and superstitions. Today, there is a preference to come across as strong and open-minded, to sympathise with the most positive outlook, only to then show empathy for so many gratuitous magical or popular irrational fears. Or worse, one might open one’s very own soul to licentious experiences of the senses, to the harmful experiences of drugs, as well as to the mistaken ideological seductions of current trends, all of which are crevices through which the Evil one can easily penetrate and alter human mentalities”.
    that’s from the vatican insider article http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/francesco-francis-francisco-27230/

Pope Paul VI and the Smoke of Satan

Sunday, October 19, AD 2014

 

(The day of the beatification of Pope Paul VI seems like a good day to repost this post.)

I have long heard about Pope Paul VI having referred to the “smoke of Satan” having entered the Church.  Usually most references to it do not mention when it was said and in what context.  The quote apparently was said on June 29, 1972 by Pope Paul VI on the ninth anniversary of his coronation during a homily given at a mass for the solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.  The Italian text is here.  As far as I know there is no official translation.  On November 13, 2006 Jimmy Atkin posted at his blog  a translation done of the homily by Father Stephanos Pedrano.  Please note that the text that is translated is a summary of what the Pope said and not a word for word transcript of what the Pope said.  Father Pedrano’s translation is as follows (I have placed in red the portion of the text that refers to Satan):

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6 Responses to Pope Paul VI and the Smoke of Satan

James Cardinal McIntyre and the Conclave of 1963

Wednesday, March 13, AD 2013

 

 

 

James Cardinal McIntyre was very unhappy with Vatican II and spoke about it, one of the few Cardinals who did.  However, McIntyre was a man who never minded swimming against the stream.  Born on June 25, 1886 in New York City,  his father a member of the mounted police and his mother an immigrant from Ireland.  His father was rendered an invalid after a fall from a horse in Central Park, and his mother supported the family as a dressmaker.  When she died in 1896 his father and James went to live with a relative.  To support himself and his father, James became a runner on the New York Stock Exchange.  He was offered a junior partnership in 1914, but declined to pursue his dream of becoming a priest.  He was ordained in 1921 and served as associate pastor at Saint Gabriel’s on the lower East Side until he was made Assistant Chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York in 1923, rising to Chancellor in 1934.  In 1939 he formed the Columbiettes, the woman’s auxilary of the Knights of Columbus.  In 1940 he was named Coadjutor Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York.  In 1946 he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of New York, and in 1948 second Archbishop of Los Angeles.

Ever a fighter, McIntyre led the successful campaign to overturn a California state law which taxed Catholic schools.  He was made a Cardinal in 1953 by Pius XII.  Under his leadership the Archdiocese went through a period of immense growth, McIntyre showing exceptional foresight in purchasing land cheap as the sites of future churches and schools.  Endlessly hardworking, he made sure the Archdiocese ran efficiently and effectively.

McIntyre was Orthdox in his religion and hard right in his politics, which put him at odds with most other of the high clergy in the Church of his day.  He sent his priests to classes conducted by the John Birch Society about the threat of Communist infiltration.  He railed against moral laxity in the film industry, normally a sacred cow in California.

He never let politics stand in the way of friendships.  He was a friend of Dorothy Day although their political views were light years apart.  Go here to read what Day wrote about the Archbishop.

Vatican II met with his disfavor.  In a speech to the Council Fathers on October 23, 1962 he uttered words which proved prophetic in regard to proposed changes in the liturgy:  “The schema on the Liturgy proposes confusion and complication. If it is adopted, it would be an immediate scandal for our people. The continuity of the Mass must be kept.”

He voted in the Conclave of 1963.  He was no happier with Vatican II after the Conclave than before.  When the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters went crazy following Vatican II, a process described in excruciating detail here, McIntyre told them that they had to follow Vatican II guidelines for religious.  They refused to do so, the Vatican backed McIntyre up, and almost all of the IHM sisters left the Church.  Until he retired in 1970 McIntyre continually butted heads with radical priests and nuns.  He was totally opposed to the zeitgeist of the time, and clearly could not have cared less.  After his retirement he served as parish priest at Saint Basil’s in Los Angeles, and would say the Tridentine Mass on the side altars.  He died at 93 in 1979.

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2 Responses to James Cardinal McIntyre and the Conclave of 1963

  • Having grown up in LA, I have memories of Cardinal McIntyre. I know he delayed implementation of the New Mass until the last possible minute. Thus I received my First Communion in the Tridentine Rite. The last class to do so.

    I also remember some of the rebellion after Vatican II. One priest spoke publically from the pulpit against McIntyre’s resistance to the “spirit” of the times.

    The very next week, the priest was publically apologizing to McIntyre in the Cathedral.

    Such were the days.

  • John Cuthbert Ford and Germain Grisez deserve an enormous amount of credit for making sure Paul VI had the best possible orthodox case before pulling the trigger on HV.

    I can strongly recommend Ford’s “Contemporary Moral Theology” books (co-authored with Gerald Kelly). Alas, it was projected to be a long series, but only two books were ever produced (the second, Marriage Questions, being published in 1963). The avalanche hit after that.

    But they are excellent and interesting books, and give the lie to the broad-brush attacks leveled against “manualism.”

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

Sunday, December 16, AD 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The 1970s were indifferent to religion.

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

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

    The battleground is Christian America.

  • Penguins Fan wrote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The 1970s were indifferent to religion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corpus Cristi: A Saint, A Pope and a Miracle

Sunday, June 17, AD 2012

 

(A guest post from Don the Kiwi on the backstory regarding the institution of the feast of Corpus Cristi.)

 

Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of Corpus Cristi, which literally means the body of Christ, in solemn commemoration of the Holy Eucharist.   As with many of the great feasts of the Church there is a fascinating history associated with the establishment of this holy day, which involves a saint and a miracle.

God’s instrument on this occasion was a woman known to history as Saint Juliana of Liege, or Julian of Mount Comillon where she was educated as a girl by the Augustinian nuns at the convent there, after the death of her parents when she was only five.  She was accepted into the order, made her religious profession, and became the mother superior of the convent.

Juliana had an ardent love of Our Lady, and also cultivated an extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  As she grew in her vocation, she increasingly longed for a special feast in honor of the Sacrament.  She had a vision of the Church as a full moon with one dark spot, symbolizing the lack of such a feast.  Juliana expressed her to desire to the Bishop of Liege and the Archdeacon of Liege, who received her request favorably.  In 1246 the Bishop at a synod of bishops from lands now in the country of Belgium, successfully proposed that a feast in honor of the Blessed Eucharist  be instituted in the dioceses respresented at the Synod.  The Archdeacon of Liege, Jacques Pantaleon, in time became the Bishop of Verdun, then Patriarch of Jerusalem, and, on August 29, 1261, was elected Pope under the name of Urban IV.

Shortly after this, in an example of that synchronicity that often reveals the Hand of God in history, one of the great Eucharistic miracles of the Church occurred.  In 1263 Peter of Prague, a German priest, stopped at a town called Bolsena while on pilgrimage to Rome.  He was a pious priest but had difficulty in believing that Christ was truly present in the consecrated host.  While celebrating Mass in the Church of Saint Cristina, he finished saying the words of consecration, when blood started to seep from the consecrated host and trickled over his hands and onto the altar cloth and corporal

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5 Responses to Corpus Cristi: A Saint, A Pope and a Miracle

  • Originally, the feast was kept on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, to recall the institution of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday.

    I have been told that there was a fierce debate amongst the French hierarchy, when the government offered them either Ascension Day (Holy Thursday) or Corpus Christi (Le Fête-Dieu or Feast of God) as a public holiday, but not both – A public holiday on a Thursday inevitably means a long weekend, known as “faire le pont” (make the bridge). Ascension Day won and Corpus Christi was transferred to the following Sunday.

    The old name does survive and I think it is a splendid one.

  • That shows how direct The Holy Spirit is with convincing people of things.

  • St Michael’s near here had a week of Adoration followed by a Eucharistic Procession through several blocks of business and residential to celebrate Corpus Christi– many many participants all week and for the procession and benediction. Praise God.

  • It is with nostalgia that I remember how we used to celebrate this Great Feast on Thursdays while in Consolata and Loreto Sisters’ Convent Secondary Schools. We were sent the day before the fields around the Schools to collect flowers which we would throw down on the Route where the Procession was taking place. Following Jesus raised on a huge Monstrance stirred such strong emotions in my heart that are unforgettable.

    They still stir – even if not so strongly as when I was a teenager – each time I am sitting before the Blessed Sacrament in the Adoration Chapel, during Benediction. It was the same last Sunday, when we took Jesus around the Streets of Nairobi City Centre. Our Holy Family Minor Basilica, the Seat of the Head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, John Cardinal Njue, is smack in the middle of what we call “The City Square”.

    Oh my Jesus, may You be adored, worshiped, honoured, praised and loved in all the Tabernacles and Adoration Chapels in all the Catholic Churches all over the world, now and until th end of Time

  • Mary@42

    In Alsace, Corpus Christi is known as “Kranzeltag,” or “Day of Garlands” from the flowers lining the streets for the procession

In The Birth Control Controversy; The Mocking of Conservative Religious Women By Militant Secularists Will Soon Backfire

Sunday, February 19, AD 2012

We have all seen the supposed polls indicating that 99% of Catholic women use birth control. However, has anyone ever bothered to look at who conducted the poll? It was the Guttmacher Institute; the driving force behind abortion and other leftist social movements.  Finally someone in the Mainstream Media (The Washington Post) has weeks after the fact realized the untruthful nature behind this canard. This is just one of many red herrings thrown at religious conservatives to discredit and mock them. It seems some in mainstream media are making it their mission to ask former Pennsylvania Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum every question imaginable with regard to birth control. Whatever happens to Santorum in the primary race, it does seem as if the Hand of Providence is helping bring up the topic of birth control and the faithful alternative of Natural Family Planning.

While there is some dispute between Catholics and some Evangelicals on birth control; there are signs that many Evangelicals are seeing what Catholics and some Orthodox Jews have long believed about birth control. In my previous book and forthcoming book; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism, I cite quotes from Chuck Colson and R Albert Mohler, two towering figures in the Evangelical world. They have genuine affection for Pope Paul VI’s 1968 prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae which cemented the Catholic view on birth control in the modern birth control pill era. If you want to really rile up a militant secularist you might mention that it wasn’t until 1930 that the first religious group (the Anglican Church) even approved of birth control. The Progressive Teddy Roosevelt said the idea of birth control was “ridiculous” and even liberal hero Dr Sigmund Freud said the whole concept was “narcissistic.”

Dorothy Day (1897-1980) the late women’s rights activist, who used birth control back before any religious group approved of it, spoke out forcefully against abortion and birth control once she converted to Catholicism later in life. She told men and women that in using birth control they were becoming engaged in a culture that was disconnecting them from God’s plans, along with not using their bodies in accordance with the Holy Spirit. Though her women’s rights and libertarian economic views remained, she became a social conservative, who lashed out at Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood, something you aren’t likely to hear or read in the mainstream media.

Families that adhere to the clinically proven facts of Natural Family Planning are treated as if they are some sort of religious nuts. Militant secularists in the corridors of power (Legislative and Fourth Estate) have even thrown out their favorite term “sexually repressed.” Now this term is so widely repeated in our popular culture, perhaps we should examine where it came from. Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) of the infamous Marxist “Frankfurt School” came up with the term. Marcuse left pre-World War II Germany and taught at Columbia. Marcuse believed in free love and surmised that the more narcissistic society was with regard to sexual relations, the better the world would become. Before his death, he claimed his prized student was 1960s militant radical Angela Davis. Marcuse was way out in left field in his day and yet the militant secularists in our pop culture have made him seem as mainstream as Dr. Phil. When societies turn away from religion they embrace the crazies like Marcuse; sadly something has to fill the vacuum and it is usually the ideas which come from the half baked among us that do so.

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3 Responses to In The Birth Control Controversy; The Mocking of Conservative Religious Women By Militant Secularists Will Soon Backfire

  • Your last paragraph is a good prayer for Lent – I won’t limit it to women though.
    Having read the Left in Tatters from 1/25/10 link, I saw that Fr. George Rutler commented; and think you would enjoy his 2/19/12 column on the Church of Our Savior site.

  • PM, thanks for bringing Father Rutler’s column to my attention. As usual, he gives us something to ponder, pray over and act upon. Initially a year or so ago when I wrote the article to which I linked and he commented, I had no idea that he read this site. I contacted him to thank him and he thanked me. It was all so very humbling. He told me that a friend suggested he read my article. He went on to say that we all have a part to play in building up the Faith. In retrospect we should all do more to thank God for giving us those like Father Rutler.

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The Militant Secular Left Shows Their Cards, Proving That The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism

Monday, February 13, AD 2012

The militant secular left thinks they have won a victory with President Barack Obama’s “Accommodation” with regard to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate ordering religious based institutions to provide contraceptives, sterilizations and the morning after abortion pill. Some of the left couldn’t contain their glee, one guest on MSNBC described President Obama’s move as “brilliant.” In their distorted thinking they surmise that since not all Catholics adhere to the Church’s teachings, especially on birth control, they can cause a split in the Church.

First of all, the militant secular left continually cites the Guttmacher Institute’s polling, which is about as accurate as the daily pronouncements of Syria’s Bashar Assad. Secondly, it is one thing for Catholics to go against the Church’s teachings, it is quite another to say they are proud of it and want more Big Government telling them what they and the Catholic Church to do. The sheer nuttiness of this was illustarted in a discussion which occurred on Sean Hannity’s the Great American Panel seen on Fox News last week. One of the participants Jehmu Greene told fellow panelist Andrea Tantaros that without birth control she wouldn’t be here. When the incredulous Tantaros wondered how that could logical be, Greene went on a tirade that demeaned women who have children and or decide to work at home.

For years the militant secular left has treated pregnancy as a disease and families as inconvenient truths interfering with their own narcissistic ends. Powerhouse television shows like Sex and City helped to illustrate this point. Katharine Jean Lopez of the National Review wrote some time ago how disgusted she felt seeing men demeaned as objects in the Sex and City movie, the very treatment feminists have railed about for years.

However with the narcissistic Sex and City lifestyle comes another reality playing out in the streets of Athens, Greece and soon to come to a city or country near you in the western world. The declining birth rate means the youngest among us will have to eventually have to pay for a culture that aborted or contracepted itself into oblivion. The generous benefits demanded by those cultures, especially from the militant secular left can only last so long. As the old saying goes; “The problem with Socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money.” The ancient Greek world gods who hailed narcissism and hedonism and whose lifestyle was proselytized by the Epicureans seem as irrelevant as ever as the pall of smoke hangs over the Acropolis, a fitting metaphor for what the militant secular left has wrought.

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11 Responses to The Militant Secular Left Shows Their Cards, Proving That The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism

  • November 2012 cannot come soon enough!

    Here is additional evidence (as if it were needed) that one is repreating oneself when one uses the words liberal and idiot in the same sentence.

    This rank stupidity is the reason the economy continues to flounder and why government should be limited so that it can inflict limited harm on us.

    With his talents, Obama ought to be on an urban street corner dealing “three card monty.”

  • T. Shaw – but instead liberalies are letting the executive branch play monopoly in the WH with other people’s money and no rules because cheating etc. is easier. The jail corner says send someone you don’t like directly to court. The community chest cards are awards for using racist and bigot on opponents.
    What a waste.

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  • Regarding – The Militant Secular Left Shows Their Cards, Proving That The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism
    Published Monday, February 13, 2012 A.D. | By Dave Hartline

    I agree with everthing the writer has said, but I have trouble with one thing.
    Are we willing to fight as hard for the living child after birth as we are for the child in the womb? Are we willing to provide a higher level of education, of health care, of food and housing OR do we prefer to pay in the back end when the unwanted, uncared for, fatherless child becomes a miscreant; someone on drugs, alcohol or at least in poor health or pertetuates more unwanted pregnancies…
    I would rather put the same energy and money to providing the programs the child would need to be a caring, involved citizen rather than a fatherless child in a broken home with little love and education. I hope to see Catholics turn a cheek and start realizing that if we want to lower the abortion rate holistically, the best way to do it is to educate and provide the necessary programs so woman don’t find themselves in an unwanted pregnancy to begin with. It does start at home, but the home alone will not win the battle…we must help, with love.

  • My friend, I have no doubt that you mean well and sincerely believe that old canard that the Militant Secular Left has been pushing concerning not caring for those who have been born. Let me tell you why it is a canard. My wife and I have been blessed with the gift of adoption. I can tell you first hand what a great gift it is and how long it took. Sadly parents wait untold lengths of time and spend untold amounts of money to adopt, jumping through all kinds of hoops.

    Years ago when we decided to adopt, we sat down with an adoption specialist who told us that before Roe v Wade there were about two million couples who couldn’t have children and wanted to, and about two million women who didn’ think they could raise a child in their current situation. It was a Providential give and take, something that Roe v Wade took away. Adoption wait times and costs continue to grow because millions of parents who want nothing more than to love a child have to wait while millions of unborn babies are aborted.

    Sadly ever since Roe v Wade, and most notably now the militant secular left treats pregnancy as a disease, all the while children are called “punishments” by our very leaders. We are also told that we are ignorant because we “cling to religion.” God help those who will have to answer for that.

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  • “In their distorted thinking they [the Militant Secular Left] surmise that since not all Catholics adhere to the Church’s teachings, especially on birth control, they can cause a split in the Church.”

    The split is already present in the Church in America, and has been since Vatican II. Many “liberal” Catholics feel more animosity toward the Church, and her Bishops, than they do toward the militant secularists who oppose the teachings of the Church. Obama is merely using that split in an attempt to secure his political base for 2012. You may think this will not work, but many “liberal” Catholics, in the end, will side with Obama versus the Bishops.

    I hope I am wrong, but the political calculation that Obama has made may work. Those who oppose his HHS mandate, did not vote for him in 2008 and will not vote for him in 2012. However, many on the Left who voted for him in 2008, who have recently had serious doubts about Obama, will now be MORE inclined to support him in 2012, not less inclined. It is a classic divide-and-conquer electoral strategy, based on the very theological and ideological split that already exists in the Church.

    President Obama is merely exploiting what already exists. Again, I hope and pray that I am wrong, but he may very well succeed in exploiting the divisions that already exist in the Church.

  • Tom D, I have no doubt that militant secular left who call themselves Catholic will rally behind President Obama, including those who work within the Church. Having worked for the Church in various capacities, I know their names, believe me. However, the rank and file Catholic will be upset by this, even those who voted for President Obama, believe in contraception and attend Mass here and there. Those Catholics who have a nagging suspicion of Big Government will also find this more than a little disturbing.

    However, I must reiterate this point again. There are people who vocally call themselves Catholics who haven’t attended Mass regularly since the Ford Administration. Yet, they proudly they say they are Catholic. Take for example someone who is a lukewarm Methodist or Lutheran; they will probably say they are Christian but won’t attach a demoninational tag behind their name, thus taking their church off the hook when it comes to matters that may look heretical to their respective churches. This doesn’t take place with Catholics because of our strong sacramental and ethnic identity. In the depths of their soul, they know what is right but their flesh is weak.

    The only Catholics who will openly rally to President Obama are those who wear their heresy on their sleeve as a badge of honor. Even though far too few of the faithful actually follow the Church’s teachings, in their heart of hearts they know the Church is right and thus will abandon those who openly want to stick it to the Church.

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  • I think the joke is on the Left–because the mandate is not only unconstitutional but also illegal; see this long article: http://www.eppc.org/publications/pubID.4654/pub_detail.asp. It made me realize the mandate really was an assault on the Catholic Church–and a stupid one, blatantly violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, for no rational reason because contraception IS readily available. You wonder whether the most powerful man in the world ever listens to the numerous lawyers he has available (never mind the people in his inner circle who give him contrary advice, like, in this case, Joe Biden and Bill Daley). I think many Catholics will still vote for Obama, but hope and believe fewer than in 2008, and I hope that people of other faiths will stand and work with us in turning him out of the White House.

Pope Benedict Asks for Forgiveness

Friday, September 2, AD 2011

Last week, Pope Benedict XVI told the annual gathering of his “Study Group” (some of his former students) to ask God’s forgiveness on behalf of generations of “cradle Catholics” who have failed to transmit the faith to others.

No doubt, evangelizing others is an important dimension of Catholic life, as Pope Paul VI reminded the Church in his 1975 apostolic exhortation, Evangelii nuntiandi:

…what matters is to evangelize man’s culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots), in the wide and rich sense which these terms have in Gaudium et spes, always taking the person as one’s starting-point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God. (#20)

Where evangelization first takes place is in the home as parents evangelize their children in the Roman Catholic faith and its practice.  Today, the most-often heard lament is that Roman Catholic parents, in general, are not evangelizing their children and, of those who do, they are not evangelizing their children in the Roman Catholic faith and its practice but in some generic form of Christianity that emphasizes democratic values and aspirations.

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7 Responses to Pope Benedict Asks for Forgiveness

  • Mama, who pays for Neighbors A to go to school?

    Well, daddy pays for some of it in property taxes.

    Mama, who pays for Neighbors B to go to school?

    Well, daddy pays for some of it in the church tithe.

    Mama, who pays for our school?

    Daddy does.

    The Catholic homeschooler who belongs to a parish with a school gets triple taxed.

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  • It seems to me that the Catholic Church needs to address the major cause for the mass exodus of the children of the Baby Boomers, the failure of the Church to give good catechesis in their formative years. I was born in 1947 and was the last child in my family to receive formation in the Baltimore Catechism. After me, the catechism was rejected in favor of whiffly, nondoctrinal, feel-good fluff. None of my younger siblings are practicing Catholics. They don’t even know what Catholicism is!
    I remained a faithful Catholic through all the storms of Humanae Vitae and pseudo Vatican II “reforms” largely because I had good formation, and hung around with others who had likewise. By God’s grace, I married a man who also knew his faith, and we have a large family of 10 children who have all maintained their Catholic identity, some even with religious vocations. When asked by other heartbroken friends how this happened, I tell them I think it is largely because when my husband went to his first Catholic school experience for parents to involve them in their child’s first sacraments, what he heard there so horrified him that he began to teach the children the Baltimore Catechism at home. It can be found online, and I know grandparents who quietly teach it to their grandchildren on visits.
    But noone can estimate the damage done by generations of no catechisis by a Church that used to take that role very seriously. Even homilies can be mostly “fluffy” instead of dealing with Church teaching on tough issues.
    THAT should be what the pope apologizes for, and for which the Church is responsible. Nevermind the colleges, bring those Catholic parochial schools up to speed! Where is their “oath of allegiance”?

  • But noone can estimate the damage done by generations of no catechisis by a Church that used to take that role very seriously.

    Check your Catechism of the Catholic Church. Parents have primary responsibility for the catechesis of their children.

    I’m of the opinion that the institutional church’s takeover of that parental role, however well-intended its motives were, was a grievous mistake that over time has done great harm to the Body of Christ that is His Church – as your personal testimony illustrates.

    The institutional church must humbly recognize that its role is to be an assistant to parents in their role of chief catechist to their children, not an usurper of that role. I believe this will require that formal, classroom catechesis through the Church be aimed primarily at adults, not children. And adult catechesis must be understood by the faithful as a commitment to lifelong learning.

    There’s a push in many dioceses for more “youth ministry.” Some hope that will be a fix for the poor catechesis of children in prior years. I’m doubtful about that.

  • Micha, I have run your response by one of my adult children , and he agrees that it is the enthusiasm for the Faith that parents communicate which makes the difference for growing children.
    On further thought, I also tend to generalize our experiences here in our diocese regarding Catholic education. We are in a liberal area, and experimentation, beginning in the 70’s and continuing until recently, has left our faithful quite scarred.
    The children were the most harmed, since they were the least protected by a sense of how the Church had been historically. “Bring a new Church into being” is one of the songs we still sing here, and incapsulates the attitude that remains here.
    I agree with you that evangelizing the parents is the key. Pope John Paul II said that evangelization has to proceed catechizing, for there to be an authentic renewal of the whole person. My husband read your remarks and remembers back to his Irish small town experience of the Faith. His parents distributed the local Catholic paper, went to devotions regularly, put up brothers who were evangelizing in their house, read Catholic literature, went to St. Vincent to Paul meetings and helped distribute food and clothing to the needy.
    Needless to say he has always had a vibrant faithlife. But he also had a warm family life, without the incredible stressors of addiction, violence, or divorce. My awareness is that the family lifestyle is also critical to an understanding of Who God Is. For better or worse, the father image of alot of us leaves much to be desired.
    Luckily, God works with each of us as we are, and gives familes the tools they need for them to play a part in His plan. And only He knows what has been given and what is expected.
    Thanks for your thoughtful answer.
    ps I have one child involved with ministry to youth, for two years on a college campus (FOCUS) and now in a parish. She finds the Holy Spirit is very active in converting these young people and making them in turn apostles and evangelizers. Apparently the Holy Spirit is alive and well and able to bridge the gap left gaping by family or schools!

  • The majority of Catholic parents send their children to government schools where practical atheism is the norm. Many times I’ve heard governmetnt school Catholics, particularly those who work there, chide the Faith for failure to adopt modern secular norms. As long as most Catholilc parents prefer to save tuition money and send their children to be schooled among atheists, we’ll not evangelize society.

  • One of the little known parts of the health care act are the sections that deal with the adult formation of children.

    (SEC. 2953. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY EDUCATION.
    Title V of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 701 et seq.), as amended by sections 2951 and 2952(c), is amended by adding at the end the following:
    `SEC. 513. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY EDUCATION.)

    It is as a result of this law that children’s upbringing now belongs to the State.

    From the health care act:

    `(C) ADULTHOOD PREPARATION SUBJECTS- The adulthood preparation subjects described in this subparagraph are the following:
    `(i) Healthy relationships, such as positive self-esteem and relationship dynamics, friendships, dating, romantic involvement, marriage, and family interactions.
    `(ii) Adolescent development, such as the development of healthy attitudes and values about adolescent growth and development, body image, racial and ethnic diversity, and other related subjects.
    `(iii) Financial literacy.
    `(iv) Parent-child communication.
    `(v) Educational and career success, such as developing skills for employment preparation, job seeking, independent living, financial self-sufficiency, and workplace productivity.
    `(vi) Healthy life skills, such as goal-setting, decision making, negotiation, communication and interpersonal skills, and stress management.

    This is a secular/atheistic government that does not recognize inalieanable rights as endowed by a Supreme Being (God) and will be teaching children a world view devoid of Chrisitan/Catholic spirituality.

    The government embracing a UN perspective regarding the ‘rights of a child’ to sexual activity is especially frightening. It is also a perspective in which parents have no rights.

    Santorum makes an interesting point in this video clip (about 28 secs in): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PzzDrOR30U8

    He states that those who hold certain faith beliefs will be identified as “bigots” and then those identified as ‘bigots’ will not be allowed professional licenses. I believe it was Dr. Jane Orient who, after reading the act expressed concern that if drs don’t participate in Obamacare they will also have their licenses pulled. Here is another article that she wrote that addresses various concerns related to licensing. Excellent article: http://www.conservativeusa.org/orien100.htm

    What to me is particularly sad is just how many Catholics supported this abominable evil (there is so much more in this law that I am not addressing here….particularly as it relates to unlimited authorization of medical, biological, social, behavioral, psychological (etc) research according to guidelines established by a government that does not recognize God nor the sanctity of life). It is no accident that the law was passed connected to the education law. Thru curriculum regulation you will see Catholic preschool, grade school, high schools closed,and universities lose their ability for students to get student loans to attend their programs. And despite Sr. Keegans believes, yes, Catholic hospitals, and clinics will be forced to shut thier doors — unless they embrace the atheistic/secularism world view.

    “Evangalism” regarding correct Catholic doctrine is critical. It needs to be an evangalism based on true Catholic doctrine where Life is sacred and man is the steward of the earth, not the servant of the earth. A world view where God created the earth for man, and not a world view where man is expendable and subservient to the earth.

War Crimes

Tuesday, August 10, AD 2010

As the New York Times remembers Hiroshima, Richard Fernandez asks us to name the two greatest losses of civilian life in the Pacific war. (“Hint. In both cases the civilian casualties were greater than Hiroshima’s. In one case the event took place on American soil.”)

Meanwhile, Donald Sensing (Sense of Events) thinks it’s past time for Western churches to stop treating Japan as victim every Aug. 6 and 9:

I refuse on principle to pollute God’s ears with prayers dedicated only to Hiroshima Day and the dead of those cities while ignoring the tens of millions of Japanese-murdered souls who cry for remembrance, but do not get it, certainly not from the World Council of Churches and its allies who have no loathing but for their own civilization. If the prayers of the WCC’s service are to be offered, let them be uttered on Aug. 14, the day Japan announced its surrender, or on Sept. 2, the day the surrender instruments were signed aboard USS  Missouri. Let our churches no longer be accessories to Japan’s blood-soaked silence but instead be voices for the  millions of murdered victims of its bloodlust, imperialist militarism.

(HT: Bill Cork).

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97 Responses to War Crimes

  • Excellent post Christopher. Apparently Pius XII wasn’t as certain initially in his condemnation of the bombings as those members of Catholic blogdom in this country who engage in the self-flagellation ritual of spitting on the grave of Harry Truman in the annual August bomb follies. When the chief diplomat of the US mentioned an editorial of L Osservatore Romano that criticized the US for the bombings Pius responded that the editorial had not been authorized by him. I truly pray that those swift to condemn Truman never have to deal with making a decision that would kill hundreds of thousands, or likely kill millions if they do not make the decision. The cry of “consequentialism” is of course useful on Catholic blogs, and fairly useless when dealing with grim realities that constantly arise in war.

  • Sitting in Truman’s seat I may well have made the same decision. But I would not have tried to defend it before my Creator. The intrinsically evil nature of the act is not altered by either its good intentions or beneficial consequences. Some sins are simply more forgivable than others. While I’m willing to defend Truman I am unwilling to defend his decision, even though I certainly sympathize with his predicament. As wrong as his decision was, Truman is a far more morally sympathetic character than most of his vain and self-righteous critics.

  • Thanks for this post, Christopher. The last two paragraphs–yours and Michael’s–pretty well sum up where I am now.

    My sons and I visited the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force last month, and one of the exhibits is the original “Bockscar,” the B-29 which dropped “Fat Man” on Nagasaki. I posed my sons by a Spad XIII (the same model as flown by Eddie Rickenbacker) and by an F-86 Sabre (Korea). I refused to do the same with Bockscar. I explained to my oldest (I was trying to keep my youngest from touching every. single. aircraft. in the museum) what it was, and also said that it killed thousands of innocent people, and was dropped by a Catholic cathedral. If nothing else, I think he’ll remember that and understand the horrid complexity of war, even when the war itself is necessary.

  • It’s true that the Japanese army committed atrocities during WWII with a greater death toll than Hiroshima, but when was the last time you read an article trying to justify the Rape of Nanking?

  • I’m not sure what VDH’s point was about the Tokyo raids. Because we had done much worse, Hiroshima is not bad?

    The correct moral decision is clear enough. The fact it would be difficult to follow through on it is no real surprise. Doing the right thing is rarely easy.

    I have no desire to villify Truman for dropping the bomb; but I don’t consider him a hero either.

  • The firebombings of earlier in the war both in Europe and Japan were clearly nothing more than acts of terror deliberately calculated to demoralize civilians… and Dresden was a particularly horrific example of this barbarism (cf., http://www.rense.com/general19/flame.htm).

    “Bomber” Harris, the Brit commander behind Dresden and similar attacks, also memorialized in Britain by a statue in his honor, famously said he did “not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier.”
    And,
    “the aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive…should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.”

    And,
    “It should be emphasized that the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.”

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only extensions of this immoral military doctrine. The Brits, who during Germany’s V-2 campaign suffered a small fraction of the casualities they themselves would inflict on a supine German civilian population, should have known better.

    Truman should also have known better.

  • I am not able to argue against any of the comments posted by Tom so I will not attempt it. To give the military the benefit of the doubt for their actions, many soldiers had to act on the notion “kill or be killed” – which is totally different than our plush civilian lives.

    Many soldiers did not know who they could trust and saw death because of it. Leaders tried to keep their soldiers alive. Many were battle weary from long months of fighting in extreme conditions. We take the emotinally scars of these individuals for granted.

    This was war. We were attacked. Japan would not surrender and contiuned torturing people. Truman was obligated to defend this country and our allies and wanted to bring the troups home. I am not sure that we now are qualified to make a judgement statement such as “Truman should also have known better”.

    The dropping of these bombs was a tragic event. With the determination of Imperial Japan, what would have stopped them? Should we consider additional bombing raids that would have killed more people any less evil? Would sending our soldiers into certain-death situations be less evil since many were physically and emotionally drained? Are we supposed to consider self-defense and defense of others as evil?!

  • I am not able to argue against any of the comments posted by Tom so I will not attempt it. To give the military the benefit of the doubt for their actions, many soldiers had to act on the notion “kill or be killed” – which is totally different than our plush civilian lives.

    Many soldiers did not know who they could trust and saw death because of it. Leaders tried to keep their soldiers alive. Many were battle weary from long months of fighting in extreme conditions. We take the emotional scars of these individuals for granted.

    This was war. We were attacked. Japan would not surrender and contiuned torturing people. Truman was obligated to defend this country and our allies and wanted to bring the troups home. I am not sure that we now are qualified to make a judgement statement such as “Truman should also have known better”.

    The dropping of these bombs was a tragic event. With the determination of Imperial Japan, what would have stopped them? Should we consider additional bombing raids that would have killed more people any less evil? Would sending our soldiers into certain-death situations be less evil since many were physically and emotionally drained? Are we supposed to consider self-defense and defense of others as evil?!

  • My opinion: liberal, left-wing catholics resurrect this uncharitable (“He who is without sin . . . , etc.) opinion each August in order (I think) to salve their consummate consciences for voting for abortion: because America Hiroshima is evil, don’t you know? But, it’s not evil to vote for abortion.

    BARF!

  • T. Shaw,

    Most, if not all of us who frequent here are adamantly opposed to abortion and I have never voted for anyone who supports the killing of the unborn (whether the candidate has a D or R after his name).

    This is not Vox Nova.

    But evil is evil, and wrong is wrong. I agree with the others that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were evils, as well as Dresden, etc. It should be no surprise that even generally good people can do evil things.

  • Of course, our national flirtation with war-crime-as-policy began with Lincoln, who unleashed Sherman on the civilian population of the South:

    Quoth Sherman,
    “The Government of the United States has in North Alabama any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war – to take their lives, their homes, their lands, their everything . . . . war is simply power unrestrained by constitution or compact…. We will . . . take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property, everything that to us seems proper.”

    Not rebellious southern civilians alone were subject to this policy, but the Indians too:

    “It is one of those irreconcilable conflicts that will end only in one way, one or the other must be exterminated . . . . We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to the extermination, men, women and children” … “The more Indians we can kill this year, the less will have to be killed next year… They all have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers.”

    There’s no ambiguity about it: deliberate targeting of non-combatants and their homes and property is flat out immoral. I hope The American Catholic continues to rank the noun above the adjective.

  • Of course, our national flirtation with war-crime-as-policy began with Lincoln, who unleashed Sherman on the civilian population of the South

    Er, no.

    That hypothesis would be news to the Iroquois, who referred to George Washington as the “burner of towns” for his dispatch of John Sullivan to root out the pro-British tribes in 1779. Sullivan performed his mission with gusto, obliterating at least 40 Iroquois villages.

    Washington was actually rather disappointed with the results, truth be told.

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

  • There seems to be a great deal of confusion in the use of the word “moral”. The Church quite clearly teaches that morality is a personal attribute. A nation, an institution, a group cannot sin. It has no soul, no free will.

    [Likewise, the Church did not commit the sexual. They were acts of individuals. And again the Church did not cover up the acts. Those were decisions by individual bishops].

    The question then becomes “whose was the sin?” Who should be put on trial?

    There is a great deal of the disingenuous in those who point to others as the sinners. It is just a tad too easy at a distance of 60 years. And there is a touch of discerning the mote in the eye of others.

    Should not those who so quick to condemn the bombings, to condemn the war, be willing to give up all the benefits they enjoy as a result of the war?

    It seems to me that we Americans did what amounts to acts of contrition by rebuilding Germany and Japan after the war, and ridding those countries of the brutal regimes which oppressed them.

  • I think that several of the comments here misunderstand the upshot of the original post. Is it possible to hold both that

    (1) the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and other bombings of non-combatants, both in WWII and after, is an intrinsically evil act

    and

    (2) the agents responsible for committing those acts were in all liklihood not possessed of a desire to commit an intrinsically evil act, but by a desire to do the best thing possible in a very bad set of circumstances.

    Sometimes holier-than-thou-types seem not to understand that holding (2) does not remove the force of (1) but, if anything, testifies even more strongly to how pervasive sin is in the world: sometimes what seems to be the very best thing to an already compromised ethical agent (and who is not already compromised) is intrinsically evil.

    I take it that there exists an analogy between Truman and his desicion and the sister in charge of medical ethics at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, who ordered the D&E on the woman who appeared to be dying from priaclampsia [sic?].

  • Of course then we would have the burning of Chambersburg by the Confederates after the citizenry were unable to come up with the monetary ransom requested by the boys in gray.

    http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1973/5/1973_5_36.shtml

    Then there is also the fact that the Confederate States decreed death for all former slaves in the Union Army and the officers who led them.

    “3. That all negro slaves captured in arms be at once delivered over to the executive authorities of the respective States to which they belong to be dealt with according to the laws of said States.

    4. That the like orders be executed in all cases with respect to all commissioned officers of the United States when found serving in company with armed slaves in insurrection against the authorities of the different States of this Confederacy.”

    http://www.history.umd.edu/Freedmen/pow.htm

    Neo-Confederate apologists for the Confederacy have a lot to explain when they want to take Lincoln to task for “total war”.

  • One element I would like to raise in this thread is the alternatives to what Truman did. The opponents of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also oppose the fire bombing of Japanese cities which was the only way to destroy from the air the spread out Japanese industries. Presumably they would also have opposed an air tight blockade of the Home Islands, probably going on for years, in order to starve Japan into surrender. Of course while this was still going on Japan would have still controlled a large part of Asia and continued to kill, on average, some 300,000 civilians each and every month. An invasion of the Home Islands would have led to a mammoth death toll of civilians. During the battle of Manila in March of 45 MacArthur restricted the use of artillery and air power in order to attempt to spare civilian casualties. Some 100,000 civilians died anyway, some deliberately slain by the Japanese, but most simply dying as a result of being caught in the cross fire of two armies battling in an urban area.

    So, critics of Truman, you are in his shoes. What do you do? (I do hope that no one brings up the truly fatuous idea of inviting the Japanese military to observe a test of the bomb. The Japanese didn’t surrender after Hiroshima. A test of a bomb would have had no impact upon the Japanese government.)

  • I understand that the bombing of Dresden was immoral. It was (as far as I know) a civilian, not a military, target. But does that distinction apply to Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The Japanese civilians were doing machine work in their houses; the families were trained for combat. Granted, they weren’t uniformed, and who knows if they would have resisted or surrendered, but I don’t see how they can be classified as non-military.

  • Oh – let me add, “unless I’m wrong”. I’m no ethicist or historian.

  • Hindsight may be 20/20, but war crimes are forever.

  • Don, if I were Truman, I would not have insisted on unconditional surrender.

  • Actually Pinky Dresden was rather heavily involved in the German war effort. A good revisionist look at that bombing is linked to below:

    http://www.amazon.com/Dresden-Tuesday-February-13-1945/dp/0060006773

    In regard to what an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands would have entailed the most recent study is linked below.

    “Giangreco, a longtime former editor for Military Review, synthesizes years of research in a definitive analysis of America’s motives for using atomic bombs against Japan in 1945. The nuclear bombing of Japan, he concludes, was undertaken in the context of Operation Downfall: a series of invasions of the Japanese islands American planners estimated would initially cause anywhere from a quarter-million to a million U.S. casualties, plus millions of Japanese. Giangreco presents the contexts of America’s growing war weariness and declining manpower resources. Above all, he demonstrates the Japanese militarists’ continuing belief that they could defeat the U.S. Japan had almost 13,000 planes available for suicide attacks, and plans for the defense of Kyushu, the U.S.’s initial invasion site, were elaborate and sophisticated, deploying over 900,000 men. Japanese and American documents presented here offer a chillingly clear-eyed picture of a battle of attrition so daunting that Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall considered using atomic and chemical weapons to support the operation. Faced with this conundrum, in Giangreco’s excellent examination, President Truman took what seemed the least worst option.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Hell-Pay-Operation-DOWNFALL-1945-1947/dp/1591143160/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281467655&sr=1-1

  • “Don, if I were Truman, I would not have insisted on unconditional surrender.”

    What terms would you have offered Japan restrainedradical? Here are the terms Truman offered.

    Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender
    Issued, at Potsdam, July 26, 1945

    “1.We-the President of the United States, the President of the National Government of the Republic of China, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, representing the hundreds of millions of our countrymen, have conferred and agree that Japan shall be given an opportunity to end this war.

    2.The prodigious land, sea and air forces of the United States, the British Empire and of China, many times reinforced by their armies and air fleets from the west, are poised to strike the final blows upon Japan. This military power is sustained and inspired by the determination of all the Allied Nations to prosecute the war against Japan until she ceases to resist.

    3.The result of the futile and senseless German resistance to the might of the aroused free peoples of the world stands forth in awful clarity as an example to the people of Japan. The might that now converges on Japan is immeasurably greater than that which, when applied to the resisting Nazis, necessarily laid waste to the lands, the industry and the method of life of the whole German people. The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland.

    4.The time has come for Japan to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought the Empire of Japan to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason.

    5.Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay.

    6.There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world.

    7.Until such a new order is established and until there is convincing proof that Japan’s war-making power is destroyed, points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies shall be occupied to secure the achievement of the basic objectives we are here setting forth.

    8.The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.

    9.The Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives.

    10.We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners. The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.

    11.Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those which would enable her to re-arm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted.

    12.The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.

    13.We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.”

    http://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/etc/c06.html

  • So, critics of Truman, you are in his shoes. What do you do?

    If I were Truman my priority would have been to end the war quickly so as to prevent Soviet entry into the war (the fact that the Allies actually encouraged Soviet entry is one of the more boneheaded moves in all of diplomatic history). If ending the war quickly meant accepting something less than unconditional surrender (say, by letting the Japanese keep their Emperor), then it would have been cheap at the price.

    If you were going to use the atom bomb, I don’t see why you couldn’t have dropped it on a strictly military target (such as the troops at Kyushu). That would have achieved the same effect as Hiroshima without incinerating tens of thousands of women and children.

  • Arguing from counterfactuals is rather unhelpful in this instance. Our knowledge of what *may* have happened, given a different decision, is so slight as to provide no reason for acting. This is, by the way, why moral absolutes are important for Catholic theology. One does not have to provide an (impossible) answer to McClarey’s question–it is all just speculation at this point, anyhow–in order to determine that Truman’s act was wrong.

  • “If you were going to use the atom bomb, I don’t see why you couldn’t have dropped it on a strictly military target (such as the troops at Kyushu).”

    The Japanese located their military units in urban areas in the Home Islands.

    For example:
    “At the time of its bombing, Hiroshima was a city of considerable military significance. It contained the headquarters of the Fifth Division and Field Marshal Hata’s 2nd General Army Headquarters, which commanded the defence of all of southern Japan.”
    http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/travel/hiroshima_bombing.htm

    In regard to the Emperor, prior to Hiroshima, Japanese advocates of a negotiate piece assumed that such a peace would have to entail, at a minimum, no occupation of Japan, no dis-arming of Japan and Japan keeping some of its overseas conquests. Japanese militarists laughed at such peace advocates and assumed that Japan could stop an American invasion and cause the US, sick of war and high casualties, to withdraw from most of Asia and the Pacific. A negotiated peace is a fantasy.

  • “One does not have to provide an (impossible) answer to McClarey’s question–it is all just speculation at this point, anyhow–in order to determine that Truman’s act was wrong.”

    Wrong. Catholic moral theology has never simply thrown up its hands in regard to the real world. If Truman hadn’t dropped the bombs there would have been consequences, almost certainly terrible consequences. Condemning Truman without owning up to those consequences and accepting them, is to pretend that we live in a pacifist dream world rather than a world where the leaders of nations sometimes have to make decisions that will end up killing lots of people no matter what they do or not do. Condemning is easy, thinking through the consequences of acting or not acting is much harder and less pleasant, but must be done if moral theology is to be something more than a bat to swing in Catholic comboxes.

  • The Japanese located their military units in urban areas in the Home Islands.

    To suggest that the bomb couldn’t have been dropped on a military target in Japan without resulting in 95% civilian casualties is just silly. Dropping the bomb on the assembled forces at Kyushu would have had the same effect as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but without the massive civilian loss of life.

    In regard to the Emperor, prior to Hiroshima, Japanese advocates of a negotiate piece assumed that such a peace would have to entail, at a minimum, no occupation of Japan, no dis-arming of Japan and Japan keeping some of its overseas conquests.

    I would say these were the maximum expected demands, not the minimum. However, even if the above were what it would take to end the war without incinerating tens of thousands of women and children, I think Truman should have accepted them.

  • “I would say these were the maximum expected demands, not the minimum. However, even if the above were what it would take to end the war without incinerating tens of thousands of women and children, I think Truman should have accepted them.”

    Which of our Asian allies would you have advised to “suck it up” BA and continue to live under the Rising Sun? How do you think the American people would have reacted to the idea that the nation that brought them Pearl Harbor was going to retain some foreign conquests, not be occupied, not be disarmed and probably be ready for another go at the US in twenty years. Your suggestion might fit some fantasy world. It certainly could not have been implemented by any US President in 1945.

  • Oh, and BA, Hiroshima had 43,000 troops in it when the bomb was dropped.

  • Donald,

    You’re right, I’m sure America never would have stood for China or Korea living under oppression.

    Actually the Chinese wanted to make peace with Japan at the beginning of 1945, but didn’t out of deference to America. The idea that Truman bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki because he was concerned about the plight of the Chinese is the real fantasy.

    And as far as I can tell you have no answer as to why the bomb couldn’t be dropped on the troops at Kyushu.

  • Oh, and BA, Hiroshima had 43,000 troops in it when the bomb was dropped.

    And how many were there in Nagasaki?

  • Good way of completely avoiding the question of which of our Asian allies you would have thrown to the wolves BA. The idea that such a thing would have been entertained by the US government is a tribute to the absurdity that usually surrounds the August Follies. In regard to China making a separate peace with Japan, unless you can cite chapter and verse, I will also assume that this is a fantasy of yours. The Japanese army had actually gone on the offensive in 44 and 45 in China and controlled a huge amount of China.

    http://cbi-theater-1.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-1/lantern/lantern050445.html

    There was zero prospect that Japan was going to willingly withdraw from China absent surrender by Japan. As a matter of fact, several overseas commanders after Japan surrendered contemplated carrying on a war.

    As to your odd assumption that there were large military units in Kyushu out in the open waiting to be bombed, the military units of Japan were subject to conventional bombing like everything else in Japan. They were dispersed, with most of them located in urban centers, as was the case in Hiroshima.

  • And how many were there in Nagasaki?

    I don’t know how many strictly military folks there were, but I know the Japanese lady at Sasebo’s indoc mentioned that it was their primary Navy shipyards. (Sasebo became the largest afterwards.)

  • Presumably they would also have opposed an air tight blockade of the Home Islands, probably going on for years, in order to starve Japan into surrender.

    One thing about the blockade – it takes a lot longer (as you admit, years) and it can be reveresed, as well as regulated to allow certain subsistence amounts in (and refugees out, if you are so inclined), and the repeated opportunity to surrender, change minds, etc. With the bomb, it’s all over in an instant, and there is no going back.

  • Mitsubishi shipyards, if anyone wants to research.

  • I don’t know that a blockade would have taken years. Like Britain, Japan was and remains a net food importer, and our submarine force was annihilating their merchant marine at will. I don’t think their navy would have been able to escort sufficient convoys to keep them going for very long.

    Then again, famine and the attendant diseases can’t be flipped off like a light switch, either. I can easily see the civilian death toll from a blockade leaping into the high hundred thousands, if not more than a million, in relatively short order, even given a surrender.

    And as to subsistence blockades–well, that certainly hasn’t hurt the Kim tyrants in North Korea. That ratchets down the likelihood of surrender, I think, and ups the likelihood of continuous conventional bombardment.

  • The famine would have hit in the Spring of 1946. MacArthur only avoided the famine historically with huge shipments of food that he insisted be sent to Japan from the US. Needless to say, sending food to Japan was not popular. MacArthur in response to opposition said that he was responsible for keeping the Japanese alive and that he would resign rather than allow mass starvation on his watch. It was Mac’s finest moment in my opinion.

    I have my doubts that even mass starvation would have caused the Japanese to capitulate, absent intervention by Hirohito, something he was unwilling to do until after Nagasaki.

  • FWIW, there was a similar discussion here on Kiwiblog.co.nz a few days ago.

    Most opinions were that “The Bomb” was the right decision under the circumstances, for all the reasons above mentioned.

    This will be debated for many years to come, by those who will moralize and condemn those who had this truly terrible decision to make, in the dispassionate comfort of their safe armchairs.

    Does the end justify the means? No.
    Was this means justified? If the END was to prevent the continued destruction of human life, and in bringing the war to an abrupt end, prevent the killing of many more millions than “The Bomb” would kill, then yes, the MEANS was justified.

  • The only non-negotiable I would insisted on would have been withdrawal from occupied lands. Some disarmament would probably have been necessary too. I may also have insisted on a reparations fund.

  • Intrinsically immorlal means can never be justified by good ends/consequences. Truman was wrong. But he was still a good man trying hard to do the right thing. This is not all that different from the Sister Margaret McBride, who when confronted with the choice of directly taking a life (via a direct abortion) versus allowing that same life and that of another (the mother) to die did what most sensible and well-intentioned people would do — choose to have one person to survive rather than none. Very understandable. But still very wrong.

  • After Nagasaki, Japan agreed to all terms except removal of the emperor. It was rejected and conventional bombing continued, killing thousands more.

  • Your understanding of those events is faulty restrainedradical. Here is actually what was said on August 12 by the Allies:

    “From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms. …The ultimate form of government of Japan shall, in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration, be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people”

    The Allies heard nothing from Japan on August 13, and ordered a resumption of bombing for August 14, previously halted by Truman, the date when Hirohito, finally, eight days after Hiroshima and five days after Nagasaki, addressed Japan and ordered the capitulation:

    “Despite the best that has been done by everyone—the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people—the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

    Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

    Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.

    The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable.”

    American bombing was halted after Hirohito’s address. Japanese units on the Asian mainland continued fighting for several days after Hirohito’s address.

  • Donald,

    You are misunderstanding my point–which is also the point of Catholic moral theology. To say that one need not provide answers to any of your multitudinous counterfactuals in order to determine that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was evil is just to say that the intentional killing of civilians is *intrinsically* evil. To say this, however, is not to say what you appear to think it says, that I–and the Church–are throwing up our hands with respect to “the real world.” Quite the contrary, the structure of reality, as revealed by Christ and his Church, is precisely what is being respected in the confident determination that some acts are so destructive of the imago dei that they can never, under any circumstances, be permitted–come what may. The intentional killing of innocents has always been regarded as such an act, and for good reason.

    From the perspective of Christian moral theology, it would have been better for Truman–and for any who were cooperators in this act–that the Japanese were militarily victorious than that he should have committed such an act. That is the hard truth.

    Now, you may disagree with the Christ and the Church’s teaching here–many do, Christians and non-Christians alike–but let us not be deceived by a sophistry which attempts to lessen the gravity of this evil act by appeal to a set of conjectures which remain just that, conjectures. From the perspective of Catholic moral theology, it is you, and not I, who are ignoring the “real world.”

  • Don, it’s not incumbent on one who is pointing out the immorality of intentional targeting of civilians to solve the problem of “what other course was there?”

    But the “other course” here would have been to continue the conventional war and perhaps pursuing something other than unconditional surrender.

    Oh, and with regard to the confederates, Bobby Lee in his forays north expressly forbade the type of tactics Sherman expressly adopted.

    Chambersburg should not have been burned, but by 1864 the Confederates were responding to Yankee war crimes, specifically in this case, Hunter’s devestation of civilian targets in the Shenandoah.

    Such is the logic of “total war”– it tends to suck in those who would otherwise not want to practice it.

  • One other thing: from the perspective of the civitas dei, which is the perspective that all Christians are exhorted to conform themselves to, it matters very little who wins what wars, what kinds of polity we are subject to here below, etc. For the Church, there are good things and bad things that accompany *any* political regime, and it is a dangerous, and finally idolatrous, mistake to believe that the defense of any particular civitas terrena–whether it be America in the 20th century, Rome in the 5th, or some future city–is worth the commission of an intrinsically evil act, which destroys one’s participation in the civitas dei.

    None of this entails pacifism. But it does entail our willingness to call a spade a spade.

  • From the perspective of Christian moral theology, it would have been better for Truman–and for any who were cooperators in this act–that the Japanese were militarily victorious than that he should have committed such an act. That is the hard truth.

    I’m not clear that “it would have been better” scenarios along these lines are all that useful. Frankly, from a perspective of Christian moral theology, it would be better if one no had earthly responsibilities for anyone else. Paul, after all, enjoins people not to even marry (and thus take on the responsibilities of a spouse) and for spouses to be celibate (and thus not take on the responsibilities of children) because earthly responsibilies tend to turn us away from true eternal priorities. And yet, we as Catholics also recognize that it is necessary that we as a human community have marriage, have children, have rulers and law, etc. Greater earthly responsibilities invariably distract people from their eternal destinations — something which I think Dante well summarizes the thinking of the Christian tradition on in Purgatorio. And yet, there is also a sense in which it is necessary that a portion of society make the sacrifice of focusing on earthly responsibility. Why?

    One other thing: from the perspective of the civitas dei, which is the perspective that all Christians are exhorted to conform themselves to, it matters very little who wins what wars, what kinds of polity we are subject to here below, etc.

    It seems to me that this misses an obvious issue, which is that the environment in which people find themselves often affects their ability to live in accordance with the the civitas dei. Look at conflicts such as the French Revolution or the Spanish Civil War in which one side was actively invested in stamping out the Church and perverting the order of society. To be sure, such situations offer the opportunity for martyrdom, but for most they offer the opportunity for apostacy, collaboration and corruption. I’m reminded similarly of some of the pieces I’ve read about the archives which are now open in Germany of East German secret police files, where people were constantly encouraged to inform on each other and rewarded for betraying of friends and family. Surely such an environment is destructive to many souls.

    Without question each society presents its own temptations and corruptions, and if anything I lean heavily in the direction of Christians seeking the path to God in their own societies as they exist rather than embracing a revolutionary ethic of overturning the social order in order to make society “more holy”. And armed struggle has a tendency to corrupt all sides. But I can’t see that complete indifference is the right response either.

  • Darwin,

    I mean “would have been better” in the strict sense that it is always better not to commit an intrinsically evil act than to commit one. I do not mean to say, nor is it true that, marriage, law-making, etc. fall under the same category. I am assuming here a post-lapsarian condition.

    As for your second comment: fair enough. I am more Pascalian in my outlook than most, and I am well aware that certain regimes produce certain evils that are on first blush more destructive than the evils of other regimes. (I am not so certain, however, that collaboration, apostasy, etc. are not equally prevalent in the West. There are more lapsed Catholics in American than any other denomination, they say.) But would you at least acknowledge that if my position leads to a skeptical indifferentism, it is nonetheless within the bounds of orthodoxy, and in fact corresponds nearly exactly with Augustine’s own view, whereas the danger in becoming too tied up with the “justness” of a particular regime on earth leads rather quickly to unorthodoxy and idolatry: one excuses intrinsic evils committed by that regime in order to ensure its own continued existence, rather than admitting that such an act has been committed?

    I fear that I discern something of this in McClarey’s hand-waving about the behavior of the Allies–and America in particular–in WWII.

  • Like Darwin, I can’t go so far as to say that it matters little who wins wars… Certainly there are just wars, and WWII was one example. It’s the old Thomistic distinction between jus ad bellum, whether a war is just in the first place, and jus in bello, whether a war is conducted in accordance with moral principles.

    Collateral damage is inevitable in modern warfare, but where the Allies went wrong was in aping the evil done by the Axis powers, i.e., deliberately targeting civilians and non-military targets for the purpose of “demoralizing” the populace.

  • (I am being especially procrastinatory today.)

    Tom,

    First, I agree that yours is a perfectly viable interpretation of where the Allies went wrong in WWII. I agree with it, in fact, and, as I said, nothing in my own position commits one to pacifism.

    But I still think that it is *also* true that, at least according to Augustine and several other thinkers in the Augustinian tradition, it *still* makes little difference what regime a Christian lives under, for the reason that *every* regime is dominated by the libido dominandi, and so, from the perspective of the civitas dei, they are all equal.

    Thomas, and the Thomistic tradition more generally, has a less skeptical view. One that, I hasten to add, is perfectly legitimate. It seems to me that the Church, within the bounds of orthodoxy, allows for a range of opinion on this matter.

    I am not so much bothered by any disagreement here as I am by the hesitancy to call a spade a spade.

  • Don (Kiwi)

    You seem to contradict yourself. First, you say that the ends cannot justify the means, and then you do precisely that – you state the end of ending the war justified the means of dropping the bomb. Am I missing something?

  • “The intentional killing of innocents has always been regarded as such an act, and for good reason.”

    Actually it depends on how you define intentional. Papal armies in the Middle Ages routinely besieged cities, a normal military operation of the time. The cities would be caused to surrender usually through blockades that produced starvation, and, inevitably, disease would usually explode in the cities. If any pope ever breathed a word against sieges as a method of warfare, I am unaware of it. This is quite a bit more of a complicated area than it seems at first glance.

  • That papal armies acted or did not act in certain ways with or without the permission of popes is immaterial. Are you denying that the slaughter of innocents has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act?

  • c matt.

    Re-reading my comment, I appear to do as you say. However, in the context of what was occuring – a war costing huge casualties on both sides, a stark choice became presented. Do we continue as we are, and lose many millions of lives, or do we introduce a new stratagem, and save arguably millions of lives which would otherwise be lost? ( the other choice was, as Wj said earlier, to lie down and be conquered, which to me , would be unacceptable)
    I guess the choice was therefore, a lesser of two evils. No doubt it can be debated whether or not a less evil choice is the correct moral choice in view of the principle, that the end does not justify the means.
    Quite a connundrum, isn’t it?

  • All ends are achieved by a means.

    But the end does not (necessarily) justify the means.

    Some means are justifiable, others are not.

  • Are you denying that the slaughter of innocents has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act?

    I think you mean “are you denying that…has ALWAYS been regarded as an intrinsically evil act,” or “are you CLAIMING…has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act.”

    Perhaps a better tact might be to find out when it was first enumerated as an intrinsic evil?

    DonTK-
    I think the situation is significantly more complicated than folks are willing to consider– even with folks that I KNOW are honestly trying to just figure it out, there’s incredible simplification.

    Does it matter that there was warning given so the population had a chance to leave?
    Does it matter that military operations were moved into civilian areas, even into family dwellings?
    Does it matter that “aiming” with bombs in that day was more an art than a science?
    Do prior tactics of the Americans matter?
    Do prior tactics of the Allies matter?
    Does our responsibility to defend the innocent that WEREN’T in those cities matter?
    What effect does the (possible) Japanese military stopping civilians from evacuating have on the morality of it?
    How much information did they have about what was going on at ground level, and how much could they reasonably be expected to have?

    (stuff like this is probably why a lot of folks think morality should be restricted to philosophy, not the real world– it’s just not as simple IRL, even if it is still black and white)

    I know full well I don’t have nearly enough information to make an informed, binding judgement on these actions that happened before my parents were born. Luckily, I don’t have to; it’s useful to try to figure out, in case a similar case comes along, but it’s also important to keep in mind that it’s not cut and dried.

  • “That papal armies acted or did not act in certain ways with or without the permission of popes is immaterial. Are you denying that the slaughter of innocents has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act?”

    I think the praxis of the Church is always of importance, especially when that praxis went on for centuries. I am denying that the Church has condemned all military operations which, by their very nature, were bound to take quite a few innocent lives.

    Let’s think this through. Hiroshima is bombed from the air, either fire bombed or nuked. Bad, intrinsically immoral. Hiroshima is taken by the US in a ground assault in the spring of 46 which, in a house to house fight against the Japanese Army, kills most of the civilian population, who are caught in the cross fire. Morally acceptable. I assume the difference is one of intention, but I find that argument weak. A military man would have to be brain dead not to realize that large scale combat in an urban area is going to kill huge numbers of civilians. If mass casualties are foreseeable in a ground assault, how does that materially differ from mass casualties caused by an air assault? The current Church stance may be an argument for pacifism, but I do not think it adequately addresses that other measures taken in military operations, presumably morally licit, may kill just as many civilians, if not more, than the measures condemned.

    I might also note that in the spiritual realm popes have been quite willing to take actions which have had adverse impacts on innocent parties. A good example would be the Interdict which prevented the dispensing of the sacraments in nations or regions. Imagine a pope saying that a dying innocent could not have the comfort of the Last Rites. However, it was done, and not infrequently, for reasons that the popes employing it deemed good and sufficient. The last use of the Interdict, in a fairly mild form, was by Saint Pius X in the early years of the last century. The idea that innocents have an all-embracing immunity is one that is popular in the Church today, but it is rather a novel one.

  • Now you are just obfuscating. For who would not agree with your following assertion? (I certainly don’t disagree with it.)

    “I am denying that the Church has condemned all military operations which, by their very nature, were bound to take quite a few innocent lives.”

    We don’t need to go through the motions of explaining how the doctrine of double effect applies in ius in bello scenarios on this blog. I’ll just take it for granted that most people reading here have a working knowledge about how unintentional though foreseen civilian casualties, for example, are a different kind of thing than INTENTIONALLY DECIMATING A CIVILIAN TARGET.

    Most ALL military operations involve the unfortunate killing of innocents, and if the Church is to have a doctrine of just war at all, which she most assuredly does, then it is basic to such a doctrine to differentiate foreseen but unintended evils from evils intentionally committed. So while, for example, the intentional slaughter of women and children has always been rightly condemned by the Church–which is not to say that she has not at times engaged in this practice against her better lights (thereby proving true what she has to say about sin)–the unfortunate killing of innocents as a result of some other strategy which does not *directly* target them is a more difficult scenario to parse. There is an entire casuitical literature on this and related topics. We all know all the moves here.

    What you are now doing, in fact, is redescribing the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as if this weren’t the intentional killing of civilians. But, on any plausible account of intentional acts (i.e. Thomas, Anscombe, Suarez, etc.), the bombing most clearly *was* an intentionally, and not merely foreseen, attack on noncombatants. Which is, as I said before, intrinsically evil.

    Either you do not understand or you do not agree with the distinction between foreseen and intended consequences–a distinction which is basic to Catholic moral theology. Which is it?

  • By the way, there is one other theological assumption in your response that I take issue with.

    1. The fact that the Church in the past–yea, even for centuries in the past–did or did not intentionally target or unjustly allow a disproportionate number of civilians to be killed in any of her wars is immaterial to the issue at hand. Why? That the Church acted one way or another in the past has, apart from her explicit teachings on doctrine and morals, no bearing on the normative status of that action. For centuries the Church abused the theology of indulgences; from this it does not follow that we, in the present, are supposed to be okay with the selling of indulgences on the grounds that the Church did it in the past. You are conflating two very different kinds of “tradition” and how they have normative bearing in Catholic theology.

    Of course, if you deny the distinction between an intended and a foreseen end, then you are a consequentialist. But if you are a consequentialist, then you have a problem with the decalogue. Do you have a problem with the decalogue?

  • I apologize for the somewhat heated and exasperated tone. If I had known that you denied the difference between an intended and foreseen end, I would have found your defense of the bombings much more intelligible–though not, I am afraid to say, any less repugnant.

  • “Either you do not understand or you do not agree with the distinction between foreseen and intended consequences–a distinction which is basic to Catholic moral theology.”

    My problem WJ is that what is considered as unforeseen in war in regard to civilian casualties is predictable as night follows day. Two corps battling each other in an urban area will produce large amounts of civilian deaths. A siege of a city will produce a large amount of civilian deaths. Foreseeability in this area seems like a very frail reed on which to make categorical distinctions. Because of the technology of the day, bombing an urban center in World War II was going to produce quite a few civilian casualties no matter what was done. My point is that if it is intrinsically evil to ever intentionally engage in the targeting of civilian populations in war, why is it not intrinsically evil to engage in actions in war which, completely predictably, will lead to civilian deaths? Hiding behind foreseeability in this area strikes me as exalting form over substance.

  • No sweat WJ. This is an area which people get passionate about. I certainly am in that category.

  • Donald, I think this response of yours points the way toward a difficult and important issue in the theology of Just War. At least we are now down to brass tacks, as it were. I am enjoying this quite a bit. You write:

    “My point is that if it is intrinsically evil to ever intentionally engage in the targeting of civilian populations in war, why is it not intrinsically evil to engage in actions in war which, completely predictably, will lead to civilian deaths?”

    The short answer to this is that the intentional targeting of a civilian is murder, and murder is always wrong. Why is it wrong? Well, even Augustine, who was not, I have to admit, terribly worried about civilian casualties, views murder as the sort of action which destroys the imago dei in the soul of the person committing it. (Indeed, murder is like any violation of the decalogue in this respect.) So the intentional targeting of a civilian is wrong not *only* because of what happens to the civilian (as you point out, the civilian may well be killed unintentionally via another strategy) but also what happens to you.

    In the second case, the military commander is intending to engage a lawful combatant, and he foresees that as a result of his action some number of civilians will die. This is not *intrinsically* evil, first, because there are some circumstances in which it is permitted; in a less tautological sense, it is not *intrinscially* evil because the ACTION in question is not murder, but some other action describable in a different way, and so the commander in question is not deprived of grace.

    Of course, it way well be the case, at least according to Just War Theory, that at some point the unintended yet foreseen civilian casualties issuing from some or other military strategy outweigh the good that is to be rationally expected to result from that strategy, and in this case the unintended yet foreseen killing of civilians is evil, though not intrinsically so. Some of Pope Benedict XVI’s skepticism as to whether any modern war can be “licit” (cf. interview with Zenit in March of 03 I believe) derives his beliefs that most contemporary wars cannot but fail to be just in their in bello execution. This is an important and complex issue, and it is not one about which I am certain.

    But can I ask a clarifying question? Do you deny the difference between an intentional and a foreseen end per se, or only the validity of this difference as it applies to actions in war?

  • As a follow up: I am not a pacifist, but it has always seemed to me that one of the strongest arguments for pacifism from a strictly theological point of view has to do with the *near impossibility* of ensuring that even the most just war from a ius ad bellum perspective will be able to be fought successfully and justly in bello. Many of your examples seem to support this view. I guess one can go one of two ways here. One can view the near impossibility of ius in bello conduct to constitute a strong argument for a practical, if not principled, pacifism, or one can argue that the Church’s understanding of ius in bello conduct has to be changed or expanded or loosened in some way.

  • “Do you deny the difference between an intentional and a foreseen end per se, or only the validity of this difference as it applies to actions in war?”

    Depends entirely on how likely a foreseeable end is. An artillery barrage is made of a grove of trees. Tragically some lumberjacks are killed. Clearly different from intentionally targeting the lumberjacks.

    A division of enemy troops are in a city filled with civilians and intermingled with the civilians. The artillery unit is told to attack the enemy and civilian deaths results. I don’t view that much differently from intentionally targeting the civilians, since their deaths are entirely predictable. Of course the artillery men didn’t want to kill the civilians, they were merely in the way of accomplishing the goal of winning the war. This area is tricky and filled with moral land mines. Whenever double effect is trotted out, I listen very carefully, but am rarely convinced by it.

  • If you hold that “of course the artillery men didn’t want to kill the civilians,” then you hold that they didn’t intentionally kill them. It seems to me that this is entirely different than the artillery unit intentionally targeting the civilians. Does it not seem so to you?

    I wonder what you make of double effect as it applies to abortion. Do you see the moral difference, that is, between surgically removing a mother’s fallopian tubes, knowing that the child inside them will die as a result of this procedure necessary for saving the mother’s life, and flooding the fallopian tubes with chemicals intended to kill the child? (There are any number of other scenarios, which all share the same structure.)

    The reason I ask is that in both cases the death of the child is entirely foreseeable.
    and directly killing

  • “It seems to me that this is entirely different than the artillery unit intentionally targeting the civilians. Does it not seem so to you?”

    Only if intention governs all. In that case why do the airmen of the Enola Gay not get a pass since they most definitely were not intending to kill civilians but rather to convince Japan to surrender? How does this differ materially from the artillery men intending to win a battle in a city, not intending to kill civilians, but knowing that civilians will be killed in large numbers by their bombardment?

    Frankly in the abortion case where the child cannot survive I see no problem with the desperate necessity of removing the fallopian tubes in order to preserve the mother’s life since the child simply cannot survive in any case. I pray for the day when technology will eliminate this sad quandry.

  • The answer to the first question is that you can’t separate intention from the object of the act. You can’t for example, burn your neighbor’s house to the ground and then say that your “intention” in doing so was to stop him from playing loud music. No, pretty clearly you intended to burn his house down with the further end in mind of ceasing his loud music. But this further end in mind does not mean that in burning his house down you acted unintentionally. So with Truman. The intention was clearly to kill large amounts of Japanese civilians with the further end of bringing the war to a speedy halt. This further end–bringing the war to a speedy halt–does not evacuate the intentional structure of the prior act. If you don’t mind a recommendation here, I suggest you read Anscombe’s classic work “Intention.” She demonstrates all this quite persuasively.

    Indeed, in the latter case, the whole point is that the removal of the fallopian tubes is a *different* act than the direct killing of the child. Which is why it is licit.

  • The intention was clearly to kill large amounts of Japanese civilians with the further end of bringing the war to a speedy halt.

    I have to disagree on the “clearly” part of that — you do NOT warn people to leave and give them time if you are trying to kill large numbers of them.

  • “The answer to the first question is that you can’t separate intention from the object of the act.”

    Ah but that is where foreseeability rears its ugly head. The artillery men bombarding the city filled with enemy troops know that large numbers of civilians will be killed. As a matter of fact Hiroshima had 43,000 Japanese troops in it. Once again, I do not think this is simple at all.

  • What is often ignored by Catholics who spill ink on this issue ignore is 1) The pertinnent Catholic moral principles involved and 2) The actual circumstances within Truman made his decision.

    With respect to the use of atomic weapons, Catholic moral theologian Father Heribert Jone defined them this way:

    The fourth condition required for positing an action that has an evil effect that there be a sufficient reason, i.e., a proportionate resulting good, to permit the evil effect. The morality of using either the atomic or hydrogen bomb as a weapon of war is therefore, not a question of principle, which remains unchangeable, but a question of fact, and the fact questioned is whether there can be a military objective so vital to an enemy, the destruction of which would be a sufficient reason to permit the death of a vast number of civilians who at most contribute only remotely and indirectly to the war effort. We think this proportion can exist 1) because today’s concept of “total war” has greatly restricted the meaning of the term “non-combatant”; 2) because in modern warfare the conscription of industry, as well as manpower, greatly extends the effort on the home front; and 3) because it is difficult to set limits to the defense action of a people whose physical and even spiritual existence is threatened by a godless tyranny. Therefore, while use of atomic weapons must be greatly restricted to the destruction of military objectives, nevertheless, it may be justified without doing violence to the principle of a twofold effect. (Moral Theology #219 pp. 143-44 1961 Edition)

    Unfortunately, all of the of Catholic moral theologians and writers who condemn the bombings demonstrate no knowledge of the circumstances involved. The most horrendous and despicable example, in my view, is the recent piece written by well-known Catholic author and senior apologist at Catholic Answers Jimmy Akin.

    The objections these people raise is that the atomic bomb drops cannot be justified because they targeted innocent civilians. To be sure, there is no moral justification for deliberately killing innocent people regardless of how noble your end purpose is. The ends do not justify the means. You cannot do evil so that good can become of it. True enough.

    However, this was not the case with atomic bombings. In WWII Japan, the meaning of the term non-combatant was not only “greatly restricted” it was completely obliterated. William Manchester, in his biography of General Douglass Mac Arthur states:

    Hirohito’s generals, grimly preparing for the invasion, had not abandoned hope of saving their homeland. Although a few strategic islands had been lost, they told each other, most of their conquests, including the Chinese heartland, were firmly in their hands, and the bulk of their army was undefeated. Even now they could scarcely believe that any foe would have the audacity to attempt landings in Japan itself. Allied troops, they boasted, would face the fiercest resistance in history. Over ten thousand kamikaze planes were readied for “Ketsu-Go,” Operation Decision. Behind the beaches, enormous connecting underground caves had been stocked with caches of food and thousands of tons of ammunition. Manning the nation’s ground defenses were 2,350,000 regular soldiers, 250,000 garrison troops, and 32,000,000 civilian militiamen, a total of 34,600,000, more than the combined armies of the United States, Great Britain, and Nazi Germany. All males aged fifteen to sixty, and all females ages seventeen to forty-five, had been conscripted. Their weapons included ancient bronze cannon, muzzle loaded muskets, bamboo spears, and bows and arrows. Even little children had been trained to strap explosives around their waists, roll under tank treads, and blow themselves up. They were called “Sherman’s carpets.” This was the enemy the Pentagon had learned to fear and hate,a country of fanatics dedicated to hara-kiri, determined to slay as many invaders as possible as they went down fighting. [William Manchester: American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, pg. 510-511)]

    The mass conscription of “all males ages fifteen and all females ages seventeen to forty-five” is practically the entire adult population. With this, the entire country of Japan became a large military base and no longer a civilian, but a military asset, and therefore, a legitimate military target.

    This idea that the bomb drops were a deliberate attack on innocents is flat out false.

    Furthermore, given the alternatives, either an invasion or blockade would have killed more Japanese, not to mention caused more than a million Amreican casualties in the case of an invasion, the most merciful thing Truman could have done was to drop the bombs. He most certainly could have justifiede it before his creator.

  • Donald,

    I have to get to bed–not a night person–so I’ll conclude by reiterating a distinction which you seem to deny (why? I can’t understand). There is a difference between the object of an intentional action and the foreseeable consequences that follow from that action. If I burn my neighbor’s house down, there will be smoke. I foresee that the act of burning my neighbor’s house down will necessarily produce smoke, and yet the production of smoke is not my intent in burning his house down. My intent is simply: to burn his house down.

    Greg,

    I don’t understand you. Is your claim that there were NO innocent Japanese (as you argue in the first half of your longish post) or that there were in any case LESS (innocent) Japanese killed as a result of the bomb than through other means? If the first, then I don’t see why you mention the second; if the second, then everything I’ve already written here applies to that argument. (I don’t think you’ll get many people agreeing to your first claim, though.)

  • Greg.

    Very interesting, and confirms my thoughts and understanding of the situation.
    Thankyou.

  • Wj.

    If I burn my neighbour’s house down, there will be smoke………”

    INO, applying this thinking is obfuscation of conscience.
    You know that you wish to burn down his house and you know fires create smoke. You therefore cannot claim that the creation of smoke is non-culpable, while the burnng of the house is.

  • Just because an action is or may be the lesser of two evils (dropping the atom bomb vs. all out ground invasion of Japan) doesn’t make it good or justified, or a precedent to follow in the future. The lesser of two evils is still an evil. However, this being a fallen world, sometimes a lesser evil is the best we can do. Unfortunately, what often happens is that instead of simply making the least bad choice possible and asking God’s forgiveness for any sin involved, we try to paint that choice as being entirely good.

  • WJ:

    I did not say there were no innocent Japanese. What I said was that the line between combatant and non-combatant had been erased due to the mass civilian conscription and therefore we were not TARGETING innocents.

  • “If I burn my neighbor’s house down, there will be smoke. I foresee that the act of burning my neighbor’s house down will necessarily produce smoke, and yet the production of smoke is not my intent in burning his house down. My intent is simply: to burn his house down.”

    Your example WJ illustrates precisely where the diffculty in this area lies. Intention either always determines the morality of an action or it does not. I think neither at Hiroshima nor my artillery against a city example is the goal to kill civilians, rather the killing of civilians is a necessary part of the action being undertaken to reach another goal, winning a battle or a war. The difference you would raise between them is that the bomb was directed against civilians while the artillery men only kill civilians accidently. This distinction is of cold comfort morally I think when the deaths of the civilians from the use of the artillery are completely predictable and foreseeable. If the goal is allowed to make the action moral in the case of the artillery barrage, I am uncertain why the same logic is not applicable in the case of Hiroshima.

  • Going to have to agree with Greg M. that the notion of “civilian” took a rather major beating in this situation– probably why the Gen. Conv. spent so much time hammering out who is a civie and who isn’t.

    Is someone standing by the soldier and reloading a valid target?
    Are you not allowed to fire at a foxhole that’s trying to gun you down, because you can see they’ve got a red cross worker trying to patch them up?
    Can you destroy a yard full of military ships under construction or repair?
    Can you bomb the not-formally-military staffed bomb factory?
    If it’s required for someone to be a formal military to be a military target, how do you deal with informal attacks? (getting a bit to close to modern issues, so I’ll stop there)

  • Well, despite the best efforts of bombing apologists, we’re left at the end of the day with the fact that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated, not because of their military value (which was slight and certainly less than many other potential targets), not because the civilians there were a threat (regimes like Japan’s always threaten that their civilians will rise up against any invader… they don’t), but because our bombing policy was, as I stated before, identical to “Bomber” Harris’ vision of demoralizing CIVILIAN populations.

    Thus, all this talk of Hiroshima’s bombing being justified either because of its military use or the ridiculous notion that the little old ladies and kids were armed threats to our forces, is bunk.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wiped out in order to terrorize the populace and thus break the will of the military to resist.

    That END was produced immediately by the MEANS of purposeful destruction of innocent lives, NOT as a by-product or collateral result of legitimate bombing. Why can’t folks here acknowledge simply what everyone, especially Truman, knew at the time– the bombings were done to terrify the Japs so completely at our ability to incinerate civilian centers that their military would capitulate?

  • I think the evidence supports Tom’s contention. And I think the application of Catholic teaching yields a rather clear cut answer. That said, his moral error notwithstanding, Truman is still a far mor sympathetic character than many of his self-righteous critics.

    A man might deliberately kill his comrade in arms if that comrade is dying and in agony. Such an act is murder and intrinsically evil. Yet, I would hardly make it my business to scold him. All sins are forgivable of course — but some certainly more than others. Truman’s act was not heroic; it was wrong; but it was certainly understandable and forgivable.

  • Tom, you’re entitled to your own view, but not your own facts, and what you’re claiming as “facts” are far from proven.

    Feel free to call me whatever you like– heaven knows I can’t stop you– but your OPINIONS of what was true are far from persuasive, and should not be stated as if they are objective reality.

    (On a side note, I’m so sick of being one of the folks who has to say “hold up a sec, we don’t actually KNOW X, or Y, and Z is totally wrong.” Even when I agree with a conclusion, or don’t disagree, it’s a bad idea to let incorrect claims stand.)

  • Foxfier:
    It is completely appropriate to bomb a bomb factory, even knowing that some civilians will likely be killed. That is because a bomb factory is a military target. An entire city is not.

  • Mike-
    Military bases are sometimes cities. (Zip code, hospital/power/stores/water, own police force, civilian families, schools, etc.)

    Military bases, since they are military bases, are military targets.

    Thus, it’s clear that entire cities CAN be a military target.

  • Fair enough I suppose, but are you seriously suggesting that H or N were military bases? If so, then no need for further discussion since we occupy different universes.

  • Mike-
    Not going to fight this, because– like I said way up above– I don’t think we have enough information to do a decent job of it.

    My rough limit is basic damage control on the BS I _know_ I’m going to have to deal with in the next five years, in the form of “X who is (or was) a Catholic said Y, so it must be true, defend it.” Generally in the middle of family reunions or parties with geek friends.

    If you can’t make your argument off of facts, why on earth are you trying to state it as fact? Just throw in an “I” here or there, maybe in conjunction with “think” or “reason” or “believe,” refer to sources for your claims and bada bing: no conflict.

    Shoot, you could even say “I don’t see how it could be justified to bomb an entire city, because cities are not military targets” and it’s no longer something I, or some poor idiot like me, will have to defend. It’s your educated belief from the facts as you know them and your understanding of Catholic teachings. (Anybody talking Catholic theology with a half-dozen highly intelligent folks who have little to no use for organized religion, let alone the Church, needs to have their head examined. No offense to the real Catholic apologists among us.)

  • Foxfier,

    It’s not exactly as if there is no considered stance on this issue by the overwhelmingly vast majority of bishops, theologians, popes, etc. over the past fifty years. The only people who pretend as though this is somehow a difficult question for the Church to address are a handful of American Catholics.

    It is much better to do as Donald does: reject the reasoning of the Church forthrightly. It is no good pretending as though there is an epistemic difficulty here where there is not one.

  • Yay, appeal to authority, and total missing of the point.

    Have fun, I’m out.

  • “reject the reasoning of the Church forthrightly.”

    Questioning is not rejection, especially in an area such as this where we are not dealing with revealed truth, but rather the application of hair splitting logic.

  • (Same way I duck out when folks start bringing out “but all these guys say that the death penalty isn’t needed anymore! So I win!”)

  • Mike.

    Check the anecdotal historical evidence of who were in occupancy in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the military operations and indusctrial complexes attached to those cities.

    One could arguably conclude they were military bases.

  • I’m out after this one as well.

    Don, I didn’t mean to be inflammatory. I take it that you do reject the distinction between foreeseable consequences and intended ends *in certain instances*; but perhaps you only question their analytic efficacy. Fair enough. I think your position commits you to consequentialism (or at least some kind of proportionalism, a la McBrien, et. al.), which I don’t think you want to be committed to, but that’s a different topic. It is an important conversation to have, though.

    Foxfier, I wasn’t so much “appealing to authority” as showing that what you take to be a difficult, perplexing, epistemically vague scenario appears only to be so for a subset of American Catholics and not for the universal Church as a whole. This is an empirical claim.

  • Don the Kiwi,
    Sorry about the oddly abbreviated post above. I am well aware that both H and N contained both military operations and industrial complexes attached to the war effort. Same for Chicago and Detroit. And targeting those operations and complexes would have been morally licit, even if done quite imperfectly. But that is not what happened, and the evidence is quite clear that Truman knew exactly what he was doing. As I said earlier, I don’t really blame him — even if I can safely conclude from my comfortable perch that he were morally wrong. But I refuse to reason backwards either. Just because I’m sympathetic, actually very sympathetic, to the consequences, does not mean that the means were morally acceptable. They weren’t. Pretty much all of us do bad things for good reasons, and that does not make us bad people — just sinners.

  • Fortunately we don’t have to speculate on why Truman chose Hiroshima and Nagasaki and whether it was because the cities were military targets.

    His own press release states that the Potsdam ultimatum was issued to Japan (calling for their unconditional surrender) “to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction.” NOT the Japanese military, NOT the Japanese industrial ability, but the Japanese people themselves.

    Besides, the US had already joined in the British practice of terror bombing by helping in the destruction of Dresden and by firebombing Tokyo, a practice which indiscriminately killed thousands of civilians.

    As Doolittle’s raid early in the war demonstrated, it was entirely possible to target industry and military targets without wiping out entire cities.

    We simply adopted the Brit practice of firebombing, and ultimtely, nuclear bombing, to demoralize the civilian populaces of our enemies, not to advance a military objective.

  • Actually Tom Truman referred to the “military base of Hiroshima” when he announced the Hiroshima bombing. You can say that was incorrect, but that is how Truman looked at it.

    The firebombing of the cities of Japan wasn’t undertaken for terror purposes, but because that was the only way to take out the Japanese industries that tended to be located within residential areas. Precision bombing of Japanese industries was attempted until around March of 45 and had proven completely ineffective.

  • The Doolittle raid was a propaganda operation in 42. 15 of the 16 B-25s were lost, along with 80 airmen. The damage to Japan was completely negligible. From a morale standpoint in the US it was a success. From a military standpoint it was a disaster.

    The technology of the day made precision bombing usually a wistful dream rather than a reality.

    “In practice, the Norden (bombsight) never managed to produce accuracies remotely like those of which it was theoretically capable. The Royal Air Force were the first to use the B-17 in combat, and reported extremely poor results, eventually converting their aircraft to other duties. USAAF anti-shipping operations in the Far East were likewise generally unsuccessful, and although there were numerous claims of sinkings, the only confirmed successful action was during the Battle of the Philippines when B-17s damaged two Japanese transports, the cruiser Naka, and the destroyer Murasame, and sank one minesweeper. However these successes were the exception to the rule; actions during the Battle of Coral Sea or Battle of Midway, for instance, were entirely unsuccessful. The USAAF eventually replaced all of their anti-shipping B-17s with other aircraft, and came to use the skip bombing technique in direct low-level attacks.

    In Europe the Norden likewise demonstrated a poor real-world accuracy. Bombing was computed by assessing the proportion of hits falling within 1,000 feet (300 m) and 2,000 feet (600 m) circles about an MPI (mean point of impact). To achieve a perfect strike, a bomber group would have to unload all its bombs within the 1,000 ft circle. By the spring of 1943 some impressive results were being recorded. Over Bremen-Vegesack on 19 March, for instance, the 303d Bombardment Group dropped 76 per cent of its load within the 1,000 ft ring. Under perfect conditions only 50 percent of American bombs fell within a quarter of a mile of the target, and American flyers estimated that as many as 90 percent of bombs could miss their targets.[5][6][7] Nevertheless, many veteran B-17 and B-24 bombardiers swore by the Norden.”

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

  • There is an ongoing myth that the British were primarily interested in terror bombing for the heck of it since they could not bloody the Germans in any other way. This is the received wisdom after Vonnegut and Irving. But it makes very little sense for the British to lose all those highly trained men of the Bomber Command (55,000 killed) and spend all that money to build a large strategic force merely to terrorise the Germans. The bombers were the British contribution to the continental war, as they lacked the ability to insert their forces into the field in a decisive ways. A much fairer assessment is provided in this book .

  • Harry S Truman was a 33° Freemason, an enemy of the Catholic Faith, which may be why Nagasaki, the center of Japanese Catholicism, was targetted. (More Catholics were killed on August 9th, 1945 than in four centuries of brutal persecution.)

    General Tomoyuki Yamashita was executed for the atrocities committed in the Battle of Manila (the “one case [in which] the event took place on American soil” mentioned in the post), despite the fact that said atrocities were committed by troops who had disobeyed his order to withdraw from the city to avoid civilian casualties.

7 Responses to Stealing From The Poor

  • Poverty comes in many forms. Some of us are in dire “poverty” yet are given even less by many who should know better, thus causing immense suffering.

    There is not sufficient reflection on this reality. As such, it is an occasion of grace for those afflicted………but a yolk upon those who chose to ignore how their actions, in word and deed, injure another, already almost unable to bear their cross.

    Nice post. Thanks.

  • Does the Church teach that you will be judged by your personal charitable/corporal works; that is what YOU DO with YOUR money and your time/talents?

  • Really good article.

  • “However, the investment of superfluous income in secureing favorable opportunities for employment […] is to be considered […] an act of real liberality, particularly appropriate to the needs of our time.”

    In other words, one way (though certainly not the only way) that rich people can help the poor is by starting up businesses that provide jobs for them! Score at least one for the economic conservatives 🙂

    “It will be necessary above all to abandon a mentality in which the poor – as individuals and as people – are considered a burden, as irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

    Very true; however, that raises the question of whether the growth of high-tax nanny-state liberalism hasn’t done a lot to contribute to the perception of the poor as “irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

  • Elaine, I agree about the rich starting up a business, but we have to admit that there are many other rich who start up business ventures with not a care for those being employed thereby. I am thinking, especially, of all the CEOs and vice presidents of corporations who think nothing of taking a 1Million or 3M salary, while at the same time causing the company to need to downsize to maximize profits. Truly, a real board of directors should say to such money-grubbing CEO wannabes: “You say that your requested 3M salary is the ‘going rate’ for truly qualified executives. We say that no executive who would ask for such a salary could possibly be morally qualified for the job. We’ll look elsewhere.”

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  • The mega corporations and the excessively compensated executives cannot exist without the incestuous relationship of Big Government and Big Business. Mutual funds are a trick to get people to fund corporations without having any voting rights. The wealth of all is controlled by a very few. This is a problem that must be dealt with or everyone will become a slave, begging the government/corporations for a handout and charity (caritas, love) is not something that corporations or governments can engage in.

    As for our excess wealth, this is a relative area for us to discern. What may constitute excessive wealth in sub-Saharan Africa is not the case in the USA. We have tax obligations that they do not, we have transportation costs that they do not, we have many costs that they do not have and what we have in excess has to be looked at from that perspective. Additionally, money is not wealth. Having a few dollars in money market, CD, etc. is not wealth, it is merely a temporary store of currency that is losing value faster than it can be earned or profited from. a 10,000 sq. ft. home with only two children, that could be excessive – but, a 10,000 sq.ft. home with a dozen children, maybe not.

    This article is excellent because it summarizes Church teaching and, at least to me, it seems to stress the necessity of a free market, restrained government, strong Church and men who desire to lead a life of virtue. Sadly, our culture of duo-opolies intentionally clouds our thinking about such matters. Big Government vs. Big Business, Democrats vs. Republicans, Capitalism vs. Socialism, Thesis vs. Antithesis – all are two paths to the same perdition. We need to break free of this dualistic thinking, making us think we have choices. There is really only one choice: God or man. Hard as it is sometimes, especially with vestiges of ideology trapping my thinking, your’s too I suspect, we need to be more Catholic – we are so far short of the mark following years and years of minimalism.

    It is time for Maximum Catholicity and this article appears to summarize exactly that sentiment. Thanks for the reminder. Can you do it again tomorrow? 🙂

Under the Roman Sky

Monday, June 21, AD 2010

A new film, Under the Roman Sky, starring James Cromwell as Pius XII, details the heroic efforts of Pius XII to save the Jews of Rome from the Nazis, after Rome came under Nazi occupation subsequent to the fall of Mussolini following the Allied invasion of southern Italy in 1943.

Rabbi David G. Dalin, in his review of a Moral Reckoning, a tome by Daniel Goldhagen which sought to blame Catholicism for the Holocaust, details the efforts of the Pope to save the Jews of Rome:

Goldhagen’s centerpiece is the outrageous allegation that Pius XII “did not lift a finger to forfend the deportations of the Jews of Rome” or of other parts of Italy “by instructing his priests and nuns to give the hunted Jewish men, women and children sanctuary.”  Much of this is lifted straight from anti-Pius books like Susan Zuccotti’s Under His Very Windows–and thus Goldhagen repeats the errors of those books and adds extras, all his own, in his determined attempt to extend their thesis into over-the-top railings against the sheer existence of Catholicism.

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4 Responses to Under the Roman Sky

  • I may be wrong. I think Goldhagen’s and Zuccotti’s fictionalizations would be classified “calumny” and “detraction.”

  • I believe too much attention is paid to the books attacking Pius XII. Goldhagen has lied; Cornwall has lied. They are like weeds in the garden, impossible to eradicate completely. One can but let them be treated as Our Lord recommends we treat chaff. We have better things to do.

  • “We have better things to do.”

    Whatever the situation there are usually better things to do. However, responding to calumnies of this degree against Pius XII is an important thing to do. People will believe this rot unless Catholics respond with the truth, loudly, clearly and frequently.

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A Second Look at Weapons of Mass Destruction

Wednesday, May 19, AD 2010

Last year I posted a column title, Weapons of Mass Destruction.  In it I lampooned many of the abuses that arose out of the Second Vatican Council.

I revisit that post only to shed some light on how the abuses came about referencing Church documents, councils, and prelates.

Holy Communion in the Hand is allowed only as an indult, ie, a concession.  In May 29, 1969 the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a document allowing for, but not to displace the traditional practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.

The correct reception of Holy Communion has always been and still is on the tongue.

Unfortunately this has become the norm which has resulted in the desacrelization of the Eucharist.

Ad Populum, or facing the congregation during Mass was recently allowed in Pope Paul VI’s Missale Romanum in 1969 (fully released in 1970).  Meaning it was not mandatory to face the congregation in all parts of the Mass, but only in certain instances.

Altar Girls, were allowed to serve in Mass by the Congregation for Divine Worship in a letter by Cardinal Ortas on March 15, 1994.

Basically there was a “reinterpretation” of Canon 230 that allowed a loophole for female altar servers.

So each national conference can decide to allow this, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops agreed to.  Meaning that each diocese can decide for itself whether or not to allow female altar servers.

It is important to note that the Bishop is in line with apostolic succession and has the final say for liturgical practices in the diocese concerning female altar servers.

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23 Responses to A Second Look at Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • “The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant.” – GIRM 160

    You have a source for the idea that altar rails are required?

  • Can you prove there is no God?

  • The existence of a altar rail mandate is a matter of faith?

  • I agree with most everything here, but there is one statement that isn’t completely true.

    “The correct reception of Holy Communion has always been and still is on the tongue.”

    St. Cyril of Jerusalem, writing his Catechetical Lectures back in the middle of the 4th century, clearly explains that Holy Communion was to be received on the palm. See paragraph 21 of Catechetical Lecture 23:

    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310123.htm

  • “The correct reception of Holy Communion has always been and still is on the tongue.”

    Cyril was obviously a heretic, as was that poseur Leonardo for painting the Eucharist as a meal. Good to know that Moses got it wrong in Exodus for neglecting to mention that the roast lamb also had to be fed on the tongue. The things you learn on AC!

  • Maybe in the 4th century, Christians were holy enough to take communion into their hands.

    Today, it done for the sole reason of egalitarianism, to wipe out hierarchy and distinctions between man and man, and man and God.

    Today, more than in other periods, we ought to kneel and take it on the tongue, as a sign of submission and reverence. That’s my opinion. I don’t want to stand up to God in some defiant gesture, and get handed a communion wafer by some smug eucharistic minister. I don’t want a “community meal”, I want a sacrament.

    “It must be further noted that the relevant legislation “strongly urges and exhorts” us all to receive Communion in the traditional manner, which is officially described as “more reverent.””

    http://www.catholic-pages.com/mass/inhand.asp

    Officially! Take that relativists.

  • Personally I’d like to see everyone follow the same tack as St. Paul did in Romans, with regard to a non-doctrinal issue like eating meat that had possibly been leftover from pagan sacrifices (which Paul made clear was NOT a sin): if you personally think it’s OK, fine, but avoid doing it in front of people who think it’s wrong and will be scandalized by it; if you personally think it’s wrong, try not to pass judgment on the people whom you see doing it.

    Wouldn’t it be great if people who are accustomed to communion in the hand out of habit (like me) started recieving on the tongue simply to show greater respect, while those who already receive on the tongue didn’t assume that those who don’t are being “smug” or “defiant” in their attitude.

    Again, as much as we may dislike communion in the hand/standing up — as of right now, it is still an option permitted by Church law in the U.S. and elsewhere, and one does NOT commit a sin by doing it.

  • After all, aren’t we all our own Pope! Rules, Rules, that is so, so, Catholic!

  • I understand this particular American Catholic to be in the Patriarchate of Rome, not Jerusalem, as also those of us who are participating in the discussion. At any rate, since you think the Jerusalem rite manner of reception of the Eucharist applies in the Roman rite also, do be sure to touch the sacred species to your eyes before consuming it – but don’t lose even the smallest particle! – and then intinct your eyes, ears and nose with the Precious Blood as well as your lips.

    Or do we get to pick and choose among St. Cyril’s instructions also?

  • Ouch.
    I find the lack of charity in these responses (at least in tone) to actually be rather painful.

    I think that it would be a great thing for the laity to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. I only wanted to point out that it hasn’t apparently been done that way throughout the entire Church for all of history, as was stated.

    It seems that the operating assumption here is that all of the laity is educated about the differences between the two methods of receiving and is largely receiving on the palm out of spite toward tradition.

    I was born in the 80’s, and never ran across anybody receiving the host on the tongue until the past few years when I moved and had to change parishes. I didn’t even know that it was an option before that time.

    My experience with people receiving on the tongue here has been a handful of people who make quite a show out of it and make sure that others see them being oh-so-pious, and treat others in a “Holier than Thou” fashion about not receiving in the same way. Talk about a turn-off. I didn’t want to be seen as one of those people.

    This is also the feeling I get from some of these comments above.

    Obviously the laity in general needs to be informed about the different methods of reception, but if their only education comes from a “Hey heretic, be like me or you aren’t holy” approach, why would they have any inclination to move away from what is now the status-quo in many places?

    The people need to be better informed, but it needs to be out of love and charity.

    Honestly, the mean-spiritedness of some of these responses leaves me with no will to participate in discussions here again.

  • Rhen,
    I agree that these conversations are all too often more “chippy” than the need to be. I think one thing that rankles traditionalists (like me) is the way so many liturgical changes were forced in through the back door. Accomodations were made in order to normalize abuses; idiosyncratic preferences give rise to innovations that are encouraged as though licit; and legitimate options intended as accomodations become normalized via agenda driven deceit. It does make folks angry. Examples include the treatment of Latin in the Mass, the use of altar girls, and the disappearance of communion rails and even statues.

  • I can’t help but reflect on the title ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’. Does reception of the Eucharist on the palm instead of on the tongue DESTROY the Mass? I serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and have seen many people come forward with their tongue extended and muttering ‘Amen’ with little visible reverence. I have also seen people come forward to receive the Eucharist in their hand with a respectful bow and a deliberate “Amen”.

    I also know several young women who are altar servers and they sometimes serve with more reverence and precision than the young men. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston recognizes altar servers who have served for 5+ years. I know several young women who received this honor and they are great examples for other young girls.

    I agree that adherence to liturgical standards as set by the Vatican and by our local Bishop is crucial. Above all the rules, the utmost importance lies in the full, active, conscious participation in the liturgy.

  • Rhen,

    It’s ironic that you lambaste those that find reception of the Eucharist on the tongue as holier than thou.

    When these changes were forced upon the laity it was the rebellious that scandalized the faithful.

    Now you come around and yell “wolf” when you are “scandalized” by those that receive it reverently.

    Contemporary Catholic,

    What you described is relativism.

    Since the introduction of female altar servers the amount of vocations, on average, that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has produced is “0”.

    I’m sure those “commendable” female altar servers have done a good job of discouraging male youth from finding role models to pursue the vocation of the priesthood.

  • I think I was rather unclear.

    I am not against reception on the tongue. I generally find it quite reverent.
    I am against those who put themselves on a pedestal by putting on a show every time they go to communion, and put others down directly for not acting in the same way. I recognize that there are abuses like this in many other things, not just reception on the tongue at Communion, and that it is only a portion of people, not everybody who receives Communion on the tongue. Unfortunately I’ve had far too much experience with people like this, and have become a little jaded on the topic.

    I am highly in favor of a deeper reverence at Communion. I have a strong preference for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass because of this, but unfortunately the closest one to me is more than a 2 hour drive.

    I think we could take great steps toward deepening the reverence at Communion without one of the greatest travesties that popped up after Vatican II – the music. It’s tough to feel the deep prayerful-ness of the moment of communion with some folk-y rattling through the church.
    Almost all of the songs written since the second Vatican council illustrate the Eucharist as a meal, which has also served to cheapen it, at least in my experience.

  • Rhen,

    You understand that we have “free will”.

    These people who are ‘holier-than-thou’ may or may not be behaving this way, but they do recognize it is Jesus that they are receiving.

    Mother Teresa was none to happy seeing Jesus being desecrated and trampled upon because pieces of Him would fall from the hand to the floor.

    But to your point, they are not being charitable for behaving as ‘holier-than-thou’.

    It does harm the Church that there aren’t better examples of Christians, but you have Free Will.

    And if you choose to allow this to discourage you it is your choice, not theirs.

  • Rhen,

    You can read whatever motives you like into my post or anyone else’s post. If making up motives for people is how you deal with arguments, that’s your issue to work out.

    Taking communion kneeling and on the tongue is still considered the proper and most reverent form by the Church herself. I suppose Pope Benedict and the rest of the Roman curia are likewise only motivated by some base desire to out-pious all of their liberal critics by making that clear.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope_prefers_communion_on_the_tongue_msgr._marini_says/

    The headline says it all: “Pope prefers Communion on the tongue, Msgr. Marini says”

    If it’s good enough for Benedict, it ought to be good enough for me and you.

    At any rate, this whole issue of “making a show” by taking communion one way or another is precisely the sort of thing that results when the Church is divided and politicized by subversive radicals who don’t think that the liturgy is “incluuuuusive” enough, that it isn’t sufficiently relativistic and egalitarian. So you let everyone do their own thing, and in some places people who believe in reverence and piety will continue to kneel and take it on the tongue and be singled out by such forward-thinking visionaries as “holier than thou.”

    I thank God and Pope Benedict that I can attend a TLM, where we have altar rails and EVERYONE kneels because EVERYONE has to show God the proper respect. That’s how it ought to be. And I won’t apologize for it. I don’t care if people think I am being “holier than thou” – the aim of our Christian life is to BECOME HOLY.

    If you don’t feel you have ANY holiness, then even a little in the simple people who want to show the proper reverence to God will look like a great deal, I suppose. And if you feel that way, its a problem YOU have. False humility is a heck of a lot worse in my view then false piety. At least the latter could inspire a person with genuinely pious feelings to stand up (or kneel, as the case may be) at the appropriate time. False humility just conceals a deep aversion to all things truly holy, sometimes even a hatred of them.

  • Tito, in response to
    “Since the introduction of female altar servers the amount of vocations, on average, that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has produced is “0?.

    I’m sure those “commendable” female altar servers have done a good job of discouraging male youth from finding role models to pursue the vocation of the priesthood.”

    Have you visited http://www.houstonvocations.com lately? There are 2 men to be ordained to the priesthood in July. Last year we ordained 5. Last weekend there were (I believe) 5 ordained to the transitional diaconate. What do you mean by 0?

  • If the moderator could remove me from this post or relieve me from receiving e-mails about comments, I would appreciate it.

    I either misstated my point or have been misinterpreted.

    I just wanted to point out St. Cyril’s writing, and it was taken that I hate reception on the tongue, which I do not. I essentially agree with everything in this post.

    Not a relativist, not a progressive in any way, and I LOVE our Pope. I hold very fast to the traditions of the Church, but I don’t want to be quick to cut down those who aren’t. It’s a process.
    I have a problem with show-boaters, similar to what was discussed on Patrick Madrid’s EWTN’s Open Line show last week. It’s a personal beef that has bugged me a lot over time; I apologize.

    I also apologize if I was abrasive in any way. I hope that dialogue and teaching (ESPECIALLY between fellow Catholics) can find a more reverent tone. I would hope to be politely corrected on anything I had wrong. I’ve just come to my faith, and I’m learning. Cutting down and labeling me is not instructive,and it isn’t helping me to look objectively at anything that is being said.

    Please remove me from this post, and if possible my comments. They weren’t written as well as they should have been.

  • “Cutting down and labeling me is not instructive”

    As you did to me, or should I say, to “us”, when you said,

    “I find the lack of charity in these responses (at least in tone) to actually be rather painful.”

    And proceeded to compare those comments to the mutterings of self-righteous, holier-than-thou people?

    It is a lack of charity to not state the truth, plainly and clearly, for all to hear.

  • Though let me be more clear than I was: what I said in my last post, after “at any rate” wasn’t really addressed to YOU, Rhen, specifically… I suppose I should have made that clear.

    I switch from addressing an individual to a whole range of arguments without making it clear sometimes. For that I apologize.

  • Contemporary Catholic,

    I wanted to affirm what you wrote.

    The average I am quoting was during Archbishop Fiorenza’s term.

    Cardinal DiNardo has done yeoman’s work in improving those numbers and they will continue to grow!

    Rhen,

    We appreciate your comments and please return to reading and commenting as you have.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

    P.S. Now the comments are closed.

Lars Vilks, Gay Muhammad and Freedom of Expression

Sunday, May 16, AD 2010

This past week brings news of yet another fracas involving Swedish cartoon artist Lars Vilks (CNN.com):

When Vilks entered a classroom where he was to deliver a lecture to about 250 people — all of whom had passed through a security checkpoint to gain admission — about five people started protesting loudly, Eronen said.

After Uppsala uniformed and non-uniformed police calmed the protesters, the lecture got under way at about 5:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m. ET), Eronen said.

But as Vilks was showing audiovisual material, 15 to 20 audience members became loud and tried to attack Vilks, he said.

As police stepped in, a commotion started and Vilks was taken to a nearby room; police used pepper spray and batons to fend off the protesters, Eronen said. Vilks did not return to the lecture. [Video footage of the event].

Last March, an American woman who called herself “Jihad Jane,” Colleen LaRose, was indicted in the United States for allegedly conspiring to support terrorists and kill Vilks.

In a 2007 interview with CNN he had drawn the cartoon of Mohammed with a dog’s body in order to take a stand.

“I don’t think it should not be a problem to insult a religion, because it should be possible to insult all religions in a democratic way, “ says Vilks from his home in rural Sweden.

“If you insult one, then you should insult the other ones.”

His crude, sketched caricature shows the head of Prophet Mohammed on the body of a dog. Dogs are considered unclean by conservative Muslims, and any depiction of the prophet is strictly forbidden.

Vilks, who has been a controversial artist for more than three decades in Sweden, says his drawing was a calculated move, and he wanted it to elicit a reaction.

“That’s a way of expressing things. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. And if you look at it, don’t take it too seriously. No harm done, really,” he says.

When it’s suggested that might prove an arrogant — if not insulting — way to engage Muslims, he is unrelenting, even defiant.

“No one actually loves the truth, but someone has to say it,” he says.

Vilks, a self-described atheist, points out he’s an equal opportunity offender who in the past sketched a depiction of Jesus as a pedophile.

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19 Responses to Lars Vilks, Gay Muhammad and Freedom of Expression

  • This “artist” will learn the limits of free speech – the hard way.

  • Why should some peoples belief supercede the beliefs, or lack of belifs, of others?

    Why should I, or anyone else be forced to abide by the rules of THEIR faith?

    What right does religions have to put themselves above everyone else? Is it a godgiven right? Thats what they believe isnt it?

    Religions mock the entire world with their existance alone. Grown men and women believing in old fairytales make a mockery of humanity as a whole.

    Yet we shouldnt be allowed to point out the glaring flaws, the insecurities, and the barbarism their faith entails?

    The very thought is disgusting. The very reason religions are mocked is because they demand respect for their belief, while having no respect at all for those of us who do not believe in any god.

    If one imposed limits on the freedom of expression it would cease to exist.

    Freedom: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.

  • I really am disgusted by the abasement of religion in this manner.

    Showing a gay Mohammed is almost as repugnant to me as it is to a Muslim, and is a deliberate act of provocation.

    Things were bad enough with Comedy Central. But the reason I defended the creators of South Park is that, first of all, they already SHOWED Mohammed in an earlier episode before the Danish cartoon scandal and no one cared.

    It wasn’t a particularly vulgar depiction either. What happened this time around was absurd – they only wanted to “show” Mohammed as they do other religious figures, they’d done it before, and saw the proscription of this time around as arbitrary and irrational, which it was.

    In this case, though, I’d say we’re way outside the scope of the Danish cartoon scandal or South Park. To depict is one thing; to associate a revered prophet with sexual immorality in such a blunt way is another. This isn’t about expression because no one believes Mohammed was gay. It is about pissing off Muslims and doing a thing simply because it can be done.

    Maybe the distinction I’m making is wrong, maybe it doesn’t exist. But I do see a difference.

  • Joe, I’m not aware of the South Park depictions of Muhammad before the Danish cartoon scandal. Do you have a source?

    I think censorship, whether religious or otherwise, should be based on community standards. In America, we’re not sufficiently outraged over irreverent depictions of religion to warrant legal censorship.

    Should material of academic value that offend community standards be protected speech? Would Islamic states be justified in completely censoring (as opposed to hide behind a “spoiler warning”) drawings of Muhammad from Wikipedia?

  • Well that kind of begs the question – what academic value does this really have? That Nathan quote could be re-worded only slightly and it would apply to the artists tehmselves – living off the fruits of Christianity, they can only mock it because they do not have the talent to meet or exceed Christianity’s greatest accomplishments. Where’s our contemporary Sistine Chapel? Our Mona Lisa? Our Pieta? Our art is ugly because our society is ugly.

    Largely we are not outraged because most of this “art” is ignored, at least by the unwashed masses.

  • Art ought to be all about aesthetics and edifying the beholder. Soap boxes/op-ed pages/letters to Congressmen are venues for free speech.

    I’m a charter member (from birth) of the unwashed masses.

    Here’s the reason I ignore art that scandalizes Christ: “Forgive all injuries. Bear wrongs patiently.”

    Our Lord will come again in glory and He probably will foresake those that made fun of His Redemptive Life and Salvific Sacrifice.

    Finally, it’s not my job to bring justice to poor benighted elites.

    Er, I don’t frequently shave, either.

    OTOH, muslims must defend Muhammed. That mass murderer is not getting out of Hell.

  • Couldnt help but notice that my original comment has “Your comment is awaiting moderation” stamped on it and is hidden from view of other visitors to this page.

    Since my post contained no links, no swearwords, no racism etc the only reason I can think of is because I do not agree with the viewpoints in the article.

    The viewpoints in this article must be fragile indeed if only comments of agreement are allowed.

    Here, there is no freedom of expression, there is only the freedom to agree.

  • Couldnt help but notice that my original comment has “Your comment is awaiting moderation” stamped on it and is hidden from view of other visitors to this page.

    Imagine that.

    Since my post contained no links, no swearwords, no racism etc the only reason I can think of is because I do not agree with the viewpoints in the article. The viewpoints in this article must be fragile indeed if only comments of agreement are allowed.

    Or, it could possibly mean I’m currently dealing with a newborn and a two year old, and — operating on about 2-3 hours sleep a night — don’t have time to moderate comments with as much punctuality as you desire.

    In fact I have no idea why it was stuck in moderation, but go ahead and assume the worst of my motives if it suits you. I can understand the guilty pleasure of such conspiracy theorizing. =)

    Why should some peoples belief supercede the beliefs, or lack of belifs, of others?

    Certainly I think nobody ought to be forced to accept the tenants of Islam or Christianity or any other religion, for that matter. Faith born of coercion is no genuine faith at all. I’m actually very much in favor of non-coercion in this respect.

    However, I’d say defining freedom solely in negative terms as “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action” offers a rather pathetic understanding of freedom. It also poses a challenge to our ability to reside together in some kind of civil community (surely you’re in favor of such?).

    Even as a self-proclaimed atheist, I’d venture that you probably find yourself upholding certain laws or norms of moral conduct — prohibitions against theft, taking the life of another, treating each other with basic respect etc. Are these simply “beliefs imposed” upon you? Do they spring from something deeper?

    John Paul II spoke of “a false notion of individual freedom at work in our culture” —

    “… as if one could be free only when rejecting every objective norm of conduct, refusing to assume responsibility or even refusing to put curbs on instincts and passions! Instead, true freedom implies that we are capable of choosing a good without constraint. This is the truly human way of proceeding in the choices–big and small–which life puts before us. The fact that we are also able to choose not to act as we see we should is a necessary condition of our moral freedom. But in that case we must account for the good that we fail to do and for the evil that we commit. This sense of moral accountability needs to be reawakened if society is to survive as a civilization of justice and solidarity.”

    What do you think about that?

    Religions mock the entire world with their existance alone. Grown men and women believing in old fairytales make a mockery of humanity as a whole.

    Spoken like a true Stalinist. But surely we can progress beyond this kind of intolerance? 😉

    Yet we shouldn’t be allowed to point out the glaring flaws, the insecurities, and the barbarism their faith entails?

    Perhaps. But if your purpose is to enlighten and educate, you might do better than simply lash out and taunt them with the artistic equivalent of a cudgel.

  • First of all, I find it hard to believe that you “had no idea why it was stuck in moderation”. Its your blog after all, even if its an automated process registering on key words, you should have some idea how it works.

    Secondly, how long it takes for you to moderate a post was not an issue at all. I reacted to the fact that it was marked for moderation in the first place.

    I used the definition of freedom together with the term “freedom of expression” spesifically because I suspected that you might try to use the definition of freedom in the way you just did.

    The concept of freedom of expression should be free of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. Just like the definition.

    I didnt, like you imply, include concepts like “freedom of murdering people”, “freedom to steal” or “freedom to set oneself above the law” when I put down the definition of freedom.

    As for your thoughts about moral conduct:

    Laws and norms of human conduct is a result of the society one lives in.

    If you some day take a good look at the world around you, I think you will realise that in socities in parts of the world that do not have the luxuries and/or traditions of western culture, the defintions of right and wrong are vastly different.

    Surely,if “upholding certain laws or norms of moral conduct” springs from something deeper, as you say, shouldnt people in all corners of the world share the same sense of morality?

    Yet they do not.

    I also note that you are labeling me a “stalinist”.

    Indeed, atheism and stalinism are required to go hand in hand arent they? There is no way that anyone can be opposed to religion without being some sort of communist.

    Labeling any opposition communist or stalinist regardless of which issues are being discussed seem to be popular in america.

    And then you preach about intolerance. Or spesifically “this kind of intolerance”, implying “intolerance against religions”.

    Which is appropriate, since religious groups, including catholics, traditionally have a large number of things they have zero tolerance for.

    It sure is good to know that believers have the right and knowledge to define what kinds of intolerance are acceptable or not.

    The purpose with which lars vilks lash out and taunt the muslim fundementalist is obvious: Its to teach people that they cannot have their way by resorting to violence. Many religious groups, including your own, realised this a long time ago by themselves.

    But before that, catholics and other christians were just as quick to resort to violence as these muslims are now.

    Unfortunatly, with the way things are, its impractical to wait the hundreds of years it could take for muslims to reach the same level of peaceful conduct as the major christian factions.

    Lastly, from a western moral perspective, who do you think have the moral high ground? The guy who is making pictures and drawings, or the people who are trying to beat him up, kill him and burn his house down?

  • I put your comment in moderation Moozorz. If it had been in one of my threads I would have deleted it since you merely regurgitate the “I hate religion” meme and have nothing fresh to offer to the debate. Since it was Christopher’s thread I left the ultimate decision as to what to do with your diatribe up to him when he looked over the thread. He duly approved it since he has much more patience than I do for people who repeat tired cliches as a substitute for substantive argument, and is one of the most fair-minded individuals I have encountered on the internet.

  • First of all, I find it hard to believe that you “had no idea why it was stuck in moderation”. Its your blog after all, even if its an automated process registering on key words, you should have some idea how it works. […]

    See Don’s comment as to why you were in moderation.

    The concept of freedom of expression should be free of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. Just like the definition. I didnt, like you imply, include concepts like “freedom of murdering people”, “freedom to steal” or “freedom to set oneself above the law” when I put down the definition of freedom.

    Unrestrained freedom, absent force of law, can lead to precisely that.

    I’m curious what you might say with respect to a women’s “freedom” with respect to the life of her unborn child?

    Laws and norms of human conduct is a result of the society one lives in.

    If you some day take a good look at the world around you, I think you will realise that in socities in parts of the world that do not have the luxuries and/or traditions of western culture, the defintions of right and wrong are vastly different. Surely,if “upholding certain laws or norms of moral conduct” springs from something deeper, as you say, shouldnt people in all corners of the world share the same sense of morality? Yet they do not.

    Diverse, but now wholly different. I think if you examine different parts of the world, cultures share remarkably similar moral-cultural norms. Show me a culture that specifically endorsed theft, lying, deception, murder, injustice, etc. in direct inversion to what we think of as morality?

    For example, C.S. Lewis in examining various traditions around the world pointed out how they share similar behaviors with respect to the prohibition of murder; the doing of good towards children, parents, kinfolk and neighbors; prohibitions against adultery, etc. I think history has shown as well what happens when cultures or societies abandon or deliberately ignore such ‘laws’:

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/lewis/abolition4.htm

    I also note that you are labeling me a “stalinist”.Indeed, atheism and stalinism are required to go hand in hand arent they? There is no way that anyone can be opposed to religion without being some sort of communist. Labeling any opposition communist or stalinist regardless of which issues are being discussed seem to be popular in america.

    While atheism and stalinism aren’t necessarily identical, one can point to a number of historical examples (the french revolution, the bolshevik reovlution, national socialism, etc.) where atheism and totalitarian violence have gone hand in hand. And the nature of your comment — “Religions mock the entire world with their existance [sic] alone” — wasn’t far off from that kind of thinking. What do you propose then, since the mere presence of religion itself is an abomination?

    And then you preach about intolerance. Or spesifically “this kind of intolerance”, implying “intolerance against religions”. Which is appropriate, since religious groups, including catholics, traditionally have a large number of things they have zero tolerance for.

    I’m not necessarily opposed to intolerance. I happen to think “tolerance” and “non-judgementalism” are highly overrated. As Chesterton said, “The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

    It sure is good to know that believers have the right and knowledge to define what kinds of intolerance are acceptable or not.

    But there you go again — having just indicated by your example that we should all be intolerant of religion.

    The purpose with which lars vilks lash out and taunt the muslim fundementalist is obvious: Its to teach people that they cannot have their way by resorting to violence. Many religious groups, including your own, realised this a long time ago by themselves.

    As I’ve said, there is little question that many Muslim’s response to Vilks is disproportionate and extreme — at the same time, Vilks does not help the matter with his direct provocation to violence by taking what Muslims hold dear — the prophet Muhammad — and violating it.

    Unfortunatly, with the way things are, its impractical to wait the hundreds of years it could take for muslims to reach the same level of peaceful conduct as the major christian factions.

    Muslims have a ways to go, yes. But they might get there a lot faster if we didn’t resort to such tactics as Vilks. You teach toleration and respect for others by practicing it. Vilks’s desire to deliberately invoke violence by blaspheming what they hold dear is merely an echo of Muslim intolerance.

    Lastly, from a western moral perspective, who do you think have the moral high ground? The guy who is making pictures and drawings, or the people who are trying to beat him up, kill him and burn his house down?

    In this case, neither — if the guy who is “making pictures and drawings” does so with the specific intent of inciting people to violence. Come now, it’s not as if Vilks was showing photos of the Mona Lisa or Michaelangelo’s David.

  • @Donald R. McClarey

    I dont hate religion, I just oppose it :3

    Especially when some people in the various religions are attempting to put belief in god above all else, not just for themselves but for others as well.

    @Christopher Blosser

    As I was reading through your latest post, I noticed several things.

    You took my paragraph about freedom of expression and somehow try to twist it into a pro-choice/pro-life issue.

    Undoubtedly because you couldnt, at the time, think of a counter-argument that related to the actual issue that was being discussed, i.e. freedom of expression (other than groundless speculation that having freedom of expression will somehow, in a nondescript fashion, lead to a society where one can freely steal, murder, and put oneself above the law.)

    Next, funny you should mention a connection between atheism and national socialism.

    Let me quote from the The National Socialist Party program from 1920, proclaimed by Adolf Hitler, point 24:

    “We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: The good of the state before the good of the individual.¨”

    Restrictive, perhaps, but hardly atheistic.

    Your other examples are more accurate at least.

    Furthermore, in your previous post, you said “But surely we can progress beyond this kind of intolerance?” when I said that religions are old fairytales.

    Yet in your latest post, you say you arent neccesarily opposed to intolerance.

    Thanks, I guess, for demonstrating with such perfect detail that what I said previously about your brand of “tolerance” is absolutely true.

    You have the exact same mindset as the muslim fundamentalists, that your beliefs must be tolerated above all else while the religions themselves should be free to judge and comdemn and generally be intolerant towards anything they wish.

    Be honest: it is because you believe that god is on your side.

    Is it not so? What other reason could you have to justify the difference between religious intolerance against people and peoples intolerance against religion?

    Anyways, your paragraph about Lars Vilks state that he is making pictures and drawings “with spesific intent of inciting people to violence”.

    That something you made up completely on your own.

    You are basically saying he is asking for it, even though nothing has ever indicated that Lars Vilks is trying spesifically to create violence.

    In fact, saying so is an insult to the islamic people, since it implies that we should expect them to react in a violent and barbaric fashion.

    A comparable anology is to say that a woman who wear sexy clothing is asking to be raped, after all, everyone knows that men are primitive and lack the self-control neccesary to stop themselves from assaulting women who arent “properly” dressed.

    While in reality, men do in fact have the potential to control their own behaviour, and many choose to do just that.

    Similarly, I think todays muslims have the potential to control their anger and violent reactions and instead react in a modern and civilized fashion when faced with such displays.

    Unfortunatly, some of them choose not to.

  • Religions should be insulted democratically.

    Why?

    Because if you’re going to insult one, you have to insult them all.

    Oh, OK, very reasonable. Now, run by me why we just, don’t tell really unfunny jokes to “insult” religions again.

    I feel like I’m in that episode of Seinfeld, where he tells a priest that one of his former congregants starts making a lot of anti-semitic jokes, and he asks him if it offends him as a Jew, but he responds, “No, it offends me as a comedian.” That’s just not funny, and therefore, beyond the realm of cartoonists.
    I get that the Jihadists are worse, but come on, are we really going to say, “we’re OK, so long as we’re not terrorists!”?

  • By the way, Moorzorz, you sound so smart. I think you sound so convincing, as though you’re not writing generalized emotional ejaculations (funny word right?); you sound as if you’re not just some pasty white atheist teenager to mid twenty year old, “trolling” (as the “kids” say) on a Conservative Catholic blog saying nothing remotely cerebral, desparately seeking attention, even if it’s only from angry papysts over the internet- that’d be like a neglected child turning form his parents to people he’ll never meet for attention.
    Oh, and also, if you could get me a copy of Dan Brown’s latest work of history, and a t-shirt depicting our hero Che, that’d be great.

    Hipsters 4 Life!

  • You took my paragraph about freedom of expression and somehow try to twist it into a pro-choice/pro-life issue.

    I was basically operating on the assumption that if you define “freedom” as “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action”, your definition is not merely limited to “self-expression” but freedom of action per se. Hence the question: where does such freedom from coercion begin and end with respect to the unborn?

    Undoubtedly because you couldnt, at the time, think of a counter-argument that related to the actual issue that was being discussed, i.e. freedom of expression (other than groundless speculation that having freedom of expression will somehow, in a nondescript fashion, lead to a society where one can freely steal, murder, and put oneself above the law.)

    Well, I thought we were talking about the nature of freedom per se. If only self expression, then may I assume you would define freedom otherwise — and that there are justifiable limits to freedom when living in society?

    Next, funny you should mention a connection between atheism and national socialism. [Insert quote from the Nazis]. Restrictive, perhaps, but hardly atheistic.

    National socialism was accomodating of religion only insofar as they found it expedient to do so. Ultimately it became a kind of religion of its own, elevating the ‘superman’ (ditto or the Communists). Case in point — Christians who went along with the Third Reich were tolerated; those who didn’t went to the camps along with the gypsies and the Jews. For a firsthand account from one priest, see Priestblock 25487: A Memoir of Dachau. For a broader view, I recommend Michael Burleigh’s The Third Reich: A New History.

    Furthermore, in your previous post, you said “But surely we can progress beyond this kind of intolerance?” when I said that religions are old fairytales. Yet in your latest post, you say you arent neccesarily opposed to intolerance.

    You’re getting the picture. I think it would be difficult indeed to go through life without being discriminating. Moral judgement is as elementary to existence as eating or breathing. And there are things we should quite justifiably be intolerant about.

    On the other hand, when you arrive at a sweeping judgement that religion in toto is an evil and a mockery of human existence, I think such a sweeping condemnation such as your own is a choice example of intolerance born of ignorance. I know of other atheists or agnostics who are quite capable of studying the breadth of human history and discerning positive elements in religion. An attitude that simply mocks and condemns religion strikes me as a rather stunted perspective.

    Anyways, your paragraph about Lars Vilks state that he is making pictures and drawings “with spesific intent of inciting people to violence”. That something you made up completely on your own.

    No need to impute motives here. I need only quote Lars: “It should be possible to insult all religions in a democratic way … If you insult one, then you should insult the other ones.” In the past he depicted Jesus as a paedophile. Don’t tell me he wasn’t hoping to get a reaction. In no way does it justify violence on the part of the protesters, but he certainly wasn’t seeking applause on their part.

    […] Similarly, I think todays muslims have the potential to control their anger and violent reactions and instead react in a modern and civilized fashion when faced with such displays. Unfortunatly, some of them choose not to.

    I think you and I agree on this point — our hope is that Muslims, when they find what they hold most dear insulted in this manner, should be able to restrain themselves from violence.

    That said, I don’t think Lars Vilks necessarily has the right to provocate Muslims in this manner.

  • Lars Vilks has every right to provocate Muslims if that is his wish under Swedish norms as long as he is prepared to pay the price. By what right do the crazed Muslims given residence, asylum and baksheesh in the West under the same suicidal liberal norms, now claim that their Jim Jones is above caricature? The liberal order is unwinding, some honest men Lars Vilks among them, have taken it upon themselves to bring the whole house of lies down.

  • @Clay

    I am dreadfully sorry to come all the way here to this catholic site when I was searching for news about Lars Vilks, I know that people disagreeing with your views must be terribly frightening.

    See? I can use sarcasm to apply attributes to other people too. Thank you for bringing your insight into this discussion.

    In all seriousness though, I am a norwegian, I live in norway, and up here in the north there are no “unwritten rules” that its distasteful internet behaviour to display ones views on a site where people have different views.

    If there is some kind of american unwritten rule about this, please inform me about it and I`ll stop posting.

    Also, if being norwegian somehow invalidates all my views, please inform me and I`ll stop posting.

    @Christoffer Blosser

    I am not just now “getting the picture”, you have read my previous posts, so it should be pretty obvious that I was, unfortunatly, completely right about your views on tolerance from the start.

    I was actually hoping you would disprove my preconceptions on that spesific issue.

    You choose not to address several parts of my paragraph, which is fine, you are free to address the parts you feel neccesary, but I still would like you to tell me how you justify the difference between religious intolerance against people and peoples intolerance against religion, like I asked before.

    I think its because, as I said, you believe your god gives you the right to do so, but I like to think thats not your only reason.

    Furthermore, I have never said religion is evil. Religion is regressive to society, often intolerant and I would even call it irrational.

    But I do not think religious people do what they do and say what they say just for the sake of making other people suffer. If they did, they would be evil.

    By the way, if there is no need to impute motives here, as you say, then perhaps you shouldnt impute motives onto Lars Vilks either?

    Sure, Lars Vilks was hoping to get a reaction. But you said he was spesifically trying to incite a _violent_ reaction.

    Was he trying to incite violence by displaying jesus as a pedophile? Did he except christians to physically attack him and issue death threats when he did?

    I think not.

    Your misconception about Lars Vilks seeking a violent reaction to his displays are only based in your preconcieved judgments against the muslim people.

    You expect them to answer with violence, so to you its obvious that everyone else thinks so too.

    There are several other things I suppose I could, and should, have addressed, but right now I`m out of time, Ì have to head to work.

    I will say this though, Christoffer Blosser, even though we disagree on a great many things, its refreshing to talk with a christian who is willing to argue, rather than the ones who prefer to “answer” only with moderation or bland sarcasm.

  • NOTE: This will be quick, because I think Moozorz and I have discussed this long enough and are conversation is heading into other topics not related to the actual post.

    I still would like you to tell me how you justify the difference between religious intolerance against people and peoples intolerance against religion, like I asked before.

    When speaking of “intolerance”, I think you really need to go into specific detail about what it is you are criticizing. To merely condemn religion in toto as a mockery of humanity — such a sweeping condemnation speaks rather badly and comes across as intolerant. Religions, like anything else, are a mixed bag. If you study Christianity you will find that it, like any other religion, has made positive contributions to society. (Certainly as a Christian I believe it has done more than that; I also recognize that there are many instances where Christians have not behaved in a Christlike manner). At any rate, I think there are positive goods which the religions of the world have to offer which any atheist can recognize if they tried.

    Likewise when you speak of “religion’s intolerance against people”, it may help to be specific.

    I think its because, as I said, you believe your god gives you the right to do so, but I like to think thats not your only reason.

    If you subscribe to a revealed religion, I suppose it’s natural that you will make distinctions between believers and non-believers and to be “intolerant” of certain kinds of actions. But as I’ve pointed out, you don’t have to be religious to make moral distinctions, to condemn certain kinds of behavior, to place limits on human freedom.

    By the way, if there is no need to impute motives here, as you say, then perhaps you shouldnt impute motives onto Lars Vilks either?

    There is no need, because Vilk already gave the reason. He wanted to insult Muslims. He was undoubtedly hoping to get a reaction. A necessarily violent reaction? — Perhaps he wasn’t expecting to get his house firebombed (although in light of past examples, such as the violent reaction of many Muslims to the Pope’s Regensburg address — he might have anticipated such). I do think he would have been sorely disappointed if he didn’t cause offense to Muslims.

    Your misconception about Lars Vilks seeking a violent reaction to his displays are only based in your preconcieved judgments against the muslim people.

    Oh, please. Read what I’ve written about the “Muslim people”, and then decide. (I’m far closer to Muslims than you imagine).

    I certainly don’t think all Muslims respond in the way that Vilks’ critics have done — but let’s face it, there is a subset of Muslims, those who tend to occupy the headlines, who have a propensity to react with threats or actual violence when their religion is mocked. It happens. So I don’t think the possibility of such happening was remote from Vilks’ mind when he decided to ridicule the Prophet Muhammad in the fashion that he did.

    You expect them to answer with violence, so to you its obvious that everyone else thinks so too.

    Actually, no.

    I will say this though, Christoffer Blosser, even though we disagree on a great many things, its refreshing to talk with a christian who is willing to argue, rather than the ones who prefer to “answer” only with moderation or bland sarcasm.

    Feel free to email me if you wish to talk further. blostopher @ gmail.com.

Half a Million Pilgrims Flock to See Our German Shepherd in Fatima

Thursday, May 13, AD 2010

A beautiful musical video showing Papa Bene in Fatima celebrating Mass.  Courtesy Rome Reports TV News Agency.

TV news show from NetNewYork reporting on the Pope’s visit to Fatima.  Courtesy NetNewYork’s Channel.

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One Response to Half a Million Pilgrims Flock to See Our German Shepherd in Fatima

  • Thank you Tito for your post about the trip of Peter to our country, Portugal.
    We are full of grace and happinness for his coming here and also feeling so much the responsibility that he gave to us all.
    I urge all to read the words of the Pope specially in Fatima and to our portuguese bishops. They are very clear and specific. The Church wants more from us and we can do more things if we trust more in Christ.

Fr. Frank Pavone Defends John Carr of the USCCB

Saturday, February 6, AD 2010

Here is the text:

I received some inquiries recently regarding John Carr, who serves as the Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The inquiries, stemming from controversies over the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Center for Community Change, essentially asked if John is pro-life and committed to the goal of securing protection for the lives of unborn children.

Because I am in a position to answer that question, and because of the fact that hurting people’s reputations never serves our cause, let me state for the record that the answer to that question is “Yes.”

I have had many opportunities to talk to and listen to John over the years, in public and in private, to read his articles, and to discuss our common goal of seeing social justice and peace applied to our neighbors in the womb. His record is clear, and unlike some others, when he talks about justice and peace and human development, he does not fail to include the unborn.

I share with you below his own comments, as well as those of Richard Doerflinger, the Associate Director of the Secretariat for Pro-life Activities of the US Bishops’ Conference. As we work together to resolve the problems that do exist in our Church and in our culture, let’s do so with great caution to preserve the good reputation to which all of our colleagues have a right.

Fr. Frank Pavone

The statements referenced in the letter can be found here.

Update: Additionally, Catholic News Service reports that many bishops have come forward to defend Mr. Carr.

Update 2: Tom Peters has a level-headed take on the matter here. In particular, I think his observations regarding “RealCatholicTV” are worthy of consideration:

The situation has not been helped, either, by the sensationalist reporting at RealCatholicTV.com, which in a recent report claimed that the allegations of misconduct at the CCHD was what Pope Paul VI was referring to when he warned that the “smoke of Satan has found its way into the Church” … seriously? I don’t follow RCTV directly but the American Catholic does.

As I’ve said before, I agree with Mr. Peters (and many of our commenters) regarding RCTV. I do not doubt that the folks at RCTV are well-intentioned. Similarly, I do not doubt that there are some problems with CCHD and the USCCB. I simply think the RCTV coverage of this scandal has been too sensationalistic, and that their reporting should not be relied upon without independent verification.

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82 Responses to Fr. Frank Pavone Defends John Carr of the USCCB

  • Let’s keep the issues straight here!! Nobody is questioning John Carr’s personal beliefs. What is in question is how he can work for, support, and promote organizations directly opposed to authentic Church teaching.

  • What I find sad is this: what exactly is charity? People are saying “defend CCHD” and “just start giving to other Catholic charities.” Ok, but does that mean the other Catholic charities will not be giving money to people which end up giving material support for evil? Obviously all charity has that potential; give money to the homeless beggar on the street, and they might buy crack with it. Does it mean we should not try to help him? Some might say “give him food.”

    Fine, but then that means he can afford buying the crack the next time someone gives him money!

    Using the logic being given, that means you are still promoting crack!

    That’s the problem with this argument. It ignores that all charity as charity is going to give opportunity for evil.

    Jesus gave charity to a centurion of all people. And samaritans to boot. Imagine what 1st century Jewish bloggers would have done with that! “Is there no end to the evil this Jesus fellow won’t support? He helps Roman occupation! The soldiers are given support!” etc.

  • defend CCHD should have been defund

  • I wonder if this “guilt by association” thing isn’t getting a bit out of hand. By the logic being applied here, any Catholic who works or has ever worked for the state or federal governments (like me) “supports” a “pro abortion” organization (even if their job has absolutely nothing to do with abortion, same sex marriage, etc.) and is a source of “scandal” who has no business participating in any parish or diocesan endeavor or in any apostolate. Maybe I should quit this blog before Real Catholic TV decides that I’m a source of scandal to readers?

  • Henry,

    You are a liberal, left wing Marxist. Period. To your kind, there is only one gospel, the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price.

    But in reality (where you obviously don’t live) there is only one true Justice: God’s Justice, and if we continue to tolerate abortion, gay filth and all manner of putrid, sinful refuse, then we can and should expect the full measure of God’s justice.

    CCHD has funded pro-abortion, pro-gay rights groups. Period. And USCCB defends it. How horrible! Don’t you understand anything? You don’t get social justice, the common good, and peace without repentance and conversion first. Read 2nd Chronicles 7:14 and Matthew 6:33. Righteousness, holiness and virtue must come first, and have to come first before all these social and economic problems we have can possibly get fixed.

    I have zero tolerance for any of you liberals. You never discuss turning away from sin as THE prerequisite. What did Jesus say in conclusion to the woman caught in adultery? GO AND SIN NO MORE.

    Do you get it, liberal? Do you?

  • This is not to deny, of course, that there are some big problems with CCHD, but simply to emphasize what Fr. Pavone said, that it doesn’t give us license to play the guilt by association card against everyone that works there.

  • On Father Pavone’s blog, there is this comment which I believe is pertinent:

    “Benedicta says:
    February 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    The question of whether or not John Carr is pro-life is a straw dog. That’s not the problem the Reform CCHD coalition has been pointing to. They are saying that despite his attitudes towards abortion, he was in a leadership position with an organization (CCC) many of who’s member organizations (and most likely it’s stated mission, too?) had very “progessive” positions on gay and reproductive rights. Many of these groups were and still are funded by CCHD.

    This was sort of inevitable because CCHD’s mission forces them into such coalitions. They don’t do direct charity. They are commissioned to work with community organizing groups battling the causes of poverty. These types of groups are traditionally leftist and the left eschews the human rights of the unborn. I should know, I was one of them. To prove the point – is CCHD funding any chastity or anti-abortion grassroots groups? If there are such groups to fund, why bother to fund those that compromise church teaching? The connections are there between promiscuity, availability of abortion, as a backup to it, and poverty if you don’t abort after being brainwashed into promiscuity. Read Wilcox et al.

    People have recognized CCHD’s strong connections with Alinsky-style and/or founded organizations for years. No ones’s questioning Carr’s pro-life position. Only how he (read USCCB) carries it out politically. We at the grassroots – who struggle every day with Culture of Death’s brainwashing of our neighbors and friends – are waiting for the bishops (John Carr’s bosses) to take the bull by the horns. Perhaps these entanglements with “the dark side” are part of what’s keeping their hands tied.”

    As I have indicate before, rather than huffing and puffing at critics, the USCCB should be explaining certain things, among them:

    They should explain why they were shoveling money into an organization that one of their staffers served as the head of. Can they even spell “conflict of interest”? Rather than attacking the people who are bringing this to light they should be ramping up their own investigation. They might also wish to explain why Carr omitted noting his involvement with the CCC from his USCCB bio. They might also explain why Tom Chabolla, associate director of CCHD programs until 2008, and who worked under Carr, took Carr’s place on the CCC board after Carr left, during a time period when the CCC became involved in pro-abortion advocacy, and whether Chabolla and Carr maintained contacts about the CCC. Chabolla since leaving the CCHD is now assistant to the President of the Service Employees International Union. Finally, perhaps they can explain why, when this all came to light, the first reaction from the CCHD was to scrub their website of all mention of ties with the CCC.

    In regard to the CCHD, Tom Chabolla concerns me far more than John Carr. Chabolla’s involvement with the CCC and the CCHD while the CCC was becoming involved in pro-abortion advocacy, and his subsequent attempts to convince Catholics to vote for Obama, notwithstanding Obama’s strident pro-abortion stance, leads me to wonder how many CCHD staffers share the Church’s opposition to abortion, and how this plays out in regard to the groups that are funded.

    http://onelacatholic.blogspot.com/2008/11/ex-mahony-official-touts-obama-in.html

    Time for the USCCB to stop shooting the messengers and to conduct internal investigations and clean house.

  • Paul, do not personally attack fellow commenters. That is not helpful. I share your concerns to the full regarding CCHD, but you can express them without attacking Karlson personally.

  • “Henry,

    You are a liberal, left wing Marxist. Period. To your kind, there is only one gospel, the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price.”

    Paul.

    First of all, I’m not a liberal. Second, I’m not a Marxist. Third, Catholic Social Teaching is a part of the Catholic Church and its teaching. False Gospel? No. Christ calls us to charity. That’s the truth. Justice is God’s — right indeed. But that is truth in charity. God’s justice doesn’t demand us to ignore the needs of people just because they sin. The common good is indeed why Christ died. And peace at any price — Christ gave the ultimate price.

  • Elaine Krewer

    That’s exactly the kind of point I’ve been trying to make. This is mere guilt by association which is fallacious; and if one follows through with this, anyone who does any work with anyone can be found to be associated with sinners and doing things which ultimately helps people to sin in one way or another. Of course, Voris would do well to remember the principle of double effect.

  • I agree with you John Henry that Thomas Peters has a level headed take on the situation. I agree with his recommendation that the CCHD needs to be defunded.

    “Here’s my take: I think there are real problems with how the CCHD allocates its money. I must seriously question why the USCCB even needs to have such a department. There are, after all, so many excellent Catholic charities that disburse money, so I see no reason why Catholics ought to continue giving money to an organization that has now repeatedly been shown to have misused funds in the past (ACORN, for instance). And remember – these are funds that come from the pockets of Catholics in the pews.

    My personal hope, at this time, is to see the CCHD not reformed, but defunded, even though I highly doubt this will happen.”

    Time for the Bishops to find another mechanism to help the poor, and this time through Catholic organizations loyal to the Magisterium.

  • I am glad Fr. Pavone spoke up in defense of John Carr; Pavone is a straight shooter, and it’s not the first time I have known him to rise to the defense of people attacked as insufficiently Catholic for our self-styled guardians of orthodoxy. But I also find it ironic that Fr. Pavone is regarded as more of an authority on authentic Catholic teaching than our own bishops are. The Church teaches us very clearly where we should look for guidance on faith and morals. The “guru shopping” in which our religious right-wing so often engage is just another form of the cafeteria Catholicism they claim to deplore.

  • It seems to me that the CCHD has outlived its moment. The impetus behind its creation is gone, and the problems with some of the charities associated with it demonstrate that there are major problems with CCHD that have not been addressed. Perhaps the people in charge of it really can’t address the problems, because their method of carrying out the aims of Catholic Social Teaching doesn’t allow them to address these new or formerly less significant problems — the things the sort of organization CCHD funds do today have shifted from what they did 30 years ago.

    Some of the charities CCHD fund in our Archdiocese do excellent things — others, not so much. Should the good ones lose their funding because of the problematic ones? That is what defunding CCHD would mean. But unless the bishops and their offices do their investigations, those of us who see what is wrong with the problematic ones are left with only two choices: donate or don’t donate. Especially because our contributions don’t go only to our own dioceses, but are pooled and distributed throughout the country, it’s important for us to discern the best use of our “talents and treasures,” as the social justice people like to say.

    Giving money to or volunteering with charities who further the aims of Catholic Social Teaching is required of us as Catholics. Giving money to a particular charity recommended by the bishops is not.

  • The last I looked, CCHD proceeds were usually divided 75 percent to the national organization and 25 percent kept in the diocese where collected for local organizations. Why not just drop the national collection and make it all local? Some dioceses may still fund questionable projects that way but at least the more orthodox ones won’t have to.

  • If this is “guilt by association,” then could someone please explain to me what business people like Paul Booth, Fr. Thomas Reese, or Dr. Diana Hayes have at a USCCB-sponsored event?

    http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_28931.php

  • “I do not doubt that the folks at RCTV are well-intentioned.”

    A fascinating choice of words. Good intentions are the close bedfellows of the skulls of bishops, so prominently mentioned in these reports.

    Heck, gossipmongers have good intentions, too. That doesn’t make them moral or even accurate in their reporting.

    The fact is that many bloggers and countless Catholic commentators have been duped by this issue. You’ve been led deeply into the sin of calumny, and isn’t it a good thing Lent is close to arrival? No concern about getting dates, facts, and people straight. And even an otherwise-reliable organ like OSV had to do considerable backtracking. Why any sensible person would rely on internet video gossip masquerading as television for reliable information is beyond me. Regular tv journalism isn’t real news these days, so I can’t imagine folks with no pretense of journalism would count for anything more.

    The movement to defund the CCHD is just frowny-faced Catholic Republicans simmering that they never had the good idea of addressing the systemic problems that lead too many unfortunate individuals into needing charity. I’m sure if conservatives ever bothered to come up with a small-guv plan to address the root problems of poverty, they would get a CCHD grant. Heck, you may even end up as poster children if you played your cards right.

    Meanwhile, thanks a whole lot for painting pro-lifers as mindless, insensitive, and sinful detractors. You’ve just set the movement back another several months. Who cares about the money? You haven’t given to the CCHD in years, if ever. You’ve just been cooperating with evil to snipe at your own, and tossed another few hundred thousand of the unborn into the trash heap.

    What about an investigation of RealCatholicTV? How do we know thesefolks aren’t on the PP or NARAL payroll?

  • Nice attempt to avoid discussing any of the relevant issues Todd.

  • Todd,

    Attack the messenger.

    Old bag of tricks for liberals.

  • “Many bishops” comes in the guise of three left-wing bishops.

    Yes, we’ll see what other bishops steps forward to defend a compromised executive such as John Carr.

    John Henry,

    You failed to point out that it is not the stance of John Carr, but his conflict of interest that is in question.

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  • Unfortunately for the Cause, Donald, Tito, the issue was made to be John Carr. And now that that line of attack has shown itself to be pretty impotent, I think it’s quite correct to shine some light on gossipmongers. If that makes it uncomfy for you, I’m not sympathetic. Usually when people do sinful things, there are consequences–and I don’t mean in the afterlife.

    But if you want to stick to the original post, since when do good intentions make up for sin?

  • Todd,

    That is amazing commentary from a guy who is an open dissident Catholic and voted for President Obama, the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States of America.

    If being called a gossip-monger is to report the conflict of interest of John Carr with CCC then we’ll let you live in bizarro world.

    You being unsympathetic shows again that you are a Catholic in name only.

  • Tito, it’s a classic strategy of human (not liberal) denial to attack the messenger. You do need a history lesson since I would count at least two presidents as more pro-abortion than Mr Obama: Mr Nixon, because it was largely his SCOTUS, and Mr Clinton who was a tad more enthusiastic than the current president.

    I know it stings to get taken to task on morals by a liberal, but there you have it …

  • Tito, no interest in addressing the moral relevancy of “well-intentioned” sinners, eh? I don’t mind straying off topic, if you don’t.

  • Todd,

    This isn’t my post.

    It’s my esteemed colleague John Henry’s post.

    As for “well-intentioned sinners”, what do you mean and to what reference?

  • Nixon was pro-abortion because it was “his” Supreme Court that decided Roe? That’s a bit of a stretch.

    Let’s see, of the 7 justices who decided in favor of Roe only 3 (Burger, Blackmun, and Powell) were Nixon appointees. Marshall was appointed by LBJ; Stewart and Brennan were Eisenhower appointees; and Douglas’ appointment went all the way back to FDR. Dissenters Rehnquist and White were appointed, respectively, by Nixon and JFK.

  • Also, don’t forget that SCOTUS justices have minds of their own and often disappoint the presidents who appoint them assuming they will be reliable “conservative” or “liberal” votes. Earl Warren did that to Ike, and Sandra Day O’Connor did the same to Reagan.

    As for Clinton, yes, he did indeed push for FOCA and for repeal of the Mexico City Policy, and for a national healthcare plan — I unfortunately don’t recall whether it was supposed to include abortion coverage or not — but what else did he do that made him “more enthusiastic” a pro-abort than Obama?

  • “I’m sure if conservatives ever bothered to come up with a small-guv plan to address the root problems of poverty, they would get a CCHD grant. ”

    They have. It’s called letting people keep the money they earn (instead of giving it to the government through taxation) so that they can better support their families, spend more on housing and other goods, and so that those who are inclined can start businesses and projects that create jobs, which in turn, lift more people out of poverty. A prominent conservative who “addressed the root causes of poverty” very well was the late Jack Kemp.

    Another very prominent small-guv or no-guv idea for addressing the root causes of poverty is the notion that people should get married BEFORE having sex and thereby having children (which can happen regardless of whether they have access to contraception or not; no method is 100 percent foolproof, other than abstinence). Single parenthood is one of the major “root causes” of poverty.

    I’m not a hard core anti-government or “all taxes are evil” libertarian by any means, but liberal programs and ideas aren’t the only ones that benefit the poor.

  • Todd, your statement that Nixon was more pro-abortion than Obama is laughable and demonstrates the lengths to which you will go to rationalize your positions. And on balance the notion that Clinton was a bigger pro-abort than Obama does not wash either.

  • I’ve decided to withhold my weekly parish offering until the Bishops get their act together on this issue of funding groups that promote murder-in-the-womb and pro-homosexual lifestyles because, even if I withhold donations from CCHD specific collections, how can I trust that the bishops aren’t giving money to these groups from their general funds or some other fund that my donations have gone to?

    Instead, I’ll give targeted funds for parish-specific collections such as energy, building fund etc. but also to worthy, faithful, and transparent pro-life and lay religious groups – in reparation for some of the damage that is being done. I will no longer allow my money (God’s money) to be funneled to the culture of death. I’ve lost trust for now.

    American Life League: http://www.all.org
    Human Lifer International: http://www.hli.org

  • “There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/us/politics/24nixon.html

    That promotes the use of abortion, not just leaves it as a choice. Seems to be more pro-abortion than Obama’s “leave it be as a choice.” He wanted inter-racial babies killed. That’s pro-abortion and not just pro-choice.

  • Spelling correction:

    Human Life International: http://www.hli.org

  • “Unfortunately for the Cause, Donald, Tito, the issue was made to be John Carr.”

    Nice try Todd. The issue was always USCCB funding of groups like the CCC. The groups bringing this to light took pains to note that they were not attacking John Carr’s personal bona fides:

    “Once again, please keep in mind that in no way are we stating or implying that any bishop or staff member of the USCCB holds pro-abortion views. We have conversed and exchanged correspondence on a number of occasions with USCCB staff and have nothing but the highest regard for the strength of their convictions. However, we cannot avoid the conclusion that there is a disturbing pattern of cooperation between the USCCB and organizations that do not share the same fundamental vision of human dignity as the Catholic Church.”

    http://bellarmineveritasministry.org/

  • Nixon indeed said years after he had left office that he had no problem with abortion being legal, but that the government should not pay for it. That is a far cry from Obama’s position that the government should always pick up the tab when women cannot afford the hit fees on their offspring.

    This was the stand that Nixon took publicly on abortion while he was president on April 3, 1971:

    “HISTORICALLY, laws regulating abortion in the United States have been the province of States, not the Federal Government. That remains the situation today, as one State after another takes up this question, debates it, and decides it. That is where the decisions should be made.

    Partly for that reason, I have directed that the policy on abortions at American military bases in the United States be made to correspond with the laws of the States where those bases are located. If the laws in a particular State restrict abortions, the rules at the military base hospitals are to correspond to that law.

    The effect of this directive is to reverse service regulations issued last summer, which had liberalized the rules on abortions at military hospitals. The new ruling supersedes this–and has been put into effect by the Secretary of Defense.

    But while this matter is being debated in State capitals and weighed by various courts, the country has a right to know my personal views.

    From personal and religious beliefs I consider abortion an unacceptable form of population control. Further, unrestricted abortion policies, or abortion on demand, I cannot square with my personal belief in the sanctity of human life–including the life of the yet unborn. For, surely, the unborn have rights also, recognized in law, recognized even in principles expounded by the United Nations.

    Ours is a nation with a Judeo-Christian heritage. It is also a nation with serious social problems–problems of malnutrition, of broken homes, of poverty, and of delinquency. But none of these problems justifies such a solution.

    A good and generous people will not opt, in my view, for this kind of alternative to its social dilemmas. Rather, it will open its hearts and homes to the unwanted children of its own, as it has done for the unwanted millions of other lands.”

  • “Once again, please keep in mind that in no way are we stating or implying that any bishop or staff member of the USCCB holds pro-abortion views. We have conversed and exchanged correspondence on a number of occasions with USCCB staff and have nothing but the highest regard for the strength of their convictions. However, we cannot avoid the conclusion that there is a disturbing pattern of cooperation between the USCCB and organizations that do not share the same fundamental vision of human dignity as the Catholic Church.”

    And who are they to make this decision? As I pointed out, will they judge Jesus guilty of supporting Roman occupation in Jerusalem? Of the Samaritans for his promotion of the good Samaritan? Will they tell people who pay sinners the money they are owed for working, because they pay sinners, they are cooperating with evil and should rather not pay until the sinner stops sinning? That’s the issue. People who get charity will often be sinners; giving them charity is not the promotion of sin. Otherwise God is the biggest sinner of them all.

  • Nixon said abortion is necessary for inter-racial couples. And you say he isn’t pro-abortion? Who cares who pays for it! It’s not the paying of it but the demanding of it as necessary which indicates someone far more pro-abortion than someone who doesn’t demand any abortions!

  • So I take TAC is now guilty of being pro-aborts and Catholics in name only because some people on here are now defending Nixon!

    See how this works?

  • Henry, it seems to me that what Nixon was expressing was the reverse of the “personally opposed, but” stance you often see today. Apparently, Nixon was “personally in favor, but” for what he considered “hard cases.” But in the same taped conversation, he expressed concern that legalized abortion on demand would lead to “permissiveness” and to a breakdown of the family.

    In any event that remark, distasteful as it is, comes from a private conversation with an aide that was never made public until long after his death. In his PUBLIC statements and policy moves Nixon never endorsed legalized abortion on demand, as far as I know, whereas Clinton and now Obama have.

  • I’m sure if conservatives ever bothered to come up with a small-guv plan to address the root problems of poverty, they would get a CCHD grant.

    If I am not mistaken, Milton Friedman’s first article on the negative income tax hit the presses in 1962; I doubt the Catholic Campaign for Human Development ever noticed.

  • Don, thanks for the clarification.

    Apparently Nixon was more amenable to legalized abortion than I realized (I was only 10 years old when he left office and wasn’t paying attention to his abortion views at the time), but still, his stance is a far cry from what Obama is pushing today. Also, there is no evidence that Nixon ever sought as a matter of public policy to “demand” that interracial couples abort their children; that was merely his own personal preference.

    I’m not “defending” Nixon or his point of view, by the way, just pointing out that it can’t justly be compared to what Obama is doing via the healthcare plan, removal of conscience protections, revocation of Mexico City Policy, and expressed support of FOCA or something similar.

  • Elaine in his public stance as President, and in his actions as President, Nixon always acted against abortion. This is a far cry from Obama who is publicly and privately in favor of abortion. Karlson, of course, as usual, is carrying water for the Left and Obama in attempting to obscure this point.

  • So, it’s ok for him to say it is necessary for people to have abortions and he ends up not being pro-abortion? Very odd indeed. But I expect it. The same people who talk the talk end up bowing before the GOP before it is over.

  • If it were Obama who had said it and not Nixon, or if it were John Carr instead of Nixon, you can be assured both would be used by the people who defend him now. It is more important to point out the defense of Nixon’s “it is necessary to kill them” speech puts the people doing so not only in cooperation with evil but in its promotion!

  • Karlson, I am sure you are not so obtuse as to fail to understand the difference between a private opinion revealed more than a decade after Nixon’s death and his public statements and policies as President. Nice try however in attempting to run interference for the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history.

  • Like I said, Nixon was “personally in favor, but” when it came to abortion. He didn’t feel he could “impose his personal views” FAVORING abortion on the nation or on individual state governments that weren’t ready to accept them.

  • The most pro-abortion president? Pretty sure that would be Nixon. Let’s keep in mind that the original drive to decriminalize abortion came from Republicans lobbied by the medical establishment.

    Lies about John Carr. Misguided errors about CCHD. Not tracking important dates like the establishment of the CCHD in 1970. The real question is: why do we even bother with conservatives these days? Completely unreliable.

  • Todd, still trying to salve your conscience for your vote for Obama, the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history? Your attempt to rewrite history is as misguided as your vote. The move to legalize abortion was overwhelmingly from the radical feminists, the group that still owns body and soul your party on the issue of abortion.

  • “Let’s keep in mind that the original drive to decriminalize abortion came from Republicans lobbied by the medical establishment.”

    The Republicans in question were probably the more liberal leaning ones like Nelson Rockefeller, not Nixon, who relied heavily on a conservative “Southern strategy” to get elected.

  • As I said, the defense for President Nixon here and his stand on abortion and his belief it was necessary to kill interracial children says enough. It really does. It’s all it takes to do an expose. Ask Voris.

  • I guess you truly are much more obtuse than I thought Karlson.

  • Henry,

    You seem to reserve a special level of irrationality and intentional obtuseness for moments when you think you have some “gotcha” against conservatives. It would probably be a good idea if, when you have this feeling of “Ha! Now I have them saying something truly ludicrous,” you went off and did something else for a while, because these exercises never do you much credit.

    But to address the substance:

    No one here has defended the Nixon quote or claimed that Nixon is a role model on the abortion issue — what people have objected to is Todd rather strange claim that Nixon was a more pro-abortion president than Obama. (And come to that, that Clinton was — by just about any measure other than the wishes of his more deceived supporters, one would have to see Obama as more pro-abortion than Clinton. If you want a figure more pro-abortion than Obama, you’re going to have to go for someone like Barbara Boxer.)

    Your interpretation of Nixon’s comment (a comment which, as I said, is reprehensible) seems selective and intentionally obtuse. On the face of it, it would seem pretty clear that Nixon was listing of situations in which he thought that people might justifiably demand access to abortion because they considered it “necessary”. That interracial children was the first example that came to his mind certainly does him no credit, but one can hardly argue that Obama’s views are substantively different on issues of abortion being “necessary”. Think of the implication: Does Obama think that abortion is (as he claims) a regrettable and unfortunate thing, but insist that it should be allowed even though he believes it it’s never actually necessary (as in the only right thing to do) for someone to have one? In other words, he thinks that abortion is bad, but he insists that it be available at all times despite it’s being, at any given point, entirely optional? Surely not. If he insists that abortion be available he clearly thinks that in some cases people will find it necessary to have one. Indeed, if he thinks that it’s entirely optional as a medical and personal procedure (like what? teeth whitening? breast augmentation?) and yet nevertheless insists on its absolute availability over the moral concerns that he’s expressed, that actually puts him in a far worse light than if one accepts that he thinks it is at times a “necessary evil”.

    Goodness, what do they teach them in school these days?

  • DH,

    I’ve decided to withhold my weekly parish offering until the Bishops get their act together on this issue of funding groups that promote murder-in-the-womb and pro-homosexual lifestyles because, even if I withhold donations from CCHD specific collections, how can I trust that the bishops aren’t giving money to these groups from their general funds or some other fund that my donations have gone to?

    Weekly collections go primarily to the local parish, with roughly 10% usually going to your local diocese. They do not go to the USCCB or to other national programs. I would strongly recommend against refusing to support your parish because of a fairly minor USCCB program.

  • I think Obama’s statement that babies conceived of unplanned pregnanacies are a burden is quite contrary to Catholic Social Teaching also. We know he jokes about the Special Olympics in public. Who knows what he says in private.

    Bottom line about CCHD, just like we should not reward researchers who aborted babies with stem cell funding we should not reward organizations that fund anti-life, anti-family policies.

  • Todd, still trying to salve your conscience for your vote for Obama,

    I will wager it goes deeper than that.

  • Todd,

    The movement to defund the CCHD is just frowny-faced Catholic Republicans simmering that they never had the good idea of addressing the systemic problems that lead too many unfortunate individuals into needing charity. I’m sure if conservatives ever bothered to come up with a small-guv plan to address the root problems of poverty, they would get a CCHD grant. Heck, you may even end up as poster children if you played your cards right.

    This is just a dumb attack. (Sheesh, why is it that you’ve become so much more politically bitter since your guy won? It’s supposed to work the other way around.) Conservatives are widely supportive of small businesses, which is where most new jobs in the country show up. (While the more regulatory approach pushed by progressives normally helps large corporations keep small businesses from playing — though progressives often don’t seem to realize this.)

    The beef that a lot of conservatives have with the CCHD is twofold. First, they tend to fund some programs which run by organizations which also have programs which are directly contrary to Catholic teaching. Second, conservatives are not always as optimistic that funding groups which often just “raise awareness” or help people petition the government for things actually do all that much to “break the cycle of poverty” as compared to directly helping them with immediate necessities so they can get back on their feet or support themselves, or helping get businesses off the ground which actually provide people with employment. The former of these is a pretty good target for charitable work, the latter often doesn’t work out so well. (If you give people grants to start a business, because they don’t have investors and can’t get a small business loan, it often turns out the reason they couldn’t get a small business loan or investors is that their business plan wasn’t all that viable in the first place.)

  • DC

    When someone says “but still, his stance is a far cry from what Obama is pushing today,” and using that to make Obama is worse — yes, they are positing a defense of Nixon in relation to Obama. The problem is one said abortion is a choice, the other, necessity. And the people who are acting like “abortion is a necessity” is no big deal in comparison to someone saying “choice” show again the politics. This is not “gotcha.” This is just applying the standards in these threads. Wasn’t it the Peters piece which said “cooperation with evil” is evil? Cooperation with Nixon, who thinks killing innocent children is a necessity, falls under this, no?

    Of course many people see through this. What you call irrationality is the whole point. This whole “scandal” and the means by which it gathers evidence is irrational.

    This has nothing to do with “conservative” or “liberal,” because again, the so-called conservatives here are quite liberal (small government) indeed!

  • “onservatives are widely supportive of small businesses” even when they give cooperation for abortion (see health care insurance).

  • Henry,

    This is precisely where you intentionally being obtuse: It takes a massive stretch to argue that the Nixon quote meant “necessary” in the sense of “we must force this person to have an abortion whether they like it or not, because it’s an absolute necessity for society”. Whereas if one accepts the quote to mean that there are situations in which people will feel abortion to be their only option — then he means exactly the same as what Obama says.

    And what the heck are you talking about with “cooperation with Nixon”? The guy is dead, has long been politically irrelevant, and no one is taking him as a guide for modern conservative policy.

    I’ve not no interest in defending Nixon or his ideas about abortion, but claiming that he is “more pro-abortion” than Obama makes no sense when Nixon’s policies were far more anti-abortion than Obama’s and even this utterly reprehensible quote says nothing that Obama wouldn’t say himself (other than the underlying racism.)

    “onservatives are widely supportive of small businesses” even when they give cooperation for abortion (see health care insurance).

    Again, your “gotchas” are invariably foolish. Are you saying that conservatives would do better to only support small businesses which refuse to provide health insurance? Or are you claiming that being in favor or an economic environment which makes it easy for small businesses to establish and thrive somehow encourages them to elect to cover abortions in their insurance policies? I suppose the test case would be: Ask yourself, would conservatives prefer a small business which provided health insurance to its workers which excluded abortion, or a small business which provided health insurance to its workers that included abortion. If you answer the latter, you have a case.

  • One person says abortion is necessary; the other says it is up to the people, and the one who says it is necessary is less pro-abortion. I get it!

    What I learn on here.

    Yes. I’m obtuse! Teach me more!

  • DC

    “Again, your “gotchas” are invariably foolish. Are you saying that conservatives would do better to only support small businesses which refuse to provide health insurance?”

    Let’s take this one by one. STOP USING THE WORD CONSERVATIVE. False word. Next, I am saying the “scandal” with the USCCB is valid, than this applies across board. And sorry to point out, all the people supporting companies which have health insurance that gives abortion is “cooperation with evil” and “funding abortion.” What is difficult to see in this? Why is it that the same people who always speak about political point of views never do anything with the real promoters of abortion — the insurance companies? Why no laws to stop this? Why the constant funding of it? Why?

  • You people just slay me: tie yourselves up in knots to justify your relativism. Personally, I have no problem with my vote for Mr Obama. There was no real pro-life distinction coming from Mr McCain, especially on matters in government hands like ESCR and torture. So I voted for the Illinois senator. So what? Lots of independents voted for him. He was a bit too conservative for my tastes, but there wasn’t a real third party choice, in my view.

    Getting back to Fr Pavone’s defense of Mr Carr, let’s face it: the anti-CCHD crowd had no compunction about throwing a fellow pro-lifer under the bus, and trying to justify the lies and exaggerations to get it done. And you can ask yourselves: how many unborn people did it save? How many converts did you make for the cause? All because you’ve redefined “scandal” to mean something that bothers you.

    Jeez, with conservatives like you, I have no reason at all to be angry or bitter. All I have to do is visit here every week or so, point out your moral errors, get under your skins, and I have my entertainment.

    Take the last word, gents. You’ve worked hard enough in the trenches of relativism to earn it. Give us another justification or two, then watch the religious event of the day.

  • Translation Todd: you do not give a damn about abortion.

    “Take the last word gents.”

    You inevitably say that Todd, and you inevitably come back to comment on this blog.

  • Karlson is unable to distinguish between a President who makes a private pro-abortion statement and who makes public statements and policies against abortion, and the current incumbent who makes private and public statements in favor of abortion and who is dedicated to pro-abortion policies. Grad students have sadly declined in reasoning capacity.

  • Actually the latest turn in this thread is quite funny when you think about it. People are sincerely debating who is worse, Obama or Nixon and it was the Obama supporters who introduced that extremely low bar.

    I’m no fan of either, but clearly Nixon’s despicable “necessary” term wasn’t calling for a mandate and is more in keeping with Obama’s line about not wanting his kids punished with an unwanted child. It’s the same mentality of feeling the need to sacrifice the unborn for to avoid a consequence or perceived loss of good.

  • “Take the last word gents.”

    You also convieniently forget about the one “lady” blog member among these “gents” who completely agreed with the initial premise of this thread — that the attacks on John Carr and his past affiliation were not really valid criticisms of CCHD. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are still lots of OTHER reasons to be critical of CCHD.

  • Elaine, I am sure that the implication that Todd is a sexist will pierce his conscience to the quick, and I mean that sincerely!

  • Also, I question the wisdom of voting for an Illinois senator for any office above dogcatcher 🙂

  • One person says abortion is necessary; the other says it is up to the people, and the one who says it is necessary is less pro-abortion

    One of the great things about the internet is that you’re never quite sure where a comment thread will go. I have to say, I didn’t expect the topic of Nixon, Obama, and abortion to dominate this thread. But since it has, I’ll just say I think Henry’s argument is based on an exceptionally weird reading of the word ‘necessary’. It’s obvious that Nixon means ‘in some circumstances abortion has to be available,’ rather than something like ‘abortion is necessary in all such cases.’ He was talking about how abortion laws should be structured, not opining about when people need to get abortions (my assumption is that not even Nixon would tell a woman who had been raped that she had to get an abortion). I can’t imagine how Henry could understand it otherwise. As to Obama, he certainly has the most extreme public record on abortion of any U.S. President, although on the plus side of the ledger, he is probably not a racist (like Nixon).

  • Getting back to Fr Pavone’s defense of Mr Carr, let’s face it: the anti-CCHD crowd had no compunction about throwing a fellow pro-lifer under the bus, and trying to justify the lies and exaggerations to get it done. And you can ask yourselves: how many unborn people did it save? How many converts did you make for the cause? All because you’ve redefined “scandal” to mean something that bothers you.

    You know, reading this last comment of Todd’s I’m getting the impression that he thinks that John Henry was attacking Fr. Pavone in writing this post. Which, if true, is certainly amusing.

  • Which, if true, is certainly amusing.

    Yeah, I had to laugh, when Todd told me above that I had “been led deeply into the sin of calumny, and isn’t it a good thing Lent is close to arrival?”

    This, for posting Fr. Pavone’s defense of John Carr and saying not a negative word about anyone other than the RCTV folks. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that my post is primarily a defense of John Carr of the USCCB, and a response to some of the USCCB’s less disciplined critics. Oh well, I guess Todd wanted to upbraid somebody and my post caught his eye.

  • that not even Nixon would tell a woman who had been raped that she

    Mr. Nixon was rather vindictive about the opposition and was willing to countenance unprofessional behavior and violations of the law to get at them. Regrettably, he was in a position to see that such things were done: Morton Halperin’s phone was tapped and the pornographer who produced Tricia’s Wedding got his tax returns audited. It could have been worse.

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-860866.html

    Mr. Nixon’s mundane life was, however, free of severe blemishes. Most of us are not in a position to have someone raked over the coals by the U.S. Attorney, and its a good thing too.

  • The most frustrating part, John Henry, is that your response will be met with silence.

    I wish it were not so.

  • I’m a bit late to this discussion, but nevertheless it takes an appalling lack of judgement to suggest that Obama is not the most radical, pro-abort, “Party of Death” candidate ever to step foot in the Oval Office

    It is an unfortunate fact but no one in the history of the POTUS has uttered these words except for one man, who is Barack H. Obama:

    “But if they [my daughters] make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby”

    http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/ObamaBaby.jpg

    His position is so far outside of the mainstream that as an IL Senator he voted against the Infant Born Alive Protection Act. Let it be known that this man despises life and has actively used his political power in a way directly in conflict with Church Teaching on Natural & Moral Law.

  • If you recall, Nixon was close to being impeached by the House of Representatives for several counts of abuse of power. He resigned because he thought that, even if he could get (1/3 + 1) of the Senate to vote for acquital, the efforts focused on the trial would leave the nation weakened against foreign opponents for an extended period.
    By the time W. Clinton was impeached, the possible threat from other nations had receded to the point that the nation could endure a couple of months of distraction with little or no harm in foreign affairs.
    The reaction of the Senate at the time of Clinton’s impeachment in effect was “Lying about sex? Everybody does it, so the fact that Pres. Clinton did it is no big deal.”
    If bloggers who favor Pres. Obama’s policies want to compare him with Pres. Nixon, I see no problem with that.
    TeaPot562

  • Here’s something to remember, John: there is a thread of conversation in here, and you should look to one of your co-bloggers and how they entered into it. Then you might appreciate Todd’s responses. He didn’t say you did anything; there was a conversation and he was responding to that.

  • John Henry is surely reading all the comments. He’s a sharp guy and has gotten me to rethink some of my decisions.

    He’s just being prudent.

  • Well, Teapot562, there are disputes between authorities over the severity of Clinton’s offences per the positive law. The tainted Lawrence Walsh said Kenneth Starr’s line of inquiry was outlandish and Richard Posner said that prosecutorial discretion would not have saved Clinton had he been an ordinary citizen and that the federal sentancing prescribed 30 to 37 months in prison for the sort of offences of which he was guilty. Please note also that Clinton was disbarred, that Susan McDougal spent 18 months in jail rather than testify at grand jury proceedings, and that James McDougal died before his testimony could be offered to a petty jury.

    Please note also that Clinton has retained throughout a degree of respect in certain circles that Nixon never re-acquired.

  • Well the bottom line remains, the CCHD remains a major source of scandal today regardless of what Nixon said forty years ago.

  • I’m with Phillip on this still.

  • 1. I admire Fr. Pavone, but he has plenty of his own issues (saying it’s OK to vote for a pro-choice Republican over a pro-life Democrat, supporting the NRLC’s “keep abortion legal as long as possible” agenda with its numerous compromises, supporting the do-nothing “partial birth abortion ban”, etc.) In other words, I admire Fr. Pavone for what he himself says and does. I’m not a fan of the organizations he chooses to support, especially when his career was springboarded by Judie Brown to begin with.
    2. I think it’s *very* important to distinguish between “the bishops” and “the USCCB,” which is a useless bureaucracy in DC that, in the end, has very little to do with “the bishops.” The merger of the old “NCCB” with the old “USCC” (where all these problematic associations occur) is the real problem, IMO.
    3. There is a big difference between charity, social justice and political activism. Charity is a personal choice. The merit in charity is in one person’s free will decision to perform an act of love for another person. Jesus acted in charity to centurions and Samaritans, but He did so in love for them as indiviuals, to help them as people. He did not support them qua being centurions or Samaritans.

    Social justice is the remediation of economic ills the way criminal justice is the remediation of interpersonal ills.

    Much of this funding question has to do with neither. It has to do with the bishops giving money to activist organizations when they should be giving that money directly to people who need it. I would have just as much problem with the USCCB funding NRLC as ACORN.

    When we give our money to the Church, our expectation is that that money will go to actually help people or build up the Church. I’d rather tthe USCCB fund crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agencies than fund ALL or NRLC. If they want to support the poor, send the money directly to shelters and food pantries. Better yet, give the money back to Catholic religious orders that engage in these ministries.

    Imagine if this money were just paid back to Catholic schools, hospitals and ministries, instead of paid to secular organizations.

    4. Yes, “Guilt by association” is a bit overdone. But much of this goes beyond “guilt by association.” We’re talking about organizations that actively support agendas contrary to the faith, and officials at USCCB who have either worked for those organizations or served on their boards of directors, etc.

  • Re: John Carr: “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you what you are.” Fr. Pavone is a good priest but a very naive one. Or perhaps he fears the power of the USCCB.

  • Mike,

    There is no need for that type of demonization of the USCCB. Although I don’t agree with the direction they’re heading, I don’t find it necessary to degrade it.

As Our Modern, Western Culture Begins To Implode, The Catholic Church Is Our Last, Best Hope

Sunday, January 31, AD 2010

Channel surfing the other night, I came across a slew of 1980s “coming of age” movies on cable television. With all of their flaws (too much sexual innuendo, which is mild by today’s comparisons,) one can easily see a positive theme of a bright future and endless possibilities running through this genre of films. I had almost forgotten that in the 1983 film Valley Girl, Julie played by Deborah Foreman actually chastises her hippy parents for their suggestion that if she and her new boyfriend Randy, played by Nicholas Cage, want to explore their sexuality it would be alright by them.  Julie rebukes her parents for having such beliefs as well as the nostalgia surrounding their involvement in the 1960s anti war movement; after all it was the era of Ronald Reagan. Everything seemed possible; it was Morning in America again. Many of these movies were set in California which at the time exuded excitement for those of us growing up in colder, Midwest climates. Economically, California was booming and it was also the heart of a growing and diverse music scene.

Fast forward some 25+ years later and many of today’s films have a dark undercurrent with more than a little subtle leftwing political and cultural propaganda running through them. While there are certainly hopeful signs in Hollywood, especially with the advent of stars like Eduardo Verastegi and his movie Bella and associated Metanoia Films, (Click here for my interview with Eduardo Verastegui,) the secular film industry has fallen even farther into the cesspool. Sadly the Golden State’s economic boom seems but a distant memory, which was bound to occur when California’s Big Government mentality rivaled that of Sweden or the Canadian province of Quebec. The bigger question remains; is California setting the trend once again for the nation and the western world, and if it is what hope is there? The hope remains as it always has not in mortal man and the latest left wing hypothesis about the world’s failings, but in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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4 Responses to As Our Modern, Western Culture Begins To Implode, The Catholic Church Is Our Last, Best Hope

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  • Fulton Sheen said that the time of evil would come upon mankind. Pope John Paul said a great darkness has descended on the earth. And we are living in this age of darkness and evil made transparent . The light of Christ is shining so brightly now that all of mens hearts and actions are coming into the light and being exposed for who and what they are. This is a great time of purification and God is getting ready to move mankind into a very important direction. You are either with Christ or against Him, There will be no middle ground. That is why it seems that it is all imploding but what is really happening is a time of great grace before the time of great judgement!

  • Man, where have I been for not finding your web site earlier – loved every word spoken.

    will be e-mailing you later brother. Praise Christ for you taking a stand and speaking His truth. We are so hungry for JUST the truth. Fr. John Corpie tells it like it is – and there is standing room only when he speaks somewhere. Holy Mother Church needs to feed her sheep – I am so tired of shim milk. Where is the beef that I may feed on the deep things of God.

    God bless brother – Later.

    In Christ,
    Don

If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Monday, January 25, AD 2010

There is a undercurrent in American society that somehow believes that if the mafia ran things, the country would be better off. There was one city (Newark, New Jersey) where the mafia once controlled much of the city. When their grip on power was done, the city was in tatters. The same could be said for liberals running religion.

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40 Responses to If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)