An E-Mail Going Around Catholic Theological Circles

Friday, October 30, AD 2015

2015-10-28-fitz-c

 

Colleagues, it is time for us to take a stand.  It has come to our attention that some of our members have come under attack from a group of right-wing Catholics who have no academic credentials:  not a theological degree among them.  As far as we can tell, none of them are even college graduates.  They are all white (of course) and all male (of course).  Some of them have produced texts that have been used against our fellow Catholic academics, often resulting in cries of heresy being raised by people who share their narrow, blinkered view of Catholicism.  This is intolerable in the twenty-first century for brilliant scholars to be held to account by ignorant yahoos.  We therefore ask you to append your names to the attached open letter and e-mail it back to us for future publication.  United, we can prevail over this assault of anti-intellectualism masquerading as Catholicism!

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37 Responses to An E-Mail Going Around Catholic Theological Circles

  • Time for the Schism?

    These self-inflated, egotistical buffoons would not know mercy if they experienced it!

  • 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

    Who does this Paul character think he is anyway?

    As for the letter, it is to laugh. Maureen Dowd writes about the Church all the time, where’s the letter citing her lack of a degree in theology?

  • It is amazing that this James Martin can condemn his critics for not having a theological degree when most the the disciples of Christ were themselves unlearned men.

  • “Colleagues, . . . . United, we can prevail over this assault of anti-intellectualism masquerading as Catholicism!”
    .
    .

    I can’t tell if that’s satire or not.

  • Credentials! I don’t need no stinking credentials.
    .
    I can discern errata in post-modern heterodox opinions and rank speculations, which lack Scriptural or Magisterial bases.

  • Sounds like the result of bad potty training ,

  • Heresy is a serious charge. And if the shoe fits, you need to wear it.

    “Hater” on the other hand is an unserious charge. When Fr. Martin results to categories employed by Taylor Swift, he proves how lightly we should take his protests.

  • The opinions of theologians outside their own area of expertise, like those of scientists, are entitled to no particular respect.

    When they talk about the D, E, J and P sources in the Pentateuch, the priority of Mark, the authorship of the Pastorals or the Comma Johanneum, the speak as experts on topics where an non-expert’s opinion is worthless. But on political and ethical questions, their erudition gives them no special advantage.

    Indeed, it is remarkable how seldom they apply those talents that made them first-class palaeographers, textual critics or comparative philologists – assiduity and minute and painstaking accuracy – to questions that lie outside their own field.

  • “I agree with this letter[.] Heresy is a grave charge.”

    Unlike hate I suppose. Or suggesting Cardinal Burke is a schismatic, for that matter.

  • “When Fr. Martin results to categories employed by Taylor Swift, he proves how lightly we should take his protests.”

    Now I wish I had said that.

  • “Sounds like the result of bad potty training.”
    .
    Hank, when I read that comment of yours, I laughed so hard
    I frightened the dog. As for Fr. Martin, perhaps he could
    remind us where St Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church,
    got her theology degree?

  • Michael P-S I love you like a rock but I’m sticking to my autodidact opinion on JDEP junque hypothesis. 🙂

  • Saint Tarcisius pray for us.

    “Anxious to view the Christian mysteries, the Mob turned upon young Tarcisius with fury,He went down under the blows and it is believed that a fellow Christian drove off the Mob to rescue the young acolyte.”

    The boy died on his way back to the catacombs.

    Why is this relevant?

    Because a boy of twelve in the third century had more respect and love for God and neighbor than many so-called learned men of theology of today. This boy paid the price with his life. Learn from him Fr. M.

  • What kind of commie leftist is this guy, Martin.
    When one smears his opponent one should do it right.
    Just defining one’s opponent as a hateful person isn’t enough.
    There is the racist, misogynistic, homophobic smear or the
    truther or birther or conspiracy theorist smear or returning
    to the evil bigoted ‘50s smear, or the climate change deniers
    smear. And the ultimate smear used by every fanatical
    commie leftist, the Nazi and KKK smear. This Jacobin is
    arguing to replace the truth with intellectualism.

    Was watching Raymond Arroyo this evening with Cardinal
    Wuerl who explained the synod’s approach to divorce and
    remarried Catholics. Of course the teachings of the Church
    will not change, nor will the statements made by God on the
    indissolubility of marriage. However, the approach to Catholics
    in difficult situations by the Church will be change. They
    must be brought to God’s love and mercy where a solution
    to their difficulties can be achieved (no mention of repentance)
    God’s love is free and for all. Everyone has a right to God’s love
    and mercy. Or in other words everyone has a right to the sacraments
    no matter the difficulties they may find themselves in. So Wuerl
    is saying a Catholic living in sin can receive Communion, because
    his has a right to God’s love and mercy. Yet somehow this will not
    alter the teachings of the Church.

  • The story goes as such.

    So the bridge fell into the river bed.

    The local peasants reported this to the capital.

    The Engineers in said “what do a bunch of peasants know” and made no effort to fix it.

    The local governor sent a protest to the capitol, You idiots, “a bunch of peasants” may not know how to rebuild it; but hey are perfectly qualified to say it is in the river”.

    Some of the blogger is question may not know how to put the truth kn proper academic form – but they certainly know enough to recognize heresy when they see or hear it.

  • What ?! from the letter signed by catholics and academics ” … We therefore urge all Catholics to reject these men: Simon (who is called Peter), his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; and Simon the Zealot. There is also a Saul who goes under the alias of Paul. Too many Catholics read what these men have written, and, ignorant of the latest Catholic … ”
    .
    There’ s inclusiveness in the short piece for the above signers. ‘h’ is for humor, too.
    http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2015/10/satire.html

  • Patricia.

    Good find!
    Thanks for the link. 🙂

  • “Heresy is a serious charge.”

    Yup, but it’s an even far more serious behavior.

  • Check out Ann Barnhardt on Fr. James Martin below. Pope Francis should defrock him immediately. Maybe someone will start a petition asking the Pope to take care of this.

    http://whatisupwiththesynod.com/index.php/2015/10/28/wherein-ann-barnhardt-justly-discriminates-against-fr-james-martin-essjay-who-is-a-raging-flaming-queen/

  • Arrogant, haughty, conceited, elitist….. aka Liberal.

  • Poor, Ann. She is so meek.

  • “Poor, Ann. She is so meek.”

    There does come a point when even Christ “loses it” and cleans our the temple area of vermin.

  • Karl.

    Meek Ann, the “call ’em like you see ’em,” Catholic. As for me, I like her. Her distaste for fraudulent speakers of TRUTH is not a hindrance to her spirit, rather a complementary asset in this, a cloud of witnesses we call the body of Christ.
    Mercy is lost enabling the disordered soul.
    Clear teaching and abstinence from sinful actions is Mercy.

  • “Check out Ann Barnhardt on Fr. James Martin below. Pope Francis should defrock him immediately. Maybe someone will start a petition asking the Pope to take care of this.”

    “http://whatisupwiththesynod.com/index.php/2015/10/28/wherein-ann-barnhardt-justly-discriminates-against-fr-james-martin-essjay-who-is-a-raging-flaming-queen/”

    Where has this woman been all my life?!? This is freaking awesome!

    It is best she not reveal where she lives–the LGBT Mafia would put a contract out on her.

  • That should read “Douthat.” Autocorrect strikes.

  • Thanks Phillip.
    I made a comment on Ross’s rebuttal:

    Michael Dowd Venicel

    Ross is right! It is common sense and not liberal academic mumbo-jumbo designed to obscure the truth. Of course, liberal academics unfortunately no longer can even recognize the truth. Pity.

  • “2 + 2 = 4.” Excuse me, but you cannot say that publicly unless you have at least an MA in Math. And not just an MA-you also have to be on the approved list of progressive mathematicians. Without doubt, whether or not you have a BA. MA, Or PhD in theology, you can know and understand heresy when you hear it and see it. Tell a believing Catholic sophomore at a truly Catholic university that “Jesus is not divine,” and they will know you are a heretic – even without completing a degree. Thomas Aquinas said that he who says fornication is not a sin is a heretic. These current “mercy bullies” who say Jesus got it wrong, St. Paul writing the inspired words of God got it wrong, and they – bless their hearts, flaunting degrees like a modern-day inquisition-have it right when they say “Go and sin on more” – these who call themselves “theologians” are heretics. Note: 1 Cor 6:9 includes “men who have sex with men”. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

    CATECHETICAL INSTRUCTIONS OF ST THOMAS AQUINAS
    “THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT
    WHY ADULTERY AND FORNICATION MUST BE AVOIDED

    Thus, God forbids adultery both to men and women. Now, it must be known that, although some believe that adultery is a sin, yet they do not believe that simple fornication is a mortal sin. Against them stand the words of St. Paul: “For fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” And: “Do not err: neither fornicators, . . . nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind shall possess the kingdom of God.”[12] But one is not excluded from the kingdom of God except by mortal sin; therefore, fornication is a mortal sin.

    But one might say that there is no reason why fornication should be a mortal sin, since the body of the wife is not given, as in adultery. I say,however, if the body of the wife is not given, nevertheless, there is given the body of Christ which was given to the husband when he was sanctified in Baptism. If, then, one must not betray his wife, with much more reason must he not be unfaithful to Christ: “Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid!”[13] It is heretical to say that fornication is not a mortal sin.”

  • Guy McClung.

    Mercy bullies…spot on description!

    Hell is a fabrication of ancient writers… at least that’s what they must believe, these mercy bullies. If they only realized that the doctrine of hell is real, they might “straighten up and fly right.”

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  • An inside look at our theologians. Not pretty:

    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4333/two_years_among_the_liberal_theologians.aspx

    But the money quote to counter Fr. Martin is near the beginning:

    “All believing Catholics who seek to understand what it is they believe are Catholic theologians, which means that Ross Douthat is a Catholic theologian.”

  • “Nooooobody expects the Theological Inquisition!!!”

  • Philip-And one of those “ancient writers” they are correcting happens to be . . .drum roll, angels bow, devils cringe, . . .God Himself!

  • Am I wrong in thinking that the U. S. bishops are mistaken in their interpreting of the motto they are using for supporting “comprehensive immigration reform” – Mt 25; 35? “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.”

    See the following footnote in my Catholic bible, The New American Bible 1989-1990 Edition, from which the bishops’ quote comes from.

    “Mt. 25; 31-46 : The conclusion of the discourse, which is peculiar to Mt, portrays the final judgment that will accompany the parousia. Although often called a ‘parable,’ it is not really such, for the only parabolic elements are the depiction of the ‘Son of Man’ as ‘a shepherd’ and of ‘the righteous’ and the wicked as ‘sheep and goats’ respectively (32-33). The criterion of judgment will be the deeds of mercy that have been done for the ‘least of Jesus’ ‘brothers’ (40). A DIFFICULT AND IMPORTANT QUESTION IS THE IDENTIFICATION OF THESE ‘LEAST BROTHERS.’ ARE THEY ALL PEOPLE WHO HAVE SUFFERED HUNGER, THIRST, ETC. (35,36) OR A PARTICULAR GROUP OF SUCH SUFFERERS? (my emphasis) Scholars are divided in their response and arguments can be made for either side. BUT leaving aside the problem of what the traditional material that Mathew edited may have meant, IT SEEMS THAT A STRONGER CASE CAN BE MADE FOR THE VIEW THAT IN THE EVANGELIST’S SENSE THE SUFFERS ARE CHRISTIANS; PROBABLY CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES WHOSE SUFFERINGS WERE BROUGHT UPON THEM BY THEIR PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL. THE CRITERION OF JUDGMENT FOR ‘ALL THE NATIONS’ IS THEIR TREATMENT OF THOSE WHO HAVE BORNE TO THE WORLD THE MESSAGE OF JESUS, AND THIS MEANS ULTIMATELY THEIR ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION OF JESUS HIM SELF; cf10, 40, ‘WHOEVER RECEIVES YOU, RECEIVES ME.'” (my emphasis. Phrases set off by ‘ marks were words italicized in the footnote.

    “Illegal aliens,” their legal name in the law, are not Christian missionaries coming to spread the word of God. How in the world could the bishops be so wrong in using that bible verse on this issue? And why?

    I think one of several other biblical supports for the footnote interpretation above besides the one given (Mt. 10, 40) is Lk. Chapter 10 – “The Mission of the Seventy-two.” Lk 10; 1: “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. v4 Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. v5. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.” v6 If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. v7 Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you….” Jesus sent out 72 in pairs telling them to take no supplies with them, therefore depending on people in places Jesus sent them to, to show care for their coming to witness to them, care they give in response to God’s touching them.

  • I’m all in favor of feeding and clothing illegals until we deport them back from whence they came.

New York Time Readers: Do Not Go Forth and Multiply

Sunday, December 2, AD 2012

Ross Douthat in his latest column in the New York Times examines the fact that under Obama the US has the lowest fertility rate in its history:

 

 

If, that is, our dynamism persists. But that’s no longer a sure thing. American fertility plunged with the stock market in 2008, and it hasn’t recovered. Last week, the Pew Research Center reported that U.S. birthrates hit the lowest rate ever recorded in 2011, with just 63 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. (The rate was 71 per 1,000 in 1990.) For the first time in recent memory, Americans are having fewer babies than the French or British.       

The plunge might be temporary. American fertility plummeted during the Great Depression, and more recent downturns have produced modest dips as well. This time, the birthrate has fallen fastest among foreign-born Americans, and particularly among Hispanics, who saw huge amounts of wealth evaporate with the housing bust. Many people may simply be postponing childbearing until better times return, and a few years of swift growth could produce a miniature baby boom.       

But deeper forces than the financial crisis may keep American fertility rates depressed. Foreign-born birthrates will probably gradually recover from their current nadir, but with fertility in decline across Mexico and Latin America, it isn’t clear that the United States can continue to rely heavily on immigrant birthrates to help drive population growth.        

Among the native-born working class, meanwhile, there was a retreat from child rearing even before the Great Recession hit. For Americans without college degrees, economic instability and a shortage of marriageable men seem to be furthering two trends in tandem: more women are having children out of wedlock, and fewer are raising families at all.       

Finally, there’s been a broader cultural shift away from a child-centric understanding of romance and marriage. In 1990, 65 percent of Americans told Pew that children were “very important” to a successful marriage; in 2007, just before the current baby bust, only 41 percent agreed. (That trend goes a long way toward explaining why gay marriage, which formally severs wedlock from sex differences and procreation, has gone from a nonstarter to a no-brainer for so many people.)       

Go here to read the rest.  As is always the case, the outraged reaction of Douthat’s uber liberal readers are a hoot:

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10 Responses to New York Time Readers: Do Not Go Forth and Multiply

  • Pick the NY Times commenter: http://xkcd.com/946/

  • Fear not. Demographics is destiny. I have eight children. Most of the conservative Catholic families I know have at least five, and some are pushing eight or more. As liberalism crashes and burns, our descendants will climb from the wreckage. The trick is inoculating our children against their garbage. The liberals’ descendants, on the other other hand… oh, wait….

  • I have eight children. Most of the conservative Catholic families I know have at least five, and some are pushing eight or more. As liberalism crashes and burns,

    — they will try to take your children and remake them in their own image. Failing that, they’ll make sure our kids are paying very large bills.

    It’s like having kids, but without as much effort.

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  • David Goldman (“Spengler”) put it well, “We cannot make a future for ourselves without our past. All cultures worship at the shrine of their ancestors. They exist to ward off the presentiment of death. Breaking continuity with the past implies that our lives have no meaning past our own physical existence. If we do not continue the lives of those who preceded us, nor prepare the lives of those who will follow us, then we are defined by our physical existence and nothing more. In that case, we will seek to maximize our pleasure. It is perfectly possible for entire peoples to live only for their own pleasure and feel nothing for their prospective obliteration. How else should we explain fertility rates in Europe and Japan at barely half of replacement?”

    He also cited the great Jewish theologian, Franz Rosenzweig, writing at the end of World War I, “”The peoples of the world foresee a time when their land with its rivers and mountains still lies under Heaven as it does today, but other people dwell there; when their language is entombed in books, and their laws and customers have lost their living power.”

    The love of the peoples for their own nation was “sweet and pregnant with the presentiment of death”

  • I was getting a chuckle reading the comments from this NYT article, for awhile. Then it just became too depressing. They reminded me too much of my liberal, secularized, intellectually-superior siblings. On the positive side, it also reminded me that I need to be praying for my brother and sisters every single day!

  • Even the medical establishment is pushing this. I had my first child a year ago this week. In the month or so before he was born, I was asked multiple times by medical personnel what kind of birth control my husband and I planned on using after the baby was born. At least six times I was asked if I wanted to be sterilized before they closed me up. Much of the literature we were given was rife with ads touting the latest birth control methods.

    When we stated we were devout Catholics, that birth control and sterilization were not options, and that we were going to use NFP to space our children, you could almost hear the eyerolling. The only person who did not react negatively was a lactation consultant who gladly gave us info on breastfeeding and NFP.

    Again, at my six week checkup, I was asked about birth control methods. The doctors and nurses assumed because of my age, the pregnancy complications, and a serious post-partum depression, that I would gladly welcome birth control or sterilization. The mention of NFP brought condescension and patronizing talk about how unreliable it is, and tried to refer me to a state program that gives out free IUDs and contraceptive implants to poor women.

    My husband said it was like the world was saying, “Congratulations on your new baby. Now, knock it off!”

  • I hope those execrable readers follow the advice.

    America is over-burdened with evil people.

    Every time my wife was “expecting”, the MD asked if we wanted to kill the child – SIGH.

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Religious Freedom and the Forces of Tolerance

Monday, July 30, AD 2012

 

I have long thought it axiomatic that in our contemporary society the most smugly intolerant individuals tend to be on the political left.  Ross Douthat has apparently noticed that also, and in his most recent column lays out what that means for religious freedom:

To the extent that the H.H.S. mandate, the Cologne ruling and the Chick-fil-A controversy reflect a common logic rather than a shared confusion, then, it’s a logic that regards Western monotheism’s ideas about human sexuality — all that chastity, monogamy, male-female business — as similarly incompatible with basic modern freedoms.       

Like a belief that the gods want human sacrifice, these ideas are permissible if held in private. But they cannot be exercised in ways that might deny, say, employer-provided sterilizations to people who really don’t want kids. Nor can they be exercised to deny one’s offspring the kind of sexual gratification that anti-circumcision advocates claim the procedure makes impossible. They certainly cannot be exercised in ways that might make anyone uncomfortable with his or her own sexual choices or identity.       

It may seem strange that anyone could look around the pornography-saturated, fertility-challenged, family-breakdown-plagued West and see a society menaced by a repressive puritanism. But it’s clear that this perspective is widely and sincerely held.       

It would be refreshing, though, if it were expressed honestly, without the “of course we respect religious freedom” facade.       

If you want to fine Catholic hospitals for following Catholic teaching, or prevent Jewish parents from circumcising their sons, or ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms. Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will.       

There, didn’t that feel better? Now we can get on with the fight.

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5 Responses to Religious Freedom and the Forces of Tolerance

  • I am surprised that the NY Times moderated allow people supporting Mr. Douthat to voice their opinions. But of the comment reproductions provided above, I did not see a clear cut example of that. Ido agree with one commenter above who maintained that the liberal left does understand religious freedom and all too well, for which reason they seek to marginalize or eliminated it.

  • Quote one of those responders: “Your freedom stops where other people’s rights begin.”

    I was taught that in high school “Social Problems” class. And I believed it. Unfortunately the question is now begged- “What are we defining now as people’s rights?”

  • Some people define a fake wife and a phoney husband as husband and wife. What could be wrong with that? Some people define tax money as “government money”. Government in and of itself cannot own anything. All belongs to the people in trust for all generations, our constitutional posterity. For the HHS mandate to respect all citizens, it must provide Catholic patients with Catholic hospitals with Catholic doctors, a chapel, a chaplain and freedom to come and go unmolested. Imposing confiscatory fines is molestation of a finacial nature intended to suppress and destroy a belief in the persons’ soul, establishment of Satanism, the belief that the person has no soul, a lie.

  • “From Socrates to Galileo to Darwin (himself a believer), the rational have been persecuted for using their brains, but they have slowly managed to open our minds. Please don’t try to drag us back, and please do take your own advice and try some intellectual honesty.” Poor Socrates was an accomplice to his own murder by imbibing the hemlock, because he said he would. Illegal crimes cannot be legalized by fiat, or by saying its legal, when it is not legal. Poor Galileo tried to preach science as religion. Science is science and religion is man’s response to the gift of Faith from God. To deny God and the gift of Faith from God is intellectually dishonest and totalitarian, because it is a lie. Ahah, Darwin refused to believe in the human being as composed of body and human soul, endowed with unalienble rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Even if these founding principles were wrong, these are still our founding principles. Accept them or go find another country to your liking. BTW Russia refused entrance to Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the American atheist. A land of sovereign persons is infinitely desirable to a land of an abominable lie.

  • “As for the implication that “repressive puritanism” and “family breakdown” are the only two choices, please, give us a break. Where is family breakdown most rampant in the US? Yes, you got it: the 22 most religiously conservative states. Same for teen pregnancy, welfare use, illiteracy, and drug abuse. Maybe, as a believer, you need to look after your own house before coming after the rest of us.”
    Our house is in disarray because our government has redefined virginty as non-existent, innocence as non-existent and the human being, composed of human body and rational, immortal soul (you know, the rational soul with which a human being reasons) as non-existent. Our government has redefined pornography, a lie about human sexuality as free speech, the age of informed sexual consent at twelve years of age, without so much as putting the issue on the ballot for the voice of the people to be heard and the will of the people to be respected. But the government wants us to pay for all this with our taxes. Taxation without representation. Put it on the ballot for heaven’s sake. It is called FREEDOM.

Ross Douthat Asks if Liberal Christianity Can be Saved and His Readers Answer No

Sunday, July 15, AD 2012

 

 

It is always amusing to read conservative Ross Douthat’s columns in The New York Times and read the visceral negative reaction of almost all his commenters.  The New York Times of course is Holy Writ for most liberals in this country, and their seeing a conservative opinion piece in it is simply beyond the pale for most of them.

Today , Douthat asked if liberal Christianity can be saved, noting that liberal denominations are going the way of the passenger pigeon, the Edsel and conservative Democrats:

IN 1998, John Shelby Spong, then the reliably controversial Episcopal bishop of Newark, published a book entitled “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” Spong was a uniquely radical figure — during his career, he dismissed almost every element of traditional Christian faith as so much superstition — but most recent leaders of the Episcopal Church have shared his premise. Thus their church has spent the last several decades changing and then changing some more, from a sedate pillar of the WASP establishment into one of the most self-consciously progressive Christian bodies in the United States.

As a result, today the Episcopal Church looks roughly how Roman Catholicism would look if Pope Benedict XVI suddenly adopted every reform ever urged on the Vatican by liberal pundits and theologians. It still has priests and bishops, altars and stained-glass windows. But it is flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.       

Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Church’s dying has proceeded apace. Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.       

This decline is the latest chapter in a story dating to the 1960s. The trends unleashed in that era — not only the sexual revolution, but also consumerism and materialism, multiculturalism and relativism — threw all of American Christianity into crisis, and ushered in decades of debate over how to keep the nation’s churches relevant and vital.       

Traditional believers, both Protestant and Catholic, have not necessarily thrived in this environment. The most successful Christian bodies have often been politically conservative but theologically shallow, preaching a gospel of health and wealth rather than the full New Testament message.       

But if conservative Christianity has often been compromised, liberal Christianity has simply collapsed. Practically every denomination — Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian — that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance. Within the Catholic Church, too, the most progressive-minded religious orders have often failed to generate the vocations necessary to sustain themselves.

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38 Responses to Ross Douthat Asks if Liberal Christianity Can be Saved and His Readers Answer No

  • Of course it cannot be saved because liberal Christianity does not exist. The Catholic Church continues to grow because it does not change in faith and morals. It is the church founded by Christ and Christ entrusted the Church to St. Peter and his successors. People are abandoning liberal Christian churches and joining the Catholic Church for that very reason.

  • Should liberal Christianity, whatever that is, be saved?

    I vote, “present.”

  • Liberal-ISM:

    I – Self – Me

  • PS, Rev Scotty McLennan just doesn’t get it, but he will one day.

  • “Why has the liberal voice been muted in liberal Christianity?” The question is: “Why has the voice of Christianity been muted in liberalism. The Sermon on the Mount is no longer allowed in the public square. The liberal Jesus Christ, God, the Father, God, the Holy Spirit is prohibited in the public school. Jesus could not give His Sermon on the Mount. The Lord, God cannot celebrate His Birthday at Christmas, because some “liberal”, “progressives” have disenfranchised the Lord, God, Jesus Christ, using HIs name to finagle their political ends. “Liberal” is an adjective to describe a person, not a group of individuals as the word “Christianity” does. As a “liberal” or “progrssive” I ought to be free to be a “liberal” or a “progressive” as I define liberalism, not as “a group of liberals” define me. When a “group of liberals” begin to redefine liberal Christianity, I, as an individual person, lose my liberty. Therefore, liberal Christianity is an artificial construct of persons who have been disenfranchised.

  • Mary wrote, “The Catholic Church continues to grow because it does not change in faith and morals.”

    What growth? First off, Catholicism is about finished in Europe and is in declining in America. Evangelical Christianity is cutting into Catholic numbers in Latin America, especially Mexico, and Islam is making greater strides in Africa at Catholicism’s expense.

    Vatican II a spawned a serious of disasters, wrote Catholic author Pat Buchanan.

    Here are some grim statistics he cited of Catholicism’s decline:

    Priests. While the number of priests in the United States more than doubled to 58,000, between 1930 and 1965, since then that number has fallen to 45,000. By 2020, there will be only 31,000 priests left, and more than half of these priests will be over 70.

    Ordinations. In 1965, 1,575 new priests were ordained in the United States. In 2002, the number was 450. In 1965, only 1 percent of U.S. parishes were without a priest. Today, there are 3,000 priestless parishes, 15 percent of all U.S. parishes.

    Seminarians. Between 1965 and 2002, the number of seminarians dropped from 49,000 to 4,700, a decline of over 90 percent. Two-thirds of the 600 seminaries that were operating in 1965 have now closed.

    Sisters. In 1965, there were 180,000 Catholic nuns. By 2002, that had fallen to 75,000 and the average age of a Catholic nun is today 68. In 1965, there were 104,000 teaching nuns. Today, there are 8,200, a decline of 94 percent since the end of Vatican II.

    Religious Orders. For religious orders in America, the end is in sight. In 1965, 3,559 young men were studying to become Jesuit priests. In 2000, the figure was 389. With the Christian Brothers, the situation is even more dire. Their number has shrunk by two-thirds, with the number of seminarians falling 99 percent. In 1965, there were 912 seminarians in the Christian Brothers. In 2000, there were only seven. The number of young men studying to become Franciscan and Redemptorist priests fell from 3,379 in 1965 to 84 in 2000.

    Catholic schools. Almost half of all Catholic high schools in the United States have closed since 1965. The student population has fallen from 700,000 to 386,000. Parochial schools suffered an even greater decline. Some 4,000 have disappeared, and the number of pupils attending has fallen below 2 million – from 4.5 million.

    Though the number of U.S. Catholics has risen by 20 million since 1965, statistics show that the power of Catholic belief and devotion to the Faith are not nearly what they were.

    Catholic Marriage. Catholic marriages have fallen in number by one-third since 1965, while the annual number of annulments has soared from 338 in 1968 to 50,000 in 2002.

    Attendance at Mass. A 1958 Gallup Poll reported that three in four Catholics attended church on Sundays. A recent study by the University of Notre Dame found that only one in four now attend.

    Only 10 percent of lay religious teachers now accept church teaching on contraception. Fifty-three percent believe a Catholic can have an abortion and remain a good Catholic. Sixty-five percent believe that Catholics may divorce and remarry. Seventy-seven percent believe one can be a good Catholic without going to mass on Sundays. By one New York Times poll, 70 percent of all Catholics in the age group 18 to 44 believe the Eucharist is merely a “symbolic reminder” of Jesus.
    ==============================================
    Google “decline of Catholicism” and you get 66,000 hits.

  • @ Joe Green: This is the pruning of the branches that St. Paul discusses in Romans 11. There will be growth in orthodoxy. But the dead liberal branches will have to be pruned first. That’s makes for some bad statistics when it comes to mere numbers, but it makes for a healthy Church in the long run.

  • @Paul. Too much pruning and you’re down to a dead stump.

  • True, Joe, but the Lord is doing the pruning and we should trust Him.

  • Actually Joe there are about 5000 more priests in the world today than there were in 1999. Ordination rates are climbing in Africa and Asia, and among orthodox dioceses around the world including in North America and Europe. The Church has ever been in flux and has usuallly had a shortage of priests particularly in the New World. The statistics for priestly ordinations in this country in the fifties were unusually high for a number of reasons, many World War II veterans becoming priests on the GI BIll for example, and do not reflect the normal trend in ordinations in this country. In the future priests in this country are going to be much more orthodox than their predecessors and that should lend itself to more ordinations. Orthodox orders of nuns and sisters are doing quite well in obtaining new postulants. Mr. Buchanan is as reliable as to the future of the Church as he is in regard to the history of World War II.

    http://www.pacatholic.org/catholic-education/number-of-catholics-priests-seminarians-grows-worldwide/

  • What is disconcerting is that Douthat is as ever Douthat. Whatever his is, amusing or trenchant he is not. He is for the most part drily discussing a social phenomenon familiar to anyone who has been paying attention the last forty years, and even contrives a shot at evangelicals in the course of it (in his typical fashion). The man writes like David Broder and gets 323 paroxysms in response. The people commenting would do well to look at themselves in the mirror and ask if there is not something wrong with them (were they the sort to do so).

  • The fate of the liberal churches springs from the fact that those who reject authority will never succeed in imposing their own authority on others

    The Reformers having challenged the authority of the Church, on the basis of scripture, it was only a matter of time before Semler, Ernesti, and others challenged the authority of scripture on the basis of reason and private judgement. Strauss and the Tübingen School inevitably followed.

    Why, after all, should the Thirty-Nine Articles or the Westminster Confession be of more authority than popes and councils?

  • @Joe Green – Here’s a link that speaks to the growth of the Catholic Church. We have to remember that the Catholic Church is universal. While Europe is in a state of decline that is not true for the remainder of the world. Women entering religious orders are delcling in the existing orders affiliated with the liberal LCWR but if you take a look at the religious orders that are orthodox they are booming. I agree with Paul, the Holy Spirit is doing some pruning. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-statistics-show-catholic-growth/

  • I think Joe agreen’s point is well taken. The concept of quality over quantity assumes that you have enough. The quality of a necessary product, whether it be wheat or priests, is important but there must be enough to feed the community.

    That having been said, it should be noted that the clergy accused of sexual abuse and non-criminal perversions peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s among priests who entered the seminary in the 1960s. Couple that reality with Christ’s divinity denying nuns, Transubstantiating denying Jesuits, and drunken Christian Brothers, and you have a virtual whirlpool of intellectually decaying, Baby-Boomer Catholic Religious, dragging themselves and their charges into hell.

    We simply have to be better off without them.

  • The fate of the liberal churches springs from the fact that those who reject authority will never succeed in imposing their own authority on others

    I will go out on a limb and suggest that there was a seminal tendency of people seeking agreeable low-pressure employment, intellectuals not satisfied with digesting and making small incremental additions to a body of theological understanding who want to be ‘innovative’, and addled bourgeois who have a taste for cloying lectures and hymn singing. What you get is the Episcopal Church.

  • “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Mt. 7:24-27

    Parts of the Church were being built upon sand in the Bernardin days, introducing the values of Man and not clinging to the values of God; now the rains have come, the streams are rising and the winds are blowing and beating against it. Those parts of the Church not built upon the Rock will, and have already begun to, fall with a crash.

    Let the tempest rage.

  • @Mary, not to be disrespectful, but you are in denial, and so is Don, cherry-picking a few “positive” stats. A macro view undeniably shows not only Catholicism in decline but Christianity as a whole. Even other religions are losing adherents as reason and science make greater strides. In the O.T. the “curse of the law” was disease, poverty and death. If Christ was the end of the law, then why do we still have disease, poverty and death? Religion, whatever one you choose, fails on all accounts.

    I understand why people cling to religion in such an abysmal world. They need something/anything to believe in. As a cradle Catholic, I, too, once believed. But the experience of 70 years has demonstrated to me unequivocally that a) Life is not fair b) God is the author of Life c) God is unfair. We not only live in a world that is demonstrably imperfect but terribly flawed in countless respects. A world in which the supreme creature — man — is the worst of the lot; made, we are told, “in the image of God,” yet prone to evil and doomed to suffer. At bottom, Man is vile, (anagrammically evil) stupid and unworthy and I cannot believe in a God who would his waste time trying to perfect such a pathetic creature. I’d rather live in a world of dogs, which are superior in every way but so-called “intelligence.”

  • Joe, your woe is me agnosticism is as tiresome as your inability to accept data that contradicts the pessimism that you wallow in as a pig does her filth. Peddle your bitter angst elsewhere.

  • Zummo dismisses me as an “ignorant ass” and you call me a “pig wallowing in filth.”
    Yes, Jesus was right about one thing: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

  • Yep Joe. Your fruits are bitterness and hopelessness and I have had enough of both. You are banned from this site.

  • Joe wrote, “But the experience of 70 years has demonstrated to me unequivocally that a) Life is not fair b) God is the author of Life c) God is unfair.”

    Ezekiel 18:25-29 says:

    25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

    —–

    We are getting precisely and exactly what we deserve.

  • Addendum: God did create life, but life is unfair not because of God, but because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God. It is sin that has made life unfair, not God. Indeed, it is our sin that has done that. It may seem like a remarkable example of the transitive law of logic to say, “a) Life is not fair b) God is the author of Life c) God is unfair.” But it is flawed logic because it is missing that key point: man rebelled, so God, being a Gentleman, gives man up to what he wants (i.e., sin) and the consequences thereof (i.e., disease, injury and death). St. Paul makes this very point over and over again in his Epistles.

  • To paraphrase Chesterton:

    “It’s not that liberal Christianity has been tried and found lacking, it’s that it’s…well, actually, now that you think about it…um,…well….ok, forget I said that.”

  • I can understand your banning of Joe (it does get tiresome). You would think he has never heard of free will. And image and likeness does not mean exactly the same. Like our Creator, we are given free will. The similarities don’t go much beyond that.

    Yes, his syllogism sucks. It should be A) God created life, B) we mucked it up, C) we suck.

  • The pessimism of Joe Green is sad. God is love and He continually calls us to conversion. Let’s hope that God’s grace can permeate Joe’s heart.

  • Yeah, I get a little tired of despair, but I feel for Joe. When you get to his vantage point, you see a lot of stupidity and horrible behavior. But his mistake is in seeing that as the sum total of man, or his basic essence. Man is a “ruined god,” to crib a turn of phrase from a sci-fi writer whose name I forget (Anderson?).

    Whether that ruin is tragic or contemptible depends upon one’s perspective. I think it’s both, but Joe chooses only contempt, which is at the root of his error.

  • While Joe accuses others of cherry picking facts, he does the same thing.

    Fact, the number of Catholic Priests worldwide are on the increase.
    Fact, the number of Catholics worldwide are on the increase too.
    Fact, liberal elements of the Church are dying while orthodox elements are growing.

    These are simple facts easily verified with minimal research by those that want a balanced view.

    In response to Zummo Joe quoted a snippet from Matthew 7:16, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Unfortunately and typical to those of a liberal, agnostic or atheistic persuasion, his quote is totally out of context. To put it into context Joe needs to read

    Mt. 7:15-21 –

    “[15] Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. [16] By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. [19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. [20] Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. [21] Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
    kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

    I think verse 15 describes Joe perfectly….his bitter views of mankind, the unfairness of God, the Church et al are certainly not good fruits. But Joe’s salvation is more important than arguing with him. He should read Mt. 7:21 above and take it seriously. Below is a link to a document that explains Catholic belief (doctrine) that outside the Church there is no Salvation (before other posters go bonkers please read the article). In this article it explains that unless one can claim ‘invincible ignorance’ of Catholic doctrine they cannot be saved outside the Church. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that Joe can make this claim.

    We should all pray for his return to the faith.

  • Oooops, I forgot the link…here it is:

    http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/outside_the_church.htm

    Sorry about that.

  • My own reflection on humanity mirrors that of Stephen Vincent Benet in The Devil and Daniel Webster:

    “Then he turned to Jabez Stone and showed him as he was — an ordinary man who’d had hard luck and wanted to change it. And, because he’d wanted to change it, now he was going to be punished for all eternity. And yet there was good in Jabez Stone, and he showed that good. He was hard and mean, in some ways, but he was a man. There was sadness in being a man, but it was a proud thing too. And he showed what the pride of it was till you couldn’t help feeling it. Yes, even in hell, if a man was a man, you’d know it. And he wasn’t pleading for any one person any more, though his voice rang like an organ. He was telling the story and the failures and the endless journey of mankind. They got tricked and trapped and bamboozled, but it was a great journey. And no demon that was ever foaled could know the inwardness of it — it took a man to do that.”

    God became one of us, and gave His life for us. Two very salient facts for those who have only despair for Man.

  • That’s a good quote, Don.

    I was starting a little further back, though. Until you can get a glimpse of the idea that there was a Fall–that there is something still noble in us, despite our ruined visage, despite the nastiness we deck ourselves with–redemption doesn’t (yet) make sense.

  • It was in God’s mind to send His only begotten Son as Savior of manknd even before man sinned. It is God’s prerogative. The Fall removed our innocence but not our soul.

  • “But the experience of 70 years has demonstrated to me unequivocally that a) Life is not fair b) God is the author of Life c) God is unfair.” “Life is unfair” because man sinned against God. God is the author of a perfect life. “God is unfair” is victim bashing.

  • Catholicism is booming in Africa. I’m having trouble finding a consistent data source, but there are something like 100 million more African Catholics now than there were forty years ago. It’s not just population growth, either: the percentage of Catholics in Africa is increasing as well. The number of African priests has increased 25% since 2000.

    It’s true that the evangelicals have expanded a lot at our expense in South America. And a lot of the faster-growing parts of Africa are largely Muslim. But Catholicism overall is trending upward.

    Once you get past the percentages game, you can see that Asia has the greatest potential for changing the absolute total of religious membership. The relationship between China and the Church is worth watching.

  • Oh, and back to the point of the original article: these aren’t watered-down religions that are booming. Evangelical Protestantism, Islam, and Catholicism tend to be pretty serious. Even the, say, Anglicanism that’s expanding in Africa tends to be highly devout and moral. Not that African Catholicism is perfect: I was reading recently about the treatment of women in Africa, even within Catholic countries. Shocking rates of rape. But back to the main picture, again, people are more attracted to more demanding religions.

  • Pinky wrote, “…people are more attracted to more demanding religions.” A religion that demand little gives little, and a religion that demands nothing gives nothing.

    God requires everything, even our lives. What He gave in return was His only begotten Son – His very self.

  • a) Life is not fair b) God is the author of Life c) God is unfair.”

    Job… the poster child for life/God being unfair. God may be unfair, but he is just.

  • Asians are no less materialistic than Westerners yet the churches here are overflowing. The relative decline in church attendance is in large part due to the lack of continuous enforcement over the young. Now given a choice most youngsters would rather prefer to stay in bed than attend Sunday mass. This is excused as an expression of free will, which is of course a sacred right in the West; the rest of the world does not suffer from this to the same extent.

    Mr Green if your questing is sincere then God owes you an explanation. He is the Father after all. By doing all that is right, you will find Him as affirmed in one of the Easter prayers.

  • Ivan I agree with you. Materialism is not the whole problem. Our liberal culture gives youth in the culture too much latitude …. and unfortunately it can take a long time to get over some of the mistakes we make when young.
    Now for us to expect that teens can decide whether or not they should go to Mass is only the tip of the iceberg. Some think 7 and 8 year olds can self identify as gay, or born in the wrong sexual identity, or ask the government abortion through the public school system without the parent’s knowledge. As these young people encounter the results of their own actions they become more conservative and wiser as they grow older. Until then parents should exercise their traditional perogatives.

    Many of the 22 year olds who voted for Obama in 2008, will be 26 for this election and will not make that mistake again.

Some In Mainstream Media In Full Anti-Catholic Meltdown Mode

Thursday, February 23, AD 2012

Some in the mainstream media are so angry about the existence of faithful Catholics that they can’t help themselves in becoming unhinged. I will reference the main points, but suffice to say that I could write a book on the subject. These latest quotes have caused me to scramble to get information to my editor so as to include at least some of this in my upcoming book; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism, a follow up to my first book.  For starters it seems some in mainstream media are so ignorant of religion that even though 90% of Americans belong to some form of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, which all believe that evil is manifested through a figure known as Satan, the media still finds it in their power to mock anyone who thinks evil exists. Some in the media seemed to take glee in pouncing on Catholic and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. He was called a kook, a nut, deranged, a mullah and an ayatollah, not by nameless posters on leftwing blogs but named writers in serious newspapers.

Leading the charge was that maven of militant secularism and angry people everywhere Maureen Dowd. Here are some of the spoiled nuggets from her dung heap. She calls Santorum a “mullah” who wants to take, “women back to the caves.” She goes on to deride anyone who actually believes in the teachings of the Catholicism that she once practiced.

Never one to miss a chance at apostasy and heresy; Chris Matthews entered the fray with both of his tingling legs.   Matthews claimed the reason the Catholic Church is growing is because homophobic converts are coming into the Church. It would appear that Mr. Matthews is off his meds. Has anyone ever informed mister leg tingler that groups like Courage; the Apostolate run by those who are same sex attracted, is a rapidly growing organization with men and women from all walks of life? They feel the comfort and assurance of living in God’s chaste plan for their lives. The New York Times of all papers did a favorable story on Eve Tushnet, a popular Catholic writer who has ties to the group. She is a successful woman and an Ivy League grad. Are these militant secularists going to claim that she is homophobic?

David Gergen and Donna Brazile (who is Catholic) didn’t take any pot shots at Catholics per see but did point out that liberal feminist organizations didn’t seem smitten with any of the GOP candidates, because they kept talking about religious liberty instead of the rights of birth control? David Gergen even said it with a straight face, which should really frost Rush Limbaugh who has dubbed the Washington establishmentarian; David Rodham Gergen. As much as they refer to the New York Times, they somehow missed Ross Douthat’s op-ed piece on the growth of Natural Family Planning and the number of women who help teach this non birth control view of family planning across the country and world.

The coup de grace of hate came from David Waldman who writes for a number of publications. This little nugget would make the Know Nothing Party of the 1840s smile. I would rather not give him the pleasure of repeating such delusional hatred; if you want to read his screed click here.   UPDATE In a Lisa Miller Washington Post article just out; Ms. Miller not only mocks Catholics but calls bishops “zealots” three times in her article.

If the Catholic Church is so irrelevant why would the likes of Dowd, Matthews and Waldman froth at the mouth at her beliefs? The simple answer is the Catholic Church is growing while their favorite liberal religious bodies are not only dying on the vine, but shriveling in a complete statistical freefall. Catholics and Evangelicals continue to increase in numbers which drive these mouthpieces of militant secularism nuts.

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22 Responses to Some In Mainstream Media In Full Anti-Catholic Meltdown Mode

  • “22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” St. Luke

    Love them with Christian charity. Instruct them. Admonish them. Counsel them. For as long as they live, and we pray and set good examples through good works and prayer, they may come to a better “mind.”

    They are infallibly ignorant. We will annoy them!

  • I think this might be more ignorance of the culpable variety. Though their consciences are so scarred by their support for abortion and their reduction of Catholic social teaching to the perverse “social justice” variety that their culpability is likely lessened.

    Though culpable they remain. Their souls are at risk and we should weep for them.

    Fast and pray.

  • Iam one of the faithful but I also am becoming a Militant Catholic tired of the Bidens Pelosi,, Sebilius, Mathews,Kerry, and any other that publicly denounces the teachings of our faith.Heres a thought find another Religion one moe to your liking if you dont like the churches teachings LEAVE by the way why are they not EXCOMMUNICATED!

  • No, no, no, you’re not going to get me this time, Dave! I’ve fallen for the “link to a Maureen Dowd column” virus before. One click, and it fills your computer screen with gibberish.

  • Phillip,

    I think you are correct.

    They may be like the seeds that fell among thorn bushes. They hear the Gospel, but love of power, riches and/or the state chokes the Word. They do not bear fruit. Also, they may like be weeds the enemy sowed among wheat. (Matthew 13: 18 – 30; Mark 4: 13 – 20; Luke 8: 11 – 15)

    Their appropriate Bishops need to ex-communicate such persons out of charity to try to save their souls.

    I looked it up. Ex-communication is a reproach more than a punishment. The rite concludes with, “We exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church.” The priest: Closes the book. Rings a bell – symbolizes the toll of death. Extinguishes the candle – symbolizes the removal from the sight of God.

    OTOH, interdict is a punishment.

    They need prayers. Sadly, I have many more needful of prayers.

    Pinky, I stopped following links after having to replace a lap top and a flat-screen TV.

  • Ann Coulter’s latest column, entitled “What’s Their Problem With Romney?”, disparages the other candidates including the “crusading Catholic who can’t seem to move the conversation past contraception”.

  • Pingback: THURSDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • “mainstream media” (sic)

    The DLEMM – Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media – does not reflect mainstream thought. Referring to the DLEMM as “mainstream” is inaccurate and a mistake. Liberals are not mainstream.

  • Here’ a bit from Nancy Pelosi talking about how the Church should not complain about the mandate as there has been no enforcement by the Church of the ban on contraception. There is a logic to her heresy. Let this awaken the bishops from their long slumber.

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/pelosi-catholic-church-has-not-enforced-its-teaching-contraception

  • May I add my voice: I too am tired of Catholic bashing! I heard that some time ago in Canada there was a porn shop that neighbors objected to. Many of them put religious medals inside the cracks of the brick walls, and after some time the building burnt down by no apparent reason. My tought would be to send green scapulers and/or miraculous medals to all who hate the Catholic Faith with praying on our part to change their ways. I have done something simular to that in leaving such materials on job sites. May our Great Nation be filled with coversions to our Great Faith…..

  • Grandpa Dave, I like your ideas. Also Dave Hartline, great post! You are always so on target.

  • T. Shaw,
    “22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” St. Luke
    “…and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” I believe Jesus bent down and wrote the name of the Pharisees trying to stone Magdalene. A person’s name is the BEST thing and the WORST thing anybody can say about a person. Congress tried to “BORK” Clarence Thomas. Obamacare. It may be that Obamacare is the best thing anybody can say about Obama’s presidency and that Obama’s constitutency has to go to hell because of the way Obama practices the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It has occurred to me that the reason that the Media oppresses the Catholic Church with such vitriol, slander and lies, is simply because the administration, our culture, Obama and Pelosi and the like, have done and are doing nothing good to speak of. “infallible ignorance” is not an oxymoron, but the path of Obama’s adminstration. The picture of Dorian Gray is hanging in the White House, and the Emporer’s New Clothes are being advertized in the Media.

  • My friends prayer is most needed after reading other sites (and the comments left) who linked to this story. Those sites are hardly in our corner and though they mock us, if you read between the lines the anger is really vented at God Himself. Why you might ask? Sadly, arrogance, vanity, and pride makes some think they know better than God. We must never back down from them, but we must also never stop praying for them!

  • Dave, you are bang-on, as always.

    But this awkward fact remains — many Catholics and other Christians voted for the present administration, despite their then-obvious hatred of the faith, of this nation, and of civilized discourse. Why, why, why?

  • “many Catholics and other Christians voted for the present administration, despite their then-obvious hatred of the faith, of this nation, and of civilized discourse. Why, why, why?”

    Well, in 2008 the current administration-to-be’s “obvious” hatred of all things good may have been obvious to committed Catholics, evangelicals, and conservatives who frequent blogs like this and make it a point to judge all candidates by their record on moral issues. However, it was NOT so obvious to people outside of our traditional/conservative circles who had to rely upon the mainstream media for most of what they knew. We cannot assume that what is obvious to us is obvious to everyone else.

    That said, I think THIS time around the situation is much more obvious to everyone. When EVERY single U.S. bishop speaks out against the HHS mandate and a long procession of noted evangelical Protestants joins the effort, it’s pretty hard to ignore that. Plus there is an actual record of what Obama has done as an executive (rather than a legislator) to point to.

    I will concede that it MIGHT have been possible for a sincere (but not conservative) Catholic who wasn’t involved in the pro-life movement to persuade themselves in 2008 that voting for Obama (with McCain as the alternative) wouldn’t be so bad. I DO NOT think they have that excuse this time around.

  • Mack thanks for the kind words, and yes too many of the faithful voted and are still smitten with the Left’s agenda. It is as old as time itself, the belief that you can outsmart God and common sense and somehow everything will turn out just fine. It kinda reminds of two drunks at a party upset that anyone thinks they are drunk. By their strong and slurring protestations they think they can prove their sobriety. However, everyone knows the truth. Sadly, we have a lot of drunks at the party right now. However, the dawn is fast approaching and so is the hangover!

  • Elaine, just saw your post. Good point!

  • If something similar to the Q’ran burning fiasco aand concomitant murders of four US service members had occurred in 2004, it would have been 24/7 MSM shrieking “Bush must go!”

    In 2012, it’s crickets . . .

  • I see by the comments here that mutual masturbation is not considered a sin among the faithful.

  • You know I find this rather fascinating that we have so many non believers who read this site. It reminds me of all those converted atheists and agnostics who said there was a strange pull that kept them coming to religious sites. Unbeknownst to them, it was their conscience which they had tried to erase but God kept bringing up. I believe it was Mark Shea who said something to the effect that; if these atheists thought we believed in nothing why would they care? They don’t make fun of pagans worshipping Thor or Isis; yet they have to mock us with little juvenile comments that they learned in 8th grade. Very telling.

  • It is hard to spell atheist Dave without l-o-s-e-r. Most atheists are very angry people and troll atheists tend to be among the angriest of a very bitter group. A truly pathetic way to live.

Ross Douthat Explains the Weathervane’s Santorum Quandary

Wednesday, February 15, AD 2012

 

 

A brilliant piece by Ross Douthat in the New York Times explaining why Romney a/k/a the Weathervane, is running into so many problems in dealing with the challenged posed by Santorum:

But Santorum’s advantage is that he can get to Romney’s right and to his left at once. On the one hand, Santorum isn’t responsible for a health care bill that looks an awful lot like “Obamacare” and he doesn’t have a long list of social-issue flip-flops in his past. This makes his candidacy a plausible rallying point for the voters who previously turned Bachmann and Cain and the pre-debate Rick Perry into conservative flavors of the month.

At the same time, though, Santorum’s persona, his record and his platform all have a populist tinge that plays well in states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where swing voters tend to be socially conservative but economically middle-of-the-road. (Hence the Michigan poll that showed him leading among independents and Democrats who plan to vote in that state’s open primary.)

This means that Santorum can play the same anti-Bain, anti-rich-guy, blue-collar card that Gingrich tried to play in New Hampshire and South Carolina – but subtly, implicitly, in ways that don’t make him sound like he belongs in Occupy Wall Street instead of the Republican primary.

So what script should Romney choose as a response? Many conservatives have urged him to rebrand himself with primary voters by embracing a more rigorously right-wing policy agenda – endorsing Paul Ryan’s budget more explicitly, outlining a more aggressively supply-side approach to tax policy or even a pure flat tax, echoing furious attacks on the Federal Reserve by Ron Paul and Gingrich, and so on.

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Ross Douthat’s Readers Prove his Point

Sunday, February 5, AD 2012

I can easily imagine from their comments how much it galls the typical readers of the New York Times to read opinion pieces by Ross Douthat.  Today he explains to his reader the extreme media bias on the issue of abortion.

Conservative complaints about media bias are sometimes overdrawn. But on the abortion issue, the press’s prejudices are often absolute, its biases blatant and its blinders impenetrable. In many newsrooms and television studios across the country, Planned Parenthood is regarded as the equivalent of, well, the Komen foundation: an apolitical, high-minded and humanitarian institution whose work no rational person — and certainly no self-respecting woman — could possibly question or oppose.  

Go here to read the rest.    To pro-lifers this is very old news.  It is hysterically funny however to read the comments to his piece:

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9 Responses to Ross Douthat’s Readers Prove his Point

Douthat, Santorum and Tolerant Hate

Monday, January 9, AD 2012

The mocking of the Santorums for the manner in which they grieved over the death of their new-born son Gabriel Michael Santorum by Alan Colmes and Eugene Robinson has been explored in two previous posts here at TAC, and they may be read here and here.  Ross Douthat tackled the subject in the New York Times:

But if the attacks on the Santorums’ personal choices were incoherent (so incoherent, in fact, that both Colmes and Robinson soon backtracked), they were also entirely characteristic of our moment. This is the second consecutive election cycle in which a Republican politician has endured a bizarre obstetrics-related controversy; last time, we had the various conspiracy theories surrounding Sarah Palin’s pregnancy and her Down syndrome son.

In a sense, one could say that these kinds of invasive debates become inevitable once the traditional zone of privacy around public figures collapses. But it would be more accurate to say that the zone of privacy has collapsed precisely because of the deep moral divisions that these kinds of controversies reveal.

Privacy is a luxury of moral consensus. Nobody would have thought to politicize the premature birth and death of John F. Kennedy’s son Patrick, because abortion wasn’t a polarizing issue in the America of 1963. But if a white politician in the Jim Crow South had married a black woman, the relationship would inevitably have been seen as a political gesture as well a personal decision.

Today, we are less divided over race, but more divided over sex and reproduction. In a country that cannot agree whether fetuses are human beings, even questions like how to mourn and bury a miscarried child are inevitably freighted with ideological significance. Likewise, in a country where the majority of Down syndrome fetuses are aborted, the mere act of carrying a child with a genetic disorder to term — as both the Palins and the Santorums, whose daughter Bella has Trisomy 18, have done — feels like a political statement.

Go here to read the rest.  The column is a good restrained look at this issue.  What is truly interesting however, are the comments reacting to the column.  Almost uniformly, they are completely unsympathetic to Santorum and his family, and most say that his beliefs against gay marriage and abortion are so despicable that he is fair game for this type of criticism.  A random sample:

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5 Responses to Douthat, Santorum and Tolerant Hate

  • Many liberals are purely evil. We need to help them.

    In Christian charity, we need to work to bring them to virtue. We need to bring them the good news.

  • The militant homosexualists and abortionists have little fear of showing their true colours now. It may be a little late but war to the knife should be the order of the day when dealing these people. Trying to understand them, or to persuade them of the reasonableness of the Christian position is a pointless errand, as what enrages them is the mere existence of committed Christians. And when it comes in a package as attractive as Sarah Palin, it infuriates them even more, driving them into a fury like the sans culottes who paraded around with human heads on pikes.

  • they hate anything that recognizes the humanity of unborn children. pray for them.

  • I skipped through 155 comments on another site this morning about Mr Santorum. Their comment section was closed. I was amazed at the venom poured on the Santorums. At least one wrote as if they brought this up for political gain, seemed not to know it was in answer to a question on the campaign trail, upset his wife visibly. Others seemed to act as if the decision to accelerate the birth was an attemoted abortion, but ended in a premature delivery of an already dead baby. Not a fetus, bhy the way, but a baby. One OB GYN physician wrote that the drug given was perfectly normal. We all know the principle of double effect, we can do something to relieve a condition in the human body, even if it may result in death, whether the patient is a single man swith a specific medical condition or a mother with a difficult pregnancy. I know that dirty politics did not begin with the 24/7 news and the ingternet, blogs and social media. However the sickness is so much more evil today with hat 24/7 spread of hate, lies and one-sided attacks. The only cure is civilised discourse but I am off to drain the Atlantic before I tackle that one.

  • Pingback: MONDAY EVENING EDITION | ThePulp.it

Douthat on the Paradox of the Unborn

Monday, January 3, AD 2011

Ross Douthat, like many who find their way as the “house conservatives” of highly liberal organs such as the NY Times where he currently makes his home, is not necessarily beloved by hard-driving conservatives. He is far less likely than those who write as independant columnists or for conservative organs to thunder our denunciations with fighting words like “liberal fascists” or “femi-nazis”. And as a fiscal and cultural conservative, I at root disagree with the approach of his how-can-we-find-a-way-to-offer-more-government-benefits-to-the-middle-class wonkery in Grand New Party. However, I do seriously admire the extent to which, on hostile soil, he is able to compellingly lay out Catholic/conservative principles on essential moral issues in a way which is, though soft-spokely polite, nonetheless seriously compelling. A good example of this is yesterday’s column in which he writes aboout the contradiction in American culture of how the unborn are treated sometimes as a disposable “choice” and at other times as a precious commodity desperately sought after through fertility treatments and surrogate parents:

The American entertainment industry has never been comfortable with the act of abortion. Film or television characters might consider the procedure, but even on the most libertine programs (a “Mad Men,” a “Sex and the City”), they’re more likely to have a change of heart than actually go through with it. Reality TV thrives on shocking scenes and subjects — extreme pregnancies and surgeries, suburban polygamists and the gay housewives of New York — but abortion remains a little too controversial, and a little bit too real.

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44 Responses to Douthat on the Paradox of the Unborn

  • In our movement, there must be room for diplomats and commissars.

    I have no objection to tailoring language to suit an audience. It’s the argument that counts. While Douthat is usually about as appealing to me as a cup of weak coffee, I certainly understand the need for his approach. It would be nice if more people could recognize that sometimes we need hot rhetoric, sometimes we need cool, sometimes we need it just right. Like the three bears or something.

  • At the same time, it needs to be pointed out that no one would contemplate murdering a born child to give another child “more opportunities” or what have you.

    If you can give your child the basic physical necessities and love, then don’t worry about “opportunities.” It isn’t a parent’s job to provide them. If they can, great, if not, then they can at least raise competent adults who can go out into the world and recognize them.

    This idea that we all have to live a middle class life to be happy is nonsense, and it is the real culprit here. Everyone has to go to college. Everyone has to have a salaried job. Everyone has to be able to go on vacations. God forbid you aim for something modest like trade school or the army. No, this is America and every has not only the right but almost an implied duty to “shoot for the stars.” And if you think you may not have the resources to send your child to college, you may as well abort him or her right now.

    I’d like to know the “poverty” this couple would have faced, and if it would have been significantly worse than what a Mexican immigrant family with several children has to endure. I’ve seen these families, I’ve seen how they manage their limited resources. My working class, first-generation grandparents had six children and they made it work. They weren’t on welfare either.

    I don’t buy the “poverty” argument unless we’re talking homelessness, and that’s less than 1% of the population.

  • “Durham and her boyfriend are the kind of young people our culture sets adrift — working-class and undereducated, with weak support networks, few authority figures, and no script for sexual maturity beyond the easily neglected admonition to always use a condom. Their televised agony was a case study in how abortion can simultaneously seem like a moral wrong and the only possible solution — because it promised to keep them out of poverty, and to let them give their first daughter opportunities they never had.”

    One of the engines that used to lift people out of poverty was a strong family. My paternal grandmother got pregnant when she was 15 out of wedlock. Her boyfriend, my grandfather, did the right thing and they got married. Together they had seven kids, including my dad who was a middle child, and a baby girl who died at birth. During the Great Depression they kept their kids fed, somehow, on what a shoemaker could bring home, and my grandmother cleaning houses. They instilled a strong work ethic in each of their kids, none of whom ever were on welfare, and all of whom found jobs and had families of their own. Three of their sons served in the military, two fighting in World War II. Whatever was thrown at my grandparents by life, including my father who was born with twisted feet and who had to have several expensive surgeries, at the height of the Great Depression, in order to walk, they faced it together and over came poverty, not only for themselves, but their kids. When society teaches people to do the right thing, come what may, it is amazing what miracles can occur. When we teach people that abortion is a solution we cripple the family from the onset with guilt, shame and a never ending sense of loss for a slain child.

  • I could say many similar things about my grandparents and great grandparents, and it is all true. This idea that large families are a curse and a burden just ends up leaving people empty and alone.

  • This idea that we all have to live a middle class life to be happy is nonsense, and it is the real culprit here.

    Much of your comment is spoken like a man without children. (I don’t recall your family status off hand.)

    And people really need to be careful with the just-so stories. What one’s parents did and what one thinks one’s parents did are two different things. During the Great Depression, numerous counties were bankrupted by social aid demands. Young men would sometimes get arrested so that they could have a warm bed and a meal. The dust bowl brought forth a vast diaspora. I’ve heard one too many renditions of my ancestors didn’t succumb to this or that to put faith in anyone’s story.

    As for what grandma and grandpa did, grandma and grandpa lived from the 1940s through the 1960s, a long period of prosperity in this country. Even so, the Social Security check and Medicare coverage keep quite a number of grandmas and grandpas out of dire poverty, whether we are talking about 1980 or 2010.

    Not wanting to watch one’s children suffer through poverty is the most natural desire in the world.

  • Douthat plays a very important role. He represents a sizable minority, the East Coast Mushy Cons, who are being ignored by “Real America.” People like Reihan Salam, David Brooks, David Frum, George Will, Peggy Noonan, Kathleen Parker, and Megan McArdle (I know she’s not really conservative but she acts almost as conservative as the rest of them). I went to high school with one of them and was the neighbor of another. We are just as unwavering as Sarah Palin in some of our conservative views but culturally, we’d be more comfortable in the company of Obama. Without people like them, who knows, maybe someone like Andrew Sullivan would’ve seduced me to his corner (I don’t mean that in a gay way).

  • “And people really need to be careful with the just-so stories.”

    It must be rough MZ being lied to by your parents or grandparents. You must tell us all about it some day. In the case of my grandparents, they did not even have an indoor toilet to save money, but rather used an outdoor privy, which I can attest to as I used it. They also did not have a phone or a car, something else I can attest to. I can also attest to my father telling me that he did not have a new suit of clothes until he joined the Air Force, something my grandfather and grandmother also told me. My grandmother also told me how my father would attend school in patched clothes, but that he would get up early to iron them because he always liked to look his best. Some people, some how, did get by without being wards of the state.

    And in case you think I got an Ozzie and Harriet fable, I was also told by my grandmother how my grandfather used to have a drinking problem. That ended one night after my father, age 18, tossed my drunk grandfather threw a screendoor after he had been chasing my grandmother with a knife. My father then joined the Air Force. My grandfather then stopped drinking, and I can attest that he never touched a drop during my life time, based on my observations and what I was told by my grandmother.

  • “Not wanting to watch one’s children suffer through poverty is the most natural desire in the world.”

    It depends on how you define poverty, which is sort of the point. When people talk about “opportunities” that may be lost, they’re not really talking about poverty. They’re talking about moving from what may a financially insecure, but by no means destitute existence to a somewhat secure middle class existence.

    If you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, access to education and a job market (even if it is a highly competitive one), running water, electricity, transportation and modern amenities, you aren’t poor. And most Americans have these things – the vast majority do.

    I don’t know if my great grandparents had what passed for welfare during the Great Depression. I’m fairly certain my grandparents did not. The point is that they had six kids and not one of them was denied any opportunity that was available to the rest of middle America. Three of their kids are quite well off in fact, and the other three are comfortable enough. It’s because they were instilled with the right values, and the ones that took them to heart – faith and family in particular – are the ones who prospered the most.

    We have a higher standard of living today than they did back then. We have more opportunities than they did back then. I’ve seen Mexican families with four, five, six children who never thought of abortion as a way out. So I don’t deny that people struggle with financial circumstances. But I reject out of hand the notion that abortion is something we can “understand” let alone endorse for such reasons. It’s moral poison.

  • One irony I can’t quite get over is that statistically speaking, marriage is one of the best protections against poverty that women and children have, yet it is the poor who are increasingly less likely to marry or even consider marriage.

    Even couples who already have one or more children and are living together will hesistate to marry because they “can’t afford to.” This can mean either 1) they can’t afford to have a formal wedding with flowers, white gown, attendants, reception, etc., or 2) they don’t believe they are yet capable of supporting a family in the lifestyle to which they aspire. Objection #1 could be easily overcome by having a simple, informal, family-only wedding as most of our non-rich ancestors did; and as for objection #2, if they are already living in the same house and have kids together, doesn’t that prove they CAN support a family? And if you hesistate to marry your live-in honey because you are worried they might cheat on you, drink or do drugs, gamble, rip you off, etc. then why are you living with them?

  • What is truly pathetic Elaine is women who call themselves the “fiancee” of some man they’ve had 3 or 4 kids by and who have been shacked up with them for 4 or 5 years. I run into this situation all the time in my practice. Usually the male “fiancee” has no intention of ever marrying the woman. Responsibility and committment seem to be considered old fashioned in our society and women and kids do tend to be the main victims.

  • Oh, when I and my bride of 28 years married in 1982 we paid $500.00 for the whole thing, with my Mom and one of her friends “catering” the event gratis. People will always find some excuse for not marrying.

  • The horror! The horror!

    “Not wanting to watch one’s children suffer through poverty is the most natural desire in the world.” I think not “the most natural desire.”

    Is the motto then, “Better dead than destitute?”

    It’s liberal out there and getting liberaller.

  • Wow. You were married the year I was born.

  • “We are just as unwavering as Sarah Palin in some of our conservative views but culturally, we’d be more comfortable in the company of Obama.”

    It seems to me that back in the days of William F. Buckley, Russell Kirk, et. al., conservatives took pride in being more cultured and erudite — dare I say intellectually elite? — than the average bear, although the best of them didn’t fall into the trap of elitism. It was Buckley, after all, who said he’d rather be governed by people chosen at random out of the Boston phone book than by a bunch of Harvard professors.

  • I don’t think mocking people’s desire for a middle class existence really helps the pro-life cause.

  • RR,

    I wouldn’t necessarily see Douthat as having much in common with the conservatism of Brooks, Frum or Will, all of whom, while they possess a certain tempermental conservatism, are pretty much completely unwilling to stand up for conservative social issues. Douthat is actually moderately courageous on that front. I would agree that there’s a certain elitism about Douthat, but recall that far from being an Obama supporter, he wrote an early and positive cover article for National Review boosting Palin — though like many conservatives (myself included) he found her later performance to be disappointing and doesn’t seem to hold out any hopes for her as a ticket front-runner at this point unless she matures a great deal as a politician.

    MZ,

    I didn’t see the reality show that Douthat is writing about, so I’m not clear what degree of poverty is being avoided here. I’ll concede that it’s natural to want the best for one’s children but at the same time I think it’s important to draw the distinctions that:

    1) Killing off some offspring is not an acceptable method of bettering others.

    2) Many people consider the middle class “necessities” in raising children to be things which can honestly be classed pretty clearly as luxuries. Along these lines, I recall eight years back when my wife and I made very little and were (unexpectedly) expecting our second child (due less than a year and a half after the birth of our first) having a conversation with an avowedly evangelical coworker at the company I worked at. She had had her first child around the same time we had our first, and she was explaining that she wasn’t sure she and her husband would have any more because, “We both grew up very poor, with lots of siblings, so we had to wear second hand clothes and couldn’t get basic things like skiing lessons.” Needless to say, my sympathy was not overwhelming. I’d never mock anyone for wanting the best for their children, but the number one element of wanting the best for any person is wanting that person to have a chance at life in the first place. As I’m sure you’d agree.

    Also, a random thought on the 40s through the 60s as an exceptionally prosperous era: It’s worth remember that what many latter day Leave-it-to-Beaver-Progressives are looking back on through rose colored glasses in regards to the 40s and 50s is that it was a period during which the fortunes of the middle and working classes were improving rapidly, while the rich were not getting richer much faster. However, in absolute terms, the middle class and the working class are still better off now than they were then, even though growth has slowed (in some cases to a near standstill) since then. This may result in some people having less hope now than then, but it doesn’t mean that people now are not in fact better off than their grandparents were. That may be the case in individual cases, but on the whole we are a good deal more prosperous than our grandparents.

    Joe,

    Oh wow. You’re my younger brother’s age… 🙂

  • While we’re on it, here was MZ’s comment:

    “Not wanting to watch one’s children suffer through poverty is the most natural desire in the world.”

    If my child was virtuous, I would not mourn his poverty. A life of suffering can be just as conducive to spiritual goods as a life of affluence, and perhaps moreso.

    Again, on the understanding that “poverty” doesn’t mean destitution/starvation.

  • Here’s something for your quotable Hargrave:

    There is nothing of greater value to a man than virtue, and nothing of greater value to society than a virtuous man.

    You can put that on my tombstone.

  • I have a lot more to say about this too. I think this whole mentality of “my kids will have it good, and they won’t have to struggle or suffer the way I did” was THE greatest mistake of the “greatest generation.” They failed to realize that their suffering and their struggling is what made them strong. They failed to realize that by trying to create a mini-utopia in the home for their children, they ended up corrupting their virtues. Half of the blame for the sexual revolution lies with this fatal mistake.

  • Joe,

    I agree that’s the more important thing. I think the trick is:

    a) Parents often fear they have limited control over how virtuous their children will be in the long run, though they do their damnedest to teach them how to live rightly.

    b) Parents often have (or imagine or hope they have) a fair amount of control over how much material comfort their children are raised in, and thus feel they can assure the one if not the other.

    On the other hand, I think it’s equally important to keep in mind that in these sorts of discussions “I wouldn’t want my born children to be pushed into poverty by my trying to raise more” is the more socially acceptable rationalization for the worry “Will having more children mess up my lifestyle.” After all, parents are often more sensitive to poverty than children are. However much people may convince themselves they’re acting selflessly, such concerns can be cover for selfishness.

    And needless to say, all of that is something to worry about before conceiving, not afterwards.

  • Growing up, my family had the loosest grip on being middle class, and in the eyes of many people I guess we would have been considered poor. We didn’t have a car until I was in the Seventh Grade, we only went on two vacations that I can recall, and home was tinier than my office today. Yet, at the time it never struck me that I lacked anything. Mom and Dad always both worked, the bills got paid and there was food on the table. They also made it clear to my brother and to me that if we wanted to go to college, that would be accomplished somehow, as indeed it was. Of course the key to all of this was that my mother and father loved each other deeply and loved us and we knew that we could rely upon each other in the family my parents created. The greatest lesson in love I have ever received in this life is the way my father tenderly cared for my mother as she died of cancer at 48. Material poverty is a terrible thing, but much worse is the poverty of love as typified by abortion.

  • DarwinCatholic, that makes Douthat all the more important. While East Coast Mushy Cons are usually right there with their Real American Crunchy brethren on economic issues, they’re generally indistinguishable from moderate independents on social issues. Not only does Douthat write for Democrats, he also writes for socially liberal Republicans. In fact, that may be his more important role.

  • “I think this whole mentality of “my kids will have it good, and they won’t have to struggle or suffer the way I did” was THE greatest mistake of the “greatest generation.” They failed to realize that their suffering and their struggling is what made them strong.”

    Which brings me to something I meant to post on the “Does It Get Any Worse?” thread, but somehow couldn’t find at that time….

    Here is a beautiful Coca-Cola ad, made a couple of years ago, in which Spain’s oldest citizen (102) is introduced to its newest (a newborn baby, of course):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi5qqvuexGU

    I love what the old man says in it, addressing the newborn:

    “You will ask yourself what is the reason I have come to visit you today. It’s because most people will say to you what a bad moment you have chosen to come into the world. We’re in crisis, that’s not a good thing. Well, it’ll make you stronger. I’ve lived worse moments than this one (given his age, that would include the Great Depression, both world wars and the Spanish Civil War as well), but in the end, you’ll remember only good things.”

    Yet another reason to prefer Coke over Pepsi too 🙂

  • Also, it’s one thing for people who fled, say, Ireland during the Great Famine, or Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, or Haiti or North Korea to insist upon making sure their children enjoy a better life than they did. It’s another thing entirely for reasonably comfortable, free, well-fed, middle class Americans to insist that their children will have it “better” even if that means they would rather not have those children at all than fail to reach that goal.

  • There is something at a base level that I find offensive about people discussing the need for austerity from others and even how it is benefiting those people. There is a reason the white fertility rate is in the toilet, and the one reason I’m confident for why it isn’t the case is because they became idiots. The coming elite or whatever you want to call them is putting off marriage until past thirty and struggling to produce children naturally. The MTV special dealt with an unmarried black teenage couple who didn’t own a home. We aren’t talking about the difference between a mere middle class existence and the bourgeoisie life.

  • Oh, you find it offensive. Ok. ::rolls eyes:: Well, I hope it isn’t as offensive to you as the idea that you should kill one child for the sake of the other.

    “We aren’t talking about the difference between a mere middle class existence and the bourgeoisie life.”

    And I didn’t say that we were. It’s the difference between a working class life and a middle class life, the life of renters and wage workers on the one hand and homeowners and salary workers on the other. I get it.

    And its no surprise that poor black youths who have had the state manage increasing areas of their lives for the last 50 years, who have been the number one target of Planned Parenthood propaganda, who are aborted at disgustingly disproportionate rates compared to their share of the population, and whose “community leaders” are Democratic con men such as the “Reverend” Jackson and Al Sharpton, are more likely to go through with an abortion. What white liberals and their middle class black accomplices have done to poor blacks is a crime against humanity. And if we consider the unborn child to be a real human being, it rivals the injustice of slavery.

  • So Douthat writes a superb and strongly pro-life column in the NYTimes (!!) and people over here are jumping on him for recognizing that poverty is sadly a consideration that leads many to seek abortion?! What site is this anyway?

  • Jumping on him?

    I expressed a point of disagreement, that’s all. I’m sorry you find it illegitimate to discuss. I happen to think that the notion that poverty justifies abortion is one of the most morally and socially destructive notions of our time, and I thought it warranted a few words in a public discussion.

  • Joe H.

    You cannot reason with liberals. St. Augustine felt the need to answer contemporary half-wits. I do not. He is a saint.

    There is no such a thing as being “a little pregnant.” You can’t be a little pro-abortion, either.

    Here is what nauseates me: the mental gyrations these heartless people employ to justify voting for 50,000,000 more abortions.

    PS: My eldest son is older than you. However, you are rapidly sneaking up on THIRTY. Carpe diem.

  • For in the end time proclaims the judgment of nature on the worth of all beings that appear in it, since it destroys them:

    And justly so: for all things, from the void
    called forth, deserve to be destroyed:
    ’twere better, then, were naught created.
    [Goethe, Faust]

  • Joe, if you think poverty is more conducive to living a spiritually rich life shouldn’t you be advocating for economic policies that will impoverish millions? Or do you not really mean what you said about poverty being more conducive to human flourishing than attaining a modicum of economic security?

    And no one–certainly not Douthat–is claiming that poverty “justifies” abortion. Explaining a phenomenon is a different activity than justifying it–as Ron Paul tried, and failed, to communicate to Rudy Giuliani.

    And, trust me, I’m no liberal.

  • WJ,

    I agree that Douthat isn’t claiming that poverty justifies abortion — though given abortion as an option, he rightly recognizes that many people feel compelled (in this case, it sounds like rather unwillingly) to choose that option because of monetary concerns. I had been under the impression that whole line of argument had come up simply as a side-discussion.

    MZ,

    I guess I’m a little unclear what you’re getting at with:

    There is something at a base level that I find offensive about people discussing the need for austerity from others and even how it is benefiting those people. There is a reason the white fertility rate is in the toilet, and the one reason I’m confident for why it isn’t the case is because they became idiots.

    I don’t think that anyone was suggesting that if someone was suddenly confronted with a magic-wand-weilding person and asked, “Quick, quick! Would you rather that your family be well off or poor?” he should respond, “Oh, I’d definitely want them to be poor. It’ll be good for them!”

    Rather, people are responding to the idea that it is better for the sum one one’s children to abort one or more in order that the others live in comparatively better economic conditions than to carry all of one’s conceived children to term and raise that family to the best of one’s ability. One of the arguments that people are martially to this cause is that while being poor is indisputably less fun than being middle class or upper middle class — it is not necessarily something so bad that people are better off dead (or to accept the pro-choice world view: non-existant) than poor. And, indeed, that many people are raised well by struggling working-class parents and go on to live happy and productive lives themselves.

    In this context, I’m not clear what brings up your comment above, or what exactly you think is indicated by the fact that many white (and come to that, non-white) elites these days are choosing to have few children and do so late in life. Certainly, that’s a way to do things given certain objectives and cultural assumptions. But I don’t necessarily see why it means that anyone who advocates going ahead and raising children (especially after the child is already conceived, rather than being the fruit of some theoretical, future action) is necessarily being callus or hard hearted. Come to that, given that none of us talking here are the scions of wealthy Harvard-going elite clans, people talking about their own and family experiences in this regard doesn’t seem like a particularly offensive approach. My impression isn’t that we have a bunch of rich people who put off having their two trophy children until their late thirties talking here.

  • Hi Darwin,

    I was not responding to your unsurprisingly reasonable comments on this thread–with which I largely agree–but to some of the other statements which, you rightly note, are orthogonal to the main point of the post.

    I would, though, be interested in hearing from Joe Hargrave whether he really does think that economic policies should be sought out which have a good chance of landing people in poverty, so as to better their chances of living truly spiritual lives.

  • As probably the most outspoken Douthat critic around these parts (although I’m not suggesting that Darwin had me in mind when he wrote this post), allow me to say that this is an excellent column by Douthat, as have been many of his more recent op/eds. Also, please allow me to clarify exactly what my criticism of Douthat has been and what it has not been.

    I do not criticize him over policy or at all consider him to be a “fake conservative”. In fact, I have stated on numerous occasions that, policy-wise, Douthat seems to be the conservative columnist who is closer to my own philosophy. For example, I am not nearly as hostile to the policy prescriptions of Grand New Party as others might be, although I’m fiscally conservative enough to have some trepidations about the vision Douthat lays out. Furthermore, as Darwin has mentioned, Douthat has been stalwart in taking the social conservative/pro-life/pro-family message to a hostile audience.

    Nor do I criticize Douthat over his tone. The fire-breathing conservative columnists out there really do nothing for me and leave me rather cold. I think the tone that Douthat takes in delivering the social conservative message is not only a vital counterbalance to the fire-breathers, but is actually going to be the tone that advances the ball further down the field, especially since he is NOT preaching to the choir but delivering the message to hearts and minds that need to be changed if the agenda is ever going to succeed. I wish more Catholic bloggers (including myself) were better at adopting the sort of tone Douthat uses in discussing these issues that so divide our country.

    No, my criticism of Douthat has been more over the “persona” (to use Darwin’s word) that he has (or, rather, had) adopted, especially during the 2008 election. What has been offputting to me about Douthat and other conservative columnists like Brooks, Frum, Parker, etc. is the “I’m not like those OTHER conservatives” mantle they have assumed, where they make a living and receive Pulitzer Prizes off of doing nothing more than bashing other conservatives. Now, often conservatives NEED to be bashed by their own (see, e.g., WFB vs. the Birchers), but I find those who make a living and building a reputation off of doing it more than a little offputting.

    Now, in Douthat’s defense, he seems to have backed off of that quite a bit recently, and seems to have more fully embraced his social conservatism in his columns of late. I just don’t feel the “not like them” hostility toward his fellow conservatives that once seemed so prevalent (and which he so openly embraced in that column I’m so fond of quoting) in his recent writing.

    Along those lines, I won’t address RR’s having a higher “comfort level” with those socially liberal people in elite circles over those who are in “Real America” (since the last time I did so it led to one of the uglier confrontations on this blog between Blackadder and myself, which I do not wish to repeat) other than to say that I wonder how much of that discomfort with so-called “Real Americans” is based on media stereotypes rather than having spent more than a superficial amount of time with the common folks that make up the vast areas of this country between the coasts. I have spent a fair amount of time in both worlds, and feel at home in either, and find that the views of each group about the other to be fairly stereotypical and not based on their having actually met and spent time with those in the alternate cultural milieu.

  • WJ,

    One does not have to desire poverty be imposed on anyone to recognize the fact that prosperity often leads to a more disordered view of material goods, often times to the detriment of the soul. To reject the reasoning of some that a life is not worth living if not in prosperity and to counter it by noting that poverty usually entails less risks to soul than wealth seems like a reasonable rebuttal.

    None of this addresses how people view “poverty” in this incredibly wealthy country. Some will characterize it along the lines of no food and shelter and others will argue having no satellite dish or a six year old car. I think this goes to Joe’s point as well. That some people consider not having two new cars, a 2000 sq ft home, and one or two vacations get-aways a year to be poverty is an indication of the risk to souls that material wealth can bring.

  • Douthat spoke at an event sponsored by the magazine “n + 1” in 2009 in which he said he wouldn’t talk about the issue of same-sex marriage publicly, for whatever reason.
    http://nplusonemag.com/tilt-to-the-right-panel

    Michael Dougherty speculates as to why: “The reason Ross Douthat won’t share his views on gay marriage in detail is simple. He knows gay marriage opponents will be portrayed as the Bull Connors of the near-future. And he wants to keep writing film criticism and noodling theology for educated readers.”
    http://www.mbdougherty.com/dearconservative.html

  • WJ,

    “Joe, if you think poverty is more conducive to living a spiritually rich life shouldn’t you be advocating for economic policies that will impoverish millions?”

    No. I believe in economic and spiritual freedom. Poverty doesn’t necessarily make one more spiritual, and riches don’t necessarily make one morally corrupt.

    But if one can willingly embrace their suffering, whether it results from poverty or from some other condition, then one is certainly spiritually better-off than someone who feels as if life is not worth living because they lack some material comforts or they can’t go to college.

    Finally, If you DON’T think poverty is more conducive to living a spiritual life, do you advocate for the Church to abolish the vow of poverty for people entering religious life? For 2000 years they’ve been leading people down a path you and others appear to find harmful and undesirable. The Gospels are full of lessons that teach us that the lives and contributions of the poor are often more valuable from a spiritual perspective than those of the rich. Maybe you’ll reject those too.

    Poverty in the USA is not worth fighting over. Poverty in the USA is middle to upper-class wealth in Nigeria or Ethiopia. A working class American has access to more goods and services than the rich man admonished by Jesus in the Bible, who didn’t have the Internet or fast food or supermarkets.

    “Or do you not really mean what you said about poverty being more conducive to human flourishing than attaining a modicum of economic security?”

    You said “human flourishing”, not me. I don’t oppose anyone rising from poverty to the middle class through hard work and virtue, and if they practice charity and remember their humble origins. Virtue is possible at all levels of society.

    But just as St. Paul compared the married life to the religious life and said that while the former was acceptable, the latter is preferable, we can compare the middle class life with the life of poverty and make a similar assessment.

    It’s not a sin to have wealth, or even to enjoy luxuries. But it is better, in the order of things, to cultivate a healthy detachment from all material goods, to be ready to depart with them at a moment’s notice, and certainly to see immaterial goods such as virtue as more valuable than material comforts. Truly such a person has “flourished” to a far greater extent than someone who can’t imagine life without various luxuries that are now taken for granted.

    So no, poverty does not ipso facto lead to more spirituality, but viewed and accepted with the right perspective, it CAN.

    “And no one–certainly not Douthat–is claiming that poverty “justifies” abortion. Explaining a phenomenon is a different activity than justifying it–as Ron Paul tried, and failed, to communicate to Rudy Giuliani.”

    I never said he was claiming that. But there are many who do claim it – they jump from explanation to justification very easily. It’s like an automatic reflex for most people in our society, who are materialistic and who don’t think life is worth living without a very broad selection of material comforts that were unknown to most people throughout history. So, when this topic comes up, I feel compelled to state the opposite, Christian, and true perspective.

  • grandma and grandpa lived from the 1940s through the 1960s, a long period of prosperity in this country.

    There were six economic recessions between 1938 and 1970 (as many as there have been since), and these contractions tended to be more severe than those of the succeeding 40 years. The per capita income of the United States in 1955 was less than half of what it is today. Mean annual rates of improvement in per capita income were higher than has been the case for a generation or so, but at about 2.3% per annum, not spectacular.

  • Francis,

    I think Dougherty must have been wrong, because just in the last year Ross Douthat did indeed write about gay marriage (against it) in the NY Times and on his NY Times Blog.

  • Oh, Joe. I know you’re in good faith. I apologize for the tenor of my comments. Please have a good night!

  • Thanks, Darwin, for alerting me to that. Perhaps after being caught off guard in 2009 he prepared to mount some kind of defense of marriage. Good for him for being willing to take such a beating from the Times’ remarkably prejudiced audience.

Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator?

Tuesday, August 31, AD 2010

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

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

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

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85 Responses to Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • no Woodrow Wilson was not the fount of all evil

    Nah, just most of it it. 🙂

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

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

    He has got to be doing something right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • John Henry,

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

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

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

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

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

  • Joe,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    John,

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

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

    At the end of this road is gnosticism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • I truly believe that the man is loosely wired

    ‘fraid we are everywhere.

  • Drugs and alcohol will do that.

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

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

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

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

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

  • I deny a history of heavy drinking.

  • Joe,

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

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

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

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

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

  • “The Church also teaches against progressive taxation”

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

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

    Couldn’t have said it better myself there Darwin.

  • Elaine,

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

    From RERUM NOVARUM:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Paul,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Well, so much for intelligent discourse from GodsGadfly.

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

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

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

  • They legalized the gravest sin of usury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    That would be something to witness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Paul,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Bob,

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

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

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

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

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

  • Whoa!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hi Bob,

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

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

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

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

    Peace be with you,
    baba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Bob DeClue,

    Here is the link:

    http://en.gravatar.com/

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

  • Bob DeClue,

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

    You asked for more Catholic teachings and not politics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • @GodsGadfly

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

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

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

  • …a bit off topic but…

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

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

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

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

    Has anyone tried to explain that to him?

  • Tito,

    Have you?

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

  • I will be next week.

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

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

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

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

  • @Tito

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

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

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

  • Tito,

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

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

    Teresa,

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

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

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

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

  • AK,

    Most Catholics do consider Saint Augustine a saint.

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

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

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

  • Tito,

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

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

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

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

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

  • Bob,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Bob,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Bob,

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

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

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

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

    So did Lincoln.

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

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

    The Restoring Honor Rally was awesome!

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

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

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

Inventing Jesus

Thursday, June 3, AD 2010

Ross Douthat has a good post on his NY Times blog responding to Adam Gopnik’s New Yorker piece on the search for “the historical Jesus”.

James Tabor, a professor of religious studies, in his 2006 book “The Jesus Dynasty,” takes surprisingly seriously the old Jewish idea that Jesus was known as the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier named Pantera—as well attested a tradition as any [emphasis mine — RD], occurring in Jewish texts of the second century, in which a Jesus ben Pantera makes several appearances, and the name is merely descriptive, not derogatory.

The whole problem with two centuries worth of historical Jesus scholarship is summed up in those seven words: “As well attested a tradition as any.” Because obviously if you don’t mind a little supernaturalism with your history, a story about Jesus being a Roman soldier’s bastard that dates from the second century — and late in the second century, at that — is dramatically less “well attested” than the well-known tradition (perhaps you’ve heard of it) that Jesus was born of a virgin married to Joseph the carpenter, which dates from the 70s or 80s A.D. at the latest, when the Gospels of Luke and Matthew were composed. Bracket the question of miracles, and there’s really no comparison: Giving the Roman soldier story equal weight with the accounts in Matthew and Luke is like saying that a tale about Abraham Lincoln that first surfaced in the 1970s has just as much credibility as a story that dates to the 1890s (and is associated with eyewitnesses to Lincoln’s life).

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5 Responses to Inventing Jesus

  • I’m not holding my breath for the “New Yorker” hit piece on the historical Muhammed.

  • Good quote and good subject — it’s easily one of my favorites (which I think might be obvious).

  • People invent their own gods, so why not invent some history while they’re at it? 🙂

  • This of course all comes from the anti-Christian writer Celsus. Go to the link below to read all about it.

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

    This recycling of a hostile Jewish slur against Jesus, was of course something unknown at the time of Jesus because it was invented after the fact as Christianity converted many Jewish congregations, and ill-will became the norm between the two faiths.

    The Gospels relate many slurs against Jesus, including the charge that he was possessed by demons, so our earliest source materials do mention what adversaries were saying, without a hint of this being mentioned. Tacitus, a pagan Roman senator who mentions Jesus in his writings circa 118 AD, says nothing of this.

  • Here is another “as well attested a tradition as any” (related by Cassius Dion through Edward Gibbon) that academics ought to take seriously: Simon Bar Kokba.

    “During Roman times the Jews were exceptionally intractable. They were unable to endure contact with others not of their race. They reacted with extreme vigor and obsession with ‘purity.’ They feared death less than the profanity of idolatry. They violently revolted when forced to pay taxes to idolaters.

    “The possibly mythic Zionist arch-hero Barchachebas –’Simon Bar Kokba’ – led an infamous messianic revolt against Rome during Emperor Hadrian’s reign – circa 135 AD. Humanity was shocked at the recital of the horrid cruelties they committed in Egypt, Cyrene, and Cyprus where they dwelt in treacherous “friendship” with the unsuspecting natives. They committed furious massacres: Cyrene – 220,000 dead; Cyprus – 240,000 dead, Egypt – uncounted dead. Mutilations and atrocities were recorded.” See Dion Cassius and Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Red vs. Blue Families

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

It’s fairly common for advocates of more liberal social policies to point out that “red states” tend to have higher rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, etc than “blue states”. This is taken to suggest that, however much conservatives may go on about “family values”, it is actually more liberal social values which are best for families. Ross Douthat does a good job of addressing this mentality in his column from last Sunday, in which he takes a closer look at some of these “family values” statistics.

Today, couples with college and (especially) graduate degrees tend to cohabit early and marry late, delaying childbirth and raising smaller families than their parents, while enjoying low divorce rates and bearing relatively few children out of wedlock.

For the rest of the country, this comfortable equilibrium remains out of reach. In the underclass (black, white and Hispanic alike), intact families are now an endangered species. For middle America, the ideal of the two-parent family endures, but the reality is much more chaotic: early marriages coexist with frequent divorces, and the out-of-wedlock birth rate keeps inching upward.

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20 Responses to Red vs. Blue Families

  • There are more problems with this book that I’ll outline in about a week. I have the post 3/4’s written but have to run some regressions and what not. I imagine you and your fellow travelers will largely be in agreement with me.

  • You read Douthat’s piece and came away with a completely different impression of it than I did. Of course, in my blog post on the subject, I did acknowledge that I may have been reading Douthat’s piece through my Ross-colored glasses, which probably tends to somewhat negatively distort anything written by the guy.

    I probably could have just let this one go, but for his gratuitous swipe at Bristol Palin.

  • I probably could have just let this one go, but for his gratuitous swipe at Bristol Palin.

    I thought it was pretty obvious from the context that he was characterizing the authors of the book as the kind of people who would make such a comment rather than taking a swipe at her himself. Judge for yourself:

    This is one of the themes of “Red Families v. Blue Families,” a provocative new book by two law professors, Naomi Cahn and June Carbone. The authors depict a culturally conservative “red America” that’s stuck trying to sustain an outdated social model. By insisting (unrealistically) on chastity before marriage, Cahn and Carbone argue, social conservatives guarantee that their children will get pregnant early and often (see Palin, Bristol), leading to teen childbirth, shotgun marriages and high divorce rates.

    I could be wrong, but it never occurred to me to read it otherwise. He is laying out their argument in that paragraph; and the rest of the editorial is critical of that simplistic portrayal of Red America, and (implicitly) the kind of people who would cite Bristol Palin as the exemplar of backwards redstate America. Notice, the conclusion of the piece:

    By comparison, the “red family” model can look dysfunctional — an uneasy mix of rigor and permissiveness, whose ideals don’t always match up with the facts of contemporary life. But it reflects something else as well: an attempt, however compromised, to navigate post-sexual revolution America without relying on abortion.

    Translation: Red State America does not take abortion as an easy way out; this decision has consequences that aren’t always pretty, but it also reflects a lived moral conviction.

  • MZ,

    Sounds interesting. I’ll keep an eye out for it. (In the mean time, I’ll try to figure out if I should be flattered or perplexed at having “fellow travelers”.)

    Jay,

    Yeah, I didn’t get that he was rolling over to the book’s thesis at all, but rather refuting it. But while I want to argue with anything Rod Dreher says, Ross Douthat doesn’t fall in that camp for me.

  • Yeah, I didn’t get that he was rolling over to the book’s thesis at all, but rather refuting it.

    I’m with Jay on this one – it sounded like it was Ross himself backing the authors’s thesis.

    There is an easy way out of this morass, of course. Douthat could have, at some point, made an affirmative denunciation of the thesis and spelled out why the authors were mistaken. Instead we get a subtle jab that leaves the reader perplexed as to what exactly Douthat’s personal point of view is.

  • It was pretty clear as written, Paul; certainly Darwin and most of the commenters at the New York Times picked it up quickly enough. Douthat’s point is that attitudes toward abortion – not abstinence education or an emphasis on marriage or the simple stupidity of people in Red America – account for most of the differences we see in out-of-wedlock birth, early marriage (and accompanying divorce), etc.

    The contemporary liberal narrative downplays this fact. Abortion is becoming increasingly unpopular, so liberals want to argue that increased access to contraceptives will reduce the need for abortion, and that it is cultural conservatism that, in effect, increases the abortion rate. Douthat just points out this argument doesn’t square with the facts; teen pregnancy is lower in blue states primarily because abortion is more prevalent. That’s why Darwin and Chris Burgwald flagged the article; it refutes a central part of the contemporary liberal diagnosis of red state America – the myth of social conservatism increasing the abortion rate.

  • Jay:

    I’m normally a Douthat fan, but I did think this article was weirdly written for some reason so while I noted as Darwin did that he ultimately refuted the thesis, that I didn’t feel great about him doing so. Not sure why.

  • The whole concept of the book is wrong-headed I think in its analysis of Red and Blue states. There are really very few states that fit in that category. For example I live in Blue Illinois. Outside of Chicago and some of the suburbs, most of Illinois has life conducted along the lines of a Red State by the lights of the book. The reverse is true of Red States, Texas for example, with large urban enclaves. This mixed quality of the states would have to be taken into consideration when looking at statistics regarding marriage and divorce. Additionally, I think we are at the beginning of a political era where the Red and Blue divisions may soon seem like relics as much as the divisions between the Whigs and the Jacksonian Democrats do today. The political landscape is changing rapidly, as I think Illinois will demonstrate in the fall.

  • “teen pregnancy is lower in blue states because abortion is more prevalent”

    Well, actually it would be teen BIRTH rates that would be lower in those states. I have seen lists of nations with the lowest teen pregnancy rates and the lowest teen birth rates side by side, and they are NOT identical, so statisticians do have a way to compile those statistics separately. (Switzerland, for example, is in the bottom five nations as far as teen birth rate, but does not have the same ranking for teen pregnancy rate.)

    If Douthat’s theory is true, blue states would have the same or possibly even higher teen PREGNANCY rates, but lower teen birth rates, the difference being due primarily to abortion.

    The only other possible cause for such a disparity would be a high rate of miscarriage or stillbirth due to poverty or poor medical care; that might be a factor in some Third World countries but probably not so much in the U.S., even in areas of extreme urban decay.

  • Also, figures in some of the red states may be considerably skewed by the impact of (illegal) immigration.

  • There is an easy way out of this morass, of course. Douthat could have, at some point, made an affirmative denunciation of the thesis and spelled out why the authors were mistaken.

    There is little indication from his writing that Ross Douthat has the background to have much critical engagement with a piece of quantitative social research, so he would be advised to tread rather carefully in commenting on that. It’s regrettably been years, but I have done this sort of work on this sort of topic and (judging from the literature I reviewed and my own analyses) you generally get ambiguous results.

    Of course, the book could be flawed in all kinds of ways that a layman could spot quite readily. Awful lot of groupthink in academe.

    But while I want to argue with anything Rod Dreher says,

    The bulk of what Brother Dreher has to say is he is upset. No point to arguing with that.

  • Well, actually it would be teen BIRTH rates

    Yeah, mistyped.

    The bulk of what Brother Dreher has to say is he is upset. No point to arguing with that.

    Heh. A little harsh, but there’s a lot of truth there.

  • If Douthat’s theory is true, blue states would have the same or possibly even higher teen PREGNANCY rates, but lower teen birth rates, the difference being due primarily to abortion.

    While the terms are being used a bit interchangeably in the comments here, Douthat does successfully make the distinction, and the data he links to does indeed bear this out. For instance:

    Alabama has a pregnancy rate for 15-19 year olds of 73 out of every 1000 women. Connecticut has a rate of 57. For in Alabama only 20% of those pregnancies end in abortion, while in Connecticut 53% do. West Virginia has a teen pregnancy rate of 62, which is the same a Rhode Island’s rate of 62 — but in West Virginia only 17% of those pregnancies end in abortion while in Rhode Island 42% do.

  • Regardless of whether Douthat was using her as an example of the kind of people the authors were talking about, Bristol Palin should not have been brought up at all.

  • The bigger point might be the supposed connection between morality and whether one is red or blue. As much as either side tries to convince that it is more moral than the other, neither the public examples, nor the statistics are there.

    If you wanted to analyze the big picture on abortion or divorce, you’d have to draw in economics, religion, and education, among other factors. They used to say the moral majority is neither. It’s still true.

  • Regardless of whether Douthat was using her as an example of the kind of people the authors were talking about

    It’s not that she typifies the type of people the authors were writing about (although she does in some respects). It’s that she is a common example cited by people like the authors. Douthat is laying out the lefty worldview; and Bristol and Sarah Palin references are common. Is that unfair to Bristol? Sure. But I don’t think re-stating the blue state critique of red-state America in its own terms makes Douthat morally reprehensible.

  • Todd,

    I’m not clear that moral conservatives necessarily claim to be more moral than social progressives, they just claim that they continue to espouse morality while their opponents consider it “repressed” or “outdated”.

    Of course, the other point here is that claimed moral beliefs are certainly not the only difference between the populations of “red” and “blue” states. In this sense, although it’s an oft used distinction, trying to make these distinctions is overly broad.

    As I’m sure you’d agree “red” and “blue” (there’s a certain late-Roman quality to how attached we are to these color designations) in the sense of left-politics/right-politics can contain a whole host of contradictory groups within one label. I would imagine that you share much more in moral/cultural outlook with those in the Moral Majority (however distasteful you may find their politics) than you do with the sort of folks who write long self-examining essays about how monogamous marriage doesn’t make sense in the modern world for The Atlantic, even if you might share some of the same favorite politicians.

    Data that I have seen which is more explicitly broken down by actual stated moral beliefs does show that, while as should come as no surprise to anyone those who espouse traditional moral beliefs are far from perfect in their practice of them, people who claim to believe in traditional morality, attend some sort of religious services regularly, etc. do tend to have fewer sexual partners, “wait” longer as teenagers, etc. Whether people claim allegiance to moral norms is not irrelevent to their behavior, even though many do not life up to their own stated ideals.

  • I suspect those on the left have their own moral positions though they may deny that. Just look at the furor over such issues as immigration restrictions, global warming etc. And like those on the right, there are many on the left that do not live up to their moral positions.
    No one is the equal of their ideals. The problem is what ideals are the right ones. Then, how to implement them.

  • Thanks for the comment, Darwin. I suspect that “researchers” on this topic go after their perception of hypocrisy from the Right. In a way, all they have to do is point to select developments in Republican-leaning regions, say “gotcha!” and move on. Point proved.

    I have yet to see a serious across-the-board study that would link abortion, divorce, and other issues with geography, politics, wealth, education, race, etc.. Unfortunately, any serious sociologist who attempted one would either be too biased from the outset, given the polarization of the culture, or would get hammered from both sides of the ideological divide. For now, I think we exist in a state of ignorance when it comes to other people’s morality. And maybe it’s better that way. Heaven knows I have my hands full with my own moral temptations.

    I’m not sure I would equate this situation too much with the parable of the two sons, the one who promised to work then didn’t (conservatives) and the one who declined to give lip service, but then reconsidered and labored (liberals). But we do know there are prominent folk who do not live up to their stated guiding principles. I’m disinclined to credit that as a torpedo to the movement, even ones I disagree with.

    I know, for example, a number of homosexuals who are highly moral people. For some people on the Right, they would trip over the sex and not get any further.

    Sex is a big part of morality, in part because of our culture’s fixation on it, but it’s not the only factor.

  • I grew up in New York and raise my family in NJ, the statistics in this book challenge stereotypes of both liberals and conservatives. However, I just read Frank Luntz’s book, “What Americans Really Want…Really”. Based on polls taken in the U.S. it states that families who regularly attend church and children who are brought up conscious of God and family life are often more aware about the consequences of their decisions and how a religious family life is beneficial to children. Luntz states that children who attend church, eat dinner as a family, take family vacations etc are less likely to take drugs. He also states parents should go over their children’s homework daily. There are tips that can benefit both red and blue families. If rural America and poor areas tend to have higher teen birth rates and unstable families then the U.S. Govt should be working harder to bring quality education and jobs and rescources to these areas especially. Also, many jobs that illegals hold may be desirable to poorer and less educated Americans. Hence, the unfortunate recent bias attacks in Staten Island where people in poorer areas were hostile as illegals came to their neighborhoods and took the jobs available in a sluggish job market. Also, since contraception is so widely accepted since the 60’s the governments role in promoting (politically or financially) contraceptives doesn’t seem so vital in blue states. Teens in middle class blue states are educated and now have the access they need.

Was Something Different in the 60s and 70s?

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

Given some of the discussion on John Henry’s post yesterday about the timeline of the abuse scandal, I wanted to do a bit more digging into what the actual statistics of the scandal are.

At the NY Times website, Ross Douthat had written:

There’s no way to be completely certain about this, and clearly there was abuse in the church, and horrid cover-ups as well, going back decades and centuries and more. But the John Jay data suggest that something significant really did shift, and escalate, in the years around the sexual revolution.

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3 Responses to Was Something Different in the 60s and 70s?

  • This is the kind of work that is extremely helpful.

    What would be interesting would be to check the level of supervision in young clergy, and the living associations of older priests. A cleric living in a house of several clergy might have fewer opportunities to engage in addictive behavior. In addition, the community life in a pre-conciliar rectory may have helped some guys steer clear of potential addictions or problems later in life.

    Today among priests I know in many dioceses there is a renewed understanding of the need for support, community, formation, and the spiritual life. This has probably contributed to the better health of clergy over the past few decades and the generally high levels of satisfaction within the priesthood.

    A caution about attributing too much to the alleged moral decay of the 60’s and 70’s. Many outwardly moral people have stumbled on serious immoral trespass in their hidden lives. Addictions can trip up the most moral, the most talented, and the most admired persons. We need look no further than professional sports or musicians or actors to many talented and disciplined people fritter away their lives.

  • In addition, the incidence of abuse of females did not change as dramatically as did the incidence of the abuse of males

    Anyone got an explanation for that one?

  • I remember listening to a tape by Father Benedict Groeschel a number of years ago entitled something like The Real Scanbal in the Church. I didn’t put it in quotes because I am unsure that this was the title. He seemed to date serious problems with a homosexual underground of sorts in the seminaries back in the early fifties.
    Just mentioned as a point of corroboration…

Is John Paul II still great?

Monday, April 12, AD 2010

I’ve been asking myself that question as I’ve read the discussions about the sex abuse scandal and asked it again while I read Ross Douthat’s editorial at the NYT this morning. The most pertinent part is this:

But there’s another story to be told about John Paul II and his besieged successor. The last pope was a great man, but he was also a weak administrator, a poor delegator, and sometimes a dreadful judge of character.

The church’s dilatory response to the sex abuse scandals was a testament to these weaknesses. So was John Paul’s friendship with the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ. The last pope loved him and defended him. But we know now that Father Maciel was a sexually voracious sociopath. And thanks to a recent exposé by The National Catholic Reporter’s Jason Berry, we know the secret of Maciel’s Vatican success: He was an extraordinary fund-raiser, and those funds often flowed to members of John Paul’s inner circle.

Only one churchman comes out of Berry’s story looking good: Joseph Ratzinger. Berry recounts how Ratzinger lectured to a group of Legionary priests, and was subsequently handed an envelope of money “for his charitable use.” The cardinal “was tough as nails in a very cordial way,” a witness said, and turned the money down.

This isn’t an isolated case. In the 1990s, it was Ratzinger who pushed for a full investigation of Hans Hermann Groer, the Vienna cardinal accused of pedophilia, only to have his efforts blocked in the Vatican. It was Ratzinger who persuaded John Paul, in 2001, to centralize the church’s haphazard system for handling sex abuse allegations in his office. It was Ratzinger who re-opened the long-dormant investigation into Maciel’s conduct in 2004, just days after John Paul II had honored the Legionaries in a Vatican ceremony. It was Ratzinger, as Pope Benedict, who banished Maciel to a monastery and ordered a comprehensive inquiry into his order.

So the high-flying John Paul let scandals spread beneath his feet, and the uncharismatic Ratzinger was left to clean them up. This pattern extends to other fraught issues that the last pope tended to avoid — the debasement of the Catholic liturgy, or the rise of Islam in once-Christian Europe. And it extends to the caliber of the church’s bishops, where Benedict’s appointments are widely viewed as an improvement over the choices John Paul made. It isn’t a coincidence that some of the most forthright ecclesiastical responses to the abuse scandal have come from friends and protégés of the current pope.

Douthat is not alone here; most have pointed out (including Rod Dreher, who left the Church b/c of his disappointment w/ the abuse scandals) that Benedict has gone to great lengths to clean up the mess that his predecessor made. But does a “great” make that kind of mess?

Now I certainly think that JPII is a saint. I don’t think that’s in question. Interestingly enough, I have not gathered from the media’s coverage that they would disagree with that. In fact, I would say that he probably merits very serious consideration as a doctor of the Church for Fides et Ratio and “man and Woman He Created Them: a theology of the body” Heck, I even have a poster of him in my living room (which is useful for showing to Mormon missionaries when they ask if I’m religious).

But having the title of “the great” means something extra than sainthood, doesn’t it?

Of course, this is difficult b/c “the great” title has no requirements, no set guidelines. This can be a big deal, as often the rules determine the result (for example: the importance you attach to Superbowl wins affects whether you think Manning or Brady is superior. of course this question is irrelevant b/c Brees is better than both of them but I digress).

Adding further difficulty is determining how significant this scandal is. While I’m sure this has profoundly affected those who have suffered from child abuse, I’m not sure if this will be a big deal thirty, fifty, a hundred years down the road. Right now of course it seems huge but how many people will be aware of it in the coming generations?

For JPII to not be determined great, it would have to be that the sex abuse scandal made enough of a dent in his legacy. This is not a minor feat, as JPII deserves significant credit for stabilizing the Church following Vatican II (setting the stage for the current traditonalist revival), excellent contributions to theology (including Fides et Ratio and Theology of the Body), an excellent charismatic approach that changed the nature of the papacy, and-oh yeah-helping to peacefully bring down the Soviet Union.

I tend to think that in the end, he will be deemed great though for the moment I hesitate to use the term. In the end, I think this storm will pass and we’ll be left with the memories of a great man with great accomplishments. But I think it’s possible that in reflecting on the failures of JPII’s papacy that perhaps we’ll choose not to use the term, and that’s not a possibility many were entertaining 5 years ago when JPII came into eternal life.

I would really like to know how other people are approaching this problem. Please leave comments.

Of course, one has to think that if Benedict is doing better than JPII, and JPII is “the great”, ought perhaps Benedict be up for the term? Food for thought.

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27 Responses to Is John Paul II still great?

  • On one point I agree with Douthat is that JP2 overlooked liturgical abuse. Even to the point of participating in it himself “hoping” that his example would lead others to change, but alas we’ve seen how this has failed miserably.

    Thank goodness for Pope Benedict!

  • The failure to adequately address the sex abuse scandal was the great failing of the JPII papacy.

    Yet I came into the Church in 2004 – just after the height of the scandal in the U.S. in 2002. Not only was the Church’s poor handling of the crisis NOT an impediment to me, but I have my doubts that I would be here but for JPII. I had loved John Paul and considered him “the Great” for well over 20 years before I ever entered the Church.

    I think there can be no doubt to anyone who saw the entirety of JPII’s papacy and witnessed his compelling presence on the world stage – his contribution to the fall of Eastern European communism, alone, in my view, merits the sobriquet “the Great” – that such a title is apt.

  • Jay:

    You actually touch on a problem I have in evaluating this: when I really came into the faith (although I was a cradle Catholic) Benedict was pope, not JPII. So it’s hard for me to really evaluate his papacy like most others can.

  • I have to say that my love for JPII was the sort of love that one might feel for the “great man” like George Washington or Abe Lincoln. It’s not so much a personal attachment as it is an admiration for someone who is much larger than just himself. I think many people of different faiths and no faiths recognized that in JPII, and this is part of why I believe “the Great” is applicable.

    That said, the love I feel for Benedict is a much more personalized love, like one might have for a kindly old grandfather or a favorite uncle. He might not be a “great” man, but, more importantly, he is a “good” man. And that is why I am so angered by these unfair attacks upon his character.

  • “So the high-flying John Paul let scandals spread beneath his feet, and the uncharismatic Ratzinger was left to clean them up.”

    +

    “[Pope Benedict] might not be a “great” man, but, more importantly, he is a “good” man. And that is why I am so angered by these unfair attacks upon his character.”

    =

    Exactly.

  • This is why it should take decades, if not centuries to determine canonization… you need the hindsight of history, the unfolding of events and calm nerves to soberly assess these matters…

  • Anthiny:

    true. Now, I’m ok w/ Mother Teresa & JPII getting accelerated b/c I think that it’s pretty obvious that their spirituality & their following are more than enough. But for most saints, waiting a while is a good thing and it’s done for the reasons you point out.

    That said, I still want to see Sheen canonized soon, preferably yesterday.

  • I think the problem is it is John Paul the II versus Benedict. It was not till Benedict read all those scope of the problem. At this stage John Paul the II was entering the last stages of his life. Thought the Pope had some judgment lapses after (again lets face it he was again in bad shape) it does appear he backed Ratzinger on taking control. So it is perhaps a tad unfair of making it just Ratzinger versu John Paul the II

    However what about PAUL THE VI. The exahustive John Jay report shows these incidents of abuse peaked in 79 and we start seeing a dramtic fall after 84

    In fact new cases that are not decades old have been old are rare. I think there just 6 reported credible(it could have happened) allegations last year.

    John Paul the II and his reforms and the Bishops he put in(they were not all bad) I think hasto be looked at here. It is apparent that a good bit of this occured even before JOhn Paul the II got on though by reading media reports one would miss that fact.

    So I would say the failure of this mostly applies to Bishops and others that were supervising the Seminaries and their Priest from a much earlier period.

    Not to absolve John Paul the II from bad adminstrative skills in this regard. Yet to be honest it appears this was born under a lot leadership before he came on board in Rome

  • I made a passing comment about a week ago on this site about how I didn’t like the designation “the Great” used for JP2. I’m grateful that someone took up the subject in an article.

    There is a tendency to overdramatize the times that a person lives in. (I suspect we do that more today, but saying that may be an example of overdramatizing things.) The Church has to be careful not to do that, because Her majesty and holiness are more apparent when viewed across history. I think the Church has to be sparing with its praise of our contemporaries.

    There have been seven people, if I remember correctly, that the Church has regularly labelled “the Great”. Among popes, Leo, Gregory, and Nicholas; the remainder are Doctors and/or Fathers of the Church. You could pack a church with stained glass and statues of great but not Great saints: Augustine, Benedict, Joan of Arc, and Ignatius of Loyola are among the Church’s “also-rans”.

    What did John Paul do that made him a “Great”? Was his theology head-and-shoulders better than Theresa of Avila and Francis of Asissi? Did he really influence history more than Athanasius? Pius V, now there was a man who influenced history, defended the liturgy, fought heresy, and honored the rosary. John Paul II may have defeated communism without firing a shot, but he also did it without saving a soul – where is the blossoming of Catholicism in eastern Europe, outside of Poland?

    That’s my argument without mentioning Father Maciel. The fact is that John Paul hasn’t even been canonized yet. It’s impious to list him as great among the saints, and imprudent to do so with any saint without decades of reflection.

  • To the thought of the title “The Great” – in which direction would the Church have gone without him? I believe God knows what he is doing. he put the right person in as Pope at the right time. I am glad he has his short-comings – he is human after all. I don’t then Cardinal Ratzinger minded his role in that all too much.

    So yes I believe “The Great” fits in relation to JPII.

  • That said, I still want to see Sheen canonized soon, preferably yesterday.

    I have a friend who studied Sheen extensively for his license thesis; fwiw, as he progressed in his studies, he became less convinced that Sheen should be canonized. It’s not that Sheen wasn’t an excellent catechist or person; just that he had some well known faults and lifestyle choices (vanity and a taste for the finer things in life) that aren’t typically associated with sainthood. I’m not trying to trash Bishop Sheen. I have great affection for G.K. Chesterton, but I’m not sure he is an ideal candidate for canonization either.

    As for Benedict and John Paul II, John Paul II was a great man and a saint from everything I’ve read. I think the same of Benedict. It must be said, however, that John Paul II had many failings as an administrator, most notably a tendency to trust that his suboordinates and people like Fr. Maciel were as virtuous as he was. In some cases that faith was rewarded (the elevation of Joseph Ratzinger comes to mind), but in other cases the results were disastrous. Pathological liars, it seems, can deceive even (and, one fears, especially) the saints.

  • Both popes are great and good men, and we are extraordinarly fortunate to have had them (and may Benedict have many more years).

    Yet they are men, and Ross Douthat is right that John Paul was, by some measures, a poor administrator. Even so….to be a Polish Catholic leader in the 20th Century was to be overwhelmed by evil, and to have been overwhelmed by the courage of hero-priests. I expect this was his bias in the relationship, for example, to the disgraced Father Marcel.

  • Marriage suffered under JPII as he supervised the new Canon Law which was changed to ignore the crime that adultery is. Under his watch annulments have been excouraged to the point of making marriage vows impossible to make that are binding under the scrutity of “inventive” canonists. Crimes against marriage by clergy and laity involved in the “annulment process” are rampant yet go unpunished, even when the documentation sits in the hands of the Catholic Church. He was well aware of abuses but did nothing to address them or to empower those whose marriage were laid to waste to seek justice.

    JPII is not and was not great. His case for canonization should be ended, permanently, and such a declaration should be made public. I was thrilled, as a man of Polish ancestry, when he was elected. But, as time progressed and Catholicism disintigrated I became more and more disenchanted with him.

    If Benedict does not address the abuses of marriage with accountability, he should be forgotten, as I hope JPII will be. It is that important.

    I await his growing into his job. He seems to be an improvement but only marginally so. He still talks a much better case than he acts, at least regarding marriage.

    I do not mean to say that either of these men are not
    “good” men. They just did/do not do enough to hold those men, especially among the clergy, who are not “good” men to account or to allow laity to defend themselves against these abusers. This should be especially true in nullity proceedings.

    What I experienced should cost many priests and some bishops laicization and perhaps worse. It remains disgusting that the current bishops accept and encourage adultery through their priests, even in the face of accusations from a person who defended their marriage and who is watching it. Benedict knows what is going on and leaves these men in their sees. By doing so, he IS part of the corruption regarding the destruction of marriage. He may not know the details of a specific case or accusation, but he knows such are made and he has made NO EFFORT to reach out to those of us who can name names. This is more than porr management. This is a choice he is making and one he is making very, very wrong.

  • Father Z weighs in !!!

    Is Benedict XVI a “better Pope” than John Paul II? A couple views and then Fr. Z really rants.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/04/is-benedict-xvi-a-better-pope-than-john-paul-ii-a-couple-views-and-then-fr-z-really-rants/

  • Jh:

    Thanks for the Fr. Z link. Fr. Z knows more about Vatican workings than Douthat does. I also agree with his diagnosis of that “update” on Dreher’s column ( I think there’s something personal; the guy’s columns are soaked with a desire to return to the Church).

  • I’ve corresponded with Dreher before via e-mail about some of this before. My take is that he is a good man who investigated the 2002 abuse cases to the point that he couldn’t look at the Church anymore without seeing the scandals; at that point he had to leave in orer to save his spiritual life. There are many victims of the abuse scandals – those abused and those scandalized – they all deserve our prayers.

  • Well, anyone who played as large a role in the fall of the Soviet Empire as John Paul II did is I think fully deserving of the title of Great.

    His constant stress of the Culture of Life as opposed to the Culuture of Death is a message truly made for our time.

    He helped restore the morale of Catholics worldwide that was badly shaken after the chaos that ensued after Vatican II.

    His globe trotting was completely necessary as he used the force of his own outsized personality to help rally the faithful.

    He put an end to much of the chaos in the Church.

    He used the papacy, which he found in a very weakened state, as a huge megaphone to preach Christ to the world.

    His papacy I think was easily the most consequential one of the last century, and to fully judge him and the impact of his papacy we will need two or three centuries distance. His mistakes, and he made them, I think will be dwarfed by the long term impact of his successes.

  • What Donald said….

  • At this point in history, people who admire him as a hero, even for religious reasons, are free to label him “the Great.” Me, I like Wayne Gretzky.

    I’m not sure what to make of turning the 21st century Chair of Peter into a popularity contest. The real issues at hand are the credibility of the pope and bishops, and what will be done to clarify the appearance that our two contestants cared more for their clergy than for victims of predators.

    And for those who pursue this comparison, what do you suppose our heroes would say to being compared man to man in this way?

  • I’d put him in the top three of the last century. Pius X did more to fight heresy, and has been canonized. Pius XII faced a more difficult situation. I can respect John Paul II’s writings, but he was practically the only non-heretic writing at the time, and that doesn’t speak well of the Church he oversaw.

    Things like the Soviet Union rise and fall all the time, if you look at history over the long haul. But the former Soviet Union hasn’t seen a rush back to the Faith. The Church has made gains in Africa, and suffered sizable losses in South America. I just don’t see this last pontificate as having been a period of gaining souls for God. That’s a fair thing to consider in rating a pope.

  • If Benedict does not address the abuses of marriage with accountability, he should be forgotten, as I hope JPII will be. It is that important.Karl Says:
    Monday, April 12, 2010 A.D. at 3:02 pm
    True Christian speaking. Ready to throw the first stone?

  • Pinky:

    I just don’t see this last pontificate as having been a period of gaining souls for God. That’s a fair thing to consider in rating a pope.

    I don’t know about that. To quote LOTR:

    “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
    “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    To me, that last sentence is the best way to evaluate popes. JPII wasn’t the cause of the turmoil following Vatican II. He didn’t cause communism. He didn’t cause widespread materialism and secularism. But he did an amazing job fighting for souls against those forces, and preserving the church to fight in the future.

    As far as your specific claims, I disagree. Ratzinger was writing at the same time, as well as others. Just b/c many were heretics is not his fault. Again, did he do a good job combating them? W/ his writings and with the appointment of Ratzinger he did a pretty job.

    As for the Soviet Union 1) Most of the area was Orthodox, not Catholic. This makes it hard for the pope & Catholics to come into. 2) Religion was entirely wiped out. We shouldn’t underestimate the damage done by the communists. There’s a lot to rebuild (and as I said above, what was to be rebuilt was largely Orthodox).

    Perhaps the pope could have done better in hindsight, but considering the vast scope of the papacy and the tremendous gains he made in some areas I think he did very well. I don’t think many could have been handed the cup given to JPII and done better.

  • However what about PAUL THE VI. The exahustive John Jay report shows these incidents of abuse peaked in 79 and we start seeing a dramtic fall after 84

    There is a distinction between when an event occurred and when an event was reported to Church authorities. Here in New York, the statute of limitations which applies to the sexual molestation of youth was two decades ago extended to the 33d birthday of the accuser – i.e. a median of 19 years after the fact. That is exceptional in the penal law and there is a reason for that.

    One might point out that employees of the Holy See number in the low thousands. There are some 3,000 dioceses worldwide. It is not likely the manpower is there to attend to the personnel issues of each and every diocese, but don’t tell that to Rod Dreher or Ross Douthat.

    My take is that he is a good man who investigated the 2002 abuse cases to the point that he couldn’t look at the Church anymore without seeing the scandals;

    My take on it is that he is a highly emotional man who is quite incapable of suspending judgment about much of anything, has throughout the last 29 years undergone a series of affiliations and disaffiliations, and whose default mode is one of accusation. ‘Good man’, perhaps; ‘obnoxious clown’, very often. One can only hope his wife and children do not get banged up in the next of his serial midlife crises.

  • Please be accurate Piotr,

    The First and ever thrown was/is by the countless priests and bishops who continue to support the violations of tens of thousands of marriages every year by false nullities with the concurrent support for adultery and all the crimes that go along with it.

    If this truth being pointed out makes me “unchristian”, I am PROUD to wear that mantle. It is “unchristian” to hold your disgusting position.

    How dare you accuse me of throwing the first stone. You are a liar and much much worse. Where is your apology, sir?

  • Michael – Hey, you and I just disagreed, aired our sides, and ended it charitably! It really *can* happen on the internet!

  • Karl/Piotr

    No one throws stones in my threads.

    I agree with Piotr that karl is being very harsh on JPII, but I think it’s obvious that Karl has some personal experience with this that has hurt him. While I don’t want this threat to digress into a discussion on Church policy on annulments, I think we can all agree that there have been many abuses of it. As Karl points to Canon law as a source of the problem, I would ask Karl what changes in canon law he thinks would help curtail abuses in order to better guide the faithful.

    Pinky:

    Is that allowed? I may lose blogging privleges if I keep this up 😉

  • If people remember his as The Great, he ought to be called The Great. And Ratzinger was his teacher. JPII let himself be taught (however selectively :-). That does show greatness.

    He was however not as likable as The Cardinal and his cats and his writings on sacred art.

7 Responses to Ross Douthat on "a different kind of liberal"

  • An excellent column, well-researched and clearly, simply written. As I read the comments attached to it, always an exercise in frustration-building, it occurred to me that the clear cognitive dissonance that Douthat points to in positions on abortion–popular among many on the Left and even among social moderates–is something that they have learned to tune out completely in order to maintain their sanity. One of the commenters there, trotting out the oft-used logical fallacy “I find abortion abhorrent personally, but who am I to impose my views on others?”, upbraids Douthat for being “judgmental” and chiding him that only the Almighty God of judgment can judge us. Situational ethics at its worst and most illogical. No doubt those same people who wail and gnash their teeth over Douthat’s clear line of reasoning would have no trouble (nor should they, of course!) recognizing their hypocrisy if the issue at hand were slavery, as it was 150 years ago in this country.

    We have much work to do as pro-life Catholics, but the more I read the pablum that spews forth from the lips of the unthinking pro-choice crowd, the more I realize that nothing I say or do could change their minds; it is up to the grace of the Holy Spirit to change their hearts, and for that all I can do is pray.

  • It’s a perfectly fine column, but just says what we already knew about the late Mrs. Shriver and the late Senator Kennedy. And the comments tell us what we already knew about the few remaining pathetic readers of the NYT.

  • This was an excellent editorial. I am glad it is posted here.

  • Ross Douthat is the smartest young conservative writer out there, aside from Labash. Always worth a look.

  • Maybe. But something about Douthat rubs me the wrong way. Nevertheless, it’s a good piece.

    Mind you, he’s not saying anything that countless other Catholic commentators weren’t already saying. But I suppose it’s new to the readers of The New York Times, so Douthat has doubtless done a service by putting something they’d never otherwise read out there for them to see.

  • I’m with Jay – though I liked and linked to this particular article and think that Douthat puts out some nice work, I’m not fully on board with his program. I thought Party of Sam’s Club, on top of some policy disagreements, was a major disappointment. It just wasn’t a very good or really enlightening read. But he’s on the money here.

  • Of all the Kennedy siblings, perhaps Eunice was the one who really SHOULD have been the first Catholic president 😉

Ross Douthat: Not Backing Down

Monday, November 10, AD 2008

Today, regarding Kmiec (et al.):

But to claim that a candidate who seems primed to begin disbursing taxpayer dollars in support of abortion and embryo-destructive research as soon as he enters the White House somehow represented the better choice for anti-abortion Americans on anti-abortion grounds is an argument that deserves to met, not with engagement, but with contempt.

He echoes my weekend frustration.

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5 Responses to Ross Douthat: Not Backing Down

Douthat Puts Kmiec in His Place

Thursday, November 6, AD 2008

Many of us on the conservative side of the spectrum have been sounding a tad cranky the last couple days.  Still, occasionally this frustration is channeled into well deserved directions.  Commenter and fellow Steubenville alumnus FUS01 pointed me towards a great piece by Ross Douthat, part of an open discussion on the future of the GOP over on Slate.  In response to Kmiec’s now familiar comlaint that GOP pro-lifers are unrealistic in wanting to defeat Roe, and his claim that Obama is a natural for pro-life voters, Douthat dishes it out to him in a way that Kmiec richely deserves:

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20 Responses to Douthat Puts Kmiec in His Place

  • Ross nails issue big time. Not sure who is more worthy of my contempt- the anonymous McCain staffers dropping info about Sarah The Trailer Park Shopper or Kmiec The Useful Idiot. Time was that I thought Dougie was angling for some fancy gig like Deputy AG. Might well be he was ideoligically motivated to twist and turn the Church’s position on abortion like a South Philly pretzel maker. Makes him all the more pathetic. No more of his ilk in either U.S. Catholicism, Sharper More Focused More Battle Ready Pro-Life Movement, or a GOP free of impediments like the leakers, seeking a More Moderate America. Moderate- bleh. Armadillos get smushed in the middle of the road. Go back to Pepperdine, Dougie, and leave the heavy lifting to others.

  • “embarrassing shill”

    An accurate assessment of Kmiec.

  • A pretty hyperbolic diatribe. I can understand how distraught we all are, but this may have been unconstructive.

    I don’t want to be a party pooper and I certainly agree where the emotions are emanating from, but maybe we should all get this out of our system now and quickly so we can return to the issue at hand.

    Protecting the unborn, reversing Roe v Wade, ie, promoting a culture of life.

    I for one will be having a pint or two and vent with friends this weekend, after that, full steam ahead with the Pro-Life Movement!

  • Ordinarily I would agree with Tito’s sentiments. In the case of Kmiec, however, I am willing to make an exception.

  • Tito, I did not find this hyperbolic. It was accurate. In my mind, Douthat should be credited for having the courage to say what he said in a hostile forum like Slate. George Weigel, Robert George, Ramesh Ponnuru, legal scholars John Breen, and Rick Garnett have all made the same point. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Kmiec was acting deliberately in bad faith. See, for instance, Kmiec’s endorsement of the pro-choice position in this LAT op-ed:

    “Sometimes the law must simply leave space for the exercise of individual judgment, because our religious or scientific differences of opinion are for the moment too profound to be bridged collectively. When these differences are great and persistent, as they unfortunately have been on abortion, the common political ideal may consist only of that space. This does not, of course, leave the right to life undecided or unprotected. Nor for that matter does the reservation of space for individual determination usurp for Caesar the things that are God’s, or vice versa. Rather, it allows this sensitive moral decision to depend on religious freedom and the voice of God as articulated in each individual’s voluntary embrace of one of many faiths.”
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-kmiec17-2008oct17,0,2107469.story

  • I understand that the pro-life position on abortion does not command majority support in the United States and that people of good will can disagree on the subject.

    I disagree that informed and thoughtful people of intelligence and goodwill can disagree on the question of abortion, any more than they could on questions like slavery or the Nazis’ “final solution.”

    Science teaches us that human life begins at conception. Theology teaches that human life has inherent dignity and rights. Just law must take this into account.

  • Two items of context that may help:

    1) Douthat is normally such a moderate voice that hearing him put the hammer down like this is both fun and gives his words more impact than if they came from someone who was a fire breather by habbit.

    2) Kmiecs essay yesterday in the same round-table which Douthat was directly responding to was so weasley and indeed bordering on incoherant I figured he deserved it in the immediate as well as the general sense.

    That said, I do agree that wallowing in recriminations at this point would help no one but our opponents and I’ll try to avoid falling into that.

    Lord, make me irenic… But not quite yet.

  • This is a topic that is going to keep coming up, but we can be both forceful in our opposition as long as we’re fair. While hyperbolic rhetoric is not helpful, at the same time I don’t think we need to walk on eggshells every time we open our mouths or write a post or column. And as DC said above, this is pretty stark rhetoric considering the source, much as it was shocking to see Byron York – also normally reserved – really take it to McCain’s staff.

  • I agree with how we are characterizing Kmiec.

    Let’s get this out of our system, but let’s get prepared come Obama’s inauguration.

    I hope I wasn’t too harsh. It is not a reflection on anyone at all.

  • I hope I wasn’t too harsh. It is not a reflection on anyone at all.

    No prob. I think we’ve established pretty well over the last couple days that a bit of mutual criticism is fine around here. 🙂

    And I do agree with you about not wanting to become nothing but a grudge-central — though I flatter myself there’s little long term danger of it.

  • Mutual criticism is fine and welcome by me (and hopefully others).

    🙂

    I don’t want a grudge-central as well and share your sentiments et al.

  • …a bit of mutual criticism is fine around here.

    Refreshing. Nothing says you can’t be on the same team, so to speak, and have some genuine disagreement, and most importantly argue it publicly. That’s far more respectful than silently circling the wagons or just being snarky and quarrelsome to one another.

    People generally quarrel because they cannot argue. -GKC-

  • I had the same thought when I read Ross today… I’d read his initial piece (along with Manzi’s and Kmiec’s when Ross linked all of them the other day) and then saw his link today… his description of the post is as follows: “The Slate dialogue continues, and I say some very unkind things about Douglas Kmiec.”

    As DC noted, for Ross Douthat to get that strong in tone is unusual, and says something in itself.

  • Who is this Douthat guy and why does he think that people of good will can disagree on the subject of abortion?

    It has been fully resolved that if you buy abortion, you don’t have an intellectual pulse.

  • I see P. Diddy has beaten me to the punch here. The statement that leaps out is:

    “I understand that the pro-life position on abortion does not command majority support in the United States and that people of good will can disagree on the subject.”

    That’s a huge concession from Douthat isn’t it? And yet we obviously look at Robert E. Lee and other southerners before the abolition of slavery as men of good will. But right about now I don’t think at pro-choicers that way.

  • “That’s a huge concession from Douthat isn’t it?”

    Not really, unless you think that 70%-80% of the country is not only wrong, but of bad will. Presuming bad faith on the part of anyone outside the pro-life movement is counter-productive to the goal of enacting abortion restrictions. If we are going to make progress, we have to recognize that many Americans are conflicted about abortion, and continue to work to persuade them about the importance of protecting human life in the womb.

    Even limiting abortions to the first tri-mester (which would be supported by a majority of Americans) would reduce abortions by around 10% (saving roughly 100,000 lives a year). These types of modifications in the law are not the end goal, but they are worth aiming for – and in that process we need to presume good faith on the part of people in the mushy middle on abortion.

  • I’m unimpressed with a strictly numbers approach to determining whether a group is of good will. That’s part of the reason we don’t have a democracy but a representative form of gov’t. Should Germans during the Nazi regime be let off the hook?

  • “I’m unimpressed with a strictly numbers approach to determining whether a group is of good will.”

    You are free to presume bad faith; good faith and bad faith are difficult to prove, and I will certainly not try to persuade you one way or the other about a group as diverse as 70-80 Americans. Only honest discussions with people who are pro-choice will do that. As I said, however, it would be disastrous for the pro-life movement as a whole to presume bad faith. People who are not of good will cannot be convinced to support abortion restrictions, which makes argument useless. Similarly people who are of good will do not like to be addressed as if they are not. We should nearly always presume good faith rather than bad when we are trying to extend legal protection to the unborn.

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