Cardinal McCarrick and Sister Carol Keehan

Friday, June 25, AD 2010

The ever exceptional Catholic blogger Diogenes couldn’t help himself as he commented on “Sister” Carol Keehan’s reading at a Mass for retired Archbishop Theodore Cardinal McCarrick.

“Sister” Carol Keehan, who is the president of the Catholic Health Association, endorsed ObamaCare.  Thus declaring themselves in contradiction with Francis Cardinal George and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who opposed ObamaCare.

Here is Diogenes’s brilliant column:

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has devoted so much of his episcopal career to the effort to make everyone comfortable, is approaching his 80th birthday, and already the celebrations have begun.

(No, I don’t mean the celebrations of the fact that as of July 7, “Uncle Teddy” will be ineligible to vote in a papal conclave—although that’s definitely reason enough to chill the champagne.)

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11 Responses to Cardinal McCarrick and Sister Carol Keehan

  • More likely—and we’re talking dollars-to-donuts here—she was chosen as a signal that in the benign view of Cardinal Ted, we’re all still friends, despite our little disagreements on subjects such as whether or not babies should be dismembered in the womb.

    So, basically, Diogenes lied, and Tito reinforces the slander. Got it. Tito will probably next say “you slander me.” I am used to it. It’s his response when people call him out.

    CHA and Sister Keehan do not think babies should be dismembered in the womb. As long as you continue with this misrepresentation, all you get is proof of your own ill will.

  • Henry K.,

    You wonder why you are placed on moderation?

    It’s because of your unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks on many of the columnists here at TAC.

    “Sister” Keehan is clearly going against Church teaching as she gleefully accepts a pen from President Obama in celebrating the murders of millions more innocent children.

  • Tito,

    Not only is she a sister, she didn’t celebrate the murders of millions… nor did Obama. And you talk about “unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks…”

  • Henry K.,

    She pushed hard, using the Catholic Health Association, to help pass ObamaCare.

    ObamaCare will fund millions of abortions.

    Your comments are bizarre and without basis.

  • She pushed hard to get health care reform. She believed that the reform bill will not fund more abortions. Therefore, she is not celebrating the death of more children.

    Now show us where it funds abortions which were not already being funded by the government.

  • Henry K.,

    She has reached the age of reason.

    She has received a fine education in Church teachings prior to accepting final vows.

    She has purposely and consciously decided to oppose Church teaching by supporting and pushing for the death of millions of innocent unborn children.

    She was gleeful in her acceptance of one of the pens that President Obama gave her that he used to sign ObamaCare with.

    Now show us where it funds abortions which were not already being funded by the government.

    Are you trying to be funny?

  • Guys,

    Anyone who supports Obama supports a man who believes in the “right to chose”.

    Anyone who supports Obamacare supports the “right to chose”.

    Now people can use all the obfuscation and sophistry they want, but one cannot in good conscience support either Obama or Obamacare.

    I wish people would pay attention to the daily Old Testament readings this week from 2nd Kings. The people of Judah were deported to Babylon because they sacrificed their own children to Baal, Asherah, Molech and the other Canaanite gods. How different is that from Obamacare which provides health insurance coverage to murder babies in the womb?

    Yes, God IS merciful and loving, and He is about to show Obama, Sister Keehan and every other liberal democrat how merciful and loving He is towards the unborn.

  • “So, basically, Diogenes lied, and Tito reinforces the slander. Got it. Tito will probably next say “you slander me.” I am used to it. It’s his response when people call him out.”

    Mr. Karlson,

    Back it up. You made the accusation. Provide proof. Otherwise you have nothing to offer except ad hominem.

  • Excellent, Mr. Primavera; and, of course, Mr. Edwards.

    Ancient fertility cults sacrificed first born sons (sometimes daughters, less valued) to appease the (river, rain, sun, etc.) gods and reap good harvests.

    Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of lentils. Sister Carol, Henry Karlson, et al have aided and abetted the sacrifices of 47,000,000 (and counting) unborn babies for a chimera: social justice.

    And, THEIR trump card was commented on by F. A. Hayek: “ . . . ‘social justice’ is not, as most people probably feel, an innocent expression of good will towards the less fortunate, but that it has become a dishonest insinuation that one ought to agree to a demand of some special interest which can give no real reason for it. …I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the term ‘social justice.’”

    Repent, confess, do penance, amend lives and (through personal good works) glorify God.

  • Our Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is a “Catholic”, is virulently pro-abortion,( she supported and was friends with Tiller the baby killer so IMO that says it all)and that gives one great concern when considering that she is the person who has the authority over the decision-making for the funding of the Community Health Centers.

    Here are the Bishops’ concerns:

    In the Senate bill, there is the provision that only one of the proposed multi-state plans will not cover elective abortions – all other plans (including other multi-state plans) can do so, and receive federal tax credits. This means that individuals or families in complex medical circumstances will likely be forced to choose and contribute to an insurance plan that funds abortions in order to meet their particular health needs.

    Further, the Senate bill authorizes and appropriates billions of dollars in new funding outside the scope of the appropriations bills covered by the Hyde amendment and similar provisions. As the bill is written, the new funds it appropriates over the next five years, for Community Health Centers for example (Sec. 10503), will be available by statute for elective abortions, even though the present regulations do conform to the Hyde amendment. Regulations, however, can be changed at will, unless they are governed by statute.

    Additionally, no provision in the Senate bill incorporates the longstanding and widely supported protection for conscience regarding abortion as found in the Hyde/Weldon amendment. Moreover, neither the House nor Senate bill contains meaningful conscience protection outside the abortion context. Any final bill, to be fair to all, must retain the accommodation of the full range of religious and moral objections in the provision of health insurance and services that are contained in current law, for both individuals and institutions.

  • Those Catholics who support Obama and Obamacare have their reasons. I think they are much weaker then finding justification for the Iraq War or even the folloy of equating such support with support for changing the rules of engagement in Afghanistan.

    But they will hold onto whatever straw they need.

Why is Cardinal George Silent about Abortion in the Current Health Care Bill?

Monday, January 4, AD 2010

When Cardinal George requested that pro-life Republicans vote for the Stupak amendment to the health care bill, he was shaming conservative American legislators that they need to stand up for what they claim in public.  Cardinal George discounted reasonable Republican objections  that this was just a ploy by Nancy Pelosi to get pro-life Democrats on board knowing full well that all pro-life language would be stripped in the joint chambers conference committee.

Was Cardinal George this naive to fall for this parliamentary trick?  Can we assume he isn’t this naive?

No, Cardinal George is not this naive because why would the Vatican choose him to lead a diocese?  The Vatican certainly takes its time to make wise and knowledgeable decisions don’t they?  The Holy Spirit guides them in their work, granted that this is done primarily through the teachings of the Church.  Though we can be reasonable enough knowing that the Vatican wouldn’t choose someone who is incompetent to be a shepherd to his flock.

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29 Responses to Why is Cardinal George Silent about Abortion in the Current Health Care Bill?

  • Well, this is no excuse for the Cardinal — but the Republicans who thought about not voting for Stupak were acting on a consequentialist impulse. For all they knew, Pelosi could have had the votes and by their miscalculation, a bill with Capps language could have left the chamber when it could have gone differently.

    You don’t vote “present” and leave the unborn undefended on the presumption that such a provision would be stripped from the final bill. That’s consequentialism. You vote for the provision because it is the morally right thing to do regardless of the circumstances. I agree with the Cardinal because the GOP was behaving according to a moral theory (one that they tend to follow a lot in my view) that is deeply flawed.

    The fact that the Cardinal has not used his position to make statements toward members of the opposite party is open and free for criticism.

    I just don’t think the Republican objections were reasonable — it was a strategy to fight the health care legislation by any means, to the point of compromising basic ethics.

  • Moreover the writer you cite — whose views obviously differ from my own — far from just being partisan in his presenation, which I have no qualms with per se, but it is obviously clear he has not done his homework.

    Last I checked, the USCCB has not endorsed the final passage of the health care reform legislation. Actually, the opposite is true.

  • But I do believe the GOP was right to vote against it. The Dems simply didn’t have the votes to begin with. They went against their better judgment, but got out-foxed by Cardinal George.

  • Eric,

    I know the opposite is true, but why the silence on behalf of Cardinal George?

    What will the USCCB do if the bill passes with abortion being funded by the federal government? Will they oppose that one particular premise yet hail the rest of the bill as “good” for America? Splitting the difference, but compromising their moral authority and hence cause a scandal to the whole Church?

  • Well, I will maintain my civil disagreement. I think such a position incorrectly applies natural law norms. In fact, the angered response of pro-life organizations at the news of the GOP helping a pro-life measure sink was quite appropriate.

    The Democrats did not appear to have the votes, sure. But what if for some reason they did? And we did not forsee it? Who forsaw even after the legislation passed in the House that it would survive the Senate hurdle?

    I agree entirely with Represenative Pitts who after the legislation passed, together with pro-life House Democrats and Republicans, reiterated you do not play politics with human life. The unborn should not be subjected to some consequentialist political gamble to stop legislation that one opposes. You vote for the unborn and do everything within the restraints of the moral law to stop bad legislation. I think to act otherwise amounts to moral compromise.

  • Thanks for being civil!


  • I have no idea. I’m not speaking in favor of Cardinal George. I am sometimes disheartened because I believe Republicans get a “pass” from pro-life Catholics often because of their opposition to abortion. So, I sometimes see such a thing as “finally.” On the other hand, when it stops for the other side that is problematic — we cannot have a double-standard, which is the very thing I oppose. So I am not defending the Cardinal in that regard — only in his initial criticism.

    The USCCB will surely speak out against the bill. I think they would actively in the Midterm elections advocate that Catholics be conscious of candidates’ position on that issue.

    If anything, the USCCB — if happy with the other provisions in the legislation — would only want the abortion language changed. In other words, roll back the abortion funding only.

  • wow, excellent post. Very revealing..and sad at the same time. If our Catholic leaders don’t stand up for the unborn, who will?

  • Eric,

    I’m with you on that.

    Though the USCCB has criticized the current bill in the Senate, so they deserve that recognition.

    I’m waiting to see the final outcome and see how they respond.

  • Chicago political blogger Tom Roeser has long asserted that the Archdiocese of Chicago is for all practical purposes a subsidiary of the Cook County Democratic Party (which he refers to as “The Squid”). Perhaps that would explain why Cardinal George saves his criticism for Republicans?

    Roeser is a very conservative Catholic (politically and liturgically) and I don’t always agree with everything he says, but he may be onto something here. Here is a recent post by him on this topic:

    I note that the two staunchly pro-life auxiliary bishops he names as having voted in the Republican primary are the two most often mentioned as prospective candidates for just about every episcopal vacancy that has come up in the last few years….

  • Eric,

    I agree that one can never vote for the creation or increase of abortion funding. Moral prohibitions bind, as the latin says, semper et pro semper. But must one always vote against such funding, if one can absent oneself from voting at all? Moral exhortations don’t bind the way prohibitions do. You can never steal, but you can refrain from making a contribution to the poor at times. You can never contracept, but you don’t have to be trying to get pregnant at every moment.

    You raise an important point, and I think it’s worth discussing.

  • Strategically, the Republicans should have voted against the amendmendment. However, the bill passing without the amendment would have placed them in an ethical dilemma and I can see whey they voted for it.

    My outrage is at Pelosi and the top Democrats for using the abortion issue as a bargaining tool to pass healthcare legislation. The bishops should be more outspoken about this point.

  • I don’t see the problem. The bishops opposed the House’s expansion of abortion, and the pro-life congressmen voted against it (actually, voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment which blocked it). The bishops again opposed it in the Senate, and were unsuccessful. When the final bill comes to Congress, if it increases abortion, the bishops (and, I hope, a sufficient number of congressmen) will oppose it.

    It’s not the bishops’ duty to anticipate political maneuvers. Indeed, if the bishops denounced the Stupak Amendment on the suspicion that it would be dropped in conference, that would only weaken their voices. They’ve been clear: nay on abortion coverage.

  • Where is it written that the bishops’ consciences must be represented by the USCCB? If every bishop wrote to the representatives and senators from his district and spoke to the people of his diocese, that would certainly have more effect than the words of the [arch]bishop of Chicago. As Abp. Chaput put it neatly “bishops should not be speaking to politicians. They should be speaking to their flock and the flock speaking to the politicians”.

    Cardinal George is not a sort of American pope.

    The problem, I suppose, is that our bishops have lost much of their credibility with the sheep because of the cover-ups in the sex scandals.

    As far as morality goes, it is the personal effort that counts with Our Lord, not indirect government roles. [“I gave at the office”]. Such problems are best solved locally and one by one.

  • Gabriel,

    I am pointing out he hypocrisy of Cardinal George’s actions, or non-actions.

    I don’t have any respect, nor do I recognize the legitimacy of the USCCB.

    I agree though that if the bishops would act more like ‘bishops’ rather than being someone’s friend or a Democratic Party groupie, they would gain the trust and respect of the laity and this country would be in a much better shape than it is now.

  • Lest anyone forget the USCCB sent out flyers to parishes across the country urging parishioners to oppose any healthcare plan that included abortion coverage.

    As Eric and other posters have also pointed out, the Bishops have been adamant about Stupak being included in the bill; this is as far as they have gone, and, frankly, is about as far as they can (and probably should) go, politically speaking. Questions about the intricacies of actual healthcare policy (will a public option work or not, etc.) are not “do or die” moral questions like abortion and euthanasia, but fall to the expertise of individual politicians to decide. It is best for the USCCB to remain nuetral on such matters while insisting that the allowance of any moral evil in the bill (abortions, etc.) impels a legislator to vote against it – which is exactly what they’ve been doing!

    Where is their any proof that Cardinal George is either for or against the House healthcare bill as passed? This article has nothing but speculation – where are the words of C. George himself that imply he supports the Pelosi bill? Did he ask parishioners to unconditionally support a bill that included the Stupak amendment? No. He merely asked that the lives of babies and their mothers take priority over political victories – hence the strong support for Stupak. Eric, Pinky, and Rep. Pitts are right. To vote “no” on Stupak as an amendment is to vote against the unborn – it’s placing a potential political victory ahead of the lives of the unborn.

    I have personally congratulated many people in the Chicago Archdiocese who worked with the Cardinal on this and I asked them to forward my accolades and gratitude to him. I find his actions to be heroic, not cowardly – partisan shill C. George is not, and this article is at best misinformed, at worst a calumny.

  • Andy K.,

    It’s interesting that you accuse me of speculation.

    I made a concerted effort to only report the facts, withholding my opinion.

    He was vociferous in demanding pro-life Republicans vote for the health care amendment, though he is dead silent when it gets revised in the Senate.

    And yes, you are correct, Cardinal George has been conspicuously silent about the bill.

    My speculations are reserved for the commbox. And I will only say he has continued to do nothing at all.

    And having the USCCB send out flyers is not the role of a bishop, ie, hide behind a bureaucratic organization.

    Where are our shepherds?

    Where is our Saint Ambrose?

  • Tito’s final question reminds me that we need to be *praying* for courageous bishops. Frankly, I think that’s the most effective avenue available to the vast majority of us.

  • Chris B.,

    I wish I could have said that.

    You’re right, lets pray for our bishops.

  • I’m with Eric and the Stupakites on this one. It’s hard to say what the result of trying to play it strategically would have been, but gutting the bill of a clearly-worded rejection of abortion would have been a recognized defeat for life.

  • These so-called health care bills are so horrible and anti-Christian and anti-American that abortion is not the only reason to oppose and destroy them. Since abortion is an intrinsically evil act it must be opposed no matter what political ploys are being used.

    To be in favor of these monstrosities is to discount the massive evil perpetrated by every government that has ever entered into this arena. It is foolish to think the National (oh, how I wish it were actually federal and respected subsidiarity) government we are burdened with will be any less evil.

    Cardinal George needs our prayers and it is prudential for us to ask our own bishop to condemn these bills with the politicians he shepherds. Cardinal George is one bishop he is not he bishop of the USA. The USCCB is useless organization.

  • I’m sorry, but this post is ridiculous.

    I don’t have any respect, nor do I recognize the legitimacy of the USCCB.

    OK? So? Good thing for Holy Church that Tito Edwards or Ryan Haber (me), despite all we know, aren’t heads over the Catholic Church.

    The simple fact is, as Eric pointed out, that to vote “present” on the Stupak Amendment would be a reprehensible parliamentarism worthy of our esteemed president. A rep can vote YES on Stupak and then NO on the final bill. That’s no problem, and no contradiction.

    Why hasn’t Cardinal George spoken out? I don’t know? I don’t have a bat phone to his office. Why does American Catholic seem to be so much more concerned with him than with some other bishop? What’s their deal? What has Cardinal George ever done to aid or abet abortionists? Where’s benefit of the doubt? Where’s Christian charity in interpreting others’ actions?

    Where’s a sense of deference to the men that GOD, not men, has ordained to lead his flock?

    Good grief. I’m gettin’ pretty tired of everybody knowing just how the Catholic Church should be shepherded. It’s really easy to do somebody else’s job. How armchair quarterbacks actually think they are actually helping anybody is entirely beyond me.

  • Ryan,

    Thanks for your charitable comment concerning my post.

    I have no deference to Cardinal George because he is not my shepherd, Cardinal DiNardo and Pope Benedict are my shepherds, but I do have deference to him as a leader of the flock. I hope he understands what his actions look like when he speaks out. He seems more as a vibrant supporter of health care as an ardent Democrat rather than a Catholic concerned for the well being of his flock.

    Plus Cardinal George spoke up, the only one of all the bishops that said anything to cajole the GOP to vote for the Stupak amendment.

    God bless you my brother in Christ,


  • withouthaving seen,

    I guess avoiding parlimentarianism is good if the Supak language stays in the final version. The way the bill is being dealt with now I wouldn’t be so sure. And who’s to say that legislation down the road won’t put it in.

    As far as shepharding is concerned, teaching moral principles is properly the role of the bishops, applying it to the world is the proper domain of the laity. I think some criticism of the USCCB and, possibly, Cardinal George is warranted.

  • Lol, Tito, it doesn’t matter if he were the bishop of Timbuktu, he’d still be successor to an apostle and worthy of the respect of the likes me and you!

    I know that Cardinal George, much like the Church in general, gets trashed by all sides. That, in my opinion, wins him the benefit of the doubt from me.

    To clarify, when I wrote “this post is ridiculous,” I did not mean your comment in particular, Tito, but rather the initial article and the whole thread of follow-ups.

    Stupak and a number of others are threatening to kill the bill altogether if they can, rather than let it pass with abortion funding. Remember, reconciliation and closed-door meetings aren’t the final step. The suits on the hill still have to vote again and both houses have to pass it, and I see no reason why it will be a perfunctory vote in the House of Reps, where the Democrat coalition is shaky, to put it mildly.


    The USSCB might very well need criticism, as might H.E. Francis Card. George. I know far less about their affairs than they do, and if I knew as much, I still would have a hard time seeing how Christ has ordained me to criticize his ordained ministers.

    Ryan Haber
    Kensington, Maryland

  • Ryan,

    Thanks for the clarification 🙂

    I was careful to point out what Cardinal George did in the post without offering an opinion.

    I placed my opinion only in the commbox because I still don’t know where Cardinal George’s heart is. Is it with the Democratic Party or is it in the Bride of Christ?

  • withouthavingseen,

    Criticize in a constructive way as the non-ordained Catherine of Sienna did the Avignon pope. Truth is truth. The laity has a better sense of the secular order. If there is a problem that the laity discerns in the prudential judgments of the clergy as relates to the secular order, they are within their licit Catholic rights to criticize those prudential judgments of clergy.

  • Thank you for this good commentary. I have been contemplating some of these questions, too. I have written to my Bishop and the USCCB, but there is only silence. Our Parish has sent out a FAX to all the Bishops with our concerns of the health care reform. To my knowledge, only one Bishop responded to the Fax. I have pondered why there is only a handful of bishops who have spoken on the the Church’s teachings of subsidiarity in regards to the health care bill and government take-over. The Stupak Amendment is not 100% pro-life and there is more than abortions which is very troubling in the House and the Senate health care bills. Should not the Bishops be concerned with all the life issues in the health care reform i.e. abortions, euthanasia, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, rationing, sterilization, teen clinics run by planned parenthood, contraceptions, cloning, or any injustice? Certainly, health care can be improved, but it does not require a government take over with individual mandates and loss of freedoms. Any health care reform should do no harm before doing any good. With all the haste, bribery and lack of transparency, I would certainly think this 2000 page plus health care reform is to be avoided. September 2009 I went to a town-hall meeting and my Congressman said this was not about health care but about government take-over and control. I believe he is right.

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Analyzing Bishop Morlinos Chastizement of Catholics Critical of the Funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy

Thursday, September 10, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 1:08pm CDT on AD 9-10-2009]

Michael Voris, S.T.B., breaks down Bishop Morlino’s chastizement of those Catholics that were scandalized by Ted Kennedy’s funeral Mass. has the following commentary by Patrick B. Craine and John-Henry Westen concerning the very same issue of Bishop Morlino chastizing Catholics critical of the pomp and ceremony bestowed upon the abortion advocate Ted Kennedy during the funeral Mass.

Bishop of Madison, Robert C. Morlino, expressed his support for the Kennedy funeral in a column last Thursday, basing his approval on the claim that the funeral was celebrated “in a subdued fashion,” and that this “low key” approach was appropriate due to the Senator’s support for abortion and other issues.

. . .

“All of this is leading me up to the expression of my contentment with how our Church, in a subdued fashion, celebrated the Rites of Christian Burial for Senator Kennedy,” he said. “The proclamation of God’s Mercy was powerful, the prayer for forgiveness of his past sins was clearly offered, and all of this in a subdued way because of his long-standing and public holding of pro-abortion and other stances which have been a scandal in the literal sense.”

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27 Responses to Analyzing Bishop Morlinos Chastizement of Catholics Critical of the Funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy

  • Well, It’s a good thing the Pope appointed Raymond Arroyo and LifeSiteNews to critique the bishops! What would we do without lay people to evaluate episcopal decisions?

  • Also, why do you spell his name “Morlino” (correctly) sometimes and “Marlino” other times?

  • Zak, are you willing to admit there were problems with the funeral service?

    I don’t have a problem with him being given a funeral Mass, but it’s pretty obvious Bishop Morlino has a nigh-unto-unique definition of the word “subdued.”

  • I don’t know Dale. I’m expecting a couple of Cardinals to attend my funeral and internment. 🙂

  • Things were not as I would have done them, but I agree with Morlino’s writing about the conduct of many who are criticizing. I would also note that Morlino is among the most outspoken bishops in the country on pro-life and other bioethical issues. I think we laypeople should focus more on how we can transform the world through our faith, and less on ecclesial matters like how liturgies are conducted or who should receive communion, though I am quite conservative in my liturgical preferences. Leave such matters for bishops and canon lawyers.

  • Fine, but just for hypothetical reasons, why did a Cardinal need to preside at the funeral and internment?

  • I think Carl Olson provides some perspective on the selective outrage aimed at those who were scandalized as opposed to those who caused the scandal:

    Within a week of Kennedy’s funeral, those making offensive and inappropriate statements of his eternal destination are being called on the carpet for their objectively sinful actions. Fair enough. My question is this: how long after Ted Kennedy made it known in the 1970s that he was going to publicly support abortion (and, later, other evils), was he called on the carpet by bishops or priests for his objectively sinful actions? How often throughout his public career was he publicly confronted and chastised for his support of abortion, contraceptives, “same-sex marriage,” embryonic stem cell research, and so forth? And why does Bishop Morlino only use the word “sin/sinful” regarding those comments, but never in referring to Kennedy’s many public actions and positions? Is it really so hard to call a spade a spade?

    Once again, it’s interesting how easy it is to chastise pro-life Catholic bloggers for being “vicious” and “bullying” and “sowing seeds of hatred” and being “agents of destruction and violence”, but how hard it is to state the facts about Sen. Kennedy’s public record. I suppose it was Kennedy’s good fortune that he was never a pro-life Catholic blogger, otherwise he might have had to face public criticism from Catholic clergy.

  • “Things were not as I would have done them”–OK. A bit too de gustibus, but fine. Which things?

    Philip: Yeah, I’m just hoping my parish priest isn’t too ticked off, myself. 😉

    In all seriousness, I don’t have a problem with Cardinal O’Malley presiding, either. What sticks in my craw was that it turned into a de facto canonization process–in my less charitable moments, and yes, I have many, Tedapalooza. Instead of a celebration of the hope of Christian resurrection, we had a celebration of the deceased–a man who lived at very public odds with the Church, to boot. The clerical plaudits for the man should stir universal unease in Catholics regardless of political loyalties.

    The failure of both Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Morlino and those in the same camp to admit to the serious scandal caused by the way the funeral *was handled* (as opposed to *the granting* of a Catholic funeral to the deceased) is telling and doesn’t bode well for the future.

    Not only do we have the right to protest how the Mass was handled, we have a duty to do so. Charitably, and Bishop Morlino is right to call for that. But no less a duty for that.

  • I might take a somewhat different approach. Zack notes that liturgy is for clerics. Fine. It is. So let them make their choices. But politics is for the laity. And a “canonization” carries political implications. And those implications we can critique as laity.

  • Zak,

    The typos are simply that, typos.

    I like Bishop Morlino, but he certainly did whale into scandalized Catholics a bit much for my taste.

  • I don’t think there’s any chance of a literal canonization of Ted Kennedy. The point that he had fundamental character flaws and that he dissented from essential church teachings for Catholics in the public sphere and that in doing so he was supportive of and complicit in the abortions that have taken place is clear and can be made without the internecine attacks on prelates we’ve seen. They play into an anti-clerical culture that further undermines the hierarchy’s authority, marginalizing its voice further while lamenting the fact that it hasn’t managed to change our pro-abortion legal regime.

    I also think Bishop Morlino has been one of the more outspoken bishops in criticizing pro-choice politicians. Ted Kennedy and other pro-choice politicians have been criticized repeatedly by bishops through the years. It’s very selective of Mr. Olsen to suggest otherwise.

  • Zak,

    Have you ever considered the fact that many bishops in this country have de facto been derelict in their duties?

    And because of a lack of leadership, character, and charity among our many bishops the laity have been scandalized to the point that their respect for our prelates have dropped precipitously? Especially after the homosexual pedophile scandals and committing the sin of omission one too many times when it comes to the most preeminent issue of our lifetime?

  • Zak:

    While I can well have empathy with some of the remarks you’ve made concerning the anti-clerical nature that might underlie many of the criticisms made by those of the Catholic faithful themselves which these may indeed play into some undermining of the Catholic heirarchy; I believe you might yourself be losing sight of the fact that not every instance of criticism is actually anti-ecclesial pers se or do even undermine the heirarchy.

    If you were to survey many of the lives and corresponding works of the great Saints of the Church, you would find criticisms that saints such as these held and subsequently even expressed concerning clergy they sought to correct during their lifetime.

    Take for instance, Catherine of Sienna (a mere tertiary) who dared criticize even the Pope for that matter or even Thomas More (a mere layman) who did so concerning the corrupt nature of a certain of the English Catholic clergy in his days.

    Perhaps what might be more proper to discuss here is how such criticisms should be accordingly laid out, such that they do not, as you say, visciously undermine the hierarchy (especially in the public arena where anything and everything becomes twisted for the sake of mob media), but more importantly cause unjust scandal to the Church and, thereby, detracts and even deters from (or, worst, destroys) the Work that Christ is attempting to accomplish through her for the sake of the Salvation of many.

  • Tito,
    Certainly it is true that bishops have made mistakes, been negligent, or even actively done wrong at various times, particularly in relation to abusive priests. Criticizing specific acts, in those cases, is certainly permissible. Criticisms should nevertheless be voiced in a charitable manner, not with the vitriol we see spewed at people like Cardinal O’Malley, who has been unfailing in his his pro-life advocacy and who, having done so much good in restoring multiple dioceses torn apart by the scandalous episcopal behavior you decry (regarding priestly pedophilia) ought not to be attacked on that issue.

    My problem is that people think the bishops aren’t owed any respect, and they are, by virtue of their office. When someone attacks a bishop for not constantly talking abortion, as if they should all be Bishop Martino, one wonders whether they want to be members of the Catholic Church or the Anti-abortion Church. Certainly we are anti-abortion, but that isn’t the pre-eminent issue for bishops, because politics isn’t pre-eminent for bishops.

    And no group in the country has done more to advocate against abortion than the Catholic bishops. Even before Roe, no one was more outspoken. After Roe, virtually no other group in the public sphere spoke out loudly. Their leadership – in cooperation with Catholic lay people – has been tireless in establishing alternatives to abortion for pregnant women. To speak of sins of omission – it’s absurd. Even Cardinal Bernadin, faulted by so many for his ideas about the seamless garment, spoke out loudly against abortion. What the bishops did not do is embrace the notion that many right-inclined Catholics have that beyond abortion (and pay marriage and abortion), everything else is merely “prudential” and thus something where the Church has nothing to say (thankfully not a view of many of the principled Catholic conservative- and libertarian-inclined Catholics on the this site). And so they’re faulted for the scandal. The scandal is not that the bishops did not speak out. It’s that so many laypeople, both right and left, are willing to ignore them (or at least the difficult things they have to say) when they do.

  • Zak,

    not with the vitriol we see spewed at people like Cardinal O’Malley

    like Bishop Morlino, you are making unsupported, and non-specific accusations, thereby demonizing ALL of those who were critical of the Cardinal’s shameful actions in this matter.

    Be specific, what vitriol? Said by whom?

    Personally, the only vitriol I have heard is from the Cardinal and his apologizers.

    ps. Cardinal Sean (as he refers to himself) has been credibly implicated in attempting to allow Catholic healthcare institutions to be complicit in abortions…

  • e,
    What you say is true, and having a lot of reverence for St. Catherine of Sienna, I’ve puzzled about this issue a lot. I think when a bishop or priest does something explicitly and undeniably sinful, then its clear it can be criticized (Rembert Weakland’s inexcusable behavior, for example), but one should still be cautious not to adopt a pharisaical attitude. When Bishops make administrative decisions (not in the manner of faith and morals) these should be submitted to in the end, though arguments against them can be raised.

    In between those two poles, I’m not sure. I personally find much of the criticism I read (from both right and left, although with conservative sympathies, I’m more surprised and bothered by those from the right) bothersome.

    I remember when Donald wrote a piece attacking a Jesuit professor I’ve had. Now, I disagree with the Jesuit on a number of prudential matters, butI never heard him actually dissenting from Church teaching or saying anything unorthodox. The picture of him that accompanied the article in (the bad) NCR (where he had argued that a more conciliatory tone on abortion would achieve more) showed him not wearing clerical attire, which inspired a number of comments on his heterodoxy and need to be disciplined. Is this where laypeople should be focusing? Or is it a distraction from what we are truly called to? The schism St. Catherine was criticizing was indisputably a scandal and worthily condemned by her. A priest not wearing his collar, though?

    Maybe the problem is the Internet. When St. Catherine spoke out, it was in a society where she was clearly recognized as a holy woman and she thus had some authority (though not official). Here, I don’t know you from Adam. Maybe you’re similarly holy, and if I saw you speaking out on a subject, I would say, “here’s a modern day saint! I should listen as he criticizes our laxness in these days.” I lack the context in which to set people’s criticisms, so they can sound particularly harsh,because I think, “well,I’m no St. Catherine of Sienna (really, I’m not) so I won’t speak like that about a bishop.” At the same time, we feel free to say things on the Internet with a lack of charity we would rarely employ when speaking to someone’s face. St. Catherine of Sienna addressed the pope to his face. It was Martin Luther who put his criticism of the pope in the 16th century equivalent of a blog post. 🙂

  • Matt,
    I had an example where the Catholic League of Massachusetts said the funeral displayed “the corruption of the Catholic Church” or something like that, but my browser crashed when I tried to post it and I don’t feel like looking agin. There were also numerous comments throughout the blogosphere about how the Church in Boston (and O’Malley) suck up to the Kennedys for money and comparing bishops who don’t refuse communion to pro-choice politicians to Pontius Pilate. That’s far more vitriol than Bishop Morlino displays.

  • Zak,

    exactly my point. Don’t poste generalizations and characterizations, just post what was said. Please don’t bother with mentioning comments on the blogosphere, we’re talking about prominent critics not just some schmo on the internet.

    ps. If the Church in Boston (and O’Malley) aren’t sucking up for money, why exactly are they sucking up?

  • But with all due respect, we’re not just talking about prominent people – we are schmos on the Internet. We’re the people who shouldn’t be wasting our time judging whether bishops’ decisions are good or bad.

    “Shameful” “sucking up” – that language sounds self-righteous to me, and it’s exactly the tone I think should be avoided.

  • Zak,

    But with all due respect, we’re not just talking about prominent people – we are schmos on the Internet. We’re the people who shouldn’t be wasting our time judging whether bishops’ decisions are good or bad

    With all due respect (speaking of self-righteous). We are not the ones that the bishop and his apologists are attempting to demonize by their generalizations. Frankly none of the schmos on this blog or anywhere else I’ve seen have suggested he should have been denied a Catholic funeral which is the primary charge being leveled by the Cardinal et al. It’s precisely this misdirection which is so contemptible, especially when it’s used in a attempt to cover ones own shameful actions (sorry, no PC from me, I call it as I see it).

    Here is the quote you’re referring to from the “Catholic Action League” of Massechusets:
    “No rational person can reasonably be expected to take seriously Catholic opposition to abortion when a champion of the Culture of Death, who repeatedly betrayed the Faith of his baptism, is lauded and extolled by priests and prelates in a Marian basilica. This morning’s spectacle is evidence of the corruption which pervades the Catholic Church in the United States. The right to life will never be recognized by secular society if it is not first vindicated and consistently upheld within the institutions of the Church itself.”

    It seems to me that you are not denying any of my assertions or the one from CAL, just whether or not they should be asserted, is that accurate?

  • “Ted Kennedy and other pro-choice politicians have been criticized repeatedly by bishops through the years. It’s very selective of Mr. Olsen to suggest otherwise.”

    Really? In the same “sin/sinful”, “divisive”, “lacking in mercy”, etc. terms as Kennedy’s detractors were described? I’d like to see a cite for that. I’m guessing you’d be hard-pressed to find a single instance – much less “repeatedly” – of a Bishop (outside of perhaps now-retired Bishop Martino and maybe Bishop Bruskewitz) ever using similar terms to criticize Kennedy or any other “pro-choice” politician.

    And, with all due respect to Bishop Morlino, it is difficult for me to take some of those arguments the Bishop made on Kennedy’s behalf (especially (1) describing Kennedy as a “pro-life leader”, (2) about Kennedy’s meeting with dissident theologians to discuss how to fudge abortion as showing his “seriousness” as a Catholic, and (3) the comment about the “subdued” nature of his funerally) as anything other than spin.

    Bishop Morlino gives Kennedy every benefit of the doubt, while assuming the absolute worst about the pro-lifers who were scandalized by Kennedy’s pro-abortion advocacy.

  • Zak:

    I can see where you are coming from, in spite of certain particulars that I would happen to disagree with.

    For instance, I feel that on the one hand, you make a valid point concerning how malicious certain criticisms of various ecclesiastics can be so as to ultimately undermine their very authority as such and even that of the Church itself.

    However, on the other, there are certain matters so pressing (such as those that carry with them not only rightful ecclesial responsibility but also Christian moral duty as well) that should any such member of the Church be found derelict in their duty, both as clergy as well as fellow Catholic, then criticism as concerning their failure to live up to these in such matters is most likely well deserved and, indeed, even necessary.

    Yet, I can feel for what you’re saying.

    I believe, likewise, that there is also a responsibility on the part of the critic himself wherein they should do so in such appropriate measure so as to not undermine not only the authority that clergy (mind you, the distinction being the authority that person carries with him as opposed to the person himself) but, more significantly, the Church itself.

    To put the matter more plainly, we should not be in the business of supplying our enemies with ammunition that they can use against us.

    Unfortunately, as even Sir Thomas More himself would learn later in life:

    et inimici hominis domestici eius.” — Mt 10:36

  • My with “all due respect” was facetious, because I was calling both of us schmos. It was not self righteous.

    I do deny that Kennedy’s funeral suggests that the church is corrupt. I deny that the silly aspects of it like the prayers of the faithful suggest that. I deny that O’Malley’s presence at it suggests that. I deny that anyone can credibly claim that the Church doesn’t care abortion because Ted Kennedy got a funeral.

    Morlino was one of the loudest bishops in criticizing Biden and Pelosi last year. He doesn’t assume the worst about pro-lifers. He says that those who would wish Kennedy in hell, and those who spend their time owrrying about whether he’s there, are sinning. It’s a pastoral caution. Just as when he wrote that Catholics who voted against conscience protections in a Wisconsin law on emergency contraception were sinning.

  • Zak,

    My with “all due respect” was facetious, because I was calling both of us schmos. It was not self righteous.

    Sorry for missing that. I will accept the mantle of “schmo”.

    I do deny that Kennedy’s funeral suggests that the church is corrupt. I deny that the silly aspects of it like the prayers of the faithful suggest that. I deny that O’Malley’s presence at it suggests that.

    If those don’t suggest corruption, do they suggest health??? Deny all you want, it changes nothing.

    1. the act of corrupting or state of being corrupt.
    2. moral perversion; depravity.
    3. perversion of integrity.
    4. corrupt or dishonest proceedings.
    5. bribery.
    6. debasement or alteration, as of language or a text.

    7. a debased form of a word.
    8. putrefactive decay; rottenness.
    9. any corrupting influence or agency.

    I think the definitions highlighted could be reasonably applied to the American Church as an institution, especially if we look at it’s official body the USCCB, and many of the diocesan organizations and clergy.

    I think we could not say that it is wholly corrupt, as there are a substantial minority of shining lights.

    I deny that anyone can credibly claim that the Church doesn’t care abortion because Ted Kennedy got a funeral.

    I’ll say this louder, because you missed it earlier. NOBODY IS SAYING GIVING HIM A FUNERAL IS THE PROBLEM, IT’S THE NATURE OF THE FUNERAL. That said, none of the Catholic critics are saying that the Church doesn’t care about abortion, we’re saying that the actions of the American Church SUGGEST that. I believe the truth is that much of the American hierarchy (lay and clerical) cares less about abortion than they do about certain leftist issues, and that appears to include the Cardinal of Boston, and the retired Cardinal of DC.

    Morlino was one of the loudest bishops in criticizing Biden and Pelosi last year. He doesn’t assume the worst about pro-lifers. He says that those who would wish Kennedy in hell, and those who spend their time owrrying about whether he’s there, are sinning. It’s a pastoral caution. Just as when he wrote that Catholics who voted against conscience protections in a Wisconsin law on emergency contraception were sinning.

    Good for him last year, but now he’s circling the wagons with his brother bishop, thus lending credibility to the shameful action, and furthermore by his generalized criticism (quite clearly not pastoral) he is slandering the legitimate objectors.

  • There are two points to make here.
    1) The Bishops pick and choose what parts of our doctrine certain people will get to follow.
    This is consistent through the Church Crisis these past few years in how they have “pastorally reached out” to these sinners.
    2) By Baptism alone this man has a right to be buried a catholic. He will have his day of judgement. I can’t place myself in the place of God.
    What I can say is this: The US Catholic church is having an even greater crisis within itself. We allow these people to receive the blessed sacrament. We allow our institutions of higher learning to give face time to our children at graduation. We allow what ever is non confrontational.
    May God have mercy on us all.

  • This guy has great hair! He’s much pretty than Bishop Morlino, too.

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