Digest of Today's Posts (29 February 2008)
(Digest of Yesterday's Posts (28 February 2008))
Labels: Digest of Posts
Labels: Digest of Posts
Deal Hudson writes at InsideCatholic:
After nearly thirty-six hours of escalating criticism from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, Sen. John McCain issued a press release late this afternoon:My Comments:"Yesterday, Pastor John Hagee endorsed my candidacy for president in San Antonio, Texas. However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not.For McCain to make this admission on the eve of the Texas primary shows his determination to reach out to Catholic voters -- that he got himself into this situation in the first place, well, it didn't need to happen.
"I am hopeful that Catholics, Protestants and all people of faith who share my vision for the future of America will respond to our message of defending innocent life, traditional marriage, and compassion for the most vulnerable in our society."
Gov. Mike Huckabee had already received torrents of criticism for speaking at Pastor Hagee's church several months ago -- anyone following the primary campaign would have seen at least some mention of it.
That McCain would fall into the same trap, when he has the nomination virtually won and is already preparing for the general election, is, and it has to be said, simply a campaign mistake. (I understand the adjustments have already been made inside campaign headquarters so that there will be no repeat offenses toward Catholic voters.)
I think it is a certainty that the McCain campaign has learned a lesson about Catholics.
Bill Donohue, in his response to the McCain press release, accepts McCain at his word but wishes he had gone as far in his repudiation of anti-Catholic bias as George W. Bush in letter to Cardinal O'Connor in the 2000 campaign.
It is not without irony that Bush's apology to Catholics was necessitated by the McCain campaign's pointing out the anti-Catholic statements it found buried in the web site of Bob Jones University where Bush had appeared.
In calls made to Michigan voters McCain's campaign personnel said that Bush "stayed silent [about] anti-Catholic bigotry...[while] seeking the support of Southern fundamentalists."
(Hat tip: Pro Ecclesia reader and frequent commenter, PB)
About 25 Roman Catholics sat around a crackling fire in Monclova Township last night for casual conversation about Barack Obama, his presidential candidacy, and what he plans if he becomes president.(emphasis and editorial commentary added)
One of them happened to be Victoria Reggie Kennedy, wife of U.S. Sen. Edward ''Ted'' [ED.: "The Swimmer"] Kennedy (D., Mass.). Another was former U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer (D., Ind.), who was a member of the 9/11 Commission.
Both spoke of their faith and their support for Mr. Obama. For more than an hour, they and the guests - including a teacher, a person who works in health care, a priest, and religious sisters - discussed social justice; war and peace; gun violence and poverty; immigration; education and vouchers for nonpublic schools.
"Teddy said, 'I'm waiting to see who inspires me,'" she recalled. "Suddenly out of Iowa is this man, Barack Obama." [ED.: What good thing can come "out of Iowa"? Behold, the man.]
Last month, Senator Kennedy endorsed Mr. Obama at a rally in Washington.
"There's something happening out there, and it's exciting to be a part of it," Mrs. Kennedy said. "I know Senator Obama grew up with the values that I grew up with and that I know you grew up with." [ED.: And what values would those be? Abortion on demand? Infanticide? Euthanasia? Same-sex "marriage" and talking to your 6-year-old about that particular subject?]
The gathering is part of the efforts of the Obama campaign to reach out to communities of faith. Mrs. Kennedy and Mr. Roemer will be with Catholics in Cleveland today for a similar event.
Mr. Roemer, who described himself as a "pro-life Democrat," said Mr. Obama would approach the issue with the goal of reducing the number of abortions, "not talk about it, not use it as a wedge issue." [ED.: You mean like he did here and here when he evoked fear of what might happen should Roe be overturned in order to appeal to Planned Parenthood for their support?]
He said Mr. Obama speaks to the dignity of life when he addresses such concerns as health care, and "those are exactly the things we talk about in our faith." [ED.: You mean like Obama's proposed government-run health care program that will pay for abortions? And, after Obama signs the "Freedom of Choice Act" into law - thereby overturning any current restrictions on abortion, will pay for partial-birth abortions, as well?]
Lane Core writes:
Buckley died on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Requiescat in pace.Also, see Mark Stricherz' entry on WFB at GetReligion titled "Buckley wasn’t a 'conservative Catholic' ", and Ramesh Ponnuru's response thereto and the subsequent commentary.
Since the controversy is, for the obvious reason, of current interest among Catholic bloggers, I will briefly recite some pertinent facts — known, demonstrable facts — which will probably only make sense to those who are already interested in the controversy:
No issue of Buckley's National Review was covered by "Mater si, Magistra no". No issue of Buckley's National Review contained an editorial or article entitled or espousing "Mater si, Magistra no". Buckley himself neither stated nor defended the proposition "Mater si, Magistra no". According to Buckley himself, just a few years ago, the following had actually been a quip by Garry Wills: Going the rounds in Catholic conservative circles: "Mater si, Magistra no". Buckley himself insisted that his publication neither criticized the substance, nor denied the intrinsic merit, of Mater et magistra.
Any claims contrary to the above are simply false. Having never watched Fireline, and having never read any of Buckley's books, I have no dog in this hunt but merely want to set the record straight.
See "Mater si, Magistra no"? and "Mater si, Magistra no"? Revisited.
See also Mater et magistra.
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus writes at First Things on the Establishment Clause mess wrought by Justice Hugo Black:
... The first freedom of the First Amendment reads like this: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Those sixteen words were subject to only modest debate or litigation until the 1947 Everson decision when Justice Hugo Black, writing for the Court majority, discovered that they mean that “neither a state nor the Federal Government . . . can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another.” This came as a great surprise to students of American history. In his magisterial 2004 study, Separation of Church and State, Columbia law professor Philip Hamburger underscored the ways in which Black’s long-standing animus toward Catholicism led him to turn the Religion Clause on its head. Dr. Nussbaum’s book is a determined defense of Black’s stratagem.(emphasis added)
In discussions of the Religion Clause, it is common practice to speak of an Establishment Clause and a Free Exercise Clause. In fact, however, both grammatically and in intent, there is one clause with two provisions—no establishment and free exercise. The first provision is in the service of the second. That is to say, the reason the government must not establish a religion is that having an established religion would prejudice the free exercise of religion by those who do not belong to the established religion. Since Everson, however, and as numerous scholars have pointed out, the end of the Religion Clause, i.e., free exercise, has been subordinated to the means, i.e., no establishment. The result is that “the separation of church and state” (a phrase of Jefferson’s that is not in the Constitution) has come to mean that wherever government advances religion must retreat.
There is a school of constitutional law that holds that the entire fuss over the Religion Clause is misbegotten. The Founders intended nothing more, in this view, than to assure the states that the federal government would not interfere with the several state establishments of religion that existed at the time. The last state establishment (Massachusetts) was dismantled in 1833, so that’s that, and the Religion Clause is no more than a historical artifact. This view is charmingly straightforward, but Nussbaum does not address it, and just as well, for, like it or not, the Religion Clause has, since Everson, been deeply and confusedly entangled in our law and politics.
It is hard to find a constitutional scholar today who does not agree, with greater or lesser dismay, that Religion Clause jurisprudence since Everson is an incoherent mess. At one point, the Supreme Court decreed that the Constitution allowed the government to provide maps but not books for parochial schools. To which the late senator Patrick Moynihan quipped, “What about atlases?” ...
There will be more about William F. Buckley Jr. in the forthcoming issue of First Things. I was privileged to count him as a friend for the last quarter century, and the two of us last had lunch together at his Stamford, Connecticut, home in December. He was getting ready to leave for Florida to write a book on Ronald Reagan, for which he had a January 20 deadline. He doubted he would get it done. The emphysema was the big problem and he had to keep an oxygen kit ready at hand. Norman Mailer had died a few weeks earlier and that prompted conversation about fame, life as a performance, and the fittingness of mortality. In the last two years, Bill had been preparing himself for death, and more intensely since losing Pat in April 2007. He thought he had pretty much done what he was put here to do. We talked by phone while he was in Florida. The book was not going well. In the last two days, much has been written about what he accomplished, and much more will be written. Bill Buckley was a man of almost inexhaustible curiosity, courtesy, generosity, and delight in the oddness of the human circumstance. He exulted in displaying his many talents, which was not pride so much as an invitation to others to share his amazement at the possibilities in being fully alive. He was also, in and through everything, a man of quietly solid Christian faith. I am among innumerable others whose lives are fuller by virtue of the gift of his friendship. May choirs of angels greet him on the far side of Jordan.
Psalm on Detachment
Give me thy grace, good Lord:
To set the world at nought;
To set my mind fast upon thee,
And not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths;
To be content to be solitary,
Not to long for worldly company;
Little and little utterly to cast off the world,
And rid my mind of all the business thereof;
Not to long to hear of any worldly things,
But that the hearing of worldly phantasies may be to me displeasant;
Gladly to be thinking of God,
Piteously to call for his help;
To lean unto the comfort of God,
Busily to labor to love him;
To know mine own vility and wretchedness,
To humble and meeken myself under the mighty hand of God;
To bewail my sins passed,
For the purging of them patiently to suffer adversity;
Gladly to bear my purgatory here,
To be joyful of tribulations;
To walk the narrow way that leadeth to life,
To bear the cross with Christ;
To have the last thing in remembrance,
To have ever afore mine eye my death that is ever at hand;
To make death no stranger to me,
To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of hell;
To pray for pardon before the judge come,
To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me;
For his benefits uncessantly to give him thanks,
To buy the time again that I before have lost;
To abstain from vain confabulations,
To eschew light foolish mirth and gladness;
Recreations not necessary — to cut off;
Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all, to set the loss
at right nought for the winning of Christ;
To think my most enemies my best friends,
For the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good
with their love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred.
These minds are more to be desired of every man than all the treasure
of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it
gathered and laid together all upon one heap .~ St. Thomas More, Written while imprisoned in the Tower of London, 1534
A Devout Prayer
O HOLY TRINITY, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three equal and coeternal Persons, and one Almighty God, have mercy on me, vile, abject, abominable, sinful wretch: meekly knowledging before thine High Majesty my long-continued sinful life, even from my very childhood hitherto.
In my childhood, in this point and that point, etc. After my childhood in this point and that point, and so forth by every age, etc.
Now, good gracious Lord, as thou givest me thy grace to knowledge them, so give me thy grace, not in only word but in heart also with very sorrowful contrition to repent them and utterly to forsake them. And forgive me those sins also, in which by mine own default, through evil affections and evil custom, my reason is with sensuality so blinded that I cannot discern them for sin. And illumine, good Lord, mine heart, and give me thy grace to know them, and forgive me my sins negligently forgotten, and bring them to my mind with grace to be purely confessed of them.
Glorious God, give me from henceforth thy grace, with little respect unto the world, so to set and fix firmly mine heart upon thee, that I may say with thy blessed apostle St Paul: Mundus mihi crucifixus est et ego mundo. Mihi vivere Christus est, et mori lucrum. Cupio dissolvi et esse cum Christo. [The world is crucified to me and I to the world’ (Gal. 6, 14). ‘To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Phil. 1, 21 ). ‘I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ’ (ibid. 23).]
Give me thy grace to amend my life, and to have an eye to mine end without grudge of death, which to them that die in thee, good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life.
Almighty God, Doce me facere voluntatem tuam. Fac me currere in odore unguentorum tuorum. Apprehende manum meam dexteram, et deduc me in via recta propter inimicos meos. Trahe me post te. In chamo et freno maxillas meas constringe, quum non approximo ad te. [‘Teach me to do thy will’ (Ps. 143, 10). ‘Make me to run after thee to the odour of thy ointments’ (Cant. 1, 3). ‘Take thou my right hand and guide me in the straight path because of my enemies’ (Passages from the Psalms). ‘Draw me after thee’ (Cant. 1, 3 ). ‘With bit and bridle bind fast my jaws when I come not near unto thee’ (Ps. 31, 9).]
O glorious God, all sinful fear, all sinful sorrow and pensiveness, all sinful hope, all sinful mirth, and gladness take from me. And on the other side concerning such fear, such sorrow, such heaviness, such comfort, consolation and gladness as shall be profitable for my soul: Fac mecum secundum magnam bonitatem tuam Domine. [Deal with me according to thy great goodness, O Lord’ (cf. Ps. 118, 124).]
Good Lord, give me the grace, in all my fear and agony, to have recourse to that great fear and wonderful agony that thou, my sweet Saviour, hadst at the Mount of Olivet before thy most bitter passion, and in the meditation thereof, to conceive ghostly comfort and consolation profitable for my soul.
Almighty God, take from me all vainglorious minds, all appetites of mine own praise, all envy, covetise, gluttony, sloth, and lechery, all wrathful affections, all appetite of revenging, all desire or delight of other folks’ harm, all pleasure in provoking any person to wrath and anger, all delight of exprobation or insultation against any person in their affliction and calamity.
And give me, good Lord, an humble, lowly, quiet, peaceable, patient, charitable, kind, tender, and pitiful mind, with all my works, and all my words, and all my thoughts, to have a taste of thy holy, blessed Spirit.
Give me, good Lord, a full faith, a firm hope, and a fervent charity, a love to the good Lord incomparable above the love to myself; and that I love nothing to thy displeasure, but everything in an order to thee.
Give me, good Lord, a longing to be with thee, not for the avoiding of the calamities of this wretched world, nor so much for the avoiding of the pains of purgatory, nor of the pains of hell neither, nor so much for the attaining of the joys of heaven, in respect of mine own commodity, as even for a very love to thee.
And bear me, good Lord, thy love and favour, which thing my love to theeward (were it never so great) could not but of thy great goodness deserve.
And pardon me, good Lord, that I am so bold to ask so high petitions, being so vile a sin-ful wretch, and so unworthy to attain the lowest. But yet, good Lord, such they be, as I am bounden to wish and should be nearer the effectual desire of them, if my manifold sins were not the let. From which, O glorious Trinity, vouchsafe of thy goodness to wash me, with that blessed blood that issued out of thy tender body, O sweet Saviour Christ, in the divers torments of thy most bitter passion.
Take from me, good Lord, this lukewarm fashion, or rather key-cold manner of meditation and this dullness in praying unto thee. And give me warmth, delight and quickness in thinking upon thee. And give me thy grace to long for thine holy sacraments, and specially to rejoice in the presence of thy very blessed body Sweet Saviour Christ, in the holy sacrament of the altar, and duly to thank thee for thy gracious visitation therewith, and at that high memorial, with tender compassion, to remember and consider thy most bitter passion.
Make us all, good Lord, virtually participant of that holy sacrament this day, and every day make us all lively members, sweet Saviour Christ, of thine holy mystical body, thy Catholic Church.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum.
[‘Deign, O Lord, to keep us on that day without sin. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in thee. In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me not be confounded for ever’ ( From the Te Deum ).]
V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
[‘Pray for us, O holy mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.’]
PRO AMICIS [For Friends]
ALMIGHTY GOD, have mercy on N. and N. (with special meditation and consideration of every friend, as godly affection and occasion requireth)
PRO INIMICIS [For Enemies]
ALMIGHTY GOD, have mercy on N. and N., and on all that bear me evil will, and would me harm, and their faults and mine together, by such easy, tender, merciful means, as thine infinite wisdom best can devise, vouch-safe to amend and redress, and make us saved souls in heaven together where we may ever live and love together with thee and thy blessed saints. O glorious Trinity, for the bitter passion of our sweet Saviour Christ. Amen.
Lord, give me patience in tribulation and grace in everything to conform my will to thine: that I may truly say: Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in coelo et in terra. [‘Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.’]
The things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me thy grace to labour for. Amen.~ St. Thomas More, "A Devout Prayer [before Dying]", July 1535
Labels: Digest of Posts
(Hat tip: Diocese of Toledo's Catholic Chronicle)
Washington DC, Feb 28, 2008 / 06:15 am (CNA).- On Wednesday a full transcript of Democrat presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama’s July 2007 speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in which he vigorously defended legalized abortion became available.(emphasis and editorial commentary added)
In the July 17 speech, Obama attacked the Supreme Court decision that upheld the federal partial-birth abortion ban and the nomination of Supreme Court justices who favor overturning Roe v. Wade. In the speech the senator said, "There will always be people, many of goodwill, who do not share my view on the issue of choice. On this fundamental issue, I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield." [ED.: "Post-partisan" indeed. The guy's a typical left-liberal Democrat hewing to the Democrat Party's pro-abortion orthodoxy. There is nothing about the man - apart from his flowery rhetoric that sends people who should know better into flights of fancy - that indicate that he is a "different kind of politician" bringing a "new kind of politics".]
He specifically argued against the Supreme Court decision Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld restrictions on partial-birth abortion. [ED.: Keeping with his general support for infanticide, of course. (NOTE that the late Democrat Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan referred to this procedure as "too close to infanticide".)]
“For the first time in Gonzales versus Carhart,” Obama said, “the Supreme Court held—upheld a federal ban on abortions with criminal penalties for doctors. For the first time, the Court’s endorsed an abortion restriction without an exception for women’s health. The decision presumed that the health of women is best protected by the Court—not by doctors and not by the woman herself. That presumption is wrong.” [ED.: See CourageMan's excellent contribution debunking this nonsense in the comments.]
He warned abortion supporters that the partial-birth abortion ban should not be construed as an isolated effort, saying it was wrong to presume the law was “not part of a concerted effort to roll back the hard-won rights of American women.” [ED.: Who's playing on people's fears now? Surely not the Obamessiah of "Audacious Hope™"?]
The senator said he had a long tradition of support for legalized abortion, citing his efforts in the Illinois State Senate and his classes as a law professor. “I have worked on these issues for decades now,” he said. “I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught Constitutional Law. Not simply as a case about privacy but as part of the broader struggle for women’s equality.” [ED.: Imagine that. A typical left-liberal Democrat putting Roe v. Wade at the center of his ideology. Who'd 'a thunk it.]
The dissent of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Gonzales v. Carhart won praise from Obama [ED.: You mean the dissent that was nothing short of a full-fledged brief for infanticide? Yeah, "stick 'em in a closet and let 'em die of exposure" Moloch Obama would praise something like that.] while Justice Anthony Kennedy, who spoke for the majority, was held up for ridicule.
Obama also depicted his opponents as divisive, saying, “They want us to believe that there’s nothing that unites us as Americans—there’s only what divides us. They’ll seek out the narrowest and most divisive ground.” [ED.: Yeah, the left hasn't been the least bit narrow and divisive over the past 8 years.]
Senator Obama said he was “absolutely convinced that culture wars are so nineties,” saying it was “time to turn the page.” [ED.: Hey, those of you with traditional values, what's ours is ours and what's yours will soon be ours. So get over it and shut the @#%& up!]
“We’re tired about arguing about the same ole’ stuff,” he continued. [ED.: Can't we stop talking about all those icky dead babies and move on to more important matters like the minimum wage and farm subsidies?] And I am convinced we can win that argument. If the argument is narrow, then oftentimes we lose.” [ED.: If the focus is on all those icky dead babies, then there's the risk that we can be exposed as supporting a monstrous genocide.]
Whether it's leaving babies who have survived an abortion attempt alone in a closet to die of exposure or starving and dehydrating a woman to death, Obama is hell-bent on proving his culture of death bona fides:
During the 20th Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama said the one vote he would take back was his 2005 U.S. Senate vote to help save the life of Terri Schiavo, a brain-injured Florida woman.
"We adjourned with a unanimous agreement that eventually allowed Congress to interject itself into that decision-making process of the families," Obama said. "It wasn't something I was comfortable with, but it was not something that I stood on the floor and stopped. And I think that was a mistake."
Schiavo was not dying nor terminally ill; she was not brain-dead nor in a coma. Yet for seven years, her husband, Michael, sought to have her feeding tube removed. Congress intervened toward the end, but it was not enough. Schiavo died March 31, 2005, after 13 days of court-ordered dehydration and starvation.
Jill Stanek, a pro-life speaker and blogger, called Obama "utterly pro-death."
"He lives in 'opposite world,' where he is an environmentalist, to the extreme, and very pro-animal," she said. "But when it comes to the sanctity of human life, he takes every stand against it, up to, and including, babies who have been aborted alive.
"His priorities are completely unintelligible."
Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said Obama has been disingenuous.
"How can Obama reconcile his cavalier dismissal of Terri Schiavo's predicament as a 'family matter,' when he has stated he wants to appoint judges who are 'going to protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process, the outsider, the minority, those who are vulnerable, those who don't have a lot of clout'?
"Whether it's abortion or end-of-life issues," Hausknecht said, "he's been consistently anti-life."
Deal Hudson writes on "Barack Obama's Catholic Problem" at InsideCatholic:
In early January I wrote a column arguing that Barack Obama "will not win the Catholic vote." Although Obama has won eleven primaries in a row, his "Catholic problem" is emerging in voting patterns and early media skirmishes.My Comments:
And yet, on the heels of his relatively poor showing among Catholic voters, came the remark of well-known Catholic jurist Douglas Kmiec that Obama is a "Catholic natural." Evidently, Catholic voters are slow to recognize him as such. It's hard to blame them when Obama has voted against a law that would have protected a child once it was born and outside the womb -- the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
... it comes as no surprise that Obama was endorsedby one of the nation's leading abortion advocates, Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for a Free Choice. Calling Hillary Clinton "not radical enough on abortion," Kissling praised Obama as the man who could complete "the social transformation that Roe began but did not solidify."
Joe Feuerherd, who once wrote for the National Catholic Reporter (a newspaper that supported Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004), is also helping to define Barack Obama in the eyes of Catholic voters. This past Sunday, Feuerherd published an op-ed in the Washington Post in defense of his vote for Barack Obama in the Maryland primary.
... the exchange between Feuerherd and the USCCB brings to the surface the core of Obama's Catholic problem, and why Catholic voters are already sensing a disconnect with the charismatic young senator from Illinois. Feuerherd is all too aware that Obama, as Catholic League president Bill Donohue puts it, promotes a "culture of death."
Feuerherd evidently does not want to go through the exercise of spinning the bishops' and Vatican's documents on the issue of voting for pro-abortion candidates and platforms. He saw that such efforts didn't work in the past two elections, where George W. Bush did surprisingly well with Catholic voters. Feuerherd's message seems to be: If the bishops are getting in the way of electing Obama, then "the bishops be damned."
It's doubtful that such a strategy to gain Catholic support would be successful. Catholics often disagree with their bishops, but they do not take kindly to expressions of outright disrespect.
McCain is in fact vulnerable to Obama on both abortion and the war. If the Arizona senator wants to win in November, he must convince Catholic voters that he's not a lukewarm pro-lifer. A good running mate could help him significantly on that score.
On the issue of the Iraq, McCain must become conversant, if he isn't already, in Catholic Just War teaching so he can discuss the war and occupation in terms Catholics will understand.
[Read the whole thing]
(Hat tip: Rich Leonardi)
On the other hand, the dozen dioceses whose rankings rose the most steeply between 2003 and 2006 were Juneau, Shreveport, Madison, Paterson, Pueblo, Saginaw, Memphis, Crookston, Colorado Springs, Covington, St. Paul-Minneapolis, Kansas City-St. Joseph, and Toledo. In several cases, the increase in the number of seminarians coincided with the arrival of a new bishop: Bishop Robert Morlino in Madison, Bishop Arthur Serratelli in Paterson, Bishop Robert Carlson in Saginaw, Bishop Michael Sheridan in Colorado Springs, Bishop Roger Foys in Covington, Bishop Robert Finn in Kansas City-St. Joseph, and Bishop Leonard Blair in Toledo.
(Hat tip: Vox Nova)
Mr. Buckley’s greatest achievement was making conservatism — not just electoral Republicanism, but conservatism as a system of ideas — respectable in liberal post-World War II America.Amen to that. I first began reading National Review when I was a Sophomore in high school (that was almost 25 years ago). I also read Buckley's Up From Liberalism about the same time I subscribed to the magazine (I think the book was a special gift offer that came with the subscription).
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, writes in today's Washington Post:
Joe Feuerherd's screed against the Catholic bishops for their call for political responsibility epitomizes the incivility of this campaign season, where truth has become a casualty and half-truths the norm.My Comments:
With demeaning and mocking words, Feuerherd scoffs at the bishops' November 2007 statement "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship." It urges Catholics not to be one-issue voters but to look at all the issues and make prudent decisions. When up for a vote, it drew virtually unanimous support of the almost 300 active members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Few decisions get that kind of support.
The current campaign shows that politics is too often a contest of powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites and media hype. In "Faithful Citizenship," the Church calls for a different kind of political engagement: one shaped by moral convictions of well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and vulnerable. It stresses that Catholics need to be guided more by their moral convictions than by attachment to a political party or interest group. Catholic participation should help transform the party to which they belong; they should not let the party transform them in such a way that they neglect or deny basic moral truths.
Feuerherd's incivility is striking. The crude reference to the Eucharist as "the wafer" should be beneath anyone who respects people's religious sentiments, let alone an acknowledged Catholic. Belief in the Eucharist is sacred to Catholics, yet Feuerherd treats it in a belittling manner.
His final salvo, damning the bishops, is unworthy of both Feuerherd and The Post. It's hard to imagine The Post giving its pages to a writer suggesting the outright damnation of the leaders of any other religious body. Feuerherd's vitriol might be understandable if the bishops were concerned, like a typical special-interest group, only with what benefits them. However, the bishops' defense of the right to life of the unborn is a principled commitment in justice to the good of others who are vulnerable and with no voice of their own.
[Read the whole thing]
... and, by golly, I'm going to vote for him!
Douglas A. Sylva writes at First Things:
The pope has John Allen worried. In a column published in the New York Times, Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, frets that Pope Benedict will offend during his upcoming address to the United Nations General Assembly. After all, “this cerebral pope has a track record of blurring . . . compelling arguments during his biggest turns on stage.” He makes “cosmetic missteps that distract attention from his message” and exhibits a “worrying insensitivity to how unfamiliar audiences are likely to hear what he says.”(emphasis added)
But Allen should relax. As he is undoubtedly aware, this pope, like all the popes that have reigned during the age of the United Nations, has recognized great potential in the institution. If Benedict says anything that may prove difficult to hear on that April day, it will not be because he is insensitive to his listeners but because the Church knows and appreciates the founding values of the U.N. and seeks to hold the U.N. to those values. In this effort, Pope Benedict will show the way forward to a more vigorous organization, by calling for a restored commitment to the United Nations’ own avowed principles.
The Vatican’s long-standing hope in the institution is tied to its catholic perspective. A worldwide institution, properly constituted and properly administered, could propel the earth toward an ever closer approximation of the universal common good, the rewards of peace and justice that would emanate from worldwide respect for human rights as manifestations of natural law.
(emphasis and editorial commentary added)
February 22, 2008
Dear Fellow Catholics:
We are writing to invite you to join us and thousands of engaged [ED.: As opposed to "unengaged"? What does this mean? That those who don't currently support the Obamessiah just aren't paying enough attention?] Catholics and people of other faiths in supporting Barack Obama's campaign for a new kind of politics in America. [ED.: Really? What's "new" about it? In what substantive way is the Obamessiah any different from the typical left-liberal pro-abortion Democrat that usually gets nominated by your party? Is there one single issue where the Obamessiah deviates from left-liberal Democrat orthodoxy? Can you point to any concrete examples of where he has bucked the left-liberal/Democrat line to reach out to the middle or to conservatives? How is he going to heal our divisions when many of us don't agree with what he's offering, which is no different than what previous Democrat nominees have offered? Or will we merely be demonized as "haters" for not jumping on board the Obamessiah bandwagon?]
As public servants and practicing Catholics who have fought to promote social justice and the common good [ED.: When left-liberal Catholics start talking about these things, you can be assured that they're not including the unborn in their social justice and common good calculus.], we believe that the basic moral test of our society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst. [ED.: Okay, this is just too easy. The "basic moral test" is "how we treat the most vulnerable"? Do you really want to go there? If the "basic moral test of our society is how we treat the most vulnerable", then your guy fails big time. Opposing a law that would outlaw leaving the most vulnerable in a closet to die of exposure because you don't want to jeopardize abortion by saying "that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a - child, a nine-month-old - child that was delivered to term" pretty much disqualifies your guy under that "basic moral test" you were just talking about.]
That is why we are standing for change and supporting Barack Obama.
As committed people of faith who have attempted to live out our values [ED.: Except when it comes to backing a candidate who supports legalized abortion-on-demand.], we know the real article when we see it. [ED.: We have seen the light.]
Through Barack's work as a United States Senator [ED.: All 3 years worth, a year-and-a-half of which have been spent running for President.] – and before that as an Illinois State Senator and as an organizer on the streets of the South Side of Chicago – he has shown a profound understanding and commitment to the dignity and worth of people everywhere. [ED.: Except for those in the womb and those left in a closet to die of exposure.] Whether fighting mortgage fraud and protecting American consumers, combating veterans' homelessness, or expanding access to health care for low income families in the Illinois General Assembly [ED.: Access to health care, that is, unless you happen to be born alive during an abortion attempt and left in a closet to die of exposure.], Barack has walked the walk. [ED.: Toed the left-liberal/Democrat party line.] He also demonstrated wisdom and judgment by opposing the war in Iraq that should never have been authorized.
Here in Ohio [ED.: Neither of the characters whose signatures are attached to this thing are even from Ohio. Couldn't the campaign find any prominent Ohio Catholic Democrats to sign this thing?], many families have felt the pinch from corporate outsourcing, shrinking paychecks, and rising costs – at the grocery store, at the gas pump, and at the doctor's office. Barack Obama knows that these are not only technical problems – they are also moral issues. [ED.: But don't you worry yourself about such icky things as dead babies; that doesn't involve any "moral issues" at all. Instead, focus on these economic problems for which there is no morally "right" or "wrong" solution.]
Click here to read more on how Barack will create jobs and offer relief for working families in Ohio.
As public servants, as parents, as lay members of a proud faith tradition [ED.: Who talks this way? "As lay members of a proud faith tradition"? C'mon guys, you're trying too hard to play up your "value voter" bona fides and are falling flat on your faces because, well, you just don't know how to talk about such things in an authentic manner.], we share Barack's hunger for a politics that reflects that Gospel mandate to be our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper [ED.: Except for "keeping" our unborn brothers and sisters, of course].
We hope you will join us in achieving this new kind of politics [ED.: Again, really? See comment above re: what's "new" about typical left-liberal orthodoxy.] by supporting Barack Obama in Ohio's primary on March 4th.
To receive more information about upcoming events across the state and to get involved with other people of faith and Catholics for Obama, simply contact Barack's faith outreach team [ED.: You, too, can come to know the Obamessiah if you'll just lay aside that burden of right-wing partisan politics, come forward and make a decision, fill out this card, and speak with a member of the "faith outreach team".] in Ohio at [COME-TO-OBMA - ED.: I made that up.], send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org [ED.: That, however, is a real email - faith@barackobama. Sheez!], or sign up at the following website:
We look forward to meeting you and working with you in the days and weeks ahead.
Governor of Virginia
Former Member of Congress
An editorial in the March 3-9 issue of National Catholic Register:
John McCain hasn’t been very popular in some quarters. It seems that his party doesn’t like him nearly as much as Barack Obama and even Hillary Clinton are liked by their party. Conservative talk-show hosts have even complained loudly that they would vote for his opponent rather than him because it would be bad for conservatism to have him at the head of the GOP and running the country.(emphasis added)
When facing a choice like this, it is refreshing to be Catholic. What’s good for conservatism or bad for conservatism doesn’t matter to us — “convervatism” is against Church teaching as often as it’s for it. As Catholics, we only care about the common good — and the pre-eminent issue affecting the common good is abortion.
Now, McCain doesn’t have a perfect pro-life voting record. The significance of that shouldn’t be diminished: He has said he is for federally funded embryonic stem-cell research. To be clear what that means: He wants to force us to pay lab scientists for research experiments in which they clone and kill human beings.
All the same, a vote for McCain would be better than a vote for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.
All of this is not a done deal yet. Far from it. We started by saying that McCain isn’t as well-liked in his party as the leading Democrats are in theirs. But important research showed that, in the last election, many Democrats who didn’t particularly like President Bush voted for him anyway — because of his pro-life stand.
After yesterday's blistering attack at The Washington Post from National Catholic Reporter's left-leaning political correspondent, Joe Feuerherd, you'd think the U.S. Bishops deserved a break.
The Catholic League:
... “According to Feuerherd, his decision to vote for a pro-abortion candidate in the Maryland primary, namely Barack Obama, means that the bishops have consigned him to Hell. Indeed, his vote means that he has put his ‘soul at risk,’ all but assuring himself of a ‘ticket to Hell.” He concludes by charging, ‘the bishops be damned.’ In between, Feuerherd manages to impugn the motives of the bishops, offer snide remarks and misrepresent Church teachings.
“Feuerherd is angry because issues like ‘affordable housing’ are not given the same preeminent status as killing the innocent. He is entitled to his opinion, but he is not entitled to bash the bishops or distort their words, not even in his quest for martyrdom.”
You can always tell when the political season opens on Catholics. There is a trend towards Catholic bashing in the press and media. More precisely, in this case there is an attempt by the secular press at Bishop Bashing while trying to play down our Catholic moral, social and ethical principles.
The Catholic League has recently noted a journalistic bashing of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in a recent article by Joe Feuerherd in The Washington Post. Well Mr. Feuerherd, any detrimental comments one makes in the secular press is an outright attack on Catholic religious freedom of expression. Political pundits might consider the Catholic Bishops as fair game during the political hunting season, but they are not collectively intended for political or journalistic target practice...
... On February 24, National Catholic Reporter correspondent Joe Feuerherd, writing in the Washington Post, expressed his desire to see the bishops (of the United States) literally damned before he would fail to vote Democratic this Fall.
Feuerherd's words of contempt were not shouted in a heated argument wherein, say, a lack of time for reflection or "anger hormones" might mitigate one's culpability for uttering invectives. No, Feuerherd's curse, "the bishops be damned", was expressed in cold, deliberate, prose intended for maximum effect in a prominent national publication.
Now, Canon 1369 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law states that "a person who . . . in published writing . . . expresses insults or excites hatred or contempt against religion or the Church is to be punished with a just penalty." Canon 1373 states that "a person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry . . . is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties."
I believe Feuerherd has gravely violated both of these canons...
[sound of crickets chirping]
From Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. John McCain may be on the verge of wrapping up the GOP presidential nomination, but Sen. Sam Brownback says his colleague still needs to work on warming up to Christian conservatives.
Since his own presidential campaign fizzled out last year, Brownback, R-Kan., has played a key role in easing suspicion on the religious right, where some leaders have openly questioned whether McCain embraces their social agenda.
Besides campaigning for the Arizona Republican in at least a half dozen states, Brownback has held strategy talks with leading Christian activists, reached out to Catholic voters and advised McCain to share publicly the personal experiences that have brought him closer to God.
"He just needs to reach out and get to know the faith community more and they need to get to know him more," Brownback said in an interview. "Clearly, I think we need to continue to work at that."
One of the Senate's most prominent abortion foes, Brownback trumpets McCain's "24-year pro-life voting record" in Congress, his support of the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman and McCain's pledge to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court.
Brownback said he also has encouraged McCain to talk more about the little girl he and his wife adopted in 1993 from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh. And how McCain's faith grew as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, when a Vietnamese prison guard loosened his ropes and drew a cross in the dirt with his sandal.
"They're just gorgeous statements of experience on his part and I think he ought to speak about that just to show people he identifies," Brownback said.
Thanks to M.Z. Forrest for drawing my attention to a piece in The Chicago Tribune that M.Z. describes as "fairly representative of the Catholic Left": "Catholics at the Ballot Box".
In an update to my previous post, I linked to something Deal Hudson wrote (in response to Joe Feuerherd's column also linked in the previous post) regarding how the Catholic left will attack John McCain. I think what Hudson wrote merits a post of its own:
... Most importantly, it argues that McCain may have a pro-life record, but he will not accomplish anything on this front as president because it is not really important to him; therefore, Catholic voters should feel no special attraction towards his candidacy.Hudson is correct. Of course the Catholic left will tack this way in order to try to convince faithful Catholic voters that McCain doesn't share their strong convictions on abortion so they might as well vote for the other guy who - "apart from the life issues" - is otherwise "a Catholic natural". And of course the McCain campaign should take such a charge very seriously.
The last argument, about McCain's pro-life record, has been popping up lately among many Catholics close to the Democratic Party. This angle should be taken very seriously by the McCain campaign. If it gains traction, the huge contrast between Obama and McCain on life issues will be obscured by the debate on 'how pro-life would a President McCain be?" Catholic voters looking for a reason to ignore the abortion question will have found it.
Please take the time to go over to Catholics in the Public Square and read Christopher Blosser's excellent post "Joe Feuerherd vs. The Catholic Bishops".
There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position [on abortion] may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil. (emphasis added)Now, I take that as the Bishops stating that one may, under certain limited circumstances involving "proportionate" and/or "morally grave" reasons, vote for a pro-abortion politician. As I blogged here, the Bishops have gone out of their way to avoid an outright prohibition against Catholics voting for such a candidate. Indeed, the very orthodox Archbishop Chaput has gone so far as to say:
"If you're a Democrat can you legitimately vote for someone who is pro-choice? I imagine so."Of course, Archbishop Chaput goes on to qualify under what circumstances such a vote may take place, but the point is made that there is no categorical prohibition mandating a vote against a pro-abortion politician.
Also this week, National Catholic Reporter journalist Joe Feuerherd boasted of his vote for Obama, decrying the "right wing lurch" of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Cardinal Sins: "I Voted for Obama. Will I Go Straight to. . . ?" Washington Post February 24, 2008):(emphasis added by Christopher)Like most Maryland Democrats, I voted for Sen. Barack Obama in the recent Potomac Primary. By doing so, according to the leaders of my church, I put my soul at risk. That's right, says the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- tap the touch screen for a pro-abortion-rights candidate, and you're probably punching your ticket to Hell.Feuerherd also took the opportunity to attack the oudated convictions of not only the USCCB but Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor, John Paul II:
The bishops have raised the stakes: It's not only lawmakers and candidates who risk damnation, 98 percent of the U.S. bishops agreed last November, but the voters who put them in office. "It is important to be clear," the bishops said in a 44-page statement titled "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" [.pdf format] "that the political choices faced by citizens[emphasis added] not only have an impact on general peace and prosperity but also may affect the individual's salvation." Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, chairman of the committee that drafted the statement, put those high-minded sentiments into plain English earlier this month. Support for a candidate who "espouses policies that are gravely immoral" is possible "only under exceptional circumstances that are hard to imagine," he told the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn.
To Catholics like me who oppose liberal abortion laws but also think that other issues -- war or peace, health care, just wages, immigration, affordable housing, torture -- actually matter, the idea that abortion trumps everything, all the time, no matter what, is both bad religion and bad civics.This fire-and-brimstone approach to the ballot box is the long-term bequest of a conservative pope, John Paul II, enacted by a U.S. hierarchy appointed during his 27-year tenure and now by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. John Paul's key criterion in choosing the men who lead the United States' 194 dioceses was their vocal support for church teachings that have been rejected in whole (birth control) or in part (women's ordination and abortion) by many Catholics in the pews and the broader American culture.and closes by proclaiming his moral superiority:So what's a pro-life, pro-family, antiwar, pro-immigrant, pro-economic-justice Catholic like me supposed to do in November? That's an easy one. True to my faith, I'll vote for the candidate who offers the best hope of ending an unjust war, who promotes human dignity through universal health care and immigration reform, and whose policies strengthen families and provide alternatives to those in desperate situations. Sounds like I'll be voting for the Democrat -- and the bishops be damned.
... The column is important for several reasons:And also Margaret Cabaniss:
1. It admits the Catholic bishops have moved to the right over the past 25 years because of JP II.
2. It admits their leadership on the abortion issue has hurt the Democrats, almost "demonized" them in some quarters.
3. It attacks the GOP and McCain in the name of the "social justice" issues the bishops emphasized in the 80s.
4. Most importantly, it argues that McCain may have a pro-life record, but he will not accomplish anything on this front as president because it is not really important to him; therefore, Catholic voters should feel no special attraction towards his candidacy.
The last argument, about McCain's pro-life record, has been popping up lately among many Catholics close to the Democratic Party. This angle should be taken very seriously by the McCain campaign. If it gains traction, the huge contrast between Obama and McCain on life issues will be obscured by the debate on 'how pro-life would a President McCain be?" Catholic voters looking for a reason to ignore the abortion question will have found it.
... Let's face it: Any vote a Catholic makes is going to involve some amount of compromise, and it can be a particular struggle for Catholic Democrats who want to remain true to their political ideology in the face of Democratic support for abortion on demand. But Feuerherd's "I'll be voting for the Democrat -- and the bishops be damned" closing line undercuts the seriousness of that decision and, frankly, doesn't make it sound like he's struggling much at all.
If only he reserved half as much ire for the political parties themselves when they put Catholics in the position of having to make those choices in the first place.