Our young blog has been up for only about 3 weeks, so we are still in our infancy. It may be early to say we see trends, but we do want to call attention to a pattern that the reader may notice.
It seems to us that a lot of the commentary from Catholic officaldom ( That is the opinions of many Catholic writers, and intellectuals, positions taken by some Catholic organizations, and even some official statements from the Bishops, especially the official organ of the Bishops, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, ( USCCB)) can not be squared with reality. We do not mean this in the sense that we typically see discussed in the Catholic blogosphere. We do not mean, the Bishops are too liberal or too conservative, or this or that commentator gets Catholic doctrine wrong. There is of course plenty of that, and by now the reader will have a clear sense that this blog views things through a conservative theological and political lens. This means we like the founders, and Thomas Aquinas, we are skeptical about massive federal government and think the Leadership Council of Women’s religious are elderly heretics..) Still that said there is something afoot that may be related but is a little different. It seems that a lot of Catholic commentary denies or ignores facts that are undeniable, and at times are staring us in the face. Facts so clear that we should be able to agree on them regardless of our political biases. They are directly observable facts like the boiling point of water or they are as logical and certain a conclusion as would be the inference that sticking ones hand in boiling water would hurt.
Here is what we mean:
Looking at topics covered in prior posts:
Fr Robert Baron labels the late Fr. Andrew Greeley a “conservative priest”. Relatively trivial I suppose, but bizarre in that Fr. Greeley was openly and proudly a very liberal guy. Not only was he a die hard liberal Democrat in his politics, but as he rejected a number of positions taught by the official magisterium, he was a liberal in his theology. Why mislabel him? He was a liberal whether you think liberalism is a good or bad thing.
Then we have the Bishops decrying loss of religious freedom. ( Good that they do this as we pointed out..), Still they do so while simultaneously advocating for liberal expansive government, and expansive government specifically in terms of government controlled health care. It is a well known fact that this administration is closely tied to Planned Parenthood and feminist groups and thus would view contraception and abortion not as sins but as “essential” aspects of women’s health. In that setting it was obvious that any massive government health program administered by this administration would mandate some sort of payment for contraception and abortion, as indeed it has. This was eminently predictable before Obamacare was passed and was clear regardless of whether you viewed this as a bad thing or a good thing. It was one reason why the folks at Planned Parenthood backed Obama politically. The Bishops act like the subsequent policies Obama enacted are a shock. Obama promised most of what he in fact is doing, and his supporters said that was why they wanted him elected! The bishops defended and advocated national health care and now are disturbed at what this means in the hands of the Obama administration. They should be disturbed, but it is troubling that the did not reach the obvious conclusion that this would be the inevitable result of government run health care in the hands of secular liberals.
We have talked about the long held principle of “subsidiarity”, which by any objective reading would tend to make federal government intervention a last resort, and we have pointed out that although there are calls for “solidarity” with the poor the solidarity does not seem to include actual evaluation of whether a given proposed or enacted policy actually helps the poor. It is merely the verbal intention that is enough. It is identical to the situation of a quack medical doctor promoting some dangerous and harmful therapy so long as he did so because of solidarity with the sick!
Then most recently we have the insufferable political correctness of not using the phrase illegal immigrant. Good grief. I tend to favor amnesty of some sort providing the border can be otherwise secured, but when I hear the Bishops use such politically disengenuous terms like “undocumented immigrant” It is all I can do not to call for mass deportations. The word illegal as defined by Webster means : “not according to or authorized by law” so it seems to me if you are an immigrant who is here via a pathway “not according to or authorized by law“, you are an illegal immigrant! Why are the Bishops using language that obfuscates this? It sounds like the staffers at the USCCB are spending too much time at their other job working for the Democratic National Committee. The point is that illegal immigrants are illegal immigrants regardless of what kind of immigration reform you are for or against.
Then finally we have Cardinal Dolan’s recent journey to another universe in which Muslims are for freedom of religion. This can only be described as incomprehensible. I must ask in what Islamic country are Christians encouraged to openly practice and preach their faith ? In what Islamic country is it not a crime for a Muslim to convert to Christianity? This is not a matter of debate, It is simply a neutral fact recognized by places like Georgetown University’s Berkley Center of Religion Peace and World Affairs, or the State Departments report on Religous freedom in the Middle East. Neither is a hotbed of right wing thought, but both acknowledge, as every sane observer does, that Christians are persecuted by the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle east. What universe can Cardinal Dolan be living in?
At the very least those of us concerned about the future of the world and the role of the Catholic Church must insist that everyone respect facts. This is the essential starting point for any reasoned discussion. We can perhaps argue about how to interpret facts, or what actions to take in light of certain facts, but we need to stop distorting or ignoring the facts themselves. To do otherwise is foolhardy and if the leadership of the Church does it, potentially disastorous for society. This is true whether we do it with jargon ( “undocumented immigrant”) ignoring obvious conclusions ( like by supporting government run health care, controlled by liberals who dislike religion but then being surprised when liberals mandate liberal things in conflict with the beliefs of Catholicism), or even conjuring them up in a universe populated with fantasies like flying unicorns and Leprechauns and in which devout Muslims believe in western style “freedom of religion” .
When we think about facts, and the search for truth it is always a good practice to ask the Angelic Doctor, St Thomas for his assistance in enlightening our mind. Let us recall what he said of about truth:
Now the last end of everything is that which is intended by the prime author or mover thereof. The prime author and mover of the universe is intelligence, as will be shown later (B. II, Chap. XXIII, XXIV). Therefore the last end of the universe must be the good of the intelligence, and that is truth. Truth then must be the final end of the whole universe; and about the consideration of that end33Read Circa ejus finis considerationem. wisdom must primarily be concerned. And therefore the Divine Wisdom, clothed in flesh, testifies that He came into the world for the manifestation of truth: For this was I born, and unto this I came into the World, to give testimony to the truth (John xvii, 37
From Summa Contra Gentiles…