Churchill’s words for the Church

Churchill’s words for the Church

Rod Dreher posts the following in a thread below:

In “The Gathering Storm,” Winston Churchill sums up his case against the willfill blindness and cowardice of the British establishment in the 1930s, leading to the catastrophic rise of Hitler:

We must regard as deeply blameworthy before history the conduct not only of the British National and mainly Conservative Government, but of the Labour-Socialist and Liberal Parties, both in and out of office, during this fatal period. Delight in smooth-sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity and electoral success irrespective of the vital interests of the State, genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation, obvious lack of intellectual vigour in both leaders of the British Coalition Government, marked ignorance of Europe and aversion from its problems in Mr. Baldwin, the strong and violent pacifism which at this time dominated the Labour-Socialist Party, the utter devotion of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality, the failure and worse than failure of Mr. Lloyd George, the erstwhile great war-time leader, to address himself to the continuity of his work, the whole supported by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Parliament: all these constituted a picture of British fautity and fecklessness which, though devoid of guile, was not devoid of guilt, and, though free from wickedness or evil design, played a definite part in unleashing upon the world of horrors and miseries which, even so far as they have unfolded, are already beyond comparison in human experience.

Rod says, “I believe that decades from now, in the ruins of whatever happens to the Roman Catholic Church in the West, a very similar judgment will be rendered against the entire hierarchy and institutional leadership from the top on down, in the post-Vatican II era.” What do you think?

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141 comments
  • I really don’t think that this statement about the blindness of the pre WWII British governing class is all that applicable to the current situation of our Church.  Our bishops and the Holy Father are not victims of the particular mindset that most of liberal (in the larger sense) Europe was subject to in the inter-war years.  The horror of the trenches in WWI led to an almost universal hatred of war that translated into a pacifism that was so strong that it proved to be blinding in the end.  JPII, on the other hand, is well aware of the challenges facing the Church and the West in these unsettled days, but I think that he sees his role as one of trying to moderate the passions that have been unleashed on the world.  One may argue with his judgment, but I don’t see him as a fool.

  • Sorry, John, but Rod is right on. Here’s the money quote:

    “Delight in smooth-sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity … genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation.”

    Recall Weigel’s criticism of JPII as an administrator in Krakow. Recall the numerous statements coming from Rome in the wake of Islamic terror (especially the most recent ones). All of those factors fit Churchill’s quotation.

    And there’s another important similarity. Just as the British ruling classes downplayed Hitler’s rise, so too do Catholic hierarchs downplay the rise (and bestiality) of jihadism, which is our century’s equivalent of Nazism.

  • Sorry, John, but Rod is right on. Here’s the money quote:

    “Delight in smooth-sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity … genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation.”

    Recall Weigel’s criticism of JPII as an administrator in Krakow. Recall the numerous statements coming from Rome in the wake of Islamic terror (especially the most recent ones). All of those factors fit Churchill’s quotation.

    And there’s another important similarity. Just as the British ruling classes downplayed Hitler’s rise, so too do Catholic hierarchs downplay the rise (and bestiality) of jihadism, which is our century’s equivalent of Nazism.

  • 1.  In this situation there is going to be war and terrorism anyway no matter *what* the pope says: people who feel threatened are not going to disarm themselves at the prompting of some cardinal.

    2. Given 1, what is the problem with the pope trying to get people to remember that the blind hatred and lust for revenge that war engenders are not good things and that we should be at least thinking about ways to establish peace.

    3.  Even if it seems silly to be trying to reach out to Islamic madmen, isn’t that what someone in the Christian world should be doing?  After all, it’s Cesar who holds the sward not Peter.

  • 1.  In this situation there is going to be war and terrorism anyway no matter *what* the pope says: people who feel threatened are not going to disarm themselves at the prompting of some cardinal.

    2. Given 1, what is the problem with the pope trying to get people to remember that the blind hatred and lust for revenge that war engenders are not good things and that we should be at least thinking about ways to establish peace.

    3.  Even if it seems silly to be trying to reach out to Islamic madmen, isn’t that what someone in the Christian world should be doing?  After all, it’s Cesar who holds the sward not Peter.

  • Mr. D’Hippolito, I don’t think Rod was attributing the pacifism of the Bishops as a problem with regard to terrorism or Islam, but rather to the sexual abuse scandal in the Church.  At the risk of putting words in Rod’s mouth, I think the analogy would be that those in power have shirked from their duty to protect their flock by refusing to confront an evil (be it Nazis or sex abusers) out of fear of the consequences.

    If that is Rod’s point, I think he’s exactly correct.  Sadly, I believe that many bishops are afraid to confront abusers because they don’t have faith that the Holy Spirit will protect the Church.  Given the priest “shortage,” the bishops may believe that defrocking priest-abusers will increase the “shortage”.  The don’t believe that God will provide.  Their fear of these consequences prevents them from acting.

    Unfortunately, this may be the most charitable view of the bishops’ general response to the scandal.  Some less charitable interpretations would include: the bishops don’t care about the problem or, some of the bishops are “silenced” by extortion over similar sins they may have committed.

  • Mr. D’Hippolito, I don’t think Rod was attributing the pacifism of the Bishops as a problem with regard to terrorism or Islam, but rather to the sexual abuse scandal in the Church.  At the risk of putting words in Rod’s mouth, I think the analogy would be that those in power have shirked from their duty to protect their flock by refusing to confront an evil (be it Nazis or sex abusers) out of fear of the consequences.

    If that is Rod’s point, I think he’s exactly correct.  Sadly, I believe that many bishops are afraid to confront abusers because they don’t have faith that the Holy Spirit will protect the Church.  Given the priest “shortage,” the bishops may believe that defrocking priest-abusers will increase the “shortage”.  The don’t believe that God will provide.  Their fear of these consequences prevents them from acting.

    Unfortunately, this may be the most charitable view of the bishops’ general response to the scandal.  Some less charitable interpretations would include: the bishops don’t care about the problem or, some of the bishops are “silenced” by extortion over similar sins they may have committed.

  • That’s the big question right there.  Is Rod referring to terrorism or the scandal?  Inquiring Mottramists would like to know..

  • That’s the big question right there.  Is Rod referring to terrorism or the scandal?  Inquiring Mottramists would like to know..

  • Yes, and no. I pointed some of this out to someone who had attempted to use the story as an opportunity to bash the “Novus Ordo sect.”

    I pointed out that in an earlier story, the same author indicated that a USCCB committee had actually found fault with the procedure (although I have not been able to track down that document).

    Where to Draw the Line? Prenatal Ethics.

    It is not entirely clear that there is a good reason to induce early in these cases. That said, the Illinois Leader article was misleading, at best.

  • Thank you very much for posting this – the original story was so disturbing – I was fairly sure there was more to it but I have not had time to dig into it myself.

    MS

  • If you would, please tell us how you know the original source is unhappy, and how you learned “what I handicapped babies are delivered 15-17 weeks early specifically so they will die 15-17 weeks earlier than if they had been left alone.  The rationale is for a mother’s “mental health” and, as Fr. O’Callahan of Loyola said, “to ward off the physical complications of bringing to term a child who is not going to live anyway.”

    “Ward off.”  There is no health problem. There is just a concern about a potential health problem.  This is a smoke screen to make what they’re doing more tolerable.  99% of the time it would be ridiculous to assert that handicapped babies somehow make their mothers sick, just as it would be ridiculous to assert healthy babies make their mothers sick.  Think about it.  How can a baby with no brain make her mother sick?

    3) You are wrong as to the reason these babies die.  They die at the hand of men.  Had they been left alone and delivered naturally, they would have died naturally. in God’s time. 

    These handicapped babies are being euthanized.  The analogy is identical to hospice.  Are you saying you would agree to deprive your dying grandmother of oxygen, food, and hydration to speed up her death?  That is exactly what is being done to these babies.

    4) The purpose of the delivery is indeed to kill the child.  Why else?  It is NOT misleading to call this procedure an abortion.  The definition of abortion is: “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, rsulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus,” according to Webster’s.

    Regards,

  • With all due respect to Ms. Stanek, her column was not a model of clarity, if her purpose was to show that babies were being euthanized.  The article said: “live aborted babies canmit to Ms. Stanek that his statement that her column was “misleading” and his broadbrush characterization of Tom’s “unhappiness” were both in fact,  misleading and/or inaccurate, even if unintentionally, and make amends.

  • Gene, it’s both.  The pacifism of the Church in the face of Islam is intolerable—especially the attempts at FALSE ecumenism.  The incompetence and evil in the face of the abuse of children is just as intolerable.

    And they are only two of our intolerable problems…..there are more.

  • Gene, it’s both.  The pacifism of the Church in the face of Islam is intolerable—especially the attempts at FALSE ecumenism.  The incompetence and evil in the face of the abuse of children is just as intolerable.

    And they are only two of our intolerable problems…..there are more.

  • Yes, indeed, I strongly concur with this; I probably apply it more broadly than most, but I have no hesitation in concurring.

    What keeps happening is that specific problems—symptoms of a far deeper, more pervasive problem—keep occurring, and we all argue through these various eruptions, one after another.

    I believe that the truth is that the Church is in the grip of an extremely serious, pervasive crisis, something systemic. It has affected Doctrine, Ecclesiology, Morality, Liturgy, Religious Life, Priesthood, formation, Matrimony and family life, catechesis, Catholic education, especially higher education, Catholic health care. It has been years, DECADES even, since you could count upon walking across the threshold of a Catholic institution (or sending your child across the threshold of one) and be able to count upon encountering Catholicism. DECADES.

    I am still waiting for our bishops to address the situation with any sense of crisis. It is simply not happening. Of course, we have seminarians who haven’t integrated sexual morality into their lives, or vocation. Yes, we have a mainstream community of nuns financially contributing to “Emily’s List,” supporting the election of pro-abortion women pols. Of course, “New Ways Ministry,” chastised by the Vatican for its founders’ position on active homosexuality, observes its 25th anniversary and has scores—SCORES—of American Religious Orders sponsoring the event. Can you spell ‘Aggiornamento?’ (until two minutes ago when I looked it up, I couldn’t spell ‘thresh[h]old.’ But I’ve ALWAYS been good at spelling Aggiornamento).

    We hold to Faith and to Hope, and, one hopes, to Charity. I believe that decades, even centuries from now, Faithful people will look back and say, ‘You see, we look back to the xx/xxi centuries. We know what the essential elements of Religious life are, of the Roman Rite, of priestly formation, of Matrimony. We know what we need to stress in catechesis and formation of youth, in running Catholic institutions such as schools and hospitals. And we understand far more deeply ecclesial discipline, because we look back to the turning of that century, when the Church churned out more documentation and verbiage than it ever had before, but pastoral oversight was almost wholly lacking as whole areas and works of the Church herself were lost to Catholicism.’

  • Yes, indeed, I strongly concur with this; I probably apply it more broadly than most, but I have no hesitation in concurring.

    What keeps happening is that specific problems—symptoms of a far deeper, more pervasive problem—keep occurring, and we all argue through these various eruptions, one after another.

    I believe that the truth is that the Church is in the grip of an extremely serious, pervasive crisis, something systemic. It has affected Doctrine, Ecclesiology, Morality, Liturgy, Religious Life, Priesthood, formation, Matrimony and family life, catechesis, Catholic education, especially higher education, Catholic health care. It has been years, DECADES even, since you could count upon walking across the threshold of a Catholic institution (or sending your child across the threshold of one) and be able to count upon encountering Catholicism. DECADES.

    I am still waiting for our bishops to address the situation with any sense of crisis. It is simply not happening. Of course, we have seminarians who haven’t integrated sexual morality into their lives, or vocation. Yes, we have a mainstream community of nuns financially contributing to “Emily’s List,” supporting the election of pro-abortion women pols. Of course, “New Ways Ministry,” chastised by the Vatican for its founders’ position on active homosexuality, observes its 25th anniversary and has scores—SCORES—of American Religious Orders sponsoring the event. Can you spell ‘Aggiornamento?’ (until two minutes ago when I looked it up, I couldn’t spell ‘thresh[h]old.’ But I’ve ALWAYS been good at spelling Aggiornamento).

    We hold to Faith and to Hope, and, one hopes, to Charity. I believe that decades, even centuries from now, Faithful people will look back and say, ‘You see, we look back to the xx/xxi centuries. We know what the essential elements of Religious life are, of the Roman Rite, of priestly formation, of Matrimony. We know what we need to stress in catechesis and formation of youth, in running Catholic institutions such as schools and hospitals. And we understand far more deeply ecclesial discipline, because we look back to the turning of that century, when the Church churned out more documentation and verbiage than it ever had before, but pastoral oversight was almost wholly lacking as whole areas and works of the Church herself were lost to Catholicism.’

  • [cont’d]

    It does not give me any pleasure to expess these thoughts, but we are deep, deep into denial, still pretending that we are in an Age of Renewal, not even beginning to address our deepest failures honestly. Sixty percent of Mass -going Catholics have walked away from the sacraments in this ‘age of renewal.’ Two-thirds of Catholics can’t identify the Catholic teaching on the Most Holy Eucharist when it is put in front of them. Countless hundreds of thousands, even millions, have graduated from Catholic grammar-high schools and colleges without knowing their Faith.  This, evidently, is Renewal; one wonders what a disaster would have looked like.

    We’re not doing what we need to, as the Church. We’re drowning under a blizzard of postconciliar documents, God knows: but there’s a vast failure of (a) pastoral oversight, to which the People of God have a right, and (b) Christian formation.

    And we’ll continue to have one crisis after another, one problem after another, and good Catholics will chew each other over them, though they’re just symptoms of the deeper, broader, far more pervasive and profound problem that our chief pastors lack the will to honestly address. We are in crisis.

    So, yes; I agree with Rod. Being in a position of Authority in the Church while failing to effectively address such a serious crisis isn’t praiseworthy. No one is going to look back on this as a golden age of the Church; and ‘addressing’ a crisis in ecclesiastical documents which are virtually never enforced is almost worse than not addressing the problem at all.

  • [cont’d]

    It does not give me any pleasure to expess these thoughts, but we are deep, deep into denial, still pretending that we are in an Age of Renewal, not even beginning to address our deepest failures honestly. Sixty percent of Mass -going Catholics have walked away from the sacraments in this ‘age of renewal.’ Two-thirds of Catholics can’t identify the Catholic teaching on the Most Holy Eucharist when it is put in front of them. Countless hundreds of thousands, even millions, have graduated from Catholic grammar-high schools and colleges without knowing their Faith.  This, evidently, is Renewal; one wonders what a disaster would have looked like.

    We’re not doing what we need to, as the Church. We’re drowning under a blizzard of postconciliar documents, God knows: but there’s a vast failure of (a) pastoral oversight, to which the People of God have a right, and (b) Christian formation.

    And we’ll continue to have one crisis after another, one problem after another, and good Catholics will chew each other over them, though they’re just symptoms of the deeper, broader, far more pervasive and profound problem that our chief pastors lack the will to honestly address. We are in crisis.

    So, yes; I agree with Rod. Being in a position of Authority in the Church while failing to effectively address such a serious crisis isn’t praiseworthy. No one is going to look back on this as a golden age of the Church; and ‘addressing’ a crisis in ecclesiastical documents which are virtually never enforced is almost worse than not addressing the problem at all.

  • What do you think?

    What I think is actually a question. (Or three.)

    Why am I so often asked to read a quote from Rod Dreher, read a request for opinions on said quote, and then read all sorts of interpretations of what Rod’s quote might possibly mean?

  • What do you think?

    What I think is actually a question. (Or three.)

    Why am I so often asked to read a quote from Rod Dreher, read a request for opinions on said quote, and then read all sorts of interpretations of what Rod’s quote might possibly mean?

  • Fr. Wilson,

    I totally agree with your synopsis of the problem.

    I can only ask you, how did Holy Mother Church come to this state and what is to be done to begin to rectify the situation?

  • Fr. Wilson,

    I totally agree with your synopsis of the problem.

    I can only ask you, how did Holy Mother Church come to this state and what is to be done to begin to rectify the situation?

  • 1. Early delivery after viability for PROPORTIONATE reasons..if the mother has very very serious gestational diabetes, or pregnancy induced hypertension …. which can happen with a normal baby, but the baby is also threatened by these conditons….if the mother has a cancer which needs to be treated by chemicals which would harm the baby…in this case, some harm is being done to the baby by the early delivery.(…most babies born at 24 or 25 weeks have developmental delays to some degree…they can have a pretty rocky course in neonatal intensive care with brain hemorhages, sepsis, etc)  and this harm is balanced with the threat to the mother’s life posed by the untreated cancer…and this is appropriate…(although I think most mothers would choose to delay chemotherapy at least a few more weeks until the baby’s chances for survival without deficits are better). 
    In the case of the anencephalic babies, there is no indication that carrying them to term does the mother any harm whatsoever. The other condition mentioned, agenisis of lungs and liver..some of these babies die in the uterus and if this were not caught quickly, they could deteriorate and the bacteria from the decaying tissue could indeed threaten the mother. But this doesn’t happen in a matter of moments. There is plenty of time to induce labor when the baby has died. 
    So these reasons are not proportionate to the killing even of a child who has fatal anaomalies. And for the mother it is better to nuture the baby as long as possible and get to see and hold the baby, however briefly.

    I do resent though, the characterization of organ donation as “cannabalizing for spare parts.”  and the oppostion of that to Christian burial.  People who donated organs have Christian burial all the time. You don’t have to have your heart or your kidneys to have a Christian burial…you are going to rot down into your constituent molecules anyway, and if God can reconstitute you from those on the judgement day, he can certainly handle the lack of a kidney!
      The question about organ donation is, at what point is it right to do it?  You can’t wait for organ death. The anencephalic baby apparently doesn’t have any higher brain function….so the cessation of that can’t be the cutoff point.  I don’t have the answer to this question right now. 
      Susan Peterson

  • The following is from one Gerald E. on Patrick Sweeney’s blog:

    “Rathergate is also a message to our esteemed spiritual leaders, religious and lay. Stop lying. Stop burying the truth. Clean it up, make amends with victims where necessary. End the bad habits of the past- which go long before Vatican II. Like Rathergate, the Mess of ‘02 combined the worst of the old- obsessive secrecy, inability to treat laypeople as intelligent, mature adults and partners in the work of salvation, poor selection and formation of priestly candidates- with the worst of the new- the toxins of the Sexual Revolution. Worldly institutions handle damage control badly- the much-ballyhooed CBS Wednesday press conference was delayed by six hours, with a badly-written press release to show for its managers’ efforts. Surely the Bride of Christ can do better in its own crises.”

  • The following is from one Gerald E. on Patrick Sweeney’s blog:

    “Rathergate is also a message to our esteemed spiritual leaders, religious and lay. Stop lying. Stop burying the truth. Clean it up, make amends with victims where necessary. End the bad habits of the past- which go long before Vatican II. Like Rathergate, the Mess of ‘02 combined the worst of the old- obsessive secrecy, inability to treat laypeople as intelligent, mature adults and partners in the work of salvation, poor selection and formation of priestly candidates- with the worst of the new- the toxins of the Sexual Revolution. Worldly institutions handle damage control badly- the much-ballyhooed CBS Wednesday press conference was delayed by six hours, with a badly-written press release to show for its managers’ efforts. Surely the Bride of Christ can do better in its own crises.”

  • Jill,

    Don’t come into “my house” and accuse me of gossip. You don’t know me. Tom has been in contact with CWR regarding this matter. I’m not calling you a liar, but don’t call me one either. This is the last I have to say about this.

  • Dom – I respectfully suggest that you talk to some women who have made the choice to carry to term (36 + weeks) rather than induce labor at preterm (the 24 – 35 week area) that is being criticized by these columns.  I also suggest that you read the bishops statement specifically about anencephalic infants.  I have included the links to sources on these on my blog or if you would like, I can send you the links via email.

  • Please Fr. Wilson tell me if you think it is a problem of apostasy.  I remember Jesus said “When the son of Man returns, will there be any faith on earth? 

    So many people do not know that Faith is a supernatural virtue- a gift from God. They believe faith rests on their judement of the evidence and a conviction of their minds or reason.

    This is what I believe is the root.  We can not venture out in faith if we do not have faith.  That is why there are so many cowards.

    God Bless You Father,

    Isabel

  • Please Fr. Wilson tell me if you think it is a problem of apostasy.  I remember Jesus said “When the son of Man returns, will there be any faith on earth? 

    So many people do not know that Faith is a supernatural virtue- a gift from God. They believe faith rests on their judement of the evidence and a conviction of their minds or reason.

    This is what I believe is the root.  We can not venture out in faith if we do not have faith.  That is why there are so many cowards.

    God Bless You Father,

    Isabel

  • Look, I didn’t say I think induced labor of anencephalic babies is a moral good. I know the moral implications. But neither is it the source of all evil. All I’m saying is that there are some circumstances in which it would be morally permissibly to induce labor.

    I am not a bioethicist. I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about this area. All I’m saying is that Jill’s column was misleading, that these hospitals are not doing exactly what she accused them of, and that the (old) news articles she based her column on don’t exactly support the claims she was making.

    End of story. This thread is finished.

  • “Please Fr. Wilson tell me if you think it is a problem of apostasy.  I remember Jesus said care of it, our Lord promised that, but to what ruin of Catholicism in the West?  This I really wonder about.  What about my niece’s and nephew’s children?  What will become of them? 

    Yes, God will triumph, but I’m not so sure the west will be part of that triumph.  Sometimes I think this is so far from anything that I can do anything about that I should dismiss it from my mind.  And then I think, that’s exactly what the heirarchy wants us to do in this moment in time.  So I don’t.  We need a Zell Miller bishop who will come out and give a zinger of a speach that lays out the problems exactly as Fr. Wilson did above.  That would moblize faithful Catholics to get involved on the parish level and change things so that they would be better 80 years from now.  But that hasn’t happened and I don’t think it will.  This is why I always come to Rod’s defense.  We are in a huge crisis.  Do we want another 40 years of lukewarm CCD?  Given the secular culture what will be the shape of the Church after that?  We know that a lot of the behavior that began this scandal is still going on.  What will be the shape of the Church after 40 more years of hush, hush and no action? 

    The heirarchy can give slogans about the Church thinking big picture and the Pope can publish beautiful encyclicals, but ordinary lay Catholics are walking away because no bishop will do a Zell Miller and call a spade a spade.  What ever happened to the shepard going after the one lost sheep?  They aren’t even trying for the obedient sheep.  Why they won’t, I don’t know.  But it will be ruinous to the Church in the West.  I’d put retirement money on that.  Sadly.

  • “Please Fr. Wilson tell me if you think it is a problem of apostasy.  I remember Jesus said n of malformed and dysfunctional priests and the laity are for the most part ignorant of the Christian faith.

    The Pope and Cardinal Ratzinger certainly know these facts.  There is no clear but difficult path out of this mess.  That’s the main difference between the Church today and Britain in the 30’s.

  • I think that the Church is capable (obviously as promised by our Lord) and will survive.  How will history look at this time?  I think it will look at it as a failure of valient leadership and a failure of catechisis. 

    I also roll over and over in my mind how the secular worldview shapes how the heirarchy responds to the scandal.  I get the impression they are waiting for it to blow over, there will be a bigger news cycle than that stupid old Catholic Church, and hopes to deal with the scandal internally, amongst the heirarchy.  Maybe let the bad bishops retire or die off and 80 years from now their will be a vibrant renewal in the Church.

    But, I think the secular worldview shaping how the Church responds presents another problem,  a HUGE problem that the heirarchy does not get or does not want to hear about.  There are individual Catholics, good striving for holiness Catholics out here who can’t even begin to understand their approach.  They haven’t told us what it is, haven’t followed through with elements of the charter and haven’t in anyway attempted to reassure the faithful that matters are being taken care of. 

    The majority of good Catholics in the world are not the heirarchy, they are us blogrolling Catholics trying to figure all of this out.

    To me that’s a huge deal.  What in the world is Rome doing?  I have no idea what plan of action they are going to follow through on.  No assurance from the Pope that this is all going to happen (i.e. better bishops, seminary supervision, and better catechisis).  I feel that there is an intense reaction by the Vatican that wants the laity, esp. the orthodox laity to simply shut up, and that we should have faith that time will take care of all of this.  Well, I do have faith that time will take care of it, our Lord promised that, but to what ruin of Catholicism in the West?  This I really wonder about.  What about my niece’s and nephew’s children?  What will become of them? 

    Yes, God will triumph, but I’m not so sure the west will be part of that triumph.  Sometimes I think this is so far from anything that I can do anything about that I should dismiss it from my mind.  And then I think, that’s exactly what the heirarchy wants us to do in this moment in time.  So I don’t.  We need a Zell Miller bishop who will come out and give a zinger of a speach that lays out the problems exactly as Fr. Wilson did above.  That would moblize faithful Catholics to get involved on the parish level and change things so that they would be better 80 years from now.  But that hasn’t happened and I don’t think it will.  This is why I always come to Rod’s defense.  We are in a huge crisis.  Do we want another 40 years of lukewarm CCD?  Given the secular culture what will be the shape of the Church after that?  We know that a lot of the behavior that began this scandal is still going on.  What will be the shape of the Church after 40 more years of hush, hush and no action? 

    The heirarchy can give slogans about the Church thinking big picture and the Pope can publish beautiful encyclicals, but ordinary lay Catholics are walking away because no bishop will do a Zell Miller and call a spade a spade.  What ever happened to the shepard going after the one lost sheep?  They aren’t even trying for the obedient sheep.  Why they won’t, I don’t know.  But it will be ruinous to the Church in the West.  I’d put retirement money on that.  Sadly.

  • Isabel, I think I might be unclear on one point.

    When you asked if ‘apostasy’ was ‘the problem,’ I meant what I said: I doubt there ‘s “A Problem.”  I suspect that there’s a convergence of problems: priests and laity approach it differently. But most of us are screwing it up.

    It does amount to apostasy, though, and Idolatry. We’re erecting false gods.

  • Again, the easy way is to Blame the Hierarchy. (Actually I do that myself. Probably too often, but I do.)

    But let’s not—o ye priests and laymen—forget ourselves.

    We are in crisis.

    No kidding. When were we not?

    I’m not all that concerned about, years from now, folks judging us. I’m really not. For one thing, some posters to the contrary, I’m not at all sure there will BE “years from now.” For what it’s worth, assuming that is unbelievable chutzpah. Shame on you (and lotsa luck, by the way.)

    You might now wake up tomorrow, friends. Were I you, I’d worry a hell of a lot more about the real Judgment than I would the history books.

    Wel threats and they do play together.

  • Tom Szyszkiewicz here. A number of points to make.

    1) The reason I wrote the articles was because the fact that Catholic hospitals are doing what they term early induction for fetuses with anomalies incompatible with life (EIFWAIL—my acronym) is disgusting. And it is morally abhorrent, in my opinion, that they are hiding behind certain of the USCCB’s Ethical & Religious Directives to justify their behavior. However, as a reporter, I did not make that opinion known in my stories.

    2) I wrote two news pieces on this for the National Catholic Register and Our Sunday Visitor. Besides some slight attention in the Heart, Mind & Strength blog and a link in Jeff Ziegler’s morning e-mail, they were virtually ignored, which is not exactly what I was hoping for.  Jill Stanek wrote an opinion column on my two news pieces. Suddenly the issue is gaining attention. That’s what I had hoped for.

    3) As stated in #2, Jill wrote a column. Columns, if I’m not mistaken, are meant to grab attention and to state opinions. Jill could say things in a column I was not able to say in a news piece. I had people telling me that I should come right out and state that this is abortion and the bishops were waffling. I refused as what I wrote was news, not opinion. It is not that I didn’t believe it, but that I did not see a place for it in my pieces. Jill, however, was perfectly free to do so in a column. Was she accurate? From what I have learned in all the time I’ve been dealing with this story (over a year now), yes.

    4) The coverage that Domenico mentioned with which I was unhappy was that provided by LifeSite News, not Jill’s column. Their story on the column claims that Jill & I said the hospitals were delivering the children and then killing them. Neither of us ever said that.
    There is, perhaps, one slight inaccuracy in Jill’s column. She states at the beginning that I called her to tell her that the hospitals are doing live birth abortions. I believe I told her they carry out EIFWAIL. Her interpretation of what I said, though, is not off the mark. The intent of the procedure is not simply a normal delivery of the child, but to end the pregnancy—an abortion.
    Perhaps she was also unconsciously assuming an audience that had read the articles. Sometimes I do that kind of thing and state things in a less than full way. It perhaps could be read that Catholic hospitals were doing what Christ Hospital was doing after the induction was over and dumping the babies’ bodies in an indecent way. But in her first post in the Illinois Leader, she provided links to both of my articles and that would clarify the whole thing. Unfortunately, and to Jill’s dismay, WorldNetDaily did not do the same.

    5) Domenico, there is never a situation in which early induction for severely handicapped children is ever justified except, as I quoted Dr. Tom Hilgers, in those cases where early induction of a healthy child after viability is justified. The purpose of the procedure is not simply to deliver the child, but to prematurely end the pregnancy and, thereby, bring the child to a premature death.

    If anyone has further questions, I’d be more than happy to try to answer them.

  • I am not going to admit to something that isn’t true. I know what I was told and what I have read.

    And I can’t believe you think I have to be convinced that mental health is not an adequate health exception. I know that. Anyone who has read or heard anything I’ve written or said on the subject knows I know that. I am as strongly pro-life as you can be.

    I’m also not an apologist for these Catholic hospitals. They do have other problems. But for Stanek to accuse the hospitals of leaving babies to “die in hospital soiled utility rooms, or drowned in buckets of water, or sealed to suffocate in biohazard bags,” without evidence that they are doing so is just wrong.

  • People don’t understand what a threat Islam is because they see the radicals and think no-one will actually convert to that.  But a) moderate Islam doesn’t condemn the radicals and b) for an uncatechized person it holds certain attractions in that it needs less effort.  Many difficult Christian doctrines are watered down if not directly contradicted.  Did you know that Muslims don’t hold to the Ten Commandments?  We are definitely facing both internal and external threats and they do play together.

  • You’re right Charles, in that the parallel only goes so far. I didn’t mean it to be read literally. What I got from the Churchill quote applicable to the Church today is his identifying certain character traits that blinded the British Establishment then, which also, in my view, blinds the Catholic Establishment today.

    And of course there is radical Islam, as Dom says. Whatever else one might say about it, that’s one faith that is prepared to fight for its creed. No Christian should welcome violence, certainly, but we didn’t ask for this war to be declared on us, and we have to fight it as if our civilization depended on it. Which it does.

    Remember that famous sermon given by the Vicar in the bombed-out church, at the end of “Mrs. Miniver” (1942)? Here it is:

    We, in this quiet corner of England, have suffered the loss of friends very dear to us—some close to this church: George West, choir boy; James Bellard, station master and bell ringer and a proud winner, only one hour before his death, of the Belding Cup for his beautiful Miniver rose; and our hearts go out in sympathy to the two families who share the cruel loss of a young girl who was married at this altar only two weeks ago.

    The homes of many of us have been destroyed, and the lives of young and old have been taken. There is scarcely a household that hasn’t been struck to the heart.

    And why? Surely you must have asked yourself this question. Why in all conscience should these be the ones to suffer? Children, old people, a young girl at the height of her loveliness. Why these? Are these our soldiers? Are these our fighters? Why should they be sacrificed?

    I shall tell you why.

    Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is a war of the people, of all the people, and it must be fought not only on the battlefield, but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the home, and in the heart of every man, woman, and child who loves freedom!

    Well, we have buried our dead, but we shall not forget them. Instead they will inspire us with an unbreakable determination to free ourselves and those who come after us from the tyranny and terror that threaten to strike us down. This is the people’s war! It is our war! We are the fighters! Fight it then! Fight it with all that is in us, and may God defend the right.

    The film then closes with the congregation singing “Onward, Christian soldier” as the focus moves up through the gaps between the rafters to British fighters planes flying off to meet the enemy.

    Can you imagine a Roman Catholic bishop, including the Bishop of Rome, giving such a sermon today? Can you imagine a priest doing so?

  • You’re right Charles, in that the parallel only goes so far. I didn’t mean it to be read literally. What I got from the Churchill quote applicable to the Church today is his identifying certain character traits that blinded the British Establishment then, which also, in my view, blinds the Catholic Establishment today.

    And of course there is radical Islam, as Dom says. Whatever else one might say about it, that’s one faith that is prepared to fight for its creed. No Christian should welcome violence, certainly, but we didn’t ask for this war to be declared on us, and we have to fight it as if our civilization depended on it. Which it does.

    Remember that famous sermon given by the Vicar in the bombed-out church, at the end of “Mrs. Miniver” (1942)? Here it is:

    We, in this quiet corner of England, have suffered the loss of friends very dear to us—some close to this church: George West, choir boy; James Bellard, station master and bell ringer and a proud winner, only one hour before his death, of the Belding Cup for his beautiful Miniver rose; and our hearts go out in sympathy to the two families who share the cruel loss of a young girl who was married at this altar only two weeks ago.

    The homes of many of us have been destroyed, and the lives of young and old have been taken. There is scarcely a household that hasn’t been struck to the heart.

    And why? Surely you must have asked yourself this question. Why in all conscience should these be the ones to suffer? Children, old people, a young girl at the height of her loveliness. Why these? Are these our soldiers? Are these our fighters? Why should they be sacrificed?

    I shall tell you why.

    Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is a war of the people, of all the people, and it must be fought not only on the battlefield, but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the home, and in the heart of every man, woman, and child who loves freedom!

    Well, we have buried our dead, but we shall not forget them. Instead they will inspire us with an unbreakable determination to free ourselves and those who come after us from the tyranny and terror that threaten to strike us down. This is the people’s war! It is our war! We are the fighters! Fight it then! Fight it with all that is in us, and may God defend the right.

    The film then closes with the congregation singing “Onward, Christian soldier” as the focus moves up through the gaps between the rafters to British fighters planes flying off to meet the enemy.

    Can you imagine a Roman Catholic bishop, including the Bishop of Rome, giving such a sermon today? Can you imagine a priest doing so?

  • Dom,

    I know there are hospitals and abortion clinics that leave babies to die in hospital soiled utility rooms, or they drown them in buckets of water, or they seal them to die in biohazard bags.  I did not accuse the aforementioned hospitals of that, if you read my piece.  But it is done.  I know from personal experience.  And I asked Loyola for its policy on aftercare of these infants, and it refused.  That leaves the hospital wide open for speculation. 

    That said, so what if Loyola and Providence have a “comfort care” policy to rock the babies they have just aborted until they die?  Does that make the act they have just committed acceptable to you?

    We have to stay on task with the discussion.  The discussion is about the act of abortion.

    I appreciate Annie B’s comments.  She has hit the status on the head.  Now that this is all out in the open, thanks to great research done by Tom, who got very telling comments and admissions from the parties involved before they circled their wagons, the real issue now is: “Will the Church remove its faith in untrustworthy administrators such as these, and will the Bishops change the wording of this B is mixing up hydrocephalus with aencephaly. In the first one there is excessive build up of spinal fluid in the brain due to some anomaly of the brain structure. This condition is associated with mental retardation and other defects but can also occur in babies who are not retarded. It will cause retardation though if not quickly remedied. 
    As has been said before here, anencephalic babies do not have the parts of the brain which support ANY higher brain functions, only the part which keeps the organs going. (This is not the most exact way of putting it, I know.)  There is an immense difference between the two conditions.

    I still don’t think the “early inductions” are right.

    Also, Annie said that hypertension in the mother was not a serious complication.  It depends what kind of hypertension, and how much. There are conditions in which a woman’s blood pressure skyrockets out of control during pregnancy and cannot be gotten into control while she is pregnant. This CAN be a life threatening emergency. Uncontrollably high blood pressure is also a symptom of preecclampsia (toxemia of pregnancy.) When this become ecclampsia, women have seizures. Women and their babies have died from this. Sometimes it can be successfully treated. (One doctor has a theory that it can be prevented by a diet very high in protein and B vitamins, and he has had success in his clinic in treating it this way.) But some women do seem to be genetically predisposed towards this condition.  It is very rare for this condition to be so serious that terminating a pregnancy before viability is necessary to save the mother’s life, but babies are delivered prematurely because of it. 

    Even when one’s heart is in the right place, it is good to get the facts straight.  And I invite Alicia please to correct me if anything I said is not quite right.

    Annie, were you the woman who said it would be worth it to you to see your baby’s face before it died? That was a beautiful comment and it is how I think most women would feel..especially after they got the chance to do it with the right kind of support. 
    Susan Peterson

  • Can you imagine a Roman Catholic bishop, including the Bishop of Rome, giving such a sermon today? Can you imagine a priest doing so?

    I could imagine Fr. George Rutler doing so. I could imagine Fr. Paul Shaughnessy, the Marine Corps Jesuit chaplain, doing so? But, God, there are so few of them.

  • Can you imagine a Roman Catholic bishop, including the Bishop of Rome, giving such a sermon today? Can you imagine a priest doing so?

    I could imagine Fr. George Rutler doing so. I could imagine Fr. Paul Shaughnessy, the Marine Corps Jesuit chaplain, doing so? But, God, there are so few of them.

  • Ise that already agree with you. At the end of the day you begin to sound like the blame America first crowd. (How many of us on this side of the aisle pay close attention to them?)

    Again, with respect: Even if I agreed with yours and Fr. Wilson’s assessment,  your disgust and anger has diminished your audience and tainted your message.

  • Can you imagine a Roman Catholic bishop, including the Bishop of Rome, giving such a sermon today?

    Nooo I don’t think I want my bishops, priests or Holy Father quoting old movies or talking like them.  For that matter, why are we quoting movies like their gospel here anyway??? 

    Let’s try real life for a change shall we?  How’s about a quote from an actual priest.

    A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth – beware! – is not the true church of Jesus Christ. A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good, so that they are secured in their sinful state, betrays the gospel’s call.

    That would be from Archbishop Romero.  He also preached against injustice, and strangely enough, against violence of any kind!  Did that till the day he was killed.  My point is, why in the world would we look for examples in fiction of how our clergy should act?  I’d rather look at guys like this.  He actually lived it.  He believed in what he preached.  So much so he died for it.  That’s an example we should follow. 

    Oh and Kelly, right there with you!! Plenty of blame to go around as far as the Church is concerned.  I was shocked at how much I had to teach my catechists about catechism.  We gotta teach.  We gotta love. Everything else is fodder for blogs.

  • Mark Walker has a point, but, I favor keeping the hierarchyth God All things are possible. All Things. 

    We don’t know that the Pope is unconcerned.  Mark Shea wrote a great piece on his blog about how the Pope sees this war, for example, with VERY different eyes than we next generation Americans do.  He lived in Poland during the War and gets what war is better than most of us.  Of anyone, he’d be one who would speak out for war, to defend with weapons.

    But no, he calls us to something much higher. MUCH higher.  Peace!  Some say “Pie in the sky! He’s naive! He’s stupid”.  I say Brilliance.

    I hold these kids here to very high standards and I challenge them all the time for the best.  And grace and mercy is there when we fail and we all will and do fail.

    So, before we go off on others
    1.  It starts with our own hearts
    2.  God can and will do anything. It’s his Church.

  • Mark Walker has a point, but, I favor keeping the hierarchyly superior to the clearly inferior postconciliar liturgy then proceed to lose their cookies at the prospect that the Faithful might have a (very limited) choice between both rites. You’d think the new, glorious arrangement would commend itself on its merits.

    Of course, if you thought that, you’d be surprised that 60% of our worshipping congregation voted with their feet over the past thirty years.

    The day is coming when as a Church we’re going to need to take an honest, humble look at our situation, and our mistakes. I am truly glad that the traditional liturgy has been preserved. I am glad that traditional Religious communities have been founded in the last twenty years—traditional Benedictines, Carmelites, Dominicans, Redemptorists, etc—and that, with the secular traditionalist Fraternity of St Peter, they flourish, with their most serious problem being space for applicants.

    Not a problem in my diocese.

  • Mark Walker has a point, but, I favor keeping the hierarchyly superior to the clearly inferior postconciliar liturgy then proceed to lose their cookies at the prospect that the Faithful might have a (very limited) choice between both rites. You’d think the new, glorious arrangement would commend itself on its merits.

    Of course, if you thought that, you’d be surprised that 60% of our worshipping congregation voted with their feet over the past thirty years.

    The day is coming when as a Church we’re going to need to take an honest, humble look at our situation, and our mistakes. I am truly glad that the traditional liturgy has been preserved. I am glad that traditional Religious communities have been founded in the last twenty years—traditional Benedictines, Carmelites, Dominicans, Redemptorists, etc—and that, with the secular traditionalist Fraternity of St Peter, they flourish, with their most serious problem being space for applicants.

    Not a problem in my diocese.

  • The way I feel about it today, Mark, is if you’re a faithful Catholic and you’re not angry and disgusted, then chances are you’re not paying attention.

    Speaking for myself, the ratcheded-up anger about this has to do with the feeling of powerlessness the laity have. We have no say in who our bishops are, or our priests are. I’m not arguing that we should, but at the same time, it’s very, very frustrating to see this same crew running the Church into the ground, and to feel like there’s little or nothing laypeople can do about it. That the upper hierarchy, including the Pope, is unconcerned enough to take dramatic action to fix things only frustrates one further. I wonder how many people will wander of quietly, and never look back at Catholicism. Well, that’s not going to be me, so I’m going to stand here and yell, and yell some more.

  • While I understand, Rod, what you are saying, because I work in the Church I am frustrated with both you and the “hierarchy”.

    I know what it’s like to tell the pastor that we deserve good liturgy, or to hear him say things like “I’m not even sure what the Church’s teaching on gay marriage is” Yes you do, you just don’t want to say it for fear of offending someone.

    But I’m frustrated at the good Orthodox Catholic who keeps blaming others and refuses to get involved.  I’ve said it before here, and I want to shoot myself because few hear it, but
    A. We are sinful, from the smallest kid to the Pope. We all screw it up. We can take care of that ourselves, individuly.
    B.  GET INVOLVED. get involved get involved get involved.  And maybe you are and are still frustrated. But I get some folks at my door who B&Moan; and I ask them, beg them to get involved, and they don’t. Or they pull their kids out of the RelEd Program because they want more for their kids, which is great, but I’m trying to get a good thing going here and can’t do it without the Salt, so to speak.

    There is no great mystery to this and I don’t think the Church will go down in flames.  It can’t.

    Over and above it all, is With God All things are possible. All Things. 

    We don’t know that the Pope is unconcerned.  Mark Shea wrote a great piece on his blog about how the Pope sees this war, for example, with VERY different eyes than we next generation Americans do.  He lived in Poland during the War and gets what war is better than most of us.  Of anyone, he’d be one who would speak out for war, to defend with weapons.

    But no, he calls us to something much higher. MUCH higher.  Peace!  Some say “Pie in the sky! He’s naive! He’s stupid”.  I say Brilliance.

    I hold these kids here to very high standards and I challenge them all the time for the best.  And grace and mercy is there when we fail and we all will and do fail.

    So, before we go off on others
    1.  It starts with our own hearts
    2.  God can and will do anything. It’s his Church.

  • And Carrie, yes. It’s a battle. But it’s the Lord’s battle, and we gotta be both merciful and just when it comes to orthodoxy.  Stand firm, love with the unconditional love of Christ.

    Why do you think I do youth ministry? Get to the kids, get to our future leaders!
    I mean, evangelize and give truth to them….you know what I mean.

  • Anger – I am not angry. What good would my anger do anyone? Would my being angry help correct the problem or face the challenges you’re talking about? It would have no impact whatsoever, and I’d just end up having to go to confession more than I already need to.

    Disgust? Maybe there’s a little disgust, at times, but there’s as little room for that as there is for anger. What good would it do?

    Rod, please believe me – I am paying attention. I’ve read every word you’ve ever aimed me at. You may be frustrated with my answers on top of everything else, but I see no value in responding to this with overheated emotions – on my part or anyone elses. It just doesn’t seem to be getting anybody anywhere.

    Carrie – I don’t think St. Blogs is so big as to be relevant in the greater scheme of things. Just my opinion, but there are moments when I think St. Blogs is comprised of about 40 bloggers who go around reading each other stuff…

  • Anger – I am not angry. What good would my anger do anyone? Would my being angry help correct the problem or face the challenges you’re talking about? It would have no impact whatsoever, and I’d just end up having to go to confession more than I already need to.

    Disgust? Maybe there’s a little disgust, at times, but there’s as little room for that as there is for anger. What good would it do?

    Rod, please believe me – I am paying attention. I’ve read every word you’ve ever aimed me at. You may be frustrated with my answers on top of everything else, but I see no value in responding to this with overheated emotions – on my part or anyone elses. It just doesn’t seem to be getting anybody anywhere.

    Carrie – I don’t think St. Blogs is so big as to be relevant in the greater scheme of things. Just my opinion, but there are moments when I think St. Blogs is comprised of about 40 bloggers who go around reading each other stuff…

  • Jamie, the question isn’t whether we want priests and prelates talking like characters from old movies. The questions is whether priests and prelates are willing to admit to themselves that the clash of civilizations they so fear is already upon us—and are able (let alone willing) to communicate that fact to their congregants.

    It should be apparent that much of the Catholic clerical establishment is either too infatuated with contemporary views of “political correctness,” or are too willing to give lip service to a Pope who views his discredited geopolitical agenda as fundamentally important.

    Then again, there are always the Mark Sheas and Kevin Millers of the world who are more than willing to insulate themselves from reality by claiming that anybody who dares to question a Pope’s prudential decisions is somehow less of a faithful Catholic than they are.

  • Jamie, the question isn’t whether we want priests and prelates talking like characters from old movies. The questions is whether priests and prelates are willing to admit to themselves that the clash of civilizations they so fear is already upon us—and are able (let alone willing) to communicate that fact to their congregants.

    It should be apparent that much of the Catholic clerical establishment is either too infatuated with contemporary views of “political correctness,” or are too willing to give lip service to a Pope who views his discredited geopolitical agenda as fundamentally important.

    Then again, there are always the Mark Sheas and Kevin Millers of the world who are more than willing to insulate themselves from reality by claiming that anybody who dares to question a Pope’s prudential decisions is somehow less of a faithful Catholic than they are.

  • Joe – needless to say, that’s a rather unfair characterization of what Shea and Miller have said (and I’d be honored if you include me in that list, by the way). You’re taking rather impressive liberties here. In fact, it seems more like you’re taking exception to the fact that they disagree with your unerring judgement.

    What amazes me is the absolute certainty; nobody has any doubts, all are experts. Life is never that simple.

  • Joe – needless to say, that’s a rather unfair characterization of what Shea and Miller have said (and I’d be honored if you include me in that list, by the way). You’re taking rather impressive liberties here. In fact, it seems more like you’re taking exception to the fact that they disagree with your unerring judgement.

    What amazes me is the absolute certainty; nobody has any doubts, all are experts. Life is never that simple.

  • know what you mean, Jen.  But I have to say that I got involved…so involved that I nearly lost my faith when I discovered what was lurking in the recesses that the general laity didn’t know.  My involvement, my calls for orthodoxy, the hours and hours it took, came down to just about nothing when the truth was told.  So I got uninvolved because my faith means more to me than reforming the Church does.

    As someone stated, it’s about Jesus.  And the Pope ain’t Him.  Neither is the Church for all we tell each other about the Body of Christ.

    Today I’m angry.  I’m disgusted.  I’m powerless.  And I no longer know if there is anyone in the Church who can be trusted.

    Mark, we begin at home with salt and light.  There were only 12 apostles, as someone told me just recently.  Sure, we talk to each other, but look at Dom’s blog…at the number of people who read the posts. Look at Amy’s blog.  I think I remember her mentioning 1500 hits a day.  There are no editors here censoring what will and will not get written.  The bishops have no jurisdiction over this “press.”

    St. Blogs discussed “The Da Vinci Code.”  Then a few members wrote a couple of books, and are now giving lectures at parishes around the country.  I think they are having an important impact.  There is reinforcement here that enables Catholic writers to go out and challenge the culture.  None of us can do it alone…not when the mess is this big…and it can get awfully lonely trying to do it at the parish level where there is seldom any reinforcement at all.

  • know what you mean, Jen.  But I have to say that I got involved…so involved that I nearly lost my faith when I discovered what was lurking in the recesses that the general laity didn’t know.  My involvement, my calls for orthodoxy, the hours and hours it took, came down to just about nothing when the truth was told.  So I got uninvolved because my faith means more to me than reforming the Church does.

    As someone stated, it’s about Jesus.  And the Pope ain’t Him.  Neither is the Church for all we tell each other about the Body of Christ.

    Today I’m angry.  I’m disgusted.  I’m powerless.  And I no longer know if there is anyone in the Church who can be trusted.

    Mark, we begin at home with salt and light.  There were only 12 apostles, as someone told me just recently.  Sure, we talk to each other, but look at Dom’s blog…at the number of people who read the posts. Look at Amy’s blog.  I think I remember her mentioning 1500 hits a day.  There are no editors here censoring what will and will not get written.  The bishops have no jurisdiction over this “press.”

    St. Blogs discussed “The Da Vinci Code.”  Then a few members wrote a couple of books, and are now giving lectures at parishes around the country.  I think they are having an important impact.  There is reinforcement here that enables Catholic writers to go out and challenge the culture.  None of us can do it alone…not when the mess is this big…and it can get awfully lonely trying to do it at the parish level where there is seldom any reinforcement at all.

  • Carrie – I understand what you mean, but the writtters now doing book tours were published authors before they had blogs. Yes, I understand that St. Blogs has a certain amount of impact. I just don’t think that impact is all that strong outside of a rather small circle of people. Fr. Rob once suggested St. Blogs and it’s readership is about 10,000 people (though I’d bet it’s smaller still). We’ll matter far more when we generate the same number of hits – even collectively – that Glenn Reynolds does.

    On the good news side, I’m happy to know that my lowly blog is up to 1/15th of Amy’s readership. It’s the little things that count…

  • Carrie – I understand what you mean, but the writtters now doing book tours were published authors before they had blogs. Yes, I understand that St. Blogs has a certain amount of impact. I just don’t think that impact is all that strong outside of a rather small circle of people. Fr. Rob once suggested St. Blogs and it’s readership is about 10,000 people (though I’d bet it’s smaller still). We’ll matter far more when we generate the same number of hits – even collectively – that Glenn Reynolds does.

    On the good news side, I’m happy to know that my lowly blog is up to 1/15th of Amy’s readership. It’s the little things that count…

  • This blog gets about 1,000 to 1,500 unique users a day.

    How many faithful, orthodox Catholics are in the US? 100,000? 50,000? 10,000 would be a significant percentage of that.

    And I do have proof that St. Blog’s has had an impact. Not long ago, I blogged about Catholic colleges putting links to abortion clinics and others of that ilk on their web sites. Other bloggers wrote about it, then magazines and other news services. Eventually the furor got so loud that almost all of those colleges pulled the links. That’s having an effect.

    There are more examples besides.

    That is the deceptive nature of the Internet. It may seem like you’re the only one reading a web site, but there could be many others besides and influential people that you just don’t know. I wish I could tell you about some of the people I know who read this blog, but I can’t talk about. (I don’t have their permission to use their names.) That’s not tooting my horn, because I know that Amy’s and Mark’s blogs get even more hits than mine.

  • This blog gets about 1,000 to 1,500 unique users a day.

    How many faithful, orthodox Catholics are in the US? 100,000? 50,000? 10,000 would be a significant percentage of that.

    And I do have proof that St. Blog’s has had an impact. Not long ago, I blogged about Catholic colleges putting links to abortion clinics and others of that ilk on their web sites. Other bloggers wrote about it, then magazines and other news services. Eventually the furor got so loud that almost all of those colleges pulled the links. That’s having an effect.

    There are more examples besides.

    That is the deceptive nature of the Internet. It may seem like you’re the only one reading a web site, but there could be many others besides and influential people that you just don’t know. I wish I could tell you about some of the people I know who read this blog, but I can’t talk about. (I don’t have their permission to use their names.) That’s not tooting my horn, because I know that Amy’s and Mark’s blogs get even more hits than mine.

  • Dom: That is the deceptive nature of the Internet. It may seem like you but it can also be used to fuel action—the kind of action that can remedy a situation and promote people *to move their minds and wills to understand it*.  People who don’t get angry about anything usually don’t get anything done, including good things, like sticking to prayer and working on holiness and helping others… 

    Some people are just perpetually oblivious—in fact, that has been the habitual condition of the Post V2 church….we call it now denial and indeed,  that’s what it has been for these last 40 years or more.  There is no virtue in being oblivious to everything around you (and within you).  For some reason the belief that this is a virtue lurks very deeply in many Catholics’ frame of reference.  This is true and I have observed it first hand over and over in peoples’ attitudes and vocalizations.  I have no idea what its grip on people is.  You know, God can be trusted to be present and he can be trusted for it all, but that is not sufficient reason to turn into a human cabbage.  According to the classical works of spirituality and charity, including Scripture, some human effort, to be blessed with God’s effort, is required.  I personally think some of this is just laziness or a failure to care.

    The word *anger* covers a lot of territory too.  Perhaps we should think of it as “the arousal of mental and spiritual faculties as a result of logic and observation” and the emotions that follow.  Waking up is not wrong, my friend.  Refusing to deny evil, sloth or opportunism where it exists is not a problem.  The emotion that follows it can be resolve or anger, yes.

    And yes, excess or unfair resolve or anger is a problem.  Wrongly directed anger can be a problem.  And anger that ends in violence can be a problem.  But this is none of those, I believe.  I even believe that most of Rod’s response is not vengefully wrongly directed.  I think the heirarchy needs a good nudge.  Sometimes more than a nudge…

    So Mark, your argument should not be against resolve or anger or trying to understand the situations we face.  Perhaps, rather, you should be talking about appropriate ways to channel our resolve, awareness or (yes) anger in the proper (faithful) direction?

  • Dom: That is the deceptive nature of the Internet. It may seem like youmail>
    http://yawpings.stblogs.org
    208.35.252.24
    2004-09-17 18:28:51
    2004-09-17 22:28:51
    Rod and Dom-
    Given what you just posted, shouldn’t we be making a greater effort to get Blogs noticed by more people outside of the existing audience? Wouldn’t that be a more constructive means of using the power of the blog?

  • Rod – if an average parishoner doesn’t know what’s going on, is it possible that the average priest really doesn’t get it either? Yes, I know the answer, but I’m curious why?

  • Mark, my pastor is still saying the reason there is a priest shortage is that the Catholic laity have not provided young men who want to be priests.  He takes pride in not surfing the web.  I think it’s fair to say that he is clueless on the scandal, and I find that simply incomprehensible.  This priest is in his mid-50s.

  • Dom, as far as effect goes, think too about the impact the blogs had on the crystal chapel at Ave Maria University.

    And what about Terri Schiavo…the blogs were able to get her situation brought to TV where most Catholics check in.

    Think about the impact a jpeg has when foolishness is caught in the act.  It’s so very easy to link that foolishness and comment.  Where once evidence was difficult to present to someone, linking makes it very easy for anyone to verify a claim.

    Think about the problems St. Blogs made for VOTF.  Without the blogs, they would have had clear sailing for their liberal agenda.

    I think it would be foolish to underestimate Catholic blogging.  The hierarchy has no control over this media at all, unlike most other sources of Catholic information for the average Catholic in the pew.

     

  • Thank you Fr. Wilson.  I sincerely appreciate your remarks and your assesment.

    I will keep you in my prayers.

    Isabel

  • Fr. Wilson,

    Do you see the Traditional Latin Mass playing any part in the possible restoration of Holy Mother the Church in the near future?

  • “Do you see the Traditional Latin Mass playing any part in the possible restoration of Holy Mother the Church in the near future?”

    An enormous problem we have lived with for thirty-five years is that Vatican II has been seen as some kind of a new beginning, rather than being read, understood and received as part of the ongoing Tradition (anyone who doesn’t want to take my word on this should be aware that Cardinal Ratzinger said the same thing). People act as though the whole Catholic Faith was reinvented in 1965.

    In my personal opinion, the liturgical reform was a catastrophe.

    Certainly, it did not reflect the mind of the Council Fathers; anyone who reads the liturgical constitution of Vatican II can see that. And the fact that bishops who, during 1967-1969, were in Rome and had the opportunity to witness “demo Masses” of the newRite panned it, should say something as well. These were, after all, Council Fathers.

    I have always been amused at the fact that people who profess to believe that the Novus Ordo is OBVIOUSLY incomparably superior to the clearly inferior postconciliar liturgy then proceed to lose their cookies at the prospect that the Faithful might have a (very limited) choice between both rites. You’d think the new, glorious arrangement would commend itself on its merits.

    Of course, if you thought that, you’d be surprised that 60% of our worshipping congregation voted with their feet over the past thirty years.

    The day is coming when as a Church we’re going to need to take an honest, humble look at our situation, and our mistakes. I am truly glad that the traditional liturgy has been preserved. I am glad that traditional Religious communities have been founded in the last twenty years—traditional Benedictines, Carmelites, Dominicans, Redemptorists, etc—and that, with the secular traditionalist Fraternity of St Peter, they flourish, with their most serious problem being space for applicants.

    Not a problem in my diocese.

  • The Novus Ordo is built on the Tridentine.  Those who bad mouth the Tridentine, cut the roots out from under that which they wish to grow.  Either we respect all of our liturgies, or we destroy the meaning of any of them.

    When we reject our Tradition, our theology rests on nothing but the whim of the moment, no more truthful than the latest political speech from one of the presidential candidates, and subject to continual reinterpretation.  If we reject the Tradition, we might just as well sleep in on Sunday morning.

    Which brings me right back to that rewriting of Canon Law that seems to have eliminated the concept of heresy.

  • iven what you just posted, shouldn>
    http://yawpings.stblogs.org
    208.35.252.24
    2004-09-18 13:31:41
    2004-09-18 17:31:41
    MichiganCatholic – I’ll grant you that anger covers a lot of ground, but it can be sinful. In fact, I have a book here someplace that calls anger a mortal sin.

    But you’ve brought up a good point. I don’t see a great deal of the anger on St. Blogs turning into action. In fact I see a lot of people that seem to feed off the anger itself – especially at Mark Shea’s blog. In fact, I am talking about appropriate ways to channel our resolve, but I still see more questions than answers. The blogs will have come of age when the answers outnumber the questions. My opinion, obviously.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not arguing against anger per se. I’m not angry. My opinion is that anger alone is counterproductive. Use it to initiate action, maybe, but be done with it there.

  • JPW, classic story—almost exactly like mine. 

    Mark, anger is an emotion, not a sin.  Anger can be used for ill, but it can also be used to fuel action—the kind of action that can remedy a situation and promote people *to move their minds and wills to understand it*.  People who don’t get angry about anything usually don’t get anything done, including good things, like sticking to prayer and working on holiness and helping others… 

    Some people are just perpetually oblivious—in fact, that has been the habitual condition of the Post V2 church….we call it now denial and indeed,  that’s what it has been for these last 40 years or more.  There is no virtue in being oblivious to everything around you (and within you).  For some reason the belief that this is a virtue lurks very deeply in many Catholics’ frame of reference.  This is true and I have observed it first hand over and over in peoples’ attitudes and vocalizations.  I have no idea what its grip on people is.  You know, God can be trusted to be present and he can be trusted for it all, but that is not sufficient reason to turn into a human cabbage.  According to the classical works of spirituality and charity, including Scripture, some human effort, to be blessed with God’s effort, is required.  I personally think some of this is just laziness or a failure to care.

    The word *anger* covers a lot of territory too.  Perhaps we should think of it as “the arousal of mental and spiritual faculties as a result of logic and observation” and the emotions that follow.  Waking up is not wrong, my friend.  Refusing to deny evil, sloth or opportunism where it exists is not a problem.  The emotion that follows it can be resolve or anger, yes.

    And yes, excess or unfair resolve or anger is a problem.  Wrongly directed anger can be a problem.  And anger that ends in violence can be a problem.  But this is none of those, I believe.  I even believe that most of Rod’s response is not vengefully wrongly directed.  I think the heirarchy needs a good nudge.  Sometimes more than a nudge…

    So Mark, your argument should not be against resolve or anger or trying to understand the situations we face.  Perhaps, rather, you should be talking about appropriate ways to channel our resolve, awareness or (yes) anger in the proper (faithful) direction?

  • Dom, blogs are very powerful, whether or not local people actually read them.  I am holding here a copy of my local newspaper.  In the religion section of this morning’s paper is an article (Associated Press) about VOTF and the situation in Boston.  (I’m in Michigan, BTW. It’s general reporting, I guess.)  In that article, the situation is described for the usual non-catholic audience.  But it’s interesting in that there are two points of view in the article and several people were interviewed.  Not just McBrien from Notre Dame (dissident) and Fr. Coyne from Boston (in-house guy), but also Philip Lawler (Catholic World News, with a large presence on the net, and an affiliation with this blog) and Fr. Carr (with a blog of his own—that’s how I know his name and might decide to listen to what he says).

    The news media is now aware, in some measure because of the blogs, that faithful BUT knowledgeable types exist and we have to be mentioned.  So people here in Berrien county who read this article are touched by the blogs whether they have ever heard of them or not.  We now have speakers, and commenters of our own, besides those given us by Mother Angelica, etc.  (the news media ignores some of those)

    Remember, if you will, that for so many years coverage was so one-sided!! One would have thought that McBrien’s views were our views—what a thought!!!  There were not other ones given publicly, at least widely.  When I first came into the church 20 years ago, that was the condition of local understanding.  We were not making the distinction yet….  many still do not.  (the belief that the comatose state is a virtue, again).

    I honestly believe that the blogs are one tiny piece of the faithful resistance, and will contribute in their way to the recovery of the church in the West.  And they will contribute far beyond their readership.  I may be mistaken, but I don’t think so….

    I am amused by Dom’s little comment about who reads this blog.  There is a traditionalist mail list on the net—it still exists—which has an interesting readership in Rome, I’ve heard.  I’m sure a fair amount of this sort of thing goes on. 

     

     

     

     

     

  • MichiganCatholic – I’ll grant you that anger covers a lot of ground, but it can be sinful. In fact, I have a book here someplace that calls anger a mortal sin.

    But you’ve brought up a good point. I don’t see a great deal of the anger on St. Blogs turning into action. In fact I see a lot of people that seem to feed off the anger itself – especially at Mark Shea’s blog. In fact, I am talking about appropriate ways to channel our resolve, but I still see more questions than answers. The blogs will have come of age when the answers outnumber the questions. My opinion, obviously.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not arguing against anger per se. I’m not angry. My opinion is that anger alone is counterproductive. Use it to initiate action, maybe, but be done with it there.

  • Well, Mark, if you look above at the bit about the news media quoting blogger sources, etc., I’d say there is some action around this blogging.  And there is some action around some people who read blogs certainly.  I have been motivated to get re-involved in the local diocese because of my understanding that I am not alone.  The church here is desert.  It does not hurt to communicate, my friend, even if the communication is not all cheery and rosy 100% of the time.

  • Well, Mark, if you look above at the bit about the news media quoting blogger sources, etc., I’d say there is some action around this blogging.  And there is some action around some people who read blogs certainly.  I have been motivated to get re-involved in the local diocese because of my understanding that I am not alone.  The church here is desert.  It does not hurt to communicate, my friend, even if the communication is not all cheery and rosy 100% of the time.

  • Mark, perhaps the belief made literal in books like the one you say you have is why Catholics believe that being truthful and sensible is somehow sinful?  Friend, don’t believe everything you read.  There is a lot of trash out there.  And some lousy translations.

    Anger is an emotion—a biophysical response.  From there ensue temptations.  What you do with it is what determines whether it is sinful or not.

    When a person becomes Christian, there is no requirement that you have to leave your brain at the door.  On the contrary, my friend.  You leave your old sins, your fear, your old ways, but not your heart or brain. 

  • Mark, perhaps the belief made literal in books like the one you say you have is why Catholics believe that being truthful and sensible is somehow sinful?  Friend, don’t believe everything you read.  There is a lot of trash out there.  And some lousy translations.

    Anger is an emotion—a biophysical response.  From there ensue temptations.  What you do with it is what determines whether it is sinful or not.

    When a person becomes Christian, there is no requirement that you have to leave your brain at the door.  On the contrary, my friend.  You leave your old sins, your fear, your old ways, but not your heart or brain. 

  • In regards to Rod’s comments, I find it hard to disagree with Bishop Bruskewitz’s gloss on most of our curent prelate leadership as “this hapless bench of bishops.”  Most of the new appointments are very encouraging and I draw hope from that.  But they are too few, too few, and very late in the game.

    But having said that, and with all due respect to Dom and his otherwise outstanding blog, I find it hard to take seriously any combox which includes comments from a man who has repeatedly called for, among other indefensible things, the unilateral nuclear destruction of entire Islamic cities.

    And yes, Joseph d’Hippolito, I’m talking to you.

  • In regards to Rod’s comments, I find it hard to disagree with Bishop Bruskewitz’s gloss on most of our curent prelate leadership as “this hapless bench of bishops.”  Most of the new appointments are very encouraging and I draw hope from that.  But they are too few, too few, and very late in the game.

    But having said that, and with all due respect to Dom and his otherwise outstanding blog, I find it hard to take seriously any combox which includes comments from a man who has repeatedly called for, among other indefensible things, the unilateral nuclear destruction of entire Islamic cities.

    And yes, Joseph d’Hippolito, I’m talking to you.

  • Well Richard – his remarks could have been made out of frustration. My niece, a PFC stationed in Iraq, said the same thing.

  • Well Richard – his remarks could have been made out of frustration. My niece, a PFC stationed in Iraq, said the same thing.

  • But having said that, and with all due respect to Dom and his otherwise outstanding blog, I find it hard to take seriously any combox which includes comments from a man who has repeatedly called for, among other indefensible things, the unilateral nuclear destruction of entire Islamic cities.

    And yes, Joseph d’Hippolito, I’m talking to you.

    Of all the things that have been said, and could be said, on this thread, do you have to pick on Joe? I mean, really. Is Joe the problem here? Or is it easier to crack on him than the men who are responsible for this present crisis?

    Joe and I probably don’t agree on everything, but come on, let’s have some perspective. At least he’s awake, and not a quietist cabbage, hoping everything will come right again if he just sits quite still and waits.

  • But having said that, and with all due respect to Dom and his otherwise outstanding blog, I find it hard to take seriously any combox which includes comments from a man who has repeatedly called for, among other indefensible things, the unilateral nuclear destruction of entire Islamic cities.

    And yes, Joseph d’Hippolito, I’m talking to you.

    Of all the things that have been said, and could be said, on this thread, do you have to pick on Joe? I mean, really. Is Joe the problem here? Or is it easier to crack on him than the men who are responsible for this present crisis?

    Joe and I probably don’t agree on everything, but come on, let’s have some perspective. At least he’s awake, and not a quietist cabbage, hoping everything will come right again if he just sits quite still and waits.

  • I should add that I’ve thought the same thing about Islamic cities, on 9/11/01, when I saw thousands of people die in front of my eyes while I was standing on the Brooklyn Bridge. I repented of that thought later. But I had it. I think it’s normal in times like this.

  • I should add that I’ve thought the same thing about Islamic cities, on 9/11/01, when I saw thousands of people die in front of my eyes while I was standing on the Brooklyn Bridge. I repented of that thought later. But I had it. I think it’s normal in times like this.

  • Hello Rod,

    No, it’s not entirely on point.

    But with friends like this…I’m saying that he’s not doing you any favors with his cheering section.  And I say that agreeing with a lot of your points (if not always the zeal with which they are expressed).

    In my anger did I think about dropping a MOAB or a tac-nuke on the Kabaa on Sept. 11?  I’m sure most of us did. I also think we thought better of it not long after.  Unfortunately,  Mr. d’Hippolito has no such excuse. He has been making such extreme, indefensible comments all over St. Blogs for a long time.  We didn’t just catch him on a bad day.

    And it’s why some bloggers, like Mark Shea, have banned him – as you know.

    I also happen to think Islamic radicalism and the societies which support it have to be confronted more aggressively, not just by the West but by the Church as well.  I don’t think that cause is done any favors by comments like Joe has made on so many occasions.

    But perhaps this is an ideal occasion for Joe to retract and apologize for his remarks and turn over a new leaf.  I’d rather see that than see him cast into outer darkness.

    best regards

  • Hello Rod,

    No, it’s not entirely on point.

    But with friends like this…I’m saying that he’s not doing you any favors with his cheering section.  And I say that agreeing with a lot of your points (if not always the zeal with which they are expressed).

    In my anger did I think about dropping a MOAB or a tac-nuke on the Kabaa on Sept. 11?  I’m sure most of us did. I also think we thought better of it not long after.  Unfortunately,  Mr. d’Hippolito has no such excuse. He has been making such extreme, indefensible comments all over St. Blogs for a long time.  We didn’t just catch him on a bad day.

    And it’s why some bloggers, like Mark Shea, have banned him – as you know.

    I also happen to think Islamic radicalism and the societies which support it have to be confronted more aggressively, not just by the West but by the Church as well.  I don’t think that cause is done any favors by comments like Joe has made on so many occasions.

    But perhaps this is an ideal occasion for Joe to retract and apologize for his remarks and turn over a new leaf.  I’d rather see that than see him cast into outer darkness.

    best regards

  • Comments about Joe are sort of a red herring here.  But for what it’s worth, Joe posts in my blog.  I’ve requested that he not blow up any Moslems there, and he has agreed not to.  I’m sure he would accommodate any other blogger who made a similar request.  I find Joe’s perspective on a lot of issues insightful.  We don’t always agree, but he always makes me think.  I share your lack of enthusiasm for blowing up Islamic cities, Charlie, because I have relatives in Abu Dahbi.

    Regarding Islam, John Allen’s column this week is devoted to his visit to Africa.  He interviewed a bishop who made quite a surprising comment to the effect that the Moslems want to have a government that reflects Islamic law and are not satisfied with anything less, which is making congenial relations with them impossible.  That is certainly content requiring careful consideration.

    Regarding anger and sin.  Who said it…“Be angry and sin not”…?  Look at Christ’s response to commerce in the temple.  There was more than a little anger behind it, and He was sure no cabbage!

  • Comments about Joe are sort of a red herring here.  But for what it’s worth, Joe posts in my blog.  I’ve requested that he not blow up any Moslems there, and he has agreed not to.  I’m sure he would accommodate any other blogger who made a similar request.  I find Joe’s perspective on a lot of issues insightful.  We don’t always agree, but he always makes me think.  I share your lack of enthusiasm for blowing up Islamic cities, Charlie, because I have relatives in Abu Dahbi.

    Regarding Islam, John Allen’s column this week is devoted to his visit to Africa.  He interviewed a bishop who made quite a surprising comment to the effect that the Moslems want to have a government that reflects Islamic law and are not satisfied with anything less, which is making congenial relations with them impossible.  That is certainly content requiring careful consideration.

    Regarding anger and sin.  Who said it…“Be angry and sin not”…?  Look at Christ’s response to commerce in the temple.  There was more than a little anger behind it, and He was sure no cabbage!

  • Charlie posted, and I think, to the point:

    I happen to live in an Islamic city, Cairo..

    They have got to accept the ways of others.  We are NOT going to become Muslim.  Period.

  • Carrie,

    You brought me over here (and everybody else) for THIS?

    I’m glad for your chuckle but it’s not enough. Sorry. And so, for the benefit of those who came here, also unnecessarily:

    Knock, Knock.

    (Who’s there?)

    Carrie.

    (Carrie me who?)

    Carry me out of this absurdity!

    Kelly <———-who will now watch her Michigan J. Frog cartoon to lull her to sleep. Sheesh.

  • Kelly, would you rather I preferred? Lighten up, lady.

    And Kelly, would you please stop bleeping?  You know, that’s against the law in some places.  You can get a ticket for it in Rome traffic.  wink

    It was an innocent question.  I still wouldn’t GO to Cairo, let alone live there.  You can if you want.

  • Hi, Susan, actually I didn’t, it was Josephine and here she is with two other posts at our blog, clearing that up!

    “I was corrected(not online). Hydrocephalic babies are the ones who have the brain damage due to water pressing on brain tissue and is similiar to the condition where the is a hernia in the diaphram as they both take up space(the water on the brain and the intestines in the lungs and heart) to a point where they can prevent the organs from developing. Anecephalic babies rarely need cathetors but do need helmets and other protective gear to protect thier exposed skull/brain tissue/ or the sac that hold the brain. The head can be flat and unprotected which can lead to difficult delivery and damage to whatever is left of the brain.
    josephine | Email | 09.17.04 – 9:38 pm | #

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    “I know some docs prefer c-section in order to give the baby a better chance. It is not true they only have a brain stem. There can be different levels of anacephaly where there is plenty of brain to function. Hydrocephaly, anacephaly, spinal bifida and herniated diaphram(along with other organ imperfections) are all recomended for abortions or atleast genetic councelling. I have access to my sister(who is studying to be an x-ray tech) and others who work here in nashville where they operate on babies with some of these conditions with success at Vandy. Im sure if you went to the website they would have tons of info. My son had his hernia surgery there not but a couple of months ago and came out without even a visable stitch. I was stunned. Those folks are great. His was all done inside with cameras and micro tools.. Just a little piece of tape where they glued him back together.
    josephine | Email | 09.17.04 – 9:39 pm | #”

    My other general thought is, John Cougar Mellencamp was born with spina bifida. They operated on him and he was fine. Look what he’s accomplished. I wish these doctors and “baby-euthanasia” folks would look HIM in the eye and tell him that they think they’re right.

    Susan, I agree that it is very rare for severe hypertension and its other dangers to be treated only by terminating the pregnancy. Proper eating, mild exercise, etc. can moderate/control the problem in non-pregnant and pregnant people. My point was that we must not risk opening up all hypertension broadly as the reason to induce early and possibly terminate the baby’s life in the process.

    Yes, Susan, I was the woman who said that about seeing my baby’s face. Thanks. I must add that, having aborted what turned out to be my only daughter 25 years ago, I’d still go through now with delivering my baby even to watch him/her die within days, even if I had absolutely no support whatsoever. That’s just me. I know now, that I would still have God’s support and that would be enough for me, as I trust He would send me help in the form of caring people who I know now do exist, even if they don’t know me yet. There is NOTHING that would ever convince me to abort ever again, if I was ever able to have a child again.

  • Let’s get one thing straight: I am not the issue here. No individual on this thread is. The issue is the failure of church leadership (including and especially this pope) to address significant challenges brought by the clerical abuse crisis and Islamic fanaticism effectively (if at all).

    The question is, what can we do about it besides vent on blogs?

  • Not much, Joseph.  The laity really have little power to change things.  Which is why, I suppose, that anti-clericalism rears its ugly head from time to time when the laity has had it up to the eyeballs.

  • Actually Mark, no, it hasn’t.  I’m fascinated by the Western mindset that bogs down in the face of discussions about these kinds of conflicts concerning truth claims, be they Christian or Moslem or secular.  The thing above is just an example.

    We were talking about the phenomenon of blindness to emergent events (ie. the likeness to those in Britain that ignored the brewing storm prior to WW2) & the denial that Catholics engage in habitually.  That led to Rod Dreher’s style of communication, which is generally angry but is also generally truth-telling, and a discussion of the role of blogs in waking up Catholic culture to the truth of certain events and attitudes……

    Then suddenly we somehow jumped into a wholesale bout of character assassination.  What gives with that?

    Are we so sensitive on the subject of telling the truth and/or naming our enemies that it causes us to attack each other?  HOw does this work?

    I’d honestly like a headcount of the number of Americans who’d like to have grabbed those 19 idiots (most of them Saudi Arabian citizens) before they crashed those planes and grind them face down into the gravel til they popped.  Think that’s rough?  I bet the number is in the millions.

    This is NOTHING compared to the events and sentiments of World War 2.  Almost none of you are old enough to remember what happens when things get tough.  You have lived in a rare time of human history.  I will bet you will see things you have never dreamed of in the next 50 years.  Good luck.  Hope you can keep your lunch down when it happens.

    Meanwhile, I see 2 Americans and 1 Briton are threatened with getting decapitated.  Yes, you’re going to see that again.  The terrorist groups have no such problems with naming their enemies.  They hate us BECAUSE WE’RE NOT MOSLEM and have no problem with that.  Process that one through your screwed-up American diversity paradigm.

    The Catholic attitude toward all this historically HAS NOT BEEN WEAKNESS.  We have a gospel to spread one way or another.  We cannot stand by and allow Islam to take over.  That was true at Lepanto, where the soldiers were recruited in the Churches.  It was true in Spain, where the Catholic monarchy drove out the Moors.  It was true in Vienna, where Jan Sobieski drove out the Ottoman Empire with an army made up of Catholic Europeans.  IT IS STILL TRUE.  You have a problem with that?  You don’t understand Catholic history and culture then.

    I wouldn’t go to Cairo if my life depended on it personally.  Any of y’all can go there if you want.  But I won’t see them get one red penny I don’t have to give them and would not give them the time of day.

    I assume, Charlie, that you are there for business.  Don’t get into trouble, bud. It’s not the   greatest place for a Catholic to be hanging out.  The American Govt just listed Saudi Arabia as a regime inimical to religious freedom.  Is that the case in Egypt yet or have they managed to avoid the tentacles of Sharia so far?

    For those of you not paying attention, that’s the big social movement in the Middle East—ie. forcing all inhabitants to live under Sharia (Islamic religious law) or go under the knife.  Some countries have not submitted to it, some have, some have sorta.

    And going back to the theme of this post (first couple of paragraphs), I haven’t even talked about the truth-telling and naming of foes re the wholesale default on the Catholic faith of the last 40 years…… 

  • And for those of you getting sloppy mad over the last post: 

    You can love your enemies while you identify them.  You give them credit when you identify them and then love them. 

    You castrate them when you refuse to identify them and act like you love them because it makes you feel good.  When you castrate them, they want to spill your guts.  Got it?  Basic. 

    Geesh.

  • I gather the African bishop John Allen spoke with and reported on in last Friday’s column has gotten it quite clearly or he would not have been willing to speak so politically incorrectly.

    But in fairness, Michigan, Catholics who recommend loving Moslems are following the leadership of John Paul II who apologized for those campaigns you cite that defended the faith.  If the threat you perceive comes home to rest on our own shores, the Pope’s apology is going to look extremely naive.

    I see no evidence that Islam has any benevolence toward Catholicism.

     

  • The threat has already come to rest on our shores, in 1993 (I was there) and 2001 when I was in Washington.  For those in who were directly part of those attacks, the threat was and is there.  Not to mention our boarder situation. 

    The reason I am supportive of the Iraq war and the Aphganistan war and the overall war on terrorism is more or less the reason that Michigan Catholic describes.  And also, a statement made by my dear spiritual directior, “they are beating us in the bedroom” that’s a fact.  And if the radical mindset takes hold, as OBL and associates want it to, we are all done for.  Period.  If, however long it takes Iraq provides an example of the free Muslim peaceful worldview, then we don’t have the same problem.  In my view, the big picture scenario needs to be played out, and I think that new worldview is possible.

    One can only hope.

  • Nope, Carrie, and before 20 years ago we weren’t idiot enough to think such a thing.  We remembered all the instances in history then.

    Loving, in this case, is displaying the truth for the Muslims to see and accept or not.  Loving is NOT:
    -lying to them
    -pretending they’re saying or doing something other than they are, as a matter of fact, saying or doing
    -allowing them to claim nonsense without correction
    -allowing them to take over our families and our land
    -rolling over and apologizing for them while they cut peoples’ heads off and post the pictures on the Internet—OF ALL STUPID AND VILE THINGS!

    In Spain, there is a story that is told about the beginning of Muslim rule. 

    A great muslim general had 4 columns of soldiers.  He was asked which one would conquer Spain, and he said “why—that would be the 5th column.”  He meant the column of soldiers living in the country as “citizens.”  The unrecognized prepared the way for the other 4 columns which the Spanish recognized as soldiers. 

    Muslims repeat things that worked, whether they ever work again..  It’s the *dumb luck method* of warfare, but occasionally it scores a hit.  We know this.  We need to pay attention.

  • Islam, as a religion, cannot reconcile modernity.  Their problems are far and away more severe than anything Christians have ever faced in this regard. 

    The threats to the ideals which embody their cultural self-identity, including their religious beliefs and images (infatuations with tent-life etc.), are overwhelming when they are confronted with Western modernity.  This is the real problem.

    They can no longer hide, what with globalism, the internet, and so on.  They have perceived they have a last and urgent “muslim moment” which they might lose as the energy emphasis moves off petroleum (hybrid cars, fuel cells, etc). 

    They have lore about their superiority, coupled with a history of (to them) incomprehensible defeats (Lepanto, Vienna, Spain, etc).  There is a complex about this in their culture and this is a fact and if you know a muslim, you know they will talk about it, even in front of you.

    And the problem with modernity:  If you have ever actually known a muslim personally, and i have known many, you will see immediately that they *compartmentalize* their activities to protect this (to them) vital area of their cultural understanding of the world. 

    Example:
    -they warehouse information but don’t know what to do with it because that would infringe on something…..see the book “What Went Wrong” which was published a few years ago.
    -under certain circumstances, they can chug a Colt45 as well as anyone, but it’s isolated to certain situations and places.  Watch and see.
    -they don’t have a take on sex like we do.  It’s totally different.  They don’t know what to do with western women AT ALL.  So they treat us like another category (hell, another species) pretty much, at least in Western environs.  In the Middle East, well, that’s another matter.

    We have to get into this stuff and screw it up and it will lose its hold on them.  How difficult that will be, how long it will take, etc, i don’t know.  But it’s the cure.  You’d come out with someone who is or is not Muslim, whatever, but wouldn’t have the problems which make them so darned violent and intolerant.

    They have got to accept the ways of others.  We are NOT going to become Muslim.  Period.

  • We shoot ourselves in the foot, though, with our loose sexual mores.  A Muslim who has a higher sexual ethic than an American is standing on firm knowledge that is impossible to argue with.

    They are also superior in recognizing God’s place within societal structures.  A firmly Christian nation can oppose them successfully.  A pagan/secular/atheistic nation cannot be as successful in opposing Islam because humans are made with a need to know God built into our very cells, just as the old Baltimore Catechism told us.  Many would rather have a Muslim God than no God at all.

  • We shoot ourselves in the foot, though, with our loose sexual mores.  A Muslim who has a higher sexual ethic than an American is standing on firm knowledge that is impossible to argue with.

    They are also superior in recognizing God’s place within societal structures.  A firmly Christian nation can oppose them successfully.  A pagan/secular/atheistic nation cannot be as successful in opposing Islam because humans are made with a need to know God built into our very cells, just as the old Baltimore Catechism told us.  Many would rather have a Muslim God than no God at all.

  • Carrie: “Many would rather have a Muslim God than no God at all.”

    That extends to conservative Catholics, unfortunately. I’ve seen numerous instances on Catholic blogs about how Islam can be a good counterbalance to secularism—all because Muslims “revere” Mary and view Jesus as a “prophet” (while refusing to admit the historical fact of His crucifixion).

    The Vatican obviously thinks so, too. Otherwise, it wouldn’t engage it the type of ecumenism with Mecca in which it engages. It wouldn’t engage in the attitude of de facto appeasement in which it engages. It certainly wouldn’t engage the help of such nations as Iran and Sudan in opposing UN initiatives concerning abortion as birth control

    Beware of such “Catholics,” even if they come from Rome. They’ve lost any sense of what the Gospel is and should be. They are the penultimate salt that’s lost its flavor.

  • Carrie: “Many would rather have a Muslim God than no God at all.”

    That extends to conservative Catholics, unfortunately. I’ve seen numerous instances on Catholic blogs about how Islam can be a good counterbalance to secularism—all because Muslims “revere” Mary and view Jesus as a “prophet” (while refusing to admit the historical fact of His crucifixion).

    The Vatican obviously thinks so, too. Otherwise, it wouldn’t engage it the type of ecumenism with Mecca in which it engages. It wouldn’t engage in the attitude of de facto appeasement in which it engages. It certainly wouldn’t engage the help of such nations as Iran and Sudan in opposing UN initiatives concerning abortion as birth control

    Beware of such “Catholics,” even if they come from Rome. They’ve lost any sense of what the Gospel is and should be. They are the penultimate salt that’s lost its flavor.

  • What’s wrong with working with Muslim countries to stop the evil of abortion? We may not agree on everything, but on the things we do agree on we can work together. Your position sounds a bit extreme.

  • What’s wrong with working with Muslim countries to stop the evil of abortion? We may not agree on everything, but on the things we do agree on we can work together. Your position sounds a bit extreme.

  • On the surface, I agree with you, Dom, but what seems to happen when Catholics make overtures to other faiths by working together on human problems is that Catholics begin to see those other faiths as equal to their own.

    When that happens, it’s only a short distance to the realization that living some faiths is a lot easier than living others.  Catholicism, in western civ., is one of the harder faiths to adhere to because it opposes the culture on so many points.  Plus, we are in the midst of a very depressing scandal.  I think that the combination of difficulty and poor example from our leaders is sufficient to prompt many Catholics to apostatize.

    Once we believed that all faiths that rejected Christ found their source in the fallen angels.  As such we had nothing to do with them.  Now we make nice.  If one of those fallen angels, whom you could recognize without doubt,  presented you with a plan to end abortion, would you be willing to work with him?  Or is it better to refrain from associating with anyone who presents a near occasion of sin together with very positive energy on behalf of a vital cause?

  • On the surface, I agree with you, Dom, but what seems to happen when Catholics make overtures to other faiths by working together on human problems is that Catholics begin to see those other faiths as equal to their own.

    When that happens, it’s only a short distance to the realization that living some faiths is a lot easier than living others.  Catholicism, in western civ., is one of the harder faiths to adhere to because it opposes the culture on so many points.  Plus, we are in the midst of a very depressing scandal.  I think that the combination of difficulty and poor example from our leaders is sufficient to prompt many Catholics to apostatize.

    Once we believed that all faiths that rejected Christ found their source in the fallen angels.  As such we had nothing to do with them.  Now we make nice.  If one of those fallen angels, whom you could recognize without doubt,  presented you with a plan to end abortion, would you be willing to work with him?  Or is it better to refrain from associating with anyone who presents a near occasion of sin together with very positive energy on behalf of a vital cause?

  • On the surface, I agree with you, Dom, but what seems to happen when Catholics make overtures to other faiths by working together on human problems is that Catholics begin to see those other faiths as equal to their own.

    That may be what seems to happen, but it isn’t. To wit, I know of various house of Mother Teresa’s sisters in Islamic countries who work well with Muslims to serve the poor and solve social problems without compromising the faith.

    I think you’ve given an oversimplistic reading of the situation as well as a non sequitir. We should not equate Muslims with Satan. The source of their religion may be in the lies of Satan, but that doesn’t make all Muslims evil, nor does it mean they cannot find the natural law that dwells in their hearts.

  • On the surface, I agree with you, Dom, but what seems to happen when Catholics make overtures to other faiths by working together on human problems is that Catholics begin to see those other faiths as equal to their own.

    That may be what seems to happen, but it isn’t. To wit, I know of various house of Mother Teresa’s sisters in Islamic countries who work well with Muslims to serve the poor and solve social problems without compromising the faith.

    I think you’ve given an oversimplistic reading of the situation as well as a non sequitir. We should not equate Muslims with Satan. The source of their religion may be in the lies of Satan, but that doesn’t make all Muslims evil, nor does it mean they cannot find the natural law that dwells in their hearts.

  • Dom, the problem is that because Rome finds useful allies in Islamic (or pseudo-Islamic) nations in its fight against abortion, Rome tends to ignore those allies’ more disgusting traits: authoritarian repression and lack of respect for human rights.

    Look at JPII’s response to Islamic tyrants as the war against Iraq began last year. JPII argued vociferously against war, ostensibly to protect Christians in communion with Rome living in Arab countries. Yet Renzo Guolo, professor of the sociology of religion at the University of Trieste and a specialist in Muslim fundamentalism, writes in his book, Xenophobes and Xenophiles: Italians and Islam, that those bishops who oppose the papal approach toward Islam remembered how the pope, “who ordinarily speaks about all topics, had spread a veil of silence over the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries.”

    Many Christians feel abandoned by Rome, as this Chaldean Christian woman told Italy’s Corriere della Sera:

    “We feel abandoned,” a woman named Nura told the Italian daily in 2002.

    “After our conversion, we have no one to support us. We ask the Church and Italy: Protect us, defend us.”

    Obviously, abortion as birth control on demand must be opposed. But that opposition doesn’t justify Rome’s apparent geopolitical strategy of ignorning or downplaying Islamic fanaticism.

     

  • Dom, the problem is that because Rome finds useful allies in Islamic (or pseudo-Islamic) nations in its fight against abortion, Rome tends to ignore those allies’ more disgusting traits: authoritarian repression and lack of respect for human rights.

    Look at JPII’s response to Islamic tyrants as the war against Iraq began last year. JPII argued vociferously against war, ostensibly to protect Christians in communion with Rome living in Arab countries. Yet Renzo Guolo, professor of the sociology of religion at the University of Trieste and a specialist in Muslim fundamentalism, writes in his book, Xenophobes and Xenophiles: Italians and Islam, that those bishops who oppose the papal approach toward Islam remembered how the pope, “who ordinarily speaks about all topics, had spread a veil of silence over the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries.”

    Many Christians feel abandoned by Rome, as this Chaldean Christian woman told Italy’s Corriere della Sera:

    “We feel abandoned,” a woman named Nura told the Italian daily in 2002.

    “After our conversion, we have no one to support us. We ask the Church and Italy: Protect us, defend us.”

    Obviously, abortion as birth control on demand must be opposed. But that opposition doesn’t justify Rome’s apparent geopolitical strategy of ignorning or downplaying Islamic fanaticism.

     

  • I’ve heard more information on that story about so-called “live-birth abortions” at Catholic hospitals. It appears that the columnist for the Illinois Leader got the story wrong and the original source is unhappy with how his story has been characterized. This is what I’ve learned:

    • We’re talking about babies who are anacephalic (i.e. have not developed most of their brain), and have no chance of living outside the womb.

    • They’re delivered early, in some circumstances, to give the mother relief from various complications.

    • They are NOT delivered until they would be (otherwise) viable. They die, not because of the premature delivery, but because they were going to
      die whenever they were delivered.

    • The purpose of the delivery is NOT to kill the child, and it’s misleading to call the procedure an abortion.

      Most orthodox Catholic bioethicists would agree that none of this is immoral. This is not to say that these Catholic hospitals are free from taint. There are Catholic hospitals that have abortionists on staff and do perform actual abortions, but it does not do our cause any good to use false information to accomplish a good end. Let’s leave that to CBS.

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      meep@marypat.org
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      2004-09-16 15:08:31
      2004-09-16 19:08:31
      Well, that’s more reasonable, then.  I know of people who had labor inductions pretty early on, but it was really due to some really bad complications for the mothers… sometimes the baby can be saved, and sometimes not.

      I made a comment over at the afterabortion blog – all pregnancies terminate eventually.  The question is what one does to terminate them.

      As for your last paragraph, I assume you’re referring to abortionists who also deliver babies at Catholic hospitals, but do their abortions elsewhere?  Or are there actual, factual abortions going on in the hospitals?  I would like to know.  I would save my outrage for that.

    • the West in these unsettled days, but I think that he sees his role as one of trying to moderate the passions that have been unleashed on the world.  One may argue with his judgment, but I don’t see him as a fool.

    • I linked to this discussion from the Fiat Mihi blog. I’ll basically reproduce here what I posted there. Due to time constraints, I haven’t re-edited my post to flow properly. Here’s the post:

      But the child dies of the anencephaly, not the induced labour.

      The discussion raises interesting points: (1) Should the baseline for “viability” be the number of weeks of gestation at which a “standard” baby could be maintained, given the state of medical technology in the community, or the circumstances of the “specific” baby? (2) Does the early inducement of a “specifically” non-viable fetus constitute “direct” as opposed to “indirect” killing?

      One consequence of your analysis: A woman with a life-threatening pregnancy at thirty weeks and a healthy, viable baby would be allowed to undergo induced labour to save her life, while a similarly-situated mother with a baby suffering from anencephaly could die simply because of the child’s anencephaly.

      It seems this calls for a classic double-effect analysis, or more specifically an analysis whether this is even a double effect situation.

      I should clarify: When I wrote the inducement of a “specifically” non-viable unborn child, I meant inducement at a gestational stage where a “standard” baby would survive. Obviously, inducement at 16 weeks for example, given the current state of medicine, constitutes an instance of direct killing.

      Another interesting question: If the pregnancy involving the anancephalic baby went beyond the ordinary gestation period, would the mother then be allowed to induce labour on the grounds that she has a right to a normally functioning body? We are not then dealing with “early” inducement. Is inducement of an “overdue” pregnancy morally distinct? If “yes”, “Why?”

      Maybe the real issue: What is due to the child from the mother?

    • Apologies, but I think there can be far too much speculation on the specifics of individual cases and hypothetical situations.
      The bottom line in treating cases of anencephaly, renal agenesis or similar fatal handicaps is that one should treat them as normal pregnancies unless there are extenuating circumstances that would require intervention whether or not the child had the fatal handicap. It really is that simple.
      You do not induce labor for a woman at 23 weeks if the baby is healthy, unless there are grave, specific reasons the mother needs it. The same standard should apply when a woman is carrying a child who has a fatal handicap—period.

    • I have cannibalized a couple of my posts from the Fiat Mihi site, to reproduce here:

      If inducement constitutes “direct” killing, then it can never be justified. The double effect doesn’t enter into it.

      If inducement is “indirect” killing, then one engages in a double effect analysis.

      As I understand it, “proportionality” relates to the last branch of the “double effect” test. The implied premise is that early inducement equals “indirect” killing. Yet, in such a case, could not inducement at 16 weeks also equal “indirect” killing, which to me is an insane conclusion.

      It seems that the USCCB is saying that the gestational arrival of “standard viability” (as I called it) converts the situation into one of “indirect” killing instead of “direct” killing, notwithstanding the specific circumstances of the particular baby. Question how “standard viability” converts the situation from “direct” to “indirect”? (“Standard viability” refers to the point at which the “average” baby becomes viable given the available medical technology). (Would inducement of an overdue pregnancy be “direct” or “indirect”? How is the gestational stage morally relevant?).

    • The USCCB pro-life office sent me two documents explaining its position on early induction of labor.

      One is the “NCBC Statement on Early Induction of Labor” and is at: http://www.ncbcenter.org/press/04-03-11-EarlyInduction.html

      It states, in part: “Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child….
      However, early induction of an anencephalic child when there is no serious pathology of the mother which is being directly treated is not morally licit, emotional distress notwithstanding.  Early induction of labor before term (37 weeks) to relieve emotional distress hastens the death of the child as a means of achieving this presumed good effect and unjustiafiably deprives the child of the good of gestation…. Lastly, induction of labor before term performed simply for the reason that the child has a lethal anomaly is direct abortion.”

      The other document is “Moral Principles Concerning Infants With Anencephaly,” and it also is one page.  I got this as a pdf document and don’t know how to hyperlink but will forward it to anyone who writes to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

      It states, in part: “Some have attempted to argue that anencephalic children may be prematurely delivered, even when this would be inappropriate for other children.  This argument is based on the opinion that because of their apparent lack of cognitive function and in view of the probable brevity of their lives, these infants are not the subject of human rights or at least have lives of less meaning or purpose than others.  Doubts about the human dignity of the anencephalic infant, however, have no solid ground, and the benefit of any doubt must be in the child’s favor….

      #8220;The ‘Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,”… Directive 47… states:

      “‘Operations, treatments and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child.’

      “In other words, it is permitted to treat directly a pathology of the mother even when this has the unintended side effect of causing the death of her child, if this pathology left untreated would have life-threatening effects on both mother and child, but it is not permitted to terminate or gravely risk the child’s life as a means of treating or protecting the mother.

      “Hence, it is clear that before ‘viability’ it is never permitted to terminate the gestation of an anencephalic child as the means of avoiding psychological or physical risks to the mother.  Nor is such termination permitted after ‘viability’ if early delivery endangers the child’s life due to complication of prematurity…. Anencephaly is not a pathology of the mother, but of the child, and terminating her pregnancy cannot be a treatment of a pathology she does not have.  Only if the complications of the pregnancy result in a life-threatening pathology of the mother, may be treatment of this pathology be permitted even at a risk to the child, and then only if the child’s death is not a means to treating the mother.”

      Regards,
      Jill Stanek

    • I can’t see how induction of an early birth is “indirect”; I submit it is “direct”.

      There are times it may be justified. For example, if maternal care justiifed under the double effect (causing indirect harm to the baby) is to be undertaken, arguably early induction for a baby may be beneficial and theraputic for the baby. In that sense, the “direct” induction constitutes medical treatment for the baby. Also, if the mother’s death would kill the baby, then “direct” induction of labour to save the mother is also theraputic for the baby.

      This stuff tends to be case specific – i.e., the general principles must be applied to a specific context.

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