Saturday, June 14, 2014


Unfortunately and I fear  what Ted K said on my Wacko post is true:

I suspect Fr Taft is highly influenced by the successful painting into a corner by the progressives in the academy of the lovers of traditional liturgy as so-called right wing fanatics.

Unfortunately there is some truth in that picture, where too many traditionalists would even make Ayn Rand blush. That is a problem for the true lovers of the traditional liturgy and they need to divest themselves of such gun-toting economic radicals from among their ranks. Why does the traditional liturgy attract such wackos, and seem to have little influence on their political ideas?

Indeed, one of the most memorable texts that Fr Taft has written concerns active/actual participation: "the contemplation of the liturgical rites leads the soul to the spiritual, mystical realities of the invisible world". (A History Of The Liturgy Of St John Chrysostom) [My comment: This can certainly be applied to both forms of the Latin Rite Mass and is spot-on!]

My comments: My own experience with those who belong to St. Joseph Parish and are content with the manner in which we celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass, although they may prefer the Extraordinary Form and would appreciate its celebration weekly on Sunday rather than monthly, is that they are relatively balanced. Now this doesn't mean that there aren't some reactionaries here and there.

However, I have personally tried to instill a love for both forms and loving each for what each is meant to do, and that is the same thing but in different ways, to worship God, thank Him and to experience from Him the graces that flow from His Son's one Sacrifice on the Cross renewed at each and every Mass in an unbloody way and where we receive our crucified and risen Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

But I do tend to agree that the EF community members who are politically active are a bit more vocal in their gun-totting ideologies and their rigid antipathy toward the Church's very strong Social teachings that are encased in papal encyclicals and are normative for Catholics. I do see a disconnect here in terms of of the conservative nature of EF adherents who are very much like progressive leftist Catholics who pick and choose what they will believe from the cafeteria. Sometimes, though, the ultra right can be even more crass and vocal in their antipathy toward all that the Church offers and make no bones about picking and choosing.

I think the cafeteria shrillness of right wing-nuts in the Church has tainted Pope Francis' attitude toward the SSPX and those who have an affinity toward the EF Mass. In His Holiness interview yesterday he said this about antisemitism and right wing politics and I think their is a veiled reference to the SSPX Bishop Richardson in His Holiness's remarks:

How do you see antisemitism?

I cannot explain why it happens, but I think it is very linked, in general, and without it being a fixed rule, to the right wing. Antisemitism usually nests better in right-wing political tendencies that in the left, right? And it still continues (like this). We even have those who deny the holocaust, which is crazy.


JBS said...

The liturgically traditional Catholics of the Latin Church have long been denied the pastoral respect to which they are entitled. Their voices have been silenced in the seminaries, and their spiritual needs actively denied in parishes. It is simply unfair for pastoral persons to victimize a group of the faithful for forty-plus years, and then pretend to be shocked by the troubled behaviors of these victims. If the sheep have no shepherds, then who's fault is it when they wander astray?

If, from 1970 onward, each parish priest had just offered one Mass each Sunday in Latin, ad orientem, with Gregorian Chant, with solid preaching from the Roman Catechism/Catechism of the Catholic Church (built upon a text of the Mass), and no-nonsense gestures and postures during the celebration, none of these problems would ever have arisen.

Gene said...

Wasn't it Jesse Jackson who referred to New York City as "Hymie-Town?" And, which administrations have distanced themselves from Israel…I believe the Dems.
More innuendo toward devout, traditional Catholics.

Anonymous 2 said...

The “wacko” phenomenon on the Left and the Right seems to be a symptom of the larger phenomenon of the “polarization” that is the subject of the Pew study released a couple of days ago. The Pew study find the nation increasingly divided into “ideological silos” that see the other side as “enemies” and want nothing to do with them (although most Americans are still not so ideologically entrenched). Sound familiar? Here is a reference to the Washington Post discussion of the Pew study:

And here is an extract from the beginning of the Washington Post article:

“It sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. Conservatives and liberals don’t just differ in their political views. They like to live in different places, associate with like-minded people, and have opposing views on the value of ethnic and religious diversity in their neighborhoods, according to a major new study by the Pew Research Center.

Political polarization is now deeply embedded in the United States — more so than at any time in recent history, according to the Pew study — and has intensified in recent years. The percentage of Americans who hold either consistently conservative or consistently liberal positions on major issues has doubled over the past decade and now accounts for one-fifth of all Americans.

Partisan combat has produced rising animosity ‘bordering on a sense of alarm’ toward the opposite party. More than a third of all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and more than a quarter of all Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents see the other party as a threat to the nation’s well-being. Among the most politically engaged and most ideologically polarized Americans, this apocalyptic view of the threat posed by the other party is substantially higher.

Most Americans are not so consistently ideological in their attitudes. But those who have more mixed attitudes also are less likely to be actively engaged in the political process. The most politically engaged happen to be the most ideologically consistent, and they have made their voices heard.

‘Many of those in the center remain on the edges of the political playing field, relatively distant and disengaged, while the most ideologically oriented and politically rancorous Americans make their voices heard through greater participation in every stage of the political process,’ according to the study.

Anonymous 2 said...

U.S. policy towards the Middle East in general, and Israel in particular, is another topic about which it seems impossible to have a rational discussion in this country.

Gene: Please read the Pope’s words. They are chosen very carefully and with substantial qualifications. There is no unwarranted innuendo there.

Anonymous said...

For every right-wing nut like former SSPX Bishop Williamson who has zero influence on the Catholic Church, there is a horde of equally extreme left-wing nuts, some of them (in contrast) occupying official positions and wielding influence within the Church.

So, absent any indication of such nuts in the Latin Mass communities we personally are familiar with, I see no point to even raising the issue, except perhaps to occupy blog space on a slow day.

Durwood Kirby said...

I don't think it is accurate to say that Traditionalists despise or hold any antipathy toward the Church's social teachings. I think it IS accurate to say that many Traditionalists deplore the way the 20th Century Church was transformed into the image of a mere social service agency while neglecting the totality of the Church's other teachings.

George said...

In our own time, it is Progessivism, Secular Humanism, and Modernism that has held say in Western society and in our religious institutions. Although
that some parts of Central and South America there have been problems with what some would characterize as "right-wing".
The Holy Father being from that part of the world is well familiar with that.

"Political polarization is now deeply embedded in the United States — more so than at any time in recent history,"

Isn't it ironic that we find ourselves as a country so polarized six years into the Presidency of Barack Obama?

As far as what gene says, what is notable about our own times is the anti-semitism which
has infected some on the left.

Gene said...

Anon 2, That is because Obamasama has done all he could to divide, outrage, and weaken the country. He is completely incompetent, but my how he loves being the MFIC!

Pater Ignotus said...

When the fringe left or the fringe right allows its political ideologies to override or, in many cases, supplant their Christian values, problems result.

George - The polarization we are suffering with pre-dates Obama. Nolan McCarty writes, "Based on both qualitative and quantitative evidence, the roots of our current polarization go back almost 40 years to the mid-1970s. Indices of polarization based on roll call voting in Congress have been nearly monotonical in both chambers of Congress since around 1978."

His article is here:

I suspect that the experience of the Vietnam War did much to kick start the divisions. While Administrations, Republican and Democratic, continued to support and fund the war, Americans came to understand that, as yet another proxy war, it was a futile effort. This division was palpable in 1968 when, after hearing Walter Cronkite's "Report from Vietnam: Who, What, When, Where, Why?" LBJ said, " "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."

The gridlock in Congress, for which both sides of the aisle share blame, has only exacerbated the polarization in the last six years.

As to anti-Semitism, with the departure of Jewish House Whip Kantor, there are no Jews on the Republican side of the aisle in that chamber is Christian.


Gene said...

Kantor's defeat had not not one thing to do with him being Jewish.

rcg said...

The most well adjusted people I know are in the FSSP Parish. The Left is over represented in the NO parishes, perhaps. Also, if the antisemitism of the Left and Right differs, it is in degrees. And I hope that we are not ignoring the ethnic slaughters by the Communists as inconsequential because they are not Jews. That would be an affront to Judaism, too. I cringed again when I read the Pope's words about the right being the natural home of antisemitism. There are two things to bear in mind: first is that he was addressing the question and NOT ignoring the persecution of other people. Yet still I disagree with him and he has only to look at emigration numbers from USSR (Russia) and other Eastern Block countries to Israel to see the difference is in the method of persecution, not in the object of it. Secondly, we should remember that his world view is based on Argentina and their definition of Right wing versus the American definition. I recall his background, again, when he criticizes 'Capitalism' because I do not think he actually knows what it is.

George said...

I don't argue that this polarization goes back before the current occupant of the White House. I think many were expecting something different with his election though. Anon2's post from what I read is about polarization among all Americans and not just members of Congress. What we see in Congress just reflects the polarization of the general electorate.There is a frustration among many that the country is not in good shape and Congress shares a good part of the blame.
I don't argue that this polarization goes back before the current occupant of the White House. I think many were expecting something different with his election though. Anon2's post from what I read is about polarization among all Americans and not just members of Congress. What we see in Congress just reflects the polarization of the general electorate.There is a frustration among many that the country is not in good shape and Congress shares a good part of the blame.
As far as Mr. Kantor, from what I can gather he did not take his opponent seriously enough and ran an inadequate campaign. Most Republicans have demonstrated that religion, race and gender are not pre-eminent determinants of who they vote for. To be fair, why not mention that there are two Indian -American state governors in the Deep South and they are both Republicans,one of them female. Tim Scott, the ONLY African-American U.S. Senator is a Republican. Republicans who are Catholic have been elected to Congress in Georgia and other Southern states and even in (gasp) Mississippi.

Nathanael said...

I would say to George that it goes beyond “what some would call.”

American activities (both public and covert) in Central and South America are directly linked to the support of right-wing governments based (or used as an excuse?) on the same misguided theory of containment (which was the cause of the Vietnamese debacle) of communism. And let us not forget the Catholic, French right-wing tendencies of the South Vietnamese regime.

They were right-wing - and we all know who “they” were. One of those was a dictator who was finally brought to trial and was defended by a certain former Prime Minister of an Allied nation of the US who is also a member of the grand Holy Trinity (which has a Roman Pontiff in it) which “destroyed” the Soviet Union. This right-wing mentality linked to American government and business support is also responsible for the leaders and mind-set which caused the assassination of an archbishop while offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

One can dislike the Saint Louis Jesuit hymnal and love the EF of the Mass and lean to the Left. What I dislike is the idea that someone can tell if I am going to vote for Jason Carter or Nathan Deal by seeing me in St Joseph’s Tuesday afternoons. I also dislike, to a certain degree, being guilted in to voting for a bishop (or former bishop) of a made-up church for President of the US of A by the leaders of my own Church (the one Christ founded while he personally present on Earth).

Gene said...

Kantor was defeated because of his support for amnesty. Look at the record. He's been Jewish and re-elected (often by large margins) since 2001. The only thing that changed was his amnesty stance.

Gene said...

George, As is so often the case with America's, or any major nation's foreign policy, the regime on either side of the political spectrum that is being supported is often no better than the one being opposed. Diem's regime, which Kennedy supported in Viet Nam, was just as detestable as that of the Communists. We are finding the same to be true in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel, which shares our belief system and values. Israel should have our (mostly) unqualified support. The big exceptions have been WW I and WW II, which tells me it takes a really big, screaming, apocalyptic event to finally open people's eyes. 9/11 should have been such an event. That did not do it….so, God help us, considering what it must take today.

John said...

The the Gospel of Christ, his life among us then and now, his death and his subsequent resurrection are the chief historical realities for all human beings. All the rest is ideology. Ideology, left or right, is the abandonment and/or denial of the Gospel in some degree.

Carl Schmitt, "Hitler's lawyer", is still looked up to today by both left and right wing factions: for political wisdom; says Mark Lilla in his book: The Reckless Mind. Schmitt theorized that in politics, for left or right, one only needs to define one's enemies. Once the enemy is known, everyone else is our friend. This is what is typical in our country for many in secular politics and even within the Church.

People,especially in the Church, need to get back to the Gospel and take no lesson from Scmidtt. Calling the SSPX antisemitic and AB Romero a communist is simply substituting politics for religion. Once such rhetoric starts we can be sure we are in the gutters.

If it is not the Gospel it's politics. As Catholics we should be aware of politicians but refuse to play their games.

rcg said...

US foreign policy is erratic because the Executive Administrations try to press their domestic party colors on it. This causes a significant ship every eight years or so that has had greater amplitude the last fifty years or so.

FWIW, the containment policy characterization of US policy in the Americas is not entirely true. The idea was to support the current legitimate governments and encourage a self determined transition to democracy. That could not occur with externally generated revolutions that also destroyed the social and economic fabrics. It was a form of evangelization for the secular society and is therefore very much in line with the Church's methods. That was the one reasonably consistent area so US Foreign Policy.

George said...


"American activities (both public and covert) in Central and South America are directly linked to the support of right-wing governments based (or used as an excuse?) on the same misguided theory of containment (which was the cause of the Vietnamese debacle) of communism. And let us not forget the Catholic, French right-wing tendencies of the South Vietnamese regime. "

-As far as US support of "right wing governments" and regimes, what choice has this country had other to be isolationist? The alternnative was too often people such as Castro, Hugo Chavez, Allende etc who we could not support because their political philosophy and attitude was inimical to our interests. When as a response to these unjust regimes you allude to, some Catholics in Latin America adopted a Liberation Theology, the Church rightly condemned that.

"What I dislike is the idea that someone can tell if I am going to vote for Jason Carter or Nathan Deal by seeing me in St Joseph’s Tuesday afternoons. I also dislike, to a certain degree, being guilted in to voting for a bishop (or former bishop) of a made-up church for President of the US of A by the leaders of my own Church (the one Christ founded while he personally present on Earth)."

-There was a time when you had a pretty good idea who a practicing Catholic would vote for. Politics and society have changed a great deal from say 75 years ago. Even so, polling data came out in the last Presidential election that indicated among those Catholics who attend Mass weekly or more frequently, the present occupant of the White House lost by well over 20 points. Locally, party affiliation may not matter that much, state and nationally it can have a dramatic difference. In Texas, for instance, a large number of abortion clinics have closed. One reason for that is thate legislature of that state passed and the governor signed a bill which imposed upon those clinics the same requirements as an ambulatory
surgery center. When I vote I use as a guide a list of issues and at the top of that list is where the candidate stands vis-a-vis Church teaching on such things as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, whether he or she supports the HHS mandate which require Catholic institutions to provide contraception and abortion services etc.

George said...

There has been no country in human history that was more powerful militarily than the US. No country with such power has liberated more and occupied less. South Korea has one of the largest Catholic populations in Asia. Over the last 10 years the Church there has been growing in double figures. What would life be like for these our brothers and sisters if the U.S. and other nations had not intervened militarily which ended in them being free to practice their Faith? I've talked to a person from Vietnam who told me personally that the Church there has suffered quite a lot under the Communists

JBS said...


Mainland China has nuclear weapons.

John Nolan said...

Neurologists, psychologists and anthropologists now believe that right-wing and left-wing leanings are largely innate, which makes it difficult for conservatives to empathize with liberals and vice-versa. It can be said that conservatives exhibit 'a preference for institutions and practices that have evolved historically and are thus manifestations of continuity and stability' but dig deeper and you find that conservatism means different things in different countries, and there are some paradoxes. With their greater respect for order, hierarchy and duty, and their tendency to view society as organic, conservatives have a stronger group identity which can sometimes lead to racism; however, they are deeply suspicious of the power of the state to override individual freedom. Liberals, who might be expected to put rights over obligations, can be distinctly illiberal when their plans to reorder society in the interests of what they see as justice and fairness are challenged. Political positions have in effect become moral ones.

The term 'liberal' in the 19th century denoted someone to whom free trade was an article of faith and who espoused laissez-faire economics. In Victoria's reign Liberal administrations tended to concentrate on institutional reform and Conservative ones on social reform. Arguably the people benefited more from the latter. Catholic social teaching reflects conservative rather than liberal values. Nowadays those who defend free-market economics are regarded as conservative, whereas liberals are not really liberal in the classical sense - they are in fact socialists.

Speaking from a British standpoint (and I would welcome observations from those who know the American situation better than I do), fifty years ago the ideological differences between Right and Left (Conservative and Labour) were far more obvious than they are now, but both sides were in general agreement on moral issues. Now there is a polarity on moral issues which can be seen in Right/Left terms but which often transcends party political allegiances.

Nathanael said...

George, I think you are confusing the business interests of certain companies with holdings in Latin America with the foreign policy of the United States government. The business interests of multinational corporations are not always in the best interest of the United States and the foreign policy she carries-out.

“Our” interests?

One example: so if a multinational fruit company uses it connections in the State Department and White House to influence foreign policy decisions in countries where it holds monopolies and uses the leftovers of established colonial culture to rule with impunity - that is in the interest of the United States?

Or when poor peasants unite for fair labor and land rights and are suppressed with violence (both physical and economic violence) - that is in the interest of the United States? Or when certain leaders in the Church are apart of that same culture of colonialism and do not address the grievances of the people she servers. Liberation theology is wrong - but it did not come from Satan himself. It came from the Church refusing to address the social and economic situation of the people Christ sent her to serve. This appears to be one area the Holy Father is correcting with his teaching authority - our Pope Emeritus said the same thing in his own way in relation to the dark side of capitalism.

These are, of course, more in the past under Jane Wyman’s ex-husband.

So let’s jump to the present and to the Diocese of Savannah itself. What is the biggest issue facing Catholics in this area? It isn’t the fact that Bill and Steve are getting married. It isn’t the fact that Jill can go to Planned Parenthood in Savannah. It is the issue of immigration. It is the issue of a country that makes legal immigration so difficult for the poor and then gives a “wink & nod” to their northern and southern porous borders and look the other way during harvest seasons (and other times when cheap labor is needed). It is the fact that this system breaks up families and leads to human misery of untold number due to sexual exploitation, slavery by any other name, and unfair wages. There are reasons beyond the style of worship that some of our Hispanic brothers and sisters leave the Church for evangelical groups (not back in their native country of origin but in the rural areas of the Diocese). These are our Catholic brothers and sisters and we as American Catholic citizens owe them better because of the person of Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

Even though nobody cares:

Since I am blessed with self inflicted, voluntary "Southern Orders A.D.D.", if any posting is more than about 100 words, I skip it. Less is the new more....or is it more is the new less? Whatever...

Nathanael said...

To Anonymous @ 3:10

To paraphrase Roman Castevet to Rosemary Woodhouse:

“you don’t have to join if you don’t want too.”

Anonymous said...

Nathanael @ 3:50
To almost paraphrase Groucho Marx:
"I'm not sure I want to belong to a club that would have you as a member".

Flavius Hesychius said...


I believe blogspot has an IP-blocking feature. I would suggest using it.

George said...

"Mainland China has nuclear weapons."

I'm well aware of that. And your point?

Nathanael said..

"George, I think you are confusing the business interests of certain companies with holdings in Latin America with the foreign policy of the United States government. The business interests of multinational corporations are not always in the best interest of the United States and the foreign policy she carries-out."

If I gave you that impression then I gave you the wrong impression. I don't believe in labor exploitation in the Third world. Multinational corporations and labor relations in Third world countries is a topic much too complex and involved to say anything really meaningful here about it.

As far as Jane Wyman's ex-husband, the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act he signed into law granted amnesty to nearly 3 million illegal immigrants. You do remember that?

JBS said...

John Nolan,

Thank you for your excellent review of these two groups.

In the USA, the courts, which easily override legislation, have tended to serve as the "moral" party in American politics (even when they get it wrong). The legislative political parties, on the other hand, have tended to ally themselves with regions, religions and races of our federation, although on the surface these alliances can appear to represent competing economic theories or moral persuasions.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - Have you been listening to "On Being" with Krista Tippett? It's a Public radio show distributed by American Public media.

I ask because your comments about the "innate" nature of right- or left-wing tendencies was a thought featured on the show that was broadcast this morning here on Georgia Public Radio!

Here's the show's blurb:

Jonathan Haidt — The Psychology Behind Morality

The surprising psychology behind morality is at the heart of social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s research. “When it comes to moral judgments," he says, "we think we are scientists discovering the truth, but actually we are lawyers arguing for positions we arrived at by other means.” He explains “liberal” and “conservative” not narrowly or necessarily as political affiliations, but as personality types — ways of moving through the world. His own self-described “conservative-hating, religion-hating, secular liberal instincts” have been challenged by his own studies."

George said...


Nathanael said...
the issue of a country that makes legal immigration so difficult for the poor and then gives a “wink & nod” to their northern and southern porous borders and look the other way during harvest seasons (and other times when cheap labor is needed). It is the fact that this system breaks up families and leads to human misery of untold number due to sexual exploitation, slavery by any other name, and unfair wages.

If it's this bad why are they coming here? Isn't money wired home by undocumented immigrants in this country the second largest component of the Mexican economy? Or is it the money being from illegal drugs being shipped up here? I feel for immigrant families but the situation is more complex than you make it out to be. In Jones county just recently a pot-growing operation was discovered which was linked to a Mexican drug cartel.
What other country in the world allows millions of undocumented workers employment and access to excellent healthcare and other benefits-in other words conditions and opportunity better than where they came from and gives it a " gives a “wink & nod”. The Catholic church didn't create this situation, our government did.

Joe Potillor said...

Preface: This is going to come off as a bit of a rant...but mincing words is not something I'm known for. I do not necessarily advocate for these particular positions, simply take this as objective and measured antagonism

Is it possible to question history without being labeled as a "nut-job" or "whacko"? Is it possible to ask why would someone with the knowledge of Napoleon's failure to invade Russia during the winter, attempt so stupidly to repeat it? Is it possible to ask, where was the order to "exterminate the Jews"? Is it possible to ask did something provoke Germany? Is it possible to be certain that 6 000 000 million Jews died during WWII?

These are the questions that Bp Williamson was asking on his thoughts on WWII. He happens to believe some of these things, does this amount to denying the Holocaust? We lament the media for misrepresenting Pope Francis (and sometimes they actually do), the same should hold for whenever clergy speak and their views are misrepresented.

Is it anti-semitic semitic semitic semitic semitic semitic semitic semitic the conversion of Jews to the Catholic Faith? Is it anti-semitic to use the words of Scripture in prayer? (Take aside the point that the most modern Jews are not Semitic). Is it anti-semitic to point out that some of the major players in world history were Jewish? Is it anti-Semitic to be against the political state of Israel? Is it anti-Semitic to be against Zionism? Is it anti-semitic to point out that some of the major bankers are Jewish?

To what role the Jewish religion plays in all of this, I don't know. I tend to personally side on the opinion that culturally they are Jewish, and they don't practice the Jewish faith.

I would say anti-semitism is to be a racist towards the semitic people (which oddly more of the Palestinians are semitic than the members of the state of Israel)...I would disagree with the idea of anti-semitism being attached to a particular "wing" of philosophy...More people on the left oppose the political state of Israel than those on the right...

As mentioned earlier, Cantor was defeated for supporting illegal immigration, not for his religion.

As I've said before, the name calling from on high needs to stop!

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous at 3:10 p.m.


Anonymous 2 said...


It may well be that one of the factors leading to Kantor’s defeat was his position on immigration reform, especially after Laura Ingram made such a big deal about it. But even to the extent this was a factor (among many others, including Kantor’s apparent cocky complacency and a very low voter turnout), it is misleading to suggest he “supports amnesty.” Saying someone “supports amnesty” is another of those propaganda slogans that obscures more than it reveals. For a “quick and dirty” overview see the following analysis by Politifact:

More generally on the immigration issue, Houston we have a problem, as Nathaniel aptly points out. And it is a problem that we will have to confront sooner or later. It is not going away. People have been trying for over a decade to enact comprehensive immigration reform. This includes “conservatives” like John McCain. As Nathaniel also intimates, it is supremely ironic that the growth in the Catholic Church in the United States is fueled largely by Hispanics, many of whom are, one suspects, undocumented. Here is a good discussion of the relevant demographics statistics:

The immigration problem can be fixed, but it requires a rational approach devoid of ideological and political posturing (on both sides) and, related, a real Congress that is ready to do the people’s business instead of whatever it is the thing that calls itself Congress is doing (or rather, not doing) right now.

Anonymous 2 said...

I just realized I misspelled Eric Cantor as Eric Kantor. No idea why. Maybe, like me, he can’t sing. =)

George said...

There is always hope:

The Catholic Church is God's Holy and Divinely established institution on earth whose precepts and teachings are His Divinely revealed Truth. Just as the United States has been the hope and realization of countless millions to be free of oppression and tyranny, the Church has been and continues to be the hope and realization of many more to be free of the oppression and tyranny of the Evil One and to be for these many the gateway to Eternal salvation. Adherents of other religions including Islam don't accept this of course. Catholics true to the Faith are nothing if not hopeful. It should be our hope and prayer that despite our past conflicts, differences and difficulties, there will come a time where we will in all places co-exist in harmony with those of the Islamic faith, as remote as that possibility seems at the present time.


Likewise that just, equitable and workable solution can be found to the Immigration problem.

George said...

"I just realized I misspelled Eric Cantor as Eric Kantor. No idea why. Maybe, like me, he can’t sing. =)"

I did the same in one of my responses which shows just how much I've been keeping up (or not keeping up) with national politics.

Nathanael said...

1. When multinational corporations use their money and influence to direct US foreign policy (which happened – and continues to do so) then the United States bares responsibility for the regimes they supported (and support) in the name of fighting communism (or terrorism). The foreign policy of the United States is directly linked to the corporations that lobby and peddle influence. Whether it is in Atlanta, Washington D.C., Manila (we cannot forget the Marcos regime in SE Asia), Mexico City, or Guatemala City. Your US- beacon of freedom has supported some of the worst dictators in the history of Western Civilization.
2. George - it is complex. The cycle begins in their native country and continues when they reach the United States. Men and woman face enormous difficulties getting-in the country (or in better terms, getting to the border area). Hence the increase chances of human trafficking and the entire ilk that goes with it. For instance, children and woman who are raped and robbed and sold into sexual and economic slavery on their way to the U.S. border. Poor and desperate people will do just about anything when they have nothing to lose. Not to mention the problems of broken families as men and woman work to support their entire families (and, of course, to bring in US foreign policy vis-à-vis NAFTA and its insane part in the rise of local corn prices – the basic food stable of the peasants in question).
3. George – as for it being bad; I would invite you to speak with some of our brothers and sisters in Christ and hear some of their stories. Of how certain companies do not pay them what is promised or how they are even taken advantage of by their fellow country-men (and family members). This is not the space to list their stories of human misery to make a point that means nothing in the long run – so I will not continue down this path. Desperation does not make for fun-times on easy street.
4. One cannot ignore the Church’s role in allowing the family members of the oligarchs of particular countries to be placed high in positions of power within the local Church hierarchy. Liberation theology just didn’t pop-up for no good reason.
5. Back to Jane Wyman’s ex-husband - can you forget Iran-Contra? Doesn’t that go directly to the heart of what has already been stated about the foreign policy of the United States in Latin America?

To Anonymous, to quote from the Prophet Marx:


rcg said...

@JOhn Nolan: I have seen that hypothesis, re: innate Conservative vs liberal, but I think it does not hold water because of the variance in definition of the terms in the English speaking countries. It seems that people who subscribe to either of the two main parties in American politics are aimed squarely at Fascism but only disagree on ho to execute it.

Gene said...

For many of us, including many who are politically involved, "immigration reform" is a code word for amnesty. We simply do not need all these people pouring into the country. Legal immigration is just fine and if, as some say, it is a complicated and poorly working procedure, then it needs to be streamlined. But, the borders need to be closed…period.

JBS said...

Joe Potillor,

In think you bring up a good point in advocating openness to respectful but honest dialogue, the kind of dialogue that needn't fear tough questions. It's getting the balance right between respect and honesty that often becomes a problem.

On the other hand, there are issues that have long been discussed already, and it can seem provocative to open a debate about a subject everyone else assumes is settled.

Pater Ignotus said...

Joe - It is entirely possible to question history without being called a nut job. But, when one poses such questions, one has to present overwhelming evidence to support one's positions.

(One can also question whether the sun is the center of our solar system, but in that case the questioner reveals him/herself to be a loon. But I digress...)

It is not possible, however, to ask in reference to the Holocaust, "Did something provoke Germany?" That question implies that the Jews were responsible for the Holocaust, which is akin to asking, "What did she do to encourage her rapist?"

Blaming the victim is scapegoating and it is evil.

Bishop Williamson in an anti-Semite. His "questions" are not questions at all, but statements about the Jews and about what he believes to be the causes of Jewish persecution through the centuries.

Templar said...

How do you see antisemitism?

I cannot explain why it happens, but I think it is very linked, in general, and without it being a fixed rule, to the right wing. Antisemitism usually nests better in right-wing political tendencies that in the left, right? And it still continues (like this). We even have those who deny the holocaust, which is crazy.

****Excuse me your Holiness, but the sine qua non of any Antisemitism discussion would have to be the NAZI Party, which was a LEFT Politial Organization (being firmly and fully in favor of State control of all issues) so how any one, especially someone like the Pope, can make the statement that Antisemitism nests with right leaning groups is amazing. The NAZI State might have been to the right of Stalinist Russia, but politically they were way to the left idelogically.

In current American Politics it is the DNP which is openly hostile to Israel from the WH down to rank and file members, and the DNP while hardly has far left as Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany, is certainly more left than the RNP in America.

Anonymous said...

I think one concrete thing everyone could do immediately to bridge the local ideological divides within the Church is to organize (or accept the organization) of weekly 'prayer breakfasts' or similar shared meals.

I learned a valuable lesson this way back in 2005 from a Tea Party Member who invited me to one such breakfast along with representatives of pretty much every ideological position he could find. There were 12 of us around a big table having waffles.

The topic was "immigration reform" and we each had 3 minutes to say our personal opinion - not our party's sound bites.

Then the discussion really began and I learned ALOT about how truly convoluted and complex the situation is, how no one side has 'all the answers' and indeed most of us had opinions which, if put into effect would lead to serious unintended consequences.

I think we all learned that the other side wasn't crazy or evil, that the situation was much more complex than we originally thought it was, and that we can actually discuss these issues without personal invective.

If the local Catholic Church in Macon could do something like this, I think we'd all be much better off.

JBS said...

Pater Ignotus,

West Germany paid reparations, on behalf of Jewish victims, to the State of Israel, and these reparations made Israel an economically viable nation. Therefore, it seems to me that the issue of reparations to be paid by the US and state governments to the heirs of African slavery and Jim Crow segregation could be resolved to the long-term benefit of African Americans. Would you be willing to support an effort to promote a national dialogue on this latter issue?

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous at 10:50 a.m.:

Amen to what you say about “immigration reform,” and amen to what you say about the value of face-to-face dialogue generally and to your suggestion about the Catholic church organizing such conversations locally. This could perhaps be done in conjunction with interested others such as Mercer University, which has had a Lyceum program aimed at promoting civil and informative dialogue on controversial issues. Although the Lyceum events have generally involved panel discussions, I very much like your idea sponsoring small groups of community members to engage in roundtable discussions.

One problem I see that would have to be addressed is the apparent reluctance of some people (even some on this Blog) who are unwilling even to meet those they regard as “the enemy.” This seems to be an example of the intensified polarization among 20% of the population that the Pew study has just reported on. If we can overcome such juvenile playground reactions among those who would benefit from such dialogue the most, then your idea holds a lot of promise.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - National dialogue on paying reparations to the descendants of slaves?

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

'What did she do to encourage her rapist?' Putting political correctness aside and looking at actual rape cases, particularly those involving so-called date rape, the honest answer might well be 'quite a lot, actually' and juries often come down on the side of common sense.

Similarly, although there has been Christian anti-Semitism which we quite rightly regret, did those Jews who objected to the Good Friday prayer think of apologizing for the anti-Christian references in the Talmud? Has there been any Jewish organization which has admitted a smidgeon of guilt for the six million Ukrainians and Belorussians liquidated by the Bolsheviks before Hitler even came to power in Germany, a Bolshevik party in which Jews played a major role?

I have spoken to Ukrainians who remembered their Jewish neighbours turning up in OGPU/NKVD uniform to requisition their grain and deport them to the gulag.

It is quite astonishing that three generations in Europe and north America have been conditioned to think that the only victims of genocide in the 20th century were Jews and that the only war criminals were Nazis.

Victim status is a good card to play in that one can blame all one's misfortunes on everyone else and never examine one's own failings. That the post-Diaspora Jews have usually been unpopular with their host communities is a historical fact, but to attribute all the blame on one side is not tenable.

Anonymous 2 said...


Once again we encounter the perils of “labels,” in this case “Socialist” in Hitler’s “National Socialists.”

The meaning of the word “socialist” depends on the context in which it is used. I did not realize, naïve as I often am, that many on the right in this country are attacking Obama by trying to draw some kind of parallel between him and Hitler, using the word “socialist” as the link as in “Obama is socialist, you know, like Hitler.” I am not suggesting that this is what you are doing but I do want to draw your attention to the trend.

Here is a link giving references to discussions on both sides of this new game. Readers can then make up their own minds whether Hitler and Obama are ‘socialists” in the sense in which some on the right in this country are seeking to portray them:

Thank you for your post, though. It has not made my day, because it confirms, yet again, just how low political discourse has sunk in this country. But we all need to be aware of this. And there_are_rays of hope like Anonymous at 10:16 a.m.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - A woman who says, "No," no matter her behavior - makeup, style of dress, level of inebriation - is responsible for being raped. That choice is 100% the responsibility of the rapist.

We do not judge our responsibility or base our expressing regret for past wrongs on the measure to which others admit their past wrongs. If no Jew ever acknowledges the anti-Christian sentiments in the Talmud, that does not alter 1) the evil of anti-Semitic thought, word, and action on the part of Christians, or 2) our obligation to repent of it.

Post-diaspora Jews do not have "host communities" as if they didn't belong where they are or as if they were merely passing through on the way to elsewhere. and for a non-Jew to think, "Gee, those Jews treated my ancestors badly lo these 851 years ago, therefore, I am somehow justified in treating Jews today badly" is untenable.

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. Correction – I meant Anonymous at 10:50 a.m.

John Nolan said...

PI, if I leave my car unlocked with the keys in the ignition, and it is stolen, my insurance company will not pay out. I cannot argue that the theft is 100% the responsibility of the thief. Similarly if a woman elects of her own free will to go to bed with a man it is reasonable to infer that it is for the purpose of having sexual relations, and she must take some of the responsibility for the outcome.

Nor am I trying to justify Christian anti-Semitism either in the past or the present (and by the way the 1930s were not 851 years ago). To explain something is not to condone it. I do reserve the right to criticize the activities of Jewish groups like the ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre who are guilty of the very bigotry and intolerance they castigate non-Jews for, and have no compunction about distorting the historical record of the 20th century to suit their agenda.

Gene said...

Welfare is reparations…so is the NBA, the NFL, Hip Hop record sales, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
If reparations are to be paid, they should go to American Indians first. The whole thing is really funny….white guilty conscience…people get over it.
There isn't enough money in the world to buy you self-hating libs a modicum of self-esteem.

Joe Potillor said...


While I don't agree with your analogy, I get what you're trying to say. But also is it possible that history was a lie? (Not saying that it is), but there are many events which have been falsely portrayed, especially in Church matters, but plenty of things in secular history have been lied about to.

But pointing things out does not incline to blaming the victim for the crime that happened. It does make for an interesting debate...this is why there are multiple opinions.


I indeed agree with you, but I guess at the same time, my math and science background comes into play....if by counter example something can be shown to be false, by all means present it, but be logically sound and perfect with said arguments for things.

But on the whole I do tend to think we throw the words "Anti-insert whatever thing you want here" a bit too much. To be anti-whatever doesn't per se mean to hate particular individuals, or what not.

George said...

National Socialism was not socialism as most understand that economic and social philosophy. It was meant to be an alternative to Marxist socialism. It had some similar socialist elements but was not true socialism since among other things it supported the right to private property. I can see where one could draw some parallels to Mr Obama's philosophy, yet to be fair, one would have to note the differences. There are many variants of socialism and it is a topic too involved to get into here. Mr Obama has picked up and accelerated the trend toward socialism which has been developing in this country since the last century. This is not socialism through control of the economy by ownership of the means of production, but rather by means of regulation,legislation,court decisions, and presidential directive. So if you are receiving Federal money for X, you must do Y. The U.S could be said to be a Capitalist-Socialist hybrid which could differ by degree according to the philosophy of whoever occupies the White House and the legislature. Medicare and Medicaid do not represent true socialism, since unlike as with the Veterans Administration the government doesn't own all the hospitals in the country. They come pretty close to being Socialized medicine though. An increasingly powerful government represents a threat to individual and religious liberty.

Anonymous 2 said...


One additional point -- Another (to my mind at least) despicable and juvenile game that is played over here is to suggest that anyone who does not support the policies of the Israeli government 120%, for example regarding settlement in the West Bank, is somehow “anti-Semitic.” I guess that makes a lot of Jews in Israel anti-Semitic, which would certainly be news to them. For those who would like some actual facts (or as close to actual facts as surveys can ever get us), here are the results of the 2013 Pew Research Center survey on the attitudes of Israelis and Palestinians:

It makes for very interesting reading and there is a lot to digest.

And here is a 2014 Pew Research Center survey regarding American attitudes towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Again it makes for very interesting reading and again there is a lot to digest:

It is true that there is a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats who are “more sympathetic” to Israel than to the Palestinians (68% as opposed to 46%), particularly at the extremes. However, 46% is still a high figure, so it seems rather simplistic to suggest that the DNP is “openly hostile to Israel from the WH down to rank and file members” (and, by implication I suppose, that the RNP are the only true supporters of Israel).

But again, readers can judge for themselves what they make of the survey data.

Anonymous 2 said...


I applaud your desire to be fair and I don’t disagree with your analysis. In the (in)famous words of Newsweek in 2009, “we are all socialists now” (and indeed have been for quite some time). My point was simply that this does not make us like Hitler and the Nazis.

Pater Ignotus said...

Joe - It is important to get the facts about history right, as far as that is possible.

We have to remember that the victor writes the history. In the United States, we rarely heard about the 100 years prior to the English landing at Jamestown that the Spanish were the dominant European presence on our shores. The English eventually bested the Spanish, so the English wrote the histories.

In March 1988 the National Geographic had an article, "Exploring Our Forgotten Century: Between Columbus and Jamestown."

Templar said...

My word Anon 2, you must be a damnable Lawyer to read so much into what I wrote. I didn't compare Hitler to Obama, all I said was the Pope was wrong to state that Anti-Semetic groups nest with the "right" when the greatest anti-semtic group in history was of the left leaning persuasion. I didn't even say the Nazi's were socialists (I believe I correctly implied they were statists). I do believe even said that the DNP (of which Obama is the head currently) isn't as far left as the Nazis or Soviets, just the ost left for the US.

It wasn't a poke at Obama, I was pointing out the Pope's error (one can make a career out that with the current one).

If I wanted to take a shot at Obama I'd just post some links to any one of a number of current news stories which paint him as a far bigger loser of a President than anything i could string together.

But since you're so defensive about it I guess we cleared up one thing, you obviously voted for the idiot, good Catholic that you are.

Bill Meyer said...

Father, I must disagree with your surmise about anti-semitism and the right. I am politically very conservative, and with respect to the Church, very traditional. I am not, and never have been, anti-semitic.

Among my conservative friends, I rarely if ever hear any unkind expression toward any religious or ethnic group. Unless you wish to consider it unkind that many of us have grave reservations about the attempts by Muslims to impose Sharia law in western countries.

That said, I have routinely encountered religious and racial prejudice among the left. Much like the atheists, they are tolerant to those who think as they do. Toward others? Not so much.

Anonymous 2 said...


No, you did not use the word socialist. But you did say that the Nazi Party was “way to the Left ideologically” and was “firmly and fully in favor of State control of all issues.” What word would you use to describe this? In particular what word would you use for “way to the Left ideologically”? I am sorry if I put words into your mouth that you did not intend. I drew what I considered to be a reasonable inference. But I am very happy for you to tell me why it is unreasonable to understand “way to the Left ideologically” as “socialist.”

Also, I did not say that you were comparing Obama to Hitler. I was drawing your attention to a shameful rhetorical trend I had discovered while verifying the appropriateness of calling the Nazis a “Leftist” movement. As I observed in my comment yesterday, it seems that many on the right in this country are doing this now precisely so that they can link Obama and Hitler through the alleged common term “socialist.”

And you_did_ say that the “DNP . . . is openly hostile to Israel from the WH down to rank and file members.”

Yes, I have already admitted on this Blog to voting for the “idiot” Obama. To continue this sad rhetorical style, this is primarily because I did not want to repeat my mistake of having voted for the even bigger “idiot” George Bush in 2000 or those who would have continued his foreign policy debacles (those same neocon advisers surrounding Mitt Romney, for example). I have explained my vote on this Blog before and will not repeat that explanation here, except to say that my vote tried to take all relevant factors into account including the power distributions among the branches and how they played out in issues like abortion.

I will also say this: I firmly believe that the 2003 invasion of Iraq will be seen in the verdict of history as the biggest foreign policy blunder in the entire history of the United States (much bigger than Vietnam). I was opposed to it then (as, by the way, was the Pope, but who cares what he thinks, right) and I have not changed my mind. The stakes were always far, far bigger than most people realized, although they are now beginning to get a taste of just what has been done by meddling in things that were not understood. The genie, as they say, is out of the bottle, and we reap what we sow – beginning with complete destabilization of the Middle East. Congratulations, George. You should have listened to your dad. It would not have happened under H.W. (“It wouldn’t be prudent”) Bush. So, yes, I stand by my vote.

Anonymous said...

I think Glenn Beck had a much more useful chart for the political spectrum than the traditional "Left is communist, right is fascist" model currently in use.

His works also from Left to Right but more along the spectrum from centralized control to anarchy (no central government at all).

On that chart, the American colonies had local (and small) government as most people were on their own or associated in churches and local free will groups. We've been sliding leftward ever since.

As much as we Americans tend to think political first before theological, we should remember that Catholics exist in every country on earth, in every government system on earth. So as much as our differences of opinion on questions of political ideology matter, it remains the case that a person can be a good Catholic and also believe in Monarchy.

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. Templar:

To clarify -- I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq on conservative principles. No true conservative would have undertaken that action. So, ironically, I ended up voting for Obama because in important respects he was more conservative than those who called themselves conservative. Of course, to understand this point, on needs to know something about the history of American conservatism. Hint: Russell Kirk.

Gene said...

I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq, as well. As soon as we were certain the terrorists were Muslims, we should have levelled Mecca and Medina, then announced that further such acts as 911 would be met with more of the same until the entire Middle East (except Israel) was a glaze in the sand. It is probably going to happen one day, anyway, might as well have been then.

Templar said...

The NAZI's were Statists Anon2. Statists believe in State Control of Economic and/or Social aspects of society (the Nazi's were the both flavor).

How Dems in the US comapre to them is (again) not a point I'm trying to make here. My point is Statists are on the left of the idealogical spectrum, hence the Pope's reference to Atisemites nesting with the right is grossing in error.

As for voting for Obama, whatever the rationale (and I concede opposition to Iraq 2003 is a vlaid reason to not like Bush) it simply is a worse choice than voting for anyone else and can not be justified from the Catholic POV. Even that moron McCain would have been a better choice. Even refraining from voting would be a better choice than voting for Obama (from the Catholic POV).

Like Gene I was against the invasion too as a half measure. War to the hilt with Islam is the only prudent course of action. They have been trying to kill us since the 700s AD, and we continue to ignore the fact.

Pater Ignotus said...

Templar - There is no monolithic "Catholic POV" when it comes to making choices among candidates.

The Church - rightly - does not tell Catholics who to vote for or who not to vote for. To do so would be a violation of 1) the conscience of individual voters and 2) the legal prohibition applied to 501(c)3 organizations.

"Faithful Citizenship" makes this clear: "In this statement, we bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom
to vote. Our purpose is to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God’s truth. We recognize that the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with
each individual in light of a properly formed conscience, and that participation goes well
beyond casting a vote in a particular election."

Voting for a candidate is a prudential choice, and many factors have to be taken into consideration in making these decisions.

Templar said...

PI, those are all weasel words. Any Catholic who would vote for Obama is no Catholic at all. Anyone who would argue differentl is, well, simply being weaselly.

Pater Ignotus said...

Templar - Regardless of what you think, they are the words of our Bishops.

Piux XII is also accused of using "weasel words" words regarding Nazism, but we both know that he was not at all weak in this regard.

Templar said...

PI states: Templar - Regardless of what you think, they are the words of our Bishops.

How right you are. The biggest abusers of weaselly words in all of Christendom.

Should I be condemned to Hell upon my Final Judgment I shall at least be able to take solice in the fact that I'll trod upon the skulls of Bishops.

Anonymous 2 said...


“Any Catholic who would vote for Obama is no Catholic at all.”

It seems that the number of Catholics in America must be very small, judging from the following depiction of Mitt Romney, who was rated by the organization American Right to Life as considerably worse than Obama:

You see Templar, matters are just not so simple, which, I suppose, is why the Bishops have documents like Faithful Citizenship. But, of course, for those whose political views shape their religious views rather than vice versa (and I do not necessarily mean you here), none of this will make a difference because, as you suggest, for such people it was “anyone but Obama.”

So, for you or anyone else to fault me, or worse, to imply I am not a Catholic because I took the USCCB document seriously and conscientiously, and voted for what, on balance, seemed to me to be the more prudent vote, is certainly an interesting way of looking at things to say the least.