Tuesday, August 25, 2015

DOES THE MACON TELEGRAPH'S EDITORIAL POLICY SUBSCRIBE TO ANTI-CATHOLIC IDEOLOGIES AS CHARACTERIZED BY CHICK PUBLICATIONS BUT EXPRESSED IN POLITICALLY CORRECT TERMS BY DR. BILL CUMMINGS, AN ANTI-CATHOLIC EX-CATHOLIC?

Is the Macon Telegraph aiding a new "Fr. Damien" in the former Father Bill Cummings by allowing him to offer anti-Catholic editorials? Fr. Damien is the former Catholic priest often cited by the anti-Catholic evangelical Chick publications:
 Dr. Bill Cummings, a former Catholic priest and former Catholic has a regular column in the Macon Telegraph's Sunday Newspaper. He  expresses views, albeit in a more sophisticated politically correct way, similar to the anti-Catholic views of the evangelical Chick publications.

This is how Wikipedia describes Chick:  

Chick tracts are short evangelical tracts created and published by American publisher Jack T. Chick.
 Although many of Chick's tracts express views that are generally accepted within Christian theology, such as the Incarnation of Christ,[1] several tracts express controversial viewpoints. Most notably, Chick is known for his strong anti-Catholic views, which are expressed in 20 of his tracts (along with several full-length comic books).

Often Chick Publications uses former Catholic priests and laity to spread their anti-Catholic diatribes similar to what the Macon Telegraph does as it allows Dr. Bill Cummings to do time and time again in his editorials. The odd thing is that Dr. Cummings' editorials are suppose to be on business practices, not religion, but his anti-Catholic streak is so deep that something anti-Catholic always seems to appear in his editorials.

What puzzles me about the Macon Telegraph allowing the anti-Catholic Dr. Bill Cummings to continue to write his hateful editorials about the Catholic Church is that the reader of the Telegraph which continue to dwindle are less than 1% or so Catholic. I suspect most readers of the Telegraph could care less about anything Dr. Cummings has to write, religious or not.

The following is the editorial from Dr. Cummings that appeared in this past Sunday's Telegraph, just one more of his many anti-Catholic swipes against the Catholic Church. Below it is a letter to the editor that I wrote which I am not sure will make it into the Telegraph:

Is Christianity dying in America? No, but it is declining, that’s for sure. In 1892, our Supreme Court declared: “This is a Christian nation.” In 2009, Barack Obama, said: “We don’t consider ourselves a Christian nation.” He could say that because 26.2 percent of Americans are atheist, agnostics, secularists, Muslim, Jewish or Hindu; the greatest decline of Christians (34 percent) is among those born after 1980, so the trend looks irreversible.

Example: for every one person who joins the Catholic Church, six leave. There are 3 million less Catholics in America since 2007, and 5 million less mainline Protestants.

All sorts of reasons are given. Pat Buchanan blames the Supreme Court for purging Christ from the public schools, and he condemns our media and movies for continuing the counter-culture of the ‘60s. Father Allan McDonald, the pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Macon, wrote in his blog that he blames his parish decline on 500 funerals in 11 years, the white flight out of Bibb County and the lack of new industry.

Whatever the real reasons, more and more Christians find fishing on Sunday morning or just relaxing with the family more fulfilling than going to church. And that’s a fact. So, why go to church?

Well, both Catholics and Protestants have two fantastic things to brag about. One is “community” and the second is called “outreach.” It’s like going to Rotary every week with your friends and joining a committee to distribute food to the hungry. Churches are like clubs. They bring together people with the same backgrounds and interests and provide them a forum for charitable action. So how do we explain the fact that we still have so much segregation in our churches but not in our clubs? Blacks and whites can’t seem to get it together — for God’s sake.

The mainline Protestant churches (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Episcopal) have two more distinct things to offer. One is Sunday School. These are small vibrant groups who meet an hour before the church service and discuss biblical or current issues of interest without the help or hindrance of the pastor. The second is the emphasis on good preaching. Pastors can’t all be Joel Osteens or Billy Grahams, but if the pastor can’t preach, he or she is gone.

The Catholic Church has one distinctly different offering. It’s called the Eucharist. For Catholics, when Jesus said “This is my body,” he meant it literally. It was not a metaphor like “the lamb of God.” It was a magical miracle, and every priest performs this exact same miracle every Sunday morning. You can see how the 33 percent decline in American priests causes a terrible problem. Without the priest, there is no Eucharist. Without the Eucharist, there is no Catholic Church. Based on these statistics, Ireland could become non-Catholic in 20 years.

But there is one thing about going to the Catholic Church that Protestants don’t have to worry about. If Protestants go to church, it’s because they want to. If Catholics go to church, it’s because they have to. Really. If a Catholic rolls over when the alarm goes off and says, “the hell with it,” that’s exactly what he’s going to get. You see, deliberately missing Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin for a Catholic. That means if he dies before he confesses this sin to a priest, he goes straight to hell. That’s a pretty big incentive.

It was unreasonable incentives like this that created Protestantism in the first place. You remember the Rev. Father Martin Luther, a Catholic priest and monk, who, on Oct. 31, 1517 posted 95 “protests” on the door of his Catholic church in Wittenberg, Germany, and began the Protestant Reformation. Luther protested against church doctrines like indulgences, usury, confession, purgatory, papal arrogance and infallibility,

Maybe we need more Father Martins today, priests and pastors willing to question things like segregation, gay bashers, global warming, birth control, divorced Catholics and discrimination of all kinds. Maybe if our churches produced more questioners like Martin Luther and Pope Francis, instead of men who hide behind the infallible comfort of their black cassocks and robes, more people would go to church and be willing to stand up and say: “Now Sunday is worthwhile.”

Dr. Bill Cummings is the CEO of Cummings Consolidated Corporation and Cummings Management Consultants. His website is www.billcummings.org.

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article31954338.html#storylink=cpy

My Letter to the editor yet to be published:


Dr. Bill Cummings a former priest and non-practicing Catholic is the poster child for Catholics who choose to leave the Church and become “nones”. Some in  Dr. Cummings' generation, he is almost 84 years old,  are divided between two major camps, those who saw Vatican II in the early 1960’s in continuity with the Church’s 2000 year tradition and those who viewed Vatican II as a rupture in that tradition and produced a completely different church. The first group is correct and Dr. Cummings'  group is dead wrong. Liberalism in Catholicism and Protestantism  accounts for the majority of departures from the Church. It is deadly!

  The confusion and damage inflicted on the Catholic Church by some in Dr. Cummings' generation is incalculable and in part accounts for some of the Church's loss of membership.

  While growth in the population of the Church is a laudable goal, fidelity to the truths of the Church are more laudable even if this means a smaller, but purer Church. Mustard seeds, the smallest of shrubs grow into the largest of bushes. Catholic history is cyclical and there is nothing new  as it concerns today’s death and tomorrow’s resurrection!

  Dr. Cummings is correct in asking people to question things. I recommend questioning Dr. Cummings who not only  denigrates practicing Catholics but all  orthodox Christians. He arrogantly pontificates; but he's no Pontiff!

  Fr. Allan J. McDonald

Pastor

St. Joseph Catholic Church

My final comment: The Telegraph is owned by the McClatchy Corporation rather than by a local owner. Thus its editorial policy, much to its detriment which may explain in part its dwindling readership, is far from the opinions held by the majority of Macon's residents. Macon is a relatively conservative town and very religious and conservatively so. The Telegraph continues to ignore this reality in its editorial policies but to their detriment.

19 comments:

Lefebvrian said...

This fellows article is ridiculous. He asks why there is a decline in Church attendance. He responds that the decline would cease if there were more priests questioning things like artificial contraception.

In reality, the decline in Church attendance corresponds with the advent of priests questioning things like artificial contraception.

If a Church does not stand on moral principles, it is much more likely that one will wake up on Sunday morning, hit the snooze button, and say, "The hell with it." That individual reaction is a microcosm of what a church that does not stand on moral principles has already done.

In other words, if the Church doesn't even take its teachings seriously, why would the people? First and foremost, people will simply stop going. That is what happens when, for example, the Church takes its holiest and most solemn ceremonies and declares that they need to be changed. When the Church does this, the Church loses credibility. Or, as another example, when the Church tells people for 2,000 years that they may not get divorced and remarried and still receive Communion. People are smart enough to realize that, if that sort of thing can simply change, then the Church isn't what She said She was, and it isn't worth getting up on Sunday for.

Jusadbellum said...

So challenge the good doctor to an open public debate in the town square and be done with it.

The topic can be "Was Martin Luther's 95 theses correct or not?" Then mop the floor with him as you go down the line on those theses and show how the German Augustinian was a) woefully undereducated and b) simply wrong about so much even if the Church was in need of reform.

And you might ask why we can trust the Bible itself seeing how the canon of scripture was settled by Catholic bishops meeting in a council in the late 300s... if we can't trust the Church then neither can we trust the Bible or the authenticity of the Gospel message itself.

This would seem precisely what is happening in the USA: a watered down toothless Catholicism that tries to be 'nice' and unthreatening, a post-modern Protestantism that first rejected the historical Church ends up rejecting the Bible too in favor of whatever hedonistic cultural fad comes down the pike.

The only reform possible is to regain a trust for scripture and a renewed faith in all Christ's promises which includes the Church as pillar of truth and source of authority to 'bind and lose'.

Our Lord sent out his disciples to heal and exorcise and preach. He didn't order them to found a printing press, write up a million copies of the Gospel and then let each reader infallibly interpret things for themselves! But we, Catholics, heirs of the great patrimony of the Gospel and all the saints, tend to be under-educated in both scripture and the insights of the saints! Yet a half-way educated Catholic can easily mop the floor with pretty much any Protestant preacher man.

But we're called not just to 'win' arguments but to heal the person, liberate the person from principalities and powers and so lead them to encounter the living Jesus.

I suspect that's why martyrdom always accompanies reform - we must be purified in our intentions and purified of our own vices until the only thing left is love for Jesus and love for souls, so letting go of our fear of not being liked or fear of persecution, we press ahead boldly like men to make disciples of all these lost souls.

When someone does you the honor of engaging you in an argument, the reaction ought to be twofold - one, rise to the argument and defeat it and two, and most importantly, sink to our knees in prayer that the arguer may come to see the truth and the One who alone can save our souls.

Anonymous said...

Oh my....

"Dr. Bill Cummings a former priest and non-practicing Catholic is the poster child..."

"...a former priest and non-practicing Catholic..." is a parenthetical phrase. Parenthetical phrases are set off by commas.

It should read, "Dr. Bill Cummings, a former priest and non-practicing Catholic, is the poster child..."

"...those who viewed Vatican II as a rupture in that tradition and produced a completely different church..." should read, "...those who viewed Vatican II as a rupture in that tradition WHICH produced a completely different church..."

This fragment contains verb/subject disagreement: "While growth in the population of the Church is a laudable goal, fidelity to the truths of the Church are more laudable..." It should read, "While growth in the population of the Church is a laudable goal, fidelity to the truths of the Church IS more laudable..." (Fidelity...is more laudable.)

"Mustard seeds, the smallest of shrubs grow into..." No. Scripture says the mustard seed is the smallest of all SEEDS, not shrubs. AND this fragment should read, "Mustard seeds, the smallest of all shrubs (sic), grows into..."

-editor






Robert Kumpel said...

I really don't wish to deflate your balloon Father, but the decline readership for McClatchy's publications very likely has little to do with their editorial policies. Print media is dwindling in readership and subscriptions EVERYWHERE, regardless of ideology. The fact is, the internet has changed everything and each subsequent generation is less literate and has shorter attention spans. We are living in a post-literate society. If anything, pieces like the one you've posted from Cummings are likely selected just to arouse controversy, even if it's negative publicity. It's a pretty sad state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

Robert - People like Fr. McDonald who are convinced of the accuracy of their opinions won't be swayed by the facts.

gob said...

At the beginning of this post, you seemed to try to stir Dr. Cummings and Jack Chick together...to make them the same. They don't seem the same....

Your letter didn't challenge any of the facts that Dr. Cummings recited. You mostly reverted to the default position argument that all of the ills of churches today are the fault of VII and the liberals and us old guys.

I think you should think twice before you consider a face to face debate.

gob said...

editor.....Oh my........are you taking "English 101" in school now?

Lefebvrian said...

If Martin Luther was so correct, then most Protestants, including this Mr. Cummings, would be strict Lutherans adhering closely to all of Luther's supposedly excellent ideas. The fact that no one in the world is a strict Lutheran who takes seriously the totality of Luther's ideas is evidence that Luther was not correct.

Anonymous said...

The Macon Tel-A-Lie has never been anything but a poorly written and edited fish wrapper or bird cage liner. Just ignore it. Nobody reads it anyway.

Anonymous said...

gob - Nope, did that ages ago - and learned how to write way back then.

gob said...

So now your ministry is to correct grammar for people? I had a brother-in-law who did that. REALLY annoying.

Anonymous said...

There's an easy way to stop being corrected for your bad grammar....

Flavius Hesychius said...

Mr. Cummings, aside from his habit of necroposting on this blog, clearly does not understand the causes of the Reformation. Or its effects. He displays the same 'Luther as Saviour' attitude as evangelicals.

Anonymous said...

Yes, shoot the grammar Nazi.

Anonymous said...

No, we are Legion. Strike one and another will take its place.

The way to stop being corrected for your bad grammar is to say it or write it correctly in the first place. It's really not hard to learn.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing most folks here love more than "Admonish the sinner".

Lefebvrian said...

Two types of people comment here: those who admonish the sinners and those who admonish the admonishers.

Flavius Hesychius said...

Nuh uh! There's also schismatics running around spreading their schism and other unfavorable ideas.

Anonymous said...

...and trolls.