Wednesday, July 29, 2015


While CAMILLE and I are miles apart, I like her truthfulness, something quite novel for liberals! Although an atheist, I detect a Catholic ethos in her ethics, apart from reproductive rights, but her ability at critical thinking seems to be informed by Catholicism. I could be wrong.

This is stunning! And you have to read the complete interview link at the end of this post:

Top Feminist Issues Stunning Rebuke For Media’s ‘Total Silence’ On Planned Parenthood

A major feminist author and former Planned Parenthood member shredded the U.S. media Wednesday for its “shockingly unprofessional” failure to cover the release of secret videos showing alleged trafficking in fetal organs by employees of Planned Parenthood.
Camille Paglia, a self-described “dissident feminist” and widely-syndicated cultural critic, made her remarks as part of a three-day interview series with the website Salon. She was discussing her overall displeasure with the modern state of the American media, and said the case of Planned Parenthood was a key recent example of its decline:
Now let me give you a recent example of the persisting insularity of liberal thought in the media.  When the first secret Planned Parenthood video was released in mid-July, anyone who looks only at liberal media was kept totally in the dark about it, even after the second video was released.  But the videos were being run nonstop all over conservative talk shows on radio and television.  It was a huge and disturbing story, but there was total silence in the liberal media.  That kind of censorship was shockingly unprofessional.  The liberal major media were trying to bury the story by ignoring it.  Now I am a former member of Planned Parenthood and a strong supporter of unconstrained reproductive rights.  But I was horrified and disgusted by those videos and immediately felt there were serious breaches of medical ethics in the conduct of Planned Parenthood officials.  But here’s my point:  it is everyone’s obligation, whatever your political views, to look at both liberal and conservative news sources every single day.  You need a full range of viewpoints to understand what is going on in the world.
Paglia’s criticism is telling, as it comes from a proud and long-time left-wing voice. Elsewhere in the interview, she described herself as a Martin O’Malley supporter, though she says she would “happily” vote for Bernie Sanders as well.(RELATED: Planned Parenthood’s PR Firm Is Asking Reporters Not To Air Undercover Video)
Nevertheless, Paglia also shows a tremendous amount of displeasure with many of her fellow progressives. Besides her Planned Parenthood complain, Paglia also attacked The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, saying he was emblematic of the “vacuity” of modern comedy: 
I cannot stand that smug, snarky, superior tone. I hated the fact that young people were getting their news through that filter of sophomoric snark. … I’m sorry, but Jon Stewart is not a major figure. He’s certainly a highly successful T.V. personality, but I think he has debased political discourse.  I find nothing incisive in his work.  As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he’s partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States.
Also, despite being a self-professed atheist, Paglia said she was disgusted by the work of prominent anti-religion authors like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins:
I regard them as adolescents. I say in the introduction to my last book, “Glittering Images”, that “Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination.”  It exposes a state of perpetual adolescence that has something to do with their parents– they’re still sneering at dad in some way. … I’m speaking here as an atheist. I don’t believe there is a God, but I respect every religion deeply. All the great world religions contain a complex system of beliefs regarding the nature of the universe and human life that is far more profound than anything that liberalism has produced. We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system.  They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny.  Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death. The great tragic texts, including the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, no longer have the central status they once had in education, because we have steadily moved away from the heritage of western civilization.
The real problem is a lack of knowledge of religion as well as a lack of respect for religion. I find it completely hypocritical for people in academe or the media to demand understanding of Muslim beliefs and yet be so derisive and dismissive of the devout Christian beliefs of Southern conservatives.
Paglia’s comments continue a streak that began Tuesday, when she compared Bill Clinton to Bill Cosby and criticized Columbia University for allowing Emma Sulkowicz, or “Mattress Girl,” to carry her mattress on stage at graduation. (RELATED: Mattress Girl Carries Her Mattress To Graduation)

Read more:


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

NPR has reported numerous times on the Planned Parenthood matter.

Jdj said...

Fr. MJK,
That being said, can you not agree that the rest of us, who probably have far less time than you to hear/surf the news bites and follow priestly blogs, might benefit from this bit of "good news" without fraternal sniping? If our priests spend their time denigrating each other, how in God's name can we average pew-sitters embrace the truth with confident hope, let alone find the confidence to spread the truth to our culture with Gospel joy and fire?
I absolutely understand there can be differences in how priests understand and communicate Church teaching, and we all might benefit from the careful dialogue that engenders. But can there not be a point where those differences defer to the greater good of inculturating and sharing Gospel truths? Can our priests discern that point and respond to that need? Not meaning to sound maudalin, but it is way past time for all Catholics to begin to agree on and communicate the Truth as a united community formed by Jesus and dedicated to His mission. We desperately need you, our beloved priests, to lead us in this battle for souls.
At this point, I'm pleading for your support. We out here have lost so, so many to the culture wars...friends, family members born and unborn, peers. Please, please help us to lay down the daggers and pick up The Sword.
Thank you.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father Kavanaugh:

Yes but perhaps you and I can agree, although others may not agree, that NPR is not part of the liberal media but, together with PBS, as close to “fair and balanced” reporting as we are likely to get?

This said, I agree with Camille Paglia’s ideal prescription that “it is everyone’s obligation, whatever your political views, to look at both liberal and conservative news sources every single day. You need a full range of viewpoints to understand what is going on in the world.” It is idealistic because of time constraints but the closer one can get to the ideal the better. That’s why I watch Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow (and sometimes even Jon Stewart), among many others, as often as I can, although the TV screen is at greater risk with some of them than with others. =)

But this also said, I have not turned on the TV at all while on vacation this week and have rather enjoyed not doing so!!

Jusadbellum said...

The difference between how a conservative and a liberal hears NPR is in the emotions and adjectives and selection of pro/con testimony a given story will get from them.

For example, in the gay marriage debate, the interviewer's voice was typically optimistic, gushing, emotionally 'high' when talking to a gay rights supporter and the story tended to showcase interviewees 4 to 1 in favor of changing the definition of marriage. So sure, they would show 'both sides' but the edit choice was obviously critical of tradition and obviously in favor of gay 'rights'.

When the story is gun rights though we don't see the same spread between NRA heroes and Brady Campaign foes.

Now a really neutral journalist would take pains to play it right down the middle...but NPR almost never does.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jdj – In his book, “Celebration of Discipline – The Path to Spiritual Growth,” Richard Foster, a Quaker, writes, “Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” I agree wholeheartedly with Foster’s analysis. I would note that in his book, “The Road to Character,” David Brooks offers a very similar analysis of the fine mess in which we find ourselves today.

Much of what Fr. McDonald posts here is of the superficial variety. Broad-brush condemnations of his brother priests and of the members of the laity, hyperbolic expressions of horror and surprise, inconsequential arguments based on unsupportable claims of “fact” are, too often, his stock-and-trade. I don’t think that this kind of reportage is particularly helpful or that it lends itself to, as you describe it, spreading the truth to our culture with Gospel joy and fire. Unfortunately this superficiality is “Legion” – it’s almost everywhere you turn. In my opinion, the blogosphere, where everyone becomes an author and no one has an editor, is the prime locus of such shallowness.

When I read Paglia’s comment, “The liberal major media were trying to bury the story by ignoring it.” I had no doubt that Fr. McDonald was in agreement with this as he has expressed similar sentiments previously. The problem is that the assertion isn’t true – it is a superficial criticism and it reflects a tendency many have to think that their perceptions of what’s going on in the world are factually accurate and unassailable. “Blame the media” is so trite and overused that it has become nothing more than another “talking point” that gets thrown out by just about everyone who, having little or nothing constructive to add to a conversation, gives into the overwhelming desire to say something, anything.

As many have noted, we suffer in our society from things being “dumbed down.” Nobody wants to think and analyze – they just want to react and emote. That’s not good for any of us and it doesn’t serve the mission of the Church. But reacting to the “dumbing down” with more slipshod analysis and overly contentious hyperbole simply isn’t going to improve anything. What it does do, however, is get attention.

Confidence doesn’t come from having everyone on the same rickety boat, on the same fading page, or employing the same facile arguments about this or that major question. It is always tempting to offer simplistic solutions to highly complex problems. Why aren’t Catholics going to mass? Blame Vatican Two. Why are Syrians being driven in the million from their homes? Blame Obama. Why is the Gay Agenda gaining so much momentum? Blame the media. Why are young people so violent? Blame video games. And on and on and on.

So, no, I am not going to support shallow, largely baseless, and overly broad critiques of individuals or social phenomena. Nor am I going to throw my hat into the ring with those who do.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father Kavanaugh:

I agree with you completely about superficiality and the need to combat it by cultivating deep people who can more effectively deal with complexity. My own approach to this is to emphasize the need to cultivate the venerable master virtue of practical wisdom. And to mix my Aristotle with my Plato, the first thing one has to do in becoming wise, as Socrates stressed, is to get away from the superficial shadows on the Cave wall and into the (at first) blinding light of the Sun. So, superficial misconceptions and caricatures have to go. This is where I see the value of Camille Paglia’s piece. She helps to dismantle the caricatures of so-called “liberals” and, in her own person, demonstrates the existence of complexity.

Anonymous said...

Fr. K...

One cannot be a liberal and a Catholic, let alone a catholic priest. (Of course, you were ordained but that is another story.) For example, what do you teach about the miracle of feeding 5000 men plus a similar number of women and children? Do you say the incident prefigured the eucharistic banquet or was it significant because of the of sharing? Would you learn and say the TLM if your bishop asked to accommodate a group of, say, 25 Catholic faithful at your parish? I am asking to understand what motivates your ministry.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon-1 - There are many who are liberal and Catholic, including priests.

The Feeding of the 5000, or The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, has many levels of meaning including the miraculous multiplication of the food, the prefiguring of the Eucharist, the required involvement of the disciples, then and now, in the "feeding" of those who follow Jesus, understanding Jesus as the "New Moses," Jesus doing what the Father did (quail and manna from the Father, bread and fish from Jesus), the surrender of our gifts to God (and others), Jesus as the prophet greater than Elijah and Elisha (note the barley), among a few others I have surely missed.

No, I am not going to celebrate the TLM. I happily and well celebrate the TEM - Traditional English mass. I am motivated in my ministry by my belief that the Church, instituted by Christ in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church and that that Church is necessary for salvation.

George said...

What we have been seeing and reading about with Planned Parenthood and the use of aborted children's tissue and organs in research is,unfortunately, nothing new.



Anonymous said...

Fr. K...

Benedict XVI stated that we have two forms of the Roman rite. You say you would refuse to pray the EF even if your Bishop and parishioners asked you for it. You do not say why. I forget, liberals need no reason, just feelings engendered by a false ideology.

Liberals are relativists. As such you side with Pilate who inquired of our Lord : What is truth? when Jesus revealed to the liberal governor that his earthly kingship means bearing witness to the truth. How is it that you cant or wont say it with Christ "For this I was born, for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth?"

Of course there are liberals Father who claim to be Catholics. But none of them truly believe that Catholic doctrine is worth defending when it conflicts with liberal ideology (for example, not defending true marriage, even equating it with unnatural, same sex unions). They have been made slaves to that worldview, slaves because they lack truth; only the truth can make you free.

Anonymous 2 said...

I would like to commend today’s Op. Ed. in the LA Times. It makes an excellent case for overcoming the liberal-conservative polarity on the issue of abortion. It suggests that the two stories on Cecil the lion and on the Planned Parenthood undercover videos can be drawn together to point the way towards mutual understanding instead of alienating polarity. Interestingly, it understands Pope Francis’s approach in cultivating a certain sensibility towards creation in Laudato Si in the same sense. While recognizing that killing a lion and killing an unborn human being are not morally equivalent, this is a much more sophisticated approach than the current polarization and promises to be very productive if taken seriously:

Here are some extracts:

“The confluence of these two stories, instead of creating even more right/left polarization, could actually work in the opposite direction. They are an opportunity for understanding and even common ground. . . . This is not to say the two issues are morally equivalent. They aren’t. But the moral dispositions and motivations of animal rights and anti-abortion activists are actually quite similar. The lazy liberal/conservative binary currently coloring hyper-polarized American politics simply doesn't work. . . . Pope Francis also thinks about these two issues together. In his ecology encyclical Laudato Si, Francis laments a culture that ‘sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests’ and ‘treats others as mere objects.’ He says that we must resist practices of the ‘throwaway culture,’ practices that include buying and selling of animals for their fur and ‘eliminating children because they are not what their parents wanted.’”

As the extracts suggest, instead of attacking Laudato Si conservatives might do well to get behind much of it. Pope Francis is much cannier than many people give him credit for. What else would one expect from a Jesuit? =)

Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous 2, I suppose the effort is laudable. However, as Catholics, we recognize that the value of one human soul is greater than the entirety of creation -- all the animals, plants, stars, and planets -- combined.

Perhaps this is an issue that should be polarizing. We should be horrified at the idea of abortion, which the Church has always understood to be not just the taking away of life, but also the taking away of the chance for that life to come to the beatific vision since the aborted dies with original sin.

If we are Catholic, we know that we would kill every single lion and every other animal on the earth rather than see one person aborted.

It's not a left versus right issue. It is Christ versus anti-Christ.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon 1 - You didn't ask "why" I would not celebrate the EF, so I didn't say why.

I would not celebrate the EF because it is not needed. It may be wanted, but it is not needed. Lots of Catholics "want" things, but we don't, as a matter of policy, simply give people everything they want.

Yes, Pope Benedict has said there are two forms of one Rite. This is entirely novel, and discontinuous with Tradition. Can someone say "Hermeneutic of Rupture"?

And since you already know, God knows how, how everyone you label "liberal" thinks and acts, you'll have, I am sure, no more questions for me.

Anonymous 2 said...


I agree with you about the immeasurable value of a human being. This is one reason I believe it is in an important sense a category mistake to say that killing 100 innocent human beings is worse than killing one. How can one compare numbers of humans, which implies measurement of some kind, when each of them is of immeasurable value? Worse, in human terms, yes, but equally bad in the eyes of God. If my theology is off here, I trust that the priests will correct me. This is one reason I have said on this Blog that I want to see the number of abortions reduced to zero, as I hope we all do.

This said, as humans we cannot ignore numbers and 100 abortions are better than 1000 for we must do what we can and avoid doing things that may actually make the holocaust worse. So, if there are ways to change hearts and minds of those who do not share our distinctive Catholic premises but who can hold premises that are consistent with those distinctive premises and that we can also hold, then why wouldn’t we try those ways? Thus, consistently with the premise that each human life is of immeasurable worth, we can also develop as a premise the shared sensibility towards creation urged upon all of us by Pope Francis and use that common ground in attempts to persuade others of the immorality of abortion. We work out from the common ground to the distinctive premises which lead others to be horrified by the killing of Cecil the lion and get them to see that we are as horrified, and even more horrified, by the killing of an unborn innocent on our distinctive premises? Wouldn’t this represent progress?

St. Paul said he became all things to all men to persuade them of the Truth. Is this not a similar idea – you try to reach people where they are? In general, won’t we be more effective in achieving the goal if we can dialogue in the area of common ground rather than occupying opposed hostile camps where each side doubles down on its positions and the pro-choice camp will be even less inclined to shift? Isn’t it generally better to persuade others to come voluntarily to our point of view than to try to coerce them? Similarly, I applaud the efforts of pro-life people and pro-choice people to find other types of common ground in which all can agree on various measures that will reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and hence abortions, provided such measures are consistent with Catholic teaching – for example, necessary welfare supports for unwed mothers to the extent charity cannot provide this support.

And isn’t the example of Camille Paglia instructive on all this? Doesn’t she show that someone who might seem to be an “enemy” can in fact be an ally?

Another way to think about all this: Let’s not sacrifice practicality, and innocent human beings, on the altar of ideological purity.

Anonymous said...

Fr K....

No need for the TLM?! Officially or otherwise, you have no competence to judge the need for either form of the Mass, EF or OF. Besides it sounds such a prideful, high handed thing to say. Totally unbecoming in a priest of the Catholic Church.

Deep down you must be aware that as a self confessed liberal, you are under the influence of a corrosive ideology. I can almost hear you say - nay, shout it: I will NOT serve. (Non serviam!).

Liberalism is not unlike addiction of any kind. It permits its practitioner to bolster an otherwise uncertain ego for a little while. Every ideological act releases a little dopamine, the feel-good hormone. As addictions go, if not corrected, it will lead to, in this case, to spiritual death. I do not think Jesus is happy with that.

I wish you well.

Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous 2, I agree with your general idea that murdering less people is better than murdering more people. So you are right to suggest that we should take steps to reduce the number of children murdered pre-birth.

However, the practical problem comes in making allies with those who do not share the same concern or the same perspective. As we have seen, those who favor a woman's choice to murder her own child in utero will play to opposite side of the strategy that you are proposing -- they will use people who share your practical sentiment and, little by little, reach for greater abortion "rights."

If there are people of good will in the pro-choice camp who legitimately favor a reduction in abortions, which there are-I have met them-then we should work with them in some way, perhaps. Unfortunately, I don't think their "movement" has good intentions, and I think that is demonstrable. It comes back around in some ways to the population reduction ideology, and it is definitely related to a complete misunderstanding of "freedom" that has become fashionable as a result of the American political experiment.

The reality is this -- Catholics want society to be subject to Christ the King. The pro-choice people want society to be subject to their misunderstanding of personal freedom.

Fr. MIchael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon 1 - I wish you well, too.

George said...


I take issue with what you say below:
"I agree with you about the immeasurable value of a human being. This is one reason I believe it is in an important sense a category mistake to say that killing 100 innocent human beings is worse than killing one."

>The problem with that statement is that with the taking of an unborn life,one has to consider more than just the unborn child.
There is the evil performed by the abortionist and whoever is aiding in that act. There is the evil of the woman involved, who is eminently and materially complicit in the evil done. There is the material co-operation of the father in some instances in pressuring the woman and perhaps paying for the procedure. When evil is done it produces bad effects, both on the individuals directly involved and on society itself to the degree and prevalence such evil is done. We are also talking about the taking of innocent human life and the thwarting of God's creative intent and design of which we as human beings have the great privilege of participating in. Yes, the killing of 100 innocent hunman beings is worse than one.

Anonymous 2 said...


I concede that from a human perspective killing 100 innocent human beings is worse than killing one. But what I was driving at is that “in an important sense” killing one innocent human being is infinitely bad and you cannot compare infinity with infinity. The perspective I was seeking to impart emphasizes the infinite value of each individual human being. Indeed, do we not believe that Christ would have died to sane just one human soul? Or have I misunderstood that?

So, my perspective underscores the awful horror of even one abortion.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh is under no obligation to celebrate the older Rite and if he feels there is no necessity to do so that is his prerogative. Benedict XVI admitted that it requires a degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language 'neither of which is found very often'.

It is also correct to describe the idea of the Roman Rite having two 'forms' as being a novelty. There are indeed different 'Uses' of the Roman Rite and the Roman Rite itself is not the only rite of the Latin Church; the Ambrosian Rite, for example is distinct. So, by any measurement, is the Novus Ordo.

However, to state the obvious (that the rites are distinct) might lead people to conclude that the newer rite is somehow deficient or inferior. So we have the legal fiction of two forms which will do for now.

George said...

"I concede that from a human perspective killing 100 innocent human beings is worse than killing one."

Not just from a human perspective. How great an offense to God is one evil act. How much greater is a multiplicity of such acts. Under the necessary conditions, if the evil done is great enough, it is also a mortal transgression on the soul or souls of whomever commits these acts.

"killing one innocent human being is infinitely bad and you cannot compare infinity with infinity."

While human beings have an inestimable value( a better term than infinite), to God each one is still a unique individual into which He places an immortal soul.

"Has not God in fact won for himself a claim on all our love? From all eternity he has loved us. And it is in this vein that he speaks to us: 'O man, consider carefully that I first loved you. You had not yet appeared in the light of day, nor did the world yet exist, but already I loved you. From all eternity I have loved you.' " - Saint Alphonsus Liguori