Friday, September 18, 2015


My comment first: This hits the nail on the head and uninformed Catholics need to take heed where our Holy Father is coming from and they need to stop politicizing him!

Your Say: Why Pope Francis’ U.S. visit is making the GOP squirm

Read more here:


Lefebvrian said...

I think that if anyone reads Pope Gregory XVI's Mirari Vos (On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism), they might come to the conclusion about whether our current pope has fallen into certain aspects of these errors as the Church understands them.

Here's a sample:

"Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain 'restoration and regeneration' for [the Church] as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune."

"With the admonition of the apostle that 'there is one God, one faith, one baptism' may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that 'those who are not with Christ are against Him,' and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore 'without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.'"

"The people therefore must be zealously taught that a marriage rightly entered upon cannot be dissolved; for those joined in matrimony God has ordained a perpetual companionship for life and a knot of necessity which cannot be loosed except by death. Recalling that matrimony is a sacrament and therefore subject to the Church, let them consider and observe the laws of the Church concerning it. Let them take care lest for any reason they permit that which is an obstruction to the teachings of the canons and the decrees of the councils. They should be aware that those marriages will have an unhappy end which are entered upon contrary to the discipline of the Church or without God's favor or because of concupiscence alone, with no thought of the sacrament and of the mysteries signified by it."

Anonymous said...

We are still wearing those rose colored glasses I see.

Anonymous said...

I think the Pope is neither "Republican" nor "Democrat", rather he tries to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. His fidelity appears to be to God and not to a political party.

Calvin of Hippo said...

So, another one of them hyphenated males...

Jusadbellum said...

The official platform of the GOP does not support a single intrinsic evil whereas the official platform of the DNC does support half a dozen intrinsic evils: contraception, abortion, IVF and embryo-killing research, sodomy, and euthanasia.

Nothing in the GOP side compares to intrinsic evils. There's no fantastic program on the Left that counter-balances an intrinsic evil adopted as policy.

Nothing threatened by the Tea-Party or most conservative of small parties comes close to intrinsic evil. Not a wall, not minimum wage laws, not pollution, or the MIC or cutting off public wealth transfers...none of it would result in the intentional choice for an intrinsically evil end.

Now, about the Pope: his encyclicals are for the whole world not just the USA. When he says "unregulated capitalism" or unregulated financial markets, he's not and cannot be construed to be talking about right-wing, tea-party, conservative definitions of the same because most of the actual world today is run by socialist governments operating 'crony-capitalism' (*i.e. fascist) centrally run economies.

You can't claim the US economy is the "free market" when every industry under the sun is heavily regulated by federal, state, and local governments and agencies. The Federal Reserve in the USA and Basel in Europe and Chinese government heavily controls the world's financial institutions. The only "unregulated" markets on earth are the black and grey and abortion industries.

So who is he really condemning? Who is really at fault for destroying the poor and vulnerable? Who is currently in charge and hence bears the moral responsibility for pollution hic et nunc? Not conservative/tea-partying republicans or libertarians!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Many defects and other misfortunes to which the Church has fallen victim over the years have been corrected, sometimes by popes, sometimes by Councils. Popes have been removed from office, absentee bishops have been commanded to reside in and attend to the work of their dioceses, weak education for clergy has been strengthened. The Church is always in need of restoration and regeneration, and history shows that we have attended to such.

"Christ summons the Church to continual reformation as she sojourns here on earth. The Church is always in need of this, in so far as she is an institution of men here on earth. Thus if, in various times and circumstances, there have been deficiencies in moral conduct or in church discipline, or even in the way that church teaching has been formulated - to be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith itself - these can and should be set right at the opportune moment." (Unitatis Redentigratio, 6)

As for "Therefore 'without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.'" we must consider the following:

Pius IX (Quanto conficiamur moerore, August 10, 1863) taught: "God... in His supreme goodness and clemency, by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishments who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault."

Pius XII had said (Mystici Corporis Christi) that one can "be related to the Church by a certain desire and wish of which he is not aware", i.e., by the desire to do what God wills in general.

Vatican II (Lumen Gntium,16taught the same: "They who without their own fault do not know of the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but yet seek God with sincere heart, and try, under the influence of grace, to carry out His will in practice, known to them through the dictate of conscience, can attain eternal salvation."

"This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure." (Lumen Gentium 8)

And: "It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church." (Unitatis Redentigratio 3)

Jusadbellum said...

The rub is that only 18% of the world's population are Catholic. The other 5/6th of humanity do not enjoy the graces we take for granted in their lives' struggle to come to know God's will and do it in the midst of this valley of tears and beset by the world, flesh, and devil.

Of the 18% who are Catholic, the majority reside as minorities in cultures which are either actively anti-Catholic or passively anti-Catholic contributing to the world, flesh, and devil's antagonism to the true faith and proper living thereof.

Thus while theoretically we can all agree that God can save individual souls by miracle, we must simultaneously not presume that the majority are regularly being so saved via Deus Ex Machina "death bed" conversions. Else, the Lord, the apostles, the early Church and more modern saints would have all encouraged us to think so!

Instead, the one constant we see in all the literature of the saints and mystics is how relatively hard it is to find and then persevere in the friendship of God even for "good Catholics" aided by the 7 sacraments and all the rest of much more difficult must it be for non-Catholics to come to know this God whom they ought to give thanks and praise?

If a Catholic went decades without confession or communion and then died, might we be on safe ground to assume he was OK with the Lord? Certainly it's POSSIBLE.

But our Lord commanded us to make disciples of all the nations. To what end must we risk life and limb, rack and ruin, striving against the nations, swimming against the current of world, flesh, and devil, if it's a given that most people are saved anyway, outside the visible body of the Church rather than a mysterious and impossible to count remnant?

I would be delighted to conclude that most people come to know and love God without the graces I've received. But do I have grounds for such a hope? I think not.

Because if we did have such grounds then wouldn't it be madness to endure rack and ruin to evangelize? Wouldn't it be "nicer" and easier to NOT evangelize and trust in Divine providence to save souls in ways known only to God?

cmummerboi said...

"This hits the nail on the head and uninformed Catholics need to take heed where our Holy Father is coming from and they need to stop politicizing him!".....Oh, and you certainly NEVER do that....

George said...

The Catholic Church is God's Holy and Divine established institution on earth whose precepts and teachings are His Divinely revealed Truth. It is this God ordained and Divine gift, the Instrument of Salvation established and instituted by Christ which exists as the means for our Eternal salvation. Indeed, anyone who is saved comes to salvation in some way or another from the graces which flow from all the salvific means the Church possesses. This is what any Catholic loyal the True Faith accepts and professes to believe. The Holy Catholic Church is the pre-eminent and perfect means in all that it contains for us to avail ourselves of the Treasury of Divine Grace, that Holy Repository which was filled by merits of Christ's redeeming Sacrifice, His Suffering and Death.
Time, place, situation, and circumstance are different from one person to the next. Whoever is saved, wherever thay are and whoever thay may be, are saved through the grace of God which flows through the Holy Catholic Church. The salvific grace which comes throught the Church is available to those who "through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church". If this were not so, then how could we say our God is merciful? Indeed, is He not Mercy itself?
The Church on earth, acting in concert with the Blessed Virgin's God-given role in Heaven to aid her, is the means and conduit by which the merits of Christ's redemptive suffering and death are distributed and conferred to the salvific benefit of sinners.
Ezekial 47 - The water flowing from the temple.
Can not this temple be seen as the Catholic Church and the water flowing from her God's grace? This stream which provides life? Can this not be seen if we are in a state of holiness as grace which can flow out of ourselves as Temples of the Holy Spirit to touch others ? Intercessory Prayers, good works, and sacrifice constitute our co-operation with God in bringing salvation to the world.The Divine grace of God through power of the Holy Spirit reaches out beyond the Church physical boundaries to those who through no definitive act of the will and full knowledge have rejected her truth.

Anonymous 2 said...

I appreciate Father McDonald posting this article. I agree 100% with the author. Indeed I have been trying to say this same thing for years on this Blog, citing profound conservative thinkers such as Russell Kirk, only to be called a liberal by some people for daring to question America’s version of free market capitalism. And, pace JusadBellum, whatever the vices of other countries’ economic systems in this regard it does not, and should not, let Americans off the hook.

It isn’t just a case of the extremely disruptive (and inherently anti-conservative) effects on traditional ways of life of capitalistic “creative destruction” that should be balanced against its positive effects but rarely are in so-called free market thinking (or so it seems to me). We should also not forget, for example, about the extensive influence of Ayn Rand in the United States and of her celebration of self-interest and condemnation of altruism (which famously takes extreme form in Gordon Gekko’s admonition in the film “Wall Street” that “greed is good”). Thus according to Harriet Rubin, writing in the New York Times on September 15, 2007, not only has Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” had considerable influence on corporate executives in the United States but “Every year, 400,000 copies of Rand’s novels are offered free to Advanced Placement high school programs. They are paid for by the Ayn Rand Institute, whose director, Yaron Brook, said the mission was ‘to keep Rand alive.’” And whatever else Ayn Rand might be (atheist, pro-choice, etc.), she was no conservative. By contrast, in keeping with the Catholic tradition, Pope Francis is indeed “consistently conservative,” even with respect to the environment (think about the root of the word “conservation” for example).

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. The author says “Free market capitalism, in contrast, is all about change: the change that comes when massive retail chains undermine family shops, when agri-businesses destroy small farms, when financial consultants “downsize” a corporation and wipe out a community’s economic foundation.”

This is the result of the second on the list in the United States (“when agri-businesses destroy small farms”):

No, the United States is not beyond the Pope’s critique. What we need is more regulation of agri-business, not less. Or better yet, what we need is a changed sensibility that does not regard animals and people (both the born and the unborn) as “standing-reserve” (to use Heidegger’s expression) or “objects” in a “throwaway culture” (to use the Pope’s).

Jdj said...

Very interesting post and comment by Anon 2. Much food for thought--thanks. Ayn Rand was required reading in my undergrad school circa 1966. I had no idea AP high school programs are still promoting this read. Gives another twist on "What goes around comes around".

Calvin of Hippo said...

Anon 2, I think your comment about "changed sensibility" is the issue, and the only thing to which the Church can legitimately speak because that is her change hearts...even the hearts of corporate and government heads as well as the idiots who love Ayn Rand. There is no true "free market capitalism" in this country...more like an economic plutocracy. I am not sure I agree about the need for even more regulation, depending on the type of regulation you mean. I agree with everything you say about agri-business destroying family farms and massive retail chains destroying small shops. It is part and parcel of the destruction of the family, community, and social structures that are true America. Even though I am a conservative, it is harder and harder to find a place for true conservatives (which is the old liberalism) between the extreme right and the neocons. So, I just end up being angry at everybody...LOL!

Calvin of Hippo said...

PS There is a book everyone should read called, "The Creature from Jekyll Island," by Griffin. It is the story of the Federal Reserve...but, much, much more. It explains a lot of things, including what happened to America when the billionaire globalists created this monster which still stalks us.

Calvin of Hippo said...

I see the Swiss Bishops are now getting into line with the request for abortion on demand, fellatio and sodomy in the park at noon, and shacking up at will. They speak of a "new theological framework" and a "gradual pastoral approach." We should all be thankful that the Church has produced such a strong evangelical witness., pass the KY.

George said...

"Free market capitalism, in contrast, is all about change: the change that comes when massive retail chains undermine family shops, when agri-businesses destroy small farms, when financial consultants “downsize” a corporation and wipe out a community’s economic foundation."

Who in the world or what could have prevented this? I would love to see a downtown Macon which would be more like it was before the opening of the Mall. Could it even handle the increase in traffic though? The odds are it will never be like it once was and if that does happen, it will more than likely not be in our lifetime. There is a move back to locally owned and organically grown produce which is good to see but agribusiness is not going away anytime soon. When it comes to this kind of thing,We need to get our heads out of the clouds of how we would like things to be and deal with reality as it is. Human beings-Catholics, other Christians and those of other faiths-work in these companies and corporations, whether it is agribusiness or something else. A change of heart and attitude coming out of religious belief and faith is what will change things.

"During the pope’s visit, therefore, he is likely to make every American politician squirm. The Democrats have grown accustomed to this in recent decades (some priests have refused prominent liberal Catholics communion over the abortion issue). Now it’s the Republicans’ turn. But in this case, it’s about the roots of our economic system."

Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, the Cuomos and the Kennedys-I've never gotten the impression that they've squirmed very much , if at all, over how much public scandal they presented to others by not abiding with Church teaching on major moral issues.

George said...

By social and philosophical standards prevalent in academia today, this Brian Porter-Szücs may well be conservative, even if only by his own definition of the term. I don't know what to think about Mr Porter-Szücs clarifying and characterizing the the philosophy of the Holy Father. What about those out there who want, expect, and desire Pope Francis to be a liberal? Unless something presents itself to change my opinion, Pope Francis still holds to Church teaching on contraception, abortion, IVF and embryo-killing research, sodomy, and euthanasia. Which means he is against all those things. In fact, the Church teaching on abortion is that there is no exception for even rape and incest. In abiding by Church teaching on these issues, in many quarters of academia today this would make the Holy Father something akin to a retrograde throwback to Medieval times. Seriously, in how many institutions of higher learning (even many Catholic ones) could someone with Pope Francis' views he even hold a teaching position?
I suppose with the proper qualifications such a person would be hired to teach a course Climate change as long as he kept his mouth shut his other beliefs and convictions. Such is the new academic "freedom".

Anonymous 2 said...


I agree with your characterization of the United States as a plutocracy. But the plutocrats spout free market rhetoric to give themselves ideological and political cover (job creators and all that). In this respect at least, Donald Trump’s honesty about buying politicians is refreshing.

Anonymous 2 said...


“Who in the world or what could have prevented this? I would love to see a downtown Macon which would be more like it was before the opening of the Mall.”

I think you have may have answered your own question, at least as far as theory is concerned. In theory, Planning and Zoning restrictions adopted at the local, state, or even national levels could have prevented it, assuming such restrictions could have survived anticipated constitutional challenges. But in practice, of course, you are probably right. In this country it seems that Mammon always wins and “money talks.” But that is the point about sensibilities. We have to stop worshiping Mammon and other false gods and change our hearts and minds.

In this regard, your comment about dealing with reality as it is and focusing efforts on changing hearts and minds raises a very interesting and important point about the limits of the law in enforcing morality and gives me pause. As you know, I have made a similar point about abortion and same sex marriage. Thus I have questioned whether reversing Roe v. Wade would actually reduce the number of abortions (because several states would continue to permit it in the absence of a personhood amendment or re-interpretation of the due process and equal protection clauses in the XIV Amendment, and because a return to back street abortions would seem inevitable for those who could not afford to travel to get an abortion); or whether it is in fact possible to prevent civil recognition of same sex marriages (because the momentum behind this social change in the Western world seems unstoppable).

So, to be consistent, I have to ask myself whether, for example, factory farming could have been prevented through legal regulation or whether its excesses can now be effectively regulated through such regulation, or whether out of town shopping malls or the invasions of local communities by Wal-Mart could have been stopped. And you have to ask yourself whether, to be consistent, your assertion that we need to deal with reality as it is and focus on changing hearts and minds instead of legal regulation applies equally to matters such as abortion and same sex marriage. And, we have to ask ourselves whether these situations can be distinguished from one another in the relevant respects. So, it seems that there is much for both of us to ponder.

And, to add perspective, these questions arise for us who live in the conditions of a modern liberal democracy, which is part of our reality. If we lived in a country ruled by Sharia law or in one of a number of countries in Africa, presumably the answers may be different.


With respect to teaching in institutions of higher education and academic freedom, you do make a good point. In my own experience the way to represent (and to present) such views is through engagement with opposing positions in mutually respectful dialogue. Of course, this is how we should proceed in the larger polity, but the vulgar coarseness fostered by social media makes such dialogue increasingly difficult and the sort of local, face-to-face encounters advocated by JusadBellum and others even more important.

Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for your comment. As my response to George suggests, there is much for all of us to think about.

Jusadbellum said...

I do not "let America" off the hook! I just want to point out that what the American economic system is is NOT "unregulated capitalism"! We haven't lived in 'free market, unregulated capitalism' in our entire lifetimes.

Not one of us is old enough to claim to have lived in a UNited States that wasn't heavily regulated, heavily bureaucratized, heavily involved in Governmental welfare schemes for the bottom 20% and the top 20%. Much of the sprawling Military Industrial Complex is in fact a type of white collar welfare - a jobs program. Much of Housing and Urban Development (a department ALMOST as large as the Defense Department) goes to slum lords, developers, contractors, etc. - section 8 housing enriches the men who own the land, the buildings, and the builders.... while providing incentives for the bottom 20% to remain in the bottom.

What unregulated capitalism is exists only in the black markets. On the top end, the crony-capitalists in the financial world like Jon Corzine literally get away with robbery without repercussion. But it's not a regulation-less world but a regulatory-capture world!

It's not that there are no laws but that the lawmakers and law enforcers will not do their jobs.

So the Pope decries this and the useless Media and useless idiots jump up and down and laugh and clap their hands and thrill "oh joy, the Pope hates Reagonomics!, Oh joy, the Pope loves socialism".

Yeah, if he does then he believes fairy tales because there's no mythical beast as an unregulated market outside of the drug/sex trafficking/abortion industries. Everything else is highly regulated and controlled for the powerful and connected and they are certainly part of the culture of death, the throw away culture, the materialists who love money more than people.

Calvin of Hippo said...

All governments and all economic systems are conceived in sin and within the fallen world. All will fail to some extent and, ultimately, completely. We are called to be discerning in choosing the least evil...

George said...


It will take a change of heart and attitude coming out of religious belief and faith is what will change things in any significant, substantial way. Because the prevalent secular-humanist mindset has taken over the courts, governing bodies, corporations and financial institutions, I don't see for sure that returning abortion and same-sex marriage to the states to decide would have achieved what those of us who oppose these abominations would have desired. Business and industries would been under pressure not to locate in those states that outlawed abortion and same-sex marriage. States (at least some, if not all) would have eventually caved.
I still think it would have been better to let each state decide these things and let it play out that way.

Anonymous 2 said...


You wrote “When [the Pope] says ‘unregulated capitalism’ or unregulated financial markets, he's not and cannot be construed to be talking about right-wing, tea-party, conservative definitions of the same.” I disagree. One should also remember the descriptive (the way things are) with the normative (the way things should be). Surely you are not denying that “right-wing, tea-party conservative elements” want less (or even minimal) regulation. Indeed, any Ayn Randians among them probably want no regulation at all and instead would prefer the pure “free market.”

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. Ooops, I was editing too quickly. I should have said “One should also distinguish between the descriptive (the way things are) and the normative (the way things should be).”

Calvin of Hippo said...

Well, the theory is that a truly free market will self-regulate. But, has there ever been a truly free market anywhere to test this? I don't know the history of economics...was the early US a free market? Has England ever been such? I love the idea of a free market and minimal government, but my suspicion is that greed and sociopathy would screw it up eventually. There are some things, like it or not, that the government HAS to do...

Jusadbellum said...

Anonymous, the right-wing, tea-party conservatives prevalent in the USA are not anarchists. Rule of law is the first condition for a free market because if you couldn't trust contracts or enforce them, you could not take the risk of entering the market except in small circles.

The Pope is writing about the entire world. Almost no country on earth is run by "right-wing" governments. The vast majority of Catholics live under various forms of socialist/centralized bureaucratic regulatory schemes which allows the ruling class to choose who thrives and who is a serf.

The Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs, etc. are not right-wing outfits but they do operate above and beyond the rule of law insofar as when they're caught in breach of the law nothing happens to any individual. At most a small fine is levied which is easy "cost of doing business'. That's outrageous and an abuse and directly affects the overall economy to the detriment of the poor and middle class....

The vast majority of most toxic polluting countries are socialist regimes run by a ruling party - not by right-wingers operating in an unregulated fashion. Indeed, China's Communist Party controls China and despite their draconian control, allows vast amounts of pollutants and poisons because they are materialists and so care more about money than people.

What so many fail to see is that the right-wing is not the caricature that the Left pains us as. We're not the racists...the Left is. We're not the ones systematically condemning people to poverty...the Left is. We're not the ones disarming the poor or minorities. We're not the ones watering down their educational standards. We're not the ones promoting divorce, 'free love', porn, abortion, drug addiction, suicide, modern gladiatorial games etc....the Left is.

We're not the ones equating any disagreement over policy with "hate". No are we the ones who conflate disagreement over policy with murderous hatred for the individual with whom we disagree.

We're not the ones promoting an either/or world view of 'either' totalitarianism or complete anarchy; either running a $1 trillion deficit per year or spending zero in the federal budget.

We don't run the we're not to blame for the ruin the world's in. The Left largely runs the world and it's the lefts fault that the world and humanity are in such dire straits.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Believing that a truly free market will self-regulate is a form of economic Pelagianism. The "market" is people who come with the burden of sin/concupiscence. The love of money being the root of all evil, no truly free market will serve the Common Good, but will tend quickly and decidedly to the benefit of the rich/powerful.

Calvin of Hippo said...

The so-called common good might well be best served by having those wealthy who know how to manage money and create jobs at the top, a middle class with initiative and drive and ambition, and a blue collar class to get jobs done. The poor benefit from all of this and the common good is served.