Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Ever since I have been teaching RCIA for over 37 years, I tell those who want to become Catholic, that conversion is the goal of the RCIA process. Of course this conversion is a grace from God that has to come from the human heart, a change of mind and a new course of action rooted in the Faith and Morals of the Catholic Church.

Thus, I tell would-be Catholics that they cannot belong to any hate groups. Normally in the south, the only hate group that I knew of was the KKK. To be honest with you, I can't say that any Catholic I have known as a priest over the last 37 years actually belonged to the KKK. But I made clear that if someone belonged to the KKK, they could not become Catholic.

I do not know of anyone in my neck of Georgia over the last 61 years that I have lived here who was or is a neo-Nazi. I may have known war brides from Germany who may have been Nazi sympathizers or supported Hitler. But that's another story.

I wonder how many RCIA programs actually warn those in the RCIA that they cannot be a Catholic and belong to a hate group, such as the KKK or neo-Nazis or actual Nazis?

I also tell them, and this is a greater problem, that they cannot belong to the Masons. They have to renounce their membership.

My question to those canonists who know better than I, is a Catholic excommunicated for belonging to the KKK or neo-Nazi groups and for that matter crime syndicates and  violent gangs?

For a list of Catholics excommunicated from the Catholic Church over the past 21 centuries, read Wikipedia's list here.

I also mention that one's political affiliation must be judged for the reasons why they belong to that party or support it. For example, all of us have the internet with its instant access to the good, the bad and the ugly--some of it illegal. The same is true of Cable TV that provides all kinds of pornography for your viewing pleasure as well as extremely violent content. Do we have to cease using the internet and get rid of cable? No, but it is wrong to access the material provided that leads to our sin both mortal and venial and even to criminal prosecution.

The same is true of our political affiliation. If one voted for President Trump because they felt he supported the ideologies of the various hate groups in the news now, this would be a mortal sin, if one knew doing so, voting for a candidate for this reason, is wrong, and with full consent of the will, which usually entails foresight and planning, one votes for a politician because of their perceived endorsement (right or wrong) of hate groups.

 But if one voted for President Trump for economic reasons, his desire to make American great and the whole host of others positive things that were a part of his campaign and agenda, that's a different story. 

The same is true of the Democrat party. If a Catholic is a democrat because of the pro-choice, pro-abortion platform to include abortion on demand as well as partial birth abortion, then being a democrat is an immoral choice and could possibly lead to a private excommunication for supporting abortion or being complicit in abortions.  

But if one is a democrat because many things on their platform are congruent with Catholic teaching as is also the case with the Republican party, then that's a different story.

Finally the odds and ends and pouring gasoline on a flickering flame or raging fire:

I watch both CNN and FOX and often go back and forth to see how each communicates the news. Fox presents its perspective in a lighthearted and often humorous way unlike CNN which is dour and dark. There are no pickled pepper faces on FOX unlike those on CNN, especially Jake Tappper !

It doesn't take a media annalist to figure out that Fox News leans to the right, sometimes the far right and CNN leads to the left and often the far left with its snarky and elitist view of the world.    

With the current controversy and  drama that surrounds our president daily and his presidency, I personally feel that I get more accurate information from Fox even with its right leaning perspective than I do from CNN which seems to want to pour gasoline on flickering flames and fires.

This morning (Wednesday, August 16) as well as yesterday, CNN seems to have become unhinged in its hatred for this president. 

We all know that there are mentally unbalanced people on the far right and far left with serious and pathological anger issues and some quite capable of murder as we saw on Saturday.  

Is it wise for a network news program to seek to promote or wish for the removal of a president with whom their ideology and politics differ in so many significant and insignificant ways? Should they simply state the news and leave it to those in the Legislative and Judicial branches of government to determine when a president should be removed from office?

Is CNN unhinged and going too far and provoking violence from like-minded but pathologically  unhinged leftists against a sitting president which could lead to an assassination, a coup and even lead to civil war? 


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

CNN is not unhinged. The President is.

He blames everyone but himself for his problems.

He blames "fake" news, even when it is obvious to ANY observer that the news is factual.

He blames Mitch McConnell, he blames Brian Krzanich, Kenneth Frazer, Kevin Plank, Richard Trumpka, Scott Paul.

He blames the generals for the death of Ryan Owens in Yemen.

He blames the Constitution - it's a rough, archaic system - for the chaos of his first 100 days.

He blames Obama.

He blamed "terrorists" for an attack in Sweden in February - an attack that NEVER happened.

To paraphrase Fr. Longnecker: He needs to blame someone because he is unhappy. It can't be his fault that he is unhappy, because he is a good, smart, rich person (by his own admission). So it must be someone else's fault.

The Lord challenged Adam's behavior, so Adam blamed Eve. The Lord confronted Eve, so Eve blamed the serpent.

Old story, different characters.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Republicans agree:

"I don't understand what's so hard about this," said Rep. Steve Stivers, chair of the National Republican Campaign Committee, in a statement after the president's press conference. "White supremacists and Neo-Nazis are evil and shouldn't be defended."

“If you are a conservative Republican and you refuse to call Nazism a form of hate and something that should be repudiated, then I am not sure that your standing should be in our party,” Clarence Mingo, a candidate for Ohio state treasurer and the state’s only black delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention, added.

"We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity,” House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted.

"'Very fine people' do not participate in rallies with groups chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans and displaying vile symbols of hate,” tweeted Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash. (This after the President said White Supremacist groups in Charlottesville included some "very fine people.")

Texas GOP Rep. Will Hurd on CNN called on Trump to apologize following the press conference. "Racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism of any form is unacceptable," he said. "The leader of the free world should be unambiguous about that."

Etc etc etc

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

And who agrees with and supports the President?

Mr Trump's remarks were welcomed by David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, who tweeted: "Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa."

Anonymous said...

Well, I can't see why any Nazi or KKK members would join the Church---Nazism in particular places emphasis on total loyalty to the state (Nazism)---extreme nationalism. As for the Klan, they have always been suspicious of Catholics because they were supposedly not 100% Americans because of loyalty to the Vatican. It is not as if Pope Pius 12th and Hitler were on good terms---indeed, Hitler may have had plans to kidnap the pontiff during World War 2.

I agree the coverage has been overkill on the Left. I mean, does anyone really think Donald Trump is racist and anti-Semitic? His daughter and son in law are Jewish---he has lived in Manhattan much of his life which of course is very racially diverse (though certainly not politically diverse---obviously a very liberal place). It was probably a stretch of him to say there were "very good people" mixed in with the Klan and Nazis, but it is not as if the leftist protestors were as pure as the snow...anarchists, probably communists, various socialist groups. Both sides were looking for violence, and they got it. And where indeed does it end when it comes to monuments? Heck, will we have to rename Washington DC? Maybe the bland "Federal City"? Will we have to remove the names of Confederate counties in Georgia like Jeff Davis and Lee? What about other counties in Georgia who may have been named after people who owned slaves? Identity politics---pushed by the Left---is only further dividing this country.

Victor said...

The second incarnation of the KKK was very anti-Catholic, something which spills over in the minds of many Catholics to the current third incarnation, so you will not find too many Catholics involved today.

However, how many klansmen are we talking about in the current incarnation? Out of the entire US population a few thousand? Of course, there are a lot more sympathisers, but they are not members as such. The idea of white supremacy, which is the main idea behind the current incarnation, appeals to a lot of people in the US and elsewhere. Certainly race superiority is involved in this idea, but it many cases also encompasses culture, the superiority of WASP culture, that is.

This raises the question of how this differs from ideas like "The Africans have nothing to teach us", where by "us" is meant, although not explicitly stated, the German people, the very same idea that was behind Martin Luther's so-called Reformation that considered the German nation superior to all others at the time.

There is a very informative and relevant article on this organised hate topic by an ex-white supremacist and convert to Catholicism, Joseph Pearce, in the NCReg, in which he relates this whole mess to the dictatorship of relativism:

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Because we live in precarious, dangerous and divisive times with ideologies, mean-spiritness and the like being bantered about in high and low places to include the presidency, CNN is irresponsible in presenting the news as they do and in a vengeful way to get even with the president who is irresponsible in the way that he goes after his enemies. Does anyone here want the assassination of the president or a coup or civil war given the nature of things today? Do we add gasoline to a dangerous situation as CNN does. Or do we let the legitimate ways the legislative and judicial branches have in these areas and lacking that await the next election?

Hating Trump and wishing for his removal by illicit means it evil.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

How many neo-Nazis are there in this country and KKK members would be a good study. I think a minuscule number in the nearly 300 million who are Americans. And most who are have serious mental and intellectual development issues.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

With the Adam and Eve narrative, there is enough blame, legitimate blame to go all around and that evil tempts, Satan tempts be he in disguise or out in the open. Satan is not a human, but an angelic being and much smarter than Adam and Eve who were mere humans.

Rood Screen said...

As for the picture included with this post, I would argue that racism is not ignorance at all. On the contrary, racists know full-well what they're doing, but choose to exclude and harm other races anyway. They are fully culpable and give full consent.

Anonymous 2 said...

The issues surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments seems to be a very vexed one, and I am quite conflicted about it. Of course, I speak as a privileged white male who is not even originally from this country. This does not mean I am not entitled to have an opinion; it does mean that my opinion is necessarily less informed than the opinion of those (both White and African American) who have inhabited the culture of the South since birth and who have inevitably internalized perceptions and attitudes that I can only partially and inadequately access from the outside through observation and careful listening.

At some level, then, I can understand that Confederate monuments cause real pain and distress to many African Americans, especially given the era when, and the reasons why, they were erected. This said, I have heard some African Americans argue that the monuments should remain as a reminder of the dark past (and present?). I can also understand that for many white Southerners the monuments do not represent what they perhaps originally represented but are genuinely regarded as reminders of a history that is central to their sense of identity and of historical figures who were in many ways honorable men, some of whom indeed entered the conflict with the North with grave misgivings and with their own internal conflict (one thinks here of figures such as General Robert E. Lee, for example).

I am not sure I have any answers. I am reasonably sure that the present path we are on is unsustainable in the long term and could become even uglier than it already is in the short term.

The phrase truth and reconciliation keeps on rattling around in my head. Perhaps part of the answer (if there is one) is to leave Confederate monuments in place but to be more truthful in describing them, including the history behind their erection (do the various accompanying plaques do this?), and also to fully embrace the project of erecting memorials explicitly addressing the dark side of the South’s history, including lynching sites and slave markets.

Part of the answer, too, is for our President to show more sensitivity, empathy, and moral leadership than he has done on this issue so far or than he is wont to do in general. He is right to call out both sides for violent tactics (assuming the facts show that both sides have in fact used such tactics) but he should also be resolute and uncompromising in opposing views such as those of the neo-Nazis and the KKK, etc.

In addition, at some point very soon, somehow we need to find ways to address the pain and the fear that underlies the perceptions and attitudes on both sides. I know of no other way than through respectful dialogue and careful listening to one another, always supported of course by prayer. Can President Trump lead in this direction? I am not sure he can but someone surely needs to.

Thank you for the reference to the Joseph Pearce article, Victor. I met him when he spoke at the Catholic High School here just over a year ago, and need to get back in touch with him. He is an impressive soul. I look forward to reading the article.

Anonymous said...

Is white power any different from black power? Aren't they both wrong?
Is KKK and Black Panthers two sides of the same coin?
Anarchists are anonymous too. They fight and tear up stuff.
There are weirdos on both sides, and everyone has a right to speak, rally, and protest.

"But when you talk about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out."

Violence begets violence

Anonymous said...

"With the Adam and Eve narrative, there is enough blame, legitimate blame to go all around and that evil tempts, Satan tempts be he in disguise or out in the open. Satan is not a human, but an angelic being and much smarter than Adam and Eve who were mere humans."

Um, what?

Adam, then Eve, engaged in scapegoating. The President does the same. This has nothing to do with "there's enough blame to go around" or "the serpent is clever."

TJM said...

The Democratic Party supports intrinsic evil, so it is disgusting that "Catholic" clergy have anything to do with that party.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A-2, as an immigrant and the son of two immigrants, my father Canadian but well versed in American history, but mother Italian and not really aware of southern or American history until she studied to become an American citizen in 1958, my father was very anti-south, made fun of his children if we spoke with a southern accent or colloquialisms and other such things, like racism, segregation and the like.

However, I was reared in the south and taught American history by southerners with a bias. So I am conflicted on those confederates generals who served what they thought was their new nation. I am especially conflicted, though, about the removal of monuments to the confederate dead, must conscripted into service and died in serving.

Fox news had a number of commentaries this morning which has helped me to see the difference between George Washington/Thomas Jefferson who both were slave owners--it was the law of the land and they weren't fighting over it at that time as far as I am aware. But the reason for the Civil War is that Lincoln outlawed slavery and the southerners then made it a political issue to the death. They lost the war.

Of course I have always been fascinated by the fact that the union said the southern states could not secede. But after the war, all the former Confederate states had to meet certain federal benchmarks to return to the union. So even after the Civil War was won by the Union, the Confederate states were still a separate entity of a while until they were legally reintegrated.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't widely pointed out that among the Leftists at the Charlottesville rally were anarchists, Black Lives Matter, socialists. Not exactly a mainstream crowd. Doubtless many of the opponents of the David Duke crowd were not far-left, but you know the old line of "guilt by association"...

If cities and towns want to remove such monuments, that is their business, but try to do so in a respectful manner, not the "in your face" type like in Durham, NC where protestors ripped down a Confederate statue. Isn't that criminal damage to property? Probably the same people who view the local Planned Parenthood clinic as a shrine.

rcg said...

Attackng the statues as symbols is preparation to attack the people identified with them. Justifying it is legitimizing attacks on an idea that is represented in stone or metal. If that idea is represented in a sticker, flag, or flesh and blood is justified now, as well. The hystronics of some of the people posting responses here shows how trained these responses have become.

Anonymous said...

"So I am conflicted on those confederates generals who served what they thought was their new nation."

Key West has declared itself to be the independent Conch Republic on April 23, 1982. Are you conflicted about that "new nation" too?

Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, was a registered member of the Alaska Independence Party. Conflicted some more?

A2 says, "Part of the answer, too, is for our President to show more sensitivity, empathy, and moral leadership than he has done on this issue so far or than he is wont to do in general."

MORE? If he were to put a dying cockroach out of its misery by stepping on it he would be showing more sensitivity than he has shown. As for "moral leadership," are you kidding? Really, are you kidding?

TJM said...

The mess in Charlottesville was orchestrated by the looney left. Dem officials did NOTHING to protect its citizens even ordering the police to stand down. This was a political set up, likely financed by evil genius, George Soros, the Dem Party's largest benefactor.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

And A @ 2:33 PM, what if the south had won????? They had superior generals but no resources and Lee was a far better general than Grant, both of whom were friends.

We aren't talking about Key West, Texas or Alaska, we are talking about a point in American history where the south pushed to secede from the union and did so and would have been successful if they had won. I suspect if the south had won, it would be a third world country today if it had maintained the institution of slavery and based its economy on that!

I wonder if you agree with Pope Francis about "who am I to judge?" It is hard to tell in a written comment, but you seem somewhat unhinged.

Anonymous said...

Father, Lincoln went to war with the South---at least initially---to preserve the Union, not to eliminate slavery. To be sure, the practice was repugnant and I agree with you, South would have been left with a third world economy. Of course historians debate whether the Union would have been formed if there had been any constitutional language forbidding secession. Heck, even today, you hear stories about California wanting to go its own way, as out of control liberals clash with the Trump Administration. There are probably parts of Georgia which would like the Atlanta area to be its own state because of liberal views in the region (which backed Clinton for president while Georgia outside of there went strongly for Trump). In Virginia, there is resentment toward Northern Virginia, which is tilting the state ever more in a liberal direction.

Daniel said...

I have not heard any Southern Heritage lovers discuss this:
How do you feel about your Confederate flag flying side by side with the Nazi flags in Charlottesville?
Shame? Pride? Anger?
Or nothing at all?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Most southerners experience the creeps when the Confrderste battle flag is flown. We associate it with the red neck culture.

TJM said...

Father McDonald, I associate the Confederate battle flag with Robert E. Lee, first in his class at West Point. Political correctness run amuk is what helped elect President Trump over the craven, venal, abortion loving Hillary Clintoon. Do you get the creeps when you see the Hohenzollern or Czarist flag? I just see history, nothing more.

Jerry B. said...

Those "out of control liberals" in California enjoy the 6th largest economy in the world.

Somebody send some of these liberals to Washington to straighten economic things out, please!

TJM said...

Jerry B,

Kalifornia has one-third of ALL of the nation's welfare recipients and is shedding taxpayers and businesses in record numbers. They also are shedding young people. Thanks for the laughs

Rood Screen said...

First of all, "rednecks" are simply working-class Southerners who are routinely maligned by nearly everyone, despite the fact that they are no more (nor less) racist than other White Americans.

Secondly, the American Revolution was fought primarily to prevent the British from imposing a ban on slavery, either by a judicial ruling from the House of Lords or by alegislative act of parliament.

Anonymous said...

The confederate flag associated with the nazi flag makes me sick. I don't have a confederate flag but did as a kid. I likes it. It just looks cool, like a Jolly Roger. A rock and roll rebel not a racist. Rednecks who adore it and put on their cars, well that's up to them.
It can be a symbol also for a region. The southeast. People from the South love the South. European regions have their historical flags too, like Brittany, Sienna, they are innumerable. They, I am sure, have no spotless record.
The Confederate statues are a memorial to past residents of these town who served in a failed revolt. Doesn't every town have a memorial to lost soldiers?
Most southerners did not own slaves. They were defending their home from the Federal intruders that they did not want. The sad part is Slavery would have probably ended on its own 15-20 years after the war started. Technology would have been too improved for slaves to be necessary. Plus the world had changed and slavery was negative. If it had just faded away America might have been different.
What would have happened if the South had won? I think slavery would have ended in 20 years or so. The South would have been identical to the US. Atlanta would be the New York, Richmond the DC, New Orleans the Boston, Miami the Hollywood.


Anonymous said...

"The Confederate statues are a memorial to past residents of these town who served in a failed revolt."

They are often much more than simple memorials.

When the Statue of Lee was dedicated in 1924, at the height of the power of the KKK, one of the two speakers praised Lee as "the idol of every Southern heart - aye, of every human heart, North and South, East and West." The speaker hailed the Confederate flag as "that starry flag of the world's heart and hope, that shall yet float in universal triumph over land and sea."

A second speaker called Lee, "an ideal of a whole land" who "symbolized the future."

The speakers were the presidents of Washington and Lee University and the University of Virginia.

The statue builders wanted the dominant white power structure to endure.

Anonymous said...

This is not just about the Confederacy, this is dismantling America's history piece by piece. When will it end? It's the Reign of Terror for American History. The black left, Rev. Al Sharpton and his crowd, want to get rid of Thomas Jefferson, because of being a slave owner. Thomas Jefferson! The man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, celebrated as the most enlightened man of his time.
Here Rev. Al wants to end the support for the Jefferson Memorial at the 15 minute mark <<< >>>
I personally think Al is hurting his cause but could he succeed? It just shows it's not about the Confederacy, but this cultural revolution where there is no end.
Al Sharpton seems to think American blacks are the only slaves in history.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

While it is quite possible that many Confederate monuments where commissioned and installed with institutionalized racist sentiments. God can convert even these sentiments into something else.

As for the Confederate dead and monuments built to honor them after the war, I see no reason to remove these. But if it was erected in the 1920's or the 1960's that is a different case.

Many of these monuments, despite the reason why they were erected, were commissioned works of public art for the public to view. Certainly that is the case with the Confederate Monument in Forsythe Park in Savannah, a tourist destination other monuments throughout the south, like in New Orleans.

The destruction of someone's work of art, and much of it is art, is a scandal too.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Won't it be wonderful in say 50 or 60 years from now for those who come after us to see some of the so-called news reports out of CNN and FOX and other news outlets of these times, and have them judge us accordingly?

I'm ashamed already.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

"The destruction of someone's work of art, and much of it is art, is a scandal too."

Yet you would not hesitate to lead the charge for destroying Andres Serrano's infamous work.

And THAT brings us to the question of what is art.

Some art is priestly - it elevates us, it soothes us, it draws us in by it's beauty and masterful execution. (Henri Matisse said, "What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter, an art which could be for every mental worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters, for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.")

Some art is prophetic - it sticks its finger in our eye, it thumbs its nose at us, it makes us squirm. (Georges Braque said, "Art is meant to disturb. Science reassures.")