Saturday, July 21, 2018


The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops was at its peak of being the "toast of the town" for progressives in the Church and liberals in American politics in the 1980's. As a conference, the USCCB was its most powerful self.


Because it wasn't dealing exclusively with areas in the competence of bishops, but with politics. They were issuing documents on war and peace, on nuclear disarmament and a number of other hot button liberal/progressive issues. These issues have many gray areas and aren't just black and white issues although the USCCB presented them as such as they did also with church architecture in the 1980's.

I was much more liberal following my ordination in 1980 than I am now. And I swallowed the USCCB's documents hook, line and sinker and presented these documents in adult religious education classes in my first parish in Albany, GA.  I soon learned that most in my classes (sometimes up to 40 and 50 adult parishioners) were not on board with our bishops' liberal politics and take on what the government and military should do.

I soon discovered that "bread and butter" Catholics in the know, meaning they were in the military, i.e. Marines and the like, took great exception to what our bishops were teaching.

But worse, while the USCCB was dabbling in liberal politics and becoming the "toast of the town" and proclaiming the Catholic moment, they were covering up grave moral issues in their ranks and the priesthood in general. And by the late 1990's and certainly by 2002, they were no longer the "toast of the town, but toast."

The same thing is happening under Pope Francis. Liberals/progressives, be they Catholics or those who love politics tout Pope Francis as the "toast of the town" because of his shift from the so-called "self-referential" Church to the Church that looks out and embraces with mercy those who are excluded be it because of poverty, sexual orientation or whatever the hot-button issue of the day is.

And when it comes to Global Warming, certainly the papal magisterium is competent to tell secular society what needs to be done to stop it. It is like telling God how to stop the "ice age!"

I love ecology, not because I am a Catholic, although I like it when the Church encourages ecologists to do their job, but not tell them what to do, but because I think we should take care of the earth, not litter or pollute and the rest of it. Atheism would promote such a thing and good for them.

But under Pope Francis we are seeing what happens when what is competent to the pope or the bishops isn't addressed properly or in a timely fashion. But things that they have no competence or mandate is reaised to dogma.  In the early 2000's it was the priestly sexual scandals long swept under the carpet by bishops.  Then it morphed into the bishops' cover-up and that the bishops as well as offending priests should be prosecuted.

Today, we see the Vatican embroiled in all of this with bishops who have abused minors and adult men under their charge  in a homosexual way and it being covered up and bishops named cardinals who should never have been named given what was known about their history: i.e. Cardinal McCarrick.

Cardinal McCarrick seems to be the tipping point leading Pope Franics who has completely and inadequately dealt with the "gay" problem in the Church (like in Chile) having his "coming to Jesus moment" when Cardinal O'Malley publicly corrected His Holiness. Is flippant statement "who am I to judge" has come back to bite him hard.

Isn't it time for the pope to move away from 1970's thinking and Catholic moments and being more concerned about the "hen house" and not letting the wolves and foxes take it over and less concerned about things not in His Holiness' mandate?

Isn't it time for Pope Benedict's renewal in continuity with the best of the pre-Vatican II Church having been tossed out of the Church in the drunken euphoria of the "spirit of Vatican II"?  Yes, there was some bath water in the pre-Vatican II Church but nothing like the swamp in the post-VAtican II Church.

Seeking to be the toast of the town with the secular world and progressive politics always leads the Church to becoming "toast!"


TJM said...

the USCCB is often termed, the "Democratic Party" at prayer. I view that as a horror becauase it really speaks as to how deep the intellectual and spiritual rot is within the heirarchy. The institutional Church in this country is in a slow motion meltdown. In 10 years, we will probably be like Europe with 5-10% of Catholics attending Sunday Mass. The new Spring Time!!!!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Not that I know of, but how funny or ironic it would be if he and I were one and the same! Not! But I am still on vacation. 😎🤡😇

Robert Kumpel said...

I can still remember reading the account of the Pope telling reporters, "Who am I to judge." Anyone with th e IQ of an artichoke knew that the "liberal/progressive" Catholics would ingest that as dogma.

I also remember thinking, "Well, you're the pope. If you can't judge, then who are we left with?"

Dan said...

Don't tell me you're expecting the Francis to speak of things that popes and Catholics spoke of in the olden days of a couple of years ago?

He's way too enlightened for such topics that only rigid neo-pelagians would care about.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. McDonald says, "Because it (the Bishops' Conference) wasn't dealing exclusively with areas in the competence of bishops, but with politics. They were issuing documents on war and peace, on nuclear disarmament and a number of other hot button liberal/progressive issues."

This is not accurate.

The Conference was dealing with the morality of war and peace, of nuclear disarmament, of national and international economies, etc.

Morality is most certainly an area in which the bishops have competence. As you maintain that they are NOT competent in matters of morality, I would love to hear your explanation of that position.

If, in your liberal days, you were teaching politics, then you were misunderstanding the content of the Bishops' letters. If your "bread and butter" audience was not happy with what you were saying, it was probably because you were misrepresenting the bishops.

It is also not accurate, and more than a little misleading, to term them "liberal/progressive" issues. They are issues for all of us, regardless of our political or ideological leanings

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

In "Economic Justice for All" the USCCB wrote, "Economic life raises important social and moral questions for each of us and for society as a whole." #4

Also, "In our letter, we write as pastors, not public officials. We speak as moral teachers, not economic technicians. We seek not to make some political or ideological point but to lift up the human and ethical dimensions of economic life, aspects too often neglected in public discussion." #7

In "The Challenge of Peace" the USCCB wrote, "As Catholic bishops we write this letter as an exercise of our teaching ministry. The Catholic tradition on war and peace is a long and complex one; it stretches from the Sermon on the Mount to the statements of Pope John Paul II. We wish to explore and explain the resources of the moral-religious teaching and to apply it to specific questions of our day." (Prelude)

Also, "We speak as pastors, not politicians. We are teachers, not technicians. We cannot avoid our responsibility to lift up the moral dimensions of the choices before our world and nation. The nuclear age is an era of moral as well as physical danger." (Prelude)

Also, "Catholic teaching on peace and war has had two purposes: to help Catholics form their consciences and to contribute to the public policy debate about the morality of war."

The bishops are doing precisely what they are most certainly competent to do.

Robert Kumpel said...

BTW, Father, nothing personal, but the photo of the celebrity bimbo wearing a miter is probably the most offensive and disgusting photo you've ever posted. I get your point, but that's awfully punishing to your readers.

Anonymous said...

You refer to the woman is the photograph as a "bimbo."

And you have the temerity to refer to a photograph as "offensive and disgusting."

If you don't want to see something offensive and disgusting, don't look in the mirror.

John Nolan said...

Poor old Anonymous. He gets so upset that someone should use the vernacular term 'bimbo' that he thinks it is 'offensive and disgusting'. He really needs to get a life (whoever he is).

In the interest of restoring some sanity and balance into the discussion, I would like to make some salient points. In 2006 the English and Welsh bishops issued a joint statement calling for unilateral nuclear disarmament although both major political parties were opposed to it - their Lordships were in effect aligning themselves with the extreme Left.

Ten years later, they referenced back to that statement, and although they appeared to take a more multilateral stance, they were still opposed to the renewal of the deterrent, which would amount to unilateral disarmament. Parliament decided otherwise, and by a large majority approved the modernization plan, which involves the building of four new SSBNs to replace the existing 'Vanguard' class.

The UK, along with France and the US, had already responded to the ending of the Cold War by scaling back its nuclear resources. Although, as the only superpower, the US maintains a nuclear 'triad', for second-rank powers such as Britain and France the possession of a secure second-strike capability with a sub-strategic option makes sense.

In fact, when it comes to SLBMs, Britain and France, with four boats each, compare well to the US with fourteen (Ohio class). Both European countries could wipe out North Korea without leaving the English Channel.

Pope Francis has recently said that the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral. I beg to differ. Nor do I believe that nuclear deterrence is immoral, whatever the bishops might say.

The problem with church leaders moving beyond their competence and getting involved in politics (whether it be nuclear strategy or climate change) is that one is less inclined to give credence to whatever they say. I would not expect RUSI or Chatham House to pronounce on theology or Canon Law; at the same time I doubt the competence of CBCEW or USCCB to pontificate on strategic or environmental matters.

Robert Kumpel said...

I looked up the term "bimbo" on an online dictionary and it read:

"An attractive but empty-headed young woman, especially one perceived as a willing sex object."

Another said that the term originally applied to "dumb blondes" (think Carol Wayne).

To me, the term always meant women who rely on flaunting their sexuality to get what they want."

So let's look at the photo: Some celebrity (I don't keep up with all the current silliness, maybe you know who she is) who is most likely and actress or singer or model. She is immodestly dressed. She's wearing tons of makeup. She has a vacant expression on her face. She is showing an almost blasphemous disrespect for my religion by augmenting her slutty attire with a bishop's miter.

Yeah, Bimbo.

If you actually know who I am, you're right. I'm not much to look at. But that's kind of the point. Bimbos are people who reduce everything to what they look like.

Anonymous said...

Immodestly dressed? What would you want her to be wearing? An ankle length black dress with no indication of her large breasts visible? Maybe a black turtle neck, loose fitting of course, so that her neck is not out there to tempt you? Something with long sleeves that show nothing of her muscular yet supple arms? Would you want it topped with a black veil or at least a large, flowing mantilla, since, as scripture says, it is shameful for women to flaunt their crown and glory?

Oh, wait, I think I seen pictures of women dressed like that... Where was it....?

Oh, yes, a number of Muslims nations require women, on pain of beating or worse, to dress "modestly."

As for the headgear, it was a fancy dress, or costume, event. You can relax. Or were you showing almost blasphemous disrespect for Roy Rogers when you dressed up as a cowboy for Halloween...

You note that "your" religion is being slighted by the miter she is wearing. Are you, then, Anglican or Episcopalian or Lutheran?

Robert Kumpel said...

Good fashions, be they for men or for women, draw attention to our face, not our bodies. If you take a look at a photo of celebrities attending, say, an Academy Awards luncheon in the 1940's that is pretty much what you will see.

A woman's body is sacred. It is where human life gestates and enters the world. It is not meant to be used to tantalize men. Given how this trashy celeb dresses, it is not hard to see where we are, morally, as a society, a society rife with venereal diseases, unwed motherhood run rampant and absolute shamelessness. Women have tremendous power--the power to set the moral standards of society. What they will tolerate ends up becoming the moral norms for a society and, sadly, too many of today's women's are willing to allow men to ogle them and use them for gratification, be it physically or just with their eyes. We have cheapened the status of women and the status of the family by permitting everything and women let it happen...ironically at the same time demanding to be respected as something other than sex objects.

Our Lady of Fatima warned that fashions would be introduced that would be offensive to Her Son. St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop and saint, said this:

"...Now, observe, my daughter, the contrast between the luxurious dress of many women, and the raiment and adornments of Jesus... Tell me: what relation do their fine shoes bear to the spikes in Jesus' Feet? The rings on their hands to the nails which perforated His? The fashionable coiffure to the Crown of Thorns? The painted face to That covered with bruises? Shoulders exposed by the low-cut gown to His, all striped with Blood? Ah, but there is a marked likeness between these worldly women and the Jews who, incited by the Devil, scourged Our Lord! At the hour of such a women's death, I think Jesus will be heard saying: 'Cujus est imago haec... of whom is she the image?' And the reply will be: 'Demonii... of the Devil!' Then He will say: 'Let her who has followed the Devil's fashions be handed over to him; and to God, those who have imitated the modesty of Jesus and Mary'."

If all of this is beyond your grasp, or you just find it something amusing to mock, perhaps you haven't noticed that this is a Catholic blog, the majority of whose readers are traditionally-minded.

Anonymous 2 said...

One further thought on the general topic:

Accepting the premise that many (all?) “political” issues implicate questions of morality (does anyone here seriously dispute this?), and consistent with Father Kavanaugh’s comment at 6:41 p.m. on July 21 and the extracts from various documents he cites, what is the alternative to the Bishops providing such moral guidance? Silence? And if silence, where are Catholics supposed to look for moral guidance? Party political platforms? Secular moral systems? Their own unguided consciences?

It is worth quoting how the Bishops continue the first passage from “The Challenge of Peace” cited by Father Kavanaugh in his comment:

“We wish to explore and explain the resources of the moral-religious teaching and to apply it to specific questions of our day. In doing this we realize, and we want readers of this letter to recognize, that not all statements in this letter have the same moral authority. At times we state universally binding moral principles found in the teachings of the Church; at other times the pastoral letter makes specific applications, observations and recommendations which allow for diversity of opinion on the part of those who assess the factual data of situations differently. However, we expect Catholics to give our moral judgments serious consideration when they are forming their own views on specific problems.”

A personal confession may serve to illuminate: Years ago when I first learned of the USCCB positions on immigration, I was somewhat shocked and dismayed because they challenged the views I then held about “illegal immigration.” Indeed, I complained sometimes about the “liberal” views of these Bishops, asserting that they were simply wrong. As I have become older and have learned more about aspects of immigration law and policy I used not to know that much about, my views have become much more nuanced, and the positions of the USCCB on immigration have played an important role in convicting me of my former ignorance and hardness of heart.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5:01, Probably Kavanaugh, but libs are all alike. The outfit is obviously parodying the Catholic Church. There is even a cross on the mitre. If you were merely in denial, I would just shake my head and say, "poor soul." But, you deliberately defend stuff like this because you are angry at your faith, or lack thereof, and actually believe the Church should be as relativistic as the rest of the culture. If she were wrapped in a Confederate flag, would you defend that as well?

rcg said...

Anonymous brings up a good point: when people anywhere in the world see someone in a habit, collar, or mitre what religion do they think is being portrayed? I have passed the point where I am surprised or effectivly offended by this sort of thing from these sorts of people. I hope I never get past being angry that this was abetted by our clerical leaders using treasures of our Church.

As far as the nuke issue goes: I have been “in the business” for a while and want to let all here know that the people who tend ‘special weapons’ of all kinds are fully aware of the power they posess and are loathe to use it while being absolutely committed to using it if called for. This is the same deterrent, we hope, that one feels when presented with any self restraint by a very powerful person. What I have often yearned for is commentary from Church leaders that did not address the specifics of the technology they do not comprehend, but the struggle to be worthy of the promises of Christ while guarding the door with a sword.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Bravo. I have another point to make. Because the hierarchy has failed so miserably in its spiritual mission since Vatican Disaster II, they are engaging in a typical political tactic by creating a "moral" smokescreen to distract from their own manifold failures. We can't convert people, we can't get people to go to the "new and improved" Mass, so let's virtue signal! I wouldn't give you tuppence for this miserable lot of losers.

Anonymous said...

"Good fashions, be they for men or for women, draw attention to our face, not our bodies."

Where do you get this idea? The tapered shirt a man may wear is meant to accentuate his torso. A bustier enhances a woman's breasts and cleavage. The bustle wasn't meant to draw attention to the face, nor were silk stockings.

"Women have tremendous power--the power to set the moral standards of society."

Again, where do you get this idea. Men are just as responsible as women for setting moral standards in our society. If, as you seem to be doing, placing that responsibility on women, men get a pass. If women set the standards, and those standards are set low by such as the woman you call a "bimbo" and "trashy," then women are to blame when the standards fall.

This is pure scapegoating and is traceable to the very first man. “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.”

As to the morality of maintaining a nuclear deterrence, moral theologian Germaine Grisez asserts rightly that it is always morally wrong to intend, even reluctantly and conditionally, to kill the innocent. The intention to use nuclear weapons necessarily includes the intention to kill the innocent due to the nature/effect of the weapons. (See "Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism" by John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, Jr., and Germain Grisez)

Православный физик said...

The DNC at Prayer TM (aka the USCCB has lost all credibility, and it's not just the embracing of left leaning politics that has placed them in this position.(Though it certainly hasn't helped)

It's the near dogma status of matters of prudential judgement, in combination with negligence of duty that gotten the Bishops' into this position.

The problem with the Bishops' coming out with statements on "policy x" or "issue y" isn't necessarily the statement in of itself. It's the elevation to practical dogma of their position.

I can't really speak to matters during the 80's (I was born in 85') But I can speak to matters of the 90's and present day. When the USCCB came out in support of Obamacare (before they found out Abortion was in it), the problem is there are multiple means to create a system of insurance so that people can be covered. The government isn't the only means by which to make this happen. As such, one got received (to some degree still are) as being in opposition to your bishop, when in reality there's a disagreement on the means by which one seeks to accomplish an end. The same on immigration policy. The bishops' see their numbers dwindling, and somehow think by supporting illegal immigration that the numbers will go up. Those of us that wish to see our laws enforced are described as xenophobic, or hating immigrants, when quite frankly, the opposite is true. We simply wish for people to come through the front rather than the back. Both parties have has the opportunity to re-write immigration laws as they see fit via the house and approved by senate, but none have taken the opportunity to do so, forcing the president to usurp a role that belongs to congress. As far as I'm concerned as long as Mexico still has their homogeneous law on the books when it comes to immigration, no one has a right to call our relatively lax rules for immigration here unjust.

The church of Rome is a laughing stock right now....and while the church of Rome need not rely on image consultants, it does need to be true to itself...and cut the 70's thinking off at the head.

Anonymous 2 said...


Can you please provide support for your assertion that “the USCCB came out in support of Obamacare (before they found out Abortion was in it)”? I ask because your assertion does not seem to jibe with the following USCCB documents:

Also, can you please justify your cynical assertion that “[t]he bishops' see their numbers dwindling, and somehow think by supporting illegal immigration that the numbers will go up,” and your implied assertions that people who come through the back actually have a way to come through the front and that our immigration laws should be based on mirror like reciprocity with each country of origin.

Robert Kumpel said...

Well, what you call "scapegoating" Anonymous, CAN be traced to original sin, since it certainly weakened the moral compass of our race. As far as your query of where I got the idea that women could set the standard--it all began in Catholic school, especially listening to some of the sisters talking to the girls. Too bad more of the girls didn't listen.

Another well-known advocate of this idea was no less than Bishop Sheen. In fact, he wrote:

"To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

The fashion examples you give certainly do emphasize other parts of the body. However, you seem to forget that I wrote "GOOD fashions draw attention to our face. However, if you wish to glorify your body, you should probably stop responding to my posts and get to the gym. You're never going to agree with me anyway.

Robert Kumpel said...

I forgot to mention one more important point: Generally speaking, with a few exceptions, men are the ones who pursue women. Women have the power to say "no". Too many women for the last couple of generations have just shrugged their shoulders and said, "Well, I guess so, if that's what you want." And look what we've got.

Anonymous said...

The scapegoating was Adam blaming Eve, the woman. (She continued the sad pattern, blaming the serpent. I wonder how salvation history might have been changed if Adam, instead of looking for someone to blame, said to the Lord, "Yes, I am guilty of sinning and beg for your mercy.")

That's what Adam did, with no success, and that's what you try to do today.

Sheen's comment could easily and properly be written, "When a woman loves a man, she has to become worthy of him. The higher his virtue, the more noble his character, the more devoted he is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a woman has to aspire to be worthy of him."

It is meant to work both ways. Marriage is a mutuality. Each spouse is to act in ways that lead the other to greater holiness. And together they are to lead their families to greater holiness.

Regarding the USCCB and the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), the USCCB has been urging reform to Health Care for decades.

TJM said...

When the Catholic bishops pay market wages and benefits, they can lecture the rest of us. LOL

Anonymous said...

"Market wages and benefits" - what/who determines this?

The "market" sees wages as merely an exchange of time and ability for wages. The "market" might say that paying the minimum wage for an unskilled worker is fair, while the Church might see it very differently. The "market" allows an employer to pay a wage that leaves the employee below subsistence level. This is immoral according to the Church's teaching.

The Church actually has a teaching - doctrinal, you know - on the purpose of a worker's wage. It is NOT to match what others get, it is NOT determined by the "market," however you may define that. It is not determined by what a worker WANTS.

The Church teaches that a JUST wage is required.

"CCC 2434 A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice. In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. "Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good." Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages."

What is "just," according to the Church's teaching, is determined by the needs (not "wants") of the employee. A person with no dependents is going to need less than a worker with 5 children. The latter, in justice, should receive the higher wage, all other things being equal.

The "contribution" of each worker must be taken into account. A widget factory makes zero widgets without workers on the assembly line. Are the contributions of the workers essential? Yes.

rcg said...

Anon 2, I don’t get to talk to many bishops but I do get to talk to the people they send to the parishes to train the laity. They have been openly supporting illegal immigration and have been telling us to prepare for the societal change from English speaking to Spanish speaking dominance for at least two decades. These statements came during training sessions to prepare the parishes for the influx of illegal immegrants they were helping enter the country and hide. I will give the bishops a pass for plausible deniability as these were done under the auspices of offices within the diocese that the bishop of which the bishop may not have been fully aware. These were the same priests that said it was ok for someone to be wiccan but he preferred to be Christian and featured homosexuals as Christ in their passion plays and together knvacations to ‘energy spots’ in Arizona to link with the Universe.

My problem with all of this is that these priests and nuns were fiercly dedicated to social and political positions justified through their religious beliefs but were very flexible in the one position they should most firm on, which was that ver religious belief.

By the way, I am all for nuclear disarmament once we get these directed energy systems where they need to be. 😉

Robert Kumpel said...

I was sharing an opinion about the power of women to elevate or denigrate society. If you wish to attempt to read my mind as to what I am "trying to do"...well, good luck.

I agree with everything you said on marriage.

TJM said...


So when are the bishops going to pay a "just wage?" Or is a "just wage" just like paying your "fair share?" Whatever some liberal loon says it is. In the real world there are market surveys (links, data, studies) which could provide our dear bishops with guidance on these matters, if they're truly interested in paying them rather than virtue signalling (Do as I say, not as I do). Wake me up when the bishops pay according to those studies.

Anonymous said...

You say, "Women have tremendous power--the power to set the moral standards of society."

Do you think that men and women share equally in setting the moral standards of society?

You refer to a woman who you do not know, who is attending, obviously, a costume event, as a "bimbo" and as "trashy."

Do you think that her "bimbosity" and "trashiness" cause men to sin?

Don't men have access to the grace that can turn them from sin?

You say "Women have the power to say no." But that "Too many women for the last couple of generations have just shrugged their shoulders and said, "Well, I guess so, if that's what you want." And look what we've got." And, as a result of women not saying "No" we have, in your words, "... we are, morally, as a society, a society rife with venereal diseases, unwed motherhood run rampant and absolute shamelessness."

So, if women have all this power and responsibility to set moral standards, and if moral standards have been declining, as I agree they have, and if it is bimbos and trashy women who are causing this decline - aren't you scapegoating women, putting the blame on them? That's what it appears to me you are trying to do...

Robert Kumpel said...

Men and women CERTAINLY share the power to set the moral standards of society. However, women have overlooked their tremendous power to say "no". 50 years ago, no decent woman would ever stand for the behavior men inflict upon women today, likewise, no decent parent would allow their sons to behave the way they do today either.

I refer to a woman I do not know personally as a bimbo because of how she publicly presents herself. In fact, it's depressing to see what has happened to popular music, thanks to MTV, and to movies, thanks to our 3 second attention span. The music doesn't even matter any more--it's all just about image. The story doesn't matter any more, it's all about special effects.

Yes, I DO think the bimbosity and trashiness of some women LEAD some men to sin, and I likewise think that the bad behavior and attitudes of men lead women to act like sex objects instead of ladies. If anything, I have expressed my disappointment with where women have gone because of the power they have pretty much abandoned. What you neglect to realize is that such power was necessary because MEN are such dogs when left unchecked!

Please do not attempt to read my mind. Most of us fail when we try. You are no exception.

John Nolan said...

To write 'If a woman loves a man, she has to become worthy of him &c.' would be to invite the wrath of outraged womankind. How irredeemably sexist!

What Sheen wrote is not equivalent, since few men would be offended by it, and many would endorse it, including Goethe, who famously wrote 'Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan.'

Regarding nuclear deterrence, I would agree with Finnis et al. that an intention to kill the innocent is morally unacceptable. But deterrence is less about intention than it is about how a potential aggressor perceives your intention. If you have no intention of using nuclear weapons in any circumstances, deterrence still works, since your adversary cannot be sure that the intention is lacking. Indeed, he may ask in all logic what is the point in your incurring the expense of maintaining a nuclear arsenal if there are no circumstances under which you would use it.

Anonymous said...

"However, women have overlooked their tremendous power to say "no"."

Have men "overlooked" their power to say "I won't."?

"50 years ago, no decent woman would ever stand for the behavior men inflict upon women today,..."

50 years ago no decent man would ever have initiated such behavior.

"Yes, I DO think the bimbosity and trashiness of some women LEAD some men to sin,...

A woman is dressed in an attractive way. She is raped by a stranger on her way home.
Is SHE to blame because her attractiveness LED this man to rape her?

"What you neglect to realize is that such power was necessary because MEN are such dogs when left unchecked!"

I don't know what kind of men you were raised by or with, or what kind of men you associate with now, but none of the men I know are "dogs." I, a man, do not rely on anyone else to keep me "in check." Men have just as much control over their libido as women. To hear someone say that women are to blame for the behavior of "unchecked dogs" is staggeringly mind-blowing.

I'm not reading your mind - I am reading what you post. And it is chilling.

Anonymous said...

The intention to target civilian population centers in the US Nuclear Protocol is stated.

Among the US targets:
Target Estimated Fatalities
Volokolamsk, Russia 4,520
Aktobe, Kazakhstan 8,090
Naryan, Russia 12,110
Novozybkovsky Russia 22,940
Moskva, Russia 1,179,270

rcg said...

Anonymous 12:27. Those targets are selected for the military facilities embedded in them. The effort to reach and destroy a target as deep and well defended as Moscow is monumental and it would be a waste of resources to strike a location that would not cause a decrease in the ability of Russia, e.g., to continue their campaign.

Robert Kumpel said...


You are also attempting to put words in my mouth.

Some of the holiest priests I've ever known have told me that they dare not open themselves up to certain temptations, like being alone with a woman, as they would not trust themselves. And I did not say that ALL men are dogs, but too many are.

I congratulate you on being holier and better than the rest of us. What is more chilling to me is playing fast and loose with morality and risking Hell.

Anonymous said...

Using nuclear weapons against these targets intends the death of civilians. It is not a "secondary effect." It is not "Double Effect." It is intentional.

Intending to kill the innocent - whether in abortion or in war - is always a grave sin. One may never choose to sin gravely, making the excuse, "Oh, well, we had to do it to decrease the ability of our enemy to continue its campaign."

John Nolan said...

Also the most recently declassified target list was drawn up by SAC in 1956, before ICBMs had been developed and when the US had an overwhelming superiority in strategic airpower. I have been unable to find a 'US Nuclear Protocol' with an updated target list.

I would also like to know how the 'target estimated fatalities' were arrived at. In the case of Volokolamsk it amounts to 19% of the population; in the case of Aktobe a mere 2%. Naryan (situated north of the Arctic Circle) has a fatality rate of 56%, yet Moscow, a key counterforce and countervalue target, loses marginally less than a tenth. (It has a Soviet-built ABM defensive system which was installed before the 1972 treaty and is now reckoned to be ineffective, and although the Soviets claimed 40 years ago that they had contingency plans to evacuate the city, Western analysts were sceptical).

Finally, there is the estimate of 22,940 fatalities in Novozybkovsky. It is a rural district with a population (2010 census) of 12,415. The town of Novozybkovsk is separate. Its population is only 40,553 and it is of no strategic significance. In 1986 it was badly contaminated by fallout from the Chernobyl disaster and within 1km of the town limits there are areas still declared unsafe for human habitation.

Anonymous said...

If a man, priest or not, cannot be alone with a woman because he cannot trust himself not to act inappropriately toward her, there's something very wrong with him.

He's not holy, he's unbalanced.

Gene said...

War is a terrible thing. Innocents die. If you do not want any of your innocents to die, then do not kill any of our's. If your government attacks us and causes a lot of your innocents to die, then you should have chosen a better government.

rcg said...

The death of civilians is terrible and the enemy must consider that when placing the installations. The sparing of civilians is a Draconian tactic as well: if we destroy the enemy’s warmaking ability and leave a large injured civilian population to care for in the aftermath the enemy will be less able to recover the fight or must risk revolt among the survivors.

John, the apparent disparity among the cities is probably due to the location of the target and how physically accessible it is.

Finally, there are targets that are in sparsly populated areas but deep within the air defenses of the other country that were chosen to be struck by a single mission so that there would be minimal civilian injury and very little direct military impact. The idea is to demonstrate during the last moments before total annihilation, that we do not desire to destroy their country, its people, or military but that if we are pushed to war there is nothing they can do to stop it. That strategy, like the threat of Hell, exhibits a faith in the sainity of both sides.

Anonymous said...

"War is a terrible thing."

Yes, it is.

"Innocents die."

Yes, they do. Some are accidental. Some are intentional. The intentional killing of innocents is always gravely evil and immoral, whether that is in war or in abortion. The intention to use nuclear weapons against innocent civilian population is also gravely immoral. That is the Church's teaching.

"If you do not want any of your innocents to die, then do not kill any of our's."

No, the murder of innocents by an enemy does not, in any way, shape, or form, justify killing innocents by us. This is a perverse rationalization of evil. It is equivalent to "I had to abort my baby because the growth of the baby was threatening the health/life of the mother."

"If your government attacks us and causes a lot of your innocents to die, then you should have chosen a better government."

Same as above. An evil governments actions against us do not in any way, shape, or form justify evil actions by our government.

rcg said...

Anon, you should stop talking or you are going to lower your grade even further.

Anonymous said...

rcg - My "grade" is the Church's teaching on war and the killing of innocents. I'm happy now, and will always be happy with, that grade. Thanks.

Too Tired said...


Remember Proverbs 18:2.

They love to troll the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

Too - Do you also reject the Church's teaching on the killing of Innocents?

Anonymous said...

Keep widening your phylacteries.

Remember, Too, Matthew 25:41:

"Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

John Nolan said...

Using the two world wars of the 20th century as representative of modern warfare, an individual officer or soldier may obey his moral scruples and the Geneva Convention by distinguishing between combatants and non-combatants, but in a wider context the distinction between military and civilian personnel is by no means clear-cut. Apart from those civilians who are forcibly conscripted into the military, the rest of the civilian population is mobilized in support of the war effort.

If destruction of the enemy's ability to wage war is a legitimate war aim, then bombing a munitions factory is legitimate, and it is a short step from that to 'dehousing' the workers (to use Lord Cherwell's notorious euphemism). And at a time when night-time precision bombing was not possible, high levels of collateral damage could not be avoided, even if this was an aim (which it wasn't).

In July 1943 the destruction of Hamburg in a firestorm killed 40,000 men, women and children, and it was replicated in other German cities (Würzburg was destroyed in March 1945 more or less for the hell of it, since there was no strategic rationale and the war was all but over). Churchill seems to have had some moral doubts by this stage, but earlier in the war the only churchman who consistently opposed area bombing was the bishop of Chichester, George Bell.

In the First World War, the British blockade of Germany caused widespread malnutrition and even starvation among civilians, and a resulting collapse in morale, something that WW2 area bombing failed to achieve. It undoubtedly shortened the war, but it was essentially economic warfare directed primarily at the civil population.

Weapons themselves are morally neutral. 1300 bombers en route to flatten an undefended city packed with refugees (Dresden, February 1945) is less defensible in moral terms than possession of nuclear weapons with the aim of preserving peace between the Great Powers.

Multilateral step-by-step nuclear disarmament sounds fine in principle, but eventually a stage is reached where holdings by the two main potential adversaries are so low as to cause an imbalance which might give one or the other a first-strike capability.

Anonymous said...

"Apart from those civilians who are forcibly conscripted into the military, the rest of the civilian population is mobilized in support of the war effort."

Non-combatants cannot be targeted morally. A "mobilized civilian population" remains in the non-combatant category and are, morally, out of bounds for attack.

"The Church greatly respects those who have dedicated their lives to the defense of their nation. "If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace. [Cf. Gaudium et spes 79, 5]" However, she cautions combatants that not everything is licit in war. Actions which are forbidden, and which constitute morally unlawful orders that may not be followed, include:

- attacks against, and mistreatment of, non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners;

- genocide, whether of a people, nation or ethnic minorities;

- indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants.

Given the modern means of warfare, especially nuclear, biological and chemical, these crimes against humanity must be especially guarded against.

The OTHER Anonymous said...


I have been watching this thread for several days. Anyone older than 30 with a normal MMPI score can tell that you are far more interesting in "winning" some ephemeral victory, having the last word or just trying to tell some people off. It's cringe-inducing and RCG was trying to politely tell you to give it a rest, but you didn't get the hint. There are many points about Catholic praxis that good Catholics can disagree on. That's just the way it is. If you need to tell the rest of us how wrong we are or proclaim our damnation, I would gently suggest you find a different forum.

Anonymous said...

"There are many points about Catholic praxis that good Catholics can disagree on."

Would that include the Church's teaching on targeting non-combatants during war?

John Nolan said...

My late uncle flew with RAF Bomber Command in the last war (out of a total of 125,000 aircrew, 55,573 were killed). He was shot down but survived, ending the war as a PoW. He maintained that at pre-op briefings the military value of the target was always stressed. However, we know that one of the aims of strategic bombing was to destroy civilian morale. In 1939 the concept was in its infancy, as was atomic warfare in 1945, and moral evaluation tends to lag behind technology, particularly when you are engaged in a war of national survival. My uncle never believed he was complicit in an evil act.

In 1971 I had the privilege of meeting Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC, a war hero who had been one of the two British observers at the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. After the war he became a devout Catholic and founded the Cheshire Homes for the disabled, for which he was made a life peer. His cause for sainthood has been opened.

Cheshire was a strong supporter of nuclear deterrence as a means of preventing war and his arguments are worth reading. He thought that the moral dilemma posed by the existence of nuclear weapons could not be resolved by using existing Just War principles; that the Church was 'perplexed' by the issue and needed to arrive at a doctrine of Just Deterrence, in line, of course, with tradition. This was in 1985; a long article in Arms Control by Gerard Powers (May 2015) shows the confusion has not abated.

Is Anonymous (11.38) saying that the possession of nuclear weapons for deterrent purposes is intrinsically immoral? That Catholics must support unilateral disarmament? Throwing up quotations without coming to any conclusions is not really helpful.

Anonymous said...

Is Anonymous (11.38) saying that the possession of nuclear weapons for deterrent purposes is intrinsically immoral?

Yes, because poessesing them necessarily include the intention to kill non-combatants.

The intention to kill the innocent is always gravely immoral. No, it does not require the ACT of killing the innocent to be gravely immoral.

John Nolan said...


Firstly, possession does not necessarily presume intention. As I pointed out earlier, deterrence still works even if the intention is lacking, since a potential aggressor cannot be sure of this.

Secondly, if you assume that possession of nuclear weapons is immoral, who bears the moral guilt? President Truman? The scientists (American, British, Canadian) who worked on the Manhattan project? They could have refused to get involved and let Hitler get the A-Bomb first, no doubt an impeccably moral stance, but one which would have had immeasurably evil consequences.

Thirdly, since you live in a country which has possessed nuclear weapons since 1945, and sees them as essential to its security, who exactly is being gravely immoral? Your own government, democratically elected? You yourself, who no doubt subscribe to the idea of government 'by the people'?

Perhaps you might assuage your conscience by going to live in Belgium, a country which has no nuclear weapons but permits the euthanasia of children.