Wednesday, October 5, 2022


 People in the Church, both clergy and laity, have lamented the lack of intelligent academic thought in the Church since 2013. 

This video, just one more of many cliches bantered about concerning the Church, since about 2013, is simply embarrassing. I don’t find it inspiring whatsoever and I wonder who does, except those who are into esoteric nothingness. 

In a previous parish, I had a parishioner, who would have been a borderline street person, if not for family members who house him, who thought he was an intellectual. It took me a while to figure out he was a borderline personality. But he could talk up a storm, sound interesting and academic but in the end, I realized he had said nothing, but said it brilliantly. 

I would not even call this nothing video on the synod, put on the Vatican New website, brilliant sounding. It is shallow and empty and filled with cliches.  If they think this will keep the Church young, then they are delusional borderline personalities!

Please offer a legitimate critique of this Vatican video, without being ugly, critique its theology and intellectual integrity:


Fr. David Evans said...

It aimed at nothing, and acheived it. No intention to mention Jesus, no embarrassment that He wasn’t…

Matthew 10:32-33

Drew said...

Honestly, I don't know what any of this is. Maybe Rome should talk to young American Catholics that don't desire a watered down faith.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It’s a nothing burger, even my 1970’s seminary, as liberal as it was, would be embarrassed by this thing and what was said, absolutely embarrassed by it and that says something!

TJM said...

Consultants made a lot of money off of the geriatric suckers commissioning this nonsense

William said...


Jerome Merwick said...

Just more evidence of the unsustainability of the Novus Ordo complex. The demographic solution is slow, but it is also unstoppable.

What has always puzzled me is that most of these aging boomers were better educated as young Catholics than I was. Why are THEY so willing to abandon or compromise what they were taught?

TJM said...

Jerome Merwick,

Interesting question. I find that many, although educated in the Faith, were really cultural Catholics. Most were big time Democrats so Party and Big Government was their true faith. Many are arrogant and are most comfortable with popular culture, not counter cultural which is the bedrock of strong religious Faith. Think Imperial Rome, the Christians were definitely counter cultural.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Why are THEY so willing to abandon or compromise what they were taught?"

Belonging to a Judeo-Christian faith community means that one acknowledges a need for salvation and a God who can and does save.

Christians of many denominations, including well-educated, practicing Catholics, have absorbed the "radical individualism" that has become a hallmark, much to our detriment, of Western culture and society.

Thinking they are self-sufficient in most things, the idea of having to rely on God (or anyone else) is not attractive or necessary. When you are part of a denomination - Catholicism - that was once a community of the less well-off, you must rely on the community for many necessary things. (I often think of the founding of the Knights of Columbus in this regard, when Fr. McGivney led the way in caring for the needs of the families of deceased members.)

When the socio-economic standing of that denomination is signitifantly improved, the material well-being begins to have an impact on one's sense of being "needy."

I think that is part of the explanation of why many drifted away.

Jerome Merwick said...


There is some truth to your observation about comfort with the popular culture. A counter-culture member is forced to stand against popular opinion and respectability as society defines it.

Recently, I re-watched the film Jeremiah Johnson and a scene that really stuck with me was when the leader of a rescue begged Johnson to help him get to some stranded settlers. When Johnson initially refuses, one of them protests, "These are CHRISTIAN men and women."

The message was clear. These were DECENT people, therefore, nobody else is. These are "respectable" "chosen by God" types who deserve to be rescued, more than others might.

And so, after centuries, with the persecutions long a historical artifact, Christianity is "respectable" and with all the public honors and esteem that make us grow so comfortable. We are almost like the Protestants who smugly assert that they "got saved" and its irreversible.

Unless I'm mistaken, much of that esteem is eroding and fast. I have a feeling that if you are going to be an authentic Catholic in the not-to-distant future, you will have to be part of a counter culture. And the biggest persecution might come from the most "respectable" members of our Church. From the top down.

It doesn't cost anything to be respectable. Holding the line as one of the despised can cost everything. I fear we have some tough choices ahead of us.

monkmcg said...

It is vapid. But it brings to mind Buckley's quote about how he'd rather be governed by the the first 300 names in a phonebook instead of the clowns actually in office (or something like that).

TJM said...

So many drifted away when the Church started serving “nothing burgers” following the Council

John said...


The endless torrent of words published in the name of V-2 was seeded by relativist ideas. These notions collectively had a devastating effect on Catholic faith and identity. Why? Remember, Catholic catechesis in the US until V-2 was based on the Baltimore Catechism. This was a very brilliant teaching tool: pointed questions about an article of faith followed by a very clear answer. The kids memorized it. Here comes V-2. It ruined religion class for everyone. The new teaching questions were full of "yes but" answers. The realization hit like a ton of bricks. Meat on Friday does not mean eternity in Hell! What else is permissible now? Cheating on my spouse, contraception, gender ideology, devil worship a la Pachamama?

The list is endless. Of course, the reasons for the general collapse are more complex but at the average Catholic raised on certitudes relativism meant a cheap get out of Hell card. They grabbed it and the rest as the saying goes is history. I pray daily:

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

And from the first reading in today's Offic of Readings ... "There is, of course, great gain in religion—provided one is content with a sufficiency. We brought nothing into this world, nor have we the power to take anything out. If we have food and clothing we have all that we need. Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and a trap. They are letting themselves be captured by foolish and harmful desires which drag men down to ruin and destruction. The love of money is the root of all evil. Some men in their passion for it have strayed from the faith, and have come to grief amid great pain."

TJM said...

Love of money: Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, the Clintoons and Obamas

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The love of money Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, the Clintons, and the Obamas may have PALES in comparison to that of Donal Trump.

Per Trump:

“Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich.”

“I’m really rich. And by the way, I’m not saying that in a bragging way, that’s the kind of mindset you need for this country. We gotta make this country rich.”

“There’s one more thing that we must do to make America wealthy again, and you have to be wealthy in order to be great, I’m sorry to say.”

Among others...

William said...

Be honest with yourself; if you buy lottery tickets, you're the same as Trump. Jealousy is a green eyed monster.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jealous? Of an adulterer, a grabber of p***y, an amoral transactionalist, a serial liar, and a man who spends more on his hair than I make in a year? Not hardly.

TJM said...

Fr K,

Unlike the government grifters I mentioned) (we care for the people) Trump provided real jobs in the private sector - all the grifters I mentioned created more welfare recipients. I kind of laughed at your attempt to sound like you know something but you mixed business write-offs with personal ones. In terms of personal morality shall we revisit the antics of Clinton in the Oval Office or his assaults on Democratic women? How about Biden swimming nude to the discomfort of female staffers and sniffing little girls?

You are a great deal like Mark Thomas - avoid inconvenient facts which undercut your specious opinions. By the way, CA, Il, and NY, all Dem controlled, are the 3 top states that people and businesses are fleeing because of Dem tax and regulatory policies.

TJM said...

Another “inconvenient fact” for Fr K:

Gas is a little over $3 a gallon in Florida while it is $7.10 a gallon at the Costco in Eureka CA. Why does CA hate the working man and woman? Clearly CA is only concerned with the mental happiness of the tech billionaires and Hollyweird. Meanwhile, Governor Newsome’s inlaws (the sane members of the family) left CA for Florida and contributed to Governor DeSantis’ re-election campaign. Of course the evil, corrupt, leftwing media will try and keep this a secret or certainly won’t highlight it because it undermines their narrative that all is well in CA but FL is a “disaster” ( it is if you are an abortion drooler or child groomer). All the Dems have at this point, is to beat the Abortion drum because their policies are shafting the working and middleclasses but Clueless Cleric will vote for them anyway for some strange reason.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Ah, the California "disaster"...

According to the latest figures available, California’s median household income was $71,805 in 2017 — more than $11,000 higher than the national median. (Florida - $57,703)

According to a study comparing California state jobs and private-sector salaries, employees in California’s public sector earn almost twice as much. (California $93,229 a year. Florida $50,350 a year)

If it were an independent country, the California economy would be the fifth-biggest in the world⁠ — ranked between the UK and Germany. (Florida is 16)

Tragic place, California. Not.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Half truths are lies. Of course they have higher salaries because everything there costs more, much more than here, including utilities, housing, food and gasoline, not to mention clothing and other personal items. My condo there would cost more than $2 million and that is a two bedroom, two bath, condo with no designated parking and without shelter for parking!

Seamus Malone said...

I can't believe what I'm reading here. A priest (or at least he claims he is) demonstrating some of the most petty vindictiveness I"ve ever read in a public forum for Catholics!

Pelosi, Biden, the Clintons and Obamas all share a similar background. Money has always been their end and the rest of American an get screwed (which they've also done to us) in their pursuit. They didn't enter politics rich, but man, they'll all RETIRE that wa
Trump, no saint to be sure, has always treated money as a means to an end. He stood little to gain and, indeed has LOST a good bit of his fortune by jumping into the filthy pool of American politics. I'm not worried about a billionaire who comes to Washington. I'm worried about scheming social climbers who come in and fleece us with the connections they make. The four Democrat clans aforementioned are fleecers par excellence.

As for our venom-spewing, alleged priest, "Jealous? Of an adulterer, a grabber of p***y, an amoral transactionalist, a serial liar, and a man who spends more on his hair than I make in a year? Not hardly" says it all! It's almost like listening to a middle-aged housewife who hears that her husband is cheating declare, "Oh, I'm not jealous of HER!"

This guy ought to just admit that he personally hates Trump instead of reaching for some fake moral high ground to justify his inner temper tantrum.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Unknown, please use some sort of moniker. You can either sign your moniker or make it appear by using the tools of google to do it.

Seamus Malone said...

8I'm logged in to Google and I thought that did it. My name is Seamus Malone.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The status of California as the 5th largest economy in the world is not a lie in any way. It's a fact.

The avergae cost of living in California is $46,636 per year.

The average cost of living in Florida is $43,615 per year.

That's a modest difference of $2,985, or 9.3%.

The price of your 2bd/2ba condo in California depends entirely on the location within the state. A lovely 2bd/2ba condo in Eureka, CA, is on the market for $265,000. Now, if you want to live in Los Gatos in the Silicon Vally, it will be ten times that price. Locaton, location, location...

Looking at Hilton Head real estate listings, I see 2bd/2ba condos on the market for $259,000, $289,000, $245,000, $274,000. I also see a 2bd/2ba condo on Hilton Head listed at $1,250,000.00 So much for your $2 million hyperbole.

California is not nearly the hell hole some want it to be.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Seamus - I do not hate Trump. I think he is, by any measure, wholly unfit for public office for the reasons I stated and others.

Claiming not to be jealous of an amoral transactionalist and adulterer is "fake moral ground"?

Of great concern to me are the people who WANT to be him or be like him, the people who admire him for his vulgarity, his lack of respect for others, his utter disloyalty toward those who have served him, his serial lies, his bluster and bravado, etc.

Seamus Malone said...

I registered with "blogger". Did that fix it?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes it did! Thanks.

TJM said...

Fr K,

You’re a regular Mark Thomas of the clerical class and you’ve exposed yourself as a big government statist. If your parishioners knew how you really felt, they’d toss you from the pulpit. It is actually disgusting that government workers there are grossly overpaid rendering the term “public servant” a total joke.

CA has one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients and holds the record for the greatest population loss of any state. They even lost a Congressional seat while Texas and Florida made gains in that area. If that’s how you measure success you should move their to enjoy it,

You’re just another lefty living in la la land and you clearly do not belong in the Catholic clergy, given your voting record. An empty cassock on steroids!

Seamus Malone said...

I don't believe this priest. "Unfit for office" and "vulgar" are just excuses to vindicate a very visceral, cheap hatred for someone who rubs him the wrong way.

Unfit? This "vulgarian" who is unfit, did what NO OTHER PRESIDENT managed to do. He thrived under the pressure of a sick political underground determined to remove him. The whole Russian collusion thing, which has been proven to be utter B.S., plagued him from day one. Every president has had some kind of scandal to deal with and when those scandals hit the press, all progress stops from the White House--except for Trump. He THRIVED under it. He passed legislation, got judges approved, and got the economy booming and attained energy independence IN SPITE of the relentless efforts of a bunch of high-handed, pseudo-moralist bedwetter's petty efforts to thwart him at every turn. He also kept his word about keeping America out of any more "stupid wars". Our current genius keeps encouraging such wars.

Oh yes, the "high morality" of Trump's enemies? His enemies who decided all bail was racist and let our crime stats go through the roof. His "moral" enemies who support government funded abortion EVEN AFTER birth! The protestor-baby boom ethos of middle aged and older hippies suddenly getting moral and kicking Trump's staff out of restaurants to "virtue signal" to their friends is something the rest of us saw right through from the beginning.

If ever a president was unfit for office, it would be hard to surpass Lyndon Johnson, one of the most crude, vulgar bullies who ever darkened the hallways of our capitol. We can thank him for triggering the ongoing rise in poverty, especially with his "great society" debacle. This is the guy who told Thurgood Marshall that he wanted the men from the Justice Department to walk in and "see a nigger sittin' up there." And TRUMP'S a racist?

It's hardly a secret that John F. Kennedy's middle initial should have stood for that word we use to forbid on television. He used it every time the cameras and tape recorders were turned off. Naked pool parties in the White House basement with an revolving door of hookers and bimbos are conveniently ignored for our first Catholic president.

As for our current "Catholic" president, less than a week ago, we had a "hot mike" catch him saying "No one f_cks" with the Bidens." Yes, this is the same Biden who used to praise racist senator Strom Thurmond. Have you watched any footage of him when young girls are in the same room? It's almost like he went to the Theodore McCarrick school of kiddie-grooming.

Unfit for office? Americans may not get into all the nuanced details of this priest's high-handed ideas of fitness or unfitness, but it's more than hilarious to compare what has happened to American Industry under Trump rather than under Biden--wait! Did I say hilarious? No it's pathetic. We are paying through the nose for fuel and this clown shut down pipeline construction on his first day in office, made it policy to deny the renewal of oil leases and goes begging Venezueal, Opec and Iran for more oil production. UNFIT?

We're going to have a little referendum in November and it will probably be every bit as much about Trump as it is about the "glowing successes" of our current laughingstock administration. Maybe we should just sit back, shut up and see what America has to say about "unfit".

I think this priest is trying to virtue signal for the people on this blog. The only problem is, his ideas of virtue don't really add up.

Jerome Merwick said...


I lived in California. I was born there. I was there for a LONG, long time.

It's been my experience talking to many Georgians, not just the clueless cleric, that most of them THINK they know or understand California, but they have little or no idea.

California was as close to paradise as a state could get--a long time ago. Today, it's a living hell. I gave up a lot to leave, but it was worth it. If I had stayed, I'd probably be in a homeless shelter.

Taxes, fees, runaway real estate costs and especially energy taxes and restrictions have made California unlivable. The weather is incredible. There is no place in America with as much natural beauty--except maybe Alaska. But it's just too expensive. WAY too expensive.

I am hesitant to let people know I am from California, as there is a great deal of southern prejudice against California exiles. But trust me, most of them don't know what they're talking about. So just let them blow.

TJM said...

Jerome Merwick,

I have known many wonderful people born and raised in CA and who have fled for the reasons you cite.

The modern Democratic Party is a crime organization masquerading as a political party aided and abetted by a braindead and evil media which apparently excites the Clueless Cleric, a very sick man. I wonder if he ever thinks about the baptisms he has missed performing due to abortion. He would be a perfect little soldier in the Third Reich or Red Guard because he cannot rise above his natural state

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Seamus - I'll say it only once again. I do not hate Trump. Playing the "hate card" is what people do today in order to avoid making considered, thoughtful responses. How many times have we heard, "The Catholic Church HATES the LGBTQ community"? Or "People who oppose abortion HATE women"? The hate card is worn out and, as I said above, does not apply to me and my judgment of Trump.

Your claim about "energy independence" sounds appealing, but what does it mean? Did we export more oil than we imported? Did we produce more energy than we consumed, export more energy than we imported. By those measures, we were energy independent under Biden. "All forms of energy combined, the country exported 23.0 quadrillion British thermal units of energy in that time span (first 11 months of Jan 2021), which was more than the 19.6 quadrillion BTUs of energy it imported, according to the EIA’s latest monthly figures. In those same 11 months, the U.S. also produced 89.0 quadrillion BTUs of energy, slightly more than the 88.5 quadrillion BTUs of energy it consumed." You might look at FORBES March 8, 2022 story: "Surprise! The U.S. Is Still Energy Independent!"

I don't know anyone who thinks "all bail is racist." It is certainly true that cash bail - not all bail - has a greater impact on people of color, and not because people of color are arrested with higher frequency.

Blaming Biden for gas prices is hilarious. You are simply and willfully ignoring the war in Ukraine, or managing to think that it has nothing whatsoever to do with higher gas prices. The Keystone pipeline was being built to move foreign owned oil to ports in Louisiana for export, largely to China. It wasn't going to our markets.

Regarding oil permits, you might try this fact on for size: "WASHINGTON— New federal data shows the Biden administration approved 3,557 permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands in its first year, far outpacing the Trump administration’s first-year total of 2,658. Nearly 2,000 of the drilling permits were approved on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management’s New Mexico office, followed by 843 in Wyoming, 285 in Montana and North Dakota, and 191 in Utah. In California, the Biden administration approved 187 permits — more than twice the 71 drilling permits Trump approved in that state in his first year."

What the moral shortcomings of other presidents were doesn't impact in any way Trump's. You might as well bring up Jefferson's dalliances with Sally Hemmings as yet another way to excuse Trump. And that's what it is - saying "Well, well, look at THIS guy too. He was bad!"

Regarding the larger economy, you might look at Bloomberg's "GDP Growth Under Trump Was the Worst Since Hoover" Or, more likely, you'll choose to ignore evidence that doesn't fit your opinions.

Seamus Malone said...

So this priest not only has the leisure time to post his Democrat talking points here, but he reads Forbes! Excellent!

Hopefully, he's read it since the March story he cites, because in September, Forbes published a story called, "Squandering Energy Independence in a Chaotic Word" in which it takes Biden and his administration's policies to task for their ongoing self-sabotage of America's energy (and national security) needs. Forbes also seems to contradict this astute priest with their June 2021 article, "U.S. Loses. Russia and China Win with Keystone XL Closure". The money quotes:

"While doubtless appealing to environmental activists, this is a massive geopolitical blunder by the Biden Administration, putting politics and ideology in front of national interests."


"If exports do not pass to the US, the recipients will most likely be countries with much worse environmental regulations such as China and India."


"In one decision, President Biden raised the value of domestic power and widened the gap betweeen the United States and Canada...Biden has given Russia a chance to make billions of dollars by exporting hydrocarbons to Europe."

The article failed to also mention THE THOUSANDS OF US JOBS THAT BIDEN KILLED IN ONE DAY.

But we can all take solace that the doddering genius and Obama flunkies advising him are steering us towards electric vehicles that none of us can afford, all charged with FOSSIL FUEL electricity!

And, as the good priest who owns this blog noticed, half truths are lies. As we can see from an Energy Wire report from March of this year: "Drilling Permits Spiked Then Plunged under Biden", we fin, "The Bureau of Land Management in January approved just 95 permits for oil and natural gas wells across federal lands in the United States, a plunge from the zenith of 643 issued last April, according to a review of data by E&E News." Of course, the Biden talking point parrots will claim that drilling permits are not being used, but, the article goes on, "Ryan McConnaughey, spokesperson for the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, said the Biden administration has a “playbook” for federal development: “delay, distract and deflect.”

“It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Biden Administration’s approval of APDs [applications for permit to drill] has plummeted,” he said.

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, said the political focus on the drilling permits and leases already held by industry is a red herring from the White House."

And while ANY war and vocal saber-rattling rattling will always have an upward effect on fuel prices, several studies have shown that the economic recovery from our SELF DESTRUCTIVE AND UNNECESSARY NATIONAL ECONOMIC SHUTDOWN FOR COVID has created a surge in energy demands. Meanwhile, Biden continues to deplete our Strategic Energy Reserve hoping to score political points--in his world politics always trumps (oops, sorry to offend you) national security.

Seamus Malone said...

Cash bail or any other is going to have a larger impact on "People of Color" (your choice of THAT phrase demonstrates your slavish allegiance to leftist ideology) because THEY COMMIT MORE CRIMES. And before you start calling me a racist, the stats bear it out and it's not because they are "OF COLOR" either (to use your words).

Crime is always higher from households where illegitimate children and children without fathers are raise. 68 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers, much higher than other races. To compare, Asian illegitimacy is about 11 percent. Their crime rates are barely noticeable compared to black crime rates. And their education record speaks for itself. Being black doesn't make you likely to become a criminal. Growing up in America's degenerate black culture IS.

So he protests he does not "hate" Trump. Sounds kind of like Nancy Pelosi, who breaks out in hives at the mere mention of his name. I still don't buy it. The sheer revulsion and compulsive need to attack Trump at every turn displayed by this priest tells a far different story.

Seamus Malone said...

But I am grateful that this priest at least promised that he would not tell us again how he "doesn't hate Trump".

Dishonesty gets old. Maybe he'll finally tell us the truth and admit it!

TJM said...

Bloomberg? LOL! That rag is about as truthful as The New York Slimes aka Hell’s Bible. If you think the economy is better now than under Trump you’re destroying the last shred of credibility you might have with some here. Fyi, you are the one that initiated the morality angle and now you’re changing your tune once the focus is on Dems like Clintoon and China Joe.

Are you sure you aren’t Mark Thomas?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Seamus - Plainly you hate members of the LGBTQ community and women. This is plain because you do not aggree with them and oppose them when they seek equality under the law and when they seek abortions.

See, that's how the "Hate" card is played. The Hate card is a straw man, but since you've used it, insisting that I hate Trump, you have to figure out how to wiggle your way out from under it youself. That, or, be honest and admit you hate Gays and Women.

Mark said...

Father Kavanaugh:

Surely you understand by now how Trump World operates. If you DARE to say anything critical of the Great Leader, his attack dogs will pounce, unleash a torrent of invective, and attempt to “cancel” you, whether you identify as Democrat, Republican, Independent, or anything else (and this from those who complain about the “cancel culture” on the Left—a striking example of projection indeed!).

One would think that Catholics, who are schooled in the fundamental distinction between the sin and the sinner (as in “hate the sin but love the sinner”) would understand that hating what Trump (or Biden or Pelosi) stands for or does doesn’t necessarily imply hating them as human beings/children of God. But we live in perilous and irrational times, no?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mary - It goes beyond, but certainly includes, many in the Trump World.

If I say "Black Live Matter," some will respond, "You hate white people!"

If I say, "Abortion should be illegal," we'll hear, "You hate women!"

If I say, "Capitalism run amok hurts many people," the "patriots" will start chanting, "Move to Russia!"

When I say, "Trump is unfit for public office," we've heard, "You hate Trump!"

And so, sadly, it goes. There are many who behave irrationally, indeed.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mary??? Sorry, Mark!

Mark said...

Father Kavanaugh:

I quite agree that it goes beyond Trump World. But what might be distinctive about Trump World is how MAGA Republicans attack fellow Republicans and try to “cancel” them too if they dare deviate from the party line adopted by the Great Leader—a party line that can, of course, change on a whim or a mood. The King or the Emperor is always right; and it is “off with your head” if you dare gainsay him.

Regarding the debasement of political conversation more generally, the following passage from chapter 8 of my book tries to capture the point:

Consider how these “false and incomplete” identities are typically reflected in “labels” or “slogans” used to describe various groups. The intent behind such descriptions may be positive or negative, depending on whether they are in-group self-descriptions or other-directed descriptions of an opposing out-group. Examples come readily to mind. Thus, those who see themselves as protecting the lives of babies in the womb through restricting access to abortions use sympathetic language such as “pro-life” for in-group self-description and pejorative language such as “pro-abortion” or “baby killer” for out-group other-directed description, but those who see themselves as protecting reproductive freedom through preserving a woman’s access to legal abortion use radically different language such as the sympathetic term “pro-choice” (not “pro-abortion”) for in-group self-description and the pejorative slogan “war on women” (not “pro-life”) for out-group other-directed description. Another example would be the use by Trump supporters of the sympathetic term “freedom-loving nationalist” for in-group self-description and the pejorative term “freedom-hating socialist” for out-group other-directed description, in contrast to their opponents’ use of the sympathetic term “seeking economic justice” for in-group self-description and “deplorable white supremacist” for out-group other-directed description. The very same person then, may be described as “pro-life” and engaged in a “war on women” or as “pro-choice” and “pro-abortion” and “baby killer,” or as a “freedom-loving nationalist” and a “deplorable white supremacist” or as “seeking economic justice” and a “freedom-hating socialist,” depending on who is doing the describing.

Political conversation conducted in such superficial and trivial terms just will not do. We must get beyond language that paints cartoonish caricatures more suited to the school playground than mature political conversation, and instead use language that articulates and engages with the deeper justifications for our political beliefs and positions. Although the superficial and trivial language by which, and in which, we are currently trapped gestures toward these deeper justifications, it is woefully incomplete or misleading or both, so that we see through a glass darkly. In the case of other-directed pejorative language used to describe out-groups, we see very darkly indeed because such language tends to demonize “the other,” and this, when sufficiently pervasive, naturally tends toward universal mutual demonization. It is terribly injurious to the body politic, representing as it does the deployment of language as a weapon in our “civil war by other means on steroids.” And, of course, it is intended to be irrationally manipulative, relying predominantly on the triggering of emotional responses.

Thomas Garrett said...

So the person who penned this:

"Political conversation conducted in such superficial and trivial terms just will not do. We must get beyond language that paints cartoonish caricatures more suited to the school playground than mature political conversation, and instead use language that articulates and engages with the deeper justifications for our political beliefs and positions."

is actually the SAME person who wrote THIS earlier in the same post:

"I quite agree that it goes beyond Trump World. But what might be distinctive about Trump World is how MAGA Republicans attack fellow Republicans and try to 'cancel' them too if they dare deviate from the party line adopted by the Great Leader—a party line that can, of course, change on a whim or a mood. The King or the Emperor is always right; and it is 'off with your head' if you dare gainsay him."

Talk about an utter lack of self-awareness!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Thomas Garret, you are a near perfect example of what Mark described.

TJM said...


You do not understand Dem world at all. If you are not pro infanticide the Party will come after you like they did Congressman Lipinski in Chicago. Senator Durbin of Illinois switched from being a pro-life Dem when the Party told him he could not run for US Senate unless he switched to being pro abortion. Now the Democratic Party is pushing transgender nonsense and actively harming grade school children. Biden’s DOJ will send storm troopers aka the FBI to pro life supporters homes while doing nothing about attacks on Catholic Churches and pro life counseling centers. That is plain evil yet through your voting pattern support that.

Fyi, BLM was and is a scam and the average working person was far better off financially under President Trump than under the senile grifter, Biden.

Fr K,

You are so out to lunch it is laughable. Please move to CA or NY so you can get what you believe in good and hard

Mark said...

Thomas Garrett:

In my comment I did not mean to use the type of slogan or a label I was writing about in the passage (if it came across that way, it was not my intention and I apologize; “off with his head” was intended as a literary/historical allusion, not as a label or a slogan). Instead, I was trying to make a factual assertion. If this assertion is incorrect, please correct me and cite the evidence on which you rely.

And I would be happy to engage with the deeper justification(s) for the political beliefs and positions you have expressed on this Blog. So, please do engage. I would welcome it.

Mark said...


I think I do understand Dem world. Indeed, just this evening I alluded to the lamentable myopia of the Democratic Party regarding pro-life Democrats in a conversation with my wife, a point I have repeatedly made to her (and others) in previous conversations.