Invincibly Ignorant or NcR Reader?

Can somebody tell me where the National catholic Reporter gets their writers?   Are they all a product of a modern Jesuit education?  I mean, the theories they put forth are simply sophomoric, and that’s saying something coming from this relatively uneducated girl.  That’s just how bad they are.  I would think Thomas Reese, SJ, would want people a little loftier, being a Jesuit and all, but I guess this is what you get with those Jesuits who seek to undermine the Faith.  Going beyond the sophomoric ruins their narrative, and we can’t have that!

 Embryo destruction is the underlying wrong of IVF

Phyllis Zagano  |  Aug. 24, 2016 Just Catholic

Did Phyllis at least get her name right? Because the title itself is oh, so wrong.  The “underlying wrong” of IVF is that it goes against natural law and the nature of marriage. How do we know this, dear Phyllis?  We know this because even if not one embryo is destroyed, it is still wrong, wrong, wrong!  Dead children are just one of the horrifying end results of defying natural law and the nature of marriage. As the Church has said about a hundred times, you do not separate the procreative and unitive aspects of marriage. When you do, a wave of destruction results.  When you try to separate the procreative from the unitive and defy natural law, you end up with death all the way around.  Death of people, death of marriages, death of morality, death of the family, etc.  Humane Vitae’s prophecy was fulfilled.

Now why doesn’t Phyllis point this out and only focus on “dead embryos?”  Well, to focus on natural law and the nature of marriage puts a little crimp in the liberal agenda of the National catholic Reporter.  You can’t mention the nature of marriage or natural law, because then you’d have to apply those little items to the rest of the things the NcR really wants approved, like  “gay marriage”, “the gay lifestyle”, divorce and “re-marriage”, and birth control.  I somehow think that NcR is just hoping that scientists make that breakthrough in IVF where no embryos are killed so they can tell their readers their consciences can be clear. They would be wrong, regardless, and there’s a whole host of other victims they simply ignore. (Please see the links  the end of the blog post for some of the victims NcR chooses not to see.)

They say that in 1978, on seeing newspaper photos of Louise Brown, New York’s Cardinal Terence Cooke said “a baby!” The complication: Brown was the first “test-tube baby,” born to an English couple with the aid of a physician who later won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Who are “they?” And yeah, Louise was still a baby, no matter how she was conceived.  Is there some question there?  I don’t believe anyone is saying anything to the contrary.

Cardinal Albino Luciani, then patriarch of Venice and soon to be Pope John Paul I, explained his similar response in detail. He said he only partly shared the excitement and enthusiasm about the baby’s birth, because to really make a judgement he would need access to all the scientific data.

Luciani went on to explain the possibilities and moral probabilities. He worried about the scientist unleashing an uncontrollable force, much like Goethe’s “sorcerer’s apprentice.” He saw the specter of a new industry of “baby manufacturing” as he called it, and he questioned the legitimacy of the methodology, now known as in vitro fertilization.

First of all, why are we quoting Cardinal Luciani?  Are there not a wealth of quotes coming from the Church since then?

Next, why the heck aren’t we directly quoting him fully and  in some sort of context? Hmmm…I can’t imagine why, but I’m reasonably sure my readers could draw some conclusions.  Here is the part she skips:

Getting down, however, to the act in itself, and good faith aside, the moral problem which is posed is: is extrauterine fertilization in vitro or in a test tube, licit?… I do not find any valid reasons to deviate from this norm, by declaring licit the separation of the transmission of life from the marriage act.  (

What?!?!  Please note, Phyllis, “dead embryos” not mentioned.  It is not licit because it goes against natural law and the nature of marriage. Oh, and did you also notice he didn’t need any “scientific data” to make that judgment?

Nothing has changed. Of course the birth of a child is a time for rejoicing. New life! What is troublesome is IVF’s continual collision with moral theology. Baby making is reduced to solitary activity in clinics, with petri dishes and sterile conditions replacing wine and roses.

(Insert game show buzzer sound.) The fact that it’s “unromantic” is also not the underlying wrong either.  Sigh.

And the conundrum only begins there. You can’t blame the baby — or babies — resulting from these scientific advances. 

There is no conundrum. There is right and wrong, moral and immoral.   Nobody blames the baby. This is a complete red-herring! People have been suggesting for a while that we can’t possibly say that IVF is wrong, because what will the children who have been born via IVF think about themselves???  Once again, the circumstances of a child’s conception never attaches blame to them.

You can’t really blame the parents — assuming an infertile married couple is trying to create a family.

If the parents know what the teaching of the Church is, they are culpable no matter their desire.

The first are completely innocent. The latter are possibly invincibly ignorant — they don’t know the implications of what they are doing.

Are we really going to hang our hats on “possibly invincibly ignorant?”  Yes, maybe they are, but far more often, the parents simply don’t agree with the Church’s teaching on the matter and reject it, or at least they have not done their due diligence in grasping the concept.

For those hoping to rely on invincible ignorance as they do the catchphrase “internal forum”, let’s look at what it is:

Ignorance is invincible if a person could not remove it by applying reasonable diligence in determining the answer. Ignorance is vincible if a person could remove it by applying reasonable diligence. Reasonable diligence, in turn, is that diligence that a conscientious person would display in seeking the correct answer to a question given (a) the gravity of the question and (b) his particular resources.

I guess if a person is not allowed to leave the IVF clinic and can only read NcR, they might have a case for invicible ignorance.  Still, “possibly” in the grand scheme of things is actually irrelevant to the grand scheme or in determining the underlying wrong of IVF.

But there is too much too awfully wrong with IVF to ignore what our disposable culture has grown to accept.

And she’s pretty much going to stick with “dead embryos” as the only reason this is bad.

I am not crazy about the baby manufacturing industry Luciani predicted, which has grown to multi-million dollar proportions. These days, “designer children” cost as much as $80,000. The cost includes egg and sperm collection, creation of embryos, and implantation into and support of surrogate mothers.

From what I can tell, Luciani didn’t say “baby manufacturing industry.”  He said he was worried about women being used as “baby factories” (, which, by the way, is happening all over the world.  (Please see “Breeders” linked below.)  His concern had nothing to do with the cost. No, IVF is not wrong because only rich people can afford it.  

Independent of that, to me at least, is the real underlying difficulty of IVF: the automatic disposal of unused fertilized embryos, whether immediately after their brothers and sisters survive implantation, or at some time in the future when they are no longer stored in clinic freezers. There may be as many as a million frozen embryos in the United States alone, each individually waiting for adoption or destruction. While the old-fashioned method of destroying embryos is now rarely used — just dump the extras down the drain — many can go for embryonic stem cell research, which is just about the same thing.

So many things are wrong with this paragraph.  First of all, YOU are irrelevant, Phyllis.  Next, there are far more victims of IVF then the discarded embryos.  Finally, how the heck does the method of destruction matter?  They all equal murder!

Opposition to this implicit destruction of embryos is at the heart of a recently passed amendment to the House’s appropriations bill for Labor, Health and Human Services. The amendment bans the destroying of embryos created through federally-funded IVF services, including those provided by the Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. Maryland’s Representative Andy Harris argues, along with longstanding government policy, that federal tax dollars should not go toward destroying potential citizens.

The fact is only about 10 percent of the frozen embryos will be “adopted” in procedures that cost upwards of $12,000. Some are the result of eggs harvested and purchased from donors, who receive on average $8,000 per procedure. But cryogenics can only go so far. The largest number of frozen embryos will eventually be destroyed.

How have we become a culture that so disregards the value of human life?

Let me answer that for you Phyllis.  We became that way because we first disregarded natural law, and the lovely publication that carries you aided and abetted that.

Why are Phyllis’ arguments bad, wrong, off base, etc.?  Well, for a Catholic publication, they’re not fully Catholic.  How long do you think it’ll be before scientists can narrow down exactly which egg and sperm to join and zero out the number of children killed in an effort to make it a “morally licit” procedure to those who don’t understand the teachings of the Catholic Church on sex and marriage?  If the “dead embryos” is the underlying wrong, what happens if that goes away, Phyllis?  Will it then just be wrong because it’s expensive?  You’ve missed the underlying moral wrong by a mile, Phyllis.

For whatever reason, the National catholic Reporter constantly parses Church teachings, half quotes, paraphrases, etc .  I’m reasonably sure it’s because if it doesn’t fit their narrative, they’re not going to use it.  The phrase “natural law” is a no-no over there for obvious reasons.  

Did you notice what this article left out, as do so many NcR articles?  How about actual Church teaching on the marital embrace, reproductive technologies, etc.?  It’s supposedly a Catholic publication, for goodness sake!  Sadly they’re a bit reluctant to set the truth before the lemmings.  Let me just give you a few things that you’ll likely never see over at the National catholic Reporter:

No matter how the science of IVF progresses, it will always be destructive, and that’s what you get when you reject natural law.



Why Buy the Cow???

I just couldn’t pass up commenting on this but it hardly needs an ocean of ink.

Can I just say that this is the worst money Soros ever spent?!  I mean, seriously, Archbishop Cupich and Bishop McElroy would have done exactly what Soros wanted for free and have on multiple occasions.  Doesn’t Soros have researchers???  Personally, I’m surprised they didn’t ask Soros for help.


Drop That Cross & Follow Your Desires

Fr. Martin, SJ, before his silent retreat, made this suggestion: “Check out this really interesting new site on US Catholic on ‘daring, persistent, stubborn and defiant Catholic women.’”  Here’s the link to it.  At first I thought “Wow!  Sounds like the site for me!” (Although I was pretty sure it wasn’t, based on the person suggesting it.) Sure enough, I found it quite a letdown.  Definitely false advertising.  Nothing but a bunch of jealous misandrists.  That is hardly the description of the “Unexpected Women.”  We’re surrounded by narcissistic women.  Totally expected it.

Let’s just look at the first article:

Woman, come down from your cross!

Woman Offered No. 5

By Diana Hayes

From time immemorial, women, of all races and ethnicities, of all classes, have been nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ. Willingly, even eagerly, some have climbed up and hung, believing that in doing so their sacrifice of love, their martyrdom, will protect them, their families, and especially their children. Others, unwilling and unasked, have been forced onto their crosses by those they love and by the societies in which they live, again for their own protection and the good of society. In reality, they are crucified solely because they are women and that, the world teaches, is the role of women—to sacrifice themselves, their hopes, dreams, and aspirations for everyone.

What century is she living in?!  Plus, that’s not even factually correct.  Last time I checked, we’ve been marking time long before God became flesh.  She seems to be intimating that this was wrong of women to take up their crosses.  I seemed to remember somebody famous saying that was a good thing.  What an archaic thought!

Any woman who chooses another way, seeking to serve God in her own right, is condemned as “unnatural,” prideful, and even persecuted as a witch.

What in the h-e-double-hockey sticks is she talking about?!  When was the last time a witch was persecuted around these parts, and why, again, does she assume that someone who chooses to take up a cross is not serving God in their own right?!?

Quite frankly, if you are rejecting your crosses in life, you aren’t serving God.  Who are you serving?  Oh, yourself.  This whole article is just a blatant misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the Church, crosses, salvation, and women.  I’m sure I could throw in a few more things, too. Yet this is coming from a woman who is also a Georgetown professor. Who is making her sacrifice her “hopes, dreams, and aspirations” again?

Come down from the cross! If Jesus were to return today, would these not be some of the first words he would say to our world? “Come down; stop sacrificing yourselves for your alleged sins and those of others. It is no sin to be a woman; it is a grace, given by God. I died so that no one, no one, would ever have to suffer the cruel pain of crucifixion, of dying, hanging from a tree, stabbed, starved, laughed at, and derided. Come down off that cross, now! Do not wait for others to take you down; you have the right and the ability to stop your suffering yourself! Come Down!”

One has to wonder if Ms. Hayes has even picked up a Bible?  Does she remember who uttered the words, “Come down from your cross!”?  Let’s take a look at Mark 15:29-32:

29 The passers-by blasphemed against him, shaking their heads; Come now, they said, thou who wouldst destroy the temple and build it up in three days, 30 come down from that cross, and rescue thyself. 31 In the same way, the chief priests and scribes said mockingly to one another, He saved others, he cannot save himself. 32 Let Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross, here and now, so that we can see it and believe in him. And the men who were crucified with him uttered taunts against him.

Is that really who she thinks we should be?  The blasphemer, a chief priests or scribe, or the unrepentant?  Yep.  Sounds about right for her and her dinner club.

Too many women have been “surrogate sufferers,’ forced to live lives of sacrifice and self-effacement for the supposed good of others, especially their men, rather than being able to freely choose paths of their own making, lives of their own choosing, futures of their own desiring. They have been placed on crosses, however they may be named, that imprison rather than liberate, that impede rather than promote, that weaken rather than empower, and that cripple rather than strengthen. Motherhood and martyrdom, the virgin or the whore, these have been the extremely limited roles available to women. Any woman who chooses another way, seeking to serve God in her own right, whether by remaining single but not in religious life, by seeking further education beyond domestic skills or approved women’s fields that initially, like nursing and teaching, were also forbidden to them, is condemned as “unnatural,” prideful, and even persecuted as a witch.

Where do I begin on this paragraph???  I mean, it’s just ugly and full of jealousy and bitterness. It shows someone who has a problem realizing we live in the 21st century.  In the eyes of the Church, women have NEVER had limited roles.  Uh, hello, does Our Lady ring a bell?

Ms. Hayes, if you want t follow your own desire, you’re totally free to do so, but, I’m warning you, it’ll probably lead you to be even more bitter than you already are.  That’s saying something, since it’s clear to see you’ve been there for a while.  Why don’t you try looking a bit into history?  We have saints who were queens, soldiers, doctors (not just of the Church), teachers, former prostitutes, nurses, etc.  Not only that, the Church urges us to be saints no matter what profession we have.  Do we have a woman day trader or CEO canonized yet?  Nope, although Mother Teresa was one heck of a CEO.  I must have missed the Church saying “Oh, you’re a woman CEO.  You must quit or be burned at the stake!”

So what is she realllllllyyyyy trying to say?  Likely the same old canard.  The Church is made up of misogynist old men who won’t let women be in the priesthood, perhaps? I mean, where did the Church try to persecute her as a witch?

The cross has become historically not a symbol of a once-and-for-all freely given sacrifice of life and love but a punishment for women, the poor, persons of color, all and any who dare to be different because they are born different, as we all are born.

And that pretty much shows your misunderstanding, Ms. Hayes.  First of all, you’re pretty much a privileged priss.  You do realize that Christians in the Middle East are being hung on actual crosses for the Faith these days, don’t you?  It’s not a symbol for them nor for us.  Our cross might look far different from theirs but it’s the same one Christ spoke of when he said:

 Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matt 16:24)

Remember that little verse, Ms. Hayes?  It’s kind of a biggie.

Those historically marginalized and made voiceless in our world, the majority of whom are women, must now step down from the cross. This is not why Jesus died and rose again. He died and rose again to give life, not take it away. He died to open up our lives to their limitless possibilities and not to restrict them by negativity, self-doubt, or fear.

It’s quite clear you don’t understand the difference between this temporal life and everlasting life.  Your entire existence is based on 80 or so years on this earth.  You’re not even close to seeing the end game.  It’s all me, me, me.  Heaven forbid people “die to themselves.”  That’s just an oppressive notion, in your eyes.  Sorry, babe, that’s the most freeing notion there is!  Notice those being martyred today.  Some of them even go to their deaths smiling.  They know what awaits for dying for the Faith.

Women have been condemned for their intelligence, for their sexuality, for their emotions, all gifts given to them in their creation by a God of love and compassion. God created women not as scapegoats or footstools, not as baby-making machines or mindless beings, robots without wills of their own.

Who again thinks this?  It’s not the men who follow the Church.  Get the chip off your shoulder, woman.  This isn’t the problem of the Church, it’s the problem of SOCIETY where men are seen as objects.  This is not so in the Church. And yet you are the one who’s urging people to throw off those oppressive chains of the Church and go worldly.  Banner idea.

No. God created woman to work in solidarity with God’s other creation, man; to stand alongside and not in back or in front of him, to care for all of God’s creation. Both creation stories confirm this. The first chapter of Genesis states that God created male and female at the same time as the pinnacle of God’s creation (Gen 1:26), to nurture and sustain it, not to dominate or destroy it. But many know nothing of this story because the emphasis of Christian churches has always been on the story of Adam and Eve.

OK, can we go back to her lack of Bible reading?  Where does she get this stuff??? The creation of the animals and the creation of man weren’t the same AT ALL.  Yes, God created the animals male and female “at the same time”, but humans?  We were special.  Not quite sure why there’s a problem with emphasizing the story of Adam and Eve, since they were, after all, humans who, unlike animals, were infused with a soul and made in the image of God and giving FREE WILL!. Yeah, not quite the same as the animals.

Even there we do not find a mandate for woman to be submissive to the will of man. Both are meant to submit to the will of God and both fail to do so, in their own way. Eve is Adam’s help-mate, a term too often misinterpreted as servant or slave, rather than one who works in harmony with him as an equal. They do not have ownership of each other or of God’s creation; they are stewards, not masters. They have the ability, by the grace of God, to think for themselves and, in doing so, as many of us finite humans continue to do to this day, they strayed from God’s path. They were punished by banishment but they were not cursed.

OK, let’s stop right there.  People have got to stop paraphrasing Bible and read it in context and in its entirety.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

16 To the woman he said, Many are the pangs, many are the throes I will give thee to endure; with pangs thou shalt give birth to children, and thou shalt be subject to thy husband; he shall be thy lord. 17 And to Adam he said, Thou hast listened to thy wife’s counsel, and hast eaten the fruit I forbade thee to eat; and now, through thy act, the ground is under a curse. All the days of thy life thou shalt win food from it with toil; 18 thorns and thistles it shall yield thee, this ground from which thou dost win thy food. 19 Still thou shalt earn thy bread with the sweat of thy brow, until thou goest back into the ground from which thou wast taken; dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 16-19)

Tell me again how women aren’t to be submissive to their husbands?

…thou shalt be subject to thy husband; he shall be thy lord.

Subject and lord, Ms. Hayes.

More important, their banishment freed them to create life themselves in their own image and likeness and that of God’s, again by the compassionate grace of God. They were freed to cultivate the land, to attain knowledge of themselves and the world around them. In other words, they were freed to be human. Eve was not the source of evil or the gateway to hell. She was and continues to be the source of life as we have come to know it in its purest and fullest sense.

Holy misinterpretation of the Bible, Batman!  Freed them??????? At this point I’ve got to wonder how much they wasted paying this lady at Georgetown.  I ‘ve got to think that she cannot possibly be this stupid and that she’s totally trying to change reality for her own end game.

Freed them?! They already had free will and they blew it.  They had it all – everlasting life, love, no pain, no toil, no sin, and they threw it away when they gave into sin. They become subject to the effects of their sin. It wasn’t freeing AT ALL.  Please, for goodness sake, re-read it again and stop spewing this insane garbage to your readers and the poor students of Georgetown when you visit!  You’re being the serpent all over again!

God created woman to work in solidarity with God’s other creation, man; to stand alongside and not in back or in front of him, to care for all of God’s creation.

And we humans ruined that from the get go when we chose to follow Satan rather than God’s commands.

Women are the bearers of life and culture. They tell the stories, sing the songs, reweave the tapestries of our lives, and pass on knowledge of life and the world around them to all of humanity. Their gifts should be celebrated rather than condemned, rewarded rather than punished, proclaimed rather than ignored. Jesus himself proclaimed in Mark 14:9 of the unknown woman who anointed him, “I assure you that wherever the gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

And?  Where has the Church said anything to the contrary?  Again, Ms. Hayes will be playing the role of the serpent in today’s over dramatization.

The gospel has been preached for two millennia, but somehow this passage has been ignored, in much the same way that the role of women in Jesus’ ministry and their proclaiming of the gospel message have been ignored. Instead, we hear only of women who are sinners or martyrs, virgins or whores. Where are the real women living real lives of love, friendship, study, writing, preaching, prophesying, dancing, praying, and singing? We know little of them.

Wow!  This babe is bitter! The question is, just who is she bitter with?  The Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?  Seems like the only one focusing on “martyrs, virgins or whores” is her, judging by how she likes to put forth that list every chance she gets.  Maybe she should try reading the lives of the Saints.  Methinks she’s missed a whole bunch of them.  Also, what does she mean by “real women?”  Are the Saints suddenly now all made up?  Sorry, Ms. Hayes.  They were all real women, some of who led extra-ordinary lives and some who led really ordinary lives but transformed them with their love of God.  Your depiction of them is, well, sad.

Women, of every race and nation, have carried the weight of the world on their shoulders from time immemorial. They have suffered long enough for the sins and failings of everyone. It is time, long past time, for them to come down from the cross and walk freely into new life, a life of possibility, not pain, of progress, not false failures. This does not mean that they can walk away from responsibility toward themselves and others but that they have the freedom to choose for themselves the paths they should take, the lives they should lead, the tapestries they will weave. All adults, male and female, should be free to choose. They are free to envision different possibilities for themselves and, therefore, for those they love.

Didn’t she say this already?  Can someone explain free will, crosses, and suffering to this lady?  I cannot believe the theology people at Georgetown! (Who am I kidding?  Yes, I can!) My junior high children can probably explain a few things to them.

Woman! Come down from that cross! It is not yours to bear. Jesus was nailed to the cross, died, and rose again, making the cross a symbol of resurrection, not of pain or death. Life up your head, look the world straight in the eye, and come down from the cross to take up your life as God’s beloved, weaving a new world, free of pain and suffering, hatred, prejudice and discrimination, oppression and marginalization, into a new, complex, and fruitful life.

Come down!

How poetic and Toni Morrison sounding, and yet, oh so not Catholic and contradictory.  If, as she says, the cross is “a symbol of resurrection, not of pain or death”, why WOULDN’T you want to unite yourself with it?!? Why would you want to leave it behind you?  Make up your mind! I wish blog posts had an easy way to insert sound effects.  I think I would add retching here.  I’ll just sum it up with GAG!

It really doesn’t surprise me in the least Fr. James Martin, SJ likes this drivel but I wish he devotees would open their eyes for just a second and maybe study Catholicism all on their own.  I think they’d actually be shocked, after years of following people like Martin, Hayes, et. al., that there is a really different Catholic Church out there than what has been put forth to them.  Develop a brain for yourself people.  Read the Bible.  Read the Catechism.  Read the documents of the Church. Martin and Hayes have a little problem doing so. Please don’t take the word of Fr. James Martin, SJ and ilk.  It’ll just make you as bitter as they are. Look for yourself and see the true freedom Christ offers through the Church.


Finger-Wagging Fest!

I thought Catholic University of America was getting better, but they’ve got this guy as a visiting fellow?  Let’s hope he’s not visiting that long.

“My column this week is a collection of personal comments,” Archbishop Charles Chaput begins his weekly column in his archdiocesan newspaper. “Read it as thoughts from a brother in the faith, not as teachings from an archbishop.” I wonder if all the “brothers in the faith” in the City of Brotherly Love get to have their “personal comments” so widely distributed? Of course, at no time is a bishop not a bishop, or a priest not a priest, so the idea that he can take off his miter and share “personal comments” is naïve at best.

Um, Mr. Winters, you just kind of annoy me, for starters.  Next, bishops can very well give you their personal thoughts in a public forum.  Do you think that, once the miter goes on, they must keep their mouths closed?  Give me a break.  Distribution matters little.  He was presenting no formal teaching nor telling anyone who they should vote for.  

This disclaimer raises a different question though: Why? Why does Archbishop Chaput feel the need to share these thoughts on politics which he seems to understand are not a fit object for his teaching authority? Does he think they are profound? Did he have trouble coming up with something to write about this week? Is there something that makes him crave controversy? This last characteristic is not a bad trait in a blogger, but in a bishop?

Really, Mr. Winters?  You may or may not receive spiritual guidance in temporal matters, but a lot of the faithful do.  Do you know how many times I’ve seen “What are we supposed to do?!?!” asked of our spiritual fathers?  It’s come up almost every time I’ve seen a priest since the major party candidates were locked down.  Does he really “crave controversy”, Mr.  Winters, or does he just not shy away from it, unlike some? 

Let’s just be honest.  You want to play the usual National catholic Reporter game of trying to silence an orthodox spiritual leader who takes his duty seriously, while you get to keep flapping your gums.  A good chunk of us see through this little game.

When we attend to the content of the archbishop’s column the questions and concerns deepen and multiply. Archbishop Chaput writes:

“Presidential campaigns typically hit full stride after Labor Day in an election year. But 2016 is a year in which two prominent Catholics – a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party — both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along.”

And your internal drama is what??? Oh, yeah, he’s calling them on their garbage.  I’m sure that does deepen and multiply your concerns and ruin your plans.

My inner editor wishes to know what the first and second sentence have to do with one another. My inner analyst wants to know why Archbishop Chaput begins his column taking a swipe at Joe Biden and Tim Kaine? Did he hear Tim Kaine talk about the importance of faith in his life? Has he ever spoken with Biden about his faith? That faith may be in error as it pertains to some issues of public morality but the faith of these two men is undoubtedly real and important to them.

Wait!  Let’s just pause right there.  Some issues?  Important to them?  When you hold a faith dear, you usually adhere to it.  The Catholic faith isn’t their little toy.  It has nice set rules.  One can adhere to them, or one can chuck them at will, which is exactly what Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber do.  Please understand, Mr.  Winters, (and you’d think you wouldn’t have to have this explained to you since you are a “visiting fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies”) Mr. Kaine and Mr. Biden have delineated, most publicly, their dissent from Catholic teaching.  Nobody has to talk to them personally and hear from them how important their faith is when they’ve already spewed their driveling dissent.

Like Archbishop Chaput, I wish Kaine and Biden extended their obvious concern for the downtrodden to the unborn, but I can also discern the reasons they fail to do so, and those reasons do not add up to an “invention” of the content of their faith. They see the public application of their faith differently, and I think wrongly, but they are hardly charlatans.

Dude!  That’s the definition of an invention of the faith.  You are not FAITHFUL (that’s “full of faith”, in case you were unaware) to the Catholic Church if you dissent from her teachings.  They don’t get to see the public application of their faith differently.  We’ve got documents on that from our very own USCCB:  Ironically this document was developed in part by Archbishop Chaput because, why?  Oh, he has the authority to do so!

Archbishop Chaput continues:

“And meanwhile, both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.

This is depressing and liberating at the same time. Depressing, because it’s proof of how polarized the nation has become. Liberating, because for the honest voter, it’s much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps. I’ve been a registered independent for a long time and never more happily so than in this election season.”

How does the perception that both candidates for the White House have astonishing flaws offer “proof of how polarized the nation has become.” Could not that polarization be evidenced by candidates with less obvious flaws? Lincoln was no slacker, but he assumed the presidency at a time of enormous polarization. And, why do those flaws make it easier to “ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants” of the two parties? And, why is it ever hard for a bishop to “ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants” of the two parties? I thought that mostly came with the office.

I’m sorry, sir. (Am I allowed to use that term?  So hard to tell these days.)  Have you looked out the window?  Their “astonishing flaws” are fanning the flames of hate on both sides.  Neither of these two are Lincoln, and I doubt many of their supporters would say so.  Please tell me you understand at least that!  These two have whipped this world into a frenzy.  Not really seeing your point here. 

The archbishop continues:

“As Forbes magazine pointed out some months ago, the Republican candidate is worth roughly $4.5 billion. The Democratic candidate is worth roughly $45 million. Compare that with the average American household, which is worth about $144,000. The median U.S. income is about $56,000.  Neither major candidate lives anywhere near the solar system where most Americans live, work and raise families.  Nonetheless, we’re asked to trust them.

The archbishop can travel a few blocks up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from his cathedral to see a large equestrian statue of George Washington, or he can head the other direction to the statue of Washington in front of Independence Hall. Washington was a fabulously wealthy planter in his day. Did his wealth make him suspect? Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were from different branches of the same wealthy family. Did their wealth keep them from empathy with the life of the common man? Did the American people have trouble trusting any of these presidents because of their wealth? Why is the personal wealth of the candidates so important this time?

OK, fair point here. (Thank goodness there was at least one.) That said, I think the ivory tower did get a whole lot higher since Teddy and FDR.  I mean, FDR was Sec Nav and visited France during WWI to observe military activities first hand, and Teddy was a colonel in the Spanish-American War.  Trump and Clinton never got near the trenches, much less in them.  And neither of them have overcome too much adversity, unless you consider being in disastrous marriages a triumph of some sort.

Then comes the second most troublesome part of the article. Archbishop Chaput compares the two presidential candidates, writing:

Hold on!  Here it is!  All of the other stuff was troubling, but this, this, my friends, is what troubles Mr. Winters the most!

“One candidate — in the view of a lot of people — is an eccentric businessman of defective ethics whose bombast and buffoonery make him inconceivable as president. And the other – in the view of a lot of people – should be under criminal indictment. The fact that she’s not — again, in the view of a lot of people — proves Orwell’s Animal Farm principle that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

First, I cannot ignore the qualifying phrase “in the view of a lot of people,” not least this year when Mr. Donald Trump repeatedly uses a similar rhetorical device to avoid responsibility from spreading whichever ridiculous conspiracy theory comes out of his mouth after he intones, “Well, a lot of people think that. …” We teach our children not to say things like that because it is morally irresponsible. To find such words in a column by a bishop is frankly shocking.

The horrors! The Archbishop uses a same phrase that the Trumpster uses!  Shocking, I tell you!  Except it’s not.  Are you really questioning that a lot of people think that???  Of course not.  You’re just trying to suggest the Archbishop is in the Trump tank.  Good luck with that.  You do realize that clergy who are backing Trump usually just say we cannot vote for the party whose platform is the antithesis of Church teaching.  Easy peasy if that’s where he was.

Second, there is no comparison between the two charges. Mr. Trump’s eccentricity, his bombast and buffoonery, are all things about which any viewer can form an opinion. The charge of “defective ethics” is more difficult but still the kind of thing voters routinely need to assess about a candidate. The charge that Mrs. Hillary Clinton “should be under criminal indictment” is a matter for a trained, and empowered, prosecutor to make and, in Clinton’s case, the relevant prosecutor, acting on the public advice of the Director of the FBI, James Comey, who said that no responsible prosecutor would indict Mrs. Clinton. Does Archbishop Chaput have information that Director Comey lacked? It is true that Republican Party surrogates have disparaged Comey’s claim but has anyone any basis for refuting it?

Perhaps Mr. Winters forgot what he wasted the ink in the previous paragraph telling us?  You remember “in the view of a lot of people”, don’t you Mr. Winters?  What part of the archbishop’s statement don’t you find accurate?  A LOT of people do think Hillary Clinton should be indicted!  Are you really trying to deny that?  In fact, CCN (hardly a conservative bastion) found that 56% of American adults (last time I checked that was a lot of them) DISAGREE with NOT charging her.  I guess the editor in you missed this.  If you’re going to try and quote the archbishop, you might want to get it correct.

Archbishop Chaput then pens what are to my mind the most regrettable paragraphs of the entire column. He writes:

 I guess your “inner editor” wasn’t on the clock today.  Seriously? “Concern,”  “Second most troublesome,” and now “most regrettable”?!?  What’s next?  “Super most regrettable?”  I think we’re going for fever-pitch, but it’s just getting silly.

“So what are we to do this election cycle as Catholic voters?  Note that by “Catholic,” I mean people who take their faith seriously; people who actually believe what the Catholic faith holds to be true; people who place it first in their loyalty, thoughts and actions; people who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.

Anyone else who claims the Catholic label is simply fooling himself or herself — and even more importantly, misleading others.”

“I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like other men. …” Apart from the general unattractiveness of finger-wagging, why this diversion from his main theme? Does the archbishop want to let the Catholics of Philadelphia know that he is on to them, that he knows which among them are not real Catholics, that they are fooling themselves? And who are these less-than-real Catholics? Those who do not see the world the way the archbishop sees it? Can you imagine Pope Francis writing this? He certainly challenges all of us, but never without words of encouragement and he reserves his harsh judgments for the clergy and the powerful, not for the people.

Oh the hypocrisy!  Finger-wagging is apparently unattractive unless you are Mr. Winters. Then it’s just fine as shown in this lovely piece. Personally, Catholic should be enough, but when you’ve got Biden and Kaine touting their Catholicity, somebody needs to do some ‘splaining.  You are a less-than-faithful Catholic when you are a less-than-faithful Catholic. Being a faithful Catholic doesn’t mean you’re not stupid and sin sometimes.  This means you try to live the teachings of the Catholic Church and you don’t go around dissenting from them.    For example, yes, I consider myself a faithful Catholic and try to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Do I fail?  Often, but I don’t go around telling everyone that’s peachy because my public and private life are separate, or that the Church’s teachings are superseded by situation ethics like Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber.  In other words, you don’t try to justify your mistakes like these two.

I call the attention of readers to one hopeful sentiment in this. Archbishop Chaput writes of those “who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.” The Church recently offered guidance in the area of family life and marriage. That guidance took the form of the deliberations and resulting documents from two worldwide synods of bishops and a concluding Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia. Archbishop Chaput has issued “guidelines” for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia in his archdiocese. As I wrote at the time, those guidelines struck me as if they could have been written before the synods took place or Pope Francis wrote his exhortation. But, what do I know? Archbishop Joseph Kurtz appointed Archbishop Chaput to lead a committee of U.S. bishops to discuss the implementation of Amoris Laetitia.

What do you know?  Not much on this issue.   Are you saying that Amoris Latitia is breaking with the tradition of the Church?  Did Fr. José Granados, vice president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family and consultor of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops not say Amoris Laetitia that must be read in “doctrinal continuity”?  Is Archbishop Chaput somehow not reading it in that light? If so, let’s not allude.  Let’s through out a few little facts.

We do know that Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, has emerged as the designated interpreter of Amoris Laetitia, and that Civilta Cattolica is running a series of essays on the document that re-affirm what the synods and the Holy Father intend. One such essay, by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J. and Fr. Lou Cameli of the Archdiocese of Chicago, looks extensively at the issue of discernment in ways that are in stark contradistinction with both the tone and the content of Archbishop Chaput’s guidelines, wherein he only mentioned discernment once and that was when he was quoting the pope. I think that the principle of non-contradiction is too often invoked in ecclesiastical discussions, and that philosophic principles must be applied gently and even a bit loosely to messy human lives. Still, the two divergent interpretations cannot co-exist forever. I am betting it will become clear to all, if it is not already, that Archbishop Chaput is staking out a position at odds with the pope and the synods.

And, who are you again?  Where exactly does your knowledge come from?  I mean, I’m not knocking a lack of degrees, but some tangible understanding of Catholic doctrine and Canon Law might be helpful before you try to cast aspersions on an archbishop simply because his narrative doesn’t fit yours.  It’s laughable to think that the tone and content is contradictory because he only mentioned discernment once.  I missed the Congregation of Whatever saying that Archbishop Chaput is at odds with the Church.  Anyone else?

I admit that I find it tiresome to have to continually criticize Archbishop Chaput. I do so in sadness not in anger. But, it must be said: If I were writing a work of fiction and I wanted to create a caricature of a culture warrior bishop, I do not think I would have the courage to create one so reckless, so uncomplicated in his moral sensibilities (and not in a good way), and so quick to render judgment against others, so willing to ignore the pope, or to cite him, as it suits his own purposes, so intellectually thin and so edgily partisan, as Archbishop Chaput’s columns show him to be.

Oh, you poor, poor man.  Here’s an idea.  Stop.  You do a pathetic job of it.  You didn’t even seem to know he’s neither a Democrat nor a Republican.  He’s a registered Independent, for goodness’ sake.  Where does his heart lie?  Uh, maybe with the Church?  Too bad it’s not the same for the “Catholics” in the race. 

Ask yourself, Mr. Winters, has the archbishop been taken to task for his instruction on Amoris Laetitia (by anyone of the hierarchy, not just you and the Reporter)?  Of course not.  Why?  Because the archbishop’s instruction is spot on and, here’s the kicker, he’s completely consistent with Church tradition no matter your ridiculous opinion.

[Michael Sean Winters is NCR Washington columnist and a visiting fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies.] Still finding this hard to believe.  Please understand that a “visiting fellow” really means zippo.  I’d love to find the full biography of his Catholic education, but I’ve yet to find anything.  Does he have any higher Catholic education, or is he just beer buddies with Fr. Martin, SJ?  Oh, and can I be a “visiting gal” Catholic University?

I’m with Him!

In case you’ve been wondering about my absence recently, I’ve been traveling A LOT this summer.   God’s just had me incredibly busy.  Of course, every time I wrap up a school year, I think “Vacation!”, but I might have finally realized after almost 20 years that I’m busier in the summer, so I’m looking forward to my next homeschool stay-cation.

Anyway, I’m trying to jump back into the blog scene.  Many things – wonderful and tragic – have occurred since my writing slowed down.  That said, there’s one thing looming like a big black cloud, and that’s the election.

I’ve spent a great deal of my summer talking to the “famous” people of the Catholic and pro-life world, and the conversation always turns to “Who are you voting for?”  It’s a conversation I’ve come to dread.  I usually get a few words out before I’m told, “You’re judging Trump’s soul!”, “You’re not thinking about the babies!”, “You’re just being prideful!”, “You’re not thinking about the Supreme Court!”, “You’re voting for Hillary!” (I would never advocate that, so don’t break out in hives!), etc.  The proverbial kitchen sink has been thrown at me without one thought that I might just have a thought or two of my own.  I mean, seriously, I’m not thinking about the Supreme Court and I’m not pro-life?  Saving babies and their mothers has been in my brain, just about non-stop, since I was sixteen.  Save it.  I’m in agony here.  “What else are we going to do?!” doesn’t cut it with me.  It’s far more complex.

I felt a sigh of relief when this came across my desk:  Rather than casting aspersions on some really great, faithful people, I think this is the way to handle it.  In short, shut up and pray like crazy – every last one of us!  I think the good archbishop realized that the Christian faithful are tearing each other apart over this.  Quite frankly, it’s been rather sickening to see.  Vigorous debates are good!  Keep having them.  Saying good Christian souls of good-will are (crazy, etc., fill in the blank) for voting for whomever is ridiculous and quite pompous, and those engaging in this tactic might need to schedule some plank removing time.

Because links sometimes aren’t followed, let’s break this one down.

Archbishop Chaput’s column

Some personal thoughts on the months ahead

Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.


Posted August 12, 2016

My column this week is a collection of personal comments.  Read it as thoughts from a brother in the faith, not as teachings from an archbishop.

Understood!  That’s pretty much a caveat for the ACLU and the rest of the liberals who are ready to pounce at the slightest.

Presidential campaigns typically hit full stride after Labor Day in an election year.  But 2016 is a year in which two prominent Catholics – a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party — both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along.  And meanwhile, both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.

It is possible for someone to say that they are not sure who they will vote for, or even if they will vote, without saying that these two loons are peachy and we’re fine with them being in office.  Don’t believe me?  Read on.

This is depressing and liberating at the same time.  Depressing, because it’s proof of how polarized the nation has become.  Liberating, because for the honest voter, it’s much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps.  I’ve been a registered independent for a long time and never more happily so than in this election season.  Both major candidates are – what’s the right word? so problematic – that neither is clearly better than the other.

And this is where I think “Finally!  Somebody gets me who’s not related to me!”  They are BOTH hugely problematic.  Please “Catholic 4 Trump”, stop candy coating him for a win.  Trump is highly problematic.  I don’t care if you pray, fast, think and vote for him anyway, but we have to admit that.  Defending him on his over the top ideas is just downright shilling for him.  If you feel you need to vote for him to stem evil, to save SCOTUS, etc., I can see that argument.  Saying he’s great?  Not so much.  Hillary?  Well, that goes without saying.  Almost all if not all of her policies are plain evil.

As Forbes magazine pointed out some months ago, the Republican candidate is worth roughly $4.5 billion.  The Democratic candidate is worth roughly $45 million.  Compare that with the average American household, which is worth about $144,000.  The median U.S. income is about $56,000.  Neither major candidate lives anywhere near the solar system where most Americans live, work and raise families.  Nonetheless, we’re asked to trust them.

That’s a big ask.  One candidate — in the view of a lot of people — is an eccentric businessman of defective ethics whose bombast and buffoonery make him inconceivable as president.  And the other – in the view of a lot of people – should be under criminal indictment.  The fact that she’s not – again, in the view of a lot of people — proves Orwell’s Animal Farm principle that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

I could have added a little more, but I can live with this, since he left us a nice “Animal Farm” quote. (Please parents, have your kids read.)

So what are we to do this election cycle as Catholic voters?  Note that by “Catholic,” I mean people who take their faith seriously; people who actually believe what the Catholic faith holds to be true; people who place it first in their loyalty, thoughts and actions; people who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.

Anyone else who claims the Catholic label is simply fooling himself or herself — and even more importantly, misleading others

Cough! *Pelosi, Biden, Kaine* Cough!

The American bishops offer valuable counsel in their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (available from the USCCB), and this year especially, they ask us to pray before we vote. This is hardly new “news.” Prayer is always important. In a year when each Catholic voter must choose between deeply flawed options, prayer is essential. And prayer involves more than mumbling a Hail Mary before we pull the voting booth lever for someone we see as the lesser of two evils. Prayer is a conversation, an engagement of the soul with God.  It involves listening for God’s voice and educating our consciences. (emphasis mine)


So, dear friends who’ve told me I’m doing everything from voting for Hillary to forgetting about the babies killed by abortion, do you honestly think that I’m doing this because I haven’t arrived at the same conclusion you have? This does go both ways my friends.  Do you really believe that people voting for Trump are selling their souls?  If you do, don’t you think that maybe they’ve prayed, fasted and given a lot of thought to their position?  Of course, I will say I’ve heard far more of the former than the latter, but I recognize that it does happen with people not voting for Trump..

It’s absurd – in fact, it’s blasphemous – to assume that God prefers any political party in any election year.  But God, by his nature, is always concerned with good and evil and the choices we make between the two.  For Catholics, no political or social issue stands in isolation.  But neither are all pressing issues equal in foundational importance or gravity.  The right to life undergirds all other rights and all genuine social progress.  It cannot be set aside or contextualized in the name of other “rights” or priorities without prostituting the whole idea of human dignity.

Well, that was a not-so-subtle shout out to Cupich, McElroy, and the rest of the seamless garment crowd.  I’m sure there are a whole lot of Catholics in their dioceses wishing Chaput was their archbishop.

God created us with good brains.  It follows that he will hold us accountable to think deeply and clearly, rightly ordering the factors that guide us, before we act politically.  And yet modern American life, from its pervasive social media that too often resemble a mobocracy, to the relentless catechesis of consumption on our TVs, seems designed to do the opposite.  It seems bent on turning us into opinionated and distracted cattle unable to gain mastery over our own appetites and thoughts.  Thinking and praying require silence, and the only way we can get silence is by deciding to step back and unplug.

Whether or not your final decision matches mine, I trust that faithful Catholics everywhere are attempting to do this in such a tumultuous year.  I also trust that many will do the 54 Day Novena which starts TODAY! If you’re worried about this election at all, you will do this!

This year, a lot of good people will skip voting for president but vote for the “down ticket” names on their party’s ballot; or vote for a third party presidential candidate; or not vote at all; or find some mysterious calculus that will allow them to vote for one or the other of the major candidates.  I don’t yet know which course I’ll personally choose.  It’s a matter properly reserved for every citizen’s informed conscience.

Wait!  That’s just crazy talk!  If you’re voting for someone other than the person I’m voting for or not voting for, etc., you can’t possibly be good!  That was sarcastic in part, but I’ve actually been told that, people!  Can we go over my favorite part of that, one ore time, and kind of where I am at this moment?

or find some mysterious calculus that will allow them to vote for one or the other of the major candidates.

I still haven’t found that calculus, and it looks like I’m in good company.  Are my well meaning friends now going to tell the good archbishop that he’s voting for ‘Killary?’

But I do know a few of the things I’ll be reading between now and November.  The list is not exclusive or comprehensive.  But this year these particular titles seem especially urgent:

Living the Gospel of Life. This 1998 pastoral letter of the U.S. bishops remains the best brief guide to American Catholic political reflection yet produced.

Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society by R.R. Reno (Regnery) and It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies by Mary Eberstadt (HarperCollins). Both of these books are new, important, a key to understanding the current moment in our national life, and deeply engaging.  They need to be discussed and shared widely.

And finally two essays by the late, great Czech writer, Václav Havel, “Politics and Conscience” and “The Power of the Powerless.” Both are collected in Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990 (Vintage Books).  Havel was not (to my knowledge) a religious believer, and he wrote as a dissident during an era of Soviet Bloc repression.  But his commitment to what he called “living in the truth,” and his understanding and critique of the weaknesses in Western societies like our own – not just Marxist ones – were remarkable.  They remain relevant right now, today.

It looks like I’ve got some more reading on my plate!  How about you?

The next few months will determine the next decade and more of our nation’s life.  We need to be awake, we need to clear our heads of media noise, and we need to think quietly and carefully before we vote.  None of us can afford to live the coming weeks on autopilot.

Right!  Autopilot bad.  This is the one thing I don’t think I’ll ever understand.  We, as a nation, took the carrot away from Trump to behave in a manner fitting of, well, almost any position we hold dear.  We said, “Hey!  We’ve got no choice! We’re voting for you!” instead of “We still have a choice to ditch you at any time because we’re not on autopilot and we can course correct if needed!  You better earn our vote!”  It’s not too late.  We can still do that.” We don’t have to be living examples of “Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” I think some of the many “thinkers” already came to that conclusion or were there in the first place.  They need to figure out a way to put Trump on notice and hold his feet to the fire.

In conclusion, I respect most of you who read this blog, whether or not you’re voting for the person I’m voting for come election day.  Save the rhetoric and realize that people can pray, fast, search for answers and come to a totally different conclusion than you and still be a faithful Catholic trying their best to follow God’s will.  Regardless of who ends up as president, there’s A LOT of work we all need to do to clean up this country, and it’s much easier to do if we haven’t taken a sword to each other over this election.  We know who we can’t vote for, and now we need to figure out who God wants us – each, individually – to vote for.  “We don’t have a choice” is not a good reason to vote for someone.  We always have a choice.