Some nonsense from Andrew Sullivan

The young scholarship seeking Papist says that "Andrew Sullivan goes on a tear" after he hears about the Cardinal Stafford’s comments:

"The Vatican hierarchy has become radicalized under Benedict and John Paul II – so much so that they see the West since the 1960s as entirely a creature of resistance to Humanae Vitae, the papal declaration that all non-procreative sex is a moral evil.  But the notion that the recent election of Obama is a sign of the Apocalypse has, until now, been restricted to Protestant loonies. Until now…"

 

First, the Church does not say that "non-procreative sex is a moral evil".  The Church teaches that sexual acts must be open to the transmission of life.

Secondly, he has no special insight into the end times.  He can say nothing about whether we have arrived or not.  We just don’t know.

Thirdly, he sounds rather like the anti-Catholic Richard McBrien, who says much the same about Popes Benedict and John Paul.

Fourthly, his statement smacks of anti-Catholic bigotry.

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29 Responses to Some nonsense from Andrew Sullivan

  1. Johnny Domer says:

    Why do liberal Catholics actually get ANGRY that the Church teaches what she does about contraception? I mean, it’s not like this is some novel teaching that we just cooked up in an arbitrary, unfair way that took everybody by surprise; we’ve never taught anything else. Pius XI said contraception was immoral, Paul VI said it was immoral, John Paul II said it was immoral, Benedict XVI says it’s immoral…honestly, this is ludicrous. How he can be shocked that Catholic bishops are actually proclaiming Catholic teaching is beyond me.

  2. TNCath says:

    I think Cardinal Stafford’s remarks, in the long run, are going to have more impact that anyone ever dreamed. The comparison of 1968 to 2008 is scary but true.

    Gethsemane here we come, right back where we started from!

  3. Brian O'Gallagher, Boston says:

    I don’t think criticizing a description of Barack Obama as “apocalyptic” really counts as “anti-Catholic bigotry”. [Did you actually read what was at the top?]

    Blowing people away with the charge of bigotry is what Abe Foxman at the ADL does. We can do better.

  4. I am more than a little surprised that Mr. Sullivan got any space here.

  5. Brian O'Gallagher, Boston says:

    Yes, I read the blurb, Father. I don’t agree with his analysis of the radicalized hierarchy, but I have to agree that to toss around the word ‘apocalyptic’ puts the Church in the same boat as the “loonies” Sullivan mentions.

    When most people hear you call something or someone ‘apocalyptic’, they close their ears and consider you crazy. We need the Gospel to be heard by the most, not the least.

  6. Ohio Annie says:

    Andrew Sullivan has made it abundantly clear for many years that he dislikes the Church and her teachings. This is nothing new. He is a famous pro-gay activist and I discount everything he says about morality.

  7. Brian O’Gallagher: And I think people don’t take the Four Last Things seriously, everyday, at the peril of their immortal souls. We are, btw, in the end times ever since the Lord ascended and promised to come again.

  8. TomG says:

    Mortal sin is soul-killing – and if that’s not apocalyptic, I don’t know what is!

  9. Brian O'Gallagher, Boston says:

    Father Z:
    I appreciate your sense of urgency. The last thing I’ll say on this is that proclaiming that God is with us, and He wants to be with you! delivers people from the fear of contemplating the 4 Last Things, much more so than holding up signs on the Common that say “The End is Nigh!” [Initium sapientiae est timor Domini.]

  10. Dear Mr. O’Gallagher, Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    Cardinal Stafford knows his Greek and he knows his CIC and he knows his Catechism. I am as sure as I can be that he used the term, “apocalyptic” to indicate the “eye-opening” or revelatory effect or significance of Obama’s election – and I am certain he was more than well aware of the way the word would affect the lay reader.

    If we do not succeed in changing the positive legal regime in the US, we will be forced to conclude that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another. (Cf. Federalist #55)

  11. toomey says:

    I miss my former Archbishop of Denver, Cardinal Stafford. What excellent sermons he could deliver.

  12. Brian O'Gallagher, Boston says:

    While I said I was done commenting, I must say to Mr Altieri that I seriously doubt that His Eminence was giving us a Greek lesson. And finally, while fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, those who toss around words like ‘apocalyptic’ are, IMO, trying to make us mostly afraid of our own deaths – a topic most will avoid contemplating if there’s never anything good proposed about it.
    However, I am relieved that the Cardinal has directed his threats of hellfire at one of our elected officials, who can address abortion day in/day out, as opposed to the voters, who have an indirect say in the matter one day every four years.

  13. Brian says:

    Brian O’Gallagher,
    Perhaps you might like to throw out much of the New Testament, including the last book of the Bible, “The Apocalypse of St. John the Apostle;” and, while you are at it, our Lord’s own words recorded in Mark 13.

    Too bad you weren’t around to keep those loonies in line.

  14. Heh.

    He thinks the Vatican hierarchy has become radicalized?

    Mr. Sullivan, you ought to meet some of the Catholics I know. If you think the Vatican is radical, then you ain’t seen nuthin’.

  15. tertullian says:

    I enjoy Robert George’s take on Sullivan…

    http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/a-walking-contradiction-2548

  16. TJM says:

    Andrew Sullivan is a Catholic, albeit a nominal one. Since the Church does not bless his
    homosexual lifestyle, the problem is the Church, not him. He was also all for the Iraqi War, until it became unfashionable in liberal circles. He’s really kind of lost it intellectually and I know longer pay any attention to what he has to say. Tom

  17. Kelly says:

    Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but I think Andrew Sullivan’s hatred for Humanae Vitae and the hierarchy comes from his not wanting to be told that homosexual sex is immoral. By teaching that all sexual acts must remain open to life, Humane Vitae doesn’t just close the door on contraception but also logically closes the door on homosexual sex. Rather than the Catholic hierarchy being radicalized, it is the laity like Mr. Sullivan who are the radicals. What is more radical than demanding a complete departure from the Church’s 2000 year old teaching regarding human sexuality?

    As a physician, the Cardinal’s remarks regarding Gethsemane ring true for me. If the president elect decides to follow through on his promises to usher in unrestricted abortion and to make it a crime to refuse to participate in its practice, then he is in effect nailing Catholic healthcare in America, practicing Catholic physicians and the million per year and probably more unborn children to the cross. If the thought of this does not cause us to become greatly distressed, then we are asleep indeed. This is not “Protestant loon talk,” but the reality before us. Please God let this cup pass us by.

  18. Cardinal Stafford was actually first raised to the episcopate under Pope Paul VI, not under John Paul II or Benedict XVI, though they did promote him.

  19. Howard says:

    Brian O’Gallagher said, However, I am relieved that the Cardinal has directed his threats of hellfire at one of our elected officials, who can address abortion day in/day out, as opposed to the voters, who have an indirect say in the matter one day every four years.

    On the contrary, although elected officials may be able to change the status of abortion law, almost every abortion is performed by an unelected abortionist, with unelected family and friends, on an unelected woman, sometimes under the coercion of an unelected boyfriend.

    Catechesis is the Normandy Beach of the Culture War. We have to keep up the legal front, the same way the Allies had to keep up operations in the Mediterranean Sea — and like the Mediterranean operations, the legal front has real unquestionable value. But where the War will be won or lost is in the churches, not in the legislatures.

    The Battle of the Bulge will come when the teaching of the Catholic Church (and allies in this struggle) influences the way we interact with out families and neighbors.

  20. dymphna says:

    Couldn’t we please just ignore Andrew Sullivan?

  21. Cardinal Stafford was named a bishop by Pope Paul.I remember him as an auxiiliary bishop of Baltimore.He was the family life rep for the NCCB and a delegate to the Synod on the family.He recently told of the pressure he got from fellow priests to sign the dissent against Humanae Vitae.Although he refused to sign eventually his stalwart defense of the encyclical weakened and by the time he went to the synod he was a dissenter.At the synod the testimony of married couples who abided by the encyclcal moved him and he returned a strong belever in Humanae Vitae.He said that when this got out one auxiliary would not speake to him and he was never again invited to the seminary.When Pope JPII visited Denver,Stafford publicly apologized for his dissent.He did this directly to the Holy Father. He also was an Athansius, when the Bernardin document on condoms was sent to the bishops for approval.He made a devastating critique of the document (including the footnotes)and together with Cardinal O’Connor got it remanded to Cardinal Ratszinger.What a churchman!

  22. Crusader Airman says:

    Hard to believe Andrew Sullivan was ordained a priest…how does one get so far away from their vocation? No wonder he seems perpetually angry…if I was at war with myself constantly, I’d be angry, too…

  23. Matthew says:

    Crusader Airman:
    Where in the heck did you hear the Sullivan was ever ordained? I have read his blog on and off for several years and in the mid-’90′s read his book “Virtually Normal” which contains and autobiographical preface. I have NEVER heard him say (write) that he was ordained.
    Matthew

  24. John Polhamus says:

    Obama promises that the first thing he’ll do is sign the Freedom of Choice Act, and this “reporter” calls Catholicism “reactonary and apocolyptic”? Get ready for the onslaugt. Politicize it, freeze it, diivide it and conquer it – otherwise known as Saul Alinsky’s “Community Organizing Tactic” – has been their modus operandi against the church since the 1930′s, and it’s probably about to work wonderfully for them. ANYTHING, now, that contradicts the received mandate will be declared SUBVERSION and RADICALISM. Now that the politics has been moved far enough to the left, anything less than radical leftism will be declared FASCIST and REACTIONARY. Anyone disagreeing with the Obama will be declared RACIST and a HATE-MONGER. This is an old story. It worked for the reforming Elizabethans, it worked for the Bolsheviks (boy did it work for THEM – read the first 60 or so pages of Gulag Archipeligo), and it worked for the Nazis. It worked for all of them…for a while. It’s called Socialism, which is another word for “Licence to Manipulate and Murder your Population in the name of Economic Progress.” Their waiting is almost over.

  25. Virgil says:

    Father Z:

    Your four points don’t give respect to Sullivan’s argument, it seems to me. His point is actually a worthy one to which I would like to hear you repond with more detailed insight.

    1. Sullivan (a Catholic, and a conservative one at that) is not misquoting Church teaching. He is saying that the current cadre of bishops are so focused on Humanae Vitae, that they actually have neglected the greater body of Church teaching, especially in this last election cycle. I think his blurring of “open to procreation” vs “non-procreative” only reflects the blurring of the debate at large.

    2. I grant that Stafford, as a Prince of the Church, might have an ounce or two more insight into the Parousia. However, Sullivans’s point is exactly the same as yours. Every time there is a hurricane or an election or a bad horoscope, we are used to hearing a lot of screaming about the end times from the loony fundamentalist types. Not often that this kind of “insight into the end times” comes from a Catholic prelate!

    3. I agree that Sullivan sounds a lot like McBrien & Co. However, if you read his work, he criticizes the heirarchy from a very conservative perspective. He believes (I disagree with him) that the JohnPaul2 and B16 appointments are, in fact, radically changing the foundations of the Church. In this case, by tying the Church ever closer to Republican talking points. (Sullivan is also a Republican, who has the same criticism of the current party leadership – that they have left true Republican values behind.)

    4. I must remind you that Sullivan is as deeply Catholic as you and I. He makes these comments because he loves his Church, and he sees it in danger of losing its identity. In his view, Stafford is suggesting that we abandon the 2000 year label of “One Holy Catholic Apostolic” and change our name to “Vatican Pro-Life Action League.”

  26. RBrown says:

    4. I must remind you that Sullivan is as deeply Catholic as you and I. He makes these comments because he loves his Church, and he sees it in danger of losing its identity. In his view, Stafford is suggesting that we abandon the 2000 year label of “One Holy Catholic Apostolic” and change our name to “Vatican Pro-Life Action League.”
    Comment by Virgil

    Sullivan rejects the Church teaching on homosexuality, hardly an indication that he “loves his Church”. His rejection of Church teaching on sexuality is an a priori rejection of the Church’s Divine authority to teach.

    The faith of Andrew Sullivan, therefore, is not in the Church but in his own opinions.

  27. EDG says:

    Andrew Sullivan’s entire life now revolves around his private parts, and his anger at Humanae Vitae is not related to contraception, but to what is both implicit and explicit in it: procreation is intrinsically part of sex. Naturally, having decided to define himself as “gay,” he realizes that this implies a condemnation of his recreational sexual activities.

    I think Cdl Stafford was right on target with all of his remarks. Under Obama, I think there will be legal pressure on Catholic medical institutions to practice abortion. But I actually think that the worst pressure will come through the radical homosexuals, who will use their protected status to attempt to suppress Catholic teaching, preaching and practice. This will result not only in the suppression of speech for Catholics, but in legal restrictions that may devastate the Church. And Andrew Sullivan will most probably be out there happily leading the pack.

  28. jarhead462 says:

    Virgil- Stop it.
    “I agree that Sullivan sounds a lot like McBrien & Co. However, if you read his work, he criticizes the heirarchy from a very conservative perspective. He believes (I disagree with him) that the JohnPaul2 and B16 appointments are, in fact, radically changing the foundations of the Church. In this case, by tying the Church ever closer to Republican talking points. (Sullivan is also a Republican, who has the same criticism of the current party leadership – that they have left true Republican values behind.)”

    I’m sure that JPII and Benedict XVI are worried about what the Republican Party in the United States are using for talking points.
    And as far as Sullivan’s Republican credentials……Don’t make me laugh.

    Semper Fi!

  29. Ed the Roman says:

    Sullivan is conservative in the sense that he wishes to conserve much of the 1970s and 1980s, largely having to do with clubs. But that’s it.