Michael Novak rightly vents about L’Osservatore Romano

In National Review Online Michael Novak vents about the recent "Westpolitik" blunderings of L’Osservatore Romano.

My emphases and comments.

May 26, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

All the Confusion Fit to Print
The paper disappoints.

By Michael Novak

For several weeks now, L’Osservatore Romano has published glowing, star-struck, teenage praise of Pres. Barack Obama, while blithely ignoring what its praise means in the American context. [This next part is good...] It fails to grasp the full threat Obama poses for the American Catholic conscience. [We are now into WDTPRS's ongoing discussion of Catholic identity.] Several leading American bishops are distraught, and have asked for help: L’Osservatore Romano must learn of the immense scandal it is causing in America.  [I wondered why L'OR published a slightly newsier article shortly after the laudatory editorial.   Keep in mind also my theory that the some of the squishy diplomats in the Secretariat of State wanted L'OR to write well of Pres. Obama in advance of a potential visit in July.]

The most recent example was in regard to the young president’s mendacious talk at the University of Notre Dame on May 17. There are five crucial facts of which L’Osservatore Romano seems — like a blind observer of faraway events — completely ignorant.

[1] One. In 2004, the American Catholic bishops formally declared that Catholic educational and other institutions in the U.S. ought not to give honors to any public leader who speaks against (defies) our fundamental moral principles. This was a solemn declaration, an explicit part of the bishops’ teaching magisterium. In the case of Obama, two fundamental principles were at stake: the right to life and freedom of conscience.

[2] Two. About 40 percent of America’s 65 million Catholics attend Mass at least once weekly. Most of these Catholics stand with the natural law to oppose abortion, often passionately. For some years, and even in part today, Catholic laymen and women have been more public and fierce in their hatred for abortion than many bishops, who at times have seemed to be afraid to take the lead and voice their consciences in public. [Amen.] But in recent years, more and more American bishops have been quite brave about this issue, and embarrassed many of their brother bishops into public support for the pro-life cause. The late John Cardinal O’Connor of New York was an outstanding leader in this respect.

By contrast, those Catholics who go to Mass less than weekly (or, in about 10 percent of cases, never) have virtually the same pro-abortion views as the general secular and latitudinarian Protestant population.

Thus, when the secular press writes of “Catholics,” one must distinguish, in one’s own mind, which Catholics they mean, the most committed in practicing their faith, or the less serious and less observant. It is crystal clear that the most committed Catholics are nearly all pro-life — if not in all circumstances, then in virtually all. The less committed tend to support abortion in one way or another.

[3] Three. In the U.S., abortion law is extremely radical, with little leeway for compromises. The Supreme Court decided the issue in 1973, without seeking the consent of the people, and without support in the text of the Constitution. Essentially, the Court said that every woman at any moment has the right to have an abortion, right up to the moment of birth. This is the most extreme law in any civilized nation. [!] This is the standard that secular people and their sympathizers now take as the supreme measure of “reason.” Any opposition to it is painted as extremism.

[4] Four. Barack Obama, the bearer of so much promise as the fulfillment of the dream of those many Americans who died to overcome slavery, segregation, and second-class status for the children of Africa, has in fact gone farther than any president in American history in supporting abortion.

He has supported what is euphemistically called “partial-birth abortion,” which is actually disguised infanticide: [Not this this sort of infanticide but the more obvious kind as well... read on.] An abortionist induces birth, and just as the infant is beginning to emerge from the birth canal, the abortionist plunges scissors into its brain to kill it, so that, technically, it is dead before full delivery. [Here it is...] And Obama has opposed legislation that would have forbidden the voluntary throwing into a hospital garbage bin of any child on whom an abortion was attempted, but who nonetheless was born alive. As an Illinois state senator and then as a U.S. senator, Obama spoke against banning this practice. He was virtually alone in U.S. politics in going to such an extreme, just to please his pro-abortion constituency (which is central to his political base)[In other words, for whatever reason, he promoted literal infanticide.  The editor of L'OR praised Pres. Obama.  See the disconnect?]

During the 2008 campaign, he memorably noted that he would not “punish” his two young daughters by obliging them to give birth to a baby they might have conceived unintentionally. That a new child is a “punishment” is a position never before taken by a major political candidate in the United States.

L’Osservatore Romano knows not the positions it is supporting, when it supports President Obama on abortion. Neither does it understand the “code,” the doublespeak, in which pro-abortion partisans speak in the U.S. The mainstream pro-abortion leadership now has as its first priority the “Freedom of Choice Act,” which would enshrine abortion as a woman’s natural “right.” President Obama has promised the pro-abortion leadership that he will support such a bill. Its main thrust is to repeal any of the legislation since 1973 that puts at least some procedural limits on abortion: parental consent for abortions for children under 18, mandatory instruction of women seeking abortions to inform them of alternatives and support groups, mandatory waiting periods of a few days in order that the woman’s consent will be free and deliberate. All these would be swept away.

[5] Five. Worse, this Freedom of Choice Act would infringe the freedom of conscience of health-care workers. Anyone who would stand in the way of abortion could be recognized as a criminal. Thus doctors and nurses, even in Christian hospitals, who found participation in abortions abhorrent would be forced by law to practice abortion when requested, and forbidden to suggest alternatives. The practical upshot of this would be the refusal of Catholic and some other Christian hospitals to participate in abortions, and the closing of their obstetrical facilities — and perhaps the closing of entire hospitals. (Christian — mainly Catholic — hospitals comprise almost a third of all hospitals in the U.S.[Imagine the problem that would pose for delivering health care were most of them to close.]

In his Notre Dame address, President Obama seemed to retreat a step [seemed] when he said that any Freedom of Choice Act he signed would have “sensible conscience clauses.” But [pay attention... this is interesting...] this phrase is a term of art developed by the pro-abortion extremists. They are willing to “grant” that a doctor or a nurse may for reasons of conscience refuse to participate in an abortion — unless in an emergency they are the only staff available. In that case, the “constitutional right” of abortion would take precedence over their consciences.  ["sensible" right?  So, when you hear any Catholics saying they think that the President's suggestion of a "sensible conscience clause" show how open he is to his "political" opponents, think twice.]

In general, L’ Osservatore Romano seems not to grasp the fundamental realities of abortion politics in America. For the pro-abortion forces here, “reason” and “right” and “sensible” mean supporting abortion. Anything else is unreasonable, [EXACTLY] against women’s rights, and lacking in all sense. One highly placed appointee of President Obama even compares the condition of a woman who wants an abortion to that of the slave woman in America prior to 1863 — caught in a kind of mandatory, unwilling servitude. President Obama’s passionate speech at Notre Dame urged an impressionable young audience to keep “open hearts and open minds,” and to “use only fair-minded words.” This sounds liberal, and reasonable, and sweet — until, that is, one recognizes that only the pro-abortion people can speak in no other way than with open minds and open hearts and fair-minded speech. For they know that reason, good sense, natural right, and the Supreme Court are on their side. The president is speaking code, deceiving the unwary

The only people the president disarms with these words are those who are convinced that abortion is the deliberate taking of the life of a unique human individual (with its own unique DNA, distinct from that of its mother and its father). It is they and only they whom the president now summons to listen to the other side, to compromise, to pull clouds of uncertainty over their previous convictions, and to begin to waver. Obama is disarming the pro-life side, and only the pro-life side. The poor young students of Notre Dame, and their inexcusably uncritical and politically unsophisticated professors, are undone by a surface appeal to reason and civility, which is actually a call for their unconditional surrender. [Do not forget that at Notre Dame Pres. Obama referred to a "child" and not just a "fetus".]

Perhaps, in that audience on May 17, there was one young, unintentionally pregnant woman in attendance, determined to bring the child within her to birth, despite the pleas of her parents (and maybe even of the health professionals she consulted on campus). Perhaps she found herself suddenly swayed by the president of the United States. She could hear him being cheered lustily on by the current and former presidents of Notre Dame, and by some 11,000 others in the stands. She took his plea to “open her mind and heart” as the siren call to have an abortion. Perhaps there are scores of thousands of other voters around the nation who will learn the “message of Notre Dame.” How many times during the next four years will President Obama incant, “As I said at Notre Dame . . . ”? How many young women will learn of this new, “sensible” common ground, and capitulate to the new reasonableness, which is actually reason gone mad?

***

There is no doubt that Barack Obama is the fruit of the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., come probably a generation before anyone believed it would happen — the Great Black Hope of the whole nation, called to redeem our nation’s primal sin, the enslavement of Africans. There is no doubt either that he is a politician of amazing talent, unparalleled in our history, since his main skill is with delivering words — to this point, only words. And he is a golden-tongued, a honey-tongued speaker, skillful as no one else in making everyone in his audience, even those on opposite sides of an issue, believe that he is siding with them. [Actually... I don't think he is that good.  Perhaps Novak doesn't really think that either.  He laid it on a little thick.] It takes unprecedented skills to decipher what Obama means to do. Slowly, we in America are learning.

What his actual record is based on — including the multitude of abortion proponents he has appointed to the most important and sensitive positions in national government — is an extreme reading of the abortion project. He says abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Yet he has never restricted, only expanded, the abortion license, at every single turn so far in his young life.  [And don't forget his defense of literal infanticide, the killing of children who have been born.] You would think it might bother him that 37 percent of all those aborted in the U.S. since 1973 — some 13 million youngsters, perhaps some as talented as he — have been black. You might think that widening the circle of those Americans whose rights “to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are protected would be his No. 1 aim in the law. But you would not so far be able to produce a single bit of evidence that that is so, and an abundance of evidence, pressed down and running over, that it is not.

Why on earth, then, does L’Osservatore Romano side with the abortionists, and against the besieged, struggling minority of churchgoing Catholics who find abortion abhorrent, and an intrinsic and unrationalizable evil? Were the great pro-life popes of the past not fully serious when they called abortion an intrinsic evil?

We ask Rome for bread, and L’Osservatore Romano gives us stones.

— Michael Novak’s latest book is No One Sees God. His website is www.michaelnovak.net.

Again, I think someone highly placed in the Secretariat of State wanted L’Osservatore Romano to do something along these lines for the sake of a possible meeting between Pres. Obama and Pope Benedict in Rome during a July G8 meeting.

I have taken to calling this soft approach of the Holy See to the Obama Administration "Westpolitik".

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48 Responses to Michael Novak rightly vents about L’Osservatore Romano

  1. Jacob says:

    What do you think, Father, why has Bertone not purged these guys? Is he too much of a mind with them to do anything about it? What do you think of Magister’s article awhile ago detailing Bertone’s hands-off approach? Do you think it may be time for a change?

  2. Baron Korf says:

    I’m with you Father, I can’t understand why everyone says he’s a good orator. To me he sounds like a 3rd grader doing a William Shatner impersonation. But that’s me.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I am so glad that he singled out the late John Cardinal O’Connor as a bravely outspoken bishop on the abortion issue. When I sang in the choir at St. Patrick’s Cathedral I was rivited by his weekly homilies (he celebrated Mass at the Cathedral almost every week, actually, almost every day). I became convinced that Catholicism really stood for something, and was confirmed as a Catholic 12 years ago. While I have absolutely no regrets, it is very distressing that the fortitude of John Cardinal O’Connor has been the exception among American bishops on these seminal issues of Catholic identity.

  4. Ann says:

    This is a very good article. I wish Pope Benedict XVI would have access to things like this so he could understand better. I wonder if he is getting good information from this country on the issues and problems because he never seems to address the actual problems but things that are NOT really problems or not the way he seems to understand them.

    We would get more help from the Vatican if they understood just the point that 40% go to Mass at least weekly and that this portion of Catholics are seriously under attack in our culture and in need of supportive words from Rome. Not more nice words for the politicians who are making their attacks on pro-life Catholics.

    Sometimes I feel as if the Vatican has tossed us to the wolves because of things like this newspaper. And sometimes I feel as if the Bishops have tossed that same 40% to the wolves as well, far more concerned with placating the 60% than with supporting the 40% so that they can stand firm and perhaps succeed in converting more of the 60%.

  5. Pam says:

    I agree with you, Father, and with a previous commentor, regarding Obama’s supposed oratorical skills. I just can’t understand all the praise for him on that, or, frankly, any other score. If the teleprompter isn’t functioning properly, Mr. Obama is at a complete and visible loss. I would like those who insist on how talented the president is to enumerate those talents–they are not obvious to me.

  6. GOR says:

    One of the things Cardinal George pointed out after his meeting with Obama was a frustration with the President repeatedly saying they were in agreement. Cardinal George said something to the effect that he had to constantly remind Obama: “No, we are not in agreement on that”.

    Whether Obama really thinks there is some kind of ‘agreement’ between his views and orthodox Catholic teaching or uses this as a ploy to ‘disarm’ others is a good question. I’m inclined to the latter view. His rhetoric at Notre Dame struck me as relativism writ large. All views are of equal value so let’s just agree to disagree and everything will be fine. Except he is in a position to promote one view – the pro-abortion one – which he has done to date and will continue to do so unless he is opposed at every turn.

    Some bishops have made a start. It’s time for the rest of them to get on board – with support from all Catholics. And we don’t need the process to be subverted by ill-judged articles in l’Osservatore Romano.

  7. Allen Murphy sfo says:

    Father, Pope John Paul 11 emphasized the gospel as supra-political. Many on the right including Novak seem to equate magisterial teaching with right-wing politics. And those on the left seem to equate peace and justice issues with all that there is to Church teaching. I voted for McCain due to the life issues but admire much and agree with Obama on many issues. However I could never vote for an anti-life candidate especially with a clear cut choice. I subscribed to the daily l’Osservatore Romano a year ago and believe the new editor generally does a good job. He has tried to broaden the paper from just reporting Church and Italian news to more comments on the world stage. Sadly my own order, the Secular Franciscans, seem to downplay the life issues and concentrate only on peace and justice. Pax et Bonum,

  8. Simon Platt says:

    In re. Obama’s “eloquence”. There was and presumably still is somewhere online a video clip of him debating abortion with (I think) his pro-life republican opponent in an Illinois hustings. The republican was eloquent. Obama was anything but. Sadly, the bad guy won, as we know.

    I can’t find the clip now. Can someone else?

  9. TomG says:

    Allen Murphy:

    You know little about Michael Novak if you connect him with “right wing” politics. While conservative, he is to “right wing” as Senator Joseph Lieberman as a liberal is to “left wing.” Both are men of an irenic spirit. Only difference being that Mr. Novak is “right.” (sorry about that)

  10. Romulus says:

    All of Novak’s points are good and timely. I recommend them to the American bishops, and to those in a position to call LOR to account. I just wish someone else would make them, as Novak himself has not forborne to tinker with Catholic consciences in a political cause.

    I don’t mean to open a rabbit hole Father, but there are times when a good message is compromised by a compromised messenger. Sadly, the game of cleaving off Catholics from authoritative teaching is sport for more than one school of politicians. LOR shows us it can be an intramural sport as well. The Church must not be instrumentalised by anyone pushing a secular agenda.

  11. John 6:54 says:

    Amen, Amen, Amen! Again your average Joe doesn\’t read Encyclicals they read news stories which is why the Vatican needs to get a much better grip on what is coming out of their own news agency.

  12. mpm says:

    Many on the right including Novak seem to equate magisterial teaching with right-wing politics. And those on the left seem to equate peace and justice issues with all that there is to Church teaching.

    Forget right and left. The liberation theology of the left IS politics, thinly-desguised as religion, and the Chicago version with which Obama seems quite familiar derives from the socialist/communist movement there early in the twentieth century, “activism”. That is the vortex into which what you call the “left” among Catholics have been being sucked, willingly in my opinion, and which pseudo-Catholic universities imbue their students with. Here’s the formula: “Apostolate” = “Politics”. If that were true, then who needs personal sanctity? (Which contradicts Vatican II, of course, but let’s not say that too loudly.)

    IMHO, that false identity is behind much of what Fr. Z addresses on this site as abuses, liturgical or otherwise.

  13. Lubeltri says:

    I highly doubt the weekly Mass attendance figure is even 40%. Practicing, orthodox Catholics in this country are an embattled minority, drowned out by the noise of the hordes of lapsed and dissenting Catholics.

  14. Rancher says:

    No one with an ounce of “street sense” who has ever dealt with a (excuse the expression) BSing con man can view Obama as a persuasive public speaker….and that’s half the problem. Most people who listen to his garbage are ivory tower idealists who have no critical thinking skills. Thus they blindly accept the empty rhetoric which spews from his mouth with the aid of his teleprompter. Obama is a phoney but the problem is he’s a phoney with a frightening agenda. He’s like the pied piper and his millions of star struck minions play into his hand oh so well.

    It is a shame L’O romano is apparently staffed by the easily persuaded naive. What is really needed, and may be forced to happen, is a powerful Bishop to say loudly, publicly and often what L’O Romano won’t say for political reasons.

    What Church leadership needs to realize before it is too late (and it is rapidly approaching that now) is that BO sees the weakness in the Church and is going to relentlessly attack it in subtile (now) and not so subtile (near future) ways. He has an agenda and some of the naive Church leaders not only don’t recognize that but feel they can persuade him through love, kindness and flattery. He relishes that appraoch becuase it’s weak, without impact and he knows he can capitalize on it.

    Dealing with Obama is like dealing with a so-called “ex con”…something I have a lot of experience with. Of 100 ex cons you might be able to believe 1—and Obama isn’t him.

  15. Michael J says:

    Allan Murphy,

    I would truly be interested in the specifics about what you “admire much and agree with Obama”. In my mind, he has not distinguished himself at all on any issues other than abortion, but I may not be paying close enough attention.

  16. Woody Jones says:

    I wonder if the L’OR fiasco would happen in the Moscow of Patriarch Kirill. Somehow I doubt it.

  17. Stephen says:

    Novak is an interesting guy. Early they considered him very progressivist/liberal and almost dangerous. I find in him a proper use of modern Thomism via Lonergan, even in this. He’s really rounded out into a really sharp mind. This article is a good example of theologians and philosophers who are willing to fight for truth. Novak does a good job of this.

  18. Sal says:

    Could we please stop the drivel about “infanticide” only referring to partial birth abortion? This is disingenuous. If it’s a baby at conception, it’s infanticide no matter when the child is aborted.

  19. Allen Murphy sfo says:

    Closing Guantanamo and banning of torture are two issues with which I agree on Obama. He also sets a different tone than Cheney and the neo-cons. But as I said I could never vote for him as a Catholic and Secular Franciscan. Let me also clarify ,the sfo is pro-life but some members seem to only emphazise peace and justice.

  20. “You would think it might bother him that 37 percent of all those aborted in the U.S. since 1973 — some 13 million youngsters, perhaps some as talented as he — have been black.”

    People seem to think that if they point out to Obama that he supports killing black infants that he will find something in it to change his heart. That is based on an assumption that he cares about his race. I really don’t think he cares that he is black. It is an ends to a means. He is happy to be the first black president but that doesn’t mean he cares about black people in general any more than he cares about white people. I don’t believe he cares about either very much…

  21. Aaron says:

    I have a hard time believing these articles are the result of naivete. I realize Europeans often get a skewed image of American politics, but Obama’s record and campaign promises on abortion have been as clear and open as any politician’s views on anything in history. If they can’t see THAT clearly, they have no hope of having a clue about anything else that’s going on over here.

    To think Obama is even slightly sympathetic to the pro-life view, you’d have to be careful to ignore any opposing viewpoints, including anyone in the pro-life community and probably thousands of Catholic bloggers. It seems simpler to believe they have a pretty good idea where he stands and don’t have a problem with it, just like Fr. Jenkins and the Catholic Left in America.

  22. Jordanes says:

    Sal said: If it’s a baby at conception, it’s infanticide no matter when the child is aborted.

    “Infant” does not refer to the unborn child, does it?

  23. TJM says:

    There must be as much “rot” within the Vatican as there is in the US Church. I would cancel this rag, it’s in the same journalistic “integrity” category as the New York Slimes. Tom

  24. quiet beginning says:

    Ann wrote:

    “This is a very good article. I wish Pope Benedict XVI would have access to things like this so he could understand better. I wonder if he is getting good information from this country on the issues and problems because he never seems to address the actual problems but things that are NOT really problems or not the way he seems to understand them.”

    You actually believe that BXVI is oblivious to what is going on? Benedict XVI has a doctorate, is computer literate, and does not need anyone to lead him by the hand in order to be informed about what is happening in the American church. The same lament was made during John Paul II’s reign, and yet there is more than ample evidence that he not only knew what was going on but actually approved of it. Too many people are simply afraid that if they “peek under the hood” they will find out the horrible truth and then lose their faith. The situation is the opposite–they will then be in a position to reject the Vatican II religion and grasp the true Catholic Faith.

  25. Hidden One says:

    Even Cardinal Bertone (were he to surprisingly fall on the wrong side of this issue) in his position as head of the Secretariate can be overruled. I hope somebody with a papal audience sometime soon gives our German Shepherd the lowdown.

    Orate!

  26. Jacob says:

    Closing Guantanamo and banning of torture are two issues with which I agree on Obama. He also sets a different tone than Cheney and the neo-cons. But as I said I could never vote for him as a Catholic and Secular Franciscan. Let me also clarify ,the sfo is pro-life but some members seem to only emphazise peace and justice.Comment by Allen Murphy sfo — 27 May 2009 @ 1:43 pm

    I would give Obama a lot more credit on this issue if he had in fact led any kind of a charge back when he was a senator instead of being busy on the campaign trail condemning Bush for something the Democratic majority never acted upon in a deliberate and nonpartisan manner.

    I have a hard time believing these articles are the result of naivete. I realize Europeans often get a skewed image of American politics, but Obama’s record and campaign promises on abortion have been as clear and open as any politician’s views on anything in history. If they can’t see THAT clearly, they have no hope of having a clue about anything else that’s going on over here.Comment by Aaron — 27 May 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    I’ll skirt Godwin’s Law and point out that people have a tendency to bury their heads in the sand and go ‘La la la la la la la!’ Cf. a certain autobiography/blueprint for European domination published over a decade before WWII.

  27. Supertradmom says:

    Two points: firstly, the president\’s so-called eloquence is lost on me-empty words are all I hear. Secondly, those responsible in the Vatican for press releases must realize the damage done this month. We need our bishops to influence what is happening at that press.

  28. EDG says:

    I think Obama is a terrible speaker, too; his voice and delivery have an irritating machine-like quality, with or without the teleprompter. And he does not write his own speeches, so even if people think he’s a good communicator, he’s communicating somebody else’s ideas.

    Which brings me to Doug Kmeic, who I suspect was probably the author of the Notre Dame outrage. I had never even heard of Doug Kmeic prior to his sudden emergence as the “Catholic spokesman.” IIRC, he didn’t even teach at a Catholic college. The strange thing I do remember at the time was that all of the press rushed forward to announce amid cheers that “conservative Catholic theologian Doug Kmeic” had come out supporting Obama. Who?

    Just another traitor, I guess; but there are a lot of them, and while one can attribute some things to naivete – although I’m still unsure about LOR – there are people within the Church who are actively working to impose their vision of it, which is sort of that of an Anglican church but with worse liturgy. It will be just another handmaiden to the government. I think a lot of the Notre Dame event was probably prepared or at least sketched out long before it actually happened, and Obama’s success is going to have (and is already having) a great impact on the Church. I wish I felt that all the bishops and even some of the Europeans understood that.

  29. Patrick says:

    In order to attain long term dominance the Democratic party, presently committed to the pro-Roe position, must keep the overwhelming allegiance of Hispanics, the most pro-Life group in the country.

    There’s a solution. Pro-life lefties should create a pro-life Left Wing party that will run against all pro-Roe candidates in Democratic primaries, and if that dosn’t work, will contest elections. Worked in Australia. We only need one more Justice now. We need an equivalent of the Christian Democrat party.

  30. Everyone in the Roman Curia knows or should know all about the trick language thing, which has been mentioned in umpteen interventions made by Pontifical Councils, U.N. Oberver reports, and right up to the Pontiffs.

    If someone in charge of various aspects of communications in the Holy See really doesn’t know what to think of Obama’s language (which really is crystal clear), such lack of comprehension seems to be tantamount to a grave betrayal of public trust, an ignorance which preempts continuing in whatever office such a person holds.

    I’d like to fill up the corridors of “power” in the Holy See with the millions upon millions of tiny corpses of these babes. Let them work in such conditions, the conditions of the real world.

  31. We do understand, don’t we, what the significance of the 79 Bishops v. Notre Dame represents? What the L’OR stumble also represents? What Catholic Doug Kmiec calling for civil unions to replace marriage represents? The Church Irrelevant. There are little pockets around the world where Catholicism still exists, but they are in “chapels” as there are not enough to fill a church, much less a cathedral. Novak’s point about “catholics”(sic) who attend Mass vis a vis “catholics” who don’t, is nonsense. The whole point of the Spirit of V II was to drive people out of the Church by denying them knowledge of their Faith. THAT is why the Traditional Movement is so despised by many bishops and priests:we are reviving The True Faith which they thought they had killed off!

  32. quiet beginning says:

    –News Flash–

    American bishops like Obama! If the truth were known, we would find that most of them voted for him! Benedict XVI will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the abominable state of the American church (or the global one, for that matter)!

    You can take this to the cashier’s window. It is a dead certainty. Hoping that the leaders of the Vatican II religion will somehow lead the flock toward the solid, reverent and soul-nourishing Faith that is the TRUE Catholic religion is to engage in wishful thinking.

  33. David says:

    Is a statement or document from the USCCB “a solemn declaration, an explicit part of the bishops’ teaching magisterium”?

  34. David Kastel says:

    What a surprise, the National Review printed an article critical of a Democrat President.

    Why didn’t Novak mention the % of “practicing” Catholics who practice contraception, who are divorced and remarried, or who don’t believe in the real presence? (The same reason the bishops don’t – because these issues are not political winners, that’s why.)

  35. quiet beginning says:

    “Is a statement or document from the USCCB “a solemn declaration, an explicit part of the bishops’ teaching magisterium”?”

    Are these men Catholics?

  36. Allena says:

    I don’t commend him for closing GB. He doesn’t have a problem with the babies being ripped apart, burned with chemicals or a hundred other deaths he upholds as legal. And he wants to bawl about water being poured on somebody. Why? Because they are a terrorist instead of an innocent baby?

    So, he doesn’t have a problem with torture. He didn’t do jack diddly squat about GB as a Senator, or say one word.

    He’s just playing politics, he doesn’t give a crap about anyone except his own agenda, his own supporters. I just wish I knew who all that was. I have very little respect for the man, and the more uh and duhs that he mutters the more I am convinced he’s an idiot and our country is being run by someone else entirely.

  37. Mark VA says:

    Michael Novak hit the nail on the head, superbly.

    To date, on this subject, the tone of L’Osservatore Romano continues to be reminiscent of the old Vatican Ostpolitik. One hopes its editors will soon wake up from this accomodationist day dream and, between sips of their expresso, show some backbone. Pope John Paul II, pray for us!

  38. Joe says:

    “quiet beginning” – we get it. You don’t think the Church headed by Pope Benedict XVI is the Church of Christ.

    I was wondering if anyone can support the statement that Obama said that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare”. My understanding is that this was Bill Clinton’s phrase, promoted by Senator Clinton, and dropped by the Democratic Party, whose platform is promoted by President Obama.

  39. David says:

    quiet beginning,

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure most of them are. Well, I know for sure that about 80 are.

    Anyway, I’m serious, though.

    Is Novak correct in making the assertion that statements from the USCCB are solemn declarations and explicitly part of the bishop’s teaching magisterium?

    I don’t think so, but I could be wrong. Anybody in the definitive know out there?

  40. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    As for the Vatican’s diplomats: Guess who appoints them?

    As for National Review (What is it now? Two essays that are both Catholic and Obama related?): Clearly, a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    Over 80 years later, and it seems like conservative/traditionalist Catholics have still learned nothing from the L’Action francaise affair.

  41. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    David:

    Regarding the magisterium of bishops: See Vatican II, LG 25; Christus Dominus 38.

    Regarding bishops’ conferences:

    See His Holiness Pope John Paul II’s 1998 Apostolic Letter, Apostolos Suos

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_22071998_apostolos-suos_en.html

    Also, His Holiness Pope Paul VI’s Ecclesiae Sanctae:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_p-vi_motu-proprio_19660806_ecclesiae-sanctae_en.html

  42. Nemo says:

    “And he is a golden-tongued, a honey-tongued speaker, skillful as no one else in making everyone in his audience, even those on opposite sides of an issue, believe that he is siding with them.”

    Every speech I have heard of his sounds as if it were written by a random cliche generator.

  43. Ron says:

    Referring to the 2004 USCCB Statement, Novak said: “This was a solemn declaration, an explicit part of the bishops’ teaching magisterium”. Use of the term “solemn declaration” was a poor choice of words because it could wrongly be construed to mean that the USCCB itself has the power to teach at the level of the Solemn Magisterium

    The Magisterium teaches by its (i) Solemn Magisterium (a/k/a Extraordinary Magisterium), or (ii) Ordinary Magisterium.

    The Solemn Magisterium is the highest teaching level of the magisterium which is exercisable only: (i) by the Supreme Pontiff alone, or (ii) by the College of Bishops in union with the Supreme Pontiff at an Ecumenical Council.

    The Ordinary Magisterium is exercisable by the authentic teaching of each individual Bishop respecting the members of the faithful over whose care they are entrusted. See:

    http://mafg.home.isp-direct.com/magist03.htm , and

    http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/magisterium.htm

    Clearly, the USCCB has no power to teach “solemnly” (i.e., extraordinarily) and no power to teach “universally” (e.g., by the College of Bishops throughout the world). On the other hand, my understanding is that no Episcopal Conference (e.g. the USCCB) has any canonical authority to teach apart from the authority of each individual Bishop member. That is to say, each Bishop “rules” his own diocese in union with the Supreme Pontiff.

    Notwithstanding the above, under Can. 753, to deny or fail to adhere, with a religious submission of mind, to any authentic teaching of one’s Bishop is material mortal sin. Such teaching under pain of mortal sin does not have to be infallible, or irreformable, or dogma or the like. See:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P2I.HTM

    A close reading of Can. 753 discloses that the teaching authority of an individual Bishop can be exercised through an Episcopal Conference.

  44. Rose says:

    Does anyone know what the Knights of Columbus think about the ND affair? Has Carl Anderson said anything in public?

  45. quiet beginning says:

    ‘“quiet beginning” – we get it. You don’t think the Church headed by Pope Benedict XVI is the Church of Christ.’

    Joe, my point is that the Novus Ordo religion is radically different from the Roman Catholic religion. Several posts to this blog intimate that the two religions are essentially the same, and that is simply not true–the former is centered on man, the latter on God. As a Catholic, such muddying of the waters is a big deal to me, that’s all.

    I’m done.

  46. Simon Platt says:

    Dear Frank,

    Thanks. Alan Keyes – that’s the fellow! Would that he were the leader of the free world and Obama the chap whose name I keep forgetting!

  47. TJM says:

    Rose, the Knights have a location on the ND campus, or at least they did. Perhaps the Knights don’t want to upset the landlord. Tom