The most recent rubbish from the WaPo’s E.J. Dionne. Fr. Z responds.

From WaPo:

I’m not quitting the church

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

Published: May 13 [Mother's Day]

Recently, a group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) [Coincidentally based in ultra-liberal Madison, WI, where the great Bp. Morlino has been placed by God to work out his salvation and try to keep a few people out of hell.] ran a full-page ad in The Washington Post cast as an “open letter to ‘liberal’ and ‘nominal’ Catholics.” Its headline commanded: “It’s Time to Quit the Catholic Church.”

The ad included the usual criticism of Catholicism, but I was most struck by this paragraph: “If you think you can change the church from within — get it to lighten up on birth control, gay rights, marriage equality, embryonic stem-cell research — you’re deluding yourself. By remaining a ‘good Catholic,’ you are doing ‘bad’ to women’s rights. You are an enabler. And it’s got to stop.”

My, my. Putting aside the group’s love for unnecessary quotation marks, it was shocking to learn that I’m an “enabler” doing “bad” to women’s rights. [In other words, he is staying in the Church with the desire to change the Church's teachings.... which, as a liberal, he surely thinks are "policies".] But Catholic liberals get used to these kinds of things. Secularists, who never liked Catholicism in the first place, want us to leave the church, but so do Catholic conservatives who want the church all to themselves. [Dionne is mean-spirited.  I am sure you readers agree that conservative Catholics, orthodox Catholics, faithful Catholics, want everyone to have the joy of being in the Church, to be a true and faithful Catholic who actually thinks with the Church.  We don't agree with liberals that the Catholic Faith is just one path to God, equal among many.   We think Catholic identity is important.  If a person is little more than a discontent who thinks he knows better than the Church, who gives public scandal, who is obviously unhappy, we would prefer that he give up his outward pretense of being Catholic and go find something else to gripe about.  But we would rather have everyone in the Church Christ Himself gave us for the sake of our salvation.]

I’m sorry to inform the FFRF that I am declining its invitation to quit. It [the FFRF] may not see the Gospel as a liberating document, but I do, and I can’t ignore the good done in the name of Christ by the sisters, priests, brothers and lay people who have devoted their lives to the poor and the marginalized.  [QUAERITUR: Does Dionne see the Church mainly as an institution useful for social projects?]

And on women’s rights, I take as my guide that early feminist Pope John XXIII.  [John XXIII was a what?] In Pacem in Terris, his encyclical issued in 1963, the same year Betty Friedan published “The Feminine Mystique,” Pope John spoke of women’s “natural dignity.” [This may be one of the dumbest moral equivalents I have yet seen attempted by any journalist anywhere.]

“Far from being content with a purely passive role or allowing themselves to be regarded as a kind of instrument,” he wrote, “they are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as human persons.” [That's from Pacem in terris, not The Feminine Mystique, a book that did untold damage to our society and twisted the lives of millions thereafter.]

I’d like the FFRF to learn more about the good Pope John, but I wish our current bishops would think more about him, too. [The writer will now instruct bishops.  Attend:] I wonder if the bishops realize how some in their ranks have strengthened the hands of the church’s adversaries (and disheartened many of the faithful) with public statements — including that odious comparison of President Obama to Hitler by a Peoria prelate last month — that threaten to shrink the church into a narrow, conservative sect. [Liberals don't like analogies that hit too close to home, do they.]

Do the bishops notice how often those of us who regularly defend the church turn to the work of nuns on behalf of charity and justice to prove Catholicism’s detractors wrong?  [Hang on, Dionne sees the Church's value, and the value of belonging to the Church, in purely earthly terms.  No?  Am I wrong? The Church is great because of soup kitchens?  Also, it strikes me as entirely possible that anyone who might attempt to draw a moral equivalence between Pacem in terris and The Feminine Mystic (a patchwork of lies and illusions), may till have a vision of the Church from those halcyon days of hippies and love beads, when everything was spinning out of control and Catholic identity was being shredded into incomprehensible bits.] Why in the world would the Vatican, apparently pushed by right-wing American bishops, think it was a good idea to condemn the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the main organization of nuns in the United States? [I think this claim is wrong in point of fact.  The LCWR was approved, and can exist as a legitimate 'entity recognized by the Church, only with the approval of the Holy See.  The CDF doesn't need to be pushed to carry out its work by American bishops.  They are full capable of seeing on their own what is going on with the leadership of the LCWR.  Furthermore, the CDF did not "condemn" the LCWR.  The CDF did not shut it down, or take away its status, or say that it was worthless.  On the contrary, the CDF is working to reform the LCWR os that it can be a more clearly Catholic institution.  That doesn't sound like a condemnation to me.  Dionne is confused.]

The Vatican’s statement, issued last month, seemed to be the revenge of conservative bishops against the many nuns who broke with the hierarchy and supported health-care reform in 2010. [But Dionne would be wrong.  To suggest that that was the reason for the CDF's moves is either ignorant (which I can't rule out) or malicious (which I can't rule out).  The CDF explained what the reforming moves are about.  He should take a moment to do some homework before writing his twaddle.] The nuns insisted, correctly, that the health-care law did not fund abortion. [False: it does.] This didn’t sit well with men unaccustomed to being contradicted, [Piffle.  He is simply flapping his arms, now.  What happened has nothing to do with misogyny.] and the Vatican took the LCWR to task for statements that “disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops.”

Oh yes, and the nuns are also scolded for talking a great deal about social justice and not enough about abortion (as if the church doesn’t talk enough about abortion already). [Dionne has so thoroughly become the sort of man Betty Friedan would prefer to surround herself with that he doesn't any longer realize that abortion is NOT a "women's rights" issue (and that is what this dopey piece is really about, by the way).  Abortion is THE social justice issue, over and above any and every other issue.  If someone or some Catholic group palters on and on about this or that social issue and then oscillates between silence about abortion or even actively supporting it, or supporting those who do, there is a serious fracture in Catholic identity that merits the attention of the American bishops and even the CDF if the problem is big enough. ] But has it occurred to the bishops that less stridency might change more hearts and minds on this very difficult question?  [Ah... this is the old, "Can't we just tone down the rhetoric?" ploy. Liberals trot this out when they are losing the argument. In fact, nothing is so mean or so shrill as a dedicated liberal, as this piece reveals.  Liberals have controlled the conversation for so long that they can't stand that there should be any other message in the public square.  The bishops are reclaiming their right to speak in the public square.  They are finding their voices again.  They are refusing to be oppressed any longer by the dominators of the liberal media, refusing to be silenced.]

A thoughtful friend recently noted that carrying a child to term is an act of overwhelming generosity. [?!?] For nine months, a woman gives her body to another life, not to mention the rest of her years. Might the bishops consider that their preaching on abortion would have more credibility if they treated women in the church, including nuns, with the kind of generosity they are asking of potential mothers? [Get that? "potential" mothers?  That is because Dionne doesn't think the unborn child is a child, is human.] They might usefully embrace a similar attitude toward gay men and lesbians.  [Wow.  First, Dionne suggests that the unborn child has no right to be where she is and that a choice of the mother is all that matters.  Carried to the next level, Dionne would say that the elderly or the sick are allowed to live because we oh-so-almighty people, are generous, as if we keep them in life and existence.  This sounds rather like the fruits of the lie of the Enemy of our souls to our first parents: "your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" Genesis 3:5.  And thus, Dionne implies that the Church ought to suck up to - well - pretty much everyone and conform doctrine and discipline to the shifting mores of the times, rather than risk that anyone leave the Church.  Dionne, a creature of public opinion, for whom the Church may be mainly source of good examples for social work, thinks that, in the final analysis, only the numbers count.]

Too many bishops seem in the grip of dark suspicions that our culture is moving at breakneck speed toward a demonic end. Pope John XXIII, by contrast, was more optimistic about the signs of the times. [I wonder just how much Dionne knows about John XXIII.]

“Distrustful souls see only darkness burdening the face of the earth,” he once said. “We prefer instead to reaffirm all our confidence in our Savior who has not abandoned the world which he redeemed.” [Although the Savior didn't not abandon us who live in this world, the Savior's supreme act of sacrificial love was mainly about repairing the gulf that opened up because of our sins and opening the way to heaven.  His was not a utopian mission.] The church best answers its critics when it remembers that its mission is to preach hope, not fear.  [Finally, the quote of John XXIII said "only darkness".  We have to be able to see both the darkness and the light in order to have a clear view of the signs of the times.]

Rubbish.

As far as toning down the rhetoric is concerned, you might look at this piece I posted back in 2009 after the Notre Shame event.

The Problem With Toning Down the Rhetoric – And Why We Probably Won’t Do It

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Blatteroons, Emanations from Penumbras, Magisterium of Nuns, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to The most recent rubbish from the WaPo’s E.J. Dionne. Fr. Z responds.

  1. Hidden One says:

    The underlying problems that have led to this publication require sanctity to defeat.

  2. adcola says:

    The New Evangelization is enlightening a world long enveloped in the darkness of progressive liberalism.

  3. muckemdanno says:

    Father, I didn’t think Dionne is all too outrageous here. He’s a liberal who just loves all the changes brought about since Vatican 2. After all, didn’t Pope John XXIII want all the doors and windows of the Church to be opened to the modern world? And haven’t the bishops followed that lead (or actually led themselves in that direction) for the last 50 years since then?

    You’re of course right to say that liberals have held sway for so long, that liberals like Dionne don’t like that the bishops “are finding their voices again.”

  4. Imrahil says:

    It always strikes me that people – including some really faithful Catholics when turning to the public – consider abortion a difficult question. I know of a faithful Catholic who, in the same sentence, said the Church is against abortion and for a just economy (or something similar) and some other things and then said, “nothing difficult, except abortion”.

    The real thing is of course that the stand on abortion is the easiest thing in the world – it’s forbidden, we all know why, period. It should be punished, all of those convinced that it is forbidden and not faking excuses know why, period.

    The difficult thing is economic justice and charity. I’m far from accepting “government is not the solution” etc. as secular dogma, but in this point at least it must be conceded that the question is difficult.

  5. oldcanon2257 says:

    Father, is it my imagination, or did this post actually disappear for half an hour or so then reappeared?

    Anyhow, I was literally feeling nauseous reading the part where Mr. E.J. Dionne branded Blessed John XXIII a feminist.

    Given the recent news about what happened with the SSPX Our Lady of Sorrows high school baseball team in Phoenix, AZ, I was surprised Mr. Dionne somehow neglected to sensationalize such news to attack the Church as being “anti-women” and then move on to denounce the Holy Father too (guilt by association, for his effort to regularize the Society). “Guilt by association” has always been the favorite tactic used by liberal media, especially whenever it comes to attacking our Holy Mother Church.

  6. pm125 says:

    John 14: 15 – 21
    If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
    And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
    the Spirit of Truth,
    which the world cannot accept,
    because it neither sees nor knows it.
    But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans;
    I will come to you.
    In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
    On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and are in me and I in you.
    Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. …

  7. Charles E Flynn says:
  8. Scott W. says:

    This part here: “public statements — including that odious comparison of President Obama to Hitler by a Peoria prelate last month — that threaten to shrink the church into a narrow, conservative sect. [Liberals don't like analogies that hit too close to home, do they.]”

    I would add that not only do liberals not like analogies, they like to pretend that they don’t understand them. It’s a phenomenon that Orwell described as Crimestop:

    “Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.”

    So analogies are an importatant tool in that you can almost hear a progressives’ brain come to a screeching halt when they encounter one.

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    Hooey, there’s so much that is annoying in this article, where to begin. I won’t, because it was addressed well by you, Fr. Z. Thanks for saving me the trouble. I agree on all counts.
    These male feminists are possibly more aggravating than the female brand. I don’t know why, it could just be that they appear more cloying in nature, they seem to be kissing up to women on these issues, and it’s almost intolerable. Develop a spine, for goodness sake. Have you really just swallowed up all this twaddle about women’s rights? Do you really believe it, or just believe most women believe it? Regardless, it does not speak for all women, only the liberal ones you know.
    Here’s a woman’s opinion. Abortion is evil. We’ve gone down the path, and now, children are “deselected” over their sex, or potential disability. (I say potential because of the many examples of parents being told they should abort due to a detected defect, then the child is born perfectly healthy). But how to argue this point with people who think aborting children for being the wrong sex is perfectly acceptable? It is like dialoguing with followers of Islam, there are very few areas that you can find in common. This makes it difficult to start.
    The good news is that the bishops are finding their voice. At least, we note a beginning. Whether or not it will continue remains to be seen. There is of course, a pushback on speaking out, and the Bishops have got to get accustomed to the criticism, the even more open hostility, being called names, considered misogynists and bigots, and all those other effects of doing the job they have signed on to do. There will be lawsuits, and many editorial pieces (none favorable), and nasty comments of all kinds, from everywhere. But, not really everywhere, because a small, devoted band of believers will rejoice that finally, finally, another voice cries out in the desert “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight His path…”

  10. lilye says:

    Every time one of E.J. Dionne’s pieces appear in my local paper (Sacramento Bee), I tell myself I am not going to read it but always end up doing so. Every time I do so, I end up infuriated. Why do I continue to read the writings of people who rant and rave about an issue they clearly have not informed themselves on? I suppose hope springs eternal. One day they may actually research and read thoroughly what the Church teaches and why she teaches it before expressing an opinion. (I can dream, can’t I?)

  11. disco says:

    The liberals who want the rhetoric toned down only want to cease to be reminded of their own sin. To this inclination we are no less vulnerable than they are. It’s important for both of us to be responsive to fraternal correction as readily as we are to give it.

  12. robtbrown says:

    Having seen Dionne on TV for some years, I have never been impressed–his opinions seem vapid. He never seems to have anything interesting to say, no insight into any issue. And it’s not just because he’s a liberal: There are liberals who can be fairly interesting and conservatives who can be boring.

    Anyway, I finally found the key to understanding Dionne–he has a grad degree in Sociology.

  13. tcreek says:

    A Progressive and Liberal Pope?
    Today Pope John XXXIII would be considered an arch traditionalist in all aspects of Church teaching.

    For instance – his Apostolic Constitution, Veterum Sapientia – On the Promotion of the Study of Latin

    excerpts
    The employment of Latin has recently been contested in many quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored. …

    Hence professors of these sciences in universities or seminaries are required to speak Latin and to make use of textbooks written in Latin. If ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for some to obey these instructions, they shall gradually be replaced by professors who are suited to this task. …

    Finally, the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular. …

    Finally, in virtue of Our apostolic authority, We will and COMMAND that all the decisions, decrees, proclamations and recommendations of this Our Constitution remain firmly established and ratified, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, however worthy of special note.

    Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on the feast of Saint Peter’s Throne on the 22nd day of February in the year 1962, the fourth of Our pontificate.

    This proclamation was just prior to Vatican II.

  14. Springkeeper says:

    So my six children are on this earth as a result of my generosity? I thought they were some kind of incredible gift that the Lord chose to bless me with.

  15. ghp95134 says:

    @Springkeeper:
    So my six children are on this earth as a result of my generosity? I thought they were some kind of incredible gift that the Lord chose to bless me with.</i?

    Gee … I think your statement deserves Fr. Z's Gold Star of the Day!!

    –Guy

  16. ghp95134 says:

    oops … close italics.

  17. John V says:

    Dionne wrote: “The Vatican’s statement, issued last month, seemed to be the revenge of conservative bishops against the many nuns who broke with the hierarchy and supported health-care reform in 2010.”

    Did he even bother to read the Assessment? Part II sets out the timetable:
    * “The decision . . . to undertake a doctrinal Assessment . . . was communicated to the LCWR Presidency . . . on April 8, 2008.”
    * “Subsequently, in a letter dated February 18, 2009, the CDF confirmed its decision to undertake a doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR.”
    * “This decision was further discussed with the LCWR Presidency during their visit to the CDF on April 22, 2009. During that meeting, Cardinal Levada confirmed that the doctrinal Assessment comes as a result of several years of examination of the doctrinal content of statements from the LCWR and of their annual conferences.”
    * “Most Rev. Leonard Blair communicated a set of doctrinal Observations to the LCWR
    in a letter dated May 11, 2009, and subsequently met with the Presidency on May 27, 2009. The LCWR Presidency responded to the Observations in a letter dated October 20, 2009. Based on this response, and on subsequent correspondence between the Presidency of the LCWR and the Delegate, Bishop Blair submitted his findings to the CDF on December 22, 2009.”

    Amazing how those “conservative bishops” could see all those years into the future and start considering the Assessment before 2008, knowing that Obama would be elected president and would push through Obamacare in 2010 with the help of Sister Carol Keehan et al.

  18. Pingback: Natural Family Planning Todd Meade Grief Fisher More College | The Pulpit

  19. Cathy says:

    If this man is Catholic, what’s a protestant?

  20. Clinton R. says:

    “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who enter by it. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way, which leadeth to life: and few there are who find it!” Matthew 7:13-14
    Liberals, nay, heretics like Dionne, delude themselves into the falsehood of thinking the path to Heaven is wide for the co-workers of the devil and those who oppose God are acceptable to gain entrance into eternal life. God, in their warped sense of thinking, should be accepting of all unnatural proclivities, destruction of the unborn, contraception, heterodoxy, heresy and every sinful activity man indulges himself in. Sorry to tell you, Mr. Dionne, it does not work that way. Nothing undefiled will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, as the Lord call us to be holy as He is holy. This is the narrow gate to Heaven, being obedient to God and faithful to His Holy Catholic Church. Catholics who should know better and do otherwise scourge the Lord all over again. Catering to the perverse desires of the world is to serve Satan. A few quotes for Mr. Dionne and his ilk to chew on:

    The perverse are hard to be corrected, and the number of fools is infinite. -Ecclesiastes 1:15

    The greater part of men choose to be damned rather than to love Almighty God.- St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

    How many souls turn away from the road to glory, and go to hell! – St. Francis Xavier

    Taking into account the behaviour of mankind, only a small part of the human race will be saved.
    -Lucy of Fatima

    Nothing afflicts the heart of Jesus so much as to see all His sufferings of no avail to so many. -
    St. John Mary Vianney

  21. MrTipsNZ says:

    I wonder if the bishops realize how some in their ranks have strengthened the hands of the church’s adversaries (and disheartened many of the faithful) with public statements ……

    Yep, Bishops like Law, Bernardin, Gumbleton and Bugnini sure have………

  22. Supertradmum says:

    OMGoodness, what a dope. I cannot believe this stuff gets published. A new low in journalism…as to your comments, Father Z, bravo. I cannot believe how patient you are. [Coincidently based in ultra-liberal Madison, WI, where the great Bp. Morlino has been placed by God to work out his salvation and try to keep a few people out of hell.) Well, Bp Morlino is not the only one and I hope this is part of my purgatory. I am surrounded by people, especially women, who fall into the thinking, or rather feeling category of this article. AARGH. The idea that God is so loving that He would not possibly punish anyone has led to this type of mushy thinking, and no offense to the USCCB, but some of the liberal, socialist language which has come out of that group in the past has led also to such sloppy thinking.

    The sections on a baby in the womb as so offensive, I cannot believe anyone with an ounce of spirituality could write words based on utilitarianism and selfishness.

    These people do not belong to the same Church I do…regardless of their adamant stance. God forgive them and those who were bad pastors who lead them to such ideas.

  23. albizzi says:

    Anyways, the doors are wide open to these modernists and liberals who purportedly are claiming themselves “catholic”, to leave the Church since they find every day a lot of pretexts to criticize Her. Haven’t they already apostazied?
    The Card. Ratzinger wrote many years ago: “The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges.”
    Doesn’ t our Holy Father want “a more fervent, orthodox, evangelical church ” (even if it drives people away).

  24. BaedaBenedictus says:

    “During the First Session of the Second Vatican Council a lady turned up in Rome and asked for an audience with the pope to discuss with him the question of the ordination of women to the Catholic priesthood. She was Dr. Gertrud Heinzelmann, a lawyer at Lucerne, the famous centre of the Roman Church in Switzerland. Pope John, who was otherwise kindness and patience personified, lost his patience. ‘Tell that suffragette that I shall never receive her. She should go back to her homeland.’

    http://scecclesia.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/another-pope-john-xxiii-the-futility-of-the-liberal-cargo-cult/

    Let Dionne read this and weep into his tie-dyed shirt.

  25. PA mom says:

    This is not a well written article. Just how little ability is required to have this job?

    There are many young people out of work, some of whom can surely spit out vast quantities of this empty rehashing of news headlines. Perhaps he could promote social justice by retiring and letting someone else have a crack at this easy paycheck.

  26. LisaP. says:

    Scott W.,
    Thank you so much for that. This quote is so useful! I’ve often thought “Stockholm Syndrome” during discussions with people who, rather than disagreeing on a point, seem to repeatedly misunderstand and mischaracterize the point far beyond their intelligence level makes credible, but Crimestop fits better.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    When I read and think of this rubbish, I am reminded of Newman’s comment in a letter, when he stated that he was impressed by real Catholics –he was “extremely struck with their rigid purity.”
    Sadly lacking here in an article of mushy impurity……

  28. Father K says:

    Unfortunately, over the last 40 years or so, any number of bishops and Church leaders have been enablers, just like on the eve of the Protestant Reformation.

    Fortunately, the tide is turning.

  29. Clinton says:

    Mr. Dionne seems to view the Church as good only inasmuch as it is useful in worldly terms.
    However, this administration seems intent on edging the Church out of the public square–
    recently Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close, the Church was denied contracts to
    work with victims of human trafficking, etc. . If the day ever came when Leviathan obtained
    a monopoly on social services by shutting down all churches’ charitable programs, would
    Mr. Dionne still see a reason for the Church to exist?

    Maybe Leviathan would then become his church…

  30. MyBrokenFiat says:

    This foolish ad was run in the NYT, too. *Grumble grumble grumble*

    Did a full break-down of the text w/ rebuttal here:

    http://www.mybrokenfiat.com/1/post/2012/03/nyt-catholic-church-ad.html

    This whole nonsense now makes me want to bust out the red pen all over again. Bleck.

  31. Charlotte Allen says:

    I find it hard to get too hot and bothered about E.J. He’s just one of those liberal peri-Vatican II Catholics who thought the Church was going to change a whole lot in their direction and then got disappointed when it didn’t. I agree with Kathleen10 about male feminists, though–what spineless weenies! I’m glad I’m not married to one.

  32. frjim4321 says:

    Hope everything is okay. Usually not so much time between posts.

  33. Pingback: Again, a vicious anti-Catholic ad from Madison’s FFRF | Religious Freedom |

  34. chcrix says:

    “Dionne sees the Church’s value, and the value of belonging to the Church, in purely earthly terms.”

    This is key. The modern secularist does not acknowledge, and is in fact not even aware of theology – any theology. Their only belief is in their own secular ideals. That’s why there is the emphasis on ‘social teaching’ – the only part of the church that even registers with them.

    They are not protestants in the traditional sense of the term (though they are in the contemporary dying protestant mainstream sense.) They are actually atheists who aren’t capable of seeing that they are atheists. Note, I am not using ‘atheist’ as a swear word here. I am saying that they literally do not understand that they don’t actually have a religion in any recognizable sense of the term.

    They also seem unable to realize that since they are all also believers in the omnipotent state, that the church is completely superfluous in their ideal society.

  35. Dr. Sebastianna says:

    I am appalled by the quantity and level of awfulness of pieces in the “mainstream media” attacking the Church… It is alarming…

  36. robtbrown says:

    Dr. Sebastianna says:

    I am appalled by the quantity and level of awfulness of pieces in the “mainstream media” attacking the Church… It is alarming…

    For anyone who was raised in a non Catholic milieu, it is not surprising.

  37. Sub-sub-porter says:

    Father,

    I wish you wouldn’t bash Catholics, no matter how liberal they are, who desire to stay in the Church. You may not want to hear it and you may very well quote this post and try to make me look a fool for it; when you ridicule Catholics like Mr. Dionne for possibly reducing the Church to her social activities or for making unfortunate conclusions, you assist the Freedom from Religion Foundation in its mission to keep people away from the Church. [I think you are wrong.] I pray this is not what you want to do.

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    So many people completely misunderstand what he whole point of the Church is.

  39. poohbear says:

    “If you think you can change the church from within — get it to lighten up on birth control, gay rights, marriage equality, embryonic stem-cell research — you’re deluding yourself.”

    At least they got something right.

  40. The Cobbler says:

    I was going to say something relevant, but I can’t get over the hilarity of this part: “the Vatican, apparently pushed by right-wing American bishops…”

    I do second what Hidden One said. And I would point out to Sub-sub-porter (great name by the way) that the point of excommunication (at least as I understood it) was that there are cases where formally severing the relationship between a person and the Church could both help them stop fooling themselves about what they can preach or practice with benefit of Christ and, in the event even that did not sway them, make it harder for them to pass off heresy as “Catholic”. Although with that said, I’m not sure at what point it’s just for those of us who aren’t bishops to suggest (NB: suggest, however surely, forcefully and adamantly; I merely mean suggest as opposed to, oh, anything we lack the authority to declare) that people would be better off not pretending to support the Church while undermining her actual mission.

    Actually, now that I’m recovered I could probably start quoting Firefly again… but this poor fellow doesn’t quite fit the line I had in mind. At least not today. Although the line also had marvelous relevance — compare and contrast sort of relevance — to the FFRF ad.

    Anyway, go back up to the top of my comment and reread the funny part.

  41. AnAmericanMother says:

    Nobody could possibly be this ignorant and stupid.

    It’s deliberate, and it’s deliberately destructive. What did they used to say about Communists “boring from within”? He’s a termite in the Church.

    Shame on you, sir, and hie you to Confession (if you still believe.)

  42. Shamrock says:

    If only Mr Dionne would give all the facts surrounding the LCWR request, by the CDF, to REFORM theologically in order to CONFORM theologically, we would be spared this very biased diatribe. ( such as this request comes on the heels of 40 years dialogue between the CDF and the LCWR) But of course Mr Dionne has an agenda ( simply to deconstruct the Church) and so he will distort the facts like all myopic liberals do in order to achieve his goals. You , Father Z , are far too patient. I doubt even Jesus could convince Mr Dionne of the Truth of His Church…and so like those in the gospel of John, who murmured and walked away from the Bread of Life, we cannot dialogue for 40 plus years and expect anything new from those whose hearts are hardened. God bless them and it will be a happy day when they take their act abroad. We always pray for a change of heart knowing that with God all things are possible, even the possiblity Mr Dionne in time will see the errors in his thinking. I really think if these dissident progressives left they might get a whole new perspective enabling them to embrace the Truth of the Catholic Church instead of attacking it. Staying in place simply to be a corrosive presence is a dastardly act of cowardice!
    I have just unsubscribed from both Commonweal and Washington Post that carry Mr Dionne (and other liberal writers) as I see little value in continuing to be assaulted by their prejudicial views!