McBrien is back, and venting for the Fishwrap

The National catholic Fishwrap has for many dark years offered columns by the not-yet-late Richard McBrien. His writings should usually be ignored, but this piece is such a good example of liberal whining and deception that it merits attention for its educational value, if nothing else.

I understand McBriend has been fighting cancer or some other dire condition. I have offered prayers for him and I had hoped his sufferings would have sobered him up. Alas, it seems that he is still drunk with modernism and the intoxicating “spirit” of You Know What.

Let’s have a look at his latest rubbish:

Showing support for LCWR during these trying times
Richard McBrien

It’s old news by now, but I want to add my name to the already long list of people who have supported the Leadership Conference of Women Religious against the Vatican and its allies in North America.[I think he should take a long bus ride with some of them.]
The nuns have been in the forefront of the struggle to keep the spirit and the letter of the Second Vatican Council alive, [He may be old and ill, but he still slithers with the best of them. 'Spirit', as in the 'spirit of Vatican II' perhaps, but the 'letter'? Noooo....] not only in religious communities of women but also in the Catholic church at large.

Unfortunately, LCWR is a scapegoat for everything the right wing in the Catholic church loathes. [Yes, I think the 'right wing' does loathe dissent, infidelity, heterodoxy, scandal, support for abortion, liturgical abuses, running down devotion to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, intellectual dishonesty.... ] One should recognize that ultra-conservatives exist in the highest ranks of the Vatican, excluding no ecclesiastical office in the church. [For him, 'ultra' probably includes anyone who can happily embrace what the Catechism of the Catholic Church contains.]

As I said (to a standing ovation) [Because it's all about you. Aren't you wonderful?] at the symposium held in my honor [I wasn't invited. Oh well.... Hey, wasn't there some sort of problem in the theology department at ND when he was chairman? Seems to me I read something about that. Maybe readers could look that up on the interwebs.] at the University of Notre Dame toward the end of April, few North American Catholics would be Catholics today if it were not for the nuns. [Some might suggest that there are fewer now because of them.] The nuns, I insisted (to another standing ovation), are the greatest asset to the church in North America, and one hopes and prays that the Vatican will soon come to realize that as well. [If only 'the Vatican' could be as savvy as he is!]

The nuns are not only among the leaders in the church who wish the keep alive the spirit and the letter [There's that 'letter' again. He simply advances it as if it were true. We can grant that Fishwrapers like a few points of the texts of the Council. But they don't demonstrate that they embrace all of them.] of the Second Vatican Council, but are also among the thousands who are celebrating with the rest of the church the 50th anniversary of the council’s opening in the fall of 1962.

The council brought fresh air into the church, just as Pope John XXIII had hoped, but neither he nor his closest friends could have foreseen the terrible backlash he would also unleash.[What was it Paul VI said also came into the Church?]

He couldn’t have foreseen, for example, the concerted efforts of his successors, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, to undermine the council, consciously or not, by the appointment of bishops and archbishops unfriendly to the council. [B as in B. S as in S. John Paul ... unfriendly to the Council? By his appointment of bishops? Benedict? That is absurd. Then again, their choices must be mysterious to those who don't really care much about the 'letter' of the Council or about all those other Councils before 1962.]

[Ahhhh.... a list. Didn't Nixon make lists? And Obama?] Examples of such bishops are (with the diocese and year they were first ordained a bishop): Thomas Welsh, Arlington, Va., 1970 (now deceased); Thomas Daily, Brooklyn, N.Y., 1974 (now retired); Nicholas DiMarzio, Brooklyn, 1996; David Ricken, Green Bay, Wis., 2000; Richard Lennon, Cleveland, 2001.

Examples of such archbishops are: John Myers, Newark, N.J., 1987; Joseph Kurtz, Louisville, Ky.,1999; Jose Gomez, Los Angeles, 2001; Francis George, Chicago, 1990; Charles Chaput, Philadelphia, 1988; Edward Egan, New York, 1985 (now retired).

Nor could John XXIII have foreseen the wholesale assault on the nuns of the United States, not only in the “visitation” of the sisters’ communities, but also in the investigation of LCWR, which has been the source of so much good for the U.S. church.[Another absurdity. Some years ago Vatican Radio, on its local Roman broadcast, each afternoon played speeches and homilies of Popes from their archives. The addresses of John XXIII gave a different impression from the avuncular Santa Claus he is usually portrayed as having been. He came across, frankly, as being as hard as nails in those speeches. I think John XXIII would have ground the LCWR into the gutter with his red shoes and washed them into the Tiber. Does anyone here really imagine that John XXIII would have put up with nuns acting as escorts at abortion clinics? Nuns promoting the new age BS they have involved themselves in? Would he have smiled at the speakeresses at the last few LCWR meetings, including wacko stuff about cosmic evolution and presentations by open lesbians? Would he have condosned giving awards to the like of Sandra Schneiders? It is to laugh.]

Neither could he have foreseen the demoralization that has set into the Catholic church nowadays, with many Catholics looking forlornly at the Second Vatican Council as if it never happened and the pontificate of John XXIII as if he never existed.[Let's buy this buy a box of tissues. Booo hooo. Did guys like this care for two seconds about the sensibilities of millions of the faithful who watched liberals like him tear their Church and churches to pieces before their very eyes? All in the name of the 'spirit', not the 'letter', of the Council? What a crock.]

The bishops appointed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI insist they support the council, but that the council was misinterpreted by progressive Catholics. Progressive Catholics, on the other hand, feel the recent crop of bishops overemphasize the abortion issue to the practical exclusion of the church’s traditional emphasis on social justice [This is getting to tiresome, isn't it? This liberals pretend that anyone who upholds the right to be born is THE fundamental justice issue are really unsophisticated. They aren't as nuanced as these lefties who can see the big picture and, therefore, set aside the lives of the unborn. What gives the lie to McBrien's point is that people like Sr. Simone Campbell won't even answer direct questions about abortion.] and the needs of the poor, which the Nuns on the Bus have highlighted. [In the end he gets around to it. I suspect this is all about supporting Obama.]

We cannot overemphasize the fact that a pall of sadness now covers the church. [puhleez] Many have dropped out (the recent Pew poll disclosed that ex-Catholics constitute one-tenth of the U.S. religious landscape); others stay because they have found a worshiping community that meets their spiritual needs (usually on a college or university campus, where the long arms of a bishop cannot reach). [I think there are some empty Anglican or Episcopalian churches available. ]

But I have not given up hope — nor should you, my readers. [CUE MUSIC] The nuns (including LCWR) will eventually be vindicated, a new pope will be elected who the electors think is only a seat-warmer (just as they once regarded John XXIII), and the pendulum will swing the other way. It always has. [Those meds must be pretty good.]

Some of us will never see the change, like the saintly Moses, but it will come. [Ah! The Promised Land after the desert.] As John XXIII insisted, history is the great teacher of life. And history has much to teach us. [And what a great historian McBrien has been.]

PS: I had to do this entirely from my iPhone, which was a chore. Forgive typos for format problems.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liberals, Magisterium of Nuns, Pò sì jiù, The Drill, Throwing a Nutty, Vatican II, Women Religious and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to McBrien is back, and venting for the Fishwrap

  1. sawdustmick says:

    Didn’t Hitler and Stalin make lists too ?

  2. Charles E Flynn says:

    Fr. McBrien has a doctor-patient relationship with the Church, in which he imagines that he is the doctor.

  3. TNCath says:

    Father McBrien’s self-congratulating tone (i.e. the numerous “standing ovations” he received, etc.) is typical of those who dissent from Church teachings. Check out the various websites of LCWR-friendly orders of women religious and their sympathetic male counterparts. Contrast those with those who are living religious life faithful to the Church’s teachings and you will see a vast difference in tone and style.

    Despite his recent illness (for which I offer my prayers) I have always found Father McBrien’s articles to be months and sometimes even years behind the times. It’s as if he waits until everyone else has said what they are going to say, then he takes what everyone else has said, puts it together, and takes the credit as his own ideas. All he really does is re-hash what others are saying with the tired old cliches and ideas.

  4. Kevin says:

    Why insist on history so much at the end? Surely that’s one thing which the modernists disregard most frequently, together with Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of course.

  5. Philangelus says:

    Kevin, the insistence on history is a rhetorical technique to bring in more allies and give the illusion of more supporters than the writer has. Imagine two kids arguing in a playground: “You’re a doofus, and EVERYONE says it!” The first kid has now created an imaginary quorum of people who are on his side against the second kid, even though those people may not actually exist.

    Adults do this too: “Well, Steve, I’ve been hearing reports from your co-workers that you’ve been slacking off,” rather than, “Steve, I notice your production is down.” It’s the illusory ally technique. Make the other person feel outnumbered and he’ll go on the defensive rather than the offensive.

    McBrien reaches back into the past to claim the support of Pope John XXIII, and then reaches into the hypothetical future to say those people will support him by embracing his portrayal of history. This is a helpful technique when you’re outnumbered in the present: “Well, everyone ELSE thinks the changes after Vatican II were peachy, and in a hundred years, after like Vatican IV, everyone’s going to say you’re a doofus.” :-) Our playground is just a bit bigger nowadays, but people are still using the same verbal techniques.

  6. Legisperitus says:

    So McBrien sees himself as “the saintly Moses.” Figures.

  7. Fr. Erik Richtsteig says:

    McBrien as his ilk have made an idol of this council. Councilotary anyone?

  8. John 6:54 says:

    If that was done via an iPhone Fr. Z you are amazing and obviously have special graces.

  9. contrarian says:

    Did he just compare himself to Moses?

  10. wmeyer says:

    Did he just compare himself to Moses?

    Ah yes, such humility.

  11. PostCatholic says:

    Wow, was that ever angry.

  12. Joseph-Mary says:

    .[I think he should take a long bus ride with some of them.]…

    Yes, that might remove the rose colored glasses alright!

    Also, it can be noted that very few people take the “nuns” (an enclosed religious sister???) seriously. Last I read, there was TWO of them. They have made themselves a joke and only show what so many had to endure these past fading decades.

    There is new life in the Church and in the religious orders now. These poor delusional folks need our pity and our prayers. I am sorry for F. McBrien and that he is busy firing parting shots. I knew an elderly priest like that–he even said from the pulpit that abortion was permissable and the bible was made up stories and on and on. I hope he repented before he died. When he had the Mass, I would leave for the time he would ‘pontificate’ because otherwise I would be so upset and angry that I would not wish to receive Holy Communion.

  13. mlmc says:

    Whenever I read or hear one of Fr. McBrien’s pronouncements I am reminded of his proclamation after the funeral mass for JPII that Cardinal Ratzinger ‘s homily was so over the top that it proved that Ratzinger knew he had no chance of becoming the next pope. Even better, when the Cardinal was rapidly chosen by the ensuing conclave, Fr Neuhaus quipped that it showed “McBrien has no hotline to the Holy Spirit”.

  14. Rich says:

    The whole rant about bishops ignoring other social justice issues for the sake of focusing on abortion is simply dishonest, anyway. It’s how some liberals try to paint people who oppose abortion to justify the fact that the liberals themselves ignore the issue or outright promote abortion. Sorry, but supporting other social justice issues is not a free ticket to ignore or support the killing of innocents in their mothers’ wombs.

  15. acardnal says:

    I remember the Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. commenting quite simply about priests like McBrien, “they’re heretics”. AND if we should happen to see any National Catholic Reporter papers in a church vestibule, the charitable thing to do would be to make them disappear – or at least that was his implication. ;-)

  16. Sissy says:

    “Progressive Catholics, on the other hand, feel the recent crop of bishops overemphasize the abortion issue to the practical exclusion of the church’s traditional emphasis on social justice”

    Do you see, “social justice” voters? Even O’Brien admits that our Bishops put abortion first among issues. So, stop with the “seamless garment” nonsense, please.

  17. wmeyer says:

    Sorry, but supporting other social justice issues is not a free ticket to ignore or support the killing of innocents in their mothers’ wombs.

    Amen! Social justice (with no clear definition of what it means) has become the banner under which all manner of things antithetical to Church teaching are justified.

    The good Fr. Hardon did not waste words. His declaration was clear, and timeless.

    To those who think they can vote for pro-abort candidates with impunity: read your Catechism (the real one, not the “adult” catechism which overlooks some doctrine). Especially articles 2271-2273. Nowhere there will you find weasel words about social justice.

  18. AnnAsher says:

    “What was it Paul VI said also came into the Church?]” answer: “The smoke of satan has entered the Church” closing statements Vatican II, Paul VI.
    “Leadership Conference of Women Religious against the Vatican and its allies in North America” He speaks in militaristic terms – he sees a war on the Vatican – He is a priest who is *against* the Vatican. How do you spell Heretic? M-c-B-r-i-e-n.
    “few North American Catholics would be Catholics today if it were not for the nuns” If these ‘nuns’ (nons?) are with mcBrien, against the Vatican, then the ‘Catholics’ they have made, are logically not Catholics at all.
    Also, I thought Catholic’s follow Jesus and Jesus makes us Catholic not nuns? Or any other human being.
    Thursday I heard a sermon by a priest known as a liberal priest, wherein he stated “If you’re not maintaining a connection to the community you’re not following Jesus, you have chosen someone else to follow”. It is interesting because theirs seems to be a religion of the “community” but at the same time he made a salient follow up point about not spending hours in prayer only for yourself but our duty to pray for each other. I see the problem creep in, in that they hold themselves as the highest judge of what would Jesus do vs. looking to the Church.

  19. AnnAsher says:

    “What was it Paul VI said also came into the Church?]” answer: “The smoke of satan has entered the Church” closing statements Vatican II, Paul VI.
    “Leadership Conference of Women Religious against the Vatican and its allies in North America” He speaks in militaristic terms – he sees a war on the Vatican – He is a priest who is *against* the Vatican. How do you spell Heretic? M-c-B-r-i-e-n.
    “few North American Catholics would be Catholics today if it were not for the nuns” If these ‘nuns’ (nons?) are with mcBrien, against the Vatican, then the ‘Catholics’ they have made, are logically not Catholics at all.
    Also, I thought Catholic’s follow Jesus and Jesus makes us Catholic not nuns? Or any other human being.
    Thursday I heard a sermon by a priest known as a liberal priest, wherein he stated “If you’re not maintaining a connection to the community you’re not following Jesus, you have chosen someone else to follow”. It is interesting because theirs seems to be a religion of the “community” but at the same time he made a salient follow up point about not spending hours in prayer only for yourself but our duty to pray for each other. I see the problem creep in, in that they hold themselves as the highest judge of what would Jesus do vs. looking to the Church.
    Kudos to the iPost Fr Z!

  20. AnnAsher says:

    Ok not “the problem” but one of their many ;)

  21. chantgirl says:

    I would argue that many Catholics who have left the Church are casualties of the misapplication of VII. The fact that people who have beliefs similar to Fr. McBrien were in charge of teaching in colleges might have something to do with the Exodus. Fr. Mc Brien is sadly out of touch with the laity. I pray that these statements come from dementia, and not the bitterness that arises when someone is nearing their end and finds that no one wants to take up the banner of revolution that has been his greatest cause, because that would just be pathetic.
    My question is this: In the wake of VII, were some clerics just giddy with the possibilities of change and really thought they were following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or was there a spirit of destruction involved? In other words, was the massive flight of Catholics out of the Church since VII a result of sincere incompetence or the result of a planned desire to destroy? Out of charity, I would like to think that most of the wreckovators sincerely thought they were doing the right thing, but there must have been a few cold calculators as well.

  22. David Collins says:

    wmeyer said those who think they can vote for pro-abort candidates with impunity should read 2271-2273 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 2272 says that formal cooperation in an abortion is a grave offense. Does anyone think that voting for a pro-abort like Romney is grave offense? Especially in the case of a middle class voter who is sick of having his pocket picked to pay tax consumers and thus votes for a republican pro-abort hoping for some tax relief.

    But wmeyer is right that those paragraphs don’t contain “weasel words” about social justice. However, Article 3 of Part Three is titled [warning: weasel word coming]“Social Justice” and contains paragraphs 1928-1942. One sentence in 1931 reads, “No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies.” What do you know. Maybe voting for those whose only claim to a Catholic voter’s consideration is their alleged pro-life stand isn’t always the best choice.

  23. Geoffrey says:

    “…the spirit and the letter of the Second Vatican Council…”

    Some of my favourite “letters” of the Sacred Council are the ones that make up the following sentences:

    “…the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (SC 36. 1).

    “…steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (SC 54).

    “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services” (SC 116).

    So… just what exactly has Fr McBrien been reading?

  24. Sissy says:

    “Does anyone think that voting for a pro-abort like Romney is grave offense? ”

    No, for the simple reason that Governor Romney isn’t a “pro-abort”. Our leaders have advised us that voting for the candidate who is most pro-life in his beliefs is permissible in the event both candidates are not 100% in line with Catholic teaching on life. That is what the Holy Father meant by “proportionate” reasons. Numerous American Bishops have spoken to this very issue.

  25. David Collins says:

    Good grief. Having just now read the Fr. Z’s post, I want to say, for the record, I do not agree with Fr. McBrien. In my last post, I was responding to Sissy’s and wmeyer’s posts.

  26. wmeyer says:

    David, as Sissy said, you mis-characterize Romney’s position. However, rather than argue that point, I will ask you: Do you believe that by failing to vote for a candidate who can remove the unquestionably pro-abort incumbent, you have fulfilled your obligation as a Catholic citizen?

  27. jbosco88 says:

    I cite Bl JHN on this one:

    “To be deep on history is to cease to be Protestant”.

  28. Sword40 says:

    Don’t suppose anyone has an e-mail address for “Father” McBrien ?

  29. Imrahil says:

    I have not been asked, buuut…

    Do you believe that by failing to vote for a candidate who can remove the unquestionably pro-abort incumbent, you have fulfilled your obligation as a Catholic citizen?

    If it is done from a honest decision of conscience that Exgovernor Romney could only be supported using “lesser evil” allowances… then yes you have. The Church has been clear enough on that. (As it were, fulfilled her obligation is not the best thing to be said about a person… Think of an employer writing it into a discharge testimony… But it is true we cannot scold a person who has fulfilled her obligation.)

    Besides, dear @wmeyer, there may be many good arguments that Exgovernor Romney is positively a better candidate than President Obama. I believe he is. Buuut… that the incumbent is unquestionably bad is, taken by itself, none of them. A lesser evil is better than a worse evil. But at least the normal tendency within our culture is that a known evil is preferred to an unknown variable x. As it were, this is the classical theme of whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, etc. That was also the wisdom of the old woman of Syracus, who prayed that Dionysios may have a long life, because all her life had been an exchange of the bad tyrant for a worse next tyrant. (I think I quoted Heinrich Heine’s verse on that in this combox once).

  30. wmeyer says:

    According to the NDU web site, Fr. McBrien’s e-mail: rmcbrien@nd.edu

    And his “personal” page: http://www.nd.edu/~rmcbrien/

  31. Athanasius says:

    Unde mcbrien reptavit? Utinam, papae jpii et benedictus inimicitiam concilio habuissent! Domine, quamdiu?

  32. VexillaRegis says:

    It’s so scary that even some catholics think that, to achieve social justice, they have the right to kill those who stand in their way.

  33. catholicmidwest says:

    That’s because what these social activists are really talking about it is not social justice, but rather politics, social engineering and revenge.

  34. robtbrown says:

    David Collins says:
    Does anyone think that voting for a pro-abort like Romney is grave offense? Especially in the case of a middle class voter who is sick of having his pocket picked to pay tax consumers and thus votes for a republican pro-abort hoping for some tax relief

    To a great extent the electorate doesn’t know what a candidate will do. Politicians famously have all the principles of a seismograph. Some years ago a gubernatorial candidate in this state ran pledging to restore capital punishment. He was elected, then vetoed the bill that would have restored it. Reelection came around, and once again he was the candidate to restore CP. Once again the legislature passed it. Once again, he vetoed it. And of course Bush43 ran opposed to nation building, then proceeded to engage in it during his administration’s incompetent Iraq adventure.

    Whatever Romney’s past in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he is now running for President from a party that is nationally anti-abortion (and against an incumbent who has pushed abortion like no predecessor). That gives me reason to think that as President Romney would be anti-abortion.

  35. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says:

    I have not been asked, buuut…

    Do you believe that by failing to vote for a candidate who can remove the unquestionably pro-abort incumbent, you have fulfilled your obligation as a Catholic citizen?

    If it is done from a honest decision of conscience that Exgovernor Romney could only be supported using “lesser evil” allowances… then yes you have. The Church has been clear enough on that. (As it were, fulfilled her obligation is not the best thing to be said about a person… Think of an employer writing it into a discharge testimony… But it is true we cannot scold a person who has fulfilled her obligation.)

    Disagree. The lesser evil is never a good (nor is the lesser good ever an evil). We can never morally opt for the lesser evil.

    Moral choice always concerns limited goods, sometimes choosing one over the other, other times ordering them. The choice here is between an incumbent whose pro abortion policies are evident and a challenger who is likely to pursue anti-abortion policies–it’s between an evil and a lesser good.

  36. Imrahil says:

    We can never morally opt for the lesser evil, but we are allowed to vote for the lesser evil since the act of voting for the lesser evil ad maiora mala vitanda is itself no evil.

    I do not know whether Exgovernor Romney is a lesser evil or a lesser good or totally good. But people actually have ethical problems with voting for him (for which also extrinsic evils have to be included); at at any rate I’m only supposing they have, the rest is none of my business. These, once they are there, do certainly not fall away by the mere fact that the incumbent undoubtedly makes pro-abortion politics. That can make him a lesser evil; it can never make him not-at-all-an-evil (provided the problems were real in the first place.)

    In voting, it can happen that two candidates have a change and we can stand behind neither; and the rest has no chance. In that case, it is by constant teaching of the Church (to say so would normally require a citation, which I won’t look up for now; excuse that please) both allowed to vote for the lesser evil and throw one’s votes, in protest, into the third party and abstention dustbins.

    I called this fact a “lesser evil allowance”. I was presuming, as certainly some people opine in best conscience and with deliberation, that Exgovernor Romney could not in conscience be totally endorsed. I was not judging on whether that is the case.

  37. rinkevichjm says:

    You know he is right and it will happen… When the LCWR is filled with women who want to fulfill their vocations in accordance with Church teachings and increase the numbers of Catholics who want to perform their vocations in true Holiness. And we should pray for this because until then Fr. McBrien’s prophesy will go unfilled.

    Letting the children yet to come not be impeded from being made joint-natured with our Lord on the cross (i.e. baptized cf Rom 6:4-5) is among the greatest of social justices we can seek.

  38. Angie Mcs says:

    I often feel that a publication can be judged by the comments it receives from its readers, pandering to that mentality. Other than the MSM, I don’t believe I have read such nasty or personally insulting comments as those generated by NcR articles. Yes, the Church is run by humans, who sin and make serious mistakes. I think we all know this and need to pray for our sins and frailties. The NcR seems to delight in this – “yay, another article we can write to belittle someone, or twist the facts” . There is no joy in being Catholic coming from these pages, just bitterness. Yet I know there is merit and often necessity in knowing what poison is coming from other sources, and I appreciate Father Z advising us on where such people stand. ( especially by IPhone!)
    Have a wonderful trip, FAther and safe journey back.

  39. wmeyer says:

    Imrahil, with respect, I will accept the argument of Card. Burke over yours. Your rationale overlooks the role you will play in keeping O in office if you cast your vote for other than Romney.

  40. benedetta says:

    Kinda sick that he extracts prolife from social justice, pitting them against each other. Yuck.

  41. Sissy says:

    “We can never morally opt for the lesser evil.”

    Then you are doomed to perpetual inaction. We are told that we have a moral obligation to vote. No candidate is perfect. Any choice will be a “lesser evil” or “greater evil”. To refuse to make a choice is to refuse to try to improve your community. Refusing to participate in in our imperfect political system is a greater evil than voting for the “lesser evil”, in my opinion, because refusing to vote is assenting to the status quo….Obama.

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  43. Giuseppe says:

    Father Z, Love the Rome pictures. I trust you voted absentee.
    How about a 2012 Election Prediction poll?

    1) Who will win the electoral vote?
    2) Who will win the popular vote?
    3) What change will there be in the Senate?
    4) What change will there be in the House?
    5) Status of ‘gay marriage’ amendments?

  44. William Tighe says:

    The poor old dear can’t even get his facts straight, e.g.,

    “Thomas Welsh, Arlington, Va., 1970 (now deceased)”

    Arlington became a diocese only in 1974, when Bishop Welsh became its first bishop. (He went on to become Bishop of Allentown in 1983.)

  45. Warren says:

    It appears that Fr. McBrien is squandering his sobriety test by choosing to remain defiant.

    I fear Fr. McBrien’s habitual defiance will likely accompany him into the next life and land him among other defiant souls who are beyond the reach of prayer.

  46. Imrahil says:

    Dear @wmeyer, I do not know now what precisely is Cardinal Burke’s argument. Still, of course and for one thing, there is the factor of obedience to lawful authority, meaning the hierarchy. In my opinion, though this is a very private opinion, if there is a choice between two morally possible options A and B, and the competent hierarch for some justifiable reason (such as, for instance, making the Catholic Church heard with a powerful voice) says “choose A”, then I would choose A.

    I had somewhat of such a situation once. We have a Christian Social Party, which also used to be all we had of a rightist or Conservative Party. It was clear beforehand that it is the party nearest to my convictions; nevertheless, there is a lot of discontent with this party because it constants waters down its own profile in favor of a tendencially leftist, Christian in the sense of “liberal Christianity” in the American language, politically-correct Middle Party… especially since Dr Merkel is Chancelloress. Any thing to the direction of actually putting abortion under punishment again is, of course, totally foreign from any party (though this is not so much the culture-separating issue as it is in America, probably because you had this frankly law-breaking judge putsch which is called Roe vs. Wade, while we had some whiny compromising which, at least, sticks to the philosophy that it is theoretically a crime)… Now I was figuring whether to vote Christian Social once again or perhaps vote somewhom else, just to show that we are not negligible voting-cattle which need not be taken into account when it comes to a political program. What happened then is that in the Pastoral Letter, we heard the actual order of “go to the election” and were also advised “not to see the party system through a depressive pair of glasses” or so; as the discontent with the Christian Socials was public enough, I took this as advising to set my reservations aside and vote Christian Social.

    Anyway… this was a bit of a parenthesis… all I was arguing for is that you cannot call an abstainer a sinner, and of course if we indeed are to scold sinners at all, at least we are not to scold non-sinners. It is simply not true that an abstainer shares any moral responsibility for the outcome of an election. There may be something to the concept of a nation as a Community of Destiny (hello, Godwin!), but not everything, and only under the reservation that a man may have a reservation, and say “I just won’t take a part in that”. Caught-together hanged-together does not work in morality.

    I did mean that under the premises (which I never inquired into), both voting for Romney and abstention are morally feasible. I did perhaps mention that on other moral grounds, I would choose… no, I think I didn’t mention it because that’d be meddling into foreign affairs, but it is not abstention.

    But having a free choice is having a free choice. And while it is nonsense to preexclude tactics based on realistically possible outcome from one’s consideration, it is also – dear @Sissy -, with all due respect, nonsense to call “seamless garment” theories nonsense.

  47. David Collins says:

    Sorry to be so late responding. As we know, real life is reading WDTPRS; everything else is a distraction. I got distracted : )

    Your question to me, wmeyer, has been answered beautifully in Imrahil’s last post. We are not obligated to vote.

    robtbrown said:
    Whatever Romney’s past in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he is now running for President from a party that is nationally anti-abortion (and against an incumbent who has pushed abortion like no predecessor).

    But are the Republicans anti-abortion? On another thread, Southern Catholic helpfully provided a link – from the National Review no less! – that clearly proves the republicans have no intention of ending abortion. Romney himself has said that anti-abortion legislation is not part of his platform. On the other hand, the President will push for programs that will help the poor, and surely we can all agree that poverty is itself an abortifacient.

  48. David Collins says:

    (sigh) I don’t what went wrong with the link in my last post. Here it is:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/332155/catholic-pro-life-and-voting-obama-michael-j-new

  49. leonugent2005 says:

    Father McBrien compares himself to Moses who was prevented from entering the promised land because of disobedience. Perhaps Father McBrien should read his own column.

  50. bookworm says:

    If this were a race between two candidates who were EQUALLY aggressive, or non-aggressive, in their promotion of “choice” and whose proposed abortion policies were not substantively different, then one could, in my opinion, argue that a vote for neither is morally justified, and that a third party/write in vote or complete abstention is the best, or perhaps only, morally acceptable choice. In a case like that — when it truly does not matter who wins and neither candidate is likely to make the situation any worse — it does no harm to sit out the race and let someone win by default.

    However, that is not the situation we are facing. No matter how pro-choice Romney may have been when he was Mass. governor, and even if there is very little chance of his doing anything significant to end legalized abortion (e.g., appointing SCOTUS justices who provide the deciding votes to overturn Roe), still, he doesn’t come close to the all-in aggressive abortion promotion of the Obama administration.

    Romney probably won’t make things much better, but based on his party platform and his public statements, it appears he won’t make things any worse — whereas Obama is committed to a platform of making things MUCH worse via the HHS mandate, mandatory Obamacare coverage for contraception (and likely abortion in the future), etc.

    I agree that faithful Catholics probably have a negative, binding moral obligation at this point NOT to vote for Obama; however, that should not be assumed to equal a binding positive moral obligation to vote FOR Romney. You can vote Romney, vote third party/write in, or not vote at all; these choices are all morally acceptable though not, in my opinion, necessarily equally prudent.

  51. teomatteo says:

    “As John XXIII insisted, history is the great teacher of life. And history has much to teach us. ”
    And I would insiste that without the primacy of protection of life in the womb there is no: Bl. John XXIII, no great teachers, no history, no us.

  52. Imrahil says:

    Dear @David Collins,

    thank you very much for your compliments. Note however that I argued that an abstention is allowed (and argued on Mark Shea’s blog that a vote for Romney is allowed); you seem to argue that President Obama is actually the better candidate which, to say the least, is a totally different thing.

    On the other hand, the President will push for programs that will help the poor
    Will he? and will they?

    and surely we can all agree that poverty is itself an abortifacient.
    Forgive my frankness but I don’t think so. Poverty is not an abortifacient. The attitude of poverty, as such, is “let’s see what future may bring; I cannot help it anyway, and I’m so destitute that one child more does not matter”. This, I guess, is why our Lord praised the poor so much (besides their merits in suffering); and helpful too, because contrary to modern assumption God actually lovingly cares about his children. Besides, a poor woman cannot even afford an abortion.

    What is an abortifacient is the attitude that “one child may make myself lose such little status as I have”.

    Besides, I do not really get what is the point of getting enough judges into SCOTUS to overturn RvW (dear @bookworm, etc.). Well, I do get that it might be helpful if a State chose to relegislate some penalty, it would not be overthrown at once. But in agreeing that RvW is even so much as a valid decision you have given away your position; it was not; it was an attempt of the judges to use a power Constitution did not give them by reading out of Constitution what no sane man possibly could read out of it, and with the openly stated objective to overturn a law that, in the 1970s, could not have been overturned by legislation, because it’s oh so liberal and progressive to do so.

    States should just relegislate a penalty, now, at once, wherever this goes through the respective legislation bodies. If SCOTUS overthrows it, make an official proclamation that SCOTUS once more overstepped its competencies, and relegislate it. And so on.

  53. Kathy C says:

    @David Collins,

    I’m not able to parse all the arguments, but the sense I get most from your arguments is that of pride. That and self-satisfaction. Please look inside yourself and make sure you will not vote because that is the right thing to do, not because it makes you better than the rest of us. I apologize if that is not what is going on.

  54. Athanasius says:

    Imrahil, with respect, I will accept the argument of Card. Burke over yours. Your rationale overlooks the role you will play in keeping O in office if you cast your vote for other than Romney.

    I’m sorry but that’s absurd. No one is ever wrong to vote for the candidate that is the most morally acceptable, irrespective of whether he can’t win.
    Where in scripture or tradition do you find that you must vote for one of the appointed candidati who espouse largely the same views on most things? Moreover there is no certain criterion for determining that Romney’s manifold change of position or putting his finger in the wind means he will be serious about doing anything about abortion. You seem to assume that Mormons are necessarily pro-life, but the mormon religion has no official position that its members must take. They tend to be Republican because that’s what mom and dad voted.
    More importantly, you cannot coax people like myself with serious moral problems with Romney’s positions into voting for him against our conscience on the basis of we’ll be stuck with Obamanation. Romney has vowed to continue the war on terror, which for me is a much a moral issue as abortion. There are 100,000+ dead Afghani civilians, and 65-70% of Afghanis do not know what 9/11 was and haven’t seen an improvement in standard of living since Alexander rolled through there 2500 years ago. If we vote for that we are just as responsible as the state department, Bush and Obama. The war on abstract nouns IS a moral issue that Catholics should take into account, especially with the warnings and cautions of the late Holy Father and the current Holy Father on the issue. We cannot live in some Republican Party Catholicism where Catholic values are important on life issues but suspended on issues at odds with the Republican party platform. I will not vote for Romney because he is morally unacceptable to me. If we cannot vote for the candidate of our conscience, then we do not live in a free republic but in an oligarchy where one can only vote for those with the millions to spend who are appointed by the tyranny of the majority. If that’s what you want America to be then vote Romney.

  55. wmeyer says:

    Your question to me, wmeyer, has been answered beautifully in Imrahil’s last post. We are not obligated to vote.

    Actually, the Church teaches that we do have responsibilities as citizens, David, so that really won’t fly. When the office of the President is filled by the most pro-abortion and anti-Catholic man to hold that office, then failing to vote, or voting third party, is essentially a failure of that responsibility we all share. To abstain is to act, and to act for ill is sinful.

    There are some here who appear to be agents for the “catholics for Obama” mindset. I sincerely doubt my ability to change the views of any such, as they have determined to substitute license for freedom.

  56. RichR says:

    FrZ,

    Extremely good point about Bl. John XXIII and the pro-abort religious.

    In the Spirit of Vatican II, I will pray today’s office of Prime for Fr. McBrien’s health.

  57. Sissy says:

    The USCCB released a statement in the last couple of weeks affirming that Catholics do, indeed, have a moral obligation to vote. I am sad to see any Catholic claiming that his own opinions trump obedience to Catholic teaching. David Collins, your attempts to persuade others to vote for Obama is duly noted. But I intend to vote as my Bishop, my pastor, and my conscience lead me. I will do everything in my power to vote Obama out of office.

  58. Imrahil says:

    Dear @wmeyer,

    despite our differences, I hope you did not mean to include me under the “Catholics for Obama” mindset. If you did, you would be wrong.

    Only you cannot impose on others the view that the sentence “Any vote not for Romney is one for Obama” has literal meaning within morality. That’s all I’m saying.

    The hierarchy, perhaps, can. So as long as I have not looked up the precise wordings of such statements the USCCB and Cdl Burke issued, you can count me as discussion with less information than I could have.

    Whether a way of thinking foreign to the general ways is of pride or not (dear @Kathy); let me put it this way: to diagnose pride from afar, without being a clergyman or (I suppose) a close friend, and then with all this “go into yourself and decide whether you really” etc. has a little patronizing tone, and serves as little else than a sort of moral pressure not to do things most people do not understand. (Because who wants to be called proud?, etc.)

    The real thing to object to dear @David Collins is that he, also, confuses abstention with voting for Obama and, perhaps without admitting to himself, thinks that a good thing… all the while seemingly agreeing to the proposition that “you may not vote for Obama”, for otherwise he would just do so plain and simple…

  59. wmeyer says:

    despite our differences, I hope you did not mean to include me under the “Catholics for Obama” mindset. If you did, you would be wrong.

    I have no knowledge on which to base such an assertion.

    Only you cannot impose on others the view that the sentence “Any vote not for Romney is one for Obama” has literal meaning within morality. That’s all I’m saying.

    Many fail to appreciate that historically an abstention or third party vote is, indeed, most often effective on behalf of the incumbent. I hold that Obama’s policies are clearly evil and objectively antithetical to our faith. I further hold that based on history, we can foresee the high likelihood that abstention or third party voting leads to a second term for Obama. And if we can foresee that likely outcome, I believe our obligation is then increased.

    Card. Burke, Abp. Chaput and others have made clear cases for the obligations of the faithful with respect to voting. It is not necessary to search for specific wording. In fact, the notion of such a search suggests to me a rather legalistic approach by someone looking for an escape clause, rather than for moral responsibility as a Catholic.

  60. Imrahil says:

    Dear @wmeyer, thank you for your kind answer. I have no reason to dispute that a vote that abstention, as far as effectivity is concerned, for the incumbent. I disputed it as far as moral responsibility of the voter is concerned. For he who abstains simply abstains. He is morally responsible for his abstention (there is something dangerous in the assertion that none at all is good enough; however, that can nevertheless be true sometimes). He is not responsible for the outcome.

    As to the legalistic approach: Other than you, I do not see that an obligation to vote for Romney follows from the nature of the cases (supposing, again, the often-heard theory that he is only a lesser evil). If it would, seeking loopholes would indeed be a bad thing. But if, as I hold, by nature voting for Romney is allowed but not obligatory (while voting for Obama is not even allowed) – always under the premises – then it could still be made obligatory by an order of a competent bishop. For this, a “legalistic” approach would be correct, as it is also correct to drive exactly 35 mph when the sign says so (“going to the borderline of the allowed things”).

  61. robtbrown says:

    David Collins says:


    robtbrown said:
    Whatever Romney’s past in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he is now running for President from a party that is nationally anti-abortion (and against an incumbent who has pushed abortion like no predecessor).

    But are the Republicans anti-abortion? On another thread, Southern Catholic helpfully provided a link – from the National Review no less! – that clearly proves the republicans have no intention of ending abortion. Romney himself has said that anti-abortion legislation is not part of his platform. On the other hand, the President will push for programs that will help the poor, and surely we can all agree that poverty is itself an abortifacient.

    1. Yes, the Repub party is officially anti abortion. There are a few Repubs from liberal states who are exceptions.

    And the Dem party is officially pro abortion. I don’t know of any Dem who disagrees with the policy to the point of not backing pro abortion candidates or voting against confirmation of Justices of

    2. Having just read, SC’s remarks, I don’t find your interpretation correct.

    He said: a) Changing US abortion law can only be effected by SCOTUS overturning Roe v Wade and returning the issue to State legislatures; b) That is changed indirectly by SCOTUS nominations; c) No SCOTUS justice nominated by a Dem President has ever voted to overturn Roe.

    3. Almost 60% of all US abortions are NOT done on low income women

    4. You seem to have turned into an pretzel trying to deceive yourself voting for pro abortion candidates.

  62. David Collins says:

    OK, folks, OK. No, Kathy, I don’t believe I’m arguing from pride. Yes, I do rather think the re-election of the President wouldn’t be all that bad; but he’ll have to do it without me because of the HHS mandate. Plus, I hate the anti-Christian element driving the once great Democratic party. Republicans attract libertarian voters, which isn’t an element Catholic voters ought to embrace.

    I shall say no more. Thanks to all for your informative posts.

  63. mlmc says:

    One should not vote for Obama b/c you think his economic policies are better than Romney’s. For Catholics, any basis for such belief is tenuous at best- which candidate’s plan is better is a weak prudential judgement that cannot overcome the intrinsic evil of Obama’s extraordinarily strong support for abortion. No one has the requisite certitude about economic matters to be certain that ANY given policy is superior to another such that it trumps the certainty that Obama will support late term abortion, embryonic stem cell use, redefinition of marriage etc. The so called science of economics just does not have the required precision to make such distinctions. Anyone who claims otherwise is not being honest. We need honest humility in judging the proposals of politicians-the fact is we cannot project our desires & hopes on them so that they overcome firm moral guidelines.

  64. Imrahil says:

    Dear @mlmc,

    I should say first that I am no scientist of economics.

    Human life is more important than economics (and so is rule of law, which also is suffering a breakdown due to Roe vs Wade). And, I accept that the general populace lacks economic knowledge. Third, we must never think “the science of the economics says” when it is once again only the lastest post-Christian post-Aristotelian fashion and prejudice that disguises for it in tv and little-level discussions.

    Still – all that being said – , I’m confident that, e.g., someone who has actually made a profession as national (!, not business) economist has some real knowledge of the things and what in common-sense morality can be called certitude about some things. (Not the certitude we have in faith, nor even the certitude we have in philosophy, or even in natural science where no souls with their wills have to be accounted for; but still a certainty.)

    There are other arguments against Obama. We should not throw overboard any human ability of cognizance (even in, indeed, as complicated a matter as national economics); we would go too far.

  65. mlmc says:

    FDR:”if you laid all economists end to end you wouldn’t reach a conclusion”
    unkown: “economists have successfully predicted 13 out of the last 2 recessions”
    Imrahil- one cannot properly use prudential judgements of uncertain probability as a guide when moral certitude points in the other direction- ie the argument advanced by some that Obama’s economic policies are so much better than Romney’s that they would lead to a lower abortion rate- and that trumps Obama’s strong support of abortion, embryonic stem cell use and redefinition of marriage-all intrinsic evils. That fails morally &, in fact, it is just as likely that Romney’s economic policies are superior to Obama’s(the economic record to date for Obama is certainly less than stellar). It is not valid to argue that the unintended consequence of an action (better economy–>lower abortion), IF IT OCCURS, overwhelms the INTENDED and EVIL act: easier access, & promotion of, abortions etc.

  66. wmeyer says:

    mlmc: If you consider only Keynesian economics, then the quotations you offer are of value. And the FedGov loves Keynesians, because they promote government spending.

    In general, however, the impact of most government actions on the economy CAN be foreseen, so there is no excuse for the nonsense they use in pandering to voters.

  67. Stephen D says:

    I have sent the following quote to Fr. McBrien from good Pope John XIII (Sacerdotii Nostri Promordia – a good read)

    “For, as you well know, Venerable Brethren, Our most recent predecessors have often issued serious warnings to priests about the extent of the dangers that are arising among the clergy from a growing carelessness about obedience with regard to the teaching authority of the Church, to the various ways and means of undertaking the apostolate, and to ecclesiastical discipline. “