Am. Spectator on Vatican rejection of ambassadors

From The American Spectator with my emphases and comments.

The Obama Watch

A Blessing for Catholics

By Lisa Fabrizio on 4.15.09 @ 6:06AM

In the 1960s, the American Catholic Church, like the rest of the nation, underwent a period of tremendous upheaval. Proceeding from, though not limited to, the willful misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council by some in the clergy, thousands upon thousands left the Church; older members who could not withstand the confusion, and the younger ones who could not perceive an enduring faith amid the calamitous changes. [A pretty good description.]

But as has happened countless times in her long history, the Church has, by the grace of God, seen good priests and bishops arise to bring her back. Yet still today, far too many American Catholics are like far too many other citizens of their country: they have a vague notion of their history or of the tenets on which they were founded, but not much more than that. [Indeed… we are living in a time unlike other times, during the ascendancy of relativism.] Sadly, many of them get serious about the faith a few times a year, much like Americans who recall our founding principles only briefly on the Fourth of July, if at all.  ["sunshine patriots"]

Faithful, practicing Catholics are already painfully aware that, in addition to having to defend their faith to others, they must also sometimes explain it to their fellow Catholics. And, just as knowledge and respect for the U.S. Constitution and capitalism — which were ingrained upon the American psyche for decades — have faded into the past, so too it seems incomprehensible that today’s Catholics need to be reminded that adultery, euthanasia, and the murder of the unborn constitute grave sin[Thus it is a constant surprise for them that the Pope of Rome isn’t in favor of distribution of contraceptives.]

Upon this scene comes Barack Obama, the first American president to embrace abortion both personally and politically. [Right.  He doesn’t veer into the "I’m personally opposed" dodge.] Not only does he support a "right" that seeks to cut short innocent life, he has made the case that such life might be the "punishment" for sexual "mistakes." This goes beyond what even some of the most strident advocates of abortion have been willing to say in public, but such is the sorry state of morality in our country.

Now given Barack Obama’s radical support of abortion — even to the extent that he has voted that the lives of the survivors of this heinous act should also be snuffedyou’d think that he would be wary of alienating the great majority of practicing American Catholics. [Not so.] Yet, spurred on by exit polling that suggests he won the overall Catholic vote by a slim margin, he has managed to elevate some of the most notoriously pro-abortion Catholics to important posts in his administration.  [Sounds like this isn’t an accident.]

He has even reportedly gone so far as to try and nominate such nominal Catholics as Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to the Vatican. These choices, of course, have been rejected. Try this stinging rebuke from a Vatican source: [a Vatican source…]

    The Holy See has always set a very simple standard: the person should not be in opposition to fundamental teachings of the Church that belong to our common shared humanity. He or she may not believe in Catholic dogma if he or she is not a Catholic, but we could not accept someone who is in favor of abortion, or (human) cloning or same-sex unions equated to marriage. That is a fairly simple principle that governments like, say, Spain and Cuba, or Mr. Clinton’s administration, have been able to understand without a problem.


Unfortunately, Obama’s reward for all this is that he will be the sixth president to speak at Notre Dame and the ninth to receive an honorary degree from that formerly venerated institution. This despite the fiat from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that "…Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

No doubt Notre Dame and its leadership think that they are being courageous in honoring one who has so publicly spit in the eye of Mother Church, but it’s hard to imagine why. In reality, true courage lies in opposing popular opinion in defense of principle. As Jesus explained:

    If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:19)

And here is where we find that God does indeed continue to work in mysterious ways. Notre Dame and Barack Obama have combined to supply the Church with an opportunity to exercise one of its fundamental missions; to provide the faithful with a true teaching moment. Dozens of American bishops have issued statements condemning the Obama invitation and other indiscretions at Notre Dame, perhaps none more eloquently than Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska:

    Permit me to add my name as well to the long list of Bishops of the Catholic Church who are utterly appalled at your dedication to immorality and wrong-doing represented by your support for the obscenity called "The Vagina Monologues" and your absolute indifference to the murderous abortion program and beliefs of this President of the United States…I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University.

Harsh words indeed, but most welcome to the ears of faithful Catholics everywhere. Let us hope that more and more of our brethren will heed the voices of these brave bishops who understand that one’s faith cannot be checked at the church door. And let us all pray together with Pope Benedict XVI who said in America last year:

    Praying fervently for the coming of the Kingdom also means…rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life, since, as the Second Vatican Council put it, "there is no human activity — even in secular affairs — which can be withdrawn from God’s dominion."

Well written!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. mrsmontoya says:

    Yes, God is writing straight with this crooked line! And the leaders of the Catholic Church have stepped into their proper place and are LEADING us. Blessings on all of you who are holding the light of our faith high above the murk of the world.

  2. Dean Herrick says:

    I agree, well written. My only objection, and I realize that perhaps I’m playing with semantics, but the term “American Catholic Church” really grates on me.
    To me, we are the Catholic Church in America. To be the American Catholic Church seems to imply that it’s ok to ignore the Pope and the Curia because \, hey, we’re the “American” Catholic Church. We assume an identity different from the Latin Church as a whole. Just my humble opinion.

  3. jarhead462 says:

    Very well written indeed.

    Semper Fi!

  4. Ann says:

    Bishop \”Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska\”\’s words were not harsh at all in my opinion; I found his words accurate, charitably written, and admirably direct.

    I especially like that he did the charity of clarity–nobody reading his comments can misunderstand what is correct in this situation. A wonderful use of a teaching moment.

    Thank God for the courage of this Bishop.

  5. Would it not have been wonderful if Paul VI, instead of sending Archbishop Jadot to America to appoint one third of our bishops and to make sure they were liberal, had instead insisted that the appointees be pious and devout? The Mother of God, of course, foretold all this would happen and she enunciated this in the Third Secret of Fatima! This has been a Divine punishment and there will be more and worse to come. “Amen, amen, I say to you-this earth shall not pass away until every jot and tittle has been satisfied.”

  6. Biff says:

    Well written indeed but the bookies are giving 8 to 1 odds that the HolySee will eventually accept the credentials of someone like sweet Caroline.

  7. michigancatholic says:

    Agreed, Dean. I flinch when I hear that term as well. There are two churches in the US under one roof, and we aren’t in the other one (the abortion, birth control, new agey one–you know what I mean).

    Biff, we’d be better off without an ambassador than with one of the Kennedys in the spot. I won’t soil Fr. Z’s good blog with what I think of the Kennedy family. Suffice it to say the whole idea must be a joke.

  8. Matt says:

    I have a hard time with the idea that the words of Bp Bruskewitz are “Welcome to the ears of faithful catholics everywhere”…another example of seizing a high ground that doesn’t exist. I consider myself a faithful catholic and find the statements of Bp Bruskewitz rather unhelpful and somewhat abhorent for someone who is supposed to speak in a manner redolent of the Catholic faith.

    That’s a spot where the writer gets it wrong…..if she wanted to say “Catholics who prefer their faith served with the joy of a 1950s rectory housekeeper”…that may have worked…this doesn’t.

  9. michigancatholic says:

    Wow. 1950s rectory housekeeper? Somebody has a lot of baggage.

  10. Ricky Vines says:

    What struck me between the lines were the American Catholic Church vs. the Catholic Church in America. The former was represented by the pro-Obama Catholic vote contrasted with those who welcome the Vatican’s rejection of his ambassadors. Also, the former seems to be represented by the majority of the USCCB while the latter are comprised by the 32 bishops who spoke against the ND honoring.

    The activity on the side of orthodoxy is encouraging; but, it is still a minority considering the 100+ bishops in the USCCB. And that may have been the cause of the pro-Obama Catholic vote – the ambiguity in teaching and the pastoral approaches that find toleration with evil acceptable e.g. the bishops in the capitol have never reiterated the Eucharistic prohibition for Sebellius and the bishop of New Orleans even commended the honorary degree to be given Obama.

    Is the answer in lay activism – twisting the arms of erring bishops by withholding donations? (BTW, I like the rubrics in this blog. So, green must mean really nice, better than the bold.)

  11. Argent says:

    “Catholics who prefer their faith served with the joy of a 1950s rectory housekeeper

    I dare say that the joy of a 1950s rectory housekeeper was deeper than our oh-so-enlightened generation\’s. Pass the Prozac, please.

    Oh, by the bye, what is a manner “redolent of the Catholic faith”?

  12. Maynardus says:


    If you “consider” yourself a “faithful Catholic” but find the words of Bishop Bruskewitz unwelcome to your ears, unhelpful, or even abhorrent, perhaps you should… re-consider!

    Meanwhile, please look up the meanings of the words “abhorrent” and “redolent” before you use them again in public lest you embarass yourself further. [And you might please keep in mind that it is not your role on this blog to correct people with that tone. Furthermore, its “embarrass”. o{];¬) ]

    In caritas.

  13. Christa says:

    Just a side note, that I thought I would post here while this thread is still short, so that perhaps more may read it. This comes from CNS:

    “Georgetown University says it covered over the monogram “IHS”–symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ—because it was inscribed on a pediment on the stage where President Obama spoke at the university on Tuesday and the White House had asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols there.

    As of Wednesday afternoon, the “IHS” monogram that had previously adorned the stage at Georgetown’s Gaston Hall was still covered up–when the pediment where it had appeared was photographed by” [And this is OFF TOPIC.]

  14. I am not Spartacus says:

    I consider myself a faithful catholic and find the statements of Bp Bruskewitz rather unhelpful and somewhat abhorent for someone who is supposed to speak in a manner redolent of the Catholic faith.

    I think the bold words of Bishop Bruskewitz are bracing. The words were few; the words were undeniably clear in their meaning; the words hit their intended target right in their soul.

    These are the words of a masculine Prelate. We need 100 more Bishop B’s in America.

    To me, he sounded like Jesus speaking to the Pharisees and calling them whited sepulchres.

    For my own self, I think of Notre Dame as Calvary – a place where Truth goes to die.

  15. ssoldie says:

    Thank you ,I am not Spartacus, well said.

  16. TerryC says:

    While I seek to correct no one in particular I have a problem with the statement “I consider myself a faithful Catholic.” One reason I have a problem with that line is because I would never have the audacity to use it. I could endorse the statement “I consider myself a sinner.” or “I consider myself the recipient of the undeserved sanctifying grace of God.” However I believe that while someone else might say of me or any particular other individual, “He is a faithful Catholic,” that I, at least, would never have the audacity to make the claim for myself.

  17. KathiB says:

    Matt –
    I ask this in all sincerity & hope I don’t sound like I’m being interrogating. I just don’t see what you meant by certain statements you made.

    As a Catholic, what “problems” do you have with Bp. Bruskewitz’s words? What was “unhelpful”? What “high ground that doesn’t exist” was he seizing?

    Are you saying “high ground” doesn’t exist? Didn’t Jesus teach that though? Isn’t that what the Church teaches & tries to stand for?

    He points out that Fr. Jenkins has supported the V-Monologues. I assume you know something about this play. Where would Catholic teaching support what is promulgated in that production? How is it upholding the Catholic understanding of the dignity of women?

    He further speaks of Fr. Jenkins “indifference to the murderous abortion program and beliefs” of the President. Is he wrong there? Is that statement not redolent of the Catholic faith & teaching?

    He ends by praying or Fr. Jenkins/ND’s conversion — Are you assuming the Bishop means a conversion to Catholicism? I took it as a conversion of heart.

  18. Joe says:

    Lisa Fabrizio is the commentator that covers things Catholic for The American Spectator. Fabrizio is a very good writer and I enjoy her columns..

    I find it interesting that Bob Tyrrell, the founder of The American Spectator, and the late William Buckley, the founder of National Review, are/were both Catholic.

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