A study in how “nuance” is used to enervate

From the ultra-lefty National Catholic Reporter we have this piece.

A Georgetown prof is trying…. [btw… nice tie, Father] … to offer a very nuanced position.  The bottom line is that Catholics, especially bishops, are not sophisticated or wise unless they stop stressing abortion.

My emphases and comments.

Bishops urged to restore civility in pro-life efforts
May. 11, 2009


Calling the Obama presidency a new moment in U.S. history, Jesuit Fr. John P. Langan of Georgetown University [Where officials of the University covered up for the Holy Name of Jesus when the White House asked them to…] warned April 27 of a current “three-way impasse” on abortion. He urged U.S. bishops seeking real change to act with caution, pastoral care and “civil respect for those with whom they disagree.”  [Guess which bishops are the culprits.   Read on for the answer!]

The bishops are certainly right to condemn the moral evil of abortion and to warn us against the individualism, selfishness and greed which have had such a devastating effect on American culture and family life as well as on our financial institutions,” he said.

But [here it comes] if they think they make their witness more credible and more effective by developing a quasi-excommunication of the Democratic Party  [I bet you were waiting for him to politicize this, right?   If you criticize Pres. Obama’s position, or what Notre Dame did, or disagree with the Kmiec Catholics, then you are the one who is being political!  Read on…] and by aligning themselves with politicians who think that combining pro-life slogans with American chauvinism and exercising American military power [HUH?  Is there a nuclear sub I can lay down in front of somewhere?] without regard to international criticism constitutes an adequate response to evil in the world, they are sadly mistaken,” he added.

[And here is the core of this "nuanced" message.] Bishops who try to make abortion the sole or overriding political issue for Catholics are “marginalizing the church’s political influence,” he said.  [Remember to look for their starting points.  He is making an emphasis on the right to be born as a fundamental right into a political issue.  Bishops objecting to the Notre Dame invitation whom I have read are not so narrow as to consider abortion the "sole" issue.  There are many social issues.  But the fact is that while people can disagree on various strategies to confront many social issues, we cannot turn a blind eye on the right to be born.  It is a fundamental right.  If we cannot defend that right, we cannot defend any other human right.]

Langan is Georgetown’s [get this] Cardinal Joseph Bernardin professor of Catholic social thought and rector of the university’s Jesuit community. He delivered a carefully nuanced analysis ["nuanced" is the key here.  Keep in mind that people who do not think along the lines of Langan and the editors of America (a Jesuit magazine) and Reese are not "nuanced".  As a matter of fact, America thinks they are stupid bigots and sectarians.  Is this a Jesuit thing?  Wait… all three of those examples were American Jesuits, right?] of the Catholic social teaching challenges facing the new Obama administration and the 111th U.S. Congress at a seminar on Capitol Hill, held at the Dirksen Senate Office Building and sponsored by The Catholic University of America’s Life Cycle Institute.

[Okay… now we shift gears…] Langan pulled no punches on Catholic politicians who do not embrace the church’s teachings against abortion. “Catholic Democrats in political and civil life will need to show that they are ready to criticize the practice of abortion and that they do not regard it as the unquestionable exercise of an inherent right or as a morally trivial private choice,” he said.[Okay… he politicized the issue, but he at least didn’t shy away from mentioning a problem that tends to be more prevalent among Catholic Dems.]  “The teaching of the church needs to make some difference in their political behavior and should not be relegated to a purely private realm.”  [True.]

But at the same time he excoriated ["excoriate" literally means to peal off the skin, flay.] those bishops — and single-issue pro-life advocates they directly or indirectly support — who put all supporters of legal abortion in a single camp as proponents of the “culture of death,” and who advocate systematic resistance to Obama and his administration on absolutist grounds of opposition to his abortion policies[So… he wants something less that absolute opposition to abortion?]

Even for those who believe that it is seriously wrong to vote for Obama or for other pro-choice candidates, it would be a mistake to think that this point justifies a comprehensive rejection of his programs and policies,” Langan said. [Okay… fine.  But I don’t hear that any bishops would oppose everything Pres. Obama proposed simply because of the President’s appalling view and record and expressed intentions about abortion.  Did I miss something in the news?  Is there a bishop who is saying that Catholics should simply oppose Pres. Obama on everything?]  “In fact, it seems clear that Catholics, even those with significant church offices and responsibilities, will need to cooperate with the Obama administration on topics such as immigration reform, financial regulation and foreign aid programs.”  [And….?]

“It would also be a serious extension of a pro-life position beyond its original moral premises to hold that pro-life people should work for the failure of Obama’s presidency,” he added. [Hmmmm…. I wonder then…. is he saying that Catholics should not resist President Obama’s reelection?]  “Failure of a presidency in a time of war and economic crisis is not a prospect that anyone should regard lightly, [True.  But one could say that about any presidency.  And where was the writer during the Bush Administration?  Did he deliver such a nuanced statement also during the Bush Administration?] whether the president’s name is Bush or Obama. National politics in the United States has an inescapably adversarial character, [all politics, everywhere, always] but this is a tendency which thoughtful religious people should look at critically and should try to mitigate rather than reinforce with one-sided demands for righteousness, demands which often turn out to be narrowly focused and rigidly exclusive.”  [Even though there are various "nuances" in this, the bottom line is, as I read this, that abortion can be pushed under the carpet in favor of other issues.  Am I wrong?  Is he not saying that?]

Langan said that while particulars may be debated, the overall thrust of Obama’s plans for energy, the environment, financial recovery and health care reform is “inclusive, egalitarian, communitarian, solidaristic and internationalist” and thus “broadly compatible with Catholic social values.”  [But… that pesky abortion issue…. You see how important it is to be nuanced?]

“There seems to be a fairly strong prima facie case for Catholics to support the Obama administration and its agenda as an effort to move American society somewhat closer to the ideals of Catholic social thought and to move our society forward from the pit which it has dug for itself,” he said.  [So…. we tolerate his projects concerning abortion (about which the Church admits no compromise) for the sake of these other projects (about which people are free to agree or disagree).]

At the same time, he said, Catholic Democrats face a core problem: [Okay… back to Catholic Dems.]  “Even when they do not favor the legal prohibition of abortion, they believe that abortion is a grave moral evil. They would not want to put the Catholic health care system in jeopardy, much less out of business. … So they are between the rock of Peter and the hard place of the post-McGovern Democratic Party, which has been less than welcoming over the years.” [Are we really in the age of a post-McGovern Democratic Party?  I don’t think so.]

He said the proposed path out of that impasse for many Catholic Democratsnot criminalizing abortion, [?  If abortion really is the killing of an innocent human being, should it be protected by law?] but implementing a social and economic agenda that aims to reduce the number of abortions  – “does not satisfy the followers and teachers of the straight and narrow path which leads to the absolute prohibition of abortion, a path which actually leads over some very rough territory and which may well be blocked by insurmountable constitutional and political obstacles.”  [Interpretation: We have lost on the abortion issue.  We must not be rigid on that issue (which we have lost).  We must seek to make progress on those other social issues.  NB: I will repeat what he calls the "proposed plan for Catholic Democrats": "not criminalizing abortion, implementing a social and economic agenda that aims to reduce the number of abortions".]

That proposed path “also fails to satisfy the demand of many pro-choice politicians, activists and experts who favor the full legitimization of abortion as an assertion of reproductive freedom, a choice to be made by women with public funding and support and without public scrutiny,” he said.  [Could be a reference to the "privacy" argument that is the underpinning of Roe v Wade and previous court decisions.]

Such pro-choice leaders, influential in the party and strengthened by the November election results, “feel no need to appeal to pro-life Democrats or to show respect for Catholic teaching on these matters. Their ideological rigidity has the effect of convincing many of the religious that there can be no compromise with what they call ‘the culture of death,’ ” he said.

“What we are looking at,” he said, “is a three-way impasse”:

    * “Pro-life Democrats — and some pro-life Republicans as well — are looking for the Obama administration to offer reassurances with regard to conscience clauses [protecting health care workers who conscientiously oppose abortion] and some signs that it is prepared to take seriously the goal of making abortion rare as well as safe and legal[Remember, we have "lost" on this issue, right?  So we have to settle for what we can get.] So far there are not many signs that the administration thinks it necessary or worthwhile to make such concessions” and a continued divide on such issues could fracture the religious and secular wings of the current liberal coalition.
    * “The bishops, meanwhile, have been discovering that the pace of their political involvement is determined by three groups: 1) a minority of bishops who take positions which capture media attention, [Slithery.  First…. John Fisher was in a minority, but he was right.  Is he really suggesting that those bishops do this for media attention?] such as the denial of Communion to pro-choice politicians; [They would do this because it is the right thing to do, and not for reasons of polling, or popularity or attention in the media.]  2) a noisy movement of activists and populists, ["populists"… again… he seems to be veering away from the idea that this is the right thing to do.] which includes many sincerely devout people [but perhaps not nuanced] but also far too many members who use scurrilous and vicious language to attack those who deviate from the antiabortion line which they identify with Catholic orthodoxy; and 3) rationalistic moral theorists [in other words, people who are not nuanced] who hold that all other considerations pale into insignificance in comparison with the intrinsic evil of abortion. In this situation the political influence of the church is likely to be enfeebled and marginalized beyond the dreams of our enemies.”
    * “To an increasing extent, the pro-life movement within the church shows a desire to act in ways which break amicable and civil relations with those both inside and outside our church who favor abortion or who support compromise on this issue. … They lump together both those who deny that abortion is a moral evil and those who believe that even while it is indeed a moral evil, it cannot be effectively forbidden by law in the contemporary United States.”   [Hmmm… is there effectively a different result?  If you are for abortion both from conviction and by action or if you are personally against abortion but you still vote for what favors it… is there is a difference in the end?]

“The bishops need to think carefully,” [they need to be nuanced] Langan commented, “about whether they are showing a heroic resistance to absolute evil or whether they are being used by selfish and dishonest political interests and by zealots who show more passion than judgment when they stubbornly refuse to recognize the limits of what is politically possible in a pluralistic and individualistic society.”

[His recommendation…] He said that the need in the U.S. church today “is for a group of bishops to teach in a way which shows that they are sensitive to the wounded condition of American Catholicism and to the complexities of the life issues in a very imperfect world.”  [I think that means "Stop talking about abortion.  Or if you insist, then don’t impose consequences."  Am I wrong?]

“They will need to show civil respect for those with whom they disagree, pastoral concern for Catholics who may question their teaching and caution in scrutinizing those who offer to fight their battles for them,” he said. 

Jerry Filteau is NCR Washington correspondent.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    May the dear Lord save me from ever sacrificing the life of even one of his innocent ones on the altar of nuance.

  2. Andrew, medievalist says:

    Hold on a moment! We risk “marginalising the Church’s political influence”? I thought the Church having political influence was one of those baaaaaad medieval (i.e. ante 1961) things. Aren’t we all supposed to renounce such influence these days.
    Q.E.D. Why should we care about marginalising said influence?

    Another brilliant example of modern Jesuit consistency.

  3. Peggy says:

    Are we to presume/accept that Fr. “I’ve Lost my Collar” Langan is correct on these other policy matters as well? That is, are Obie’s policies on energy, the environment and financial markets consistent with, much less the only reasonable approaches to addressing public policy concerns? I just don’t recall reading of a St. Robin Hood or any definitive tax policy position by the Church.

    While abortion is the most morally serious reason, it is not the only reason, to oppose this president.

  4. cavaliere says:

    Langan said that while particulars may be debated, the overall thrust of Obama’s plans for energy, the environment, financial recovery and health care reform is “inclusive, egalitarian, communitarian, solidaristic and internationalist” and thus “broadly compatible with Catholic social values.”

    Fr. Langan is the recipient of today’s Euporia Award. He would have broken the foghorn on Garage Logic with that last sentence.

  5. Two items: Back prior to 1960, a doctor who performed an abortion WENT TO JAIL! Abortion was an EVIL. Now it is a GOOD. No Roman collar, Father? Readers remember! If it were not for the Society, the Fraternity and the Institute of Christ the King, no one would even remember what Catholicism was. [?!? o{]:¬( Those groups have no monopoly on being Catholic priests. Wow… some might take that as a real insult to the many good diocesan priests who are under fire in the trenches. They have remained faithful to the Church and, unlike some, have not accepted illicit ordination from the hands of bishops suspended a divinis.] We know what it is today.

  6. Ryan says:

    Insert “slavery”, “racism”, or “ant-Semitism” for “abortion” in the above piece of nuance and see if that flies.

    “The bishops need to think carefully,” Langan commented, “about whether they are showing a heroic resistance to absolute evil or whether they are being used by selfish and dishonest political interests and by zealots who show more passion than judgment when they stubbornly refuse to recognize the limits of what is politically possible in a pluralistic and individualistic society.”

    That paragraph is the epitome of the problem. Remember what we are talking about: the dismembering and decapitation of an innocent baby whose soul was created by God.

  7. Richard says:

    Our Lord meant it to be a good thing in calling Nathaneal, “An Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile (Jn 1:47).” And our Lord himself said he was “lowly of heart” (Mt 11:29). No where else but in the world of academia where neo-modern fads like deconstructionism are the way to go don’t you know would such double-think – so as to be “nucanced” – stand as virtue. We are not to “suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord” (Jas 1:7,8). Such relativism which admires one’s “intellectual flexibility” is a contradiction in itself as it presupposes the definitive meanings and boundaries of distinct ideas to in order to be able to flip them on their head or contrast them so as to arrive at the conclusion that one idea is not really better than the other or that one can rationally espouse conflicting views at the same time as they don’t really have definitive boundaries, anyway. In other words, it’s a bunch of bologna – both according to moral virtue and to logic – that it’s somehow preferable to accord intellectual or moral “maturity” with being “nuanced” in one’s way of thinking.

  8. Tominellay says:

    I believe that Fr. Langan’s highest priority is to keep Catholics safely within the ranks of the Democratic Party. For Langan, Catholics should be willing to compromise on abortion for the good of the party. He’s asking the American bishops not to lead and not to teach, for the sake of keeping national (and state) offices in Democratic hands. I think he’s a disgrace.

  9. The political influence of the Church in the US has indeed been marginalized by the episcopal conference’s bureaucracy (and some in the conference itself) who have sold out the Church’s core teachings in the name of left-wing social justice. (Last week I read a comment by a staffer for a Republican in Congress who stated the conference’s dialogue efforts didn’t extend to his side of the aisle. Yes, I know this is hearsay, but I am inclined to believe it.) Why should politicians take us seriously if we are willing to sell out Church teaching for more welfare dollars.

    BTW I would be amazed if more welfare reduced abortion at all. Abortion is fundamentally a decision of convenience and selfishness (usually for the man involved).

    What should I expect from a priest in a power tie. (Yes, Yes I know. European professors, blah, blah, blah.)

  10. Al says:

    So we are to abandon our Catholic Christian Principles because this man and his ilk are going to reason with evil are they? His more nuanced “Finessed” approach will ensure success will it? His toady sycophantic entourage and him are going to hold on to whatever power the Catholic Church currently has for us….before what? How many more decades must we endure this superb slimy-rhetoric before we wake up and find out that Grima Wormtongue, despite his most flowery rhetoric and apparently “deep concern” for the Catholic Christian Position, really is in fact in league with evil by being more interested in being accepted by his “Brothers-in-Relativism” than performing his duties for Jesus Christ and his sincere followers.

    This issue isn’t abortion…this issue is about the “Dictatorship of Relativism”. Obama, is Herald and Dictator-in-Chief of the Relativism onslaught and its political juggernaught. Abortion is only one of pillars in its arsenal…ONLY ONE. Obama, openly campaigned that he wanted to “End the Culture Wars”…meaning end them for a win on his side. He openly admits to this. Compromise our principles for the sake of political power? What political power do we currently enjoy that we would lose? The Marxists, Secularists, Atheists, Militant Sexualists, Militant Feminists and finally the Abortionists are in complete absolute power in the western world. I cannot believe the stupid Catholics who helped put these people in power. These people want to get rid of religion forever! One of Obama’s key “Faith-Based Intiative Advisors”, a millitant homosexual, just accused Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the Roman Catholic Church, of “hurting people in the name of Jesus.”

    The activist had previously posted statements on the HRC Web site accusing the Catholic Church of “insulting” Jesus and of “sending a message that violence and human rights abuses against LGBT people are acceptable.”

    I will not stop

  11. It is right to pressure President Obama to change his position on abortion.

    However, we need to face a serious legal reality: even if Roe v. Wade is overruled, abortion will not be criminalized. Instead, the decision to criminalize abortion will be left to the respective states. Some states will. I believe that most, unfortunately, will not.

    Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Since then, we have had five Republican presidents: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. We also had a Republican Congress for a number of years.

    And we still have abortion on demand.

    What’s wrong? It’s our neighbors. We need to stigmatize abortion and educate and persuade our neighbors that abortion is the taking of an innocent life. We need to walk our talk by supporting organizations like Birthright *and* by peacefully picketing Planned Parenthood. Only when we have convinced our neighbors will the real solution to this problem dawn: a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    When a Human Life Amendment is passed, abortion, like slavery (which is outlawed by the 13th Amendment) will be illegal everywhere in the U.S.

    One more thing: when Catholic watchers of Fox News attack Obama for his abortion position while having remained silent about or, unbelievably, having defended the torture of captives by the previous administration, you must expect the attack to appear political. How many Catholics know that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI condemned the Iraq War? Not many, right? And why is that?

    Let’s be Catholics, everywhere and all the time. Yes, abortion is extremely grave and widespread. But when you are silent about torture and wars, both of which are condemned by recent popes, you lose potential credibility with non-watchers-of-Fox-News.

  12. Subvet says:

    Timothy Mulligan, while the wars may have been condemned the participation in them by members of our military who are Catholic hasn’t resulted in their automatic excommunication. Equating the issue of abortion with items like the ongoing wars is exactly what this priest in the power tie has been criticized for.

    And if I see the word “nuance” too many more times I’m gonna hurl.

    Think I’ll go watch “The Toxic Avenger” to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

  13. pdt says:

    What is the civil manner we should have used in 1930s
    Germany to discourage the killing of the untermenschen of the day?

  14. Emily says:

    Timothy–I agree, we need to be Catholic at all times, everywhere.

    But I think we have to keep in mind the relative expanse of history. Slavery, for example, was legal for thousands of years before countries made it a crime; and the United States was even later to that game then, say, Britain (which outlawed slavery before the American Civil War began; I believe it was in the 1850s under Queen Victoria). So in comparison we have a long way to go.

    As far as combining war and abortion, they are not equal issues in the eyes of Church. The church has just war theory. War can be justified. Abortion is an intrinsic evil. This is a distinction Catholics must make during discussions of these issues with non-Catholics.

    As for torture, I did a quick scan of my Catechism and found this (Part III: Life in Christ): Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely. Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. (2312) I would guess that torture is covered in this description, although genocide is the only thing that is specifically mentioned here. This is one paragraph. Abortion, on the other hand, gets two pages. So we must be able to articulate that war and, to a further extent, torture, are to be avoided and even condemned, abortion is, in every case, an intrinsic evil. It can never be morally right. We must make that distinction.

  15. Subvet,

    I’m not equating them. Rather, it’s the utter silence about, or even approval of, the Iraq war and the torture of captives by certain Catholics that discredits the Catholic position on abortion with people who might be persuaded that abortion is evil. It also makes legitimate protests against prominent leaders appear political.

    That is my point, sir. And please consider that “Republican v. Democrat” or “conservative v. liberal” may not completely capture reality.

    Can you condemn abortion and work for its abolition while at least devoting 30 seconds to communicating the Vatican’s position on the Iraq war or the Church’s clear teaching on what torture is and that it is a grave evil? Yes, you are able to do that, and so am I. So are bishops and priests and laity. You are creating a false dichotomy. I am asking you to stop it.

  16. Ricky Vines says:

    So, in fancy terms he is telling the bishops to back off because they’re just being played and that they’re not considering the big picture with all the good that’s happening. And he proposes that we go along and tolerate abortion because it is impractical to cut off the supply. But that it will be more doable to decrease and eventually stop the demand. So, it may not be the perfect solution, but it is good. And the best is the enemy of the good. So, why not shift the paradigm along those lines?

    It sounds enticing, pragmatic, popular and easy. But it is wrong. Abp. Burke explained it. And Fr. Z encourages us to get a firm understanding why. But as you can see, the enemy is such a sweet talker. Reminds me of a garden and a fruit tree.

  17. cathguy says:

    Sadly, the Jesuit priest is effective in his use of words.

    I am not a liberal, and I hate to speak of “feelings,” but I feel increasingly marginalized at Church. That is okay. It isn’t about me. It is about Jesus and about being faithful to Jesus. Still, the Jesuit’s words had an effect. That last line: “caution is scrutinizing those who wish to fight their battles for them” is aimed directly at Catholics active in the pro-life movement as I am. And I have undergone some persecution because I am pro-life and pro-latin Mass. And yes… it does hurt.

    What happened to the Jesuits!? They used to be rock solid.

    ALL the good priests I know are diocesan priests by the way. That is NOT to say that FSSP or ICTK are not wonderful orders. It IS to say that they aren’t in my diocese, and they probably aren’t welcome here. The only priests we have in the trenches are the diocesan priests, and MANY of them (especially the VERY old and the young ones) are VERY good.

    There is always hope.

  18. Emily, you are creating a false dichotomy.

    Please re-read my post. I am not equating abortion with torture, but I can say for certain that both are quite evil. I am pointing out that Catholics who protest against Obama while having supported the Iraq war, and even the torture of captives, will appear politically motivated to people they might otherwise convince.

    You will not wiggle out of this by repeating that abortion is worse. You have enough air in your lungs and vocabulary in your brain to condemn both. Many of you neglected to do so, or refused. And I think that is shameful.

  19. Nan says:

    Wow. So a little evil is okay. And Catholics shouldn’t actually be Catholic. Nice.

  20. Is it just me … or are they always Jesuits? First the marxist liberation theology, and now this junk.

  21. Emily says:

    They do always seem like Jesuits, don’t they? It’s like a James Joyce novel!

    It isn’t a dichotomy. It’s that one is an intrinsic evil–and war isn’t. They do not have the same moral “weight” (Fr. Z, let me know if I can’t say that!)

  22. EDG says:

    “inclusive, egalitarian, communitarian, solidaristic and internationalist”

    None of these words has anything to do with Catholic doctrine or Catholic moral teaching. They’re modern political opinions or social concepts that are not on the same level at all. The good Father is being a little disingenuous, methinks.

  23. In Toronto, where I live, I get about 50-60 channels in the basic package from my cable TV service provider. Should I wish to get EWTN I must add an additional package of about four or five additional channels which I consider to be a complete waste of money.

    As an outsider, I see this as somewhat analogous to the tragic polarisation in American politics today. The Democrats have Pro-choice (if not worse) bundled in with all the rest of their policies, some of which may be more compatible with Catholic Social doctrine than those held by the Republicans.

    The Republicans, on the other hand, bundle (not entirely convincingly but certainly better than the Democrats) the pro-life position in with a lot of policies which include some that are less compatible with Catholic Social Doctrine.

    As well, there are numerous other policies unrelated to Catholic teaching per se which may draw a voter one way or another. My personal preference would be for a young future oriented pro-life Barach Obama over a McCain whose chief glories seem to lie in the 40 year old Vietnam war and who has largely supported the Bush policies which have brought America to a sorry impasse. My Gosh! Last I heard, McCain still held to the myth that those involved in the 9/11 attacks came into the U.S. from Canada. That isn\’t true and we Canadainas don\’t appeciate teh myth and those who hold it.

    Furthermore, the Republicans still seem to draw too much support from Protestant fundamentalism. I don\’t see Barach LObama\’s former pastor as any worse then the likes of Pastor John Haggee who openly identifies the Harlot of Babylon with \”the Church of Rome\”.

    Historically, Catholics tend to vote Democrat and it seems to me that many of these who are true to their faith may find themselves in an impossible situation.

    Where the difficulty lies, of course, is with the numerous prominent Catholics in the Democratic Party who are, on this and other similar matters, Judases. I blame Barach Obama who has not had the advantages of Catholic teaching far less than I blame Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Kathleen Sebellius and so on and while I applaud those bishops who have spoken up on the scandal at Notre Dame (and marvel at the majority of bishops who still remain silent)I believe that the real question which the bishops must confront is how this fashionable apostasy came to be.

    To the extent that Father Langan MAY be trying to deal with this question I would support him. And yes Fr. Langan, start by putting your collar and black suit back on if you still have such items. If you don\’t I\’m sure the Society can spring for some. Maybe they might even get you a Jesuit Cassock. The civvy look has become frankly tiresome.

    Lest I sound self righteous or chauvinistic let me assure you that the situation in Canada is even worse, there being no law regarding abortion at all. The biggest problem is nominally Catholic Quebec although at least in Qeubec the apostates are open about it and openly scorn the Church. YoOu get no Nancy Pelosi\’s in Quebec.

    In the rest of the country, Cafeteria Catholicism seems to cross party boundaries more than in the U.S. KIt\’s bad but at least it gives us pro-lifers a bit more breathing space.

  24. PS says:

    I agree with RVines: there is much in this article to like (and I think you are being a little hard on the thing, Father Z [respectfully, I say this! -let’s just be happy we have a Georgetown professor who thinks that abortion is evil!]), [That is something to acknowledge!] but its premise is wrong. Now, the good Fr. Langan may well be right. The Bishops may be squandering what little political capital they have and they may be alienating moderate Catholics. However, while that may all be true (I would hazard a guess that it is) I repeat that the premise is wrong: the Church is not in the business of doing anything on terms which are not the Church’s. If being just and right makes the Church unpopular in China, Israel, and Iran then this is a wonderful thing. Religious Studies professors love to talk about the “social function” of the Bible and the Beatitudes; the Church and orthdox christianity retains the backbone to hold a mirror up to the evil in the world (something with which liberation theology and social justice Catholics would agree).

    Just as the Church should be unpopular in the China’s of the world, it too should be unpopular in the London’s, the Washington D.C.s of the world. Fr. Langan has missed the point: the Church must be in the world (and aggressively so) but it should not be of it. After all, not just the millions of unborn, but the billions of yet-to-be unborn, the never-will-be borns are a testament to the value of political allegiances. Once upon the time, to be Catholic was to be a Democrat. The Democratic party certainly repaid the Church (psyke!) and it defies logic to expect any political party (something which is, by definition, of the world – and necessarily so) to do any differently once they too turn from the Truth.

  25. Rancher says:

    This Jesuit’s “civilian attire” coupled with an ultra liberal perspective reminds me of what became the standard at my alma mater (Loyola University of Los Angeles–prior to the merger with Marymount College)about 30 seconds after Vatican II “concluded”. Such a shame that they missed the true meaning of V II and, over 40 years later, are still missing it.

    I am extremely active in pro life causes and it has absolutely nothing to do with my politics nor the politics of the members of the pro life groups to which I belong. In fact,one very active pro life group here has Republicans, Democrats, Independants and even Green party members. Interesting isn’t it that the pro-death culture is irrovocably mixed with politics–thus his poor defense of one very anti-life political party by throwing barbs at another party.

  26. Ricky Vines says:

    rE: “… or are they always Jesuits?”

    The Jesuits compare themselves to the forward step of a walking man. They’re the one’s who blow up the land mines for the rest of us. They make the mistakes, so that we’ll know what not to do.

    But some of them think that they’re really hot stuff. And with arrogance comes a fall. That was Lucifer’s problem – she was so bright, she needed to wear shades.

  27. Brian says:

    Quiz question: Who was the most nuanced creature in the Garden of Eden?

  28. Subvet says:

    Timothy Mulligan,

    You seem to be saying that not speaking out against everything some Catholics might find objectionable makes the prolife groups seem hypocritical and politcally motivated. Sorry, I don’t buy it.

    The world “catholic” implies a wide range of people, that means difference of opinions on all topics. If some of those opinions don’t jibe with what the Pope says when he isn’t speaking from the See of Peter thats just how the cookie crumbles.

    So while you may have strong opinions against our military efforts in Iraq & Afghanistan, I’ll be quite comfortable with holding opinions entirely opposite to yours. Until it becomes sinful for me to do so my conscience will give me no qualms. That also applies to the death penalty, “torture”, enviornmental issues, etc.

    Have a nice day unless you’ve made other plans.

  29. Ricky Vines says:

    PS: I like the way you think. I’d like to extrapolate a little on what you said about the Church being counter-cultural. If we don’t live as we believe, we’ll starting believing the way we live. This expedient tactic being proposed will change our outlook about abortion from being an absolute and intrinsic evil to something tolerable – you know for the sake of others. Then, we’ll start adding it in our list of options when a situation comes up – you know as something to think about. It becomes thinkable, then doable.

    As Nan says, “So a little evil is okay…” The temptation is to be unfaithful little by little. It’s is scary because the lie is so subtle and the error is so nuanced. And those who are distracted or sluggish will surely swallow it – hook, line and sinker. As Fr. Z warns, “We must be ready.” And as you see, the attack has begun.

  30. Mark VA says:

    No one follows a nuanced trumpet.

    The article, while perhaps well meaning, is haunted by a sense defeatism and gloom. It is very reminiscent of those articles written a few decades ago, arguing for a permanent accommodation to the immutability of the USSR.

    How easily out faith and imagination falters. And how easily we forget that the Holy Spirit can at any time arrange the pieces on the chessboard, as He chooses.

  31. DarkKnight says:

    Don’t we have saints that were martyred because they wouldn’t even burn a stick of incense at the altar of a pagan god? Isn’t ignoring or even offering lip service to the murder of innocent babies far more grave than offering incense?

  32. JohnE says:

    “3) rationalistic moral theorists who hold that all other considerations pale into insignificance in comparison with the intrinsic evil of abortion.”

    Here’s a theory to consider: we will be held accountable for the real persons we allowed to be killed by our excuses and nuances against fighting abortion. If Fr. Langan were somehow swapped into an unborn child’s body, I’d be very interested in hearing what sorts of things do not pale in significance with the intrinsic evil of abortion. I’d wager the abortion issue wouldn’t fade as easily when the unborn child was more than just a statistic or moral theory, but was Fr. Langan himself.

  33. Rancher says:

    Abortion is an intrinsic evil..period. No argument, no discussion. No Catholic can ever support it. War? The Church under some circumstances does allow for a “just war”. So, not all wars are intrinsicly evil. Did the Church say that supporting the Iraq war was so grave as to constitute sin? No. It strongly argued against the war but stopped short of making support for that war sinful. So morally I can, and do, oppose abortion in all cases. There are wars and necessary tactics of war that I can support–and some that I cannot. But to suggest that constant opposition to an intrinsic evil is somehow diluted because of support for some wars lacks both logic and common sense. No one in the Obama administration will effectively use your argument against the anti-abortion movement—a movement which began I might add during a time when the U S was not involved in a military conflict.

    Like subvet I detest abortion but morally have no qualms about supporting a war designed to free people from a murderous dictator and to keep terrorism from becoming common throughout the world.

  34. Lepanto says:

    I key flaw in Fr. Langan’s and the arguments of many who criticize the US bishops for partisanship and criticize Catholics for supporting Republicans is that they create an unfounded caricature of the Republican party. For example Langan refers to:

    “politicians who think that combining pro-life slogans with American chauvinism and exercising American military power without regard to international criticism constitutes an adequate response to evil in the world”

    This straw man argument creates a universe in which Democrats may be wrong on abortion but are “right” on every other Catholic issue while Republicans just use abortion to advance their anti-Church positions on everything else. Without getting into the obvious distinctions between principled and prudential decisions and intrinsic evils, this fails to take into account realities.

    Most Republicans these days actually believe and make the case that their policies are best for the poor and downtrodden or that their foreign policy (even if it is often misguided) is best for the world. Supporting government programs and the United Nations aren’t the clear signs of support for Catholic teaching. Furthermore, most Democrats (including dare I say Obama) don’t always act in the best interests of the poor. Obama got tons of money from Wall Street and he plans on rewarding them with bailouts etc. Besides his bellicose rhetoric on Pakistan and elsewhere and other statements don’t make him the paradigm of a peaceful leader.

    Let’s stop with the straw man argument and bring in a little nuance. How about that?

  35. Bruce Barker says:

    “There seems to be a fairly strong prima facie case for Catholics to support the Obama administration and its agenda as an effort to move American society somewhat closer to the ideals of Catholic social thought and to move our society forward from the pit which it has dug for itself…”

    I can agree that American society needs rescuing from the pit, but which pit would that be? The one created by the unreserved defense of pornography in the name of “free speech”? The one created by the gay-rights movement in the name of sodomy? The one created by Frankenstein science in the name of consumerized fertility? Father Lanken, how about saving us from THE pit, where all these things lead?

  36. pjsandstrom says:

    Fr. Langan holds a “Cardinal Bernadin Chair”. The Cardinal and others around him proposed and propagated the “seamless garment” argument which is as slippery as it is insidious. It is another example of ‘Chicago politics’ in its ecclesiastical mode — a proudly ‘cultural Catholicism’ of the cafeteria. Father Langan is politically and politely defending the indefensible — it is this sort of argument that caused the word ‘Jesuitical’ to develop.

  37. Peter says:

    The Jesuits were suppressed before.

    Maybe it is time again.

  38. jacques says:

    Given the low level of vocations in the Jesuit order, they will disappear by themselves soon.

  39. David Kastel says:

    Pope John Paul II removed the religious imagery/stastues etc from the shrine at Assisi so that his intereligious ecumenical services could take place there.

    That is a far worse scandal than Obama at Georgetown or N.D.

  40. Fr. James says:

    “bishops to teach in a way which shows that they are sensitive to the wounded condition of American Catholicism” This is an interresting notion from one who wishes the bishops to refrain from intervening with pro-abortion politians. The normal caring response to the wounded is to administer therepeutic care. Have I really shown sensitivity to the wounded if I hold their hands but fail to offer the cure for the wound?

  41. Maryanna says:

    St Paul admonishes the clergy in Ephesus: “Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which He bought with His own Blood. I know quite well that when I have gone, fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. SO BE ON YOUR GUARD! ” (Acts20:28-31).

  42. LCB says:

    The chair he sat in while writing this ought to be burned.

  43. Memphis Aggie says:

    This was LOL funny: “Is there a nuclear sub I can lay down in front of somewhere?”

    You have a real talent Father

  44. TJM says:

    Divide and conquer is what Father Langan’s strategy is all about. He was probably coached by the White House. Tom

  45. TNCath says:

    Father Langan’s comments, while not as offensive as a Father McBrien or Father Greeley, are “damning with faint praise.” Moreover, his warnings to the bishops to be apolitical are actually political! This business of the bishops’ questioning whether they are engaging in “heroic resistance to absolute evil or whether they are being used by selfish and dishonest political interests and by zealots who show more passion than judgment when they stubbornly refuse to recognize the limits of what is politically possible in a pluralistic and individualistic society” is nothing more than temporizing and rationalization that hearkens to the line in the Book of Revelation, “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” Father needs to be reminded that if the Apostles, Popes, and bishops of the early Church could stand up to the persecution they endured, certainly our present crop of successors to the Apostles can and should do the same.

  46. Barb says:

    Someone above likened this “academic” to Grima Wormtongue. That is perhaps the most apt description of liberal
    academics that I have ever heard. I gotta remember that one.

    Fiat Voluntas Tua

  47. irishgirl says:

    Please, St. Ignatius of Loyola, reach down from heaven give a Basque SLAP to this ‘son’ of yours!

    That ‘civvie’ look went out with the 1970s, padre…..

  48. irishgirl says:

    oops-I meant to say ‘and give’.

    That’s what happens when your thoughts are ahead of your fingers!


  49. MAJ Tony says:

    When Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. was asked about the reformability of the order, he commented with an apparently longstanding inside joke among Jesuits in the form of a question to which he immediately provided the answer:

    Do you know why even the Jesuit enemies of a Jesuit priest attend his funeral? It’s to make sure he’s dead.

    I believe that was from his speaking engagement at my church some 4-5 years ago. He packed the CYO gym.

  50. David Madeley says:

    Father, a couple of questions, purely theoretical, I have no vested interest in justifying Obama voters, not having voted for him:

    [Hmmm… is there effectively a different result? If you are for abortion both from conviction and by action or if you are personally against abortion but you still vote for what favors it… is there is a difference in the end?]

    We justify war on the basis of double effect, right? Just take two consequences: universal freedom on one hand and a lot of dead Iraqis on the other, intend one, don’t intend the other and you have a just war.

    Couldn’t this apply to a vote for a pro-choice politician? Of course the intended consequence would have to be genuinely good, and not just giving the ‘other lot’ a kicking.

    [So…. we tolerate his projects concerning abortion (about which the Church admits no compromise) for the sake of these other projects (about which people are free to agree or disagree).

    I think this underplays the extent to which genuine catholics believe in these projects. They may be free to disagree with them in the sense that the Church would defend the right to do so, but many feel complelled by conscience. They are not free in the sense that they can wake up tomorrow and decide to believe in charging for healthcare. Consider – do you consider yourself to be free to celebrate mass facing the congregation?

  51. Gabriel Austin says:

    I suggest a reading of Pascal’s PROVINCIAL LETTERS. It is clear analysis of the kind of confusion so easily sown by jesuitical efforts to fudge an issue, so that a sort of forgiveness may be bestowed in the confessional. [Do the Jesuit fathers still practice the sacrament of confession?].

    I believe we can be excused from reading anything that come out of the second-rate university which is Georgetown. In the 1830s they complained to the secretary of State that the bishop of Maryland, in his efforts to rein them in, appealed to a foreign power – the pope. Georgetown was founded on the sale of slaves.

  52. Robert Medonis says:

    I have to make a distinction here among Catholics in the Democratic Party. The Irish have always belonged and supported the Democratic Party whereas the East Europeans have not. Even in the Great Steel Strike of 1919 the East Europeans did not join the USW nor the Democratic Party because unions and the Democratic Party were seen as Irish organizations. Today I believe registration among the those of East European ancestry is 50-50 between the Democratic and Republican parties. It would be interesting to know what the breakdown is among other ethnic groups in the Catholic Church. For example what do the Ethiopians and Eritrean Byzantine Catholics think about Obama and the Democratic Party?

  53. Hey Rancher! Quote: “Like subvet I detest abortion but morally have no qualms about supporting a war designed to free people from a murderous dictator and to keep terrorism from becoming common throughout the world”.

    Wait a minute there! The war was supposed to save the world from imminent destruction from weapons of Mass destruction I (which, turned out not to exist).

    Did anyone ask the Iraquis if they wanted the Americans to “free” them by bombing them and killing tens of thousands of them?

    Sadam Hussein was not my kind of guy but he was not a terrorist. Osama Bin Laudin is the terrorist who is still at large because just when they figured out where he was Bush switched the attention to Iraq letting him escape and leaving our Canadian boys (and women)to lose their lives in an impossible war.

    Rancher, if you’re going to fight abortion, great but don’t bring the Iraq war into the argument or you’ll lose us points. Bush’s mess in Iraq was one of the biggest things that gor Obama elected.

    Comments for this post will be closed on 22 May 2009.

  54. Indelible Inkstain says:

    Wow, with all that “nuancing” I feel absolutely bludgeoned.

    I think the reference to John Fisher was entirely right. Some people are taking “ethical” stances based on pragmatism (if not defeatism) and not on the actual ethical considerations themselves despite the backlash. I think most of the Bishops that have spoken out will not have been riding the wave of popular enthusiasm as the Fr. Langan implies but rather stood for the values that we all should hold (but most do not). God bless and protect them.

  55. TJM says:

    David O’Rourke, you have got to be kidding. Do you have amnesia when it comes to Saddam Hussein and his atrocities? He paid bounties to suicide bomber families, thus promoting the practice, he maintained rape rooms, human shredders, committed eco-terrorism on the Kurds killing hundreds of thousands of them. I suspect you are a Democrat who is feeling guilty about voting for Obama so you’re just making up facts out of nowhere. Bush’s mess as you call it has resulted in the closing of the rape rooms, the elimination of the human shredders, the Kurds are now safe, there is a free press in Iraq, free markets, etc., etc. By your logic, Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt who deliberately targeted civilian populations in Germany and Japan killing hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children must have been uber-terrorists. Tom

  56. Phil Steinacker says:

    David O’Rourke,

    I have to add to TLM’s remarks, but preface my own by stating that I’m uncomfortable when people insist on listing Bush’s so-called crimes or deficiencies of any sort in a discussion about Church teaching or morality of any sort. I weary of politically driven accusations made under cover of some kind of implied Catholic moral preachment. A lot of one or two line claims are made without elaboration of justification but for their having been repeated so often that now “everyone knows they’re true.” Oh, good. Sounds like the same dynamic as anti-Semitism, for example, or even neighborhood gossip elevated to the level of “truth” because “we heard it at church today.”

    It’s not just you, David, and it’s not only on this Catholic site, but it seems that Catholics of a certain persuasion consistently draw first blood on the issue of politicization of the discussions at hand by accusing others of doing just that – much as Father Z has repeatedly identified among the left in the Church as represented by the arguments of Fathers McBrien, Reese, and now Langan. To wit:

    You said: “The war was supposed to save the world from imminent destruction from weapons of Mass destruction (which, turned out not to exist).”

    This is an oft-repeated falsehood, in that you, like so many other Americans (should I question that? I won’t, but should I, given my subsequent answer?), ignore the satellite evidence of multiple truck convoys to Syria for weeks prior to our invasion of Iraq, as well as captured Iraqi air force logs showing dozens of flights of cargo planes to the same destination in the same time period.

    How do you know Hussein didn’t move his entire WMD operation to Syria? We certainly telegraphed our intention to invade for MONTHS in advance. Why wouldn’t Democrats openly consider THAT interpretation of actual FACTS instead of excoriating a sitting American president? Remember, Hussein took similar moves prior to Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait. He took the risk (he lost) to move his best airplanes to Iran prior to the Kuwait invasion. That move demonstrated his MO. It’s reasonable to conclude he’d do it again.

    Why wouldn’t ANY American of EITHER party FIRST give the benefit of the doubt to his own president’s best judgment over the claims of innocence by a proven liar (i.e. Hussein’s scam known as the “Oil for Food” scandal, with UN cooperation). Lefties would argue us blue in the face that we should accord Obama or Clinton the same benefit of the doubt in a similar situation – and they’d be generally right, in the absence of hard proof to the contrary. No hard evidence exists with which to “convict” Bush of lying about the intelligence, so one must consciously CHOOSE to believe Hussein over Bush.

    In fact, many chose to disbelieve for purely political reasons the president with whom they also disagreed about so much else. As for Obama (and Clinton before him), neither could/can be counted on to make the tough, unpopular decision to overtly use US military power when needed in a similar situation. I suppose you & Timothy Mulligan would argue the Israelis were in violation of Just War Theory when they preemptively attacked the armies of 6 Arab nations on Yom Kippur eve. Of course, those armies just happened to be out for an evening stroll just to wish a happy holiday to their Jewish neighbors – in full battlefield regalia, no less!

    You asked: “Did anyone ask the Iraqis if they wanted the Americans to “free” them by bombing them and killing tens of thousands of them?”

    If you followed enough media sources outside the usual Main Stream Media suspects you would know that repeatedly the Iraqis have expressed in one poll after the next that they’re glad the U.S. toppled Hussein. I don’t submit that this approval should drive policy, but the fact remains your question is based on another lefty falsehood. Your question is a mere rhetorical device.

    As for your remarks about Osama Bin Laden and the timing of Bush’s alleged “switch” to the Iraq theatre, neither you, the MSM, or the rest of the leftwing conspiracy theorists have enough substance to prove that we let Bin Laden escape. But it HAS been an effective and very damaging political accusation to make and repeat, even though unprovable. And your comments about a so-called “impossible” war are undermined completely by the overwhelming (did I say astounding?) success of the surge that all but eliminated the activities of Al Qaeda in Iraq (the name THEY gave themselves, in spite of liberal insistence they had no presence there). Obama can only NOW plan a withdrawal because Bush prevailed in that “impossible” war. Otherwise, Obama would have a really tough time shifting to Afghanistan.

    As for your admonition to Rancher that he had better not introduce mention of the Iraq war, well, neither Rancher, Emily, or subvet did the honors. Timothy Mulligan brought the Iraq war into the discussion first, and Emily and subvet responded appropriately that the equivalence between abortion and (the) war as intrinsically evil claimed by lefty Catholics (and the atheistic left as well) can’t be found in Church teaching.

    You brought up the war first by implication, before you even engaged with Rancher: “…Bush policies which have brought America to a sorry impasse. My Gosh! Last I heard, McCain still held to the myth that those involved in the 9/11 attacks came into the U.S. from Canada.”

    By the time Rancher weighed in, he was hardly the first to have mentioned the war in this thread, but all three (Rancher, Emily, & subvet) did so only because Timothy Mulligan did so first. They were merely clarifying that war is not intrinsically evil, as per Church teaching. However, you actually politicized a disagreement over Church teaching with some of your remarks I’ve highlighted here, since the points you cite to Rancher are not evidenced by undisputed facts, despite the pretend game played by the Left and its media allies – the same coalition attacking this Church for the teachings (“policies”) it despises. It’s actually comical that you fired off your parting shot as if you made a telling point on Rancher. I assure you, you did not.

    You said: “Bush’s mess in Iraq was one of the biggest things that got Obama elected.”

    Well, I’m sure most would agree that the perception of Iraq as a mess greatly helped get Obama elected. Of course, this was accomplished with a tremendous amount of organized lying by the Democratic party (and massive support by the MSM) about Iraq being a mess when, in fact, we actually defeated terrorism there, about Bush’s alleged lying about WMD in spite of exculpatory evidence deep-sized by the MSM, about Democrats being against a war that virtually ALL of them supported until it became politically expedient not to, etc.

    So, David, how about we all agree that from now on we’ll ALL agree to refrain from putting on the table political sticking points that – despite your most fervid imaginings – have not and will never obtain universal agreement? When someone challenges the notion that war is an intrinsic evil equivalent to abortion, let’s stick to discussing the parameters in the abstract and NOT by advancing claims in dispute and not in evidence to the degree one might desire.

    I obviously like to write, and write long, but I’d much rather write about topics from perspectives more in line with the general discussions already under way. Please stop using the combox to dump your political views. You’re entitled to them, but the intensity of your visceral beliefs is not justification to assault the thread with a “drive-by” of your political beliefs masquerading as Catholic morality – or whatever it is supposed to be. You surely know how to “wax” hyperbolically, though.

  57. plisto says:

    So sad. Is it really so, that american “pro-life” catholics don’t find anything good in Obama and his administration. [We are not saying that there is nothing good about the Obama Administration. But his position on abortion makes him the most anti-life President we have ever had. And if you cannot defend the right to be born, no other right can be defended. Furthermore, the main problem we have is with an institution such as Notre Dame bestowing an honor on such a President.] Is it so, that catholic christians just need to be very vocal about abortion and there is no similar need of being vocal about helping the poor etc. [You have fallen into the trap. This is not an “either/or” situation. It is a “both/and”. Just because many people stress the abortion issue, that doesn’t mean that they are not interested in the “poor”. The problem is that people can differ on how we help the poor, but there can be no compromise in resistance to promoting when abortion.] Is “being nuanced” a grave evil? [Being nuanced is fine until…until you seek to distort the truth through nuance.] As far as I could read the story (the comments fr. Z had made were not exactly helpful), I think this jesuit was quite good. But that’s just me, a european.

  58. RBrown says:


    Your understanding of “nuance” is simply a way of ignoring any action that might cause you trouble.

    I have 11 years of my life in Europe, and it’s disingenuous for you to imply that your opinion is in any way typical of European Catholics. Western European secularists, yes. European Catholics, no.

    It is no secret that Western Europe has lost its nerve and couldn’t even handle the problems in Bosnia. The US had to do it. Perhaps the inaction by European “leaders” was because they were so nuanced in analyzing the problem that action in Bosnia was excluded from the category of “helping the poor”.

  59. TerryC says:

    I totally resent being characterized by Fr. Langan as being a single issue voter because I am pro-life. The fact is that were Obama pro-life I would still be against his other policies, which do not support Catholic social teachings, no matter how many times liberals say they do.
    It is quite obvious to me Obama does not support Subsidiarity. I also suspect how far his real support of the rights of workers go when he supports the elimination of the secret ballot in union elections. I am almost sure that his understanding of environmental stewardship is based on on the invalid understanding of man’s dominion over God’s creation as understood by the liberal environmental movement (most clearly illustrated by the fiction of “global warming”.)
    Now lets talk about “being nuanced.” It is not a requirement that to support the Iraq war one must support all of the methods used by the United States government or the Bush administration in waging that war.
    I believe that Iraq is a just war. One can use unjust means to prosecute a just war, which is what has happened in the War on Terror, of which Iraq is a part. To support the Iraq War and the War on Terror is not to say that I support the use of torture. Only someone who is incapable of “being nuanced” would believe that.
    The Republican party does not perfectly embody Catholic social teaching. Neither is the Roman Catholic Church the Republican Party at prayer. But for so long a time as the Democratic Party contains in their party platform support for the intrinsically evil act of abortion they are the Party of Death and in my opinion a Catholic would be better voting for the Bull Moose Party that associating themselves with the individuals who now run the Democratic Party.

  60. VickiW says:

    Fr. Langan often came to St. Thomas A’Becket in Reston, VA to help out with Sunday Masses. If I remember correctly, his homilies were quite good and had more meat on the bones than the fluff we would otherwise have to sit through. He also wore suitable clerical garb.

  61. RBrown says:

    Fr Langan objects to single issue voters. I wonder whether in 1865 he would have voted for Lincoln and the single issue (anti slavery) Repub party.

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