Driving a wedge between less secure Catholics and their bishops

I initially wondered if the White House might not find a last minute emergency which prevented the President from going to Notre Dame.   Now I am more inclined to the idea that this is a great opportunity to drive a wedge more deeply between ever more deeply polarized Catholics, especially between the less than sure faithful and their ever-stronger bishops.

From CNA:

White House reacts to critics of Obama’s Notre Dame honors

Washington D.C., May 14, 2009 / 05:12 am (CNA).- The White House has responded to opposition to President Obama’s appearance at the University of Notre Dame, claiming that only "one group" is organizing a boycott and pointing to other groups who support the president’s commencement speech and reception of an honorary degree.  [I don’t know that that is true, that there is one one group, but it is interesting that the WH is spinning this.]

"I think there’s one group organizing a boycott and, as best I can understand it, there are 23 groups that have formed in support of the president’s invitation," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, according to ABC. 

The "one group," ND Response, is a coalition of 11 pro-life groups  [Soooo…. it isn’t one group anay more than than that other coalition is one group.] including Notre Dame Right to Life, the Notre Dame Law St. Thomas More Society and the Notre Dame College Republicans.

Gibbs’ reference to 23 groups concerned a letter written to University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins by groups such as the African Student Association, the College Democrats, the Notre Dame Peace Fellowship and the Spanish Club. 

The letter criticized "those who would rather divide than work together for common ground and for the common good."  [On the other hand, one might say the same about the choice of Notre Dame, right?  Hasn’t that divided Catholics?]

"We are concerned that [here it comes… the same mantra] in narrowing the focus to one aspect of life that has often proven polarizing and divisive many have lost the ability to recognize the other aspects of President Obama’s work that continues to uphold the principles of justice and solidarity," their letter said, according to ABC.  [The same old talking points.  The accusation of the left is that if you think it is not fitting for a Catholic University to bestow an honor on the most aggressively pro-abortion politician we have seen in the United States, then you are only concerned with one issue.  Wrong. It is entirely possible to see the whole picture but still understand that what Notre Dame did was so wrong that it cannot be passed over.]

Gibbs claimed that 97 percent of the students supported the decision[So?] However, ABC reported that this claim misstated an Associated Press story [I’m shocked!] which said that of the 95 Notre Dame seniors who wrote to the student newspaper The Observer, 97 percent were positive.

Gibbs also cited a Pew poll reporting that 50 percent of Catholics supported Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama, while only 28 percent opposed it.  [Polls do not determine the moral probity of Notre Dame’s decision.]
However, that poll also reported that 45 percent of those who attend Mass at least weekly disapproved of the decision, while 37 percent approved.  [Again… we don’t want to put too much emphasis on a poll, but this number reveals something about the need for a stronger Catholic identity.  In order to have a greater effect precisely as Catholics in the public square, Catholics need a strong identity as Catholics.  I suggest that those who do not regularly go to Church have a less sure identity than those who do. More below.]  

"The president understands the right of anybody in this country to disagree and to exercise their disagreement in that way. [However, Catholics do not have the option or right as Catholics to disgree with the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life.]  I think it’s important to understand it appears as if the vast majority of students and the majority of Catholics are supportive of the invitation the president accepted. [See what is happening?]  And I know he’s greatly looking forward to seeing them," Gibbs said, according to ABC.

More than 2,900 students will receive degrees on Sunday, of whom 2,001 are undergraduate seniors.

This is a good opportunity to drive a wedge between Catholics who have a stronger identity as Catholics (the minority) and those who don’t (the majority). 

The tactic here is to stress continually that the majority approve and then lead you to conclude that they are the nuanced, open, reasonable people who are merely exercising their rights in a pluralistic milieu. 

The others are characterized (falsely) as unable to see that the President, for example, is also focused on other issues which dove-tail with the Church’s interests. 

Leaving the land-o-spin for a moment in an attempt to bring some clarity to the issue… people who object to bestowing an honor on this President can also see those issues!  They are even ready to give him praise and support if he does something helpful and good in regard to true social justice concerns.  

The main problem here is not just criticism of this President’s aggressive pro-abortion position, but criticism of a Catholic University choosing not mere to have him speak (less of a problem) but bestowing an honor on him (a huge problem).  The Catholics who are raising the objection are mostly concerned with the lousy choices of Notre Dame.

So, Mr. Gibbs, it may be time for the members of the administration who are spinning this to get over yourselves.  Perhaps the time for preening came to an end with the first one hundred days.


Not long after I posted, someone sent me a piece by George Weigel which makes the same point.  GMTA.

Wiegel wrote (emphases mine):

There’s also a high-stakes “political game” here, though not the one Father Himes suggests. The Obama administration is full of very smart political operators. Reading last November’s electoral entrails, they’ve sensed the possibility of driving a wedge through the Catholic community in America, dividing Catholics from their bishops and thus securing the majority Catholic vote Obama received in 2008. And they’ve shrewdly judged that the soft underbelly of Catholic resistance to the Obama administration’s radical agenda on the life issues is composed of Catholic intellectuals, their prestige institutions (like Notre Dame and Georgetown), and their opinion journals—the very people and opinion centers who claimed last year that Obama was the true pro-life candidate.  [the Kmiec Catholics, NCR types, etc.] It’s a clever move on the political chessboard, and barring extraordinary actions from the bishops, it will likely meet with considerable success.


This begs the question….

What would those "extraordinary measures" involve?

No matter what they would have in involve implementation of Ex corde Ecclesiae.   They would have to involve decisions about who may not be admitted to Holy Communion because of public scandal.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    IMHO, the antics of Randall Terry soften the ground for the wedge-driving. His Operation Rescue efforts at the abortion mills were wonderful. But one of the virtues we are exhorted to is prudence and in this case, why he could not have humbly submitted his energies to the protest movement that was emerging from within the Notre Dame community and aided them instead of riding into town on a great white horse and running his own show, I do not understand. He has given a highly visible target for the White House spinmeisters to seize and employ to obscure the real issue.

    Sure, the WH would probably have attempted this spin-job if Terry had not made himself the center of attention media-wise, but my point is that he helps make their spinning far more effective than it otherwise might have been by creating a plausible “extremist fringe” that the WH can identify as “The Opposition” to the Obama Coronation, obscuring the older, deeper, internal-to-Notre-Dame, more legitimate and more compelling opposition to the Obama Coronation. He’s actually aiding the enemy, IMHO. I know he does not intend to do so, but I think, de facto, that’s how it will cash out. He gives the television cameras an inviting focus.

    Be as wise as serpents, our Lord exhorted. Our strategies and tactics for opposing the Powers of this World must be well and prudently chosen.

  2. mbd says:

    This strategy, which was a hallmark of the Clinton administration, is known as triangulation. Not surprising since some of those who were reponsible for the earlier use of this strategy are in the current administration.

  3. ED says:

    This has nothing to do with Obama and plenty to do with the Pope allowing the Holy Cross Fathers to usurp the Bishops authority. Father Jenkins should have been immediatedly removed by his Superior on orders from the Pope. Place the blame where it belongs.

  4. JohnE says:

    “We are concerned that in narrowing the focus to one aspect of life that has often proven polarizing and divisive many have lost the ability to recognize the other aspects of President Obama’s work that continues to uphold the principles of justice and solidarity,” their letter said, according to ABC.”

    It’s not “one aspect of life”, it IS life. Those who are murdered by abortion will not taste whatever fruits of Obama’s work that uphold justice and solidarity.

  5. Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment: this is an excellent opportunity to drive a wedge between “strong” Catholics and “less sure” Catholics.

    I would add that the “strong” Catholics have struck some of the hammer blows, themselves.

    I am thinking of some very sad spectacles recently, in which Catholic commentators have giddily adopted an, “I told you so!” attitude toward Catholics who voted for Obama, or, what is even more troubling, accusing Sen. Brownback of “betrayal” for his vote in favor of confirming Sebelius.

    Betrayal? She is the governor of his home state. Her nomination was assured, anyway, so, why rock the boat? There is such thing as prudence, and we do need to choose our battles. More to the point: there is a betting man’s chance that Kansas could get a pro-life governor as replacement in short order.

    So, Brownback chose not to ruffle feathers uselessly and instead acted to remove a pro-abort politician from a position where she was making policy and enforcing law, to a position in which she would be merely executing policy being made by someone else; at the same time, Brownback opened the door for a pro-life politician (himself) to fill the policy-making and law-enforcing position of governor in his home state. Does that sound like betrayal?

    Understanding the “big picture”, recognizing the need to be engaged in the political process, and not rushing to judgment, are all things the “strong” Catholics need to try to do better.

    Being on the right side of an issue does not imply that one has an exhaustive or even an adequate understanding of the issue, itself; it certainly is not grounds for claiming moral superiority. Most importantly, when one finds oneself on the right side of an issue, and when one has an adequate understanding of it, it is all the more imperative that one exercise patience, restraint, detachment, and the quintessentially Christian virtue of “thinking all the good one can” about those who are on the other side.

    If we were all better at these things, they could never get the wedge in.


  6. Hear, hear, Houghton G.!

  7. Geoffrey #2 says:

    Fr. Z,

    What is wrong with saying bishops should “excommunicate” Catholic politicians who support abortion —– instead of simply “barring them from communion”?

    Geoffrey #2

  8. J. C. Oberholzer says:

    “They are even ready to give him praise and support if he does something helpful and good in regard to true social justice concerns.”

    This is most likely true, with emphasis on “IF”. But I see NOTHING on the horizon that this president intends to do that would qualify as “something helpful and good in regard to true social justice concerns.” I fear that some bishops see some of Obama’s schemes in this category.

  9. Aaron says:

    When the left finds a strategy that works, they don’t like to give up on it. When people all over the country come out to protest insane government spending, they’re One Group being driven by Fox News. Same process. In the Clintons’ time, there was a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy they could blame for everything. They can’t ever admit two of their opponents might have come to the same conclusions independently.

    Houghton’s argument sounds good, but unfortunately it’s not that easy. If Terry weren’t there to demonize, they’d come up with someone else–make someone up if they have to. They’d pick out one of the especially orthodox bishops, maybe one who tends to have an abrasive manner. Or you’d see a new stream of articles about the SSPX and Bishop Williamson, tying this burst of Catholic outspokenness to their increasing influence somehow–and reminding us how scary they are (something to do with Nazis somehow!).

    Sure, it’d be nice (though not very realistic, considering the emotional weight of the issue) if everyone on our side would be on their best behavior and not give them anything to work with. But as long as they have the media on their side, it doesn’t really matter that much, because they’re going to be able to make us look bad anyway. This isn’t a battle that will be won in the court of popular opinion.

  10. Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    I did not see your addition from Weigel. A serious question: the 915 issue with pro-abort politicians is so clearly a matter of protecting the Church from scandal and the scandalous from sacrilege, that a common policy ought to present itself with great ease.

    Until there is a common policy, however, the bishops will continue to have their hands tied, and the Body of Our Lord will remain a political tool.

    Implementing ex corde is a far more complicated matter, practically and juridically – one worth several conversations.


  11. Andrew, medievalist says:

    Considering the teachings of some, not all, of the professors at Notre Dame, is it surprising that 97% of students view President Obama’s reception of a degree as “positive”.

    A few comments on polls: If, in today’s society, government is especially to be concerned with protecting minorities should not that very minority opposing President Obama’s policies be singled out for protection also? NCR take note, for, according to that paper’s own logic, it should be running “peace and justice” articles calling for the support of their persecuted minority “sisters and brothers”.

    I say, however, rejoice! In the history of the Church, it is often the persecuted minority that is right.

  12. TJM says:

    It’s unfortunate that our Catholic Church is full of so many useful idiots. That’s what happens when catechesis goes down the tubes like it did
    following the Council. But is is recovering. We may have a smaller Church but it will be a more Faithful one. Tom

  13. magdalene says:

    I have long felt that the intelligent strategists who know that a consolidated Catholic church that followed the natural law and the teachings of the Church would defeat the culture of death. The dissenters place into agenda of the culture of death and specious reasons keep them in the dark. Drive the wedge by all means! And this is a most successful tactic. Minions play into it by their disobedience.

    But we know Who the Victor is. And God will not be mocked. Evil may seem to have its day but the days are numbered.

    Let us be faithful and pray for conversions to the Truth.

  14. Mitchell NY says:

    They do not mention the millions that the University is losing in donations and the change of people’s estate wills, in protest to this decision to invite this controversy….When you talk about millions of dollars in lost funds people might look up and listen for a second..The article in slanted and seems to imply there is just a handful of resistance, nothing to pay much mind to..Talking about the dollars might bring it closer to what it is, a huge protest, by a large number of people who may choose to protest in a different way…That goes unmentioned….

  15. Houghton G. says:

    Aaron, I agree that if Terry weren’t there as an easily manipulable target, the purveyors of the Culture of Death would find other ammunition. Agreed.

    My point was very simple: why make their job easier for them? Why deliver them pre-aimed, fully operable ammunition instead of making them stretch and reach further to find some material for their spin-machines?

    Of course they would have spun no matter what.

    But my point: Terry makes their spin much more persuasive than it would have been if the protests were more sober yet packed with punch because coming from within the Notre Dame community with whom then outsiders like Terry stood in real but subordinate solidarity? What would have been wrong with Terry and others like him quietly but firmly throwing whatever weight they have behind the intra-Notra Dame opposition to Jenkins? Terry is actually undermining them, in my view.

  16. Aaron says:

    Some surveys have claimed that the percentage of Catholics who believe in the Real Presence (probably the #1 indicator of whether a person has any idea what the Faith means and requires of us) may be as low as 30%.

    Now a poll says only 28% of Catholics are opposed to a Catholic university honoring a pro-abortion president.

    Hmm. Let us pray indeed.

  17. MargaretMN says:

    YES! (to Fr. Z’s post). I have been trying to explain this to my non-Catholic fellow conservatives who think this is a church/state thing. Their response was to say, “well, I don’t see what all the fuss is about, everybody knows ND is liberal” but “why would Obama accept the invite if he knew it would create a controversy.” The point WAS the controversy. The point was to drive a wedge and show that they can reach around the leadership of groups to get to the individual voters. And this type of maneuver isn’t limited to Catholics at the moment. It’s a well known and successful political tactic to de-legitimize the opposition (reach around them to their followers) or threaten them with being left behind in order to get them on board.

  18. I’m guessing that the graduation Mass will be a photo-op for Catholic pro-abort politicians, who will all go to that Mass, and all receive Communion, surely from the highest ranking ecclesiastic they can find.

  19. JML says:


    Remeber what Fr. Z (and others) have been saying. Our beef is not with the President. As a good politician, he is maximizing any chance he can get to get his supporters closer and the fence sitters to fall to his side of the fence.

    Our (my) beef is with the Notre Dame administration. We cannot make this commencement about the President. That is a lose – lose situation. Instead, keep hammering at Fr. Jenkins and the rest of the Notre Dame hierarchy. They need to be held accountable.

    Joseph Bottom has an excellent article now up on First Things’ “On the Square” Blog. It lays out all the salient points as to why Notre Dame did something we feel is not in keeping with our Catholic Faith.

  20. michigancatholic says:

    The only thing to do is simple but no one wants to do it because it might be painful.

    The people at the top need to tell the truth, do the right thing and follow the pope’s lead. Period.

    There are two churches under one roof and have been for many years. The longer this goes on the more collateral damage there will be. Once it would have been small; now the damage will be large; if we wait much longer, it will be nothing less than catastrophic.

    PAY NOW, PAY LATER. It’s not going to go away!!!!

    Set the jaw, get out the rosary; get the Catholic thing going and act like you mean it. Or others will assume you don’t because, um, that’s ALL THEY’VE SEEN FOR YEARS is caving into the culture.

    So much so that this is what many Cathlics think is Catholicism–
    a) secular behavior with a little ethnic color, but heaven forbid, nothing you need to be “ashamed of” like a Eucharistic procession down through the middle of town or dietary rules in the cafeteria
    b)a few guidelines that they are free to ignore or change on their own whims–starting with Friday penance and continuing up to abortion and birth control (don’t ask, don’t tell is the rule)
    c)various authority structures among whom they may pick or make up their own.


    Listen–those that threaten to leave over being told the truth were never catholic in the first place anyway. You can’t lose what you never had. On the other hand, you will gain people who have been looking for the one true church in its genuine form, and are willing to embrace it when they find it.

  21. Michael J says:

    You seem to have a very short memory if you believe that Siebelus will “be merely executing policy being made by someone else”.

    I agree that this is how it should be and how it was intended to be, but we both know that this is not how it is.

  22. Dave DeCleene says:

    Mr. Jenkins sits on the board of directors for Millennium Promise, which supports:

    “Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established.”


  23. Flabellum says:

    Dear Fr Z,

    I thought you were well enough educated in philosophy not to misuse the phrase ‘begs the question’. Though many Americans seem to think it means ‘demands the question be asked’ it actually refers to a question the answer to which is already contained in its premise. (Lesson over.)

  24. michigancatholic says:

    We need to portray people getting in the communion line illicitly & defiantly as worthy of our pity as Catholics. They are true charity cases of the most profound sort. Never did Mother Teresa confront more need and depravity in all of Calcutta.

    And that’s how we need to treat it in our own midst as well. Being a hopeless jerk is part of the human condition. One rises above that only to the degree one is accepting to the truth, faithful to the reality of that truth and finally Catholic in practice and belief.

  25. Dear Michael J,

    The HHSSec has considerable discretionary power in implementing policy, it is true: it is also unlikely that she would be reined in, should she play “fast and loose” with the already appallingly broad policy directives she would be implementing.

    That is not the point.

    In a federal republic, a governor has a legislative role, a policy-making role, and the states have police authority within their jurisdictions. It were better to have a pro-life governor.

    That is the point.


  26. Michael J says:


    Think seat belt laws, helmet laws, national speed limits,compulsory public education and envornmental protection, to name a few, and tell me again that a Governor has a greater ability to affect policy than a Cabinet Secretary.

  27. Aaron says:

    Yes, the administration is using this to drive a wedge between the Church and all the cultural Catholics who have gotten used to ignoring (or have never heard of) Church teaching. But the truth is, that wedge has been there for years, slowly growing through bad catechesis, poor leadership, and weak liturgy. We just didn’t have to pay attention to it because no one was hammering on it.

    Now that Obama and his supporters like Fr. Jenkins are taking a sledgehammer to it, many will realize they aren’t really Catholic anymore, and some will fall away while others come back to the Church. Whatever the numbers on either side, it seems like it would have to be a net gain.

  28. I am not Spartacus says:

    I initially wondered if the White House might not find a last minute emergency which prevented the President from going to Notre Dame. Now I am more inclined to the idea that this is a great opportunity to drive a wedge more deeply between ever more deeply polarized Catholics, especially between the less than sure faithful and their ever-stronger bishops.

    Amen. This is a war and Obama is seeking to destroy the Catholic Church in America in a classic divide-and-conquer campaign. He is a very very effective politician – much more so than Clinton – and he has a disarming and appealing charisma that effectively veils his deep radicalism. (He has even, recently, effectively practiced self-effacing humor at ASU).

    Long ago, Joe Sobran, noted http://www.sobran.com/articles/tyranny.shtml that And we aren’t ruled by some fanatic with a funny mustache who likes big parades with thousands of soldiers goose-stepping past huge pictures of himself.

    Not yet. But, we are living in a Tyranny, although,it is true, that Barack is clean-shaven.

    But make no mistake about this man, Barack. He is a determined extremist who does not like whites or Christianity (see his 20 years as member of that Black Nationalist Chicago “Church”) and he knows he can politically capitalise on the public’s view of our Church as a corrupt institution that protected pedophiles, persecuted the poor Muslims during The Crusades, and is wealthy beyond all imagining, etc etc. (Hollywood has done a very good job in branding us evil).

    We have been paying an enormous price for two score years of feckless leadership. Now, we have a great Pope and an increasing number of Bishops taking sensible decisions and exhibiting masculine behavior and that inertia must continue and increase because this man knows he owns the Media; this man knows he owns Hollywood; this man knows he owns the Academy; this man knows he owns Wall Street, and this man knows he does not, yet, own the Catholic Church and those with totalitarian appetites do not rest until they know they own or can control/silence opposition.

    We are his enemy. When we will wake-up to the reality he is our enemy?

    Please Bishops, be prepared to take the fight public. Begin with excommunications of prominent politicians – we all know who they are – and don’t back down.

    Even though Barack owns the Media, the Media can not avert their eyes from a good fight. It makes great theater and increases ratings. It is time to take off the gloves and take on this man.

  29. EDG says:

    I have never thought Obama would cancel – unless things got so out of hand that there wouldn’t be any good photo ops of American Catholics paying him homage and obeisance. It doesn’t seem, alas, that this is going to happen. American Catholics are going to worship at his shrine.

    I personally do not like Randall Terry, who ran for office in my town and shocked me by using the one speech I attended by him to announce that Hispanics weren’t “true Americans” and Spain had never given anything good to the world (even though much of Jefferson’s thought was based on that of the Spanish Jesuit Francisco Suarez). In his defence, he had just recently become Catholic at that point, and I think he didn’t realize that perhaps it was time to reexamine some of these nasty attitudes.

    But I think somebody does have to get out there and seriously act up, even if it’s undignified, and even if the person who does it is Randall Terry. If the Vatican isn’t going to do anything (although there’s a rumor that something might be in the works), then something has to happen to prevent this from being a photo-op for Obama. Once he gets that photo of ND giving him that degree, the Church has essentially been fractured, split off from the bishops and the Magisterium, and we are seeing the founding moment of AmChurch.

  30. Mark VA says:

    I completely agree that a wedge is being driven between the faithful Bishops and many nominal Catholics. This is not a new tactic of the left, communists used it routinely under the name “delamination”. The antidote to this manipulation is SOLIDARITY with Christ, the Pope, and the faithful Bishops. Otherwise we’ll end up with a “Patriotic Catholic Church”.

    I understand Mr. Wiegel is a student of this process, and knows the measures Pope John Paul II used so sucessfully to counter these methods. I hope he’ll soon translate this knowlege into the present context, because it is needed now.

    As far as extraordianry measures – one would be to suspend the right of ND to call itself Catholic and profit from the name “Notre Dame”, plus actively encourage Catholic students to seek a true Catholic higher education elsewhere. And allow the matter of real estate to sort itself out.

  31. Patrick says:

    I am not S…..

    Please, let us not undermine a basically sound argument with unsubstantiated claims, or an overstating of the case. I.e., “O, doesn’t like whites, (see church affiliation).” This could just as easily be restated as “so and so doesn’t like blacks, as he is Catholic and note their very mixed record on race in the US.” And if you think that is balderdash, you don’t know your history of the church here.

    Let’s see, Mr. O’s mother and those that raised him white, but the church he attended (and this is important) “for political reasons,” is a race baiting organization, therefore ??? Can’t really say, so this is not fodder for anyone’s canon. There is enough other stuff about Obama that is troubling without going out on some limb for this stretch of credulity. Who knows what is in his heart of hearts. Those of us who would hope to win hearts and minds regarding these recent turns of events surely don’t need these kinds of non nuanced arguments in the realm of race relations in this country, especially in the context of the religious sphere of influence and how the Catholic Church has impacted this milieu of racial relations and racial propriety in this country historically, and the record, frankly, is mixed, and so, if anything, the rule would apply about “people in glass houses.”

    This is not to say that those of us who are Catholic have not right, or ought not, weigh in on anything at all that might have racial overtones, no, of course not, but we ought to be mindful of our checkered past in this regard and not proffer reactionary, knee jerk, not well thought out, unsubstantiated (take you pick) claims about someone’s perceived racist motivations. Bad move, and unnecessary. Can be enlightening though, because this is a wedge issue which the other side can play, and we can be vulnerable, especially without a more complete understanding of the race issue in its totality relevant to the Catholic Church in the US.

  32. Brendan says:

    Off the top of my head, I can think of 5 groups, or websites at least, that have been formed that oppose the honorary degree: NDResponse.com, NotreDameScandal.com, ReplaceJenkins.com, NotreDameProtest.com, and StopObamaNotreDame.com. I cannot think of any groups that have formed in SUPPORT of ND’s decision.

    Gibbs says 23 groups have formed. Note the word “formed.” So you mean to tell me the African Student Association and the Spanish Club formed for the purpose of approving ND’s decision?

    If we are going to include groups that have expressed opposition, I would imagine that would include organizations such as Family Research Council, American Life League, Operation Rescue, National Right to Life, C-FAM, Acton Institue, etc.

  33. michigancatholic says:

    THIS WEDGE HAS BEEN THERE FOR YEARS. It’s just that no one has wanted to admit it before. The Catholic church has failed to teach its own, discipline its own or safeguard its own by keeping the things that make us Catholic intact and functioning properly. We have been so eager to blend into the general population, with all the benefits that gives, that we have lost our own identity and sense of purpose.

    The bishops hobnob like mad for connectedness to the culture but I can’t tell you the last time I saw one actually TEACH in a local pulpit. Most of the time they don’t. They attend meetings and eat. They kiss babies and schmooze like politicians. Approx 70% of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. 70-95% of fertile Catholics contracept (depending on where you get your data). Our statistics for divorce and abortion are the same as the general population. Priests? A person has no idea what to expect when they meet a new one. Some of them are excellent; some are total lunatics and ignorant as fenceposts to boot. And the fenceposts outnumber the excellent ones in many places (including here), I have to tell you. Blame the seminary; heck, blame anyone you want; it’s still a fact.

    Oh yes, the official story is that we’re connecting to the culture in order to bring Catholic values to the culture. I have news. That’s NOT what’s happened. NOT AT ALL. We now abort millions of children and kill off grandparents at an appalling rate, right along with the pagans. It’s not that we converted the culture; rather, they converted us.

    There’s a price to be paid for all this. No one wants to admit that either. Like a 2-bit failed industrialist, we have driven the organization into the ground and extracted value without maintaining the organization. Thus our infrastructure, in every regard, is shot, kaput. We live in a shack and make do; we eat at other peoples’ houses when we eat. We have adopted their norms and our own have sunken into desuetude and decay.

    Those of us pointing out that it’s a PAY NOW OR PAY LATER situation have been called extremists. Well, the church already missed the easy correction; now it’s PAY LATER (and pay more). This problem has been there for years for anyone who wanted to attack the church and now they are on it. Surprise, surprise, surprise, but only for those who’ve been comatose or in the land of denial for years.

    We have got to move now. We have got to make it clear what is Catholic and what is not. We’ve got to ignore the nonsense, the collateral and the namecalling, and get this job done. We do not run the culture and we cannot aspire to run the culture. More importantly, the culture cannot be allowed to run us. Everything about the culture needs to be called what it is. For once, Catholics better get off their rear ends and do some real thinking. Otherwise, we are going to pay and pay dearly–more dearly than any of you can imagine.

    Many people no longer believe in the cosmic drama of salvation–heaven & hell, God and Satan. If we delay, we may see it played out in front of our very eyes, and it’s not going to be a movie with popcorn and soda. [And yes, yes, yes, we all know how it turns out, but we don’t know how it gets from today to the conclusion, do we?????? So don’t give me that trite stuff with a smug grin. If this gets bad, you won’t be grinning. Doesn’t ANYONE read Scripture anymore???]

  34. Nancy Reyes says:

    It’s not just abortion, nor is it only in the US

    Here in the Philippines, our lovely president and other politicians who are well known for their corruption and “extrajudicial killings” get photo ops all the time with Catholic clergy.

    Poor Bishop Cruz however continues to blog in protest, but once got sued for “libel” when he exposed one scam…

  35. michigancatholic says:

    PS, another piece of the puzzle:

    Satan is an interesting creature. He is smarter than any man and can see what is happening faster than any man. However, and this is vitally important, he cannot see inside the souls of men, nor does he understand goodness in its purest and most gracious forms.

    This means that this change has got to happen person to person and soul to soul. It means goodness and solidarity among Catholics who recognize what it is to be truly Catholic. It means bishops and priests dedicating themselves body & soul to God (which is absolutely inscrutable to the power of evil). IT means priests who celebrate the liturgy with sincerity and inside the liturgical law. It means laypeople who go about their business supporting their families while being unselfconsciously Catholic without apology, understanding what is really the main point of life.

    It may not mean politicking in public and trying to \”outwit\” anyone. It may not mean convincing the culture and winning political elections. It may not mean providing services to the pagan culture and pretending we\’re all okay together. IT may not mean trying to maintain big schools, colleges and foundations with conventional business reputations. All that may not work. It probably will not work. In fact, all of it may backfire.

    We cannot run the culture, nor should we aspire to run the culture. WE need to lead with faith and integrity, practice and purity, liturgy and beauty. We need to outlive this culture on our own steam, within our own paradigm. And we will outlast it, no question. Think about the Jews in Babylon and Cyrus who could find no reason to detain them. That is how this thing will be beat. [And how the most converts can be attained too, if you want the truth.]

  36. little gal says:

    I wondering about Obama’s inner circle-with respect to this goal- and the fact that his small group of key players are either Jewish or African American. Jews: Rahm Emmanuel, David Axelrod,James Crown and Penny S. Pritzker. African Americans: John W. Rogers Jr., Valerie B. Jarrett, Eric Whitaker and Martin Nesbitt. It is the Jews-Axelrod and particularly Emmanuel that have me wondering. Emmanuel is an observant orthodox Jew and I suspect that he cast quite a wide net of influence/control.

  37. Patrick says:

    Hi, Little gal,

    Regarding your observations, I have to ask: And? So?…,

    The cultural/racial make up of the cabinet/advisors to the president should really have no bearing in regards to this issue at hand, there are plenty of Jews and Af. Ams. who do not think/act like this set, so what exactly is your point? This is a spiritual battle solely, not a cultural racial, nor indeed, sectarian one. This is taking your eye off the ball at best, and has the potential for much worse: i.e., causing confusion in the camp or having others see us/label us as parochial bigots, and other labelings they know resonate with the less informed, easily influenced set.

    Not good. Please try to keep the proverbial eye on the proverbial ball. Thanks.

  38. Patrick says:

    If there is a relevant issue here regarding race, abortion is decimating the black community; far more AA babies are aborted than whites. Just staggering statistics. A eugenicist’s dream, (ala M. Sanger, Hitler). Hideously ironic. This is a true genocide in the AA community, a point of course not lost on Alan Keyes and Fr. Raphael, the Af.Am. priest from Louisiana who will speak to the protest assembly on the ND campus on commencement day.
    His letter to Fr. Jenkins:


    ‘My name is Fr. John J. Raphael, SSJ. I am a member of ND’s graduating class of 1989. I am currently the principal of St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, LA and a member of Notre Dame’s Admissions Advisory Board.

    ‘I am writing to express my extreme disappointment and grave disapproval of the decision to invite President Obama to give the commencement address and to receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame at this year’s graduation.

    ‘I have spent eighteen years working with blacks and whites, Protestants and Catholics, to bring more African Americans into the pro-life movement. During the last two months the Obama administration has already begun to aggressively roll back the gains made in defense of life over the course of the last fifteen years.

    ‘I have written two articles which attempt to show how the historical significance of the first African American president is emptied of its meaning if this same president refuses to embrace the rights of the unborn. I share them with you if you are interested in considering the devastating impact of these pro-abortion policies on the African American community in light of this historic election:

    God in His wisdom may have a wonderful plan here, and most assuredly much good will be produced. God is not mocked, and Our Lady’s University will be worthy of her patronage once more, count on that. Jenkins is through. I predict. A useful idiot,( sorry to call into question a priest, but I think it is his “priesthood” that truly must be questioned here).

  39. JML says:


    Leave the President out of this. We’re doing his bidding here, acting like a bunch of numb nuts. Keep it on the high ground and keep the focus on Notre Dame and THEIR actions, not that of a non-Catholic president who does not believe the same way we (most of us) do.

    The wedge driving is continuing….
    Today’s Washington Post has another “On Faith” column on celibacy written by an ex-Catholic athieist.

    Let us explain WHY we are Catholic (Identity), and what it means to be Catholic. Let us bear witness to the world what Holy Mother Church stands for and what we, as Her children, believe. It will be uncomfortable, humiliating, even painful at times, but without the rock of our faith, we are nothing.

    No more name calling, no more innuendos about the current Administration. They are lost to us.

  40. paul says:

    The comments about this subject are the best I have ever read. I truly feel that this is a deliberate attack on the Catholic church. He wants complete control of the United States and not many people are aware of this. The last strong hold is the Church- we need to be more united with our Bishops and they in turn need to stick together and defend Catholic orthodoxy.

  41. I am not Spartacus says:

    Please, let us not undermine a basically sound argument with unsubstantiated claims, or an overstating of the case. I.e., “O, doesn’t like whites, (see church affiliation).” This could just as easily be restated as “so and so doesn’t like blacks, as he is Catholic and note their very mixed record on race in the US.” And if you think that is balderdash, you don’t know your history of the church here.

    The Catholic Church never had any Doctrine teaching that blacks were evil. The Catholic Church never had any Doctrine teaching that God had to hate black men or white men could not worship that God.

    The Church that Barack Obama chose to attend had as its Doctrine a black nationalist/liberation theology which taught that the white man is evil.

    The Church that Barack Obama chose to attend had as its Doctrine a black nationalist/liberation belief that if God did not hate the white man the black man could not worship such a God and had a duty to create its own God worthy of the black man’s worship.

    The Church that Barack Obama chose to attend had as its Doctrine the teaching that America is evil.

    Let’s see, Mr. O’s mother and those that raised him white, but the church he attended (and this is important) “for political reasons..

    There were MANY churches Barack could have attended. He (and his wife) went to many different churches in their area. However, Barack chose Pastor Wright’s Trinity Church because of its Doctrines.

    Dreams from my Father Page 293

    ‘”… It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-a-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere … That’s the world! On which hope sits.” (Pastor Wright’s Sermon)

    And so it went, a meditation on a fallen world. While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpesville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House …

    “I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13 when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites… I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and anomosity against my Mother’s race.. The other race race (white) would always remain just that; menacing, alien, and apart…
    never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my Father’s image, the black man, the son of Africa that I’d pack all the attributes that I sought in myself…That hate hadn’t gone away, (for white people) some cruel, sometimes ignorant, some times as a single face sometimes just a faceless image of a system claiming power over our lives…There were enough of us on campus to constitute a tribe, and when it came to hanging out many of us chose to function like a tribe, staying close together, traveling in packs…It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out, and name names…I had grown accustomed, everywhere, to suspicions between the races.”

    The full title of the book? Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

    Barack Obama chose a church that taught hate for the white man; Barack Obama chose a Church that taught that God hates the white man: Barack Obama chose a Church that taught hatred for America and he stayed in that Church for twenty years and had his children baptised by Pastor Wright.

    If any white politician had attended a Church that taught hatred for the black man, hatred for America, and taught that God hated the black man, he could not have gotten nine votes in a Presidential Election.

    IMO, not holding Barack to the same standards as we would hold a white man is an act of racism.

  42. Latekate says:

    I agree that keeping the focus on the perfidy of ND for embracing the culture of death is where ground will be captured. That is where the polls support tradition. Even non-Catholics understand that this is a betrayal of Catholic principle by high ranking Catholics. The leftist media will attempt to portray protesters as fringe, etc. but this won’t work as the number of Bishops and the protests increase.

    This is war against Catholicism, Fr. Z. is correct. It is divide and conquer and infiltration of the Church by educational establishment Marxists from within (or conversion of Catholics to state worship). This is also a catalyst, a galvanizing action that is highlighting the differences between the culture of death and Catholicism. It may be one of the best things that could have happened, although certainly not for sad pitiful secular ND. People may leave the Church but they aren’t really Catholic anyway, and are distorting Church doctrine to suit their politics.

    Little gal, Rahm Emmanuels Judaism isn’t the problem, it is his Israeli citizenship and Zionism. The Israelis have a direct pipeline into the White House now. No more troublesome sneaking around spying. And they openly brag about running America.

  43. Patrick says:

    I am not Sparticus:

    The case you make is well known. If it is true, first, of all, so what? What does this have to do with what issues we are discussing vis-a-vis abortion and ND. Abortion is decimating the BLACK COMMUNITY in ways Margeret Sanger and Hitler could only dream about. So, I guess Obama hates blacks as well!!/?? I don’t say he is not anti white or pro white. It is not really knowable. Everything you state about his take on the “white establishment” (cause that is really the issue, at least as I read it) and in reality is the thinking of much of the world who must deal with institutions set up by whites for whites, historically speaking, which of course are diminishing, but the effects of which are still with us. So, does he hate individual whites, just because they are what they are. I doubt it very much, and this is where you have to be rather careful. There are whites in Jeremiah Wright’s church. The pastor has white friends, and is part white himself, as is Obama, as was Malcolm X., as are most blacks in this country. Your take is a Sean Hannity like rant, good for political venting, not very nuanced, and if not 100% true, undermines the other good causes here which have not much to do with race baiting, and this is what we are talking about. Actually, more than Hannity (who I like fairly well, not about him being a shmuck or anything like that) you are reminding me of John Ziggler, who for years was obsessed with O.J. Simpson and what he was doing and who was giving him money to appear here or there, and though he was, ostensibly, “right” about some of his crusade’s raison d’etre, you just got the feeling that in the end, it was all about his personal feeling about a perceived double standard regarding race in this country, and this was driving him to do some real nutty things. Don’t go there.

  44. little gal says:

    In partial follow-up to my earlier post, there are those that argue that Zionism is an anti-Catholic movement.

  45. I am not Spartacus says:

    Patrick. What I wrote to qualify my remark that Barack is an extremist is accurate and demonstrable. And it is not well known. Had it been well known, he would not have been elected.

    What does this have to do with what issues we are discussing vis-a-vis abortion and ND

    Not forgetting one is dealing with an extreme radical must be part of the strategery of any confrontation with Barack.

    For instance, in trying to get a putative race-baiting nut not to act that way, part of a successful strategery would not be to accuse him of being a race baiting nut.

    Most men I know (and I am one of them) do not like being falsely accused.

  46. MarkF says:

    All, what gets missed is that the dissenting wing of the Church cares not one bit for the masses of Americans who are sorely hurt by the secular culture. Who can doubt that in affluent America the biggest problem is not physical poverty but spiritual poverty? Our problems are things like divorce, depression, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and other symptoms of the spiritual breakdown. Who would want to be a kid in secular, suburban America these days? These radicals ignore the needs of the most needy people in America, the hundreds of millions of people who are lost in the darkness. Mother Theresa said that America is a poor country, yet for too long we have ignored the poorest in our midst – those lost in the darkness of a secular culture gone mad. How many people in this country in psychotherapy? How many are on so-called prescription drugs for mental health problems, which are really just legalized feel good pills? How many are caught up in homosexuality, adultery, pornography or promiscuity? The problem of homelessness, though serious, PALES in comparison to the spiritual sicknesses around us, and yet NOT ONE word do we hear about it.

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