Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice--I'm a progressive Catholic

I've been reading some of the comment boxes over at the National Catholic Reporter today, under articles like this and like this. In the comment boxes, I have learned much; those enlightened progressive Catholics are amazingly wise and omniscient, after all! They have discerned the following from the HHS mandate debacle:

1. That Obama really is the wise, benevolent, and merciful God-King and that they, his unworthy servants, were wrong ever to have doubted him for a second when he only has the Good of the Nation and Hope and Change and the Oceans Healing and so on in mind.

2. That the USCCB is made up of die-hard, bitter, guns-n-religion Republican clingers, who have never liked Obama at all, who have always been right-wing conservative talk-radio types, and who never ever ever speak out on issues dear to progressives like immigration, health care, unjust war, torture, etc., but are only concerned about stopping the spread of lasciviousness, promiscuity, objectification, immoral sexual behavior and similar vices people having good fun mindless sterile sex--to which end the bishops are actually medieval enough to think that contraceptives are some kind of problem instead of the Greatest Invention of the Twentieth Century (St. Margaret Sanger, ora pro nobis!). Even this guy--whose progressive Catholic bishop card has been revoked and burned, apparently.

3. That Sister Carol Keehan is the bestest Catholic ever, just like those martyrs of old who gladly accepted martyrdom rather than pour out libations to the pagan deities to meet their demands to put the worship of the State above the worship of God...er, wait. Strike that. Anyway, she's awesome, and the bishops should learn from her how one can be a Catholic while still being totally cool with contraception, sterilizations, and even abortifacients--'cause, hey, women have their stories, and journeys, and some women just need the right to kill off their unborn daughters in order to be fully human.

4. That John Allen (John Allen!) is a closet conservative who probably gets his talking points from Glenn Beck. Because he has failed to be totally tribally enthusiastic over the God-King's benevolent shell game--er, compromise--and thus that reveals his secret loyalties. Oh, and that he also thinks Dolan will be pope some day and so is starting his lickspittle sycophantic toadying early, to beat the rush.

5. That the bishops, in addition to being everything outlined in point 2, are also enamored of the rich, are secret Republican party lobbyists, hateful of the president, openly misogynistic in that they hate women's natural fertility and think it must be chemically assaulted for society's good hate for women to exercise their fundamental human right to free birth control shots, pills, inserts and devices and/or free sterilizations which a truly loving, Christ-like Church would gladly provide to all women to discourage reproduction make them truly free (remember, kids, it's not the TRUTH that sets you free, it's a condom and/or a diaphragm, and some lubricating spermicide! All of which should be provided free of charge by the Church).

6. That progressive Catholics need to stay and fight! Er, choke on the Creed and march out! Er, start an American Catholic Council to counter Rome! Er, join Call to Action or Voice of the Faithful (as if anybody who subscribes to NCR hasn't been a member of at least one of those organizations for at least 35 years now)! Er, risk being excommunicated! Er, pray for a schism! (And yes, each of these suggestions was made in the National Catholic Reporter comment boxes in response to the bishops' continued criticism of the HHS contraception mandate.)

7. That since so many of Our Sort of Catholics totally reject Church teaching against contraception, sterilization, and even abortion, the Church should just throw out 2,000 years of moral teaching and declare that the sensus fidelium has spoken. (Hint: when a group of self-indulgent people decide they don't like the difficult teachings and stomp their feet demanding change, that's not the sensus fidelium; that's the sensus asinorum.)

Isn't it amazing?

For years, the bishops have been welcomed by progressive Catholics in their vocal speech concerning progressive issues; John Allen was known to be "one of us," and while progressives deplored the bishops' speech against abortion, they took it to be a sort of weak nod to Rome to keep their good episcopal friends out of trouble rather than anything the bishops would be so rude as to actually mean. But now that the bishops are not knuckling under the God-King's decrees the second President Obama pretends to have come up with a compromise (and as some have pointed out, it's only a compromise when both sides agree; otherwise it's still a quite-likely unconstitutional mandate in compromise clothing), they, and any progressive Catholic who sides with them, are suddenly The Enemy.

Progressive Catholics should beware, though. There is a risk one takes when one kneels to worship Caesar; it is that Caesar has a tendency, when his kneeling worshipers are no longer necessary to his success, to kick them in the face.


SherryTex said...

I can't say I love this enough. Thank you for writing this. Been battling with this nonsense. You nailed it.

Justine said...

Out of curiosity, do you still "pledge by your faith" to never again vote for a Republican? I noticed that statement is no longer on your sidebar and was just wondering. (Forgive me if you've addressed this in a previous blog post.)

Red Cardigan said...

Yes, Justine! The blog post is still out there, but I removed the sidebar link mainly because it was long, clunky, visually cluttery and left little room for other things. But I'm still convinced that the Republicans will also sell out our liberties; we're reduced to haggling over the price.

L. said...

Remember when "progressive Catholic" meant, like...Dorothy Day?

That's the kind of progressive I'm trying to be.

LarryD said...

Well said, Erin. So, did you pray for patience before reading all those comments? In my experience, a couple glasses of wine afterward helps take the edge off.

And the last line was great. It'll either be a kick to the face...or a sword to the neck.

Red Cardigan said...

I have no problem with Dorothy Day progressive Catholics. I do have a problem with Margaret Sanger progressive Catholics, and I think Dorothy Day would have, too--especially given her early life, experience with the poisonous birth control/abortion culture, and repentance of all of that.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

This is mostly an "in-the-family" debate, and I am, by definition, not a member of the family. Having derided the Catholic progressives as Rod Dreher paraded them one after the other, for seeing any issue of "freedom of religion" in these regulations at all, I can hardly defend them now. I used to tell a friend of Larry's who went by the initials jkk that there is a word for people who don't accept the divinely-appointed authority of popes and bishops: Protestant. But perhaps the progressive Catholics will form the Association of Catholic Congregational Churches, preserving the ambience, the incense, much of the ritual, while adopting their own preferred form of governance. (HHS regulations lack the jurisdiction to do that for them).

I know that President Obama is not God. That's why I feel free to vote for him again this year. I'm a little queasy about those who can't tell the difference -- but they are generally the first to fall away when he fails to live up to their expectations.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I can't read comments over there at all. I can barely read any of the articles. It's not that I just don't agree with the comments, it's that the comments are just totally nuts and incoherent. My hat goes off to you for reading enough fo them to come up with a summary.

Ann Marie

freddy said...

I'm so glad to hear that you are trying to be like Dorothy Day. What a wonderful role model for a Catholic woman!

You might be interested in the following:

From an interview with Hubert Jessup in 1974: "We do believe that there is…not only the genocide of war, the genocide that took place in the extermination of Jews. But the whole program - I’m speaking now as a Catholic - of birth control and abortion, is another form of genocide.

There’s many theories about birth control, many theories about a population going to seed when they’re poverty stricken - a neglected orchard, for instance - it goes to seed … and, so, they claim the poor are bringing forth tremendous numbers of children, and the “solution” is to kill them off - the seed that is dead seed - by whatever methods they use: whether it’s intra-uterine devices, or the pill - about which they’re very dubious.

But, I’m just saying that, when it comes to Mexicans, and Filipinos, and the Blacks in this country- they’re the ones who are multiplying. And, a great many of them believe that this is - the educated too - that the whole program of birth control and abortion, is a way of keeping down the population of the poor."

Also, from Dan Lynch's article "Dorothy Day's Pro-life Memories": "I’ll never forget the time that I had to literally stand up against birth control. My sister Della had worked for Margaret Sanger, foundress of Planned Parenthood. When Della exhorted me that I shouldn’t encourage my daughter Tamar to have so many children, I stood up firmly and walked out of the house whereupon Della ran after me weeping, saying, “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me. We just won’t talk about it again.” To me, birth control and abortion are genocide. I say, make room for children, don’t do away with them. I learned that prevention of conception when the act that one is performing is for the purpose of fusing the two lives more closely and so enrich them that another life springs forth and the aborting of a life conceived are sins that are great frustrations in the natural and spiritual order."

I'm sure you're aware that Dorothy Day's focus was always on the whole person, made in the image and likeness of God, rather than on bits and pieces ways to make them more economically prosperous.

God bless you, L. and may you come to know Our Lord as did His servant Dorothy!

Scott W. said...

I think blogger "proph" has it:

"What's the end game here? Probably nothing. The Church's fecklessness on the issue of contraception has purchased widespread heresy on the part of the laity and a culture of dissent among its lower clergy. There'll be no fighting in the streets, as Bill Donohue promises, and if there is, it will be American Catholics burning their own churches."

Rebecca in ID said...

Red this is off topic but back again to voting for Republicans...did you notice what Mark Shea has been saying about it? He expresses what I am thinking as well. I had pretty much decided just to vote in the primary and then probably write someone in for the election, but this last move by Obama really has me frightened, and I shudder to think what will happen when he has his second term guaranteed without needing to think of the next election. All I can think is, whatever concerns I have about the Republican candidates, even very real and important concerns and disagreements, it is paramount to get this man out of office. It's a different ballgame, now that he has launched this full frontal attack. What are your thoughts on that?

Onepony2002 said...

I have lived long enough to have voted a lot, and practically never have been happy with my choices. But I believe that it is my responsibility as a citizen to vote, and therefore to study and discern the candidate who will serve us best. It is usually a difficult choice and I expect disappointment.

I will not vote for a candidate because he belongs to a particular party, but I will definitely will vote against the one who has lied over and over, whose decisions have been enormously destructive to the American culture, economy, safety and people's lives and given a second chance will transform this country beyond recognition. It's an easy choice.

L. said...

Freddy, I also have great admiration for Margaret Sanger, too. I reject Sanger's beliefs on eugenics, the same way I don't agree with Day's pacificism or renunciation of her early beliefs on contraception and free love, but find her service to the poor quite inspiring.

There's good and bad in everyone. Including me.

c matt said...

I shudder to think what will happen when he has his second term guaranteed without needing to think of the next election.

What makes you think he wouldn't try for a third term? After all, he is not like any other president, he is the "One."

Tony said...

[i]here is a risk one takes when one kneels to worship Caesar; it is that Caesar has a tendency, when his kneeling worshipers are no longer necessary to his success, to kick them in the face. [/i]

Let me add, so loyal in their devotion that he doesn't have to worry about their vote. He feels freest to kick his most loyal supporters and kowtow to the weak middle.

I heard a great line. "Catholics have gone from being a 'cheap date' to being a 'battered spouse'".

Siarlys Jenkins said...

c matt, maybe you aren't aware of it, but there is a document called the Constitution of the United States of America which governs eligibility to run for president. The XXII Amendment, passed in 1951, provides that "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice." President Obama is a former professor of constitutional law, and I am quite sure he is familiar with this article.

You, Oprah Winfrey, and Rush Limbaugh may all think Barack Obama is "The One," apparently in the Tolkien sense, but he knows better, and so do the voters who are going to re-elect him.