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Friday, October 24, 2008

Cardinal Newman's Feast

Last June 29, I posted a few comments culled from another blog's comments section regarding the negotiations between the Traditional Anglican Communion and Rome. Today, I came home and checked my email and found a comment to be moderated for that post.

The anonymous commenter posted the following: "Look for something to happen on this concurrent with +JH Newman's beatification."

Consider, for what it's worth.

The Slippery Slope

A piece by Daniel Burke of the Religious News Service in USAToday: Group asks IRS to investigate Catholic bishop against Obama.

WASHINGTON — A church-state watchdog group has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether the Roman Catholic bishop of Paterson, N.J., violated tax laws by denouncing Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

In a letter sent to the IRS on Wednesday (Oct. 22), Americans United for Separation of Church and State accused Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli of illegal partisanship for lambasting Obama's support of abortion rights.

In a column posted on the Diocese of Paterson's website and published in its weekly newspaper, Serratelli also compared Obama to King Herod, the biblical monarch who ordered the death of John the Baptist.

The bishop did not refer to Obama by name but only as "the present democratic (sic) candidate."

Under federal tax law, nonprofit groups — including religious organizations — are prohibited from intervening in campaigns for public office by endorsing or opposing candidates.

I'm not going to quote it all. That's about the first half of the article, read the rest for yourself.

Bishop Serratelli responded the other day and the diocese issued a statement:

"The characterization that Bishop Serratelli’s column intervened in the election process is inaccurate. His October 9 column was not directed to the upcoming presidential election, but was rather totally focused on the Freedom of Choice Act and the harm it would do to the nation if it were to be signed into law. It’s absolutely, positively misleading to say that the bishop urged Catholics not to vote for Sen. Obama. All the bishop did was to point out that in a speech before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund last year, Sen. Obama made the promise that the first thing he would do as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act.

In addition to his column, the bishop sent a letter on October14 to all pastors in the diocese to be published in the parish bulletins in which he asked the people to read his column and call or write to their elected representatives about the Freedom of Choice Act. He did not make any statement about voting for or against a candidate."

The column itself in the diocesan newspaper may be read online here.

I'm not an expert on the relevant tax law, but whatever fine line His Excellency came close to seems to me not to have been breached. The final paragraph of his letter:

At the time when Herod murdered John the Baptist because of his promise, Rome practiced the principle "one man, one vote." Whoever the emperor in Rome placed in authority over a subject people, ruled. Today we live in a democracy. We choose our leaders who make our laws. Every vote counts. Today, either we choose to respect and protect life, especially the life of the child in the womb of the mother or we sanction the loss of our most basic freedoms. At this point, we are still free to choose!

The letter is a review of one candidate's position on a relevant, in fact quite fundamental, Catholic teaching and its conclusion sums up the position of the Catholic Church on that issue. If bishops cannot expound on the teachings of their Church in their own diocesan newspapers without fear of recriminations and possible governmental sanction, what does that say for the rest of us when we find ourselves in similar situations?

Oh, wait...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wading Into Politics

A moment of your time, please.

There are thirteen days left before the election here in the United States and it seems more and more likely that Barack Obama is going to be elected as president.

Given the occasion, I wanted to bring to the attention of my readership two items from the blog known as Hot Air.

Item the first: Is George Soros funding pro-Obama Catholic groups?
The upshot of the post is that George Soros, non-Catholic rich guy extraordinaire, has funded to the tune of several hundreds of thousands of dollars two self described Catholic groups that have worked unceasingly to proclaim Obama as pro-life. Honestly, do we really think that is the case?

Item the second: The comprehensive argument against Barack Obama
As the title states, it's a comprehensive look at Obama's positions in a variety of subjects and analysis of the same. It relies upon videos of Obama speaking, his words. The issues covered are abortion (he's not pro-life), taxes (probably going up), radical associations, foreign policy judgment (no preconditions), disdain for the heartland (bitter, clinging to religion, etc.), the race card and a general lack of accomplishments. As is stated in the introduction:

These are lofty promises from a man with precious little executive experience, and a Senate career that lasted exactly 143 legislative days before he launched yet another campaign for higher office. No one can deny his ambition. In fact, if Obama wins on November 4th—and serves one full term in the Oval Office—the Presidency of the United States would be the longest consecutively held full-time job he has ever held without seeking another.

Consider well your vote, readers in the United States, before casting your ballots for such a man as Barack Obama.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Anxious?

UPDATE (10/8/08 1638): Father Z responses. It's pretty good. Read the comments. One snippet of Father Z's:

Is the priest afraid of the bishop? Help the priest. Keep working on the bishop. Carefully. Pray for him, perhaps using the Bux Protocol for praying for bishops: ask St. Joseph to intercede with God that He will either open the bishop’s eyes or close them permanently. Remember: the biological solution is going to be important for the future of the TLM. Therefore, work on the younger priests and on seminarians. Do you best to promote vocations to the priesthood among bright young men and boys who are interested in these things.

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Damian Thompson has a new piece out today on the MP's progress so far. After recounting the state of the Gregorian Mass, at the end he sums it up quite well.

Let us be blunt about this. If the Pope were to die tomorrow, he would be remembered for many fine achievements, most of all his encyclicals, but his liturgical reforms would peter out. Summorum Pontificum would remain on the statute book, but the Magic Circle in England and its powerful allies in the Vatican and Europe would quietly suffocate the work of Ecclesia Dei.

My guess is that the next Pope will be as theologically conservative as Benedict, but is unlikely to possess his blindingly intense vision of a liturgical reform in which the pre- and post-Vatican II liturgies revive each other. That reform is not yet properly under way, and the Pope is in his 80s. No wonder traditionalists are alarmed.

"Tick tock, tick tock, Clarice."

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Archbishop Burke's statement

Ed Morrissey makes several points about Archbishop Burke's statements regarding the Democratic Party and abortion. Ed's last point:

Burke goes farther, though, in this statement. Until now, bishops have restricted their criticisms to Catholic politicians who work to support abortion rights. Burke has expanded this into a broader political argument, one that will create more controversy in the pews and in the general electorate, especially with pro-life Democrats who will resent the accusation. The church should pursue their mandate of Catholics first, and avoid partisan shots while focusing on issues instead.

1. It will create controversy in the pews, but that is going to happen regardless as the bishops grow a spine and speak out on issues like abortion. The laity has gone thirty years without being properly catechized and unlearning everything bad is not going to be a piece of cake.

2. Who cares what the general electorate thinks? The Catholic Church isn't running for office in the US, it's working to save souls for Christ. If pro-choice Democrats who are Catholics don't like Church teaching, they can take their ball and go play somewhere else. Why would the general electorate (I'm assuming Ed means non-Catholics) care what the Catholic Church says in the first place?

3. Pro-life Democrats stung by the words of a Catholic archbishop should reevaluate their situation. They've for the last thirty years allowed their party to be hijacked by the supporters of Roe v. Wade and done little to chastise those Democrats who have hypocritically changed horses midstream (Ted Kennedy used to be pro-life. Where is the pro-life Democrat outrage?). If what His Excellency is saying hurts them that much, it's probably more due to their own regret and anxiety at their flimsy position in their own party than actually disagreeing with his words.

4. The church should pursue their mandate of Catholics first... Triumphalism may not be vogue at the moment, but the Catholic Church's mandate is not just Catholics, but the entire human race.

5. The church should [...] avoid partisan shots while focusing on issues instead. The archbishop calling it as he sees it on a fundamental issue of human rights is hardly a partisan shot. Is it a partisan shot when the Vatican was speaking out against the US invasion of Iraq?