AP’s Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR’s Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

Monday, October 25, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

National Public Radio’s ludicrous firing of Juan Williams and a subsequent mainstream media article on Catholic bloggers may seem to be two separate issues. Some may say what does the overwhelmingly conservative leaning Catholic blogosphere have in common with the liberal leaning Juan Williams? The answer is quite simple; both scare the mainstream media because Juan Williams and the majority of the Catholic blogosphere put forth interesting solutions to often discussed questions.

The modus operadi of some in the mainstream media is to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. Combine this with a Juan Williams quote which most of America agrees with and voila you have it; the ultimate straw man from which you can tear apart any minority who appears on Fox News or any Catholic blogger who faithfully defends the teachings of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church.

In this Associated Press article on the Catholic blogosphere, the piece mentions Thomas Peters and Michael Voris (who is known for his videos not his blogging,) but focuses on harsh unnamed Catholic bloggers. The article quotes John Allen who calls elements of the Catholic blogosphere “Taliban Catholicism.” The highly respected Mr. Allen, who though working for the dissident leaning National Catholic Reporter, is often known for his many high ranking Church contacts and his fairness. He should have know better than to give the quote that he did. To take a few bloggers from the right (or even from the left) and call them the Catholic blogosphere is the type of journalism that would not pass muster for a high school paper, let alone the AP. This would be akin to taking the worst rated college or pro football team and telling the world this is the best of American football, or perhaps watching the Walla Walla Community theater production of Hamlet and saying this is Hamlet at its finest. John Allen should have realized where this article was going and chosen his words more carefully.

The AP article continues by naming a Church official who seems worried about the Catholic blogosphere. One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Semple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana. I worked for years in a diocesan office and I have yet to meet, even in my travels, a diocesan official who is well versed in the blogosphere. It seems to be a generational thing and most diocesan officials are not to be confused with the younger, more conservative seminarians or young priests being ordained.

While some in the mainstream media snicker at the Pope and Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church) they in reality have their own magisterium. In their secular magisterium anyone who believes in the Catholic Church’s authority is hopelessly outdated, because according to gatekeepers in the mainstream media, true thinkers are those in the dying liberal churches who don’t know what they believe. Sadly, GK Chesterton prophetically predicted this would happen. He said, “It’s not that atheists and agnostics believe in nothing, they believe in everything.” In modern parlance, “It’s all good.” How sad that some who proclaim to be “open minded” can’t see the obvious; liberal Christianity is dying on the vine.” Read the rest of this entry »


Tu Quoque Checking the Kochtopus

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

Socrates famously said that the one thing he knew was that he knew nothing. As it turns out, though, he was atypical. In general, people who are ignorant or incompetent tend to consider themselves very knowledgeable or competent, more so even than people who actually are highly knowledgeable or competent. Apparently this is because the skills you need to do something well are the same as the ones you need to recognize whether you are doing it well.

I have a strong suspicion that something similar is true when it comes to political bias and partisanship. Every once and a while you will meet someone who is hyper-partisan and biased, but who claims just to be an impartial rational observer of events. And you wonder: is he serious? Surely on some level he must recognize his own propensities, given that they are so glaringly obvious to everyone else. But no. From his perspective, it just so happens that all his political opponents are wicked and stupid. After all, didn’t he once criticize people on his own side for being too much like the other side? How can he be biased if he is critical of both sides? Etc.

When I hear criticism of a political figure whose politics I disagree with I try to do what I call a “tu quoque check.” Would I find this criticism persuasive if it was about someone I agreed with? The problem is that the brain is very crafty, and can come up with all sorts of pseudo-distinctions for how what the other guy did was totally okay when your guy did it.

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Establishing the Alternative Magisterium

Thursday, March 25, 2010 \AM\.\Thu\.

My friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia always produces posts well worth reading.  Today he outdoes himself with his post entitled Establishing the “Alternative” Magisterium.

Need “Catholic” sign off on your agenda, regardless of whether it actually meets the criteria of fidelity to the Church’s teaching? No problem.

Don’t bother with the Bishops. Do an end run. Get the imprimatur of the “alternative Catholic magisterium”.

A phone call to Father Hesburgh is helpful. A letter from a group of women religious currently under investigation by both the Vatican and the U.S. Bishops invokes just the right amount of radical chic yet also “Bells-of-St.-Mary nun nostalgia” to appeal to a broad range of “Catholic” sentiments. A visit from Sister Carol to key politicians to work against and undermine the Bishops’ stance is absolutely essential. An award of an honorary law degree from America’s flagship Catholic university ought to give just the right aura of “Catholic” legitimacy. Lining up a bunch of “Catholic” politicians to vote for the thing makes it all look downright “official Church policy”. Throw in a dead Kennedy or two for you to lionize on behalf of your cause, and that’s just icing on the cake.

Of course, you need more than just big names to lend legitimacy to your “alternative magisterium”. You need lots of little minions (not just mornings, but noons and nights, as well) to plant seeds of doubt regarding the collective wisdom of the Bishops and their priorities and to lay the groundwork for placing one’s trust in more “enlightened” yet “still authentic” Catholic voices. You know the sort of worker bees I’m talking about: Soros-funded groups who talk about being “united” and “in alliance” and working toward the “common good”, who bemoan the prominence of the unborn among the issues with which Catholics are most concerned, and who decry the “politics of division” all the while seeking to divide and conquer Catholics in an effort to separate them from their Bishops; “Catholic” publications that write about the Bishops as being out of touch with the times and impediments to “progress” and reform (i.e. the Bishops don’t buy completely into the Democrat agenda); bloggers proclaiming themselves to be speaking with a “new voice” or a “Catholic sensibility”.

So, why bother with the Bishops? No need to get your pet issue tied up in all the red tape and bureaucracy at the USCCB (which, anyway, everyone knows is staffed with a bunch of right-wing GOP party hacks working overtime to make the USCCB the “Republican Party at Prayer”).

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Catholics in Alliance For The Common Good: Fake Pro-life Group

Sunday, March 14, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.

Our own Christopher Blosser blew the whistle on the George Soros funded group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good some time ago in this post hereThey specialize in attempting to give cover for pro-abort pols, especially Obama. They are of course in favor of the pro-abort Senate version of ObamaCare.

They are brilliantly taken to task by Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic Christian who has taken up the blog cudgels for the Church so many times that I have named him Defender of the Faith.

Barack Obama’s health care plan must be in serious trouble.  The “faith communities” have been called out:

Twenty-five pro-life Catholic theologians and Evangelical leaders yesterday sent letters to members of Congress urging them not to let misleading information about abortion provisions in the Senate health care bill block passage of sorely-needed reform.

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a Washington-based advocacy group, said that the Senate health bill upholds abortion funding restrictions and supports pregnant women.

Stop right there.  What exactly is Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good?  According to their Mission and Vision page:

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is a lay Catholic organization that promotes increased awareness of Catholic social teaching through the media and provides opportunities for Catholics and citizens of good will to advance the common good in the public square.

We envision a society shaped by the values of justice, human dignity and the common good, where faithful American Catholics can embrace the fullness of the Church’s social justice teachings when participating in democratic society.

As Catholics, we inherit a rich tradition whose inspiration reaches well beyond our own faith community. The papal encyclicals and letters that make up this tradition are based on Jesus’ call to love one’s neighbor and serve the least among us, and the Hebrew Scriptures’ prophetic commitment to justice and righteousness.

Our Catholic tradition calls us to participate actively in public life in the service of human dignity, social justice and the common good. These teachings – to put community before self, principle before profit, and the public interest before political expediency – are central to our Catholic tradition. Catholics in Alliance is committed to creating the necessary conditions for a culture of life that reverences the life and dignity of the human person at all stages over greed, materialism and the politics of division.

Anybody want to take a guess at what “the politics of division” means?  Uh huh.  Stop talking about abortion so much, you’re scaring away the people we need to get our really important issues passed!!

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USCCB Caught Red-Handed, Archbishop Chaput Tap Dances, Oh Joy

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.
Abp Chaput Tap Dancing

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, otherwise known as the USCCB, is once again involved in another scandal.  It doesn’t matter anymore if this is a real scandal or perceived as a scandal, the pattern of perversion of integrity, ineptitude, combined with poor judgment is so apparent that even “Joe Catholic” comes to the same conclusion.  And that is that the USCCB is failing in its mission to evangelize as is called for by Lumen Gentium (21), and instead is involved in liberal pet projects that have nothing to do with their mission statement.

This time the USCCB has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate free speech.  As a member of the liberal So We Might See coalition, a letter and petition has been sent by said coalition to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski which the Catholic News Agency reported it as stating:

The letter and its related petition asked the FCC to open a “notice of inquiry into hate speech in the media” and to update a 1993 report on the role of telecommunications in hate crimes.

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