Memo to Conservatives: Don’t Trust the MSM on Pope Francis Quotes

A couple days ago, a lot of conservatives got really ticked off at Pope Francis over an alleged quote calling PA leader Abbas an “angel of peace”. Looks like it wasn’t quite like that – via Stephen Kruiser over at PJ Media:

As is tradition with heads of State or of government, Francis presented presented a gift to the Palestinian leader, commenting: “May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: may you be an angel of peace.”

As Kruiser points out, exhorting someone to be an angel of peace is not exactly the same as calling them an angel of peace. Kruiser further notes the puzzling fact that many on the right – who wouldn’t trust the MSM on anything – blithely swallow whatever the MSM is putting out about the Pope…as if the MSM actually likes the Pope and would actually do him a favor!

Keep in mind regarding Vatican dealings with the PA that there is a small and highly oppressed Christian minority in the West Bank and no one in the world – other than the Vatican – cares about them. In order to secure any sort of peace and justice for this minority, the Vatican has to work with the PA…and this means walking a very, very fine line. You can complain about it all you want, but until someone with power steps forth to protect the Christians of the West Bank, that is the way it will be.

Anyone thinking that Pope Francis is the “commie Pope” just doesn’t understand Pope Francis or the Catholic Church. Kruiser further points out to anyone thinking that Pope Francis is a liberal should note that a very early act of Francis was to defrock and excommunicate a priest who was in favor of gay marriage and female ordination. For those of you who aren’t Catholic, I’ll make something very clear – the Pope cannot unilaterally change doctrine. Pope Francis will not proclaim same-sex marriage, nor modification of the pro-life message, nor female ordination. It just won’t happen. Ever.

For those hung up on Francis’ condemnations of consumerism and capitalism: lump it. The Church has always condemned capitalism and consumerism. It didn’t like it when the Liberals of the Manchester School were using it to grind up the workers of Britain any more than it likes it today. It never will like it – because profit, as a thing, must never be the prime motivation of economic activity. All actions, to be moral, must have as their motive the betterment of humanity. If you can make a profit while doing that, knock yourself out…but if profits start to come before the needs of men and women, then you’re doing it wrong. How we decide to balance the needs of humanity with the needs of profit in work is a prudential judgement – the Church makes no commands about how you do it, other than you must not lie, cheat, steal, poison the environment or screw over your workers while doing it.

End of rant – and may everyone have a blessed Sunday!

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Habemus Papam Franciscum

I am delighted with the new Pope – seems a solid, bell-ringer of a priest sort of man; someone who is determined that Catholics from highest to lowest will get down and dirty and do the work of the Lord for the least among us.  Of course, some people were surprised to find that the new Pope is, well, Catholic – saw shocked-sounding headlines pointing out that Francis is opposed to abortion and gay marriage.  Tomorrow’s shocking news:  he believes in the Trinity and that Jesus suffered, died and was buried and on the third day rose again.

Liberals can find some comfort in the fact that Francis doesn’t exactly have a love affair with capitalism – though they’ll be less pleased to find that, apparently, he condemns it as “neo-liberalism”.  But on the whole, Francis’ clear adherence to Truth is going to be a stumbling block for liberals.  So much the worse for them.

I have some hopes for the new Pope, which I won’t give word to now:  better to just see what he does and comment on it on a case by case basis.  Fortunately, the government of the Church is not my office so its not up to me to figure out how to carry out God’s will while shepherding 1.2 billion people.

Discuss this and any other issues of religious nature.

The Ryan Plan and Catholic Social Teaching

Our liberals have been running with a meme which goes “Ryan’s budget plan is anti-Catholic” – the basis of the liberal argument is that a letter was written under the letter head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which condemned the Ryan plan when it was first presented.  Without getting in to the intra-Catholic weeds on this, the mere existence of such a letter does not either indicate Catholic doctrine nor how the Bishops, if pressed on the matter, would rule.  Lots of liberals reside on the staff of the USCCB and they do take their opportunities to help liberal Democrats.

The letter, itself, held that the alleged cuts to social spending in the Ryan plan violated Catholic teaching as it relates to helping the poor.  Of course, Catholic teaching is that the poor have an absolute moral claim upon the wealthy for sufficient housing, clothing, food and health care – there can be and is no argument about that.  If you’ve got the means, you are morally obligated to help out the less fortunate.  On the other hand, how you are to help out is not set out with precision – because it can’t be.  Circumstances are so varied among both the haves and the have-nots that no one person can figure out exactly what one person should do for another in all circumstances.  The bottom line is that there can be a great deal of different opinion on the best means to the end – and Ryan’s bishop, Robert C. Morlino, has written an article clarifying the Catholic view – first laying out what is required:

…It is the role of bishops and priests to teach principles of our faith, such that those who seek elected offices, if they are Catholics, are to form their consciences according to these principles about particular policy issues.

However, the formation of conscience regarding particular policy issues is different depending on how fundamental to the ecology of human nature or the Catholic faith a particular issue is. Some of the most fundamental issues for the formation of a Catholic conscience are as follows: sacredness of human life from conception to natural death, marriage, religious freedom and freedom of conscience, and a right to private property.

Violations of the above involve intrinsic evil — that is, an evil which cannot be justified by any circumstances whatsoever. These evils are examples of direct pollution of the ecology of human nature and can be discerned as such by human reason alone. Thus, all people of good will who wish to follow human reason should deplore any and all violations in the above areas, without exception. The violations would be: abortion, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, government-coerced secularism, and socialism…

So, we can say, “politician A is in favor of elective abortion and as that is an intrinsic evil, I must not vote for politician A”.  But outside of the area of intrinsic evil, there is a lot more flexibility – and it becomes a matter of prudential judgement on the part of Catholics (and, indeed, everybody) to decide as best they can.

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Is Tolerance an End, or a Means?

Lots of continuing commentary going on in the blogosphere, especially the Catholic part of it, regarding the Accepting Abundance “public morality” post we discussed here yesterday.  Over at Little Catholic Bubble, Leila posted an interesting quote:

We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty — these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. – Archbishop Chaput

The left long ago learned the trick of using a nice-sounding word to cover a wicked agenda.  The key is to find a word that is hard to argue against, claim that the word covers some desired, liberal goal and then say anyone who opposes this goal is opposed to the nice-sounding word.  “Tolerance” is one of those words being misused – like using “choice” for abortion; if you are opposed to abortion you are not opposed to murdering babies, you are opposed to people choosing, you see?  These days, the left uses the word “tolerance” as the nice-sounding word to cover the concept of homosexuality being morally the same as heterosexuality.

Just as the left would never get anywhere advocating for baby killing, so they wouldn’t get anywhere trying to convince common-sense people that gay and straight sex are morally the same…so, “choice” instead of “baby killing” and “tolerance” instead of “gay same as straight”.  And if you oppose the concept of homosexuality being morally the same as heterosexuality, then you are being intolerant…even though you’ve never said anything against gay people and, indeed, strongly advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination against them be removed (as all believing Catholics, for instance, hold).

We need to scrape away the lies which have grown up in our society -the various words and phrases the left has twisted to cover the bad and unpopular things they wish to impose on us.  Tolerance is a means, not an end – it is something we do because we wish to live in a peaceful, civil society…but it must not and cannot mean approval.  I am not being intolerant when I say that homosexual sex is inherently disordered…I am merely stating the truth as I understand it.  If the left wants to persist in using that word, then we have to force them to use it properly…and right now, if “tolerance” is the goal, then they’ve won…gay people are broadly tolerated in the American populace and none but a few kooks would dream of putting the slightest legal disability upon homosexuals (good to keep in mind, liberals, that I and plenty of other conservative Christians are, for instance, not opposed to openly gay people serving in the military…and until you went and tried to judicially impose gay marriage, most of us were in favor of some sort of civil union legislation). But that is as far as we can go – to go beyond that, especially for a Christian, is impossible.  We can’t say that what is wrong is right – we are, indeed, supposed to die rather than do any such thing.

Let us start having debates without lies – no more code words, twisted phrases or rhetorical misdirection.  Words mean what they mean, and we should use them as they were intended.  Truth is not subjective – what is right is not dependent upon the ideological viewpoint of the individual.  There is a truth to adhere to – to discover as best we can and then attempt to apply it as best we can in our lives.  To do otherwise is to sink in to a morass of dishonesty where reason cannot exist…and to play the liberals game of undermining us by the clever tricks of the propagandist.

A Spasm of Liberal-Fascist Hatred

Stacy Trasancos vented a bit on her blog, Accepting Abundance, the other day – while she mentioned specifically the actions of openly gay people engaging in public displays of affection in the local park, the clear issue was not whether or not two gay men will hold hands, but whether or not any part of the public square will be kept clear of the immorality of our age.  The natural reaction of our loving, tolerant liberals was best encapsulated in this comment:

…Your view of what is sinful, immoral, and the like are because of your own thought processes. YOUR definition of sin and immorality are not the universal definitions and immorality. How dare you be so arrogant as to believe that your opinions are higher than others’. F*** off you ugly Christian slut…

I’d have to say that better than 90% of the comments attacking Mrs. Trasancos are “anonymous”.  Which is probably a good thing because it would embarrass the authors if their names were known – hard to find such a collection of ignorance, hatred and misery in such a small area.  These people don’t understand what the article is about, they don’t know what a Catholic like Mrs. Trasancos believes and they don’t know what “tolerance” and “liberty” mean.  Their comments range from the mildly snarky to the crudely vulgar to the downright blasphemous.  At no point is there any attempt to engage Mrs. Trasancos as a human being – to try and see things from her point of view or show some respect for the fact that a fellow human being courageously put their name to an opinion in the public square.  Just anonymous, ignorant hatred is what she gets.

And why did she get this?  Because she dared to question the liberal party line on morality.  The liberal party line on morality is essentially negative in character – whatever breaks down the Judeo-Christian morality of Western Civilization is morally good, whatever upholds it is morally bad.  If you step outside those parameters, you are going to be attacked…and as Mrs. Trasancos found, attacked quite cruelly and nauseatingly by people who would never show the courage to stand up in public and actually proclaim their beliefs under their own name.

I greatly sympathize with Mrs. Trasancos as I have been on the receiving end of this sort of thing, too.  I’ve had my past dug in to, my car vandalized, I’ve been stalked at work, my computer has been hacked, people have tried to put a photo of my house in the web (and in their eagerness to harm me they actually put up a photo of a house belonging to a different Mark Noonan; there are several people with my name in Las Vegas).  I’ve had a radio host suggest that people beat me up and one kind liberal opined upon a time that I was a fit subject to be hanged from a lamp post with a meat hook.  And all of that just because I, too, dissent from the liberal orthodoxy.

Make no mistake about it, if the people who filled Mrs. Trasancos’ blog comments with filth and vituperation ever got the chance, they would imprison and kill people like myself and Mrs. Trasancos.  Plenty of liberals scream with anger when I used the term “liberal-fascist”, but I chose that phrase with care.  It is an exact description of that species of person who is liberal and demands that certain views be silenced in the public square – classified as “hate speech” and declared first out of bounds and, eventually, illegal.  Inside of every liberal there is an NKVD agent straining to break free.

Mrs. Trasancos has asserted that the hate won’t stop her – and I applaud her courage.  The one thing the left would really like is to just be able to shout down voices of reason.  It is hard, at times, to stand against the fury of people who will go straight to the lowest gutter hoping that by being vile, they can disgust decent people and convince them to leave the public square.  We dare not let them do this.  Firm in our faith, ready for whatever sacrifice we are called upon to make, we must remain in the world while never being of it.  Our duty – to God, ourselves and our fellows – is to do what is right, even if everyone disagrees and hates us for doing it (and Our Lord did warn us that we would be hated on account of Him).  This is just part of the task of a Christian; indeed, the task of anyone who really believes in God – and if we carry it out faithfully, then even our defeats are victories…but the really good thing is that when we do stand firm, we win far more than we lose.

The time is coming when one side or the other will prevail…and we on our side already know who the Victor is.

An American Pope?

Interesting bit of news over at NRO:

For weeks, rumors were swirling that the retiring, scandal-plagued cardinal archbishop of Philadelphia, Justin Rigali, would be replaced by Charles Chaput, archbishop of Denver. Yesterday, word came that it was official: Chaput, a member of the Franciscan order of Capuchins, would go to Philadelphia…

…A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about the possibility of an American pope, as relayed by Inside the Vatican editor Robert Moynihan from one of his Vatican sources, “Father Jeremiah.” At the time, I totally missed the pun Father Jeremiah closed with, when he said it may be time for a “cappuccino.” But in an e-mail this evening, Moynihan confirmed what many readers had told me in the interim — that the cappuccino Jeremiah was talking about was a member of the Capuchin order: “This is what I meant when I told you a few weeks ago that it may be time for a cappuccino. Rome has seen the need for this type of profound, traditional Catholic spirituality . . . and not only in Philadelphia.”…

Archbishop Chaput only rose to prominence a few years ago but his clear thinking, firm defense of basic truth and willingness to challenge a spiritually vitiated society have marked him out as a man to watch.  And Benedict XVI is already 84.  Naturally, no one knows how long Benedict will live – he certainly is vigorous for a man his age.  But it isn’t like he can count on 10 or 20 years.  So, this move (as well as others) are clearing the decks for what will come after.

It would be interesting to see a man of the United States elevated to St. Peter’s chair – and also interesting to see what a relatively young, vigorous and deeply spiritual man like Chaput would do.