The Bishops’ Fear of Dissent

By Robert S. McElvainereligion historian At the last count, 68 American bishops have come out in public opposition to the … Continued

By Robert S. McElvaine
religion historian

At the last count, 68 American bishops have come out in public opposition to the University of Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Obama to be its commencement speaker and to grant him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree this Sunday.

More than 350,000 people have signed petitions against the invitation. John D’Arcy, Bishop of the Fort Wayne Diocese, which includes South Bend, will boycott the Notre Dame commencement.

Last Friday, at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, the prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the church’s highest court, proclaimed that Notre Dame’s granting of the honorary degree to the president is “a source of the gravest scandal.”

As an American Catholic, I find these actions by the Hierarchy and “conservative” elements within the laity to be more than a little disturbing.

Referring to the president of the United States (one who so far is in most respects doing a better job of trying to adhere to the teachings of Jesus than have many of his predecessors) speaking at and receiving an honorary degree from a major American university as a “scandal” is . . . well, scandalous.

But here is the comment that really got my notice and deeply angered me:

“The toxic residue from this scandal will be the perception that Notre Dame has made dissent in the Catholic Church respectable,” said Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. “This cannot be looked upon as a paradigm to be followed by others.”

Bishop Brandt’s comment on the poisonous nature of the idea that dissent within the Catholic Church is “respectable” is the real scandal.

In fact, making dissent within our Church respectable is exactly what is needed–desperately. For far too long, we have had to suffer under a group of old men following a centuries-long tradition of ignoring the teachings of Jesus and imposing the practices and prejudices of their own time and place as official Church doctrine.

Bishop Brandt is reinforcing the perception long held by many Protestants that Catholicism is diametrically opposed to the essence of Americanism. Dissent is far more American than apple pie. Dissent is what this nation is built upon. Dissent is patriotic. The belief that Catholics must follow the dictates of the Hierarchy and may not think for themselves was one of the major impediments that John F. Kennedy had to knock down to convince non-Catholics that a Catholic could be president of the United States.

Dissent is not only patriotic; dissent is Christian. Can anyone seriously argue that Jesus was not a dissenter?

According to an Associated Press story at the beginning of this month, the Catholic bishops have made “abortion the paramount issue for their activism.”

Well, Jesus was an activist if their ever was one, and he certainly didn’t make abortion the paramount issue of his activism. Abortion by various methods was widely practiced in Roman times, yet Jesus never mentioned it. That silence on the subject plainly does not mean that he was “pro-choice,” but it certainly indicates that it was not the most important issue to him. It is also very relevant that Jesus was totally silent on the other issue that conservative “Christians” insist is most important–and one that was very widespread in the ancient world), homosexuality. What Jesus did talk about, over and over again, was helping the poor, caring for the sick and prisoners, opposing greed and the accumulation of wealth, and rejecting war and violence.

Unlike many of those who loudly proclaim themselves to be “Christians” today, the Catholic Church is generally with Jesus on social and economic questions, but the bishops should listen to Jesus when it comes to setting their priorities and not place abortion ahead of the issues Jesus actually addressed and on which President Obama is at least as close to Jesus as they are. Among them are: providing health care, restraining materialism and the accumulation of excessive wealth, opposing torture and preemptive war, and assisting “the least of these.”

Because of his very Christian positions on those issues, Barack Obama is a most worthy recipient of an honorary degree from Notre Dame, and if the bishops would listen to Jesus they would agree.

Dissent is not only American; dissent is also Catholic, particularly when the Hierarchy fails to heed what Jesus said.

Historian Robert S. McElvaine’s latest book, “Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America,” has just come out in paperback from Three Rivers Press.

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  • truthseeker1

    ” Jesus was an activist if their ever was one, and he certainly didn’t make abortion the paramount issue of his activism. Abortion by various methods was widely practiced in Roman times, yet Jesus never mentioned it. … It is also very relevant that Jesus was totally silent on the other issue that conservative “Christians” insist is most important–and one that was very widespread in the ancient world), homosexuality. What Jesus did talk about, over and over again, was helping the poor, caring for the sick and prisoners, opposing greed and the accumulation of wealth, and rejecting war and violence.”Agreed — which is why to outsiders it appears much of Mainstream Christianity depends on HATE to keep their flock motivated.Which in itself is a proof they are not driven by ANY spiritual or divine motives. They drum up scapegoats to hate (gays, women having abortions, evolutionists) in the exact same manner that Hitler used to to drum up emotional hatred against the Jews — and for the same result — to feed themselves power.If there is any true Christian around based on the actual message of Jesus in the New Testament– it would be Obama.

  • ThomasBaum

    Robert S. McElvaineYou wrote, “Catholic Bishops Should Listen to Jesus”.Maybe it is time for “Christians” to stop telling everyone else that they should listen to Jesus and time for each one of us to do our best in listening to Jesus and trying to walk the path that is our’s to walk.Jesus refers to us as lambs and sheep and that He calls us each by name, that means that He thinks of each of us as an individual lamb or individual sheep with Jesus being the “Good Shepherd”.People, in all spheres of life whether religious, political, economic …, too often think in the “herd mentality” whereas God looks as each one of us as made in His Image and Likeness, we may not be able to see it but God can.Another thing that we tend to do is think that God is as petty as we tend to be at times, as God let us know thru one of His revelations to humanity, “My Ways are not your ways and My Thoughts are not your thoughts”, I thank God that God is God and we aren’t.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Alex511

    fr the article:>…More than 350,000 people have signed petitions against the invitation. John D’Arcy, Bishop of the Fort Wayne Diocese, which includes South Bend, will boycott the Notre Dame commencement….Cutting off his own nose to spite his face. WHAT a whiner.

  • tony55398

    I believe Paul was one of the first within the Church to disagree with Peter. Tony Rotz

  • Alene

    I suggest that you read the full accounts of His life and see what He stands for rather than just parroting someone else’s statements. Anyone who ‘honestly believes’ that Jesus sanctions abortion or even turns a blind eye to it could not really know Him or His Word. An honest, open-minded examination of the New Testament accounts of His life and the books following would be enlightening. You don’t have to convert to read them just take the time to examine the accounts for yourself. Don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s. God bless you all, :-)

  • ThomasBaum

    tony55398 You wrote, “I believe Paul was one of the first within the Church to disagree with Peter. Tony RotzAnd he wasn’t the last, God gave us free will and reason. One of the things that the Catholic Church teaches is that we are to follow our conscience.We are not called to be puppets on a string or anything of the sort and we are also not called to be someone else’s conscience.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    CCNL,abortion is truly horrible – but i don’t think you can base opposition to it on religious grounds. here’s something from a paper i’m writing called “saving the world.”Is God “pro-life”? Though He makes no specific statements about “abortion,” in Exodus 21:20 we get a rare, almost accidental, glimpse into what He thought about fetuses. While describing penalties for various transgressions, He says,“If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.”In those days a “premature” baby was a DEAD baby. The fine was remuneration for causing the miscarriage. It’s just a fine. If God considered the fetus a human life, the penalty would have been death. In the next verse, God goes on to say,“But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”God was talking about “serious injury” to the woman, NOT THE BABY.We can surmise that God would probably be in favor of abortion (and murder) if the mother has other Gods. Surely some of Joshua’s victims were pregnant and in Hosea 13:16, God warned unbelievers in Samaria that they would have their “little ones dashed to the ground and pregnant women ripped open.” True, they were infidels, but it’s not very fetus-friendly. Later Jesus warned specifically of woe unto unbelieving expectant mothers at the tribulations (Mt24:19).concern for an “unborn child” is a humanist concern.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    those 350,000 signatories and other people who are all bent out of shape by obama’s appearing at notre dame represent everything bad about religion.they think his speaking there means that somehow the catholic church must agree with everything he stands for. it’s like they want a world where everyone is catholic. they can only stand to be in the presence of other catholics. like religious people are not supposed to tolerate or even associate with people of the wrong (or worse…no) religion. they probably secretly enjoy the “us v them” feeling where they can be all righteous about “standing their ground” “on principle” in the face of “persecution”.sheesh…grow up…religions need to learn to get along with other religions, but unfortunately inherent in the beliefs of most religions is the certainty that other religions are wrong.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    oops….i didn’t really mean they represent “everything” wrong with religion. there are other things wrong with religion besides exceptionalism and unwillingness to compromise.

  • cubfan515

    Two things bother me …First, layoffs in the newspaper industry hit copy desks around the country the hardest. Witness sentences like: “Well, Jesus was an activist if Secondly, we’ve suffered a week of numbskulls and dingleberries whining and complaining because Miss California, almost certainly a future Fox News anchor, had her right to Free Speech threatened. Many of those booger-eaters are griping because The President is going to speak at Notre Dame. Gadfry! Someone should tell President Obama that the administrators at Touchdown Jesus University know their graduating seniors aren’t intellectually gifted enough to withstand exposure to other points of view.If only President Obama was as smart as Miss California. And it wouldn’t hurt him to get a spankin’ new pair of plastic hooters. Holy Moley, I hope Notre Dame loses EVERY game next season. Irish whiners.

  • lives7

    Where is the honor in helping the poor and then murdering their unborn children? Absurd.Jesus Christ was born through a woman like each and every child murdered by abortion.The Bishops are correct to speak out in defense of ALL Human Life.Jesus always defended the most marginalized, and who could possibly more marginalized in our American Society today but the unborn child murdered by her own mother?Remember American pride ourselves on our Right to 1st Life, then Liberty, and Lastly the pursuit of Happiness.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    I guess this “sells newspapers,” brings bloggers to web sites, etc., but big, big Yawn. I am most heartily tired of the christians and there denominational squabbles. And I’m not alone.Give it a rest already. Rent a big stadium and have it out. Boorrrrrinnnngggg.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    For information on Mary, previously referenced, seeC. Christian Nut-Louse. The New in the New Testament. Anatarctic UP. Antarctica, 1957. Available in Deep Drifts, Antarctica. Starting at $1.29 (ending at $1.34).Also, contains CC Nut-Lousian schedule of holidays, foundational beliefs, etc., as per the Nut-Lousian reading.

  • phillipecopeland

    This post involves two arguments that I have never understood but hear often related to Christian ethics. The first is basically that because Jesus did not specifically refer to some contemporary controversial issue that it is somehow beyond moral critique. Secondly that because Jesus talked about particular issues often, they are more important than others so the other issues aren’t really important. There are many things that Jesus did not address specifically that are happening today, would the author really argue that Christians have no basis to care about them? For example, when did Jesus say anything about climate change? I guess His silence on the issue implies it is not important? Likewise, is it not possible that issues of reproduction, family, sexuality, religion, government, environment etc. are actually related rather than competing issues on some kind of moral hierarchy? My problem with issues such as the one the author is discussing is not so much which side is right but that all sides make poor arguments to support their points.

  • usapdx

    ROME NEEDS ANOTHER POPE JOHN 23 TO TURN THE CHURCH AROUND SINCE THEY GOT THE ALTARS CORRECT.

  • CCNL

    God (or like-thinkers) did make his/her/it’s opposition to abortion well known via the bible with four words:THOU SHALL NOT KILL!!!!

  • Nosmanic

    AmenI’ve been looking at the Church for years think this very same thing. What conservatives stand for is opposite of Jesus’s teachings.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Walter writes:”they think his speaking there means that somehow the catholic church must agree with everything he stands for. it’s like they want a world where everyone is catholic.”Yes, well, now, this is a problem of concern to us all, unlike, say Catholic clerical celibacy, which is a matter for Catholics to address.As for these 350,000 signatories, they do not make the RCC look good. It would have been best if this ungracious conduct had not been publicized, if the whole Notre Dame affair had not been covered so widely.We are speaking here of the President of the United States of America, a widely respected president, at that, remarkable, given his short term in office.Sad business, this.

  • TW187

    All Catholics are to be obedient to Mother Church, which is the pillar and foundation of TRUTH. Those who are not risk being vomited out of our Lord’s mouth on judgment day.

  • illinoiscornfield

    The real war occurs not in the physical realm – it occurs in the spiritual realm. Fighting the abortion war on the devil’s turf, where he’s been ordered to crawl and allowed dominion over it, that is – the physical realm, pro-lifers will toil. It’s in the spiritual realm where we must fast and pray to drive this kind of demon out that inspires our leaders, and the rest of society.St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wiles and wickedness of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, oh Prince of the Heavenly Host, cast into hell, satan, and all the evil spirits, prowling about the world seeking the ruin and destruction of souls.Our Lady of America, pray for us.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    Nosmanic, you said,

  • kelidei

    The media is trying to make this a partisan political issue and a liberal-conservative issue— it is neither. It seems in today’s secular society the concept of good vs. evil and truth vs. falsehood has been lost in a mish-mosh of relativism and public opinion. They cannot fathom the real issue because it doesn’t exist in their world view— so the only thing it can be to their thinking is political.This has nothing to do with WHO the president is or WHAT political party he belongs to— ANY president, democrat or republican who has such a radical anti-life stance would receive the same response. There is an all out effort by the media today to create the illusion of two kinds of Catholics— the “good”, “reasonable” Catholic who just goes with the secular flow— and the “fundamentalist”, trouble makers who refuse to bend to the secular thought nazis. The truth is the is only one kind of true Catholic— one who puts Christ and his teaching above all other powers— that means those “good”, “reasonable” Catholics are not Catholic at all— just players. What we are witnessing is the waking of the hierarchy in this country. So many of them were asleep at the wheel and it has only been the last few election cycles that have demonstrated how far their flocks have strayed from the fold.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Kelidei writes:”This has nothing to do with WHO the president is or WHAT political party he belongs to— ANY president, democrat or republican who has such a radical anti-life stance would receive the same response.”One Jimmy Carter, pro-choice, delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame, in 1977.One missed the hysteria present among some anti-choice Catholics today. Of course, Carter was white.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    kelidei, you said,your characterization of obama’s views as “radical” reveals more about you than obama. you are not interested in conciliation, compromise, getting along, peace, harmony and so on. for you it’s all about division, persecution and hatred. as i mentioned in an earlier post to someone, i’m sure you think of your uncompromising mentality is a good thing. you think it’s principled or something. and as i mentioned there, some religious people feel they can’t even associate with people of other religions without compromising their beliefs.that’s a big shame because no matter what your religion MOST OTHER PEOPLE IN THE WORLD have a different religion.

  • usnlt76

    As a historian, i’m surprised that you don’t have a better grasp of history. The actions of Jesus as mentioned in the Bible had a target audience: Jews of that time. It was already assumed that homosexuality and abortion were wrong, so it would have been redundant and unnecessary for Him to mention it. Jesus also didn’t mention that you shouldn’t molest children, commit incest, etc etc. It was already a given at the time. Jesus focused on weaknesses that the Jews of the time had, things like lack of charity and overly harsh punishments (an eye for an eye). The whole reason we have a Catholic Church is to interpret morality and the will of God as times change and new lessons become necessary. That is done through a hierarchy, which as a Catholic you have the duty to obey. If you don’t like it, become a Unitarian.Second, who cares if Obama is President? I have a duty to God and my faith first, America and its leaders a very distant second.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    USNLT76″Second, who cares if Obama is President? I have a duty to God and my faith first, America and its leaders a very distant second.”Then, by all means, move to Rome.

  • prayerwarrior4Jesus

    Mr. McElvaine states: “As an American Catholic, I find these actions by the Hierarchy and “conservative” elements within the laity to be more than a little disturbing.”Well, I find the burning and dismemberment of children in the womb to be horribly disturbing. And I find Obama’s stance on abortion, including allowing babies to die without care or medical treatment, to be beyond horrible. It it inhumane and reprehensible. A man who truly knows Jesus and follows His laws would not be able to support such atrocities. Obama, as many will come to find out, is not the man this country needs at this crucial time in our history. He is a puppet and has no backbone. He is the epitome of the expression: If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Barack Obama is a paper tiger and everything he says and does is calculated to make him appear compassionate and caring. He is neither. God have mercy on Obama and on this country for putting him in office!And Mr. McElvaine is a disgrace to the Catholic Church, as are those who purport to care about the Church and then promote heresy and apostasy. To them I say: Find another place where you can do as you please, and ignore ALL THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST! Faux compassion is out of season!

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    One Jimmy Carter, pro-choice, delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame, in 1977.One missed the hysteria present among some anti-choice Catholics today. Of course, Carter was white.The bishops, the 350,000, and friends oght to shut up for a good long while. They are looking downright ugly.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    prayerwarrior4Jesus,

  • lalaparousia

    Matthew 5:17-20, Matthew 5:27-31, Matthew 10:34-36, Matthew 18:15-20, Matthew 19:1-12, Matthew 21:12-13

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    lalaparousia,

  • prayerwarrior4Jesus

    walter – you have presumed wrongly, about everything, about my faith, about the battle. “Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Eph. 6: 12) Accepting truth and not bending it, and accepting people where they are, showing acceptance and compassion by sharing that truth is the mark of a true Christian. You have done exactly what you accuse me of doing–labeling and condemning as if you have a right. And no, my birth had nothing to do with luck. My parents cooperated with God in His plan for my life, and I am extremely blessed that I can share that life with others, believers and non-believers, lovers and haters, enlightened and not yet enlightened.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    prayerwarrior4Jesus,BUT, if you ARE opposed to obama’s speaking at notre dame, then i think you ARE being devisive. if you oppose “on principle”, because of views you feel are religiously informed, the president speaking at a college in indiana, then you are not “accepting people where they are”, as you say. and there’s really no point to it other than to “make a point” – i mean his speaking there won’t affect the number of abortions.”accepting people where they are” is a wonderful quality that many people burdened with absolute black-and-white concepts of morality have a hard time with. this black-and-white, all-or-nothing kind of thinking makes it hard to compromise.

  • CCNL

    BO should become a Baha’ist and all would be right in the world!!!

  • wilkestraphill

    Read the entire article. More like Jesus than anything I have read. I concur.Dissent is not only patriotic; dissent is Christian. Can anyone seriously argue that Jesus was not a dissenter?

  • wilkestraphill

    Free Will is our birth right. Read all of the above article with that concept in mind. YOU may LAUGH or CRY with the extremism in America. I have done BOTH

  • wmboyd

    Bishop “bully” Burke got his nickname for a reason, was called-home (to Rome) for a reason, then put in a remote cubicle for the same reason. Somehow he got out long enough to appear on Fox (who’s anchorette Meg-n says he’s the Vatican’s Spokeman??? Really Meg-n??), but certainly those in his diocese who applauded when he left will be applauding once again when he vanishes back into that cubby hole.

  • kelidei

    “you are not interested in conciliation, compromise, getting along, peace, harmony and so on. for you it’s all about division, persecution and hatred”A little history for you too— Way back in the days of slavery which group fought for the liberation of slaves— it wasn’t Obama’s party. During the sixties the Catholic Church was on the forefront of the segregation battles — I would say both those issues were “divisive” some would even say they felt “persecuted” because they had slaves or because they wanted their children in a white only school— now I would assume you would not be arguing that those fighting slavery or segregation should have just shut up because they were causing division, persecution and hatred— would you? Jesus said “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)Abortion is racism— non-white children —especially blacks are aborted at a tremendously higher rate than white children. Obama is more racist than I am by a long stretch— it is his own that he is terminating every single day.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Modestly omitted from CCNL’s list is:C. Christian Nut-Louse. The New in the New Testament. Antarctic UP. Antartica, 1957.Available in Deep Drifts, Antarctica. Starting at 1.29 (ending at 1.34)Includes discussion of holidays, rites rituals, commencement addresses by American presidents, etc., based on the Nut-Lousian reading.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    kelidei,

  • CCNL

    BO’s opening statement for his Notre Dame speech should have been:”Do you realize that I am president because the majority of the “mothers and fathers” of 35 million aborted babies voted for me???”

  • edadvoc

    As a catholic convert, I am disheartened to see so many cradle catholics who do not know their own faith or really the teachings of the Bible like Robert McElvaine. It is not right to take scripture from the Bible, take it out of context, and twist it to make up your own personal interpretation. It is a dangerous practice and very self serving. I find many catholics today who are trying to ‘protestantize’ and misrepresent the catholic faith. I could also take scripture from the Bible and apply it as well. Catholics do not drum up hatred for women who have abortions. They love the sinner, they just hate the sin. Killing an unborn child is an unconscionable act and the of dismembering an unborn infant is an extremely cruel and horribly painful way to die. Christ said, “I knew you when you were being formed in the womb and I wrote your name in my book”. For every child conceived, Jesus had a purpose and a future mission for that soul. Aborted babies can never fulfill their potential or their God-given mission. Perhaps it would have been to find a cure for cancer, or aids, or Parkinson’s disease. When we destroy an unborn child’s future, we are essentially destroying our own.

  • illinoiscornfield

    As a ROMAN Catholic, we who try to be faithful to Church teaching on ALL matters, unlike pick and choose cafeteria Catholicism, find it awesome that the Hierarchy is finally standing up most courageously in defense of life. I am sure there are those with me who find it interesting that those claiming themselves as Catholic are uncomfortable.But, the spirit of cafeteria catholicism goes way back and provides the fertile soil for dissent, heresy, and take your pick of any of the evils flourishing today seen as ‘accepted’ or ‘a right’.In John 17, Christ prays “The High Priestly Prayer” and in Christ’s mind – He prayed first for the Church He founded in Matthew 16:18. Then He prays for the others who through “their word” believe in Jesus….THAT WE ALL MAY BE ONE. Why? Why do we all need to be one? Strength in numbers. Strength in numbers to do what? The MAIN reason is so “that the world may believe that You sent Me.” The second reason is because through strength in numbers, we are in the One Church worshipping the One God He intended to fight against evil in the spiritual warfare surrounding every soul on this planet. So while all FAITHFUL Christians by their baptisms know that God sent His Son into the world, not to judge it, but to save it, lukewarm Christians and those of other faiths or no faith at all, can make the distinction of either what Christ really taught or who Christ was because their are 30,000 different churches worshipping different ways who ALL proclaim inspiration of the Holy Spirit.The answer to why we are losing this battle against evil; first, personal lack of conviction if a believer, or lack of faith if a non-believer – in Christ and what He really taught. Second, societies are falling apart because of the individual lack of convictions and faith projecting itself onto society as a collective ‘societal lack of conviction or faith’ Through unity we acknowledge there is One God the Father, One God the Son, One God the Holy Spirit…who evidently wants One Church to Worship IN UNITY the One Triune God SOOOO “that the world may believe that You sent Me.”If we, through our free wills, would aid in answering Christ’s prayer of ONE CHURCH through the one worship God the Father logically intended for human history, we would have the strength in numbers to convict the world of Christ’s divinity. The lukewarm would have the support they need to repent or leave. Non-believers, who through our common worship would be baptised and saved. When Christianity – namely protestant Christianity – gets serious about the war against evil and defeating it, then it will turn to the Church Christ instituted, gave the Holy Spirit to, and graft itself back into the One Faith and One Fold most completely expressed through the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    oh, brother, you christians are so funny (tragic) – calling each other not “real” christians or not “real” catholics or whatever. talk about divisive….

  • illinoiscornfield

    My point exactly Walter. Division….makes poor souls like you not know where to turn. You are like a leaf blowing in the wind knowing never where you will land. Feelings and emotions, not faith and reason are your guide. For if you used even reason, then you would get it. Because if you knew Him, you wouldn’t reject Him. ‘Knowing about Him’ is different than ‘knowing Him’ and knowing Him is life changing. That, my friend, is what you fear. Your life would change.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    For those wishing to know more of CCNL’s theological perspective:C. Christian Nut-Louse. The New in the New Testament. Antartica UP. Antarctica, 1957.Contains information on rites, rituals, holidays, rationale for why African American Presidents should not give commencement speeches at Notre Dame, etc., based on the C.Christian Nut-Lousian reading.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    And as CCNL’s remaining brain cell struggles vainly for life, it asksWWHDWhat would Hitler do?

  • Nosmanic

    When reading the articule I was thinking about the approval rating of the president and what the approval rating of those of the cloth are?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Nosmanic writes:”When reading the articule I was thinking about the approval rating of the president and what the approval rating of those of the cloth are?”A quick perusal of the web suggests this may not be the RCC’s finest hour.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Considering that of the 300 bishops in the U.S., more than 70 have joined this wretched, the RCC does not look good.Here in New York City, Catholics have not had the best of luck bishop-wise, following the death of John Cardinal O’Connor.First there was Egan, he who unsuccessfully protested the District Attorney’s claim that he had the right to prosecute pedophile priests, would prosecute them. And did. Thus began the arrest and prosecution of pedophile priests on earth.Now, there is Timothy Dolan, who is also protesting.Catholic laity have been protesting, as well. They’ve voiced concerns about the closing of churches, parochial schools, the lack of tuition assistance for the poor. . . .

  • CCNL

    From the mouths of 35 million aborted children are heard these cries:THOU SHALL NOT KILL!!!ADOPT ME!!!

  • daniel12

    To me all of this seems depressingly trivial–on all sides I might add. First Notre Dame. What is this self-importance of institutions of higher learning that they feel honorary degrees in general let alone from themselves are worth a damn? And then this controversy at Notre Dame over whether to honor Obama. Would you not think that if a controversy were to erupt over something so trivial in the first place as an honorary degree that the whole thing would be called off? But no, Notre Dame not only had to wade into the controversy, they called into question their entire integrity (and is there any other?) about whether or not they are a conservative not to mention Catholic institution. And then we have Obama. I see no integrity from him at all on this matter. You would think he would reflect a bit on whether he deserves such a thing for the simple reason why would any man be eager for an honorary degree, would feel deserving of such without having done any work for such–no matter if in the first place the whole notion of honorary degrees is trivial. Then we would ask why a man would be willing to accept one if a controversy exists about whether or not he should be so honored. You would think at least the person receiving the honor would question himself as to whether he was ever such as to receive the honor without controversy, and generally you would expect the person receiving the honor to state that he will modify his behavior (or whatever) to be worthy of the honor without controversy. But no, Obama just steps forward and accepts the honor.Who is more corrupt, Obama or Notre Dame? Then we have the students of Notre Dame without a shred of integrity themselves, more a pack of noisy animals than anything else, although I suppose Notre Dame can be blamed for corrupting them–for they are corrupt, not at all thinking about what is taking place. It just stinks on all sides. Not least because I am reading Machiavelli with his descriptions of VIRTU and all the astounding character traits and decisions of great military leaders. In Machiavelli’s terms, Notre Dame is not an army worth joining, and Obama is not worthy of being in any army. However, ironically, he might be worthy of Notre Dame. Yes, Obama and Notre Dame deserve each other.

  • mollimi

    Jesus wasn’t silent about homosexuality…he lumped homosexuality with a load of other offenses like lying, detraction, nagging, drunkenness etc etc of this that will keep you out of heaven. You see…Jesus saw it as just one more temptation to resist…not a ‘lifestyle.molli

  • mollimi

    I noticed my post regarding the anti-life pro-death actions of Obama and his administration has not been posted. The author of this article has stated wrongly that Obama is acting more like Jesus then any other president. I submit that the author is delusional.Either that or he just doesn’t really KNOW Jesus, nor the teachings of the Catholic church.Please go get a Catechism and read where it says abortion is intrinsically evil.Women deserve better then abortion.This is just a small sampling. Obama is anti-life, his administration is anti-life, and he goes against everything Christianity, particularly the Catholic church itself, stands for.molli

  • mollimi

    O.O…Wow…my posts were actually posted.To the blog moderator: Thankyou.

  • ThomasBaum

    CCNLYou wrote, “God (or like-thinkers) did make his/her/it’s”As I have said before, God is not a He, She or It but is a Being of Pure Love even tho God-Incarnate was a Male.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    TW187 You wrote, “All Catholics are to be obedient to Mother Church”Jesus did not say, “Come follow “Mother Church”, but Jesus DID day, “Come follow Me”.To follow the Church is ultimately to follow yourself since WE are the Church.You also wrote, “President Obama is not in sync with the Catholic Church”As far as I know, President Obama is not a Catholic is he?Should we be in “sync” with the Church or with God?You also wrote, “to reduce our Lord and Savior’s time on Earth to helping the poor and downtrodden is to have totally have missed the ‘Good News.’”Didn’t Jesus say, “Love one another as I have loved you”?The “Good News”, by the way, is that God wins, satan loses, a tie is unacceptable. God’s Plan is either for All or it is not “Good News” at all.You also wrote, “He also left us a teaching authority (the Apostolic Office of the Bishop) for situations where a clear teaching didn’t already exist.”Jesus said, “I will send the Holy Spirit to guide you into all Truth”, He did NOT say, ‘I will send the “Apostolic Office of the Bishop” to guide you into all truth’, did He?Jesus also did NOT say that He would send the Holy Spirit only to the “higher ups”, did He?Jesus did NOT become God-Incarnate to create a “new religion”, He became God-Incarnate as part of God’s unfolding Plan which is for ALL of humanity and ALL of creation, the new heavens and the new earth.Christianity, denominational and otherwise, is not a religion, it is a relationship between God and a person, even tho to some it is just a religion, whereas Judaism is a relationship between God and a People and they are both part of God’s unfolding Plan which will come to Fruition.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    TO: all who protest obama’s speaking at notre dame,to see how stupid, narrow-minded and faux-principled you’re being, imagine if i told you i agree with you. he should not have been ALLOWED to speak there. what if i got on my separation-of-church-and-state high horse and protested the use of my taxpayer dollars going to pay for his security, transportation etc… and all the time he wasted. it is the government FAVORING the catholic religion – all but declaring it our national religion. there are many catholic teachings i find offensive: for instance, “transubstantiation” amounts to cannibalism – and i’m against cannibalism. he should only be allowed to speak at secular colleges…you’d rightly laugh me off as crazy.

  • ThomasBaum

    walter-in-fallschurch You wrote, ” one could even argue that he was more of a COMMUNIST than even the most liberal of american voters…”, in speaking of Jesus.If one looks at what is written in the bible concerning the early Church, it is very much like “pure” communism, theoretical rather than in practice, except that God is God not that the state becomes a god.Besides the fact that Jesus was and is God-Incarnate, He was also the most radical human being that ever walked this planet. So much of what Jesus spoke and taught has been so twisted and it seems that at least one of the reasons is that what He taught is so simple.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    USNLT76You wrote, ” The whole reason we have a Catholic Church is to interpret morality and the will of God as times change and new lessons become necessary.”Why did God give us a conscience if we are not to use it? The present Pope before he became the Pope said that it is a Catholic’s duty to “follow his/her conscience”. No one is suppose to be another’s conscience.Jesus said, “Simon, thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build MY CHURCH and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against It”, the mission of the “Church” is that ‘the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it’, not to be our “conscience”.You wrote, “That is done through a hierarchy, which as a Catholic you have the duty to obey. If you don’t like it, become a Unitarian.”Jesus NEVER said, “Follow the hierarchy”, He said, “Come follow Me”.If you remember Paul spoke about this very thing.If you look at Church history, you will find that quite a few “canonized” saints were treated rather shabbily and not listened to by those in “authority” when they were breathers.Christianity is not about following “Christians”, it is about following Jesus.Knowing and/or believing that Jesus is God-Incarnate does not make one a “Christian”.Being in “good standing” with the Church does not necessarily mean that one is in “good standing” with God.In second grade, two of the things that I was taught were: God is Love and that we are all equal in God’s Eyes.God looks at the person, not the title, not the label. My “duty” as you put it, is not to follow the Church but is to follow Jesus and each and every one of us have a different path, just as Jesus said, “Pick up ‘your’ cross and follow Me”.I thank God that so many that say that they are speaking in His Name don’t have a clue what they are talking about. Because if they did, who would want to have anything to do with their “conception” of God?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • outragex

    Great column. I would just add that Jesus also said that caring for widows and orphans is vital too. I believe that today’s widows are single parents, and orphans are children in foster care.

  • ThomasBaum

    prayerwarrior4JesusYou wrote, “And Mr. McElvaine is a disgrace to the Catholic Church, as are those who purport to care about the Church and then promote heresy and apostasy. To them I say: Find another place where you can do as you please, and ignore ALL THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST! Faux compassion is out of season!”We are suppose to care about God and about each other.The Church is just part of God’s Plan.Catholic means universal, do you think that there might be a reason for this?Have you ever met God? Have you ever met satan?Jesus said, “When the son of man comes, will he find faith”? Jesus doesn’t say that this ‘son of man’ that He refers to is necessarily Him.I take this “faith” that Jesus was referring to as faith in God.It seems as if a lot of people are placing their “faith” in many, many things other than God, some of which are: faith, church, religion, intelligence, information… .Some people seem to think that the Catholic Church is the True Religion whereas Catholicism is not a religion, even tho some think of it that way, but it is a relationship.As the bible says, “True Religion is taking care of widows and orphans”, isn’t it something that someone can have True Religion and not even believe in God?God is neither the egomaniac nor the vile, vindictive, revengeful, putrid piece of garbage that some seem to think Him to be but is a BEING OF PURE LOVE.Some of these are ones that seem to know God’s Name, sad isn’t it?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    prayerwarrior4Jesus You wrote, ” “Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Eph. 6: 12)”Well, then do you think that God wins Total Victory or not?It is only “Good News” if the Victory is Total, anything less would be terrible news even tho some seem to think a tie to be ‘good enough news’.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    ThomasBaum,a grudging tip of the hat to the republican strategists in making it about abortion and gay rights instead of welfare, social equality, compassion and so on.

  • ThomasBaum

    walter-in-fallschurch You wrote, ” it seems like on the bulk of the issues (just not the trumped-up “hot button” issues), christians should be democrats.”Actually, Christians should be “Christian”.To be a Christian is to think and make decisions not to follow a “party” line.As I said before, being a “Christian” is to follow Jesus, not to follow those that call themself “Christian”, God looks into one’s heart, God looks past the “label”, so to speak.Jesus said and taught a lot of things and one of the things that He tried to get across was to think and make decisions and not to blindly follow the “religious”, it is not about religion, (rules, regulations, dogma…), it is about a relationship between God and a person and that person and other people.Remember, Jesus said to “Love one another as I have loved you”, He did not say “like”, Love can be a very conscious decision and it can also be hard to live it, another thing to remember, the Apostles said, “These are hard sayings”, we seem to be pretty good at “watering down” these “hard sayings”, don’t you think?It would behoove people to look within and at least attempt to be a “Christian” than to try to shove their “version” of what a “Christian” is down other people’s throats.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    ThomasBaum,agree? disagree? don’t want to say?

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    ThomasBaum,i know it’s a general question, but try to comment on the gist of what i’m asking. thanks.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    maybe “concilliatory” is not the right word. maybe i’m more thinking how jesus’s words are more universal whereas paul is beginning to make “doctrine”.

  • ThomasBaum

    walter-in-fallschurch You wrote, “do you think it’s fair to say that in general the gospels, presumably “the jesus quotes”, are more “conciliatory”, and the further you get from jesus’s words (say into paul’s and “revelation john’s”) the more warrior-like it gets?And “maybe “concilliatory” is not the right word. maybe i’m more thinking how jesus’s words are more universal whereas paul is beginning to make “doctrine”.”Many people have and continue to twist what Jesus said and taught and what Paul wrote.One thing to remember and it doesn’t matter if one believes it or not and that is that Jesus is God-Incarnate and Paul isn’t.They both had different “jobs”.As far as “doctrine”, it seems as if some people make “doctrine” their god, some people make “rules and regulations” their god, some people make the “bible” their god, some people… . You and I have both heard people refer to the bible as the “Word of God” and if people would step back and think, they should realize that the bible is not the “Word of God” but is about the “Word of God” and one day people will realize that the “Word of God” is “Love” and Jesus was and is that “Word’s” earthly Name.Jesus did speak in a “warrior-like” fashion but His warriorness was and is so different than what we naturally think of as “warrior-like”.This is why some find the cross so hard to even contemplate, much less make any sense out of.Jesus knew that many of His day would reject Him and that man (mankind) being man that it would continur down thru the ages.God has a Plan and the Second Person of the Trinity becoming One of us is just part of God’s Plan. God’s Plan will come to Fruition and God’s Plan is for ALL.Jesus asked and invited us to be active participants in this Plan when He extended the invitation to: “Come follow Me”.I find it sad that some that seem to know nothing about God except for His Name spew out such absolute garbage. It is no wonder that some wouldn’t want to have anything to do with some people’s conception of God.Being chosen by God means that someone has a “job” to do and I am counting on God to see me thru.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.