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On the Nature of Complicity

Randall Smith: In the future, will America’s bishops renounce their failure to condemn politicians who support abortion as German bishops have recently done for their former support of Nazism?


In a column last year titled “Politicizing the Eucharist?” I pointed out that no one now claims that when Archbishop Rummel of New Orleans excommunicated three Catholics for publically encouraging people to defy his order to de-segregate the Catholic schools, he was “politicizing the Eucharist.”  Rather, Rummel is now praised highly for his singular courage, especially since his condemnation was so contrary to the more “accommodating” views of many of his fellow southern Catholics.

I also mentioned Cardinal Adolf Bertram, the ex-officio head of the German episcopate in the 1930s, who ordered Church bells rung in celebration of Nazi Germany’s victories over Poland and France and who sent greetings to Hitler on his 50th birthday in the name of all German Catholics, an act that angered his fellow bishops Konrad von Preysing and August von Galen.

The subject of whether the bishops should speak out publically against the treatment of the Jews arose at a 1942 meeting of the German bishops at Fulda. The consensus was “to give up heroic action in favor of small successes.”  In the 1933 Reichskonkordat between the Holy See and the German government, Church leaders pledged to refrain from speaking out on issues not directly related to the Church.  Repeated violations of the Konkordat on the part of the government, including closing churches and church schools, did not change their minds. And it also didn’t keep bishops like Bertram from endorsing government actions they favored, such as opposition to communism and the subjugation of Poland.

If you imagine I am being too tough on these German bishops, then perhaps you should read the twenty-three-page report made public last May by Germany’s Council of Catholic Bishops in which they admitted “complicity” by their predecessors who did not do enough to oppose the rise of Nazi regime and its mistreatment of Jews.

In eighty or ninety years, will future U.S. bishops be submitting a similar document of their own, confessing the “complicity” of their predecessors who did not do enough to oppose the abortion regime?  Will Catholics of that time be as baffled about our present bishops and prominent Catholic politicians as we are about the accommodationist Catholics of Nazi Germany?

How could Catholics of that time have failed to understand the evil staring them in the face? And why did they “accommodate” a regime that had labeled Christianity, and Catholics in particular, as “enemies of the state”?  Was it perhaps because so many leaders of the regime had been raised Catholic and some were still rosary-carrying church-goers?

Who, in retrospect, would not look back in shame at a German bishop who called questioning the Catholic commitments of Catholic Nazi leaders “offensive because they constitute an assault on the meaning of what it is to be Catholic.” Because “being Catholic means loving the Church; being Catholic means participating in the sacramental life of the church; being a Catholic means trying to transform the world by the light of the Gospel”?

And yet those are the words of our own Bishop McElroy of San Diego about those who question Joe Biden’s Catholicism.

And we transform the world in the light of the Gospel how?  Is it not by opposing the killing of innocent human beings?

In retrospect, we would suspect that a bishop who had said about the treatment of Jews, as Bishop McElroy has about abortion, that “To reduce that magnificent, multidimensional gift of God’s love to a single question of public policy is repugnant and should have no place in public discourse” had little or no serious concern for the lives being lost.  “Sure, abortion is bad, but what about global warming!”  “Sure the ill-treatment of Jews is unfortunate, but what about the future of Europe!” Wouldn’t we consider that to be repugnant?

What would anyone say now about a Catholic politician as prominent as Mario Cuomo if, during the 1930s in Germany, he had said:  “I accept the Church’s teaching about Jews, but must I insist others do so?  Our public morality. . .the moral standards we maintain for everyone, not just the ones we insist on in our private lives – depends on a consensus view of right and wrong.  The values derived from religious belief will not and should not be accepted as part of the public morality unless they are shared by the pluralistic community at large by consensus.” That statement would have worked equally well for Catholic segregationists in the American South.

If that Catholic politician in 1930s Germany had available to him the “seamless garment” argument used by Mr. Cuomo, he might have said, “I grant that the treatment of Jews may have a unique significance but not a preemptive significance.”  “The Jewish question is an important issue for Catholics, but so is the question of the injustice of the reparation payments we have been forced to make along with all the resulting hunger and homelessness and joblessness, all the forces diminishing human life and threatening to destroy it.”

All the forces diminishing human life and threatening to destroy it?  Like . . . oh, I don’t know . . . abortion?

Who, in retrospect now, wouldn’t find such a “Catholic” politician either an obvious liar or a delusional hack?

If you find my comparison between the Catholics who enabled the Nazis and modern Catholics who enable abortion troubling, perhaps you should read Anne Applebaum’s article in The Atlantic titled “History Will Judge the Complicit.” Take out all the tendentious stuff about the numbers at Trump’s inauguration and a phone call with the Ukrainian ambassador and replace it with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden’s support for abortion and for policies that result in the closure of faithful Catholic institutions, and then change the title to “On the Nature of Complicity: Abortion’s Catholic Enablers and the Judgment of History.”

That judgment is unlikely to be any kinder to them than it has been to their German predecessors.

COLUMN BY

Randall Smith

Randall B. Smith is a tenured Full Professor of Theology. His book Reading the Sermons of Thomas Aquinas: A Guidebook for Beginners is available from Emmaus Press. And his book Aquinas, Bonaventure, and the Scholastic Culture at Paris: Preaching, Prologues, and Biblical Commentary is due out from Cambridge University Press in the fall.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Gay Marriage and the Catholic Church: It’s time to Clean House Now!

ck chesterton church quoteHope all is well on this Feast Day of St. Hillary as we are only “18” days away from the biggest event in the Diocese of Palm Beach – our “13th Annual Catholic Men for Jesus Rally” – at the Cathedral on January 31st. Yes, an estimated 1,400 men will be attending this phenomenal rally, where we spend pretty much a full day, worshiping our Lord & Savior by way of Praise & Worship – through music, inspirational talks, testimonies, confession and a Mass by our own Bishop Barbarito. It’s all about Real Men. Men who adore their Savior. Men who believe in Pro-Life (beginning with our fiery guest speaker, Jesse Romero). Men who believe in Traditional Marriage – Holy Matrimony – the sacramental and divine union between One Man and One Woman – all under GOD’s blessings.

But, if you have been reading all my e-mails and articles these past 8 days, that topic of Gay Marriage has become an excruciating term – especially to those who cannot see two men exchanging vows and saliva at a church altar…not at a Catholic Church altar – if I can help it…

But, once again – it is Church Militant’s bold Michael Voris, who tells it better than anybody in this country, when it comes to the evils of Gay Marriage and the underlying problem we have in the Catholic Church today…No, it’s not just Gay Marriage. It’s not Gay altar servers, or Gay Ushers…It’s GAY BISHOPS & PRIESTS…You heard me right and now, you can hear Michael Voris right – right from his mouth, as he does more diligent homework on the topics that he discusses in his powerful videos than any lay Catholic Activist that I know. Voris knows his stuff. The good majority of the “Bold” Catholic Activists on my e-mail list will attest to that and agree with every word that he says – while those who are intimidated by his Bold Truths – tend to be more reserved, showing some serious denial, and say “Wow, did Voris really say that? Do we really have that issue in our Catholic Church? Are there really Gay Bishops and Priests in our Church”???? Denial is NOT a river in Egypt…

Friends: Please take a good, hard look at these two very powerful & provocative videos from Michael Voris and Church Militant. Try to understand why he calls his organization “Church Militant”. Do you NOT think that he is fighting for the good of His Holy Catholic Church? Did it ever dawn on you that Michael Voris is trying to wake up the Holy Catholic Church from its “denial slumber”? Did it ever dawn on you that what he has said for so many years holds true and he has the accurate facts to prove it? Why is it that there are still many who watch his bold videos have to question him – try to find fault in him – and continue to say that he was asked to leave the seminary for some reason.

Folks: That “for some reason” is what makes Michael Voris what he is today – and why he won the prestigious “Bold National Lay Evangelist/Apologist of the Year Award” – from Christian on a Mission last week. Voris has GUTS! And, he is Bold about what he speaks about – not afraid to tell the Truth about the flaws of the Catholic Church – while those who fear his accurate accounts, speak badly about him. Those are the trembling Catholics (including countless clergy), who are in DENIAL and prefer to turn a deaf ear, a blind eye – and want to pretend that they are “Real Christians” by saying that “they accept everybody – including church leaders – who are either homosexual or embrace that “jovial lifestyle” – because “that is what Jesus would do”…I beg to differ, as Voris elaborates on this topic in these videos with clear distinction…The saints of our church got it right…and, they are speaking for today – not latter.

My dear friends: If there were “5” words in the English vocabulary that I would want to throw out as soon as possible are the following: “WHO AM I TO JUDGE” – in that exact order. Those 5 words have proven to be a recipe for disaster for the entire world. It is like “taking the fifth” over and over again – an escape clause, if you will. It gives anybody and everybody an excuse – an out. You do not have to answer the question. And, every single Gay Organization in the world has manipulated this phrase in their favor, and using it against anybody who condemns the disgusting act of sodomy. Ironically, Pope Francis gave the Gay Nation a “safety net” with that statement and as powerful as the “famous 3 words” that Saint John Paul II coined and saved a good part of the world from Communism with – “BE NOT AFRAID” – Pope Francis’ famous 5 words have had a completely opposite effect.

Yes, I have written countless e-mails and articles about those “famous 5 words” uttered by our 267th pope on that famous plane ride coming back from World Youth Day in Rio. And, although the Holy Father meant to do no harm – damage has been done – and the salivating, liberal media will continue to distort, twist, and turn that “enigma-laden” expression until all “50” states in the Great Union legalize the Gay Union. 36 states…and counting…and until the flamboyant and colorful Catholic Church Bishops and Priests do what Michael Voris clearly tells them to do in this first video – GET OUT! – Gay Marriage will be here until we clean house of this despicable disease that Jesus Christ and so many of our beloved saints so clearly spelled out for us as an intrinsic evil of the Catholic Church…

In closing, when Catholic Church leaders defy the teachings of Jesus Christ – we have a problem – not only in Houston – but in every part of the world. And, when our own “luke warm” Catholics try to defend any part of this appalling abomination, the problem grows even deeper and the “sitting-on-the-fence” Catholics jump off the barbed wires and run the other way. Well, for starters – we hope and pray that we can begin cleaning house right here at the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida as well as the Archdiocese of New York – two dioceses that are represented by the exact problem that Michael Voris so clearly demonstrates for us in these two powerful videos…Lynch & Dolan – pretty good name for a law firm…Not a very good name for representatives of the One Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church…

MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON THOSE CATHOLIC CHURCH BISHOPS & PRIESTS WHO HAVE NO BUSINESS CALLING THEMSELVES “HOLY SERVANTS OF GOD”!! MAY GOD CONTINUE TO WATCH OVER THE BOLD MICHAEL VORIS AND ALLOW HIM TO CONTINUE TO SPELL OUT THE TRUTH TO US ABOUT THE EVILS THAT LURK BEHIND SO MANY SACRISTIES IN OUR HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH!!

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, SO HELP US GOD – WATCH THE VIDEOS BELOW, FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT – AND PRAY LIKE HELL FOR THESE BISHOPS AND PRIESTS WHO WILL BE HEADING THERE FOR BEING DISOBEDIENT TO OUR LORD AND SAVIOR…

Church Militant TV – VORTEX Video: GET. OUT.

Two words for the gay and gay-friendly clergy – GET. OUT. Watch this episode of The Vortex, and forward it to your family and friends.

CHURCH MILITANT VIDEO #2:

THE TRUTH, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH – SO HELP THESE BISHOPS AND PRIESTS…