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Cardinal Says Biden Not a Catholic in Good Standing. Shouldn’t Receive Communion. Would the Pope Agree?

The Catholic News Agency reported Tuesday that Cardinal Raymond Burke, “a canon lawyer and formerly the prefect of the Church’s highest court, has said that Catholic politicians supporting abortion should not receive Holy Communion, including pro-choice Catholic presidential candidate Joe Biden.” That’s the kind of statement that makes you formerly the “prefect of the Church’s highest court.”

Biden, Burke asserted, “is not a Catholic in good standing and he should not approach to receive Holy Communion,” because “a Catholic may not support abortion in any shape or form because it is one of the most grievous sins against human life.”

If that is the case, then Biden is clearly not a Catholic in good standing. Accordingly, Burke stated, “I would tell him not to approach Holy Communion out of charity toward him, because that would be a sacrilege, and a danger to the salvation of his own soul. But also he should not approach to receive Holy Communion because he gives scandal to everyone. Because if someone says ‘well, I’m a devout Catholic’ and at the same time is promoting abortion, it gives the impression to others that it’s acceptable for a Catholic to be in favor of abortion and of course it’s absolutely not acceptable. It never has been, it never will be.”

The good Cardinal is right in a sense. That is indeed the teaching of the Catholic Church. But teaching is one thing and practice is quite enough. Pope Francis has repeatedly made it clear that as far as he is concerned, the real sins, the real serious sins that get you a tongue-lashing from the Roman Pontiff and doubtless a date with hellfire in the age to come, are opposing mass Muslim migration into the West and believing that Islam is not a religion of peace. Abortion? Come on, man! That’s child’s play, so to speak, compared to the big sins.

Last September, Pope Francis, who back in 2014 fired Burke from his position as “prefect of the Church’s highest court,” made clear what the big sins really are as far as he is concerned, when he emphasized that Christians had a responsibility before God to take in migrants: “This loving care for the less privileged is presented as a characteristic trait of the God of Israel and is likewise required, as a moral duty, of all those who would belong to his people.”

On that same occasion, the Pope unveiled a huge statue in St. Peter’s Square, “Angels Unawares,” which depicts a boat full of migrants and a pair of angel wings, so as to emphasize that the migrants into Europe, among whom have been numerous jihad terrorists, rapists, and other criminals, are saintly and deserving of Christians’ support and protection.

What about Christians in Europe who are concerned about the spiraling crime rates and the strain on the welfare systems of nations that have taken in large numbers of migrants? Are they allowed to exercise charity toward their neighbors and friends by opposing mass migration and trying to preserve and defend their own cultural heritage?

Not on your life. Or at least they can’t do that and remain Catholics in good standing. And Francis’ Brave New Church has other newly-minted “grievous sins” as well. The Pontiff has claimed risibly that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” As ridiculous and readily disproven as this is, it has become a superdogma in the Catholic Church: if you don’t believe that Islam is a Religion of Peace, you will be ruthlessly harassed and silenced by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the hierarchy elsewhere as well. The bishops of the Catholic Church are much more concerned that you believe that Islam is a religion of peace than that you believe in, say, the Nicene Creed. And so what possible reason could there be to be concerned about these “refugees”? It’s a religion of peace!

As of several years ago, the U.S. Catholic bishops had 91 million reasons — indeed, 534 million reasons — to turn against the truth and disregard the safety and security of the American people: “In the Fiscal Year 2016, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) received more than $91 million in government funding for refugee resettlement. Over the past nine years, the USCCB has received a total of $534,788,660 in taxpayer dollars for refugee resettlement programs.” And how much have pro-life organizations given to the Church in that span? Not $534,788,660.

As Ilhan Omar might say, it’s all about the Benjamins.

And so Cardinal Burke may say Biden is barred from Communion, but it’s certain that there are numerous others who will readily administer Communion to the candidate. After all, he’s right on the really important things.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

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VIDEO: The Vortex — American vs. Catholic. It’s finally comes down to this.

TRANSCRIPT

Church Militant (a 501(c)4 corporation) is responsible for the content of this commentary.

The world of politics is the arena in which the culture and the Church are now colliding head-on in a war for the ages. It’s taken a man like Trump to actually set the stage for this epic battle, to set the table for everything to come together.

For example, in a stunning admission this past weekend, in light of the announcement of Catholic Amy Coney Barrett by Trump to the Supreme Court, New York Times columnist Elizabeth Bruenig just flat out said, “Judge Barrett’s nomination has merely renewed attention to a fundamental conflict, centuries underway, between Catholicism and the American ethos.”

Well, at least Bruenig has the decency to be upfront about her anti-Catholic bigotry. Most of her Marxist-minded allies do not. But more and more of them are beginning to speak of actual Catholics as some sort of pariahs, speaking of us in terms of the enemies of the State.

It’s not been that long in this country since Catholics were treated as the enemy. It was really only in the wake of World War II where Catholic servicemen fought alongside millions of their non-Catholic American brothers-in-arms that we caught a break.

Ten years later, Abp. Fulton Sheen was dominating the airwaves, speaking of Catholic majesty and truth and virtue. His Life Is Worth Living television show was the number-one-rated show when it aired from 1952 till 1956. He even won the Emmy award for “Most Outstanding Television Personality” in the show’s first year.

Sheen — American born and Catholic formed — was a strident patriot and a zealous anti-communist. He often railed against the evil of Marxism, even famously saying of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin on the air, “Stalin must one day meet his judgment.” The next week, Stalin hit the floor, dead from a stroke.

Of course, this was all nearly 70 years ago, and a lot has changed in America since then. America has Marxist creep. It has become this way because the American experiment is based on the foundation of a virtuous people. Once virtue leaves the room, chaos sets in. Sheen never had to talk about widespread ills of our society — fatherless children, shattered families, an acceptance of homosexuality, abortion as the most common surgical procedure performed in the country.

It was precisely to prevent evils like this that Sheen preached to begin with. Yet here we are, a nation sunk so low that many are questioning, “Is America on life support; is this its demise?” Despite this past weekend’s prayer rally organized by Frankin Graham (with a conspicuous absence of Catholic bishops, incidentally) the large gathering of thousands does not mask that America has traded vice for virtue.

Little by little, each election cycle, fewer believers vote, ultimately because there are simply fewer believers to vote. The scales are at the tipping point, and soon, barring some action by Heaven, they will complete their tilt toward godlessness, enshrining immorality into law and eviscerating any opposition to that what Bruening calls “the American ethos.”

What has happened though is that what she describes as the American ethos is little else than a sophisticated way to speak of Marxism. Her American ethos is as far from the actual American ethos as James Martin’s version of Catholicism is from actual Catholicism — which is to say light-years away.

Anti-Catholicism will soon become etched into that new ethos if the Marxists win this election. In some ways, in fact, it already has. President Trump had to actually come out this past weekend and address the entire topic of anti-Catholicism.

Now the last battle is being waged in the arena of politics. A win here for the Marxists means it’s over. Time will be all there is standing between faithful Catholics and those who want to destroy them. Consider, almost a hundred Catholic parishes or shrines around the nation have been vandalized this year.

Faithful Catholics have been insulted, spit on at pro-life prayer sessions and vilified in the media for defending Catholic teachings. This will not go away if Biden wins. It will increase — it will, in fact, come to be blessed by the State (for how else should an enemy of the State be treated?).

The case could be made — strongly — that 70 years ago, America was on the verge of becoming Catholic. But that was not to happen. Many of the religious orders — even back then — had already been penetrated (as well as Catholic colleges and universities).

The seminaries were beginning to stink of subtle heresy. The Church had been neatly prepared to be offered up to the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s. By that time, enough of the hierarchy had become corrupt — doctrinally, liturgically, financially or sexually, or in some cases, all of the above.

A giant structure of the Church in America had been constructed in those first hundred or so years, and it would take a number of generations to dismantle it. But over the decades, dismantle it they did — the enemies of Christ inside the Church we’re speaking of.

Their champion is Joe Biden; he is the very model of everything the current American ethos is about. And he is the very model at the same time of all that fraudulent Catholicism is about. He is the son of the fraudulent Church of Nice, and those in his entourage would turn around and smash the authentic Church to pieces.

Understand, Catholics who actually believe, understand everything that is at stake here.

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant video is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Self, Sex, and State: The Three-Poisoned Gods of Our World

Anthony Esolen: “Self, Sex, and State” are no trinity, to be sure, but a triad. Find one, and the other two will not be far away.


  1. I have written before of the three-poisoned god of our world: Self, Sex, and State. These poisons dance about in a nice perichoresis of mutual corroboration. It is hard to tell which of the three is father or son or spirit proceeding from them both. If you look to sheer gigantic size, you might think that the first begetter was the State. If you look at the rotten hole of evil where a good heart should be, you might think it was the Self. If you look at actual begetting and a wrong approach to created order, you might think it was Sex.

Let us be as wise as serpents here, consider each possibility. Suppose the principle devil is State. Imagine it in the person of Milton’s Beelzebub, in the council of Pandemonium. He is about to recommend not open war, as Moloch advises, or hiding, as Belial advises, but a sly side-move against the new created world and man there placed:

                         With grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A Pillar of State; deep on his Front engraven
Deliberation sat and public care;
And Princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic though in ruin.

You desire to increase your power, to grow the State at the expense of those you rule. How to do that? Satan’s plan, put in the mouth of Beelzebub, is to sever the new creatures from God, the source of their freedom and their strength. That must inevitably sever them from virtue both natural and supernatural.

To accomplish it, Satan appeals to Eve’s sense of Self, but in strange isolation, as if she were a kind of island-goddess to whom every creature must bow in homage. “Sovereign mistress,” he flatters her, begging her pardon for daring to address her, while suggesting that her beauty cannot be rightly prized by any of the creatures among which she lives, not even her loving husband Adam, bearer of the image of God:

                                           One man except,
Who sees thee? (and what is one?) who shouldst be seen
A Goddess among Gods, adored and served
By Angels numberless, thy daily Train.

Divide and conquer: so does Satan extend his realm, by every petty peacock of a king and queen self-ruled, and therefore self-enslaved.

Such enslavement in man is made manifest most clearly, the book of Genesis suggests, in sex: in what should have bound man and woman to one another, and each generation to those that came before and to those that will follow. “Be fruitful and multiply,” says God when he blesses the first human couple, but the fall turns what should have been pure blessing into a source of trouble, division, treachery, and violence.

The wisest king who ever lived did not withstand the temptation, for Solomon, Milton says, “beguiled by fair Idolatresses, fell / To idols foul.” A thousand wives had he, but his sons would fall out with one another and divide his kingdom. His kingdom – not Satan’s.

But we might begin with the idol Sex. We remove it from its natural order, and we make our children and our neighbors bear the cost of the ensuing chaos. Love is not Love, despite what the smug and silly sign on your neighbor’s yard says. “Spirits when they please,” says Milton, describing the fertility gods of the Phoenicians, “can either Sex assume, or both,” to “execute their airy purposes,/ And works of love or enmity fulfill.”

“Such love is hate,” says the poet Spenser. Sexual sin does its worst to keep children from growing up with a mother and father who have plighted their troth for life. Since man is by nature a social creature, when he sins against what binds him in wedlock and what binds the generations, he sins against society.

He calls it liberty when it is mere thoughtlessness and worship of Self. It cramps or tends to destroy altogether the liberty of his neighbors, because what strong and self-sustaining families no longer do, State must attempt. Every antisocial sin must give State leave to intrude where it does not belong, to provide a semblance of that order while families and the parishes, schools, and towns they build used to provide. He who sells wheelchairs is pleased to find cripples.

In the end, says C. S. Lewis, there are only two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.” In the dead hollow of every sin, there is a false Self, a wraith, a phantasm, an idol. “I am that I am,” says God, revealing to Moses his name beyond all circumscribing names. (Ex. 3:16)

But I am a creature: I am circumscribed. I derive my being from God, and at every moment my existence is sustained only by his will. When I set myself against God, I slip back toward non-being, toward the hollow that is well suggested by the Germanic word Hell. 

But as I fall, I assert my false independence with all the greater desperation. I must be my own, exist on my own. The magnetic poles that draw me are two. If I am soft and tender, I turn to Sex as the boldest expression of Self: sex, as I will, when and how and with whom I will.

These days, swallowed up in idiotism, I may even fashion my own “identity,” turning sex in upon itself in self-abuse of any of a thousand kinds. If I am hard and ruthless, I turn to State and its accoutrements. I worship power, wealth, and prestige of my own, or I bow to State as the extension of or the realization of sheer will. State will save us, State must be our cure. It hardly matters then in what form State appears.

No trinity, to be sure, but it is a triad. Find one, and the other two will not be far away.

COLUMN BY

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. Among his books are Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World, and most recently The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a professor and writer in residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, in Warner, New Hampshire.

EDITORS NOTE: This 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.

The Decline of Christianity Since the Reformation

David Carlin: The decline of Christianity is found not just in those who claim no Christian faith, but also in those who claim to be liberal Christians.


Modern history (by which I mean the history of the western world since about the year 1500) tells many stories.  I suspect that these many stories are subplots in one big story, and for years I’ve been trying to guess what this one big story may be.  My guess (but it’s only a guess) is that the one big story is the story of how the western world has been trying to get rid of Christianity.

The story begins with the Protestant Reformation.  None of the reformers intended to do away with Christianity.  Just the opposite.  Regardless of anybody’s intentions, however, a divided Christianity would be easier to destroy than a united Christianity.

This divided Christianity led in the 16th and 17th centuries to the rise of skepticism, especially in France.  But skepticism, while it continues even to the present day to erode Christianity, is too purely negative a thing to replace the old faith.  And a replacement is needed.  You can’t just get rid of Christianity and leave the world with nothing to believe in.

Skepticism was succeeded by a more positive thing in the 18th century, Deism, which professed to hold on to the good elements of Christianity (afterlife, morality, etc.) while getting rid of its bad elements.  But Deism was too “thin” a thing to replace Christianity.  Besides, it stopped well short of the ultimate aim of anti-Christianity, namely the complete eradication of the old religion.

Deism helped bring about the French Revolution, which showed for the first time that a powerful state could be used as a tremendous anti-Christianity machine.

In the second half of the 19th century, there was a great intellectual movement on behalf of agnosticism.  But agnosticism was simply another name for the old skepticism, still too negative a thing to get the anti-Christianity job done.

In the 20th century, two gigantic anti-Christianity movements took the stage, and each of them came to control an enormously powerful state: Nazism and Communism.  The former intended to get rid of Christianity while thinly disguising its intention; it deceived many Christians who wanted to be deceived.  The latter didn’t stoop to disguise; it was quite frank about its intention.  Both of them did great damage to Christianity, and when they failed (Nazism in 1945, Russian Communism in 1991) they left behind them a Christianity that had been greatly weakened.

In the postwar period (1945-present) the western liberal democracies (U.S.A., U.K., France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain [after Franco], Portugal [after Salazar]) have been subject to a non-statist kind of anti-Christianity.  These countries all experienced, some of them sooner, some of them later, the growth of an anti-Christianity public sentiment.

These countries all experienced the gradual asphyxiation of Christianity by the gradual growth of anti-Christian feelings.  For decades the state played little or no part in this smothering process – though this has changed recently.

This liberal-democratic, anti-Christianity got a tremendous boost beginning in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the coming of the sexual revolution.  This “revolution” was about sex – but it was about much more than sex.  Sexual restraint and even downright chastity had been an essential element of Christianity from its beginning in the first century AD.  Get rid of Christian sex morality, and you’re well on your way to getting rid of Christianity altogether.

Once the average person decides that Christianity has been wrong about fornication, adultery, homosexuality, abortion, etc. for almost 2,000 years, it will be relatively easy for that person to believe that Christianity has also been wrong about many other things – including all the articles of the Nicene Creed.

Many would-be Christians – I have in mind “liberal” Catholics and Protestants – believe it is possible to have a “new and improved” Christianity that embraces and endorses the values of the sexual revolution.  They are mistaken – as certain a priori considerations should have persuaded them decades ago, and as experience has abundantly demonstrated over the last fifty years.

Throughout the western world (the world that used to be called Christendom), including the United States, Christianity is in steep decline today.  Evidence of this decline is found not just in those who claim no Christian faith (the “Nones”).  It is also found in those who claim to be liberal Christians – which means that they have dropped most of Christianity’s orthodox “baggage.”  And it is also found in those who, while claiming to be orthodox, really don’t take their orthodoxy seriously.

Two questions:

  1. Does one have to be an atheist to be anti-Christianity? Strictly speaking, no. For instance, the Deists of the 18th century were anti-Christianity without being atheists.  But if you want to get rid of Christianity, it helps to be an atheist.  A lot, because atheism is the most thoroughgoing kind of anti-Christianity.  If you want to get rid of the old religion, why not go all the way?  Why not destroy the very foundation of Christianity?
  2. Does one have to be a supporter of abortion to be counted among the haters of Christianity? Yes. For the right to abortion – and not just the legal right but the moral right as well – is essential to the sexual revolution.  If we don’t have abortion as a back-up when mistakes are made or accidents happen, how can we have a moral regime of sexual freedom?

Practically speaking, we can’t.  Think about it.  If abortion were to be banned throughout America, the next thing you know we’d have people recommending chastity.  And once people recommend chastity, guess what? – they’ll start recommending Christianity.

Well, we can’t have that, can we?  And therefore we must make sure that abortion is legal and is considered to be morally unobjectionable.  Indeed we must make it a praiseworthy thing – the kind of thing which, like public education and police and fire protection, everybody who needs it should have free of charge.

For what it’s worth, that’s my reading of the last 500 years.

David Carlin

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

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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.

Catholic and “catholic”

Fr. Paul D. Scalia: The Church’s children should resemble her. We ought to strive to be catholic (universal) in our zeal, our mercy, and our embrace of Truth.


In today’s Gospel, our Lord likens the Kingdom of heaven to “a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” (Mt 13:44-52) This net, which gathers not just one kind of fish but fish of every kind, serves as a good description of what we confess every Sunday: the Church is catholic.

Now, most people probably think of “Catholic” as the brand name of a particular Christian denomination. Yes, we speak colloquially of the Catholic Church as distinct from the Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist churches, etc. But that’s a fairly recent designation, only since the Reformation. Before the Church was “Catholic” she was already “catholic.” It’s a truth we find expressed in the Church’s earliest years. The word “catholic” means universal, embracing and bringing all things together into a unity (from the Greek kata holos, “according to the whole).

Now, the distinction and relation of “Catholic” and “catholic” is important: one cannot be Catholic without also being catholic. To be a member of the Church means to share in her catholicity. So, what does that entail?

First, the Church is catholic – universal – in the most obvious sense: for all people. “Here comes everybody” is James Joyce’s famous description of the Church. She welcomes all comers, embraces and incorporates all people – “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, all peoples, of every race, nation, and country throughout the world.” (Rev 7:9) She leaves no group or kind of people beyond her mission and solicitude.

Now, catholic in this sense does not mean everyone thrown together willy-nilly, as you might toss all your clothes into the closet. Rather, it means all people brought together as one, as a unified whole. In the United States, we are now witnessing what happens to a society when its various peoples have lost their principle of unity. The Church, however – and, in the end, only the Church – is truly universal because she both embraces all people and makes them one body in Christ.

The implications of this universality should be clear. It means, first, that we welcome all people into the Church. Anyone who repents and believes is welcome regardless of any accidental qualities.  Further, this catholicity requires that we actively seek to bring the Gospel to all peoples, and all peoples to the Church.

Second, the Church is catholic in the sense that she forgives all sins. This is a consequence of her being the continuing presence of Christ Himself in the world.  Our Lord has authorized her to act and speak in His Name. He entrusted to her ministers His own power to forgive, a power limited only by a person’s desire to be forgiven.

Through the ministry of the Church, any of our sins, from the most trivial to the most severe, can be forgiven when we repent and ask forgiveness. Which also means that we should desire the extension of that forgiveness and reconciliation. Indeed, we should participate in the Church’s ministry of reconciliation. As such, our own personal forgiveness should extend as far as the Church’s, from the most trivial slight to the gravest sin against us. As regards forgiveness we can never say, “thus far and no further.”

Throughout her history, from Tertullian to Calvin, the Church has seen plenty of rigorists who would like to shorten the reach of her mercy. Like the slaves in the parable of the wheat and tares (Mt 13:24-43), they want a Church of saints not sinners. In the current “cancel culture,” the mobs of secular rigorists give us a sense of just how brutal a society is that desires pure justice (or what passes for it) and no mercy.

Finally, the Church is catholic in the sense that she possesses all truth. Everything necessary for salvation is found within her doctrine. All religions possess some aspects of the truth. Only Christ’s Church possesses the fullness of the truth.

Notice that the net in the parable brings in “all kinds of fish,” both the desired and the undesired. Similarly, the Church holds both pleasing truths (human dignity, forgiveness, heaven) and hard truths (sin, judgment, hell). To be Catholic means to assent to all that the Church teaches – not just to the parts we like.

The Church’s history is littered with heresies, a word that indicates the choosing of one truth to the exclusion of others (Greek again haerisis, not kata holos). Those who do so cease to be catholic, because they are embracing not the fullness of the truth but only the parts they like. If we call ourselves catholic, we must show ourselves to be truly catholic, embracing all truths — not just the convenient ones.

Mother Church’s children should bear a resemblance to her. So it is that we ought to strive to be catholic in our zeal for souls, in the reach of our mercy, and in our embrace of the truth.

COLUMN BY

Fr. Paul D. Scalia

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Va, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy. His new book is That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion.

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.

NEW YORK CITY: “IDOL” painted on 100-year-old statue of Virgin Mary

Leftists have been indulging in an orgy of destroying statues lately, but their favored graffiti for statues is “RACIST” and the like, not “IDOL.” A Leftist may have done this, or conceivably some fanatical Protestant, although that is extremely unlikely. But could it have anything to do with the introduction into Miami of a large population of people who believe that Christianity is a false, indeed idolatrous, religion, and that they are commanded to fight unbelievers so that Allah may punish them by the hands of the believers (cf. Qur’an 9:14-15)?

Could it have anything to do with the Qur’an’s suggestion that the destroyed remnants of ancient non-Muslim civilizations are a sign of Allah’s punishment of those who rejected his truth? “Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth.” (Qur’an 3:137) The ruins of non-Muslim civilizations thus bear witness to the truth of Islam. What ensues from that idea? The creation of more ruins.

Watch the video. Is the perpetrator wearing a robe or thobe? Or is this the work of a Leftist who is unwittingly (or knowingly) advancing the same agenda as that of the Islamic State and the Taliban?

“Vandals Allegedly Target Statues of the Virgin Mary in Boston, Queens,” by Amy Furr, Breitbart, July 12, 2020 (thanks to the Geller Report):

Two statues of the Virgin Mary were reportedly vandalized over the weekend in Boston, Massachusetts, and Queens, New York.

At around 10:00 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a call about a fire in the area of 284 Bowdoin Street in Dorchester, the Boston Police Department said in a Facebook post.

“On arrival at Saint Peter’s Parish Church, officers observed a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which had been set on fire,” the department noted…

In a similar instance on Friday, the Diocese of Brooklyn said the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was investigating the vandalization of another statue of the Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens.

“Security footage shows an individual approaching the 100-year-old statue shortly after 3 a.m. Friday morning and daubing the word ‘IDOL’ down its length,” the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported.

Friday, the Brooklyn Diocese Press Office tweeted video footage of the alleged incident:

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We’re All on the Frontlines Now

Robert Royal: The BLM-Antifa “uprising” is following the Marxist playbook. To end it, we need to stop its infiltration into schools and media.


A shrewd woman (to whom I happen to be married) recently read me some passages from an old news story about the re-naming of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, given to writers of children’s books: “’This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness,’” the Association for Library Service to Children said in a statement after the unanimous vote.”

The town librarian used to be the enforcer of “community standards” by preventing unsuitable material from falling into adolescent – or anyone’s – hands. And even in demanding good behavior, as per “The Music Man”:

For the civilized world accepts as unforgivable sin
Any talking out loud with any librarian
Such as Marian . . . Madam Librarian.

He/she still is an enforcer, but now – despite talk of “inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness” – pushes Heather Has Two Mommies, proudly defends “drag-queen” story-hours that would make any normal child run screaming, and polices the literature of past, present, and future (certain books never get published for fear of running afoul of her/him).

People talk a lot about “cultural Marxism” now. I don’t know exactly what to make of the expression because during the Cold War some of us actually studied Marxism and its rigid tenets, which serious Marxists regarded as “scientific.” Marx himself would have looked askance at much of what falls under that rubric today. He had, for example, a rather low view of the non-white races – on the basis of the settled science of his time. Curiously, though there are statues of Marx all over Europe, none have been torn down recently.

For Marx, “scientific” history also predicted that Communism would emerge in the advanced nations, not in relatively backward places like Russia and China, which did not yet have the proper “objective” conditions. The revolution would occur in advanced capitalist nations that would so impoverish the masses that they would rise up in huge numbers and easily displace the exploiters.

Recent protesters are not a fulfillment of this fantasy. The vast majority of the people protesting (and even rioting) are not destitute or exploited. They live well compared to most human beings throughout history, at least materially. There’s a reason why Europe and America have to restrict the vast numbers of people – usually “people of color” from Africa and Latin America – who would like to enter despite alleged racism and prejudice. And everyone with a modicum of sense knows it.

So I get the anti-capitalism of the Marxists who founded the Black Lives Matter Movement; I don’t much get the “cultural Marxism” of BLM, which attacks “systemic” racism and promotes LGBTQ as if it were a natural part of Marxist thought.

I know something, however, about what serious Marxists have thought about “culture.” The most prominent of those figures, Antonio Gramsci, if he were alive today, might run with the pack against orthodox Marxism. But he’s enlightening nonetheless.

Gramsci knew the crucial importance of what he called una cultura capillare – “a capillary culture” that, like the capillaries in the body, would carry the revolution into every nook and cranny of society. He gauged – correctly – that you couldn’t defeat democratic liberty directly. It was just too powerful and entrenched.

Gramsci argued – shrewdly – that what was needed was something like what the Jesuits of the Catholic Counter-Reformation were able to achieve by developing and deploying an educational system that formed people in all the crucial cultural institutions. If Marian the Librarian (and all the main institutions to which she is attached) is Catholic, there’s no need for a frontal assault. The revolution imposes itself as a natural consequence.

Just think of the mental revolutions it took for a library association devoted to promoting children’s books to use words affirming its “core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness.” In normal times, those words point to goods to be celebrated and pursued. These are not normal times.

“Inclusiveness” does not mean adding voices that might want to raise legitimate questions about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s perspectives on minorities. It means using the old Marxist tactic of portraying others as “class enemies” and airbrushing them out of the picture. Including requires excluding.

“Respect,” in similar Marxist fashion, means judging who is worthy of respect on puritanical ideological grounds. So “respect” is to be shown to Native Americans and Blacks, who – to be clear – deserve it merely as our fellow human beings, whatever their individual foibles or the shortcoming of their “cultures.” Laura Ingalls Wilder, however, and the culture of her day, don’t get – don’t warrant – the same “respect,” whatever their shortcomings.

Once this process gets going in the library, school (and school board), university, media, HR department, even some churches, we are well on the way to what Gramsci knew would produce a revolution almost impossible to reverse.

Almost, because there’s nothing that stops us from carrying out a counter-revolution like what the Jesuits of another age were able to carry out.

Politics is important in this counterrevolution, to be sure. We are in an election year and TCT will be discussing some of the crucial questions for Catholics – and others – in coming months. (As a non-profit, we can neither support nor oppose candidates as such.) One thing we will constantly maintain, however, is that any candidate who is to be taken seriously must affirm the rule of law and denounce violence, whoever the perpetrator.

Barack Obama, the most prominent black leader in America at present, could have done all Americans a service in recent days by speaking out against riot and looting – even if he may have wished to support protests. It’s on such fundamental public distinctions that our future depends.

But the politics will fail if that’s all we do – if we neglect the day-to-day “capillary” efforts that we each have to make, in whatever place we find ourselves.

We’re all on the frontlines now.

Robert Royal

Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

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EDITORS NOTE: This 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.

VIDEO: The Vortex — Francis HATES America! He has drunk all the Kool-Aid.

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TRANSCRIPT

It’s become quite apparent that in his admiration for establishing a one-world government administered by a new world order, America is an object of hate for Pope Francis.

The handwriting was on the wall at least two years ago when yet another article from Eugenio Scalfari revealed that the pontiff has so little regard for the United States that he actually thinks we should simply give up our national sovereignty and submit to a new world order.

Maybe the Dems can nominate Pope Francis for their party’s candidate for president. He can assume presidential powers and then dissolve the U.S.A. After all, it seems like he’s got experience doing the same thing with the Church.

The old atheist Italian journalist says that in 2017, Pope Francis called him shortly after the G-20 summit and demanded to see him at four o’clock that afternoon. According to Scalfari, Francis had become agitated about the United States and other nations commanding such power in the world.

Pope Francis told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that the United States of America has “a distorted vision of the world,” and Americans must be ruled by a world government as soon as possible, “for their own good.”

Now that’s an incredible statement to make, and as the article continued, the disrespect for the idea of national sovereignty mounted. European nations also came under the papal displeasure: “I also thought many times to this problem and came to the conclusion that, not only but also for this reason, Europe must take as soon as possible a federal structure.”

There is without a doubt an extreme dislike with this pope of anything that strikes of nationalism, meaning national sovereignty. Since America seems to lead the world in the area of national pride, the United States is never passed over in the papal condemnations of national sovereignty.

Somewhere, somehow, he has in his head that the idea of individual nations is bad because that translates into immigrants being mistreated, and among rich nations — the First-World nations — poverty escalates and the poor are taken advantage of.

That’s what he thinks, and so the solution for him is to introduce a one-world government, ruled by a single new world order, so all immigrants can get a fair shake out of life.

Last week the reports came out that Pope Francis thinks national pride, touted by political conservatives, is the beginning of Nazism reappearing. He said to an international group of specialists in penal law: “And I must confess to you that when I hear a speech [by] someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936,” adding, “They are inadmissible behaviors in the rule of law and generally accompany racist prejudices and contempt for socially marginalized groups.”

“It is no coincidence that in these times, emblems and actions typical of Nazism reappear, which, with its persecutions against Jews, gypsies and people of homosexual orientation, represents the negative model par excellence of a culture of waste and hatred,” he continued.

Pope Francis has drunk the Kool-Aid of the Left.

So there it is, perfectly framed by this pontificate: Immigrants and homosexuals need to be protected classes, and sovereign nations must give way to those who do not respect borders and those who reject natural law. And nations, now bordering on embracing Nazism, must surrender their independence because it is the will of God. For their own good, the nations of the world, especially the powerful ones, must pass out of existence, surrender themselves and abolish their borders for their own good.

When Americans are chanting “USA!” at sporting events or political rallies for Republicans, in Pope Francis’ head, that apparently rings as Sieg Heil!

This is dangerous, dangerous stuff. For the occupant of the throne of Peter to be outwardly demonizing nations — especially the leading nation which defeated the Nazis — as Nazis themselves, a line has been crossed from which there is no coming back.

To then turn around and underscore that part of what makes a person a modern-day Nazi is to not go along with the homosexual agenda and resist the evil, this is beyond the pale and must be called out.

Pope Francis has moved into territory that no pope has ever transgressed. He is transferring the mission of the Church from the salvation of souls to the foundation of a one-world government.

What precisely the role of the Church itself would be in that new world order still seems vague, but one thing is clear. Francis never criticizes Islamic nations. He never tells them to clean up their act and stop throwing homosexuals off roofs. He never has a word of criticism for their brutality of FGM (female gential mutilation) or sponsorship of world terror, or torture or forcing people in their nations to convert or have their heads cut off.

Yet he has no problem with hiding behind the Italian military surrounding the walls of the Vatican, protecting him from that same Muslim threat.

This pontificate is a political disaster, one gone completely off the rails.

Serious questions need to be asked about all this: homosexual men, many of whom are either abusers or covered up abuse placed into powerful posts; the theft of hundreds of millions of euros; constant lies and denials of repeated press reports; and multiple appointments of enemies of Christ to high-visibility positions within the Church. And now hurling accusations at political conservatives that their love of country makes them “Nazis,” and opposing the gay agenda means conservatives want homosexuals marched off to gas chambers.

This is outrageous. Francis hates America because America represents everything his twisted political worldview stands in opposition to.

This increased marxist view has been brewing in the Church for decades, and far from being ascendant is now practically the status quo. Love of the homosexual agenda, illegal immigrants, the abolition of nations and Islam’s “favored son” status is what Francis will be remembered for.

The Vatican has yet to comment on the Scalfari interview about Francis reportedly saying America should willingly surrender itself to a one-world government. And actually, no comment is needed. We’ve heard enough.

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant video is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Of Workers and Wealth

Pope Leo XIII: Whether we have wealth or lack it makes no difference. What matters is to justly use what we have, especially if we are rich.


The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration is to take up with the notion that class is naturally hostile to class, and that the wealthy and the working men are intended by nature to live in mutual conflict. So irrational and so false is this view that the direct contrary is the truth.

Just as the symmetry of the human frame is the result of the suitable arrangement of the different parts of the body, so in a State is it ordained by nature that these two classes should dwell in harmony and agreement, so as to maintain the balance of the body politic. Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital. Mutual agreement results in the beauty of good order, while perpetual conflict necessarily produces confusion and savage barbarity.

Now, in preventing such strife as this, and in uprooting it, the efficacy of Christian institutions is marvellous and manifold. First of all, there is no intermediary more powerful than religion (whereof the Church is the interpreter and guardian) in drawing the rich and the working class together, by reminding each of its duties to the other, and especially of the obligations of justice.

Of these duties, the following bind the proletarian and the worker: fully and faithfully to perform the work which has been freely and equitably agreed upon; never to injure the property, nor to outrage the person, of an employer; never to resort to violence in defending their own cause, nor to engage in riot or disorder; and to have nothing to do with men of evil principles, who work upon the people with artful promises of great results, and excite foolish hopes which usually end in useless regrets and grievous loss.

The following duties bind the wealthy owner and the employer: not to look upon their work people as their bondsmen, but to respect in every man his dignity as a person ennobled by Christian character. They are reminded that, according to natural reason and Christian philosophy, working for gain is creditable, not shameful, to a man, since it enables him to earn an honorable livelihood; but to misuse men as though they were things in the pursuit of gain, or to value them solely for their physical powers – that is truly shameful and inhuman.

Again justice demands that, in dealing with the working man, religion and the good of his soul must be kept in mind. Hence, the employer is bound to see that the worker has time for his religious duties; that he be not exposed to corrupting influences and dangerous occasions; and that he be not led away to neglect his home and family, or to squander his earnings.

Furthermore, the employer must never tax his work people beyond their strength, or employ them in work unsuited to their sex and age. His great and principal duty is to give every one what is just. Doubtless, before deciding whether wages are fair, many things have to be considered; but wealthy owners and all masters of labor should be mindful of this – that to exercise pressure upon the indigent and the destitute for the sake of gain, and to gather one’s profit out of the need of another, is condemned by all laws, human and divine.

To defraud any one of wages that are his due is a great crime which cries to the avenging anger of Heaven. “Behold, the hire of the laborers. . .which by fraud has been kept back by you, crieth; and the cry of them hath entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.”

Lastly, the rich must religiously refrain from cutting down the workmen’s earnings, whether by force, by fraud, or by usurious dealing; and with all the greater reason because the laboring man is, as a rule, weak and unprotected, and because his slender means should in proportion to their scantiness be accounted sacred. Were these precepts carefully obeyed and followed out, would they not be sufficient of themselves to keep under all strife and all its causes?

But the Church, with Jesus Christ as her Master and Guide, aims higher still. She lays down precepts yet more perfect, and tries to bind class to class in friendliness and good feeling. The things of earth cannot be understood or valued aright without taking into consideration the life to come, the life that will know no death.

Exclude the idea of futurity, and forthwith the very notion of what is good and right would perish; nay, the whole scheme of the universe would become a dark and unfathomable mystery.

The great truth which we learn from nature herself is also the grand Christian dogma on which religion rests as on its foundation – that, when we have given up this present life, then shall we really begin to live. God has not created us for the perishable and transitory things of earth, but for things heavenly and everlasting; He has given us this world as a place of exile, and not as our abiding place.

As for riches and the other things which men call good and desirable, whether we have them in abundance, or are lacking in them-so far as eternal happiness is concerned – it makes no difference; the only important thing is to use them aright. . . .

Therefore, those whom fortune favors are warned that riches do not bring freedom from sorrow and are of no avail for eternal happiness, but rather are obstacles; that the rich should tremble at the threatenings of Jesus Christ – threatenings so unwonted in the mouth of our Lord – and that a most strict account must be given to the Supreme Judge for all we possess.

– from Rerum Novarum (1891)

VIDEO: Completely Mental. Touched. Off his rocker. Out to lunch.

TRANSCRIPT

New Yorkers have a local expression, “That guy’s mental” — as in, “Hey, Louie’s mental.” It’s not a compliment. It means pretty much what it sounds like, that there’s something wrong upstairs.

Well, for the record, Cardinal Dolan’s mental. His reaction and media comments following Governor Cuomo signing the new state abortion law reveals some serious issues upstairs with His Eminence.

He says Cuomo shouldn’t be excommunicated because it would be giving ammo to the enemy — that the Left would seize on the excommunication and portray Cuomo in a sympathetic light. Yeah, they probably would — so what? Is that worse than allowing the world to think — or actually realize — that U.S. bishops are lily-livered cowards when it comes to the hard truths.

Dolan claims it would be counter-productive. What a stupid analysis; counter-productive to what, exactly? What’s counter-productive is letting the world think leaders in the Church don’t think this is a big deal, and what’s worse, other Catholics think it’s not a big deal.

But then again, based on decades of inaction, the world already thinks that. So here’s an opportunity to actually begin to turn things around and set the record straight. The reality is Dolan is an emasculated wimp who looks for excuses to avoid teaching Church teaching.

For example, when he was on FOX & Friends answering questions from the hosts about all this, FOX actually took down and edited out part of the live interview where Dolan simply got it wrong about Church teaching.

He said, in sum, that those involved in an abortion are not excommunicated, in direct defiance of existing canon law. Here’s the exchange:

Steve Doocy: “Have the rules changed inside the Catholic Church, because it used to be pretty black and white about ‘yes, no,’ now you’re saying, ‘Come back.'”

Cardinal Dolan: “Yes, you would say, yeah, you would say that it used to be pretty, pretty clean that an abortion would cause the excommunication not only of the one who did it, people who encourage it and the one who had it. The Church, in the last 50 years, beginning with Pope John Paul II and especially intensified under Pope Francis, has said, ‘I don’t know if that’s Gospel values here’ because mercy trumps everything.”

And this is where we can freely say: Dolan’s mental.

What he said is simply incorrect. Here is canon law — existing, on the books right now — canon law 1398: “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication” — meaning, kill the unborn baby and you are automatically excommunicated as well as the “doctor” other personnel and friends or family who conspired in the killing.

Sorry, Cardinal Dolan, you’re wrong — flat out wrong. There are exceptions to the canon — for example, someone physically forced against her will, or a child, but those are exceptions. The rule is the rule, and Dolan seems to have no knowledge of it. And he doesn’t get to say unchallenged that “oh, we are more merciful than that now.”

First of all, that’s wrong, so either he is flat out lying, which can’t be taken off the table, or he is woeful, this prince of the Church, woefully malformed in what the Church actually teaches. Neither option is good.

Secondly, the implication is that for the past 2,000 years the Church has been unmerciful. After all, in a first-century teaching manual — 1900 years old — the Didache, willful abortion incurred expulsion from the sacraments for 10 years.

The Didache was the first recorded teachings of the Apostles themselves. So Dolan says the Apostles were unmerciful. The man is flat out mental. And then, he writes an opinion article in the New York Post where he asks the question, “Why are Cuomo and Democrats alienating Catholics?” — again proving he’s gone completely mental.

The answer, Your Eminence, is because you and so many of your worldly emasculated brethren in the episcopate have been so busy watering down the Faith and confusing them that there aren’t really that many of them left.

Cuomo, being a prime example of that, has done the political calculus and the answer is they don’t give a rip about alienating Catholics because there are so few left that they make no difference at the polls in New York as well as many other places.

Secondly, Dolan and the rest of his mental crowd are the ones who actually helped get these guys elected and keep them elected by their constant sucking up to them and wanting to be seen in pictures with them and rubbing elbows with them and hobnobbing. It’s disgusting. Have some dignity for the love of God. Know your office.

For 10 years in New York, Dolan has been on a PR tour of the local media with his stupid bombastic laugh and “aw shucks” fake persona, thinking he could somehow charm people into believing the truth.

Dolan is viewed as a huckster, a snake oil salesman or a bad used car dude who has nothing to sell that anyone is interested in.

But he has had the prestige of his office — which has eroded tremendously under the weight of his reign — which still has another five years to go — talk about people needing mercy; resign already.

And because of his office, the media love to play him and follow him around and put his picture on the papers; and being mental, he’s believed all of that is good and helpful to the Faith. It reinforces his own bloated self-importance, which is the butt of jokes behind his back.

But — and this is the problem when someone is mental — they don’t understand the world around them. They aren’t plugged in because they lack the capacity to understand the obvious.

Dolan is 0 for 4 in his political dealings. He has been played and used in every political cause he has gone after. First, he lost — if he ever really cared about it — the gay marriage fight in the state back in 2011.

Second, he lost the state funding for Catholic education initiative, something lawmakers, including Cuomo, were never going to give him. And for that deal, he allowed gays into the St. Patrick’s Day parade — and they stabbed him in the back anyway.

Dance with the devil and, well, you know what happens.

Next, Dolan and the gang claiming to care about the abortion law, and he loses that in staggering fashion — unanimous vote in the New York state senate and almost unanimous vote in the state assembly.

And then the fourth “rock his world” defeat is the new law extending the statute of limitations for suing the Church for all their sodomite priests raping altar boys — which they deserve.

Dolan is completely mental, and the reason he is is because he long ago gave up the only job he is supposed to be doing: defending souls. He has been a boy in a man’s game with New York’s Killer Catholic politicos, and they have chopped him to pieces.

Dolan is owned by Cuomo, so much so that Dolan believes the teachings of the Church have changed — completely mental.

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant column with video and images is republished with permission.

Should Governor Andrew Cuomo be Excommunicated?

George J. Marlin raises a question very much on the minds of many Catholics. Surely, some rebuke from New York’s bishops is necessary. 

In March 1970, the New York State Legislature repealed the anti-abortion law that had been on the books since 1830. The bill narrowly passed, due to support from several legislators from heavily Catholic districts who were subsequently defeated for their apostasy in the November elections.

Back in those days, the Catholic Church in New York possessed moral authority; and the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Terrence Cooke, was not afraid to use that power in the public square.

Cardinal Cooke led the charge to repeal the law that permitted unrestricted abortions up to 24 weeks. And in May 1972, the State Legislature did just that and reinstated the 1830 statute.

Sadly, Governor Nelson Rockefeller vetoed the repeal of the liberalized abortion law shortly thereafter.

The New York abortion issue became moot, however, when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973.

Fast forward forty years and abortion has once again made headlines in New York thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo, a baptized Catholic and graduate of Archbishop Molly High School in Queens and Fordham University in the Bronx, has abandoned some major moral tenets of his faith.

In 2011, his first year in office, he engineered the passage of same-sex marriage legislation. “Marriage equality,” he declared, “is a question of principle and the state shouldn’t discriminate against same-sex couples who wish to get married.”

Then on January 16, 2014, Cuomo announced, on a radio show, that Catholics and others with traditional moral views were unfit citizens who were no longer welcome in New York:

Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right to life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

It gets worse.

Cuomo has been off the rails on the subject of abortion. In his 2013 State of the State Address, he cast his lot with the radical pro-abortion lobby, screaming four times, “It’s her body; it’s her choice!”

Cuomo introduced legislation that would repeal the 1970 abortion law, and would codify abortion as a “fundamental right of privacy,” a classification even the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected.

Cuomo’s proposal was bottled up in the Republican-Conservative-controlled State Senate for four years. But last November, the GOP lost control of that legislative chamber.

A jubilant Cuomo boasted that his so-called Reproductive Health Act would be the first order of business before the newly organized Legislature in January 2019.

And so it was.

On January 22, the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Legislature passed the bill, to thundering applause and wild laughter. Minutes later, to a standing ovation, Cuomo signed it into law.


Standing (right to left in the photo), during the visit of Pope Francis to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York (September 23, 2015), are the author, Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Sandra Lee (Andrew Cuomo’s domestic partner), and the governor.

This law goes far beyond Roe v. Wade. It removes abortion clauses from the penal code and “creates a right to the procedure under the public health law.”

Although abortions are restricted to the first twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, exceptions are so broad (i.e., economic, social, or emotional distress) that anyone will be able to procure an abortion up to minutes before giving birth. In other words, the lives of unborn children who have viability outside the womb can now be terminated by doctors and non-doctors.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is very different than his father, Governor Mario Cuomo. The elder Cuomo tried to be St. Thomas More and Machiavelli at one and the same time.

In his famous 1984 Notre Dame speech on “Religious Belief and Public Morality,” the More-Cuomo said “The Catholic Church is my spiritual home. My head is there and my hope. . . .[and] I accept the Church’s teaching on abortion.” But the Machiavelli-Cuomo gave himself an “out” by claiming that as a public official, he could not impose his private religious views on the rest of society.

Mario Cuomo demonstrated the absurdity of his position every time he vetoed death penalty legislation that was approved overwhelmingly by the Legislature and was supported by over 60 percent of New Yorkers. Cuomo imposed his personal moral objections even though there was public opinion against him.

Andrew Cuomo is vastly different from his father. There is no duality; he prefers to be a Machiavellian and he promotes whatever works to advance his political ambitions.

In fact, it has been reported that when he was Clinton’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, one of his first acts “was to distribute the book by Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, to his key aides. . .telling them: ‘This is my leadership philosophy.’”

Cuomo uses or spurns the Church when it suits his political ends. While he discarded Church teaching on abortion, he embraced and praised Pope Francis’s message concerning the needy and the marginalized. And when the pope visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral on September 24, 2015, Cuomo made sure he was in a front pew. It was great political theater for the governor.

Since Andrew Cuomo has dismissed the fundamental Church teaching that all persons have the right to life because they are made in the image of God, maybe it’s time the Church dismissed him.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that “Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged.”

So, at the very least, the bishops of New York should announce publicly that because Cuomo has caused public scandal, he must be denied Communion.

Or the bishops, if they have the mettle, might call Cuomo in and point out the canonical penalties they are prepared to impose if he does not renounce his heresy. Whether or not that includes excommunication is a matter for canon lawyers.

But something really must be done, lest New York’s bishops confirm the growing perception that the Catholic Church is a compromised paper tiger.

COLUMN BY

George J. Marlin

George J. Marlin

George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, is the author of The American Catholic VoterNarcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue-State Conservative, and Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy. . His new book, Sons of St. Patrick, written with Brad Miner, was published on St. Patrick’s Day 2017.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column with images is republished with permission. © 2019 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. The featured image of
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is from his Facebook page.

Liberals’ Holy War on Christian Orthodoxy

When Sen. Dianne Feinstein told Amy Coney Barrett, who is now confirmed as a judge for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and is a potential Supreme Court nominee, that “dogma lives loudly within” her and “that’s of concern,” she wasn’t voicing concern over the nominee’s religious orthodoxy as much as she was revealing her own.

After all, Catholicism, unlike progressivism, has never inhibited anyone from faithfully executing her constitutional duties—which the judge has done with far more conviction than Feinstein. Maybe Barrett should have been asking the questions.

Recently, by unanimous consent, the Senate approved a Ben Sasse resolution that declares that it is unconstitutional to reject nominees because of their membership to the Knights of Columbus. This move was instigated by a similar incident, when Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono criticized President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, Brian Buescher, for being a bit too Catholic for their liking.

The Knights of Columbus, a benevolent society that still clings to antiquated notions about the dignity of human life—from the very beginning to the very end—doesn’t exactly adhere to the new progressive moral canon.

Unlike many friends on the right, I’m less offended by questions regarding dogma and belief. It’s true that the Constitution explicitly states that a federal government officeholder or employee can’t be required to adhere to or accept any particular religion or doctrine as a prerequisite to holding a federal office or job. But it’s also true that the clause directly preceding that clause requires every federal and state official to take an oath to support the Constitution.

Rejecting someone over his faith alone is unquestionably a religious test. Merely asking a nominee whether her beliefs might stop her from fulfilling her constitutional duties is a relevant question.

For many liberals, though, the problem is that the beliefs of many Catholics and other adherents of various Christian theologies—or, for that matter, Jewish ones, as well—are increasingly undermining progressive ideals, not constitutional ones.

As Beto O’Rourke might ask, do the principles of the Constitution “still work”? When it comes to religious freedom, they most certainly do not. It’s progressive dogma that led a Harvard-educated Washington Post editor to incredulously ask how traditional Christian schools can even “happen” in contemporary American society.

She was questioning not merely whether second lady Karen Pence is right or wrong to teach at a Christian school—after all, Americans are free to be critical of people’s faith—but how a school that adheres to the teachings of a church that counter progressive dogma can exist at all.

This is the same progressive moral dogma that justifies yearslong attacks on the livelihood of Christian bakers and florists. It’s the same dogma that justifies coercing nuns to pay for the rite of birth control. If one doesn’t adhere to these commandments, the state, the most powerful institution in the world, will sue them into submission.

In this regard, liberals also like to claim that those who do allow traditional faith to inform their political views are somehow undermining a tenet of American life. (Well, as long as that traditional faith can’t be utilized for left-wing agenda items, such as immigration and socialized health care.)

As it goes, some of us, even nonbelievers, prefer the teachings of Jesus to those of Marx—which, in the non-celestial world, means free will over coercion. Whatever the case, our backgrounds and beliefs always color our opinions.

The Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard, an apostate on this issue, recently argued in an op-ed that if the Knights of Columbus are a disqualifying group, “then President John F. Kennedy, and the ‘liberal lion of the Senate’ Ted Kennedy would have been ‘unqualified’ for the same reasons.”

Well, not exactly the same reason. The anti-Catholicism of the past was predicated on an aversion to new immigrants, conspiracies about the pope, and a general long-standing theological distrust among religious denominations.

In the political arena today, only the latter of those reasons is in play, and the denomination isn’t Protestant. The “liberal lion of the Senate” wouldn’t be disqualified by today’s standards, because in public life, at least, he was a doctrinal liberal.

“There are many people on the left who act like every political fight is going to bring about heaven or hell on earth—and so there are a lot of folks for whom politics is a religion,” Sasse said after his resolution passed.

Progressives are the most zealous moralists. And these lines of questioning from Democrats, increasingly prevalent in political discourse, are an attempt to create the impression that faithful Christians, whose beliefs are at odds with newly sanctified cultural mores, are incapable of doing their jobs.

Sasse is right. Political bellum sacrum is here. We’re just not looking at the right people.

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Portrait of David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the forthcoming “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” Twitter: @davidharsanyi.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image of Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is her from Facebook page.

On the Knights’ Stand…

Picking up trash and donating school supplies used to be considered good deeds. Now, they could disqualify you from public service! That’s the absurd conclusion of at least two Democratic senators, who are holding one judicial nominee hostage for daring to help a couple of Catholic charities.

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) aren’t exactly champions of religious liberty. After skewering Amy Coney Barrett, Russell Vought, and other nominees of faith, it probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that Brian Buescher, the president’s pick for U.S. District Judge, was next on the Democrats’ hit list. During his hearing in late November, the liberal duo insinuated that anyone who’s a member of a Catholic organization is incapable of being “fair or impartial.” “[Your beliefs] don’t suddenly go away just because you become a judge,” Hirono argued.

But what are those “extreme” beliefs Hirono is talking about? Social service, for one. As the Knights of Columbus explained in an open letter to both senators, what’s so objectionable about giving away more than $4,000 worth of coats to needy children or collecting diapers to mothers in need? There’s nothing nefarious or controversial about donating pop tabs to help the developmentally disabled or providing an ultrasound to a clinic — unless you’re a U.S. senator bent on religious intolerance.

“We recently read about statements which expressed the fear that the Knights of Columbus held many extreme beliefs,” the organization wrote. “It is our great pleasure to assure you that this fear is not grounded in any truth. The Knights of Columbus in general, and O’Boyle Council in particular, are dedicated to the three fundamental principles of charity, unity, and fraternity.” The group went on to explain all of the good the Knights are doing for the local community. “We hope this list of activities help to assure you that we are simply a group aiming to do God’s work while building friendships.”

Despite those assurances, Hirono asked in a follow-up questionnaire of Buescher if he would quit the Knights of Columbus. After all, she wrote, “it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.” Senator Harris followed suit, demanding to know if the Nebraskan was aware of the group’s fanatical pro-life and pro-marriage positions.

But what’s so radical about an opinion that the plurality of Americans hold? Based on last November’s exit polling (of primarily Democratic-leaning voters), man-woman marriage is still the predominate view (48-45 percent) in America! If anyone’s extreme, it’s the increasingly anti-Catholic Democratic Party, who believes that the only people who are fit to hold down a job in this country are the men and women who reject the Bible’s teachings.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who’s had enough of the far-Left’s religious tests, blasted his colleagues for trying to undermine Buescher’s qualifications with another faith-based witch-hunt. “Hopefully, in the eyes of Democrats, you are not disqualified to be a judge because of your religious affiliations and beliefs.” Later, he promised that he and the rest of the Senate majority “will not tolerate disqualifying judicial nominees because of charitable works and personal religious opinions.”

With two more senators in his column heading into 2019, President Trump has a chance to add even more solid constructionists to the bench. Let’s just hope that none of them have to go through what so many nominees already have: a bigoted interrogation meant to chase Christians out of public service. America was founded on faith predominately by people of faith. It’s time for Democrats to stop their religious test.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by FRC is republished with permission.

‘The Catholic Church…has become one of Islam’s loudest boosters’

In this excellent piece, George Neumayr refers to the rupture of relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar that took place during the time of Pope Benedict. As I explained here, that rupture took place because Pope Benedict dared to speak out about the Muslim persecution of Christians.

By contrast, Francis energetically defends Islam, and leaves the persecuted Christians twisting in the wind, so he is acceptable to al-Azhar.

The worst part about this is the fact that because this man is Pope, all too many Catholics, including some in positions of high authority, treat him as if he were a divine oracle, his every utterance to be revered, respected, studied, and followed. Because of the statement of Vatican II that “religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra,” and “must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will,” Catholic leaders and publications tend to think that they must adhere to anything the Pope says about anything.

This leads them into impossible positions. When Pope Benedict XVI appeared to criticize the aspects of Islam that incite and justify violence, they allowed for criticism of Islam. When Francis showed himself to be an Islamic apologist, they became Islamic apologists. All too many Catholic leaders and institutions, in other words, are more interested in being papists than in being truthful. They would rather show loyalty to the Pope, no matter how damaging his utterances, than stand for the truth on the own against the Pope.

The contradiction is clear, and absolute. If the Catholic Church has become one of Islam’s loudest boosters, then those who are aware of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, rooted in Islamic texts and teachings, have to make some hard decisions about where they stand.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

POPE-ISLAM-NON-VIOLENT“The Papal Propagandist for Islam Heads to Egypt,” by George Neumayr, American Spectator, April 26, 2017 (thanks to Lookmann):

As the prototypical progressive Jesuit, Pope Francis prides himself on his “ecumenism.” He oozes enthusiasm for every religion except his own. At the top of his list of favorite religions is the Church’s fiercest adversary — Islam.

He often sounds more like a spokesman for CAIR than a Catholic pope. After jihadists cut off the head of a French priest in July 2016 — yelling “Allahu Akbar” over the priest’s slit throat — Pope Francis rushed to the defense of Islam. “I don’t like to talk about Islamic violence, because every day, when I read the newspaper, I see violence,” he said, before ludicrously blaming the rise of terrorism on the “idolatry” of free-market economics: “As long as the god of money is at the center of the global economy and not the human person, man and woman, this is the first terrorism.”

As Europe turns into Eurabia, Pope Francis is picking up honors and awards from progressives, including, hilariously, the 2016 “Charlemagne Prize” for his Islamic apologetics. It is hard to imagine a Christian leader less like Charlemagne. Pope Francis is energized not depressed by the disappearance of Christian Europe. “States must be secular,” he told La Croix. Christian states, he said, “end badly” and go “against the grain of history.” He added that “when I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful.” It also takes on “colonialist overtones,” he complained.

The most liberal pope ever, of course, sees no irony in shilling for the most illiberal religion on Earth. On his anti-colonialist scorecard, Islam wears the white hats and Christian Europe, the black ones. After jihadists gunned down ten journalists at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, Pope Francis rushed to Islam’s defense again, in effect rebuking the dead journalists for incitement: “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” Those who do, he continued, should “expect a punch.”

This week Pope Francis takes his pro-Islamic apology tour to Egypt. Previewing the trip, which starts on Friday, he said he seeks to “offer a valid contribution to inter-religious dialogue with the Islamic world.” Francis’s fawning media courtiers are already rolling out the propaganda for it, predicting that it will “build bridges to moderate Islam.”

“A main reason for the trip is to try to strengthen relations with the 1,000-year-old Azhar center that were cut by the Muslim side in 2011 over what it said were repeated insults of Islam by Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict,” according to Reuters. “Ties with the center were restored last year after [Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb] visited the Vatican. Tayeb, widely seen as one of the most moderate senior clerics in Egypt, has repeatedly condemned Islamic State and its practice of declaring others as apostates and infidels as a pretext for waging violent jihad.”

Being “one of the most moderate senior clerics in Egypt” is about as meaningful a distinction as being one of the most chaste Kardashian sisters. Useful idiots in the West call Tayeb moderate, but anyone paying attention knows that he is not, unless calling for the killing of apostates now counts as “moderate.”…

Past popes regarded Islam as a font of poisonous heresies. Dante placed Muhammad in hell. St. Thomas Aquinas said Muhammad peddled “fables and doctrines of the greatest falsity” and sardonically remarked upon the perverse basis for his claim of divine favor: “Muhammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms — which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants.”What has changed? Nothing. Islam remains as violent as it started. But one thing is new: The Catholic Church, under the death-wish progressivism of Francis, has become one of Islam’s loudest boosters.

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VIDEO: Knight of God — Review of the Film ‘Ignatius of Loyola’

Brad Miner reviews a movie about the founder of the Jesuits. It is as good as any Catholic film may hope to be.

Although this biopic of the founder of the Jesuit order premiered last summer, I only had a chance to see it this past week. Writer-director Paolo Dy’s film was shot – in the English language – in Spain and the Philippines under the auspices of the Filipino Jesuit Communications Foundation (JesCom Films). It’s unlikely to be on a screen at your local Cineplex, but – as I’ll explain towards the end of this review –you can take the initiative to arrange a screening for your church group or other Catholic organization.

And I urge you to do so, because this is a Catholic film that stands head and shoulders above any I’ve seen in years. It’s both truly Catholic and superb cinema.

The film begins with fire and water – a leitmotiv throughout. One goes into the fire of conversion and emerges through the water of new life. Iñigo Lopez de Loyola (played the Spanish actor Andreas Muñoz) unfolds like a flower opening in scorched earth – he is a soldier proofed like a sword in flame then shoved into water to forge its strength. This is actually a scene, and it’s powerful.

The story of Loyola, a Spanish nobleman broken by war who goes on to found the Society of Jesus, is like many true tales of conversion. From Augustine to Merton, but especially St. Francis of Assisi before him and Charles de Foucauld after, who were also soldiers for whom the deep wounds of war led to a deeper conviction to serve Christ. Like St. Augustine, Loyola lived a somewhat carnal life until he was severely wounded in the Battle of Pamplona in 1521.

Click here to read the rest of Mr. Miner’s review . . .

ABOUT BRAD MINER

Brad Miner

Brad Miner

Brad Miner is senior editor of The Catholic Thing, senior fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute, and a board member of Aid to the Church In Need USA. He is a former Literary Editor of National Review. His new book, Sons of St. Patrick, written with George J. Marlin, is now on sale. The Compleat Gentleman, is available on audio and as an iPhone app.

RELATED ARTICLE: Meet the New Leader of One of the Biggest Religious Liberty Organizations

EDITORS NOTE: This film review originally appeared in The Catholic Thing.