Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times decides to expose the small cadre of narrow-minded, vicious, Republican drones who are seeking to keep President Obama from visiting Notre Dame in May, and begins his deep cover operation with a poetic flourish:
Of course, Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., had opened his column about the same topic, written four days prior to Rutten's piece, in much the same fashion:
In which case, check the "flourish" and insert "borrowed cliché." Come to think of it, you can do that for just about every sentence written by Rutten, whose lack of originality is equaled by an obsessive desire to label every Catholic who disagrees with him with large "Republican Hit Man" name tag, complete with a flaming faggot, rope, and a frayed burlap bag. Here are some low lights:
Because, as we must remember, the Los Angeles Times has always found it pathetic and slightly amusing when people would protest various public appearances by the previous leader of the free world.
Or, put differently, many of those upset with Notre Dame's decision are Catholics who take seriously the Church's clear teaching that those who are in mortal sin should abstain from receiving Holy Communion: "Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1415). They also happen to agree with the Church's teaching that abortion is a "moral evil" (CCC, 2271), that "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense" (CCC 2272), and that abortion is "gravely contrary to the moral law" (CCC 2322). Please note that these references are not from the Catechism of the Republican Party.
Because, in part, they take seriously the U.S. Bishops' 2004 document, "Catholics In Political Life," which states:
As for what those fundamental moral principles include, the document states, "It is the teaching of the Catholic Church from the very beginning, founded on her understanding of her Lord’s own witness to the sacredness of human life, that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified. If those who perform an abortion and those who cooperate willingly in the action are fully aware of the objective evil of what they do, they are guilty of grave sin and thereby separate themselves from God’s grace."
But Rutten ignores (or is ignorant of) these clear teachings (hey, time to discover Google!) and insists that the furor over Pres. Obama and Notre Dame boils down to one simple fact:
That's it! All of this is about getting more slack-jawed, hateful, religious zealots into the Grand Ol' Party. Why, this whole thing is obviously a Republican tactic! [Oh, great, I just spewed Pepsi all over my keyboard!] Never mind that the head of the RNC cannot even articulate basic pro-life principles (ah, I bet that's part of the strategy as well, right?). Anyhow, Rutten spins this fantastical thread for a few paragraphs, then writes:
You see, simple readers, when groups such "Catholic Democrats" are engaged in the public square, it's because they are faithful, passionate, sincere, and orthodox Catholics intent on "social justice" and saving delicate creatures in the rain forests, but when 200,000 Catholics sign a petition protesting Obama at Notre Dame, it's not because they really give a damn about Church teaching or the unborn—it's because they are bloodthirsty pawns of the Republican Party who are this close to burning hundreds, even thousands, of people in front of the local mall. (By the way, the Catholic Democrats website is currently featuring an article titled, "Notre Dame invites President Obama, and the right-wing hate machine swings into gear." Name-calling: just one more loving service provided by the non-partisan group.)
For the record, I would never want Tim Rutten to be burned at the stake. No, I have a far worse form of torture in mind: reading the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church. (Not to worry, I'll also happily provide a dictionary.)
Wow, that is interesting: the National "Catholic" Reporter siding with the status quo instead of with the Catholic Church?! Stunning. Inconcievable. Otherwordly. Why, who would have thought it possible—that is, besides everyone who has ever read National "Catholic" Reporter? Oh, and why is that newspaper considered influential? Because Rutten say so! Doesn't the fact that someone would suggest the desire for Catholic schools to be Catholic is somehow offensive, and then use the Muslim term for a place of learning, as though that is somehow suspect ("How dare they try to turn Catholic universities into Catholic schools!" Huh?), indicate why it is that National "Catholic" Reporter is not, or shouldn't be, influential?
Well, what next—Rutten again insisting this is all about the Republican Party and not Catholic teaching and practice? Of course!
Yep, it's all about getting out the Republican vote. Right. No wonder the Los Angeles Times is losing readers, subscriptions, and money: its editors are stuck in a shallow but paralyzing Rutten, and have too often let the news and the facts pass them by without showing the least bit of interest.
• Fr. Reese's flawed arguments for Pres. Obama at Notre Dame (March 25, 2009)