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Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Ryan M

I'm sick of all the hypocrisy and double-standards. I have decided to leave the world.

I will miss a lot of the world. I'll very much miss getting to skip confession, and I'll very much miss unilaterally deciding when the Church is wrong on something.

Oh, I'll still be in the world, but I won't be of it. The world has been a major influence on me. I spent most of my life of it, almost all of my formative years. You know, when you spend that much time of the world, you really remain worldly all the way until your next valid confession. So that's not something that you can unilaterally put aside. I mean, much of my prior writings were worldly writings when I was calling myself a Catholic...

There was a moment when I said, “I'm done.” There was a last straw. But it's very important to recognize that it was the “sum total”* of a lot of things. There were some last straws that had to do with presidential statements, the way the president will vote for any bill that even barely increases the chance that a baby will die, the way he regularly gives speeches and talks about how the most important thing is the unemployment rate. You know, we live in a world where millions of infants are slaughtered every year through abortions, and the president chooses to focus on jobs. But the real last straw, the very last straw, was Anne Rice declaring that the bishop of Phoenix, Ariz., Thomas Olmstead, acted ruthlessly and immorally in stating that a nun named Sister Margaret McBride chose to separate herself from the church by going against its teachings and authorizing an abortion. What she said in essence was that he made a decision about something that church law does independent of the bishop, and I could write a entirely satirical comment about why I think that was a stupid and irrational statement.

*I would not use that term except to remain faithful to the source material.

Rich Leonardi

... and I could write a book on why I think that was a ruthless and immoral decision.

She might actually read a book, the Catechism, for instance, to understand how Bishop Olmsted's statements were in keeping with longstanding Church law.


I think Ms. Rice doesn't really understand what insidious means: operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect. Anything that is accepted as good and wholesome by the general society but in reality but devalues the basic unit of that same society would certainly qualify as insidious.


You and informed Catholics may know that this is stupidity but how many Catholics well formed in their Faith do you think are out there? Catholics who know their Faith, such as yourself, really have to get into widely-read print and refute such convincing sounding errors with the real teaching of the Catholic Church.

You'd think that if she really "missed Holy Communion," she'd give more thought, time, and openness to her decisions and proclamations about the Church.

Deacon Harold

When Pope Benedict XVI visited Africa, he said, "AIDS cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem. The Church teaches that fidelity within heterosexual marriage, chastity and abstinence are the best ways to stop AIDS." In response, a writer for US News & World Report stated that the Pope’s comment was "one of the most horrifically ignorant statements made by a world leader" and that "his opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans."

What is the truth? Condoms have never been shown to reduce HIV infection rates and AIDS deaths in general-population epidemics like those in sub-Saharan Africa. Paradoxically, the more condoms AIDS activists send to Africa, the more widespread the disease has become. Why? Because it’s not the Pope but the promoters of birth control who don’t understand African people!

The quintessential manifestation of the black soul is black spirituality, characterized by four principal elements rooted in African culture. Black spirituality is: contemplative (the intense awareness of always being in the presence of God), holistic (involves the whole person, body and soul), joyful (deeply passionate, vibrant, emotional), and communitarian (“I” find meaning in “we”). The problem is that groups like Planned Parenthood don’t understand the African soul, and they assume that Africans are as promiscuous and immoral as Americans.

"In South Africa, which has strongly promoted condoms as the best way to prevent AIDS, the number of free condoms distributed to the public rose rapidly between 1994 and 1998, from 6 million to 198 million. The total number of condoms distributed in South Africa during 1998 was nearly 210 million." "Did this giant increase curb the pandemic? On the contrary: Statistics released by South Africa's government in 2005 revealed that death rates skyrocketed from an average of 870 deaths a day in 1997 to 1,370 deaths a day in 2002--a 57 percent increase." (

"In Botswana, condom sales rose from 1 million to 3 million between 1993 and 2001. Meanwhile, HIV prevalence among urban pregnant women rose from 27 percent to 45 percent. During the same period in Cameroon, condom sales increased from 6 million to 15 million, while HIV prevalence [tripled] from 3 percent to 9 percent." (Ibid)

Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Center at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies said: “The best evidence we have supports the Pope’s comments." Mr. Green said: "We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working. […] The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates." Planned Parenthood and their cronies are not building schools, or hospitals, or clean water systems. Their primary import is death.

Bishop Olmstead is a hero. His Excellency spoke the truth and refused to compromise Catholic teaching on the dignity and value of all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God, and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being" (Donum Vitae, 5). We need many more bishops like him.


Are Pope Benedict and Bishop Olmsted also to blame for her leaving the Church the first time, back in 1959, back when the "good Pope John," hero to the progressives (and should be a hero to the conservatives too), was in the Holy See?

Pope Benedict and Bishop Olmsted are not the reason for her leaving now, any more than they were the reason for her leaving before. Rather, they are the excuse. The real reason is that Rice is going to do whatever the hell Rice wants to do. Notwithstanding her affinity for some things Catholic, she aspires to be a church unto herself. That is her reason for leaving.

Ed Peters

"I cringe at giving any more attention to this stupidity..."

I think that's a healthy cringe.

John Cornwell

John Henry Newman argued across a span of years that faith was the result of multiple evidences, aided by imagination. It is akin to falling in love, the entire person engaged: emotions, intellect, experience, imagination. By Newman's own criteria, t is possible that Ms Rice has experienced a lapse in belief in the sense that one might fall out of love: not through a set of linear proofs, or single expereince, but through multiple parallel evidences leading to a conviction that her religion is not conducive to human flourishing. Ultimately, after pondering what the Church teaches she can, and should, do no more than her conscience dictates. The abuse scandals, according to Newman's view expressed in the Grammar of Assent could work against a person resting in the certitude of faith, which only confirms the true depth and scope of the scandal and the crisis of the Church. Don't be too hard or judgmental then on those people who are being sorely tried by the failings of the Catholic community at this time; including the Pope. Perhaps we depend too heavily on the Pope, neglecting local responsibility and discretion. As Newman once said of the ageing Pio IX: "he becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, and does cruel things without meaning it." Let me end, however, by congratulating Ignatius press on the fine work that it is doing at a difficult time.

T. Shaw

Sadly, Ms. R has placed her opinions and worldly desires ahead of the Teachings of Holy Mother Church. It's fairly obvious she was never truly in the "Communion of Saints." I do not say I am, either. I constantly pray that I may be made worthy.

Sorry for her and me.

Carl E. Olson

Thank you, Mr. Cornwell, for your comment. A couple of thoughts. First, Ms. Rice's actions aren't those of someone who is falling in love or growing in love, but of someone who is ending the relationship and pursuing a very public divorce. Quite a difference. This is not to deny that Ms. Rice may (hopefully) come back to the Church. "Here is the badge of heresy:," Ven. Newman wrote (Oxford University Sermons), "its dogmas are unfruitful; it has no theology. Deduct its remnants of Catholic theology, and what remains? Polemics, explanations, protests." An apt description, I think, of Ms. Rice's recent words and actions.

but through multiple parallel evidences leading to a conviction that her religion is not conducive to human flourishing.

Her "evidences" are painfully, embarrassingly weak and self-serving, as Deacon Burke-Sivers has highlighted above.

Ultimately, after pondering what the Church teaches she can, and should, do no more than her conscience dictates.

Her public statements reveal little pondering or substantial thought. God alone, of course, can judge her motives and soul, but your appeal to "conscience," as always, is unconvincing and convenient. I've already addressed this sort of misuse of Newman's words and thoughts about conscience, yet it keeps coming back, always at the cause of bashing papal and magisterial authority.

Don't be too hard or judgmental then on those people who are being sorely tried by the failings of the Catholic community at this time; including the Pope.

I have to criticize Ms. Rice's comments. My conscience urges me to do so. It also urges me to defend the pope. I think the most fascinating thing about your work is how it continually comes back to criticizing, even attacking, various popes: Pius XII, John Paul II, Benedict XVI. Strange.

Let me end, however, by congratulating Ignatius press on the fine work that it is doing at a difficult time.

Thank you for the kind remark. It is appreciated.


Gosh, is this the first time a person has disliked what a bishop says or does? If I left the Church every time I didn't like something a bishop did, I would have left twenty or thirty times! ("Liberal" Catholics seem to forget that there are plenty of bishops who agree with them, and that we who are more traditional Catholics may find those bishops annoying!) The case that Ann Rice cites was a very controversial and difficult one, and we don't even now know all the facts. Even orthodox Catholics disagreed about it. But if the Church is Christ's Church, and if Christ is there in the Eucharist, where would we go? No number of bad hymns or questionable liturgies or bishops who don't seem to know the teachings of the Church will drive me out!

Honestly, I think Ann Rice is just conflicted because of her openly gay son. She's a widow (her husband was a lifelong atheist), and in a long life of unbelief, she probably didn't accumulate a lot of devout Catholic friends. The emotional pressure would be to stay with the social doctrines, such as a woman's "right to choose" or "gay rights," that she held for most of her adult life. She never did accept the pro-life teaching of the Church, though many people hoped that she eventually would. And her son would most likely not be encouraging her to stick with the Church. But she has to have something to say to explain her decision, so we have this controversy as the impetus. She posted on the First Things website about the Olmstead statement when it was being discussed over there, and I felt at that time that she may have been on her way out of the Church. However, I am sorry about it, and I pray for her. I read Interview with the Vampire (written in the 1970s) recently, and it is a book full of the yearning to regain a lost faith.


Father Barron comments:


It is something I have seen before. For some reason parents whose children reject the Church's teachings on divorce and remarriage, or the sacraments or even God himself, resign themselves to praying for their beloved children and hoping that they will regain, or discover their faith. Parents whose children choose the gay lifestyle often seem to blame the Church for being un-Christ like for pointing out that homosexual behavior is disorderd.
No one wants to see their child consigned to eternal damnation, but people whose family members choose to live in this destructive lifestyle often seem to blame the Church for pointing out the potential consequences of these actions rather than the family member who is making the decision.
AS with many modern problems I blame the Church in that for forty years after the council the Church did not speak with a strong, clear, public voice against these problems. Yes the Vatican, the CDF and a few bishops have, but the USCCB, most bishops and priests have not. Not strongly from the pulpit. Too worried about offending those in the pews. So in the vacuum the modernists have sown their relativistic lies among the flock.
I will pray for Ms. Rice.

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