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« Pastoral interpretation in Pope Benedict's "Jesus of Nazareth" | Main | Why some Evangelicals are attracted to "that strange thing called liturgy" »

Friday, May 02, 2008

Comments

Dan

I think the alleged differences between the United States and Europe insofar as religion is concerned are exagerated. It is no doubt the case that secularization is more advanced in Europe. But we are only a step behind, and heading in the same direction.

Dan Deeny

Carl, Interesting report from Italy. What do you think the bishops should do? What about Catholics who say they are personally opposed to abortion? What are the rules? What about a legal prostitution advocate, say in Nevada, can he receive communion without a reprimand? Thanks.

Robert Miller

I agree wholeheartedly with Dan. I'm not even sure the US is a "step behind" Europe -- in fact, I'm sure we're not: we're a step "ahead".

It seems the Holy Father's visit has been the occasion for the explosion of a kind of Catholic American triumphalism. It is as if US Catholics have mistaken Ratzinger for Goethe: Amerika, du hast es besser (forgive me if my German is rusty). I really don't think that is what the Holy Father had in mind.

It's tempting enough, with George Bush ("the first Catholic President") in the White House, to enjoy a benign perspective on 2008 America.

But how can we compare US bishops' bumbling (and I include Cardinal Egan's spluttering "Say it ain't so" to Giuliani) with the forthright and even heroic confrontation Spanish and Italian bishops are offering their laicist states?

Ultimately, the Spanish and Italian bishops (unlike their US counterparts) accord their countries' regimes and secular societies only conditional legitimacy. It is this spirit of European Catholicism (Christendom) that Catholics in the US have never exhibited and that they are challenged to embrace by Pope Benedict's visit.

If the US -- with its pathological obsession with sexual license and individual "rights" -- did not "light the way" for laicist Europe, where would the Europeans find their inspiration.

I read Benedict's US utterances as a reprise of Testem Benevolentiae: US Catholics, don't lose yourself in worship of the Yankee republic's works and pomps. Europe already has gone there, to its ruin, and is only beginning to recover. Cardinal Pell is trying to save Australia from going the same way.

Sharon

In Europe and in Italy, such questions are not even raised. The fact that "pro-choice" politicians should receive communion does not raise any particular reactions. Their decision is left to their personal conscience.

I don't think that the 'personal conscience' excuse serves as defacto permission for European bishops and priests to give Holy Communion to these people because the pro-choice politicians are surely in manifest, public oposition to the teachings of the Church and so should be refused communion. Maybe the Holy Father should deal with these abuses on his doorstep as it were.

gb

Carl,
For the last 6 yrs, the word "scandal" in the US Catholic Church has meant only 1 thing...now it can mean two. It is a scandal to watch Nancy P et al receive the Lord in Communion on national TV. I could care less if we're a step ahead of or behind Europe. It doesn't matter.
That said, the real problem here has yet to be identified by anyone in the media that I've heard. WHO are the "Catholics" who keep electing these people? How long has Teddy, Nancy, Kerry and all their cohorts been in Congress anyway? Yes, their actions are scandalous (anyone who doesn't agree need only pull up their voting records) but, if the Catholics in their constiuencies would stop voting for them, we wouldn't be in this position now.

Stohn

...George Bush ("the first Catholic President")...

I don't understand the media's dubbing of this title. Between being a Neocon (initiating the War in Iraq, which has led to the mass murder of Catholics and Orthodox in Iraq, and his support for NAFTA and CAFTA that has exploited the poor in Latin America, etc.) and a United Methodist (i.e. rejection of transubstantiation and the Eucharist as a sacrifice, rejection of 5 other sacraments, acceptance of sola scriptura and sola fide, etc.), President Bush is far from Catholic.

Robert Miller

Stohn: I think the "neocon" epithet, when applied to Bush, has validity only with respect to his tactical initiatives -- not to his strategic vision.

Bush clearly sees that Islam has renewed its attack on Christendom (as Belloc anticipated in the 1930s), and that this attack cannot be checked by negotiations, police actions and "foreign aid". He made a tactical blunder of the first order of magnitude by committing the US to war in Iraq (much like Churchill's Gallipoli campaign in the First World War), but that's where the war with Islam stands now. So, as McCain has said, it may go on for a hundred years.

I think a lot of us like to go along with the "first Catholic President" thing because, in so many ways, Bush is doing the right things we know virtually no viable "Catholic" politician would do.

I suspect an overwhelming majority of Americans(including people who are going to vote Democrat to "end the war") are going to miss W a bunch after he's gone a month or two. He's a great President -- right up there with Nixon (still numero uno in my book).

Finally, I think gb gas hit the nail on the head with comment about what kind of Catholics elect the likes of Ted, Nancy, Kerry, Rudy, etc. Let's stop arguing about the scandal of death-advocate politicians taking Communion (that's clear), and let's start talking about the grievous sin and scandal given by Catholics who support and vote for them.

Stohn

Robert:

I would never dream of voting Democrat to avoid the war.

If this "War" in Iraq is about fighting radical Islam, then why aren't we at war with all Middle Eastern countries (minus Israel)?

"[...] that this attack cannot be checked by negotiations, police actions and 'foreign aid'"
- Then why is that what's going on? It's called nation-building for short.

"I think the "neocon" epithet, when applied to Bush, has validity only with respect to his tactical initiatives -- not to his strategic vision."
-Then why do things like this happen: http://www.fourwinds10.com/siterun_data/government/judicial_and_courts/news.php?q=1206589152 ?
-Also: NAFTA, CAFTA, support for globalism, etc etc

Stohn

While I agree that Bush has done quite a few good things, it is dangerous to call him Catholic, as he is NOT.

Robert Miller

Of course, Bush is not Catholic. But who is better, or likely to be, on the public issues Catholics should care about?

As for W's choice of theatre of battle, I think he made the understandable mistake of trying to choose a battlefield on which he thought we could win (applying overwhelming superiority of conventional military force). He was wrong, of course. But are any of his successors likely to make better choices? Most of them don't even understand that we're in a war that's been declared against us.

As for NAFTA, etc., I think we need to redirect our thinking to the opportunity we have to revive Christendom in the Americas -- North and South -- by fostering a "Latinization" of the Anglo Protestant North. I think Pope Benedict sees the potential. I wonder if the US and Canadian bishops do?

LJ

Actually, the first Catholic president was JFK, and if you were to line JFK and GWB up side by side on a vast array of issues, including foreign policy, I think many of the antagonists of Bush might be chagrined to learn how objectively close they really are.
Having said that I think Bush may just do a Tony Blair, that is, wait until he's out of office to go home to Rome.

LJ

"fostering a "Latinization" of the Anglo Protestant North."

I love it.

Stohn

The issue we were discussing were not the alternatives to Bush, but Bush, so speculating what his successors will or will not do is irrelevant.

"As for NAFTA, etc., I think we need to redirect our thinking to the opportunity we have to revive Christendom in the Americas -- North and South -- by fostering a 'Latinization' of the Anglo Protestant North."

Have you ever read NAFTA and CAFTA? (If you want to ask if I have, yes, I have had jobs in and have studied International Relations) NAFTA and CAFTA are designed to maximize profits for American corporations and the American government, while depleting the sovereignty and resources of Latin American countries. I would call your attention to the section in CAFTA on telecommunications in Costa Rica as the best example.

"JFK and GWB up side by side on a vast array of issues, including foreign policy, I think many of the antagonists of Bush might be chagrined to learn how objectively close they really are."

JFK made it very clear that his Catholicism would not affect his policies. Both of them are/were globalists (i.e. the pathway for the Antichrist). [On an economic note: both of them thought that you can ship American money abroad and raise government spending while cutting taxes.] So, to compare Bush to JFK does not make a good case for Bush being a "Catholic President."

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