Bookmark and Share
My Photo


    Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.


« Steve Ray's "Footprints of God" series to air on EWTN in September | Main | The Scriptural Roots of St. Augustine's Spirituality »

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Francis Beckwith

Nice work, Carl. What Rutten does not understand is that Murray's picture of pluralism presupposes the Catholic understanding of the human person. That is, what constitutes society--whether or not it includes the unborn--is logically prior to the affirmation of pluralism. So, the appeal to "pluralism" cannot answer the question of who and who is not a member of the community when pluralism itself applies to that community.

It's like saying that slavery should be decided by each community. But the question of slavery is precisely the question of who and who is not a member of the community. You can't appeal to the community when its very nature is the question.

Mark Brumley

Yes and you either see the point or you don't. And when some people don't see it, it tends to have damagerous consequences for certain other people. Hence slavery, the Holocaust, and Roe v. Wade.

Ryan Smith

I think it is time for the Vatican to issue a formal document banning pro death (abortion, embryonic stem cell research, contraception, euthanasia) Catholic politicians from receiving communion. In doing so, it will take the burden off of the bishops and priests who feel too weak to stand up to these people. I am not upset with the bishops and priests that struggle with this because I am not good at confrontation. If the Vatican issues the order though, it is much easier for the bishop or priest to enforce because they can say they are following marching orders.

Clare Krishan

Followed Amy's link, and agree - Kudos!
We need more such erudite journalism (may I in turn point you to Rod Dreher's post on why the country needs journalists conversant in conservativism more than its does activist think tanks. As Barb Nicolosi's ActOne counters the dearth of vital Christian witness in the entertainment business, we need a similar vanguard inculcating the broadsheet and news media. Here's a simile I came up with to illustrate how off-kilter our society is with its tyranny of relativism (in abject contradiction to the flourishing inherent in the natural law) "A "conservative" ideologue blasting indignation from his tuba is no more able to win a standing ovation than a "liberal" ne'er do well discordantly clanging his tympani. A society that permits abortion on demand is like an orchestra that uses sawblades instead of bows on their stringed instruments, and a society that permits FIAT currency via fractional reserve banking is like a chorus singing the refrain uninterruptedly without the verses, wondering why the crowds have turned their backs. Without the lyrical evocation of a life well-lived, the droning beat echoes the marching orders of a slave driver on a chain gang.

A Mauldin

I agree with Ryan. I do wish the Holy Father would address the issue of communion for pro choice Catholic politicians and soon. The longer the Pelosis, Bidens, Kerrys and Kennedys of the political world can receive communion unimpeded the more marginlized a Catholic stance against abortion becomes. And consider the spectacle of Sen. Ted Kennedy's funeral - full Catholic funeral mass & rites for him? Oooh boy. It seems like 'draw a line in the sand time'.

Robert Miller

You have done good work here, Carl.

However, I think JC Murray provides very shaky ground for US Catholic identity. (I know he was Jesuit, so mea culpa for criticizing him).

The best, I think, that can be made of his tortuous attempt to assimilate the Catholic public thing to the American is to argue that, thinking and writing in the 1940s and 1950s, he was working in an environment in which Catholic, Protestant and Jewish (and even secular liberal)moral and political purposes were unusually congruent. I have no doubt that , with the experience of the last 40 years, Father Murray would have felt compelled to recant his faith in the American proposition -- unless, of course, he was only a more careful forerunner of some of his less disciplined successors.

The essential problem with Murrayian thinking (as with all Americanist and Modernist thinking) is that it is ahistorical (= among other things, untraditional, unBiblical, unapocalyptic...). The natural law of the US "founding fathers" is a natural law asserted over against the natural law enlightened by true Faith. After the thirteenth century -- and especially after the fifteenth -- every assertion of natural right (including the American and the French) has been anti-Catholic in intention and effect. Murray's real purpose, of course, was to counter the argument I am making as being "integrist" -- or ahistorical in its own turn.

So, Murray is a real big problem, even if, I agree, he probably wouldn't have agreed with Joe Biden on abortion.

Murray, I repeat, is what Leo XIII would have thought an "Americanist" -- or, what I would call an ahistoricist. He develops a political philosophy that prescinds from the fallen, redeemed state of man, ignoring the fact that we, in the US, are living in a society that largely (and from the beginning) has rejected the Catholic Faith. We Catholics in the US will never have it right until we understand that Catholic doctrine requires us to be the res publica christiana (Christendom), and to abjure all other allegiances.

We often are reminded that Jesus admonished the Pharisees to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" -- and most commentators elide the admonition to include all governments (just as the modern Biblical translations make "publicans", "tax collectors"). In reality, Jesus' Caesar was a flesh-and-blood human being -- not a bureaucracy. And that Caesar had successors (kaisers, tsars, kings) down to our time. But none of the modern regimes are Caesar: In fact, they have set their faces against "Caesarism"-- i.e., personal rule. They are -- at the risk of making me sound like a wacko fundamentalist -- precursor vehicles of the Anti-Christ. Only, for us Catholics, the millennium is over; we have entered the end time in a profoundly essential way (cf., Guardini and Pieper). The Anti-Christ comes after the Millennium.

tom faranda

In Chaput's new book, "Render Unto Caesar", he discusses Murray's idea of the "American Proposition." Pp. 180-183.

Just quoting Murray's quote from the book refutes Rutten' interpretation of Murray's thinking.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ignatius Insight


Ignatius Press

Catholic World Report


Blogs & Sites We Like

June 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad