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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


David K. Monroe

What's truly risible is the craven attempt to dismiss valid concerns with the empty question, "Is this really the sum total of what makes us Catholic." Is there such a thing as a "vow of comprehensiveness" that bloggers are supposed to take? So as to not confuse the hoi polloi as to what is "the sum total of what makes us Catholic?"

Homosexuality, abortion, women's ordination, birth control, liturgical abuses and the exercise of church authority are hardly marginal issues, and neither are they arbitrary. Three of them concern fundamental aspects of human life and human identity, and the other two concern fundamental issues of church government. For the purposes of supercilious Fr. Martin (and many others, surely), they are all united under the heading, "Topics I am sick of hearing about and I wish would go away, because thinking about them leads me to uncomfortable conclusions." That, in my experience, is often the impetus for such objections as, "Well, that's not really all we're about anyway, is it? Please broaden your focus from the five silly and marginal issues you seem to b obsessed with to the one really-o, truly-o important issue of 'social justice.'"

Teo Matteo

Narrowmindedness. I have imagined (i.e. hoped for) that at my judgment our Lord says: "you were very narrowminded. You were so narrowminded- your field of view so narrow- that you put ME before you and you could not see the godless world around my image. You could only see me in others, thru me. But your view also extended vertically and heavenward - to infinity. To my Father. Narrow in one sense but infinitly broad in another."

Tim Drake

Good commentary, Carl. I share many of your thoughts.

It's interesting that Fr. Martin identifies what I've come to call the WOCHA (women's ordination, contraception, homosexuality, abortion) Mantra, as these are the very same issues that the secular media tends to focus on whenever it's reporting about the Church.

How rich that both Fr. Martin and John Allen feel free to question the motives of those who are considered "orthodox," without taking a look at the motives of their own (America and the National Catholic Reporter) publications, which so often feel free to dissent from the Church and "question and reject all Church authority."

Do some Catholic bloggers and commentators lack charity? Certainly. Does that make all Catholic bloggers, commentators, and pod-casters "Taliban Catholics"? Hardly.

The original article is a rather one-sided look at the Catholic blogosphere. It uses one of the more inflammatory commentators (who doesn't even blog) and makes him into a straw-man. The very use of the phrases "Taliban Catholics" and "web-based McCarthyism," are divisive.

Christopher Manion

As Stan Evans clearly demonstrates in his recent best-seller, "Blacklisted by History," McCarthy was right. The left has hated him ever since, of course, but have you noticed how they hate some other truth-tellers with equal vehemence or more? Even some popes?

The term "McCarthyism" was created to exploit a pliant and ignorant liberal community's desire to defend itself, when its behavior was indefensible: cheering on Stalin (New York Times's Pulitzer Prize winner Duranty), cheering Ho Chi Minh, applauding the Ukraine famine, you name it.

Catholics above all should be truth-tellers. To rise in certain hierarchies, however (and not only clerical) requires that one wink now and then, or lose his chances for promotion and/or recognition.

We should be grateful that there are some, like Joe Sobran (+2010), Michael Voris, Phil Lawler, and other who are willing to tell it like it is, while many in the church parade around beating the drum for amnesty and Obamacare.

Where is their brave preaching on Humanae Vitae? Why do our bishops support the Foreign Aid Authorization bill (and ask us to) that provides half a billion for Hillary's worldwide contraceptive and Depo-Provera campaign, and sixty million more for abortions with US taxpayer money?


It boils down to what happens when Catholicism collides with our culture. Fr Martin's instinct is to change the subject. Find clever words that can make everyone happy. Do whatever you have to do to avoid confrontation.

The reality is there are huge differences. We need to understand them. Why can't we accept female ordination? If you can't understand it that is a huge problem. It does not just mean you don't get one article of the catechism. It means your whole idea of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman is not Catholic. It is secular. That is a huge problem that will effect the whole of you spiritual walk.

It is also interesting that this comes up just days before an election. I wonder how much of the motive is political.

Fernando Umberto Garcia de Nicaragua, Prefectus Minimus: The Jacksonian Institute

Popes St. Pius V, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Pius X, and many others would all be branded as "Taliban Catholics" by these heretics. This is all I need to know.

We need a new Inquisition.

Ed Peters

CM writes: "As Stan Evans clearly demonstrates in his recent best-seller, "Blacklisted by History," McCarthy was right." Ok, well, I've not read MSE's study, so I offer no opinion on it. But I have watched hours of the kinescopes of JoeMc, and I'd need A LOT of convincing that he wasn't 1 part right and 4 parts nutjob jerk who set back Conservatives a decade or more.



Fr. Martin is the one with the narrow views. While I have probably hit on all the subjects he names (I know I have discussed liturgy more than once) on my blog, I have certainly mused on many other topics related to being a loyal, Canadian, Catholic.

My reading of other, much better, Catholic blogs has shown me that 'conservative' Catholics (I prefer the term loyal) do think and write about many other things. Fr. Martin seems to be choosing to see what he wishes to see.

Name-calling just seems childish. Taliban? McCarthy? Really folks...


When Fr. Martin writes a clear column offering full support of church teaching on homosexuality, or female ordination, or even birth control, I may give his protests more credence. As it is, I read him always carefully allowing for dissent, but NEVER defending those church teachings. If anyone can point to me to where he does, I'll be grateful. I read his most recent book on Ignatian spirituality, and it had some very helpful stuff, but I was especially struck by the topics left unaddressed. How an urban Jesuit today, connected to the culture, can give general advice about sex and celibacy and leave homosexuality totally undiscussed, for example, mystifies me. Just saying...


As a follow-up upon reading Martin's piece, he talks like most blogs are conservative blogs are annonymous, while that is not my experience at all. I wonder which ones he means. Certainly none of the most popular ones are anonymous whatsoever: it is not the comboxes that make the impact, but the published material. But he knows that.
Also, the phrase 'Taliban' is used three times, and he engages in that pre-Vatican II theological elitism that suggest most bloggers are theologically unversed because... they do not have religious degrees. Horrors. Apparently someone just out of college will '"cherry pick" ideas, whereas the Jesuit priests would never ever do that. His piece is about as lopsided as something coming out the Obama White House. He does mention that liberals also get upset when the sense church authority being exerted. The obvious difference is such exertion does no contradict established doctrine. Liberal insurrections over the hitbutton issues do, plain and simple.


Joe is correct - Fr. Martin never defends Church teaching on those issues.

Moreover, on the anonymous blogging thing - as someone pointed out at the Curt Jester blog, what Catholic blog has the highest proportion of anonymous bloggers?

That bastion of rabid right-wingers Vox Nova, of course.

I mean, who is the nastiest, most judgmental blogger and commenter on the Catholic internet? Besides Michael Sean Winters, that is - that fellow Morning's Minion, who is everywhere, dripping snideness and condemning fellow Catholics. Who *is* he?

Todd Newbold

Im going to watch "The Mission" today.


The irony is amazing. In the America blog post, as Carl notes, Fr. Martin complains about 'attacks' and the lack of 'civility'--or, more dramatically, those who 'spew venom'--particularly through name calling that is, and I quote, "devoid of any sense of Christian charity." Father goes on in reference to a particular instance of the lack of civility: "Calling someone a 'cancer'? Does that sound like Christian charity?"

Just ONE line above, Father employs John Allen's term "Catholic Taliban" to refer to those Father wishes to take issue with.

Other terms Father uses: "Inquisitors", "craven and cowardly", "watchdogs", "McCarthyism" (if someone made a Hitler comment...).

Father laments baseless ad hominem attacks too; I suppose the one he levels against those who call him out on his blog can serve as an example: "It is quite another to be attacked with snide comments by someone barely out of college who spends his days cherry-picking quotes and thumbing through the Catechism in an endless game of Catholic gotcha."

Does that sound like Christian charity?

"They", claims Father, that is, "the Catholic Taliban," "say that calls for charity just mask dissent."

Well, in Father's case--and this is merely the opinion of a nobody on the internet--I think that is precisely the tactic being used. As others here have astutely pointed out, Fr. Martin never defends Church teaching on those issues. No he doesn't, and one is left to wonder why he doesn't. I have my guess.

The "those Catholics over there who 'attack' me aren't really very kind or nice" is a fair critique of behavior, but it doesn't address the problems the meanies raise with the unwillingness to address certain issues like homosexuality, abortion, women's ordination, birth control, liturgical abuses and the exercise of church authority.

Slippery, I say.

Pete Lake

Carl, an excellent post. You are spot on that Christ calls us to a most narrow focus: Him. Once we are focused on Him, then we can, together with Him, focus on love of neighbor, etc. Otherwise, we have, as Pope Benedict reminded us in his encyclical, love without truth.

Also, not only is the salvation of souls at the heart of what it means to be Catholic, it is at the heart of Ignatian Spirituality. Very disappointing from Jesuit website, like America, to continually write these pieces which have the potential to spread error and mislead souls.


Carl, excellent commentary as usual. I'm sorry but it's really ridiculous to act like things cannot be called by their name or what they are. Jesus had no problem calling it as he saw it! He called the devil a "liar, cheat, and a murderer from the beginning." Can you imagine him saying the devil was just a "poor deceitful, life taking, confused angel from the beginning." He called the Pharisees hypocrites, serpents, brood of vipers. Sounds loving to me LOL! While we should never forget to be charitable sometimes you just have to tell it like it is. These days just stating church teaching is considered uncharitable and that's an embarrassment.



I like that Tim Drake. Hope you don't mind if I borrow it.

Todd Newbold

IMHO, Trying to get through a Narrow Gate is futile, "The Church" has the the keys to open the Gate "Eat G." for all.


I'm going to be a centrist on this issue. While the orthodox Catholic blogs I read are written by civil, rational people, the people who sometimes leave comments in their comboxes can be foaming-at-the-mouth out of their minds. They claim to defend orthodoxy but are so vicious, I wonder if the New Testament has had any real impact on their hearts. Disagreement and correction are necessary components in our faith lives. And I'm all for taking a clever shot at Nancy Pelosi once in a while. But sometimes things descend into a level of nastiness that's hard to justify.

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