Why This Catholic Girl Is Praying For a Schism Part 2

…in which I begin appreciating the second part of Pesoli’s article for The Huffington Post, Why This Catholic Girl is Praying For a SchismWhen we left off, our author was yodeling the praises of Melinda Gates, whose decision to gift the poor with prophylactics and hormonal contraceptives came as the answer to Pesoli’s prayers for more sensible behavior amongst high profile Catholics.

Regarding the scathing criticism she’s received from some Catholic bloggers,

Gates responded that she will not shrink from her role as an advocate for poor women. Gates’ brand of strong is definitely the new sexy.

Not that Catholic bloggers deserve any attention, as they’re all of them receiving funding from the Vatican, but it seems apparent to me that Gate has never responded to their criticism of her plan, be it scathing or otherwise. For the criticism has been simple, direct, and can be summed up in two major questions: “Melinda, how can one — according to the principle of non-contradiction — profess a personal membership in the Church (a membership which is based on assent to her teachings), while simultaneously dissenting from the teachings of that Church?” and “Melinda, have you asked whether the countries on which you’re about to unleash carcinogenic drugs actually desire these drugs, and whether their values regarding children and sex are quite the same as your own?”

To the latter complaint, I have heard no adequate response. To the former, Gates has decided that the question regarding her faith is only answerable by way of non-answer. She will not shrink from her role as advocate for poor women. It is precisely what she means by being an advocate to poor women — promoting artificial contraception in their countries — that is antithetical to Church teaching. The question, therefore, has been left unanswered. Catholic bloggers have listened to Gates’ responses, and are left scurrying back to their own posts, desperately looking for the point in which they said “Melinda, don’t explain the contradiction between your professed faith and your actions, just keep repeating a positive modifier about yourself.”

That we are satisfied with these non-answers only goes to show that we have sold our intellect to our ideology at a grotesquely cheap price.

I had found a new personal patron saint of Catholicism.

Following the proper rubrics for canonization, no doubt.

Despite all the chatter and the push-back, Gates continues to put one foot in front of the other. If she is willing to lead the way, the least I can do is follow.

Never mind if she is putting her feet in the right direction.

But the big question that remains is this: Where are we all going, anyway?


My sister used to say, “I’m a Kennedy Catholic,” when people were surprised to find out that she was both a Democrat and a Catholic. The distinction between Democrats’ and Republicans’ respective brands of Catholicism has only gotten more pronounced in recent years, with social justice liberals filling the pews on the left side of the Church and conservative crusaders occupying the right. These days it’s hard to believe we worship the same God, let alone practice the same religion.

Here Pesoli illuminates and sets ablaze the actual problem. I applaud her through the Internet, I really do. The false dichotomy of “social justice” vs. “conservative” Catholics is a festering wound in the body of Christ. We are told not to pick a side — I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought (1 Corinthians 1:10) – but to understand and live the truth found in both of these positions, recalling that unifying instruction of St. James, that “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). Helping the poor and living the moral life. 

When we look at the desire of the Christ, at his heartfelt cry to his Father before he delievered himself up to die, the silliness of a liberal/conservative split within the Church becomes apparent:

I pray also for those who will believe in me through [the disciple's] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17)

Christ wants us to be one, truly one. This desire was a desire important enough to be his death prayer. Thus whenever we see a false division in the Church, our impulse, flowing from our love for Christ, should be to make it whole.

For decades I prayed that the Catholic Church would evolve, but not anymore. Now I’m holding out for a schism, instead. We’ll be the Social Justice Catholic Church and they can be the Conservative Catholic Church.

Or not, whatever. Saw the Bride in half.

This, in a phrase, is the Americanization of the Universal Church, similar in essence to that terrifying moment when the tourist asks the Parisian to point him in the direction of the nearest Burger King.

It is an unfortunate impulse that Pesoli has chosen to represent, one that views the business of the United States as so utterly important, so terribly all-defining, that it would ram even the 2000-year old Church — the largest single institution in which men and women of every race and tongue claim unity — into our banal Democrat vs. Republican split. To our shame, we lack the necessary open-mindedness to realize that, just perhaps, there exist things above and beyond the viewpoints of Rush Limbaugh and Barack Obama.

The reality is this: The teachings of the Church have always been the Truth from which leftism and rightism are equally false  heresies. She demands that we give to the poor, and refrain from sterilizing them. She opposes abortion and euthanasia — thus annoying the Left — while opposing unjust war, death penalty and nuclear weapons — thus annoying the Right. She stands in contradiction to materialism in all its forms, from the capitalist degradation of man into a working unit, to the socialist degradation of man to into a merely social unit. She unites the Klan member and the Communist in common hatred — the WBC preacher and the New Atheist hold hands over a common enemy. She is the rock plunged into the pool — all else is ripple.

But Pesoli advocates the paling of the Creed, the sniveling bow of the greatest community the world has ever known to the current — and fleeting — language of North American politics. It is the sad trading of a thing eternal for a fast fading fad. It is a grand mistaking of a part of Catholicism for its whole.

We’ll take Melinda Gates, Stephen Colbert, all of the Kennedys, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, John Kerry and, yes (because we have a sense of humor), even Joe Biden. Oh, and for edgy vibe, we’ll take Jack White. The Conservative Catholics can have Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Paul Ryan and Justice Antonin Scalia.

I begin to wonder whether Pesoli realizes that the Catholic Church exists outside of the United States, but unfortunately, as Pesoli’s taste for sarcasm and humor increases, my own diminishes. The advocation of my mother Church split along the lines of something as shallow as modern politics leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

In the Social Justice Catholic Church, there will be no more of this nonsense over contraception. Once we’ve put that non-issue to rest, we’ll be freed up to tackle other non-issues, too — like marriage and gender equality.

Of course. Didn’t this already happen? The Episcopal Church, anybody?

In the Social Justice Catholic Church, everyone will be treated equally — men, women, gay or straight. And everyone will be allowed to marry, even priests. And speaking of priests, no one will be disqualified from being one based on gender or sexual orientation. Priest shortage? What priest shortage?

So, what makes the Social Justice Catholic Church different from any other inclusive and reasonable church, like the Unitarian Church, for example? Two thousand years’ worth of rituals and a treasure trove of accessories, that’s what. We’re keeping all of the cool incense burners,


water-sprinkler thingies,

Aspergillums. Can we make a deal? You’re not allowed to keep anything you don’t know the name of.

holy days, saints

What about saints who a) know what censers are, b) spoke against homosexual acts, c) spoke in defense of the male priesthood, d) sought for the unity, not dissolution, of the Church, or e) opposed the use of contraception, abortion, and all the rest?

and sacraments. Oh, and the wine. We’re definitely keeping the wine.

My dear woman, I can only hope that you are imbibed with a sense of how utterly true your own words are: You are keeping the wine, for you are losing the Sacrament. I had it in mind to continue discussing Pesoli’s points, but now I’m too damn depressed. Have her closing ceremony then, as I’m sure people will do my job in the comments:

Now let’s talk facilities. I’ve been to the Vatican, and it’s huge. We can divide that thing straight down the middle and still have plenty of room for both groups. The Conservative Catholics can have Pope Benedict, but I call dibs on John Paul II’s crypt. I know JP Deuce made some mistakes (papal infallibility notwithstanding), but I liked him. I guess you could say he had me at (Polish trade union) solidarity.

And as long as we’re dividing things up, I guess we’re going to need separate quarters in heaven, too. Clarence Thomas doesn’t say much and that makes him easy enough to tune out, but there’s no way I’m spending eternity listening to Sean Hannity.

I may not live to see the day when everyone is treated with basic human dignity and enjoys access to modern medicine here on earth. But after the schism, at least I can take comfort knowing that’s what awaits me in Social Justice Catholic heaven.

And with marriage equality and contraception flowing freely, I’m betting Jesus, his 12 “go-to” guys and his home girl Mary Magdalene will all be there, too. With that guest list, you know the dinner parties in Social Justice Catholic Heaven will be as fabulous as they are endless — with bottomless glasses of wine and a place at the table for everyone.

Pesoli, if i may speak to you directly: I wish to apologize for the times I have been responsible for this worldview. For I know that I often express the Church’s teachings on abortion and contraception — to name a few — without mention of her opposition to the unjust use of the death penalty and her demand for justice to the poor — to name a few more. Your article has convinced me of the necessity for Catholics to cease imposing upon Christ their particular faction of American politics, and instead begin conforming their hearts to the comprehensive, consistent, and life-changing teachings of His body, the Church.

Happy 40th Anniversary, Baby
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  • TarantismBovine67
  • Olivier

    Uh, Marc, is this blog entry completed?

  • curious

    I can’t help but feel you accidently pasted the rest of her article for yours… hmmm

  • Jeremy

    Did you hit “publish” instead of “save as draft”?

    • http://jabstaboops.andthesethygifts.com/ Paco

      Haha, looks like it

  • http://twitter.com/thomjwillis T. J. Willis

    Oh dear. What?

  • http://www.facebook.com/curtjester Jeff Miller

    Plus when you consider the fact that she is praying in direct opposition to Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer to the Father that they all be one you know you have a serious problem. Though certainly this was at least partly tongue-in-cheek.

    But the idea of a schism with a Social Justice Church I wonder if that includes a Social Justice Pope (or does the NYT suffice) and as you noted what is the difference between Unitarianism or really so many Protestant churches that have followed that path.

  • Dolce

    Oh man, I got all excited thinking you’d finished Part 2, but I’m guessing this is a draft :(

  • Sam

    As I make an effort to learn more about my faith, and form my conscience as best I can according to the teachings of the faith, the hardest part has been recognizing what parts of my thoughts/emphases are left-over biases from when I identified with a political party. So I applaud you, Marc, if you are serious about trying to spend more time talking about issues from a Catholic perspective which somewhat align with the position of the American Left. Partisanship is a problem in America, and we need to make an effort to be truly Catholic.

  • Mark Kaschak

    The ‘wine’ comment just does it for me…no wonder lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Heim/1356572373 Ken Heim

    Well done young man. You got it exactly right. I only pray that your words will be read, comprehended, and taken to heart by Pesoli, and other Catholics of her ilk.

  • James

    Why would you do this to me? Why? Why? Why? I’m all for the separation of the Church from petty politics and the need to divorce ourselves from political parties, but did you really have to expose me to this woman’s inspirational brand of lunacy in order to accomplish that? My brain hurts. My existence hurts. She’s like a dog continually peeing on the sofa and looking up at you going “See? See what a good thing I did? I’m a dog!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/cristy.welch.16 Cristy Welch

    The only thing that keeps me hopeful about all of this, is knowing how harmful contraception has been for women (and the world) and that we are going to hit a turning point. Some of the current major lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies (I think) is just the tip of this iceberg. Eventually, (I hope) the medical community will see the wrong of presecribing carcinogens in place of better behavior. Fortunately, the medical community seems to have embraced the “eat right and exercise” mentality over phen-phen. I hope to live to see the day when the Pill is viewed in the same light.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Germain/755940081 James Germain

    In one sence they already left. Can we really consider those people as Catholic who prefer their political ideologies to their Catholic faith? They are like vegetarians who want to eat meat.

    Prayer and love, our two strongest weapons, will prevail if we remember to use them.


  • AttentionDeficitCatholic

    Oh, so THAT’S why she’s holding out instead of starting her own schism. She wants to be sure it’s done in such a way that her church gets part of the Vatican…


    Okay, I know that that part, at least, was supposed to be kinda tongue-in-cheek, but seriously?

    And am I the only one who found it funny that while Mary Magdalene merited mention in Social Justice Catholic Heaven, Mama Mary did not? (Jesus: “C’mon, Mom, you’re cramping my style! I’m trying to have good times with Melinda Gates Joe Biden! You just hang with Rick Santorum and Paul Ryan, please?”)

    As for the 2000 years worth of rituals and accessories, I know it’s been said before, but you might wanna look into the Episcopal and Anglican Churches.

    And “keep the wine”? REALLY?

    • musiciangirl591

      i didn’t realize that until you mentioned it! oh jeez…

  • Carl Philipp Gaebler

    Argh, did you just link to the Catholic Catechism, available in its entirety online for free? Now I have no excuse for not reading it to see what the Catholic Church actually teaches! If I become a Catholic now, it’s partly your fault!

    • The Thin Man

      God bless you Carl. You’ll love being a Catholic. All those “water sprinkler thingies” and “incense burners”.

  • Joe Gehret

    She wants JP2?! Because, of course, he was polarized by such a paltry division as traditional American political lines. And he’d be more than happy to abandon his views on abortion, contraception, female ordination, homosexual marriage, etc. because he never took a strong stance on those issues… Oh wait. (cough* Evangelium Vitae cough*) He did. Well this just got awkward…

    • Joe Cool

      I know, right? Odd that after she decries the Church’s backwardness on issues like female ordination, she claims the pope that finally infallibly declared that women cannot be ordained. Awkward.

    • musiciangirl591

      i was wondering why she wanted JP2, the last time i checked, shortly before his death, he made a woman (st. gianna) a saint for not having an abortion when she had cancer while she was pregnant with one of her children, she died for that child…

    • cowalker

      Ha ha. Americans have always welcomed JP II as a lovable mascot, I suppose because he was athletic and anti-Communist and multi-lingual. They never paid any more attention to what he said about right and wrong than they do to B XVI. B XVI isn’t as lovable due to tin-eared statements and public attacks on organizations of media-canny nuns and the Girl Scouts. But Americans still fetishize the Catholic pope as a sort of lucky charm, although they wouldn’t dream of taking his moral perspective seriously. We gotta have our birth control and capital punishment, but isn’t he an old, wrinkly dear that just oozes compassion and tradition? Well worth spending millions to host his uplifting appearances where he says uplifting stuff that we ignore.

      • Sarah

        Please don’t generalize with ‘Americans.’ I’m American and strongly admire both popes.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=23216041 Tim Mason

          Darn it! Not able to make sweeping generalizations to accurately describe the views of 60 million people? Absurd!

      • musiciangirl591

        yeah like Sarah said, i’m American and i strongly respect and admire both popes, Pope B XVI might not have the kind of following that JP 2 had but he’s still an awesome man :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/neal.l.meyer Neal Meyer

      Letter to women…JP2, using his ordinary magisterium, settled the so called “woman’s ordination” once and for all….

      sigh. Men and women are equal in the Church…a woman priest would make as much sense as a pregnant man. Women don’t need to be men in order to be worth-while, they have wonderful gifts and God-given dignity, and as JP2 said, “a special genius”. Of course…if you see the priesthood as simply an organizational structure who facilitate the common communion meal as opposed to Servants of Christ acting in persona Christi to re-present the sacrifice of Calvary…well I can see why she is confused.

      oh and JP2 and B16 are of the same mind on almost all points….JP2 preserved the doctrine, B16 is bringing the sacred back to the liturgy. The ultimate tag team.

  • Anna

    I’m interested in the theology behind this “Social Justice Catholic Heaven” but I’m not sure where to start… it is an issue of faith and morals that she does not have the infallible authority to just declare: believing in it would be de facto schism, no matter how much she still thinks she’s Catholic, like SSPX’s current position, right?

    “We’re going to need separate quarters in heaven”… but heaven is the beatific vision while in the New Jerusalem… there is no “separate” in heaven… and until the resurrection of the body, there is no “separate” anywhere else because 3 dimensional space doesn’t mean anything to a spirit… The trouble is saying “I want to be separate from part of your Body, Jesus”, is the same as saying “I want to be separate from You”. Social Justice Catholic Heaven is actually a pretty name for hell! This lady needs a lot of help and prayers!!

    “What awaits me in Social Justice Catholic Heaven…[is] marriage equality,…” The only marriage in heaven is Jesus’s marriage to the Church…

    “contraception flowing freely,” Contraception for who? It will be the end of time, we will have glorified bodies, and marriage is no more… there will be no more conceptions… and why cling to material possessions of this earth?

    “[fabulous and endless] dinner parties, bottomless glasses of wine, and a place at the table for everyone [except you just split heaven in half!]” Sounds like the heaven of Islam, rather than the heaven of Catholicism…which yes is a meal because it’s the marriage supper of the Lamb… but there we are fed with food for both body and spirit (and then isn’t it just a metaphor for the fact we can’t know what heaven will be like? or maybe both? not sure on that…) and her meal (probably unconsciously on her part) is all based around physical pleasure.

    She is right that there will be a place at the table for everyone. She’ll just be surprised at how everyone, everyone really is.

  • Jay E.

    Lady: it’s been done before. Splitting the Church because of political problems but keeping all the cool stuff. Go join the Episcopalians.

  • Abbie Beck

    well said, couldn’t dream of putting it better…let us all pray for Pesoli and others like her.

  • English Catholic

    Whenever I read about some illogical fool spouting off in this way, I just watch this, and feel so much better:


    • JoFro

      I truly love that video – I wish such a scene could be inserted into a more modern movie :D

  • Robyn

    As a former Episcopalian, now Anglican, considering swimming the Tiber and actually in the process of RCIA classes, I would like to invite her to consider my first church, since its pretty much exactly what she is describing (as Marc pointed out). Leave the Catholic Church alone. I’m becoming more and more convinced it might be the last stronghold of Christian sanity, minus this chick.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gregory.arblaster Gregory PC Arblaster

      I am a Catholic but, I would say the Orthodox are an equally sane stronghold.

      • carcomptoy

        Not when the Orthodox Church doesn’t hold that the Holy Spirit comes from the Father AND the Son. So yes, only the Catholic Church is (as she always was and will be) true and sane.

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          You do realize the Pope has basically said that we’re Catholic too, right? That, once I’m baptized Orthodox, I can go take communion at any Catholic church? Complete re-unification, I believe, might happen within our lifetime.

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.kristof Dave Kristof

          As a Byzantine Catholic (in full Communion with Rome) I find your comment not only obnoxious, but ignorant. You should learn about the church before you make such statements.

          • Rivka

            I hope it does. Hope and pray.

        • Grace Wilgus

          you should read up on your history on that matter. Eastern CATHOLICS are still permitted by the POPE to recite the orginial Creed which doesn’t include the fillioque:
          “That Greek-language creed, which dates to the Council of Constantinople in 381, said the Holy Spirit takes his origin from the Father (in Greek, ek tou patros ekporeuomenon). In Latin, the Greek phrase was translated as ex patre procedit (proceeds from the Father). Under the influence of that translation, churches in the West gradually began to insert filioque into the creed, saying the Spirit “proceeds from the Father ‘and the Son.’”

          Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/catholic_orthodox_statement_calls_for_uniform_practice_on_nicene_creed/#ixzz26AtcJwE6

          • yawsep

            Of course the Easterners need permission from the Pope to continue reciting the Nicene Creed EXACTLY as it was formulated by the Fathers of that Council. We also need permission to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom. I am an Eastern Catholic and I love being in communion with Pope Benedict XVI but this comment shows the disrespect often shown to the other Churches by Latin Catholics. Read Orientalium Ecclesiarum (from VII) and Orientatle Lumen (by JPII) before you speak about the Eastern Churches.

        • http://www.facebook.com/neal.l.meyer Neal Meyer

          Whatevs, the Orthodox rule! I pray for the day that I can go to the GO church here in town, and receive comunion, knowing the Church once again breaths with both lungs! Pray for unity!

        • Kate

          As expressed by the Fathers of the Council, they believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son. This the very same council that you as a Catholic also profess to follow. The difference: language. One expressed in Greek and the other in Latin. At times the nuances of a language are missed when translated or explained in a different one.

          Also, the philioque was added at a local council which was neither accepted by the Eastern Churches (as it was a local not a general/ecumenical council), nor were they considered in the discussion when called to add it to the universal Creed.

          I say this as an Orthodox Christian by birth and a Melkite Catholic by marriage. Please read the council documents before you claim to know what the Orthodox do or do not believe.

      • Kate

        Yes and No.

        When it come to the issue of abortion, yes.

        But when it comes to the issue of contraceptives, not so much. While the tradition holds that contraceptives are not permitted (even St. John Chrysostom talks about this in his homilies on marriage), there has been an increasing trend among Orthodox to allow contraceptives for the sake of not committing a bigger sin and because of human weakness. This is, of course, ridiculous as the Christ and the saints call us to strive for something supernatural, and yet we are being told by priests, “well, since you are weak, you can contracept.” (Note especially Metropolitan Kalistos Ware’s change of position on contraceptives in the Orthodox Church.)

  • Mac

    Sean Hannity has no problem with birth control, so she gets to keep him.

    • musiciangirl591

      she gets to listen to him for eternity :P thats SJ Heaven :P

  • Elizabeth

    Marc, this just took my %*&#ing breath away. Perhaps my favorite thing you’ve written so far. (And that’s saying a lot!) (I wasn’t sure about the Father Z yelling-at-the-screen format, but you made it really good.) Your apology at the end really got to me.

    “The heart and soul of the Catholic Church cannot–therefore–be social justice.”

    I was thinking about that line from Part 1 yesterday in church. The Epistle (James 2:1-5, warning against favoring someone in fine clothes over someone who looks poor and filthy) reminded me of an experience I had recently during my conversion process. I was on my way home from work (my old job at an Episcopal church where social justice, cool incense burners, gay-married priests, and self-satisfaction abound). I saw a homeless woman wander from the subway car into the station. She was reeeeally hideous—filthy, grossly fat, and insane. I had a strong feeling of revulsion. Then I suppose my mind tried to go to its usual place of, “What a shame. If only the city’s outreach programs worked better and these people could be referred to the services they need,” or something. But then Something Else in my mind said, “Nope, sorry. That’s not good enough anymore. Look at her and know that she is just as precious to God as you are, and made in His image. Love her.” I’m not saying I succeeded–far from it. My selfish little mind was sort of scrabbling to get away from this truth. I just stared at her until the train pulled out.

    What was it about converting to Catholicism that laid me open to that? Surely I was capable of having that experience while I was an Episcopalian, but I didn’t. Believing in the power of the Blessed Sacrament in all its physicality opened me up to “the loveliness, the inherent loveableness of the human body” (as my dear spiritual advisor would say). Which includes, but goes so far beyond, social justice.

    Sorry so wordy. Great job. I hope Pesoli reads this.

  • musiciangirl591

    weird, i went to a school called Kennedy Catholic… it was really really conservative… i’m confused, also the point i was going to make, if Melinda Gates is going to provide artificial contraceptives/condoms to the “poor, unfortunate women” of the world, how does she know whether or not they use them? i hope Melinda isn’t suggesting forcing contraception down these “poor, unfortunate women”‘s throats…

    • just a catholic guy

      Kennedy Catholic refers to the USA Jack F Kennedy, and his family. very liberal Catholics

      • Carl Philipp Gaebler

        I’m inclined to not call people “conservative” or “liberal” Catholics, but “morally obedient” and “morally disobedient.” Really make it clear that how one lines up with modern American politics isn’t really the point.

      • musiciangirl591

        ahhh, my school was very conservative and i always wondered why they picked President Kennedy as their namesake and not someone else

  • a Kennedy Catholic

    Pesoli makes a point though when it comes to politics: it has become a travesty that the Catholic church decided to embed themselves along party lines. It is one thing for the layman to choose a political affiliation, but it is entirely another for the bishops to embed themselves with the conservative party on issues such as healthcare. There is so much good that will come out of that bill, and yes the HHS mandate is fundamentally wrong both religiously and politically (see the first amendment), but to come out so wholeheartedly against the bill is a truly depressing sight to see. All the rhetoric the Church has used has been so obviously conservative that it has begun to alienate even those moderates among us.

    Pesoli may be praying for a schism, but the council of bishops isn’t doing anything to prevent it.

    • AttentionDeficitCatholic

      “The HHS mandate is fundamentally wrong both religiously and politically (see the first amendment), but [for the bishops] to come out so wholeheartedly against the bill is a truly depressing sight to see.”

      I am confused by this statement. You agree that the HHS mandate is intrinsically wrong, and yet you think that the bishops should have been quieter in their opposition? Why? It is, in fact, an attack on the Church (intentional or no), and you think the outrage should have been less? Why?

      The Catholic Church has not “decided” to embed herself along party lines. The fact is that as a religion, Catholicism deals with fundamental truths about humanity and its nature and dignity. Because of this, politics, the “science of human community” (as it were), inevitably touches on things which the Church teaches (and not the other way around).

  • LT

    I am struck by the stark contrast between Pesoli’s “patron saint”, Melinda Gates, and Blessed Mother Teresa, another world-renowned servant of the poor. Mother Teresa, in all her struggles, never wavered from Church teachings. Would anyone honestly choose Melinda Gates’ version of “Catholic charity” over Mother Teresa’s version? Is Melinda Gates the best she can come up with to illustrate her opinion of a “better” Catholicism? Does anyone doubt that Mother Teresa’s lifelong immersion with the poor may help her understand the poor better than a U.S. billionaire? Without a doubt, I’ll follow Blessed Mother Teresa’s lead over Melinda Gates any day.

    • JoFro

      I don’t think she realises that Blessed Mother Theresa was really the full Catholic package – a person who had so much concern for the poor, she decided to live with them and take care of them till the end of her days, a woman who was so so concerned about the AIDS epidemic during the 80s that her organisation opened the first unit specifically to deal with patients suffering from AIDS,,,and finally a woman who was completely and totally anti-contraception and anti-abortion…why does she not see this?!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.thomsen.75 Ben Anselm Thomsen

    “while opposing …death penalty….thus annoying the Right”

    Meh… even if, in the highly improbable event, ALL of 2267 of the CCC was more than just prudential judgment, the Church still would not be opposing the death penalty, just certain applications of it. To equate the type of dissent of the left’s opinions on abortion and euthanazia with the right’s opinions on the death penalty is a bit of a stretch (as said Cadinal Ratzinger to the U.S. when he was head of the CDF).

    No U.S. party is the Church, but we shouldn’t be afraid to accept the fact that certain candidates can fall within mere prudential disagreement with some of the heirarchy, while others may be in outright dissent with holy doctrine. I think there is often a certain eagerness to say: “Oh hey!! You on the left! We are hip and non-judgmental of you because we really think everybody is just as bad!” …Sometimes there are fairly clear earthly sides who are in the right… even if highly imperfect. There is a temptation to resist this sort of uncomfortable reality and want a softer world-view.

  • Crunchy Cradle Catholic

    “You are keeping the wine, for you are losing the Sacrament.” -this pretty much sums it up. Thank you for the post!

  • The Ironic Catholic

    I really appreciate the apology at the end–because as someone who agrees with you on all the rest but really has a passion for Catholic Social Teaching, we can use more friends. And I can talk more about the contraception and sexuality issues, too. Thank you.

    Also, I used to be a grad assistant at a large ecumenical divinity school, teaching a course called The Nature of the Church and Its Ministries. I heard students float the same kind of argument–let’s split up all the liberals (Methodist, Presby, Lutheran, whatever) and the conservatives, and admit it, wouldn’t everyone be more happy? I mentioned possibly, but it wasn’t exactly a stellar moment in ecumenism to jettison all the ecclesial communities for political pep rallies with Jesus mentioned. P.s. I got them to read Gaudium et Spes later in the semester and they actually came and apologized to me and said unity was worth striving for. Sweet.

  • Micaela


    “The reality is this: The teachings of the Church have always been the Truth from which leftism and rightism are equally false heresies. She demands that we give to the poor, and refrain from sterilizing them. She opposes abortion and euthanasia — thus annoying the Left — while opposing unjust war, death penalty and nuclear weapons — thus annoying the Right. She stands in contradiction to materialism in all its forms, from the capitalist degradation of man into a working unit, to the socialist degradation of man to into a merely social unit. She unites the Klan member and the Communist in common hatred — the WBC preacher and the New Atheist hold hands over a common enemy. She is the rock plunged into the pool — all else is ripple.”

    Is awesome. You have encapsulated everything I’ve tried to explain to my political friends for a long long time. Thank you so much, Marc. Your writing, as always, is enjoyable to read.

  • Lauren

    Holy guacamole that lady needs to pray a rosary.

  • Lauren

    Holy guacamole that lady needs to pray a rosary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindaf3 Linda Fox

    What Pelosi really means is that she WON’T actually live the core beliefs of the Catholic church, but she wants to be able to CALL herself Catholic. These are the people who say “I was raised Catholic”. They don’t LIVE it, but they want credit for what they USED to do.

    I realize that, normally, we try to bring people back into alliance with Catholic teachings. Contrary to common belief, we don’t kick people out, without a long period of refusing to comply with Catholic beliefs (I can’t remember the last time I heard that someone was excommunicated).

    But, I think it’s time. When we yearly renew our Baptismal promises, the priests need to say, “If you can’t agree to follow the BIG ideas, you really ought to gather your things, and head for the door. There is no cafeteria menu for doctrine, one where you can choose to act in opposition to the magisterium.” Then, after pausing for them to leave, continue for the rest of us.

    At that point, we may be smaller, but we will be more focused on our mission.

    As for the ones that leave, well, that’s what the Episcopal Church is for – they even call themselves Catholic.

    • Valerie

      Excommunication isn’t about cutting people off from the church, whether they agree with all of church doctrine, or not, you would still be held accountable to attend Mass, but you wouldn’t be able to receive the blessed Sacrament. The idea is that people who are excommunicated are to spend that time doing penance until otherwise stated by the bishop. So, asking those people to leave church would be, I’m sure, offensive to Christ, where as, with holding the Eucharist from them until said penance is fulfilled is totally different.

      Below is about latae sententiae- which means an automatic excommunication…which I’m sure SEVERAL people who are “Catholic” would qualify for, due to their open disagreement with the Church.

      Unless the excusing circumstances outlined in canons 1321-1330[5] exist, the Code of Canon Law imposes latae sententiae excommunication on the following:

      an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic;[6]
      a person who throws away the consecrated Eucharistic species or takes and retains them for a sacrilegious purpose;[7]
      a person who uses physical force against the Pope;[8]
      a priest who uses confession as a pretext to solicit the penitent to break the commandment against adultery;[9]
      a bishop who ordains someone a bishop without a papal mandate, and the person who receives the ordination from him;[10]
      a confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal of confession;[11]
      a person who procures a completed abortion;[12]
      accomplices without whose assistance a violation of a law prescribing latae sententiae excommunication would not have been committed.[13]

  • http://twitter.com/EdmundMitchell Edmund Mitchell

    You can spell “Pelosi” with the name “Pesoli”….coincidence? I shant think it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1640074522 Joseph Jablonski

    Bad Catholic, great analysis on Pesoli’s ridiculous article. I think that as Catholics we need to work harder on healing that “wound” you describe – the wall of separation that has been erected between social justice and social conservative Catholics! Honestly, the fact that economic and pro-life activism, for example, can’t go hand in hand is utter crap. Please, expand on that more, going along your post a couple of months ago speaking against being a culture warrior!

  • http://twitter.com/catholicfword Christine Dalessio

    My heart hurts. Once upon a time, we Catholics could at least strive for that life in tension: imminent AND transcendent, heaven AND earth, body AND soul… the continued polarization of the Church, especially following the democratic experiment of the US (which has worked so well) is a deep wound indeed in the body of Christ. All I can say here is that regardless of which side you may incline towards, we need to become mindful of moving back to that center- where the body of Christ, as Marc so beautifully pointed out, is ONE as Christ and the Father are one.
    Marc, thank you for the reminder to speak about the fullness of the faith – social justice AND pro-life, etc… Because without the WHOLE body, what good is a random fingernail or a toe? God bless the deep misunderstanding that pervades her argument. The Church is already fragmented. We need to be moving towards restoration, not rejection.

  • Caryn in Denver

    Att first, after reading Pesoli’s article, I felt all spittin’ mad… Then i just started to feel sad and heartbroken. I feel as though my sister left town, ignored the family, then publicly denounced our Mother with half-truths and her own sad misunderstandings…. Oh wait… that IS what happened. And it’s really really heartbreaking.

  • http://twitter.com/Chris_Halasz Christina Halasz

    How are the Foundation’s hormone pill stocks these days, Melinda?

  • R.C.

    Sadly, this girl seems unaware that the Conservative folk in the Body of Christ are, precisely, the folk who care most for the poor.

    The stats are available, and oft-studied. In the U.S., the percentage of one’s pre-tax income that one gives to church and charity is a function of how conservative one’s voting patterns are, with conservative types averaging about 6.5% and left-liberal types around 2.2%. And this is true at all income levels, all tax brackets. What’s more, while left-liberals are more often found in paid positions at charities, foundations, and government social-work offices, conservatives are more numerous volunteering, giving blood, serving in soup kitchens in economically depressed areas for no pay at all…that kind of thing.

    In short, while Melinda Gates is great at giving a lot of the money she married to charitable causes (and, when those causes don’t contradict the teachings of the Church, she should be applauded), she is, as a left-liberal, an outlier.

    (That’s assuming that her total giving adds up, in actuality, to more than 2.2% of her income. Since I don’t know the figures, I can’t tell whether that’s true; I’m just giving her the benefit of the doubt.)

    The normal left-liberal behavior is to spend most of one’s non-rent dollars on entertainment and socializing and whatever else, while dropping $2 in the basket out of habit, and then sending IRS agents backed by the government’s force-of-arms to collect extra money from hard-working folks to compel them to take care of those distasteful poor people. That way all that tedious income-tracking and proportionate-almsgiving crap becomes Someone Else’s Job and left-liberals can pat themselves liberally on the back: After all, they’ve shown themselves to be so generous, so concerned, that they were even willing to create a bureaucracy for the poor. (Cue the angelic hosts singing alleluias, as St. Francis looks on, impressed, and Our Lord admits that even the loaves and the fishes look pretty titchy up next to an arms-length registry of government programs.)

    Meanwhile, the classic Christian behavior on the right is the guy who (despite seeing his own household income drop by a third while Obama’s policies persistently push economic recovery farther away into the future) gives 10% of his pre-tax income away, split up among his parish, his diocese, a local crisis pregnancy center, and a few other worthy causes, and also gives blood 5 or 6 times a year at the local Red Cross blood donor center, and never fails to put a few cans in the St. Vincent de Paul pantry at the church.

    That, folks, is how people who believe in political and economic liberty and in the teachings of the Church handle their almsgiving. They give of themselves, of their time and their treasure.

  • Melchisedech

    I prefer the so-called “censors” to be called “thuribles” but other than that I shall agree whole-heartedly with the good Mr Barnes.

    • Jeremiah Evans

      If the one who bears the thurible in procession is the thurifer, and the one who bears the crucifix the crucifer, aren’t the ones who bear the candles lucifers?

      (Inb4 concern about incautiously referrencing the demonc, It’s a title, not a name, and is used to refer to Christ in the exultet (morning star))

  • Tara

    “We’re going to need separate quarters in heaven, too….at least I can take comfort knowing that’s what awaits me in Social Justice Catholic heaven.”

    Because Pesoli can place herself on a pedestal that reaches to the height of God Himself and go so far as to tell Him what to do with HIS heaven (I’m sure He loves the idea of shattering it into pieces) AND tell Him who’s going to heaven. Outstanding.

  • Ol Cephas

    Quick! Somebody start a around of “Kumbaya” here! Wow …. and I thought watching the “WWF Smackdown” polemics about Protestants over at “Catholic Answers” was interesting … “as MC said … Can’t touch this..!” ;-) Wow. After being in the RCC for 53 years (RCC school, Altar boy, Latin Mass, Nuns that swatted you, Vat 1), and watching decades of dedicated adherence to “process” and “tradition”, and seeing bazillions of sheep … bearing little to NO signs of “Spiritual Fruit” (including myself) and clueless about Scripture, it was time to take a step back and seriously look “behind the curtain” (of “Stuff” “Official This” and “Imprimatur That”. After a while it “officially-historically” starts to sounds a bit … “Pharisaical”, (even “country clubbish) I’m sad to say. Perhaps Ms Pesoli (and others squawking) might recall it’s all about “Him”. He’s the Sovereign one. The Social Gospel is Important .. but Schism HIS church over it? Isn’t He is “Above our Ways” (“Huge-er”). Remembering not to “Major in the Minors” (Melinda, Pesoli, et al) recall how Our Lord absolutely nailed it with “The Greatest Commandment” (Deut 6:4 and Lev 19:18) … which were around 15 Centuries BEFORE the claims of the “one true anything” that many try to claim at Pentecost in AD 30 +/-. Note the order … Deut 6 comes First. (FWIW,in the Koine Greek of the NT, the word was “ekklesia” (a called out “gathering” … was the “one true Gathering” starting at Antioch … you know … they were called “The Way”? (note–not “Kirche” or “Church”; that’s a 2nd-3rd century term from the Germanic barbarian (reprobate) hordes … not exactly your “Father’s Catholic Church”). Two great books recently by Dr Scot McKnight about “Majoring in the Majors”. (King Jesus Gospel & KJ Creed). Based around the “Schema” (Greatest Commandment), and majoring in the “majors” of 3600 years ago, which were the foundations of Messianic Judaism, which were the foundations of … well, you know.. and now all we’re here … “peacefully”. While the “denominational” sparks fly here and and there (Less Filling – Tastes Great), recall the context of Deut 6.4 … “Pray it when you get up, when you lie down … when you sit, walk through your day … teach your children, etc. (Putting Him first … not debate, nor CCC, nor East, nor West, nor Republican, Fililoque, Democrat et al); just a thought. Peace :-) Excellent Blog, sir.

  • If_Only15

    Her article sounds like a joke. It’s totally something that I would say with 100% sarcasm. It’s very frightening that she’s serious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715850932 Danielle Mascio Kraemer


  • bobthechef

    Oh, but the truth DIVIDES. Let’s underscore that bit. “Let there be no divisions” means that unity can only be had in the truth, and so whether one is in unity with the Church depends on each person’s closeness to the truth. Unlike this pluralistic wishy-washy garbage where unity is through conformity, or some kind of relativism which ushers forth the National Religion. In practice, the truth divides. People like to buddy up, they like it when people acquiesce to their lies to make them feel good. Truth pisses people off. It separates the chaff from the wheat. For those who complain about the division (i.e. Pelosi), I say “too bad, you dissented from the truth, you walked away, we’re still here”. Of course, sin is departure from the union, so we’re all guilty of departing from Her.

  • http://swt.encyclomundi.org/ shackra sislock

    “crazy” woman :-/

  • Tony Gutiérrez

    Two thoughts: 1) While the Episcopal Church did break from the Catholic Church, it was not based on those things – which is why it’s currently undergoing its own schism, and the people breaking off are (unschismatising?).
    2) This Schism that she wants DID already happen. And, appropriately named, they are actually CALLED the Liberal Catholic Church. (Not quite Social Justice Catholic Church, but awful close). Here’s a link if you’re interested in a fun mental trip: http://www.libcci.org/.