God Bless Rebecca Hamilton!

With the coordinated attacks now being undertaken against Pope Francis by Rush Limbaugh and FOX, we appear to be entering into a new phase in which the Makers and Manufacturers of Received Wisdom for the Thing that Used to be Conservatism are trying to force a choice among conservative Catholics between serving GOD or GOP. Over at the Register, I will run a fisk tomorrow of the godawful hatchet piece FOX chose to run on Pope Francis. I assume it’s just a matter of time before somebody replies to Rush’s panic-mongering hysteria. But the message from this coordinated attack is extremely clear: the movers and shakers in the Thing That Used to be Conservatism have taken out a hit on Francis and made clear that the utility of Catholics is drawing to a close. Instead of seduction from within, the leadership of the Thing that Used to be Conservatism is attempting to move Catholics into a position of open hostility to the Church every bit as much as the leadership of Progressive Dissent such as Pelosi and Biden have done. On the whole, that may be a good thing since I prefer the Thing that Used to be Conservatism’s naked hostility to its phoney Judas kisses and seductive lies. Rebecca Hamilton, who speaks truth as pointedly to Right Wing power as to to the leadership in her own party, seems to grasp something similar and gives Rush, FOX and Co. a blunt rejoindera>:

I doubt that they’re interested in what I think, but I want to send a message to the charlatans out there in the blogosphere. If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me standing with the Pope.

If you are a Catholic, and you have been joining in the orgy of Pope bashing that is coming from the right wing of American politics, then you need to get in line right behind Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and all those other Catholics you love to hate. Because you are one of them. Get yourself a cafeteria card and get that baby punched.

If you are a Catholic, and you are not outraged by the river of slime being dumped on our Pope by vicious right-wing pundits, then you need some spiritual smelling salts.

Wake up Catholics. Stand with your Pope.

Pitch perfect. Hear, hear!

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. I stand with Pope Francis.

  • Illinidiva

    I don’t think Francis cares. He has dealt with much worse critics in Buenos Aires .

    • Almario Javier

      Given we’re talking about people that committed horrible human rights abuses, that must be the understatement of the week.

  • JasperBuck

    Where on earth are you getting the idea that Rush Limbaugh is attacking Pope Francis? I was listening to his show today and he specifically addressed this media feeding frenzy twisting what he actually said. He reiterated today that he is not attacking Pope Francis; he does take issue with what he said, but readily admits he didn’t read what the pope said and offered that it could even be a poor translation. Limbaugh is a friend of the Catholic Church and often defends the Church from attack. He is a vocal opponent of abortion and has been very supportive of the Bishops’ fight against the HHS mandate. He doesn’t like the USCCB’s immigration stand, but he is wedded to his political philosophy. He’s actually a funny guy who makes a lot of good points (if you actually listen to him) and takes himself far less seriously than his detractors do. You’re free to disagree with his politics, but don’t attack the man based on what you’re reading online.

    • Heather

      Wait, so he has given multiple scathing commentaries now on something he hasn’t actually read?

      • JasperBuck

        That’s the point – Limbaugh takes issue with the very assertion that his commentary was scathing. It was an observation he made a couple of days ago that has been twisted by the Leftist media – that’s why he offered that he hadn’t read the Exhortation. By his own admission, Limbaugh is not a radio-Journalist or providing editorial commentary. He is more of an entertainer in the same way Mark Russell was, if you remember him (the fellow on PBS with the piano). Limbaugh’s program largely consists of off-the-cuff but cogent observations on modern society with a great deal of humor thrown in. Mark Shea and Rebecca Hamilton are making good points when they urge Catholics to stand with Pope Francis. My point is that we don’t need to attack a bogeyman the media is offering up to us. It’s divisive. I am a faithful, politically conservative Catholic who loves Pope Francis and am thrilled/inspired/awed at his pontificate. But I am above all else Catholic. I also think Limbaugh is a funny guy and so do a lot of other Catholics. Don’t let the Leftists who hate the Church and Pope Francis divide us.

        • HornOrSilk

          If he had not read it and knew nothing of it, why did he comment on it? Seriously. Irresponsible nit-wit at best. But I am sure he read a few of the paragraphs and hated the Pope’s rejection of Reagan’s economic policies. Seriously, the Pope criticized trickle-down economics. It’s not “leftists who hate the Church” who are dividing us. It is extremists on all sides, ideologues, who have no faith in Christ but in one form of economic materialism or another who go against the Church’s teaching. That Rush is incapable of thinking beyond capitalism and socialism for economics shows he is trapped in such materialistic thinking.

          • JasperBuck

            So, you’re calling Rush an irresponsible nit-wit for commenting on something he hadn’t read. So, that means you actually listened to what Limbaugh said about this on his radio program today, or would you be commenting on something you hadn’t heard?

            • HornOrSilk

              I heard him commenting upon the Pope last week.

              Here, you can, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiRJXlYK7G0

              • Amber Redmer

                Yes God-forbid we not worship money and capitalism Limbaugh — =P

              • JasperBuck

                It’s Media Matters – they didn’t play the whole thing. So, you didn’t hear what he said TODAY, did you?

        • Amber Redmer

          the leftist media dividing us??? are you seriously so blind as to not see that the democrat and republican party are nearly the same party — they are BOTH playing the divide and conquer game! WAKE UP!

          • JasperBuck

            Republican Party? You mean there actually is a Republican Party? I hadn’t noticed…

            Point well taken – those on the Right are divisive as well. But I submit that those who identify themselves as Right-wing are not nearly as good at playing the game.

    • HornOrSilk

      I don’t know, when Rush said the Pope is giving Marxism to the Church?

      • JasperBuck

        My gosh, defending Limbaugh is almost as much of a pain in the neck as defending Pope Francis… I have a feeling I’m about to get pounced on…

        • Guest

          +J.M.J+

          You got it – welcome to CAEI! If you defend conservatives here when charges are made against them, you will indeed get pounced on. Even if the charges are mistaken. Take it from one who has tried a few times and more or less given up. This is a “pox on both your houses” zone.

    • Amber Redmer

      Gag me. Limbaugh doesn’t deserve defense. He’s perfectly capable of making an ass of himself and talking about it later – he almost never apologizes outright and instead, like Obama or Pelosi, claim to be misinformed later…. absolutely ridiculous. His “good points” are lost in tirade of rhetoric that pretty much sounds like everyone else.

  • Stu

    Now when those who are not part of the Church on the left took the Pope’s words incorrectly and assumed he meant things that he really didn’t, the consensus was that we should be thankful for the opportunity to engage in discourse.

    Now that it seems to be people on the right doing the same thing, that mentality seems to have fallen by the wayside.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      We should not get outraged over the U.S gov’t moving the American embassy to the Vatican to another location, but we’re *must* be outraged because Fox News posted an *opinion* piece that spouts nonsense about the pope. The former is ginned-up malarky over a non-issue but the latter is indisputable proof that Fox News is waging war against the Holy Father. Got it.

      (BTW, I agree that the embassy kerkuffle is much ado about nothing, even though it may not look good in light of the Obama administration’s treatment of Catholics. I just don’t see why Fox News doesn’t get the same benefit of the doubt.)

      • chezami

        The FOX piece represents a broad change in the Right’s stance toward the Church, It’s citation of Right Wing Echo Chamber pseudoknowledge about the Pope’s supposed rhetoric about “unfettered capitalism” demonstrates the the herd instinct is in full swing among the Manufacturers of Thought on the Right. And since Francis isn’t going anywhere for a long time, it means that this stance of hostility will not be changing either, since the last thing the RWNM is capable of doing is self-examination. It is built to attack ideological enemies and Francis has just been designated as #2, right after Obama. I don’t care if you get outraged, I care that you not get suckered by the RWNM into choosing party loyalty over fidelity to the Church: because that is *exactly* what this piece is saying the faithful must now do. It is indeed a declaration of war.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          Don’t worry, I won’t get suckered by the anti-Francis BS. I don’t have “party loyalty” in the first place; I’m not registered Republican and don’t consider myself liberal or conservative.

          I agree with you that that opinion piece is nonsense and that it reflects a disturbing trend among too many formerly faithful Catholics. I just find it hard to believe that a single opinion piece, clearly posted as such on a news website, is more than just one man’s opinion. That it somehow reflects the secret agenda of the entire Fox News network.

          Reason dictates that, if Fox News runs a variety of stories and opinion articles about the pope, some positive, some negative and some neutral, then it is not hell-bent on turning everyone against him. It is simply presenting different POV’s, which is what the news media is supposed to do. That’s all I’m saying. By all means, go to town on Shaw’s hit piece against His Holiness, but there’s no need to get all quasi-conspiratorial about Fox News’s alleged hidden motives for posting it.

          • chezami

            I get that. But ,my point is that this *is* what both Rush and FOX are attempting to do. That *is* much more important than the stupid embassy business, because there are lots of conservative Catholics who take these organs of propaganda very seriously while treating the magisterium as only important when it says what they want to hear.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              If Fox News is really trying to wage war on Pope Francis, then why all the positive statements about him in both news reporting and other opinion pieces? I’m just not seeing a concerted effort to alienate Catholics from the pope. I’m seeing a website that posts different points of view. There’s no reason to read too much into an opinion piece. That’s my point.

        • Stu

          “It is indeed a declaration of war.”
          ——————-
          Man overboard, port side.

  • jill e

    For a good idea about what’s going on, just look at the groups calling for Limbaugh to apologize – the Soros-funded Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) and Faith in Public Life (FPL). And Rush Limbaugh is a big Catholic supporter. He was a guest of Cardinal O’Connor early in his career because of his pro-life stance. Limbaugh is often treated like Fulton Sheen said of the Catholic Church – “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church.
    There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be
    the Catholic Church.” Most people who hate Limbaugh have never even listened to him. I believe that to be the biggest fault of this blog.

    • HornOrSilk

      Ah, the guilt by association tactic. Just look at all those sinners who praise Christ, but all those holy Pharisees, they attack him. Why do you stand with the sinners?

    • Illinidiva

      Yes.. It is amusing that left wing groups are finally concerned with the attack on a Catholic religious leader. They are hypocrites – so what?
      As for the main controversy, I think that Limbaugh is a blowhard, but I also don’t think that this was really an ugly attack and think he is entitled to disagree with the Pope on economics without everyone heading for the smelling salts. Pope Francis isn’t a delicate flower who needs to be protected from all forms of criticism; he is an experienced leader who has had to deal military dictators who threw opponents out of planes alive, former leftist rebels who falsely accused him of siding with the military junta, and extreme right-wing “Catholics” who are fond of Holocaust denial. I think that the man can deal with a blowhard American talk show host.
      But I do have a few observations on this one. 1. Perhaps, Donahue and others on the right can stop shrieking anti-Catholic bias and slander after every criticism. We live in a pluralistic society. 2. Conservative Catholics can disagree with the economic ideas that Francis espouses and argue in favor of capitalism. However, I never want to hear the words “cafeteria Catholic” or “we must defer to the Pope on this” from them again.

  • Dan Sealana

    Close your link tag, sir. :)

  • Rosemarie

    +J.M.J+

    Aw, heck, I might as well try to play devil’s advocate again. Maybe this time reason will win out over outrage (hope springs eternal, I guess).

    The same Fox News website that supposedly attacked Pope Francis because it posted a negative *opinion* piece about him, also posted this more *positive* opinion piece about him just the day before the negative one:

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/12/03/pope-francis-unexpected-hannukah-gift/

    …as well as this *news* item (not opinion piece) which is quite positive in tone as well:

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/12/03/pope-francis-reveals-used-to-work-as-bouncer/

    I’m not seeing a war against the pope here. I’m seeing a news outlet allowing people to present different opinions on a topic – some negative but others positive. Which is what news outlets do. Why demonize them for doing what the media is supposed to do? Yeah, the Shaw opinion piece was boneheaded but it was just *opinion.* It doesn’t necessarily reveal some hidden agenda on the part of Fox News.

    • HornOrSilk

      Yes, yes. We know. They sometimes post things about the Pope they like, when they can use it. Just like they posted claims about the Vatican embassy, which was all done for politics, and based upon misrepresentation. They use the Pope for political ideology and at times will look like they support him.

      But anything serious, and they will find all kinds of excuses, from ways to ignore the Pope (torture, war), to, well, how to reject his economic positions (he’s ignorant, he’s a communist).

      There is every bit a war on the Pope with him as there is on Wonkette.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        So when they say positive stuff about the pope it’s because they are cynically using him to advance their agenda. But when they post one negative opinion piece they show their true anti-Catholic colors. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. No benefit of the doubt, no assuming good will. Fox News is evil, full stop.

        Yes, I was too idealistic to think that reason would prevail over emotional outrage. Silly me.

        • HornOrSilk

          It’s when they only speak on a few things from the Pope, and ignore everything which goes against their ideology, YES they are using him and not interested in what he has to teach.

          You are NOT engaging reason here. If they had temperate responses to the Pope, and showed some change in their ideology was a result of what he said, you would have a point. They don’t.

          • Rosemarie

            +J.M.J+

            I know from experience there is no use reasoning with you, HornOrSilk. So I won’t waste my time.

            I’ll just ask that fair-minded readers here read the articles for themselves, along with other things Fox News has posted about the pope, and make up their own minds whether the news outlet has an ideologically-driven animus against the pope or whether they just present many different opinions.

            • kenofken

              Fox doesn’t care one way or another about the pope, and it doesn’t present “many different opinions.” It is the mouthpiece of the 1%. Where Francis’s actions and words coincide with their agenda, or are neutral, they’re happy to characterize him in a good light. When he calls for things that threaten them (like pretty much ALL social justice teaching), he must be marginalized.

              • HornOrSilk

                Exactly. Same with popular leftist sites, as well. They will find a way to ignore anything he teaches that goes against their sexual agenda, for example.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                kenofken: On the contrary, Fox News *has* presented different opinions on the pope, both positive and negative, as well as some neutral reporting. I’ve read and heard these opinions expressed myself. So yes, it *does* present different opinions; this can be proven through a simple search at the website.

                And again, the piece in question is an *opinion* piece. That means the author is expressing his opinion which is not necessarily that of Fox News. Too much weight is being given to it.

                Yet I’ll take your assertion that the channel “doesn’t care one way or another about the pope” over the quasi-conspiratorial notion that the channel is subtly trying to alienate Catholics from the Church. I don’t like conspiracy theories and this has the definite whiff of one.

                • kirthigdon

                  I have to go with Rosemarie on this and it is really irrelevant whether FOX does or doesn’t have a hidden anti-Catholic agenda. I stand with Pope Francis and he is decidedly not calling for a crusade against his critics, but has set us the example of outreach to them himself. Ultramontanism should be the default Catholic position, but trying to be more papist than the Pope is another thing. We betray this very charitable man when we use him as an excuse for uncharitable attacks against his critics or even his enemies.
                  Kirt Higdon

                  • Rosemarie

                    +J.M.J+

                    >>>We betray this very charitable man when we use him as an excuse for uncharitable attacks against his critics or even his enemies.

                    This. What would our dear Holy Father himself think if he read these posts? Would he really want us up in arms over an alleged “war” against him? Is that in the spirit of his message? Are *we* really listening to him?

                    Remember the Pentecostal church down in Brazil that was speaking out against him during WYD? What did he do in response?

                    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2013/08/a-brazilian-reader-notes-two-incidents-from-wyd.html

                    Shouldn’t we do likewise?

                    As Stu implies below, if liberal misunderstandings of the pope are an opportunity for dialogue, perhaps conservative misunderstandings are an opportunity to instruct the ignorant. Sure, some will insist on clinging to their ignorance, but some liberals are likely to do that as well. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to reach out with patience, reason and charity.

  • peggy

    So, the attacks are coordinated? Rush called this Shaw dude? Rush told FOX to post it? Rush is only for himself, as a media concern.

    I don’t think Rush attacked. He disagreed. He was surprised. He doesn’t understand why the pope would say things that he did. It sounded like the antithesis of John Paul II to Rush. Rush was clear but respectful. He did not caricature or mock the Holy father. JasperBUck is right.

    Rosemarie is right that the facts don’t matter much here. The broad brush swipe at “the right” here is frustrating. There are many differences among individuals and factions of the right. Further, a good understanding of economic theories and Francis’ background from oligarchs in Latin America are helpful to understanding both sides of this debate on economics.

    • James Scott

      Comparing the Pope to Jeremiah Wright? Rush did that & he is now dead to me.

      • peggy

        That is not in the transcript of today’s broadcast in which he replays his original comments, plus discusses the firestorm. You have heard some lie about his show somewhere. Oh, and it was the liberal media that first came up with “unfettered markets” Rush says he was just reading what was being reported. No doubt his personal morals leave much to be desired, but he took pains today to establish his support of and admiration for the Catholic Church.

        Transcript link: http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/12/05/i_won_t_play_villain_in_the_pope_soap

        We might do well to discuss instead the odd idea that something “pastoral” needs to be done for remarried Catholics that cannot receive communion. Well, they are living in mortal sin, according to Catholic morality. There is nothing to be done, but annulment of prior marriages and Catholic matrimonial vows of the current marriage. Ed Peters had a good column on that today.


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