Todd Unctuous has Competition!

I have a news feed from the Huffington Post and it seems they have a writer on their staff who is competing with my alter ego Todd Unctuous to write the stupidest, most inane kind of self righteous liberal drivel possible.

The pretend person is called Cara McDonegal.  The article in question is headlined as “An Open Letter to the US Conference of Bishops”. I have to hand it to Miss McDougall. She puts Todd Unctuous in the shade for the delightful combination of ignorance, arrogance and self righteous hauteur. Miss McDonald is upset that the Catholic bishops have not automatically, like corporate mind readers, adapted their conference agenda to her special concerns.

So she starts in on her loftily toned tirade:

Dear Sirs:

I have noted, with some confusion, the pressing agenda items to be discussed at the annual fall General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from Nov. 11 – 14 in Baltimore.

Most interesting, a presentation for a “proposal to develop a formal statement on pornography,” that is not only listed along with the other items (which include an update on the “Promotion and Defense of Marriage” and an update on the “Call to Prayer for Life”) but is also presented in bold lettering at the top of the news item announcing the Conference on your home page.

You are, it must be noted, attacking this alleged pornography problem with ample exuberance.

Or — perhaps more accurately — you’re not so much addressing a problem (is there a raging pornography epidemic?) as you are allotting time at your annual fall gathering for a simple discussion surrounding the specifics of your group’s stance on the issue.

Let’s be clear on that.

I’m assuming the outcome will be something like, “Pornography is a bad thing” — in more illustrative prose, of course.

Let’s also be clear on a few other things, concentrating not only the subject matters included in this agenda, but also the subject matters that are notably absent.

I realize I’ve called you out on the most controversial of your agenda items — the ones pro-life Catholics like me, who think all couples deserve the right to get married, get most riled up over. There is more to the document, however; votes for new officers, revisions to your handbook, consultation on a potential canonization and something about a Spanish translation of the prayer book at mass.

There is, however, not too much more to it than that.

Rest assured, I recognize that I’m one of the troublemakers when it comes to proper Catholic doctrine. I didn’t go to mass last week or the one before, and I, as mentioned, don’t agree with many Church stances on core social issues. I think Planned Parenthood is an amazing organization. I’m a huge fan of contraceptives.

Still, I cling to my Catholic faith with a dogged perseverance that, frankly, I’m beginning to question. Do I remain Catholic because it’s easier than the alternative? Because I’m just apathetic enough that permanently abandoning the religion seems too much work?

I’d like to think not.

The opening is breath taking in its ability to miss the main point, argue from silence and imply that “pornography is not so bad really.” Then there’s the bit where she claims to be a pro-life while she then goes on to voice her support for contraception and Planned Parenthood. She “clings to her Catholic faith” but doesn’t go to Mass. Priceless! She clings to being a Catholic because she’s too lazy to investigate the alternative? I love that. She’s actually tried to give it some thought but that hurt her head too much so she’s decided not to give it some thought anyway.

I can offer her some advice. Join the Episcopalians sweetheart. You can have women priests, lesbian bishops, gay marriage, abortion on demand and you don’t have to go to church.

What I’d like to think, instead, is that I still identify as a Catholic because I believe organized religion can do good in ways amplified by the fact that its very existence centers around a literal and figurative room of faithful, optimistic believers.

Sure, there’s Hell and brimstone in both biblical and modern day sermons, but I don’t think I’m mistaken in assuming that most Catholics, like me, remain Church members not out of fear or guilt, but because we believe that we can create positive change in the world.

 Awww. Religion is all about making the world a better place and most Catholics remain church members because they believe we can create positive change in the world. “Yes we can!”…and if you believe in fairies clap your hands.

Like me, I know that many Catholics have been both shocked and uplifted by Pope Francis and his recent public commentary.

Shocked, because, unlike you, the Pope has delighted Catholics previously fed up with the Church’s message, by suggesting that we focus less on these hot-button issues — those seemingly at the heart of your annual fall meeting — and more on issues concerning a broader swath of humanity, such as economic inequality; issues that affect the population in Baltimore, where you will meet, too.

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible…it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the Pope said when interviewed last month.

While I wish you’d included even one tiny agenda item discussing, or at least acknowledging, the Pope’s message, I am, sadly, not surprised that you didn’t.

Yep. There it is. The Pope Francis quote which has made all the sappy liberals believe at last in papal infallibility. It’s the quote they’ll soon have made into soft focus posters. It’s the quote they’ll refer to in all their self righteous, passive aggressive tirades when they “express concern” and “voice their sadness” at all the nasty conservatives.

Then she ends on this triumphant note:

I admit, I haven’t followed your actions with the fervor of the more engaged Catholics than myself. I can’t rhapsodize on your actions armed with the knowledge and statistics of schooled theologians.

But I promise you this. I’m not alone. There are many more like me, questioning your decisions, and their allegiance to a religion that — for years — has appeared dead set on shutting us out, as it anxiously rails against everything unfamiliar, instead of for everything good.

Pope Francis motivates the masses because his message speaks to worthy goals that we, as a faith, can work towards, together.

Do you not fear being left behind?

She “can’t rhapsodize on the bishops’ actions armed with the knowledge and statistics of schooled theologians.” Well, that’s one true thing she’s written.

Here’s a great sentence: “Francis motivates the masses because his message speaks to worthy goals which we, as a faith, can work towards.”

Can I just parse that final sentence for the sake of clarity? “His message speaks” or does Francis speak? “His message speaks to worthy goals?” How does a message speak to worthy goals? “worthy goals which we as a faith, can work towards” How are “we” a “faith” and how does a faith work toward anything?

The whole article is so badly written, so ignorant, so sophomorically arrogant and composed with no evidence of knowledge, research or authority of any kind.

And this gets published?

Todd Unctuous come home. All is forgiven.

  • Richard

    She says: “Do I remain Catholic because it’s easier than the alternative?” Oh, don’t worry darlin’, you ceased to be Catholic a long time ago.

    • Dave Zelenka

      Be very careful, Richard. The measure we use on others will be measured for us. If Catholic means that our heart believes everything in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, then we’re all in trouble. Look deeply inside and you will be stunned.

      Every last human who has every been baptized with a Trinitarian baptism has entered the Mother Church. This is because during that baptism we are grafted into Christ. The Bride and the Bridegroom are (and will be) inseparable. It is not up to us who leaves the church and who stays. This is up to Jesus. Even some who profess to leave the church are written in the Book of Life and will be re-grafted in.

      • Terri Hemker

        Well said, Dave! Thank you!

      • johnnyc

        But there is a reason Jesus said go and sin no more and it is Father’s duty to preach the same message. Jesus spoke much about the devil, sin and hell. Out of love.

  • Christian LeBlanc

    Quite the ego, and not embarrassed about it.

  • Mike Deangelo

    Regrettably, she’s not the only “Catholic” out there who thinks that way.

  • Chesire11

    In fairness, it was published, but only by the Huffington Post, in whichhjer only competition were “stories” of the latest “wardrobe malfunction” of the starlet du jour.

  • reiyn

    Wow. She indeed is full of dribble.

  • Jan R. Mickiewicz

    “suggesting that we focus less on these hot-button issues — those seemingly at
    the heart of your annual fall meeting — and more on issues concerning a broader
    swath of humanity, such as economic inequality”
    A poor trick. The first part (“less on…”) is true, while the second one (“more on…”) is patently false.

  • Michael

    It’d be funny if the vast majority of her readers won’t yuck this up like trendy Catholic brilliance. It’s fairy clear she made a nice, neat list of all the buzz words, nailed them all, and expects a gold star for telling those nasty old men what’s what.

    Oh, and pornography isn’t a problem, she says? I’d like to see her say that to any of the confessors on my Catholic campus. When there’s a line out of the transept and into the nave waiting to confess, _every single day_, and every other male confesses to having watched pornography, it seems the garbage just might be a problem. And those men are only the ones who feel guilty enough to confess it!

    But, in honesty, her position is probably a product of inexperience and indifference. She clearly hasn’t been in a relationship with a man truly enslaved by pornography, a man with entirely fictional expectations of a woman’s appearance and sexual willingness. Let’s not forget: pornography is the ultimate selfishness. The thousands of women whose self-esteem and confidence has been utterly destroyed by the fact that their husbands can’t perform without a quick trip to the computer would attest to that.

    Sorry to get explicit, Father, but sheer ignorance like this is exactly why we’ve got to broadcast His Holiness’s words on the Devil as loudly and as often as possible.

    • Chesire11

      Pornography is a particularly pernicious and widespread aspect of the Culture of Death.

  • Donna Gunter

    An abortion center in Kansas had that Pope Francis quotation on its fence, using his words against pro-life activists who pray in front of that center. Such a shame. His own words are being used against faithful Catholics and even interfering with their ministries. I also know that a group of Italians have written an open letter to the Holy Father asking him to intervene in a proposed anti-homophobia law that they fear would cost them jail time if they teach the Catholic catechism on sexuality. It seems to me this case should tilt the Holy Father’s hand one way or another, given that he is the Bishop of Rome and introduced himself to the world as the Bishop of Rome. If he refuses to intervene or even to say something, then I think we will all know something. I really fear this pontificate is going to tear down much of what JPII and Benedict XVI accomplished, and it makes me incredibly sad. I miss Benedict so much and cannot help but believe he made a mistake to resign.

  • faithandfamilyfirst

    “Because I’m just apathetic enough that permanently abandoning the religion seems too much work?”
    Let’s see. She doesn’t attend mass. She doesn’t believe in the Church’s position on most moral issues. She doesn’t believe that there’s raging pornography epidemic (seriously?).
    Sounds to me like she’s already abandoned the religion.

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    Why is it that we know that anyone – ANYONE – who uses the phrase, ‘Let’s be clear about this’, is just about to propose something which is only clearly sophistry, drivel, or lies, and if not any of those, clearly patronising, to a listener with an IQ over 10?

    • Chesire11

      For pretty much the same reason that “with all due respect” precedes the most disrespectful comments, “I hear what you’re saying” follows being completely ignored, and “no offense, but” is like the on-deck circle for insults.

  • perpper

    You made that letter up, right?

    • frdlongenecker

      Nope. Follow the link.

      • perpper

        oh boy …

  • vox borealis

    “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible…it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the Pope said when interviewed last month.

    And this gift just keeps on giving.

  • Mary E.

    Once we had copy editors. Now, the honorable role of the copy editor is almost a memory, so we need software programs that can automatically block sentences such as “I can’t rhapsodize on your actions armed with the knowledge and statistics of schooled theologians.” “Rhapsodize?” Really? Also, once a writer admits that she isn’t “armed” with a base of knowledge about her subject-matter, she should probably surrender.

  • FW Ken

    I disagree with what she says, but I will fight for right to be banal.

  • Augustine

    I think that this is evidence of what both St. Thomas Aquinas and Fr. Benedict Groeschel said about sins and sinners; one, that they make you stupid, the other, that ex-Christians make very unconvincing sinners.

  • Clonmacnoise

    Ho Hum…and BTW…Mass is capitalized…it’s a particular thing…

  • Cara McDonough

    Dear Father Longbreaker (and all),

    I was directed to your blog post by a helpful reader who thought I might be interested in what you had to say.

    While your attack on my blog post is notably aggressive – rather vicious, really! – I respect your taking the time to write it. Especially because, believe it or not, the fact that I don’t agree with most of Church’s stances does bother me. It’s why I bother to explore this and other subjects in the first place.

    A few other points. “Let’s be clear,” as I like to say.

    1. My “pro-life” claim was the most egregious typo of my career in journalism. I’m pro-choice and the wording in the piece was corrected soon after publication. My mistake, and apologies for the assumed hypocrisy.

    2. Good point on the “message speaks” vs. Francis speaks, etc. I, too, hate grammatical errors. We have this in common, my friend.

    3. Maybe I should join the Episcopalians. I think I’d rather stick around the Catholic sphere and engage in online jousting with you guys, though.


    Cara McD

    • frdlongenecker

      Cara, there’s no such thing as a pro-abortion Catholic. I encourage you to return to the church, repent and be a joyful, radiant and courageous faithful Catholic! You are using a public forum to spread error and cause scandal to others. The gospel teaches that we will be held responsible for our words.

      • Dave Zelenka

        Be careful. Being Catholic is not defined by whether or not we follow or even submit to all the teachings of the Catholic Church. We become Catholic when we are baptized into Christ. All Trinitarian baptisms are accepted for very important reasons. If the moment we question a teaching we are excommunicated, we would all be left high and dry at one point or another. We are sinners and as sinners we are sought out by the Good Shepherd. It takes many of us, if not all of us, years and years, until our last breath, to admit particular sins. That journey does not exclude us from belonging to the Body of Christ, which is the Church. If every time we sin, and don’t admit it, we then become non-Catholic, what a sad body of believers that would be. We would be false-righteous Pharisees–just the people Jesus so detested. Thankfully, that is not written in the catechism. Thankfully, that is not the Catholic Church.

        It is at the final moment of this final day that the goats and sheep are winnowed.

        Abortion is terrible and years from now will be seen no differently than the Holocausts of the modern era. But we are slow to understand these things. Every truth will be told and light will shine. This is a terribly evil world and we must be patient even with the most terrible crimes against humanity. The Evil One just loves it when we exclude people and marginalize even the greatest of sinners. I know this, because I am one.

    • Frank McManus

      Cara — I read a couple of negative things about your essay and have found the whole exchange kind of depressing. There are some things in your piece I don’t agree with, but I’m sympathetic with your perspective, and I share your ambivalence about Catholicism. Fr. Dwight’s responses are just sad. Instead of dialogue that strives for empathy and compassion, he’s creating scandal by condemning someone he doesn’t even know, and challenging her — you — to leave the Catholic Church.

      Pope Francis’ message will probably have to be repeated a thousand times before it sinks in: what is needed is for the gospel to be lived in close, personal connection with the world, even with those we find most disturbing. Pope Francis displays more compassion for atheists than Fr. Dwight is willing to offer struggling Catholics.

      In the end, being Catholic is about the meaning of the Jesus who lived, and who lives among us still. Ignore the haters, Cara, and follow Jesus. That’s what matters — not debating the modern pharisees who think they run the show.

      • FW Ken

        That would be the message of Fantasy Francis. Catholic Francis fought same sex marriage and abortion while an archbishop. And it will come to that again.

        “Dialogue” depends on an openness to the other. Cara had demonstrated no opens. Therefore, dialogue is impossible. Frankly, atheists are more honest than a pro-choice Catholic. And more honest than all of this garbage about how mean Fr. L. The mean thing is to play nice while someone goes over a cliff and tries to drag others with her.

    • Terri Hemker

      Good for you, Cara! God bless you!

  • emonty0001

    The tone of this article is embarassing. Disagree all you want, there is much to disagree with, but forget the sarcasm and general nastiness: take the high road.

  • Kathy English

    I think he is probably more upset because a mere woman dared address bishops. The sneering tone of his piece felt most unchristian.

    • AnneG

      Actually, Kathy, correcting error is a spiritual act of mercy, which is what the good Father was doing in love.

      • caiside

        It sounded a lot more sneering than loving? Is that how Jesus would speak?

        • frdlongenecker

          When’s the last time you read the gospel? Jesus called self righteous people like Cara “sons of Satan” “Serpents” and “wolves in sheep’s clothes.” He also said, “I come to bring not peace but a sword.”

    • FW Ken

      “Unchristian” used in this sort of context is a corollary to Godwin’s Law. Kathy English, you just disqualified yourself from having any voice in this discussion.

      • Terri Hemker

        Says you? While I’m sure you take yourself seriously, I’m equally sure she doesn’t give a flying fig about what you have to say about her ‘qualifications’…I doubt anyone else does either….

        • FW Ken

          Check back in when you finish your sophomore year. In the meantime, try to practice writing comments that don’t illustrate that about which you complain.

          • Terri Hemker

            Sweetie I’m old enough to be most people’s grandmother. My point was hardly sophmoric. My point was that it’s not your playground here. You don’t make the rules. You don’t get to tell anyone that they’re disqualified for the discussion except in your own little imagination. I’m sure everyone else here understood that comment even if you didn’t. If you didn’t get it then perhaps it’s time for you to finish kindergarten.

  • Elise Hilton

    She uses the word “Catholic” but I do not think she knows what it means.

  • Dale

    I am surprised that Ms. McDonough did not mention a major focus of the upcoming conference, the report on a new pastoral program titled “The New Evangelization: Faith, Worship, Witness.” This report is the second item mentioned in the news article she cited, and ait ddresses the exact things which Pope Francis has been talking about: evangelizing with deeds, not just words.

    The advisory council which has been working on this program began doing so when Pope Benedict was still in office. It has been in development for quite a while, and is to be a major focus of the Catholic Church in the coming years. It is a big deal.

    I understand that Ms. McDonough is upset about various issues, but I think she has mischaracterized‎ the concerns of the bishops and what they will be discussing at the conference.

    Anyone interested can learning more about “The New Evangelization: Faith, Worship, Witness” can do so here:

  • linda daily

    Well your words certainly don’t invite her back home, Father.

  • caiside

    Shame on you, Father Longnecker. “Join the Episcopalians”?

    You should read this article:


    “It would be a grave sin for any Catholic to urge another Catholic, for any reason and in any manner, to leave the Church; if the one doing such urging were a priest the viciousness of the sin would be magnified.

    • frdlongenecker

      Correcting error is one of the spiritual works of mercy

      • LFA

        Who appointed you the judge? Did you also fail to read in Scripture where we are told to refrain from judgement, that the measure with which we measure will be measured back to us? I suggest you lose the self-righteousness and begin to remove the log from your own eye before you attempt to remove the splinter from someone else’s!

        • frdlongenecker

          I’m not judging the destiny of this person’s soul. However, as a priest I am authorized and expected to make other calls–kind of like a doctor is expected to make an accurate diagnosis.

          This one’s not really very tough. I’m simply re-iterating Catholic teaching–which is actually my job. Cara says she’s Catholic but she’s pro abortion, pro gay marriage, doesn’t go to Mass and doesn’t practice the faith. My saying she’s not really Catholic is a pretty clear judgement–like saying a person who claims to love basketball, but never attends a game, never practices, despises the rules and the mocks the players…you can pretty safely say their claim to love basketball is foolishness.

          • margaret1910

            I don’t know, Father. My understanding is that she is, indeed, Catholic. She was baptized into the Church, and I think that is final. She may be a non-practicing Catholic, even an apostate Catholic..but she is still Catholic. God help her.

    • Guest

      Thanks, Caiside, for directing us all here! We’re all still doubled over laughing at this silly Father L. person…..

      • margaret1910

        Must are an idiot or at least you are doing a very good job of acting. Please..doubled over laughing at a man who is sacrificing for God? And you are sacrificing for..what? exactly? Or is sacrificing just toooooo hard? Or not worth your time..because?? If you do not believe..then, fine. I am sure Father L will be sorry..and will pray for you. He is not laughing at you..Why should he? As he is a good man who believes what he says..then you owe him an apology. My opinion only.

    • Terri Hemker

      Thanks for directing me here, Caiside….still laughing!

    • colkoch

      Caiside, these sort of rules don’t apply to the self righteous. These sort of rules only apply to liberals. LOL

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Well said Father. We need Priests willing to speak to truth. When people like those who wrote that sickening article spew hatred in public it needs to be spoken against with force.
    It cracks me up all these social justice-pro-choice ex-catholics complaing about your tone. They mock God then complain about someone else’s tone.

  • Frank McManus

    Is this a parody post? Not only do you attack this writer personally, you criticize her writing ability … while simultaneously filling your own errors of spelling, punctuation, and usage.

    –You misspell her name.

    –”Self righteous” should be hyphenated.

    –She appears to be a real person, not a “pretend” person, whatever that is.

    –”Loftily toned” makes little sense. “Loftily” is an adverb, so that would mean “toned” is a verb. Are you saying this writer toned her tirade loftily? I suspect you were actually trying, but failing, to say that the tirade has a lofty tone.

    –The sentence that begins “The whole article is so badly written…” is awkward at best. It should be broken into two sentences, or you should add a comma after “arrogant” and insert the word “is” after “and.”

    –Moreover, you misuse the word “so.” Your best option would have been to remove it completely (since it adds nothing to the meaning), or replace it with a normal word like “very” or “extremely.”

    –I recommend you begin making use of the Oxford comma. Its presence is obligatory, as decreed by the Queen. Or maybe it was just my wife, I can’t recall exactly.

    Anyhoo. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    By the way, can you point me to some passage in the CCC or Canon Law where it says it’s a good thing for priests to tell angry Catholics to get out of the Church? Thanks!

  • Frank McManus

    Ah, yes, now I see you were deliberately misspelling the author’s name … but why? Sarcasm? Mockery? Did you think you were being witty?

    The more I read this piece, the more convinced I am that you were never taught the basic rules of punctuation. The mistakes I named in my previous comment are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Michael Bindner

    Morality is about charity and dignity, not enforcing the party line. You missed it.

  • Dave Zelenka

    I am in no way supporting abortion, pornography or the sort. My goodness! It is a terrible, terrible evil that has entered our world.

    The irony is most all of us have played a part of the travesty–indirectly and directly. It’s the modern holocaust and just like the Germans, we look the other way or ignore the facts and the reasons behind it: greed, pornography, wealth, image, narcissism, self-absorption, drugs, pharmaceuticals, etc. The vast majority of us have supported the abortion machine in ways we are not even aware of due to our sin nature.

    What you are calling “invincible ignorance,” now that my apply to me! Fr. L’s recent article touches on the root of the issue. I have found, possibly erroneously, that we cannot know who has been severed from the vine of Jesus. This is the reason the Church defines Saints, but they do not define Evil Ones. That’s not the role of the Church. The Church does most certainly have the right to call a sin a sin and should continue to do so. The Church’s leaders should have a judiciary role in the church, but they will not ever have the role to exclude one or another person from being grafted on the the vine. That is the role of Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father. That is why those three names are invoked during baptism. We don’t say, “In the name of the Church, you are baptized.” Peter has the key, but the ultimate power is in the hands of God. This is stressed in the catechism for good reason.

    Excommunication and members who are not-in-communion may very well be still members of Christ’s Body, i.e. in the Church. That’s all I was emphasizing. It’s a very, very important distinction. This is why the Church rightly accepts any Trinitarian baptism.