• Mike R

    I have to agree 100% with this post. It galls me to no end that our diocesan newspaper publishes George Weigel columns every-other week with nothing to counterbalance his ideas presented as official church teaching.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

      I would write a complaint. One expects the bar to be extremely high for the diocesan newspaper.

  • SB

    “I might support certain politicians in spite of their violations of Catholic teachings. I hold my nose. But they will support certain other politicians because of their violations of Catholic teachings.”

    Is there any way that you could spend 1/100 the time and energy calling your favorite politicians to task that you spend on calling out your political enemies?

  • Bryce Laliberte

    I’ve just a question for clarification. What are the Catholic Church’s economic teachings? I’m aware of her social teachings, and that they have certain ramifications for what some part of the arrangement of the economy should be. But strictly speaking, what are they? Does the Catholic Church teach the Keynesian multiplier? Perfect competition markets in the short run? The labor theory of value?

    • Sean O

      As the article said its messy and complicated. The catholic church as you probably know “endorses” no specific economic system. It’s more demanding. You cannot turn off your brain and your critical faculties saying I am engaged church sanctioned economic activity. No, you must constantly evaluate economic activity, practices and outcomes in light of the gospel. Would Christ be pleased with what I am doing? What my society is doing? Is the system fair? Does it help individuals and families thrive? Does it promote dignity? Does it follow the golden rule of doing onto others as you would have them do onto you?

      Their is no simple formula. It’s like when Jesus says forgive your neighbor seventy times seven times. He is saying you must always live with and work with this person and forgive this person over your lifetime. He is not suggesting you are free and justified to hold grudges after the 490th offense has been forgiven.

      Christ and the gospel are most concerned with the spirit of the law which is ever demanding rather than technical observance which is not. Catholic social teaching lets no one off easy.

      Evaluating capitalism in light of the gospel is a task and calling many political conservatives and libertarians would much rather avoid

      • Bryce Laliberte

        So the Church gives no endorsement of any particular economic system, fine, and only condemns two, namely “socialism” and “individualism.” But this is tantamount to the Church saying “We cannot admit that it would be right for society to be subordinate to the state or for society to be the totality of the state.” But otherwise, it doesn’t seem she has any economic teachings; only social teachings that have implications for how individuals, families, and communities should act in the economy.

        The only point I think worth getting out of this is that MM’s desire for violence-enforced “obligations to the poor” or something like that are a desire above and beyond what is directly touched upon by Catholic teaching. So “right-wing” Catholics who don’t agree to this desire for bringing forth the threat of violence against individuals are not disagreeing with the Church’s teachings, only with MM. That’s all I think should be recognized.

  • Kurt

    Their evolution over the course of my life has been interesting. As a child, their slogan was “Mater si, Magistra No!”

    As a teenager I recall conservatives Catholics growl that priests should be “saying Mass and hearing confessions; not on the streets as social activists.”

    Now, I make some passing but favorable comment about a Democratic member of Congress and I am told I am sinning for offering them support even though I am legally prohibited from voting for Congress.

    Lastly, one of the politically most important things the pro-life movement had going for it was the large number of what pollsters called “Papal Tigers.” Those who truly agonized over abortion and economic justice issues (mostly older union members). They have totally alienated this group, to the political loss of the right-to-life movement.

    I see Thomas Peters made a last minute entrance into Ohio, supporting the anti-union side. He may make his funders happy, but he shown he is principally a secular conservative.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

      I think Peters is dangerous. Most of these people are pretty harmless, but Peters is out there doing real damage and causing scandal.

      • Peter Paul Fuchs

        Ah, fellas, stop picking the on the guy. Just think, his ministrations in any spot basically guarantee a big win for our side!

  • Thales

    Is this the extreme action taken by the Catholic League thing that you are talking about?


    I dunno. It seems like they’re saying that they agree with the Vatican’s economic teachings, while cautioning people from jumping too quickly to the conclusion that that this statement is an endorsement for OWS or for a one-world government (which is a caution that I thought was useful myself). Not sure how they were lecturing the Vatican on theology.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion


      (i) They are saying that Cardinal Turkson and Toso invented the idea of a supranational institution, forgetting that the issues comes from Benedict’s Caritas in Veritate, who in turn gets it from John XXIII’s Mater et Magistra.

      (ii) They are saying that subsidiarity means local, not national, and certainly not suprantional. So they are saying that the authors of this text (and by extension, Pope Benedict) do not understand subsidiarity very well. In other words, they are supping in the American cafeteria – this is the kind of nonsense you hear from the likes of Thomas Peters.

      • Thales

        I guess I still don’t see the hostility to the Vatican’s economic theory that you claim there is. It looks like they agree entirely with Caritas in Veritate. I suspect that they would agree entirely with the Mater et Magistra, Pacem in Terris, or any other encyclical which talks about a “world authority.” Okay, they seem to have an overly-simplified definition of subsidiarity; but subsidiarity means the involvement of intermediate levels (including local). And they’re quibbling about the term “supranational” from the Cardinal Turkson document and apparently think that this is an entirely different concept from the “world authority” concept of papal encyclicals.

        I think the problem is that when this Cardinal Turkson document came out, everyone on both sides reacted too quickly to it: some people said “the Vatican supports OWS and one-world government!” and others said “no it doesn’t, and it’s not an encyclical so we don’t have to listen to it!” Both sides are overreactions and both sides are incorrect. And now everyone is talking past each other. Can’t we just slow down?

        Morning’s Minion, I think most of the “right-wingers” you’re condemning accept in their entirety Caritas in Veritate, Mater et Magistra, and Pacem in Terris. You do too. Now these encyclicals talk about a world authority and they talk about subsidiarity. So everyone agrees in the necessity of a world authority and in the necessity of subsidiarity. Can’t we have a conversation about these concepts and how they are applied in the world without both sides sniping at one another?

  • brettsalkeld

    Every Catholic in America should hold their nose when they vote. (Canada too!)

  • http://renegadetrad.blogspot.com A Sinner

    I agree with what the Vatican has said about financial reform, and do not like these political conservatives who try to use their orthodoxy this way…

    But they simply AREN’T “heretics” like many liberal dissenters (re: contraception, homosexuality, women’s ordination, Biblical theology, etc etc etc) are.

    Something like this curial document, as much as I do agree with it, is simply not of the dogmatic order. It may reflect certain very general principles that are (and with which these conservatives would probably agree), but the question of concrete application is at best of the order of prudential suggestion.

    I dislike these conservatives as much as you, and agree with your psycho-social analysis of the phenomenon…but they aren’t heretics. Their “dissent” is definitely within the realm of what Catholics are free to debate and discuss in a way that the pet liberal dissent-issues are definitely not.

  • http://www.acitizenpayingattenton.blogspot.com Bruce Cole

    “I would write a complaint. One expects the bar to be extremely high for the diocesan newspaper.”

    I hope that was sarcastic……

  • http://agellius.wordpress.com Agellius

    I think it would be a good idea to say specifically what statements by what people you are quarelling with, rather than making blanket statements about a host of unnamed people who are allegedly being hypocritical.

  • Darwin

    But this is bound to create some kind of inner tension. I believe it manifests in hunkering down into defensive hyper-orthodoxy. They defend themselves – indeed, convince themselves – by going on the offensive against dissent and heterodoxy. They cloak their vulnerability in the mantle of the zealous heresy hunter. It reminds me a little of the deeply closeted gay man, who simply refuses to accept his sexual orientation. Instead, he becomes an ardent homophobe. He has something to prove.

    I gotta hand it to you, MM. You have a very deft instinct for coming up with analogies guaranteed to get under the skins of your opponents as much as possible. Is “gay homophobe” the new “Calvinist”?

    Really, there’s a much less sinister set of explanations for the situation you’re looking at, though it doesn’t allow one of the pleasure of thinking ill of those one disagrees with as much.

    Generally speaking, “right-wing” Catholics who talk about being orthodox have strong feelings about adherence to basic moral issues and doctrines as they have been constantly presented over a long period of time — with the one key distinction (being American, after all) that they’ll tend to be more sympathetic towards democracy and religious freedom than the official Church position 60+ years ago was.

    As such, “right-wing” Catholics get upset about:
    – condoning various sins relating to the modern culture of sexual license (contraception, abortion, adultery, fornication, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, etc.)
    – denial (or creative questioning of) basic Catholic doctrines and scriptural interpretations including: what seems like denial of the real presence in the Eucharist; denial of the efficacy of the sacraments; questioning the historicity of the resurrection; questioning the existence of heaven, hell and purgatory; questioning the necessity, efficacy and supernatural nature of the seven sacraments; making odd claims about the trinity (saying the Holy Spirit is a woman, talking about God the Mother, etc.); questioning the all male priesthood; etc.
    – liturgical innovation in senses that seem to break with the past or reduce the sacredness of the liturgy

    They tend to go along less with issues that they see as being innovations or at odds with tradition Church teaching and practice. Thus:
    – they have a hard time seeing capital punishment as suddenly being a huge problem now because the Church clealy allowed its use it the past
    – they don’t see the Church as endorsing absolute or de facto pacifism as the Church did not appear to in the past
    – they don’t see the Church as absolutely endorsing some novel economic system significantly different from what has organically existed in the past
    – they don’t see how the Church could officially endorse something like the UN or a “supranational authority” when it a) isn’t Catholic and b) is very much a new thing. (By contrast, they don’t have a problem with the Holy League or the crusades, even though these were clearly supranational organzations/movements endorsed by the Church — however somehow authors here never call for another one of these.)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

      This is funny, because when I read your first list, there’s not a thing on it I object to. I am, after all, the person who attends a weekly latin Mass and has a particular fondness for the extraordinary form – and the more bombastic the better!

      But I think this is an important point. I believe the position I have on economics – which assigns the state a key role in promoting distributive justice, whether directly (solidarity) or indirectly (subsidiarity) – is more “traditional” than those right-wing Catholics who are in love with latter day Anglo-Saxon advanced capitalism. It is this system which is very much a rupture with the past, and even secular humanists like Tony Judt have made this point. Yours is the real “novel economic system”. I stand with the Church in seeking to restore its moral foundation in the social order.

      No, the fake conservatives disagree with the Church because they put a secular anthropology first – the elevation of individual automony and a fundamental misinterpretation of freedom and liberty. That’s all there is to it.

      And again, there is not much new about a suprnational authority. The Church was founded under a suprantional authority, and for most of its existence has lived under some form of supranational authority or other. It only makes sense for the Church to promote such an authority that is tuned to modern circumstances. Again, it is the modern nation state that is more of the innovation here.

      As for the Church “changing its mind” on issues like the death penalty, I notice very little dissent on the Church changing its mind on issues like the Jews being “God killers” (outside the far fringes, that is). No, they are picking and choosing based on personal preferences. And the zeal for the death penalty is very Calvinist.

      • Darwin

        Well, I didn’t expect you to disagree with anything that I listed. At root, you have a lot more in common with the conservative Catholics that you’re so upset with than you do with many of the authors and practices they object to.

        That said, a couple brief points:

        I believe the position I have on economics – which assigns the state a key role in promoting distributive justice, whether directly (solidarity) or indirectly (subsidiarity) – is more “traditional” than those right-wing Catholics who are in love with latter day Anglo-Saxon advanced capitalism.

        I certainly accept that you bleieve that — this would be a hard point to disagree with — but it’s not hard to see why those you criticize don’t see things the same way. Leaving aside whether the economy through most of the 2000 years has actually had much semblance to the way you interpret CST to say that it ought to be (I personally do not think that it has) , it is at least very much the case that for poeple whose entire social and economic context is a several hundred year old tradition of “Anglo-Saxon capitalism”, the kind of social democracy you endorse is very much an innovation. And, you must admit, an innovation often associated with some pretty unsavory people and social trends.

        No, the fake conservatives disagree with the Church because they put a secular anthropology first – the elevation of individual automony and a fundamental misinterpretation of freedom and liberty. That’s all there is to it.

        This is, at best, an imputation/assertion.

        And again, there is not much new about a suprnational authority. The Church was founded under a suprantional authority, and for most of its existence has lived under some form of supranational authority or other. It only makes sense for the Church to promote such an authority that is tuned to modern circumstances.

        The Church was founded under the Roman Empire — a supranational authority which could be most clearly compared to the United States’s global hegemony in modern times. I take it that you would not be excited if people were to assert that the Church should endorse and seek to expand the US hegemony?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    Here’s a perfect example of what I am talking about from one of the worst offenders of all: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679886478/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER#_

    • http://agellius.wordpress.com Agellius

      “The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud”??

    • Darwin

      This is horrible! Make Way for Ducklings? Millions of Cats? Where the Wild Things Are?

      You are right to point out these subtle dangers!

      (Sorry. Pasted the wrong link, I guess. It was just so wonderfully absurdist in the context I couldn’t exist.)

    • Mark Gordon

      Um, you may have had two windows open there, MM. “The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud” doesn’t strike me as very right-wing, and since its editor is Janet Schulman, I’m guessing it’s not Calvinist either. This was good for a belly laugh, though!

      • Darwin

        It does not appear to include that most dangerous practitioner of latter day Anglo-Saxon advanced capitalism: Beatrix Potter

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

        Oh, that’s hilarious! Yes, ahem, I was shopping for gifts for my godchildren, and now I fear I’ve damned them all as Calvinists!

        For the fun in it, I’m going to keep that open!

        Here is the correct link: http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=22544

      • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

        Maybe they have some stories from this within:



      • http://kylecupp.com Kyle R. Cupp

        And Peters still doesn’t know Brett exists.

      • Darwin

        Okay, so, I read the Peters piece and I’m trying to understand what the huge objection to it is. Are you maintaining that the type of American Catholics he is criticizing does not exist — that there are not people who identify as Catholic who disagree with the Church on abortion, contraception and same sex marriage who would like to see the Church’s voice on these issues forced out of the public square?

    • Peter Paul Fuchs

      There may have been some serendipity in pasting that children’s book in for Thomas Peters’ latest effusion. I love first how he stresses that he has been soooo academic about things till now! Really? His prose reminds one more of a kid who spends his life playing Dungeons and Dragons but then tries to shift to theology. There are two big camps for Catholics, and relatedly for the rest of the world as well. The evil. And the good. Human ambiguities escape his notice, as does his own humanity, because if there is anything this guy does not sound like it is someone obsessed with academic reason. Of course his sense of church history is practically non-existent. All these patterns have played themselves out before in the Catholic Church. He believes he is re-inventing the wheel. The wheel turns, and today’s orthodoxy is tomorrow’s radicalism. And vice versa. If there is any value in his effusions it must be how NOT to do the sycophant thing.

  • Peter Paul Fuchs

    Sir Minion,

    I think, for my taste, this is the best thing I have read on this site. But I have a sort of quirky taste for almost practically insoluble cultural conundrums. Your anatomy of it is brilliant, and even funny, if it weren’t also sad for apparently for being true. The is a very interesting scholarly article in this group of ideas, and maybe even a book. Think about it. You clearly have the chops to do it.

    On one point, I quibble with you as to the cultural point. But maybe I don’t know the types on the ground well enough to get an aspect of this. They really weren’t around in the Church when I was in. In fact, as an aside, I remember that even Catholics who were fans of Reagan — not that many by the way generally – were sharply critical of cuts in in public spending for the poor and mentally challenged. Anyways, my quibble is with your idea that the Catholic reactionary types are also interested in the “dark nationalism” of American exceptionalism.As I read their cultural position, their chief attraction to libertarian thought is because it wants to dismantle the state essentially, or take it to bare bones. Such a situation could only make the Church in various ways more powerful in people’s lives, and the nation less so. In other words, their anti-state attitudes are a kind of crypto-theocratic desire, across the mountains as it were. This of course would make themselves more important people as elite representatives of the Church point of view, which is probably the whole point from the beginning.

    The irony of their desire, if I am correct, is that historically for a long time the church has been very wary about getting involved in things such as this. There seems to be some crafty wisdom at work in those Curia hallways which makes them dodge any such tendency that various Catholic political actors in various countries might put forth for their of aggrandizement from century to century. The situation reminds me oddly of a locally famous bit of political wisdom that came from Marion Barry years ago, which perhaps as a local denizen you might recall. Asked to opine on the then local newspaper obsession with whether then Shadow-Senator Jesse Jackson would run for mayor of the District, Barry said: “No way, Jesse don’t want to run nothing but his mouth”

    • Peter Paul Fuchs

      Sir Minion,

      I love stuff like this. People getting their comeuppance by their very own words. In this case George Weigel:

      “Weigel v. Weigel
      gregmetzger print page
      Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 11:33:28 AM EST
      “George Weigel’s description of the Vatican office that authored the recent Vatican document on the global economy directly contradicts his own work in his biography of John Paul II, Witness to Hope.”
      In a recent post, Frank Cocozzelli emphasized the importance of standing up to media distortions of Catholic Social Teaching by people generally considered leaders of the Religious Right. I see the same need as Frank and so was heartened when the Washington Post’s EJ Dionne did exactly that in an important column last week. Dionne was writing about the Vatican’s recent statement on the global economy and the description of it provided by GeorgeWeigel, a man who is, for better or for worse, a key commentator on Catholicism in American secular and religious media. Given Weigel’s stature it was significant that he had dismissed the Vatican document as “an uncritical internationalism of a distinctly Euro-secular provenance.” Dionne’s response to that part of Weigel’s article was appropriate, but more important was the way he took issue with Weigel’s characterization of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) which was responsible for writing the document for the Vatican. Here is Weigel’s description followed by Dionne’s reply:
      The document is a “Note” from a rather small office in the Roman Curia…the lower echelons of the Roman Curia [which] doesn’t speak for the Pope, it doesn’t speak for “the Vatican,” and it doesn’t speak for the Catholic Church.
      Dionne: As it happens, the Pontifical Council is no mere “small office.” It has been a pioneer over the years in Catholic thinking about solidarity and justice. And this document is firmly rooted in papal teaching going back to Popes John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II. Pope Benedict’s 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, spoke explicitly of the need for a global political authority to keep watch on an increasingly integrated world economy.
      Inside-the-church politics aside, the Pontifical Council’s document is important because it reflects an ethical approach to economics shared well beyond Catholic circles. In particular, the council grapples intelligently with the problem of how the economy can be subject to reasonable rules when the nation-states that once enforced such regulations have less and less power, given how swiftly and easily capital moves.

      I agree with what Dionne has said, but he could have said much more. What further research shows is that Weigel’s description is inconsistent with Weigel’s own substantial writing on the PCJP. Consider, for instance, these quotes representing the entirety of Weigel’s writings on the PCJP in his landmark biography of John Paul II, Witness to Hope–the book, it should be noted, that Weigel’s own current high standing in the secular and religious media is a direct result of.

      On page 330 of Witness to Hope Weigel describes the then head of the PCJP, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, as “one of the pope’s personal diplomatic troubleshooters”.

      On page 447 he describes Etchegaray’s promotion to head of the PCJP in 1984 as “a major redeployment of personnel at the senior levels of the Roman Curia.”

      On page 512 he notes that the PCJP was given “responsibility for arranging `the who, what, where, and how'” for one of the signature events of John Paul’s pontificate–the interreligious World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assissi. On page 514 Weigel goes so far as to note that the PJPC’s leadership on the Assissi event stood in sharp contrast to the minor, perfunctory role given to other “senior curial officials”.

      On pages 558-560 Weigel rightly highlights the significance of John Paul II’s encyclical on social justice, Solicitudo Rei Socialis. Weigel defends the document against criticism and misunderstanding on the Right and the Left, while taking special care to note that the development of this document occurred under the strong leadership of Cardinal Etchegaray and Bishop Mejia of the PCJP. Weigel’s attempt at a balanced and nuanced analysis of this encyclical and the PCJP’s role in its development stands in marked contrast to his analysis of the PCJP’s recent work.

      On pages 718-719 Weigel highlights the key role played by the PCJP in another of John Paul II’s most significant actions–the pope’s participation in the United Nation’s Cairo World Conference on Population and Development. Weigel points out that in a meeting in which “every ambassador accredited to the Holy See” was called to attend, the PCJP’s president was one of just five Vatican officials directed by John Paul to address the ambassadors. When the debate was taken up in New York, it was Monisgnor Martin of the PCJP who Weigel reports made the key criticism of the UN’s proposed draft document.

      When the crisis in East Timor reached unprecedented levels in 1996, Weigel notes that it was the PCJP’s Etchegaray who was sent “off to Jakarta, Indonesia, to try to find a diplomatic solution, by back channel if necessary, to the continuing troubles.” (780)

      On page 806 we learn that it was the PCJP’s Etchegaray who first “broached the question of a papal pilgrimage to Cuba”, arguably one of the signature trips of John Paul’s entire papacy.

      When Etchegaray was promoted to President of the Committee for the Great Jubilee of 2000 and was replaced as president of the PCJP by Archbishop Thuan of Vietnam, Weigel said on page 832 that it was part of a “major reorganization of senior curial personnel” which, in part by virtue of Thuan’s Vietnamese heritage, “further internationalized the Church’s central bureaucracy and brought men with extensive pastoral experience and demonstrated intellectual interests into positions of leadership.”

      The PCJP that emerges from Weigel’s years of research into Witness to Hope, in other words, is quite clearly a vital and integral part of the Vatican in general and the modern papacy specifically. There is nothing in Weigel’s extensive writing on the former Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, that would indicate a dramatic change has occurred since John Paul’s death in the role of the PCJP–certainly not changes in anyway proportional to Weigel’s current description of the PCJP as some hole in the wall outfit that owes its existence to the ongoing leverage of marginal bishops of a quasi-socialist bent. In fact, Weigel’s distortion of the PCJP is so severe that some conservatives who agree with Weigel’s economic views have begun to call him out on it. For instance, Charles Smith has written a sharp retort to Weigel at the National Post’s religion blog:

      It is as if [Weigel] cannot bring himself to simply say the Church might have gotten it wrong… So this document, or “note,” speaks for no one but a Pontifical Council issues it for the fun of it? How does that work? And how in the world would anyone know that this document does not reflect a point of view of the Vatican…? How does Mr. Weigel know? It is not as if the note came with a warning that said: “Ignore The Contents of This Note. We’re From the Vatican But Not Really.”… In other words, [according to Weigel] the document was a bunch of meaningless suggestions made for no reason at all (“I know, let’s suggest a central world bank for the hell of it!”)… I think I am clear now. Do not pay attention to any Vatican document until someone of the calibre of Mr. Weigel explains how we are supposed to read it.

      Smith and I don’t agree on the merits of the Vatican document but I think we agree on this: What Weigel rightly said in describing the Drudge Report’s slanted coverage of the Vatican document applies equally to Weigel’s coverage, for it too is “rubbish, rubbish, rubbish.”

  • http://agellius.wordpress.com Agellius

    ‘Given Weigel’s stature it was significant that he had dismissed the Vatican document as “an uncritical internationalism of a distinctly Euro-secular provenance.”’

    The whole sentence of Weigel’s from which this fragment was taken, is this: “That the specific recommendations of the document reflect what will seem to many an uncritical internationalism of a distinctly Euro-secular provenance is an interesting matter that will doubtless be discussed, vigorously, within the Catholic family for some time to come.”

    The quote flagrantly distorts Weigel’s meaning by ignoring its context. Which doesn’t inspire confidence that the remaining quotations mean what he claims they do in their respective original contexts.

  • http://agellius.wordpress.com Agellius

    MM writes, “So where was the Catholic League when a bevy of right-wing Americans were mocking and denigrating Vatican teachings? Were they out there opposing such obvious “Catholic bashing”. No, they were not. They were actually standing with the bashers.”

    In identifying the “bashers” you link to your prior post, here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova/2011/10/25/right-wing-catholics-gone-wild/

    Among “the bashers” identified in that post, you include George Weigel, to whom you link, here: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/281140/pope-chaplain-ows-rubbish-george-weigel

    Was Weigel bashing in this article?

    Here is what he had to say about the Justice and Peace “Note” and the reaction to it:

    “The document’s specific recommendations do not necessarily reflect the settled views of the senior authorities of the Holy See…”

    “Both Cardinal Turkson and Bishop Toso [of Justice and Peace] indicated, in line with long-standing Catholic social doctrine, that the Church-as-Church was incompetent to offer “technical solutions” but rather wished to locate public policy debates within the proper moral frameworks.”

    “To suggest, as most of the immediate reporting and commentary did, that the Catholic Church was endorsing one or another set of proposals for re-ordering international finance, and was doing so as a matter of exercising its doctrinal authority, was a very bad category mistake …”

    “As for the document itself, no morally alert person objects to bringing discussions of global finance within the ambit of moral reasoning; that is an entirely worthy intention.”

    This is bashing?

    Next you cite (with your usual charity) “everybody’s favorite angry old man, Bill Donohue”, and accuse him of mounting an “ill-formed criticism and attack”. This verbal assault apparently consists of him saying, “the text is not an encyclical, nor is it the work of Pope Benedict XVI…The document released today also emphasizes the need to follow the Catholic principle of subsidiarity. This means that solutions to social and economic problems should begin at the most local level, not at the national, much less the international, level.” Ooh, vicious!!

    If this is bashing, I would say it’s the mildest, most respectful bashing I’ve ever seen. In any case whatever “snide dismissal” may be contained in either article is directed not at the Note itself, nor at the Vatican or the Pope, but at those who the authors perceive were too quick to put a certain spin on the Note; specifically, those who claim that it agrees with OWS demands. Is it un-Catholic to dismiss such a claim?

    • Thales

      You made the point better than I. Thanks.