Dr. Gerard Nadal speaks the truth…

Dr. Gerard Nadal speaks the truth… July 18, 2012

…about the poison of bishop-bashing Folk Hero Worship that is rampant among self-proclaimed “Faithful Conservative Catholics”. And before you so much as think it, I am not speaking about Fr. Pavone, who has obeyed his bishop. I am talking about the fanbase which has heaped abuse on his bishop in a way absolutely toxic and destructive to the prolife movement the fanboys claim to care about. I actually saw some self-proclaimed “faithful Catholic” smear Bp. Zurek as a “vindictive little queen” the other day–all because he made the perfectly legitimate insistence that a) Priests for Life given an account of their finances and b) Fr. Pavone take seriously his main vocation, the priesthood. Celebrity culture is absolutely toxic.

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  • ” on ALL of these issues. It isn’t just the Church which is in peril. Western Civilization has imploded and a new Dark Age encroaches. Perhaps not everyone can see this yet because we live in the last well-lit corner of the world, though that light is going out rapidly.”

    I fear for the lives of my children and the ugly world my generation is passing on to them.

  • Tammy

    As a convert, I never understood the Bishop Bashing I saw, I still don’t. I used to freely use the phrase “pro life” to describe myself , but I now dont. I still endeavor to serve my Lord and help women who struggle but I have been on the receiving end of more hate from fellow prolifers than I ever imagined !!
    I started a perinatal palliative care program to help women who learn that their babies would die at birth and assisted families in their journey through the end of pregnancy and the baby living thier natural (often very short ) life. I have had unbelievable accusations thrown at me from those I thought were in my own camp…especially from those who decided (with no data, experience or anything other than their vivid imaginations and lack of charity) that all of perinatal palliative care was not what we claimed it to be (so Im a liar to them) but it is a stealth method of newborn euthanasia (so now Im a killer). A fellow on a Catholic blog described in vivid detail the methods me and my colleagues would use to kill the babies in our care. I was incredulous. I have too often seen good doctors and nurses treated like bloodthirsty killers by people who think they are doing a grand service playing the “Im more prolife than you (and you can tell by how voraciously I attack others) game”.
    If you ask me “are you prolife?” I would give you a very long answer that included most of the above, but I have had brethren rip me a new orafice enough times that I consider myself in the same corner as the maligned Bishop.
    I think that tricking “prolife” people into destroying their own is a fascinating tool the devil created on a rather creative day.

    • KML

      Bless you, Tammy. The work you are doing is so important to parents dealing with a heartbreaking situation that often gets little support from anywhere else.

    • Kristen inDallas

      You sound pretty pro-life to me. Don’t let a few jerks steal a perfectly legitimate word that you have every right to use.

    • Dan C

      Tragically, there is a trend among some activists to claim that palliative care is euthanasia. It is not an uncommon thought either. Members of the pro-life movement have strong misgivings about palliative care, withholding rescusitative support, and withdrawing rescusitative or intensive care when dying. It is not infrequently called euthanasia. You describe a common scene.

  • Glenn

    Our parish used to have a pastor who was an absolutely fabulous priest, probably the finest priest I’ve ever known. Whenever someone praised him, his preaching skills, etc., he would reflexively point toward heaven and immediately say, “All glory to God!” If he detected even the slightest bit of fan worship directed his way, he would admonish the person — usually publicly — with something like, “You are drawn to the Truth, not to me. If you follow me and not the Truth, I will eventually disappoint you. I am a frail and sinful human being, and I don’t want you to lose your faith or even have it shaken because of my failings.”

  • Bishop Zurek unfortunately used incorrect language when he kept calling Fr. Pavone “suspended.” “Suspend” has a precise meaning in canon law that did not apply in the least to Fr. Pavone’s situation. It means that a priest’s faculties have been removed, which Fr. Pavone’s clearly had not been. So the Holy See needed to clarify that, and it has.

    That said, Bishop Zurek was entirely within his rights to recall Fr. Pavone to his diocese and to demand an accounting of Priest for Life’s finances. The smears against him were absolutely appalling.

  • Dave G.

    Is this something in the Catholic pro-life camp? I was part of the ‘pro-life’ for years before becoming Catholic. And I’m not saying that’s where the perfect people are, but I never saw or heard of things like this. This sort of internal behavior, such as Tammy describes, is something new. Either it’s started since I became Catholic and is everywhere, or it’s something within the Catholic pro-life side. I wonder why. Again, I’m not saying there were no problems outside the Catholic camp, disagreement here, administrative debate there. But this sort of scorched earth approach to fellow pro-lifers I’ve not seen before, but I’ve been seeing it almost since I came into the Church.

    • Ted Seeber

      It is most certainly something that has gone very wrong with the Catholic pro-life side, which has been infected by secular pro-life attitudes. True Catholic Pro-life is from conception to natural death and makes room for the type of pallative care and end-of-life hospice compassion Tammy is talking about at any age (though I must admit, until I “met” Tammy through this board, it never occurred to me that some infants are deserving of hospice care and pain management, even if it means their one or two hours of life will cost thousands of dollars extra). But some purist Republicans think that pro-life only covers the unborn (I’ve heard them called “pro-birth” in left wing pro-life circles) and this is beginning to drive a wedge in the pro-life movement.

      In my own state we recently saw Petition 22, which the Archbishop refused to support, that would have put on the ballot granting personhood to the unborn- but removing it from condemned prisoners.

    • kenneth

      What you’re seeing is a universal and natural phenomenon that sooner or later consumes all crusades and “holy” causes. All righteous causes, when not carefully held accountable by other forces, become self-righteous causes. The people involved appoint themselves as holy warriors in a cause so good that it is itself exempt from the normal rules of good and evil. From that point, the movement inevitably consumes itself as the bar for who is “pure” enough and strident enough grows ever out of reach. Sooner or later even the attempt to prove one’s loyalty to the inner circle becomes a suspected act of subversion. This cycle plays out in religious and political movements of every stripe in humanity, and it is as consistent and predictable as atomic decay.

  • Thinkling

    >> Is this something in the Catholic pro-life camp?

    I am not sure how to answer that directly, but my impression is this issue is merely a consequence of one of the oldest tactics in the book: Old Scratch sends us lies in pairs. I think it was Jeff Mirus who said you can drive off a road on either side. The Pelosi/Sebelius heresy is that one is smarter than the Holy Spirit. But even when rejecting that one, the temptation is then to fall into the other one, to think one is holier than the Holy Spirit. My guess is you are seeing the latter heresy in action.

    • Dave G.

      I have no doubt that Old Scratch could be behind any discord within the Faithful. But it’s an observation of mine. Perhaps it’s been getting like that across the pro-life world, and I’m not seeing it because I’m in the Catholic side of things. But I just never saw this level before I became Catholic.

      • Dan C

        The faith is not “prolife.” Catholcism is the faith. I think the problem is the confusion of the two.

        • Of course. But again, I never saw this before I came into the Church. Not that there weren’t disagreements. And people being people, naturally there could be some confrontation. But not having equated the Faith with pro-life, I merely asked why this ‘eat or be eaten or just eat’ approach seems much more common in the Catholic side of things.

    • Tammy

      “You can drive off the road on either side” excellent point and quite fitting here. I think this issue is similar to any other area where evil was not able to destroy us from the outside so it tries to destroy us from within.

      I have seen this dynamic at work in various end-of-life discussions. A very devout woman I know once said loudly in public “I didnt know they practiced euthenasia at ___ ___ Hospital” (where I work). She had a bold look of smug pride on her face that she was the most prolife person ever to make such a bold statement. I asked her why she would say such a thing and she described something she had heard/observed from a distance, in a split second, with no knowledge of context. In speaking to her about her severe accusation, I came to learn that she had no understanding whatsoever of end of life care or the person she heard spoken of. She was being grossly inapporpriate to say such a thing with as little data as she had, but I see her actions as a commonality…one that I wish we could stop. She did run her car off the road just as the bloggers who accused me of lying and murder did.
      I think we need to keep our wits about us and not say horrible things about situations we dont know much of. We also need to stay diligently aware of any possible abuse in our system that would allow inappropriate things to happen, but if we scream “KILLER! LIAR!” too often when its so profoundly wrong, we will become the boy who cried wolf.

  • When you attack a bishop because your idol priest is called to give an accounting of his whereabouts and to obedience to his authority, at the end of the line you’re not going to be serving anyone but your own opinion about how things must be and Satan, who only knows how to disobey, lie and cause divisions.

  • Observer

    Serving one’s own personal interests by the use of slander towards any religious and raising one’s interests to be more important than caring for Christ’s flock, causes harm to the ProoLife movement (doesn’t encourage it the least.)