Do keep this in mind

Do keep this in mind November 7, 2012

Democracy is that form of government which says, “Give us Barabbas!”

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  • Fran

    Like this post. Something we should all keep in mind.

  • And so we have the biggest problem with American Rpublicanism. Chesterton says that the United States were founded on a creed. What he failed to mention was that the creed happens to be a heresy. The Dec. of Ind. says that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

    It is this mentality that results in people voting based on political expediency before they vote morally. If we truly remembered that all political power stems from God. Then God would be our first priority in the ballot box.

    • J. H. M. Ortiz

      Sed contra: The prominent 20th-century Thomist Jacques Maritain wrote in his book Man and the State, that the Declaration of Independence was “an outstanding lay Christian document tinged with the philosophy of the day”, not an expression of a heretical creed. In the same work he wrote flatly, “whatever the political *regime* may be, democracy is the only true political philosophy.” While rejecting Rousseauist and other God-less notions of “popular sovereignty”, Maritain there endorsed Lincoln’s expression, “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.
      For whereas in Church government, the bishops — and pre-eminently the Pope — are vicars of Christ, in political government the prince or other governors, though ultimately their authority is from God, are vicars not of Christ but of the people (the “multitude”), “princeps vicem gerens multitudinis”, as Aquinas wrote.
      “Abusus non tollit usum.” The fact that voting power is sometimes “abused” to elect a harmful leader, is no valid argument against its legitimate existence.

      • Del Sydebothom

        I disagree. Governments are analogies of–and, in better times, extensions of–the family. My governing authority as a father may be *for* the children, but it is not of the children or by the children.

      • Ted Seeber

        “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is a failure. Every President we’ve ever had has been worse than the one before.

        • J. H. M. Ortiz

          Democracy is a failure? Wait a minute. More than one attempt to fly an aircraft faster than the speed of sound likewise failed, until Chuck Yeager did it in 1947. And more than one runner failed to run a mile in less than four minutes, until someone finally succeeded; and then other runners beat even his record.
          As Jacques Maritain has observed (in his book Moral Philosophy), in the long view of history, the false or failed has not seldom preceded, and sometimes even paved the way for, the genuine and successful. (I think here of aircraft heavier than air, for instance.) So I suggest it’s too soon to give up on democracy. (I’m not talking about ecclesial government, only political government.)
          By the way, Maritain for about a quarter century as a Catholic was against political, democracy, until Pius X’s condemnation in 1926 of the anti-democratic movement Action Francaise woke him up.

          • Ted Seeber

            We’ve been trying for 200 years. All we’ve succeeded in doing is building a soulless, God-hating libertine paradise.

            Objectively, by Catholic standards, that’s a massive failure. That has resulting in millions of souls trading Christ for a vote for Obama.

          • J. H. M. Ortiz

            I meant to put Pius XI for the 1926 condemnation.
            By the way, there’s been a shift in terminology here since Aristotle’s time: “dēmokratia” for him meant what we today call “mob-ocracy”, something he reckoned, as do we, a perversion of legitimate democracy, which he termed “politeia”.

            • Ted Seeber

              I was wondering about that.

              I’ll have to look it up. Never knew that any Pope had renounced the Kingship of Christ.

              • J. H. M. Ortiz

                Christ is indeed king in the political order, as well as in the ecclesial. But in the political order, whatever the regime may be (monarchy, aristocracy, or polity), it is the people, the “multitudo”, who are, if anything, the vicars of Christ; whereas in the ecclesial order, it’s not the prople, at least not juridically, but rather the bishops, and pre-eminently the bishop of Rome, who are the rightful vicars of Christ.
                Isn’t it a commonplace of the history of political thought that a Pope assigned Francisco Suarez, S.J., to express the Chuch’s OPPOSITION to the theory of the “divine right” of kings?

                • Ted Seeber

                  Well, against the “divine right” of the Anglican King, James I, who one could say was actually usurping Christ’s authority.

            • Ted Seeber

              I looked it up. Looks to me like Pius XI’s condemnation wasn’t very broad, it seemed to be mainly against the Agnostic Charles Maurras, and Action Française itself was an anti-semitic organization which was only using Catholicism for its own ends.

              I see no broad-based denial of Christ the King, which in fact Pius XI had proclaimed to help out the Mexican Christero rebels just a few months before.

          • Kris

            The Declaration of Independence says a bit before the text you quote that shows they do indeed understand rights come from God. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
            Jefferson understood that rights come from God, and that government, via consent of the people in a Social Contract, is to secure these God-given rights on behalf of the people. The people give the government the power to secure these rights, not define what they are.
            It’s not heretical at all, but rather Thomistic.

    • R.C.

      No, no, no.

      You don’t get it.

      Governments ARE instituted among men, deriving their just authority from the consent of the governed…who, themselves, first acquired the authority to GRANT just authority to a government, from GOD.

      That authority (the authority of an individual to join together in Solidarity with other individuals in order to form a political union and to establish a government for it) is, of course, authority from God. The Declaration never challenges that. In fact, it asserts it, because it holds this to be among the natural unalienable rights of human beings, which they are granted BY THEIR CREATOR.

      What the Declaration is contradicting is the notion that Might Makes Right.

      For that, of course, was what conquerors always asserted. They would send their armies into a territory, kill off all the chief men of that region, then terrorize the populace into submission and say, “We won the war; therefore God is on our side. If you people resist our governance, you resist God, for, as you know, all governments are ordained by God.”

      (Yeah. Like the reds destroying the kulaks means the Russian October Revolution had divine sanction. Not!)

      The Declaration is not saying that the just authority to form governments comes ULTIMATELY from men.

      No, the Declaration is saying that the authority to govern comes from God by two acts of delegation of authority: The first, from God to the governed; the second, from the governed to the particular people who will hold offices of authority in the government.

      See? It’s from God. And it’s from the people. And it’s far more in accord with a Catholic view of the natural order, if you think about it, because…

      (a.) It shows that the leader is not the overlord of all, but the servant of all; and,
      (b.) It shows a clear path of authority being granted by those who already had it, not being seized by those who never previously had it.

      Point (b.) is important because the authority of a conqueror is, in essence, a Protestant notion.

      Consider this: A man decides to disagree with the Church. He becomes popular in his parish, and convinces his parish to split from the Church. However, he has a problem: He’s not ordained. But this is no big deal: He ordains HIMSELF, making himself a bishop. After all, why should he bother to ask someone else for authority, when he can just claim it for himself?

      Or, a similar option: A parish rebels against its ordained clergy and decides to split from the Church. They conclude they need a pastor. So they get together to vote who they want their next priest to be, and choose an unordained layperson. Having no clergy to ordain him, the laity just go up, lay hands on him in a parroting of a real ordination rite, and “ordain” him to the episcopate.

      In the first example, a guy claims to have authority, but it comes from nowhere, having no path of succession from Christ to him. In the second, a person seems to receive authority from others…but the others from whom he received that authority didn’t themselves have that authority (let alone the power to grant it to anyone else).

      In either case, the problem is the same: You can’t receive authority unless the person giving it to you has it to begin with. A bishop not in the apostolic succession isn’t a bishop.

      And this holds true in secular matters also. I can grant a housepainter authority to paint my house yellow. But can I grant authority for him to paint YOUR house yellow? No. ‘Cause I ain’t got it, to grant it.

      The Natural Law theory of government assumed by the Declaration and by all American law is this:

      1. God’s Moral Law grants men freedom to do as they like, within the confines of the Moral Law;

      2. Part of that grant of freedom includes just moral authority to defend themselves and others — by force when necessary — from unlawful assaults on their unalienable rights and intrinsic dignity;

      3. Another part of that grant of freedom includes just moral authority to hire employees and delegate to those employees tasks that they themselves could justly perform, using the employee as a proxy;

      4. And yet another part of that grant of freedom is just authority to voluntarily band together with others in an act of Solidarity to form voluntary associations, clubs, charitable organizations, corporations, societies, and even political groups (towns, provinces, nation-states).

      These are all forms of authority which the Catholic Church firmly teaches that people have.

      Which means of course that the Catholic Church asserts that people have just authority to hire employees and delegate to those employees the just authority to use force on their behalf, provided that force is used only for purposes which are permissible under Moral Law. And among those purposes are: defending the rights and dignity of persons from unlawful assault. And of course the Church strongly approves gathering together in an act of Solidarity to do this.

      So it is entirely in accord with the teachings of the Church to hold that the government are our employees, our servants, employed by We The People (a group in Solidarity) for the defense of the rights and dignity of persons.

      In short: We have authority from God, and we delegate it to the government, which means it comes, ultimately, from God.

      Get it?

      • Mark Shea

        Spot on. Thank you!

        • You seem to think that I am some sort of Totalitarian, basking in the glory of the conqueror, worshiper of power, fan boy of the strong, I can assure you that I am none of these things. I am a democrat. Or, in any case, I believe in the equality of men. However, my idea of democracy is not one of voting and polls, because that merely leads to the tyranny of the majority.

          Your analogies of men seizing power have one fatal flaw as a tool for your argument. (Though I do not, for one moment, blame you for them. Indeed, I attacked one philosophy before stating my own. (A very Chestertonian thing to do.) Now that I have written my Heretics, I might as well now write my Orthodoxy.) Your arguments are flawed because you assume that my ideal leader would claim authority for himself. You call the parishioner unordained. I do not look for some savage dictator, granting himself authority over his countrymen. I look for a King, who is given authority from God through the Catholic Church. As Samuel anointed David, and as Leo crowned Charlemagne, so too would my ideal Country be ruled first by a Sovereign King, in communion with the Catholic Church, and flowing from God’s Authority through that Church.

          It is in this sense, and in this sense only that I disagree with the passage from the Declaration. Also, I retract my statement calling it a Heresy. I was trying to hyperbolize my disagreement with Republicanism, and unwisely chose a play on Chesterton’s famous phrase and a means to do that. I consider the passage from the Dec. to be imprudent, and missing the key component of the Catholic Church in its formula.

          In fact, I agree with your numbered bullets completely. The Christian Democratic Ideal does grant all of these things to the people. I only hold that it must not be ultimately so. The people should elect representatives that govern under a body, but the Catholic King would rule over the land, not with supreme power, but with real power. Do not take the trapping Monarchies such as England as an example.

          I am not a fool, I know the power corrupts. I am under no delusion that because my King would be Catholic he would necessarily be good, morally or practically. A Constitutional Monarchy, with a Ruling King and a Legislative Body serves a good balance. Each may check the other, and both have different secondary authorities that they fall under. The legislature is given power from the people. The king is granted authority from the Church. And both from God.

          I know that this does not address the whole issue. I know that I have left ends open where they should be tied. But let my close with two last thoughts. You claimed that my idea was Protestant. I feel however that Republicanism is really the protestant philosophy. You claim authority from the God directly and not through the Church. The Church does not figure into your formula at all. Just as the Protestant has decided that he may read Scripture with an authority directly from God alone, you have decided that you may build a nation with an authority directly from God alone. Where is the Church that Christ Founded. The Church that you and I both turn to for our beliefs, not only on religion, but on economics and other social issues. Why should She not gave a hand in the Authority of your Nation.

          Lastly, I understand that we do not live in my ideal nation. Given that fact, I stand firmly with you Mark, forgive me R.C. but I know nothing of you except this one post. Christ and his Church must be our beacon in all things, and especially in politics. I am against both the left and the right where they are against the Teachings of God, and I am for both where ever they are in union with God. We must not give into parties of political ideologies. If the people of Faith would simply stand up for that faith at the polls, then real renewal and revitalization of this nation can begin.
          God Bless you all.

          • In fact, my entire post make little sense to me at all. I am not sure what I was saying, nor why I chose to say it that way. I apologize for it. This is proof of why I should not post first thing in the morning, before I have full woken up.

          • R.C.

            Well, Jeremiah, I can’t fault your classiness and forthrightness. Kudos to you, sir…and I’m the same way first thing in the morning. I usually stumble about with one eye shut and beg my children not to speak to me (or complain to me about one another, or ask me for stuff) until I’ve had orange juice, coffee or tea, and about five minutes to ruminate and pray.

            As for my support of the Declaration on Natural Law principles (and for articulating some things about human dignity and rights which the Church heartily supports): I’d be open, in principle, to a role for the Church. And, I’d be open, in principle, to replacing the Presidency with a King. But…let’s be clear what is meant by “role for the Church” and “King.”

            I’ve stated why I do not hold that the Declaration is heretical, but in fact champions several teachings of the Church despite the anti-Catholic sentiments of its authors. (They could hardly help it; well-educated men are more in touch with the past and they were well-educated men in an era where Christendom and the Magna Carta of Catholic England were not long past.)

            But I’ve also alluded to the fact that the conquerors who founded the empires of history were operating on a “Might Makes Right” principle, which of course is not in accord with Church teaching. But what did those conquerors call themselves once the conquering was accomplished? Why, they called themselves “kings,” of course.

            And their sons after them, naturally. But the sons held the throne on the basis of laws written by their fathers before them during their fathers’ reigns. But the source of their fathers’ authority, ultimately, went back to some first warlord’s ability to hold the territory against all comers and eliminate all rivals. Might made right.

            This was, of course, the pattern of the pagan world before Christianity, and the king or emperor was often either divine or the high-priest of the state religion, also. Christianity, coming on the scene, would naturally eliminate these ideas in order of priority: First the idea that the emperor was a god, then the idea that he was the high priest (Jesus has that covered). He also had to be told that, no, he can’t ordain bishops, only the bishops can; and, somewhat later, he had to be told that he didn’t get to choose who got ordained to be bishop.

            But I think the final stage of this process is the elimination of the Might Makes Right principle: Because you can muster sufficient force to oppress the people if you choose, you have just authority to rule them. It is true that ability to defend the territory is a prerequisite, and this typically implies a level of force sufficient for being an oppressor…but one’s just authority doesn’t come from merely having the ability.

            Where, then, does that just authority originate? Well, from God, of course, who has all authority in heaven and in earth. Fine…but how does God grant that authority to a particular government?

            Now with Saul and later with David, God sent His prophet, Samuel, with a specific message of divine anointing. God could in theory send another prophet with another similar message to anoint some random livestock-rancher in the U.S., I suppose…but I see no sign that he has done that since the coming of Christ.

            And why should he? The Kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of Our Lord, and of His Christ, and of His Christ, and He Shall Reign Forever And Ever, Hallelujah. After Christ raised up the Temple of His Body in three days, the old temple in Jerusalem stuck around for a generation but, having been made obsolete, was ultimately destroyed. Likewise, now that the stone not fashioned by human hands (Daniel 7) has blown away the last brittle fragments of the Roman Empire into smithereens and has grown to mountain-size sufficient to fill the whole world, what need have we of another head of gold, chest of silver, midsection of bronze, or any of that? No need at all! Empires founded by earthly conquerors are obsolete once the Kingdom of Heaven has been founded by He who Conquered Sin and Suffering and Death.

            After that founding, yeah, there were Roman Emperors and Holy Roman Emperors and national monarchs for a while. But like the temple in Jerusalem, they’d outlived their time. Programmers would say they are “deprecated”: Allowed to linger for a season, but ultimately dropped.

            But what replaces them? Well, a head of state whose right comes not from conquest or descent from a conqueror, but from…what?

            As I see it, the options are: (a.) some kind of vote representing “the consent of the governed”; and, (b.) direct anointing by God’s prophet. For those are the two ways that authority to exercise force can arrive at the doorstep of the head of state: Either the people (who have that authority from God) delegate that authority to the head of state as to an employee, or God (who has that authority by Being God) delegates that authority to the head of state directly.

            Now if the Church starts regularly receiving the prophetic “word of the Lord” which would allow her to select Kings, that would be acceptable to me.

            But I find that unlikely. It did not happen that way in the whole history of the monarchies and empires of Europe, you see. In those, somebody conquered and then the pope (for emperors) or the local clergy (for kings) anointed them because, hey, the ceremony made it look official and someone needed to rule, and the guy getting anointed had deftly eliminated any other contenders.

            What you did not see was the pope, at God’s urging, striding out into the fields to pick a shepherd, or dragging an unusually-tall nobody out from amidst the luggage, prior to that person having any kind of armed following at all. Truly there’s a difference between a divine prophetic anointing and a clergyman at a coronation asking God’s blessing on a reign which is already fait accompli.

            So I don’t really see that being part of the task Jesus granted to His apostles and their successors. Aslan is not a Tame Lion and Christ will do as He wishes, but I don’t foresee it. It seems to me somewhat outside the Magisterial guaranteed correctness, which is limited to faith and morals, to say that the Magisterium could be relied upon to choose the “right” king, or even the best one. And wouldn’t such a prophetic anointing of a worldly ruler — something the persons to be ruled would be forced to acknowledge as a true and binding revelation from God, in order that they might give allegiance to the new king on the basis of it — constitute a new public revelation? But we are told that such public revelation closed with the apostolic age.

            That leaves a King who becomes King, for whatever term, by a vote of the people. For that’s the only remaining channel by which the requisite authority from God could be delegated to him.

            But then there’s another catch: If God prophetically delegates authority to a man, He can of course delegate however much authority he wishes. But when men delegate authority to another man, they can only delegate the already-limited authority that God gave them. What authority (to wield force, remember!) can a vote confer upon a King?

            Well, pretty much only the authority we have as individuals, writ large. But our authority to use force is limited to defending the innocent (ourselves, or others) against wrongful attack on their life, their rights, their dignity. The Catechism allows me to believe that I may forcibly defend my family against a home invader, for example. But the Catechism makes no obvious claim that I could, for example, brandish a gun at my neighbor to dissuade him from a private act of fornication, or to get him to eat a healthier diet, or to stop listening to Britney Spears recordings.

            So it seems to me that in God’s Moral Law, my authority to use force is proportionate to the degree, and especially the forcible nature, of the evil being opposed. If I and my neighbors delegate authority to use force to an elected King, he simply can’t be an absolute monarch with totalitarian authority. That can’t work: It would require us to delegate authority to him that God never delegated to us.

            So in the end I’m not sure how much difference there is between your Catholic Monarch — once it became an elected office with a limited scope authority — and a citizen President such as we have now. If a prophet shows up, accompanied by miracles and whatnot to authenticate his message, and approved by the Church, and says that the U.S. shall have a King with absolute power, then I shall be loyal to him. But in lieu of that, it looks to me as if Constitutional Democratic Republicanism is what we’re stuck with.

            • I shall not repeat my mistake of responding before I am quite ready too, but I am pretty sure I read something about Brittney Spears in the Catechism. It might be my grogginess, but I would double check your statement about saving a man from the private catastrophe of listening to her music.

  • RFlaum

    Speaking here as a liberal Democrat who remembers when everybody said we were forever shut out of power, let me just say: don’t worry. A few election cycles from now you guys’ll be back in and all the articles will be about how we’re hopeless. Wheel keeps on turning.

    • By then, though, “conservative” will have shifted to mean something significantly to the left of what it means today. That is the nature of the “go slow leftism” and “go fast leftism” that millions of Americans personally and voluntarily endorsed by voting yesterday.

      • John C

        Right. Time for this old tyrannosaurus to wander off to the dinosaur graveyard . . . . Nah!! First I’m gonna chew me up some “progressives”.

      • RFlaum

        Eh, I’m not sure I buy that everything must always move left. It’s a sort of Whig history attitude that isn’t really supported. In 2004, everybody was expecting the Democratic party to have to move right before it started winning elections again.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Except they didn’t move right, and they still won elections.

          • RFlaum

            Right, that’s my point. Back then, people were predicting that the Dems would have to move right. Now people are predicting that the GOP will move left, and are not necessarily any more correct.

        • Mitt Romney would have been considered a far left candidate if he ran as a Democrat in 1980. People who do not see an inexorable march leftward are simply refusing to look.

          • RFlaum

            I’m not denying that there has been leftward movement. Where I quarrel is with the “inexorable”. There’ve been times when the consensus was well to the right of where it is today, and times when it’s been well to the left of where it is today.

            • The consensus has never, in the history of the US, been to the left of where it is today. Positions that today seem “centrist” or eve right of center – gay civil unions, as just one example – were radically leftist at every other time in US history.

              Again, people who don’t see the inexorable march leftward are in some sort of denial.

              • RFlaum

                Oh, nonsense. Richard Nixon was well to the left of any significant public figure today. He favored wage and price controls, his planned health-care initiative was well to the left of Obama’s… and he was considered almost shockingly conservative at the time. And even if it were true that the US has always trended left in the past, these empirical social laws aren’t like laws of nature; they can be reversed. If you don’t like where the US is heading, go out and convince people!

                • Ted Seeber

                  Just Wage and Fair Price are CONSERVATIVE values, not liberal ones. Liberal free market theory favors supply/demand pricing instead (like price gouging during a hurricane because the demand now exceeds the supply).

                  • R.C.

                    Uh, Ted, I understand where you’re coming from, there, but it isn’t helpful to import definitions from another (more distant) context and start using them, mid-stream, in a conversation which was already using those same terms with different accepted definitions (from a more close-at-hand context).

                    So, yeah, in the grand scheme of things one can call price controls “conservative” in the same sense that one can call restoration of the monarchy “conservative” or even Caesaropapism “conservative.” And in Russia, the former communists are the “hard line conservatives.”

                    But the context was American politics, and contemporary American politics at that. In contemporary American politics, the thing being conserved by conservatives is something more like a Jeffersonian Democratic Republicanism and an Originalist Constitutionalism overlaid on a more equalized state/federal balance of power and a broadly Christian popular culture.

                    And that, of course, has squat-all to do with Russian communism, with Caesaropapism, with monarchy-restoration…or with price-controls.

                    • Ted Seeber

                      I actually see almost no resemblance between Jeffersonian ideals (which are really liberal free masonry to begin with) and the Rule of Right Of Private Property that seems to be the primary “right wing American” conservativism. But both are far more liberal than I am at the moment. It might be situational depression I’m feeling today. But I can’t see anything that can be called “good” in America anymore.

          • kenneth

            Nixon, Goldwater and the elder George Bush would have been considered flaming liberals if they had run in this cycle. Obama would be, and is considered, a right-centrist figure by historical liberals of past decades, and by the political left-right metrics used by most of the West these days. This so-called “liberal” presides over a domestic security apparatus that would be the envy of Franco’s Spain or 1970s Argentina. His foreign policy/military stance is somewhere between Israel’s Likud and Imperial Japan. The only basis for calling him a liberal is his position on a couple of social/religious issues.

            • Ted Seeber

              And in comparison to Pope Pius IX, the whole bleedin’ lot is a bunch of liberal Democrats.

            • You appear to be under the mistaken impression that leftist regimes do not employ aggressive “domestic security” and foreign policy. That isn’t true. One thing all forms of political modernity – right or left- have in common is the escalating use of State apparatus to enforce their ideological war against nature and nature’s God.

              • Ted Seeber

                “You appear to be under the mistaken impression that leftist regimes do not employ aggressive “domestic security””

                Soviet Union. The ultimate leftest regime was full of domestic security.

                “and foreign policy”

                Afghanistan in the 1980s. Followed by Afghanistan 1997-2013.

                Leftist policy.

                “One thing all forms of political modernity – right or left- have in common is the escalating use of State apparatus to enforce their ideological war against nature and nature’s God.”

                My right is Pope Gregory the Great.

        • Ted Seeber

          As long as the only Progress is defined as extinction, then history can ONLY progress to the left.

    • Will

      I don’t know. When I read Mr. Dooley talking about the days when the Raypublicans got the “We commend…” and the Dimmycrats got the “We denounce and deplore…”, it sounds like prehistory.

    • Ted Seeber

      Doesn’t matter because the Republicans are almost as bad. ALL of America is against Catholicism.

      • If Catholics (or Jews or whoever) are the people of God and the world is controlled by Satan, then the world will ALWAYS be against Catholicism (or whoever) this side of the veil.

        We Christians must never forget that we live in enemy-occupied territory.

        • Ted Seeber

          I think that is exactly what many of us have forgotten indeed.

      • Mark Shea

        Stop it.

  • Michaelus

    OK – so we have until August to figure out what we will do when the Feds start levying huge fines against our local Catholic hospital. What is the plan? Let the hospitals get sold to giant insurance-healthcare conglomerates? Let a few Bishops get arrested before allowing the Feds to confiscate the hospitals? Quietly pay for recreation sex steroids and sterilizations? Hope that some court stops the HHS mandate (completely unlikely)?

    Do we have a plan?

    • kmk

      Amen–and what about those few faithful non-contraceptive OB/GYNs? How will we protect them? They are absolutely on the front line. Are we willing to defend them, or go to jail with them? Rise up, laypeoples! What’s the plan, Bishops?

      • Perhaps we should have thought of that in 1930 and 1968.

    • Ted Seeber

      There is only one plan in good conscience: Shut down the hospitals, and start monasteries. Make sure they have thick walls to repel invaders.

      Support the Third Order of St Gianna Beretta Molla, and build new communities dedicated to her patronage. Welcome any and all with medical training who wish to join, and provide them with all they need.

      If America doesn’t want us, then let us leave. Wouldn’t it be interesting to return en masse to Mexico?

      • Rob B.

        Does Mexico want us? How Catholic is the current Mexican government?

        • kenneth

          Government/Church relations in Mexico are interesting, to say the least. From 1917 until very recent times, the Church was essentially outlawed as a political entity. Religious could not wear their garb in public, or vote, or run for office or do pretty much anything outside of their own churches. These days, that’s eased up a lot, but there are, I understand, still some fairly strict laws maintaining a high wall of church-state separation. I don’t think the open campaigning for one political party or another by bishops would be tolerated at all in Mexico the way it is here. The Church is still an influential force in Mexico, to be sure, but the country ain’t exactly a paradise of doctrinal purity. Gay marriage is now recognized in all states (though only performed in Mexico City). Abortion is legal in the city, and tolerated to varying degrees elsewhere.

          Of course, you’ll have a couple of other pragmatic considerations, like the virtual certainty of being shot or kidnapped in any of the cartel states. You’ll also have some awkward dinner party conversation when your new neighbors learned you supported a party which vowed to make life so miserable for illegal Mexicans (Mexico’s main breadwinners) that they “self deport.”

          • Ted Seeber

            “I don’t think the open campaigning for one political party or another by bishops would be tolerated at all in Mexico the way it is here. ”

            This must be some strange meaning of the word “tolerated” of which I have not previously been aware- since it’s not tolerated here either.

            • Andy, Bad Person

              There’s also a strange meaning of “campaigning” being used.

            • kenneth

              The difference is priests were executed and jailed en masse for political involvement in the decades after the revolution. That’s what “big P” persecution is about, versus the histrionic variety of American Catholicism.

              • Ted Seeber

                I have no doubt at all that is coming.

                • kenneth

                  As we speak, we’re entering the quadrennial Obama post-election panic, where the Tea Party/militia/black helicopter crowd is cashing in their retirements and maxing their credit cards to buy every gun and round of ammo they can lay their hands on (as if that would stop a real totalitarian regime). If I remember the warped economics of “08” correctly, a Chinese made AK worth about $200 will be selling for at least $1,000 by the end of the week and ammo probably a buck a round. Actually that’s probably the floor, not the ceiling of this panic buying. I may well sell my modest collection to some of the rubes and take a nice trip across Europe.

          • Ted Seeber

            P.S.- I mentioned Mexico specifically because I wonder how they’d handle several million property-rights loving Gringos coming across their border in force. I wonder how a drug cartel would handle a “shoot first, ask questions never” NRA member.

    • Bob G

      The problem as I see it, is that neither the bishops or religious orders actually control these hospitals anymore. They are now run by boards dominated by laymen and doctors, many of who are not Catholic. They will not be willing to go to jail and will quickly cave in.

    • Tom Moore

      Pay the tax and go right on providing services.

    • tz

      Putting super-glue in the locks of an abortion clinic might delay the opening and prevent a number of murders that would otherwise occur is considered a terrible evil overreaction which we must never, ever do (few even call Abortion a Holocaust). I do not expect them to object to paying a “tax”. Remember Bob Jones University that lost their 501c3 status because they had a religious view that was sufficiently disliked? That supreme court case is still precedent. I think it would be the best thing to happen since we would no longer live in fear, but in hope.

      And we can build our own hospitals, operated by volunteers, do crisis pregnancy, ultrasound, MRIs, mammograms (take that Kohmen!), and do it undocumented for donations as much as possible and see if God will bless uncompromising trust, using the last shards of religious liberty to actually serve the poor ourselves and not worry about whether Levithan will send us a check.

      “Jesus I trust in you”, is disingenuous when you trust in government or hedge.

      Then there’s the story of St. Lawrence: “The prefect of the city knew the rich offerings which the Christians put into the hands of the clergy, and he demanded the treasures of the Roman Church from Laurence, their guardian. The Saint promised, at the end of three days, to show him riches exceeding all the wealth of the empire, and set about collecting the poor, the infirm, and the religious who lived by the alms of the faithful. He then bade the prefect ‘see the treasures of the Church'”. The prefect did not accept the treasures, but FDR, LBJ, and the rest of those promoting the federal government largess accepted the treasures of the church, and the bishops keep sending them more and more. The bodies are kept alive on condition that they allow their souls to die (abortion, unwed motherhood, no religious activity).

  • Ted Seeber

    Where do I go to renounce my citizenship? I’m not sure I can bear to be an American anymore.

    • Rob B.

      Unless I miss my guess, your citizenship is in the City of God. Do you really want to renounce it?

    • Cordelia

      Well, you could come here to Canada…just don’t expect things to be any better.

      Actually, there is one improvement I’ve noticed about being Canadian: nobody hates you internationally.

      • Ted Seeber

        Near as I can tell, Canada is actually ahead of Soviet Amerika in hating Catholics.

      • kenneth

        For most of the early to mid 2000s, I passed myself off as Canadian whenever I traveled abroad. It saved me a lot of angry conversations. I had the accent down, and even loosely formed cover identity rooted in my time in Sarnia, and I even have some of the beady eye thing going on, so I can live up to the “South Park” notion of Canada!

    • Mark Shea

      Your loyalty is to your people, not to nationalism. Don’t renounce your citizenship. Patriotism is a virtue. Nationalism is a sin.

      • Ted Seeber

        The only people I have left is family.

      • Ted Seeber

        After a long dark half-week of the tea time of the soul, I have found my purpose and way forward again, and it is not to renounce my citizenship.

        It is wholeheartedly to reverse and attack my own inner racist, my own inner bigot, and to encourage the extension of the values of Columbianism to new immigrants from Africa and Mexico, to the disabled, and to the unfit and unwanted.

        Including Assimilation.

        The way forward? A new political MOVEMENT, not partisan, that accepts human beings as human, regardless of their beginnings or some stupid “ideal capability” that none of us attain anyway (even neurotypicals are just acting sane).

  • Kirt Higdon

    If there even is a plan, I think it will consist in selling off the hospitals. Bishops go to jail? Call me cynical but I don’t think we have any such bishops. If we have even one John Fisher, I’ll be amazed. Moral theologians will decide that the material cooperation with evil is remote enough to pass, given that no one is being forced to use contraceptives nor even encouraged to do so by the Church. As for the Bishops, they’ll soon be having dinner parties and yucking it up with pro-abort politicians just like Cardinal Dolan did with Obama and Romney before the election.

    • Tom Moore

      Just send the Bishops back to the Vatican. Everyone knows the Church will not let its own go to jail.

  • Confederate Papist

    Ted – your citizenship renounced you.

    • Ted Seeber

      I like that: In Soviet America- Citizenship renounces YOU!

  • Jack

    The Caesar to whom Jesus bids us to render to, used tax money to pay soldiers to execute innocent persons such as well; Jesus.

  • Michaelus

    My guess is that the hospitals will be sold to giant corporations – the ones who were the real reason that we have Obamacare. The Church will run charities within the corporation. The problem is that the rich and evil men who run our country have discovered that a”hospital” is a great way to make money. Changing the name of St. Raphael’s Hospital to The UnitedWellHealthPointe-St. Raphael Healthness Center will hardly be noticed. The Government will keep telling us that we are all safe while extracting $trillions from us to pay rich men. Obama will continue to tell us that the rich have to pay more taxes even after he retires to his $40million dollar home in Hawaii that he bought through the savings plan at work.

    • Basil Seal

      Nonsense. The important thing here is that Mark and all True Catholics like him kept their souls spotless and free from any taint that might pertain to voting for Mitt Romney. It’s a small price to pay for purity, really. If True Catholicism means anything it means accepting immediate temporal evil in the avoidance of some speculative future sin.

      • Rob B.

        Do you really think that if all the Catholics who thought like Mr. Shea had voted for Romney, he would be President-Elect? Do you have any evidence to support this view?

      • Ted Seeber

        I can’t even name a single state where the winner did NOT get more than 50% of the popular vote, can you?

      • Anne B.

        “The important thing here is that Mark and all True Catholics like him kept their souls spotless and free from any taint that might pertain to voting for Mitt Romney. It’s a small price to pay for purity, really. If True Catholicism means anything it means accepting immediate temporal evil in the avoidance of some speculative future sin.”

        That’s how I read it, too. The Pharisees would have been right on board with this. It has the advantage in that you can preserve your unblemished soul, and then you can sit back and sneer at the results, whatever they are.

        • Mark Shea

          Thank you for that eloquent exposition of the brand new “conservative Catholic” doctrine that avoidance of grave intrinsic sin is Pharisaic and that mortal sin, committed for the Party, is virtue.

          • Peggy R

            Mark, the rationale for voting for Romney was not out of fealty to any party or to him as a person, but for the best outcome for the nation in this election. At least, that’s my analysis. While we certainly would not get everything we want–maybe far from it, we’d certainly have had responsible budgeting as well as economic stability and job growth. We’d have Mexico City reinstated. He committed to that. But we don’t even have that.

      • Jared

        Did…did you really just condescendingly condemn people for wishing to avoid sin (as compromising a properly-informed conscience is)?

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    Remember, those who are faithful to The LORD are but strangers and wayfarers in this world. The Master said, “Foxes have lairs and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Should it surprise us, then, if we His disciples lead the precarious and uncomfortable life of pilgrims on this Earth? And if, in obedience to His call, we attempt to set down roots, and even to lay a foundation for the City of God, that the wicked are permitted by God to waylay us and tear up these roots and these foundations, should we be thrown into confusion, like children whose sandcastles the waves have washed away?

    We build and run hospitals not for our sake, but in obedience to Him. If Caesar swings his cudgel at this work of God and wrecks it, then it up to us to raise our eyes to Heaven and ask, “Lord, what would you have us to do?” What did the people of ancient Israel do when unbelievers stormed the holy city? The wise among them fasted and prayed and sought The LORD’s lead. So ought we to do.

    “This land is not your land; this land is not my land.” We are dust and ashes swirling upon the surface of a small blue marble, hurtling through the galaxy. Our true land and our true home are not of this world.

    Of course we should love, serve, and pray for the United States of America, but if our faith, hope, and love rise and fall with her, we are no disciples of His. If our security rests in her, we are no disciples of His. Our help is in the Name of The LORD, who made the heavens and the Earth. All the rest is commentary.

  • Lest it go unnoticed:

    Had every third-party voter in America cast his or her ballot in favor of [name], Obama would have won.
    Toss any name in there, including Romney. Every state in which Obama was the victor saw Obama receiving greater than 50% of the vote.


    • ivan_the_mad

      People wielded that particular cudgel in spite of, not because of, any reason or evidence. The same argument will crop up every election, no matter how many times to you point to empirical data to the contrary.

  • Dan C

    Zippy- I guess this is where I am lost on suh arguments that Republican have shifted “left:”

    During the primaries, the only way to get the nomination for Presidency was to embrace a right wing nationalist isolationism (a traditional conservative strain-if taken to the extreme), with promise to end Obamacare and turn it over to “market solutions,” with a similar message for Medicare (changing one of the most hated government programs by conservatives), with the resulting Presidential nominee repeating verbatim with sincerity the “moochers” philosophy (the mooching 47%) evident on many conservative sites, a rejection of environmental protections, and a promise to end regulations (by decreasing such things as consumer protection, workplace regulations, and environmental protection). Obama and Romeny both ram on a muscular bellicosity that brought cheers from the right.

    On matters of abortion, marriage, and contraception, the message was largely weaker, but they aren’t all that defines conservatives. And the Catholic conservative could be somewhat pleased by the RNC platform.

    I actually think the debates defined conservativism well and I think the Republican Party has lurched to appease the very far right on matters economic and military.

    Obama is actually to the right of GWBush on matters military and probably economic. What is “conservative” if not the stances elucidated during the primary season?

    • ivan_the_mad

      One of the first things to understand is that conservatism is not another word for the right or Republican.

    • Ted Seeber

      “During the primaries, the only way to get the nomination for Presidency was to embrace a right wing nationalist isolationism (a traditional conservative strain-if taken to the extreme), with promise to end Obamacare and turn it over to “market solutions,” with a similar message for Medicare (changing one of the most hated government programs by conservatives), with the resulting Presidential nominee repeating verbatim with sincerity the “moochers” philosophy (the mooching 47%) evident on many conservative sites, a rejection of environmental protections, and a promise to end regulations (by decreasing such things as consumer protection, workplace regulations, and environmental protection). Obama and Romeny both ram on a muscular bellicosity that brought cheers from the right.”

      What you are labeling “the right” is really free market liberalism. Those who bow to Wall Street are no different from those who bowed to the Kremlin.

    • I think the Republican Party has lurched to appease the very far right on matters economic and military.

      What we in America call “conservatism” is more accurately called “right liberalism”, and there isn’t anything particularly conservative about it. There are lots of places to read up on the subject; one good example is this article, by Mark Richardson.

      • Dan C

        I know Kirk. But to claim he, and will read this article, but to claim that this is conservativism in its complete form is akin to a Baptists defining out papists as Chistians. Politics often is coalitions and not ideology.

        While you claim, by very rarified definitions, what a conservative is, how would a Reagan have done in this cycle? I claim Obama is to the right of Reagan.

        • Ted Seeber

          Obama and Reagan are to the left of the Popes.

        • ivan_the_mad

          Dan, yes, “Politics often is coalitions and not ideology.” By repeated reference to Kirk, I am stressing his argument that conservatism is the negation of ideology. The essay to which I directed you in the “Well that didn’t take long …” thread expands on that. Here is the link again for convenience (I think you’ll particularly enjoy the end of the essay):

          Kirk holds an honored place for articulating an intellectual foundation for American conservatism, which makes the dissonance between his thought and Republican ideology all the more concerning.

        • ivan_the_mad

          I don’t know how to begin to construct a standard of comparison to hypothesize how Reagan might have done, nor am I interested in doing so. If by “Obama is to the right of Reagan” you mean that Obama is more bellicose, yes I would agree with you.

        • Obama is actually to the right of GWBush on matters military and probably economic. What is “conservative” if not the stances elucidated during the primary season?

          I claim Obama is to the right of Reagan.

          You… don’t know a damn thing about economics do you? What’s next? Going to claim that Rick Warren is more Catholic than the pope? Seriously, what are you on?

          • ivan_the_mad

            I think Dan C’s a good guy, the scorn is unnecessary.

            • He may be good, but that doesn’t make him right any more than if he said the moon was made of purple cheese and the earth was carried around on the back of a hippo. (everyone knows it’s green cheese and a turtle carrying us) Sometimes people say something so insane, there’s no reaction appropriate but shock (and a slap if they need to snap out of it).

          • Peggy R

            Good grief. I will cease from attempting to educate the ignorant in economic matters here. It seems pointless as do many things today. (I am with you Nate.)

        • Actually I just think it is a worthwhile article.

          When pressed, I would say that “conservatism” doesn’t really have a stable essence, unlike liberalism. Pretty much all respectable political thought in the modern first world is liberalism.

    • Dan C’s observations are accurate and badly needed. Both Republicans and Democrats have in some issues moved “rightward” as “rightward” would have been defined in 1980.

  • Props to Ted. Our political parties are both “left” where they should be “right” (social/moral issues) and “right” where they should be “left” (military/war issues, in bed with big business.) and both parties are also full of financial imbeciles (with a few exceptions like Paul Ryan).

    I think we’re about at the point where we need to think about how to organize structures (ala St. Benedict) that will survive the now nearly inevitable downfall of America. The bad thing about Obama’s re-election is that our chance to bring America back from the precipice went down from probably 5% to 2%. The good thing is that all serious Christians definitely realize now that they are in a battle, that they are losing, and that it’s time to step up.

    • Ted Seeber

      2%? Given a Republican House and the normal squabbles over who to worship more, Moloch or Mammon between Hudge and Grudge, I am wondering if we’re even going to have another national election 2 years from now, let alone 4.

  • merkn

    Democracy is not the form of government that gave us “Give us Barabbus”. The response was given by a mob at the invitation of a Roman procurator. The mob were largely oppressedJews whose homeland was conquered and occupied by the Roman Empire. The United States also is not a democracy. It is a democratic Republic. Mobs and popular votes are not used to prosecute or free criminals. This appalling discussion is shameful. You could not write the things that you write in the Roman empire, or the Soviet Union or pretty much any other political organisation, except a Western democracy based on US Constitutional principles. Many of us are disappointed in the outcome of the election. The idea is to take comfort in the words that you quote from Scripture. It is given to us to do the best we can with what we have peacefully and with charity toward all. Perhaps if some of us tried to persuade our fellow citizens with reasoned arguments instrad of denouncing them as soviets and agents of moloch we could convince them we are right.

    • Mark Shea

      Sheesh. It was a joke. Lighten up.

    • Marion (Mael Muire)

      “Perhaps if some of us tried to persuade our fellow citizens with reasoned arguments instead of denouncing them as soviets and agents of moloch we could convince them we are right.”

      You go right ahead: be my guest and knock yourself out. Use reasoned arguements. Go. Go-go-go.

      Fact: Persons who advocate the freedom to target the infant in the womb for annihilation is exactly and precisely an agent of Moloch, and by extension an agent of Satan. They may not realize that’s what they are; and it may not be helpful to tell them directly that’s what they are.

      But that’s what they are.

      Full Period.

      I find being willing to countenance, approve, or pay for placing the vulnerable innocent into the crosshairs of harm to be what is “appalling”. And if you don’t find it “appalling”, then, in my opinion, you might as well be from one of the moons of Neptune or Pluto, as far as I’m concerned. And for all I know, what’s appalling to you about this or any conversation in which you and I might participate, is that each of us hasn’t smeared a dab of Gulden’s mustard behind our ears prior to conducting it.

    • Ted Seeber

      “Perhaps if some of us tried to persuade our fellow citizens with reasoned arguments instead of denouncing them as soviets and agents of moloch we could convince them we are right.”

      Tried that for 20 years. Now I’m done. I give up. This election has taught me that there is no reason left in America.

      • Marion (Mael Muire)

        Ted. There is no reason in any of us, apart from Jesus.

        But with God all things are possible. Stay focussed upon Him.

  • I would be more than willing to go to jail with or in place of any Catholic Priest or Bishop who peacefully protests the upcoming confrontation between the government and the Catholic Church over the HHS mandate.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    No matter how much the purveyors of namby-pamby come to you and wag their fingers in your faces and go tut-tut, tsk-tsk, “shameful” and “appalling” “do sit down and be quiet, there, children, silence!” . . . as if they are somehow your master and commander . . . they are to be ignored.

    We must never, never listen to any but to the voice of The LORD; never soften in our resolve to cry out in the face of those who call evil good, and good, evil.

    Never, never, never, never . . .

  • Josee turner


  • Josee turner

    AMEN! Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life. Thank you, I needed this reminder today.