US vs. Rome

US vs. Rome June 3, 2009

I’ve noted before that the over-reaction among some US Catholics to the Obama presidency is causing some divergence between themselves and Rome. And now Vaticanologist Sandro Magister weighs in on this issue, noting that people like Deal Hudson, George Weigel, and Michael Novak are even accusing the Vatican of capitulation on abortion. Their ire is particularly directed at L’Osservatore Romano and its editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, after the newspaper ran a number of stories on Obama more balanced that these American Catholics liked, most recently on his Notre Dame speech. Given that the Secretary of State is known to keep a close eye on the editorial stance of the newspaper, their frustrations are showing.

What is interesting to me is the tone of the language. Weigel laments “a sorry ignorance of recent American history” and Novak also accused it of not understanding the American reality. In other words, they want the Vatican to think as they think. Note there is no major doctrinal issues here — nobody is even hinting that the Vatican is backpedaling on its definitive teaching that abortion is intrinsically evil and that the unborn deserve some legal protection. What this American triumvirate wants is for the Vatican to align itself with their own chosen tactics in this matter. Their position is a partisan position, and the Vatican will not embrace a partisan position. To them, it is black and white. One side is the party of life, one side is the party of death. As Michael Winters noted, they don’t believe in pro-life Democrats and they don’t want to Vatican to believe this either.

What they fail to understand is that their way of thinking is a quintessentially American way of thinking. They speak the stark language of duality, influenced more by Calvinism and Gnosticism than Catholicism (note I am speaking about their worldview, not their actual theological beliefs). To them, you are either with us or against us. If a Catholic opposes their tactics, then that Catholic is a traitor (remember Kmiec?). These three men are all smart, but some of their less intelligent acolytes explicitly conflate theological and political orthodoxy, and so what I write on this blog can be deemed “heterodox” or “dissident” simply because I think their political tactics are gravely deficient, and prefer others. It happens all the time.

But that is not how Catholics outside of America view things, and they need not be any less pro-life. They find the stark language of Hudson, Weigel, and Novak confusing. Magister lists one example:

“In effect, amid the storm of controversy Obama’s speech has been little read and analyzed. And yet something significant must have been said in it if, in Italy, a commentator beyond suspicion like Giuliano Ferrara – the most “Ratzingerian” of the secular defenders of unborn life – published it in its entirety in the newspaper “il Foglio” which he directs, seeing in it common ground on which the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” can work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortion.”

Remember, the American Catholics listed come with a lot of baggage. Both Hudson and Novak have hinted that torture might be licit in some circumstances. Novak is a well known defender of laissez-faire liberalism, with an extremely narrow reading of Catholic social teaching. And not only did Weigel support the Iraq war vehemently, even today he stubbornly clings to his position — decrying the lack of appreciation for Bush’s momentous endeavor after a million dead, five million orphans, and 4.5 million displaced people. It was only a few years ago that leading Vatican officials were condemning  justifications of the Iraq war as Calvinist inspired.

It is not for nothing that Magister dubs this triumvirate “standard-bearers of neoconservative Catholic thought”. They would help their cause a lot if they accepted Church teachings on all matters, not selectively. They would become more credible if they supported various political actors in spite of, not because of, their stances on issues condemned by the Church — especially issues related to human life and dignity. And they would do the unborn a greater service by not aligning themselves so tightly with a certain movement and condemning fellow Catholics who choose otherwise.

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  • David, Chicago

    Thank you…brilliant analysis.

  • scriblerus

    One could easily make the argument that this sort of Americanism (the unique value of the American experience must be recognized, etc.) has been THE constant throughout Novak’s career–from the days when he wrote for Commonweal up until now.

  • digbydolben

    No matter how much I may disagree with Papa Ratzinger about certain more or less inconsequential matters such as, for example, “gay rights,” I’m also absolutely certain that the “oracle in the Vatican” indeed does, because of its timeless perspective, understand Americans much better than they understand themselves.

  • paul zummo

    They would help their cause a lot if they accepted Church teachings on all matters, not selectively.

    Yeah, because you’d hate to surround yourself with people who are selective in the Church teachings that they accept – like, for instance, homosexual actions and women priests.

    What they fail to understand is that their way of thinking is a quintessentially American way of thinking. They speak the stark language of duality, influenced more by Calvinism and Gnosticism

    Do you even remotely appreciate what a self-parody you have become at this point? Can you write one blog post that doesn’t fall back on your famous crutch terms? It’s kind of sad. But then again, considering your insistence on bashing people like Weigel while taking in the adulation of anti-Catholic bigots like digbydolben and Naus, it’s to be expected.

  • David Gamaliel

    To Paul Zummo — Your biting sarcasm is out of place. Please try reasoned argument. It might be more persuasive.

  • scriblerus

    I’m with Paul on the Calvinism and Gnosticism bit. Just try reading some up-to-date intellectual historians, not the potted stuff you get from RadOrthodoxy types. It’s really not essential to any of the points you want to make.

    In any case, the even greater irony of this whole “doesn’t understand America” line is that now Catholic neoconservatives find themselves in the position of appropriating left Catholic arguments from the 60s (e.g., don’t mind us, we’re just at the cutting of Catholic doctrinal development). Truly intellectually bankrupt.

  • digbydolben

    Zummo, “anti-American” I’ll plead “guilty” to; “anti-Catholic,” not.

  • Given that Magister provides only a few brief quotes with no links, it’s hard to know the context of what was said. (I must admit, MM, if often seems that those like you read the “triumvirate” of neo-conservative Catholics much more than those of us who actually _are_ conservative Catholics do.)

    That said, it’s possible that there is some degree of truth to the concern that some writers at L’Osservatore Romano “don’t get” the American political dynamic. As you frequently point out in these virtual pages, moral and cultural issues basically died on the political square in Europe two decades ago. There is not much of a debate going on on abortion, nor much likelihood that those restrictions that there are on abortion (which are at least already greater than ours) will be increased. Nor, indeed, is there much additional work being done in Europe to “decrease the need for abortion” which somehow seems to persist at roghly half US levels even under the most generous welfare states.

    What these “neo-cons” may be correct in observing is that some Europeans in the Vatican may not have a good feel for the extent to which moral and cultural issues remain actively at play in American politics.

  • ron chandonia

    Meanwhile, David Gibson over at Commonweal has joined Fr. John O’Malley at America in crowing that the Obama presidency has revived the Catholic left–and may even bring young Catholics back to God, thereby providing us with a sophisticated Catholic version of the Obamessiah phenomenon. Michael Novak and George Weigel come in for plenty of deserved criticism here because they are so obviously right-wingers first and Catholics second. It’s sad that their most vocal critics keep showing themselves to be left-wingers first and Catholics second.

  • Scriblerus — good connection.

    On the Calvinism and Gnosticism, it’s not like I invented this analysis, folks. It’s pretty standard. Cardinal George decried the cultural Calvinism in America. Cardinal Laghi argued that a Calvinist theology was used to defend the Iraq war. As for Gnosticism… look to the pioneering work of Harold Bloom (himself sympathetic to Gnosticism). Look to Philip J. Lee and N.T. Wright. Look to all of the man-made religions that originated in the United States.

    If I keep repeating myself, it is because I believe it is an important point to be made.

  • Very good, MM.

    The Religious Right, and the Neuhaus/Weigel/Novak faction (please don’t give Hudson undue credit; he was to Karl Rove as Gonzales was to Bush) , will become increasingly marginalized as time moves on. They had their moment in the sun and the sun for them has begun its inevitable descent. There will be no second chance.

    A new Catholic coalition will emerge that will more fully embrace the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church and the call to Love one another. This will affect not only policy, but language and tactics. On this foundation, a new politics will be born. Even the more conservative Bishops will find themselves having to moderate in tone and methods.

    The Republican Party will continue to expunge itself until such time as the Religious Right is no longer its base. This will require a new set of ideas more consistent with Catholic social teaching. It is with justice that American politics will find its center of gravity. Such dramatic changes will be a prerequisite for the GOP to recover. Until it does, we will be treated to more Palin, Romney, and Huckabee.

    Notre Dame was a dramatic tipping point. President Obama set a new standard for national dialogue. The winners in the angry contest leading up to Obama’s commencement address were the President himself, Fr. Jenkins, Notre Dame, the American people, and perhaps even the Church. Spring has sprung and tiny shoots are beginning to reach for the sky.

  • digbydolben

    And I, for one, think that MM is right, and always has been right, regarding the vulgar, simplistic and anti-intellectual Calvinist strain in the American “civic religion.”

  • paul zummo

    If I keep repeating myself, it is because I believe it is an important point to be made.

    But if you keep repeating yourself without substantively backing up the charge, it seems ridiculous. Just because it’s a “standard” explanation doesn’t make it anymore true. There are a lot of “standard” explanations about American history and ideology – repeated on all sides of the political spectrum – that are manifestly untrue.

  • Jeremy

    seeing in it common ground on which the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” can work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortion.”
    I don’t think that they realize that in the American context, this doesn’t mean a PR campaign about the spiritual side of marriage and the act of creation. In the American context, this means a Planned Parenthood approach – more contraception, more PR about ‘having responsible sex’.

  • Paul

    Jeremy sees it right.

    Catholic goal: reduce the number of abortions.
    Obama’s goal: reduce the need for abortions.

    Difference? Obama (and others across the political spectrum) aims to achieve his goal mainly by greater funding for, and greater encouragement of, contraception. Morning’s Minion has been routinely ignoring this for years — but you can’t reduce one intrinsic evil by increasing another. (It’s insanity to try to build a house in an outer circle of Hell, in order to avoid an inner circle — there are no rocks there, but only mud sliding inwards.)

  • Ronald King

    I am further right than the far right. I am more conservative than anyone I know who is conservative.
    That is why I monitor my thoughts, feelings, words and actions because I know that anything that is not love causes harm and death. I know we exist in a quantum entanglement of relationships that produce the butterfly effect that will either harm or heal others.
    The “triumverate” have no idea what conservative is.

  • Gabriel Austin

    I confess to continuous confusion about what might be a compromise position on abortion. Fewer abortions? How many fewer?

    What seems not to be understood is that you cannot compromise with an evil. All attempts to do so merely increase the evil. Was abortion common in 1960? Its acceptance – sat rather, its imposition by the Supreme Court – has led to an enormous increase. I believe Chesterton’s suggestion the best: first let’s have all the babies, then we can decide which to kill.

    Give credit to Hitler. He was clear in his ambitions about Jews; abominable but clear. He did not waffle like some of our Catholic compromisers.

    I think Mr. Novak merely a confused thinker. His prefaces to Chesterton’s writings in the collected works attempt to contradict Chesterton on capitalism. He fails. GKC is too solid a thinker.

    Mr. Weigel’s biography of JOHN PAUL II was not bad but he did not – as Cardinal Dulles pointed out – give enough weight to the social justice aspects of the Holy Father’s work.

    If digbydolben is as solidly anti-American as he writes [he would probably not have been in the 1940s] why does he pester us with his mosquito bites?

  • The “triumverate” have no idea what conservative is.

    I agree absolutely. Like so many in America who call themselves conservative, they are really wedded to a particular school of liberalism. Pius IX would be turning in his grave!

  • What seems not to be understood is that you cannot compromise with an evil.

    I would you say cannot formally cooperate with evil. As for remote mateial cooperation, we do this all the time, often without knowing it. The Church has always dealt with less-than-perfect leaders (what an understatement!) on the grounds that they would be relatively better in terms of serving the common good. The trick is not to get too close to power and so become corrupted.

  • Walter

    The largest of the many elephants in the living room regarding President Obama’s purported desire to reduce abortions in this country is the wretchedly perverse misinformation campaign that has been waged for decades now (very sucessfully) with regard to the abortifacient character of all present-day chemical contraceptives.

    To the best of medical science’s present knowledge, all chemical “contraceptives” MAY WELL achieve the desired result, viz., non-pregnancy, NOT by *preventing* conception, but rather by way of the mechanism known as “interception” — the provoked expulsion of the zygote (i.e, the new human organism) during that crucial week prior to his or her implantation within the mother’s womb.

    The sad and stark reality, so terribly unknown by most (even within the medical establishment), is that certain “establishment” doctors and other scientists have quietly but purposefully RE-DEFINED “getting pregnant” to mean *implantation* rather than *conception*. This devious re-defining allows providers of the Pill and other chemical contraceptives to accurately state that these do NOT act in an abortifacient way, viz., that they do not “end” pregnancy. You see, this is quite *true* if you simply don’t count as “being pregnant” the presence of the human organism — a son or daughter — PRIOR to his or her implantation in the uterus!

    Of course, such redefining remains contrary to even the contemporary usage of “pregnancy” among non-scientists, and for a very good reason: such a reevaluation of when one is “with child” is metaphysically absurd because (absent situations of twinning) NO NEW SUBSTANCE, NO NEW ORGANISM capable of even passing as the moment “human life begins” takes place at any time SAVE that of the moment a human egg fertilizes human sperm, i.e. conception. This is not stipulative; it is proven biological fact.

    And yet, without no sort of notification given to the public or to individual patients, this deceptive redefinition of pregnancy’s beginning to mean implantation allows doctors, politicians, and sundry pro-choice pundits and activists to mislead, knowingly or not, literally *millions* of Americans apropos of the stakes involved in using chemical contraceptives, thus allowing the debate over the evils of the latter to be entirely distinguished from the question of abortion.

    Now, to tie this back in with President Obama: what he and others are proposing is really far worse than we depict it by *merely* rebutting that one can never promote what is intrinsically evil in its own right to prevent another, even worse, evil from taking place. While this is a *sound* argument (for, verily, even absent the question of abortion, contraception is, indeed, intrinsically evil), what is *actually* being proposed (knowingly or not, for many otherwise learned people are unaware of the above facts) is FAR, FAR WORSE:

    And what is this “far worse” proposal? In a supposed attempt to “reduce abortions”, what is being proffered as a one solution is ITSELF non-negligibly *abortifacient*: chemical contraceptives ALWAYS have some, non-negligible danger of INDUCING, *rather than* PREVENTING, an abortion — with the chances for such an occurance misleadingly made to seem seem SMALL by the elite medical establishment’s covert redefining of “pregnancy” as excluding the period between conception and implantation.

    Bottom line: far from preventing abortion, one major sector of popular contraceptives (certainly all chemical versions) can and sometimes will ENSURE an abortion — an induced expulsion of a human organism from his or her own mother’s body, but that it simply take place QUIETLY, MORE EFFICIENTLY, SOONER and WITHOUT ANY AWARENESS ON THE PART OF THE MOTHER OF SUCH A TRAGIC and *UNNECESSARY* OCCURRENCE!

    Dear Lord, have mercy on our dear nation and its doctors and leaders.

  • MM, I like your take on this.
    Gabriel–not compromise, common ground.
    I think that common ground is adoption and assistance.

  • Paul

    MM: I would you say cannot formally cooperate with evil.

    Right. Reducing abortion by means of increasing contraception is an evil. (One cannot do evil so that good may come.) So, given the hypothetical case of two candidates that have the same position on everything, except that one candidate supports reducing abortion by means of increasing contraception, one may not vote for that candidate, because it would be formal cooperation in evil.

    Now real life is evidently not so tidy. But it is clear that someone pointing at Obama (or at others across the political spectrum) and saying something like: “He aims to reduce abortion, so why can’t we all agree with that?” is not actually being particularly helpful, and definitely not being clear. The means by which abortion is being reduced is crucially important.

  • Excelsior

    Nah. You missed it, sorry.

    It has nothing to do with some quintessentially American frame of mind, yadda, yadda.

    It is simply this:

    There are faithful Catholics, and non-faithful ones. Those of the non-faithful ones in the public eye regularly justify their disobedience with weasel-words, and while doing so, simultaneously imply that the faithful ones are extremists and embarrassing to the Church.

    This meme is reflected and amplified by the mainstream media, whose take is “Isn’t it a shame that all Catholics aren’t of the reasonable, balanced, Nancy Pelosi type? You know…sentimental enough to identify with their religious upbringing as a ‘heartfelt cultural attachment,’ but modern and rational enough to admit to themselves that, really, it’s all just a bunch of pleasant stories intended to help one get along well with others?”

    Some of the faithful are cowed into silence by the combined disapproval of unfaithful Catholics and our culture.

    But some can’t bear to see the truth go unspoken, unheard. So they speak up, criticizing Obama in direct proportion to the evils he supports, while taking care to note that, after all, he is the president, due the respect of the office, and due some praise, if he should happen to do anything noble and right.

    Now this criticism of Obama just doesn’t sit well with the disobedient Catholics and the mainstream media; they immediately join to refer to the faithful as extremists and kooks.

    But the faithful are patient, knowing they will be vindicated by Mother Church. They wait with anticipation to hear Mother Church clear her throat, and then state — is she not infallible? — that, yes, Obama’s stance on abortion is a civil-rights nightmare, is evil, and whatever else is good about him, his unwillingness to admit (nay, to trumpet) that the deaths of 50 million infants should never have been legal is on a moral par with supporting legal slavery or legal genocide.

    The faithful wait for the Church to speak clearly, sometimes feeling ostracized by their own local communities, but hoping that Mother Church will show them charity.

    The faithful speak up for what the Church teaches, hoping that as they “back her up” on her dogma, so she will “back them up” with words of approval.

    And then?

    And then the Church clears her throat, opens her mouth, utters a few pastoral words of compassion and affection for the disobedient Catholics, followed by a paean of diplomatically warm feeling for the Obama administration, and then falls silent.

    The faithful are crestfallen. “Here we go out on a limb for the Church, and publicly back up her teachings, and she…leaves us hanging?!”

    They continue: “Why is it the faithless ones get all the pastoral tenderness, and the faithful ones get squat? Why is it that the more in opposition to the Church a politician is, the more she bends over backwards to say nice things about him? Why is it the Church has the time of day for everyone who has no time for her teachings, but no time even to utter a word of affirmation for those who buck the local culture in faithful obedience?”

    And then the faithful hear another voice, which they try to resist: “Why bother, any more? The Church will take a kinder and gentler tone me if I abort a child than if I have seven. Why bother standing outside clinics with signs, if the Church will respond by shaking hands with the clinic-owners and their bought politicians, while shuffling us sign-carriers off to the back of the bus with a disapproving shake of the head? Isn’t it true, in the end, that the disobedient Catholics are really the mainstream Catholics, and the obedient ones are the red-headed stepchildren who go unloved?”

    That is the feeling, when Obama is honored and praised and complimented and fawned over. There’s nothing especially “American” about it.

    Such feelings are universal among humanity; else Jesus would never have spoken about the elder brother having such feelings, in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

    And of course if Obama, Pelosi, and the rest had repented like the younger son in the parable, why then the parable would be especially apt: The faithful Catholics would be angry at the Church for warmth towards a penitent. And Christ’s parable would speak powerfully against such an ungracious attitude.

    However, let’s be clear: Obama, Pelosi, and the like, are not repentant of their sin, but boldly continue in it.

    So while the feelings in the parable match those of the Catholic faithful, it’s fair to say that the attendant rebuke does not apply.

    Yet. (If Pelosi should become a pro-life champion, or Obama, an abortion moderate, the rebuke would apply.)

  • I’m amazed how frequently persons are called out as evil for their ideas. The total absence of good faith is depressing.

  • digbydolben

    To Gabriel Austin and the rest of the right-wing Catholic nut-jobs who want to be “more Catholic than the Pope”: our Church made a CONCORDAT with Hitler, for God’s sake, because out Church wisely understands that what “politics” is ALL ABOUT is “compromising with evil.” The mistake that the Church made was in not publicly tearing up that concordat when it became apparent to all that Hitler was determined to murder Christianity’s elder brother.

    The reason for the “mosquito bites” is that I assume that this is primarily a CATHOLIC website, rather than an American one, or am I wrong?

    And, by the way, Gabriel Austin, one of the reasons I’ve now become so “anti-American” is that I’m actually more “conservative” than most of the “conservative Catholics” who write here. Americans confuse being radically individualist and pro-“free market” mayhem with being “conservative.” What they are, then, is 19th century “liberals.” The only thing remotely “liberal” about me is that I believe in social democracy–but I’d have my “social democracy” managed by a MONARCH. Do you call that “liberal”?

  • There is another point about this topic that I have found to be really under-thought among my left-leaning Catholic friends and family. The sincere belief that Obama will create an America in which abortion is not needed is more often than not taken for granted by Obama supporters I speak to: either because his economic policies will fill the bellies of the poor and thereby wipe out abortion among the lower classes; or because his charisma will unite Americans in so many ways that real dialogue on this issue will happen and the pro-abortion-rights advocates will finally be able to see their errors. Not once, however, has either of these claims been really argued for.

    Yet how is that position any more justified, any more reasonable, than the nuts who thought that Bush was the leader chosen by God?

    MM, I think, has come closer than anyone I’ve actually talked to because he has actually constructed arguments in favor of abortion reduction under Obama. While I’m not convinced, I’ll give him a nod for knowing the kind of thing that needs to be done to hold that position.

    But man oh man, if the vast majority of Catholics who accepted that logic without looking to stats, analyzing data, looking at trends, and making balanced judgments, ACTUALLY thought about it, they’d see how stacked the odds are against them. Personally, if someone told me that radical pro-slavery John Calhoun (whose platform includes potentially repealing all of the major civil rights legislation established in this country since the end of the Civil War)would actually create an America in which slavery won’t be necessary; I, and any other sensible person, would laugh. It would simply take endless hours of argumentation to make that position even begin to look sensible.

    The burden of proof is just back-breaking. Our bar should be EXTREMELY high for giving Obama that confidence.

    I also want to second the Gabriel’s point about compromise (or common ground), only because this is also tossed around in the media rhetoric surrounding the issue, as well as Obama’s ND speech. Honestly, when they tried compromise on the issue of slavery, it looked like the 3/5ths compromise. If that’s compromise, then its clear that compromise has no sensible meaning in some cases. Infanticide is clearly one of those. As with slavery, the only morally acceptable position is abolition: anything less is simply monstrous.

    Obviously, material cooperation is different. But I simply want to note this dangerous element in how most of the country talks about the so-called “dialogue.”

    Pax Christi,

  • X-Cathedra,

    I always argued that abortion would be little different under Obama than under McCain. I argued that it would likely be lower under Obama, given his policies. But I never expected miracles, and I never expected any “charism of abortion reduction” from Obama himself. Since the economic crisis grew so grave, I think it likely that abortion rates will increase — a grave tragedy.

    We must remember what the Declaration on Procured Abortion expects of us: “One can never approve of abortion; but it is above all necessary to combat its causes…..Help for families and for unmarried mothers, assured grants for children, a statute for illegitimate children and reasonable arrangements for adoption – a whole positive policy must be put into force so that there will always be a concrete, honorable and possible alternative to abortion.”

    That said, I do hope for the day when the unborn have legal protection (and I’m not just talking Roe here). But I don’t see it happen. It won’t happen until the culture changes. And that can happen. I think Michael Winters was the one who argued that “Juno” did more for the pro-life cause than any political action, and he may well be right. I’m pretty certain that the dominant strategy of the current pro-life movement is doomed to failure.

  • digbydolben

    Not only is the “current pro-life movement” “doomed to failure,” MM, but the slavery-abolition “movement” that x-Cathedra touts above was ALSO “doomed to failure” because of the bloody, genocidal and generally unnecessary course it took (slavery was increasingly economically un-viable in the modern world by the 1860s).

    Because of the violence and the triumphalist victory of the American Civil War, American Negroes were forced at the hands of their former owners to live a life that was, in many ways, WORSE than antebellum chattel slavery.

    We CAN eliminate abortion, at least from the few remaining pockets of Catholic culture in the United States and elsewhere (i.e. New Mexico, parts of Texas, parts of Colorado,truly Catholic European and South American polities, etc.), but it will only be done by the slow, persuasive work that changes CULTURE.

    The anti-abortion movement in the United States has no stomach for THIS kind of struggle because they prioritize violent, coercive POLITICAL action over humbler, more patient and more directly personal involvement, and because many of them (not all) truly HATE people whose minds have been infected by modernist relativism.

  • Ronald King

    To Excelsior,
    Everytime we sin we are disobedient, so all Catholics are disobedient everyday. Catholics in this country that I know, including myself, appear to be the rich young man spoken about by Christ who will follow the commandments(at least some of them) but will not give up everything to follow Him.
    So Excelsior, do you know what it means to give up everything to follow Him?
    I hear everyday the statement about the relativism that is present in modern society from the extroverts who dominate the Catholic voices on EWTN. As a result, I have called into these programs suggesting that all Catholics live our faith relativistically because of the fact that we do not know the fullness of the Truth even though our faith contains the fullness of the Truth. At that point I will hear a click and my input has ended and I am “charitably” told that my conscience was wrongly formed and that they will “pray” for me. I will then immediately run to the closet to get my duct tape to prevent my head from exploding.
    The Truth is in the Light that God’s Love exists. If you can investigate what that might mean then you will see what I am saying.
    I will give you a clue. God’s Light is luminous and consequently, the frequency of His Light is the outcome of the expression of His Love that is the source of all creation. The frequency of the light that we project is less than that of God’s and therefore, we must always pray to love as God Loves because prayer is an act of love. Now, as our love increases then the frequency of the light that we project also increases and moves towards resonance with God’s Light. Every thought, feeling and action is energy that is given off in the form of light and will exhibit the frequency that relates to the level of love that we feel. These particles of light will then connect to others of the same frequency and will resonate with each other thereby increasing the the field of influence in which they exist. So what is it that we want to project and therefore influence in this world. The choice is always love or hate.
    The above is the conservatism in which I now live.

  • HA

    I am awed and humbled by Ronald King’s opinion of himself. It’s like gazing out over the Grand Canyon or something.

  • Ronald King

    HA, I am only telling you where the faith I love has taken me. Your remark shows disrespect. Why? I give information about my journey to God and what I have been taught on that journey.
    What I wrote above is what came to me on my morning Rosary Run two years ago. It was a Thursday morning like this morning and I started running and praying the Rosary. At that point I had no idea about the mysteries of the Rosary since I had been away and hated catholicism for 40 years.
    So, in the middle of the first decade the word luminous came to me and as I continued praying I was taken into the understanding of what I expressed above which is only a partial description of what was given to me.
    When I returned home I looked up the definition of luminous and discovered that it is light that does not produce heat and it is transparent, lucid, etc. On the opposite page I see Lucifer identified as satan and light-bringer. That light is created by friction and produces heat.
    I tell my priest about this experience and he tells me that my guardian angel is teaching me something because John Paul II developed the Luminous Mysteries and they are to be prayed Thursday.
    All I am doing is telling you where I have been led in my faith and I would rather live in the exploration of the unknown of my beautiful faith than in the known that I hear and see being expressed that gives me a sense of heaviness and darkness.

  • HA

    Sorry – can’t reply now. Too much duct tape on my head, I guess. No hard feelings, then.

  • Ronald King

    HA, I know what you mean. I need a break every now and then. I watch baseball and I love the beauty of the game. In that reality, Heaven is The Field of Dreams.
    God Bless.

  • Gabriel Austin

    Missy Francis Says:
    June 3, 2009 at 6:14 pm
    “Gabriel–not compromise, common ground.
    I think that common ground is adoption and assistance”.

    I am all for it. To what extent does Planned [Un]Parenthood help expectant and successful mothers? At their abortuaries [called clinics], there are continuous abortions. How many successful births?

  • Gabriel Austin

    digbydolben Says:
    June 3, 2009 at 10:49 pm
    “To Gabriel Austin and the rest of the right-wing Catholic nut-jobs who want to be “more Catholic than the Pope”: our Church made a CONCORDAT with Hitler, for God’s sake, because out Church wisely understands that what “politics” is ALL ABOUT is “compromising with evil.”

    You would be more coherent were you to study true history. The Church made a Concordat with the the German Republic, before Hitler.

    “The mistake that the Church made was in not publicly tearing up that concordat when it became apparent to all that Hitler was determined to murder Christianity’s elder brother”.

    Curious that “apparent to all” was not so apparent in the 1930s. Study the history of MIT BRENENDER SORGE and the Nazi attacks on the Church. From Wikipedia:

    “Mit brennender Sorge (German for “With burning anxiety”) is a Roman Catholic Church encyclical of Pope Pius XI, published on March 10, 1937 (but bearing a date of Passion Sunday, March 14). The encyclical criticized Nazism, listed breaches of an agreement signed with the Church and condemned antisemitism. Drafted by the future Pope Pius XII,[1], it warned Catholics that the growing Nazi ideology, which exalted one race over all others, was incompatible with Christianity. Pius XI himself had elsewhere condemned anti-semitism in more explicit terms.[2]

    “The encyclical was written in German and not the usual Latin of official Roman Catholic Church documents. It was read in all parish churches of Germany. This encyclical condemned particularly the paganism of the national-socialism ideology, the myth of race and blood, and the fallacy of their conception of God.[2] Pope Pius XI credited its creation and writing to the Cardinal Secretary of State, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli,[1] who later became Pope Pius XII. There was no pre-announcement of the encyclical, and its distribution was kept secret in an attempt to ensure the unhindered public reading of its contents in all the Catholic Churches of Germany. It described Adolf Hitler as an insane and arrogant prophet and was the first official denunciation of Nazism made by any major organization.[3][4][5][6] Pius XI later warned a group of pilgrims that antisemitism is incompatible with Christianity.[2] Nazi reprisals against the Church in Germany followed thereafter, including “staged prosecutions of monks for homosexuality, with the maximum of publicity”.[7] When Dutch bishops protested against the wartime deportation of Jews, the Nazis responded with harsher measures[3] rounding up 92 converts including Edith Stein who were then deported and murdered.[8] “The brutality of the retaliation made an enormous impression on Pius XII.”[8] In Poland, the Nazis murdered over 2,500 monks and priests and even more were imprisoned.[7] In the Soviet Union an even more severe persecution occurred.[7]

    “The reason for the “mosquito bites” is that I assume that this is primarily a CATHOLIC website, rather than an American one, or am I wrong?
    And, by the way, Gabriel Austin, one of the reasons I’ve now become so “anti-American” is that I’m actually more “conservative” than most of the “conservative Catholics” who write here. Americans confuse being radically individualist and pro-”free market” mayhem with being “conservative.” What they are, then, is 19th century “liberals.” The only thing remotely “liberal” about me is that I believe in social democracy–but I’d have my “social democracy” managed by a MONARCH. Do you call that “liberal”?”.

    You answer accusations never made by me. As the young woman said to her boyfriend who was trying to coax her into bed “Buzz off, Sam”.

  • Gabriel Austin

    X-Cathedra Says:
    June 3, 2009 at 11:04 pm
    “There is another point about this topic that I have found to be really under-thought among my left-leaning Catholic friends and family. The sincere belief that Obama will create an America in which abortion is not needed is more often than not taken for granted by Obama supporters I speak to: either because his economic policies will fill the bellies of the poor and thereby wipe out abortion among the lower classes…”

    Far be it from me to pull the rank of age, but I recall quite clearly Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty”. Since then poverty has increased enormously, public education is a sewer, high school graduates of 1960 were better taught than most college graduates these days, &c &c.
    Having the government interfere in what should be local and personal problems destroys local and personal responsibility.
    Consider the stupidity of the Brown v. Board decision. The first premise was correct: separate but equal is a nonsense. But then the Court overreached. It attempted to enforce integration and gave power to judges to decide who was black, and who not, and what degree of negritude made for blackness. and that blak children must be integrated whether they liked it or not. [They did not like it]. The result was the destruction of city neighborhoods – against the wishes of parents of all races – while superior judges sat comfortably in their suburban neighborhoods.

  • digbydolben

    I know all about Mit Brennender Sorge, Gabriel Austin, but it was to be followed up by another encyclical, ghost-written by an American Jesuit, which criticised the Hitlerian genocide in much more precise and telling terms than Mit Brennender Sorge. Pius XII, to his everlasting disgrace, suppressed it.

    Oh, I know all about the exculpations of this pontiff–about the Dutch Catholics and the Jews he “saved,” etc., and I’m not buying any of it–just as, by the way, most modern German Catholics refuse to. The pontiffs of the Roman Catholic Church wear RED, the liturgical colour of martyrdom, as a sign of their willingness to shed blood in defense of their Church and what their Church stands for. Pius XII, when weighed in the balance–and particularly as regards what he COULD have done, historically, for the sake of the self-respect and honour of both the Jewish and the Catholic peoples, is found unworthy of his robes and wanting by most objective historians. And I can tell you that if Benedict Ratzinger canonizes him, there’s going to be a lot more trouble for the Vatican with the German Catholic Church, which has had, by now, quite enough regarding the pope’s insensitivity about the German past. CARDINALS here are speaking out against this Pope and his partiality for Holocaust-deniers!

    And your “coaxing” analogy is quite telling and ridiculous: you may be quite sure that I’d never try to “coax” anybody of your ilk into my metaphorical “bed”; your mind is too ugly for any such association.

  • People don’t realize that fron Rome, the policy has never been that of throwing its moral weight around, no matter how great the issue is. That is simply not how Rome works. They move slowly and cautiously, and in very nuanced ways. That doesn’t mean that they are always right, but if the Catholic right wants Rome to start issuing public excommunications like hotcakes to people it doesn’t like, it is going to be very dissapointed.

  • Kurt

    Arturo,

    Past tense, not future tense. Remember the Catholic Right’s petition for the Pope to excommunicate Speaker Pelosi instead of receiving her in Rome?

  • Tom

    Both the American Catholic right and the American Catholic left are prone to the error of thinking Rome isn’t moving, when she is actually moving at a Roman pace. Many on the right holler for formal denunciations, while many on the left interpret the lack of denunciations as consent.

  • HA

    Oh, I know all about the exculpations of this pontiff–about the Dutch Catholics and the Jews he “saved,” etc., and I’m not buying any of it…
     
    There is also the apart about 3,000 Jews that the Pope sheltered at Castel Gandolfo, with babies being born in the papal apartments and kosher food being provided for them, as well as all the eyewitness testimony regarding papal directives to save and shelter Jews. But if it doesn’t suffice to convince Digby and “modern” German Catholics blessed with perfect understanding of what would have happened if the pope had acted any differently, then that of course should settle it.
     
    As for Digby’s red-means-ready-for-martyrdom fashion statement, there’s this Wikipedia compilation by someone from some one-word outfit called the “experiencefestival”:
     
    “Other plans of Hitler had simply called for Pius XII and the whole Roman Curia to be massacred [see below]. In 1943, Adolf Hitler ordered his SS troops to level the Vatican with “blood and fire” in reprisal for the Pontiff´s assistance to Jews and for the Church´s opposition to the Nazi regime. One of the more recent confirmations of this plot was reported in the Italian newspaper Avvenire which suggested that Hitler ordered SS General Karl Wolff, a senior occupation officer in Italy, to kidnap Pius XII. According to the account, Wolff put on civilian clothes and visited the Vatican to warn Pius XII. Rabbi David G. Dalin quotes Wolff’s testimony that he had orders to “occupy as soon as possible the Vatican and Vatican City, secure the archives and the art treasures, which have a unique value, and transfer the pope, together with the Curia, for their protection, so that they cannot fall into the hands of the Allies and exert a political influence”, but he claims that Wolff had managed to talk Hitler out of the plan by December 1943 (Dalin, p. 77)[13]. Adolf Hitler said “[Pius XII] is the only human being who has always contradicted me and who has never obeyed me.” (Hans Jansen’s “The Silent Pope?” 2000)…”
     
    And this, from “A Special Mission” by Dan Kurzman:
     
    “Kessel was clearly referring to a plot called Operation Rabat, apparently the one Hitler had in mind when he ordered Wolff to prepare a kidnap operation. The fascist leader in Como, Italy, Paolo Porta, described the plot in a letter he wrote to his counterpart in Milan, Vincenzo Costa. The letter’s heading, Massacre of Pius XII with the Entire Vatican, reflected the ferocity of the plan…. The purpose of the plot was to avenge “the papal protest in favor of the Jews”…The plan called for soldiers of the…the SS Florian Geyer Cavalry, disguised in Italian uniforms to launch a night attack against the Vatican. They would kill all members of the curia and take the pope prisoner… If the pope tried to escape…he, too, would be shot.”
     
    But of course, that wasn’t enough either. If you need explicit links, Google it yourselves. The auto-censor doesn’t like them.

  • digbydolben

    HA, you just don’t get it do you: I KNOW all this history; it interests me greatly and I’ve studied everything about it that I could get my hands on.

    I don’t think Pius XII Pacelli was an evil man at all; I just think he was a weak man, unfit, because of his overemphasis of the diplomatic issues of the time, and his lack of sensitivity regarding the moral and existential ones. It is pretty obvious, by now, to students of both papacies, that Pius XI Ratti would have condemned the genocide of the Jews, in flagrantly public terms, no matter what might have been the costs to himself, to European Catholics or to the Jews themselves.

    Pius XI would have been CORRECT in so doing, because the moral position and ethical teachings of the Catholic and Apostolic Church matter, in the long run, more than the mere lives of individuals. How much stronger do you think the modern Church’s position would be today, in modern Europe–let alone in America–if she had sacrificed her priests, her clergy, her properties and her wealth, in proclaiming the barbarity and injustice of 20th century right-wing fascism in Europe?

    I know for a fact that the Jews themselves–young ones, old ones and the historically sophisticated, as well as the unsophisticated–would have blamed the Vatican not one iota if she had proclaimed from the rooftops that they were being MURDERED and there had then been, as a consequence, a stepped-up campaign of genocide against them, eventuating in the murder of more. Why? Because, for almost all of them, the worst thing about the Holocaust was the silence, the betrayal, the callous indifference of their “friends” and neighbours–the sheer INDIGNITY and SHAME of their deaths. Those deaths would have seemed more dignified, more consequential had Christianity’s greatest oracle been SCREAMING against it, in protest.

    I KNOW that Pius XII himself secretly knew this, because one of his best biographers has recorded that he asked, over and over again, as he grew closer to death, of members of his papal court, if they believed he had done enough. When The Deputy was produced in Europe during the pontificate of John XXIII, who DID actually risk his life to defy the Nazis, and FORGED baptismal certificates to save fleeing Jews, and Papa Roncalli was asked what the Vatican should do to defend his predecessor’s reputation, this more honest and forthright pope is recorded to have said, “What can one do against the TRUTH?”

  • HA

    I know for a fact that the Jews themselves–young ones, old ones and the historically sophisticated, as well as the unsophisticated–would have blamed the Vatican not one iota if she had proclaimed from the rooftops that they were being MURDERED…
     
    Oh, sure they wouldn’t, and you somehow know this “for a fact”. And all the ones who praised Pius for his heroism didn’t know what he did or didn’t say at the time? You’ve read the list of the Jewish voices ipI’m referring to, but I can easily rehash it for you.
     
    And what, because the Pope agonized over whether he could have done even more — that means he was guilty of something? Apparently, not only is the much-reviled Catholic guilt evidence of a sick mind and a sick religion, it’s also evidence of actual guilt. How convenient for the Pius-bashers!  If that final scene in the movie Schindler’s List were actually true – the one where  Schindler is agonizing over who else might have been saved if he had done a little more – do you think it would it have detracted one iota from the heroism of what Schindler had done? Do you honestly think Roncalli or anyone else who sheltered or aided Jews didn’t in their darker moments might have wondered whether even more might have been saved if he had said or done anything differently?
     
    …this more honest and forthright pope is recorded to have said, “What can one do against the TRUTH?”
     
    He really said that? The same Roncalli who explained his actions to save Jews thusly?: “I referred to the Holy See and afterwards I simply carried out the pope’s orders.” I can back up my quote, or you can just Google it. Why don’t you back up yours? And while you’re at it, find some way to square saving thousands of Jews in his own residence out of his own funds with your claims of “callous indifference”.
     
    By the way, I tried to Google your comment by Roncalli and all I got was a reference to some loony movie reviewer wannabe whose fondness for using all-caps reminds me of another loony I’m familiar with, though this person calls himself “CLyons”. An acquaintance of yours, by chance?
     
     

  • MM,

    Granted. I apologize if I misrepresented your arguments.

    Pax Christi,

  • Gabriel Austin

    It is not worth the effort to reply to digbydolben except to suggest that he dry his tears and do a bit more studying.

    He refers to the “hidden encyclical”. In reviewing the book, Cardinal Dulles remarked that it was a blessing that it was not published. For your German friends, it was Fr. Lechodowski who was the SG at the time of the writing of the “hidden encyclical”. His comment: “The Americans do not know how to think”.

    From the “hidden encyclical”:

    “The encyclical blames the Jews of the time of Christ for having brought their own Messiah Jesus Christ to death: “The very act by which the Jewish people put to death their Savior and King was, in the strong language of Saint Paul, the salvation of the world”. [18] The encyclical continues by accusing Jews of blind materialism.
    * Blinded by a vision of material domination and gain, the Israelites lost what they themselves had sought. A few chosen souls, among whom were the disciples and followers of Our Lord, the early Jewish Christians, and, through the centuries, a few members of the Jewish people, were an exception to this general rule. By their acceptance of Christ’s teaching and their incorporation into His Church, they shared in the inheritance of His glory, but they remained and still remain an exception. “What Israel was seeking after, that it has not obtained; but the chosen have obtained it, and the rest have been blinded” (Romans 11:7). [19] The encyclical argues, that
    * By a mysterious Providence of God, this unhappy people, destroyers of their own nation, whose misguided leaders had called down upon their own heads a Divine malediction, doomed, as it were, to perpetually wander over the face of the earth, were nonetheless never allowed to perish, but have been preserved through the ages into our own time. No natural reason appears to be forthcoming to explain this age-long persistence, this indestructible coherence of the Jewish people”.

    Pius XII did not publish this text [written by the American Jesuit John LaFarge and the German Fr. Grundlach but rather his own: On the Unity of Human Society.

    There is little benefit in pointing fingers but you might well ask why the German archbishops and bishops [such v. Faulhaber, v. Galen] did not set themselves up as martyrs. It is easy to criticise others while keeping yourself safe.

  • Gabriel Austin

    “When The Deputy was produced in Europe during the pontificate of John XXIII, who DID actually risk his life to defy the Nazis, and FORGED baptismal certificates to save fleeing Jews, and Papa Roncalli was asked what the Vatican should do to defend his predecessor’s reputation, this more honest and forthright pope is recorded to have said, “What can one do against the TRUTH?”

    He also said that all that he did was done at the express orders of Pius XII.

  • digbydolben

    For Gabriel Austin, “HA” and all the other faux scholars who wish to whitewash the record which is tactfully damned by what’s written on the wall of the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem:

    As every real scholar knows, not everything can be “googled,” and, unfortunately, I don’t have any about 1/10th of my library here with me in Europe, but the quote about John XXIII’s opinion regarding the middling efforts of his predecessor to save Jews is found in this book, and I believe it’s somewhere between pp. 150-155:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0753817039/ref=sib_rdr_dp

    …and, as I recall, it is footnoted.

    And I shall not lower myself to respond to “HA’s” contemptible vitriol. He seems to follow me around these threads, grinding an axe.

  • digbydolben

    “…any BUT about 1/10th…” above.

    –English teacher quibbles, you know.

  • HA

    Hear ye, hear ye! Are there still any Jews out there, or acquaintances thereof, who survived WWII and suffered deep feelings of guilt afterwards, agonizing over whether you might have done something more – regardless of how many Jews and others you did in fact save?

    Well, guess what? According to DigbyDolben it’s the best possible proof that you are actually guilty. So go ahead and suffer, you weak, pathetic cowards – you all deserve it. Digby says so.

    And what’s brilliant about this approach is that it works the other way, too. If the pope had not agonized over what he might have done differently, it would simply be evidence of that callous indifference he’s also being accused of, whereas self-doubt and self-questioning means Digby now “KNOWS” that the pope is guilty.

    Heads, Digby wins; tails, the pope loses – brilliant!

  • HA

    PS As limited as Google is, Digby, in comparison with your personal library, it does allow me to search through the book you referenced. Handy feature, I must say. Anyway, the word “truth” brought up numerous hits, but nothing remotely matching your quote. I even tried “Arendt”, to see if your “associate” in the Pius XII Defamation League was right in claiming the quote originated with her. No luck there, either.

    Given the profoundly distressing effect that facts seem to have on you, I do agree it’s best you not respond to me further. Rumours and undocumented slurs suit you far better.

  • digbydolben

    I think people should make up their own minds regarding what I consider to be a weak, neurotic and vacillating pope. However, it will not be possible to do so unless and until the Vatican opens up their archives for the research and study of objective scholars. Until such time, it would be a grave mistake to canonize him.

    Again, I shall not lower myself to responding to the vicious ad hominems of “HA,” except to not that Thomas Cahill’s views regarding the standing of John XXIII compared to Pius XII are well-known by people who read his history books.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/ben_macintyre/article4995103.ece

    The Pope’s reaction to the Holocaust was complex and inconsistent. At times, he tried to help the Jews and was successful. But these successes only highlight the amount of influence he might have had, if he not chosen to remain silent on so many other occasions. No one knows for sure the motives behind Pius XII’s actions, or lack thereof, since the Vatican archives have only been fully opened to select researchers. Historians offer many reasons why Pope Pius XII was not a stronger public advocate for the Jews: A fear of Nazi reprisals, a feeling that public speech would have no effect and might harm the Jews, the idea that private intervention could accomplish more, the anxiety that acting against the German government could provoke a schism among German Catholics, the church’s traditional role of being politically neutral and the fear of the growth of communism were the Nazis to be defeated.(34) Whatever his motivation, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Pope, like so many others in positions of power and influence, could have done more to save the Jews.

    http://faith32.livejournal.com/108813.html

    Again, I shall not bother to respond to the vicious ad hominems

  • digbydolben

    I’m not as good with “google” as some who are evidently failures with books seem to be, but my efforts to find the quotation from Cahill’s book without having it in front of me HAVE turned up some pretty damning pieces of evidence against Pius XII’s silence regarding the Holocaust:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99oct/9910pope2.htm

    8) Is there evidence to suggest that Pius XII had developed serious doubts about his policies? Cardinal Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, writes in his diary of an audience with Pius XII on October 11, 1941 and reports Pacelli asked him whether his silence regarding Nazi behavior (suo silenzio circa il contegno del nazismo) would be judged badly.

    http://www.bc.edu/research/cjl/meta-elements/texts/cjrelations/resources/articles/bernauer.htm

    “Too many stories about Pius XII have not been properly traced back to the original source to test the basis of knowledge. For instance, in his book Constantine’s Sword, James Carroll shows an unreasonable eagerness to accept and readily advance a supposed death-bed condemnation of Pius XII by Pope John XXIII.33 No eyewitness has ever come forward to support that story… “ [As if a Vatican employee would or could!]

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0111.html

    (But I don’t trust Novak about ANYTHING.)

    A good review of recent books exculpating the Church for its silence:

    http://www.hudsonreview.com/BawerSu03.pdf

    It would seem that James Carroll is the originator of the account of John XXIII strongly criticizing the failure of his predecessor to condemn the Holocaust.

    From a review of Constantine’s Sword:

    … Eugenio Pacelli — Pius XII — detested Hitler and was no coward. He warned the Low Countries of the coming Nazi invasion and played a significant role in an abortive conspiracy of German officers to overthrow Hitler. Individual bishops and priests — in particular Angelo Roncalli, the apostolic nuncio to Turkey and the future Pope John XXIII — went to extraordinary lengths to protect Jews, supplying large amounts of money and even forging baptismal certificates. Lutheran anti-Semitism was generally far more venomous than the Catholic variety, and the Lutheran clergy were typically much quicker to fall in line behind the Nazis.

    But the indictment of the Church, and of the Pope, remains. Carroll is careful not to frame the question as whether Pacelli should have “spoken out” on this or that occasion. What is at issue is the Vatican’s eyes-averted pattern of accommodating the Nazis. The only possible conclusion from the entire record is that Pacelli, in order to secure the Church’s future in Germany and the papacy’s institutional interests, was willing to remain largely silent while the Germans murdered millions of Jews.

    The Church, after all, had a history of taking on powerful political leaders. In the nineteenth century Pius IX excommunicated virtually the entire royal house of Italy, and fought Bismarck to a standstill when he attempted to assert state control over the German Catholic Church. Invective against Stalin and the Bolsheviks poured from the Vatican almost daily. And the German episcopacy, in fact, had barred Nazis from the sacraments until 1933, when Pacelli, then the Cardinal Secretary of State, signed a concordat that seemed to legitimate the regime. At the peak of Hitler’s power, in 1941, an outraged Bishop Clemens von Galen, of Münster, forced the government to drop a plan for mass euthanasia of the feeble-minded, the sick, and the old. But criticisms of the assault on the Jews were made only in the most veiled and muted of terms.

    Hitler and many of his senior henchmen were nominal Catholics, but they were never excommunicated; indeed, until the very end of the war the Vatican never once attacked the Nazis by name. In contrast, Pacelli organized worldwide protests and forcefully condemned collaborationist clergy when the Hungarian Communist regime tortured Cardinal József Mindszenty, in 1949.

    Prominent practicing Catholics were salted throughout the Nazi regime, and they were courteously received at the Vatican by the Pope. Hitler’s first Vice Chancellor, Franz von Papen, who played a key role in the Nazi subversion of Austria, even received papal honors after the war. Many bishops, notoriously those of Vichy France, were open Nazi sympathizers, and with varying degrees of passivity pastors cooperated in Nazi inspections of baptismal records to ferret out Jews. There is ample evidence that the murderous activities of the pro-Nazi Ustashe regime in Croatia were well known within the Church hierarchy, yet the Ustashe leader, Ante Pavelic, was sheltered at the Vatican when his rule crumbled, and the powerful head of the German College at Rome, Archbishop Alois Hudal, ran a virtual underground railroad for escaping Nazis.

    There is a distasteful edge even to many of the Catholic interventions in behalf of Jews (Roncalli’s are a notable exception), because they were often to save only baptized Jews, as if the religion of the victim were what mattered.

    Perhaps the most damning summary of the Vatican’s wartime role came from the mouth of the Cardinal Secretary of State, Luigi Maglione, during the SS roundup of the Jews of Rome, in 1943. Maglione called in the German ambassador, Ernst von Weizsäcker, with whom he was on friendly terms, to make an appeal for charity in behalf of the Jews. According to his notes, Maglione summarized the Vatican’s posture for Weizsäcker thus:

    “The Holy See … has been so very prudent so as not to give to the German people the impression that it has done or wished to do the least thing against Germany during this terrible war.” Indeed.

    http://www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/antiholo/worst.html

    “Critical scholarly works like Guenter Lewy’s The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany (1964) also followed the publication of The Deputy. Lewy’s conclusion was that “the Pope and his advisers—influenced by the long tradition of moderate anti-Semitism so widely accepted in Vatican circles—did not view the plight of the Jews with a real sense of urgency and moral outrage. For this assertion no documentation is possible, but it is a conclusion difficult to avoid”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pius_XII

    In 2006, an Israeli scholar, Dina Porat, discovered correspondence
    between Haim Barlas, an emissary of the Jewish Agency sent to Europe to save
    Jews in the 1940s, and Angelo Roncalli, the papal representative in Paris (and
    future Pope John XXIII) in which Roncalli expressed criticism of the Vatican’s
    silence during the war.
    In June 1944, Barlas sent Roncalli a copy of a report
    compiled by two Jews who escaped from Auschwitz documenting the mass
    murder at the camp. Roncalli forwarded the report to the Vatican, which had
    claimed it did not know about the report until October. Earlier, Roncalli had
    written to the president of Slovakia at the behest of Barlas asking him to stop the Nazi deportation of Jews.

    http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cache:bmb9eKpsOJMJ:holocaustroad.org/pdfs/Session10ChristiansandHolocaust-1.pdf+James+Carroll+John+XXIII+Holocaust+Pius+XII&cd=56&hl=en&ct=clnk

    And it may indeed be that Hannah Arendt’s carefully considered and dispassionate view of the moral failure of this pope will be the most lasting:

    Of the writers who have tried in the past 40 years to tease out Pius XII’s state of mind during World War II, it is Hannah Arendt, writing in 1964, whose mix of rigor and compassion yields the most satisfying view of his character. Unlike Hochhuth’s Pius XII, a cruel and selfish man, hers is a pope buried in papers and prayers, a cautious bureaucrat shockingly out of touch. His faith in diplomacy was misplaced, to say the least, because Hitler played diplomats like marionettes, but what appears to us as moral obtuseness was actually, she wrote, “the rigid adherence to a normality that no longer existed, in view of the collapse of the whole moral and spiritual structure of Europe.” The Vatican also misconstrued the mass killings – not just of Jews and Gypsies but also of Poles and Serbs and their priests, which the pope knew about and never objected to either – as “part and parcel of war,” not the senseless murders that they were. It was a terrible mistake, but one that continues to be made by diplomats today.

    If Arendt is right (and she may have been too charitable), then Pius XII was at best heartbreakingly wrong. In any event, he can’t be used as a weapon against Catholicism per se. If you want to view Pius XII as a saint, you can’t ignore his misbegotten silence and damning legacy of his concordat. If he symbolizes anything, it would seem to be a truth more sociological than religious, though one that all religions should probably heed. It is that the logic of institutional self-preservation may be incompatible with moral clarity.

    http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Docs/TheCaseofPiusXII.htm

  • digbydolben

    I’m not as good with “google” as some who are evidently failures with books seem to be, but my efforts to find the quotation from Cahill’s book without having it in front of me HAVE turned up some pretty damning pieces of evidence against Pius XII’s silence regarding the Holocaust:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99oct/9910pope2.htm

    8) Is there evidence to suggest that Pius XII had developed serious doubts about his policies? Cardinal Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, writes in his diary of an audience with Pius XII on October 11, 1941 and reports Pacelli asked him whether his silence regarding Nazi behavior (suo silenzio circa il contegno del nazismo) would be judged badly.

    http://www.bc.edu/research/cjl/meta-elements/texts/cjrelations/resources/articles/bernauer.htm

    “Too many stories about Pius XII have not been properly traced back to the original source to test the basis of knowledge. For instance, in his book Constantine’s Sword, James Carroll shows an unreasonable eagerness to accept and readily advance a supposed death-bed condemnation of Pius XII by Pope John XXIII.33 No eyewitness has ever come forward to support that story… “ [As if a Vatican employee would or could!]

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0111.html

    (But I don’t trust Novak about ANYTHING.)

    A good review of recent books exculpating the Church for its silence:

    http://www.hudsonreview.com/BawerSu03.pdf

    It would seem that James Carroll is the originator of the account of John XXIII strongly criticizing the failure of his predecessor to condemn the Holocaust. From a review of Constantine’s Sword:

    … Eugenio Pacelli — Pius XII — detested Hitler and was no coward. He warned the Low Countries of the coming Nazi invasion and played a significant role in an abortive conspiracy of German officers to overthrow Hitler. Individual bishops and priests — in particular Angelo Roncalli, the apostolic nuncio to Turkey and the future Pope John XXIII — went to extraordinary lengths to protect Jews, supplying large amounts of money and even forging baptismal certificates. Lutheran anti-Semitism was generally far more venomous than the Catholic variety, and the Lutheran clergy were typically much quicker to fall in line behind the Nazis.

    But the indictment of the Church, and of the Pope, remains. Carroll is careful not to frame the question as whether Pacelli should have “spoken out” on this or that occasion. What is at issue is the Vatican’s eyes-averted pattern of accommodating the Nazis. The only possible conclusion from the entire record is that Pacelli, in order to secure the Church’s future in Germany and the papacy’s institutional interests, was willing to remain largely silent while the Germans murdered millions of Jews.

    The Church, after all, had a history of taking on powerful political leaders. In the nineteenth century Pius IX excommunicated virtually the entire royal house of Italy, and fought Bismarck to a standstill when he attempted to assert state control over the German Catholic Church. Invective against Stalin and the Bolsheviks poured from the Vatican almost daily. And the German episcopacy, in fact, had barred Nazis from the sacraments until 1933, when Pacelli, then the Cardinal Secretary of State, signed a concordat that seemed to legitimate the regime. At the peak of Hitler’s power, in 1941, an outraged Bishop Clemens von Galen, of Münster, forced the government to drop a plan for mass euthanasia of the feeble-minded, the sick, and the old. But criticisms of the assault on the Jews were made only in the most veiled and muted of terms.

    Hitler and many of his senior henchmen were nominal Catholics, but they were never excommunicated; indeed, until the very end of the war the Vatican never once attacked the Nazis by name. In contrast, Pacelli organized worldwide protests and forcefully condemned collaborationist clergy when the Hungarian Communist regime tortured Cardinal József Mindszenty, in 1949.
    Prominent practicing Catholics were salted throughout the Nazi regime, and they were courteously received at the Vatican by the Pope. Hitler’s first Vice Chancellor, Franz von Papen, who played a key role in the Nazi subversion of Austria, even received papal honors after the war. Many bishops, notoriously those of Vichy France, were open Nazi sympathizers, and with varying degrees of passivity pastors cooperated in Nazi inspections of baptismal records to ferret out Jews. There is ample evidence that the murderous activities of the pro-Nazi Ustashe regime in Croatia were well known within the Church hierarchy, yet the Ustashe leader, Ante Pavelic, was sheltered at the Vatican when his rule crumbled, and the powerful head of the German College at Rome, Archbishop Alois Hudal, ran a virtual underground railroad for escaping Nazis.

    There is a distasteful edge even to many of the Catholic interventions in behalf of Jews (Roncalli’s are a notable exception), because they were often to save only baptized Jews, as if the religion of the victim were what mattered.

    Perhaps the most damning summary of the Vatican’s wartime role came from the mouth of the Cardinal Secretary of State, Luigi Maglione, during the SS roundup of the Jews of Rome, in 1943. Maglione called in the German ambassador, Ernst von Weizsäcker, with whom he was on friendly terms, to make an appeal for charity in behalf of the Jews. According to his notes, Maglione summarized the Vatican’s posture for Weizsäcker thus:

    “The Holy See … has been so very prudent so as not to give to the German people the impression that it has done or wished to do the least thing against Germany during this terrible war.” Indeed.

    http://www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/antiholo/worst.html

    “Critical scholarly works like Guenter Lewy’s The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany (1964) also followed the publication of The Deputy. Lewy’s conclusion was that “the Pope and his advisers—influenced by the long tradition of moderate anti-Semitism so widely accepted in Vatican circles—did not view the plight of the Jews with a real sense of urgency and moral outrage. For this assertion no documentation is possible, but it is a conclusion difficult to avoid”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pius_XII

    In 2006, an Israeli scholar, Dina Porat, discovered correspondence
    between Haim Barlas, an emissary of the Jewish Agency sent to Europe to save
    Jews in the 1940s, and Angelo Roncalli, the papal representative in Paris (and
    future Pope John XXIII) in which Roncalli expressed criticism of the Vatican’s
    silence during the war.
    In June 1944, Barlas sent Roncalli a copy of a report
    compiled by two Jews who escaped from Auschwitz documenting the mass
    murder at the camp. Roncalli forwarded the report to the Vatican, which had
    claimed it did not know about the report until October. Earlier, Roncalli had
    written to the president of Slovakia at the behest of Barlas asking him to stop the Nazi deportation of Jews.

    http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cache:bmb9eKpsOJMJ:holocaustroad.org/pdfs/Session10ChristiansandHolocaust-1.pdf+James+Carroll+John+XXIII+Holocaust+Pius+XII&cd=56&hl=en&ct=clnk

    And it may indeed be that Hannah Arendt’s carefully considered and dispassionate view of the moral failure of this pope will be the most lasting:

    Of the writers who have tried in the past 40 years to tease out Pius XII’s state of mind during World War II, it is Hannah Arendt, writing in 1964, whose mix of rigor and compassion yields the most satisfying view of his character. Unlike Hochhuth’s Pius XII, a cruel and selfish man, hers is a pope buried in papers and prayers, a cautious bureaucrat shockingly out of touch. His faith in diplomacy was misplaced, to say the least, because Hitler played diplomats like marionettes, but what appears to us as moral obtuseness was actually, she wrote, “the rigid adherence to a normality that no longer existed, in view of the collapse of the whole moral and spiritual structure of Europe.” The Vatican also misconstrued the mass killings – not just of Jews and Gypsies but also of Poles and Serbs and their priests, which the pope knew about and never objected to either – as “part and parcel of war,” not the senseless murders that they were. It was a terrible mistake, but one that continues to be made by diplomats today.

    If Arendt is right (and she may have been too charitable), then Pius XII was at best heartbreakingly wrong. In any event, he can’t be used as a weapon against Catholicism per se. If you want to view Pius XII as a saint, you can’t ignore his misbegotten silence and damning legacy of his concordat. If he symbolizes anything, it would seem to be a truth more sociological than religious, though one that all religions should probably heed. It is that the logic of institutional self-preservation may be incompatible with moral clarity.

    http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Docs/TheCaseofPiusXII.htm

  • HA

    I shall not…[respond]… except to not[e] that Thomas Cahill’s views regarding the standing of John XXIII compared to Pius XII are well-known by people who read his history books

    Huh? Cahill’s views are well-known by those who bother to read them? That’s your response? All right, then — I suppose that puts me in my place. Well played, sir. We are awed and humbled by the rhetorical prowess of right thinking, “modern” Catholics such as yourself.

    However, for someone so dismissive of Google, and with such an eagerness to lecture others on what “real scholars” think, you have an unusual fondness for livejournal.com given how how often you quote that august source of historical expertise. Explains a lot, actually.

    And yet he still can’t seem to find his pet quote, even there? What does that tell us? Does Cahill share Digby’s theories on how the nagging scrupulosity and self-doubt of Catholics like Pius XII (who admittedly had little in the way of a happy-go-lucky disposition) are the best possible proof of being actually guilty of anything?

    Digby is nonetheless correct in noting that Cahill is one of those Catholics who eagerly swallow most every dollop of left-wing cant regarding how much other people in the Church should have done for the Jews and whichever other victims people like him pretend to be concerned about so long as it makes them feel compassionate and self-righteous. We all know the type. But when it comes to dealing with facts, he gets vague and elliptical, as Digby’s citation above indicates, because facts just get in the way of their “truth”. WWII was in many respects one long hostage situation, and in countless instances, Pius XII and his counterparts served as the negotiators. As is the case with any hostage situation, one can sit around afterwards and say the Church should have tried another tactic in this or that situation, given that no one knows what would have actually happened. But again, when it comes to dealing with actual facts like the ones I provided above, and numerous others I haven’t mentioned yet, regarding the disastrous consequences — as measured in buckets of Jewish blood — that followed other attempts to pronounce more loudly against Nazi policies (Google Dalin and the Bishop of Munster for one of those), Cahill would rather just admit that the issue is “complex”. And what’s more, all the good and heroic deeds of Pius XII only serve to indicate how much more he could have done if he had really tried.

    Again, how brilliantly convenient. Heads, Cahill wins; tails, the pope (and all those Jews and gentiles who honor him for his actions) lose. Sane people have good cause to be deeply suspicious of such arguments, but I can see why Digby would find them persuasive given it’s all he himself can muster.

  • HA

    Ah, I see Digby has overcome his aversion to Google. And even so, all he can give us is more of the same.

    Again, as with any hostage situation, the decision about what should and should not be done is generally the source of much contention by those within and without. The fact that Roncalli might have sometimes been on the side of those arguing for a more assertive response is hardly either surprising or relevant, given that no one knows how much the Jews under Nazi control would have had to bleed out in the way of consequences. As Digby says (or at least I think he says — it’s anyone’s guess, really) such views are well-known to those who want to believe them, and deifying (and indeed, caricaturing) John XXIII plays into a host of other motives regarding what Vatican II and the 60’s, and modern Catholicism etc. was or should have been about.

    However, as the Nazi plots against the Vatican shows, as does the the care of Jews under his very wing (you think all that kosher food at Castel Gandolfo was designated primarily for “baptized Jews”, as one of Digby’s so-called responses indicates?), Pius XII was indeed someone willing to risk even martyrdom for what he thought best.

    Digby, you can cut-and-paste to your heart’s content, but when you get around to confronting those particular points (and I checked — you still haven’t bothered), do get back to us.

  • Gabriel Austin

    HA Says: June 6, 2009 at 1:04 pm
    “Digby, you can cut-and-paste to your heart’s content, but when you get around to confronting those particular points (and I checked — you still haven’t bothered), do get back to us”.

    No, please, digbyd, give it a rest. You are not a scholar. You cite only what supports your pre-conceived notions. You are attempting to decide an issue which has baffled some of the finest minds of our age [into which category you evidently do not fit].
    Even John Cornwell admitted that he was mistaken.
    You plead for courtesy to yourself. Extend some to Pius XII.
    I wonder what happened to the 800,000 trees planted in Israel to honor Pius XII’s saving of that many Jews?

    Your favorite wing-nut reactionary. [What is a wing-nut reactionary?].

  • Ronald King

    I expect our popes to be offering themselves as sacrifices in a time of human crisis. I expect them to be at the front leading us to the ultimate sacrifice in a non-violent mass demonstration that will exhibit to the world that our faith is not afraid of death and will not use violence to combat evil.
    Christ never used diplomacy. He never negotiated and I expect our popes to do the same. The pope sets the example for the rest of Christianity as to how we are expected to react to a crisis like the Holocaust. Pius XII could have been a uniting force who could have brought millions of Christians together in a communion of self-sacrifice who could have faced the evil in the world at that time and offered themselves in place of the Jews.
    Our faith is mystical and diplomacy is the way of the world. We are not to be conformed to the ways of the world, yet, when I think of the Vatican being a political entity it somehow contaminates the purity of our faith.
    Prior to the start of WW2 there could have been millions of saints at the front who could have exhibited the mystery of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
    It could still happen now if were not so much focused on theology about God Is Love instead of the action of God’s Love.

  • digbydolben

    HA and Gabriel Austin, please try to understand a few things: I never pretended to be a “scholar.” I don’t have sufficient time on my hands now to make myself into a “scholar,” even if I wanted to be one.

    Nevertheless, I AM a voracious reader, and I AM somebody who is deeply concerned for the well-being of the Catholic and Apostolic Church. Believe it or not, it has often happened that I’ve been in the presence of secularist Jews and Protestant anti-papists and atheists who have unreasonably bashed Pius XII–called him a “Nazi,” a “murderer of Jews,” etc., and then I have vigorously defended him.

    I don’t think it’s even POSSIBLE to be a loyal member of the Catholic communion and be completely uncritical of her hierarchs and priests. They are HUMAN. My God, even the SAINTS are HUMAN. For instance, there ARE two or three saints who are recorded to have persecuted the Jews: Louis IX of France comes to mind. And I assure you that, if Pius XII is made a saint, his mild antisemitism (he was definitely uncomfortable in the presence of Jews; this is WELL-DOCUMENTED in the biographies) will be considered one of his “human failings,” just as Teresa of Avila’s bursts of anger are.

    I myself, however, have real scepticism regarding the “faith” of somebody who springs to the defense of every human failing of a pontiff or a saint. I frankly think that the “faith” of such a person is actually quite weak and reactionary–and perhaps full of real fear that they might in fact be invested in the wrong system of absolutes. Also, I find this to be a peculiarly American thing; in my experience, it’s only Americans who feel that their religious people can do no wrong–that they can never have clay feet. You should try reading a little Evelyn Waugh. (I recommend his Correspondence.)Therein you will find an extremely loyal Catholic, an artist who was at once talented and devout, having ferocious fun at the expense of popes and bishops and Jesuits.

    To repeat: Pius XII was NOT an evil man and he would have been a BRILLIANT pope at another historical juncture. However, by over-emphasizing diplomacy at the expense of his “prophetic” function, he let us all down, and MUST NOT be canonized. His canonization would do irreperable harm to relations between the Catholic and Jewish communities, because, for every single Jew who “planted a tree” in Jerusalem in his honour, there are two or three who believe he didn’t give a damn if they all died.

  • digbydolben

    Here is something from Haaretz showing that not all of modern Jewry wants to go planting trees in Pius XII’s memory:

    http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/794985.html

    Here is what looks to me to be an extremely objective account, and I think any who would uncritically defend the record of Pius XII Pacelli’s activities regarding the Holocaust should take a look at it:

    http://lighthousepatriotjournal.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/theologium-beatification-of-pope-pius-xii/

    Even Roncalli’s reputation may be being damaged by all of this consideration of the “sanctity” of Pius XII, because, as is pointed out in this article at First Things, the future John XXIII’s support of Pacelli’s record regarding the Jews may have been “politic chatter”:

    The newsworthiness of all this lies in the fact that Giuseppe Roncalli a hero of resistance to the Nazis’ destruction of the Jews is on record as consistently praising Pius XII. If that was only his public stance, if in private he was denouncing the pope, then his support for Pius can be discounted as merely politic chatter.

    http://www.firstthings.com/on_the_square_entry.php?year=2006&month=12&title_link=bottum-the-pius-war-revisited

    As it turns out, this matter of Roncalli’s disapproval of Pacelli’s non-action is much more solid than I had thought, and it is thanks to this brouhaha that I’ve been able to discover that it is. Here is something from a devoutly Catholic blogger who is obviously much more open to the evidence than “HA” or Gabriel are:

    “Pope John XXIII was Time’s Man of the Year in 1962. Less than 20 years earlier, he whisked many “Transnistria Jews” to safety n Tel Aviv (Tiraspol Times) – After World War II, Nazi war criminals used so-called “rat lines” to escape to safe havens outside of Europe. Catholic priests played a large role in helping Nazis get false papers and prepare for their escape.

    What is less widely known is that Catholic church leaders also helped Jews escape from Nazi persecution and near-certain death … and that this work started well before the Nazi rat lines were established.

    During the Holocaust, when the Apostolic Delegate Monsignor Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (later Pope John XXIII) was stationed in Istanbul, he ran a “Ratline in Reverse.” Quietly cooperating with Chaim Barlas, head of the rescue delegation of the Hebrew community in what would become the state of Israel, the Catholic leader worked hard to save as many Jews as possible.

    Professor Dina Porat of Tel Aviv University, a historian who has written extensively on the Holocaust, gained access to the private papers of Chaim Barlas, who together with the future Pope devised a network of escape routes and tactics to rescue thousands of endangered Jews from Eastern Europe.

    Porat describes this material in detail in her book, Tears, Protocols and Actions in a Wartime Triangle: Pius XII, Roncalli and Barlas.

    Many of the the Jews who were saved were “Transnistria Jews” who had been singled out for extermination by Romania and shipped to the killing fields of Transnistria – an extermination area larger than Auschwitz. Romania, an ally of Nazi Germany, occupied Transnistria (including today’s Pridnestrovie) during most of World War II, but never made any attempt to formally incorporate the territory into Romania. German Nazi troops were also in Transnistria at the same time, devising plans for the extermination of the Romanian Jews who were deported to Transnistria as a virtual Nazi-type concentration camp set up by the Fascist Romanian regime which also was allied with Nazi Germany.

    …With the help of the future Pope and his Jewish friend, thousands of persecuted Jews were saved from near-certain death in Transnistria and other parts of Nazi-held Eastern Europe by enabling them to flee the ongoing Holocaust.

    Barlas’ archive, kept in private hands in Israel, shows that Roncalli held an intense correspondence with the Vatican and its various offices, constantly warning the Holy See and urging it to act. It shows that in his conversations with Barlas, Roncalli expressed – albeit delicately – his criticism of Pope Pius XII’s response to the Holocaust.

    During the time he and Barlas worked together, mostly in Istanbul, Monsignor Roncalli sent to Pope Pius the “Auschwitz Protocols”, a 32-page document detailing the Nazi extermination efforts based on firsthand reports, revelatory at the time. The new books reveals that in all probability Roncalli was the first to send to Rome the “Auschwitz Protocols”, which he had received from Barlas.”

    http://agathascatholiccorner.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html

    Despite the fact that I cannot directly cite the quotation from Cahill’s book that “AH” and Gabriel Earnest have challenged me on (not having access to my library or even very many other English books here in Germany), this little discussion has only increased my hope that Pius XII should not be canonized—that it’s too soon to determine either his motives or what would be the responses of the aggrieved Jewish people to such a precipitous decision by the Holy See.

    What if the eventual opening of more archives, including those in the Vatican, were to reveal even MORE “delicate criticism” of Pacelli by Roncalli?

  • digbydolben

    Ronald, I could not possibly agree with you more. However, there IS a use for “diplomacy,” so long as it is tempered by mystical considerations, charity and “heroic virtue.”

    That’s why I agree with Evelyn Waugh, in his biography of Campion, that Pius V’s excommunication of Elizabeth Tudor was correct; as Waugh says, it was part of THAT sainted pope’s understanding that the Catholic religion in England would only be restored through the “blood of martyrs.” Elizabeth Tudor was just that full of hatred of orthodox Christianity and Pius V Ghislieri KNEW it in much the same way that he “knew” that the Holy League had been victorious at Lepanto before the news was announced in Europe.

    It should be quite evident to a great many scholars of the Vatican’s diplomacy in the 20th century that the “foreign policy” of Pius XII vis-a-vis the fascists of Europe stands, historically, in marked contrast to that of his predecessor, and to the policies of his two successors, regarding communist fascism. That alone should give them pause–it should suggest the TRUTH, which is that he, like other European figures of the time, was willing to “use” more traditionally “conservative” European fascism to counter “atheistic” Soviet fascism–that his policy toward the Holocaust had a “diplomatic”–one might even say “Machiavellian”–edge to it.

    And that’s quite different from a “foreign policy” that, despite other considerations, prioritizes the “prophetic voice” of Sacred Scripture.

    So I’m with you, Ronald, despite my willingness–like that of some pontiffs–to compromise with “the world.”

  • Kurt

    During the Weimer Republic, progressive Catholics, in alliance with (pro-abortion) Socialist and Liberals, worked bravely and earnestly to preserve German democracy and stop Hilter from coming to power.

    Despite their good efforts, with the eventual Nazi takeover and dicatorship, new means were needed to oppose Nazism. Pius’ actions or inactions are of secondary importance. The proper and primary response was and should have been the armed attack on the fascist state and the liberation of the occupied nations by the democracies of the world.

    Those who fought at Normandy or elsewhere, those who helped on the Home Front, in defense plants or elsewhere, and those who worked behind enemy lines to advance the Allied victory, are the heros.

    Pius XII should be left alone. He really didn’t matter that much.

  • digbydolben

    You are absolutely right, Kurt, but did you know that one of the provisions of the concordat that Pacelli negotiated was that the Vatican would order the disbanding of the Catholic political party in Germany–the political party which, at the time, was the most effective anti-Nazi force in Germany at the time? It was disbanded, and many historians of the Third Reich have opined that that was the single most cunning political move of Hitler’s, in his rise to power.

  • Ronald King

    I have not studied history and, consequently, I have nothing but ignorant well-intentioned opinion and questions to answer. I recall Edith Stein wrote a letter to the pope in the mid-’30’s warning him of the nazi intent. I think she received a dismissive response.
    It seems to me that wherever there is suffering the pope needs to be a physical presence offering himself as a living example for the Body of Christ.
    On a neurological human level I want to offer one important fact. In 1996(I think) researches discovered specialized cells which were labelled as mirror neurons. These neurons play significant roles in comprehending feelings, intent and language. As a result our attitudes and behaviors are the result of unconscious processes that have been hard-wired into the brain in response to the environment that we have been exposed to during critical developmental periods starting with the formation of the brain in the womb.
    Expectations are then formed at the preconscious level and result in attitudes, thought and behaviors that are observed by others who are then influenced to react according to their subjective history. This is why the leadership style of the pope is extremely critical in establishing expectations for the spiritual interaction with world events.

  • HA

    Digby tried dressing up some inflammatory quote, not realizing someone would call him on it. That obviously didn’t work out well.

    He also tried flooding the the thread with a manic control-C/control-V finger dance so as to avoid addressing questions that were actually asked of him. That, too, was too obvious a tactic.

    Now, he tries to change the subject. And yes, discussing the canonization of Pius XII, which Gabriel and I never even mentioned (and neither did he till this morning), is changing the subject.

    Now, he claims it is a sign of weak faith and a reactionary mind-set to speak up in favor of a man who has been called Hitler’s pope and Hitler’s deputy, to the extent that even now, the best that Digby can claim for him is that he is “not evil”, and even now, people who are addmittedly ignorant of history feel free to offer up having heard something about what Edith Stein wrote in some letter to the pope. Or something like that.

    Sorry, Digby — that won’t work, either. Again, you need to confront what has been addressed to you: the man was directly responsible for sheltering thousands of Jews in his private residence. We’re not talking about baptized Jews here, we’re talking about the ones for whom extra effort must be expended so as to procure kosher food in wartime. He paid for that upkeep out of papal funds when many millions were going hungry.

    I have no problem with those who ask, as Kurt did, what we need to learn from the experience of WWII and what we should do differently as a result. I also have no problem with objective biography and history as pertains to the man Eugenio Pacelli. But whatever his failings, he doesn’t deserve a character assassination at the hands of people acting like moral and mental pipsqueaks. I honor Roncalli for what he did, and what he tried to get others to do, but I also have to allow for the possibility that what he was able to get away with in the provinces (e.g., a Catholic Slovakia under the aegis of Msgr Tiszo, no less) is not necessarily something that would have worked had it been tried throughout the lebensraum. If his approach had been tried and had been successful, how glorious that might have been! If it had failed — as well it might have — and thousands of innocents had paid the price, well, so what? It’s only armchair analysis, after all. Besides, the Church would have gotten to make yet another moral statement opposing Nazism, the dead Jews (as we *now* know) would probably have been killed at some point anyway, and the dead priests and nuns — well, they are all expendable because the pope wears red, or something like that. Yeah, we get it. I wonder what those fans of “moral statements” would say if the Church decided to excommunicate every pro-abortion politician? What do you think, Kurt? Actually, I’m pretty sure I know, but in any case, I digress.

    Forget about not being a scholar, Digby. At this point, given the way you frame an argument, worry about your credibility as an English teacher. That’s wearing thin, too. And stop discussing topics that mark you as an imbecile. Granted, that would severely limit your output, perhaps extinguish it altogether, but if you’re truly interested in the good of the Church, you will do just that.

  • digbydolben

    Again, “HA,” as I’ve said before elsewhere, you are one of the nastiest pieces of work commenting on these threads. You definitely seem to have it in for me, in a way and for reasons that I don’t even begin to comprehend. Nobody can match YOUR vitriol; I certainly can’t, and will not, in the future, even try to respond to it.

  • HA

    I have not studied history and… I have nothing but ignorant well-intentioned opinion. I recall Edith Stein wrote a letter to the pope in the mid-’30’s warning him of the nazi intent. I think she received a dismissive response.

    Ronald, I’ll buy the ignorant part, sorry to say. In fact, it sort of speaks for itself, given the above quote. As for well-intentioned? Well, I give you the benefit of the doubt there, and I appreciate the fact that you’re a gentle soul, but give me a break — some letter from Edith Stein? By the time the mid-30’s rolled around, dealing with German governmental idiocy was a long-standing Catholic problem. As the papal nuncio to Bavaria, Pacelli had better perspective on this than most, long before he became Pius XII. (Yes, I know the Pius-bashers tell us this was actually part of his problem insofar as he fell in love with German hygeine and punctuality, or something along those lines, but I’d rather not get into that.) In particular, the Church had ample evidence as to what a heavy-handed moral tough line vis-à-vis the Prussians does and does not accomplish. The search word for that particular chapter of history would be “kulturkampf”. Admittedly, it’s not nearly as spiritually uplifting as, say, a life of Edith Stein, but it’s still worth checking out.

    The results, sad to say, were mixed. In fact, one notable implementation of that hard-line thinking was the Syllabus of Errors. Tell us, Digby, voracious reader and lover of the Church, how is that document working out for “modern Catholics” these days? How did the kulturkampf affect Catholic capability to counter German lunacy later on? And yet, when it comes to the Nazis, the very same people who roll their eyes at the SoE presume to lecture the world on the importance of taking a tough moral stance in the clear light of 20/20 hindsight enhanced by consequence-free speculation. Ho-hum.

    As for your latest resolution to never respond again to me, Digby, oh poor, poor, persecuted Digby — spare us. By now, you should know it means nothing. At some point, alas, you’ll be back.

  • Gabriel Austin

    The most interesting part of these modern condemnations of Pius XII – in contrast to the near universal praise – is to determine the motives behind them.
    One suggestion:
    “The fury of recent attacks on Pius XII, in contrast with the almost universal esteem he enjoyed from the beginning of the war until his death, is fed by different passions than those of sixty years ago. Among those secular Jews whose chief organizing principle is the Holocaust, one hears the
    simultaneous assertion that all theological notions are abstruse and fanciful, and yet that a theological condemnation of the Holocaust by Pius XII would have
    made a difference. Others today who are bitterly opposed to the Church’s perennial position against the moral approval of homosexual acts, or against
    abortion or euthanasia, also seem to delight in weakening the moral authority of the papacy. At the commanding heights of culture, as the Marxists used to
    say, this new establishment resents the imputation that what it blesses as moral is contrary to the law of God and hence immoral. The critics of Pius XII
    are deflecting attention from themselves; for this new establishment, it is convenient to discredit the messenger”.

    That Israel is one of nations leading in abortion is not without interest. That it is, by and large, Socialist is also not without interest.

    There is also a movement to discredit Jews in the U.S. and other countries for not having “done enough” for the persecuted. These lies have been effectively revealed for what they are in William Rubinstein’s THE MYTH OF RESCUE.

  • Ronald King

    HA, Thanks for the history lesson. Have you read any biography about Edith Stein? I loaned my copy to someone and have not read it in a year. I am not a gentle soul. I am a truthful soul who would rather search for the truth of love than the truth of power.
    What happened in your life that influences you to express yourself with such aggression?
    The internet seems to bring out repressed hostility and it seems much easier to do this because the other person just becomes an object instead of a real human being and the bashing begins.
    It would be interesting to see a face to face discussion of this subject.

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  • HA

    I suspect others will have a better reference for Edith Stein. She was such a multi-faceted woman, I would think the best book would be one that focuses on her writing, but I don’t have a good translation of that.

    As for hostility, I take no particular position as to what the appropriate tone is regarding internet discussions, so I just try to sync up with the tone of whoever I’m corresponding with (though historical ignorance and ineptitude combined with an overweening sense of one’s own scholarly presumptions, then topped off with a bunch of sanctimonious hand-wringing over the failings of others, does admittedly put a sharper edge on the discussion). If anyone thinks I’ve dished out more to Digby than he dishes out to me or others, then he hasn’t read much of Digby’s postings.

    For example, I believe the last time he and I tangled was when he followed up one of his periodic rants against Catholics for their benighted treatment of gays with a fit of schoolyard gay-baiting of his own. It seems one high churchman’s “effeminate mannerisms” set off pings on Digby’s gaydar corresponding to “self-hating European homosexual”. Oh, that Digby is a real prince when it comes to internet decorum. I won’t get into details, but if you search the site on the words I put in quotes, you can probably find the thread and see whether I’ve been unfair to him.

    Now, to repeatedly call me and others like me homophobic – that’s bad enough. But to chase that down with some homophobic slurs of your own – well, that’s more than sufficient cause for getting called out. But Digby resolved to never respond to me again back then, too, and you see that didn’t last too long. Hopefully, he’ll be more steadfast this time around, so at the least he can keep from digging himself in deeper. But it would be silly to suppose that if I have any personal issues pro or con with anyone I interact with here – certainly not with whomever Digby happens to be behind the on-screen persona he’s created for himself. (It’s not as if Digby Dolben is his real name any more than HA is mine.) But to the extent that on-screen persona of his keeps trying to defame people like Pius XII with arguments a twelve-year old could punch a hole through, then yes, he’ll probably continue to get called out.

    Good luck with the Edith Stein book. I’m genuinely sorry I couldn’t be more help with that.

  • digbydolben

    This comment is not directed at “HA,” with whom I will anxiously refrain from interacting, but it IS directed at those who are seriously interested, in any kind of scholarly way, with Pius XII’s wartime record or the politics of his proposed canonization.

    The real issue is the canonization, which, in my opinion, certain ultramontane Catholics are trying to rush through in an overly-hasty fashion, motivated by issues having to do with Church politics, rather than the man’s record. The man most definitely was not a “monster,” and most definitely had profound gifts that would have made him a brilliant pope at some other historical juncture. However, when it came to Jews and Marxists, he was not able to view them objectively, and his response to their annihilation was, indeed, “neurotic and vacillating.” The following comment by one “ChooChoo” over at The Guardian the other day is perfect:

    …This is miles away from underwriting the idea that the church encouraged the Holocaust to some extent. Forgive me, but all you offer is a bold conclusion with some insinuations of anti-Semitism. Pius XI and Pius XII are both recruited into a simple ‘church bad’ story – overlooking the profound differences between one pope and his successor, whose legacy is profoundly problematised by the blunter opposition of his predecessor.
    The real problem over Pius XII (or the church & holocaust) is that any decent public discourse is decades away.

    It’s too bound up with a spree of popular books denouncing him, and a spree of countering apologetics. There is little awareness of the reams of relevant material, little consideration of historical context, and little of the complex marriage of critical acumen and empathy required to make a serious minded moral engagement with such a figure (or what he’s made to stand for). In the meantime, all that happens is that Pius XII becomes a sort of football kicked around. And, to borrow MartyninEurope, all over the internet he’s turned either into one of the peeps who does no right or, in heavy-handed response to heavy-handedness, does no wrong.

    Here’s to a serious moral critique. One day!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/may/13/vatican-jews-catholic-church?commentpage=4

    The real issue is the canonization. He doesn’t deserve it at the present time, and, even if he did—despite his mild anti-Semitism (which is certainly a lot less egregious than Louis IX’s active viciousness) it would do irreparable harm to the Vatican’s relationship with Jewry and with the Israeli State.

    If he’s a “saint” of some sort, he can afford to wait for his canonization.

  • HA

    The real issue is the canonization…

    Yeah, right. Backtrack and squirm as much as you like, Digby. Your overall track record on Pius XII is straightforward enough (though admittedly, some of your sentences could certainly use a little more clarity). Trying to recast what you said into a discussion over canonization – a word no one here even mentioned until you thought it might be a way to change the subject so as to make your case seem less pathetic – is yet another lame debating tactic a twelve-year old could see through.

  • digbydolben

    HA, you really need to stop the ad hominems.

    You obviously have some sort of “issues” with me, with folks with a “gaydar” (whatever that is; is there such a thing?), with anybody who can note an “effeminate mannerism” in a pope who OBVIOUSLY has more of a problem with homosexuals than his predecessors or other priests do, (I’m hardly the first to notice that), and with anybody who thinks that the Church should be at least tactful regarding its HUGE record of historical anti-Semitism.

    I’m not “debating” you, I don’t care to “debate” with you, I don’t even care to tangle with you verbally ever again, and, if you think it’s because you’ve bested me in some kind of “debate,” I don’t care. You’re quite welcome to think that way; I simply don’t care what you think, because I think that you’re too vile to notice.

    And, finally, I don’t think I’m “changing the subject” at all in this quite nasty exchange: the canonization is the ONLY pressing issue, aside from the historical record, which should be left, as “Choochoo” at the Guardian suggests, to the scholars of history, not to you or me.

  • lewiscrusade

    Actually, the challenges to L’Osservatore Romano–from all around the world–come from the new PAL/PAV’s article on the Brazil case, where he directly spoke against Church teaching by saying the abortions were justified.

    As for L’Osservatore’s take on Obama, the Rome director of HLI compared the tone they give Obama to the tone they used with the Soviets and the Nazis.

    The Irish call the Leprechauns the Good People because they’re afraid of them.

    The teaching of the Church is very clear: never trust any political power which claims to have the answers to the world’s problems.

  • HA

    HA, you really need to stop with the ad hominems.
     
    And so, this time around, Digby’s resolve not to respond to me has held up  for less than five hours. I wonder who won that pool.
     
    Digby’s memory seems to have been jogged regarding our previous discussions, and I can now see that his efforts to recast and whitewash his record are something of a habit with him (as are his pleas for a reduction in ad hominems right about the time he starts to get a dose of his own medicine). Nonetheless, his record speaks for itself, and in case someone does want to look up the thread I was referring to, note that I should have used the words “self-loathing” instead “self-hating”. I think that was the actual phrase that Digby used. Yes, that Digby is a veritable paragon of Internet decorum when it comes to ad hominems, especially in discussions involving popes. Let’s all keep that in mind.
     
    Lastly, Digby, it seems that multi-tasking is not your strong suit either, for you seem to be confusing this thread with some other (at the Guardian,  is it?) featuring a certain “Choochoo”, and devoted to the canonization of Pius XII – at least that would explain your bizarre insistence that the canonization of Pius XII is the “ONLY pressing issue” in a thread titled “US vs. Rome”. Now, I can see how someone with a screen name like Choochoo might have views on history similar to your own, and I would be pleased if you were to finally begin citing historical analyses more on your level, but if that’s the discussion you prefer, then I suspect that is the one you should be devoting your full attention to. Who knows, perhaps you’ll have more success there.

  • Ronald King

    Digby and HA,
    As a result of your clash of heads I will probably end up being even more sleep deprived than before due to the additional desire being awakened in my psyche to probe the history of the conflict of human beliefs and the struggle for power over whose and which beliefs should prevail.
    It seems that the conflict between the two of you is representative of the dynamics that I began to explore this morning in reading the “kulturkampf” reference provided by HA.
    If you substitute belief for beer then Homer Simpson would be correct in saying “Belief, the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.”
    Actually, that would only be a partial truth. The discussion of differing beliefs and the disposition of the participants in that discussion is critical.
    The human psyche is so fragile as a result of malnutrition due to an insufficient supply of love that it craves the artificial substitute of power which, like a great cup of coffee, ultimately leaves one empty and craving even more later on with the addition of something even more sensuous that perhaps can add to the initial pleasure that was once experienced. So, we will add belief upon belief and create centuries of mutations that ultimately continue to leave us empty and craving for more of what it is we believe will sustain us.
    Where there is belief there is human chaos and suffering.

  • digbydolben

    And where there is “faith” there is something entirely different;so I agree with you, Ronald.

    I choose to have “faith” in ideals and in only one Person.

    Remember, please, that Pius XII is DEAD: he is a historical figure, and so there cannot be, by definition, an ad hominem directed at him. It makes about as much sense for people like “HA” and Gabriel Austin to become exercised over his reputation as it does for somebody to be concerned that Alexander VI Borgia is overly-castigated for his political machinations.

    The greater concern, of course, is the health and reputation of that part of the Church which is living and which can be improved and reconciled with its traditions and history. That’s why a precipitous canonization of this individual would be DISASTROUS.

    Believe me, my personal ego is no longer caught up in this discussion, and that’s probably because I’ve realised that this individual’s is so much.

    I think you will agree with me that this thread has become no longer edifying or even “educational,” so I’m done with it.

  • HA

    Ronald, I’d be lying if I said I understood what you were getting at – it’s a little too metaphysical for me (and as far as I can tell, it seems a bit more Buddhist or Teilhardian than the kind of thinking I am more familiar with) – but I do appreciate your efforts.  And if you truly are exacerbating your sleep deprivation with something like this, I suggest you’re taking it more seriously than you ought. To the extent Digby is doing the same, perhaps Chochoo or one of his co-aficionados at the IMDB forums can lend  him a sympathetic ear.
     
    Once Digby recognizes the contradiction between pleading for a reduction in ad hominems on the one hand, and his own reflexive usage of them on the other – as exemplified by gay-baiting references to a (*living*) cleric’s so-called “effeminate mannerisms” – then the tone of his discourse will likely improve, as will that of those he converses with. That contradiction still seems to be eluding him, but I trust it will be apparent to everyone else.
     
    Until then, he can keep on trying to “anxiously refrain” from corresponding with me, whatever anxiously refraining might possibly mean (between you and me, I’ll say that whatever it is, it  seems to have not been much of a success so far).
     
    Believe me, my personal ego is no longer caught up in this discussion, and that’s probably because I’ve realised that this individual’s is so much.
     
    Again, Digby, if you or anyone else can make heads of tails of that sentence (would Choochoo, or some English teacher somewhere be able to help, perhaps?), do please get back to us. Given how flustered you seem by all this, I do agree it’s time for you to give it a rest. But to the extent you keep obsessing about Pius’s canonization, do permit others the opportunity to set the record straight.

  • Gabriel Austin

    Wikipedia has a good reference to St. Edith Stein’s letter to Pius XI.
    There is an excellent article on this whole matter of the Holocaust [Shoah] and Pius XII on Worldnet:
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42406.

    I admit to some confusion as to why many Jews would use the term “Holocaust” [sacrifice] as against the Hebrew term Shoah [catastrophe].

  • digbydolben

    Ah, you see, Ronald, what this idiot doesn’t seem to understand is that TO ME “effeminate mannerism” isn’t a slur–isn’t “gay-baiting” at all! I’m quite sure that I and a number of my friends are no less “effeminate” in our mannerisms than Ratzinger is.

    My reference to “effeminate mannerisms” is relevant ONLY to the irony of the possession of such by a “gay-baiting” pope–which I and a lot of others strongly feel that Ratzinger is, and that he sets the tone for clerical “gay-baiting” with his demonizing of many celibate priests who’ve been faithful to their vows all their lives (like that one who died in the World Trade Centre), by decreeing that they are the essential CAUSES of the “priest scandals” in America, when every objective and sensible observer knows that, as it is with us here in Europe–in Ireland particularly–it’s the result of SECRECY and NON-ACCOUNTABILITY by an arrogant caste of clerics.

    “…That this individual’s is [so much caught up in it]

    It’s called an elleptical sentence, and any one of my students can identify it!

    But this is absolutely hilarious: I’ve now begun to understand that this whole discussion, and even the previous ones revolve around this idiot’s perception of MY issues regarding “homophobia” or MY “queerness,” when it’s actually HE who is so sensitive to this rubbish!

  • Gabriel Austin

    In reply to digbydolben’s citation of the anti-Catholic [actually anti-religious] Gaurdian, one might better read an article in Jewish Chronicle
    http://www.thejc.com/articles/wartime-pope%E2%80%99s-secret-heroism

    It is more interesting to read the testimony of those who experienced and survived the Shoah, than the Monday morning quarterbacks of 60 years later.

    Digbydolben seems to think that Daniel Goldhagen is a serious scholar. What can one say?

  • Ronald King

    HA, The Sacraments are metaphysical and I only go in this direction because it was purely miracles that brought me home to this faith that I passionately love after thinking it was empty for 40 years away.
    The Eucharist is metaphysical. The Communion of Saints is metaphysical. Prayer is metaphysical. Our faith cannot be anything less than metaphysical if it is to be the Kingdom of God here on earth.

    Digby, I agree with you that Faith is everything. I am nothing without faith.
    It is interesting to think about this discussion in terms of faith and now that I must leave for work I must leave with a final remark about love.

    I am called to love Digby, HA and everyone who I meet or do not meet in this life.

    God Bless Us, I need it.

  • HA

    HA, The Sacraments are metaphysical…
     
    A fair point, but look how many centuries it took to only begin to make some sense of the sacraments. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong in being metaphysical, but a little of that goes a long way, and is hard enough to comprehend, and as your comment above indicates, we already have plenty of metaphysical matters to try to understand.  I don’t have specific citation for this, but if I recall, the great mystics expressed considerable caution regarding mystical insights gathered in the absence of a firm spiritual director, so I will offer that to you as well, for whatever it is worth.

    Again, I appreciate your efforts and do not want you to think I am criticizing them. One body, many gifts.

  • Pingback: What, exactly, is the Vatican’s “take” on Obama? « The Lewis Crusade()

  • Ronald King

    HA, I agree about caution. I am accustomed to being misunderstood and at times what comes from my mouth is hard for me to understand.
    I would need a spiritual adviser with knowledge of interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, phenomenology, existentialism and theology.
    First and foremost is the requirement for a spiritual advisor to see everything through eyes that are led by the Truth that God Is Love. The next subject that an adviser must be open to is the gift of the woman as God’s first Gift of Love to man.
    Ha, I have these requirements because God has led me on this path and has brought all of these subjects into my life through the most humble people without my requesting this.
    Do you know anyone?

  • Ronald King

    HA, One more thing a spiritual adviser would need knowledge of is quantum physics.

  • HA

    Sounds like you’re looking more for a New Age guru than a Catholic, God help you. Honestly, most people who see a set of requirements like yours will think they’re being set up to appear in some religious version of Da Ali G show.

    I will tell you this: quantum physics is not now and never has been a requirement for holiness, so it doesn’t belong on your list. See what else you can chop off using the same rationale. Hope that helps.

  • Ronald King

    HA, Everything I listed above is in the Bible. Chopping off anything I have listed would be limiting the knowledge of truth and create rigidity.

  • HA

    Sorry, Ronald, I think we disagree on whether or not you’re actually going to be seeking out the truth with an approach like that, and so we’ll have to leave it there. I wish I could have been more help. Perhaps someone else has more to offer.

  • HA

    Ah, you see, Ronald, what this idiot doesn’t seem to understand is that TO ME “effeminate mannerism” isn’t a slur–isn’t “gay-baiting” at all! I’m quite sure that I and a number of my friends are no less “effeminate” in our mannerisms than Ratzinger is.
     
    Why are you selectively truncating your words, Digby? If I recall correctly, your sneering psychoanalysis was actually about how “effeminate mannerisms” were indicative of a “self-loathing European homosexual”. I’m sure there’s a slur in there somewhere, though given your selective take on the written word, I realize it might be hard for you to pick out.(And as to how much of your or your friends’ personal experiences were involved in coming up with that profile, thanks *so* much for sharing, but it’s really neither here nor there, especially given the resounding affirmation of your heterosexuality you gave us at the time.)
     
    And hey, if discrediting someone’s stand on homosexuals in the priesthood via ad hominem reference to effeminate mannerisms is not a problem for you, well then, why do you have problems with ad hominems. here all of a sudden? Could it be your score on hypocrisy ranks right down there with your credibility?

  • HA

    In February 1960, Nikita Khrushchev approved a super-secret plan for destroying the Vatican’s moral authority in Western Europe…Now, Moscow wanted the Vatican discredited by its own priests, on its home territory, as a bastion of Nazism. Eugenio Pacelli, by then Pope Pius XII, was selected as the KGB’s main target, its incarnation of evil, because he had departed this world in 1958. “Dead men cannot defend themselves” was the KGB’s latest slogan.
     
    Oh, look – now we have some idea who originated Digby’s contention that defaming a dead man should be of no concern to anyone. Who knew? I guess by the same token, canonizing one of them should be no big deal, either, eh, Digby?

    (While I don’t how much credibility Pacepa deserves, I do believe it’s more than what is appropriate  for testimony from Soviet show trials – e.g., the kind that dupes like Goldhagen resorted to in their smear campaign.)

  • Ronald King

    HA, I do not think we disagree. You just do not know what I know and I cannot expect you to know. Small bits of info on blogs could not give you the information that took a lifetime of learning and experiences that God integrated into a unified awareness of human experience and the journey to God.
    Thanks for indulging me.

  • digbydolben

    Please NOTE (for anybody who, unlike “HA” is capable of READING): I NEVER said I was “heterosexual” and I NEVER said I was “homosexual.”

    I don’t believe those categories reflect anything that is real; instead, I believe that they reflect the bogus categorizing of the hyper-rationalism of the “Viennese witch doctor,” as Nabokov called him.

    If “HA” or any of the other obsessively homophobic right-wing Catholics who write here had as much experience of life and of many different cultures as some of us others have had, they’d realize that “effeminate mannerisms” are often a trait of some of the world’s most voracious womanizers. The upper-class boys I grew up with in the American South would probably have killed anybody who suggested they had “homosexual tendencies,” and they were also generally tossed unremittingly in the throes of heterosexual lust, God bless them!

  • digbydolben

    And let me dig myself in deeper, and give the utterly vicious “HA” even more ammunition to throw at me:

    I was once asked, in Los Alamos High School, in New Mexico, to help sponsor a “Gay-Straight Alliance.”

    I agreed, with the proviso that the students who were searching for a sponsor should understand that I honestly believed that the “identity” they’d constructed for themselves had no reality, especially at their ages. A very bright young man listened closely and then responded by saying, “But that must mean, logically, that you don’t believe that heterosexuality exists, either, right?”

    “That’s right,” I replied, “it’s a construct–totally artificial, but a virtuous one, which I’d urge you to reconsider.”

  • digbydolben

    MM, since this is your post, I thought I’d tell you here that you might be interested in THIS:

    http://arturovasquez.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/on-the-relationship-between-church-and-power/#comments

    It’s evidence in their marriage practices of the kind of neo-Calvinism you’re constantly alleging is the mainstay of American Catholicism–an opinion of yours with which I heartily concur!

  • HA

    HA, I do not think we disagree…Thanks for indulging me.

    Not at all. But again, do be cautious. I am ill-equipped to determine whether your mysticism is more suited to a spiritual tome than an Oliver Sacks book, and if that is blindness on my part, I apologize, but I sincerely hope it all works out.

  • HA

    I’ve now begun to understand that this whole discussion, and even the previous ones revolve around this idiot’s perception of MY issues regarding “homophobia” or MY “queerness,”…
     
    Wait, who said anything having to do with *your* “queerness”? Oh, yeah – you just did. Repeatedly. Did anyone else? No, guess not. Well, again, thanks for sharing Digby , but look, you have already stated for the record that anyone who suspects you might be homosexual “couldn’t be more mistaken”, so that’s been settled. (To the extent you had to further clarify what that phrase or “construct” actually meant, I’m glad to have given you the opportunity to do so. You’re welcome.) But now that you’re safely out of the clutches of the evil Yahoos who fire teachers displaying such tendencies (according to you, anyway) – and furthermore, you harbor no designs of ever returning there – it seems the only one who is worrying over how you appear to others in that regard is you. That being the case, I suggest you carry out any self-psychoanalysis  and categorization in your own private journals, thanks ever so much. As it is, there is a long, long list of things about your posts to take issue with, to the extent that how you choose to live your life is vanishingly small in comparison, so I’d just as soon you keep your private affairs to yourself.
     
    Then again, to the extent that your ad hominem gay-baiting slurs of the pope lay bare your hypocrisy and lack of credibility, as does your inability to differentiate an elliptical sentence from incoherent drivel (something which you even claim to be passing on to your students, no less), well, that’s a topic that might be relevant again at some point.

    Until then, let me say it is nice to have you back by the way, after your having found this thread become so unedifying and un-educational. Speaking for myself, I’d rather return to setting the record straight regarding an admirable man who has been unjustly accused and maligned in order to score points, but if you want to keep the focus on yourself, and your transparent efforts to overshadow your bigotry with gratuitous referencces to gay-straight alliances and whatnot, then I suppose I should at least thank you for doing your part to discredit the other side. As far as I’m concerned, if there are any more gay-baiting hypocrites out there with an inflated sense of their own enlightenment, they are more than welcome to join you.

  • digbydolben

    I think this whole thread should be deleted; it’s a disgrace to Catholic Christianity.

    You may be sure, HA, that I shall never address you anywhere but here, ever again.

    You are the most vicious, the most acidly contemptuous person I’ve ever met who dares to call himself a Catholic Christian. You need medication, or prayers, or both.

  • HA

    Take heart, Digby – at least you’re lucky enough to be among people whose animosity extends only to your deplorable arguments. Were it otherwise, you might have reason to worry about the paper trail you’ve left behind, but as it is, your personal matters, whatever they are, are yours alone (at least they would be, if you could refrain from inserting them into the discussion). And that will not change regardless of what you do with this one last offering: should you ever again marvel at how the glass house you live in gives you a clear vantage point from which to throw stones at others, be they living or dead or virtual, you would do well to resist acting on any impulse.

  • grat post!.. really enjoyed the user comments.. keep ’em coming!