Catholyc Vote Attacks!

Catholyc Vote Attacks! February 7, 2011

As noted by MZ, we have attracted attention from a rather dubious group. Young Thomas Peters named Vox Nova as one member of the “progressive Catholic blogosphere” who remained silent over videos made by a pro-life group at Planned Parenthood. Apparently, he did not think my post about Mike Huckabee supporting wholesale population transfers to make living space for Israeli settlers on Palestinian land was an important topic! At least he was (relatively) polite. His co-conspirator, Matthew Bowman, was less inhibited –  we are all “not-so-cryptic abortion supporters” who “pick and choose magisterial authority”. Given the history Catholic Vote’s positions, this allegation strikes me as chutzpah on an epic scale.

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Bowman seems stuck in the battles of the late 1960s and 1970s (I don’t know how old he is), but I find these old battles both tedious and irrelevant. The teachings of Humanae Vitae are an important part of Catholic social teaching, as are the economic teachings of Pius XI and John XXIII, which Catholic Vote doesn’t seem to worry about too much. Bowman should listen more to the current pope, who has stressed time and again that there is no dichotomy between life and social justice, between sexual teachings and economic teachings.

To the issue at hand: The allegation is that Planned Parenthood is engaging in nefarious activity. I have no problem believing that. I have no respect for Planned Parenthood whatsoever. I would to happy to see them defunded. But I also know that the group that planned this alleged “sting” operation is associated with people like Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keeffe, hard-core activists who have taken Alinsky’s teachings on social action and turned them to the dark side. These activists have shown complete and utter disdain for truth. I recall it was O’Keeffe who used lies and doctored videos to smear ACORN, an organization that (in accord with true subsidiarity) seeks to empower people at the local level. And yet, thanks to these lies, it has been practically destroyed – all because the forces of the right declared it the “enemy” during the 2008 election. So, the current videos might be true, but I’m reserving judgment. That seems to be the prudent thing to do.

If Peters believes this is the most important topic in Catholicism today, let him believe it. I think it’s an incredibly blinkered view. I could turn it around and ask why he is not talking about the topics of my blogs! This is already too great a tendency to focus on Americans concerns that are ultimately trivial in the global Catholic context.

Peters invokes crickets. OK then, let’s do this.

When faced with the teaching that the Church regards access to affordable health as a basic right, where was Catholic Vote? Crickets. (OK, they said something about it not being the right of government to provide – correct, the Affordable Care Act operates mainly through the private sector).

When evidence showed that lack of health insurance would kill nearly half a million over the next decade, where was Catholic Vote? Crickets.

When Arizona started implementing real life “death panels” to ration care, where was Catholic Vote? Crickets.

When the Affordable Care Act mandated maternity care as part of a basic insurance package, thus never forcing a woman to choose between $20,000 in maternity costs and a $450 abortion, where was Catholic Vote? Actually, no crickets here – they were endorsing candidates like Sharan Angle, who made a point of opposing and mocking this maternity coverage.

When the Affordable Care Act allowed states to ban any insurance plan that offers abortion from state exchanges, even for people with no federal subsidies, and thus represents the first attempt at the federal level to regulate the ability of private insurance to offer abortion, where was Catholic Vote? Crickets.

With the inability of the average person in employer-based insurance to choose an option that does not fund abortion, where was Catholic Vote? Crickets.

With federal subsidization of private abortion coverage through huge tax credits, Medicare Advantage, FSA FEDS, and the COBRA extension in the stimulus, where was Catholic Vote? Crickets.

When faced with evidence that the Republican health care plans (tax credits, competition across state lines), would lead to a huge tilt toward funding abortion? Crickets.

When faced it overwhelming evidence that abortion is related to underlying economic circumstances, and that poverty and uninsurance rose dramatically under Bush, even before the financial crisis? Crickets.

When faced with over 30,000 people in the United States killed every year by gun violence, where was Catholic Vote? Crickets.

When faced with commentators on EWTN defending torture and displaying a Pelosi-esque understanding of Catholic morality, where was Catholic Vote? Crickets.

I focus mainly on health care because Catholic Vote has spearheaded opposition to the Affordable Care Act. They did so by focusing on its supposed abortion funding, while intertwining their opposition with a somewhat less-Catholic opposition to the regulatory overhauls on grounds of economic liberty. Remember, the notion that this reform amounted to a  “government take-over of health care” has been named as the “lie of the year” – pretty impressive in the current culture of political slime. I would assume that “bearing false witness” is something that a purported Catholic group takes seriously. Catholic Vote also joined in the shameless attacks on the pro-life Democrats who supported the Affordable Care Act, on the grounds that they were supporting “taxpayer-funded” abortion (see the many crickets above).  They led even more shameless and vindictive attacks on Sr. Carol Keehan, accusing her of wounding Catholic unity when that is exactly what they themselves were doing through their tone.

Of course, this is broader than health care. Catholic Vote has never displayed any interest in other key areas of Catholic social teaching – the preferential option for the poor, the absolute prohibition on torture, the need for gun control, the call for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the importance of labor unions, the call to support and welcome immigrants, the need to mitigate the effects of climate change, the importance of social safety nets etc. Indeed, it has mocked many of these concerns in the past, and has certainly not lived up to the pope’s call for unity among the many strands of Catholic social teaching. In Mr. Bowman’s words, this seems an exercise in “picking and choosing magisterial authority”. Of course, there is always the “prudential fall back”, such as Mr. Peters’ Cartesian mental contortions about how he is free to oppose the Affordable Care Act simply because he doesn’t think it will help anybody. Peters, of course, does double-duty with the American Principles Project, an outfit devoted to undiluted laissez-faire liberalism.

Indeed, one of the greatest distortions to come from Catholic Vote is its identification of the very Catholic principle of subsidiarity with the not-very-Catholic laissez-faire principles of the tea-party movement. Fundamentally, subsidiarity is all about letting human dignity flourish by creating the space for social relations to take place at the most personal level.  Properly understood, it provides a bulwark against both the centralizing tendencies of socialist collectivism and the decentralizing tendencies of the free market. It is also meaningless when stripped away from solidarity. Remember, in the economic sphere, solidarity calls for government intervention in certain core areas (such as determining working conditions and support for the unemployed), while subsidiarity calls for the government to create enabling conditions for the common good to flourish (John Paul II, Centesimus Annus). It is far removed from the laissez-faire liberal calls for low taxes and small government, based on the supremacy of individual freedom or liberty. As Pius XI put it, the “economic life cannot be left to a free competition of forces” – this is the “poisoned spring” of the “evil individualistic spirit”. This is a spirit that Catholic Vote seems to support.

I could go on endlessly, but I’ll stop here. Before I conclude, I want to address the topic of civility. I debated whether I should even write this post. I knew that I would be tempted to ramp up the snark, and lash out against Peters and Bowman. In this kind of tit-for-tat, you always tend to score more by sinning more. In criticizing these guys for ripping Catholic unity asunder, I knew I would open myself to the same allegations. So be it. In the end, though, I decided to write it, as this kind of response needs to be written. These allegations cannot go unanswered. But despite the snark, and the despite the title (a piece of fun I simply could not resist!), and despite my belief that these people are gravely mistaken in their interpretation of Catholic social teaching, I will draw the line – I will not call them “dissident” Catholics or dare to tell them that they are less qualified to receive the Eucharist than those on my side. I have no right to make that call. And neither have they. I look forward to a time when we can have these debates without the threat of a mini-magisterium dangling over our collective heads.

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  • I am a progressive, leftist, liberal, Catholic dissident, huh? I feel like I need to something about this too. Hmm…


    • The thing to understand, Sam, is that they mean “dissidence” from their preferred political preferences, not theologian positions.

    • brettsalkeld

      We don’t exist as individuals. Vox Nova is an avatar. It doesn’t matter what any of us actually believe or write. What matters is that we are a figurehead for everything one hates about “progressive” Catholicism (including, incredibly, the rejection of Humanae Vitae).

      It is one of the drawbacks of belonging to a group blog that people are less inclined to back up their claims than they do when attacking individuals. One much outweighed by the benefits, however. I love you guys.

      • “We all stand together” – Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus.

        • I just love idealists. They just warm my heart right up. And they are quite the pleasant break from reality.

          Ah, by the way, isn’t that the same guy that gave us “Happiness is a Warm Gun”?

      • Blackadder


        But isn’t the criticism of Shea/Peters etc. that *no one* at Vox Nova has seen fit to write about the Planned Parenthood issue?

        • Should we then complain that American Catholic and Catholyc Vote don’t blog about the issues we deem important?

          • Blackadder


            It’s less a matter of what Thomas Peters thinks is important than of what issues you think are important.

            If you don’t think Planned Parenthood aiding in sex trafficking is an important issue (which is not to say that you don’t oppose this sort of thing, but it doesn’t get you worked up the way that, say, a post by Thomas Peters criticizing Vox Nova does), then I would say this pretty much proves Peters’ point.

            Suppose someone claims to be passionately anti-war, but the only time they ever discuss the war issue is when they criticize anti-war arguments and leaders. After a while, you might start to wonder about the depth of their anti-war commitment.

  • I’m more concerned that this post ( is all you guys have to say about the current efforts to make the Hyde Amendment permanent, which would, among other things, remove a large part of the pro-life objection to health care reform.

    • We are not the Borg collective. We actually have different views on different things. I am fully in favor of making the Hyde amendment permanent, and I’m glad to see people finally realize that this was the main issue relating to abortion and the Affordable Care Act – whether Hyde is cemented into permanent law or kept as an annual rider, which is the status quo.

      • brettsalkeld

        I, for example, do think we are the Borg collective and therefore disagree with MM.

        Uh – oh. Paradox Nova.

    • brettsalkeld

      I have trouble seeing what pro-lifers would object to in Kyle’s argument. He was defending the drafters of the bill from charges of being pro-rape. Wasn’t he?

      • johnmcg

        I don’t object to Kyle’s post in itself, other than it’s pretty faint praise, that it’s not a back door to protecting rapists.

        My objection is that this represents the sum total of VN’s commentary on the issue, as compared to now four top posts in this current spat.

    • Kurt


      As I have written before, I welcome passage of HR 3 or any other attempt to make the Hyde language permanent statutory law. I regret the RTL Movememnt did not even do a hands-turn worth of effort to do so when the Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House.

      However, I don’t believe for one second that would remove a large part of the RTL leadership’s objections to the health care bill. I sincerely believe that had this provision been included in the bill, they still would have launched an all out effort against it.

  • Ronald King

    MM, It is obvious that to post what you just did takes high intelligence along with the passion to seek the truth that isn’t readily apparent and to be without prejudice.
    That is why I love reading this blog. If one is prejudiced and only sees black and white it is very easy to be blind to the underlying dots that connect us to the truth and consequently become intellectually lazy.

  • Reading “Catholic Vote” can certainly be a curious experience. Peters is up to his usual tricks with his attacks on “dissenting nuns” (read: nuns who support health care for all).

    But this one is truly bizarre: A person named Brad Birzer writes the following:

    “Indeed, in hindsight, it’s hard not to see the divine office of “king” in the person of Reagan. JPII was the priest, and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn was the prophet. Perhaps God gives us a priest, a prophet, and a king in every generation, but only the office of priest seems to be filled at this moment in our history”.

    Funny, I thought Christ was priest, prophet, and king…

    • In an entirely different domain, yes indeed Christ was all things, priest, prophet, and king. It is very much like a parable in that there is what lies upon the surface and that which lies underneath.

      Christ was also the greatest writer and story teller of all time. The trick has always been knowing when to read on the lines and knowing when the parable starts and when it ends.

  • Let’s get one thing out of the way. Bowman seems stuck in the battles of the late 1960s and 1970s (I don’t know how old he is) . . . .

    Here is a picture suitable for framing.

    He can’t be very old, since he graduated from Ave Maria School of Law, and it was only founded in 1999.

    Matt Bowman serves as legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund at its Washington, D.C., Regional Service Center, where he is a key member of the Life Litigation Project to protect the sanctity of human life. Before joining ADF in 2006, Bowman clerked for several federal judges, including the Honorable Samuel A. Alito. He is admitted to the bar in Michigan, the U.S. Supreme Court, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 3rd, and 9th Circuits, and several federal district courts. Practicing law since 2003, Bowman earned his J.D. from Ave Maria School of Law.

  • You remind me of Keith Olbermann or NPR. Anytime you come in for criticism it is “an attack” that could not possibly have any substance. Nevermind responding to the arguments of your opponent – you “attack” right back! In fact, it’s easier to ignore what they say about you and rant about how wrong they are!

    Yeah, they’re the bad guys! Not me!

    • And you always show up and say I never address substance, when the post addresses nothing but substance. It is quite possible to point out hypocrisy and engage the substance at the same time.

  • Yawn. Another attempt to make the Catholic Church into the Republican Party at prayer (the Episcopalians can’t claim the title anymore since they have been overrun with “homos” and “priestesses”). The truth which cuts these people to the quick is that blogs like Vox Nova are so rare in the Catholic blogosphere precisely because they represent the majority position of Catholicism today, and are much closer to the minds of the hierarchy than they will ever be. If this weren’t the case, the right-wing blogosphere would not have to try so hard. That’s why they have to talk big, ramp up the rhetoric, paint the enemy with broad brush strokes, etc. Truth be told, in the public library in my hometown of Hollister, CA, there are only two Catholic magazines: America and Commonweal, and I grew up reading both. That drives the right-wing cyber-Inquisition crazy, as does the failure of the average Catholic to accept their Manichean vision of the universe.

    Truth is, we are all the debate club at Auschwitz when it comes to abortion if we were to take the rhetoric seriously. Why mess with electing a few politicians who might take away some dollars here or elect a judge or two there? If they were really past the debate club phase, they would be planting bombs at abortion clinics and lynching the “baby-killers” in the street. As I see it now, I see a bunch of people pointing fingers while babies die, and everyone just hopes that one solution or another might stop an abortion or two in a couple of decades…

    Like I said, if you believe the rhetoric. I don’t.

    • grega

      It is a delight to read your comments – thanks for your experienced and reasoned voice – much needed.

  • Thales

    Though I don’t agree with everything you say here, you bring up some interesting and thought-provoking points. Unfortunately, I think your argument weakens when you start by holding up ACORN as an organization of truth and justice. It’s clear that some ACORN workers were acting outside the bounds of law and morality.

  • Matt Bowman

    I don’t remember my article specifying VN–this time. My analysis applied to “progressive” Catholic bloggers in general, who old and even young are proud members of the anti-HV camp, and as such I think it is quite sound. If you want to know what I think about y’all, VN bloggers do have the different distinction of having a minority who are actually pro-life, but not ever seriously challenging the loudmouth leaders, who while of nuanced opinion about Humanae Vitae make up for it with unabated rancor against any pro-lifer and their abortion-directed efforts, and so would not get caught criticising Planned Parenthood sua sponte. Like MZ and MM, they would mention it only to suggest that the pro-lifers are the ones to suspect. Typical.

    • There you do again – “a minority who are actually pro-life”. Do you in all honesty think that Catholic Vote is pro-life? In all honesty? They are pro-life in the way that the NRLC is pro-life: their opposition to abortion is always in the service of electing people with a certain ideology.

    • brettsalkeld

      Your article explicitly referred to the blogs mentioned by Peters, including VN. To deny that we were implicated is dishonest.

      Also, who is this “pro-life minority”? That means less than half, right? Start naming names. The majority of us are pro-abortion? Good grief.

      And we have “leaders”? What kind? How do they function? What makes them leaders? What kind of obeisance do they demand? Are the leaders the majority? Is VN an oligarchy where the rulers outnumber the ruled?

      I thought we were anarchists.

    • brettsalkeld

      And why don’t these “leaders” flex their muscles when the underlings bring on board more and more pro-life contributors? We universally agreed on Pentimento and when she linked to Tim Muldoon’s piece on IVF, we all thought he would be a great fit. MM (who I’m assuming is one of these “leaders” you refer to) was one of Muldoon’s biggest supporters. Now why on earth would MM want someone who would write about the problems with IVF? I mean, if abortion is fine, what’s wrong with in-vitro?

      Your narrative just doesn’t fit the facts. Not remotely.

    • Matt Bowman

      “their opposition to abortion is always in the service of electing people with a certain ideology”

      You mean the ideology that would pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, instead of the ideology that will kill it in the Senate? Yes I think that’s correct.

      It’s a simple matter to go back through VN posts in the last two years, mark when abortion or pro-lifers have been mentioned, and tally which ones were against abortion and which were against prolifers plus being in defense of pro-abortion politicians doing pro-abortion things. If you want to know who your leaders are who give VN the image of abortion sympathizers, and whether the pro-life minority here ever calls them out on that pattern, just examine the record.

      I don’t deny that VN was included in the long, much larger list of progressives to which Thom was referring and by extension to which my article applied. I didn’t single you out anyway. But I concede that the new generation of liberals here is more mixed on the Church’s teachings on sexuality–though the younger crowd at places like Commonweal and NCReporter are not. I think the sexual revolution is still a big key to explain the inbred hatred of pro-lifers from vocal Catholic liberals. HV is simply a particular flashpoint: I don’t think you all accept it, oppose public promotion of “family planning” or would unambiguously admit to doing so. Even for many who might claim they accept HV, homosexual behavior and marriage is the new birth control for the springboard of dissent, and forms an equal ideological tie to Planned Parenthood.

      I have always said good things about the minority of pro-life bloggers here, for example Mickey. But your identity as a group is in the balance. People are motivated by comprehensive social justice concerns, but several and the loudest (Henry, MM, MZ) have inhereted the hostility to pro-lifers and any openly anti-abortion effort, and the unswerving loyalty to pro-abortion politicians and whatever they want to do as a means to achieve your comprensive concerns. They drown out the pro-lifers with their noise, and the lack of any even remotely corresponding vocal pro-life expressions from that pro-life minority, much less any push back on the rancor of those VN poster boys. If you don’t like the image, do something to change it.

      • “Pro-lifers” like those who supported Scott Brown and rejoiced at his election?

        Matt, you are once again, misrepresenting VN and what they do on here. Your claim is if we find something wrong with what a so-called pro-life leader says and does, or if we do not agree with their suggested political action, we show we really are not pro-life. You act like we support abortion because we don’t go along with projects which hardly deal with life, but have everything to deal with party politics. No, it isn’t about life. And when something is said and done against abortion here, you say and do nothing; and when it is shown that politicians you support do FAR WORSE support in abortion you do nothing to change it. Nothing. Being pro-life is more than being selectively anti-abortion when it doesn’t get in the way of political campaigns, or making rhetorical charges against others based upon fallacious arguments (“they are silent” means “because they really are these evil vile abortion supporters”). Seriously, when you keep doing that, you show 1) no will to engage and 2) that your interest REALLY is not about doing what you can to work for life issues, but rather 3) to attack opponents while having NOTHING POSITIVE to offer. Offer positives. Work for positives. Stop trying to divide and insult and misrepresent others. You might think they are wrong; fine, explain why you think they are wrong. STOP going further than that and giving false witness.

        • Ah yes, the pro-abortion and pro-torture senator who happened to oppose the expansion of health care to 31 million people?

      • You still don’t get it. The reason I get so worked up about the “pro-life movement” is that it is doing grave harm to the cause of the unborn. By aligining itself with the distorted ideology of the American right, it is turning away millions of potential allies to the pro-life cause, especially among the millenial generation. That’s why you are just as stuck in the 1960s-era battles as the “progressives” you criticize.

        And how about it then? How come Catholic Vote never addresses any of the other issues I mention in the post, which I’m sure we all agree are fundamental issues in Catholic social teaching upon which the Church has things to say?

        How come Catholic Vote got behind the laissez-faire liberal tea-party movement when its ideology was clearly not compatible with Catholicism? Do you really think this is a viable strategy for a pro-life movement?

      • brettsalkeld

        I get the distinct impression that my question was answered by a lawyer. Three people apparently constitute the majority and the only member of the “pro-life minority” with a name is someone who is no longer with us!

        As to changing the image, what do you suggest?

        Writing posts against abortion? Check.

        Writing posts promoting NFP? Check.

        Recruiting and supporting the recruitment of other pro-life contributors? Check.

        Chastising MM for supporting universal health care because it implies support for abortion? But I don’t believe that.

        Chastising MZ for saying that the pro-life movement is embarrassing itself with its attacks on Bart Stupak et al.? But I agree with MZ here.

        What you seem to want is for me and the other unnamed pro-lifers to upbraid your imagined pro-aborts for things that we do not disagree with them about.

        There is only so much I can do to please you. I am not going to shill for the Republican Party so that you and others like you can believe that VN is pro-life. I firmly believe that the pro-life movement is too beholden to the GOP and that this relationship is costing lives. I will not kowtow because you can’t imagine a pro-life movement that is not a Republican movement. In my pro-life view, that lack of imagination kills babies.

        • johnmcg

          This is an interesting question, and I don’t envy your position.

          You are part of a blog that professes a Catholic mission and includes bombthrowers from the left to the right, which leads some readers to the conclusion that it is more about promoting the left than Catholic values. In some cases those bombs have merit. What to do about it?

          Should you be, or bring on board, a bombthrower from the right to the left? After all, Bart Stupak was also subject to some pretty awful criticisms from the left as well. Should VN have called them out?

          I’m not sure. It might bring about a sense of balance. And I don’t think we need more bombthrowing, even if it is based on truth.

          At the same time, it would concern me to be perceived as being on the wrong side on such an important issue. And I’m not sure the reflexive defensiveness I’ve been seeing is the right answer.

        • johnmcg

          I firmly believe that the pro-life movement is too beholden to the GOP and that this relationship is costing lives. I will not kowtow because you can’t imagine a pro-life movement that is not a Republican movement. In my pro-life view, that lack of imagination kills babies.

          I know this wasn’t addressed to me, but, speaking for myself, this is the direct opposite of my motivation here.

          I think the world needs an authentic witness to the fullness of Catholic teaching, and I think Vox Nova represents a great opportunity for that.

          So, it is disappointing to me that a left-leaning reader who arrived here would tend to see his prejudices about pro-life individuals and the movement in general confirmed rather than challenged.

          • If the “left-leaning reader” has prejudices based upon actuality, the solution is not to be upset the “left-leaning reader” finds them confirmed, the solution is for the pro-lifers to finally understand how they are seen by others, why they are failing, and overcome those prejudices. And that requires some honesty in the conversation. The blog is not written to challenge so called “left-leaning readers” because this blog is not really written to convince them of anything; it is written with basic beliefs already accepted by all as a basis for the conversation. And you fail to see how so-called “left-leaning readers,” when they read blogs like Shea or Peters, find their prejudices confirmed by the way those blogs act on issues. By seeing that other pro-lifers are not standing silent, they might actually see their prejudices are not completely right after all. By being silent, we would actually help reinforce them.

  • SB

    These are false:

    When faced it overwhelming evidence that abortion is related to underlying economic circumstances, and that poverty and uninsurance rose dramatically under Bush, even before the financial crisis? Crickets.

    But the abortion rate fell consistently under Bush. Isn’t that a bit more relevant (and doesn’t it rather disprove your simplistic theory)?

    When faced with over 100,00o people in the United States killed every year by gun violence, where was Catholic Vote? Crickets.

    You’re off by about a factor of 10 there.

    • (1) It fell under Bush, but at diminishing rate. The fastest decline was under the two Clinton terms.

      (2) A factor of 3, not 10. I wrote this post in haste, and should have checked the statistic. Corrected now.

      • SB

        If the abortion rate still fell, why is it supposedly a Catholic responsibility to blame Bush for increasing poverty (which he didn’t do) and thereby increasing abortion (which absolutely didn’t happen in any event)?

        • It is a Catholic responsibilty to reduce poverty and reduce abortion. I don’t recall Bush doing anything on either front.

  • You guys really don’t like “young” Thomas Peters.

    While Catholic Vote has more than a fair share of issues, I think you’re being too harsh on Peters. His point was not that Vox Nova had not posted on it and therefore this was an issue: his point was that no one on the progressive side of the Catholic blogosphere had.

    Perhaps he’s wrong in his sample or perhaps he makes too much out of this observation. But his point is not about Vox Nova; it’s about the progressive blogosphere in general.

    And I think he’s right. The Progressives tend not to blog about things not to their favor. The same is true of course for the other side. The better response would have to avoid writing this post and instead work to help form VN into such a blog that it addresses more issues from more viewpoints so that less stuff falls through the cracks as it did with this story.

    • I appreciate that you are fair-minded on this. Of course we all blog on what we think is important (or have time to…). I don’t care at all that Peters spends a year talking about Planned Parenthood.

      What bothers me about this little “short-pants magisterium” is that he is so casually throws the “dissident” label around when he has no right to – and I’m talking about Sr. Keehan in particular. This is an absolute disgrace and embodies everything that is rotten in Catholic discourse today – and both the Vatican and our own Cardinal Wuerl have spoken out about it.

  • Cindy

    If he scoped your blog out and felt your Huckabee post was something to make fun of, why doesnt Thomas comment directly? I mean it would be nice if he were less cowardly and would actually take the time to comment on your blog directly. Instead he seeks to peacock himself up for his own readers to show them how much better off they are with his guidance. It’s so arrogant. It really is.

    • Peters has a well-established modus operandum. He responds only to personal attacks, and ignores all issues of substance.

  • smf

    There aren’t 100,000 people killed by gun violence in the US every year. That is a significant over statement, and a very large part of even those that are killed with guns are suicides in which case knives, ropes, tall structures, CO, and many other things are equally workable. The real numbers are nearer to being in the same ball-park as the number of automobile fatalities.

  • It’s clear that some ACORN workers were acting outside the bounds of law and morality.


    I just googled the words “drug executives knew” and came up with the following:

    Merck’s Vioxx scandal widens: Drug maker knew Vioxx was deadly for . . .

    WaMu Bank Executives Knew of Rampant Fraud, Yet Failed to Act ….

    Papers Indicate That Bayer Knew Of Dangers of Its Cholesterol Drug …

    Glaxo Knew Avandia Caused Heart Risk, Report Says

    Johnson & Johnson knew about problems with those drugs months …

    Wachovia to settle drug-money laundering case

    Roche, FDA Knew About Accutane Side Effects Before Approval

    The behavior of one Planned Parenthood office worker was reprehensible, but the top executives of American corporations are routinely engaged in illegal and immoral behavior, and it rarely does their companies any real harm.

    • Thales


      So? You’re not going to get any argument from me that drug companies are “routinely engaged in illegal and immoral behavior”. I agree with you.

      I’m not claiming that drug companies are models of truth and justice. All I’m saying is that is that I think the main post’s argument is unfortunately weakened when it held up ACORN as a model of truth and justice.

      • Thales

        Oh, and I wasn’t talking about PP here – I was talking about ACORN. But if you want to talk about PP, I’m game.

  • WJ

    I have no desire to wade into this latest flame-war, but I do think that Arturo’s (unsurprisingly enjoyable) comment gets one thing importantly right. That is that the contributors at Vox-Nova are, on the whole, “much closer to the minds of the hierarchy than they”–i.e. American Papist, CatholicVote, etc.–“will ever be.”

    If we leave aside Morning Minion’s unfortunate predilection for the Democratic Party (which I cannot believe he hasn’t seen through yet), none of the contributors on this site map onto to either of the political options foisted upon us by the powers that be. I take it that, were they forced to participate in the charade that is modern politics, they would all (or most of them, at any rate) line up roughly in the pro-life social democratic camp, and would find themselves debating with fellow travelers like Benedict XVI and Archbishop Marx and Cardinal Turkson–as well as, surprisingly enough, Archbishops George, Dolan and–at least in some of his statements–Chaput. (Yes, Chaput! He is no neoliberal, no American exceptionalist, whatever you make of his sometimes puzzling pastoral decisions and his admirably prophetic denunciation of abortion and its evils.)

    This is not surprising, after all, as all these leaders of the Church are informed by her social doctrine, and they all are immune–some more than others, of course, Benedict XVI and Marx most of all–to the ideology that passes for legitimate argumentation in the “conservative” Catholic blogosphere in America.

    The fact of the matter is that legitimate theological arguments and differences of opinion about how best prudentially to bring about a world worth our children, and their children, and so on–arguments and differences which the Church welcomes–are so utterly coopted and flattened by the ridiculously impoverished intellectual culture currently prevalent in America that anyone not immediately signing on to a prefabricated set of slogans and/or assumptions is dismissed as “liberal” or, worse, “progressive.” As if these labels captured anything at all, besides the woefully unrefined state of mind of the people who hurl them!

    The Catholic Church is the Church of St. Jose Maria Escriva and Servant of God Dorothy Day. It is not the Church of the Founders, or of Social Conservatism (usually wedded to a destructive, and decidedly unconservative idolization of capitalization and economics), or, God forbid, of the Republican Party. It is neither the Church of FDR, of sexual liberation, or of the Democartic Party. It is ultimately the Church of Christ. I read Vox Nova because, unlike Commonweal or CatholicVote or American Papist or (sometimes) America, it tries strenuously (it does not always succeed, but it tries) to avoid the pitfalls of these other venues, which are usually versions of American liberalism disguised in Catholic dress.

    • brettsalkeld

      How refreshing!

  • SB

    There were 18,361 homicides in the US in one recent year, according to the CDC. Even if you assume that all those are from guns, which isn’t true, that’s still not 30,000 to 40,000.

    • Suicides account for 55 percent of all gun deaths.

      • SB

        Why blame that on guns? People who want to kill themselves don’t lack for means and opportunities.

        • Then why are suicide rates off the charts in the US?

          • SB

            They aren’t! Compared to the United States, the suicide rate is modestly higher in Iceland, Ireland (ahem), Norway, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, and the rate is 50% higher in France, Belgium and Finland.

  • Rope to hang by, knives, razor blades, pills to overdose upon, buildings to jump off of, gosh there is a cornucopia of ways to do one’s self in widely available.

    You do however ask the right question, why are there so many suicides? Trouble is, answering that requires looking deeper to the origins of despair and it is so much easier to blame the actual cause of death.