Skip to comments.Open season on Catholicism
Posted on 11/17/2012 5:21:32 AM PST by NYer
It’s open season on Catholicism. In Ireland and in Australia, public opinion is being whipped into frenzy in crusades against Church teachings. In both cases the arguments are thoroughly irrational.
Let’s examine each case rationally.
The Irish case
Savita Halappanavar, we are told, was already miscarrying when she reported to the hospital in October. We don’t know what the doctors said or did, because the hospital has—quite rightly, protecting the confidentiality of medical records—declined to comment on the case. News reports allege that she asked for an abortion, and the doctors refused. We don’t know whether those reports are completely accurate. We do know that the reports are confusing, because a woman who is having a miscarriage cannot have an abortion; it’s medically and logically impossible. A miscarriage ends a pregnancy; in fact miscarriage is also known as “spontaneous abortion.”
But let’s assume, for the sake of the argument, that doctors refused to hasten the process that was ending this ill-fated pregnancy. And let’s assume, too, that the doctors refused because they felt the laws or Ireland and/or the laws of the Catholic Church prevented them from taking the action necessary to save Savita Halappanavar’s life. If that is what happened, and that is what the doctors thought, then the doctors were wrong!
The moral teachings of the Catholic Church require doctors to treat the life of an unborn child as precious—but not more precious than the life of the mother. If the lives of both mother and child are in jeopardy—as was evidently the case here—doctors are morally obligated to do whatever is possible to save both lives. If the life of the unborn baby was already doomed, as a miscarriage was beginning, the doctors were morally obligated to devote their attention to saving the mother’s life.
As for Irish law, the existing statutes allow for abortion if it is necessary to save the mother’s life. If the facts of this case have been accurately presented, the doctors had the legal authority to perform an abortion (or hasten the miscarriage, if that is a more accurate description).
So when editorialists cry that the Irish laws must be changed, to eliminate the influence of Catholic teaching on abortion laws in such cases, they are wrong in two respects. First, Church teaching did not forbid the doctors from taking appropriate action to save Savita Halappanavar’s life. Second, existing law gave doctors the authority to do what they needed to help the poor woman.
Something went badly wrong in this case, and Savita Halappanavar did not receive the medical treatment that she needed. But the tragedy cannot rationally be laid at the feet of the Catholic Church or the Irish abortion law.
The Australian case
The Australian government has formed a commission to investigate the abuse of children, and the top question on the minds of political commentators is whether the commission will demand that Catholic priests disclose what they have heard in sacramental confessions.
The Church in Australia is certainly vulnerable; the stories about sexual abuse by priests have been both shocking and yet at the same time depressingly familiar. There is abundant evidence that Church leaders ignored complaints of clerical abuse, shuffled abusive priests off to new assignments, and covered up evidence. However—here’s the first critical point—this evidence has been drawn from diocesan personnel files and other public accounts. There’s plenty of evidence already on the record, and much more available in chancery offices. The federal commission might read through the diocesan files and find damning evidence; that’s roughly what happened in American sex-abuse cases.
But—here’s the second critical point—that evidence has absolutely nothing to do with sacramental confession. The confessional seal is absolute; a priest can never disclose what he has heard from a penitent. So if there is material in the diocesan files to show that a priest was known to be abusing children, that material did not come from sacramental confessions. By the same token, if a bishop or priest hears reports of abuse outside the confessional, then he is obligated—certainly morally obligated, and probably legally obligated as well—to pass those reports along to civil authorities.
So if the Australian investigatory commission finds documentary evidence that bishops and priests have protected predators, those bishops and priests deserve whatever condemnation they will receive. But the documents—which should be readily available to the investigators—will have nothing to do with the Catholic practice of sacramental confession.
A straightforward investigation would examine the documentary records first, and worry later about other potential sources of evidence. So why has this debate about the confessional seal erupted, even before the investigation begins? It is not paranoid to note that Prime Minister Julia Gillard has frequently been at odds with the Church on moral issues. Nor is it irrelevant that her main political rival, opposition leader Tony Abbott, is a Catholic who is well known to take his Church’s teachings seriously. So an attack on the confessional seal—a sacramental discipline that few Australians fully understand—can yield some political dividends.
In Ireland and in Australia, the attacks on the Church are political and opportunistic. In Ireland, doctors may have made a fatally bad decision—again, we don’t know that yet—and commentators have been quick to blame not the doctors but the Church. In Australia, diocesan officials have protected abusers, and commentators are pinning the blame not on those corrupt officials but on the sacrament of Penance. In each case, a calm logical analysis shows that the attack against Catholicism is misguided. But all sorts of attacks, misguided or not, are likely when it’s open season.
Meanwhile in the USA, the majority of Catholics continue to vote for their oppressors and then lament the outcome.
It seems like there are those in Australia who would have had the investigation focus solely on the Catholic Church. Opposition leader Tony Abbot and Cardinal Pell made sure that the invetigation would include all accusations of child abuse and cover up in any institution.
There is certainly an element in Australia who intensely hate the Catholic Church and will try anything to foment hatred towards it.
As an example a TV news story the other day was up in arms about how Catholic School fees where going towards paying for the victims of child abuse. Turns out that the Church self insures throug a Catholic Insurance company which Catholic Schools also insure through - Talk about a beat up. Still I find it is only stupid lefties who willingly fall for this stuff!
First the hanging, then the trial.
Another thing we know is that abortion always kills one person and sometimes two. That more people die having abortions than died because they don’t have them.
We have enemies because we stand up for the weak and the helpless.
It is by no means confined to Australia. I have seen it even on this site.
Ping for later.
What makes you think those voters are lamenting?
It's a funny thing that people who like to point at Catholics who are democrat have never bothered to look beyond the "social justice" propaganda and see where the problem really started. It wasn't just due to powerful democrat machines in cities, either, or even the appeal to immigrants. Those are popular myths and/or popular democrat propaganda memes, but they're not the heart of the reason why Catholics became mostly democrat.
People in their fifties and sixties these days have grandparents who drummed it into the heads of their children to never trust the Republican party because the Republican party demanded that it be illegal for the Catholic Church to operate schools. The Republican party, in fact, was the driving force behind ending voucher systems and giving state run schools a monopoly on all education. The democrat party promised to keep Catholic schools legal even if the vouchers system went away. They also promised to prosecute people who were part of mobs that burned Catholic properties rather than ignoring it. Given that oft overlooked fact, it's no real wonder Catholics avoided and ignored the Republican party. Nor is it surprising that people who saw Republicans trying to totally outlaw Catholic schools drummed it into the heads of their children to stay away from the party that advocated outlawing Catholic schools. Having parents who made sure they knew that history the WWII generation passed that same outlook along to their children who came of age in the sixties.
People in the sixties generation wanted to be just like the majority in this country who believe in going along to get along and adapted their religion to suit themselves. They left the Catholic Church to embrace contraception, abortion, out of wedlock sex, and a lot of other things the Catholic Church spoke out against but that no one mentioned in non-Catholic denominations. The "social justice" garbage began as a marketing tool to keep the hippie generation interested in the democrat party in spite of the fact that young people were leaving the Catholic Church. People who left the Church eased their guilt at abandoning their Catholic upbringing by lapping up the democrat propaganda lie that supporting a government power grab is the same thing as caring for others. Plenty of weak Catholics, including priests and Bishops, went along with the social justice lies for the same reasons. They wanted to be accepted and also thought latching on to "social justice" would help stop the loss of young people. As willing saps wanting acceptance, they were all easy marks for the manipulators in the democrat party.
There are without a doubt a lot of Catholics who refuse to vote democrat and just don't vote at all. They look at the way the democrat party has become anti-Christ, the constant stream of anti-Catholic slop on many conservative sites, and the fact that even when Catholics do vote for conservatives they're not welcome in most conservative circles, then just stay home. In addition, there are more than a few Catholics who refused to vote Romney just like some Evangelicals did. I've also run into Catholics who say they haven't voted since Reagan because they can no longer stomach the democrat party but aren't welcome in republican circles where they live.
I went to pro-life events starting in the late seventies and it was the late-eighties before I ran into more than occasional non-Catholic at such events. At some of those demonstrations there were people passing out anti-Catholic tracts by "He Who Cannot Be Named" to Catholic pro-life folks rather than pro-life material to passersby. While at that time I wasn't Catholic, I was upset that rather than focusing on the pro-life task at hand some people were so rabidly anti-Catholic that they would rather drive people away from pro-life events than stop spreading lies and beating their propaganda drum for an afternoon. When you really study the situation and look at history rather than thinking the world didn't exist prior to the sixties, there's only one surprise in the voting numbers; the surprising number of Catholics who turned out to vote while so many millions of others stayed home.
Loudmouths who throw Catholics out of the boat and then complain about evil "papists" splashing around in the water are a perfect example of why conservatives come up short in national elections. Whatever those throwing Catholics out of the boat think they're achieving, the only real result of their efforts is to drive people away by reinforcing the democrat propaganda lie that portrays all Conservatives as anti-Catholic bigots. Without a doubt, for every Catholic they drive away they drive away at least one non-Catholic who sees no point in re-fighting sixteenth century Protestant/Catholic religious battles while the nation burns to a crisp. People driven away from the conservative cause more often than not sit out elections, but given the power of Federal vote buying programs, being on the sidelines helps democrat fascists just as much as voting for them.
The majority of non-Catholic Christians on FR are just that, Christians who aren't Catholic Christians, separated brethren but brethren none the less. Those who can't resist attacking fellow conservatives over religious differences may or may not be Christian, but they're definitely ignoring what Christ Himself said on the topic of casting out devils.
Luke 9:49 "And John, answering, said : Master, we saw a certain man casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us."
Luke 9:50 "And Jesus said to him : Forbid him not ; for he that is not against you, is for you."
Anyone who thinks forcing democrat scum out of office and defeating the democrat fascist machine isn't the same as casting out devils just hasn't been paying attention.
That was all very interesting, thanks. My friends who, like me, are converts from the 1990s or later, will be interested in the history, especially regarding education.
“I went to pro-life events starting in the late seventies and it was the late -eighties before I ran into more than occasional non-Catholic at such an event....”
And then on with the rest of this paragraph in your post.
My family joined with many other Catholic families from all over our diocese to work very hard for the pro-life cause after Roe V. Wade came into law in 1971.
Not only were we subjected to ugliness and outright vitriol by the pro-choice groups, but—like you say in your post-—we also ran into anti-Catholic groups who joined in with the pro-choice people in their vitriolic “lies and propaganda” and used our work and rallies and efforts as a springboard to vilify us.
It was well over a decade before the non-Catholic Christians came aboard and begin to join in the pro-life work. They were, without a doubt, welcomed to the effort.
As an interesting sidenote: Bernard Nathanson, the leading icon for abortion in the 70’s, actually converted to the Catholic Church and died a Catholic. I was able to have a good conversation with him in the time after his baptism.
“The man who is in Christ Jesus is a new creation” St. Paul
PS about Bernard Nathanson: the process of his conversion began when he was invited to a Pro-Life gathering (by Catholic pro-lifers) in Washington, DC when they had a big convocation there. He actually accepted. The rest is history.
Nothing new about Catholics being persecuted. Long enduring history of it . Won’t stop until the end of time.
One of my favorite and clearest examples, though, is this Thomas Nast drawing that was widely circulated at the time:
You can find a larger copy of that image and there's a lot of interesting stuff in the details.
I also like the one that portrays Catholic Bishops as alligators coming ashore to prey on innocent school children who are in Catholic schools because their parents choose their school:
Without the voucher system, so the theory went, all children would end up in public schools. In reality, Catholic families made absolutely incredible sacrifices to send their kids to Catholic schools even after the voucher system was ended.
When I first heard of all this when I was a kid and a neighbor's dad told us about it. I didn't think much about it back when I was ten, so it languished among cobwebs and old canned goods at the back of my brain until I started reading up on the history of this sort of things just a few years ago. Then I looked for something about Republicans wanting to end Catholic schools and found a good bit.
I'm not sure whether the country was caught up in this because Republicans pushed it, or it was the Republicans who got caught up in it because it was popular. I do know how Catholic old folks who I've talked with saw things at the time and I also know how democrat propaganda fostered that outlook.
One thing for sure, I never heard of Republicans working very hard to overcome the accusations of anti-Catholic bigotry until this past election season, and even that effort was far from universal.
Man, I didn’t know that but I’m glad to hear it. Amazing.
In the 19th Century, you had Pope declaring Americanism a sin, and denouncing the Enlightenment ideals of the men who founded this country (none of whom were, in turn, fans of Romanism).
Wrong — read this snippet from Catholic Vote email:
If you’ve read any post-election news reports, you might be thinking that we lost the Catholic vote big time.
But that’s not true.
The media are already trumpeting the news that the Catholic vote went for Barack Obama 50-48. But like every headline, there’s more to the story.
The Catholic vote cannot be understood correctly without defining what we mean by Catholic. And since 2000, intelligent political observers agree that the best way to measure the Catholic vote is to break up the generic Catholic vote into those that regularly attend Mass (active Catholics) and those that do not regularly attend Mass (inactive Catholics).
So what happened in 2012? Here are the facts:
Active Catholics accounted for 11% of the electorate in 2012 and voted 57-42 for Mitt Romney over President Obama. This represents a 14-point swing from 2008.
This means that hundreds of thousands of Catholics changed their vote from 4 years ago — voting this this time for the candidate representing life, family, and freedom.
That said, the results were clear, and we fell short of our goal, in part because of the impact of the Hispanic Catholic vote (75-21 for Obama), single women voters and young people. We cant solve every electoral problem. Our job is to educate, activate and mobilize the Catholic vote. And 42% of Mass attending Catholics voting for a President who stands against virtually everything we believe is simply unacceptable.
Inactive Catholics represented 13% of the electorate and voted 56-42 for President Obama. Regrettably, the electoral difficulties with these Catholic voters will inevitably persist. They remain our brothers and sisters in the Faith, and so we will never give up in inviting them to take seriously the call of our Church. Perhaps the best way to help these voters is to urge them to go to Mass more frequently and let the Holy Spirit take it from there!
We have every right to be disappointed, but we shouldnt ignore the progress we made. More and more active Catholics are waking up and voting for faith, family and freedom. Were making steady progress, but much more must be done.
And regardless of the results, there is never any shame in fighting for what is right, win or lose.
In America itself, "Americanism" is usually used as a synonym of American patriotism, and that salutary disposition has nothing to do with the technical term among Catholics.
As I said, my convert friends who are Reagan Republicans will be very interested. This is definitely a gap in our historical knowledge! It's been extremely informative seeing both your posts.
Unfortunately, those who would toss the (Conservative) Catholics out only strengthen our mutual enemies.
Regardless of religion, this is no time to alienate other Conservatives in the face of the Socialist, Statist onslaught. We either hang together or we shall hang separately.
Thanks for the simple wisdom of your post.
Your words reminded me again of one book and two men who helped me enormously in my faith and spiritual life: Fr. Walter Ciszek and Fr. Emil Kapaun.
Fr. Ciszek, American-born Jesuit (yes-—a good Jesuit he was) who was commissioned by his superiors to go to Russia to form a Jesuit center there. When Germany invaded Russia in 1941, he was picked up by the NKVD and declared a “Vatican spy” and was sent to the dreaded Siberian gulag labor camp, Lubianka, where he spent 23 years before being liberated in 1963.
His remarkable book “He Leadeth Me”, which has become a “classic”, is a wonderful, life-changing account of his years there, where he shared suffering with Orthodox, Protestant and Jewish prisoners; it could be read by anyone of faith and be an unforgettable testimony to a life lead by one desire: to do the will of God (”Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will”). Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist and Jew, all sharing the same agony at Lubianka, experienced what you mention here, Joe.
Fr. Emil Kapaun was a Kansas farm boy who became a priest and served as a chaplain in the army. During the Korean conflict he was captured by the Communists on the Korean battlefields-—and eventually, because they feared the good he was doing among his fellow prisoners, the Communists killed him.
Fr. Kapaun was loved by prisoners of all faiths, and he ministered to them all. Those who survived their captivity and returned home to America joined together to honor his memory-—they were Protestants and Jews as well as Catholics. Together, they had suffered evil and Fr. Kapaun had been there to serve all of them in their need.
Yes, Smokin’ Joe, you are right. This is not a time for alienation among the believers in Christ Jesus. It will only strengthen those who are militating against us.
“Behold the Christians; see how they love one another”.
What is often forgotten in American Catholic criticism of "conservatism" is that in the nineteenth century, Protestant nativists attacked the Church from the Left. There was very little "whore of Babylon" rhetoric in nativist politics. It was mostly celebrations of enlightenment and progress as opposed to "superstition" and "despotism." Somehow this all gets lost in the shuffle and contemporary Fundamentalist Protestant anti-Catholicism gets conflated with the enlightenment anti-Catholicism of the nineteenth century nativists.
A technical detail: There were thousands of labor camps in Siberia as well as in Northern Russia. Their location was dictated by the needs of the slave labor industry, which, economically speaking the Soviet penitentiary system was. The chief occupation in these was logging and mining; the chief killers were cold, malnutrition, guard cruelty and disease. The names were by nearby towns and villages, or just as likely simply by number.
Lubyanka or Lubianka is a street in Moscow, on which the NKVD (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) building stood and still stands. The organization is now called FSB, Federal Service of Security. One change since the Soviet times was the removal of the Dzerzhinsky (founder of NKVD) statue in front of it. The building also housed a interrogation prison for those under trial, and execution chambers. It is those who were not executed there who went to labor camps. "Lubyanka" came to signify the entire repression apparatus, in the same sense as "Wall Street" signifies American big business. It was not likely that there was a prison camp actually named "Lubyanka", -- the toponymic is not common in Russia and its derivation is obscure; the sound faintly suggests "Lubov" -- "love".
Lubyanka is the side street to the left of the older building. The Dzerzhinsky statue, removed in 1991, is visible near the left edge of the larger building. The traffic circle is still there, with no statue.
This one was called Ozerlag (lake-camp, abbreviated). The caption says "prisoners of Ozerlag on logging and building of Tayshet-Lena railroad. V. P Ablamsky, photographer, from private collection of the author" (Source)
This can happen again, easily, anywhere.
Thanks so much for the information and the pictures.
You are so right!.. and it was my error.
Indeed it was at Lubianka (his spelling)Prison in Moscow where he was first taken for the crucible of his interrogation, which was torturous.
After that he went to a prison camp, Dudinka, ...and from then on is the rest of his story.
Thanks much for the correction and added information you give.
Formed in 6/25/1935, closed 8/22/1956. The camp was created for the building and exploitation of Norilsk copper/nickel deposit (and silicate in Taymyr: the Biryulinsk deposit). Geographically Norillag is not only Norilsk and Dudinka and Kayerkan, -- it is also the 8th Camp Division in Krasnoyarsk, the Podtesovo (Podtyosovo) camp, the agricamps in Kureyka, in Atamanovo near Krasnoyarsk and to the south all the way to Shushenskoe. The truth is that Norillag was "thing onto itself" that is, in considerable degree it was self-sufficient in foodstuffs and other necessities.
Norillag (Norilsk Correctional Labor Camp) was an industrial-construction camp. It was formed in 1935 tfor the extraction of color metals primarily copper and nickel. It is with forced labor of the Norillag inmates that the city of Norilsk was built in trans-polar Taymyr tundra, as well as Mining and Metallurgy Combined Plant, the river and sea ports in Dudinka (in the lower Enisey), the rail roal from dudinka to Norilsk, the Kayerkan mines, and much other.
The first small group was marhced to the place of the future city in the summer of 1935. That was the Leningrad group. It was marched on foot form dudinka on swamped tundra.
Starting in 1936, one after another groups from prisons and other camps were marched to Norillag from every corner of the USSR. In September 1938 several thousand-strong groups were transported there from KRasnoyarks and Enisey prisons. The transports used primarily through KRasnoyarsk on the rail road, then down the Enisey River on barges. In transit, many prisoners died and they were buried on the bank during stops. From time to time these convoys wrecked. V. P. Astafiev tells how in Igarka in 1939 a barge with prisoners broke up during a storm and people began to save themselves on the shore, but from the shore the security of the oil repository opened fire. We also know of the wrecks of barges on Kasachinsk Rapids, where also people could not save themselves because the infantry did not let them out.
In July and August 1939 transports from "long-term" prisons arrived in Norillag from Orel, Elets, Kustanay, from the Solovki. The Solovki transport was routed on the Northern Ice Ocean through Barents and Karsk seas.
In the fall of 1941 prisoners of Yuchnovlag (now Kaluga oblast) arrived in Norislk. They were interned officers of Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian armies [these three countires were invaded by the USSR on the agreement with Hitler (A-x)]. They were all in prison without a conviction or term. Only later, in Norilsk they were "formalized" by a Special Council and received terms of 5-10 years -- many by that time were sentenced post-mortem. These were the rules ion out country: they would jail you first, then find the legal reason.
New transports continued to arrive in Norilsk till 1953-54.
In early 1950's there were approximately 50 camp divisions in Norilsk. The camp ended its existence in 1956 when the majority of the inmates were released to freedom.
In the public consciousness there is an exaggerated number, that allegedly ove a million inmates went through Norislk. That is not so: they were nto more than half a million, most likely around 400 thousand. That is if the common [ "бытовики" not political and non-violent, apparently (A-x)] convicts and criminals are counted. The political prisoners were apparently not more than 300 thousand, counting with Gorlag).
This seems like a moderate number. However, imagine them all at once, 300,000 people. This is a third of the today's population of Krasnoyarsk. Or better still, imagine yourself one of them, and this number will no longer seem small. Oksana Malnik, who did time in Kolyma, and befor ethat, in Bubrovlag, used to tell, for example, that the limit was two cups of water per day: if you want, drink and if you want -- wash yourself. at times one detail like that is enough to feel frost on your skin, even though mush scarier details are also known.
From Camps in Krasnoyark Region (Rus). Lecture by A. Babiy with materials prepared by B.S. Birger.
.. and to what the Catholics and primarily Orthodox suffered in the USSR.
You are largely correct, but things change. I agree that our tormentors (yours and mine alike) won't be Protestants.
This sort of oppression seems to raise its ugly head from time to time in different places: First, in Rome during the original advent of Christianity, then during the French revolution, the Mexican Christiada of the 1920s and now it’s swimming to the surface once again. Of course it was evident when Al Smith ran for President and once again during the Kennedy years.
I’m sure there were many more occasions of official and semit-official oppression over the years but these are the ones that come immediately to mind. Just as leftists hate the absolutes of the U.S. Constitution, so to do the minions of hell hate the Catholic Church. It will survive once again, as it always has.