The Bishops make their move

The-bishop-makes-a-move

So it looks like the Bishops have decided to double-down on their latest effort to have the Federal Government enforce Church Law.

The President offered up a rhetorical solution in response to their rhetorical freak-out over language in a new health insurance rule and the fiction that their objection was about religious freedom was exposed as bullshit. They could walk away, but instead they are pumping up the volume to keep the issue alive. It is a political play that has more to do with Republican politics than almost anything else.

The Bishops are demanding an end to any rule that requires any insurance company to cover any contraception or family planning as basic health issues for women. This is just the latest iteration of a centuries old objection to women having control of their bodies, their lives, their happiness and their liberty by the conservative power-focused elites running the Roman Catholic Church. This objection manifests itself in screeds against anything that treats sex as an activity separate from breeding and/or free from the dictates of Church Law.

And yet, I don’t think this latest play is about sex or even the Church trying to control the lives of women–I think it is about power and that sex, women, gay marriage and a host of other culture warrior issues are the pathway that they see as the golden road.

For anybody who has looked at the history of the Catholic Church (and any organized religion for that matter) a key part of their activities over time becomes how to maintain power, privilege and influence–and all the goodies that come with it. Eventually that is all that matters for the institution. The greatest success in this effort always comes when political leaders bow to the dictates of the Holy Roman Church and agree to make State Law subservient to Church Law. Back in the days of Kings and Queens you only had a handful of elites you had to work with and the mutual pursuit of power inspired many of them to treat Church Law as State Law. It worked for a long while and then came the Reformation, Protestantism, King Henry, the Enlightenment, Democracy and eventually a desire by more and more people to make their laws free of religion and the dictates of any Church.

The United States of America was founded on the belief that Church and State are separate and that the Laws of this Nation trump the laws of any religion–including the Roman Catholic Church. As you can imagine, this has made the conservative wing of the Catholic Church quite sad. For over a century they have been on the losing end of many political fights–especially when it comes to women in America. The Church opposed suffrage for women and any effort over the years that might free women from the Church sanctioned role of breeder. The Church has fought every form of contraception and lost most battles. They also have lost the battle of finding any American politician who was willing to embrace the idea that US Law should be subservient to Church Law–until now.

In the 2012 Republican race there are two Catholics running for the GOP Nomination and both have rejected the JFK formulation that US Laws and the Constitution trump the laws and dictates of the Catholic Church. Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have signaled they will follow the orders they are given by the Bishops, but Santorum is the one the Bishops are fighting for and that is why they are doubling down on the Contraception flap.

If the Republican Primary is a campaign over the economy or even hatred of President Obama, then the endpoint will be a Mitt Romney victory. The only way to shake things up is to have the Republican base focus on something else.

Newt has placed his bet on neo-Confederate racist dog-whistling and an appeal to white-victimization. It is a smart play, especially with so many Southern primaries coming up and the 40-year old Dixiecrat takeover of the GOP. And while all Republican candidates are working hard to play this card, Newt is something of a Ninja master of the politics of resentment and race baiting. The downside for Newt is that Mitt proved in Florida that money and negative ads could block and distort Newt’s message. Barring a third rise from the ashes (which is still possible for Newt), Mittens has learned how to neutralize the Professor.

Santorum is a different problem for Romney. His shtick is firmly rooted the Culture Wars of wingnutopia. If the conversation of the GOP Primary shifts to the Culture Wars Santorum will surge–especially if the focus of the culture wars is on sex and bodily functions. This is Rick’s sweet spot and the Bishops have decided to double down on their Grail to end the existence of contraception as a way to help move the Republican Primary to topics that will help Santorum win the nomination. If the main topic in the Michigan Primary is the Culture War and the Bishops are sending out Sunday letters, Santorum will surge all over that State. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is working to drive the GOP Primary debate to issues that will help Santorum beat Romney. And all they ask in return is that Rick agrees to bow to the dictates of the Holy Roman Church and place Church Law above US Federal Law and the Constitution. It is a request that Santorum will fulfill.

Supporting a Santorum surge is an opportunity for power and that is why the Bishops are doubling down on opposing any insurance company offering any contraception or family planning services to anybody, anywhere. Ultimately the entire issue is about power and not about sex.

I grew up Catholic. I went to Catholic schools from first grade through College. I worked at a church as a janitor for years while in school. I even seriously considered the Priesthood at one point. I love Liberation Theology, the Catholic Workers and the work they do and the work done by many others in the Church, but there has always been a part of the Church that puts the pursuit of power on this Earth ahead of all other concerns. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops speaks for those weasels in America. The pursuit of power is why pedophiles are still protected by the Church, why human rights for women, LBGT folks and members of other faiths are sometimes opposed by the Church and why a discussion about who gets to control the vaginas of America is more important to the Church than a focus on who will fight for the poor, the oppressed, the imprisoned and the neglected.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is why I walked away from the Church of my upbringing and why my Baptism into the Catholic Church fills me with a bit of shame every time these weasels make another transparent grab for political power.

Cheers

175 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The red beanie brigade has made a serious fucking mistake.

    They have absolutely no “moral authority” anymore…not with the ever flowing stories of child abuse, kidnapping children for adoption, treating women as chattel. Heck, IRELAND is pissed at them, of all places.

    I would not at all be surprised if Pope Ratzi himself is behind this bonehead move. If these guys are looking to create an anti-clerical backlash along the lines of that in France some 220 years ago, they’re on the right path.

    Doubledown, boy buggering motherfuckers. Make my day.

  2. 2
    Punchy says:

    Can somebody explain why the call the RCC/Vatican/Pope “The Holy See”? Is that Latin or Italian for “pederast”?

  3. 3
    grandpa john says:

    What the hierarchy of the church is trying to do is the same thing that they have pushed many times in the past. They are trying to force on the ordinary members, their own ideologies and opinions, by cloaking them as being Gods will therefore presenting their words and will as Gods word and will

  4. 4
    Linnaeus says:

    @Punchy:

    Can somebody explain why the call the RCC/Vatican/Pope “The Holy See”? Is that Latin or Italian for “pederast”?

    An episcopal see is the domain of authority for a bishop, and it refers to the bishop’s chair as a symbol of that authority. The Pope is also the Bishop of Rome. The Holy See is the term for that jurisdiction, which also functions as the central government of the Roman Catholic Church.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Punchy: Does this help?

  6. 6
    balconesfault says:

    I love this tack.

    Because I would love to see the Mormons Church no longer be a block that totally ties itself to the GOP.

    If Santorum wins on this basis, I don’t think we’ll even see the Mormons embrace Democrats – but they may take their ball and go home.

  7. 7
    Nutella says:

    I’m glad you brought up Kennedy’s speech. He put to rest the accusation of dual loyalties — the belief that Catholic politicians take their orders from the Vatican. That idea is roaring back now, because Santorum and Gingrich will claim to take their orders from the Vatican whenever they can use a Church position to support one of theirs.

    Not the Church positions on health care reform, capital punishment, or unilateral war of course. Just the Republican ones.

  8. 8
    General Stuck says:

    I agree this is about electoral politics, to gin up the evangelical base that are easily aroused whenever the topic is liberals + Sex. A couple of new polls bear that out. The newest poll by PPP shows Catholics favor the Obama plan.

    According to the poll, 57 percent of Catholic voters — and 59 percent of Catholic women — support the mandate Obama outlined Friday


    And another poll
    confirms who is really up for this fight, and it ain’t Catholics.

    So the wingers keep burning bridges to the bulk of voters for the temp result of their primary battles of trying to out wingnut each other. This episode, along with Komen is alienating the female electorate. Next up, Harry Reid calls up the DREAM act, and comprehensive immigration reform, to let the wingnuts drive away Hispanic voters. Popcorn will be served throughout this movie.

  9. 9
    Schlemizel says:

    @Punchy:
    It comes from the Latin Sancta Sedes, or Holy Chair. It really refers to the land mass that the Bishop of Rome oversees, for all intents and purposes the Vatican. My education on Latin pronunciations can’t make sedes=see but languages get mushed up.

    And it does have a certain relevance since the ass in the chair makes all the rules.

  10. 10
    SmallAxe says:

    good luck with that, keep it up and the dems could take back both Houses. On UP with Chris Hayes this morning they had some priest from ND law school on spouting this crap, made me weep that I was brought up catholic. Keep F’in that chicken guess it’s better than little boys. Jokers

  11. 11

    @Punchy: A “see” is the area over which a particular bishop has authority. The “Holy See” is the see of the Catholic church where the pope resides.

    ETA: Wow, didn’t realize I would be beat that badly.

  12. 12
    aimai says:

    Somebody tell me that this is going to break the back of the Catholic Bishops as a power in this country? Please? I’m sick and tired of watching politicians and legislators cower before them. I’m sick of seeing women’s health and safety take it in the ovaries over and over again.

    The real object of all this is not really political power–its what it always is for a retrograde institution like this: power over the smallest unit of reproduction of the worker, i.e. the family. The Catholic Church can not keep growing merely through attracting new members. Its losing members to the evangelicals all over the world (and to islam). It must grow through natalist policies and working women and women with access to birth control are limiting that natural growth pattern. Smaller families are also, seemingly, less likely to tithe sufficiently and to remain in squalor and ignorance. The church can’t forgive people for rising up sufficiently in class and power to stop needing to give extra children to the church.

    This is more than merely about this election. Its what its always been about: trying to hang on to membership in a plural society in which people are free to vote with their feet.

    aimai

  13. 13
    Breezeblock says:

    So… theocracy is the Word of the Day?

  14. 14
    Jon says:

    I’m an observant Jew and I demand that circumcision by a mohel of my choice, even one that does metsitsah for free, with a $100 mazel tov bonus or else I will call Kathleen Sebelius an antisemite.

    I’m only joking a little bit. Mostly about the metsitsah part.

  15. 15
    dmbeaster says:

    Wow. I always tell my Jewish friends that they can’t hold a candle to Catholic guilt, which naturally makes them want to polish up their guilt skills (can’t be no. 2!). It seems you survived it, but the tone of your post shows how huge it must be to overcome.

    I find this spin highly interesting and believable even if I remain uncertain about it. I would add that I think the bishops have been active for a number of years sharpening their political strategy in order to impose church doctrine on public policy. I also think that the new pope has much more of a political agenda, and a willingness to use church political power to achieve through political means the moral goals of the church.

    And the church has always been about raw power, which is why the abuse scandal achieved unique dimensions in the Catholic church. It is truly incredible that the highest church hierarchy believes that their first duty is to conceal abusing priests rather than report them to public authorities for criminal prosecution.

    I wonder exactly what went on in the recent lumina of American bishops to the Vatican?

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    @balconesfault:

    Orson Scott Card posted a whiny screed a few days ago about how it’s not fair that Republicans hate Mormons, and ended it by threatening that Mormons would sit out the election if they felt affronted.

    (It’s the middle part of this article).

    I laughed when I read it. Wanna sink the GOP? Go right ahead.

  17. 17
    MariedeGournay says:

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matt. Chapt. 23

    They are truly golden tombs housing rotten souls.

  18. 18
    efgoldman says:

    I have always believed in both the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment. I was taught very young how lucky I was to be Jew (now atheist) born in the USA, and not Europe, where relatives ever-unknown to me, perished.
    I believe anyone can believe what they want. If they think a wafer (really a small piece of matzoh) represents the body of god’s son, let them. If they believe they, and everyone they know, either was reincarnated from, or will be reincarnated to, other forms of life, fine with me. Don’t want to eat bacon or lobster? More for me.
    But as the classic cliche has it, your freedom ends when your fist meets my nose.
    I’m old enough to remember the lord’s prayer and a bible verse every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance in school. And I didn’t like it one damned bit, even in grade school. As a matter of fact, I’m old enough to remember before “under god” was inserted in the pledge.
    Now we come to this, when the Pederast Cult of The Red Beanie has made itself into an auxiliary of the WingTard GOBP (and for which its tax status ought to be examined!)
    Apparently the virtue which the bishops first discard as they bump up through the ranks, is humility. The next is compassion.
    My mother-in-law is over 80, raised in the pre-VaticanII church, in Latin. But she also has five daughters, and more common sense than any ten red beanies. And she said, out loud, to the family, many years ago, that if they’d let women help run the church, none of this bullsnit (her word) would have happened.
    As someone said in an earlier thread: If these guys want to die on this hill, and take the GOBP with them, well, god bless!

  19. 19
    cbear says:

    The Conference of Catholic Bishops:
    Come for the Fashion, Stay for the Buggery

  20. 20
    BGinCHI says:

    I wish a new Martin Luther would nail his feces to the forehead of the bishops like that original one did in 1066.

  21. 21
    Bmaccnm says:

    @Jon: Don’t most insurance plans pay for newborn circumcision? Even if it’s not medically indicated, and even if I don’t believe in it?

  22. 22
    Jon says:

    @MariedeGournay: Thanks for posting this old, anti-Jewish part. I’m a pharisee. Rabbinic Jews are pharisees.

  23. 23
    Sly says:

    The United States of America was founded on the belief that Church and State are separate and that the Laws of this Nation trump the laws of any religion—including the Roman Catholic Church.

    Ahem… especially the Roman Catholic Church.

    The Founders who had any lasting impact on questions of religion and the state were vehemently anti-clerical, mostly because the land of their forebears had been bathed in an ocean of blood to dislodge the power of the priesthood.

  24. 24
    Jon says:

    @Bmaccnm: By a mohel? No. I have a so-called “cadillac” health plan ($80 for the entire pregnancy) and I don’t think they even cover in-hospital circumcisions.

    But ritual ones? Never head of them doing that.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BGinCHI: Foreskin, not forehead. Duh.

  26. 26
    Bullsmith says:

    For decades abortion has been the wedge issue, and a very effective one. Now the target is clearly to marginalize not just abortion, nor the morning after pill, but any and all “lifestyle choices” slutty women might have available.

    You’d think treating half the voting public as vassals of the state (read church) would backfire, perhaps even among the freedom-loving, anti-government factions, but if recent history is any guide…. 1800s here we come.

  27. 27
    scav says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Why not nail both, at the same time? We could call it a compromise.

  28. 28
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @BGinCHI: It’s late and I’ve had too much to drink but it sounds like you’ve taken some liberties.

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Sly:

    The Founders who had any lasting impact on questions of religion and the state were vehemently anti-clerical, mostly because the land of their forebears had been bathed in an ocean of blood to dislodge the power of the priesthood.

    This, this, this.

    Never, ever underestimate the disdain of the Founders for the much closer to them than to us previous two centuries that were, quite literally, drenched in blood over religion, among nominal Christians, no less.

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @scav: Nail foreskin to forehead? Kinky.

  31. 31
    BGinCHI says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: If you can tell the difference, we’ll go with your plan.

  32. 32
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Nail foreskin to forehead? Kinky.

    Especially if the foreskin is still, you know attached.

  33. 33
    scav says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m willing to use a black nail if it floats your boat, but I’m insisting it verge more on spike than finishing nail.

    ETA: efgoldman, wasn’t thinking any other way.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BGinCHI: A very good point.

    How are Mrs inChi and the little inChi doing? Do you remember what sleep was?

  35. 35
    Don K says:

    I’m ever so glad my Mom convinced my Dad to escape that cult before I was born. Presbyterianism was so easy for me to leave behind.

  36. 36
    Bmaccnm says:

    @Jon: Oh. Times have changed since I had to keep the clippers away from my sons. Most of my patients don’t choose circumcision, and I lost track of payment status. Thanks.
    `

  37. 37
    CT Voter says:

    Ultimately the entire issue is about power and not about sex.

    Or, this issue is about power AND sex. If sex occurs, power recedes. It’s a zero sum game for the hierarchy. If people find a way to just have sex, without guilt, what is left for the hierarchy of the Church to do?

    Helping the poor? That’s for those suckers who actually believe in the Church.

    It’s always about sex women.

  38. 38
    BGinCHI says:

    Just to continue the Luther theme, let’s try to guess the main reason ML went so batshit on the mother church in 1517.

    Anyone?

    Can anyone use “the selling of indulgences” in a sentence pertaining to this current outbreak of bishop fuckedupness?

    Winner gets to clean Cole’s basement.

  39. 39
    BGinCHI says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: They are great. Mrs. BG getting a bit less sleep than I am, but the little guy is sleeping 4-5 hours at a stretch. Eating and gaining weight and sleeping.

    He needs to start a blog.

  40. 40
    Jennifer says:

    @Bullsmith: This doesn’t come as a surprise, after hearing “she should have kept her legs together” for the past…oh, my entire lifetime. Part of this stems from the conservative/Puritan POV that any pleasure is suspect, part stems from the curious conservative paternalistic view that “women aren’t supposed to like it” and the rest of it is just a good old fashioned power-grab. There’s also that subset of men out there – largely if not completely made up of conservatives – who remain convinced that the reason they don’t have a woman is that women have too much freedom to turn them down. The bitches are infringing on their right to have a women they can treat like chattel and if only they could turn back the hands of time, they could have what they’re owed.

  41. 41
    Martin says:

    @aimai:

    Somebody tell me that this is going to break the back of the Catholic Bishops as a power in this country?

    Sorry. If the pedophile scandal didn’t do it, this sure as shit won’t.

  42. 42
    Dr. Loveless says:

    @Chris:

    Orson Scott Card posted a whiny screed a few days ago about how it’s not fair that Republicans hate Mormons, and ended it by threatening that Mormons would sit out the election if they felt affronted.

    Sigh. Ender’s Game was one of my favorite novels growing up. OSC’s ongoing descent into theocon madness is just so depressing.

  43. 43

    What’s interesting to me is the fervor with which Republican candidates pledge allegiance to foreign powers like Israel and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I agree with you, Doug, that Liberation Theology and especially the Catholic Workers are shining examples of the good that the RCC has done and does do, but the hierarchy is rotten through and through.

  44. 44
    Suffern ACE says:

    First, I’m pretty happy about this. I know it wasn’t a popular position at the time, because it was politics trumping science, but I would rather be having this debate about whether or not women who currently receive coverage losing coverage than about OTC contraceptives for girls of 11. I know that decision sucks, but it has always been easier for the anti-contraception side to hide behind abortion and children. And those arguments on our side about the slippery slope and pragmatism and caring have not worked. But “ZOMGod-Didya hear that those Dems want to slip abortions in your daughter’s tea at school?” is not going to work for them. It would be a good time to remind people unsettled by this, who think this is coming out of nowhere, who responded in the past to the “ZOMGod Children” concerns before, that indeed they were lying about their motives and gaols then and will lie to you again.

    2nd, I do find it funny that the bishop’s position isn’t supported by Catholics but is by evangelicals. I wonder if they plan a merger. Or at least announce fellowship. It would be kinda of fun to watch a bishop try to say mass in an Assemblies of God hall with the passing around the little dixie cups of grape HiC and all that.

  45. 45
    Pat says:

    Less often discussed is how the churches position against contraception came about. It was after the dark ages….bubonic plague, black death…at a time when Europe’s population had dwindled and the church wanted more souls to harvest. Dogma, being as it is, can never reverse itself so once a rule always a rule. So today, at a time, when the ecosystem and planet are threatened by overpopulation the church’s politics will not allow it to review some ancient decision so they remain in the dark ages.

  46. 46
    Jimbo316 says:

    I totally agree. I grew up Irish Catholic and K-12 in Catholic schools but in the ’50s-’60s when ecumenism was the rage. With Pope JP II, the Church took a reactionary turn (or went back to its usual form). This coincided with Reagan/Thatcher and we have been in the Cultural Cold War ever since. The institutional Catholic Church has no credibility in this country and this would not be an issue at all if this wasn’t a) an election year with a Democratic Presidential incumbent and b) Republican candidates willing to play the game. This is just ridiculous and I think will actually really backfire on the Rethuglicans

  47. 47
    Anoniminous says:

    I’m pleased to see the Roman Catholic Bishops taking the stand a religion doesn’t have to follow the laws of the country in which adherents of the religion reside. For too many hundreds of years Odin, Thor, the other Aesir, and the Vanir (esp. Freyr¹) have lacked the proper sacrifices and it is easily seen … look around you! … how failure to sacrifice the gods and goddesses have reverberated back on Midgard.

    I think it is time, and past time, humans re-establish their links with the almighties by restoring the ancient practice of, during the holy season of Yule, 9 victims of every species – including humans – on an earthly representation of Yggdrasil. While there is no historic center such as the hojs in Gamla Uppsala, Sweden, there is no reason such a center could not be made in the US and properly hallowed over the coming year.

    Now some of you may question this saying, Anoniminous isn’t it well known some Swedes, during the disir blot would pass around a mummified horse penis as an object of religious awe and worship? I concede the truth of this objection but, if I may submit, it’s better to worship a horse’s mummified penis than venerating a bunch of mummified horse’s asses.

    ———————————————————————————————
    ¹ See any number of article on the poor, oppressed, and confused American Male.

  48. 48
    Anoniminous says:

    Damn. I’m in moderation.

    And I didn’t even use the “S” word.

  49. 49
    FuriousPhil says:

    I’m not getting this, but then again, I’ve never quite “gotten” organized religion in general.

    So now, the compromise is – insurance companies aren’t required to provide contraception for organizations with religious objections, merely an option for those who want it?

    How is this not completely sane and rational? Who the hell are these “bishops” anyways? Why is ‘natural law” coming back into vogue all of the sudden? The pill has been around for what, 40 years already? Cut the crap, Catholics men in pointy hats. Speaking of…

    I’m reminded of the folks who don’t take their kids to the doctor or give them medicine because they’ll be healed by prayer. I also remember that the courts said no way. It’s not a religious freedom issue when it involves health care. If I’m an ascetic and ingest nothing but raindrops and roots, and am dying of malnutrition, am I covered?

  50. 50
    Crenshaw says:

    Does the Christian Science Monitor have any healthcare coverage at all for employees?

  51. 51
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I would not at all be surprised if Pope Ratzi himself is behind this bonehead move.

    Of course he is. The Red Beanie Brigade are in the middle of their five-year pep rallies (sorry, ad limina visits) in Rome. It started in November.

  52. 52
    Martin says:

    @Dave Trowbridge:

    What’s interesting to me is the fervor with which Republican candidates pledge allegiance to foreign powers like Israel and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I think they only do it as a wedge issue. Generally it’s a pretty good contrast to draw against the Democrat. Remember, the GOPers aren’t even talking about this specific issue – they’ve flipped it clean over into an Obama-hates-your-religion-must-be-a-muslim dog whistle.

  53. 53
    efgoldman says:

    @Martin:

    Sorry. If the pedophile scandal didn’t do it, this sure as shit won’t.

    Well, there’s different “power” here…

    – Electoral/political power. If the bishops fail in this, and they will, and take the GOBP with them, their [national] political power is on the way out.

    – Financial power. They still own acres of real estate, much of it in high-priced urban areas, on which they pay no taxes. Even with the closing and sell-off of some churches and schools in some dioceses (correct plural??) they stil control a hell of a lot.

    – Institutional power. They’ve already lost a lot of this, especially in old cities. Parishes are closing, along with schools. There has been for years a growing shortage of priests. The congregations in many parts of the country ar getting smaller and smaller, and older and older; and as noted earlier, the faithful are more likely to ignore doctrine on personal issues.

  54. 54
    dead existentialist says:

    There’s some bishops out there that need some serious flogging.

  55. 55
    Chris T. says:

    @balconesfault:

    If Santorum wins on this basis, I don’t think we’ll even see the Mormons embrace Democrats – but they may take their ball and go home.

    I live in the middle of Mormon-land, and my impression is that the more that Republicans in general beat up on and disrespect the LDS church, the more the church-members try to curry favor with the party. It’s like a mass version of Stockholm Syndrome.

  56. 56
    MariedeGournay says:

    @Jon: The author of Matthew of and the man he spoke of were Jews. The point is some holy men marry their rules, and count them over the well being of the people they claim to speak for. They weave a tangle of laws that seal up the feeling of being blessed, of being in the presence of the divine except by the cramp and narrow way only they provide. It is about making themselves the indisputable gatekeepers of heaven. Was the focus on the Pharisees in the gospel because the Jewish part of Jesus movement at the time was arguing with the sect, which were the only legitimate power in the wake of the the razing of Jerusalem? Yes. Yet it does not dispel the critique of loving the rule before people. It was true then, true now, and will always be true.

  57. 57
    Splitting Image says:

    @Punchy:

    Can somebody explain why the call the RCC/Vatican/Pope “The Holy See”? Is that Latin or Italian for “pederast”?

    It’s a mistranslation. It should be spelled “The Holy C”.

    Young boys in church choirs are known to hit high C until their voice changes at puberty, at which point the church leaders lose all interest in them.

  58. 58
    aimai says:

    I just don’t see how they get away with having political orders read from the pulpit–or to the armed forces–and still get to be tax exempt. Will no one rid us of these turbulent priests?

    aimai

  59. 59
    Suffern ACE says:

    @efgoldman: What power they have seems to be limited to lobbying pundits to lose their shit over birth control and come up with positions that motivate evangelicals. Now…don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think you need the Catholic Church to get Evangelicals to vote Republican on social issues. Whether it’s Hannity or Kathleen Parker (same person, I think), does rousing up evangelicals though the media honestly count as a power?

  60. 60
    Walker says:

    @Dr. Loveless:

    Sigh. Ender’s Game was one of my favorite novels growing up. OSC’s ongoing descent into theocon madness is just so depressing.

    Dan Simmon’s (Hyperion) descent into right wing madness is much worse. Particularly since he has let it contaminate his writing (Flashback).

  61. 61
    efgoldman says:

    @aimai:

    I just don’t see how they get away with having political orders read from the pulpit—or to the armed forces—and still get to be tax exempt.

    Because no IRS commissioner wants to start a politico/religious war in the courts.
    Right, Yutsano?

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Splitting Image:

    150 years ago, there were such things as castrati, who were choir boys who had their balls cut off to preserve their vocal chords in the prepubescent mode. Of course, this also halted every other aspect of their sexual maturation.

    Barbaric.

  63. 63
    BGinCHI says:

    @Walker: Wabash College weeps.

    Or at least the parts that have forgotten they live in fucking Crawfordsville and are still liberal.

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BGinCHI: Wabash College, southern Indiana, near the Illinois border?

  65. 65
    dead existentialist says:

    @Sly: Actually, it was the Church of England that had Hamilton & Co. wary. Were there RC churches even allowed in the colonies?

    The Founders knew that they had to break the back of the C of E because it was THE STATE religion at the time and was very wealthy and powerful.

    Later, in the 19th century, most Americans understood the inherently anti-democratic nature of the RC and feared it would pose a serious problem to the Republic. They were on to something, weren’t they?

  66. 66
    Yutsano says:

    @cbear: Pope hats are cool.

    /Matt Smith

    @BGinCHI:

    I wish a new Martin Luther would nail his feces to the forehead of the bishops like that original one did in 1066.

    This comment is just meta on so many levels. Or the lack of sleep is kicking in. One of the two. :)

    @efgoldman:

    Because no IRS commissioner wants to start a politico/religious war in the courts.

    Well Shulman sure doesn’t, but as he’s Jewish I can’t say I blame him for his caution. And he is one of the VERY few competent Bush appointees, hiring freeze idiocy notwithstanding. Plus the division that handles that is really tiny in the IRS.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dead existentialist: Maryland was specifically founded as a Catholic colony.

  68. 68
    Suffern ACE says:

    @dead existentialist:

    Were there RC churches even allowed in the colonies?

    I believe that’s what Maryland was all about. Lord Baltimore and whatnot.

    ETA: Curse you Omnes! Miss Vits, my 4th grade teacher would have been so proud that I remembered that fact, but now she’s gonna ready your post and ignore mine.

  69. 69
    efgoldman says:

    @dead existentialist: @dead existentialist:

    Later, in the 19th century, most Americans understood the inherently anti-democratic nature of the RC and feared it would pose a serious problem to the Republic. They were on to something, weren’t they?

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Maryland was specifically founded as a Catholic colony.

    From Wikipedia:
    This increase of Catholics was met by widespread prejudice and hostility, often resulting in riots and the burning of churches. Many Protestants believed that the United States was a Protestant nation and the influx of Catholics threatened its purity and mission, even its very existence. The nativist Know Nothing party was first founded in the early 19th century in an attempt to restrict Catholic immigration.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suffern ACE: Sorry, but this is a brutal, Tunch-eat-dog blog.

  71. 71
    FuriousPhil says:

    @Anoniminous:

    I’m with you all the way man. Cue the Amon Amorth, and let’s do this. I’ve probably been playing Skyrim too much, though.

  72. 72
    freelancer says:

    Up with Chris Hayes had a great segment with a priest from Notre Dame about this. He’s so doctrinal and rigid that his defense of objecting to contraception that Hayes’s panel was audibly snickering.

    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/up-.....6#46351581

  73. 73
    BGinCHI says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It’s in Crawfordsville, which is west of Indy. Not on the border but fairly close.

    All male, good academics. Social life, miserable.

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: And yet, Maryland was founded as colony for Catholics. And that was all I said.

  75. 75
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Sorry, but this is a brutal, Tunch-eat-dog blog.

    I don’t think Tunch has eaten the dog yet. Snacked on her a little? Perhaps.

  76. 76
    Edo says:

    @BGinCHI: Luther’s objections were only partly against indulgences in and of themselves. The other part was against Archbishop Albrecht von Hohenzollern, who sold them finance the bribes that made him (in violation of both civil and canon law) one of the kingmakers of the Holy Roman Empire.

    So it’s actually even more relevant than you’d think.

  77. 77
    burnspbesq says:

    An interesting take:

    Theologian Daniel Maguire of Marquette University in Milwaukee comes to the topic with more fundamental questions: Who is the church? And how does the church discern morality?
    The bishops’ positions on the health insurance mandate cannot be separated from U.S. Catholics’ widespread negligence in following the church’s teaching on contraception, Maguire said.
    It’s no secret that since the 1968 promulgation of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, in which Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Catholic ban on contraception, many faithful haven’t followed the teaching.
    In fact, a study by the Guttmacher Institute last April estimated that some 98 percent of Catholic women in the U.S. who have had sex use contraception.
    When considering the position of the church on any issue, Maguire said, it’s important to remember that the bishops are not “the entire picture.” A fuller picture of how Catholics have discerned moral truths in the past, he said, would include a “tripod” of views: those of the hierarchy, the “magisterium of the theologians,” and the “grace-filled, experience-filled wisdom of the faithful.”

    http://ncronline.org/news/poli.....conscience

    In terms of Catholic theology, the bishops’ error is in assuming that they have a monopoly on knowledge of what is morally and ethically correct. As Prof. Maguire correctly points out, God does not reveal himself solely to the hierarchy. When an overwhelming majority of the faithful reach a conclusion on a critical moral issue that is at variance with the view of the hierarchy, it’s time for the hierarchy to engage in critical self-examination and pray for guidance.

    In terms of American politics, the bishops’ error is in trying to co-opt the political process to force the faithful (and, as collateral damage, to force others) to follow Church teaching that the vast majority of the faithful no longer believe is morally or ethically correct. America doesn’t work that way, nor should it.

  78. 78
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    And yet, Maryland was founded as colony for Catholics. And that was all I said.

    Yup, but Billy Bulger (Whitey’s brother, and a very powerful MA politician for decades) made his victimization bones by telling and retelling the story of convents being burned – true, I think – by Know-Nothings in the 19th century.
    Brother Pierce would know much more about this than I.

  79. 79
    BGinCHI says:

    @Edo: Oh, I think. My chess is dimensional.

    If anyone interested in this stuff hasn’t read the novel Q, by Luther Blissett, you’re missing out.

  80. 80
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Anoniminous: O.K. But if we’re gonna go pagan, I want a bit more information about those rituals you got. I was interested in Kaybele for a bit, but they didn’t tell me about the ecstatic self castration of novice priests bathed in the blood of the sacrificial ox until it was almost too late. I only was interested in joining for the women’s clothing.

  81. 81
    dead existentialist says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @Suffern ACE: @efgoldman: Hee hee! I’m forgetting my Sot-Weed Factor completely. Gawd, this is embarrassing!

  82. 82
    efgoldman says:

    @burnspbesq:

    When an overwhelming majority of the faithful reach a conclusion on a critical moral issue that is at variance with the view of the hierarchy, it’s time for the hierarchy to engage in critical self-examination and pray for guidance.

    Right. They do this all the time. They forgave Galileo, after all…. 350 years later.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Okay, stated explicitly: Catholics and Jews and anyone other than mainline Protestants have suffered discrimination in this country. That does not change the fact that Maryland was established as a colony for Catholics. BTW stating that Maryland was established as a colony for Catholics was my only point and I only made in response to a specific question.

  84. 84
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @burnspbesq:

    When an overwhelming majority of the faithful reach a conclusion on a critical moral issue that is at variance with the view of the hierarchy, it’s time for the hierarchy to engage in critical self-examination and pray for guidance.

    The hierarchy will die off and eventually be replaced. In the meantime, practicing Catholics ignore Humanae Vitae, and the bishops know that enforcing that teaching on the faithful — as opposed to the government — would mean they’d be saying Mass in empty churches.

    While the furore over Kerry’s campaign might not have suggested this, I suspect that a run-of-the-mill Catholic president (as opposed to a convert like Noot or a Cathovangelical like Santorum) would be in a better position to tell the bishops to feck off.

  85. 85
    bemused senior says:

    @Jon: My kids’ pediatrician is also a mohel and does many a bris.

  86. 86
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Don’t be cranky. I was kind of trying to answer two not-quite-parallel posts at once.

  87. 87
    Anoniminous says:

    Makes two people on BJ who know about Pagan Metal :-)

    I’m more into Hagalaz and Faun (lyrics are Old Icelandic.)

    Know about Tyr?

  88. 88
    burnspbesq says:

    @efgoldman:

    I’m surprised that I have to follow up and clarify that I was speaking normatively rather than descriptively. I would have thought that obvious.

    Your snark-fu appears to have taken the night off.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Okay. Understood. But I am watching you….

  90. 90
    efgoldman says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Your snark-fu appears to have taken the night off.

    Naah, my snark-fu is fine. But I’m tired, mrs efgoldman is not well tonight (else I’d be asleep) and I thought the text I block quoted was the theologian, not you.

  91. 91
    JS says:

    Does anyone know if Cardinal Francis George is back in town? As a Lutheran, I have a powerful urge to show up at Holy Name Cathedral in the morning and nail some theses to the door.

    Thesis 1 – The founding fathers designed America to be a nation with freedom of religion – freedom to practice ANY religion. My thesis is that you are getting your Catholicism all over my non-Catholic religion. And the Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Jews will back me up on this.

    Thesis 2 – Contraceptive use reduces abortions (as well as having other female health benefits). My thesis is that all that talk you Bishops have been doing about abortion all these years is smoke that you’re trying to blow up our national ass.

    Thesis 3 – The Catholic Church in America gets favored tax treatments for being a non-profit, non-polirical organization. My thesis is that your group has been in the tank for a partisan viewpoint over the last couple of decades, and that invalidates the tax breaks that mean I have to pay more to support worthy government programs.

    etc, etc.

  92. 92
    burnspbesq says:

    More good stuff from the NCR.

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/gra.....exemptions

    This is the go-to publication if you want to know what Catholic thought outside the USCCB bubble looks like.

  93. 93
    Anoniminous says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Whacking-off one’s “wedding tackle” is the kind of thing those weirdos in the Ancient Near East were into unless you were Egyptian, then you were into marrying your sister. (Incest begins at home.)

    If you want the cross-dressing thing you can take-up Freyja who, if memory serves, requires male worshipers to “play the part of a woman” every nine days. Not quite sure what that means but you’d be able to do it in a dress.

  94. 94
    Anoniminous says:

    In moderation.

    AGAIN

    What the hell did I do this time?

  95. 95
    MacKenna says:

    98% of Catholic women use birth control. I’m sure this will go over well with them.

  96. 96
    fuckwit says:

    At last, the truth comes out.

    It’s not about abortion.

    It’s not about “unborn babies”.

    It’s not about religious freedom.

    It’s about SEX SEX SEX SEX. It’s about trying to restrict people from having sex. That’s all it’s ever been about.

    They’re not “pro-life”, they’re “anti-sex”. The whole abortion issue is now exposed as nothing more than a ruse, a total cynical load of bullshit, and the ultimate goal here is to STOP PEOPLE FROM FUCKING.

    That’s all it is.

    These sick, predatory, evil fucks just want to stop everyone from fucking. That’s all they’ve ever wanted.

  97. 97
    HRA says:

    Although this is 2012, I am not prone to believe the Catholic Church does not have another reason to instigate this uproar and to not accept a compromise. Santorum’s candidacy is what has given them the incentive to beat the drums on this issue. He’s one of their flock. Newt does not fit the model of the perfect Catholic at all. Then there is the obvious still existing hatred of certain religions by the church. Mormonism would fit as one of those religions. In case anyone would wonder about it, they also have a list of organizations they consider too secret for a good Catholic to join as well.
    I went to Catholic school for a short time and yet long enough to learn the basics. Later I converted before my first marriage and learned a lot more. After I raised my children in the religion until they were confirmed, I left the church.

  98. 98
    burnspbesq says:

    @JS:

    My thesis is that your group has been in the tank for a partisan viewpoint over the last couple of decades, and that invalidates the tax breaks that mean I have to pay more to support worthy government programs.

    You were doing OK up to that point. The way the Regulations regarding intervention in elections by section 501(c)(3) orgs are interpreted, anything short of handing out filled-in sample ballots at the church door is not a violation. And anything short of passing out checks on the floor of the House is not attempting to influence legislation. And that’s as it should be, because when the religion clauses and the speech clause throw down, political speech must win. More generally, any time you have to balance competing First Amendment values, the broadest possible protection for political speech has to win.

  99. 99
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @fuckwit: It is better to marry than to burn.

  100. 100
    Egg Berry says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    The hierarchy will die off and eventually be replaced.

    Prove it. 2000 years of RC history says otherwise.

  101. 101
    burnspbesq says:

    @Egg Berry:

    My, we’re being literalist tonight. Did you miss the implicit “the current generation of?” Or are you just being a yob for the sake of being a yob?

  102. 102
    JS says:

    @burnspbesq:

    You were doing OK up to that point. The way the Regulations regarding intervention in elections by section 501©(3) orgs are interpreted, anything short of handing out filled-in sample ballots at the church door is not a violation.

    Hey, it’s just a theory ;)

    More generally, any time you have to balance competing First Amendment values, the broadest possible protection for political speech has to win.

    Now here.. wasn’t this Scalia’s reasoning in “Citizens United”? Tsk.

  103. 103
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: If one wants express political viewpoints, one must accept the results of being involved in the political process.

  104. 104
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    other than mainline Protestants have suffered discrimination in this country.

    Key words being “in this country.” Most of the protestant mainline denominations suffered at the hands of those very Catholics in other countries.

  105. 105
    burnspbesq says:

    @JS:

    It’s a rational, understandable, and coherent theory. And maybe someday it will be the law. It’s just not what the law is right now.

  106. 106
    Suffern ACE says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Well, yeah. And then of course England, where everyone made everyone else suffer from time to time.

  107. 107
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    If one wants express political viewpoints, one must accept the results of being involved in the political process.

    Absolutely.

  108. 108
    Egg Berry says:

    @burnspbesq: And again, prove it. Show me where “the hierarchy” has ever been “replaced.” Show me where Papal edict has bent to the will of the laity.

    I suppose the jettisoning of the Latin Mass and the use of guitar praise songs should count for something.

  109. 109
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    And then of course England, where everyone made everyone else suffer from time to time.

    Wow, sounds like Palestine. :)

  110. 110
    Dollared says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @burnspbesq: @Martin: I think people are really overlooking the money angle here. The Bishops are the ones that have to balance the budgets. Decades ago, they got money from the rising middle class faithful. Now, all they got are rich people and old people. The local bishop near my mother holds retreats for old widows, befriends them personally, offers to be their confessor. She is incredibly flattered and I keep warning her….

    But the political calculation is the same. The Bishops are lining up with the 1% and with the 27% because it’s where the money is. And they are aligned in HATING the trial lawyers. You cannot imagine what it is like for a US Bishop to report to Rome that he had to file for bankruptcy…

  111. 111
    burnspbesq says:

    @JS:

    You’re talking to the wrong guy on this point. I happen to think that as a matter of First Amendment law, Citizens United was correctly decided. I think there is theoretically a set of restrictions on the time, place, and manner of speech that can pass muster, but McCain-Feingold went too far.

  112. 112
    burnspbesq says:

    @Egg Berry:

    Show me where “the hierarchy” has ever been “replaced.”

    Well, if you sincerely believe that Cardinal Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston voluntarily, as opposed to being forced out, I don’t know what to say.

  113. 113
    Dollared says:

    @burnspbesq: So then Buckley v. Valeo was wrong?

    Can you review on the shift in morals and behaviors around lobbying and campaign finance in the last 40 years and explain how the legislature has no ability to regulate in the area of campaign finance?

  114. 114
    efgoldman says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I happen to think that as a matter of First Amendment law, Citizens United was correctly decided.

    Well, Citizens United is a child of Buckley, which I will always think was wrongly decided. I don’t know if you live in a referendum state (I used to, MA. CA is even worse). But expenditures in close questions (or close elections) distort the process. I’m not speaking of the content (speech), but if one side can buy 1000 commercials, and the other 200, that’s a distortion in the process.

  115. 115
    Egg Berry says:

    @burnspbesq: And if you sincerely believe that the removal of Cardinal Law represented any kind of genuine shift in the hierarchy of the church, i don’t know what to say either. Now, who’s being literal?

    Say, I’ve got an idea: why not let the nuns run things at the Vatican for a few years. Why can’t a woman be pope, burns?

  116. 116

    I think they may have caught ODS, and are in Stage Three, Wingnut Explodey Head. There is something (fill in your own blank) about Obama that drives conservatives insane. The clown car was rattling to begin with, but under Obama it’s exploded. Overreach is becoming their bread and milk. Time and again, they’re picking stupid hills to die on, and dying on them. They’re desperate and berzerk, and now the college of cardinals has caught it.

    That is, this may be an ideological or political move, but it’s a stupid one brought on by the strange psychosis that afflicts conservatives when they see Obama.

  117. 117
    burnspbesq says:

    @Dollared:

    So then Buckley v. Valeo was wrong?

    Not necessarily. Even in the Supreme Court, outcomes depend on facts, and every case has different facts.

    Can you review on the shift in morals and behaviors around lobbying and campaign finance in the last 40 years and explain how the legislature has no ability to regulate in the area of campaign finance?

    Already been done. Dozens of times. By people who are much better versed in this area of the law than I. Start here.

    http://www.michiganlawreview.o.....-coherence

  118. 118
    efgoldman says:

    @Egg Berry: @burnspbesq: If anything, the hierarchy, under the direction of Pope Prada, has become even more reactionary over the last several decades.
    Just in my local knowledge: Father Drinan was forced to resign from Congress; numerous bishops either withheld communion from politicians they don’t like, or threatened to; Catholic Charities either closed or threatened to close adoption agencies if they were forced to comply with local civil rights law.
    Richard Cushing, who was Archbishop, later Cardinal in Boston when I was a kid (50s into mid-60s) simply didn’t work that way. He was a leader in civil rights, and in ecumenicism, who spoke regularly in synagogues and liberal churches. Would never happen today.

  119. 119
    Yutsano says:

    @Egg Berry:

    Why can’t a woman be pope, burns?

    This may or may not have already happened. It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  120. 120
    Sly says:

    @dead existentialist:
    Many viewed the Church of England as the existential problem vis-a-vis disestablishment of religion, but only because the Catholic Church had been so effectively sidelined. Some of the first religious tests for public office, carrying over from the colonial period, were specifically drafted to keep even lay Catholics from achieving any kind of political power. One could make a convincing argument that resentment towards the CoE was a natural outgrowth of hostility towards the Roman Catholic Church.

    It must be noted, however, that this hostility resulted in some pretty shameful discrimination against lay Catholics, who were often treated as being from an entirely different race than Protestants. When the Irish began immigrating en masse in the mid-19th century, they were often depicted with the same animalistic tropes that we usually believe were reserved for blacks, and that these immigrants were Catholic fit handily into those tropes. They were a primitive subspecies, who believed in a primitive religion.

  121. 121
    Dollared says:

    @burnspbesq: So….basically the abstract says that nothing coherent can come from opening the door this wide because it means there can be no regulation of money in politics. And since it is beyond absurd to think there cannot be regulation of money in politics, then future decisions will be all over the map.

    So, he is saying, in a gentle way, that Citizens United was wrongly decided.

  122. 122
    amk says:

    Does the beeshops humping santorum would change the women showing their collective fingers at them ? Reality is a bitch.

  123. 123
    dead existentialist says:

    @amk: Apparently, so is syntax for some of us.

    ETA: I meant, “Apparently, so are for we syntax are.”

    And I’ll have what you’re having.

  124. 124
    Egg Berry says:

    @efgoldman:

    If anything, the hierarchy, under the direction of Pope Prada, has become even more reactionary over the last several decades.

    It is entirely possible that the 50s-60s era you speak of was the anomaly, and not the norm.

  125. 125
    Chris says:

    @Egg Berry:

    It is entirely possible that the 50s-60s era you speak of was the anomaly, and not the norm.

    In other words, what was true of American politics was also true of the Catholic Church at about the same time.

  126. 126

    @Anoniminous:Sorry, but I find “Pagan Metal” to be absolutely laughable, right behind Black Metal, to which it is related, in the idiocy sweepstakes.

    Actually, the most ridiculous Metal genre of them all is “Christian Black Metal”.

  127. 127

    My rant about thia is a bit long for a comment, so here’s my two cents if you give a damn.

  128. 128
    PIGL says:

    @burnspbesq: you say “plitical speeech freeedom trumps everthing”. Well, no, it really doesn’t, unless are in favour of the Citizen’s United ruling.

    In the concrete situation, free-speech absolutists are objectively supporting the plutocracy.

  129. 129
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Egg Berry: Egg Berry has a point. It’s the same rationale that states that Fox News viewers are dying off. I wish they were but they’re not. The supply of the old people demographic are dying off as old people tend to do, but because of the baby boom, they are being replaced faster than they die. In other words the population is aging at this particular point in time.

  130. 130
    Mike G says:

    @Pat:

    Less often discussed is how the churches position against contraception came about. It was after the dark ages….bubonic plague, black death…at a time when Europe’s population had dwindled and the church wanted more souls to harvest.

    Likewise, the Catholic tradition of fish on Fridays originated at a time when the church owned a lot of fisheries and wanted to pump up business. A lot of so-called ‘sacred’ directives have very cynical origins.

  131. 131
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Egg Berry:

    I suppose the jettisoning of the Latin Mass and the use of guitar praise songs should count for something.

    Uh, the doctrinal changes in Vatican II were far, far more extensive than “jettisoning the Latin Mass and the use of guitar praise songs.” Which is why JPII spent much of his time as Pope quietly rolling those changes back.

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Egg Berry:

    It is entirely possible that the 50s-60s era you speak of was the anomaly, and not the norm.

    And in more places than the Church, seeing as the Civil Rights Era was almost immediately replaced by the Nixon Era and the Reagan Era.

    The US as a whole rebounded back to a more conservative place after the massive social upheavals of the 1950s and 1960s, not just the Catholic Church.

  133. 133
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Rev William Dailey has a particularly punchable face. Especially when he starts smirking.

  134. 134
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @AnotherBruce: Bu6t the younger folks (20-39) are younger and browner, and the later baby boomers start at a position more liberal than the current Fox Folks.

  135. 135
    WereBear says:

    Catholicism is the only big religion where climbing the ladder means swearing off human emotions (no family life, no sex, only close relationships with people with whom you are competing for advancement) and then we wonder why they are so bad at understanding them.

  136. 136
    Rita R. says:

    All you need to know is that with the Church it is always, always about power and authority. They are not going to change their view on birth control because 98 percent of Catholic women use it — that would be the action of a church responsive to the needs and views of its members. But a hierarchical dictatorship like the Catholic Church just sees that as a reason to stick to its guns because their authority is not to be questioned.

    While the Church has gone all in with the Republicans over the past couple of decades, I don’t think this latest uproar is really about helping Santorum, although they may see that as a happy side effect. The bishops have been spoiling for a fight with Obama, prodded on by the pope, because he’s been insisting on them following the law on women’s reproductive rights and gay rights. They see their ability to influence secular law and the wider culture fading, and they’re kicking and screaming as they try to wrest it back.

  137. 137
    Captain Howdy says:

    And yet, I don’t think this latest play is about sex or even the Church trying to control the lives of women—I think it is about power and that sex, women, gay marriage and a host of other culture warrior issues are the pathway that they see as the golden road.

    I don’t really understand this, DennisG. It looks contradictory.

    Not sure what to make of this, either:

    The pursuit of power is why … a discussion about who gets to control the vaginas of America is more important to the Church than a focus on who will fight for the poor, the oppressed, the imprisoned and the neglected.

    I’ll read it all again during my second cup of coffee but I have no idea what you are trying to say. Because “the pursuit of power” is important to the Church, it is obsessed with lady-parts’ control rather than economic injustice? I can make no sense of that thesis.

  138. 138
    Cermet says:

    @Captain Howdy: I call bullshit on the power issue; money trumps all and that is why the pedophile priests were protected – to save money so the shit head pope and the asswipe bishops can live in luxury that no king ever achieved. It was, is and always will be 100% about the money. They’d sell Christ to be crucified in a heartbeat for the silver. These people are evil like no tomorrow.

  139. 139
    Yevgraf says:

    My take is that the founders were recollecting the experiences of their great grandparents under Cromwell as well. There would have been some powerful family narratives, not unlike those of slave families.

  140. 140

    @burnspbesq:

    As Prof. Maguire correctly points out, God does not reveal himself solely to the hierarchy

    The Church’s magisterium is the product of the consensus omnium fidelium, not the consensus omnium episcoporum.

    No one in the pews is paying attention to the bishops. Which is as it should be.

  141. 141
    aimai says:

    @Yevgraf:

    Were any of the founders Irish? Doubtful.

    aimai

  142. 142
    JoyfulA says:

    @dead existentialist: George Washington did ecumenical tours of churches. He attended services at St. Mary’s RC in Philadelphia at least once.

  143. 143
    wormtown says:

    @cbear:
    excellent

  144. 144
    Kathleen says:

    @Dollared: Years ago (late 80’s/early 90’s) I saw a report on 20/20 featuring a priest named Mike Doyle, who had conducted a thorough investigation of sexual abuse in the church back in the 80′
    s and had predicted the consequences of the scandal would devastate the church. He remarked that while the Church always protected clergy who sexually abused children, it dealt quickly and harshly with priests caught with their hands in the till. I’m still shocked that such a candid interview was broadcast on a national news program. He is no longer a priest.

  145. 145
    Paul Gottlieb says:

    In older French chess books, the piece that we call the Bishop is called “le Fou” or the Fool. Coincidence? I think not!

  146. 146
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @PIGL:

    In the concrete situation, free-speech absolutists are objectively supporting the plutocracy.

    If you equate spending money and speaking, I don’t think that is correct. OTOH I am not really a fan of Buckley v. Valeo.

  147. 147
    DanielX says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Practice has not died out, I’ll have you know, at least not here in my fair city of Indianapolis. The powers that be were sacrificing a virgin in the basement of the City-County building every night at midnight during the month leading up to the Super Bowl so that we’d have good weather. It worked, too. They stopped last Monday, which is why it’s eighteen degrees today and we’re supposed to get snow every day this coming week.

  148. 148
    Bex says:

    @BGinCHI: He disagreed with the Church being a mediator between God and man. And I don’t clean basements; even my own.

  149. 149
    goethean says:

    Obama is suppressing the right of Catholic bishops to oppress women.

  150. 150
    Dennis G. says:

    @Captain Howdy: Apologies for any fuzzy prose. My point is that the prime directive of the Church is the pursuit and maintenance of power. This is why the Church is so often at odds with The Gospel and members of the Faith who try to be good Christians.

    I think the Church’s obsession with who controls the “lady parts” is a tool they use to maintain power. That tool is not their goal, but the pathway they have chosen to achieve the goal of power. And in this election cycle they have decided to ignite a culture war about lady parts to help Rick Santorum beat Romney in the GOP primary–because Rick will bow to their authority.

    Meanwhile, all that Jesus talk about the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the neglected, etc. can go pound sand as far as the Bishops are concerned. They will never fight for those ideas like they will fight to hang onto power.

    I don’t know if this explains it any better, but so it goes.

    Cheers

  151. 151
  152. 152
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Ragnorak is Coming!

    BE THERE.

  153. 153
    Patricia Kayden says:

    President Obama has compromised enough on this issue. The Catholic Bishops who are doubling down are just overplaying their hand.

  154. 154
    Ed in NJ says:

    Congrats on the Memeorandum link. I look forward to some new trolls showing up.

  155. 155
    Lizzy L says:

    Kathleen at 144: the priest you’re talking about is Thomas P. Doyle. It’s true, he’s been removed from a number of important positions, but he’s still around, still raising hell about child sexual abuse, and he’s still a priest.

    Go to http://www.richardsipe.com/Doyle/doyle-bio.html for his biography.

  156. 156
    SteveAR says:

    “So it looks like the Bishops have decided to double-down on their latest effort to have the Federal Government enforce Church Law.”

    What a lie. Well, leave it to the lying, America-hating left to completely twist the First Amendment into something it isn’t.

    You’re a disgrace.

  157. 157
    Dollared says:

    @SteveAR: @Ed in NJ: on time, a substanceless troll talking to us about disgrace. As an acolyte of the US Bishops, our friend SteveAR should be an expert in the state of disgrace.

  158. 158
    OzoneR says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I wish a new Martin Luther would nail his feces to the forehead of the bishops like that original one did in 1066.

    #historyfail

  159. 159
    OzoneR says:

    @SteveAR:

    What a lie. Well, leave it to the lying, America-hating left to completely twist the First Amendment into something it isn’t.

    lol, good one.

  160. 160

    […] to their power – the power to control women and sex.  Over at Balloon Juice recovering Catholic Dennis G. has some great insight. The Bishops are demanding an end to any rule that requires any insurance company to cover any […]

  161. 161
    JustBeingPedantic says:

    @OzoneR: About that #historyfail…

    @BGinCHI:
    I wish a new Martin Luther would nail his feces to the forehead of the bishops like that original one did in 1066.

    …here’s a crib sheet for the upcoming history quiz:

    Martin Luther and the Ninety-five Theses: October 1517.

    William the Conquerer, the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest of England: October 1066.

  162. 162
    J R in WVa says:

    @Dr. Loveless: I quit buying Orson’s stuff as soon as I learned he was a god-botherer. I always wondered how someone with so little attachment to reality can write such realistic sci-fiction. But now I see that attachment to reality is what allows us to break away from non-reality based religions and cults.

  163. 163
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @efgoldman: Cardinal Cushing was also diddling seminarians, so let’s get it right, shall we?

    Granted, the 50’s and 60’s were the days of the Watch and Ward Society, and also the era where they bulldozed both the “entertainment” district (Scollay Sq.–they even obliterated the name) AND the neighborhood where the burlesque dancers and their families lived (West Boston–Leonard Nimoy’s nabe, btw). It didn’t hurt that they were working class and Jewish and that particular industry was shrinking in importance… but you tell me “Red Square, Boston” (the City Hall and City Hall Plaza) was worth any sort of displacement. Somebody should call an aerial strike on that place, it is just. that. bad.

    Sorry, my point was that the police used to raid private gay parties and haul everyone to jail. Thousands of MA residents are still “sex offenders” because they paid $100 fines (in the 60’s, so like $1000 today) rather than have their names printed in the papers. (When they passed the MA sex offender tracking law they had to modify it soon thereafter to take all of those people off of it.)

    So if you’re Cardinal Cushing, fishing in your own pool is really the safest choice. Of course, there are major power imbalances between cardinal and novice, especially then, and it apparently twisted a bunch of those young priests for life. Gay men have told me that’s why the Boston scandal was so much worse.

    Of course, Bernard Law himself was also a lot of the problem. He wanted to move up in the Church–perhaps even become Pope–so he perpetuated the culture of silence and paid hush money to laity rather than attempt to heal the diocese. He was honestly more of an asshole stepping on Boston on his way up the ladder than Mitt Romney was. At least with Mitt it was nothing personal. Bernie wanted everyone to kiss his ring. Upthread it was argued over whether he was pushed out or resigned. I am from Boston. Bernard Law had gotten a law passed years earlier which conferred him a great deal of immunity for his–basically–crimes, had he not been a priest. However, the then Mass AG, a former legislator who had voted the archbishop’s way years earlier, wanted blood. He made no secret that he was preparing a case against Law. The papers were calling for his head. The papers’ readers were calling for his torture and dismemberment. It was that serious. He fled to the Vatican City where he was immune from extradition to the United States, and given a cushy sinecure for services rendered to the Vatican. I think he was in charge of the Lateran church or Maria Maggiore or something. He recently retired.

    Btw, Maria Maggiore, as impressive as it is, used to be a grove of Juno or possibly Mater Matuta (google her). I don’t know if that’s actual ironic or Alanis ironic. Either way, kind of makes you think.

  164. 164
    BGinCHI says:

    @JustBeingPedantic: You guys really need to read a whole thread and get your snarkdetectors fixed.

    For fuck’s sake.

  165. 165
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mike G: Ha ha, I’d never heard about church fisheries, but I do know the Mormon prohibition against alcohol came not from Jos. Smith but from Brigham Young during the Beehive days. He was jealous of the wealth built up by a brewing family in his congregation and so schemed to steal it for himself. Young was a conman and a thief with no scruples whatsoever, in other words, the perfect religious leader.

  166. 166
    zizi2 says:

    I think the bishops are also playing the refs on the Supreme Court who will soon decide the mandate in the affordable Care Act. Six justices are Catholic and this move by the bishops keeps the “crisis” on the front burner enough to influence the decision making as well as give the justices cover if they strike down the law.

    Of course the Bishops think that an Obama defeat in the Courts will also help Repugs whom they want in power to give them what they want. This is he most blatantly egregious interference by the Vatican in the sovereignty of another country. and it was reported that Pope Ratzi met with the American Bishops last year to plot their strategy for this American election. It is venal!!!

    We have to work our butts off like we’ve never done to save our Republic from becoming a theocracy

  167. 167
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Captain Howdy:

    I’ll read it all again during my second cup of coffee but I have no idea what you are trying to say. Because “the pursuit of power” is important to the Church, it is obsessed with lady-parts’ control rather than economic injustice? I can make no sense of that thesis.

    I grew up in that particular cult, so let me answer that one: the obsession with sex is all about controlling your mind. Catholicism taps into atavistic emotions/fears about parental authority, into shame, into your sense of self so that you are constantly guilty and ashamed and attempting to improve your humble self to be judged not worthy but less unworthy. Since you can’t escape sexual feelings (usually), and stray sexual thoughts are considered DOUBLE PLUS UNGOOD by the church (unless they are directed towards your marriage partner, assuming you have one), there is never a moment in your life where you are truly free. It’s hard to explain how all-encompassing this is. Perhaps it’s easier to point to the feeling of freedom ex-Catholics describe when they make a firm decision to leave the Church behind.

    The Church certainly got me and had a lot of control over me. I often voted their way, gave money to them, and was a good little ‘bot. It would have been worse had I not gone to public school and seen other viewpoints. I kept participating EVEN AFTER I BECAME AN ATHEIST. Yup, that’s right, didn’t believe God existed, STILL was following the Church’s doctrines. How messed up is that?

  168. 168
    scav says:

    @BGinCHI: #brainfail or #snarkfail? choices, choices . . . (it’s kinda cute when you can hear their mental gears fry)

  169. 169
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Kathleen: Mike Doyle or Thomas Doyle? A quick google says Michael is a long-time head priest in Camden, NJ, whereas Thomas is a Dominican who claims to have been trying to blow the whistle back in the 1970’s.

    http://kboo.fm/node/29409

  170. 170
    Another Halocene Human says:

    http://viewer.zmags.com/public.....d0a11a6/19

    “What the bishops are after is power.”

  171. 171
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @zizi2:

    Of course the Bishops think that an Obama defeat in the Courts will also help Repugs whom they want in power to give them what they want. This is he most blatantly egregious interference by the Vatican in the sovereignty of another country. and it was reported that Pope Ratzi met with the American Bishops last year to plot their strategy for this American election. It is venal

    I agree with you. Shit is getting real. Btw, guess which American president first starting kissing the Vatican’s hindquarters? Ronnie Rayguns, that’s who. fscking treason, if you ask me.

  172. 172
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Where did the Catholic Dominionist trolls go? I guess they aren’t paid trolls. The Ad-Hoc Committee needs to step up their game, I see.

  173. 173
    Commenting at Balloon Juice Since 1937 says:

    @BGinCHI: That couldn’t be said better if St. Sarah of the Wolf Killing Flying Machine had attempted it herself.

  174. 174
  175. 175
    JR in WVa says:

    @Walker: Thanks for the warning!

    I only buy Orson S Card now if it’s in the remaindered pile, I understand authors don’t make any money on that. If I’m wrong, let me know.

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