Absolutes Vs. Acrobats Catholic-Style

February 19, 2009 09:00 AM

When your head is swimming from all the commentary ebbing and flowing from yesterday's Pelosi encounter with the Holy Father, the essence of what actually occurred is lost. The fundamental question of our day, what is truth, evaporates in headlines and public pronouncements. One is left asking, is that all there is?

Was this just another media circus? Are the acrobats still swinging?

Why didn't the pope just excommunicate Pelosi, one person asked me! Well, maybe he did, though she clearly has done a pretty good job of excommunicating herself. At least that is my opinion. The fact is nobody knows precisely what was said in that private meeting and the only person who will not "spin" to his advantage is the person who doesn't need to … Pope Benedict XVI.

I only wish Pelosi was an isolated example of Catholic thinking gone awry, but she is not.
In the halls and classrooms of Boston College, a Catholic university, something new has been added, and as Boston Globe reporter Michael Paulsen writes, the reaction is mixed. Said one professor:

"I believe that the display of religious signs and symbols, such as the crucifix, in the classroom is contrary to the letter and spirit of open intellectual discourse that makes education worthwhile and distinguishes first-rate universities from mediocre and provincial ones," Maxim D. Shrayer, chairman of the department of Slavic and Eastern languages and literatures, said in an interview.

Shrayer is referring to a crucifix, the traditional Catholic icon reminding Catholics of the essence of Catholic identity. Does he know he is actually being paid by a Catholic institution that is striving these days to be proud of its identity?

Perhaps Shrayer would be happier at the Catholic Assumption University in Windsor, Canada, where Father Paul Rennick recently made the following statement to a member of the media, "Abortion is not an infallible teaching. It never has been proclaimed infallibly," he said.

Of interest is that what happened when the reporter from the ardently pro-Catholic, pro-life LifeSiteNews attempted to contact Bishop Ronald Fabbro, who is the university's chancellor, for a reaction to Father Rennick's statement. Mark Adkinson, Director of Communications for the diocese told the reporter that the bishop was not available for comment, and said, "…I don't view LifeSiteNews as a legitimate news source."

So on the one hand, we have a Catholic university striving to assert its identity even as members of its faculty are decrying that fact. While on the other hand we have a Catholic bishop in Canada who will not address the scandalous comments of a Catholic university president because he denies the integrity of one of the finest news reporting organizations in the entire pro-life, Catholic community.

The acrobats are definitely flying, or are those actually dingbats?

Let's move on to an allegedly Catholic organization's claims that increased spending on welfare programs will result in substantial reductions in state abortion rates while many pro-life laws have the opposite effect. The organization in question, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, made the claim after they released a study in August of last year.

Professor Michael New of the University of Alabama kept an eye on this, and just this past week he wrote

Not surprisingly, this study had a substantial impact on the debate over sanctity of life issues during the 2008 Presidential election. Self proclaimed pro-lifers who support Democratic Presidential nominees can be found in every election cycle. However, this study gave Doug Kmiec, Nicholas Cafardi, and others intellectual legitimacy in arguing that pro-life voters should vote for liberals, even if they favor abortion-on-demand and its public funding, in order to advance the pro-life cause. … It seemed too good to be true.

It was. In November, with no public announcement, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good removed this study from their website. A replacement version was uploaded shortly thereafter. The replacement version differs from its predecessor in a number of interesting ways. …

It is unfortunate that the faulty research of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good was used as political cover to help make such a thing [the election of Obama] possible. As the Obama administration continues its assault on laws and policies upholding the sanctity of human life, pro-lifers need to hold this organization morally accountable.

This is but another case of the abuses perpetrated on the American people in the name of a type of fraudulent Catholicism that is neither genuinely Catholic nor ethically sound.

These few examples should provoke us to question and to challenge the legitimacy of those alleged Catholics like Pelosi who parade their identity for the express purpose of creating subversion within the Church where all that is good is denied, while all that is evil is praised.

Such swinging in the wind should also help us express appreciation for those prelates who are dedicated to advancing the truth without regard to media bias, character assassination or attempted humiliation by those who believe their earthly power should make Catholic bishops and priests cower.

When Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino publicly criticized Misericordia University recently for a scheduled lecture on gay rights by Keith Boykin – a gay rights advocate, the diocese issued a statement in which it said

Bishop Martino wants Catholics of the Diocese of Scranton to know of his absolute disapproval of Misericordia University's hosting Mr. Boykin. By honoring this speaker through allowing his positions, so antithetical to Catholic Church teaching, to be broadcast on its campus, the University has rejected all four essential characteristics of a Catholic institution of higher learning. These are: its Christian inspiration, its obligation to reflect on knowledge in light of the Catholic faith, its fidelity to Catholic Church teaching and its commitment to serve the people of God.

But the mainstream media, not at all interested in the ideals that should be upheld by a Catholic university, reported the incident this way:

In a prepared statement, Misericordia University addressed the controversy surrounding Bishop Martino's criticism. According to the statement, the university understands the bishop's views, but Mr. Boykin's visit to the campus was not meant to advocate for a single issue.

In other words, academic freedom excuses Catholic universities from providing a sound Catholic education to the students. One has to wonder how it is that a Catholic university can defy the bishop while pandering to the politics of abortion, contraception and homosexuality. It must be the thin air up there on the trapeze.

My second example of heroic bishops is Bishop Thomas J. Tobin who recently wrote "My Interview with President Obama."

Obviously, Bishop Tobin did not have this interview, but he told his readers he certainly could imagine having it, and here is an excerpt from one of the most brilliant tongue in cheek perspectives I have ever seen:

TOBIN: Is it safe to assume that you consider the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions overseas to be good foreign policy?

OBAMA: I believe that people overseas should have the same rights we Americans have – the right to kill their children and use abortion as a form of birth control.

TOBIN: But shouldn't we be using foreign aid for more positive reasons – for example, to provide food, clothing, shelter and medicine to impoverished children?

OBAMA: Bishop, obviously you're missing the point. If you control the population and eliminate the children, you don't have to worry about giving them food, clothing, shelter and medicine now do you?

In the writings and actions of bishops like Martino and Tobin, we find the fearless response needed to counter the emotional, mental and political acrobatics of those who, like Pelosi, will use any excuse on God's green earth to further insult Christ and His Church.

Like the trapeze artist who flies through the air with the greatest of ease, so-called Catholics like Pelosi, Father Rennick and the leadership of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good will defy gravity, or in this case, truth, for the express purpose of advancing an evil agenda, the centerpiece of which is preborn child killing.

But as we all know, truth prevails where fervent faith is alive. As Christ instructs us, "If your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20)

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