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Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s Manipulative Mendacity

When I was growing up, one of the things my parents taught me, by example and instruction, was never to move off the goal, regardless of how many distractions might come in the course of a given day. I really paid attention to that, so I used to practice music four hours daily and get my homework completed before I ever thought about going out to play or eating a snack. Those are lessons I carry with me today, and when I read something like the commentary Kathleen Kennedy Townsend just wrote, I wish that she had been taught the same lesson on focus. She clearly lacks it!

In her Newsweek “web exclusive” titled “Without a doubt: Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope does,” Kennedy Townsend propounds a theory that should put every practicing American Catholic at odds with her impudent thinking. She is not only misguided, but intentionally deceptive.

She tells the reader that while it is clear that Obama and the pope disagree on “reproductive freedoms and homosexuality,” the “Catholics back home won’t care because they know Obama’s on their side. In fact, Obama’s agenda is closer to their views than even the pope’s.”

“Reproductive freedoms,” for those unfamiliar with the culture of death’s propaganda, is a code phrase for abortion on demand, sex instruction in schools, birth control for kids, and all manner of bizarre propositions that help the purveyors of smut to define the human person as an animal incapable of self-control. One need only read this comment from Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, to get a whiff of where Kennedy Townsend is headed: "Through sex, mankind may attain the great spiritual illumination which will transform the world, which will light up the only path to an earthly paradise. So must we necessarily and inevitably conceive of sex-expression."

The proponents of this warped thinking, which places the human being on the same plane as your pet dog or cat, have several goals that Kennedy Townsend does not mention. She is dedicated to discrediting the pope, so she does not address the full-fledged Obama agenda.

One can easily tell that her thought process has little to do with Catholic identity and, in fact, is contrary to all that is Catholic. There is no other explanation for her inane claim that President Obama is somehow more in tune with American Catholics that the pope who is, after all, the Vicar of Christ on earth.

In her attempt to discredit the papacy, Kennedy Townsend gives us her interpretation of the Holy Father’s magnificent new encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate. Of course, she wants her readers to believe that the encyclical is all about giving “moral credence” to Obama’s “progressive politics” when, in fact, the encyclical’s message is something else entirely. As the Holy Father states repeatedly, the proper understanding and appreciation of the human person’s dignity and extraordinary value are foundational to the proper approach to economic and social life. Without respect for the human person, it is impossible to bring about a just society, and in a just society, there is no room for heinous crimes such as abortion. This is the encyclical's underlying theme, which Kennedy Townsend apparently overlooked. 

From there, it doesn’t take long for Kennedy Townsend to throw down the gauntlet and verbally crucify the Holy Father, as she extols the Kennedy family’s hierarchy of values: the radical feminist version of women’s equality, militant homosexual activists’ “cry for justice,” contraception for one and all, and, of course, abortion.

In this diatribe, Kennedy Townsend’s distortion of the truth inherent in Catholic teaching on these matters clearly reflects her personal malice. She misrepresents the intentions that have been foundational to the teaching of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and demeans and sullies the reputations of all three.

Her comments on these popes are nothing short of scurrilous. I am positive that she writes in this manner to justify her personal lack of faith in the one true Church and do all she can to lead others astray. She also aims to garner support from other “Obama-ites” who agree with her discombobulated view of what it means to be a Catholic.

Kennedy Townsend is obviously a Catholic dissenter, and this is perhaps why she claims that Pope Benedict XVI, like his predecessors, is “part of this culture that silences dissent.” She is wrong on this point as well. If she were correct, Father John Jenkins, the University of Notre Dame’s president who proudly hosted President Obama as a commencement speaker,  would have been silenced; Father John Paris, SJ, who approves of euthanizing people, would have been silenced; and I could go on and on with similar examples. But rather than doing so, just read my book Saving Those Damned Catholics: A Defense of Catholic Teaching. I have already sent an autographed copy of it to Kennedy Townsend.

I have to tell you that Judie Brown is not the only one disgusted with the Kennedy Townsend’s impudence. Deal Hudson, no stranger to controversy himself, has aired his disdain as well. In his commentary on her tirade, he wrote,

Townsend's argument is this: Obama promotes contraception, therefore his "agenda is closer to their views than even the pope's." OK, fair enough, but the answer to Townsend is "so what?"

Does this mean that the Church and its Holy Father should henceforth change its teaching on contraception and embrace Obama as an agent of "change" within the Church? No, it means the opposite: The Church should do a better job of teaching and evangelization so that the pervasive dissent on issues like contraception and gay marriage is effectively addressed.
Church leadership needs to wake up and realize the impact of the Obama presidency on the parish, the chancery, and even the Vatican. This game of footsy Catholic leaders are playing with Obama is empowering Catholic dissenters like Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

 Hudson is correct. Either the opinions of deluded “Catholic” public figures such as Kennedy Townsend will become commonplace, or fundamental Catholic moral teaching will be forcefully placed in the forefront of the political landscape by the very men called to that vocation: the U.S. bishops.

And that brings me to my final comment on Kennedy Townsend’s manipulative mendacity: Where are the bishops? Where are the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops bureaucrats in charge of giving Catholic bishops the daily news and writing statements for them to issue when someone attacks the pope as Kennedy Townsend has? Where is the bishops' collegiality when the very truth upon which the Catholic Church stands is being verbally assaulted by a renegade rabble-rouser?

Maybe nobody’s there at the USCCB office anymore. If not, call me! I will be happy to come and volunteer!