FRONT ROYAL, VA —It’s been a tough ten years in many ways for
America. Catholic and conservative principles alike have been attacked,
ignored, even betrayed. Bewildered conservatives watched a president
who had campaigned as a humble born-again Christian blowing out budgets
and launching an endless, worldwide war "to put an end to evil." It
was political folly and religious heresy, and it paved the way for
a blatantly revolutionary successor. Meanwhile, dismayed Catholics
looked on helplessly as dozens of bishops who had enabled abusers stayed
in office after the scandals broke, hiding behind bogus "procedures," blaming
parents, ordaining more homosexuals, and insisting all along that the
scandals were “behind us.”
And these people were our friends. I haven’t gotten to the enemies
The past decade in America doesn’t yet have a name. Let’s call it
“The Zeroes” — there were certainly precious few heroes. The clerical
abuse scandals — which occasioned the Rubble’s first ruminations —
were dreadful; they harmed all Americans – not only Catholics, but
people of all faiths who look to the Catholic Church for moral certitude
and clarity. The consequences were dreadful: just after the scandals
broke in 2002, Paul Weyrich, the prominent Catholic lay leader, warned
that, “if we don’t defeat the gay marriage movement within five years,
we will lose.” Well, we’ve seen how that worked out.
The targets abounded, but our quiver was empty. Our shepherds were
too busy meeting with their lawyers.
Enter the enemy. Their name is Legion. Our weakness was their strength.
Our bishops discovered, too late, that their friends the Democrats
had declared war on the Church. Finally, the Catholic Conference’s
hundred-year marriage with the DNC is on the rocks. Tears all around.
But the bishops are disappointed in the laity, too. Thirty million
Catholics have abandoned the Church altogether. Many who remain are
dissenters. Even the Holy Father is begging our bishops to restore
sound Catholic catechesis among the laity.
Amen, Your Holiness!
There have been consequences. These days, “Catholic” charities get
most of their funding from the government, not the people in the pews.
Why? Perhaps because pro-abortion nuns trumpet the bishops’ tired old
left-wing political agenda on national TV, and insist that it’s Gospel.
Frankly, that charade turns a lot of good people off. Then there’s
Los Angeles Archbishop Gomez. He’s thrown in the towel. Our “elite
culture” condones abortion and “is openly hostile to religious faith”
(as well as amnesty), he writes. The “Next America” should be Hispanic;
it will far surpass the current one (assuming more Mexican immigration),
because Mexicans “share traditional American values of faith, family,
and community.” Apparently, “This America” doesn’t.
Put Not Your Faith In Princes
For years, the bishops put their faith in politics. Should we? The
deck is certainly stacked against us. Mitt Romney’s “gaffe” (definition:
a politician telling the truth) about the “47 percent” merely confirms
Al Sharpton’s boast: folks on the dole aren’t going to vote for the
guy who wants to cut them off. And Obama is creating more of them
every day. Consider California. The “Golden State” houses one third
of the nation’s welfare recipients, but they aren’t acting grateful:
illegals, crime, gangs, strikes, and fraud abound: so do higher taxes.
Is that the “Next America”?
But Sharpton is right: the 47 percent won’t vote to cut their benefits.
Why not? Consider: In the weeks before his recent “reelection,” Hugo
Chavez passed out billions in government funding to poor Venezuelan
voters. Illegal? So what! Chavez won big! Conservatives don’t have
a prayer in Scotland, either: their leader complains that ninety percent
of Scots are living off “the rotten system of state patronage.” You
know they’ll vote for more.
All this might impoverish a nation, but it enriches the powerful.
“Washington DC area tops list of America's richest cities,” Washington’s
CBS affiliate gloated last week.
And what does Washington produce? Nothing.
Nothing but power, that is. And a President Romney would not change
that. But he’s got two tough weeks coming. Sure, Obama is economically
ignorant (government is cheaper because it “cuts out the middleman”??),
but he can bribe a lot of people. He can forgive “underwater” mortgages
– millions of them. He can forgive student loans – millions more. He
can “legalize” more Illegals – tens of millions. He can print more
money – billions. All of this violates his Oath of Office, of course.
But the Republican Congress will do nothing to stop it, and neither
will Obama’s corrupt Department of “Justice.”
Finally, no matter how many of George W. Bush’s policies Obama has
embraced, a desperate Obama can still run against him. I think he will.
The invitation has certainly been extended. National
cheerleader for Bush’s wars, now faces the music: “most Americans consider
Bush a failure,” write NR’s editors, so “Romney cannot embrace him.”
But Romney can’t denounce him either. Watch out: Obama might make him
This dreadful decade has produced a Republican Party that is fractured
into factions and sharp little shards. Swaggering party plunderers
strut out onto the stage, wrapping themselves in faux conservatism
while brazenly refusing to apologize for their high life in the hot
tub. And pro-lifers, once more, are taken for granted, and betrayed.
The Church has to wash its hands of party politics. Both parties. Once
cleansed, those hands can teach, govern, and guide. Cardinal Dolan
has admitted that our beloved bishops have considered Humanae
Vitae “too hot to handle” -- for 44 years! In the resulting moral and intellectual
vacuum, our shepherds mumble: Obama’s Contraceptive Mandate “has
nothing to do with contraception.” And “homosexual marriage” has
nothing to do with homosexuality.
No wonder we’re confused.
For fifty years, Cardinal Dolan observes, bishops haven’t taught the
basic moral truths. Instead, they embraced politics, playing lapdog
to conniving baby-killers. Now politics has failed them and their pet
pols have turned on them – and us. Have we learned our lesson? May
we return now to teaching the basic moral truths of the Faith?
The pope gets it. “Pastors of the Church, therefore, must continually
call the faithful to complete fidelity to the Church's Magisterium,”
he told bishops of Scotland in 2010. His Holiness does not designate
any part of that teaching as “too hot to handle.” Remember: Pope Paul
VI pleaded with our bishops to preach Humanae
Vitae “with confidence”
and “without ambiguity” (HV, 28) because it constitutes “a promulgation
of the law of God Himself” (HV, 20). Cardinal Dolan acknowledges that
Humanae Vitae has not been taught for two generations. Well, three
strikes and we’re out. Let us pray that its 50th anniversary, in 2018,
will mark a celebration, not a funeral.
Pray for our bishops!
Politics always disappoints. Christ never does. “In the world you
will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world.” (John
From Under the Rubble archives
From Under the Rubble is copyright © 2012
by Christopher Manion.
All rights reserved.
Christopher Manion has a Ph.D. from Notre Dame University and has
taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international
relations at Boston College, the Catholic University of America and
Christendom College. He is the director of the Campaign for Humanae
Vitae™, a project of the Bellarmine Forum.
Email Dr. Manion
See a complete biographical sketch.
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