The Heresy Spreads
From the Grassroots –
To the Bishops
The Anti-Abortion Heresy, Takes Over Priests and Bishops
111) # 152 Cardinal Mahony warned that because of “media” specifically, persons with simplistic theologies, or false ideas of Church doctrines, were increasingly able to broadcast their opinions to hundreds of millions of people; to broadcast false ideas of God, to the whole world. In fact we are showing here that many heretical views, a false idea of Catholicism, have in fact been spread worldwide. Millions have listened to a false, one issue Catholicism for nearly 30 years – and have been converted to it. Enough to change one vote after another.
112) # 153 And incredibly, not only have millions of ordinary people been infected; unfortunately, there have even been many priests and Bishops who have been infected by EWTN and its heresies. Among the many millions who have listened to the siren call of EWTN and one issue Catholicism, are, incredibly, many priests and bishops.
Though the most definitive voices of the Church have not, until now, supported these heresies, unfortunately, there have been countless priests – and even some bishops too – that have been fooled and taken. Indeed, if you listen long to EWTN, you hear not just lay talk show hosts, but also priests, at least equivocally supporting the anti-abortion heresy. So that by now, to end this heresy, the Church needs to correct many priests and even a few bishops.
Because false teachings are particularly destructive when taught by priests, bishops, finally we need to begin naming names, to fix this. Among the priests and bishops that the Church needs to publicly correct, are first of all, after the nun Mother Angelica, now include say, Fr. Edmund Sylvia, of EWTN;
113) # 154 And especially, Fr. Frank Pavone, a regular on EWTN. With his one-issue organization, “Priests for Life”;
114) # 155 And Father John Corapi. (How rebellious are priests like Fr. John Corapi? Listen to John Corapi’s recorded episodes, broadcast on EWTN and Relevant Radio both. Especially consider the speech where Corapi says “Far be it for me to criticize the bishops. But that being said, let me go on to criticize them”; at 10:45 PM, Feb. 4, 2010. After announcing he is going to criticize the bishops of the Church, at the end of this episode, Corapi goes on to oppose a bishop apparently; specifically he opposes a Bishop who opposed Corapi’s Pro Life, anti-abortion Catholicism (11:55 PM. John Corapi, “The Blood That Saves,” from his series “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ”; played 11:00 – 12:00 on the network Relevant Radio, AM 970, Feb. 4, 2010.)
115) # 156 Unfortunately, we must also note the one issue heresy in even higher authorities that ordinary priests; we must note it in Archbishop Burke, of the Vatican courts. Who as a Bishop appeared on EWTN, sometimes even live; to support its position. Burke was especially active, vocal, in supporting the excommunication of Pro Choice politicians. And he is constantly cited by EWTN and other one issue anti-abortionists, as the bishop they follow most. Ignoring the other bishops – and three cardinals and the pope. Since Burke is now head of a major court in Vatican City, the Holy See, in effect, the antiabortion heresy is even now, taking over the Vatican itself.
116) # 157 Then too? Archbishop Chaput. Of Denver. Who made many anti-abortion remarks for EWTN. (And who attacked John Kennedy, and a Church that is separate from the state, in 2009/10).
117) # 158 And Bishop Tobin, of Rhode Island. Who attacked Rep. Kennedy in 2007 it seems (but not reported till Oct. 28 2009); for supporting abortion. Or it seems, supporting Health Care, healing for the poor, over anti-abortionism.
Shockingly, scandalously, even these priests and bishops have – at times subtly or equivocally, but others times adamantly – supported an extreme, one-issue anti-abortionism. Even though their superiors – Cardinals, and the Pope – told them not to. Even though the saints themselves protested in effect. Even though the Bible does not support it.
The conservative, antiabortion heresy is therefore spreading – and even now it is taking over the Church itself. Most priests and bishops, are not trained in hardball politics of media; they never really actually understood the enemy they now face. Nor were they really educated in the complex issues involved in Abortion, and defining a human being or human person. This meant that, in the absence of objective and comprehensive information, even priests and bishops often simply ended up following the media; following whatever simple phrases (and complex sophistries) “Catholic” media gave them on these subjects.
Recently therefore, a significant number of priests and even bishops, have been mislead, seduced, by EWTN and the movement. Seduced into perhaps inadvertent rebellion from the real doctrines and tradition of the Church. So what should the Church now do? Finally we will recommend here, that these figures and many, many more, should now be severely rebuked by the Church. For Heresy. The above priests and even bishops, should be rebuked in the name, first of all, of at least three Cardinals: Cardinals Mahony, McCarrick, and Ratzinger. They should be rebuked in the name of the USCCB; chastised in the name of Pope Benedict XVI. In the name of canon law; in the name of the saints. In the name of the Bible. And finally, they must be chastised, corrected, in the name of God himself. This we ask in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Shockingly, the Church has not moderated the conservative heresy; instead, the heresy has converted the Church. Today, more and more priests and bishops are being lead astray, every day. As we can hear, from their quoted remarks on EWTN/RN. So that today finally, we have not only many heretical talk show hosts and guests misleading the whole world; but today we also have finally, many false priests. And even some false Bishops. Though above them, are after all, some saner Cardinals. And the Pope, it seems.
But with the appointment of Bishop/Archbishop Burke to head a major Vatican court, the antiabortion heresy is even now, spreading to, the Vatican itself. To try to take over the leadership itself.
Today, the Heresy Is Now Taking Over the Church Itself;
118) # 159 In spite of many efforts to correct them, the considerable sins of conservative and one-issue antiabortionism continue, to this very day. Anyone can turn on EWRN today (2008/9), through the Internet, and hear the same anti-abortion heresy repeated endlessly. By the persons named above; and by others. By for example, Johnnette Benkovic. And many other talking heads, names and unnamed. (Relevant Radio especially, seems to be carrying the voices of bishops and priests, supporting Relevant Radio, without identifying themselves. Hoping that this slight disguise, this fig leaf, will be enough for them to escape the charges of officially endorsing the network?)
The fact is that anti abortionism has long governed conservative Catholic media; since Mother Angelica founded her first radio station, around 1981-82. While this heresy has not ever been successfully eliminated; in fact, the heresy is stronger than ever; and it is even now, taking over the Church itself. After having been broadcast for three decades, the media, their heresies of “conservative” alternating with “one issue” Catholicism, have been accepted by more and more priests and even bishops, as the legitimate voice of the Lord.
These false movements have taken over many millions of Catholics; have taken over the vote; have taken over many priests and bishops. And soon, they will take over the Vatican itself, it now seems. In effect, from the start, these relative movements – the neo-con movement, and allied one issue movements – were an illegitimate cult. In effect, the Pro Life movement has long since become the cult of the embryo, the cult of the fetus. Indeed in effect, antiabortionism is a new splinter or schismatic sect of the Church. Or indeed, it is its own church by now: EWTN is the “Apostate Church of Holy Fetus,” some have called it. It has its own new god; which is not Jesus, but Fetus, the Embryo, the Unborn Child. And thanks to the support of powerful and influential media outlets like EWTN/RN, and thanks to the support of many misguided priests and even bishops, this literally fatal cult, is growing more powerful every day. In spite of the resistance of three Cardinals and the Pope, the embryo cult has now grown to the point that even Bishops and Archbishops are starting to worship the embryo, the unborn.
Indeed, the False Church of Holy Fetus has for 30 years controlled the vote in America; and by controlling America, this false church has controlled or leveraged, the whole world. While furthermore, the signs are that, furthermore: today the anti-abortion heresy is poised to take over the Church itself.
119) # 160 Today we can see countless signs that, under pressure from conservatives and antiabortionists, the Church itself is simply, arbitrarily, changing its policies. Today we hear even bishops, even Popes, beginning to move firmly against abortion. Encyclicals like Humanae Vitae or Evangelicum, many anti-abortionists claim, tell us an embryo is now being declared human “from conception.” But if true, if this interpretation of these documents holds, that would be a major change in, and disaster for, Church Tradition, policy, doctrine, dogmas, canons, saints, Magisterium, Tradition. Because that finding, goes directly against two saints, for example: Augustine and especially, Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas insisting that the young embryo, before the age of about 30 to 90 days, is not “formed” enough to have a spirit, or a soul. It seems though that some modern encyclicals can be interpreted as going against St. Thomas Aquinas for example. In spite of Aquinas having been given specially authoritative status, by the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Therefore, if any recent encyclical does embrace anything remotely like Karl Keating’s anti-abortionism – especially the doctrine that we are fully human “from conception,” and that we must always vote for anti-abortion candidates – then finally, we would have to say that any such encyclical or pronouncement, simply has gone against core Catholic Traditions. And that any such encyclical is itself simply, a heresy.
120) # 161 To be sure, by now, even many priests and bishops – especially under pressure by many sentimental women, like Mother Angelica – have convinced themselves that a rabid anti-abortionism has always been, or should always be, not just part of the Church, but be the very heart of the Church. (The otherwise- more reliable Fr. Kuvicki, above, found intriguing similarities between the embryo, and the eucharistic host; Jesus himself. As an “innocent” and so forth). So that finally, the new heresy of antiabortionism has today, begun to take over the Vatican itself. Specifically: many years, the outspoken “conservative” polymath or quisling of the American church, has been one Bishop Burke. Who was in effect an EWTN protégé. Burke has been the darling, the protégé, of EWTN/RN; constantly cited by the network, and apparently even appearing personally, live there too. Especially, Burke was quoted appearing to support the excommunication of politicians that publicly support abortion. This view now begins to become more prominent in the Church; when, around 2008, Burke was appointed to the Vatican itself. As head of a major Vatican court. And as Burke himself was promoted to archbishop.
So that EWTN’s heresy, is now entering the Vatican itself. And is becoming more influential in world affairs. Especially it seems likely that Burke was instrumental, to move the Church to now begin to semi-publicly denounce and excommunicate Democratic politicians, the way Bishop Tobin, c. 2007/9, suggested that Democratic congressman Rep. Patrick Kennedy should no longer present himself for Communion. Here the Church begins to interfere with American political life and the electoral process. Violating the national integrity of American.
121) # 162 One-issue anti-abortionism, which insists that we must vote for anti-abortion candidates – that insists in other words, that we vote for Republicans in every election – has dominated countless elections, c. 1980-2008. And this politically active heresy, is still on the rise. Thanks especially to heretical “Catholic” networks like EWTN; and most recently, to associates like Archbishop Burke. Arguably in fact, through representatives like EWTN and associates like Burke, by now the Church itself allows itself to appear to be in all-but open, partisan support for the Republican Party in America. Against the Democratic Party. In that high officials in the Church itself support Republican issues only; and not the issues of the Democratic party. (Issues like social justice; help for the poor an the sick).,
As the Church itself now follows “conservatives,” and becomes involved in attacking liberal and Democratic Party issues, in attacking the Democratic Party, some severe consequences are likely to result.
But this seems to be the direction, currently; with the appointment of Archbishop Burke to a high Vatican court, EWTN is now in a position to begin to determine many judgments against liberals, and Democrats, in the Vatican itself.
In part, the problem is Archbishop Burke. Burke apparently has several graduate degrees, and is a relatively subtle – even sly – thinker. And he has made many complex and equivocal statements, about many various subjects. But among the many statements that Burke has issued, were statements that seemed to cater to his Right Wing Republican constituency, and to residual Italian fascist elements too. Specifically, Burke was often quoted on EWTN as a) firmly opposing abortion. And b) as opposing political candidates that backed it. Conservative Catholic networks constantly backed and quote Burke; especially when c) Burke became locally famous by asserting, around 2000-2005 that the Church firmly opposed abortion; to the extent in fact that Catholic politicians that supported Abortion, pro-abortion political candidates – implicitly including US Presidential Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry – could and should be refused communion; should be kicked out of the Church. Which of course also implied that no Catholic should vote for Democratic candidates, like John Kerry.
Here, at least one Catholic bishop – Bishop Burke – had been egged on by EWTN and others, to the point that he began to not only support the anti-abortion doctrine, but supported it as perhaps the one, sole issue that should decide major elections. Burke has been constantly cited by EWTN and Relevant Radio, as “their” bishop. While clearly, Burke was entering politics … and on the Republican, not Democratic, side. Favoring Republican issues, not Democratic ones. Thanks to being constantly egged on, by his supporter, EWTN/RN.
But when the Vatican, a foreign nation, begins to attempt to influence elections in America, to interfere with the internal affairs of the United States of America, this marks a drastic, watershed moment however. Not only is the Vatican now interfering with American domestic governance; Burke is carrying the Church itself, into increasingly direct conflict with the Democratic Party. Burke appeared on a network after all, that was consistently, overwhelmingly Republican; and he himself began attacking indirectly, most of the Democratic candidates, and/or their issues. Thus Burke began trying – successfully – to influence the outcome of the election of the President of the United States. And d) indeed it seems that Bishop Burke, was quite successful in determining the course of the presidential election in the US in 2004. At that time, Democratic and Catholic – but Pro Choice – presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, was defeated by the anti-abortion – if pro-military, pro-war – candidate, George Bush II. In significant part, because of the one issue of abortion. Many Catholics having become convinced by this time, that they could not vote for a candidate that supported abortion.
Such Catholics here following Burke however, and not the Pope, to be sure. Still, Burke is in the Vatican itself today. And he will likely have much influence in continuing to favor Republican issues, over the “one issue” of abortion. In continuing to elect pro-war, anti-environmental Republicans to office. In the name of the embryo. And yet to be sure, if the Church itself begins to take on half of America itself, there will of course be the very severest consequences for America; and for the Church itself. As the Church once again resumes religious-based wars, attempts to re-found theocracies, in the West.
The Church Now Takes on the American Democratic Party?
Today, Pro Life anti-abortionism has taken over many bishops – like Archbishop Burke. And anti-abortionists, like Burke, have begun to deliberately interfere in American domestic political elections. To in fact, control one election after another in America. Today prominent Catholics are controlling enough votes to elect one pro-military, pro-war Republican after another, into office. But as elements of the Vatican thus attempt to engage in politics, in the internal affairs of nations like America, disastrous legal and other problems will result for the Vatican itself. Among other problems with this: it might be said that as they begin to interfere with politics in other nations, the Vatican and Holy See today, a) violate the spirit of the Lateran Treaty; the c. 1929 treaty in which the Vatican agreed with the new nation of Italy, not to engage in political activity. Then too, b) the increasing involvement by the Church – by way of bishops like Burke, and “Catholic” networks – in political affairs, violates American IRS, tax laws that require non-profit religious organizations, to abstain from political campaigns. Then too c) it violates the spirit the “freedom of Religion” and separation of Church and State; by attempting to impose a false “Catholic” doctrine on America, even through elections. But finally, of course, d) as the Church is lead, by bishops who support radicals, like Burke, into direct support of the Republican Party, it will also be lead into increasingly direct conflicts with the other major political party in America: the Democratic Party. For that reason, it seems advisable for the Vatican to chastise Archbishop Burke; and to simply, firmly shut down, close, end, EWTN/RN, and Fr. Frank Pavone’s Priests for Life; for engaging too little in religious matters, and too much in partisan, “one issue” politics, in the worst “traditions of men.”
Unless the Church takes very firm action indeed, to end even the appearance of the Church interfering with American domestic politics, there may well be very, very real and disastrous consequences for the Church itself. Reviewing what we have found here, the American press might well begin to suggest that through Archbishop Burke and other political activist organizations like EWTN, the Catholic Church is once again attempting to manipulate nations, and to rule them, as it ruled the Papal States; ruling people with real governmental power. Attempting, some may soon say, to even overthrow regimes and legitimate governments, and to overthrow freedom of religion. By manipulating the vote, by favoring one party over another, the Church now attempts today to control the sovereign state of America; and to re-establish itself once again, as a functional state, controlling not just religion, but also the government. In effect setting itself up, as it was in the Papal State, as the official religion of America, and then of the world. But as it is perceived to be thus attempting to take over governments, then after all, the Church will be undoubtedly, increasingly, explicitly opposed by the political parties it has taken on; and opposed by indeed, governments and nations.
The Church has often in the past, wholly or partially taken over governments, states, countries. Fortunately, that was ended, c. 1776, in America. But as today Burke deliberately or accidentally allows himself to be presented, used by EWTN and antiabortion radicals as a standard-bearer for a pro-military theocracy, the Vatican will attract severe criticism, and eventually military opposition. For attempting to lead the Church back into becoming again, the military, political, national, and religious entity/enemy that it once was. Long ago, this religion, Catholicism, came to control the Roman Empire, c. 300 AD. Later on the various Papal States began the Crusades; actual wars with Orthodox Christians and Muslims. Then the Church attempted to militarily suppress freedom of religion, and the Protestant Reformation (as Spain sailed on England in the name of restoring it to Catholicism). And indeed the Church until very recent times, maintained or been affiliated with, until the 1990’s, a functional army, or a terrorist arm, with the IRA in Northern Ireland. Viewing this situation, many current nations, having recently recognized the Vatican as in effect another nation or state, might begin to react to the Vatican more specifically, as an enemy state. Today – through reagents like Archbishop Burke and EWTN/RN – the Church now becomes an active political competitor. Interfering with national local political issues; favoring the Republican Party and its issues, it becomes perceived as increasingly, the enemy of the Democratic Party. But more than that, it can be perceived as becoming the enemy of fundamental American freedoms. Like freedom of religion. Or for that matter, freedom from “foreign interference” in domestic American affairs. (See our section on potential legal problems for the Church in America and the world, as it engages in increased political activity.)
Who are the ringleaders of this unfortunate throw-back, to the bad old days? EWTN/RN has been successful in manipulating Archbishop Burke, quoting him as its authorization; making this bishop its own bishop, the very center of this unfortunate return to a Church that aspires to control the world even militarily. And Burke has allowed this and basked in the adoration of conservatives; eventually Bishop Burke publicly speculated that Democratic or Pro-Choice politicians should be excommunicated by the Church (as indeed the unfortunate, current Catechism suggests). Burke has allowed himself to be drafted into this, and even to serve as the inspirational center of this. While furthermore, the influence of Bishop Burke is only growing, even in the Vatican itself: sometime around 2008, rabid anti-abortionist and EWTN protégé Bishop Burke, was appointed to head a major court, in the Vatican itself. And he was promoted to Archbishop.
As anti-abortionist, EWTN protégé Burke’s power grew, problems began to surface immediately. Things began to get out of hand in the Church, immediately after that. Burke personally advocated the more severe understanding or side, of Ratzinger’s 2004 memo. Here, Burke – as is typical of his ilk – chose to read and obey only parts of what the Church has said; especially the conservative parts. In this case, on the matter of abortion, a) rather than obeying and following the part of the Pope’s 2004 memo, that told us that voting for Pro Choice politicians “can be permitted,” b) instead, Bishop Burke had fixed just on part the memo; the part that suggested that politicians who publicly supported abortion, could be shut off from communion with the Church; shut off from going to Mass. Burke chose to do what EWTN egged him on to do: to prominently speculate – often just before major American elections – that politicians who publicly supported abortion should be in effect, excommunicated. Which meant in effect that Burke – and the Catholic Church – were backing the Republican Party in several elections. This desire to enforce conservative Catholic theology – and not liberal theology – probably, not doubt, earned Burke points with conservative/Italian elements in the Vatican itself; and earned him a place in the Vatican, as its major legal enforcer, heading a major Vatican court.
The consequences of Burke’s actions however, may be severe. By enforcing such a legalistic, hard, “law”-enforcement line, such a conservative reading of God, and backing radical neo-con anti-abortionist theories of the Church, Burke and others are now taking the Roman Catholic Church into increasingly stark, direct conflict, with say, the Democratic Party in America; the Democratic party, of course, was the largely Pro Choice political party. By reading, obeying only the parts of the Church that seemed to adamantly oppose abortion, and ignoring the parts that allowed that voting for pro-abortion candidate “can be permitted,” for example – and by ignoring St. Thomas Aquinas and so forth) – Burke and others like him, have adopted a narrow, limited, ideologically-drive “conservative” theology. One that is opposed to many existing doctrines within the Church itself. And one with definite political, partisan inspiration and aims; one that seems to have been consistently supporting the Republican Party and its issues; and opposing the Democratic Party in America.
Burke in fact, has become a rallying point, an inspiration for the radical right wing Republican Catholicism, that has been a determining force in at one election after another in America; delivering American and the world, to the pro-“troops,” pro-war, Republican Party. Particularly, then-Bishop Burke and others like him, appeared on EWTN/RN, to help deliver millions of Catholic votes to elect Republican George Bush, over Democrat John Kerry, in 2004. Burke was quoting by EWTN as publicly insisting, many times, that publicly pro-abortion candidates could and probably should, be excommunicated, kicked out of the Church.
The actions of Archbishop Burke however, were radical and potentially disastrous. As Archbishop Burke and other officials thus began to enter into partisan politics, many Democrats and lovers of freedom of religion, might now increasingly note that the Roman Catholic Church is a) not only taking sides in political contests (though Cardinal McCarrick forbade that?); even b) worse, it is even now, once again, after a lapse of one hundred years of peaceful relations with the nations, beginning to again openly manipulate and take over governments. In this case, the Roman Catholic Church now has begun to control the vote, the internal affairs, of the United America. And thus end freedom of religion in America, by asserting its own “values” as law.
For some time in fact, thanks to the efforts of organizations like EWTN/RN and Relevant Radio, the Catholic Church has allowed itself to be maneuvered by EWTN and other neo-conservative movements, into in effect, opposing the Democratic Party in America. By opposing several of its issues. But as it allows itself to be lead into this, the Vatican should very carefully reconsider this new policy direction. Because first of all, a) this violates freedom of religion. Then too, b) this will further alienate the Democratic Party; half of America. Then too c) there will be a strong Protestant outcry, and even violent opposition, as the Church once again attempts to assert itself over other nations, and over Protestants (who mostly allow abortion). Then too, d) there may well be soon, increasingly, a backwash of international, worldwide antipathy toward the Church; for its once again attempting to assert its control over many nations, against their sovereign integrity. Then too, e) we suggest that it is time for the Church itself, to recognize the political bias in much of what it has said of late – or that it has allowed itself to appear to say, through biased new agencies like EWTN/RN. It is time for the Church itself to realize that aa) its own Tradition and doctrines, were not until recently, that firmly “conservative”; that there were many liberal elements even in the Bible itself. (As for example, Jesus’ attempt to avoid armed conflicts; to “love your enemy” and so forth). While furthermore, more specifically, bb) real Tradition is not even that severely anti-abortion. Though to be sure, abortion has often been declared to be very bad, in many eras, the penalty for abortion was very minor; far less than the penalty for killing a human being. So that this particular “issue” is vastly outweighed, by other issues that involve millions, even billions of fully human lives.
Today, it is critically important for the Church to see that many false messages have been issued in its name. That a radical, politically-biased, partisan element has deceitfully, entered the Church itself. One that chooses to read, understand, and obey, only parts of what the Church has said about various subjects. Just as Cardinal Mahony warned, there are many people particularly in the “media,” who are making rash and false summaries of Church theology; but not just in mainstream secular media, but also especially in “Catholic” outlets like EWTN/RN.
To be sure, theology, the Bible, are very complex; it is hard to be sure what they are saying, in the end. But as a rough and ready guide, to the nature of the Bible, we can tell people here that much of religion – and especially the Bible and Christianity – are in fact, quite equivocal. That is to say, they are presented in language, that offers more than one reading; that lends its support to often, positions that seem rather different. No doubt, many simple people would like simple, unequivocal rules. But the fact is that life and God are not simple, but are complex; and the ambiguity of much of the Bible, reflects the “mystery” and complexity, unknowability, of the infinite. So that, as a rule of thumb, everyone should always be open to more than one reading, of the Bible itself – and for that matter, of Catholic doctrines, dogmas, traditions. In particular, the Bible itself seems systematically, deliberately open to two different readings: Conservative/Jewish, and Liberal/Christian. To a reading which stressed following traditional “law”s – and another with opposed “law,” to a more permissive “grace”ful forgiveness of some sins. The Bible itself offering a severe, conservative Old Testament … but then moving beyond that, to a more permissive, “liberal” New Testament.
The Bible itself therefore, might be said to have presented two major political philosophies; but to the extent that these two philosophies conflicted, if anything it allowed a more liberal understanding. Furthermore, the theology of the Roman Catholic Church seems to reflect this quality of the Bible itself; reflecting at best an ambivalence between two major philosophies; conservative and liberal. Between “Old” and “New” ideas, testaments. As our major example here: consider Joe Ratzinger’s 2004 memo on Abortion. On the one hand, on the conservative, law-enforcement side, the memo included to be sure, aa) some questionable assertions of the possibility of making abortion very firmly illegal, and/or excommunicating Pro Choice politicians. But then, after supporting this “old” idea, popular in the 1950’s, bb) the future Pope’s memo also, next, allowed, more liberally, that voting for pro-abortion candidates, “can be permitted.”
Theology is a complex subject. But roughly speaking, there are two major related, but slightly contrasting theologies presented even in the Bible itself: a conservative one, supporting the laws of the God of the Jews; and a more “grace”ous, liberal, forgiving one, that at times seems to follow the “letter” of the “law,” but other times seems to allow for something “new.” Like a New Testament; a new religion (Christianity, at the time). While today many of the pronouncements of the Church itself, are written in a way to reflect some ambivalence regarding which theology is to be followed. So that those many conservatives, who have recently suggested that they and only they know the real meaning of the Bible – its conservative, law-enforcement side; the side that delivers simple rules to follow – have not read the Bible well enough. Nor have they read the Church and its core Tradition well enough, either. For that reason, it is time to look beyond Archbishop Burke – who allowed himself to become, to millions, the “conservative” right-wing legalist and Church enforcer. Who allowed himself to be used in a political game, to elect right-wing conservatives to government. It is time to move beyond such Bishops, who may be subtle on their own, but who have allowed themselves to be bent, used, by one-sided, right-wingers, to become a modern Pharisee; defender of religious law. Beyond Archbishop Burke, we should begin to at least hear and see and obey, the bishop’s superiors: the Cardinals. Cardinals Mahony; McCarrick. And Cardinal Joe Ratzinger. Who favor after all, a less conservative, more Christlike gentleness and forgiveness. Not enforcing the letter of the law.
It may be that Archbishop Burke personally feels that he himself should continue to control/interfere with US elections; in the name of a political philosophy. It may be that Archbishop Burke will continue to assure us in effect, that God tells us all to vote conservative, vote Republican. Vote against abortion … but then vote also for the “troops”; and religious-based wars on terrorism/Islam and so forth. But for now, the rest of the Vatican and the Church – especially the more internationalist and peacemaking elements in it – should carefully rein in Dr. Burke. It should chastise him for allowing himself to be quoted as backing an unequivocal, conservative judgementalism. And the rest of the Vatican, the cardinals and the pope above Raymond (?) Burke, should begin to adamantly retract, any appearance created by Burke, that the Vatican supports only “conservative” issues; that it only the conservative, Republican Party in America. To be sure, it may be that Burke himself has technically, in the fine print of his many pronouncements, allowed for a more complex theology; yet to be sure, this means that he knew better, when he allowed himself to be used as the poster child, for neo conservatives. So that the Church is now widely seen to support many things, not in line with other Church “issues” after all. And that has been a bad thing. For example, George Bush Jr. opposed abortion – but he was also a very, very pro-military, pro-American president. Bush was extremely bellicose about countries that seemed to oppose America. And his bellicose rhetoric soon provoked many terrorist attacks and counterattacks. Which finally involved American in a number of international wars. In Iraq, Afghanistan; and then an international “War on Terrorism.” Then too, Bush lost part of New Orleans to an environmental disaster; while his party opposed health care for the poor (Universal Health Insurance). From these, came many deaths. So that the Church is now saving embryos – but at the cost of killing many adults.
No doubt, war-making and antagonistic rhetoric, was fashionable in the Church during the Crusades. And it was popular among neo-cons in America, c. 1980-2008. Today though, against Bishop Burke’s militant, conservative Republicanisms, we should now counterpoise as a counterbalance, Burke’s superior, retired Cardinal McCarrick’s earlier warning: that one-sided support for just “one issue” in politics (like implicitly, abortion), could result in major problems, disasters, from neglecting other important issues. For that matter, we should direct Bishop Burke’s attention also, to the similar statements of yet another of Burke’s superiors: Pope Benedict XVI. It is curious that a person who allowed himself to become a one-issue figurehead, a man like Archbishop Burke, should be appointed to the Vatican at all. Over and against not only the head of the USCCB in America … but also over and against the Pope. Against the Pope who had previously spoken against dis- “proportionate” focus just on single issues. Like specifically, abortion.
Since the Pope himself spoke against Burke’s most infamous position, Burke’s appointment to the Vatican seems surprising. But maybe after all, a) the Vatican itself knows that Burke’s private commitments are more sophisticated than the way he was presented by EWTR/RN. And/or, b) the Church has in any case put Burke in a place where legalistic judgementalism seems most appropriate or permissible: it made him a judge. While he will control and judge after all, only those cases referred to him. So that above our legal enforcer, our new Pharisee, is a controlling hand; one that can rein in his judgmental powers. By controlling who is referred to his court or jurisdiction … and who is not.
Surprising and constrained as Burke’s appointment to head a Vatican court might be, however, nevertheless, Burke today is an Archbishop. And, as a ranking American in the Vatican itself, he has probably had much influence. Burke was already becoming increasingly vocal and popular, on American conservative/Republican talk radio networks like EWTN, c. 2003 ff. Before the 2004 memo – and after as well? – Ray Burke began to join Bishop Chaput, in prominently entertaining, in public, on the radio, the notion that Democratic or pro-abortion political candidates, might be privately excommunicated, or kicked out of the Church. For “scandal”ously opposing Catholic doctrine, on abortion, in public. To be sure, we here find this position to have been wrong on a hundred counts. Not least of which: the Bible, and not even the Church, opposed abortion that severely after all. While indeed, there are many others committing worse sins. Indeed, EWTN and Burke himself it now seems.
The pro-abortion party in America is of course, the liberal, Democratic party. By opposing liberals, supporting conservatives, opposing Abortion as his main issue, Burke was willing to begin more or less openly adopt EWTN-style conservatism, its Republicanism. As Burke in effect began to oppose the Church, to the Democratic Party. Eventually, in part because of Burke’s leadership, the Church itself it seems, began to take on Democrats; even it seems, the Kennedy family. (As in Pres. Of the United States, John F. Kennedy; U. S. Attny. Gen. Robert Kennedy; Sen. Ted Kennedy). It was right after many inflammatory anti-abortion statements by Burke and Chaput, on news outlets like especially EWTN, that, in 2007, the Democratic, pro-abortion candidate Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, was advised by his Bishop – Bishop Tobin – that Patrick Kennedy should reconsider presenting himself for communion. (As Kennedy told us a few years later; Oct. or Nov. 28, 2009). In effect, Patrick Kennedy was excommunicated by the Church. For supporting abortion. And likely, it was not just Patrick Kennedy, but also several Kennedies, who were now being attacked by the Church. Senator Ted Kennedy, a lifetime Catholic and Democrat, died late in 2009; and it is said that he made an unspecified dying request to the Church; a request that was refused.
Though we ourselves don’t happen to know, here and now, what that dying request was, we might suggest the following: we do know that Ted Kennedy, in his last days, had tried to indeed, support our position here. That the Church should not support just the Republican Party and its issues; that the Democratic Party had actually, been far, far better than the Republican Party, in supporting far more Christian issues. The Democratic Party having supported the social gospel: issues like helping the poor and the sick. (Democrats having been the major backers of government assistance for the poor, in the Great Depression; Democrats backing Social Security and Medicare; Democrats passing the Civil Rights Voting act). Then too, Democrats, liberals, better reflected the New Testament Jesus himself in many ways: especially in their desire to try to liberally, get along with, even “love,” our “enemies”; to liberally “turn the other cheek” when others, like fundamentalist Muslims, insult us. Perhaps, just before Sen. Ted Kennedy died, he was hoping for forgiveness from the Church, and/or absolution, for some of his many sins; but especially for what we have shown here is after all at most the minor sin, of supporting abortion. Forgiveness from the Church in recognition of the fact that the Democratic Party after all, supported many other even more important Church issues. The Democratic Party to be sure was not dedicated to saving the embryo, the lump of flesh. But it had played a major role in saving a billion adults, from unnecessary wars; environmental disasters; and sickness and disease. So that finally, there is no reason for the Church to preferentially favor only the Republican issue, of abortion. Indeed, Democratic issues are far, far, far more important than that.
Possibly Sen. Ted Kennedy was asking in effect, at the end of his life, for a Church that in American, no longer allows itself to be lead by false “Catholic” voices, to support only the Republican Party. Possibly Sen. Ted Kennedy, wanted a Church that is more fully aware of the “fullness of the faith” … and sees again, the fuller, bigger picture; that sees the importance of many different issues, over and above single-issue monomaniacs. If that is what he wanted in the end – and it seems he did articulate this in print at least once – then apparently however, Ted Kennedy was disappointed; it was reported in a major media news summary, that whatever it was that this lifetime advocate for the poor and the sick had asked he asked the Church for in the end, had been refused. Possibly this prominent Democrat’s last, dying requests were refused, one might well speculate, under the partial influence of prominent, narrowly one-issue, anti-abortionist Republican Catholics. Like say the American, Archbishop Burke. Who by the end of 2009, was firmly in office in Rome itself. As one of its most prominent Americans.
Many today might well begin to ask some pointed questions: ask how influential have various a) partisan organizations like EWTN/RN, and b) individuals like Archbishop Raymond Burke been, in the increasingly public attack by elements of the Roman Catholic Church, on key elements of the Democratic Party; on its issues, on its chief families and spokesmen. Even before his appointment to the Vatican, Bishop Burke and Chaput (of Denver; pronounced “Chap”) were particularly involved on EWTN; their remarks appearing on the network dozens of times. No doubt due in part to their remarks, a largely minority (Spanish, Irish) Catholic electorate, that would normally go heavily to the minority-supporting Democratic Party, at best split evenly; which was enough to elect Republicans like George Bush II, in Nov. 2000 and 2004. Republicans who soon enough found the pro military wars that they wanted to have.
After having won several elections for the Republicans, and on the rise as a media star, EWTN protégé Burke was no doubt increasingly influential and admired, even before he was appointed to the Vatican. Inspired by his successes, having won several elections, and having found at least one bishop (among about 200 or so active US bishops) to follow, one- or two-issue anti-abortion Catholicism grew far, far bolder. New anti-abortion networks – like Relevant Radio, with Drew Mariani and Sheila Liaugminas – began to crow as, time after time, the Church was presented as attacking and defeating, by name, Democrats. Indeed, Ratzinger’s 2004 memo, had been motivated in part, by requests by right-wing Republican Catholics, to get some kind of ruling on abortion before the crucial 2004 election; especially, conservative Republican networks like EWTN, were even specifically egging on the Vatican, Ratzinger, to take aim at prominent Democratic Catholics who were pro-abortion; like Senator Hart; and Sen. Ted Kennedy. Especially, it was all aimed at Sen. Kerry, who was the Democrat running for President in 2004.
Burke was the inspiration leader, “our” bishop, for Catholic conservatives; as they lead a charge, in the name of the Church, on the Democratic Party. Especially on (ironically, Catholic but pro-abortion) Senator John Kerry, who was their chief target in 2004. Conservatives and others to be sure, had been troubled by the controversy and confusion caused by Karl Keating’s “Voting Guide”; they wanted to know if its conservative opinions were authoritative or not. Especially considering the many priests that were opposing it. This issue was becoming urgent, in the months just before the 2004 election (Bush v. Kerry). So various people asked for some more definitive ruling on voting, from the Vatican itself. This request was what seems to have been conveyed to the Vatican itself; and that elicited the 2004 memo from Joe Ratzinger.
The Vatican’s own memo, as opposed to Karl Keating, was typically equivocal. Particularly on the axis of Conservative/Liberal issues; the memo gave something to each side of the controversy. On the one hand, on the conservative side, the memo said that a) abortion was bad; and that politicians who publicly supported abortion could be excommunicated. In this way, the memo did give conservative some material to use against Democrats, in that election. On the other hand, the memo also assumed that b) however, there were “proportionate”ly more important issues than abortion; and therefore, voting for pro-abortion candidates “can be permitted.”
Once again, theology was rather equivocal. But artistic and philosophical ambiguity, is not well loved by football fans like conservative talk show host Drew Mariani; they want to see clear sides drawn up, and people physically vanquished. So they emphasized only the part of the memo that matched their own simple agenda. And they were successful: though George Bush was not so good on many important issues like the environment, and avoiding wars, he was “good” on abortion; and EWTN and Ray Burke therefore made sure that Catholics were told to vote for Bush, not Kerry. While EWTN and Bishop Burke were successful; Bush was elected in 2004. (By a Catholic vote that should have gone to Democrats; as it belatedly did in 2008). Even though the Vatican itself was not unequivocally supporting them at all.
After his 2004 triumph, came the c. 2007/2008 ascension of Burke, as head of the Vatican court. And after that, Republican agendas moved swiftly. On Oct. or Nov. 28. 2009, for example, anti-abortionists like Sheila Liaugminas gloatingly crowed, with her usual arch superiority, when the news broke that a bishop (Bishop Tobin, of Rhode Island) had earlier (2007?) severely criticized Rep. Patrick Kennedy (Dem. R.I.), over his pro-abortion statements. And firmly suggested that Pat Kennedy should not present himself to communion any more. Thanks in part to EWTN and Burke, the anti-democratic agenda was in fully cry; at last, the bishops were following EWTN’s orders; and were excommunicating Democrats. EWTN and Relevant Radio of course, crowed, and gloated. By now, they were running the show: the Democratic Party in America, was being soundly defeated in 2004. The Republicans had successfully maneuvered EWTN and even a Bishop or two, into supporting only Republican “issues,” “values.” Bishops were now excommunicating Democrats, c. 2007/8. And perhaps flushed with this success in media manipulation, Ray Burke was soon appointed to the Vatican itself, c. 2008.
By 2008, the social/political anti-abortion philosophy of EWTN and associates – a philosophy that is in part oddly, extremely liberal (extending human rights to blastocysts), but calls itself conservative – was now increasingly taken by the Vatican itself, it seems, as gospel. Or at least one of the major EWTN voices for anti-abortionism was accepted into the Vatican itself. While even now (written Dec. 2009), the Vatican is opposing the Democratic Party in America, or its issues. Though the Church supports the current attempt by Democrats, to extend health insurance to 10 to 30 million uninsured poor persons, the Church also seems more than willing to defeat that bill. And let many poor people (who are not presently covered by the Church support of some hospitals), die from lack of adequate health care. So long as the bill contains a provision that supports abortion. So that the Church itself has been converted to one-issue anti-abortionism it seems; it is willing to give up everything – even in this sphere at least, hinder the major activity of Jesus, healing the sick – in order to save bits of flesh; embryos. (The Church elsewhere supports hospitals to be sure; but in the US would do nothing on the scale of the Health Plan; so that Relevant Radio leading an opposition to the Health Plan is an extremely serious reversal of care for the poor).
What happened to the once politically-neutral Church? To the Church that did allowed freedom of religion, and did not seek to impose a limited theology on the masses by controlling elections and laws? Ironically, under the influence of Republican, Protestant televangelists like Pat Robertson, a rebellious nun, Mother Angelica, began to rebel against the Church; and set up her own “Catholic” evangelical wannabe network, EWTN. And amazingly, though the Church had often said that no woman should lift up her voice prominently in Church, and though the Bible had often warned about false traditions and philosophies, Mother Angelica broadcast her obsessively narrow, political views all over America and the world for 30 years. And, finding her allies in Republicans especially, Angelica was able to successfully politicize the Church; and turn the Church into an adjunct of the Republican party. An entity that supports only those of its own issues that happen to be Republican; and ignores its own goals, if they happen to be Democratic.
Among many other awful results will come from this? Due to the deliberate efforts of Protestant and Catholic “evangelicals,” who know little about more sophisticated theologies, we today unfortunately see the old treaties and understandings, that kept religion out of politics, dissolving. The Vatican is now apparently unconcerned about the separation of Church and State; about the Lateran Treaty; and so forth. It is apparently unconcerned about the re-entry of politics, “philosophy,” into religion. As today it allows and even encourages – and even promotes – Republican political agendas, careers. Over and against, the Democratic Party.
(And worse, people now do this, all in the name of the flesh, the body. Even the soulless dead body: the flesh of Terri Schiavo; the “theology of the body”; the flesh of the soulless embryo. All by mindless conservatives, who see the value only of physical force, and see no value at all in the mind or intelligence. And who in consequence, are doubly willing to proclaim a bit of flesh without that, to be fully human.)
122) # 163 Can this really be happening? Is the fundamentalist, mindless theology of physical worship, physical force, really triumphing? One-issue anti-abortionism, the EWTN/RN cult of the holy mindless embryo, is increasingly taking over the Church itself; it is even now taking over priests, and bishops, and elements of the Vatican. After the appointment of Burke to the Vatican around 2008/9, we began to see in face even more indications of increasing Vatican support for this heretical sect: in October 2009, the Church actually gave Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, an award. Even though Mother Angelica had criticized an American cardinal, Cardinal Mahony; even though Mother Angelica had publicly rebelled against Mahony’s authority. Even though Angelica’s theology also rebelled against Cardinal McCarrick, and the USCCB; and against the Pope himself. Obviously, antiabortion factions in the Vatican, have been strengthened by the placement of radical antiabortionist Archbishop Burke, in the Vatican itself; so that earlier more balanced statements on the embryo, are now being edged out. So that the Church can worship the soulless, mindless body of flesh. While attacking the importance of the “mind of Christ,” of intelligence itself. And the spirit of intellectual contest and agreement. (Al Kresta of EWTN today is so Republican, that even when Obama began agreeing on the necessity of a “strong defense,” and developing more manufacturing jobs in America – things Republicans favor – Kresta was so eager to attack Democrats not matter what, so mean spirited and small minded, that he “happened” to use Democratic president Obama’s speech, not to meet to try to meet Democrats half way, shaking an outstretched hand offered in compromise; but to try to “prove” that many speeches are full of empty rhetoric. Thus he refused Obama, even when Obama tried to meet Republicans half way. Repeated on Relevant Radio, Best of Al Kresta show, Sunday, 2/7/2010. Kresta insisting that these phrases were mere good sounding phrases that could not make any difference in realistic policy; though indeed Obama supporting defense or not supporting it, would have made huge differences; supporting local manufacturing, or continuing to rely on imports, involves very real monetary and tax incentives etc., for local manufactories. Proving the Kresta too, especially, is not a Christian; but a Republican.)
The Sin Continues
Why haven’t earlier efforts by Cardinals and Popes to stop the new heresies, succeeded? The problem was that while many Cardinals, like Mahony, began to address the general problem here – the problem of false “theolog”ies in the “media” – unfortunately, the Cardinals, the Pope, did not take strong enough action to stop the heresies. Cardinal Mahony did not really understand, just how powerful EWTN is by now; that EWTN now makes and breaks, Bishops and Cardinals; makes their careers, to ends them. Since talk show hosts are now taken by millions, as the voice of the Pope, of the Church, and of God, the second the network supports or opposes a Bishop or Cardinal, his career is a s good as made.
The fact is, the Cardinals do not appreciate at yet, the deadly, evil power of the new “Catholic” media networks. Like EWTN. They do not yet see their ability to spread any heresy they choose to develop – and to make or break priests, bishops, and cardinals. So that finally, nothing will really be accomplished by the Church in the way of correcting the nationalistic/militaristic, pro-war, pro death “Pro Life” movement. The excessive focus on the embryo, that doesn’t mind killing millions of adults, to save embryos. Unless or until, the Church begins to very, very directly, strongly, publicly, repeatedly, criticize by name, the new “Catholic” media, like especially, EWTN. Until it does this repeatedly, publicly, the hypnotized audience of EWTN will never hear or understand any criticism of their now-sacred cult.
The Church has at times in effect, spoken against EWTN specifically, and its staff and associates, and especially its unbalanced, imprudent, disproportionate theology. But the language of the Vatican, is far too complex for ordinary people; remarks that to professors clearly seemed to criticize EWTN and anti-abortionism, were far, far, far too vague and ambiguously worded, to ever be understood by ordinary radio audiences; while of course the networks themselves, will probably never really hear the other side; and will never work to prominently note any readings of the Pope that do not match its own thick-headed anti-intellectualism and physicalism. Though, after Mother Angelica’s criticism of Mahony on the air, it seemed clear to some in the press that, after Mother Angelica’s open rebellions against Mahony, it was Mother Angelica, as much as the mainstream press, that was the Cardinal’s primary target in criticizing uninformed “media” and their false theology. But of course, since EWTN itself never made this clear – or soon drowned out this side of things with Pro Life propaganda – EWTN’s audience (indeed, even the Vatican itself it now seems) never heard that EWTN itself, was being criticized.
So that “Mother’s” heresy continues to day, unabated. Clearly the criticisms of EWTN and/or its main theology, by three Cardinals and the Pope, have been resisted, rebelled against, ignored, by EWTN. Others of us though have heard: heard a) the criticism of EWTN by Cardinals Mahony, the b) criticism of “one issue” Catholicism by Cardinal McCarrick; the criticism of c) dis “proportionate” anti-abortionism, by Cardinal Joe Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. But unfortunately it now seems clear, even all that, the attack on EWTN by three cardinals and a pope, have not been enough, to even slow EWTN/RN down. Because those criticisms no doubt, were not pointed enough; they did not name names, like Angelica; or name the primary guilty agent: EWTN, Eternal Word Television Network; especially its branch, Eternal Word Relevant Radio Network. The problem was, that many of the listeners on EWTN are not subtle people; they are Christian Fundamentalist Evangelicals, who like the physical, not intellectual life; and any slight or vague criticism just went over their heads. While their primary source of information – EWRN – of course did not fairly report the many attacks on EWTN, by the Church.
The problem is that EWTN is an obdurate, dug in, obstinate heretic, armed in part with a vain admiration of its own selfrighteousness, or with a “seared conscience” that does not respond at all to simple, vague, compassionate, moderate pastoral advice. After having defied or “twist”ed the directives of three cardinals and the Pope, obviously the Church’s usual program of compassionate private counseling of such heretics, does not work; finally nothing will work against this hardened target, but say, public execration and excommunication of key EWTN and Relevant Radio staffmembers, specifically and by name.
123) # 164 Only new and extremely severe actions, will suffice. Indeed the Church has already attempted rather strong, powerful measures to correct this; when Cardinal Mahony, c. 1997-2001, apparently managed to partially, privately censure one of its more religiously offensive employees; the nun, Mother Angelica. As Mahony apparently went to the Vatican, in part to protest against a nun rebelling publicly against the Bishop/Cardinal. But if the Vatican and the American Bishops had expected that the censuring of EWTN founder and head, Mother Angelica, would accomplish anything – and especially that the resignation of EWTN founder and head, Mother Angelica, would resolve many longstanding problems with this increasingly heretical and subtly rebellious Catholic media network – the Vatican and the American bishops have radically underestimated the heretical power of a major media network, that has been broadcasting the same heresy for 30 years, to all of America. Clearly, their attempts to discipline EWTN, got pious but hypocritical and purely temporary promises to obey; but actually changed nothing at all. Because the Church failed to address the major problem: which was EWTN itself. And the departure/retirement of Angelica, c.2000/2001, as Christ Ferrara noted, apparently let the network more completely than ever in the hands of heretical lay personnel; or by now, under the loose tutelage of by now, equally heretical protégé priests.
Many might have hoped that the departure of Mother Angelica, would have returned the network to the Church itself. However, it is obvious simply from analyzing its content, that the essential, deliberate, secret, obstinate and public and continuous rebellion of the network against traditional Catholic authority is structurally built into the network; perhaps in large part because of its lay and legal staff. Who are good at generating sophistical arguments, that appear to obey the Church … even as they twist and bend its doctrines to suit their own political, liberal/conservative, agenda.
No doubt, originally, Mother Angelica was the great offender and heretic: and that became obvious enough, when she began to chastise bishops in public. However, though Mother Angelica was the nominal head of EWTN, still, after 30 years, her staff and false spirit, her false ideas, remained. Indeed, the most offensive aspect of her organization, the subtle rebellion against any aspect of Church teaching, against any Church authority, that appears innovative or liberal, or the attempt by many lay staffers, to convert the Church to Republicanism or anti-abortionism, has remained. The real problem was never just Mother Angelica; Mother Angelica converted many around her, firmly, to her heresies. And many of the heretics of those she taught most intimately – the members of her staff, or other outsiders she strongly influenced – remain. The problem indeed, was soon enough, not just Mother Angelica; the problem now was just as much, especially, the rest of the organization; of EWTN. Which remains in place to this very day. The problem now is not Mother Angelica (who was laid low by a stroke some time ago); but with a) her talk show hosts; b) apologists; and c) one-issue guests. And d) other key staff. It is these new figures, that are now the backbone of this growing, worldwide heresy.
To be sure, the network claims today that all the criticism of the network proves that it is good. Especially since that criticism at times says it is too liberal; while others say it is too conservative. One EWTN contributor says that it was said the G.K. Chesterton, that when you are criticized for being opposite things, then after all you must be in effect, just right. But to be sure, Stalin was accused of being too liberal (/communist), and too coercive; did that make Stalin just right? Here as usual, G. K. Chesterton is clever, but ultimately wrong.
Chris Ferrara, in his book “EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong,” apparently makes the point that since the departure of Mother Angelica, EWTN is today even worse than ever. Because the network is no longer really, directly under and religious authority at all, as priest is under a senior priest or monsignor for example. Any priests there are appearing on EWTN are there in a strictly advisory capacity; while by now, those priests that stay, are only those who have themselves been seduced by the media glamour and sophistries, to have been converted to its heresy, themselves. Especially though, no doubt, if a Cardinal could not control the network, when it was being run by a subordinate to the Cardinal – by a nun – then of course, when the network was not even run by any religious priest at all, then it will be far harder to control than ever; and far more obstinate in its secret rebellions against the Church.
Cardinals Mahony, McCarrick, and Ratzinger, attempted to partially repair things. But from the look of these “Catholic” networks and their issue today, it is clear that even the efforts of three Cardinals, had no effect. Because, we suggest, the Church has failed to address the real, systematic problems. First, a) he Church never even attacked Angelica strongly enough; even after she began publicly reviling a Cardinal, Mahony. The problem is that the problem was that it never criticized Mother Angelica by name, prominently. So that most Catholics were unaware that they were following a nun that the Church itself did not support; because she was a heretic.
The problem was that the Church, eager to be gentile and forgiving and pastoral, never explicitly, prominently, named names, as it should have. The Cardinals spoke vaguely in public, about the “media.” But it didn’t point pointedly enough, at: a) Mother Angelica; b) EWTN and associates; and c) it never made it clear that its real target in attacking “one issue” Catholicism, was to attack especially, the heresy of anti-abortionism. Because of its vagueness, most Catholics never even knew there was a problem here. Or exactly who the problem was. Therefore, millions of Catholics have kept following the same false voices, therefore. Because they were never adequately warned by their leadership. Which decided to err on the side of compassion toward sinners … to the point of allowing their sin to continue, and deceive the whole world.
Because of the laxity and increasing politicization of the Church, most Catholics are helpless before false doctrines. Most Catholics today – leadership included – don’t really know that the current position of the Catechism, regarding the embryo – that the embryo is human “from conception”; and abortion is “grave”ly wrong – is absolutely inconsistent with, against, much of earlier Catholic Tradition. The idea that an embryo is fully human, is inconsistent for example, especially, with the writing of St. Thomas Aquinas; who said (following the Bible by the way; Ps. 139), that the young embryo was not formed enough, to have a brain or mind or soul (the “ensoulment” or “hominization” argument). Most Catholics today, who only know what EWTN tells them, are unaware that EWTN’s fetus fetishization, is inconsistent with the theologian made a central theologian of the Church, by Canon law; that EWTN’s position violates canon law. Because of the foolishness and laxity, “erring on the side of over caution,” much of the Church has been deceived; and is unaware that its pro-fetus stance, is actually inconsistent with, opposed to, the Bible (Num. 5.14-29, Ps. 139); opposed to the Cardinals; and is against the Pope. Most Pro Life Catholics do not know they are actually in rebellion against the deepest traditions in religion; that they are now opposing God himself (insofar as we ourselves can determine his nature at all). Long ago, the Catholic leadership in the Vatican, properly gave up trying to speak firmly; but then it however, allowed other self-appointed loudmouths to take its old place. It allowed self-appointed, loudmouth idiot Penn State football fans, like Drew Mariani, to appoint themselves as our new Pope. And to all such people to tell us their false ideas, as the voice of God himself. Because the Church properly gave up its voice, but then abdicated to self important idiots, Catholics have never really heard the voices of theologians, as they should have; but only the voices of loudmouth cheerleaders. The new footballs cheerleader religion, has now become the people’s main source of information on religion. And of course, that debased religion, their Christianity, is a debased mix of simplistic thinking, superstition, and fatuous political opinion. While no one has made any effective move to stop it – until today. Though finally it is for this very reason, that our current book was written: to at last begin to address, at least in print, the problem. Addressing our arguments here, as a petition to the hierarchy of the Church, to put far more able theologians in charge, in immediate day-to-day control of, any major media outlets, that presume to present themselves as “Catholic.” Here we address the Catholic leadership itself specifically: we address our present work as a petition of complaint, to the various agencies of the Church: including a) the International Theological Commission; b) the various heads of Vatican agencies like the office of Social Communications; to c) our local bishops and d( Cardinals. And of course to d) the Pope himself. To help them see the fantastic danger in “Catholic” media, and specifically anti-abortionism. And to urge them to take action finally, against this literally fatal development.
The problem was not just a) one rebellious nun, Mother Angelica; the problem was much, much bigger than that. It was b) largely, but not just, the (historically) new self-styled “Catholic” media networks; like EWRN, Global “Catholic” Radio. And c) their staff. Or d) their heretical one-issue-advocacy group guests. For that matter, e) the larger problem has not been d) just, specifically, the heretical cult of anti-abortionism. More than that e) the problem has been the Church itself. Specifically, its own increasing failure, to deal with the modern/postmodern world, in a responsible, responsible way. In the past, the Church has attempted to deal with “modernism” simply by aa) flatly denying and condemning it (as did Pious X). Or then by suddenly … bb) allowing it to have it own way. Allowing gay priests to sexually molest children in America and Ireland; allowing mere nuns and talk show hosts to absolutely usurp the traditions of the Church. Finally, the Church needs to address modernism and postmodernism, far more effectively, than either flatly denying it, or throwing up its hands, and uncritically accepting it all.
What should now be done? Though the Church itself has now and then made a few responsible statements about media – and even made some useful caveats, warnings, regarding even the “new evangelization,” and potential problems with the media – still, its own caveats were recently ignored, even by priests. The Church’s earlier media efforts went reasonably well (excepting the experience of Father Coughlin), in large part because they were overseen very, very directly, by bishops; Bishop Sheen did not usually allow priests to speak for him on the air, but appeared himself, for example, in person. This would be a better example: the role of being the face by which the Church is known worldwide, is a job too big for, say, a mere Penn State loudmouth football fan. Or even for a mere ordinary priest. Such a position should be held at the very least, by at an absolute minimum, by an on-air Bishop. While even there, each and every single show should be prefaced by a disclaimer; that these are informal opinions only.
Until that happens, the fact is, the Church was incredibly, culpably lax. The major “Catholic” media network in the world today, a network that has over 30 years reached directly or by word of mouth, hundreds of millions of Catholics, that presented itself continually as the definitive work of the Church and of God, was founded, basically, without any really effective, very direct supervision or control, by the Church itself. EWTN was a) established and by a mere simple nun; and the network reflected her severe limitations and narrowness and heresies. While b) her many lay guests and talk show hosts and lawyers were never even as well versed in religion as ordinary priests. Then too, c) none of even the dozens of priests and bishops that appeared on EWTN/RN, ever aa) really looked deeply enough into the network’s message or function. Or bb) had much power to change it. (Not even Joe Ratzinger, in his apparent c. 2003/4 appearance?).
No doubt, the Church today has been too complacent about EWTN, because of the presence of many priests on the network. Which the Church assumed would correct the network in its errors, with gentle pastoral chastisement. But a) those many, many ordinary priests who appeared on various shows, were never remotely good enough for this extremely important new job. They b) never really, actually looked deeply enough into the network … to discover its heresies. Perhaps too, c) most of the priests who were invited to reappear on the network, were invited back by the network in the first place, because they already showed signs of supporting, obeying its heresies. They were very conservative … and were happy to hear “conservatism” supported; without bothering to look at the details. While d) some of those priests who were liberals … managed to fit in too; so long as they wanted to extend human rights to embryos. (While then too, liberal priests, being somewhat cynical about any kind of doctrines and dogmas, also helped the network with its willingness to finally, begin inventing its own theology and doctrines. So that ironically, liberal priests contributed to a new conservatism. And to heresy.)
No doubt, the major blame should be placed squarely where it really belongs: with the all too ordinary lay persons, talk show hosts, lawyers and guests; who presumed to speak in the name of the Church. If “God sometimes uses imperfect people,” and sinners, as they often said in their own defense, so does the devil himself use imperfect people, all too well. But finally, too, the blame should go not to just the all too imperfect, vain, evil, unqualified persons that presumptuously presented themselves as the voice of God; the blame also goes to the Church itself. For allowing so many grossly unqualified persons to speak with evident authority, in its name, to millions; to deceive in fact, the whole world.
The Fuller Damage Done
By Lay Staff
To be sure, the Church itself, its priests, and one nun in particular – Mother Angelica – failed us all, drastically. But the Church failed us, primarily by allowing a false, rebellious lay voice to speak for it: EWTN. (How far has the Church been seduced? Father “Rocky” appears on a recorded message for the Winter Pledge Drive, 12:03 PM, 2/8/2010, asking for money for Relevant Radio. Repeated, expanded, “Help Relevant Radio stay on the air, explaining the “fullness of the faith”; 12:30. Drew Mariani 12:25 insists that a contribution is a contribution to Catholic “devotions.” But is Relevant Radio really the “fullness” of the faith? Rather, it is a contribution more, to a limited, one-issue heresy. 1:19 Mariani claims that Relevant Radio is the voice of the bishops. And “countless pro life organizations.” Catching men in “nets”).
Aside from the negligence of a hundred priests, who were not sufficiently well informed about the dangers of even “Catholic” media, the major source of heresy lately, has been organizations like EWTN themselves. While in turn, the major cause of EWTN’s secret rebellion against the Church, is its lay media staff and guests. Especially, it’s staff. Including especially, the most visible/audible members: its a) talk show hosts; its b) apologists. And its c) anti-abortion guests. Like especially, Karl Keating. Or on Relevant Radio, Sheila Liaugminas.
What’s wrong with the staffs on these networks? Though the public was rarely told this on air, many of the staff, are a) not priests. And b) are sometimes not even Catholic. Or were converted to Catholicism late in life. Furthermore, though these staffmembers assert and even feel their own loyalty to the Church, the fact that they are not priests, suggests that obviously, many were c) never devoted early enough to the Church, to become priests. And so too, they d) were never fully trained, in real theology. Few of the figures that dominate the “air” today, these “princes of the air,” had much if any, seminary training. And yet e) these many eminently unqualified people, have claimed implicitly, to be the definitive voice of the Church. So that their vanity and pride and presumptuousness are their foremost qualities. Should the Church be backing these people, or allowing them to speak?
How and why have so many unqualified people, non priests, gotten away with this presumptuousness, this supplanting of the Church, with their own philosophies, for so long? No doubt a) it was in large part, because of an incredible, culpable laxity of the Church. Or b) an incredible naiveté of the Church, the bishops and Cardinals; who just don’t watch the media well enough. But c) then too, what about the incredible vanity and presumptuousness of the lay staff? Where did so many people suddenly find the incredible nerve to begin to speak in the place of priests? To simply appoint themselves, without credentials, as the voice of the Church and of God? Perhaps the media staffers (and the bishops) aa) naively thought that as long as they quoted Bishops and the magisterium, they were authoritative; that they were following the Church well enough. But the fact is that bb) these new figures, never had quite enough seminary training, to quote the Church fully, or accurately. They never have enough training, to realize that after all, the magisterium is quite complex – and that what Catholic doctrine and the Bible seems to say in one part, it greatly modifies – or even retracts – in another. They cc) never had enough theology, to begin to read the whole, the “full” magisterium; they only read the parts they wanted to follow. Consider as our major example here, the Pope’s 2004 memo. Clearly, Pro Lifers read only its first part; which to be sure, seems to suggest that the Church could excommunicate pro-abortion politicians. But what our naïve and untrained, non-priests failed to do, was to adequately read the second part of the memo; the part that suggests that after all, voting for Pro Abortion candidates, “can be permitted.” (For those who can read more fully? Note other ambiguities and equivocation too in the 2004 memo, on matters like which other “issues” might be regarded as more important; mentioning abortion out-voting, “intrinsically,” just wars … but not unjust ones after all).
One of the great sins of religious talk show hosts, is that they are inadequately trained and certified, to lead the millions, billions, they now lead. The fact is, non-priestly talk show hosts and guests are people don’t have enough training to replace the Pope, as they now do. But worse, like many media people seeking the limelight, they are power hungry, dd) incredibly presumptuous and self-important, egotistical people. They are universally vain and proud enough, to simply ignore their own lack of qualifications – and to rush in an appoint themselves, present themselves without embarrassment, daily, as the voice of the Church. But these vain people, need to remember this useful, common saying: “fools rush in, where angels fear to tread.” Where the angels themselves retreated from dogmatic assertions, many mindless soldiers have rushed in. (12:36, 2/8/10 Drew Mariani calls himself a “ministry”? An “apostolate at 12:41 PM? Perhaps supporting the “Sacred Heart” is good; but that isn’t what the network really supports; rather it is the allegedly sacred fetus).
The new staffers, have many sins and shortcomings. Among others, ee) not having as deep a deep loyalty to, and knowledge of, religion or the Church as priests do, their apparent obedience to the Church, was quite superficial … and we see here, easily abandoned.
Or especially, ff) lay talk show hosts, deep down, having little training, little full priestly devotion, just don’t have enough devotion to truth, to honesty. Or they might have enough honesty that they don’t like flatly lying; but they don’t really mind bending and twisting the sayings of the Church. (A humorous example? Mon., Feb. 8, 2010, is doing a pledge or fund drive, for Relevant Radio; where Drew often asks for “Just 20 dollars.” Only rarely does Drew make it clear, that what he is asking for is not just 20 dollars; his network will be draining your credit card ,for just $20.00 … A DAY. One wonders what happens when the many “incredibly generous” callers find out their bank account is not losing $20.00, but is being drained of $20.00 a day; or $600.00 a month; or $7,000.00 a year. By “just 20 dollars.” Probably many listeners did not realize what they were really signing up for; even those who heard the occasional qualifier, “a day,” just meant, $20.00 for that single day. After getting that first months bill for $600.00, though, they should know better. Still, after having been congratulated with enormous gratitude for their “incredible generosity” in supporting the Church and the Lord – and 1:29 PM being told “how to vote” with 2:19 “Orthodox rock solid Catholic programming” – many donors will no doubt, be embarrassed by their own gullibility, and stupidity, and relative stinginess, what they regard as their own error, to just let stand, for at least a few months, what will be an incredible strain on their income for many. This is just one minor example of what happens, when media advertising hype, meets religion, in Catholic Talk Radio. Of how media dishonesty – “just 20 dollars” – is not really appropriate in Religion at all. If selling indulgences was bad, the new media Christianity makes that look like child’s play.)
Are our media popes, really loyal to the Church, or to virtues like simple honesty? Today no doubt, many members of the Catholic media lay staff are by now, not even troubled by the pretense to themselves, that they are loyal to the Church or God; by now, many are surely simply totally cynical, theatrical media manipulators and cynics. Most important for present purposes: by now, many people in Catholic media probably don’t mind flatly disobeying the Church; their pretense of obedience, is for many of them, an obvious and conscious pretense; but many media moguls simply don’t care. By now, there are undoubtedly many persons in Catholic media, with “seared consciences”; if caught lying and cheating, they don’t mind simply, consciously, falsely feigning piety, and trying hard to appear as deeply repentant and loyal as children, one minute. But then having fooled the audience – and having fooled “father” into giving them absolution for their lies – they cheerfully go on to commit the same sin again. “Knowing” that if only they appear repentant in the next confession, they will be forgiven their awful sins. By their credulous and all too trusting father. The fathers who didn’t really understand the hypocrisy of many media, theater people; and who forgave too many things in Catholic media, all too easily. Forgave especially those who could fake the appearance of being sorry for their sins. (“You can’t serve God in money; but you can serve God with money” assures Drew Mariani, 12:54 PM 2/8/10. Never mind the scandal of selling indulgences. “We are giving voice to our bishops,” Drew assures us 12:56. But is he?).
To be sure though, the problem was never just the Church; or just credulous and stupid priests; or even just one rebellious nun, Mother Angelica, speaking inappropriately. Just as much as genuinely dumb religious leaders, the problem has been just as much too, the “lay” Catholic staff, and then media organizations, they sponsored or allowed; the global “Catholic” media and their new lay staff, that the Church now allows to speak in its name (“orthodox, rock solid Catholic” doctrine, Drew assured us). Alongside many problems with the Church itself, the problem here is also, however, the non-priests. The ordinary lay persons, media hypesters, that now man so many positions in or around the Church. Non-priests now occupy extremely important, massively influential positions; positions that should not be occupied just by amateurs and media hucksters, salespeople. Or even by just ordinary priests. Positions that should be occupied by at least, a bishop, or even a cardinal. Only a person of that standing – at least a Bishop – is even remotely qualified, to preach, after all, to the literally millions now reached by Catholic media. The Church has been culpably, incredibly lax; letting what is probably one of the most important Church positions in North America, go to whatever self-important talk show huckster presented himself to fill the position. Here, in spite of its own due cautions, the Church relaxed; and never quite realized just how important such a position would become, in our media age. The Church therefore, has been remiss, lax, irresponsible, in staffing these all important new media roles.
The Church itself has often sinned, and made many mistakes; the Church on earth will not be perfect, as the Catechism says, until the end of time, and the second coming. Until then, the Church makes many errors. But in this case, closer to the heart of the new heresies and sins, are especially, not just the priests, but the lay staff they employed. The lay talk show hosts and apologists, and anti-abortion activist guests, that the Church allowed. In part, the problem has largely been that these new self-appointed voices of Catholicism, were never really under very direct Church management or control. First of all, the Church never even managed to control even Mother Angelica; even one rebellious/sentimental nun. While now it has been even harder for the Church to address and control these new people; who are not priests or nuns, and who therefore have never been as directly under Church control, as priests are. One would hope that these new Catholics, undereducated as they may be, would at least have enough conscience and honesty, piety, to regulate themselves; but after all, these are media people. And here, self-regulation, the honor system, does not work.
It is odd that the Church often eased to adequately monitor these problematic staffers and their media projects. Perhaps, a) the fathers became complacent. In the beginning of the Church’s media efforts, after many violent initial objections to religious radio, by priests, (see the related objections to deaconates, c. 1973), subsequent experience with the media, Bishop Sheen’s radio and TV appearances, seemed reassuringly nonthreatening. Or in any case, Vatican Radio itself for instance, seemed tame enough. So that, perhaps the media were reassured by its early, more successful media experiments (but ignoring Father Coughlin? SP?). Perhaps b) the Church did not monitor these new lay workers well enough; or did not crack down on them, because the hierarchy never realized how important their new jobs were; that these Catholics were extremely dangerous in their ignorance. And in their massive media influence. Or c) perhaps many priests did not realize that many of the innocent “errors” of these new media persons, were not innocent or ignorant at all: innocent fathers did not know that cynical media manipulators, were just playing, fooling the Church. Fooling the fathers with a false piety – so that these new media hypocrites could then use, manipulate the Church with impunity; using the Church as a megaphone for their own social, political philosophies. With the innocent fathers, untrained in media hype, never realizing they were being manipulated, and fooled.
The Church itself has many sins and problems on its own; like false promises of miracles and so forth. But the new lay staffers on EWTN and other new media outlets, are a new problem that must be dealt with. Christ Ferrara claims that these new workers are even worse recently, since Mother Angelica stepped down, c. 2000/2001. The departure of Mother Angelica, he asserts, has left the network totally under the control of unreliable, relatively untrained – and all too political/philosophical, unreligious – parties. Still however, there are many measures that can – and now must – be taken against these parties, by the Church. Here in fact, we will devote our last entire chapter or two, to describing in detail, the actions that now must be undertaken against EWTN/RN and related organizations. Especially the Church leadership, we will conclude, desperately needs to make sure that these relatively new organizations and persons, do not any longer, represent themselves as “Catholic.” Nor should they ever even imply, for a second, that they are the voice of the Church; while the presence of priests on these networks gives that false impression. The Church basically, should shut down these networks completely. But if these networks somehow survive that attempt, to simply end them, then these networks should be far more closely controlled. Among other things, they should be required to aa) present not just priests, but have a resident, on-air Bishop in church, and in day-to-day management, as even the chief voice of the network on the air. Like Bishop Sheen. Then bb) too, every single show should deliver disclaimers, prominently, every hour; making it clear that the words and ideas expressed in the network, are not necessarily the official opinion of the Church itself.
It appears that the new lay staffers are indeed, the heart of the problem. But finally of course, it would be uncharitable and vain, for the Church to blame everyone else, other than itself. The problem to be sure, has never been in large part the lay staff. But there are many huge evils, sins, not just in the lay staff, but also in the Church itself; and in the many dozens, hundreds of priests that have appear on these networks. In effect, a) the Church itself, made a very serious misstep, when it allowed an untutored nun, to become so prominent, that this unreliable woman began lifting up her voice so prominently in church, speaking, controlling, handing heresies, to millions of people. In particular b) the Church made an error, when it allowed this woman – and after her, the latest, 2000 Catechism – to take the embryo, abortion, too seriously. To built the embryo into the heart of this new media Catholicism. To in effect vaunt the embryo, over the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Some might say that some kind of popular media outlet for Catholicism, was inevitable in the modern era. But many egregious sins and errors have been committed, in the first media experiments, on EWTN/RN. In particular, Mother Angelica’s radically one-issue Pro Lifeism, anti-abortionism, has been an abomination. Mother Angelica took advantage of relative administration laxity, blindness toward the relatively new media, to not only found her own new media outlet … but also, unfortunately, her own new – and substantially false – theology. A theology that reflected her very narrow training; that concentrated all too exclusively, on just one narrow “issue” in life: as a nun, a “mother,” counseling pregnant Catholic women to go ahead and have a baby. While acting as one woman to another, consoling those who lost their embryo, through miscarriage or abortion. But as seemingly natural as this role might have been to a woman, it produced a rather unique and all too narrow, ill-formed theology. So that while Mother Angelica might have done a service for the Church in founding a new media network, unfortunately, she was better at organization-building than theology; and the massive new network she built up, ended up broadcasting a narrow, essentially ill-formed, false theology.
In the end, Mother Angelica and EWTN/RN may have done more harm, than good. Massive as the network has become, its message has been unfortunately, ill conceived, right from the start. And must now must be rigorously corrected. Until it corrected, truly massive resources, will continue to be devoted entirely to widely spreading and teaching, folk religion heresies. Like the heresy of one–issue, Pro Life anti-abortionism. The network founded by Mother Angelica has become so powerful, that without very, very strong, direct action by the Church today, thanks to the incredible power of these new media institutions, massive and literally fatal heresies will just continue to govern the vote, America, and the world. Narrow, false theology, one issue anti-abortionism, is indeed, even now being adopted by more and more priests and even bishops. While, with the appointment of EWTN protégé Archbishop Burke to the Vatican, it seems likely that the heresy of one-issue Catholicism – especially Pro Life anti-abortionism – is now poised to take over the entire Church; soon. When EWTN protégé Archbishop Burke (who may in part have early on, inputted into the 2004 memo, suggesting excommunicating pro-abortion politicians), was put in charge of a major Vatican court, the cult of anti-abortionism, was perhaps in effect put in charge at least of one Vatican court. So that Mother Angelica’s cult of the fetus, that values the fetus over adult human lives, is now likely o begin appearing very strongly, in core Vatican documents, within a few years. And to take over the Church itself. Unless sane, concerned Catholics do something about it. Unless we say, address Archbishop Burke and others, strongly, on this matter. Urging them to explicitly, publicly, repeatedly, repudiate their earlier excesses. While we insist that EWTN itself, issue public retractions of its position, several times a day, for many years; until all the damage that it has done, all the many millions of people it has taught falsely, have been reached, and corrected.
In the meantime, until a series of very, very strong and drastic actions is taken – far stronger than the mere indirect censure of EWTN and antiabortionism, by three Cardinals and the Pope – the evil influence of the embryo cult, will continue to grow every day. But what can a concerned Catholic or another concerned, ordinary citizen, do? In part, even the ordinary Catholic can begin to plead the case for a less fatally narrow, more balanced theology. One that does not defend just embryos – at the cost of abandoning millions of sick poor people, to die from lack of better health care. Today we desperately need in Catholic media, a theology that does not defend only or primarily embryos, at the cost of giving up on millions of the sick – and far worse, the billions of potential war casualties, and victims of future environmental disasters. (1:15 PM, 2/8/10, Drew Mariani explains that the role of Relevant Radio, is to tell Catholics where their faith applies to everyday culture; “health” and “the vote.” But is he and Relevant Radio really qualified to do this accurately? They have never been accurate on this in the past).
After 30 years of disproportionate, even obsessively narrow and false theology, it is time to try to return the Church and “Catholic” media, to sanity; away from a narrow obsession with the embryo, to more concentration on Jesus and Joseph and Mary, and the Holy Spirit. To do that, we now offer our present book.
Our present book, here, is intended to give sane and balanced people, some resources against one-issue anti-abortion fanatics, cultists; in our present book we have summarized more than one hundred arguments that can be used against Pro Life anti-abortionists. Arguments against an increasingly popular doctrine that however, we will have shown here, actually amounts to a heresy against the Bible, against the Church, and against God. Here and now, in our present book, we urge all Catholics – especially priests, but also ordinary concerned citizens – to read our many arguments against one-issue fanatics. And then we urge readers, and the Church itself, to begin to correct one-issue antiabortion fanatics.. We need all narrow religious fanatics, to back away from their obsessive, narrow focus just on one issue in life; we need them each to learn to consider a far, far wider range of issues; to consider what even the bishops call “other issues.” Like health care, and the environment. And avoiding unnecessary wars. Our conclusion here, is roughly that a) most of Christian tradition says that embryos are not fully human beings. Therefore b) the deaths of embryos is not a life issue that competes on equal footing with other things that kill children and adults. This is in part why c) at least three Cardinals and the Pope himself, in effect criticized EWTN and/or one-issue Catholicism; they assumed that there were many “proportionate”ly more important “other” issues, than abortion. But d) we also find here that even if you – illegitimately – counted embryos as human beings, then even so, there are other issues that kill more people, proportionately.
Specifically, what other issues are more important than abortion, even in the number of deaths killed, or at risk? For example, wars in the past have already killed hundreds of millions of human beings. We need to always keep working hard to avoid wars, therefore. If the deaths caused by “just” wars or just capital punishment are not important, then there are after all, unjust wars to avoid. Or indeed, there are just, but unnecessary wars. Then too, in addition e) there are environmental disasters. The Bible itself noted them causing huge deaths in the past – as in The Flood, in various famines and plagues. We would suggest here that since the embryo is not a full human being, almost any other life issue – like war or environmental disaster – outweighs it in proportionate. Even the slight risk of a war is enough to outweigh abortion; even the slight risk in electing a pro-troops, pro-military president, who might start a war, is a more serious danger to the world, than abortion. To say nothing of presidents that neglect environmental things, like the dikes in New Orleans … that then lost part of the city to floods. If past numbers seem small to war and environmental disaster, consider them as proportions of the then-current world population. And consider the potential for destroying today, billions of human beings. As foretold in the Bible itself, after all.
The young embryo is not a human being; because it is not “formed” enough; expanding on Thomas Aquinas, the great theologian of the Church, we suggest it does not have a big enough brain, or enough experience, to have the mind or intelligence, a spirit or a soul. So that the lives of embryos, are not so important. And are certainly not worth sacrificing the lives of mothers, children, and human beings, through neglect of other issues than abortion.
Our major position here, is that we assert here – following here, St. Thomas Aquinas and many others – is that the embryo is not formed enough to have a real mind; and therefore it is not a full human being or human person. Therefore, the deaths of even millions of embryos, is a proportionately less important issue, than even a merely elevated risk, of many other more important issues. Like health care. Or avoiding an unnecessary nuclear or major war. Or an environmental disaster. Issues which have already, biblically, historically already killed many; and that could one day kill hundreds of millions, even billions of human beings. Indeed, in a sense, most of us will all die a little earlier than we might otherwise, from lack of health care, at the end of our lives. From lack of one or two additional measures, that might have kept us alive for at least a few days longer. But more important are biblical warnings of wars and environmental disasters in the Apocalypse; which clearly have the potential to kill a third or more of the population of the earth – billions – even today. All this, according even to the Bible itself; its warnings about the avenging angels, and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, including those carrying … “vials” full of diseases, it seems.
Our final position therefore is that more closely, fully read, Catholic tradition and the Bible do not stress abortion and embryos, nearly as much as sentimental nuns and others have rashly stressed them. Our position is that therefore, even the Church itself has indicated that there are many other things besides abortion, many other “issues” that are much more important, “proportionate”ly, than even the lives even millions of embryos. As key Catholic documents tell us. To be sure, Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI’s 2004 memo, seemingly rejected the intrinsic importance of “just” wars, and proper capital punishment. But we have shown here that such “intrinsic” ethical argumentation was wrong. While in any case, the future Pope clearly assumed there were “proportionate”ly more important things than abortion. And the 2004 memo left open the possibility that, among the many things that can be far more important than abortion, are unjust wars. Or we suggest here, ourselves, “just” but unnecessary wars.
In fact, since the embryo does not have a really full, human mind, it is not a human being or human person; and therefore, the deaths of embryos is a misdemeanor, at worst. For this and other reasons, there are therefore many, many far, far more important issues to consider in the voting booth, and in daily life; far more destructive things to worry about. Like health care, and wars, and environmental disasters. Indeed, following Pope Benedict XVI, and his “proportionate” logic or prudence, we suggest that even the rather remote possibility of an anti-abortion but pro-military administration, unnecessarily causing a major war – even “just” but unnecessary war – is a more important issue, than abortion of embryos. Then too, the risk of an environmentally insensible administration, causing the end of the whole earth, is definitely a more important consideration, than embryos. (An end that, to be sure, anti-abortion extremist Johnnette Benkovic of EWTN, c. 2008/9, did not consider important; her answer here being that the world is supposed to end, and so if we end the world through war and causing disasters, it means that she, Johnnette, will go to heaven. But after all, we suggest that since Johnnette Benkovic and Fr. Ed Sylvia thus support the wars and diseases that kill billions, because of their gross, militaristic insensitivity and heresies, they will not go to heaven after all; but they will go to Hell. A good and likely place after all, for those who neglect – and finally even through neglect, cause – billions of deaths of children and adults. In the name of soulless embryos.
The bottom line is that the main theology of EWTN/RN and Relevant Radio, has been a one-issue anti-abortionism. But that theology is false; and literally, physically dangerous; it is therefore an abomination. While Catholic Radio’s second major theology – conservatism – is equally false. So that it is time for Catholic Radio to move on, be improved … or be shut totally down; taken off the air.
The Political Bias, of
Pro Life Anti-Abortionism
Our book is offered here in an attempt to fix these problems. To be sure, a mere book or two, on the evils of EWTN and anti-abortionism, will not be enough to fix all the many problems, sins, of Catholic media. Countless other efforts were made earlier, to fix this problem; very strong efforts were made to reform EWTN/RN, by no less than three cardinals, and by the Pope himself. Yet even the intervention of three Cardinals and the Pope himself, have not been enough to change the sins of “Catholic” media. So that ultimately, we will obviously need far, far, far more drastic and dramatic action from the Church itself, to actually fix this. We will also need action from many concerned persons: people in the Democratic Party for instance; and people in Protestant churches, among many others. Clearly, if EWTN/RN can resist three Cardinals and a Pope, then only the very, very determined efforts of many, many individuals, will be enough to slow this heresy-generating machine down. Many people will be needed to stop the heresy of narrow-minded, one-issue theology; and to stop this politically partisan theology from soon, ruining America and the world.
Very, very strong measures will probably be necessary, against EWTN/RN. But before describing fully the drastic, strong measures now necessary to fix this, suppose we briefly, once again, summarize one final aspect of the problem. Particularly, their political bias, their political partisanship.
Anti-abortion sentiments today are constantly proclaimed on Catholic talk radio, as its major distinctive issue. Anti-abortionism is constantly proclaimed by talk show hosts, as the true, authentic voice of the Church; the voice of the Bible; the voice of God. All of America has been told for 30 years, that the Church insisted that the major issue in life, is abortion; and that we must always vote for anti-abortionists in every election. But since the most anti-abortion political party was Republican, this meant that in effect, we were being told by Global Catholic Radio, that God orders us to vote Republican. But of course, this means that there is a political message in “Catholic” radio. And worse, this political message, was enormously effective, c. 1980-2008. In that time frame, the small but significant Catholic “conservative” and “Pro Life” anti-abortion vote, was more than enough to control one election in America after another; telling Catholics that God was ordering them to vote Republican, elected one after another “conservative”/patriotic, nationalist militarist Republican to prominent office. So that the “conservative” and Pro Life heresies, had effectively taken over America; and through America, the world, by 1980-88 especially. A pattern that did not begin to change until, tentatively, 2008. Even though it is clear that God himself, does not tell us how to vote in the Bible; Democratic or Republican. While it is becoming clear too, that there are many other Christian issues – like helping the poor, the sick, and avoiding wars and so forth – that are central to Christianity, and that are backed better by the Democratic, not the Republican, Party.
For many decades, the new Catholic broadcast media, have sided, 95% of the time, with only one party in American: with the conservative, Republican Party. And these media effectively controlled, leveraged, the whole country, for nearly 30 years. Ironically to be sure, the anti-abortion movement was never strong enough to achieve its actual, primary objective: it was never quite strong enough, to overrule Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. But ironically, it was just enough to thrown many more Catholic votes toward Republicans; far more than you would expect for a religion composed largely of minorities, like Hispanic and Irish Catholics. Ironically, though it was never able to actually achieve its own major aim, it was however (curiously) able to elect countless nationalistic/militaristic Republicans to office, for nearly 30 years. So that ironically, the movement that aimed to save lives, actually only put into office one after another, internationally confrontationalist, pro-military President and/or Congress in office. While our patriotic, pro-military, pro-“troops” Republicans, soon got us into several wars, that killed many thousands. Bush in his first day or two in the White House, backed Israel over Palestine, and enraged Muslims, Arabs; within a year or less, Muslims had attacked and destroyed the World Trade Center. And soon America was involved in a worldwide war with Muslim extremists; a “War on Terrorism.” In part perhaps, because of insensitivity to other religions, like Islam; and then too, due to the simple willingness, of a party that glamorized war, the military, to go to war, after all. (You would think that a National Guard ad would be unusual, in a church service; but listen to one say, at 1:47 PM, on Relevant Radio, AM 970 in Austin, Feb. 8 2010). Conservative Catholics supported “America”; never mind that the Catholic Church was an international organization, headed by a German Pope in Italy; supporting one billion Catholics, of whom only 6% were Americans. And they did not like negotiating with our enemies or “turning the other cheek”; they supported American military responses to any provocation. So that we had the self-proclaimed voice of the Church, assuring us that it was good for American to go to war with the rest of the world; beginning with Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, the Pope’s 2004 memo mentioning “just” wars seems calculated as a nod to this side of American politics. Even though to be sure, there is always a strong likelihood that American conservatives’ own intolerance toward other religions, was a major cause of incendiary rhetoric, and then wars. So that the patriotic, pro-military attitude tends to actually create wars. Wars that appear just; but that were probably caused unnecessarily, by incendiary rhetoric.
It would be easy to prove that Catholic radio, EWTN/RN, has been politically biased; though the networks rarely explicitly endorsed “Republicans” by name, there was a clear pattern of attacking the “issues” of Democrats, while favoring Republicans; by a factor of at least 10 to one (probably, 999 to 1000, actually; 99.99%). Catholics were assured that this was a simple result of just following the Church and the Bible; but we have found here that in fact the Bible itself – and much of Church tradition – would not lead to such a disproportionately Republican result at all. Since Democrats backed many other very Christian issues; like especially, helping the poor. Indeed, the main issue of the Democratic Party, has been helping the poor; from the days of the Depression and governmental assistance for the poor, social security, to the Civil Rights Voting act of the 1960’s; to the current attempt to extend universal health insurance, to 10 to 30 million uninsured poor people.
How did Catholic radio manage to be so completely politically biased, to turn itself into a tool of the Republican Party, without anyone noticing? In part, it was a) because Karl Keating and others, came up with dozens of arguments to attempt to assert that Republican “issues” – like abortion – trumped, outweighed, all other issues in life. To be sure though, we have finally shown here that those arguments making the embryo the most important entity in the universe, were simply, false. But then too, b) the other major argument that funneled Catholic votes toward the conservative part, was EWTN’s assertion that only conservatives represented God and the Church. While yet another argument, was that c) God favored America; and that American military action was always “just” and good. So that God was telling us to vote for the pro-American party, the Republican party. While indeed in fact, d) the argument was often made in neo-con circles, that America was largely a Christian nation; and even that e) in effect, Christian “values” should run America, and be instituted as laws there. So that in effect, America is – or should become – a religious state; not a democracy, but a theocracy.
Since sending Archbishop Burke to the Vatican, c. 2008/9, this heretical “conservatism” is now poised to entirely dominate the Church – and America, even more than before. Conservatives are ready to take the politically-activist side of the movement, to force the Church to give up the Church’s treaty-enforced policy of non-interference in politics. Having dominated many American elections, conservative elements within the Church are today poised to, after a lapse of a century or so, make a play to restore the politically active Church; a religious state. To re-establish in effect, a new Holy Roman Empire; and restore a religious, quasi “Catholic” Republican hegemony, over the entire world.
A few people might welcome such a resurgence of “the Church” in world events, and even politics. But note from the above, first, that there are many literally, physically fatal theological errors in partisan, Republican Catholicism. Second though, we should also note that there are many civil, democratic objections to such a Catholic state. Indeed, not only does the Constitution insist that no religion should be “established” as the official religion of the country. But indeed, many, many actual wars were earlier fought, c. 1530-1776, by Protestants and others, to set up “freedom of religion,” against prevent precisely that. Indeed, America itself was partially founded, in protest against the establishment of any official state religions. Either Protestant (as in the English or Anglican Church), and/or Catholic (Catholicism being at times, the official and only legal religion of the Papal states? Italy?). By far, most of the people who signed the Constitution, were Protestants, incidentally. And they founded this country specifically, in the name of “freedom of religion.” Intending also, that we should all have freedom from an official state “establishment of religion” too. The Constitution indeed, sought keep religion out of Government; to set up what Jefferson called an “iron wall of separation” between Church and State. To avoid the repetition what had been happening for the 200 years or so that preceded 1776; centuries when Catholics and various Protestant denominations, created one war after another; precisely because they were each attempting to establish their own religion as the official state religion. For hundreds of years therefore, dozens of massively destructive wars were created, largely in the attempt of one Christian group to establish itself as the official religion of the state; to set up one of its own as king. Driven in part by religious fervor, these many wars were incredibly destructive. It was precisely to avoid this – the 200 years of wars caused by people trying to set up their own religion as the official religion of the state – that the founders of America stipulated that there was to be no official state religion at all in America.
From 1990 or so though, many religious conservatives (like Rev. Kennedy, of Florida, and Mr. Barton, of Texas), were explicitly attempting to overthrow the doctrine of the “separation of church and state”; and overthrow in effect, freedom of religion in America; to make America in fact and even in name, a Christian nation. Yet though many attempts were made to set up an official state religion, to set up America as a theocracy instead of a Democracy, the fact is, given the awful history of different religions slaughtering each other to control the state, it would seem best to continue to honor freedom of religion, and to honor the separation of church and state, for a while longer. Especially considering that these principles were always said to be among the core values of the Constitution. And considering as a practical matter, how bloody many attempts to impose one religion on others, have been. Then too, here and now, we might consider just exactly what kind of political figures, specifically, have chosen to try to take over Catholicism, and American, and the world, lately. In particular, the kind of people who seem best positioned to take over the church today, in the name of politics, were especially, unthinking or very unsophisticated conservatives. People like legally-trained Pat Robertson, and Mr. Barton of Texas. Persons who were not Catholic by the way, but who were, ironically, Protestants. One might well ask whether anyone really wants these specific people, running the whole country. And the world.
But there are other problems, with trying to make Christianity the official state religion of America. When you blend Church and State in a “conservative” format, we have found here, you will have instituted a new religion, that did not really listen to the Bible itself. The fact is, no one that really knew the Bible and the Church, could ever have said what the “conservatives” told us. Among other objections to them: we have found here that the word “conservative” is never found in the Bible itself; while the concept is largely opposed in the New Testament. Jesus himself strongly opposed the conservatives of his time: the Pharisees, who told everyone to follow the “letter” of the “law.” Indeed, it was the conservative Jews of his time that executed Jesus; for allegedly breaking conservative, traditional religious laws. Like the law telling us not to work on a Sabbath or Sunday. Then too, Jesus himself was not conservatively militaristic either; when soldiers came to arrest him for heresy, he did not resist with swords; but in fact healed the ear of a solider struck by St. Peter. While Jesus elsewhere told us to “love your enemy.” And “turn the other cheek.” So that it seems clear that a conservative Christianity, does not really follow the Bible itself; particularly it does not really follow the New Testament. Then too, the Bible was not entirely enthusiastic about a union of church and state; it often noted that religious kings, even like Saul or even David, often made religious mistakes. So that the really religious figure was at times not so much a king, often, but more of a prophet.
There are therefore many general, even Biblical objections to yet another major conservative agenda: to setting up certain kinds of religious states. Especially there are objections when we consider what specific kind of religious state was proposed; by the “Christian” and later “Conservative” “Coalition.” In part – at least in the Catholic networks version – it was an allegedly “conservative” Catholicism, taking over the Church, and the government, taking over the state. But we have shown many problems specifically with “conservative” religion, here.
Among the major problems with “conservative” networks like EWTN/RN, was that the conservatism of the day was not really a religious or Christian, but was a political impulse. Many allegedly religious politicians, were hypocrites. They were people who deep down dislike abortion, as their own personal, social, political opinion … but who then went on to assert that God himself, disliked abortion. But when they insisted that abortion was condemned by God, they said something that was not true, we have shown here. What anti-abortion conservatives have told us, did not really match what the Bible said. The major sin in religious anti-abortionism, is that it misrepresents God and the Bible. Anyone can oppose abortion as his or her own opinion; but the second you say that abortion was hated by God himself, you are speaking falsely for God: God himself, the Bible itself, never said any such thing. Those many people – especially women – who say that God said abortion is bad, therefore, are themselves doing a very, very, evil thing: they are speaking falsely for God. Which is an extremely serious sin. Anyone can oppose abortion as his own personal opinion; but the second you say that God himself opposes it, you speak falsely for God.
In fact, the Bible if anything, often said the opposite of what Christian “conservatives” were saying. Which brings up another related reason not to trust conservatives, and their attempt such ties between religion and politics. Among other reasons, their attempted link-up between religion and politics, was not really true to the Bible; it was actually, from the worst opinions, traditions, of men. It was selling fallible human ideas, as perfect holy truth, from God. And that was an extremely bad thing to do. And so the attempt to join oldtime religion to the state, lead to many problems, and was all too easily abused. Joining religion to politics, became unfortunately, just a cynical way for some very, very worldly Republicans, to begin the deliberate and cynical insertion of their own politics and opinions, into church doctrine. Inserting their own “conservatism” into Catholicism, they began to Republicanize Christianity; they began illegitimately inserting many Republican ideas into religion. One the dividing barrier between religion and man was breached, when people get the idea that religion is just another idea of men, as just before Hitler’s Germany, some cynical men began cynically using religion; began just inserting their own opinions into it, and claiming those were the opinions of God. They began using the Church, as a mask, a cover, a legitimization, of their own opinions. But to do this, they often crossed, violated, three thousand years of tradition. Conservatives often crossed the Bible itself; they crossed God himself. Rather than bringing religion to correct ordinary men, they brought all-too-ordinary opinions to religion. Adulterating it.
In effect, asserting that the conservative (read: Republican) Party was the party, the voice of God, was in part merely a convenient trick by Republicans, to funnel religious, Catholic votes to the Party. To support its own agendas; agendas which were often not really Christian at all. Including not only anti-abortionism; but also conservatives’ constant warlike rhetoric, and provincial patriotism. Which opposed the mildness and peacefulness of ministers – and of Christ himself.
. . .
There were many rather un-Christian things in conservative/Republican religion therefore. Unfortunately though, bad as it was, the historical attempt by conservative Republicans and others, to take over the Church, and to take over America, was partially successful, from around 1980-2008. From c. 1980- 2008, many, many conservative Republicans were elected. Elected in large part, by Catholic minority voters, whose vote would normally have gone to the party that supported minorities: the Democrats. All in all, phony as it was in some ways, the neo-conservative agenda was a success. It effectively ruled the vote, ruled America, and ruled the world, for many years.
Conservatism could increasingly run things, only by manipulating the Church itself. But it managed to do this, by manipulating the sentiments of sentimental women; but then also appealing to others, with various sophistical theologies, apologetics. Thanks to the clever if false arguments of lawyer-apologists like Pat Robertson and Karl Keating, gradually conservatives took over Christianity itself. Thanks specifically to Karl Keating and EWTN, even the Roman Catholic Church itself – which normally resisted such influences better than most – was becoming the tool of worldly political agendas; a funnel for delivering votes to the Republican Party; its “issue” and “philosoph”ies. While amazingly few people in the Church itself, saw the problem, or tried to stop it. Tens of millions of people, bought it all, hook, line, and sinker. They never saw problems coming from it at all; almost no one knew what was really happening.
Why didn’t people see the sins in the new Republican state religion? The problem was in part, that most ordinary people did not know enough theology – not even Bishops knew enough theology, apparently – to know that the vision of the Church we were now getting from the new networks, was not really fully consistent with the real, fuller Tradition of the Church, and of the Bible. And of Jesus. The fact is, the new apologists – like Pat Robertson and Karl Keating – were trained speakers, rhetoricians; and they were able to appeal to simple, rough people, to vote against intellectual niceties and subtleties and ambiguities; to follow a few simple rules; marching orders. Orders organized around a few simple, traditional (but backward?) ideas: love of old ideas; love of country.
Today, the public has at the last minute, veered for a moment, away from conservative control: in 2008, tired of endless wars, and funneling money to rich banks and investors, Americans elected one of the most liberal members of the Senate, Barack Obama, to the presidency. And yet however, the move to liberalism, was not complete; as of this date, Feb. 2010, there is still enough conservative sentiment around, to for the moment, defeat the attempt to liberally extend better health insurance, health care, to the poor. While there is evidence that whatever is happening in the electorate, the Church itself, is on the verge of being taken over by conservatives. Because to this very day, everyday bishops for example, do not know that one-issue anti-abortionism, neo-conservatism, was politically biased; or was more a fallible tradition of men, rather than of the Bible. For that matter, even the superiors of the bishops, the few cardinals who were sophisticated enough to see such things, could not do anything realistic about it.
As we have shown here, at least three Cardinals and the Pope, attempted to correct EWTN, and to correct some of the various theological/pastoral solutions to problems with the neo-conservative mix of religion and politics. But obviously, even the efforts even by three Cardinals and the Pope, simply failed. By now, by 1997, self-described “conservatives” like Mother Angelica and her network, specifically, were strong enough to simply take on at least a bishop (later Cardinal), like Mahony, publicly, to urge rebellions against such bishops, on the air. And Bishop/Cardinal Mahony himself, was not able to really stop it. As Mother Angelica’s massive media machine, simply ground up even opponents as strong as Bishops, and Cardinals.
The Church never realized, how strong this media network really was; never realized that it was by now, after 30 years, strong enough to defeat or derail, even bishops and cardinals – and even Popes. By 2004, even the father direct criticism of one issue anti-abortionism, by the future Pope himself, his rebuke of the dis-“proportionate” emphasis on the embryo, really had no appreciable effect at all, on networks like EWTN. The media after all, have many dishonest resources at their disposal; by now, millions of Catholics were following EWTN; and got most of their impression of the Pope not from Vatican Radio, but from EWTN itself. So that all the network had to do, was simply … never report the words of the Pope, that contradicted its own politics. And most Catholics would never even be aware, that the Pope himself was speaking against EWTN, and its radical anti-abortionism. Or, if an occasional caller would note what the Pope said, then legions of trained sophists, were on hand, to “twist” the Pope’s words. Until they said what EWTN wanted them to say.
The Church has no idea what it is facing. By today, EWTN is such a powerful entity, that clearly, even the rather direct chastisement of the network founder, and of its chief theology, by three Cardinals and the Pope, has had no effect whatsoever on EWTN, and on its audience. Because the Church never really realized the power of even “Catholic” media, for evil. (The Church’s embrace of “Social communication” to be sure, continuing to put the emphasis on direct preaching, it seems). The Church has to this very day, not really understood that in “conservative” “Catholic” networks like EWTN and Relevant Radio, the Church is facing … an extremely powerful new, schismatic sect or cult. It was facing in effect, a new rival religion. Run by people, women, who did not mind inculcating their values, even in children, deliberately, by rote stories. Even before they were capable of critical thought: as proclaimed positively, by the author of “The Miracle of Me, From Conception to Birth,” Amy Patterson, 1:00-1:30 PM Central, Relevant Radio, Dec. 15, 2009. The talk show host at 1:38, referring to her organization, “MOMS,” as a “ministry.” So that by now, we have women advancing themselves rather explicitly ministers, or keepers of a “ministry.” But they are ministers, priestesses to be sure, only in the new apostate church, of the embryo. Though currently they represent themselves as loyal Catholics.
The Church has by no means realized just how serious, and how strong, its new opponent is. Today it is facing a new kind of self-proclaiming “ministry” in its church. Ministers who however, are rather different than ministers of say, God. Today, amazingly, no one notices the heterodoxy, of declaring new female “ministries” in a patriarchal church. Or the potential vanity, in declaring the “miracle of me.” Nor does anyone notice, when these new Catholics reference not God or the Vatican, but their own personal web site, with their own non-priestly, unsanctioned opinions on it, as definitely Catholic: “CatholicWord.com. Nor does anybody flinch, when a priest around this time, tells us in a brief ad, “We may not have to go the Bible, but just to the TV, to see who we are.” Surely, what we are facing in the new media Catholicism, is the end of the authority of the real Church: nobody flinches, as a random woman terms herself as the definitive “word” of the Catholic Church; or as a priest on self-appointed Catholic media, assures us that we maybe don’t have to read the Bible, but just watch TV, to realize ourselves fully. So that we need to censure or qualify these voices. (Or if to be sure, the Church itself today is often found to be sinning, erring, then to be sure, perhaps the answer is that no one at all should be presumptuous enough to present themselves as the voice of God, any more. Not even the Church itself. Perhaps after all, Amy Patterson’s efforts above, are in some ways, nearly the equal of the Church. But then, neither is to be taken too seriously.)
The Church has not really appreciated just what is happening; or is not directing it properly. Nor is anyone in the Church today, really cognizant of the literally, physically deadly effects, this new Church can have. As it turns out, these are not just harmless false ideas; as we will have begun to show here, there literally, physically deadly, physically fatal consequences, to inventing our own religion daily … but then demanding the traditional total obedience, to half-baked ideas. In particular, the new members, lawyers and talk show priests and priestesses of our new Protestant/evangelical Apostate Church of Holy Fetus, need to consider say, Cardinal McCarrick’s implied point. They need to consider the fact that these Pro-Lifers, who are allegedly strong on anti-abortion, good at protecting the embryo, are not so strong on other “life issues”; like Health Care, and protecting the sick and the poor. Nor strong on avoiding wars … and killing lots of adults. The new Church of Holy Anti-abortionism is very, very “good” about protecting a blob of cells; but not good at all, about saving grown children and adults. Indeed, when Universal Health Care for the poor, the 10 to 30 million uninsured, was for a time defeated in 2009/10, this denied better health care to tens of millions of poor people; many of whom will of course physically die, from lack of care. (A 2009 Harvard study suggested that about 47,000 a year would die; though this number seems very low. While over twenty years or so, this amounts to about a million deaths). And here we are dealing with anti-abortionists causing the deaths not of a few cells, or young embryos; but the deaths of real children, and adults.
. . .
These are just a very few of the problems caused by the attempt by lay conservatives, to blend religion and state; c. 1980-2009. The earliest results here, by the way, were not good. As we see now in our present case study, of “conservatism” and Pro Life anti-abortionism. (Problems of which EWTN say, was utterly unaware or denying; though see however, Feb. 11 2010, EWTN. After a youthful male voice, at 5:58 AM Central Time 2/10/10, making heretical, militaristic assumptions in the name of God – “soldiers are working to ensure freedom for all”; rashly assuming that all soldiers, all wars, or even our own, are just and good [even Nazi soldiers?] – the next day, starting at 6:30 AM or so, talking head Teresa Tomio, after expressing great admiration for Archbishop/ “Cardinal” Burke, admits that however she has spoken to The Pontifical Council for the Laity at the Vatican; with mixed reviews. And admits at 8:44 AM that “my degree is in journalism, not theology.” And that indeed is the problem: today in Catholic media, we have persons that know media, journalism only, presuming to define, speak for God himself, in front of millions. And millions now follow them. Though these talking heads have even less knowledge about the Church and God, than ordinary priests. Either we should rather utterly separate Church and State – as Chris Matthews suggested in his interview with Bishop Tobin – or, if we are to have a merger of religion and state, then we will need a much better, much more careful religion; one that does not just make up new ideas, new opinions, and introduce them as the word of God – and as Law – without centuries of consideration. Unfortunately the Vatican, since 1929 or so, and certainly the new Catholic laity, has attempted to compromise with modernity, in the wrong way: by making up new modern ideas, and new doctrines about the embryo and so forth – and then announcing them as eternally sacred. If there are to be new ideas in religion, they should be announced as experimental ideas, and very carefully examined for a century or so, before being presented as holy.)
For some time, conservatives especially tried to introduce new religious ideas; it claims that its new ideas are just a “refinement” of ideas, hints, that were always already there. And yet however, sometimes it a) picks the wrong hints from the past; or it b) refines them in the wrong way. In the present case, the neo-con movement, has attempted to refine/create a “conservative” concept: of religion, merging into a “Conservative Coalition” with conservative, patriotic, nationalist Republican politics. But we are showing here, that this rather new idea, or new “refinement” of old ideas, did some very bad things; and did not really follow ancient tradition well enough, or in the right way.
In particular, to achieve the unity of Church and State, “conservatives” had to attack longstanding principles; even attack founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson. Yet to be sure, the separation of Church and State, soon came under explicit, deliberate attack, by right-wing politicos. Supporting this attack was a common sermon, from the televangelists Rev. Kennedy of Florida, and Pat Robertson. (And Mr. Barton of Texas, on TBN; “Trinity Broadcast Network”). Pat Robertson and others indeed, essentially joined the Conservative Coalition; that attempted to merge conservative religion and conservative politics/government, into a religious state. This massive conservative coalition involved, helped found, many religious networks, like EWTN. And through them, right-wing, political, nationalistic/patriotic, “conservatives” began to take over talk radio, and then take over religion, Christianity. Merging religion into – or subsuming it under – conservative politics.
A new, unholy alliance was being formed. Building on a perceived potential link between conservative politics, and conservative, old-fashioned religion. It was hoped that the “Christian Coalition” could join political conservatives; to become a “Conservative Coalition.” Merging supporters of conservative social practices and political beliefs – like a) patriotic, pro-military Republicans, and b) the residual anti-abortionism of women, with b) a remembered conservative, childhood religion. In this way, people were attempting to form a new “Conservative Coalition.” One building in fact, on a common grass-roots conflation of “God and Country”; religion and patriotism. But however common it is for ordinary people and Boy Scouts to put together both Church and State, Religion and Public Citizenship, still, there are many difficulties in achieving such a thing. As we saw in the hundreds of years of wars caused in Europe, c. 1530-1917. It was because of great dangers and problems in such a process, that in 1776, the American founding fathers wisely decided to, for the time, partition the two – Church and State. But the new conservative coalition, would try to prematurely or precipitously dissolve many of these protective boundaries between Church and State; and put America firmly in the hands of Christianity. But which Church? The Protestant, or the Catholic Church? Catholic conservatives confidently assumed that the new state religion, would be Catholic; though actually, America was founded by Protestants; and Pat Robertson wanted a rather Protestant government no doubt. While then too in any case, the new movement would have put the state, the nation of America, even more firmly, specifically, in the hands of rather cynical “conservative” politicians. Whose theology however, many have suggested, was mostly flawed; an unholy mix of theology and Republicanism. While then too, many Republican’s devotion to Religion, Christianity, the Bible, the Church, was – as we have shown here – not at all as sincere or as informed, as full, as it ought to be. Indeed, conservative theology was often self-contradictory or hypocritical. A times, it often seemed to be a cynical by politicians, to manipulate religion, to help them take over the government.
The core of the strategy by Republicans, for taking over the country totally, was in part the attempt to energize and recruit religious conservatives. And then increase their involvement in politics and government, by attempting to advance many arguments that would dissolve hard-fought boundaries between Church and State. This was done by phrases that suggested for example that religion should be “relevant” to everyday life; to “bridge the gap between religion and every day life”; the motto of Relevant Radio. That Religion could and should even “tell us how to vote” (as claimed by Drew Mariani, 2/10/10 1:40 PM). To be sure, America had been founded in large part, by the effort to avoid precisely such a mergers; to avoid the many wars caused by attempts of various conflicting religions, to over the state. But ignoring or explicitly attacking that fundamental American principle of “Separation of Church and State,” the new religious “conservatives” like Pat Robertson deliberately, explicitly attacked that useful boundary. And to help dissolve that boundary, they drew on what was a common, grassroots confusion, conflation, between love of God, and love of Country “God and Country” was a phrase commonly heard in everyday life … though it was not found in the Bible itself, to be sure.
Especially, neo-conservatives exploited a common presumption uneducated America, that “God and Country” were one and the same; that the values of God, Christianity, were entirely compatible with patriotic Americanisms, the values of America. To be sure, this was not easy to do without violence to the Bible itself. The Bible never mentions America by name; and speaks more of “Israel”; while the Bible and its prophets, often had reservations about “nations”; and even about Israel, and its “kings.” While if anything, it speaks not of America, but of a future coming together of many, “all” nations.
But if the notion of America being one and the same as a good Israel, was problematic, many of the other ideas that went into the neo-con movement, were just as problematic. Indeed, the main idea and goal of the movement was to suggest that Christianity and Republicanism were one and the same. Among the many ideas by which the conservative coalition attempted to coalesce divergent segments of the population, took advantage of the common conservative opinion even, that assumed a particular compatibility between religion and only conservative politics, Republicanisms. Ignoring or denigrating masses of liberal theology, the movement tried to support only the conservative branches of theology and of the Bible; as it tried finally to say that God was a conservative Republican. That there was no conflict at all between conservative Republican politics – or for that matter, grass roots antiabortionism – and Christianity, or God and the Bible. So that, it was constantly implied, Christians must all vote Republican in every election. Or say, elect Pat Robertson, as both President, and God’s Chosen Representative on earth. (Even though Pat Robertson constantly attacked “liberals”; while the Bible itself has told us to “be liberal” in helping the poor and so forth.)
Long ago, many interested parties, discovered a common conflation, an attempt to mix “God and Country,” in American pep rallies, Boy Scout manuals, and school assemblies, and so forth. And for various reasons, conservatives attempted to begin deliberately intermixing these two elements. And mixing in specifically, anti-Vatican II conservative Catholicism, with conservative Republican politics. To seek a “Conservative Coalition.” Mixing Church and State in a conservative state, in fact became a fashionable idea, in the era of Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, and “evangelicals” like Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell. And pop law-and-order, fans of brute force: heroes like Sly Stallone, and Clint Eastwood. And amazingly, even some Catholics were willing and eager to join this movement; to become “evangelists” and “conservatives,” and to attack “liberals.” All mainstays of EWTN, until about 2006. Catholics being readily drawn to conservative state religion, because of residual anti-Vatican II, anti-liberal, conservative Catholicism. To be sure though, Vatican II issued many official proclamations, by the Church itself. So? This is the crucial fact that conservative Catholics deny: that any movement by “Catholics” against Vatican II and its spirit, was also in effect, a rebellion against the authority of the Church. (In their defense, conservatives assert that Vatican II itself was never all that liberal; which is only partially true). More than anything, some say, the real conservative tradition of the Church was largely about asserting that its human rulers, bishops, popes, are reliable representatives of God, and must be obeyed. But our “conservatives” today disobey this. And even as they condemn “Cafeteria Catholics,” liberals who pick and chose what doctrines to follow, conservatives themselves are extremely selective about which parts of the Church, which authorities, they follow: they like conservative bishops like Burke and Chaput; they do not follow higher-up but more liberal Catholics, like Cardinal McCarrick. They follow the part of the pope’s 2004 memo that seemed to condemn abortion; while they ignore the part that allowed that voting for pro-abortion candidates “can be permitted.”
Recognizing the rebelliousness of the conservative Catholic movement, at first to be sure, most priests of the Roman Catholic Church at least mildly resisted neo conservatives. Many priests in the 1970’s were liberal; even gay. At the same time though, ironically, there were to be sure some forces in the Church itself that would allow a new conservatism. First, a) there were genuinely conservative elements in a 2,000 year old Church. Then too, b) many priests were liberal enough to allow even, a new conservatism. While then too, c) the culture as a whole was swinging to the right. And d) the culture was offering massive media outlets, to any priest who would support the new conservatism.
Especially, the culture was offering new media outlets, to any priest that would sign up and join the new conservative movement. While then too in any case, e) whatever priests said about it, by 1980 the media had grown to the point that it was able to simply outflank and overrun the Church itself. By 1980 the Church had grown lax enough, to allow a mere nun, to found a major media network; a network that offered its own theology, often quite different from what the Church traditionally taught (though corresponding to, ironically, some new, very liberal and experimental pronouncements by the Vatican, on the embryo, sexuality, and so forth). For some time, the Church had resisted allowing many independent voices to speak for it. But it gave in to popular pressure, the new media, and allowed a mere nun, to become in effect, the Church’s major media voice in North America. Though to be sure, a few words from the Pope should have been enough to silence her, soon she felt powerful enough to rebel against Bishops, Cardinals (like Mahony), and finally, against the Pope.
The fact was that, though the Church early on, in Vatican II, made some sage remarks about both the good but also the danger in media. But after some good experiences with the media, or simply due to inattention to “worldly” things, the Church effectively gave up attempting to effectively monitor and control even “Catholic” networks. Or decided to allow them to run, as (ironically, partially liberal) experiments. But soon, the Church was outflanked and all but totally overrun; by the media. And in part, even from within its own ranks. Mother Angelica and her conservative, Rush Limbaugh-like apologists and talk show hosts and lawyers, were soon able to begin speaking to millions, and offer their own new, radical, one-issue Catholicism, to the world. Presenting it even as the word of the Church, the word of God.
The movement began to succeed for many reasons. In part, among other reasons noted above, the f) effort was also successful, because the new Catholic evangelists had decided to present their network, as a “conservative” radio/TV network. Yet we are showing here, that although they appeared piously, conservatively loyal, to themselves and others, and though they managed to appear loyal to enough to mollify the Church, actually, we have found here, they had staked out a position well outside classic Church traditions. A position that was g) an extremely experimental mix of conservatism, with the most recent – and most liberal – Vatican II pronouncements, on the human rights of embryos. To be sure, these new Catholic evangelicals were often still in the Church; but just barely. They lived in its most experimental and extreme extensions; in its most experimental proclamations. Extending human rights to embryos, had long been a popular sentiment; but firming that up – and then going so far, as to make this experimental, radical new theology – the central principle of the Church, the “one issue” that should determine our lives, was actually, a radically new and experimental idea. However, the new Catholic evangelists managed to appear to be loyal Catholic to many; quoting from whatever isolated elements there were of tradition, that out of context, seemed to support them. And they used their alleged position within the Church, to begin egging on, badgering priests, bishops and cardinals, to support their conservative positions. Here though, while EWTN apparently believed it was “following” the bishops. But actually, it was presenting only a few misrepresentative excerpts from Tradition; and using them to bully, prep, badger, leading “the Bishops” on; herding them. Herding priests and Bishops, with their own private vision of “real” Catholic doctrine. Herding and bullying priests and bishops, mostly to the Right; in order to turn them into Republicans.
In fact is seems likely that most EWTN members, more or less thought they were loyally following the Church itself. But there are signs that from the beginning, a few lay elements of the network, knew that they were trying to take the Church in a new direction … even over and against Church tradition; the Church itself. The fact is, some say, EWTN was founded, right from the start, not to follow the full Church itself; but to follow only its own idea of, or vision for, the Church. Wikipedia noted that from the beginning, the network had left the word “Catholic” out of its primary legal name. Suggesting that the network never really wanted to be in a position where it really had to firmly say it was Catholic … and be committed to actually, fully following the Church.
No doubt, there is a blend in EWTN, of geniune pious conservative Catholicism – being manipulated however, by many radically secular priests. Who try a radical idea: to extend human rights to embryos. A radical idea, which they try to present in the name of “Tradition.”
It was an unlikely mix; but it nearly worked. For years, EWTN and its efforts were amazingly successful; for many years, thanks to its blend of religion and politics, the network was able to direct a disproportionate percentage of the other-wise very liberal, minority Catholic vote, into the Republican camp. Especially no doubt, it was able to leverage the Spanish Catholic vote. Normally, many older Spanish women for example, would have voted for the Democratic Party, the party of minorities. But now they felt compelled to vote against Democrats, because of the anti-abortion issue. So that, thanks to such unexpected vote pickups, the new evangelicals were able to influence one election, after another. Electing one Republican, after another. Even in spite of problems with Republican theology.
There were many problems with one-issue, Republican theology. We are showing here that elements of the coalition like EWTN, were never as loyal to the Church, as it had convinced others it was; or as loyal seemed to think, itself. EWTN was loyal only to those ideas within the Church, that were “conservative”; only those ideas that matched its own opinion, were the “real” Church, so far as the network was concerned. So that ultimately, EWTN’s loyalty to the Church, actually involved attacking – and disobeying – any parts of Tradition it perceived as “liberal.” Such elements could not be the “real” Church, EWTN thought. Particularly the movement resisted any extension of post-1964, Vatican II liberalism, which it felt was not the real church. The new movement was conservative, in that it was dedicated largely to resisting particularly, women’s rights and gay rights. But if that might be compatible with parts of the Bible, there were other elements of the new theology that were not so compatible. There was for example, the rather pro-war attitude of the movement: “Soldiers are working to assure freedom for all,” assures a young voice on EWTN (at 5:58 AM, 2/10/10). This new religion endorsing soldiers, and wars. This new voice assuming that all wars are just wars? Or the voice simply assuming that God is, at least, on our side? On America’s side and no one else? It is the end of the non violent priest.
To propose its new quasi theology though, the new conservative Christianity, had to a) resist about half of the Bible; especially the New Testament. It resisted the pacifism of Jesus and b) traditional priests. And among other things, its literalism c) resists a metaphorical/spiritual reading of the Bible and miracles. It d) resisted Liberalism, even though the Bible said “be liberal” in helping the poor. All this bending of the Bible itself, was necessary to achieve its major, actual goal: resisting Democrats, nine times out of ten; 99 issues out of 100. Ironically for EWTN’s alleged piety and “conservatism” though, for its constant attacks on “liberals,” the network was actually rebelling from much of the Church. The fact is, there had always been many liberal elements within even the Bible itself. Pat Robertson and EWTN constantly attacked “liberals” for example. But the Bible itself told us to “be liberal” in helping the poor. While as for the networks love of war? Jesus himself was not fond of wars, “soldiers”; he told us to “love your enemy” and “turn the other cheek” if struck. So that ironically, when the new movement began attacking liberals and peace, it was actually attacking and disobeying many elements within the Church itself; since there were many such liberal, pacifistic elements deep in Christianity itself. (Though priests never noticed this; now suddenly, “Father Rocky” is a full time member of “our mission” at Relevant Radio, and does a request for donations; and so now Relevant Radio is in “scoring position” 2/12/10 6:30-43. Is Father Rocky the new Father Coughlin? The new Father Feeney? Two earlier right-wing priests, rebelling against the Church; censured finally by the Church itself).
Among the many elements of the Church and of God that the new network has ended up attacking, were have noted here, some of the key sayings of major saints and theologians. The attempt to extend full humanity to embryos, attacked especially, Saint Aquinas, the “angelic doctor”; the very saint often mandated by canon law as the very center of Church doctrine and tradition. But amazingly – amazingly, for network that constantly emphasized, “conservatively,” the centrality of Church authority, of the bishops, Cardinals, Popes – ironically, EWTN ended up ignoring and disobeying many Bishops. And then it ignored two or three Cardinals. Like Cardinals Mahony, McCarrick, and Ratzinger. The new network pretends to loyally follow the Church; but it ignores even the highest authorities of the Church, when they disagreed with the new conservatives. When even Cardinals, when even the Pope himself, clearly told us clearly not to support “one issue” Catholicism, or any dis “proportionate” stress on abortion, the network simply, largely, ignored them. Or they “twist”ed the words around, until the Cardinals seemed to support the network. But finally, this means that the new conservative “Catholic” network is not actually obedient at all; this allegedly pious, loyal, obedient, conservative network has been disobeying even the saints. Even cardinals. And finally, they are currently disobeying even the Pope. Ignoring the warnings about one-issue Catholicism from Cardinal Ratzinger – even though this cardinal is now our “Holy Father” Benedict XVI; the Pope himself.
“Conservative” media Catholicism therefore, ironically, has ended up doing something that no real conservative would ever do, by definition: it has been attacking the core Traditions and authorities of the Church. EWTIN and the Pro-Life movement, misrepresents and disobeys the a)Bible; disobeys the b) saints; disobeys c) the Cardinals; and d) disobeys the Pope. It has done this in part, by e) willfully persisting, in a forbidden doctrinal error: a “one-issue” obsession with the embryo. Even as the Cardinals and the Pope warned the network that this was wrong. But this should come as no surprise; for that matter in fact, f) Eternal Word Television Network is always inherently, intrinsically in permanent rebellions against the Church. That is: the mere existence of a Catholic media network – where talk show hosts and guests presume to speak for the Church – essentially subverts traditional Catholic authority. Where normally, only Cardinals and Popes have that authority. Then too by the way, a mere media network, offered over the “air,” cannot by its very nature, truly offer what is often said to be the very heart of Catholicism: it cannot actually offer the physical host, of the Eucharist. Since listeners are not physically present in whatever religious services or “ministry” it is that the network offers.
Surprisingly therefore, there has always been a massive heresy and rebellion, in this allegedly “conservative” movement. But here and now finally, it is time to unmask all this, as the heresy it actually is. And to unveil just exactly who the key players have been, in leading this attempt to subvert the Church. In the main, the ringleaders in the “conservative” rebellion, included of course, Mother Angelica herself. And of course her network, EWTN. But then too, we should also especially note, her on-air staff: the apologists and talk-show hosts and guests. These new “lay” staffers in fact, were the major source of the new heresies.
Not too long ago, the Church began to notice that it no longer had enough priest and nuns, to supply the needs of Catholic worldwide; and so it began to explore the possibility of recruiting non-priests, ordinary “lay” believers, to staff many positions. Related to this, it began to encourage the development of “deacons.” And some say this was the intention of the new office the Vatican set up around 1988: the Pontifical Council for the Laity. To be sure, the original documents were often very qualified and hesitant about this move; but the public took the ball and ran with it anyway. So that by today, a significant number of highly unqualified ordinary believers, have circumvented the seminaries and the priesthood, to begin to offer their own simplistic and false theology as the word of God. While unfortunately, they have been massively influential; since the Church apparent ceded the new media to them, as the Media/Internet age dawning, their status rose enormously. Which the new staffers began to attach themselves not only to the rising start of the Media, but also of the neo-con movement especially. So that this new staff has hitched its wagon to a couple of stars; and was soon far more influential than anyone thought; even themselves.
The neo con network was offered on most major satellite and cable TV packages; it therefore reached a massive audience, of hundreds of millions. No doubt, nearly every Catholic in America, either heard EWTN for instance, directly at least for a second or two, flipping though satellite and cable shows. Those who saw it on TV for even a minute or two, watched it long enough to pick up its endlessly repeated new litany: opposition to “liberals,” combined with an anti-abortion message. And if to be sure, the a) number of regular listeners was rather small? If its Arbitron ratings were extremely low? This b) did not really matter; the network ultimately spoke, at least once, to tens of millions of Catholics directly. While c) furthermore, its influence was far, far greater than mere ratings suggest: its ideas were presented not just as opinion, but as the word of God. So that those few who heard, remembered, and followed, far more than ordinary causal listeners would. Indeed, d) it seems that many accepted conservative network elements like Pat Robertson, and EWTN, as their Church and as their God. Thus media idols, talking idols, took over religion. As foretold.
Catholics especially, were very vulnerable to deceit within; to false persons speaking as, the Church. Protestants were a group used to strange dissidents; Protestantism itself had originated in dissidence, and Protestants were fairly used to – and leery of – strange new doctrines. But Catholics especially, were used to a highly hierarchical, authoritarian church; that spoke seldom, but spoke with very great, very careful authority. In very, very carefully controlled liturgies and homilies. Catholics therefore, were used to any word that was issued in the name of the Church, of God, to be very, very highly controlled, monitored, and approved, by two millennia of Tradition; the Magisterium. And, trusting to this (alleged) fidelity to only very tried and true formulas, the people were used to following whatever the Church said, rather exactly; indeed, “obedience” to authority, especially to the Pope, is one of the mainstays of Catholicism. (And one of the main features that distinguishes Catholics from Protestants; who had no such confidence in a single Church or Pope). Catholics therefore, even more than Protestants, were used to a Church that issued only very, very well combed-over ideas. And a very tightly scripted liturgy or service; offering only the tiniest bit of possible originality, only a very, very short and modest sermon or “homily.” But because of their often very trusting and serf-like nature, trained to obedience to leaders, Catholics were doubly vulnerable, to anyone at all that presented himself or herself unopposed, as the voice of the Catholic church. And when suddenly the Church turned its attention away, or did not closely look at the media … suddenly a welter of unreliable voices began presenting themselves as the Church.
What has happened, that got around the old protective mechanisms against heresy, was that suddenly, there was a new development in culture and in religion: the new media. And especially, the new Catholic media. Suddenly there were dozens of new voices in the “air,” presented themselves in effect, with the same authority as the Pope; as the voice of the Church and of God. Drew Mariani’s show, for example, even currently includes a prayer, a “Chaplet of Divine Mercy,” that sounds very much like the prayer offered over communion; it even seemed, offering the body and blood of Jesus himself to us. (Though technically it could do no such thing; the holy wafer can only be delivered physically, in person). Still, many of the new Catholics never noticed the difference; Drew today loving to simulate the appearance of offering the Eucharistic host; repeating “The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Where Mariani and others offer roughly this prayer, that sounds so much like offering the host: “Eternal Father, we offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, your beloved son, in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world ….. For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” Endlessly repeated. As if for individual communicants).
The average uneducated Catholic, was almost utterly taken in. The average Catholic no doubt, uncritically heard Drew Mariani or another talk show hosts, as being simply another priest; who was offering us in effect, almost, even communion itself. Amazingly – or not so surprisingly, given the trained, blind obedience of many Catholics – the public never questioned these new voices in the media. It never suspected any problem at all, with the new voices that claimed to be speaking as absolute authority. The public never really noted that most the new voices of talk show hosts, were not priests. Amazingly, the audience of EWTN and Relevant Radio, is almost never told that the main voices on the network are not priests, and are not totally reliable. And of course, anyone who did notice, was never allowed on the air. So that the new media public, never heard any warnings about the new media at all. But by and large, no one at all really noticed that these new lay people, staffers, were not real Church authorities; that they were not the Cardinals and Popes in person, or speaking from the Vatican “ex Cathedra.” Consistently, the people – and for that matter, the Vatican itself – did not consistently realize, that in the new media, a new, unreliable intermediary agency, had interpolated, inserted itself, between the masses, and the Pope. No one noticed that they were often no longer hearing about religion from a priest, but from the media interpreter of the Pope. To this very day, no one notices that what the masses are hearing now, is not the Pope himself. But hearing at best, only the parts of, or media interpretations of, what the Pope said. The parts that conservative media chose to carry.
How was the neo-con network able to pull this off? There are many factors that we have noted here, contributing to the success of this attempt to outflank the Vatican itself. But among other factors, we might note that much of the Catholic audience is relatively unsophisticated: in America, much of the Catholic population is Spanish; a segment of the population that for a very long time, did poorly in school; and that was not very educated; especially not in obscure fields like Media Studies. Much of the Catholic population therefore, was therefore not adequately prepared to face the neo con media. Especially because it was already all too given to blind obedience to “Catholic” authority. And then too, it was given to simple, literal, “conservative” understandings of religion. Therefore, millions of Catholics simply, blindly accepted Eternal Word Television Network, with its “conservatism,” and its presentation of simple, literal Catholicism, as the authentic voice of the Church, and of God. Or at least the voice that reflected their own understanding and “values.” This audience has been doubly vulnerable to any deceits offered under the “Catholic” rubric. Most of these listeners were not even aware that the talk show hosts were often, not priests. Few listeners were aware that they were not really hearing the words of the Church, through any reliable agency; but mostly only through self-appointed secular conservatives … with their own political ax to grind. Few knew that the people that were now speaking as the voice of the Church, had a consistent bias; one that accepted and followed only “conservative” elements of the Church; and criticized liberal issues, 99% of the time. Giving the impression that liberalism was just not the Church. Even though the Bible itself had told us to “be liberal” in helping the poor, and other liberal issues. (Incidentally: at the very moment of this writing, 8:23 AM 2/12/10, one woman, Teresa Tomio, journalist, is speaking to another woman on EWTN; assuring us that what others say for abortion is just “spin” and “politics”; whereas what they say is The Truth. Though what is being announced as the word of God here, is that we must offer ultrasound to all pregnant women considering abortion, to let them see their embryo. Which would convince them it is a baby. Never mind that this is unnatural; never mind that what they see has eyes on opposite sides of its head; never mind that there is some medical data to suggest that giving ultrasound to embryos deforms them, and gives them spina bifida).
The Neo Con network therefore, succeeded for many reasons. In large part because the network appealed to common, working class prejudices and incapacities. And to a growing “conservative” movement. But in addition, surprisingly, the network’s anti-abortionism, ironically, has had some considerable appeal not only among conservatives – but also among liberals. Especially among liberal priests. Surprisingly, elements of liberalism had probably in fact, begun the new movement to protect embryos, around the time of Vatican II and earlier. This idea, from the liberal perspective, was to try to extend human rights. In the same way that the new Human Rights movement was protecting minorities, insisting that minorities were fully human, this movement was radically extended, by radical liberals, to embryos. Extending human status to embryos is to this day often presented by priests like Fr. Frank Pavone, as just the next step in liberal extensions of civil rights, human rights. Though to be sure, no one noticed how absurd this slippery slope could be; no one in 1980 remembering that just a few years earlier, some elements of the liberal priesthood, had earlier advocated extending human rights to sperm cells. A clearly absurd position (for reasons explained here, earlier).
How therefore, did the new heresies do so well? How did they find and capture and control, an audience of millions? In part it was because the network appealed not only to conservatives, but also to come extent, to liberals. The network was indeed, often accused of being too liberal; as it was by Ferrara. Therefore, it was often accused of being opposite things; of being too liberal, and also too conservative. To try to deal with this, one apologist on EWTN, who is a sort of specialist on Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton (of the Father Brown mystery novels), quoted Chesterton. Chesterton saying that when something is criticized for being two opposite things – for being too hot and too cold; both too high and too low – then after all, it must be just right. Must be right between the two extremes. But after all, Chesterton is clever, but not often right: you might have a sweet and sour sauce, that is both too sour, and too sweet; that is not enough for an entire meal. You might have a car that sometimes is too slow – in fourth gear – and other times too fast, in idling. Stalin himself was criticized for being too liberal, too Communistic … but also too Fascist, controlling. So G. K. Chesterton is after all, often wrong. The fact is that the neo con network, does appeal to many different people of opposite persuasions. But to all of them for different – but both still false – reasons. (For many – for once good, questioning – remarks on deacons, hear EWTN 8:30 AM 2/12/10. By? Deacon James Keating. From an institute for forming deacons, in Omaha Nebraska. Speaking of his new book, “Deacon’s Retreat”).
The appeal of the Neo Con network therefore, was surprisingly wide. EWTN started c. 1981, with just 3,000 listeners, engaged in “chit chat about the Lord” (as Mother Angelica herself characterized it; as rebroadcast on EWTN 9:02 2/12/10). But it grew. Paradoxically, in part, because it borrowed originally from, and interfaced with, not just conservative, but also many liberal theologies. Thereby, the movement was wide enough, that it was able to appeal to often, rather liberal priests. But then too, it was not just radical liberal roots that were the reason for its success; it was also thanks to the skill of the neo-con talk show hosts, Mother Angelica’s “employees,” at false arguments. Mother Angelica trusted her “wonderful employees” (above). But the clever lay apologists and lawyers of EWTN, were more than clever enough to shockingly, mislead even nuns like Mother Angelica. Or even mislead even more and more priests. It was particularly easy for the Neo Cons to influence priests. In part, because the neo con apologist/lawyers like Karl Keating (not to be confused with James Keating?), were extremely clever with dishonest arguments; that they were above to a) mislead or “con” especially, the priests that appeared on EWRN. Then too, b) there were many other pressures on priests to conform: regulars on EWRN, had been constantly exposed to its message. Then too, c) the network was in a position to select which priests it would have on its network. The network was therefore able to weed out any priest that did not agree with it, and retain only those that would repeat its message.
Do we hear many priests on these networks? Seeming to give the impression that these networks are fully approved by the Church? Keep in mind, we are only hearing a selected, culled group of priest. The great sin of these networks, is the way they select only parts of Christianity to follow. And they are all too selective in too many ways: first, a) the network was able to select which parts of the Bible and of church doctrine it chose to quote and obey. Then too, b) the network was able to simply hang up on any caller who wanted to present the other side of Christianity. Then too c) the network also had a way of expelling priests that did not follow its party line; it simply did not invite them back. By careful selection of priests especially, the network was finally able to come up with a stable of tame, trained, obedient priests. Priests totally obedient to EWTN. Like Fr. Edmund Sylvia, who appeared on a regular show with Johnnette Benkovic. Similarly, Relevant Radio now has a follower and promoter, in “Father Rocky.” While then too, as a weekly guest, there was Fr. Frank Pavone. All of these priests were – and are – utterly taken in by the new lay sophists; and converted to antiabortionism. Particularly priests who were slightly sympathetic to the cause, and who were invited back, were often in long, close contact with the network. So that finally their theology was finally formed – by the Neo Con network. These priests have not realized to this very day, that the network’s message, its “theology” as Cardinal Mahony later warned, was not totally reliable. They never quite fully realized that a) they were being selectively chose. Or that b) the new theology they were learning from EWTN, was still regarded by the Church itself as rather experimental; Vatican II stuff. Or that c) the new lay apologists and talk show hosts, to defend their ideas, were using arguments that were not entirely honest. [The Virgin Mary, Our Lady – “a woman” – crushes the head of Satan, says Mother Angelica, 2/12/10 EWRN; suggesting the after all, illegitimately liberal feminist aspect of the movement.]
Many priests therefore, have fallen; they fell in with the network. Worse, these two particularly fallen priests – Fr. Ed Sylvia and especially Fr. Frank Pavone – have been merely the first wave of priests partially mislead by the network; there have been dozens – if not hundreds – of priests, that have appeared on EWTN/RN. There have been many priests making injudicious remarks. Maybe because they didn’t realize the seriousness of the medium; the seriousness and importance of their position, speaking to millions. Perhaps d) many priests are used to speaking informally in small circles of people; but in a major media outlet, they were speaking all too informally … and said many false things. No doubt in part, they said rash things, under the constant influence and urging of the network’s own arguments and its prompting, especially.
Priests therefore said many rash and wrong things on the network. But worse, many who were making so many mistakes, were far more than just priests; e) speaking on Eternal Word Radio Network, and/or often quoted by it, were some Bishops, and future Archbishops. Like bishops Burke and Chaput. Their appearance on EWTN, seemed to many listeners to endorse EWTN itself, and its radical anti-abortionism. In spite of Cardinal Mahony’s difficulties with Mother Angelica, many people incorrectly accepted a bishop like Burke, as the equal and even superior of cardinals like Mahony. So that Burke gave the organization more credibility. Yet in point of fact, these bishops had been egged on by the network no doubt; though their very anti-abortion remarks, were unfortunately, going against higher authorities; like the Cardinals and the Pope. Here we suggest that many bishops were seduced into at least appearing to support, specifically, the very “one issue” Catholicism that the Cardinals and the Pope had condemned.
There were many, many different factors at work therefore, in the triumph of the new heresies; many new forces at work in the new conservatism, and anti-abortionism; even surprisingly, liberal elements. But in any case, the impending massive success of it all, was all especially due to the efforts of Eternal Word Television Network. This was the massive media machine, that made it all possible to find a center, a home. And it presented its theologies, as the firm voice of the Church. So that the Pro Life heresy was spread around the world; and came to have a decisive influence not just in the world, but even in the Church itself. It converted priests and even bishops to its heretical views – and it got out the Catholic vote, to influence elections, and the course of world events. Due to EWTN and related agencies, the self-identified “conservative” vote and anti-abortion vote, typically controlled about 19% or so of the electorate, in many elections. This was more than enough to all-but dominate the Church – and to dominate the vote. So that it was largely the efforts of EWTN/RN in particular, that results in the triumph of right-wing heresies, in the Church, in America – and in the whole world.
Due to media outlets like EWTN, the Conservative Coalition was able to dominate the Church and American politics; it was able to control the vast majority of elections from 1980 – the election of Ronald Reagan – to 2008. For 28 years or so, EWTN and its fellow “conservative”s, had reigned in America. While in turn, America ruled the world. Whoever dominates America, dominates the world; as America projected its power outward, in the economic markets, and often in military action. So that anti-abortionism leveraged the whole world. But if so, then this was unfortunate. Because if this movement was “good” in protecting embryos, it was awful, in protecting children and adults. The neo cons were a) very strong in using rhetoric that provoked many enemies; and b) their pro-military stance meant they did not back off any wars that they started, but jumped quickly into one war after another. In Grenada; in Iraq and Afghanistan for example; and into a global “war on terrorism.” Perhaps unnecessary wars which are continuing to this very day. Then too c) they did not mind ignoring the environment, and causing the flooding of New Orleans. Nor did they mind d) opposing medical care for poor sick people. So that they didn’t mind allowing hundreds of thousands, millions of adults dying from one more of the “issues” they thought of as unimportant: like healing the sick.
Particularly, the new movement was very concerned with the single issue, of protecting embryos … but it far more accepting of starting patriotic (but possibly unnecessary) wars, that killed grown children and adults. And it accepted withholding health care from the poor. Which results in at least 47,000 deaths a year, says a recent, 2009 Harvard Study. But which by our own estimate kills many more than that, over the years. Indeed, it was precisely because of the fatal results of focusing just on one issue, while ignoring other issues, that caused the Cardinals and the Pope to oppose movements, like “one-issue” antiabortionists. Who focused dis “proportionate”ly on just part of life. But whose neglect of – or even antagonism to – other (rather Apocalyptic) issues, like war, environment, and disease, would mean that millions would die, from the Church taking its eye off these other, often far more important and deadly issues.
Some might hope that the recent election of liberal Democrat Barack Obama, will mean the decline of this radical and deadly movement. But the signs today are that this deadly heresy is actually growing in the Church itself; currently, late in 2009, this “conservative” movement seems to be finally taking over the Catholic leadership. Priests and bishops who appeared on EWTN, were seduced by the glamour of media exposure, and by the cleverness of its apologists’ arguments, to apparently endorse its “conservative” agenda, and its radical anti-abortion stance. Worse, after having been captured, “educated” by EWTN, even some bishops – whose prestige increased thanks to their new media exposure on EWTN – have recently gone on to be, often, assigned by a very impressed Vatican, to more and more prominent positions in the Church. Bishop Burke especially, recently rose to the position of Archbishop; and he currently heads a major court in the Vatican itself.
Today, conservatism and anti-abortionism – and other related heresies of lay persons and unreliable priests – are now poised to take over the Church itself. Priests and bishops who were EWTN protégés (meaner critics would say, stooges), are taking a more and more prominent role in the Church. Burke is even now firmly in charge of a key Vatican position. So that these related, narrow heresies, are now poised to fully take over the Vatican, the Holy See, itself. Which is a great tragedy; the end of the Traditional church.
The Damage Done by
Narrow, One-Issue Catholicism
124) # 165 Today, the anti-abortion heresy, is a strong as ever; anyone can listen to EWTN or Relevant Radio on the Internet, and hear the same old message, unabated. In fact today, one-issue anti-abortionism is even now poised to utterly take over the entire Church itself. (It has already taken over the 1997/2000 AD Catechism it seems). And then America, and the world. (Recently Patrick Kennedy it seems, was hounded out of office, by the Bishop’s criticism. And the Church’s interference with the political process and freedom of religion, continues). However, today there is still time to begin to call the attention of concerned citizens – and the attention of the Vatican itself – to the many theological and ethical sins, in these new theologies. To try to begin to show the horrible dangers in the new, all too narrow theologies, we have taken the time to outline here, a hundred or more largely Bible- and Tradition- based objections, to them
Pro Life theology for example, at first has appeared to be very loyal, pious, and traditional. But here we have found that it was actually, quite radical; and even heretical. Particularly, its “one issue” narrowness, in the end has many very bad consequences for America, and for the entire world. Since focusing too much attention on an already problematic aspect of doctrine, too much attention to embryos, causes millions to lose sight of the lives of millions, billions of children and adults. Whose lives could easily be lost, by neglect to avoid wars; to take care of the environment; to help extend better medical care to the poor.
These many heresies however, have long effectively controlled, leveraged, the Church. And then America; and finally, the world. And the are today poised to become even stronger; solidifying their hold on the Church, and the electorate. Today (2/12/10) Relevant Radio had a record day in their fund drive; probably because a real priest (Father Rocky) was so rash, as to begin endorsing the network; (and because the network had just devoted several days to football.) And this bodes ominously for the future. However, as it turns out, there is just enough time, to begin at last to inform the public of the problem today. And then note the way to fix this. (A letter to, among other places in the Vatican, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, with this book attached, might be helpful here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mailing address: Pontifico Consiglio per i Laici, Palazzo San Calisto, 00120 Citta del Vaticano, Rome, Italy).
125) # 166 How serious has the problem been? The scandal of 2000-2005, of hundreds of priests sexually molesting children, was bad enough. But the entry of many hundreds of priests – and even some bishops – into a new heresy, is another major scandal waiting to break out. Conservatism, the prominence of Catholic media, the growth of one-issue anti-abortionism, are all against the very core of Catholic Tradition; against the saints, and so forth. Therefore, harmless and compassionate as these new theologies seem at first, it is a heresy, a scandal; one that will ultimately be extremely destructive to the Church. Because these heresies demolish Catholic Tradition wholesale. These heresies ignore and denigrate the saints. They support the “body,” the “flesh,” but ignore and attack and the soul and intelligence. They politicize the Church; as our priests now adopt the worst “traditions of men” as the word of God. They narrow our minds and intelligence, until we can only see one thing: which is not God, but the embryo. Even as here, the Church begins to lose prestige and credibility, and legal protections.
126) # 167 In particular, EWTN and EWTN have already done immense damage not just to the Church, but also to the public. Millions of listeners were given a false impression of Church doctrine, by EWTN/RN. And then the public, using this bad information, voted rashly in one election after another. Leading America in a theology that loved embryos, … but refused to take better care of real children, and adults. That indeed, constantly risked wars and so forth.
How could so many have been mislead? Even many priests and some bishops? In part we will conclude, it was because of some grass roots appeal from women; but also it was the cleverness of the new lay staff: the lawyers, the apologists, and so forth. But finally, these lay staffmembers are in turn responsible for the continuing recruitment of nuns and priests, into the heresy. While the presence of many priests, on the network, worsened the problem. The presence of priests on the network, has given a false impression, to millions of listeners. The presence of priests falsely implied, that the network is fully overseen by, and approved by, priests, and their leadership. Ultimately it implied that all the silly pronouncements of talk-show hosts, are nearly as sacred as the liturgy. Once the priests were convinced in fact, millions followed.
In particular the impression was definitely given – indeed, it was explicitly asserted, over and over – the one- issue, very strong anti-abortionism of EWTN was in fact, the official word, the command, of the Church itself. And of God. (See Keating’s Guide: asserting that no one failing to support it, could be said to be following the Church). To be sure, three Cardinals and the Pope, spoke against such things; but by now, since EWTN network is now the major source of information on the Church for millions of Catholics, and EWTN never reported the Cardinals adequately, the Church hierarchy’s repudiation of the network, has never really been heard, by Catholics. So that EWTN’s false theology, has effectively dominated the churches. And then, elections. Dominating the church, public life, and America, with not only a false theology, but also in effect, with a false vision of God.
Significant damage has therefore been done, both to the Church itself, but also to the larger public. (Especially for that matter, non Catholics. As EWTN began to control voting behavior, and pass laws, Non Catholics, Protestants, have had to live increasingly, with the false dictates of a false church.) Especially consider the damage done not only when EWTN/RN supported a heresy, but then caused all of America to follow that heresy; and to elect politicians that neglect other important issues. Like wars and health care and environment.
127) # 168 Unfortunately, EWTN/RN and the false message of anti-abortionism has been immensely influential. At times, it was found on nearly every cable and satellite TV package in America; and it has long been web-streamed to the entire world, over the Internet. And this massive dissemination of the heresy, unfortunately, was quite effective. Indeed, today much of American Catholicism follows EWTN/RN; and believes that its anti-abortionism is the primary issue that Catholics must believe, and act on; the core of their faith. But not only was this heresy; it has had a horrible practical effect: finally, when Catholics voted their false beliefs, and elected anti-abortion, but pro-war candidates, the whole world was in the sway of a false theology. (As noted above, more fully).
128) # 169 The outcome of all this, may be a catastrophe of biblical proportions. Just as the Bible warned, today we find that millions of people – the whole “world” – was mislead by “false” religious leaders; by “philosophy,” “lawyer”s, and false prophets; by false or bad priests.
129) # 170 America and the whole world, has been mislead by a movement that amounts to an heretical, apostate church: the “Apostate Church of the Holy Embryo” you might call it.
130) # 171 With its false vision of God, its False Christ; Christ as holy anti-abortionist.
131) # 172 So today, as foretold in the Bible, a false theology, a false Christ, perhaps to this very day, dominates America; and through that, dominates the whole World.
What can we do about this? First, we need to begin action against the major offenders: EWTN/RN, Priests For Life, and Fr. Frank Pavone. As we will note, next.