OUR NEVER-TRUMP BETTERS BETRAY US FOR FRANCIS-CHURCH

OUR NEVER-TRUMP BETTERS BETRAY US FOR FRANCIS-CHURCH

by StumblingBlock ⋅ 8/14/16

Janet Baker at ‘Restore D.C. Catholicism’ blog has been working carefully to counter the onslaught of NeverTrump moralizing by faithful Catholic leaders. The latest loathsome example comes from Philadelphia Abp. Chaput. Baker’s message to leaders like these is clear: If you stand on your conscience, then why is your conscience wrong? A conscience is not a means to an end (unless of course you’re a Pope Francis catholic and you want to go to Communion too).

In her latest effort, Baker adds:

I think for some of the #nevertrump crowd, their animosity towards Trump is a very strange sort of pride.

This gets to the heart of the ‘conscience voter’ problem but it’s too generous. Pride isn’t the issue for some NeverTrumpers. It’s an issue with all of them – both their pride and their pliant capitulation to power. Trump has a knack for teasing out his opponents’ pride. His stumbling bluster and his insulting careless manner bring out their worst. But the problem of too-proud elites is not strange at all. It’s very common thing among leaders and paid ‘thinkers’ in our totalitarian world. That’s why we try to employ democracy: because the will of the people, on balance, has a salutary effect in face of an arrogant oligarchy.

Insofar as votes actually counted, democracy gave us Obama. But the GOP establishment tried, just as they did again this year, to undemocratically foist liberal and unpopular candidates in opposition. Now democracy has given conservatives Trump, but the NeverTrump geniuses inside and outside Catholic circles disagree with its choice. The people, they imply, are duped, foolish, unintelligent, ignorant, and depraved. If that’s true, why is it so easy for us to detect when we’re being sold out and patronized to protect someone’s lofty perch?

Our traitorous ‘conservative’ Catholic leaders are half right though. Many people are the way they describe, but those ugly characteristics trend among liberals: people with malformed consciences who are ignorant of the truth. The NeverTrump Catholics of the world are treating the actual faithful like we’re wicked and stupid. Why?

Archbishop Chaput [with StumblingBlock’s comments in backets]:

Presidential campaigns typically hit full stride after Labor Day in an election year. But 2016 is a year in which two prominent Catholics [it’s a scandal, particularly for a bishop, to call Biden and Kaine Catholics, when they clearly neither hold nor keep the Faith] – a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party — both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along. And meanwhile, both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws. [Obama has at least as many flaws as Hillary. He’s just better at it.]

This is depressing and liberating at the same time. Depressing, because it’s proof of how polarized the nation has become. Liberating, because for the honest voter, it’s much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps. [If I hear that word ‘tribal’ again! It doesn’t make you civilized to say it. It betrays your own disloyalty. ‘I’m too sophisticated and Catholic to lean one way or the other, you know.’] I’ve been a registered independent for a long time and never more happily so than in this election season. Both major candidates are – what’s the right word? so problematic – that neither is clearly better than the other.

This outrageous statement is typical. It’s nothing but assertions, too lofty to present an argument. This is the bishop who so many ‘conservative’ American Catholics love to praise. Did you see Abp. Chaput tell people Amoris Laetitia didn’t encourage sacrilegious Communion? The problem’s solved! What was all the fuss about Francis for, Our Very Holy Father? But here is a bishop whose ‘conscience’ is so refined he has never been a Republican, yet he’s telling the Church how to vote, or in this case, not vote.

It’s amazing how Abp. Chaput has been able to rise to such heights in the American Church and not promote Republicans, yes? I’m sure none of the other bishops would blindly advocate abstaining from supporting the GOP platform and self-righteously hand power to the oppressive pro-death Left. Who could imagine a bishop of the Church throwing his moral weight to the Democrat agenda that way? How is it ‘socially just’ to enable mass murder and an impoverished, terrorized country? The bishops must all be Republican voters, right?

The fact is there’s no longer any political resistance to the Left in the Catholic Church. What remained was kicked, kit and caboodle, out of the entire apparatus the moment Benedict read his odd notice and disappeared. So now we have to endure the brilliant conclusions of the better sort like Bishop Barron who, without even mentioning a name, enlightens us on how St. Thomas Aquinas would react to Trump. To state Trump’s name would be inappropriate and hurtful, I suppose.

We learn of course the Angelic Doctor employed a much higher method of discourse than the candidate to say the least. Barron closes his lesson thusly:

What this Thomistic method produces is, in its own way, a “safe space” for conversation, but it is a safe space for adults and not timorous children. It wouldn’t be a bad model for our present discussion of serious things.

Bishop Barron is only harmlessly instructing the faithful on political rhetoric, on a ‘catholic’ method of discourse that’s neither dangerous nor childish, and appropriate to serious things.

According to our betters like Bishops Chaput and Barron, and the Weigels, the FirstThings, and the NRO Catholic pundits of the world, there’s nothing ‘serious’ about Donald Trump – except that he’s the landslide GOP nominee for president. But somehow ever since Fidel Castro was lowered into the Chair of Peter true Catholic voters get handled like enemies of the Faith.

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6 comments on “OUR NEVER-TRUMP BETTERS BETRAY US FOR FRANCIS-CHURCH

  1. Chaput’s dissembling modernist rant of confusion and disorientation blurs the issues by creating a false impression of moral equivalence between the two choices in the presidential election. What about the abortion issue? Isn’t it the solemn duty of the bishops of the Catholic Church to stand for the unborn and point out the dangers and evils of pro-abortion politicians? And those who would sign executive orders to fund abortion on demand, fetal tissues research, and human-animal chimeras? If you think Hillary will respect the religious freedom of Catholics, guess again. It will be Planned Parenthood on steroids on The Island of Dr. Moreau. So systematically murdering unborn children is considered morally equivalent to making tasteless, off-color, adolescent comments about Megyn Kelly on Twitter or having a different immigration policy? Is that what a modernist Catholic seminary education is producing now?

  2. Seriously, are there any Catholics at all left in the hierarchy?

  3. [The National un-Catholic Reporter on the archbishop’s screed; hat-tip to Canon212: “‘What does Abp. Chaput know about Joe Biden’s faith or whether Hillary’s indictable?'”]

    Archbishop Chaput’s Regrettable Column

    Michael Sean Winters | Aug. 15, 2016

    “My column this week is a collection of personal comments,” Archbishop Charles Chaput begins his weekly column in his archdiocesan newspaper. “Read it as thoughts from a brother in the faith, not as teachings from an archbishop.” I wonder if all the “brothers in the faith” in the City of Brotherly Love get to have their “personal comments” so widely distributed? Of course, at no time is a bishop not a bishop, or a priest not a priest, so the idea that he can take off his miter and share “personal comments” is naïve at best.

    This disclaimer raises a different question though: Why? Why does Archbishop Chaput feel the need to share these thoughts on politics which he seems to understand are not a fit object for his teaching authority? Does he think they are profound? Did he have trouble coming up with something to write about this week? Is there something that makes him crave controversy? This last characteristic is not a bad trait in a blogger, but in a bishop?

    When we attend to the content of the archbishop’s column the questions and concerns deepen and multiply. Archbishop Chaput writes:

    Presidential campaigns typically hit full stride after Labor Day in an election year. But 2016 is a year in which two prominent Catholics – a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party – both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along.

    My inner editor wishes to know what the first and second sentence have to do with one another. My inner analyst wants to know why Archbishop Chaput begins his column taking a swipe at Joe Biden and Tim Kaine? Did he hear Tim Kaine talk about the importance of faith in his life? Has he ever spoken with Biden about his faith? That faith may be in error as it pertains to some issues of public morality but the faith of these two men is undoubtedly real and important to them. Like Archbishop Chaput, I wish Kaine and Biden extended their obvious concern for the downtrodden to the unborn, but I can also discern the reasons they fail to do so, and those reasons do not add up to an “invention” of the content of their faith. They see the public application of their faith differently, and I think wrongly, but they are hardly charlatans.

    Archbishop Chaput continues:

    And meanwhile, both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.

    This is depressing and liberating at the same time. Depressing, because it’s proof of how polarized the nation has become. Liberating, because for the honest voter, it’s much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps. I’ve been a registered independent for a long time and never more happily so than in this election season.

    How does the perception that both candidates for the White House have astonishing flaws offer “proof of how polarized the nation has become.” Could not that polarization be evidenced by candidates with less obvious flaws? Lincoln was no slacker, but he assumed the presidency at a time of enormous polarization. And, why do those flaws make it easier to “ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants” of the two parties? And, why is it ever hard for a bishop to “ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants” of the two parties? I thought that mostly came with the office.

    The archbishop continues:

    As Forbes magazine pointed out some months ago, the Republican candidate is worth roughly $4.5 billion. The Democratic candidate is worth roughly $45 million. Compare that with the average American household, which is worth about $144,000. The median U.S. income is about $56,000. Neither major candidate lives anywhere near the solar system where most Americans live, work and raise families. Nonetheless, we’re asked to trust them.

    The archbishop can travel a few blocks up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from his cathedral to see a large equestrian statue of George Washington, or he can head the other direction to the statue of Washington in front of Independence Hall. Washington was a fabulously wealthy planter in his day. Did his wealth make him suspect? Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were from different branches of the same wealthy family. Did their wealth keep them from empathy with the life of the common man? Did the American people have trouble trusting any of these presidents because of their wealth? Why is the personal wealth of the candidates so important this time?

    Then comes the second most troublesome part of the article. Archbishop Chaput compares the two presidential candidates, writing:

    One candidate — in the view of a lot of people — is an eccentric businessman of defective ethics whose bombast and buffoonery make him inconceivable as president. And the other – in the view of a lot of people – should be under criminal indictment. The fact that she’s not – again, in the view of a lot of people — proves Orwell’s Animal Farm principle that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

    First, I cannot ignore the qualifying phrase “in the view of a lot of people,” not least this year when Mr. Donald Trump repeatedly uses a similar rhetorical device to avoid responsibility from spreading whichever ridiculous conspiracy theory comes out of his mouth after he intones, “Well, a lot of people think that….” We teach our children not to say things like that because it is morally irresponsible. To find such words in a column by a bishop is frankly shocking.

    Second, there is no comparison between the two charges. Mr. Trump’s eccentricity, his bombast and buffoonery, are all things about which any viewer can form an opinion. The charge of “defective ethics” is more difficult but still the kind of thing voters routinely need to assess about a candidate. The charge that Mrs. Hillary Clinton “should be under criminal indictment” is a matter for a trained, and empowered, prosecutor to make and, in Clinton’s case, the relevant prosecutor, acting on the public advice of the Director of the FBI, James Comey, who said that no responsible prosecutor would indict Mrs. Clinton. Does Archbishop Chaput have information that Director Comey lacked? It is true that Republican Party surrogates have disparaged Comey’s claim but has anyone any basis for refuting it?

    Archbishop Chaput then pens what are to my mind the most regrettable paragraphs of the entire column. He writes:

    So what are we to do this election cycle as Catholic voters? Note that by “Catholic,” I mean people who take their faith seriously; people who actually believe what the Catholic faith holds to be true; people who place it first in their loyalty, thoughts and actions; people who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.

    Anyone else who claims the Catholic label is simply fooling himself or herself — and even more importantly, misleading others.

    “I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like other men….” Apart from the general unattractiveness of finger-wagging, why this diversion from his main theme? Does the archbishop want to let the Catholics of Philadelphia know that he is on to them, that he knows which among them are not real Catholics, that they are fooling themselves? And who are these less-than-real Catholics? Those who do not see the world the way the archbishop sees it? Can you imagine Pope Francis writing this? He certainly challenges all of us, but never without words of encouragement and he reserves his harsh judgments for the clergy and the powerful, not for the people.

    I call the attention of readers to one hopeful sentiment in this. Archbishop Chaput writes of those “who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.” The Church recently offered guidance in the area of family life and marriage. That guidance took the form of the deliberations and resulting documents from two worldwide synods of bishops and a concluding Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia. Archbishop Chaput has issued “guidelines” for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia in his archdiocese. As I wrote at the time, those guidelines struck me as if they could have been written before the synods took place or Pope Francis wrote his exhortation. But, what do I know? Archbishop Joseph Kurtz appointed Archbishop Chaput to lead a committee of U.S. bishops to discuss the implementation of Amoris Laetitia.

    We do know that Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, has emerged as the designated interpreter of Amoris Laetitia, and that Civilta Cattolica is running a series of essays on the document that re-affirm what the synods and the Holy Father intend. One such essay, by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J. and Fr. Lou Cameli of the Archdiocese of Chicago, looks extensively at the issue of discernment in ways that are in stark contradistinction with both the tone and the content of Archbishop Chaput’s guidelines, where in he only mentioned discernment once and that was when he was quoting the pope. I think that the principle of non-contradiction is too often invoked in ecclesiastical discussions, and that philosophic principles must be applied gently and even a bit loosely to messy human lives. Still, the two divergent interpretations cannot co-exist forever. I am betting it will become clear to all, if it is not already, that Archbishop Chaput is staking out a position at odds with the pope and the synods.

    I admit that I find it tiresome to have to continually criticize Archbishop Chaput. I do so in sadness not in anger. But, it must be said: If I were writing a work of fiction and I wanted to create a caricature of a culture warrior bishop, I do not think I would have the courage to create one so reckless, so uncomplicated in his moral sensibilities (and not in a good way), and so quick to render judgment against others, so willing to ignore the pope, or to cite him, as it suits his own purposes, so intellectually thin and so edgily partisan, as Archbishop Chaput’s columns show him to be.

  4. “I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like other men….” Apart from the general unattractiveness of finger-wagging, why this diversion from his main theme? Does the archbishop want to let the Catholics of Philadelphia know that he is on to them, that he knows which among them are not real Catholics, that they are fooling themselves? And who are these less-than-real Catholics? Those who do not see the world the way the archbishop sees it? Can you imagine Pope Francis writing this?”

    LOL!!! Why, yes I can imagine it because it seems to be Francis’ stock and trade. There’s even a whole web site devoted to it:

    Pope Francis’ Little Book of Insults
    thatthebonesyouhavecrushedmaythrill.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-pope-francis-little-book-of-insults.html

    Though I see that the compiler has given up adding to it since to do so would be a full time job. I think any reasonable person can see that Pope Francis, like Trump, simply likes to speak his mind and is quick to deprecate and malign those who disagree with him. How about that for a column NCR?

  5. [Hat-tip to Canon212: “Deal Hudson: Really, Abp. Chaput? The only pro-life candidate is ‘inconceivable’ as President?”]

    The [American] Catholic Church Doesn’t Really Care About Abortion

    Posted by Deal Hudson | Aug 15, 2016

    Here we are, in the midst of a presidential election pitting an avowed abortion advocate against an avowed pro-life candidate. Making the choice between them more stark, Hillary Clinton has chosen a pro-abortion Catholic, Sen. Tim Kaine, while Donald Trump picked pro-life Gov. Mike Pence.

    To make matters even more stark, Hillary Clinton has made the support of Planned Parenthood, the proven seller of infant body parts, part of her political platform, while the platform of her Democratic Party has announced a more extreme pro-abortion clause than in previous elections. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has promised to sign a bill defunding Planned Parenthood and has published a list of potential Supreme Court nominees all in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

    What do we hear from the leadership of the Catholic Church in the United States? There has been one helpful blip, that I know of, on the bishop’s radar:

    Bishop Tobin of Providence, RI, in a post on Facebook asked aloud, if Tim Kaine was a Catholic?, and concluded that Kaine’s support for abortion, among other things, “are clearly contrary to well-established Catholic teachings . . . . apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.”

    On the other hand one bishop who has supported pro-life causes for his entire career has written a strange and surprising column. Philadelphia’s Archbishop Chaput wrote on the Archdiocesan website, “Some personal thoughts on the months ahead.” He writes that between, “both major candidates . . . that neither is clearly better than the other.” The reasons given by the Archbishop begin with the income of the candidates, both are multi-millionaires, and he argues:

    “The median U.S. income is about $56,000. Neither major candidate lives anywhere near the solar system of where most Americans live, work, and raise families. Nonetheless, we are asked to trust them.”

    I wonder what the multi-millionaire donors to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia feel about that?

    The Archbishop’s next argument cites the “defective ethics, “buffoonery,” and “bombast” that “make him [Trump] inconceivable as president.” Really? The only pro-life candidate is “inconceivable” as President?

    Let’s turn to what the Archbishop says about the pro-abortion Hillary Clinton: “in the view of a lot of people – [Clinton] should be under criminal indictment. The fact that she’s not – again, in the view of a lot of people — proves Orwell’s Animal Farm principle that ‘all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.’” Fair enough, but there’s no mention of her being “inconceivable” as president.

    For Archbishop Chaput, Clinton is conceivable and Trump is not. Thus, I wrote the headline above: The Catholic Church Doesn’t Care About Abortion.” But there is more.

    Archbishop Chaput, a man I have greatly respected for many years, goes on to remind Catholics that God does not prefer one political party over another, “But God, by his nature, is always concerned with good and evil and the choices we make between the two.” Yet, the Archbishop himself began his critique of the candidates with the the amount of their personal wealth, followed by a listing of their personal flaws, finding the flaws of only one candidate made him “inconceivable” as President, but makes no mention of the evil of abortion.

    Next, the Archbishop reminds Catholics that not “all pressing issues [are] equal in foundational importance or gravity. The right to life undergirds all other rights and all genuine social progress.” Why did he make no mention of the issue of “foundational importance” in relation to the candidates or their running mates? If the abortion issue possesses so much moral “gravity” why are the candidates not evaluated in that light?

    Rather than informing Catholics on where the Clinton/Kaine ticket stands on abortion, the Archbishop warns Catholics against the “mobocracy” of social media and advises clarity of thought and prayer, as well as reading the bishop’s own “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” and their 1998 Pastoral Letter, “Living the Gospel of Life.” Well, OK, let’s read it. Here is what the bishops wrote in 1998:

    Every vote counts. Every act of responsible citizenship is an exercise of significant individual power. We must exercise that power in ways that defend human life, especially those of God’s children who are unborn, disabled or otherwise vulnerable. (Paragraph 33; Emphasis added)

    This is not what I read in Archbishop Chaput’s “personal thoughts.” Perhaps no bishop of the present generation has supported the pro-life cause more consistently and ably than the Archbishop of Philadelphia. Why not mention here? It’s not as if the position of either candidate is a secret. In the case of Hillary Clinton, her passionate support of abortion-on-demand is both a matter of public record and expressed conviction. What we have from Donald Trump are promises, since he has never held public office, but they are convictions that go back years before this election campaign.

    As someone who has worked in five presidential elections, trying to convince Catholics to vote for pro-life candidates, I have experienced the resistance, and outright hostility, of Catholic bishops, priests, and other leadership to the pro-life political message. I’ve shared the essentials of that experience and predicted it would be multiplied exponentially in this election, which it has.

    I will offer one, very telling, example. I’ve been tracking the various conferences being offered by dioceses around the country before the election, such as the 2016 State Respect Life Conference to be held October 14-15, 2016 at Sts Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Winter Park, Florida. This event is being hosted by the Diocese of Orlando’s Office of Advocacy and Justice. In addition to this, the Office of Advocacy and Justice will be hosting “Faithful Citizenship Workshops” in other parishes. The Office makes use of “Candidate Forums” and offers a link to the USCCB website, “Tips For Conducting Candidate Forums.” Click on this link and you will find the following advice:

    Cover a broad range of issues: Focusing on one issue will create the appearance of endorsing some candidates over others. A broader focus will more effectively educate voters and will avoid any appearance of bias.

    The USCCB is arguing that those who focus on abortion, the “one issue,” will appear to be “endorsing some candidates over another.” Really? What is the practical consequence of this “tip”? It means that any person or group that focuses on the abortion issue of political candidates and parties is to be considered as partisan, that is, endorsing a candidate. As a consequence, Catholic pro-life advocates cannot be included in forums and conferences sponsored by Catholic organizations such as the “Office of Advocacy and Justice,” and most other Catholic organizations whose social justice convictions don’t include the protection of innocent life.

    I wonder if the same rule would apply to a group whose mission was to support candidates who want open borders that will “welcome the stranger” and conferring of U.S. citizenship on illegal immigrants? Doubtful.

    Pro-life Catholics need to wake up and realize that most of the “officialdom” of the Catholic Church in the U.S. is already rolling out a national campaign that is virtually an arm of the Democratic Party. If you don’t believe me, start tracking the various conferences and forums being offered in your diocese, drill down to look at the host organization, the speakers, and their topics. Better yet, attend one and publicly voice your pro-life preferences and see what happens.

    I do not include Archbishop Chaput in this at all. But his “personal thoughts” do nothing to give second thoughts to those Catholics who are part of this rollout, whereas reading his 2009 book, Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life just might.

    “When Catholics oppose abortion, they do so not because of some special Catholic religious doctrine or simply because the church says so. Rather, the church teaches abortion is wrong because it already is. Abortion violates the universal natural law by abusing the inherent human rights of the unborn child. The injustice of genocide, oppressing the poor, the killing unborn children is not a matter of religious doctrine. It’s a matter of natural law” (p.83).

  6. You will not hear any of the so-called Catholic bishops with the possible exception of Bishop Tobin of the USA speak about the evil of Abortion in terms of the Presidential election or the views of the candidates. Why? It’s the money, folks, that drives all their decisions and they cater to the big donors with the big pockets including Planned Parenthood and company and many Democrats who have sold their soul to the Devil. As for Chaput, when he was Archbishop of Denver, he informed me that “he was not a fan of the Traditional Latin Mass.” That was in the times when the TLM was hardly ever celebrated in the diocesan churches and the followers of James Casey (former Archbishop of Denver) were imposing their Modernist views in the Church. Let’s face it: Modernism, the synthesis of all heresies, has infected the Church that we love.

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