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.