Let’s Not Make a Fuss
The Catholic Thing
David Carlin suggests we need to know our enemies, which is a lesson Church leaders need to learn about Catholic liberals in America.
The best newspaper column I ever read was written by Mary McGrory during the trial of Jean Harris in the 1980s. At the end of the trial, Harris was convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Dr. Herman Tarnower, father of the “Scarsdale Diet.”
According to McGrory, Harris, while under cross-examination, seemed to imagine that the prosecutor was her friend. Prosecutors are, of course, never friends of accused criminals. They are always sworn enemies. It is important for defendants to remember this. Small wonder Harris was convicted.
In politics, too, it is important to know your enemies. I say this as an ex-politician (I was for twelve years a member of the Rhode Island Senate). Perhaps the biggest mistake a politician can make is to fail to notice who his enemies are. And not just his actual enemies, but his potential enemies too. The guy who seems friendly to you today may already be carrying the knife that he will later stick in your back. I could show you scars.
The leaders of a religion, for example, the Catholic religion, should also be able to recognize their enemies, and not just who their enemies are, but also how much enmity they bear. It is one thing if your enemy wishes to break your arm. It is quite something else if he wishes to destroy you utterly.
In the United States today, there are many powerful individuals and groups who wish utterly to destroy Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular. Yet most of our bishops and parish priests seem not to know that. They are like Jean Harris. They don’t recognize their enemy – perhaps don’t want to believe so strong an enemy exists – even when he’s standing right in front of them.
Some Jesuits don’t seem to know this. I’m thinking, for example, of Fr. Matt Malone S.J., editor-in-chief of the Jesuit magazine America. In the September 12 issue, Fr. Malone (in his column, “Of Many Things”) said that – even though he himself is strongly prolife on the abortion question, so strongly prolife that he believes abortion should be illegal in the United States in “almost every circumstance” – he would have joined the fellow parishioners of Sen. Tim Kaine in applauding the radically pro-abortion VP nominee of the Democratic Party rather than join the prolife protesters who stood outside Kaine’s church.
I’m also thinking, with great regret, of another Jesuit, the one who happens to be the Bishop of Rome.