The National Catholic Review

In "The Paranoid Style of Church Politics," the witty Wimpy Catholic Max Lindeman reviews some of the recent rhetoric out of the bishops' conference and wonders if too many members have been reaching for aluminum miters of late: 

In 2010, InsideCatholic.com director Deal W. Hudson asked, “Is It Time for A Catholic Tea Party?” Whatever the answer might have been then, today it seems to be “Yes,” but on terms very different from those Hudson envisioned. Instead of a grassroots movement pressuring the Catholic bishops to marshal their authority in support of pro-life candidates, we now have the bishops themselves preaching to the faithful in the fearful, combative tones of grassroots right-wing activists.

Oh, come on. Yes they are. When Illinois legalized civil unions for same-sex couples, Cardinal George predicted: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” Last summer, Cardinal Dolan drew a broad comparison between gay marriage supporters and communist dictators. Just last month, Dolan accused the White House of “strangling” the Catholic Church, the silken cord being the Affordable Care Act. The Church’s official voice has come within a sound byte of death panels and birtherism...

Take a gander at the rest here.

Comments

Craig McKee | 6/7/2012 - 5:02am
''From PARANOIA to METANOIA...'' an elegant and far from wimpy image well worth pondering especially for shepherds embroiled in leading their flocks into the culture wars of an American election year. For that reflection alone, Mr. Lindenman, you have earned your ''place on the map!'' Bravo!
Jeanne Linconnue | 6/6/2012 - 5:09pm
Mr. Joyce, the mere fact of being younger than 30 or so does not make you representative of your entire age group nor does it make you an objective reporter. And you aren't exactly surrounding yourself with the entire spectrum of Catholic thinking, if all of your young friends are from the latin TM crowd, the charismatic wing, and the Byzantine rite lovers.  They all pretty much think the same way, just with some variations in your expressions of prayer. It is not surprising that your friends don't challenge their own thinking by reading Commonweal or NCR or Hans Kung or anyone else not blessed by either the pope or M. Angelica, or God help us all, the rock star priest of the young - Fr. Z, whose posts generally reflect the maturity level of his fans. (Is it true that he has not been given priestly faculties in the US? Can't help but wonder what the back story is on that) Validation is so much more comforting than challenge. EWTN and YouCat are all you think you need. And there is First Things for the more ''intellectual''.  But whether it's EWTN, YouCat or First Things, the message is the same, just expressed in different levels of language.

It is obvious that you are young - that comes through loud and clear in your posts. I do not have the time to do your research for you, but there is a lot of data out there that indicate that your views do not represent the majority of younger Catholics. Of course, many have already left and many of those who have left aren't returning, unlike in previous generations. Also, the views of liberal Catholic young (the ones who not only don't go to Adoration, but skip mass now and then and don't think it's a mortal sin) don't count with you anyway because they are defined by the neo-conservatives as ''not Catholic'' anyway.  Good riddance to them too, just like good riddance to all the grayhaired Vatican II lovers.

However, if you would like to study the real data instead of simply admiring your own impressions mirrored back to you, maybe start your research on this very web site, as America has reported the findings of many studies during the last few years. You might also look for the studies done by William D'Antonio, the late Dean Hoge and their team at Catholic University. You could also try the CARA web site. And then there are non-Catholic sources of information - Pew Research and even Gallup.  You most likely hang around a lot with like-thinkers who regularly affirm one another one your collective ''rightness'' and believe that you are the majority.  You are not. The information is out there - happy hunting.

DC Catholic Charities is still alive and kicking.  Check it out.
http://www.catholiccharitiesdc.org/

Catholic Charities in DC, operating with taxpayer money, was not ''forced'' to cut programs. Instead, it chose to change its health benefit coverages after DC legalized gay marriage.  No new hires would have the option of including their spouse (hetero spouses also) on their health insurance. Another fine example of Roman Catholic christianity in action - cut off people who need health benefits and may not be able to get them on their own.  Including the very straight parents of young children. Collateral damage I suppose.

You should do a little fact-checking before charging in, guns blazing, with misleading or downright wrong information.  Just a suggestion.

Now, tell me, do you think that religious liberty should apply to all Americans? Or only to Catholics?  

Do you believe that any agency of any particular religious group that is operating using taxpayer money - say a Muslim charity with employees who are not Muslim and a group of beneficiaries who are also not Muslim for the most part - should be permitted to demand that all employees and all beneficiaries follow Islamic laws? Should Catholic employees of this Muslim charity be required to fast during Ramadan? Should the women employees be forced to wear a head scarf, or veil their faces?  Don't you think that instead the Muslim charity should simply decline tax funding for their programs if it does not want to recognize the religious freedom of its employees and clients who are not Muslim?

The key to all of this, Mr. Joyce, is the use of taxpayer money. The many branches of Catholic Charities in the US together receive billions of dollars of tax money in funding. Billions in TAX MONEY.  If they don't want to extend religious liberty to ALL of their employees and to ALL of their clients then they can simply operate without tax monies.  Then they are free to impose their own beliefs as part of their operating charter. When they operate with tax money - as does Catholic Charities in Washington DC - they have no right to impose their own beliefs on others if they really believe in the principle of religious freedom - it must be for all and not just for themselves. Catholic Charities DC found a work-around. It may not be a very moral resolution of their conundrum, but it's what they did.  They would have shown far more chrisitan morality and integrity if they had simply announced that they would operate in the future without taxpayer money.
ed gleason | 6/6/2012 - 4:54pm
Seems Mr Joyce wants the last word. Catholic Charities he mentioned were not closed as he said. They initiate and cut programs all the time.
Bill Freeman asks why you keep posting on 'liberal' blogs. Well Bill. the Trad blogs want donations to post or in many cases have eliminated comments all together. The Trads are experiencing censorship and a lack of forums to express their 'insights'. They used to write letters to the Curia but that source has dried up and you heard  about the leaks.. ??? 
Mr Joyce notes his cohorts are fiscally liberal? see above  " but more fiscally liberal' WHY?
Try student debt..and living with grandpa and grandma. Mr Joyce...
Vince Killoran | 6/6/2012 - 4:41pm
"I suppose if we get away from the stats, my personal view. . ."

The handful of young conservatives in my parish think they are a kind of Leninist vanguard.    Please don't "get away" from the facts.

The DC Council didn't remove anyone from the public square.  They refused to provide taxpayer money to groups that engaged in discrimination.  Please do not confuse the two things. 

Keven Clarke is exactly right: the hyperbole and hysteria is a discredit to the U.S. Catholic Church. 
Bill Freeman | 6/6/2012 - 4:31pm
Jeanne Linconnue | 6/6/2012 - 3:33pm
If demographic trends interest you, Mr. Joyce, and you believe that neo-conservative Catholicism that rejects Vatican II (so beloved of the oldsters you are trying to hurry to their graves) will ''save'' the church for the young neo-trads, you obviously haven't read many of the studies done by objective academic research groups that clearly show that the youngest cohort of Catholics (college to about 30) is not only rejecting the church and many of its teachings in greater percentages than any other age cohort, it seems that they - especially young women - are unlikely to return, even after marriage and family, a sharp break from earlier patterns.  It seems that you don't care, but even if you don't, you should at least open your eyes to reality. It would also be a good thing to study Spanish, as the US church going forward, especially liturgy, will reflect Hispanic culture more than Rome's mind and spirit deadening preferences. Which may prove to be its salvation, at least in the short term.

If religious liberty concerns you, Mr. Joyce, then of course you must agree that religious liberty must be respected for all. So if any individual church or religious denomination takes taxpayer money for its agencies or work, it must not impose its own beliefs and doctrines on others. Churches that wish to have absolute freedom in this regard should simply not seek to fund their work with the money that comes from all taxpayers - it's a matter of respecting their religious liberty. And if that means they must close an agency that is funded with public money, then that is what they must do.  BTW, I can't vouch personally for all the states you say have closed Catholic Charities, but I do know that Catholic Charities in Washington DC is quite active. Perhaps you should check your sources before spreading misinformation.
ed gleason | 6/6/2012 - 2:28pm
Among other things, Mr. Joyce tells us in his mutiple posts, that Catholic Charities in a lot of places are "closed'.. Wrongo. 
http://www.catholiccharitiesdc.org/

He and his Trad allies,  forget that Google is available to us oldsters,  so their promulgation of c-p is a no go.
Note the constant posting by Trads using  ' we Catholic liberals and nuns' are so old we will soon be dying off.
At seventy we have a life expectancy of  17 years... With less hypertension than Trads we might be around for another 25 years. (-:
non requiestat in pace.
Bill Freeman | 6/6/2012 - 2:24pm
Brett - Your tirades are continous and to this article you needed to post three of the five comments.  If you find the readership of NCR and Commonweal so distasteful, why do you continue to read?  Concerned Women of America has a number of blogs that you might find more to your liking or maybe you might like to join the next anti-gay rally of the Westboro Baptist Church?
T BLACKBURN | 6/6/2012 - 1:48pm
In defense of the bishops, their rhetoric is no worse than that of anyone else who opens his mouth in what we daintily call the public square. Brett Joyce's gratuitous rerading of liberal minds to tell them what they want is an example. The first three words of this contribution have already sent someone to his keyboard: How dare I defend bishops. I was just going to say, though, that I can understand their tone. As soon as they, or anyone else, open his mouth they are told not only that they are wrong (before they get to their point) but that they are evil people.

That's how we live today. And when you point it out, you are immediately tu-quoqued by someone who thinks he is on the other side, even if you haven't indicated (except by implication) what side you are on or why you might be there. I wish the bishops would do better, but that is really a wish for heroic self-control in these disUnited States.