Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Words From A Real Culture Warrior And A Suggestion For A New Catholic Rite

At the recent fall assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Robert J. Hermann, the administrator for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, declared that for any bishop it would be a “privilege to die tomorrow to bring about an end to abortion.”

He has further explained that Catholics' response to abortion in our country should be proportionate to the scale of the tragedy.

At the bishops’ meeting in Baltimore, Bishop Hermann had said:
"We have lost 50 times as many children in the last 35 years as we have lost soldiers in all the wars since the Revolution."I think any bishop here would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow to bring about an end to abortion.”

“If we are willing to die tomorrow, then we should be willing to, until the end of our lives, to take all kinds of criticism for opposing this horrible infanticide."

Speaking with the archdiocesan newspaper the St. Louis Review, the bishop commented:
“I think that the way abortion has been presented over the past 35 years so often is that this is something that’s horrible, and we need to stop it. But it seems to me that people do not realize that it is 50 million children that we have killed. We have campaigned to save the baby whales, and yet we vote in pro-abortion politicians — which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”

Bishop Hermann also described how bishops can look to the example of soldiers.

“If American youth are willing to go to war and lay their life down to defend our freedoms, then every bishop should be willing to give up his life, if it meant putting an end to abortion. And if we’re willing to do that, then we should be totally fearless of promoting this cause without being concerned about political correctness, without trying to build coalitions with pro-choice people,” the bishop said in an apparent reference to those Catholics who have recently begun to give up the fight to outlaw abortion.

He proposed an “awareness- raising campaign” to help people realize “the destruction that we’ve brought about” and “the atrocities that we’re committing.”

“There should be 50 more million Americans in our midst, and anyone under 35 can look around and say, ‘Where are they?’ And, ‘I’m very lucky to be alive.’” (What about all the ones who don't feel lucky to be alive, or don't feel wanted, or wish they had been aborted? Do you care about them?)

Bishop Hermann reported that after he made his comments one or two bishops started clapping, but the meeting then moved on to other business. (Seems most of our bishops may not be on board with Bishop Herman's willingness to die.)

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, along with other bishops, personally thanked him afterwards.

He reported that about 95 percent of the popular responses to his remarks have been positive, with some people consulting him about how they ought to deal with past voting habits. Bishop Hermann said many people have been conditioned to act as if God does not exist. (In my case I've been conditioned to believe that authentic bishops don't exist. God is alive and well in my neighborhood.)

“I have great empathy and great compassion for people who are influenced by society and are taken in by the big lie that God does not exist. My job is to raise their awareness to, yes He does (exist), and it does make a difference what you believe. It makes a big difference in what you do.“We also have to be aware that our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and the powers and the spirits of this world of darkness, as Paul tells us in Ephesians. (Seems we have yet another Holy Warrior.)

“Therefore, behind Planned Parenthood, behind the abortion issue, is the evil one,” Bishop Hermann stated. (The evil one was also hanging around some tree in the garden of Eden, and you male religious leaders have been saying the evil one was behind women ever since.)

“I often see human beings caught up in this as victims of the evil one who need my prayers and who need my compassion and who need my love. We don’t only want to save our children from destruction; we also want to save our adult brothers and sisters from eternal destruction.” (And you hope to accomplish this by denying us access to the sacraments, and generally condemning us for heresy and apostasy. Makes great sense to me.)

The bishop expressed concern about President-elect Barack Obama’s support for Planned Parenthood, which he claimed targets blacks with abortion information and facilities in their neighborhoods. (This is a very serious accusation of blatant racism and worse than that, purposeful eugenics. Where is his proof for this allegation?)

Turning to possible problems under a pro-abortion rights Obama presidency, he called the proposed Freedom of Choice Act “dangerous” because “it would be undermining all the efforts for the past 35 years of trying to limit the destructive effects of abortion.”

He also noted the possibility Obama could appoint two more Supreme Court justices, which he claimed could secure the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision “for many, many years.”

Responding to a common criticism that bishops and priests place such importance on abortion, he noted that other rights and political issues “mean nothing if the fundamental right to life is not guaranteed.” (Bishop, you are not talking about a right to life, you are talking about a right to birth. A right to birth means nothing if that life has no guarantees to something as basic as clean water after birth, or basic nutrition before birth. In too many cases this means a guaranteed death with in five years after birth.)

“When someone is denied life, then all the other rights don’t mean anything. That’s the reason the Church places such a high priority on that.“For an individual to have a proportionate reason to vote for a candidate who supports abortion would be very hard to come by. The only way I could see that happening is if we had one candidate who supports abortion and another one who may mandate abortion ... as they do in China.” (Perhaps the Church should be taking a much tougher stance in China instead of sucking up to the Chinese government in order to procure the right to appoint it's own bishops.)

Bishop Hermann closed his interview with the St. Louis Review by encouraging Catholics to study Church documents such as Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae and Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, “so they can clearly understand the nature of man and woman and the sacredness of God’s calling for man and woman.” (Maybe we should just concentrate on the New Testament, the Good News, The way the truth and the life of Jesus.)

“The more they study that and begin to live those teachings, the more they’re going to come into freedom to promote the Gospel of Life,” he concluded.


It seems Bishop Herman is still campaigning to become the Archbishop of St Louis. He has all his papal talking points correct, if not to thunderous applause from his fellow bishops.

I wonder what would happen if bishops like Herman, Neumann, Chaput and Martino decided to form their own Catholic rite. They could call it the New Apostolic Reformed Catholic Rite. I'm sure they would get Vatican backing and maybe even be able to incorporate Opus Dei and the Legionairres. They would also get lots of welcoming attaboys from groups like the Mormon Church, like minded Evangelicals, (especially those in Colorado Springs) and lots of money from rich reactionaries.

They could join a whole host of prayer warrior groups, if they haven't already. They would get at least 7-8% of the Catholic population, who would be very happy to belong to a Catholic rite that doesn't even pretend to admit gays of any sort, celibate or not. They would have their hearts desire--- their own leaner and meaner form of Catholicism, free to exclude who ever they wanted.

The rest of us could have what was left, and we'd all have a choice. Works for me.


  1. That kind of extremist rhetoric is playing with fire.

    Zealots bent on martyrdom have no qualms about taking others with them.

  2. There is one constant certainty we can count on from the bishops ... they will lie.

    The "culture of death" was a lie.

    I see no reason to believe that this Bishop Hermanns rhetoric is not more of the same.

    Here is one of the statitics that the bishops do not want you to see:

    The abortion rate among women living below the federal poverty level ($9,570 for a single woman with no children) is more than four times that of women above 300% of the poverty level (44 vs. 10 abortions per 1,000 women). This is partly because the rate of unintended pregnancies among poor women (below 100% of poverty) is nearly four times that of women above 200% of poverty* (112 vs. 29 per 1,000 women[3,1]

    If I am remembering correctly, one of the bishops recently stated that there was no correlation between poverty and abortion. These statistics say exactly the opposite.

    As the poverty levels increase due to the declining economy, are we going to see an increase in the abortion rate for the first time in 25 years? If we do, will the bishops sieze the opportunity to blame the increase on the new administration?

    Do you suppose any of the bishops will show enough integrity to admit that they must share in the responsiblity for this increase due to their support of the republican administrations that created the conditions that caused poverty to increase, and their it was their failure to denounce the sins of those administrations that led to the problem?

    I doubt it. There is one thing we can always count on the bishops to do. LIE.

    Will we ever see a day when the catholic church has leaders who dont violate the primary premise of our beliefs - "do not bear false witness"?

  3. Collen, I love the double entendre of "new Catholic rite." And the proposal actually makes a lot of sense, though I know you meant it at least half tongue-in-cheek.

    As St. Augustine said about the Donatists, they are like frogs around a tiny pond, croaking that it's the Mediterranean. All exclusivist, purist movements end up that way.

    Maybe the church should give them that tiny pond to croak around, and then not inform them it's not the Mediterranean, and the rest of us poor sinners can get about our business of living the gospel in a world not designed for purism.

  4. Antonio, you are correct that some of this rhetoric is playing with fire. Especially the rhetoric about planned parenthood. I wouldn't be at all surprised if attacks on clinics didn't go up because of rhetoric such as this.

  5. Carl thanks for posting the statistics. They get even worse in developing countries where abortion is currently illegal, and women do wind up in prison for very long terms---except for the wealthy who can have their 'miscarriages' out of country.

  6. Bill, I don't know that my suggestion was actually tongue in cheek. In some respects it's the sane thing to do, and where possible, parishes are already aligning themselves in this manner.

    It makes more sense for the smaller group to form it's own rite. While I don't see this happening under Benedict, it may happen under the next pope. Better to be proactive than reactive.

  7. Re-reading some of Bishop Hermann here this morning. This man belongs in a mental hospital. He's become completely psychotic about this issue of abortion and relating it to "infanticide." He has lost all sense of reality.

    He says "We have campaigned to save the baby whales, and yet we vote in pro-abortion politicians - which doesn't make any sense whatsoever." Well, perhaps if he didn't focus on just one issue he might understand reality.

    He's an idiot and he's paving the way for violence by his statements to say it would be a "privilege to die tomorrow to bring about an end to abortion." He is not going to bring about an end to abortion! It is like someone saying it would be a privilege to die tomorrow to bring about an end to all sin and death and the common cold and influenza. He is a maniac!

    Carl, you are good with the statistics. I am wondering what the statistics are for cancer deaths in this country. As well the statistics for auto accidents. A comparison of deaths of real persons and real children who have died of starvation or malnutrition, lack of childhood medicine, etc. compared with the numbers given for abortions. As well, the statistics of abortions is inclusive of first trimester abortions, which many do not consider a full person and least of all an infant or a child.

    Over the last 35 years, how many children have died around the world because they lacked food or preventive medicines? I am afraid the statistics are that far more real children who were born have not made it to age 5 years old than in abortions in the first trimester. If the statistics were added to those children who also died of aids around the world, I am pretty sure his campaign against abortion might be seen in true perspective, which he is totally lacking.

  8. I've been debating about writing this for a couple of days, and finally decided go for it.

    Every time I reread the article, I think about the buddhist monks in Vietnam, who not only said they were willing to die, but actually did self terminate their lives for what they believed.

    My comment to Bishop Hermann ... put up or shut up.

  9. Bishops make mistakes. However, there is no reason to insult or mock a holy man whose hands consecrate the bread to become Jesus' body every Sunday! He is a bishop and deserves respect, even if you publicly disagree with his positions.

    that being said the man is right. You people would have scoffed at the martyrs who died in the Roman empire for not accepting the spirituality of the Romans. After all there are alot of issues besides dying for Jesus right?

    Abortion is a grave evil. It must be stopped. By making abortion illegal and providing aid to poor, pregnant women we can end abortion and save countless lives!

    Yes, there are many evils in the world. But is not the murder of 1.2 million defenseless babies in the womb in a civilized society such as America a grace evil!?

    Yes, concentrate on whales and poverty and ending war. But you cannot deny that there are some things that are more evil than others.

  10. I agree with you anonymous, there are some things that are more grave than others, such as a "holy man" who consecrates the eucharist in one breath then lies deliberately in the next.

    There is nothing worse than a bishop who lies. 1.5 million abortions is nothing compared to a "holy man" who violates his vows by lying.

    Lies and deceit are the root cause of every evil (including abortion) that has ever been perpertrated in the history of the human race.

    Lying is not a mistake. It is a choice. Any bishop who lies chooses to denigrate the position entrusted to him and deserves nothing but contempt for propogating lies and deception instead of standing in the truth.

  11. Abortion is a very complicated issue. Making it illegal is the most ineffective and simplistic solution to pretending to end it.

    All one needs to do is to research abortion statistics in the third world. It's still the preferred form of birth control even in countries in which it is illegal and the Church's position holds legal sway. To ignore this is deceptive.

    Stating you would die for the repeal of Roe V Wade is nothing more or less than grandstanding, since it's women who actually die from illegal abortions or the complications of pregnancy.

    No annonymous, Bishop Hermann does not impress me. What would impress me is if the bishops would actually consult women in developing a morality which profoundly effects women. That they don't is indicative of the fact they still haven't learned the lesson from the Garden of Eden.

    Satan convinced Adam and Eve they would have all knowledge. It seems we Eve's know the devil lied. After all, according to the story, we're the ones who pay the price in child birth and pregnancy.

    The clerical Adam's of the world are still under the illusion they have all knowledge. They can afford to maintain this illusion as they aren't the ones who actually pay the price for humanity's first failure to discern truth from lies.

    As Carl says, deception and lies are the sins this world is all about. Has been from the beginning and nothing has changed. Discerning truth from lies is our primary task in the use of free will. Nothing and no one releases us from that obligation.

    Purposeful deception, exaggeration, and out right lieing is not spiritual.

    We will never see an American Roman Catholic bishop put their life on the line the way Buddhist monks have in Viet Nam and Mayanamar, or the original Christians did in Rome.

    To imply such a thing is to desecrate their sacrifice. Holy hands or not.