Monday, April 12, 2010

An Attack On The NCR From First Things For Being Right, But In A Wrong Way

This has got to be one of the funniest things I have read in a very long time. It proves what low levels paid Catholic apologists will resort to when they have been thoroughly scooped by another publication which wasn't as thoroughly duped.

First Things bent over backwards to castigate the professional qualifications of Jason Berry and Gerald Renney when they first reported on Maciel. These two reporters were called anti Catholic propagandists amongst other lovely things and the National Catholic Reporter and Hartford Courant were villified for attacking a holy 'conservative' icon.

The same kind of attacks are going on in the following article, but in the end First Things can't deny that Maciel really wasn't the man the founder of First Things Fr. Richard Neuhas, thought:

"I am not neutral about the Legionaries. I have spent time with Fr. Maciel, and he impresses me as a man who combines uncomplicated faith, gentle kindness, military self-discipline, and a relentless determination to do what he believes God has called him to do. They are the qualities one would expect of someone who at age twenty-one in Mexico vowed to do something great for Christ and his Church, and has been allowed to do it. In the language of the tradition, they are qualities associated with holiness; in his case a virile holiness of tenacious resolve that has been refined in the fires of frequent opposition and misunderstanding."

But apparently the editorial staff of First Things still retains their opinion of Jason Berry and the NCR.

Maciel & Money
Apr 7, 2010 - Joseph Bottum - First Things

One of the keys to Fr. Maciel’s influence was money, and after the revelations of his sexual misbehavior, those who’ve been less than trusting of the Legion have long been waiting for the other shoe—the news of dubious financial dealings—to drop.

Here at First Things, we’ve been pursuing for several months now an essay on the finances of the Legion in Mexico, but it has proved nearly impossible to find the real figures and the documented level of reporting necessary. (I'm sure it has been to meet your standards which must platinum and Vatican approved.)

And, as it turns out, we may have been looking at the wrong end of the conduit. The National Catholic Reporter finally drops the long-awaited shoe with reporting from Rome.

The piece is very thinly sourced. Here, for example, is the leading indictment in the piece: “One of the ex-Legionaries in Rome told NCR that a Mexican family in 1997 gave Dziwisz $50,000 upon attending Mass.” (Actually I thought the documentation about Cardinals Rode, Sodano and Somalo were the heart of the piece. Buying access to JPII is one thing, but buying stonewalling from relevant dicasteries is a different ballgame.)

That ain’t exactly what any real journalist would call a smoking gun, and the National Catholic Reporter has clearly rushed the story in a patent effort to link up with the media attention focused on the priest scandals in Europe. (And in a effort to tar with the Maciel scandal the conservatives the paper dislikes.) Not a stunning moment in professional Catholic journalism. (Does being a professional Catholic journalist mean one takes money to write the Catholic apologetic line? Just how much Legion and Opus Dei money have you taken to write your 'professional' apologetics?)

But even though the National Catholic Reporter is fumbling here, I’m convinced they are fumbling toward the truth. The secrecy of the finances of the Legion that Fr. Maciel built was an open invitation to corruption—and we already know that he was not a man to resist such invitations. (Only because Jason Berry and the NCR forced you to admit it.)

Joseph Bottum is editor of First Things.


Although I found the above the most humorous of the slew of Catholic apologetic writings surfacing in the last week, others have been just as vociferous about bashing the media and defending Benedict. All of them are using the same excuses that surfaced from the Bishops in 2002 in the US. We are being asked to believe that poor Benedict was just a victim of his times and bad advice. We are essentially being asked to ignore all the facts that say poor Benedict never concerned himself with the victims, that his primary concerns were the reputation of the Church, hiding the fact of the perpetrators, and keeping everything under silence and in house. Well, c'mon, that's the way things were done back then, the system is what it is. He did the best he could.

If that's the best Benedict could do, then what kind of sick system are you guys defending? The same cast of characters which made Benedict's life miserable are still in charge. It's now five years that Benedict has had all the power any man could want to make real change in this sick system. Where are the changes from the man bound and determined to clean up the filth? Are you asking us to believe that Benedict is still a captive prisoner of the sick system since nothing has appreciably changed and not one bishop, not one Cardinal has been held accountable for the cover up? That all Benedict can do is accept resignations when the anti Catholic media forces one to resign?

The fact is that nothing was done by Ratzinger about Maciel until the scandal of the man became public. Courtesy of the Hartford Courant. Nothing was done about Cardinal Groer until the scandal became public. Nothing was done in the US, Ireland, Germany and on and on and on, until the scandal Benedict tried to cover up became public. The real agent of change in cleaning up the filth has not been Ratzinger, it's been the anti Catholic agenda driven media. Certainly not publications like First Things.

Attacking the NCR for being right, essentially because it's left of center, is unbelievable arrogance. Oh well, I'm sure you got paid well to do it. Here's a look at the NCR from a media source that is not a paid Catholic apologist.


  1. Apparently the author of the "First Things" hit piece seems unaware that the late Mr. Renner was a practicing Catholic, and that Mr. Berry is also one as well. Evidently they aren't "Catholic enough" or the "right kind" of Catholic to suit the author.

  2. "uncomplicated faith, gentle kindness, military self-discipline, and a relentless determination to do what he believes God has called him to do."

    "Uncomplicated faith" to me means someone who doesn't think too deeply, someone who doesn't have any idea of the "cloud of unknowing" of the contemplative path, someone who, therefore, cannot comprehend the seeking of contemporary people. In other words, someone who really has no answers.

    I'm not too sure about "gentle kindness" since the two terms somewhat mean the same and can easily be brought forth by circumstance, ( I'm kind when things are going my way but when they don't...).

    "Military self-discipline" is far from "monastic discipline" although it can easily look the same.

    I just recently looked at a photo album book on the Dalai Lama. He certainly is disciplined, meditating at 4:30 am everyday but I don't think he's very military.

    "Relentless determination" can mean many things including overweening pride and egotism.

    If these were Maciel's qualities, I don't see them as indicators of holiness.

    The First Things crowd really needs to know what holiness is really about.

    Having qualities that a CEO might have are not indications of holiness but something else.

  3. House Organ Praises Vatican:

    The Vatican has handled damaging child abuse cases in an “exemplary” manner, the editor of the Vatican newspaper said on Monday, fending off widespread criticism over mushrooming pedophilia scandals.

    Whew! Glad that's settled! ;)

  4. Anonymous, we posted almost simultaneously... Here is my response to your comment. What is holiness all about?

  5. Ok, I can't resist this. It's a "play" on the title I gave to the Vatican's "tooting of its own horn" in how it's handled abuses.

    House Organ Praises Vatican

    Well, I'm picturing them awarding themselves a Huge Erect Phallus!

    (I wish somebody could do the clip art - but that would be pornography, wouldn't it? Just like their article is almost pornographic in its joy at their own "performance" art.)

  6. TheraP -

    "Well, I'm picturing them awarding themselves a Huge Erect Phallus!"

    When was the last time you took a critical look at the Pallium worn by Ratzinger (and all metropolitan archbishops)?

    A piece of woolen cloth bearing five Maltese Crosses (and occult symbol) and terminating in a very painfully obvious phallic symbol, pointing downward (the black tip).

    You do not need to 'read anything into it'; it is plain as day.

    Remember that a symbol is communicating a message. If you do not understand the message, there has been no communication. There is no such thing as a meaningless symbol. There is one thing which both high level occultists & Christian artisans/iconographers/liturgists have in common:

    They do things for a reason. There are no 'empty symbols'; all has meaning. If something had no meaning, it would not be used.

    The Pallium is an obvious phallic symbol. The balance of its symbolism may be understood in the context of sex abuse. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in this.....

    Note well: you will almost never find a prelate pictured or painted wearing it, until 1982, when Opus Dei was made a Personal Prelature (parallel church). Yet the Pallium has existed & been conferred for centuries.

    Perhaps...'the time has come'. Interpret that as you wish.

    Or perhaps one should understand the Pallium in light of the symbolism of Ratzinger's personal Coat of Arms, which contains:

    The occult shell of Venus (a sex cult)....a Black Beast.....a Black King (fraudulent ruler)....surmounted by a bishop's miter rather then a Papal Tiara (indicative of status)....completed on the bottom with the phallic Pallium with three occult Maltese Crosses (the Inverted Trinity of Revelations).

    Never before has a Papal coat of arms contained nothing BUT occult symbolism. In the past one might see the occasional element with more then one meaning. But not this inescapable reality.

    Bear in mind that both Ratz & Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo are highly educated men, well versed in symbology. There are no accidents here.

    I challenge the reader to consider the above in prayer....and not to 'go back to sleep'.

    Anon Y Mouse

  7. First Things is essentially an Opus Dei publication. Neuhaus was a loyal son of Escriva - even if his membership was associate or cooperator/collaborator status.

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.....and writes like a duck........

    Just like the most eminent Rev. George William Rutler (and his fake Oxford accent). Duck. Painfully obvious duck.

    Follow his duck tracks, and you will discover many other ducks. Clerical & lay. EWTN is your easiest place for a 'duck hunt'.


    Anon Y. Mouse

  8. Colleen, excellent commentary--and it runs right together with what I was writing at my blog today, on the recent coverage of the abuse revelations.

    The old boys are in high dudgeon these days, knowing that the piece about Maciel was soon to come out. And you're absolutely right: they're dusting off all the tired old excuses from 2002 forward.

    None of which ever seem to take into account the inconvenient existence of the children who have been abused and the adults they've become, who still stand outside the church doors and seem as invisible as ever to the old boys.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. "Attacking the NCR for being right, essentially because it's left of center, is unbelievable arrogance."

    ## Correction - it is believable arrogance, entirely typical of a certain kind of Catholic, for whom Christianity is dependent on being Catholic; with the effects for ethics, and the understanding of Jesus, the NT, & the Christian tradition, that follow from this.

    "Oh well, I'm sure you got paid well to do it. Here's a look at the NCR from a media source that is not a paid Catholic apologist."

    ## You're forgetting something - liberals always wrong. There is no such thing as a liberal who is right. Ever. Therefore, what the NCR says can be, should be, ignored.


    no abuse has taken place;
    the victims are lying;
    they asked to be molested;
    they tempted the clergy, who are the real victims;
    it's a plot to impoverish the Church;
    the Jews are responsible;
    the homosexuals are responsible;
    hardly any abuse has taken place;
    hardly any clergy were involved;
    Jews are worse;
    Protestants are worse
    it's all an anti-Catholic plot;
    it's the fault of Vatican 2;
    it's the fault of the liberals in the Church;
    it's a plot to get the Pope;
    JP2 didn't know, because he was ill;
    JP2 is to blame;
    the present Pope can't be expected to take responsibility;
    it's the fault of his opponents in the Vatican before he was elected;
    he has apologised, so stop criticising him;
    it's the fault of the bishops;
    it's not the fault of the laity;
    it's the fault of the laity;
    it's the fault of society;
    society generally is no better than the Church;

    Have I forgotten any of the excuses :) ?

    OR mentioned any that are not made ? Being fair is terribly important.

  11. Two "fun" (!?) links (hold on to your hats !):

  12. To expect First Dingalings to have anything good to say about the NCReporter is the same as expecting the deck chairs to remain in place on the Titanic as it goes down.

    First Dingalings will always be unthining defenders of Holy Mother the Titanic.

    Jim McCrea

  13. Either Anonymous is the author of the following video or is very familiar with the video. But the video seems to show what Anonymous has said about Benedict's coat of arms. Not that I'm endorsing that project. I simply don't know. But I found the video easier to follow than switching back and forth between the words and the wikipedia article:

  14. I swear to God this is the absolute truth. In my meditation today I was given the interesting observation that the all male clerical culture of Catholicism virtually worships the male penis, especially in it's theology of sex and procreation. It is very similar to Satanic cults but presented in a less overt manner but none the less a perhaps more potent and pervasive way. It's pagan.

    Plus I wonder if Cardinal Ratzinger truly did think the abuse crisis was a North American phenomenon because man/boy sex has always been a part, if in the shadows, of 'high' European culture. That it was both foreign to and offensive in American culture just did not compute to him as anything more than an expression of an atavistic strain of the American puritanical sexual ethic.

  15. Ratbiter, that's a great job on that list. I think you have hit them all.

  16. a more plausible interpretation:

    Scallop shell: The symbolism of the scallop shell is multiple, one of the meanings is thought to represent Saint Augustine. While a doctoral candidate in 1953, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger wrote his dissertation on The People of God and the House of God in Augustine's Teaching is always about the Church, and therefore has a personal connection with the thought of this great Doctor of the Church.
    Moor of Freising: The Moor's head is an heraldic charge associated with Freising, Germany.
    Corbinian's bear: A legend states that while travelling to Rome, Saint Corbinian's pack horse was killed by a bear. He commanded the bear to carry the load. Once he arrived, he released it from his service, and it returned to Bavaria. The implication is that "Christianity tamed and domesticated the ferocity of paganism and thus laid the foundations for a great civilisation in the Duchy of Bavaria." At the same time, Corbinian's bear, as God's beast of burden, symbolises the weight of office that Benedict now carries.

  17. Anon Y Mouse, here's your huge erect phallus, already on the ground to welcome Benedict to Malta.

  18. Colleen -

    Yes, I collaborated on that video. The interpretation was partly mine & partly via a third party.

    I do not 'demand' that anyone accept what is said therein at face value. That is why I encouraged praying about it.

    Others have posted excerpts from the 'Official Vatican Party Line' in the coat of arms. I do not consider their 'explanation' to be flimsy; rather I would consider it the product of evil genius.

    The best deception is that which looks 'real'.

    But, once again, ask yourself this:

    Look back on Papal Coat of Arms of past popes. You will not find one in which ALL of the symbols are evil/occult in meaning (or double meaning). Do not take my word for it, look for yourself:

    Decide for yourself, invoking the aid of the Holy Spirit.

    But none of the previous known COA of past popes contained symbols of ALL evil meaning/connotation. Most contained symbols pertaining to lineage/region and/or Christian symbols.

    Colleen, your comment & 'understanding' are spot on. Both in Europe in general & in the Vatican (and more then a few past notorious papacies) man/boy exploits have been far from unknown. In many cases they were winked at.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  19. "Anon Y Mouse, here's your huge erect phallus, already on the ground to welcome Benedict to Malta."

    My response: How subtle!

    *Spit-take....followed by hystericallaughter*