Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some Hot Angry Tears Of Betrayal

In a speech at Catholic University Cardinal Stafford had this to say about Barack Obama and the United States of America:

His Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford criticized President-elect Barack Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and said he campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform,” Thursday night in Keane Auditorium during his lecture “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul.“ (Is Cardinal Stafford actually implying that Obama is some sort of Anti Christ?)

“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” Stafford remarked, “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.” (But you do think a woman's reproductive life should be controlled by government.)

“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.” (Yes, we did!)

Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” by beginning a new sentiment where one is “with Jesus, sick because of love.” (Wow, Cardinal Stafford doesn't seem to have taken the election results with good grace. I personally could finally stop crying "hot, angry tears of betrayal", and although I didn't presume that my sickness with the Bush administration was shared by Jesus, it wouldn't have surprised me if Jesus was sick too.)

The lecture, hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pertained to Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and celebrating its 40 anniversary this year.

Stafford also spoke about the decline of a respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the original values of marriage and human dignity.

“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” said Stafford, an American Cardinal and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary for the Tribunal of the Holy See. “In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins.” (This is frightening. I don't think Humanae Vitae figured into the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and I don't think America has been thrown into ruins because of Humanae Vitae. Humanae Vitae wasn't an encyclical about unchecked power and greed.)

This destruction and America’s decline is largely in part due to the Supreme Court’s decisions in the life-issue cases of 1973, specifically Roe v. Wade. Stafford asserted these cases undermined respect for human life in the United States.

“Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic,” said Stafford. (But we're to accept that these comments of yours are not mean, and not divisive.)


This has been a heck of a week for Catholic democrats. Looking back over some of the Episcopal statements that I have commented on, could make one shed tears of "hot, angry betrayal." Oh well, Catholic progressives have a lot of practice with that phenomenon.

The comments on other websites about Cardinal Stafford's speech have engendered some of the least Christian banter I have read on any other topic. It has served however, to focus the rage of some pro lifers about Obama. It seems they are incapable of separating the man from his party, or from the electorate of the United States. He has somehow become a lightening rod for all things Satanic. Here's an article by Fr. George Rutler, which extensively quotes Cardinal Newman on how Satan co opts weak Christians. Fr. Rutler is certainly implying that the election of Obama was a victory for Satan, principally due to lukewarm cafeteria catholics who seemingly can't tell satan from a box of Granola.

Have I missed something? Weren't the democrats in charge of both houses of congress in 2007 when FOCA couldn't get out of committee in either the senate or the house? Aren't there pro life Catholic democrats, who coupled with republicans of like mind, capable of preventing it from coming out of committee again? Isn't there some constitutional clause that says Obama can't sign into law a bill which didn't come through congress first? Has the election of Barack Obama somehow propelled us into a completely different parallel universe?

Given the 'apocalyptic' rhetoric of Cardinal Stafford, maybe we are in some parallel universe that only he's aware of, but if we're not, his language is way over the line. Obama is not the Anti Christ and to imply such a thing, is ignorant at best, and verbally irresponsible at it's worst. It's hate and fear mongering to the max. Isn't Cardinal Stafford way past retirement age?

In the meantime Pope Benedict is waxing eloquently on how Christians long for the end times, and explaining the need for real Catholic politicians. He even gives a shout out concerning the contribution of women. Which is nice, considering neither he nor Cardinal Stafford would be around without one. What though, is all this fascination with the end times? Catholicism is beginning to sound way too much like the New Apostolic Reformation.

Which brings me to the letter of Richard Malone , the bishop of the diocese of Portland, Maine. In this letter, which he had read at all parishes, he again states the quite common, if totally erroneous notion, that marriage between one man and one woman has always been that way. Well, maybe in his lifetime.

In the body of the letter, in another sort of shout out, he does stress the diocese's support for the opening up of civil 'spousal' benefits such as health insurance and hospital visitation. There is though, this kind of confusing part in which he seems to be saying that when it comes to marriage and the common good, the Catholic sacramental notion of marriage supersedes the civil notion and should be made the law of the land. For the good of the children don't we know.

He ends by telling his flock they can look forward to Maine's version of prop 8. Which I guess means that Maine can look forward to their own version of a Mormon invasion. I understand this can be good for their economy, if not their political atmosphere.

Why is Catholicism working in hand in hand with the Mormon's you might ask---on defending marriage of all things. I suspect it has to do with money. The LDS Church has it, and American Catholicism is still shelling out mind boggling sums to clergy sexual abuse victims. Three billion and still counting, in fact.

Cardinal Stafford, perhaps you shouldn't be speaking about shedding 'hot, angry tears of betrayal'.


  1. Why do you bother calling yourself a Catholic? It's not a club you join and then make up the rules as you go along ... The Truth is the Truth and the Catholic Church can't do any other than teach it.

    If you want to make up your own "truth" feel free and have fun. Go "enlighten" yourself. But don't pretend you're a Catholic if you aren't willing to embrace the Truth as it is taught by the Catholic Church.

  2. Isnt it interesting how hateful those who claim to be faithful orthodox are becoming. Each time one of them makes a comment such as this one from anonymous, it brings the term "faithful orthodox" into increasing synonymy with "hate monger".

    The following verse is the prophesy that they have to look forward to: (according to thomas)

    Rev 21:8 But as for the cowardly ... and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death."

  3. And did the Pharisees believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, anonymous? They taught too "with authority," but they did not recognize Jesus Christ and His teachings as the Truth and they crucified Him.

    Why do you bother calling yourself a Christian, let alone a Catholic, when what you have embraced is not the Truth, but hatred and disdain for the Truth?

    Obviously, certain 'catholics' of the right wing fundamentalist variety believe that the Church is a club, an exclusive one, for Pharisees.

  4. First off, I didn't volunteer to join this club, I was baptised into it. I actually envy converts who got to choose as adults whether they wanted into the club.

    Secondly, I don't view Catholicism as a club, but I do view the hierarchy that way, and they do seem to have spent two millenia making up the rules as they went along.

    When Truth means the Nicene creed then I'm still a Catholic, but when it includes exclusively male derived doctrine and canonical laws, then I have my differences. So do bishops and cardinals, which is why some South American prelates have asked for relaxation of some of the canons surrounding the priesthood--like most of them.

    Catholicism is a church in process whether you choose to believe that or not. Change is coming if only because the entire sacramental delivery system is in jeopardy. At it's core, that is the mission of the Church, to deliver sacraments, the outward and Grace filled signs of the salvation offered by Jesus.

    All the crozier waving and demonizing of Obama will not change the simple fact the Church is failing in it's mission to deliver the sacraments and I'm not going to let the smoke of distracting issues cloud that fact.

    If it makes you feel better, I don't recieve communion and am therefor not violating your sense of truth. I do play in the 'club' by it's rules. It's called integrity, it doesn't mean I have to like it. Nor does it mean I have to be silent.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. The deleted comment was a duplicate post.

    Carl and Butterfly, don't get too upset. I've sat in enough Catholic churches and watched as attendance dropped and dropped and dropped. It hurts whether you think the Church is bringing this exodus on itself, or whether you think the laity is lazy and at fault. The fact is, a patrimony we all cherish is accelerating in it's death throws.

    I don't think anyone wants to think of themselves as part of the problem, we'd much rather think we had part of the solution. Annonymous has his/her ideas and I have mine. I'd like to think the source of the concern is the same.
    It's love for our experiences of the Church and the individuals who were part of that experience.

  7. I don't understand how Anonymous has the time to write so many responses to so many posts on so many blogs. He/she is busy enough on the NCR blogs alone, that I had never expected him/her to find time to lurk on other blogs.

    With that out of the way, great post, Colleen! It intersects very well with what I've been thinking about Cardinal Stafford's comments, too, and posted on my blog at the same time you were posting.

    Like you, I've wept those bitter tears of Gethsemani for some time now, and am finally able to dry my eyes a bit with the election of a man who has promise to move us in a good direction for a change.

  8. I just returned from a trip to find the bishop's letter. "...to include same sex couples is to strip marriage of an essential component, namely the ability and obligation to procreate.""To strip marriage of this essential component is to render marriage meaningless...." Will we have fertility tests before marriage now? And mandatory divorce at menopause?
    As I grieve the pending excommunication of Fr Roy Bourgeois, I wonder--

  9. Actually anonymous, some of that is already here. I was told when I asked about an annulment (this came from the bishop) that all I had to do was say I divorced my wife because she had a hysterectomy and could not have more children. He said it would be an open and shut case. A sort of no-fault for me.

    However, she can never remarry in the church because of it. The church will not recognize her marriage as valid, and if she marries outside the church, she cannot participate in the sacrements because she will be committing adultery. That is not just wrong, it is an attrocity committed in the name of god.

    I still care about my ex, and it infuriates me that the church she has faithfully served all her life would abandon her in this way.

    This attrocity is all the evidence that I need to prove to me that the Magisterial Authority does worship a god, but it is not the "One True God".

  10. Carl, I wondered what had gone on with your annulment proceeding. Your story is just wrong.

    Mine is not much better. When I was called by the annulment tribunal--I had not instigated the proceedings--I told them I had abosolutely no intention of allowing the birth of another child based on my husband's abusive attitude. One was enough for me to see that more would be a reprehensible lack of responsiblity as a mother on my part. The annulment was granted.

    It was critical to him that he be allowed to remarry. He's never done so because every other woman recognized his abuse of waiters and waitresses and convenient store attendants ad nauseum. That behavior of his didn't show up until after we were married and it first showed up with our daughter.

    The whole marriage thing is a crock of shit, and if gay marriage makes our bishops take a real honest look at what these bizarre annulment rules entail, I'm all for gay marriage. So should any self respecting heterosexual who thinks about something beyond their own age bracket.

    Menopause strikes all women and Viagra can kill heart deficient men. Age and loneliness catch up with all of us if we survive our youth.

    Maybe someone should tell our bishops that bending over backwards to keep a priest in the fold is a far cry from trying to make a marriage work. Sometimes all the enabling behavior in the world really does make things worse. Spouses seem more ready to face that fact than bishops do.

  11. Bill, your comment made me laugh. I will admit though, that sometimes I might be that person on other blogs. Sometimes signing up to get a real monicker is a pain.

  12. I am not the same anonymous as the person who posted what appears to be the first comment here. But I see more "hate" in the comments which followed than I did in the one which is so "evil". I really only see matter of fact statements in the first comment, which seem to have brought out the anger in most of you.

    I have no intention of hanging around and I see there have been no comments in awhile so I guess it does not matter anyway.

    Your understanding of the Catholic Church, what it teaches and its obligations are mistaken and you have been lead astray.

    By the way,

    I am a former catholic, as well as you all appear to be.