Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Devil Is The Real Power Behind The Culture Wars

Saying Catholics are “at war” with “the glamour of evil,” Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph Robert W. Finn delivered a keynote address at a pro-life convention on Saturday lamenting “dissension in the ranks” and calling on Catholics to never become used to the “crime against humanity” that is abortion.He also commented on the Notre Dame controversy, saying its head should disinvite President Barack Obama. Greeting the audience at the Gospel of Life Convention in Overland Park, Kansas, Bishop Finn said that alongside encouragements he also wished to tell them, “We are at war!” (Militaristic jingo is the last resort for people who can't make convincing arguments.)

“Harsh as this may sound it is true – but it is not new,” he said, adding that “new battles” bring “an intensity and urgency to our efforts.”
According to the Catholic Key, the bishop invoked the tripartite division of the Catholic Church as the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant. The Church on Earth, Bishop Finn explained, is “the Church Militant.” (The Church Suffering are the souls in purgatory.)

“We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan, with the glamour of evil, and the lure of false truths and empty promises. If we fail to realize how constantly these forces work against us, we are more likely to fall, and even chance forfeiting God’s gift of eternal life.”

The bishop said it is an “important truth” to know that Jesus Christ “has already won the war definitively and once for all.”
“He has conquered sin and death and has won the prize of life on high in heaven forever. We know the final outcome, but the battle for eternal life is now played out in each human heart.”
Emphasizing that the Church Militant’s battle is “ultimately a spiritual battle,” he said that those who stand up for what is right will be opposed.
“The temptation will be to avoid these attacks. But through our responses we must see what kind of soldiers we are,” Bishop Finn said.

Noting that the true enemy is Satan, he referred to St. Paul’s exhortation to “put on the armor of God, in order that you can stand firm against the tactics of the devil.”

“Human beings are not Satan, but certainly they can come under his power, even without their fully realizing it,” he added. “When we, in our sinfulness, put something in the place of God: pleasure and convenience; material success; political power and prestige, we open a door for the principalities and contrary spirits who war against God.” (This is a prelude statement which is designed to insure people are not just powerless but ignorant in the face of the enemy.)

Bishop Finn referred to those who want to establish a way of life in contravention of God’s law: those who promote abortion, “unnatural substitutes for marriage,” and “all such distortions of true freedom.”
He reminded his audience of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5: “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”
“We cannot hate these human enemies,” Bishop Finn stated, telling his audience that “we must find a way to love them. But we need not show them any sign of agreement. We pray for them,” Bishop Finn commented. “To ignore their destructive errors, particularly those that cost the lives of others, is to shirk our responsibility to attend to their eternal salvation.”
(This is cool logic, first we are powerless and ignorant on our own behalf, but we have a responsibility to save everyone else's soul.)

Those who openly attack belief in Christ or the Church’s right to exist are in some ways not the most dangerous opponents, Bishop Finn said, because “they show themselves and their intentions more forthrightly.”

More dangerous are people from all backgrounds, including Catholics, who “in this age of pluralism and political propriety seek ways to convince us of their sincerity and good will.
“With malice or with ignorance, or perhaps with an intention of advancing some other personal goal, they are willing to undermine and push aside the values and the institutions that stand in their way. They may propose ‘tolerance’ and seem to have a ‘live and let live’ approach to all human choices – even if the choice is not to ‘let live,’ but actually to ‘let die,’ or ‘let life be destroyed.’”

“This dissension in our own ranks should not surprise us because we all experience some dissension against God’s law of love within our own heart,” the bishop told the convention, saying those believers who attack the “most fundamental tenets” of the Church are some of the most “discouraging, confusing and dangerous” opponents. (The Nicene Creed embodies the fundamental tenets. No one is attacking the Nicene Creed.)

Turning to the issue of the University of Notre Dame’s invitation of President Barack Obama, he said “It doesn’t take another Bishop’s Conference statement to know this is wrong: scandalous, discouraging and confusing to many Catholics.”

Predicting that Notre Dame President Fr. John I. Jenkins will “probably lose his job” as “a scapegoat for this debacle,” Bishop Finn suggested: “at this point perhaps he ought to determine to lose it for doing something right instead of something wrong.” He said Fr. Jenkins should disinvite the president and give the honorary degree to Bishop John D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. (Why should the President of Notre Dame lose his job when nobody said much of anything about President Obama speaking at Georgetown.)

He then spoke about the “battle for human life,” especially on abortion.
“The constant magnitude of this crime against humanity is staggering. We must never get used to it,” Bishop Finn said. “In the United States there are 4,000 abortions every day.”

“If we keep saying this – first of all – some people will get very upset with us. They will want us to stop. They may quote other statistics about the tragedies of poverty and war. We must truly share their horror at these things too. However, in the end the measure of our society is in how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst.”
The bishop said that Catholics are “absolutely” in a war over abortion and said people should not consider this “someone else’s war.” (All this war talk pretty much excludes any notions of unity, or dialogue, or seeking other than the legal strategy. Oh by the way, plenty of abortions happened before Roe v Wade.)

Turning to human embryo research, he said Missouri had lost “a valiant battle” to outlaw human cloning and human embryonic stem cell research.
“We haven’t given up, but it requires a constant effort. We won many people over through good instruction in the truth.”
Noting the legalization of assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington State, Bishop Finn lamented the “steady decline” in the number of people opposed to assisted suicide.
“Unfortunately, there is reason to believe that people are losing their sense of the moral evil of assisted suicide. But we cannot give up,” he told the convention audience. (I'm not as morally concerned about terminally ill adults seeking assisted suicide as I am young gay teenagers committing unassisted suicide. Does that make me evil?)

Warning that Catholics public officials who support the legal right to abortion “have abandoned their place in the citizenship of the Church,” the bishop said they have become “warriors for death rather than life.”
They endanger their eternal salvation, he warned.
Exhorting Catholics to build an “active culture of life” that is “capable of turning back hell itself,” he said those who are not living in God’s life should avoid the “ultimately supernatural battle.”
“The devil… will turn you inside out,” he cautioned, encouraging people to become “prayer warriors.”
(This is language straight from the New Apostolic Reformation playbook. Thomas Muthee, the African witch hunter who protects Sarah Palin would be proud.)

“Prayer defeats the devil. Prayer aligns us with Christ. Pray for the abortionist. Pray for the legislator. Pray for the mother (and father and other family members). Pray for the child in the womb. Pray for yourself and allow God to guide you,” he added.


Given the event at which Bishop Finn was speaking, I'm hardly surprised by the over all take of his speech. It's a direct appeal at emotion, not reason. At one level it's designed to dangle the stick of demonic fear with the carrot of the Catholic sacramental system:

"How do we arm ourselves for what is first and foremost a supernatural war?First: Unless we are living in God’s life we should not go near this battle. I don’t care if you are the strongest and most brilliant and clever person on the planet. The devil – as he has shown over and over again – will turn you inside out. If you are not fortified by the sacraments – frequent confession and worthy Holy Communion – you cannot succeed in an ultimately supernatural battle."

And at another level it's designed to rally the troops for the political battle:

"The fight for life is a constant warfare. Those who vied for the leadership of our country last November offered Americans a clear choice in this regard."

And then a little later on he says:

"Please note: This is NOT partisan politics on the part of bishops or their flock."
If that's true then he should have stated that neither candidate was really totally on board with Catholic pro life teaching, as McCain favored embryonic stem cell research and there was no clear choice in this regard.

All of that aside, Bishop Flinn's whole case for spiritual warfare is far more Evangelical than it is Catholic. Most Catholics have not been exposed to this kind of demonic warfare thinking for decades and decades, if ever. This whole notion was basically kept in the hands of priest/exorcists and contemplative orders. On the other hand this demonic warfare idea really sells for the New Apostolic Reformation. Every time I hear or read a conservative Catholic bishop start down this path, I can't help but wonder if they are getting their talking points from Colorado Springs.

It seems to me when Bishops resort to militaristic war language and invoke a Holy War with Satan, that they are not interested in dialogue. They are interested in dominating their flocks and any given agenda. When they threaten Catholics with eternal damnation and evoke the idea of an omniscient all powerful Satan who is way beyond our ignorant ability to deal with, they are anti intellectual, anti humanity, anti Jesus, and plain old fear mongering.

Jesus was not intimidated by Satan. In fact, if you go back and read the story of the temptation in the desert, Satan had no power to over ride Jesus's choice. Satan has no power to over ride anyone's choice and neither does the angelic realm. Free choice is the biggest reason sentient life exists on this planet. Free choice is respected by all sentient energies.

The object is to freely make the best choices which take you closer to God. Choice is how we align with God, it's how we find His presence within ourselves and others. This choice can not be coerced through fear or domination because that only allows one to find the dominator's vision of God. It can not be enforced from above and have any kind of real meaning. It is not the woman who chooses not to abort, because the law forces that choice, which elevates mankind. It's the woman who chooses life for it's own sake that elevates mankind. Mary was given a choice. God did not rape her and it was her choice that so elevated mankind.

Bishops like Flinn would do well to stop all this blather about prayer warriors and Satanic warfare principally because they have an apparent unsophisticated understanding of lower level energies. All they do is encourage fear of the spiritual path with their continual reinforcement of our powerlessness in the face of these unseen evil energies. It's projection pure and simple. In my book this whole thing isn't about Satan's supposed power, it's about Bishop Flinn's.

It's also about political power and societal control and that is the stated goal of the New Apostolic Reformation. They, just like Bishop Flinn, are calling for Christians to engage in a spiritual battle with demons, and a political battle over abortion, gay rights, and secular feminism. Their end goal is the take over of the world for Jesus and their leaders have self selected themselves to run it for Jesus, hence they are the New Apostles, and they are getting New Revelations.

I can guarantee that they are more than happy to have American Catholicism self destruct, and are pumping tons of money into helping those clerics who adopt their positions. Their favorite tactic seems to be to destroy denominations from within. They have been very instrumental in doing the same thing in main line protestant denominations--over the same issues. It strikes me that Bishop Flinn may be getting in bed with the devil, and he's the one who doesn't know it.

For more information on the New Apostolic Reformation try this link.


  1. "those who stand up for what is right will be opposed" (it is unfortunate that the USCCB is the real oppressor)

    “The constant magnitude of this crime against humanity is staggering. (Not as staggering as the fact that the USCCB is responsible for support administrations that are responsible for the increase in abortions not occurring)

    However, in the end the measure of our society is in how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst.”
    (The elderly, poor, children - those who the USCCB has chosen to abandon)

    Ironic isnt it that everything he is saying is in actually a reflection and a condemntation of himself and the rest of the USCCB.

  2. Carl, this whole speech is an example of projection. Whoa, I'm beginning to sound like Depak Chopra. Horrors. However, it's still true.

    If people actually understood the function of Satan, they would find out all he does is mirror their own issues. That's his function. We create our own demons and then project them out on Satan. Only when we really face our own shadow sides can we make free choices.

    Do you remember when Archbishop Paprocki blamed the sex abuse crisis on Satan? I about fell over laughing because it was a priceless case of projection. What would this type of non self reflecting cleric do without Satan to blame for everything? Maybe find a little love and truth inside himself?

  3. So true Colleen: "The object is to freely make the best choices which take you closer to God. Choice is how we align with God, it's how we find His presence within ourselves and others. This choice can not be coerced through fear or domination because that only allows one to find the dominator's vision of God. It can not be enforced from above and have any kind of real meaning."

    I am reminded of the movement that about 100 years ago banned alcohol and made it illegal. It certainly did not stop people from making their own brew and opening up thousands of speak easies. The alcohol kept flowing underground.

    Alcohol banning is about the same type of reaction to a social ill as today's reaction to the amount of abortions and wanting to make all abortions illegal. It will only force it underground. It will not end it from ever happening again.

    It is the choices we make that do bring us closer or further from God. Enforcing moralism was never what Jesus taught. He always allowed for choice. Often he would say, "Follow Me." Saying "Follow Me" is not the same as "You must obey all the Church teachings or you are not a Catholic, or you'll be damned for an eternity."

  4. This month's Harpers magazine has an article, " Jesus Killed Mohammed", that describes the influence in the military of a very "right-wing" evangelical, (?), fundamentalist group.
    The bishop would find himself quite at home, especially in Colorado Springs where the Aif Force Academy is located.
    They seem to be the locus of the effort to create a "God army".

  5. Annonymous, I wrote about the evangelical inroads into the Air Force Academy previously:

    I said in this post that the New Apostolic Reformation has purposely targeted the Air Force and the officer corps of the other services.

    The NAR is hell bent on taking over the world for Jesus, and having the US Air Force in your pocket would certainly help your cause. This is serious stuff.