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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ted Kennedy Was Catholic

US News & World Report asks if Ted Kennedy was Catholic.

As a practicing Catholic I can definitely affirm that Ted Kennedy was, indeed, Catholic. And Iosef Stalin was Russian Orthodox.

Both Kennedy and Stalin cared deeply about the poor. Both championed the idea that some had to die so that others might live.

Stalin was a great man, the lion of the Soviet Union. Kennedy was a great man, the lion of the Senate. Both left incredible legacies that any mother could be proud of.

Kennedy ranks up there with the Stalin, the "man of steel", and with Che Guevera, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, and all the other deeply principled men of history, non-partisan men of the world who knew how to make a deal, men who never got into petty politics, men who loved their faith and loved the people, men who were willing to take from the rich and give to the poor. Like all these other great men of history, like our very Founding Fathers, Kennedy gave everything he had to others, dying penniless but proud.

Ted Kennedy shouldn't be buried - his body should be embalmed and put on display in the Lincoln Memorial or the well of the Senate, so generations can file past it in silent admiration for the magnificent work he accomplished during his tenure. The tattered remains of his clothes should be venerated, touched to the sick and dying so that they may be healed.

He even fulfilled Scriptural prophecy. After all, Ted Kennedy received Eucharist at a papal Mass in America, and was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer just a few short weeks later. Paul prophesied that this would happen in 1 Corinthians 11:17-30.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Catholic Schools Are Pernicious

This remarkable letter from a Catholic parent on her child's Catholic school pretty much sums up why Catholic schools don't work. After complaining about how her child's previous school closed and how she is paying through the nose and still being asked to contribute more, she remarks:
Why am I being asked to contribute to upgrading the cathedral and the seminary? Church attendance is down and few are entering the priesthood.

Like most Catholic parents, this Catholic parent sees no connection between her child's education and the mission of the Church!

Priests? Bah! Who needs 'em?

Just give me a decent school for my kid!
The Church itself can go to hell, and I don't care.

She completely ignores the fact that her reasoning towards the seminary also applies to the parochial school her son attends. Why are parishioners being asked to support the Catholic school? Enrollment is down and few are entering! Why should anyone give a dime to these institutions that so signally fail to pass on any understanding of or appreciation for the Faith, how it works, what it does?

Ah, but the delicious irony of her sentiment is lost upon this parent, herself a product of the institution!

And what, exactly, does the bishop mean when he says he isn't getting out of the education business anytime soon? Of course he is getting out of it! Catholic school enrollment is dropping steadily each year. When he can't entice anymore students into the schools, he'll have to shut them down! The economic downturn is merely accelerating a pre-existing downward spiral. He's getting out of the brick-and-mortar grade school business whether he wants out or not.

What do they teach them in school nowadays?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Where Catholic Education Is Headed

As the economy tanks and Catholic schools continue to close due to lack of interest, Catholic bishops have begun slamming together blue-ribbon panels in an effort to fix the problem. Will it work?


Currently, the Catholic school system is the largest private school system in the nation. By 2012, there will be more homeschooled students than any other kind of private school student in the nation. Parents are slowly returning to their roots. The days of the warehouse school are numbered.

To see why, we need only look at history, using Catholic education as our model. There are a lot of ways to discuss the history of Catholic education. For today's reflections, I will divide it up into four phases: pre-printing press, pre-industrialization, pre-Internet and Internet.

Period I - Pre-Printing Press: The Ascension to 1450.
During this period, there were two forms of education: one for children, a different kind for adults. Prior to the printing press, the creation of a book was a one-off, highly expensive undertaking. A book the size of the Bible could cost as much as the church in which it was kept. Consequently, literacy rates were low and most children didn't get much training in that particular skill.

While Romans and Greeks not uncommonly brought in tutors to educate their children, Jewish households homeschooled. For the first 1500 years of the Church, Catholics tended to follow Jewish tradition. Children were taught by their parents. While Catholics did establish schools, these were almost exclusively oriented towards educating adults, training them in adult skills like literacy.

Keep in mind the definition of "an adult." Until the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, anyone twelve or older was considered an adult. Most people married and started their family somewhere between the ages of twelve and twenty. Indeed, an unmarried twenty-year old, especially a woman, who was not a member of a religious order was considered odd.

Unbaptized adults were taught the Faith in a several-year long process. After baptism, adult instruction was dedicated to the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectic), and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music). "Grammar schools" were called that because they taught grammar first.

For the first 1000 years, there were no parish schools because there were no parishes. Most schools were built around monasteries and cathedrals (one cathedral per city). Provision was made for poor adult students who did not want to enter orders but did want to learn. Still, training in literacy was mostly confined to those under religious vows: clerics. That's why we still refer to "clerical staff" today.

By the tenth century, parishes were being erected, generally around monasteries and monastic schools in the countryside. In the cities, universities came into existence around the twelfth century: Salerno, Bologna and Paris in the twelfth century, Oxford by 1170. These universities dedicated themselves to three main subjects: theology, the law, and eventually medicine.

Period II - Pre-Industrial: 1450 to 1800’s
The invention of the printing press and the discovery of America fueled a sea-change in education. The printing press allowed inexpensive books. Literacy became affordable for most people. It also made heresy much more pernicious. Once most people could read a book themselves, without an instructor, they could also interpret that book in ways the book was never meant to be read.

Historically, nearly every major heresy the Church faced came from a priest or a bishop, i.e., someone who was both literate and had influence. Their literacy allowed heretical priests to mis-read the Book, their influence allowed them to spread this mis-reading widely. But, for the first time ever, unbridled literacy allowed the theologically insane to seriously distort Catholic society in a much more profound way than had ever been possible earlier.

The Council of Trent agreed that children should be taught, but it did not advocate the creation of schools for children. While it did ask priests and parents to offer regular instruction in the Faith, literacy education was left to the marketplace.

Trent created exactly one new kind of school - a training school for priests called a "seminary." Eventually, every diocese was supposed to have it's own seminary for priestly formation. Theoretically, this would head off theological insanity among priests.

But by now, literacy was so cheap it could even be affordably taught to most children. Martin Luther, an Augustinian priest, was one of the first to realize that the best way to spread his crazy ideas was to propagandize children. His small catechism was designed in a question-answer format for children, he advocated church-state separation, and he pushed for children to be educated at the earliest possible age.

With the discovery of the Americas also came the discovery of its indigenous peoples.During the previous 1500 years, the Church had placed almost all its effort into evangelizing adults. For the first time since 380 AD, when the Catholic Faith became the official faith of the Roman Empire, the Church faced a large number of un-baptized peoples who would listen (Moslems didn't listen).

Now that cheap books were available, She began to put some effort into directly teaching children (i.e., those under the age of 12). She set up a new kind of school: the mission school. Mission schools were dedicated to teaching unbaptized adults and children the tools they needed to enter civilized society, which now included literacy. These schools were also meant to prepare children and their families for eventual baptism.

The Church had always promoted literacy, creating written Germanic and Slavonic long before Gutenburg's birth. But, while literacy was wonderful in helping to spread the Faith, it also created enormous difficulties. Increased literacy increased the probability of doctrinal distortion. So, over the course of time, the Church developed some rules for how schools should work in order to limit the distortions:
  • All teachers must be Catholic (the term “professor”, which means "one who professes the Catholic Faith" comes from this rule),
  • The Catholic Faith must permeate every aspect of the curriculum,
  • Baptized and unbaptized students must be kept strictly separated,
  • Girls and boys must be taught separately.
In Europe, literate Catholics tried to teach illiterate Catholics both literacy and Faith. Missionary societies meant to minister to illiterate Catholics spring up everywhere: the Jesuits are the most well-known: in 1540, Spain was still considered a mission field. While teaching groups like the Dominicans had existed prior to the printing press, the most of the great teaching orders come into existence only AFTER the invention of the printing press

Back in the Americas, Catholic missionaries flooded in, trying to teach the illiterate natives through mission schools. They are everywhere: both coasts, the Midwest, South America.

They create their own problems. The Jesuit schools in South America are so successful at civilizing the natives that the entire Jesuit order is eventually suppressed. After all, it is nearly impossible to enslave well-educated natives, and the Jesuits were creating far too many well-educated natives to suit Moslem-influenced Catholic slavers in South America.

Protestants, who were, by definition, almost all literate, settled primarily on the Eastern seaboard of North America. They ignore the Indians, using them only for occasional trade or killing them when they get in the way. Protestant schools are meant for literate Christians. The "school year" is generally only about 12 weeks long, and they really only provide "finishing" skills - students are expected to have been taught literacy and basic math at home before they enter. By the mid-1800’s, these schools are becoming Protestant evangelization centers against waves of poor Catholic immigrants.

During this time, higher education, like the Catholic university system, is still pretty much unique to Europe. In 1900, United States' high schools and universities will permit entry to no more than 2% of the population. Still, the entire population, being mostly Protestant, is extremely well-read, with a 100% literacy rate. Butchers and farmers read Thucydides and Plato.

Period III - Pre-Internet: 1870’s to about 1980’s
The advent of industrialization deeply affects education since industrialization requires the destruction of family artisans and crafts, splitting up the family. In country after country, effective industrialization follows the same pattern. First, children are legally forbidden to work. Then, the newly-idled children are legally required to attend warehouse schools to keep them off the streets while the industrial floor snaps up both parents for a 12-hour workday six to seven days a week.

Vatican I attempts to respond to effects of industrialization by promising a statement on marriage, but it is pro-rogued by the war of Italian unification. Over time, the wage-earning capacities of most adults, whether mother or father, are captured for the corporations.

As a result, family trades and stay-at-home work, the mainstay of the family for thousands of years, largely disappears. Family-based education is essentially wiped out. Family life is distorted in brand new ways.

Industrialists push for warehouse schools across the nation by appealing to Protestant leaders. Protestant communities are able to proselytize the hordes of Catholic immigrants through the schools. The Third Baltimore Council (1884) responds to the threat by mandating parish schools.

Unfortunately, the parish schools do not draw on the trivium, quadrivium tradition. Instead, they imitate the public school warehouse format. Protestants respond by outlawing Catholic schools around the country through Blaine Amendments.

Industrialists end-run both religious groups by subsidizing the creation of teacher "certification" programs and teachers’ unions, which in turn encourage the removal of religion from the curriculum entirely.

The teacher certification programs are meant only to instill in adults the ideas necessary to successfully warehouse children and school them in factory attitudes. Teachers are meant to manufacture factory workers, cogs in the machine, not students liberally educated in the trivium and quadrivium (the disaster that was Jesuit success in South America will not be repeated).

As I outline in my book, the factory schools (both Protestant public and Catholic private) together create America's modern contraceptive society. Seminaries were the first to collapse. Although every diocese is still supposed to have its own seminary, by the mid-1980's most American dioceses can't afford the expense. A handful maintain seminaries. The rest now export their priestly training.

Period IV – 1990’s to now
Once the contraceptive society is firmly established, the number of children in school necessarily flatlines. You can't enroll a child that doesn't exist. Today, with population rate of 2.1 (no growth), public schools experience essentially no growth, apart from the small increase or decrease obtained from the infusion of immigrants' children.

The population of “Catholic” schools not only flatlines, it has actually begun to drop. The reasons are straightfoward. The contraceptive society strips away not only Catholic children, but Catholic identity in general, so the raison d'etre for the Catholic schools disappear. Catholic "intellectuals" worked for years to get rid of the "Catholic ghetto." When the "Catholic ghetto" disappears, so does the Catholic school.

Catholic school losses can be attributed to essentially three major problem areas:
Social: The Desire to Integrate Into Protestant-Secular Society
  • Even at their height, Catholic warehouse schools never had more than 50% of Catholic children. Most Catholics wanted to "get out of the ghettoes" and integrate into a largely non-Catholic society. They have succeeded.
  • The post-Vatican II loss of Catholic identity means the already weak parental impetus to send children decreases. In order to stay open, schools need pupils - they invite in non-Catholic students.
  • Today, nearly 15% of Catholic school students are non-Catholic. Catholic identity is further watered down to attract even more students in a vicious downward spiral.
Economic: Warehouse Schools Are Too Expensive
  • Post Vatican II loss of religious orders means loss of cheap labor,
  • Schools eat up parish income. School tuition is now nearly universal, further depressing demand,
  • Catholic schools serve increasingly wealthy student population as only affluent parents can pay the bills. This further destroys the medieval Catholic ethos that required making room for poor Catholics.
Theological: "Catholic" Schools Aren't Catholic
  • Loss of trivium and quadrivium (the classical education), means loss of Catholic identity,
  • Most schools and parishes violate the Catholic principle of subsidiarity in sacramental education by removing sacramental instruction almost entirely from the parents' shoulders,
  • Virtually no "Catholic" school adheres to the Vatican documents on Catholic education.
  • Teachers are not restricted to actively practicing Catholics, but to whoever will take the pay.
  • Children are not segregated along baptismal or belief status, nor according to sex.
  • The curriculum is not permeated by Catholic viewpoint, it uses texts, teachers and teaching philosophy identical to that of secular schools.
  • The Catholic Church now runs a string of private schools that are Catholic primarily in label, not content.
Like the seminaries before them, Catholic parochial schools are collapsing. To the extent that Catholic bishops realize all of this, most of them can't say any of it out loud because their flock doesn't want to hear it.

We've seen the effect of literacy and industrialization on Catholic education. What effects does/will the Internet have on all of this?

The Future
The internet allows home-based businesses. It also allows the dissemination of information at an even lower cost than the printing press and the public library. Information is now essentially free and parents can return to home employment as artisans/craftsmen to an extent that hasn't been seen since the mid-1800's. This is slowly being reflected in the effects on the nation's school systems.

The public schools per pupil cost hovers between $5000 and $10,000 depending on how the numbers are counted. The are not particularly effective at educating children, but then, that was never really their purpose. Their primary advantage is their ability to warehouse children while the parents work. As a secondary bonus, schools tend to disrupt family life, making all family members dependent on goods and services provided by corporations.

Today, Catholic schools comprise the single largest private school system in the nation. By and large, they do not handle special needs children. They lose 7-10% of their students every five years. Per pupil cost is about the same as public school when straight educational offering is compared. They are 37% more effective than public school in educational outcome. While there is slight growth in suburban areas (where the affluent clients live), that growth is more than offset by losses in the inner city and rural areas. Their primary advantages are their ability to warehouse children while the parents work, and to provide a better educational outcome than public school, albeit at an obvious direct tuition cost to the client.

Since 1999, homeschooling has experienced growth of 8% per year, every year. Per pupil cost is 5% of public school ($500 vs. $10,000) and 10% of Catholic school ($500 vs. $5000). Burgeoning Internet resources and on-line courses will only improve the cost numbers. It is nearly 75% more effective than public school in educational outcome, and 35% more effective than Catholic schools. The primary advantage is the educational outcome, albeit at an obvious direct cost: no two-income or single-parent use of homeschooling is really possible. Given the number of broken families in American society, this is a real roadblock to the growth of homeschooling.

Homeschooling transforms education from a school year endeavor controlled by corporate bureaucrats back into the year-round, home-based, family-centered pursuit that augmented the Church for nearly 18 centuries.

Today, the Catholic parochial school system is the largest single private educational entity (12% of total school population in 1960, 5% in 1990).

Given current trends, by 2012, the homeschooling population will be bigger than the population in the Catholic school system. Assuming Catholics comprise 25% of homeschoolers, by 2035, more Catholics will be homeschooled than will attend parochial school.

If Catholic bishops want to get on board, the train is leaving the station. The school model proposed by the Third Baltimore Council in 1884 has never really worked; at best it never schooled more than 50% of the Catholic children in the nation. Today it is slowly closing down.

Homeschooling is an imperfect return to an educational model that was successful for thousands of years. Given the demographics, it will probably be at least another decade before Catholic bishops can publicly move their support away from the dying Catholic school parochial system and decisively move toward support of Catholic homeschooling. Until then, bishops commission blue-ribbon panels to natter on about What Should Be Done (tm). And they wait.

The Numbers
In 2007, the number of homeschooled students was about 1.5 million, an increase from 850,000 in 1999 and 1.1 million in 2003. The percentage of the school-age population that was homeschooled increased from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.9 percent in 2007. The increase in the percentage of homeschooled students from 1999 to 2007 represents a 74 percent relative increase over the 8-year period and a 36 percent relative increase since 2003.

Homeschooling $500 per pupil cost
Year Enrollment Percent Increase
1999 850,000 or 1.7% of nation's total school population
2003 1.1 million
2007 1.5 million or 2.9% of nation's total school population.
36% increase since 2003, 74% increase since 1999

Catholic School $5870 per pupil cost $10,228 2ndary pupil cost
Year Enrollment
1998-1999 2,648,844
2003-2004 2,484,252
2008-2009 2,192,531 17.4% decline since 2000

84.5% of Catholic school population are Catholic students (1,852,635).
14.9% of Catholic school population are non-Catholic students ( 325,835).
This is an increase from 2.7% in 1970 and 11.2% 1980.

Public School K-8 Public School 9-12 Total Private School Enrollment
Year Enrollment Year Enrollment
1995 32.3 million 1995 12.5 million 1995 11.7% of public school total
2005 34.2 million 2005 14.9 million 2005 11.0% of public school total
2006 34.2 million 2008 15.1 million

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Improving Catholic Education

With the economic downturn, a lot of Catholic schools are closing. Across the nation, priests and bishops are wringing their hands with concern. "We must save our Catholic schools!" they cry.

I have a simple proposal for not only saving Catholic schools, but dramatically expanding Catholic schools, and at only 5% the current cost.

Indeed, the solution is simplicity itself.
Give a $1000 scholarship per child to every Catholic homeschooling parent.

In numerous documents and public statements, the Vatican has made clear that only the family guarantees authentic education in values.

Obviously, the Catholic school does not guarantee an authentic education in values. Thus, in order to maintain Catholic education while keeping in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, diocesan money should not go to schools, but directly to families. By subsidizing family homeschooling efforts, the family is strengthened.

The "social values" bishops should be all over this, right? I mean, they're always up in arms about a minimum wage, and putting money into direct subsidies. So put your money where your mouths are, gentlemen. Send money from the collection basket directly back to the Catholic families that homeschool.

"But the parents aren't qualified!" some of you may be shouting. Yes, I'm sure. But take a look at who is teaching theology in many of the Catholic schools around the nation. Certainly it isn't people with theology degrees. Indeed, often-times it isn't even a practicing Catholic who is given the task of teaching the Catholic Faith.

Besides which, when parents do the educating, qualifications stop making a difference. The most recent study of over 11,000 homeschooled students from around the nation shows that the homeschool provides 74% better educational outcomes then public schools, but at a cost of less than $500 per pupil per year (versus in excess of $10,000 per pupil for public schools). This improvement in outcome comes without regard to the number of college degrees the parents might hold and without regard to the household income.

In short, when parents teach their own children, both parties are so motivated that the usual measures for predicting academic success no longer apply. Family income, minority status, college education and certification, all of that is simply not relevant. I think it may have something to do with that whole "love" thing, but that's just an uninformed hunch.

In any case, if we give each homeschooling family a per child subsidy of $1000 per year, it would be generous according to their needs, but only one-fourth the cost of teaching that same child inside of a school whose grounds and staff must be maintained in the style to which they have become accustomed.

In short, the size of Catholic schooling across the nation could be increased four-fold without one dollar of additional expenditure, but with a nearly 75% jump in educational outcomes.

"But we need to simply support our Catholic parochial schools!" you might respond.



Catholic schools do perform 25% better than public schools, but the per child cost is actually the same as public schools when you compare dollars spent on a straight educational basis, without throwing in all the bells and whistles that public schools are required by law to maintain.

Indeed, with the advent of on-line learning, the whole institutional school experience is being revealed for exactly what it is - a prison system for underage children.

Our society maintains those buildings for exactly one reason: it wants to capture the dollar-generating potentials of both parents. In order to do that, the children must be warehoused from the earliest possible age, so that neither parent wastes their economic capacities on the family, but instead orients those dollar-generating abilities towards the corporation, where they properly belong. Elementary and pre-elementary schools are meant to orient everyone to build up the corporation, not the family.

Given what we already know about the capacity of homeschooling to improve educational outcome, given the tremendous resources afforded to every family at virtually no cost through the Internet, it is clear the school building still exists only because it's such a fine warehouse. It certainly isn't about education - that is blindingly obvious.

So, by giving direct grants to families, Catholic bishops would be getting a much better educational experience for Catholic students, they would be directly supporting the family using the social justice principles they have so loudly espoused in regards to the minimum wage, and they could increase the number of students involved in Catholic education by a factor of four with no additional outlay.

It has been my experience that people often know what is best for others and loudly tell them what it is when opportunity arises, "You need to pay your employees a living wage!" "Rich people should surrender part of their income to the poor!" etc.

Alright, bishops!

Now you have a chance to do with your diocesan funds exactly what you keep telling corporations they need to do with their funds: give out the money and give up a little direct control, in the sure knowledge - already demonstrated via several massive studies - that the new solution will provide better outcomes than the old.

So, I'll be waiting for that to happen.
I'm sure it will be quite soon.


Any day now.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Is It A Rumor?

1He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! 2"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.3"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.4"And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."

5The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"6And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.

7"Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'? 8"But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'? 9"He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10"So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"(Luke 7:1-10)

The USCCB is trying to make news again. They've drawn a Line In The Sand. Aren't you excited? This conglomeration of American bishops is usually just a criminally sinful waste of scarce Catholic resources, but this time!.... well, yeah, nothing has really changed.

Remember how strongly the USCCB came out against honoring Barack Obama at Notre Dame?

You don't remember that?

Of course you don't - the USCCB was absolutely silent on the matter until well after the event took place, even though Fr. Jenkins, the president of the institution, clearly violated the USCCB mandate not to honor pro-abort politicians.

True, several dozen individual bishops made various levels of protests, just as several dozen had individually protested voting for Barack. And why not? There was clearly a groundswell of Catholic lay support for a protest against Notre Dame. It gave bishops a chance to look good. For a bishop of a certain attitude, it certainly made a good show for the orthodox Catholic laity without actually requiring him to do orthodox things in his own diocese.

So, the episcopal protest was a win-win all around. Bishops got to look good, Obama got his honors, Fr. Jenkins got a raise (in prestige, if not in dollars), Notre Dame met it's fund-raising goals early, and several major Catholic websites got their mailing lists increased by several tens of thousands of protester signatures. It was easily the most successful marketing event of the last ten years.

Today, we are supposed to get all excited because the USCCB's Pro-Life Office is saying abortion must be explicitly forbidden in the new ObamaCare health plan. Gosh, Aunty-Em, are we still in Kansas anymore?

Well, yes, we are.
Consider the realities:
1) Does anyone really think Barack Hussein Obama is going to ignore his own science advisor, listen instead to the USCCB Pro-Life Office and strip abortion out of his health care plan? Really? And if you do actually think this, do you have a medical release to smoke that stuff?

2) Alright, granted, the USCCB Pro-Life Office is "insisting" on explicitly removing abortion. Great. Where is the groundswell of dozens of individual bishops all loudly protesting ObamaCare's implicit support of abortion? Remember the dozens of bishops who spoke out about electing politicians like this? Remember the eighty or so bishops that were out in force over the Notre Dame thing? So, where are you guys? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

But isn't this where the rubber hits the road?

Individual bishops protested his possible election, individual bishops protested him being honored, but now that his policies are actually on the fast track to becoming law, now that he will start using our dollars to kill actual children... hey, where'd all those individual bishops go? Guys???

3) The whole "we are opposed, Mr. Obama!" mantra just smells pro-forma at this point. Nobody got chastised when Obama got elected, nobody got chastised when he got honored, why the heck should we think "opposition" from a single USCCB office is going to make any difference at all? Especially given the number of Catholic Senators and Reps who have merrily promoted legal abortion all these years without a whimper of public chastisement from the bishops? What on earth would stop these men and women from merrily supporting Obama this fall? The USCCB Pro-Life Office? Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh, snort.

But here's the real kicker:

4) So our brave bishops charge the Pro-Life Office with opposing abortion. Fine. When will that office, or any branch or member of the USCCB for that matter, insist that ObamaCare not fund contraception?

Oooohhhh.... listen for the crickets...

Here's a soundbite that long-time readers of this blog may remember:
“No, there is no ‘lobbying to ban abortions for everyone’ as that too has been precluded by the Supreme Court, for the time being,” USCCB Pro-Life Spokesperson Cathy Cleaver Ruse wrote in reply, “rather, there are efforts directed toward achievable goals…” She then went on to list a few of the USCCB goals: “the partial-birth abortion ban, [work] against mandating inclusion of contraception in health benefits packages; against making its acceptance a condition for providing other kinds of developmental assistance; protecting parents' rights in the case of minors, [etc.]” -
Let's stop playing around.
Contraception causes abortion.
Until we get rid of contraception, we will not get rid of abortion.

Every Catholic bishop knows it, or should know it.
NOT ONE active Catholic bishop in North America has publicly spoken out on the subject of federal funding for contraception in forty years. Joseph Califano knows why.

Indeed, as you can see above, as recently as 2004, I was specifically told by the USCCB Pro-life spokesperson, Cathy Cleaver Ruse, that the Catholic bishops had no intention of upholding Catholic teaching either in reference to abortion or contraception. In fact, the bishops not only didn't punish pro-abortion politicians, they actually appointed pro-abortion politicians to stand as judges over the actions of US bishops.

So, today, the USCCB office protests abortion.

Who cares?
Who really cares?

What are we supposed to say?
"OOHH-LA-LA! Edith, call the newspapers! The USCCB Pro-Life Office is actually insisting on one point of Catholic doctrine! Who would of thunk it? "

If the bishops actually had any faith in the Catholic position, they would hold to all of it and promulgate all of it. Instead, we get not even half-measures, but half of half measures. No mention of contraception. Empty words thrown against abortion when it is politically safe to do so, with no actions to back it up. We get nothing but the flaccid excuse that the culture isn't ready to see punishments against pro-abortion politicians or hear how bad contraception really is.

Alright, I'll grant them the points.
Yes, it's probably true.
The culture isn't ready.

And that's relevant HOW exactly?

The culture also wasn't ready to hear that a man rose from the dead, or that God took on human flesh, or that we eat the flesh of God every Sunday, but that didn't stop bishops in the first century from pointing out the facts.

Over at Catholic Culture, Phil Lawler and Diogenes feels it is necessary to debunk the "nasty rumor" that Catholic bishops are ready to sell out the unborn in exchange for $100 million for Catholic Charities from Barack Hussein Obama. "Some people need to be rebuked for spreading this nasty rumor."

Let's just take a look at the history of the USCCB's opposition to contraception and its fruit.
If anyone can point out to me where the USCCB or, indeed, any group of American bishops, have publicly spoken out against federal funding for contraception or publicly chastised or punished any Catholic politician for their public support of legal abortion, then I will agree that Diogenes is correct and heads should roll. But if this evidence cannot be found, then only one question really remains:

Is it really a rumor?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Obama's Hero?

In October, 1921, Hitler began to organize a private army under Ulrich Klintzsch, a twenty-two-year-old former member of Ehrhardt's Brigade. On November 4, 1921, Hitler had his forty-two member army primed to fight Communists who heckled him with the Communist slogan "Frieheit!" ("Freedom!"), as he spoke at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Under their new leader, Emil Maurice, the soldiers hurled themselves repeatedly against the seven hundred Communists until the Communists were driven from the hall. This bloody night would later be viewed as the foundation date of the Sturmabteilung, the SA. This group became the prime force for movement of the National Socialists out of the meeting halls and into the streets, where they confronted the Social Democrats and the Communists. To the Nazis, political power not only in Munich, but in the state, became synonymous with domination of the streets. At that time, Hitler saw the storm troopers as the force which would ultimately bring the existing government to its knees.

In January 2008, Obama began to organize a private media under Rahm Emmanual, a member of the Chicago machine. In August, 2009, Obama had his media army primed to fight Americans who heckled him with the American slogan "Don't Tread on Me!", as he spoke at the telemprompter in Washington DC. Under their leader, Rahm Emmanual, the media hurled themselves repeatedly against the several million Americans until the Americans were driven from the conversation. This bloody event would later be viewed as the foundation date of the Sturmabteilung, the SA. This group became the prime force for movement of the American National Socialists out of the community organizing halls and into the streets, where they confronted the Republicans and Independents. To the Obamas, political power not only in Washington, but in the state, became synonymous with domination of the media. At that time, Obama saw the media as the force which would ultimately bring the existing government to its knees.