Monday, August 13, 2012

Vortex: Peasant Catholics Are Ready

This episode of the Vortex is a stick of dynamite! It’s prefaced with the following remark:

There is a war going on in the Church, and the Al Smith Obama dinner is NOT the issue.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Michael Voris has painted a great big target on himself now. This is potentially the most inflammatory Vortex ever. In addition to the “third-rail issues” he mentions, Voris takes on Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, along with the Establishment Church that seeks to squelch the orthodox faithful who continue to stand up for their rights to liturgy-by-the-rubics, faithful teaching in Catholic schools, faithful practice of medicine in Catholic hospitals…and on and on…and smacks him down. Voris then takes advantage of the context to deliver a scathing indictment of "the Establishment Church", and lets them know in no uncertain terms that there is an army of faithful Catholics just waiting for "marching orders" – if our leaders would only lead.

Has Bill Donohue has never been "taken on" in public like this?! How will he respond? A correspondent who has tracked the responses to the Al Smith dinner fiasco says that  mainstream Catholic sites have never mentioned Michael Voris or ChurchMilitant.TV as "one of many who have expressed concern over the dinner invitation." Bloggers have, but no one else. Sure, "petitions" are mentioned, but never who is behind them.

It will be interesting to see how or even whether Donohue responds. I hope Donohue does respond, and that he takes his response everywhere, including Raymond Arroyo's "World Over Live" to make sure that everyone is aware of Michael Voris and the “danger” he poses for the Catholic Church. It’s been my experience that the Peasant Catholics Michael Voris is talking about have just been beaten down so much that they’ve given up fighting in their parishes for more orthodox practices and a return to the faith where liturgy committees and Religious Education directors have gone astray. But maybe, just maybe, the Army is awakening.

This is a long Vortex, but I hope you’ll watch it. You can also read the script below. I’ll have my own comments on the issues Voris brings up in a separate post.

For a list more Vortex posts on this blog, click on the “Vortex Posts” tab above.

Here’s the script:

If nothing else, the controversy over the Obama dinner scandal is certainly very revealing. 

It’s revealing the division that has existed in the Church in America for years now.  And we say, good – bring it on.

We aren’t fans of division.  But we ARE fans of calling out the already existing division so it can be brought to an end. We want unity.  But that unity must be a legitimate unity, not just a façade.  And that’s been the case in the Church in America for decades now – the façade of unity promoted by the establishment elites in the Church.

Those elites include not only some members of the hierarchy and clergy, but largely various lay people whose careers and reputations and prestige are totally dependent on the establishment and therefore they come out swinging whenever OTHER Catholics start rocking the boat.

Call them the Catholic-elites.  And you see and hear them everywhere.  They appear on and run TV, radio, newspapers and many magazines.  They write books, articles, and issue papers. They cash in on the officially approved Catholic speaking circuit.

And much of what they say about attacks against the faith from OUTSIDE the Church is spot on and to be applauded and supported.

But it’s this default reaction of attacking any Catholic who points out that the emperor has no clothes…it’s here where another side to their personalities is revealed.

Case in point: Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.  A worthy spokesman for defending the faith in the trenches of the Culture War, he seems totally unaware of the Culture War within the Church between the establishment camp and Catholics who are disturbed deeply about the actions and choices of SOME leaders with regard to giving scandal.

Last week Mr. Donohue appeared on the Lou Dobbs show on Fox News and absolutely ripped honest Catholics who are concerned over the scandal of Obama having been invited by Cardinal Dolan to the Al Smith dinner in New York.

At the beginning of the interview after Dobbs has asked him about these concerned Catholics, Donohue goes off on a tirade. Take a listen.

(embedded video clip 1:55 – 2:10)

What does ANY of that have to do with the central issue?  To our knowledge, no one has implied, suggested or even thought that Cardinal Dolan has been bought off. So, we’re not even sure what Donohue is ranting on about there. It’s worth wondering just exactly what notes and talking points he and Cardinal Dolan went over on their pre-interview phone call.

( embedded video clip   - 2:12 – 2:27)

Sadly, as you can hear for yourself, Donohue’s lame defense now takes on the air of being nasty.  To affix a disparaging label to thousands of his fellow Catholics across the country who are deeply wounded and hurt by the Cardinal’s decision, not to mention confused, is to stoop to a level of liberal name calling. 

Mr. Donohue should apologize for that.

He seems to be wanting to paint this picture that because Cardinal Dolan is a principled man, that to even question and voice concerns of one his prudential (not infallible) decisions is worthy of being smeared by the establishment as members of the “piety police”.  Frankly, a higher level of discourse is needed here – not kitschy little phrases you are accustomed to hearing fall from the lips of Hilary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

( embedded video clip    -  2:28 – 2:38)

What a patently absurd comment, seriously.  And notice, Mr. Donohue, we are not saying YOU are patently absurd, but your POSITION, your comment.

What do you mean, “Give the man a chance, he hasn’t even had the chance to put out his own statement yet”?  First of all, yes he has.  He has a facebook page he writes on almost daily.

But more importantly, you have missed the point entirely.  The Cardinal inviting Obama IS THE STATEMENT.  What else does he need to say?  It is the FACT of the invitation, that IS a statement that people are appalled about and reacting to.

Are we supposed to be sitting around and waiting for some kind of official explanation through Twitter for why this really ISN’T SCANDOLOUS!  And just when will that be coming?  And what exactly would it say?

The archdiocesan communications director Joe Zwilling already gave an official comment in the name of the Cardinal when he got grilled by the New York media and said it’s just a night off for some jokes and good times.

Sorry, Mr. Donohue; considering the glaring fact of the INVITATION ITSELF, then Zwilling’s rather limp defense of it as well as the long opinion piece on the Archdiocese website by a high-ranking diocesan official – taking all these together – a statement HAS BEEN made, and it’s quite clear, thank you very much.

And as for the comment about faithful Catholics who oppose this scandal being “holier than the pope”, you can cut the condescension. It has no place among faithful Catholics talking openly about a very sad situation.

Frankly, who are you to establish, in the realm of Catholicism, what qualifies as “more holy than the pope”?

By hurling that stupid statement around – ANOTHER demeaning comment – you imply that the correct level of response should be to simply sit down and shut up and keep our opinions to ourselves, and any other response is somehow beneath dignity.  Our Blessed Lord didn’t sit down and shut up when he saw scandal; he confronted it, especially scandal within the religious establishment – ESPECIALLY that kind of scandal.

( embedded video clip    - 2:38 -2:48)

Those two examples are patently dumb. If you recall, when the Holy Father met with Nancy Pelosi, he would NOT ALLOW a photo op with her.  Remember that?  There was a great controversy surrounding that.  We’ve even attached a link to the news story from back then. NO PHOTO OP of the Holy Father meeting with a great enemy of the faith, Mr. Donohue.  NO PHOTO OP!  Dumb example.

And what’s more, the Pope used the opportunity to chide Pelosi for her positions; he gave her a Papal smackdown. He didn’t break bread, pour her a scotch, fire up a stogie and babble on about joy.  And he did not give her her much coveted PHOTO OP!

As for the Pope meeting Obama, the Pope is the political head of the Vatican City-State and meets political leaders as part of his duties. That’s a ridiculous example to throw out there.

( embedded video clip  -  2:53 – 3:05)

At this point, Donohue’s up-volume blustering has gone from poorly reasoned to insulting. 

To speak about the Church not wanting to be in a ghetto and to engage the world, and then use the AL Smith dinner as an example of that, is stupid.  Exactly HOW is the world being engaged with the aim of changing it by eating rubber chicken with your enemy?

Does Donohue imagine that somehow Obama will stride into the Waldorf Astoria and see this marvelous affair and repent?  Obama was already at this dinner four years ago – and you see how much good THAT did for the Church.

And then his sneering, dismissive “they have their little petitions, don’t they” comment…

On behalf of the nearly 13,000 faithful Catholics (and counting) who have read and signed those “little petitions”, Mr. Donohue, just who in the blazes do you think you are?  You deliver the same level of respect that we would get at a Planned Parenthood conference.

Your positions in defense of this invitation are intellectually weak, ad hominem, contradictory of the facts, and downright uncharitable and insulting, and your blustery delivery doesn’t make them any more true.

Ah, but the underlying attitude beneath them is indicative of something that common everyday faithful Catholics have long suspected and have confirmed time and time again: That just as with any large bureaucracy and the establishment that supports it, there are people who are members of the “in-crowd” and those on the outs – you know, the "piety police" with their "little petitions" who are "holier than the Pope".

You may enjoy basking in the glory of having such high rank and entrée that you can talk to the Cardinal “just this morning on the phone”, but 99 percent of Catholics don’t enjoy that privilege.

We just need to be content to sit here quietly and look at boneheaded moves like inviting an avowed enemy of the Church to a GREAT BIG PHOTO OP complete with not just the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, but the same man who is the LEADER OF ALL THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS IN THE UNITED STATES – the same group SUING him.

But see, the daily experience of Catholics on the ground, Mr. Donohue, is that they don’t get to talk to their bishops. They don’t get to hop on the phone with them. They don’t get their letters answered. Their emails go ignored or responded to with an automatic reply.

The rare occasion they do get something back, it’s generally dismissive and condescending or patronizing or comes from some staffer at the local chancery.

And what is it they want to sit and talk with their bishops – their shepherds, their fathers – about, Mr. Donohue?  They want to talk about the crazy nun in the local RCIA program saying Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead. They want to try and understand why the bishop has appointed and is allowing a flagrantly homosexual priest to run the parish and deliver very suspect homilies. They want to understand why the local Catholic school has ceased passing on the faith.  And WHY do they want to talk with their spiritual fathers about all these topics and more, Mr. Donohue?

Because they are reeling from the fact that no one in their family goes to Mass anymore.  That their children are living in sin, that their siblings are practicing contraception, that their grandchildren don’t believe in the Real Presence, that their parents are divorced or cheating on each other and support abortion or same-sex marriage, that the culture at large – and the Culture of Death specifically – has consumed the people they love and they don’t see one blessed finger of any consequence being lifted by the establishment church and those who glide comfortably through those halls of power, to rescue their loved ones.

All they see is confusion and mixed messages and politics and money-grubbing and good traditional Catholics – clergy included – being marginalized…and abuse after abuse after abuse going on at Sunday Mass…and the devotional life withering on the vine and parishes being closed by the hundreds…and religious orders withering up and vocations disappearing…and confessions a thing of the past... and Catholic marriages and baptisms plummeting to record lows.

In short, they see the reality for what it is, Mr. Donohue.  They see the souls of their loved ones being lost and a Church that should be bold and aggressive in preventing that, dying on the vine.

That’s REALLY what’s going on here with the Al Smith dinner – the whole bloody back drop to this sad affair.  The Obama invite is really a flashpoint for the much larger unspoken battle in the Church – the battle not between Modernists and Orthodox, but between the Catholic-elites and the Peasant Catholics that the power structures want nothing to do with.

And why do they want nothing to do with them?  Because to engage them -the peasant Catholics - would force the elites to be accountable and they know it. They would have to try and render an explanation for all the filth and corruption and lack of charity that has so permeated the halls of the establishment Church.

The leaders would have to explain their decisions to allow the madness of errant theology being preached, of the spiritual insanity that emanates from pulpits and Catholic classrooms and religious ed offices.

They would have to explain why the Church has essentially collapsed on their watch.  And they don’t want to do that because they know there IS NO explanation.  And moreover, they have NO plan to fix it because they are unwilling to understand the full scope of the devastation, because it convicts THEM.

So they are content to send out attack dogs – to release the hounds on faithful Catholics, rather than sit down and talk with them.

And most importantly what they have failed to grasp utterly is this: Peasant Catholics – which includes…absolutely includes…many solid priests and seminarians – who up to this point have been dismissed, smeared, discarded, ignored, mocked, belittled, and dumped on, are willing to forgive everything and support their bishops at a moment’s notice – in a heartbeat – if the bishops would rally to the cause of the Church and stop pandering to the culture.

You engage the world by fighting the evil in it…not by having dinner with it.

So how about it, Establishment Church?  There’s a whole army out here which has been on the side of the Church and never left it.  We’re here ready and waiting.  Stop treating us peasant Catholics like we’re the enemy, and start giving us our marching orders.

Please sign the petition respectfully asking Cardinal Dolan to withdraw the invitation to Obama.


  1. Whoa!!

    I guess that puts a point on it.

    Check out the video of Biden mocking Romney and then making the sign of the cross. Despicable!

  2. If Obama should not be invited to the Al Smith dinner, neither should Romney. Here's why:

    -In Massachusetts, Romney Care pays for abortions; Obama Care does not but funds support for vulnerable pregnant women.

    -Romney profited financially from the abortion industry through Bain Capital when it invested in a medical waste firm that disposed of aborted fetuses.

    -Romney built part of Bain with funding from wealthy clans linked to right wing death squads in El Salvador responsible for killing thousands of poor people, priests, nuns and Archbishop Romero.

    Maybe there is more reason not to invite Romney!

  3. I think they should just invite Ryan!

  4. Ryan has no place at the dinner either. He would like to tank Social Security and Medicare so you really can't call him pro- life either!!At least for us old folks!

  5. Ned
    The FACTS do not support your contentions. Just regarding soc sec and medicare the Ryan plan keeps current benefits for current recipients and provides those not yet eligible with some options. Left alone no one will have to "tank" either as they will self destruct due to lack of funding.

  6. At least Ryan isn't out to subvert Catholicism.

  7. Ryan is certainly out to subvert Catholic social teachings.
    Why else would the bishops disagree with his budget proposals?

  8. The bishops are not teaching infallibly on the budget. A Catholic is free to disagree with their take on that and on immigration and on "global warming", etc.

  9. You know full well there is a long history of Catholic social teaching regarding the poor and vulnerable.The gospels urge us to feed the hungry and care for those less fortunate. Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum, recognized a positive role for government and our collective responsibility to care for our neighbors. As Catholics, we are not free to disagree with those principles.

  10. Ned
    There are multiple ways of helping the poor and vulnerable and socialism, which one Party clearly is pushing with many Bishops duped into supporting that Party, is not the best or only way. I will start paying attention to the Bishops' perspective on social justice when they begin, first and foremost, to comply with the rubrics regarding Liturgy and when they discuss issues like, sin, abortion, contraception etc rather than being exclusively focused on social justice. And in case you wonder my family and I do contribute 10% of our income to the Church and some of that is, I'm sure,used for "social justice"....that is in addition to other charitable contributions we make to the "poor and vulnerable".

    You've heard I'm sure the old saw about "give a man a fish and he is fed for a day"...that is the Democrat/Bishops approach. I much prefer "teach a man to fish and he is fed for life".

  11. Anonymous:

    I applaud you for your charity but I would suspect your other charitable contributions you make to the "poor and vulnerable" are more likely to reach the poor and vulnerable than your 10% income to the Church. After all, who is paying for all the abuse claims and who is paying for the newly minted Bishop Liam to travel all over the country going to the Knights convention etc?

  12. Ned
    I think you just revealed your motives in your most recent post. Seems you have some heartburn over some issues and the social justice emphasis is somewhat of a smokescreen. As he has only been Bishop for a short time at this point I give him the benefit of the doubt. Time will tell.

    1. Anonymous:

      There is no smokescreen nor hidden motive. If you think your 10% is going to the poor but don't really know, then that is your problem, not mine.

  13. Kudos to Cardinal Dolan for standing by his Al Smith
    Dinner invite.


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