Friday, July 31, 2009

Newsweek Contra Reality

I think everyone can agree that Newsweek has chosen the path of ragdom, rather than attempting to maintain status as an objective source for news. This triumph of propaganda over fact is marvelously illustrated in Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's recent textual vomit that compares the Pope and the President. I had planned on leaving this bit alone but have reconsidered in light of the recent bits we've done here on Caritas in Veritate.

Let's consider Ms. Townsend's views for a moment:

When Obama meets the pope tomorrow, they'll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won't care, because they know Obama's on their side. In fact, Obama's agenda is closer to their views than even the pope's.

I wish that more Catholics would go ahead and join Ms. Townsend in this rather striking admission. They care more about what Obama says than what the Pope says. They have exchanged their allegiance with the Vicar of Christ for that of the Vicar of Secularism. Some even get to go to Malta as part of the deal.

However, this shred of truth is overshadowed by pretty much every other word she says. The basic premise is "American Catholics think X. Ergo, X is what is good, pure, true, and loving. The Pope thinks why. Ergo, Y is the opposite of all that is good."

Behold the set-up:

It's fitting that Obama's visit comes just days after the publication of "Charity in Truth," a Vatican encyclical that declares unions, regulation of capitalism's excesses, and environmentalism to be ethical imperatives. The document gives moral credence to Obama's message and to progressive politics writ large.

Ok, so we know she didn't actually read it. Anybody that has would immediately see the polar opposite of Obama's views on politics, economics, and humanity in general. I hope we've demonstrated thus far that there is little in CiV that the President would embrace except on the most shallow level and stripped of all its supernatural focus,

Politics requires the ability to listen to different points of view, to step into others' shoes. Obama might call it empathy. While the pope preaches love, listening to the other has been a particular stumbling block for the Catholic hierarchy (as it is for many in power). The hierarchy ignores women's equality and gays' cry for justice because to heed them would require that it admit error and acknowledge that the self-satisfied edifice constructed around sex and gender has been grievously wrong.

Justice, huh? I wish Socrates was still around. What is this "justice" of which she speaks? What has been wrongfully deprived from women and gays that they are rightfully due? And what is the basis for these rights?

Ms. Townsend has only opinion (public or private) to bolster her claims here. Majorities do not decide moralities. The funny part here is that Obama's listening has no bearing on his actions. Pray, what is the difference between Paul VI hearing the theological commission's report on contraception, then ignoring it to write Humanae Vitae, and Obama's listening to any pro-life group, then moving to increase access to abortions?

The only difference is that Ms. Townsend agrees with the latter and not the former. Yet it's the Popes who adopt "heinous" policies while Obama displays "empathy."

If only we were so enlightened as to hearken to the voices of American Catholics:

Yet polls bear out that American Catholics do not want to be told by the Vatican how to think. Despite the rhetoric of love and truth, the Vatican shows disdain (if not disgust) toward gays. But 54 percent of American Catholics find gay relationships to be morally acceptable, according to a 2009 Gallup poll. Meanwhile, against all scientific evidence and protestations from clergy on the ground, the pope claims that condoms aggravate the spread of AIDS. Seventy-nine percent of American Catholics disagree, according to a 2007 poll by Catholics for Choice.

We have a name for such people. They are called heretics. We call them that out of love and concern for their immortal souls. If we loved them not, we wouldn't care enough to even bother with them.

This is a great example of how folks like Townsend are convinced that anyone can be infallible except the Pope. Who leads the list of alternative infallibilists? Take one guess:

For Obama, respectful disagreement and a willingness to recognize differences was the animating spirit of the presidential campaign, and it was central to his Notre Dame speech. That is the kind of politics many Catholics practice. They're tired of watching the church grasp frantically for control at the expense of truth and love. In America last November, it showed: 54 percent of Catholics voted for Obama.

Notre Dame awarded the president an honorary degree because it saw the need to highlight the best of Catholic teaching as applied to politics: the ability to open the eyes of those who would prefer to keep them closed, and to open the hearts of those who would prefer not to know the pain that their actions cause. The pope has a lot to learn about Catholic politics in America. Barack Obama can teach him.


Anyways, if there's anyone out there still misguided enough to think that Obama's ND speech had anything other than veiled contempt for the Faith, please check our prior postings on his talk and feel free to tell me where I'm wrong.

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