The petty exactitude of these men about syllables and words is not, as might be supposed, simple and straightforward; nor is the mischief to which it tends a small one. There is involved a deep and covert design against true religion.- St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, ch. 2 para. 4
I. Toronto is a vibrant city... Pardon, I should have said dazzling city, or luminous city or... Anyhow, interesting and bizarre social phenomena are regularly occurrent therein and thereabouts. Case in point: Presently, a mayoral race is going on and there's a big hullabaloo about the leader in the polls, a man by the name of Rob Ford. He leads because he wants to drastically cut spending and taxes. Middle class suburbanites like. Avant guard urbanites no like. The crazy people at NOW Magazine despise this guy and, consequently, are unhappy more than usual. Even Bentley is getting in on the action. Yet there is a another man about the town generating more excitement. There is a buzz in the city streets. Hark, Torontonians, do you hear it? He is promoting a book. Its title reads: The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church. For "Toronto the Good" has recently been blessed by the presence of John Allen, Jr., correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, Vatican Analyst for CNN and National Public Radio. His writings have also appeared in The Nation and the New York Times.
II. Now I have always been interested by these "Vaticanista" types, though not in a condescending manner that may be presupposed. Why they are not more properly/traditionally called gossip columnists is to me a conundrum. Yes, I understand there is legitimate Vatican journalism, and I would place Dr. Moynihan and the folks at Inside the Vatican in this category. But apparently I'm just too old fashioned. Intrigue and machination at the Vatican there has invariably been, so perhaps I should dispense the self-righteous rigidity and let the romanticization of things Roman run its course freely. There is, after all, that Whispers in the Loggia guy who has in recent years been quite successful at tattling for a living. Like Mr. Allen, he, too, writes/reports (or at last did) for left-leaning outlets like NPR, NBC, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, including that heterordox Tablet. So it would seem that, for some, being liberal-inclined (though, of course, always denying the stance) is what qualifies one to be a Vatican gossiper these days.
III. Speaking of qualifiers, do you ever notice that whenever Catholics on the interweb comment on an article by Allen they habitually preface with a qualifier? I do. You know, it goes something like: "Even though Allen writes for the National Catholic Reporter, he is nevertheless balanced, fair, a good guy" and so forth (for those Canadian Catholics who do not know, NCR is a heretically vulgar periodical proximate to abomination). Perhaps others are more knowledgeable about Mr. Allen's views than yours truly, who only observes and analyzes from afar. Still, I have never bought into that "balanced" Catholic reporter thing. What he writes and has written on (specifically) the current "culture wars" in the Church is too vague for my taste. He is a moving target and I do not trust moving targets.
IV. So, then, let the story unfold: On Tuesday September 28, 2010 Allen was invited as a "distinguished presenter" of the 2010 Kelly Lecture at the University of St. Michael's College in Toronto. The title of the talk: "Covering the Vatican and the Church - A Vaticanista Reflects on Challenges Facing the Church Today". Is "distinguished presenter" the politically correct form of saying "distinguished speaker"? Or is this distinction mongering? (note to self: restudy Duns Scotus' notion of haecceitas). Well, as it happened, the CEO of Salt + Light Television, Fr. Thomas "rock star" Rosica gave the introduction to the talk. No surprise, and what a gush fest! Let's take a look:
Good evening, [good evening to you, too, Father Rosica]V. Now, of course, there is reason for Fr. Rosica's puppy-like swooning. Leaving aside his ladder climbing ambitions and visions of status quo splendour (oh, come on people, is it not obvious?), let us first provide some context. Recall the conniption of Thursday September 3, 2009, a day that will live in blog-infamy:
A communicator can attempt to inform, educate, entertain, convince, and comfort; but the final worth of any communication lies in its truthfulness.[very good, I am impressed] In one of the earliest reflections on the nature of communication, Plato highlighted the dangers of any type of communication that seeks to promote the aims and purposes of the communicator or those by whom he or she [did Plato also say "she"?] is employed without consideration for the truth of what is communicated.[this Platonic principle as it supposedly applies to Mr. Allen is questionable, I submit] The art of communication is by its nature linked to an ethical value, to the virtues that are the foundation of morality [I would have said "skill" rather than "art". The former infers objectivity and precision whereas the latter suggests drama and subjectivity. But perhaps I am hair splitting]... No less worth recalling is Cato the Elder's sober definition of the orator [was Cato otherwise inebriated?]; vir bonus dicendi peritus – "a good or honest man skilled in communicating." These words made me think immediately of today's distinguished speaker [aye, there it is, "distinguished speaker"]: John Allen: "vir bonus dicendi peritus", a good and honest man skilled in communicating [there ya go]. In fact that is exactly what he has been doing for over thirty years in the business of Catholic journalism and communications... His Internet column, "All Things Catholic",[of the National Catholic Reporter] is considered by knowledgeable observers [who would those observers be?] to be the best single source of insights on Vatican affairs in the English language [pause]. In Roman circles, he has been called "the best English-language Vatican reporter in history."[would those "circles" be the ones to which you indwell, Father?] His objectivity [i.e. leftism disguised as "balanced centrism", I contend] has even been described as "maddening". I think that he is the best Vatican reporter in history, period! [goodness gracious, Father, restrain yourself] Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you John L. Allen, Jr., one of the world's leading "Vaticanistas" who will reflect on "Challenges facing the Church today". [cue Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries]
Leading up to the Kennedy funeral last weekend, and in its aftermath, many so–called lovers of life and activists in the pro–life movement [i.e. LifeSite News], as well as well–known colleagues in Catholic television broadcasting and media in North America [i.e. Raymond Arroyo at EWTN], have revealed themselves to be not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence… Civility, charity, mercy and politeness seem to have dropped out of the pro–life lexicon… Through vicious attacks launched on blogs [Rosica is contemptuous of Catholic bloggers outside his influence, a threat to be eliminated], a new form of self–righteousness, condemnation and gnosticism reveals authors who behave as little children bullying one another around in schoolyards casting stones, calling names, and wreaking havoc in the Church today!It was the Kennedy Funeral Fiasco and, lo, lines were drawn in the sand. Battle stations. True colours were spawned for Canada and the rest of the world to witness. Rosica even vociferated that Toronto-based LifeSite News (hereafter LSN), in its protest against the public funeral/canonization of a radically pro-abortion Catholic, was doing the "work of Satan". Seriously? Astonishingly, by March 2010 Rosica and his complicitous thugs at the CCCB got the internationally important ZENIT News Agency to disallow advertisements by LSN on its website. Yet this was not singularly done in reaction to the Kennedy affair. Much more is bubbling below surface appearances, and the odour is as unpleasant as a parish hall after a liturgical dance troupe workout. There is a history. In 2009 LSN exposed (and continues to expose, along with others) with irrefutable evidence that Development and Peace (D+P), an arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), is financially supporting pro-abortion groups in Latin America and elsewhere. It should be emphasized that, being a man on the ascent, Fr. Rosica is necessarily conjoined with the CCCB, which explains plenty. ZENIT does, however, accept reports on the D+P scandal from Salt + Light TV. As Mr. Spock would say: fascinating.
VI. The ferocity of the Salt+Light/CCCB blitzkrieg against LSN and Catholic bloggers goes to show how far some will go in the quest for a petty fiefdom, irrespective of the paramount issue to defend life. The ubiquitous silence of Toronto's Archbishop Thomas Collins on this very public controversy (as incited by Fr. Rosica) was also a big time disappointment. Alas, the approach of Abp. Collins appears uber sensitive, quiescent, averse to warranted confrontation (I sure do miss that Eastern European toughness of Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, and what a great name too). One should, however, not be flabbergasted. After all, evidence shows the Canadian bishops have been in de facto schism from Rome since they issued Winnipeg Statement in 1968. But I'm allowed to dream for a better future. Yes?
VII. Fr. Thomas Rosica's tirade was not lost to Fr. Thomas "the real deal" Euteneuer, then President of Human Life International (confusing, all these Thomas'). Some 2+ weeks later on September 19, 2009, he launched a broadside. This pro-life hero and exorcist said:
[Fr. Rosica] wrote a shameless condemnation of pro-life people ... [such] criticism simply feeds the flames of anti-life sentiment against pro-lifers and ultimately against the sanctity of human life [zing!]... [he is] attempting to convince his readers not to condemn anyone [bingo!]... To the ethic of hypocritical diatribes [hello] that defame pro-lifers, I can only say, "No deal, Father Rosica."No response from Rosica, obviously. Although there was no need to counter. Why? Because (drum roll...) John Allen had already (prior to Euteneuer's article) come out in defence of Rosica's September 3 blog posting, eight days after the latter went ballistic. Hurrah! John Allen to the rescue! Hmmmm... I wonder how that phone conversation went between Tom and John prior to the article's issuance at the NCR blog "All Things Catholic"? Or was it an e-mail exchange? Or were they texting like the kidz do? What strategy was to be effectuated? What specific phraseology should be employed? Moreover, is it not revelatory that Allen was given the honour of presenting the Kelly Lecture so soon after his defence of Fr. Rosica? No wonder Father gave such a glowing introduction to his talk. Quid pro quo? Boys will be boys.
VIII. Thus we proceed...
IX. Allen commenced his whitewash with an old ruse:
One bit of gallows humor in Catholic circles is that sometimes the worst enemies of the pro-life movement are pro-lifers themselves. The point is that a handful of activists occasionally come off as so shrill, so angry and judgmental, that fair-minded people simply tune out the pro-life message. That's horribly unfair, of course, to the vast majority of people involved in pro-life efforts, who in my experience are respectful, idealistic, and eminently rational. At the outset pro-lifers are cast as villains in the affair. The "handful of activists" disapprobation contra the "vast majority of people" mollifier is an escape hatch, a device used mitigate any counterclaim of generalization. In actuality, "handful" equals an insignificantly few out of thousands. Substitute the negative ascriptions of "shrill", "angry" and "judgmental" with that which is rightfully condemnatory. Shall pro-lifers remain silent, then? What sin is there in righteous anger? The pro-abortion movement, aided by the secular media, have already (and successfully) disseminated into the mainstream that any and all pro-life activists are irrational nut jobs. To this Allen is attuned. Or is this poor fellow really that oblivious? Now read the next sentence, a beauty:
There's just enough truth to the perception, however, to make it worth a brief examination of conscience.So the "vast majority" of "respectful, idealistic, and eminently rational" people should examine their consciences? If they are as such (on this particular issue), why should they? They have effected a wrong? How is it possible for them to account for every anomaly? The "perception" is not due to them. Rather, it is resultant of the fictitious portrayal by Moloch worshippers and the MSM. Sneaky. Subtle. Shine on.
X. So the mould was immediately set and then the machine actuated. Now for some interspersing analysis:
Cases in point are offered by the health care reform debate and the Kennedy funeral, both of which have occasioned some truly nasty commentary [Examples? Facts? Sources? Are these not necessitated to demonstrate a proposition] - much of it, naturally, in the blogosphere [...to which he soars far above and beyond; such pesky, unlearned internet peasants and the evidences they proffer are not worth his valuable time to address. He's a real journalist. Harrumphhh. And if not the blogosphere, where are they to go in the modern age when many, desiring to legitimately communicate on important subjects, utilize high technology? There is nowhere else to go. Should they, instead, notify the Town Crier?] Two Catholic personalities in particular have found themselves in the line of fire [to which they themselves instigated, no one else]: Daughters of Charity Sr. Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association [we shall return to this traitor of the pre-born in a few moments]; and Basilian Fr. Tom Rosica, head of Salt and Light TV, a national Catholic network in Canada.At this juncture it should be emphasized that Salt + Light TV is underwritten and closely monitored by the Canadian bishops. This is not Mother Angelica's EWTN, of which the US bishops conference attempted to hijack in the late 1980s. They failed, thank God. But the Lord of History, in His eternal wisdom, withheld this particular grace from Salt + Light TV, instead permitting bishop influence and all the lackluster, political correctness entailed.
Both, I should acknowledge, are friends, [why am I not surprised?] and it pains me to see both facing unwarranted personal attacks.[Welcome to the jungle. Like raising Lazarus from the dead, the Lord of History commands: "Rise, My little ones... you that are deemed weak and ignorant and unworthy. My Bride has been corrupted from within. Wipe from your faces the dust of fifty years and defend My Church"... and lo!, the emergence of the Catholic blogging superforce. "Now it is time for My adversaries to sweat for a little while", sayeth the Lord. And there was silence in Heaven for about half an hour...] For that reason, I’m permitting myself to set aside my normal journalistic detachment in order to make a point. [I'll remember that next time I comes across the so-called "journalistic detachment" regularly seen/heard/read from your pals at CNN, NPR and the New York Times.]
...My friendship with Rosica dates to 2002, when he was the chief organizer of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Canada for World Youth Day. Since then, we've bumped into one another in a variety of settings. He's perhaps the most truly "catholic" guy I’ve ever met [well, he is a priest], not only in the sense of speaking multiple languages and being a man of the world [Rosica is a Basilian. The Basilian Fathers have a long history in Toronto. Accordingly, he is well trained, very intelligent, a prodigious writer and probably a polymath], but someone obviously in love with the whole depth and breadth of the Catholic tradition [as it specifically appertains, it is here argued, to the status quo bureaucratic inertia existent since Vatican II]. He's also a talented entrepreneur [You got that right. Signore Gaetano Gagliano et allia at St. Joseph Communications would attest], as his performance with World Youth Day and his success in building a TV network from the ground up illustrate.
...Salt and Light under Rosica, have positioned themselves firmly in the Catholic middle [notice the glee]... faithful to the doctrine and discipline of the church [no waves are permitted, just watch a few hours of prime time programming for verification], but also "non-partisan" in the sense of being open to a variety of temperaments, outlooks, and experiences.[!]What does this mean? Does it not intimate that the globally-known EWTN, which endeavours to be orthodox Catholic par excellence, is a kind of extremist rival because it is not situated in "the Catholic middle"? The "middle", "non-partisian"? When did Catholic dogma and teaching take a middle ground? Let's ask Padre Pio to appear and see what he thinks? What was it about the lukewarm thing that Our Lord said? Rats. I forgot. Oh, wait, here it is: "Since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm, I will vomit you out of my mouth."  Golly gee wilikers, that does not sound "Catholic middle" to me. Additionally: "open to variety of temperaments"? Like the openness to the frustrated temperaments of those who justly contested the Kennedy canonization? Indeed, Fr. Rosica was certainly "open", characterizing them as "agents of... division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence." Indeed, how conciliatory.
For... [his] trouble, [Fr. Rosica is] now... under siege.[Turn the tables upside down, transmogrify the vilifier into the victim. Another old trick. Notice: "under siege", i.e. the headstrong, unfeeling, unreasonable militants in opposition]... With Rosica, the drumbeat [again: attribution of unsympathetic, mindless, lockstep militancy to those who opposed Fr. Rosica. Nice.] stems from a pro-life website called "LifeSiteNews" [as if no Catholic news follower in North America knows about LSN, gimme a break] which prior to the Kennedy funeral invited readers to send protests to Cardinal Sean O’Malley in Boston. Some pro-life activists wanted Salt and Light to make a similar appeal to its viewers, which Rosica declined to do.[Let's be more specific here and say "refused", "rejected" or "denied". A power play was operative] He argued that it's not the role of his network to put pressure on the bishops [As above, the CCCB lurks below the surface at Salt+Light TV, to which Rosica is a confederate. Thus it is redundant for Allen to even bring up this point, though it is a fastidious diversion that works to his advantage, a method to which he is astute], and in any event, Salt and Light isn't even an American operation.[!]Not an "American operation"? Funny, I thought the Catholic Church (whose teachings Salt + Light TV claim to represent) was, so to speak, an international operation. Does not the word Catholic mean "universal"? And since when are Catholic media/press agencies prohibited from criticizing and commenting upon issues only within the national domain to which they are based? That bitchin' rag in which Mr. Allen scribbles his tracts fires transatlantic missiles across the Missouri border into the Piazza and points throughout Europa on a regular basis. Say hello to the Blueberry Muffin for me, will ya? What nonsense. Shine on.
When Rosica wrote a commentary appealing for calm [are you kidding me?], LifeSite posted an article setting him in opposition to Raymond Arroyo, a news commentator for EWTN who was openly critical of the funeral. [blotted out is the fact that Rosica attacked first on September 3. See Note 1. LSN responded afterward with the "opposition" piece on September 4. See LSN article/link in Note 12. More importantly, he also omits the Salt+Light/CCCB antecedent enmity against LSN ever since it exposed D+P earlier in 2009.] (For the record, Rosica says that Salt and Light actually has good relations with EWTN.)[Once saw on TV a conversation between Fr. Rosica and Doug Keck, EWTN executive producer. It was cordial, though that occurred prior to the firestorm] That piece, according to Rosica, generated more than 500 hostile messages from people whipped up [notice again: "whipped up", imagery of emotional instability due to some kind of ideological abuse] by the "LifeSite" coverage - some so ugly and threatening that they couldn't be published for fear of triggering legal repercussions.If so, then let's get some transparency. Release the "500 hostile messages" for public examination (names withheld). Or, perhaps, do some IP address tracking. The loonies will be acknowledged and reprimanded. If legally actionable, then proceed. But let us not overlook the likelihood of malevolent ingenuity by the pro-aborts, playing the role of "pro-life whack job", taking advantage of the controversy with a 1-2-3-anybody-can-easily-send-out an e-mail or leave a voicemail. My guess is that the number 500 is an overestimate and that only a small percentage were as malicious to the degree alleged. Still, I'm fair and will admit otherwise if the facts demonstrate. Just let us see the evidence. But, of course, disclosure will not eventuate.
XII. Okay, now the plot thickens...
Of course, there's plenty of room for legitimate discussion about [the] judgments calls... Rosica...[has] made.... maybe [why just "maybe"?] Salt and Light should have given more space to critics of the Kennedy funeral [do ya think?]. [Now watch closely...] In principle, there's also nothing wrong with asking where a group that takes positions on public policy gets its money, and how that funding might influence its judgments.According to its website, LSN (of the Campaign Life Coalition, that to which Allen refers) gets its donations "primarily on the donations of generous readers to maintain its free service. It also has a paid advertising program". Those "generous readers" are regular faithful people, not chancery careerists, parish gatekeepers, "social justice" busybodies or Vaticanistas. Its advertisers, if you happen to look at the LSN site, are orthodox Catholic and/or commensurate therewith. So Allen's statement here is another diversion because money is not the crux. LSN, the underdog, is not a huge operation like Salt + Light TV. LSN is dedicated, and has always been dedicated, "to issues of culture, life, and family". There is no question that its reports on life issues are consistent with Catholic teaching. But notice Mr. Allen's linguistic tactic: he substitutes "public policy", which is a non-specific generalized phrase, where any "for" or "against" position cannot (within a moral context) be absolutely deemed right or wrong, true or false, good or evil (i.e. his beloved "centrist" position). But - and here comes the kicker - the Catholic Church's stance is absolute and unwavering on, for example, abortion, a subject that LSN relentlessly and rightfully rails against with proven journalistic integrity. Absolutes are implicit to the life issue. It is not a "public policy". It is an absolute declaration of the Catholic Church, to which LSN adheres.
XIII. Now if Mr. Allen believes that there is "nothing wrong with asking where a group that takes positions on public policy gets its money", then why does he not also direct this arrow to his "friend", the CEO of Salt + Light TV? Where is its money coming from? Well, the Intrepid One will obviously not investigate. So, then, let this lowly compiler give it a try. I am now looking at the Spring 2010 issue of Lampstand, a quarterly magazine published by the "Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation". There is a very nice photograph of the Holy Father on its front cover. There is a "message" from Fr. Rosica on pages 2 and 3. Oh, lookee here... there is an "exclusive" by John L. Allen, Jr. on pages 4 and 5. Quid pro quo? Boys will be boys. Turning the pages, I notice the name St. Joseph Communications, Chair of the Salt and Light Board Members (p. 10)... So let's take a look: According to its website, St. Joseph Communications also publishes the following print magazines: Toronto Life, Fashion Magazine, Canadian Family, Weddingbells, Marriage Québec, Quille & Quire, Ottawa Magazine and Where Magazine(s). A couple of these magazines are noteworthy. Two current features at Toronto Life: "Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald gets in on vampire trend" LINK; "Leonard Cohen Tribute: Coming just weeks after Cohen's 76th birthday, this all-star gathering celebrates the inexhaustible poet, novelist and songwriter with a hallelujah all its own." LINK Then there is the Quill & Quire, home of overrated and mostly unread left wing Canadian writers, including Margaret Atwood, who is certainly no friend to the Christian worldview. Q&Q included her latest work in "Books of the Year 2009". LINK The place is not, shall we say, Catholic friendly.
XIV. Now if you're into vampires, that's swell. Unfortunately, my very young niece and nephew are ceaselessly inundated with this undead crap, of which their parents think harmless. Most of my friends are a tad hedonistic with a propensity to nihilism, unknowingly echoing the life philosophy of Mr. Cohen. No problem. I've always dealt with it. My poor mother lately subjected herself to reading one of Atwood's snorefests. That was her call. But is all of this consistent with Catholic teaching? With these magazines disseminating ideas and cultural trends at variance with the Catholic Church, would St. Joseph approve of having his name bastardized in such a manner? Whose making a judgement call? Not me. Look it up yourself. Just presenting the facts to which anyone with an internet connection can access. But if Allen is, as Fr. Rosica states, "one of the world's leading Vaticanistas", why does he not do a little probing into where and how Salt + Light's TV is funded? But perhaps I am overreacting. Perhaps I should not worry that St. Josephs Communications is Canada's largest privately owned communications company. Perhaps I'm getting all stuffy when I see the founder St. Joseph Communications and Fr. Rosica regularly shoot the breeze on their own program on Salt and Light TV. Perhaps I should just relax and not be too concerned that a real estate company, a grocery store chain, capital management firms, a condominium development corporation, a high tech plastic card manufacturer and a consortium of lumber importers/exporters are on the Salt and Light TV board of directors. Hey, I'm just saying. Let us again quote Allen's own words: There is "nothing wrong with asking where a group that takes positions on public policy gets its money, and how that funding might influence its judgments?" We're waiting... Shine on.
XV. Now let us bring Mr. Allen's other "friend" in to the mix, namely Sr. Carol "Yipee, I got a pen" Keehan:
I came to know Keehan when she began leading annual trips to Rome for board members of the various Catholic hospital networks in America, the purpose of which is to foster great understanding and a deeper sense of common cause between the Vatican and leaders of Catholic health care in the United States. [verbosity: in short, a glorified habitless health care bureaucrat] (In the interests of full disclosure, I’m usually part of the program for these visits.)[surprise, ho hum] Sr. Carol enjoys obvious trust in official circles [apparently so, especially in Obama White House circles]; when Benedict XVI came to America, she was part of the medical team travelling with the pope [this means nothing, a certain Annibale Bugnini was part of the Pope's liturgical team during Vatican II. Take a good look at the damage he did]. Over the years she’s emerged as an important spokesperson for Catholic health care [indeed], including the church’s unambiguously pro-life position.[the passage of time has definitively proven that Keehan is not "unambiguously pro-life"]Next he speaks of the controversy surrounding Keehan's gigantic salary, but that is of no concern here. Money is not the issue. LIFE is the issue. Now Mr. Allen wrote his piece prior to the passage of Obama's health care bill, which opened the gate wide for taxpayer-funded abortion by the American people. In a nutshell, the Catholic Health Association (CHA, to which Keehan is queen bee) and the rest of the habitless hordes (i.e. LCWR, The Blueberry Muffin, etc.), including that Kansas City crap sheet Allen writes for... all supported the health care bill of the current US president. Even though the US bishops opposed the bill and scolded the nuns, be not fooled. Their laggardly, half-hearted, last minute responses did not help the pro-life cause to the requisite degree. Regardless, as if a bunch of paganized nuns, demonstratively defiant for decades, baby booming and bucolic, obsessed with de Chardin's cosmic pantheism, "social justice", Reiki, "saving the climate" and whatever New Age viscous sludge is now flowing in the sewers... as if they would have listened to the bishops at all. "I may be an idiot, but indeed I am no fool", goes the song.
XVI. It was also remarked: "Maybe CHA should indeed push harder about abortion in the health care debate". Again with the indefinite "maybe". Now that the real intents of Keehan and her clan have become salient for all to see, it is clear that challenging pro-life groups were right on the money when they questioned and protested. For goodness sake, the woman blatantly lied on live television, telling the following to Raymond Arroyo on EWTN's World Over: "I promise you... there will be no way that we will allow ourselves to compromise our principles". Is it therefore proper for a Catholic journalist take the non-definitive "maybe" approach? Especially with respect to the overarching importance of the life issue? The Fair Publishing Practices Code of the Catholic Press Association (CPA) states that the "mission of an authentically Catholic press is to inform and form public opinion in conformity with the Truth and the pursuit of truth. Good faith with the reader is the foundation of good journalism. This is especially true for Catholic journalists since readers oftentimes trust what they see in a Catholic publication to a greater degree than they trust in other media". Does the truth matter? Is it not the job of a journalist, particularly a Catholic journalist, to pursue and push for the truth? Should they not (especially in today's climate of nonchalant dissent) investigate further, be skeptical and suspicious, not taking words at face value? Alas, Allen cannot. Keehan is a "friend" and that line of distinction between the reporter and reported becomes blurred. The reporter is himself part of the story reported upon. But, of course, this commonly happens in the media. Relationships must be formed, sources must be acquired, otherwise leads and information are scanty or inutile. However, there are consequences when bad choices are made. Look at the catastrophe the habitless hordes have wrought. Harsh reality makes plain that they could not give a rat's ass what EWTN or HLI or LSN or Fr. Pavone or the pro-life blogger thinks, i.e. faithful orthodox Catholics. They are reactive and unfailingly counter with vilification and diversion when presented with hard facts. Yes, the biological solution will eventually rid them. Nuntheless (no, that is not a spelling error), they have in the meantime made their decision. Accordingly, it would be legitimate to pose this question: To what degree did liberal or "centrist" or "middle ground" Catholic journalism (they are interchangeable terms in the Catholic context) play in smoothing the way for the passage of Obama's pro-abortion health bill? But, as Rick Springfield insightfully said in that 80s classic Jessie's Girl, "the point is probably moot".
XVII. And so the saga continues...
I'm certain both Keehan and Rosica would be the first to acknowledge that raising such questions is entirely fair.[Have not seen or read any evidence of this claim to date. Please refer to a source.] There’s a world of difference, however, between respectful disagreement and character assassination,[to which some readers, no doubt, will accuse this writer of doing] and some of what we've seen in recent days doesn't just cross that line but obliterates it.[Hey, that's me! How do you do? A pleasure to meet you.] If Sr. Carol Keehan or Fr. Tom Rosica are your idea of enemies of the faith, it’s time for a reality check.I would not go that far with respect to Fr. Rosica, though his recent conduct is certainly not helping matters. As for this writer's criticism of a priest, recourse is taken with the Angelic Doctor. Thank you St. Thomas (again with the Thomas'!). But it's ZERO HOUR at this blog and it is manifest that Sr. Carol Keehan is an enemy of the Roman Catholic Church who must be publicly excommunicated, not just latae sententiae. Will there be a bishop with the stones to effectuate? (cue chirping crickets). And one wonders, after the debacle, whether or not Mr. Allen now (in 2010) thinks that Sr. Keehan is an enemy of the Faith? Shine on.
Moving forward [i.e. move along, nothing to see here], it's important that influential Catholic leaders, particularly those with the greatest credibility in pro-life circles, find ways to call off the rhetorical fireworks.[It would be interesting to see Mr. Allen say this directly to Fr. Euteneuer's face. Be careful. Did you see what Euteneuer did to Hannity?] They don't help the pro-life cause, and good people end up as collateral damage.[To be sure. Look at the "collateral damage" done to children in the womb, courtesy of CHA and friends.]Thus the bleaching comes to a conclusion.
XVIII. Present Time: The 2010 Kelly Lecture can be read at the Salt + Light blog (see Note 2). But let's focus in on Mr. Allen's television interview on Perspectives, Salt + Light's "current affairs" show (broadcasted October 8th). The program is an apparatchiks delight. It has that homely CBC Fabianist feel to it with just a dash of the Keiser Report. Anyhow, you can view the whole interview here, though a segment for analysis is transcribed below.
XIX. Tonight's host is Mr. Pedro Guevara Mann. Here is his intro/lead-in:
What will the Church look like in 50 years? Will there be a pope? Will we have married priests? Well, I don't think anyone knows. But a lot of people have their own ideas and their own opinion, and so does our guest for today...Well, there's "the Catholic middle" for ya and I'm guessing that, after firing up a batch of popcorn in the micro, Ron Rolhesier was tuning in from San Antonio.
XX. The program is approximately 30 minutes in length, but it was Mr. Allen's response to a viewer question in the second half that really got my spidey senses tingling. The viewer opined and hoped that there will be a reduction in "tension" between "liberal" and "conservative" Catholics in the future. Here is the core of the response (my emphasis and [comments]):
Well, look: In principle the diversity of the Faith is a very positive thing [the viewer was referring to a dualism, not multiplicity]. I mean, let's look at the contemporary Catholic landscape. It's really populated by a variety of different tribes. Right? I mean, you got your neo-con Catholics and you got your pro-life Catholics and you got your peace and justice Catholics and you got your church reform Catholics and you got your liturgical traditionalist Catholics... and in principle that diversity is a source of incredible strength. Now when it becomes dysfunctional is when these tribes stop communicating with one another and start seeing one another as the enemy [so there has never been an enemy to the Faith in 2000 years?]... We're not engaged for a patient search for understanding. We're taking rhetorical cheap shots against one another [emotion comes after the rational apprehension, dust up on Aquinas]... If we choose to reject this sterile kind of ideological warfare, then we can get to a better more centrist place. If we don't, then I think we're fated to continue living in this polarized, tribalized, ideologized, kind of climate of war of all against all, that too often does characterize the Catholic situation.Firstly, notice the use of the words "tribes" and "diversity" to characterize the situational framework. Has a kind of multiculturalist twang to it, does it not? Here there is the working assumption of a disparate set of groups, a mosaic, where none are preponderant as they all dwell on a kind of flat ideological plane. Secondly, notice how the groups are categorized: (1) "neo-con", (2) "pro-life", (3) "peace & justice", (4) "church reform" and (5) "liturgical traditionalist". True, the neo-cons and the trads have their antagonism, yet both are pro-life and pro-lifers will be either trad or neo-con, and all three tend to what in this context may be called orthodoxy, the vertical transcendent. Thus there is an exacerbation of differences or distinctions between the three (I am entering Scotus territory here so I better close things up). Can this be said about the "church reform" and "peace & justice" groups? With their variegated antinomianisms or otherwise haziness on moral issues and general dissent on matters theological there is an overemphasis on the horizontal immanent. Thus they drool in ecstasy when Marty Haugen strums a C-Major-7th. This is liberalism, a movement away from. Thirdly, notice the emphasis on "ideological" without any reference to the theological or morality or truth. Is this not the Catholic Church? Is Church teaching being reduced to an ideology? Yet Mr. Allen proposes the "centrist" position as being the ideal solution. Well, then, what is "Catholic centrism"? What is "the Catholic middle"? Define. It cannot be characterized save the use of ambiguous and mercurial terminologies. Welcome to the realm of relativist non-specificity. Last I checked, the Catechism was a very specific document.
NOTES / REFERENCES
1. The fact that Allen only writes/reports for explicitly leftist periodicals/TV/radio is a red flag and sufficiently strong evidence demonstrating the falsity of his so-called balanced "centrism". Why not occasionally work for conservative outlets like the Washington Times, National Review or (God forbid!) FOX News?
2. Administrator, "Covering the Vatican and the Church: John Allen’s lecture in Toronto", Salt + Light Television (blog), October 1, 2010. LINK
3. T. Rosica, "Senator Edward Kennedy’s funeral: On mercy and misery", Salt + Light Television (blog), September 3, 2009. LINK As for Fr. Rosica's antagonism against Catholic bloggers, take a gander at the "guidelines" in: T. Rosica, "The duty and obligation of being pro-life", Catholic Register, January 8, 2010. LINK This subject will be addressed in a future post.
4. J.-H. Westen, "Salt and Light's Fr. Rosica says LifeSiteNews is Doing the 'work of Satan'", LifeSite News, September 14, 2009. LINK
5. J.-H. Westen, "LifeSiteNews is Under Attack, Zenit declines LSN ad", LifeSite News, March 22, 2010. LINK The LifeSite News page for the D+P scandal can be found here. Excellent investigative work is also being done by John and Steve at the SoCon or Bust blog. LINK For the Salt+Light TV report (at ZENIT) that whitewashed the Development and Peace scandal see D. Naglieri, "Probe Clears Canadian Agency of Funding Abortion", ZENIT, June 22, 2009. LINK
6. Two examples: In reaction to the so-called H1N1 "pandemic", Archbishop Collins issued a letter to "temporarily suspend communion of the tongue", despite Redemptionis Sacramentum, wherein it states: "each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue". From "Ongoing Communication regarding the H1N1 Flu Virus", November 2, 2009. LINK In 2010 notorious heretic Sr. Joan Chittister was a speaker for the Lenten Mission, broadcasted on a "multi-faith" television channel. Posters for her appearance were plastered everywhere in parishes. It was sponsored by the National Catholic Broadcasting Council, a "media partner" of the Toronto Archdiocese. Bishops in other dioceses/regions (New Zealand; Pittsburg and Peoria in the US) have in the past disavowed Chittister's presence. See P.B. Craine, "Dissident Nun Set to Address Canada's Televised Catholic Lenten Mission", LifeSite News, February 12, 2010. LINK Not a peep from Abp. Collins.
7. Cf. V. Foy, "Recovering Humanae vitae in Canada", Catholic Insight, October 2010, vol. xviii, no. 9, pp. 8-14.
8. T.J Euteneuer, "No deal, Fr. Rosica", Spero News, September 18, 2009. LINK Also noteworthy on this same date: Vatican Archbishop Raymond Burke responded to Fr. Rosica's outburst at an event without mentioning his name, in Romanita fashion. Burke spoke: "One sees the hand of the Father of Lies at work in the disregard for the situation of scandal or in the ridicule and even censure of those who experience scandal." An article adapted from this talk can be found at Abp. R.L. Burke, "Reflections on the Struggle to Advance the Culture of Life", Catholic Culture, September 2009.
9. J.L. Allen, Jr., "Incivility hurts the pro–life cause", National Catholic Reporter, September 11, 2009. LINK
10. See R. Arroyo, Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles (New York: Doubleday, 2005), pp. 166-179, 208-216.
11. Revelation 3:16.
12. J.-H. Westen, "Battle of the Catholic Stations: Salt and Light's Fr. Rosica Rips EWTN's Raymond Arroyo over Kennedy Funeral", LifeSite News, September 4, 2009. LINK
13. See the video The Health Care Betrayal produced by the American Life League. LINK
14. Catholic Press Association, Fair Publishing Practices Code, Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, 2004 Code, pp. 1-2. LINK
15. Sum. theol., ii–ii, q. 33, art. 4: "Fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected… if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly… he offers his help to one who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger".