The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“Catholicism is not about popularity”

“Catholicism is not about popularity, and it’s not about being loved by the media, and it’s not about refusing to promote strong beliefs. Being Catholic means something; it has consequences in how one views the slaughter of abortion, and the injury done to the poor by the collapse of the institution of marriage, and the threat of an emerging medical culture that would rather eliminate the weak and the elderly with euthanasia than care for them.”

— Joseph Bottum, adding his voice to the Dolan-Dowd debate.
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Cassie C

posted November 9, 2009 at 8:15 am

I understand the message behind this, but what is the ‘injury done to the poor by the collapse of the institution of marriage’?

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Conscientious Objector

posted November 9, 2009 at 9:11 am

“The injury done to the poor by the collapse of the institution of marriage” is the polite way of saying that the Church is unable to see the connection between the social-justice issues they advocate and the negative effects of them. This “injury” is that by agitating for a government with extensive programs to help the poor (like Jesus wanted!), the policymakers inadvertently created a situation where the poor took advantage of a welfare system that rewarded unmarried women for having multiple children by multiple fathers on the government’s dime, instead of creating stable, nuclear families.
The hippie-dippy, post-Vatican-II claptrap that was late 20th Century Catholicism (I learned that Jesus was the first communist in school!) should be seen for the sweet-intentioned but utterly wrong garbage it is. Considering how successful the welfare system has been in meeting Christ’s objectives, I can’t wait to see how they’re going to screw up healthcare. Unless my Bible has a couple of pages stuck together, Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” not “Give everything to Caesar and let him decide how he should spend it on your behalf, as long as he doesn’t fund abortions.” Wake up! Jesus never advocated anything even remotely like this politically motivated, shortsighted, greedy corruption of his ideals.
Maybe I’m just one of those “bad Catholics” who can’t “forgive,” but as far as I’m concerned the Catholic Church’s position on any moral issue is about as valuable to me as a turnip’s, because they squandered their credibility with the way they handled (and continue to downplay) the child abuse crisis. Any organization who would abet child molesters and then try to claim they have some heavenly ordained high ground to stand on should realize what hypocrites they are. If they spent one tenth of the effort on cleaning their own house instead of screaming as if abortion is the only sin in the world, I’d have a lot more respect for them.

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Your Name

posted November 9, 2009 at 12:22 pm

I agree that the Church is not participating in a popularity contest – nor should it. Ever.
However, this: “…and the threat of an emerging medical culture that would rather eliminate the weak and the elderly with euthanasia than care for them”, is dangerous and unfounded hyperbole.
I have come to the US having spent most of my life in Northern Ireland. Abortion is illegal on the entire island of Ireland (not that people there don’t have abortions, sadly) and so I have not had to factor the issue of abortion into any voting decision I’ve ever had.
That said, the issue of abortion is so deeply politicized here in the States – and as such – anyone expressing a hint of support for the Democratic agenda of expanding reasonably affordable health care to all citizens, is castigated as anti-Catholic, if not pro-abortion!
The Church and her supporters are right to preach unceasingly against abortion and I am 100% percent behind that and voice my pro-life opinions regularly. However, to claim that the current healthcare reform agenda promotes euthanasia is just plain wrong and it erodes the credibility of the opposition when these falsehoods continue to be spread.
Where I’m from – the abortion issue is less politicized, and therefore individuals are free to express support for a conservative, or a liberal, while steadfastly holding a pro-life position. Isn’t there room in this vast nation and within it’s great system of government to retain a strict pro-life position, whilst working earnestly towards bettering the economic position of those so vulnerable in society?
And, in this wonderful country, in which the Catholic Church seems so strong, shouldn’t there be a will to respectfully listen to those with whom we disagree and engage in respectful discourse about these all important issues with a view to persuading those pro-choice towards the pro-life position?
And, shouldn’t we as faithful Catholic Christians be praying along those lines?
I certainly hope so, on all counts.

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posted November 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I understand the message behind this, but what is the ‘injury done to the poor by the collapse of the institution of marriage’?
Conscientious Objector lays out the welfare state view of it, but that is not the only way to view it.
Broken homes suffer financially. Child support never compares to actually having that parent in the home to provide for his or her family. In an affluent family, that may not be such a big deal .. less may still be more than enough. However, in a poor family, the difference between a family provider and child support can be devastating.
Also, child development research shows that children from single-family home suffer developmentally, generally achieve lower in all aspects of life. Healthy child development really does require the influence of both parents. Unless someone else steps into the father or mother role – step-parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family, community, etc. – the child will be at a disadvantage moving forward in life. For a child already disadvantaged by poverty, this additional disadvantage makes success even harder.
“Sucking at the welfare teet” may or may not be a problem. But even without it, the poor really do suffer when the institution of marriage suffers.

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Franklin Jennings

posted November 9, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Your Name,
Since Jody Bottum made no effort to link Health Care Reform legislation to the emerging medical that would rather eliminate the weak and elderly rather than treat them, it would appear the only one politicising anything is some anonymous Irishman.
Those of us in the healthcare trenches have to fight tooth and nail against this very culture which is emerging. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with economics.
Try not assuming bad faith, and you might not make such mistakes.

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posted November 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Franklin Jennings,
I am not intentionally remaining anonymous – I put my name in each time I comment here – I don’t know why it doesn’t appear. One of the many irksome quirks of this beliefnet site I guess?
I humbly acknowledge that I did jump to that conclusion – and guess this stems from my weariness at the political discourse over Health Care Reform and since those very ideas have been floated so frequently when I saw them here I did assume. My apologies.
That said, I stand by the the points made – albeit that they may be construed as off topic.
I could respectfully suggest that you too refrain from making assumptions, then you may consider the possibility that although I am indeed Irish, I am not in fact a man :-)

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Franklin Jennings

posted November 9, 2009 at 5:30 pm

No assumptions made, lady. You are an Irishman, like it or not.
(Man, of course, being a very old Angle word for humans. Wer being the male specific descriptor, now found only in such wordsa as werewolf.)

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posted November 9, 2009 at 7:57 pm

The problem with the Health Care being legislation is it is all about about abuse of power and transforming the nature of this country.
Most agree there is a problem with the system. Most agree we should pay more attention to those who cannot afford the current system.
That agreement (“there is a problem”) is a wonderful place from which to begin to address concerns. The monstrosity pushing its way through the Congress, however, does not address concerns but rather imposes a huge bureaucracy, grabs power for a socialist form of government, and fails to lower costs or improve conditions.
Pope John Paul II could provide us with a warning about the forms of government being foisted on us by the current administration. I fear we would not stop to listen to him.

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Your Name

posted November 9, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Franklin Jennings,
Gee – I was trying to be funny – and polite. Too bad others can’t show the same respect :(

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posted November 10, 2009 at 1:23 am

“I was trying to be funny – and polite. Too bad others can’t show the same respect :(”
Well … this is American bloggerology. The Catholic Right isn’t at all known for a sense of either humor or respect. When you stumble into an aha! moment they are so vigilant in pinning in others, you can expect faster back-pedalling than bishops sheltering sex predators.
Speaking of which, this is largely at the heart of the “Uncle Tim/Mo Do” tussle. Not anti-Catholicism. We Catholics can do much better than the whiny, self-absorbent, Donohue/Oprah-inspired hermeneutic of victimhood promoted by the culture. Let’s see the bishops commit to something a little more substantive than general absolution for a vague confession of legal culpability.
Archbishop Dolan needs to realize it is the episcopate (still!) skating on thin ice where their collective credibility is concerned. He is right though, that Catholicism isn’t about popularity. It’s about sacrifice, commitment, service, love, and heroism. It’s about taking the high road rather than the easy way out. It’s about the long haul, not just scoring points with Republicans.

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Your Name

posted November 10, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Oh, I’m sorry, madame. There are so many imbeciles running around objecting to perfectly fine usage of the language, insisting on “gender inclusive” forms that are wholly unneccessary, that it is easy to become confused. Basically the same excuse you made. Nothing funny or polite about your comment. We both know that. Why not be honest?
Now, for Todd. Stick it. If you knew what humour or respect were, I’d take you seriously, but you deal in petty stereotypes and half-baked, out of date ideas.

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RP Burke

posted November 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm

“Your Name,”
Hiding behind anonymity to tell an intelligent commenter to “Stick it”, eh? How brave you are.

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