The delightful, not-at-all-harpyish Maureen Dowd truly outdid herself in the this Sunday’s New York Times. Ms. Dowd penned this fine opinion piece, laying into Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York for daring to defend Church teaching and stand against gay marriage.
‘Puter’s not going to get into the Church’s teachings on gay marriage other than to say (1) he agrees with them and (2) they are logically consistent with the Church’s theology (duh). ‘Puter merely intends to show the myriad ways in which Ms. Dowd (a nominal Catholic) beclowns herself.
‘Puter understands that some of you folks may be up against your 20 free NYT articles a month, so you won’t be able to utilize the link above. ‘Puter will quote from the article here, as part of his satire/criticism of Ms. Dowd’s “work.” Since Mrs. ‘Puter has a subscription to the NYT, ‘Puter unhappily has unrestricted access to Ms. Dowd’s oeuvre.*
1. “The archbishop has been ferocious in fighting against marriage between same-sex couples, painting it as a perversity against nature.”
A few points here. First, Abp. Dolan’s position is squarely within Church teachings. Second, many Americans (though if you believe the polls, no longer a majority) hold the same position. Third, up until the 1990s or so, no serious person of the left or right was advocating for gay marriage. Concluding, just about everyone, up until fairly recently, thought gay marriage was a “perversity,” including folks now squarely on Ms. Dowd’s side of the argument. Also, ‘Puter thinks “perversity” and “against nature” are redundant.
2. “If only his church had been as ferocious in fighting against the true perversity against nature: the unending horror of pedophile priests and the children who trusted them.”
Ah. Here it comes. The cri de couer of the Catholics who no longer believe in anything meaningfully Catholic, but like to pretend they are Catholic because it makes them feel better about themselves, and that’s all that really matters in the end, anyway. The argument is this. Because a small portion of Catholic priests shamefully engaged in pedophilia with children in their care, and further because the Church hierarchy shamefully (and criminally) ignored or tacitly accepted the pedophilia, therefore, everything else the Church says or does is wrong, but only when I disagree with it.
‘Puter will make it simple for Ms. Dowd. It does not follow that because the Church mishandled the pedophilia scandal, that its position on gay marriage is wrong. this is akin to ‘Puter arguing that because Ms. Dowd is a plagiarist, she must therefore be wrong on her white-after-Labor-Day position.
3. “Governor Cuomo was already on the wrong side of the church for his support of abortion rights, his divorce and his living in ‘sin’ with the Food Network star Sandra Lee. He was accused by the Vatican adviser Edward Peters of ‘public concubinage,’ as it’s known in canon law, and Peters recommended that Cuomo be denied communion until he resolved ‘the scandal’ by ceasing this ‘cohabiting.'”
Ms. Dowd is correct that Governor Andrew Cuomo is on the outs with the Church becase he supports abortion and is setting a horrible public example by being divorced and living with another woman. Unfortunately for Ms. Dowd and the Gov. Cuomo, the Church is remarkably clear on both abortion support and divorce: it’s against both.
On abortion, the Church in section 2272 of its Catechism states “[f]ormal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.”
On divorce, the Church in section 2384 of its Catechism states:
Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery. … If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.
It seems Ms. Dowd simply dislikes what the Church teaches, as is her right. But to claim that somehow the Church is on a witch hunt against Gov. Cuomo for his failure to abide by basic requirements of the faith, while holding himself out to be a Catholic in good standing is, uh, casuistry. Which leads us to …
4. “And therein lies the casuistry. On one hand, as Peters told The Times about Cuomo and Lee, ‘men and women are not supposed to live together without benefit of matrimony.’ But then the church denies the benefit of marriage to same-sex couples living together.”
Casuistry‘s secondary meaning is “specious argument.” Its primary definition is “a resolving of specific cases of conscience, duty or conduct through interpretation of ethical principles or religious doctrine.” ‘Puter’s fairly certain Dr. Peters is engaged in the latter, not the former, while Ms. Dowd is engaged in the former, not the latter.
The Church believes that marriage is one of the seven sacraments, given by God to man, to consecrate the union between one man and one woman before God. The Church cannot, logically or faithfully, take a position that admits the possibility that marriage can be any other combination than one man or one woman. It’s not like the Church has given its position any thought, or written it down in a book like, say, Catechism section 1605:
Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” The woman, “flesh of his flesh,” i.e., his counterpart, his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a “helpmate”; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been “in the beginning”: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
Ms. Dowd argues because the Church regards Gov. Cuomo’s relationship with his chippie as adulterous, that therefore it must permit gays to be married. ‘Puter thinks this is a mentally deficient and incomprehensible version of the “two wrongs make a right” school of thought, but he’s not certain. ‘Puter’s reply can only be a puzzled look and bemused “huh?”.
5. “Dolan insists that marriage between a man and a woman is ‘hard-wired’ by God and nature. But the church refuses to acknowledge that homosexuality may be hard-wired by God and nature as well, and is not a lifestyle choice.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong. The Church teaches that while the origins of homosexuality are not currently known, there is the possibility that God made homosexuals homosexual. The Church further teaches that Catholics must respect and treat homosexuals with the dignity to which they are entitled as human creations of God. It’s all right there in Catechism sections 2357 and 2358:
Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Please note well the Church’s condemnation of homosexual acts, not homosexual persons. Whatever you think of the Church’s position on gays and gay marriage be clear on this. The Church expressly requires its members to treat gays with “respect, compassion and sensitivity,” and to avoid “unjust discrimination” against them. Note also that the Church teaches that homosexuals can be good Catholic Christians, provided they live a life of chastity. This is not the hateful, trogolodytic Church Ms. Dowd would have you believe exists.
6. “Dolan and other church leaders are worried about the exodus of young Catholics who no longer relate to the intolerances of church teaching.”
‘Puter’s not a smart man, but he’s fairly certain that a man who has devoted his entire life to an organization and risen to a position of prominence within that organization, did not refer to that organization’s positions as intolerant.
‘Puter would ask Ms. Dowd to provide a quote supporting her implication, but Ms. Dowd has little time for such niceties as “intellectual honesty” and “journalistic integrity.”
7. “The church refuses to acknowledge the hypocrisy at its heart: that it became a haven for gay priests even though it declares homosexual sex a sin, and even though it lobbies to stop gays from marrying.”
Again, ad nauseam, being gay is not a sin. Being a gay priest is not a sin. Being a gay priest who engages in any sexual activity is wrong, just as it would be wrong for a heterosexual priest to do so. ‘Puter’s got no clue how Ms. Dowd thinks the existence of homosexual priests within the Church is incompatible with its prohibitions on gay sex acts and gay marriage. ‘Puter fears Ms. Dowd’s hatred of all things Catholic blinds her.
8. “In yet another attempt at rationalization, the nation’s Catholic bishops — a group Dolan is now in charge of — put out a ridiculous five-year-study last month going with the ‘blame Woodstock’ explanation for the sex-abuse scandal. The report suggested that the problem was caused by permissive secular society rather than cloistered church culture, because priests were trained in the turbulent free-love era. It concluded, absurdly, that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were causes.”
Ms. Dowd refers again to the priest pedophilia scandal, a scandal that has absolutely damaged the Church and its members. However, ‘Puter knows quite a few priests who were the product of the post-Vatican II seminary. In ‘Puter’s experience, many of these men disregard basic Church teaching, much like Ms. Dowd, because they find the teachings inconvenient or backwards. The late 1960s through the mid 1980s were a low point in catechetical formation for both the laity and the priesthood. Abp. Dolan is correct that the Church’s hippie generation is the one that looked the other way on a multitude of transgressions from great (the pedophilia scandal) to relatively small (liturgical abuse). ‘Puter does not believe there can be any reasonable argument on this.
‘Puter is, however, intrigued that Ms. Dowd thinks “the all-male celibate priesthood” and “homosexuality” caused the priest pedophilia scandal. ‘Puter’s betting this line isn’t going to sit to well in the rarefied air of Ms. Dowd’s social circles. Ms. Dowd’s stated position is actually more extreme than any position on sexual mores the Church has taken. Nice work there, Champ!
9. “If God and nature are so clear about what marriage is, why do the well-connected have an easier time getting the church to sunder their marriages with annulments? (Yes, we’re talking about you, Newt Gingrich.)”
Perhaps a better example here would have been any one of the Kennedy men. But that doesn’t fit with Ms. Dowd’s narrative. Also, the Church’s position on annulments (good, bad, abused, or indifferent) has no logical connection to the topic of gay marriage. Unless, of course, Ms. Dowd’s goal is to libel the Church and take cheap shots at Republicans.
10. “The Starchbishop noted with asperity that ‘Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America — not in China or North Korea,’ where “communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of ‘family’ and ‘marriage’ means.” Yeah. Not like the Vatican.”
Despite Ms. Dowd’s uninformed snark, there is a substantial difference between China and North Korea and the Catholic Church. The Church’s members are free to leave at any time. That is, in terms simple enough for Ms. Dowd to understand, if you don’t like what the Church teaches, there’s the door.
‘Puter doesn’t think China and North Korea have a similar dissent policy. ‘Puter thinks the Chinese term for “dissenter policy” is “laogai.” North Korea has a similarly enlightened dissenter policy called “kwan-li-so.” Perhaps Ms. Dowd is just following the NYT’s editorial policy, created by Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Duranty, of minimizing, ignoring and/or whitewashing human rights abuses in Communist nations. Left is right, you know.
11. “In the same blog, Dolan snidely dismissed the notion that gay marriage is a civil right. ‘We acknowledge that not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a ‘right,’ ‘ he wrote. ‘And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mom and a dad?’ And how about the right of a child not to be molested by the parish priest?”
Oooh! Good one, Ms. Dowd! Questioning the moral, ethical, historical and legal basis for gay marriage is equivalent to supporting child rape! You sure told Abp. Dolan! Burn! Stupid Catholics! They dress funny and don’t eat fish on Fridays!
Seriously, though, Abp. Dolan raises a larger point here. Not everything we think desire should be accorded “right status. This includes such divergent things as public education, gay marriage, social security, Medicare and Medicaid. The more things we think of as rights, the fewer freedoms are left to enjoy. That is, if the government is charged with providing and enforcing all these “desires as rights,” then it must necessarily curtail the freedoms of others, whether through regulation or taxation.
To install gay marriage would infringe upon Catholics’ exercise of their religion. To treat Medicaid as a right entails confiscatory tax rates. Perhaps Abp. Dolan had a point that we ought consider the tradeoffs in freedom and liberty before altering society. But he’s just a bigoted man in a cape and funny hat, so Ms. Dowd’s certain he can safely be ignored. And ridiculed.
12. “Worn out by the rampant sexting of Anthony Weiner and the relentless blogging of Archbishop Dolan, I’m wondering if our institutions need to rejigger: Maybe pols should be celibate and priests should be married.”
Perhaps if Ms. Dowd is so worn out from sexting with former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), she ought to have told him to cut it out in the first instance. It’s bad form, Ms. Dowd, to sext a married man, then to brag about it in the pages of the NYT. See? ‘Puter can resort to childish ad hominem attacks and take quotes out of context just like Ms. Dowd.
‘Puter’s already spent more time on Ms. Dowd than she’s worth, but ‘Puter thought it important to do so to correct her misrepresentations about ‘Puter’s Church. ‘Puter offers the following in sum. Ms. Dowd’s piece can be reduced to the following: “I hate the Church because it disagrees with me.” Certainly, it’s Ms. Dowd’s prerogative to use pre-teen logic in the analysis of grown up problems. But it’s also ‘Puter’s prerogative to mock her mercilessly for doing so.
Consider yourself mocked, Ms. Dowd.
*Question for the NYT: If ‘Puter’s already shelling out ducats for your product, why should he have to continue to suffer through the ads? When ‘Puter paid for premium membership at www.hellokittyfetish.com, he got an ad free site. Learn from the “adult” sites, NYT, for they’ve figured out monetizing their digital product. Of course, they’ve got a product people want to see, unlike the NYT, but you get ‘Puter’s point.