Speaking for the “Catholicism = Whatever My Personal Beliefs Are At Any Given Time” wing of the faith, E.J. Dionne pens another Washington Post op-ed.
Regular readers of your Gormogons know ‘Puter’s opinion of Mr. Dionne regarding matters of Catholic faith. ‘Puter thinks Mr. Dionne purposely misleads Catholics and non-Catholics alike as to the Church’s true and consistent positions.
This week, Mr. Dionne sets out to equate Catholic politicians supporting abortion with Catholic politicians reforming welfare programs. Mr. Dionne’s theorizes the Church (and media) is quick to jump on pro-abortion Catholic politicians, yet the Church (and media) is unwilling to hold welfare restructuring Catholic politicians to the same standard. Mr. Dionne uses Speaker Boehner’s commencement address as a jumping off point for his seemingly thoughtful piece.
First, ‘Puter refers back Fr. Robert A. Sirico’s discussion of this ginned-up controversy over at NRO. Fr. Sirico patiently and in great detail discusses the Church’s teachings on the Church’s teachings on the poor and our Catholic duty to aid the poor. Fr. Sirico explains the notions of preferential matters and subsidiarity in detail. It would benefit anyone regardless of faith to brush up on these concepts.
Fr. Sirico’s piece is important to ‘Puter’s discussion for two reasons.
First, it proves that E.J. Dionne’s position is farcical. Speaker Boehner’s beliefs and actions comport with his Catholic faith. Indeed, Speaker Boehner’s reliance on the principle of subsidiarity is more in keeping with Catholic teachings than Mr. Dionne’s preferred solution: let the government worry about it.
Second, Fr. Sirico’s piece disproves Mr. Dionne’s secondary postulate. Namely, the media has ignored the brouhaha around Speaker Boehner’s commencement speech at Catholic University. This piece was published nearly two weeks (a fortnight for all you leftist Euroweenies out there) prior to Mr. Dionne’s screed. ‘Puter’s assuming Mr. Dionne’s ignorance of arguably the most important conservative opinion magazine in the country (i.e., National Review) results from the Kael-esque insularity of inside-the-Beltway liberal elites. Perhaps Mr. Dionne’s notion is better restated as follows: Liberal media ignored the Boehner “controversy” because to publicize it would be to call greater attention to liberal Catholic politicians’ hypocrisy.
‘Puter now moves on to a foundational document based critique of Mr. Dionne’s nominal “Catholicism.”
The Church’s position on social justice is, for lack of a better word, squishy. You can see from the good Father’s article above that both Mr. Dionne’s and Speaker Boehner’s positions are (arguably) in keeping with Catholic teaching. Here’s the Catechism of the Catholic Church on economics, the subject on which Mr. Dionne critiques Speaker Boehner.
§ 2425 The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with “communism” or “socialism.” She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of “capitalism,” individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor.
§ 2449 Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.'” Jesus makes these words his own: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals . . .,” but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren:
When her mother reproached her for caring for the poor and the sick at home, St. Rose of Lima said to her: “When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.
All good stuff. Help your neighbor, because in so doing you affirm Christ’s presence in each person, no matter their station in life. Note well, communism and socialism are rejected by the Church, as is unfettered capitalism. There seems to be a big, squishy middle into which one’s behavior may fall, where such behavior is acceptable under Catholic doctrine.
Oddly, ‘Puter cannot help but to note the conspicuous absence of “government” anywhere in this portion of the Catechism. It speaks to”you.” You, ‘Puter. You, parishes. You universal Church. The Catechism speaks to Catholics, individually and in groups. It does not command governments, nor does it commend Catholics to shirk individual and collective moral obligations by foisting them onto government.
For Mr. Dionne to claim his position on economic social justice, or whatever other catch phrase he chooses to hide behind, is the only acceptable Church position is uninformed. Or willfully ignorant. Couldn’t it be both, ‘Puter wonders? Perhaps not. Let’s assume uninformed.
The Church’s positions on abortion is, unlike its teachings on economic matters, is remarkably clear and absolute. Perhaps Mr. Dionne could acquaint himself with the following sections from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s even available online these days, what with the internets and the Google and all.
§ 2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.
§ 2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law … .
§ 2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense.
§ 2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation.
And so on and so forth. ‘Puter’d be happy to quote Catechism to you for hours, but it’s boring what with its absolute and categorical condemnation of abortion and its perpetuation.
To conclude this too lengthy diatribe, Mr. Dionne is wrong. Not only wrong, but a couple of weeks late to the party. He is wrong that there is only one Church approved path on economic matters (his preferred path). He is further wrong in implying there are multiple acceptable Church approved positions on abortion, for there are not.
Mr. Dionne should stop treating his politics as a matter of faith. One could say he puts his faith in government ahead of his faith in God, but that would be hurtful and un-Christian.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.