Friday, July 10, 2009

When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View?

After crawling out from under my rock and reading yesterday's outpouring of drivel from Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, I was ready to crawl right back.'s headline: "Without a Doubt: Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope" (and "pope" is uncapitalized in the original and throughout). That this towering monument to crass stupidity should be taken seriously in a major newsweekly is a testament to how far mainstream American culture has slid into the sewer.

Townsend begins with a summary of the President's visit with the Pope in the wake of the controversy surrounding Notre Shame's decision to award an honorary degree on the most virulently pro-abortion president ever to occupy the White House, and then offers the following:
In truth, though, Obama's pragmatic approach to divisive policy (his notion that we should acknowledge the good faith underlying opposing viewpoints) and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists. 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.
She then treats us to her "analysis" of the Pope's new encyclical (did she actually read it? If she did, does she pack the intellectual gear to understand it?), and then forfeits once and for all any claims to be taken seriously on any subject by declaring that "Obama (the community organizer from Chicago) could teach the pope a lot about politics—and what a Catholic approach to politics could entail." Barack Obama -- radical leftist pup who lucked into an office for which he is grossly unprepared -- a light illuminating the darkness. Pope Benedict -- theologian, professor, Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, author of more than 30 books, Vicar of Christ on earth -- total ignoramus.

Then we find out that the Truth in its fullness really subsists, not in the Church, but in Kathleen Kennedy Townsend:

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. Before he became John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla had a telling all-or-nothing formulation: "If it should be decided that contraception is not an evil in itself then we should have to concede frankly that the Holy Spirit is on the side of the Protestant Churches." That attitude has resulted in some heinous decisions.

Most famously, in the lead up to the encyclical "Humanae Vitae" in 1968, an advisory body of theologians and laity empaneled by the pope advised that the church should reverse its position on birth control and concede that the issue should be a question for morality and for science. But authority—not truth, not love—prevailed: Pope Paul VI, listening to the advice of Wojtyla, disagreed with the majority of these advisers, who had voted 69 to 10 for change, fretting that to change this position would weaken his authority.
If only the Popes would allow Church doctrine to be decided by majority rule, then maybe Catholic doctrine would deserve to be taken seriously. But alas, this will never happen on Pope Benedict's watch. Laments Townsend: "Pope Benedict, having lived in the safety and security of the Vatican for much of his professional life, is part of this culture that silences dissent. (His last job was as the enforcer of doctrine.)" This is as opposed to the unsheltered life of Barack Obama, whose career is thoroughly uncontaminated by any experience that might suit him to discharging the high office which he now holds by dint of sheer dumb luck, let alone repairing the appalling ignorance of the Successor of St. Peter.

Then there is Townsend's tactful and delicate take on limiting the priesthood to men:

In 1979, Sister Theresa Kane, the head of the Sisters of Mercy and the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, greeted Pope John Paul II on his first visit to the United States by proposing that the Church provide "for the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of our Church," including the priesthood. This was greeted with revulsion at the Vatican, which insists that the only people who can represent God in the priestly role are those with male sex organs.
As if that wasn't enough proof that the papacy is out of touch with American Catholics (instead of the other way around), the polls are there to prove how wrong Rome is. Or as Townsend puts it, "...American Catholics do not want to be told by the Vatican how to think." 54% of American Catholics think homosexual relationships are morally acceptable. 79% of American Catholics disagree with the Pope's statements about condoms and AIDS. 73% of American Catholics didn't think John Kerry should be denied Holy Communion (or "communion" as Townsend puts it). More than two thirds of American Catholics don't think the Church should try to influence Catholic votes or even Catholic candidates. If all this is true, then it's no wonder so many Catholics had no problem voting for a man who supported infanticide in the Illinois legislature. 54 percent of American Catholics voted for Obama, proving that they're "tired of watching the church grasp frantically for control at the expense of truth and love." No wonder the country is going to hell in a hand basket.

Finally, we have the justification for Notre Shame's subversion of Catholic teaching:

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.
Now if only our ignorant, benighted Pope would get on board:
The pope has a lot to learn about Catholic politics in America.
Fortunately, we have the solution, if only he would open up his mind:
Barack Obama can teach him.
Actually, come to think of it, the Church is run by majority rule. It is ruled by a majority of Three in One whose votes outweigh those of all the papal commissions and fallen Catholic universities and Barack Obamas and Kathleen Kennedy Townsends put together.

That's something we can take comfort in.