In That Church with This Editorial?

As much as the world of Roman Catholicism remains mysterious, this excerpt from Commonweal seems like a case of changing the subject. At a time when many Roman Catholics are wailing and gnashing their teeth over the latest sex scandal (the case of Theodore McCarrick), the editors at Commonweal decide to keep the attention on President Trump:

The mesmerizing farce of the Trump administration —its scandals, lurid intrigues, and flagrant lies—can easily distract us from the many ways this president and his party are making life harder for vulnerable Americans. While we all attend to the latest antics of President Twitter, his appointees and congressional allies are quietly punching holes in the safety net that protects millions of people from destitution.

One way the GOP is trying to deprive the poor of public assistance is by imposing strict work requirements on the tenants of public housing and recipients of Medicaid. In January, Seema Verma, who runs the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced that the Trump administration would begin allowing states to require most non-disabled adults to work as a condition of Medicaid coverage. In late June, a few days before the first such work requirement was to take effect in Kentucky, a federal judge blocked it, ruling that the Trump administration had been “arbitrary and capricious” in approving Kentucky’s plan without making sure it was in keeping with Medicaid’s stated purpose of “furnish[ing] medical assistance” to the poor. “The record shows that 95,000 people would lose Medicaid coverage,” the judge wrote, “and yet the secretary [of Health and Human Services] paid no attention to that deprivation.” The judge was right, but he may yet be overruled by a Supreme Court too solicitous of states’ rights and too deferential to executive authority.

Now, it could be truly that the scandal of Trump is much more momentous than the allegations against a cardinal and former archbishop of The District. But if you believe in the world to come and that the church, unlike the United States, is the institution that is best equipped to get people into heaven (or purgatory for the righteousness-challenged), wouldn’t the story of one of the apostles’ successors be a bigger deal than a depraved POTUS’ welfare policy?

Again, I don’t know Commonweal as well as I might, though I have read and used many of its essays and columns about the Roman Catholic Church for my own writing and teaching. It is a readable magazine with thoughtful writers (I could do without E. J. Dionne) on a variety of subjects, from the arts to church life.

The other problem is one of jumping on the bandwagon. With all the kvetching about scandalous priests and lack of accountability for the bishops, do the editors at Commonweal have anything new to say?

At the same time, the allegations surrounding Theodore McGarrick and its implications for Rome’s oversight are so potentially toxic that one would think editors of a Roman Catholic publication would want to put some distance between themselves and their hierarchy.

Meanwhile, Bryan and the Jasons got zip, nada, zilch.

12 thoughts on “In That Church with This Editorial?

  1. Literally scroll down the page of your linked article to see a McCarrick and abuse article from July 18 highlighted as “Must Read”. The same article appears 2nd in the “Religion” section. The Trump article appears 3rd in the “Politics” section.


  2. cvd the homepage has “Sick” at the top. You have to dig down to find their one article about the scandal surrounding a Cardinal “Just as Rampant”. DGH’s point that Commonweal is more concerned about Trump than McCarrick is an interesting one. Compare that to Douthat and Dreher.

    I’ll also note that the Commonweal story claims that previous stories never ran because they could not get confirmation. Dreher (who was involved in the reporting 15 years ago) has journalists on the record who claim that their story was spiked – their inference was that it was because this scandal pointed blurred homosexuality and pederasty. If you haven’t read his reporting on this, Dreher’s blog is very eye opening. Like Weinstein – they all knew.


  3. If Rod Dreher is right, then in several places in the United States, there has been an active conspiracy to recruit and retain homosexual men in the seminaries and to encourage the watering down of official church teaching on human sexuality. It really is eye opening—and for traditionalist Roman Catholics, should be fear-inducing—if even half of what he has said on his blog in recent days is accurate. Seminaries train the priests who become bishops who become cardinals and popes.

    This takeover of RC seminaries looks awfully familiar to those of us who know the history of the fall of Princeton and other Protestant institutions. Looks like Rome isn’t going to escape the modernist takeover. I don’t see how this doesn’t lead to schism and to a wholesale “development” in the RCC view of the visible and institutional church. When the orthodox become the minority, will the existing visible church be that important to them? I’m thinking that for conservative RCs who have their eyes open—ie, not people like Bryan and the Jasons—will discover that Christ’s promises to preserve the church don’t necessarily extend to their particular iteration of the visible church.

    We shall see.


  4. Robert: “If Rod Dreher is right, then in several places in the United States, there has been an active conspiracy to recruit and retain homosexual men in the seminaries and to encourage the watering down of official church teaching on human sexuality.”

    Me: Well, yea. Plus, if the priestly charism is adequate for interpretation and promulgation of the truths of the church, who’s right? Somebody needs to pay me a couple million for my yet to be written screenplay


  5. Silence on the abuse scandal, but be prepared for the 100,000-word essay by Bryan and the Jasons on how the doctrine of capital punishment developed into grave sin from being admissable just 100 years ago:

    But the RCC never changes its doctrine. What is the meaningful difference between Rome and a mainline Protestant denomination these days? I’m not seeing it.


  6. Building on Dreher’s comments about the change in doctrine ushered in by the Francis, Douthat’s comment implies that maintaining some idea of continuity requires a sort of gnosticism:

    “But anyone arguing for continuity has to recognize that at the very least this kind of shift turns the traditional teaching into a sort of hermetic secret, available to ppl who read extremely carefully but invisible in the normal public teaching of the church.”

    Secret truths for those in the know… the same one’s using their power to take sexual advantage of young seminarians.


  7. I just went and read the stuff linked to “Called to Communion.” I can’t believe I ever… never mind.


  8. As one would expect, the about-face on the death penalty for Rome isn’t a “change” but a development:

    However, the press briefing states:

    “The death penalty, regardless of the means of execution, “entails cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.'”

    But God commands the death penalty in several places in Scripture. So Rome apparently believes that God ordered cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. Apparently, Rome wants us to know that we can’t trust God to be kind, humane, and honoring of human dignity, but we can trust the Magisterium.

    This is utter blasphemy.

    And, how can we trust the current Magisterium if the prior Magisterium got the death penalty so wrong?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.