Catholics Behave Badly: Part 2


It’s time for another episode of Catholics who behave badly! I would have liked these columns not to be necessary and, more importantly, that they did not reflect larger realities. But we have to keep each other honest, and Lord knows I have learned a lot from correcting editors and readers.

First on the list is Fr. David Nix, who tweeted: “Joe Biden asked“ every priest and minister ”to talk about the importance of“ mask and vaccine. ”10-4. Please do not use either.“ Bragging is a good idea – if you’re indifferent to human suffering and loss of life caused by the COVID-19 virus.

Unfortunately, the tweet is not unusual. Nix is ​​a priest of the Archdiocese of Denver, although he collided with the current Archbishop Samuel Aquila. His website presents many examples of a limited Catholic identity. Quotes to Saint Pope Pius X? Check. A selfish fascination with his own choice of words? Check. Videos that focus on various religious mysteries? Check. A photo with anti-Semite Mel Gibson and Fr. James Altman, the Wisconsin priest whose pulpit anti-Democrat rant went viral, over dinner? Check. Nix indicates that he is developing a rule to become a diocesan hermit. I hope that the rule prohibits the use of electrical means of communication.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois may not have gone to dinner with Mel Gibson and Fr. Altman, but he made my list because of his criticism of the decision of the University of Notre-Dame to require the vaccination against the coronavirus of its students and employees. Is it just me, or when people like Paprocki insist on the individual’s right to refuse to be vaccinated, doesn’t that sound like an abortion rights activist? “It’s my body!” “You can’t tell me what to do!”

The bishop uses scientific data to obscure, and he deploys his Donatist instinct to reinforce the ludicrous position that refusing a vaccine is some kind of pro-life testimony: “Indeed, some and perhaps many of the students of Our -Lady might judge this, although they would not. Be formally complicit in abortion if they have been vaccinated, they are nonetheless called to bear insightful witness to the truth about the horrors of abortion by even avoiding that kind of remote cooperation with him, “Paprocki writes.” The choice of these students to give such profound moral witness should be respected and encouraged in our Catholic university. “No, such choices should be denounced as nincompoopery of first class.

Third on the list is EWTN chairman and editor of the National Catholic Register Michael Warsaw, whose column The assessment of President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in power was extremely biased. Warsaw is unsurprisingly disappointed with Biden’s stance on abortion and LGBT issues, which is good, but you’d think from his comment that these were at the center of Biden’s early months as president. In fact, what’s most notable over the past few months is how Biden has avoided cultural warfare issues and focused on defeating COVID-19 and rebuilding the economy. Warsaw doesn’t have a kind word for Biden’s economic policies, which are full of ideas that are entirely consistent with Catholic social teaching.

Yet such a biased analysis of Biden’s policies is Warsaw’s prerogative, and that’s not what earns him a place on the list. Instead, it’s this DC policy assessment:

… The president’s aggressive and highly partisan style of governance blatantly contradicts the central promise he made in his inaugural address – to rule as a unifier, not as a divider. His major early moves in power have garnered virtually no bipartisan support from Republicans.

Excuse me, but at a time when the rank and file Republicans are boo senator mitt romney Because he doesn’t worship Trump’s fat calf, how can we blame Biden for the lack of partisan cooperation in the nation’s capital? I don’t remember Warsaw complaining about how Senator Mitch McConnell used his power as Senate Majority Leader to overthrow long-standing bipartisan norms, such as his refusal to submit Merrick Garland’s nomination to Supreme Court to vote in 2016, because there was an election months away, only to pass Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination in 2020 when there were only days left until an election.

Finally, there’s conservative Catholic convert Sohrab Ahmari, who writes for the New York Post, First Things, and other right-wing publications. He sent a remarkable Tweeter the other day:

I am at peace with a 21st century ruled by the Chinese. Late liberal America is too stupid and decadent to last as a superpower. Chinese civilization, especially if it finds its Confucian roots more, will have many natural virtues.

Ahmari quickly took the tweet. I guess someone reminded him that Catholic conservatives are supposed to hate China because Pope Francis is trying to create an opening for the church there. For example, here is George Weigel at first things, and Raymond Arroyo interviewing Steven Mosher about his new book The tyrant of Asia. I guess Ahmari forgot all about it, at least momentarily. He then deleted his tweet.

We all make mistakes, even though people in the public eye are well advised to never use Twitter as a way to think aloud. The real problem is indifference to the values ​​that really make America great. Ahmari does not hesitate to mock contemporary liberals, who admittedly are sometimes too ripe for such blows. But the tweet about China reflects an indifference to the values ​​of freedom, tolerance, the free exchange of ideas, the prioritization of argument and evidence over state power – things that really are the things that do. the greatness of America. These days, when conservatives are forced to defend the cult of Donald Trump, for example, dismiss concerns Regarding the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, Ahmari just wields his rhetorical pompoms to get his readers to chant “We want Trump!” and “Down with the Liberals!” This champion of denouncing the culture of cancellation embraces the tyrants who rob Hong Kong of its democratic mores, threaten Taiwan and commit crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against the Uyghurs. It is appalling.

Here. I must alert my liberal friends that there will one day also be a column called “Liberal Catholics Behaving Badly”! Still, it’s impossible to see any kind of moral symmetry between left and right in the American Catholic Church these days. Trumpism has afflicted almost everyone on the right and has prompted many, not all, on the left to reconnect with certain first principles, always a salutary exercise. In the 90s, against the moral superficiality of Clintonism, conservative Catholics produced interesting work, but these days? Not really.

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