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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Malarkey From McBrien

This week's piece in the National Catholic Distorter from Richard McBrien had a vague familiarity to it...oh, I know why. He's basically reprinting an EJ Dionne column published in Commonweal, NCR's evil twin sister, back on July 9, prior to President Obama's meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

Plus, it has to be, like, the fourteenth column by McBrien extolling his admiration for the One since the election. He must be running out of material.

From the NCReporter: President Obama and the Vatican

While most of the attention was focused on President Barack Obama's audience with Pope Benedict XVI on July 10, there was an important bit of news in a column published the day before in Commonweal's on-line edition.

The article, written by Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, a Catholic layman who often addresses issues related to religion and politics, was entitled, "Does Obama have a friend in the Vatican?"

Dionne noted that, when President Obama had his audience with Pope Benedict XVI, just three days after the release of the Pope's new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate ("Charity in Truth"), there were no right-wing Catholic demonstrators upbraiding the Pope, as they did outside and inside the University of Notre Dame's graduation exercises this past May.

Nor, one might add, was there any single-engine, propeller-driven plane flying overhead with an anti-abortion message and picture.

Sigh. Come on - must we go through this again? He's comparing two very disparate situations, trying to equate them. The Notre Dame fiasco was scandalous for several reasons, while the Holy Father was meeting with Obama as the duly elected leader of the United States. Ah, what's the use in explaining. It's obvious McBrien is wearing O's colored glasses.

The next nine paragraphs are mainly cut-and-paste quotes from Dionne's article. The poor guy is soon becoming a blogger! I'm not going to put any of it here, except for two parts:

This is not to say that President Obama and Pope Benedict XVI are in full agreement on all moral issues, such as abortion, contraception, or embryonic stem-cell research.

And then a little later, he includes: Dionne suggests -- and I am in full agreement with him -- that the Pope's new encyclical shows that President Obama is in accord with most of Catholic social teaching.

Didja catch that? McBrien just called the President a cafeteria Catholic. Which makes sense, given that it was that kind of Catholic who voted him into office. McBrien continues to assuage his readers that it's okay to support him and his Obamacare plan. Just ignore the tough parts of Catholic teaching - the moral issues - and focus on the issues that make you feel good. McBrien's been doing it for years.

But here's the thing. The core of Catholic social teaching affirms the dignity of the human person. Obama does not do that. A lynch pin in Catholic social teaching is the principle of subsidiarity. None of Obama's proposals and plans honor that principle - especially the health care reform. Socialism runs counter to Catholic social teaching, and yet there is much in his platform that walks, talks and quacks like socialism.

The third word in Pope Benedict's latest encyclical is Veritate - Truth. To me, President Obama more closely resembles Pontius Pilate than Jesus Christ - I doubt he is unable to recognize truth, because he has demonstrated difficulty in speaking it.

McBrien cites another article in his piece, in which the author described Obama as a "Vatican II president". Given the problems, confusion and chaos experienced in the Church the past 40 years, caused by people like McBrien who helped sow the seeds of dissent, I'm inclined to agree with the description.

Yikes! I agreed with McBrien?!? Better not let that become a habit, even if it's not in a way he intended.