The Flying Buttress: What Inquisitors' Minds Want to Know

An archive for issues of The Flying Buttress newswire, whose purpose is to comment satirically on dissent within and relating to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Disclaimer: These publications are works of satirical fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, but it all depends on what you mean by the word "is." May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Commentary: "A Tangled Web"

+This is a response to Pepperdine Professor Douglas Kmiec’s "A Tangled Web: the Election & the Blogosphere," which appears in the January 16 issue of Commonweal. We begin with a few general observations, followed by some exploration of them:
  • Mr. Kmiec is openly and unabashedly mesmerized by Barack Obama.
  • Mr. Kmiec’s understanding of his obligations regarding his Catholic faith has been completely distorted by and subjugated to his hero-worship of Obama.
  • A double standard is employed throughout this article. Mr. Kmiec repeatedly deplores what he apparently considers to be savage, personal attacks against him, yet as he deplores this, uses pejorative language which is equally inflammatory.
  • One of Mr. Kmiec’s two themes is that “right-wing bloggers” (see: pejorative language) have politicized his support of Obama, using the abortion issue to “drive a wedge” between the Vatican and the new administration. Yet it is Mr. Kmiec himself who attempts to politicize the issue.
  • The second of Mr. Kmiec’s themes is that he is a victim of “right-wing bloggers.”
  • Mr. Kmiec has also politicized the Eucharist.
I. Hero Worship
  • One explanation for the apparent anomaly between Kmiec’s presence in the Reagan Administration and his effusive support and admiration for Obama is this: Mr. Kmiec finds himself irresistibly inspired by good communicators, no matter what their political stripe. Yet one has to wonder how Mr. Kmiec found himself happily installed among Reaganites in the first place, given his stated esteem not only for Obama, but for FDR, JFK, and RFK (all good communicators) as well.
  • The tempting conclusion to be drawn here is that Mr. Kmiec is swayed by style over substance – a conclusion that is supported by the embarrassing emptiness of his arguments – and so is dazzled by orators who seem to appeal to unity, to “common ground,” to selflessness and service to country. To which we can only say, we hope that Presidential actions match the candidate’s rhetoric. But we have to ask this: if Mr. Kmiec is so deeply drawn to public figures who espouse civic idealism, why is he not even more attracted and committed to the spiritual ideals of the Catholic Church?
II. A Double Standard and the Victim Mentality
  • This piece may be accurately characterized as one long howl of indignation and hurt at being challenged, questioned and called names, as if Kmiec’s purity of character and motives are above reproach. The writer’s choice of terms to describe his critics’ behavior is revealing: “animosity,” “unrelenting personal attacks,” “lack of civility,” “highly concentrated rhetorical venom,” “tormentors,” “personal contempt,” “vilification,” “scurrilous remarks,” “demonizing me,” “blog calumnies,” and of course, the ever-popular “right-wing bloggers.”
  • Not one of these right-wing demons is named, nor a definition of “right-wing bloggers” offered, nor any of their “calumnies” specified - but given the unrelenting self-pitying tenor of this article we may safely speculate that Mr. Kmiec’s enemies list includes any and all critics, and that The Flying Buttress will soon be added to the list. But why do we point to a double standard?
  • We have already cited his pervasive use of inflammatory language to decry inflammatory language. Here, though, is how Kmiec justifies his use of the word “boneheaded” to criticize Obama’s support for FOCA: “…we all occasionally speak too glibly for our own good…” and “honest, substantive dissent.” Is this furtive glance in the mirror the extent of your examination of conscience, Mr. Kmiec? May we then use the term “boneheaded” to describe your fawning support for the most radical elected representative of the culture of death in American history?
III. A Self-Serving Political Fantasy
  • Mr. Kmiec’s “wedge” scenario (“…the attempt to use FOCA to drive a wedge between the church (sic) and the incoming administration…”) is just dismally vacuous nonsense. Mr. Obama’s voting record, his recorded statements and his chronic history of affiliation with radicals has already opened a bottomless chasm between his administration and the Church – a chasm into which any wedge would fall harmlessly as it dropped deep into darkness.
  • Does Mr. Kmiec only understand the world in terms of political motives? Is this why he feels compelled to impute a religious question to such motives? Is he just attempting to gain the upper hand over his critics by cheapening their point? Or is this really a straw man which he can then use to flatter himself? (“Having drawn the blogs’ Machiavellian FOCA gambit into the open…”)
  • The criticism of Mr. Kmiec stems from one thing and only one thing: his public and insistent infidelity to his faith. There is nothing “political” about this infidelity, yet Mr. Kmiec attempts to make it political. So who is politicizing the issue?
IV. The Sacred Deposit of Personal Waivers
  • Mr. Kmiec admits that “FOCA runs contrary to the pursuit of the common good,” yet this fails to diminish his fervor for Obama, as if Obama’s repeated promises regarding this demonic legislation were a minor exception to an otherwise commendable platform. He further glosses over the barbaric horror of FOCA by dismissing Obama’s commitment as a “one-time pledge of support.” Kmiec has also stated, elsewhere, that he believes Obama wants to reduce the number of abortions.
  • Reduce the number of abortions? How is that reflected in this statement, which went up on the White House website as soon as Obama was sworn in?
  • “President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Adminstration. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in that case.”
  • (So much for the inaugural theme of “unity”!) The cold reality of the situation is that abortion has been the centerpiece of Obama’s radical leftist beliefs throughout his political career, and will continue to be so. If Mr. Kmiec requires further proof, perhaps he would be kind enough to consult Obama’s immediate reversal of the Mexico City policy.
  • Note also that although Mr. Kmiec admits that FOCA “runs contrary to the common good,” he fails to acknowledge that it is anathema to Catholic teaching, which just happens to be the foundation of the common good. Not only fails to acknowledge it, but then has the temerity to state that he voted for Obama because of his Catholic faith! What Catholic faith is it, Mr. Kmiec, that can so casually ignore the very core of Obama’s professional life: his affirmation of the culture of death? And what Catholic faith is overridden by an “alluring gift of inspiration”?
  • Kmiec cites Archbishop Burke’s description of the Democratic Party as “the party of death” for its embrace of abortion, but instead of taking this to heart, Kmiec finds it “hurtful” to his father and to “millions of...lifelong Democrats.” In other words, the affirmation of Catholic teaching, and His Excellency’s solicitousness for souls, is now “hurtful” and a source of resentment! This is the selfsame attitude of the homosexual radicals, who find Catholic teaching about their disorder to be offensive, hateful, and discriminatory.
  • (By all means, Professor, urge your father and millions of Democrats to continue to ignore the truth, and to condemn it, as long as it makes them feel better. After all, the human race, and Democrats in particular, have outgrown the need to be instructed by the Church.)
  • As it turns out, Archbishop Burke has plenty of company in his “hurtful” crusade. A few citations from that company:
  • Fr Matthew Habiger, Human Life International: “It is a scandal that Catholic politicians vote for bills which fund or otherwise advance abortion. They should be named, publicly shamed and admonished so that they can cease their evil and return to God. To vote for such a candidate is to willfully participate in that candidate's choices and deeds. It is a sin, and must be repented.”
  • Bishop Rene Gracida: “...the issue of voting for a pro-abortion candidate is primarily a moral issue rather than a political issue. Therefore, every Ordinary has an obligation to teach the people entrusted to his pastoral care without ambiguity that a Catholic cannot vote for a pro-abortion candidate.”
  • Bishop Robert Vasa: “...when candidates for office in these United States make bold assertions that they have every intention of working to assure that the alleged right of a woman to kill her pre-born child is either preserved or even expanded, many Catholics seem to think that it would be morally acceptable to vote for such a candidate as long as they somehow miraculously excised the candidate’s pro-abortion mindset out of the equation. A vote for such a candidate, like it or not, is likewise a vote for the firmly held abortion position; it is inseparable from the person.”
  • Kentucky Bishops’ Pastoral Letter of 1/22/08: “Catholics cannot vote for a political candidate that takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion, unless there is a morally grave reason to do so.” (Mr. Kmiec, is the exhibition of inspiring oratory a morally grave reason?)
  • Bishop Joseph Martino, Pastoral Letter of 10/4/08: “Being “right” on taxes, education, health care, immigration, and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life. Consider this: the finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day. It is a tragic irony that “pro-choice” candidates have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate – in the name of “social justice.”
  • But Professor Kmiec doesn’t care to form his conscience by the words of faithful clergy. No, he would rather turn to those infamous members of the Lavender Mafia, Cardinals Mahony and McCarrick, for political and emotional support.
V. The Eucharist as a Weapon?
  • Mr. Kmiec’s response to every corrective action and teaching of the Church directed at him is to take it as a severe blow to his ego and reputation, and an offense to his feelings (again, a reaction identical to that of the homosexual radicals). Thus it is predictable, though tragic, that he should describe the denial of the Eucharist as a “weapon” to punish him.
  • No Mr. Kmiec, the Church has not punished you. You have already punished yourself by voting for a notoriously unrepentant pro-abortion candidate and foolishly assuring others that they may do so. You have placed your soul in grave danger by these actions. What the Church does in denying you the Eucharist is to ensure that you do not receive Communion while in a state of mortal sin. Therefore, this action actually protects you from further harm to your soul!
  • But why hasn’t that simple fact occurred to you? It is because you do not think as a Catholic thinks, which is to consider first and foremost what is good for his soul. As your article demonstrates, you only think of what is good for your reputation; consequently your words reek of egotism and narcissism.
  • Furthermore, being denied the Eucharist is not an invitation to “discussion,” it is an invitation to Confession and penance. But rather than face this, the Professor suddenly drags those of other faiths into the picture, who “do not see themselves as bound by the Magisterium.” Why this non sequitur? When did this become a matter involving other faiths? The answer is that it never did: this is just another evasive maneuver produced by pride.
  • In conclusion, we assure Professor Kmiec that we do not presume to effect a change of heart and mind in him, though we do implore him to humble himself before his Creator in the Confessional and repair the damage he has done to his soul and the souls of others. Mr. Kmiec, it is indeed a tangled web we weave - when we seek to deceive ourselves. Has it once occurred to you that you could be completely, irrevocably, unmistakably, absolutely and finally…WRONG?
  • No, we write this in order to resist the efforts of those who attempt to reconcile the culture of death with the teachings and the sanctity of the Catholic Church. There can be no rapprochement between the sanctity of life and the evil of disposable life. No rapprochement, no détente, no compromise, and, ghost of Joseph Bernardin, no common ground.
  • Let’s not forget to address the periodical who solicited Mr. Kmiec’s self-pity, self-absolution and evasion of responsibility and then had the poor taste and bad judgment to publish it, thus lowering Catholic discourse to the level of the Oprah Winfrey Show. If our readers hadn’t already concluded that Commonweal was no friend of the Church, they should surely be convinced of it after reading Kmiec’s piece. Or should we just portray them in the same idiom and spirit employed by Kmiec: as a left-wing propaganda sheet?

The Tapeworm Letters, #7

“My dear Hollywood, I have a little extracurricular assignment for you, one which will provide not only a welcome change of venue, but quite a bit of pleasurable socializing. I would like you to represent me at the next conference of the Common Ground Initiative. A word to the wise is necessary, however, about this excursion. Once the news gets out about your trip, you will no doubt encounter all manner of harsh criticism of this project from certain members of your parish, who will unfailingly take every opportunity to revel in rigidity. For example: “Common Ground is just a means for liberals to obtain prominence and legitimacy for their positions.” Or, “the Church already has common ground in its Scriptures and Traditions, as reflected in the Catechism.” Or, “dissent cannot be dialogued away, and to attempt to do so is to engage in mutual deception.” We may safely dismiss these criticisms as not only mean-spirited and polarizing, but completely inconsequential, as they are parroted by people of no influence who cling desperately to outmoded patterns of thought. You must not allow their petty nagging to wear you down, but you will be required to arm yourself against them in a convincing manner – not only to maintain harmony in your parish, but, on a much more important level, to demonstrate to our little network that you have the intellectual capacity to be successful in our Conciliar world. After all, my real purpose in sending you as my emissary is to introduce you to the highest levels of our brotherhood, a move which will ultimately accrue benefits for us both. Toward that end, I want you to prepare a homily on this topic, approved by me beforehand, which you will not only deliver to your parish, but which I will forward to the Common Ground Committee. In this homily, you will elaborate on the following themes: § The Church is in crisis because the modern world has swept by her; § The Church must respond to this crisis with honesty and imagination, not with rigid defensiveness and internal bickering; § This honesty and imagination is the basis for rebuilding a venue within which our differences may be addressed constructively; § All dialogue will take as its starting point a consensus about “the big picture” – i.e. the essentials of our faith – and our accountability to those essentials. Now, if I have gauged your subtlety of perception correctly, you will have already discerned my use of the phrases “honesty and imagination” and “the big picture,” and the term “accountability.” None of these are typical of the traditional Catholic lexicon, which instead hobbles about on such archaic terms as “Scripture” and “Tradition” and “fidelity.” Your task and ours, my dear Hollywood, is to gently coax the Church, festina lente, away from this Neanderthal orientation and towards a process and a terminology to which the real world can relate. Only by adapting to the world can we be a leavening force in that world! I will have more to say on this once I have reviewed your draft.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

On "The Things that are Caesar's"

+This week The Flying Buttress takes a little political detour, in order to dissent – while dissent is still permissible – against the prevailing manufactured euphoria regarding the imminent presidency of Barack Obama. +Conventional wisdom holds that we are on the brink of a historic event: a member of a once-enslaved race ascending to the White House. And historic it is. But there are other equally historic dimensions to this event. For example:
  • America may well have a president who is prohibited by the Constitution from holding this office because he is not a natural-born citizen. Numerous lawsuits, including some initiated by Democrats, have been filed over Obama’s true birthplace and lack of valid birth certificate. Members of his own family claim he was born in Kenya. Is Obama a usurper? Will we ever know, or will the evidence continue to be suppressed by him and others?
  • The foremost elected promoter of infanticide in American history was essentially voted into office by the moral turpitude of Catholic laity, religious and clergy, who dismissed or ignored the public warnings of some (but not nearly enough) priests and bishops and instead voted for the Utopian mirage of “racial healing.” Did this happen because of the casual Conciliar cafeteria mentality, the prideful attitude that every individual knows better than the Magisterium, and the worldly confidence that sin and its consequences really aren’t anything to worry about? Or did everyone forget that only Christ, not a politician, can bring peace?
  • More than sixty-three million Americans voted for “change,” responding affirmatively to a candidate who portrayed himself as the righteous advocate of the disenfranchised, the virtuous warrior against corruption, the apostle of hope, the outsider who would clean house and who would end our military adventures in the Middle East. Yet:
  • This media-polished and media-buffed illusion is nothing more than a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine, a machine whose corruption we can deduce even with only a glimpse at the tip of the Blagojevich scandal. “Change”? “Outsider”?
  • This media-polished and media-buffed illusion has populated his Cabinet and administration with Clinton re-treads and Bush holdovers, and it has become apparent that “change” means a third Clinton administration. “Change”? “Virtue”?
  • This media-polished and media-buffed illusion will not only NOT withdraw the United States from the so-called “War on Terror” in the Middle East, he will intensify our entanglement! “Change”? “Hope”?
· This was perhaps the first presidential election in American history where neither major candidate was qualified by experience to serve in the office for which he ran. · It was the first presidential election in American history where the media openly worked to promote one major candidate and openly worked to subvert the other. · It was the first presidential election in American history where one candidate raised nearly a billion dollars (see our second “Miscellanea” link for the source of much of this money). · It may have been the first presidential election in American history where hundreds of thousands of votes (a conservative estimate) were registered and cast illegally, thanks to an organization (ACORN) who received more than $800,000 from the Obama campaign. · And finally, it is the first presidential election in American history where the winning candidate has a long rap sheet of close associations with radical socialism, communism, black liberation “theology,” and domestic terrorism.
+There is a Lutheran Church on the east side of Cincinnati which has displayed the following outdoor sign since November 5th:
+The Protestants, as usual, are largely far ahead of us in assessing the coming danger. And the coming danger can be discerned by evaluating its mouthpiece, Barack Obama. Obama is a serviceable prop, a prop not only for corrupt self-interest and business as usual, but also for an entrenched and powerful international criminal syndicate that serves neither America, nor her sovereignty, nor her Constitution, nor her foundation in the morality of Judeo-Christian civilization, nor her citizens.
+America, in fact, is not only economically bankrupt from war, Wall Street, and Washington, but as this past election proves, she is politically and morally bankrupt as well, and we therefore suggest to you that the most historic dimension of all of January 20th, 2009 will be this:
~ Miscellanea Catholica ~ +Obama and the Laughable Beast +George Soros Funds the Catholic Left +The University of San Francisco provides abortion coverage +Catholic politicians funded by abortion lobby +Beware the book "Conversations with God." ~ Miscellanea Americana ~ +This week we begin a new section dedicated to recalling the optimism, innocence and traditions of the American culture and character that flourished before the cynical depravity of liberalism destroyed it, and to help inspire our readers to fight against the coming hegemony of the Satanic tyranny known as the United Nations/New World Order. +The Stars and Stripes Forever +Anchors Aweigh +The Longest Day March +The Caissons Go Rolling Along +The US Air Force Song +The Marines' Hymn