Neocon Catholics

November 22, 2010 | By | 4 Replies More

As I’ve indicated in my previous posts, I am a practicing Roman Catholic who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Therefore, the topic I’m addressing today is one that I find especially distressing.

An extremely conservative element in the Catholic Church seeks to re-affirm values and traditions not wholly consistent with Church doctrine and traditions. These Catholic “neo-cons” are revisionist and likely to adopt other tactics which served Karl Rove and his ilk well at forming governing majorities for the GOP. These Catholic neo-cons are trying to subvert Vatican II and also pander to the rich conservative supporters which have made up for the fall-off in the numbers of contributors to the various yearly Catholic Appeals.

The Catholic neo-cons don’t care about facts; they just spout platitudes and rely upon deliberate lies or appeals to false authority to have their way. The recent elevation of Archbishop Dolan of New York to preside over the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) instead of Archbishop Chaput, OFM. Cap. of Denver is a sign of the ascendancy of the neo-cons. So too is the recent elevation of former Archbishop of St. Louis Raymond Burke to cardinal and to head of the Vatican Courts. First, we saw unprecedented attacks by Catholic priests and officials upon Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama leading up to the November 2008 elections. These attacks did not concern themselves with either the facts against a John McCain presidency on Catholic teachings or values nor with those Catholic teachings and values at all.

Look at the efforts by the Catholic neo-cons relating to the Freedom, of Choice Act (FOCA) here in St. Louis and likely across the nation. For weeks before President Obama was even in office, there were sermons at Mass against FOCA, there were postcards in the pews for parishioners to sign opposing FOCA, and many editorials and stories in the “St. Louis Review,” (the Catholic newspaper of St. Louis) reviling FOCA and President Obama for a 2007 statement that he would sign the bill. Guess what? FOCA was never even introduced into the 110th Congress.

That hysteria did wonders for recruitment of volunteers against Obama, creating antipathy towards Democrats, making money for the Church’s coffers, and mailing lists for future campaigns (of disinformation!). It’s all straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook. I see the elevation of Archbishop Dolan to head the NCCB as the opening round of an even more virulent phase of Catholic neo-con enforced conformity which may result in dictates by the NCCB that compel American Catholics to support repeal of Roe v. Wade and opposition to any specific legislation chosen for opposition by the NCCB or face Church sanction. The punishment for any Catholics’ failures to support the political agenda of the NCCB would be denial of the Eucharist. It was this very issue which likely led to the elevation of Archbishop Dolan over Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Chaput did not speak out he’d withhold the Eucharist from Catholic politicians which did not vote or speak in complete conformity with Catholic teachings. Archbishop Dolan was very committed and vocal in his belief in the denial of the Eucharist to those Catholic politicians which did not both vote and speak in conformity with Catholic teaching, as he saw it.

As I have written before, I see both compulsion and punishment as the Church plunging itself into being both in and of this world, and a serious error. It appears that the last, true effort of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to guide American Catholics in the prudential exercise of the voter franchise was in their last document on Faithful Citizenship. Catholics are more than ever before being pushed to follow a particular political wind.

If the failure to take a particular side in a political issue is deemed scandal or grave sin, how will we as Catholics be free to see what the facts are for ourselves? We will not learn and we will be bound by whatever the facts may be claimed to be by whatever the Catholic neo-con powers that be say they are, under peril for our immortal souls.


Category: Politics, Religion

About the Author ()

imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.

Comments (4)

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  1. Ben says:

    "traditions not wholly consistent with Church doctrine"

    (anti-spam word "wow")

    Church doctrine is internally inconsistent. You pick and choose which parts to adhere to. And it evolves, albeit slowly.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Tim: I agree with Ben. How can you be annoyed consistency issues without addressing Catholic Church claims of virgin birth, three gods in one or dead people coming alive.

    Having said that, I will also say that I know many good-hearted Catholics who still, somehow, overlook all of the problems with the church and still call themselves "Catholic." I just don't understand how they don't pull up anchor and leave, especially in the wake of the pedophilia scandals and coverups, church dissing of women, anti-condom policy that has killed many thousands in Africa, and I could go on and on. Isn't this neocon movement close to being the last straw for you? Given that you believe in God, isn't there a way to do it outside of the Catholic Church, so that you could say goodbye to all of the pain that the Church must be causing you? You could still hang around with your Catholic friends (I do). You could even start your own church.

  3. Erich,

    In a lifetime of occasional dealings with Catholics, devout and otherwise, I've come to the conclusions that Catholics who don't leave the Church in the face of such tremendous cause to do just that are in most ways rather than Americans who chafe under the aegis of a rotten administration. For 8 years many of us apologetically said "Yeah, we're American, but Bush isn't what we're about." So to with Catholics, who want to be Catholic, but wish it were, well, different.

  4. Tim Hogan says:

    Jesus’ virgin birth, the Holy Trinity and Jesus’ resurrection, are miracles of faith. As miracles they glorify God and call people to salvation. Faith is the belief in the absence of proof.

    If you wish me to provide proof of that which by definition requires belief in the absence of proof, you request sophistry in response to your own sophistry as you cannot be unaware of both the definitions of miracles and faith.

    I have faith, you do not. I have belief, you do not. We both live with our choices.

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