Skip to comments.A Catholic Wind in the White House
Posted on 04/13/2008 8:54:51 AM PDT by don-o
Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI's election in 2005, President Bush met with a small circle of advisers in the Oval Office. As some mentioned their own religious backgrounds, the president remarked that he had read one of the new pontiff's books about faith and culture in Western Europe.
Bush attends an Episcopal church in Washington and belongs to a Methodist church in Texas, and his political base is solidly evangelical. Yet this Protestant president has surrounded himself with Roman Catholic intellectuals, speechwriters, professors, priests, bishops and politicians. These Catholics -- and thus Catholic social teaching -- have for the past eight years been shaping Bush's speeches, policies and legacy to a degree perhaps unprecedented in U.S. history.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
The WaPo’s and Daniel Burke’s Papist bigotry is showing brightly.
“Bush also used Catholic doctrine and rhetoric to push his faith-based initiative, a movement to open federal funding to grass-roots religious groups that provide social services to their communities. Much of that initiative is based on the Catholic principle of “subsidiarity” — the idea that local people are in the best position to solve local problems. “The president probably knows absolutely nothing about the Catholic catechism, but he’s very familiar with the principle of subsidiarity,” said H. James Towey, former director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives who is now the president of a Catholic college in southwestern Pennsylvania. “It’s the sense that the government is not the savior and that problems like poverty have spiritual roots.”
“Nonetheless, Bush is not without his Catholic critics. Some contend that his faith-based rhetoric is just small-government conservatism dressed up in religious vestments, and that his economic policies, including tax cuts for the rich, have created a wealth gap that clearly upends the Catholic principle of solidarity with the poor.”
Bush has totally IGNORED the real separation of “church and state”. As it stands now, Muslims can get government money and “help” the poor. It is WRONG to use government money to further “religion”. THe money SHOULD come from the church and it’s givers - not the state.
TO my favorite Catholic apologist:
Please expound on the mentioned principle. Is there a difference in expectation from individuals as opposed to organizations - businesses, governments, etc?
The Catholic haters/bashers on FR are going to be seething with anger!
I stay off the religion forum, mainly for that reason. However, my better half has a very good style in dealing with such. I think this article merits a place in the News forum.
The “Know Nothings” ride again.
I believe Bush is a Christian who understands the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. But his religion doctrine is very muddled. Bush is genuine do-gooder with good intentions as opposed to Democrats who pretend to be do-gooders but have bad intentions. Neither political model offers the country much in the way of leadership.
Wow. I’m surprised.
I'm trying to remember the last time the MSM has referred to any slogan of the left as a "mantra." Using the term indicates contempt.
Some contend that his faith-based rhetoric is just small-government conservatism dressed up in religious vestments, and that his economic policies, including tax cuts for the rich, have created a wealth gap that clearly upends the Catholic principle of solidarity with the poor.
The idea of the "wealth gap" is a holy of holies to the Left. It's not enough to help the poor, we must punish the rich, an idea that seems strikingly un-Christian.
Yes, she does — I’ve noticed . . . though I’ve been less and less frequently on the religion threads myself — somehow they all sound like the same thread after a few posts . . . can’t think why! ;-)
I don’t think so. I don’t have anything against Catholics or any of the other traditional religions heretofore connected with American Politics. The only religion I’d have a real problem with in considering a connection to White House is Islam.
“I believe Bush is a Christian who understands the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.”
But he is totally ignorant or afraid, or both, of Islam and the menace it presents to the country he is supposed to protect against its enemies. I want to hear him expound that Christianity is a ROP.
I think you nailed it.
I agree. A non-story from the WaPo is still a non-story. Although, I would love to see the President cross the Tiber, I doubt that it will happen. I think Jeb is Catholic, and he might have been helpful in forming George W.'s non-combative stance toward Catholics in general; but that's a far cry from preferential hire or thoughts of conversion. As I said above, a meaningless non-story suitable only for taking up space in their dying paper.
“I believe Bush is a Christian who understands the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. But his religion doctrine is very muddled. Bush is genuine do-gooder with good intentions as opposed to Democrats who pretend to be do-gooders but have bad intentions. Neither political model offers the country much in the way of leadership.”
I agree. Bush is a genuinely good, Christian man. I doubt he will change his religious affiliation, though. The WaPo thinks that anyone, especially a Republican, who has strong Christian beliefs, is somehow strange, and this merits a story.
I would much rather the President cut taxes so that the money can be donated by people to charitable causes — when taxes are raised, the first casaulty in our greedy society is charitable contributions. Lower taxes and open the pockets of people to charitable causes, and then those charitable causes (churches, etc.) can aid the poor.
However, if our government insists on spending giant amounts of money on the poor anyway (right or wrong), then it is better when that money is in the hands of local charities than government workers unwilling to solve a problem and thusly eliminate their guaranteed government jobs. Taking advantage of poor people in such a manner is something that Our Lord, I feel, would not look favorably upon.
Please keep bumping the prayer thread by adding your prayers to it!
Let's be gentle with the Catholic haters...too much about people converting to the true Church and they really make a mess.
The battles were fought hundreds of years ago and the Catholics lost
You eveidently haven’t read about Lepanto. Numerous thread on FR.
The Catholics won!
What Catholic clergy does Bush associate with?
Last first: subsidiarity means that political decision-making should be devolved to the lowest possible level - i.e. that local communities should have a say in most of the policies that directly impact their lives. Clearly some questions - like the decision to go to war, immigration policy, etc. - naturally resolve themselves at the national level. But issues like education, taxation, etc. are best dealt with locally.
The preferential option for the poor means that in making policy decisions and when faced with several legitimate and moral possibilities, these decision should be made in such a way as to choose the policies that most help the least fortunate and most vulnerable.
The left side of the political spectrum among Catholics is inclined to scrap subsidiarity altogether in advocating redistributionary income polices at the federal level.
There is also a third element of Catholic social teaching which is forgotten by most commentators: voluntarism.
That is, the best way to help the poor is not by having the government cut them checks transferred from your tax receipts, but by giving your own money, your own time and your own skills and talents for the assistance of the poor in your community.
Authentic Catholic social teaching embraces the principles of subsidiarity and the preferential option for the poor exercised by the voluntary charitable acts of private citizens.
That is exactly the type of response I was looking for. Thank you for composing a well organized and well thought out post.
I don't have time to develop these themes right here and now, but let me say that just as the fraudulent, gassy "spirit of Vatican II" was used to subvert and nullify the religious doctrines of Vatican II, churchy Peace and Justice advocates have done their best to subvert and nullify the social doctrines of the Church.
I have had a lot of objections against some of Michael Novak's ideas over the years, but he has done some interesting and useful work wresting Catholic social/ethical proprietorship away from the pacifists and socialists.
The non-negotiables of Catholic political ethics are actually very, very firm but very, very few. Under the principle of subsidiarity, a centralized national state should really only be doing the things that ONLY a centralized national state can do. That'd be national defense, foreign and military policy, and upholding the rule of law to defend the Constitution and prevent fraud and aggression.
Once the protection of life (of everybody) is secured, almost all the rest is prudential, negotiable, private, local, voluntary, entrepreneurial, "the art of compromise" and "the art of the possible."
In other words, while the Gospel still places upon us very challenging demands, these demands are mostly met by practical liberty, which has very wide scope.
Or so I am prepared to argue.
We had a cute as a button 6 year old baptized today at Mass.
LOL, the priest called the youngster up and asked him if he knew his prayers.
God love him, the little guy was honest and said, "I know some of 'em."
The priest asked him to recite the Gloria, which he did very well.
He had a bit of a problem with the Our Father, though.If I recall it want something like this.
"Our Father who is Art in Heaven. How are you?"
Not so bad really, I recall my nephew coming home after school when he was in kindergarten wanting to know who Richard Stands was and was he really invisible.
I have no problem with moderate Muslims (like the guy featured in my tagline). Nor do I have a problem with Catholics other than those who use it as a covering for radical Marxists or racial reconquistadora politics. The same problem I have with Faux Christians like Rev. Wright and his hate whitey politics.
These are the good old days, aren’t they?
What battles? You mean when the Huguenots ranged up and down the coast of Spain attacking tiny villages, destroying the churches, altars and statues, burning the church with the priest in it, and killing any Spaniard who couldn’t escape into the the hills fast enough? Even so, the Faith won, and that’s why there are a million Protestant “visions” and still only one Catholic Church.
I love it! LOL!
Things are good with the TOL flock!
“Subsidiarity” sounds like a Southern Baptist Doctrine. LOL!
Hmmmm. Sounds like the Confederate States of America; which, unfortunately was conquered after the invasion of the centralizers and levellers, and that principle was lost as far as the American Experiment.
In terms of ecclesiology, absolutely.
The CSA denied natural rights to 40% of its population at a local, state and national level.
Even if the CSA practiced political subsidiarity, it was a racial political subsidiarity.
And, of course, even this theoretical political subsidiarity among whites was soon scrapped in practice.
Authentic Catholic teaching in this country has been largely replaced by Bernardinism.
One the one hand, Lincoln himself said his main object was to preserve the Union, and he wasn't going to free the slaves unless that was necessary in order to beat the South and preserve the Union. In that, I think Lincoln was, frankly, wrong.
On the other hand, the war progressed, and by the time he got to Gettysburg and the Second Inaugural, Lincoln saw it as a kind of divine justice that such a massive evil (slavery) would have such a massive conclusion (catastrophic, fratricidal war.)
The vast consolidation of centralized power in Washington DC afterwards, would be a separate issue (in theory) but well-nigh impossible to separate (in practice.)
And its ruinous consequences are with us today.
Too much for my limited comprehension.
That was what the Missouri Compromise was all about, when the South first blackmailed the federal government with secession threats.
That was what the 1850 Compromise was all about, when the South also blackmailed the federal government with secession threats.
That was what the Kansas-Nebraska Acts were all about, when the South continued to blackmail the federal government with secession threats.
In the 1860s the North basically got sick and tired of continually trying to placate the South and voted in a slate of candidates who promised to hold firm on the matter of the territories.
Then the South attacked Fort Sumter and war began.
McClellan wanted to fight a limited war to a negotiated surrender - and Lincoln would have accepted that if successful - but he was completely out-generalled.
Faced with Lee's effectiveness, Lincoln and his Cabinet came to the conclusion that the only solution was total, not limited, war.
Jefferson Davis had already come to that conclusion and had begun putting the entire Confederacy on a war footing - the North started later, but was more efficient at this process.
Neither the Confederacy nor the Union had a Jeffersonian government when it was over.
I would point out that even if the Union had fully accepted secession and pulled all Federal soldiers, sailors and marines from every federal military facility in the slave states, it wouldn't have mattered.
Secession was about expanding slavery to the federal territories - the South would not have allowed the Union to take control of all the remaining federal territory.
The whole reason for leaving was the Union's refusal to let slavery expand in federal territory: there was no point in secession if the South were to just remain within its 1860 borders. They could have just stayed in the Union, then.
They're always seething with anger ... it's all they have, and it eats away at their souls.
I pray for their conversion.
I do not care to go into the arguments that are made about the secession. I want to take the question back to what the Catholic teaching has to say.
Of course, one must first settle the question about the nature of the Union that was created - voluntary and dissoluble; or permanent and inviolable. So, I guess we would still have to argue.
Let me try it this way:
If it were the former, then should the Southern states been allowed to leave peacefully?
If it were the latter, then is the North justified in waging war?
And, in both scenarios, is the action in line with Catholic teaching?
To the extent that the Civil War was fought to crush the Constitutional states' rights political base (which would include the right to form and dissolve the bonds of federal union), the Civil War was unjust. (And that's why Lincoln said the war was initially pursued: not to free the slaves, but to impose federal Union by force.)
But to the extent that the Civil War was fought to abolish slavery, an argument can be made that the upholding of fundamental human rights (life and liberty) does not come under "subsidiarity": it is the immediate direct duty of every level of government from top to bottom.
I don't want to re-fight this war. I think the answer has to somehow encompass "Subsidiarity yes, Slavery no." And the Civil War somehow managed to (largely) abolish both.
A tragic view.