Whither Romney? And whither the Catholics?

(See Karen’s comment below on the Catholic Church and immigration.)

Sen. Brownback agrees with Gen. Pace’s statement that homosexual acts are immoral. While Brownback deserves praise for saying this, it does not change the fact that he voted for the nation-destroying Comprehensive Immigration bill last year and said that America had to accommodate itself to the illegal aliens who marched en masse in American cities last spring demanding their “rights.” Brownback is in short a “Catholic-con”—a person who supports the Church’s teachings on morality, but who also supports immigration and nationality policies that would mean the automatic death of every Western country and people. I have zero use for the man.

Meanwhile Mitt Romney has stuck his foot in it:

[F]ormer Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney … said he thought Pace’s comments were “inappropriate for public discourse.”

“He can believe what he wants to, that’s the great thing about America—believe in what you want. But in a governmental setting, the right way to go is to show more of an outpouring of tolerance,” Romney said on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

He said he didn’t think the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” made a lot of sense, but added he wouldn’t change it now.

If Romney had stopped at noting that Pace’s declaration of his personal views on the morality of homosexual behavior was not appropriate given Pace’s responsibility for enforcing the current policy on homosexuals in the military, that would have been an acceptable if uninspiring position. Saying that the comment is not appropriate is not the same as saying that it is not true. But unfortunately Romney went further, with his embarrassing call for an “outpouring of tolerance” and his remark that he sees no grounds for the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. If the latter is the case, then Romney sees no grounds for opposing the inclusion of open homosexuals in the military. And this is the guy who aspires to be the candidate of the social conservatives?

My provisional view of Romney has been that he is an opportunist, but a smart opportunist who could be counted on once he has signed on to your side. If he keeps making comments like the above, we may have to reevaluate that.

- end of initial entry -

Karen writes from England:

Very strong posting from you today about Senator Brownback! The term “Catholic Con” is quite interesting but it is not correct as it is similar to calling a Moslem who wages jihad an Islamofascist. I explain below.

The majority of Catholics living in Protestant countries support mass Third World immigration to these countries and in particular if the immigrants are also Catholics as is the case with Hispanics, Latin Americans and Filipinos.

Roman Catholicism and Islam are religions of works which dictate vast amounts of dogma to their followers in which the followers are instructed that salvation is achieved by doing the work of the Church (as dictated by the officials of the Church and not by the Bible). In both cases, a significant and dangerous part of this work is the striving to create the Umma (for the Moslems) and in the case of RCs the “Kingdom of God” i.e. the Kingdom of the Vatican. The Vatican is no respecter of national boundaries or borders. The Vatican considers itself to be above the boundaries, monarchs and leaders of nations. These come and go, the Vatican is eternal. The aim of the Vatican (and Moslems) is to invade and conquer Protestant nations.

The vast majority of Catholics are brainwashed and blindly follow the teachings of the Church without question. An integral part of this is maintaining traditional morality and at the same time promoting open borders especially for other Catholics. The Labour party in Britain is predominantly supported by Roman Catholics.

Mass immigration of Hispanics into the US is an RC form of jihad. The Vatican and Islamic religions seek to control and manipulate their followers and use them as political pawns to further the Vatican’s (and Islamic leaders’) aims. Neither of them is benign. They seek to convert others and expand their political and geographical control. The RC church in Britain is seeking to remove the ban on Royalty or their partners being RC. The Queen has accepted a seat in the Vatican (traitor) putting the Throne of Britain beneath the Pope.

Both Islam and Roman Catholicism are religions of the Third World, largely followed by uneducated people. The few RCs who oppose mass immigration to the States will be a very small minority who are educated and strong enough to stand up to the Cardinals, Bishops and Priests of the Church and oppose their teachings. For the majority of Catholics, their loyalty is primarily to the RC church and secondly to the USA.

Essentially, Brownback is not a con, he is a good Catholic in the same way a Moslem who wages jihad against the infidel is a not a terrorist but a good Moslem. This is why Robert Spencer cannot oppose immigration to the USA.

In France the Vatican is very weak and that is why there is a strong nationalist movement and a good education system. However in countries where the Vatican has strong control i.e. Spain, Portugal, Latin America, democracy is weak and education very poor. Do you know that most Spanish have not heard of Cervantes?

Islam and the RC Church are both cults and socio-political movements which are aiming to expand their power and wealth. Neither is especially interested in the salvation of their followers’ souls or the discovery of truth.

LA replies:

Karen’s statement is very strong and may offend some people. (The original, which I abridged, is even stronger.) But I am posting it because the Catholic commitment to open borders is a manifest fact that must be exposed and opposed. This obviously doesn’t mean that all Catholics are pro-open borders. But the overall Catholic Church thrust on this issue is very pronounced, as can be seen especially in the cases of open-borders Catholic “conservatives” such as the editors and writers of First Things, about whom I have written at length, and of Sen. Brownback.

Gintas J. writes:

Yes the Catholics are very sympathetic and welcoming to their “brethren” from third world Catholic countries. That’s the element of truth in her comment which is otherwise a confused jumble.

For example, she holds up the French as being free of heavy Vatican influence. Thus France has a strong nationalist movement and good education. Is it those things that make France such a heroic bulwark of the West against Muslim immigration and secular humanist materialism?

And from the Catholics I know I haven’t seen anything like brainwashed lockstep obedience to the teachings of the Church. Sometimes I would like to give them a few lectures about their church’s teachings, and I’m not even a Catholic!

Jake F. writes:

The problem with Karen’s comments about Catholicism isn’t that they’re strong; it’s that they make it difficult to take any of her other comments seriously.

I’ll ignore her comments about, say, France—that bastion of traditionalist thought!—and take just one of her many problematic statements: “The aim of the Vatican (and Moslems) is to invade and conquer Protestant nations.”

The aim of the Vatican is to spread the good news of Christ. If by “invasion and conquest” Karen means spreading the gospel through the sword, then that is not now, and has never been, an aim of the Church (and before anyone cries out about the Crusades, they should check their history books); but yes, ideally all nations would be Catholic. (Not necessarily Roman Catholic, of course, but “in league with Rome”, as they say.)

But that only makes sense. It’s what one would expect from Catholics if they actually believe that what they mean is true. Same with Christians: those Christians who say that there’s no reason for Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, etc. to covert to Christianity have actually lost some essense of their Christianity and have replaced it with multiculturalism and relativism. If Karen believes in Christianity, hopefully she would like all nations to be Christian, too.

In fact, one benefit of the conservative viewpoint—Roman Catholic or not—is that you can understand the Muslim mindset. They think America is a sick culture, and indeed there are parts of her that are. Our overweening liberalism is incompatible with Islam, because Islam is a religion that _has content_. Only content-free religions are compatible with liberalism.

I agree that there are problems with Roman Catholicism right now. Popes haven’t defended the faith enough; Catholics have become too liberal, and hold their religion in lower esteem than they do “tolerance”; and, as you point out, liberal interpretations of Catholic social teaching cause people to believe that they must support unbridled immigration in order to be good Catholics. The Church is sick with liberalism. The cure, though, isn’t to beat on her for the parts of her that remain conservative, but to govern her liberal tendencies properly. If anything, this problem is more pronounced in the Church of England and other “I’m-okay-you’re-okay” churches than in Roman Catholicism. As I’m sure you know from your association with Jim Kalb, being Roman Catholic doesn’t require open borders any more than being American does.

LA replies:

Karen engages in exaggeration and overly broad statements, but in doing so she also gets at forbidden truths that I value. Thus she said the Church’s aim is to “to invade and conquer Protestant nations.” Jake reacts, quite rightly, to such a statement. The Church is not invading or conquering anyone, he says. The Church wants to spread the Gospel by teaching and conversion, not by the sword.

Now as someone who is in sympathy with the Catholic Church as the mother of Western civilization, I want the Church to stand for its doctrines and to be strong. But how does today’s Church actually seek to be strong? Not by conversion of non-Catholics to Catholicism, but by the mass transfer of Catholic populations into non-Catholic countries. This is the openly avowed purpose of the hierarchy of the American Church and its intellectual propagandists vis à vis Hispanic immigration into the U.S. And that is invasion and conquest. So, as it turns out, Karen’s seemingly over-the-top, prejudicial comment about the Church turns out to have an important measure of truth.

Vincent C. writes:

I have not been appointed to serve as another Defender of the (Catholic) Faith, the title once bestowed, oddly enough, upon a King of England by a pope, but decency requires that I respond to some of the off-the-wall comments expressed in Karen’s diatribe. Aside from apparently not knowing very much about the Church’s origins (“Roman Catholicism and Islam are religions of the Third World”), one cannot escape the conclusion that, if Karen’s comments are any example of the results, the Church’s efforts at ecumenism have fallen on barren soil. I must emphasize that I am not offended by her criticism; I only ask that, before writing, she get her facts straight. I must also ask, rhetorically, how the Catholic population of England, which is between 15-20% of the population, and notoriously non-observant, could be even remotely responsible for the victories of the Labor Party? But that is a tale for another time.

For openers, her comments that “the Vatican is eternal” is as inaccurate as her use of the phrase, “Kingdom of the Vatican.” “Kingdom of God,” perhaps, but that title is not the monopoly of Catholics. Roman Catholics are bound to follow “the Magisterium,” or the body Church teachings, as well as to obey the pontiff when he speaks on matters of faith and morals. Catholics, “brainwashed” or not, are not required, to follow the political predilections of the pontiff or its bishops! That is why a very devout Catholic, Justice Antonin Scalia, can use his legal discretion in capital crimes that come before the Supreme Court: the pros and cons of the death penalty are not part of that Magisterium, although since Vatican II (1962-65), efforts have been made to incorporate the desire for the abolition of the death penalty into Church teachings.

Surely, Karen cannot mean that the Catholic Church’s teachings originated in the Third World. I need not remind her that Oxford University, as well as the Sorbonne, were institutions of higher learning that began as training centers for the Catholic priesthood, as Harvard and Yale were for Protestant ministers. As to the Church’s intent, along with Islam, to invade Protestant countries, may I remind Karen that had it not been for the Church’s efforts at Lepanto and Vienna, Europe would be a very different continent, and the Sultan might still be stabling his horses in St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Finally, parts of Karen’s philippic need to be critically examined, for, as Mr. Auster correctly mentions, there are legitimate questions about the current tendency of the Catholic Church to promote open borders, as well as a liberal agenda. As I have written before, this is not new. But given the tone and tenor of Karen’s critique, little progress can be made, and less understood, about why one of the world’s major religions and institutions, seems to have, on its own initiative, gone off the rails in the latter part of the 20th century.

LA replies:

Continuing my point from above, see this excerpt from my booklet Huddled Clichés:

Here is the way Fr. Benedict Groeschel of the New York Diocese responded to the problem of irreligion in America:

The only hope is the growing number of non-Anglos who, in the United States, are much more religious. [Emphasis added.] In 1983, fewer than 50 percent of Americans felt that religion was “very important” in their lives. Now [in 1994] it’s up to 57 percent. That reflects the decline in the numbers of upper and middle-class Anglos and the influx of Hispanics, Asians and Filipinos.

The only hope for sinful America is—more non-white immigrants! Instead of trying to save the souls of his fellow (white) Americans, Groeschel simply wants to replace them with Third-Worlders—a very strange idea of Christian charity.

Indeed, to seek to replace one people physically and demographically with another has nothing to do with Christianity at all. It is nevertheless a central plank of the agenda of today’s Catholic Church. How then, I ask Jake and Vincent, can anyone blame Karen when she says the Church has a strategy of invasion and conquest?

Laura W. writes:

You ask whether anyone can blame Karen when she says the Church has a strategy of invasion and conquest. Karen is referring to political conquest of Protestant nations by the Vatican. You are referring to Catholic support for an invasion and conquest by immigrants. Those are two different things. So yes, it is possible to call her accusations wild bigotry because there is no credible evidence of a campaign for political world domination by the Vatican.

Open borders is simply not, contrary to what you say, a central plank of the Catholic Church today. It may be a central plank of certain Catholic organizations and certain Catholic individuals. But the central planks of the Church are found in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds and, most succinctly, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, written in 1986, which lays out the teachings of the Magisterium and makes no mention of any duty of Catholics to support open borders. The Church says over and over again you cannot say we are collectively anything but what we profess in our creeds, our sacraments and the dogmas accumulated over 2,000 years.

LA replies:

Popes, Cardinals, and bishops are more than “certain Catholic individuals.” As documented thoroughly at this site, the previous pope over a period of years declared it a Catholic duty to be open to immigrants including illegal immigrants. The present pope seems to have pulled back a bit from his predecessor’s position, but not in any decisive way. Meanwhile various Cardinals, especially in the U.S. and Mexico, continue to push open borders, and leading Catholic intellectuals, writing as Catholics, treat those Cardinals’ pronouncements as authoritative.

I refer Laura to a VFR discussion posted in January that explored this issue in depth: “Have the last two popes called for open borders?” And here is a shorter explication of the same subject by me posted in May 2006. Then see my critique of Mary Ann Glendon’s insane article on Mexican immigration published in First Things last year, in which her key arguments are adopted from a joint statement by American and Catholic bishops. And here is a follow-up.

While it is true that open borders does not have the status of Church doctrine, it is clearly the case that authorities within the Church support open borders and that their authoritative pronouncements have a real effect in the real world.

Vincent C. writes:

Allow me to reply to your questions directed to several contributors, including me, to explain why Karen’s commentary is, essentially, baseless:

First: I repeat that the “tenor and tone” of Karen’s piece indicates to me that she does, indeed, believe that the Vatican appears to be plotting a physical invasion. It would appear that Laura W. agrees with my observation. Let Karen rest easy: a ragtag army of immigrants would not get very far, and, when I last counted, there were about 100 Swiss Guard and security forces employed by the Vatican, not a sizeable number. As a European, Karen must know that far more menacing than the Vatican in erasing national boundaries are the One-World Leftists in Brussels who form the governance of the European Union.

Further, Karen’s invidious comparisons between Catholicism and Islam are just silly. Aside from the inherent contradiction, she writes that “Mass immigration by Hispanics into the US in the Catholic form of jihad.” Apparently, Karen is not familiar with the meaning of the word “jihad.” But rather than highlight Karen’s nescience, I believe that Mr. Auster’s verbal challenge deserves a straight answer.

Father Benedict Groeschel (whose active pro-life stand is admirable), and much of the Church’s hierarchy to the contrary, in ways similar to opposition to, or support of, the death penalty, Catholics are not compelled to labor in the fields for the cause of destroying national boundaries. What Father Groeschel or Cardinal Mahoney believe about the decline of Anglos and the growth of Hispanics is their opinion, since there is no Magisterial source for such belief (my emphasis). Whether or not it is “a central plank of the Catholic Church,” such a policy does not bind Catholics, for it has never been taught within the Magisterium.

Can there be Scriptural component, which might include charity towards the poor and unfortunate, to this advocacy of the purposeful destruction of national boundaries? No doubt there is, but the Catholic Church is not the only religious body where clergymen favor that end.

Mr. Auster worries, and rightly so, about the pronouncements by the Church’s hierarchy havng “a real effect in a real world.” I not only understand that concern, I agree with it. While it would take far too long to discuss here, the last 40 years have brought a serious realignment into the Church’s view of the world: what was once considered amongst the most “conservative” institutions has been, in several aspects, turned inside out. The last 40 years have brought a serious realignment into the Church’s view of the world: what was once considered amongst the most “conservative” institutions has been, in several aspects, turned inside out. One such dramatic change has been in the liberal politicizing of the clergy, something virtually unheard of earlier. That change alone has wreaked havoc in blurring the distinction between the Church’s spiritual role, its foremost objective, with a social one. I see no end to that drift in the short run.

Catholics are required, under penalty of sin, to follow the leadership of the Church when matters of faith and morals are enunciated: the Church’s Magisterium teaches that abortion is wrong; hence, Catholics are obliged to follow that policy. What the hierarchy says about illegal immigration or the destruction of national borders, however, does not originate in the Magisterium, and cannot bind the conscience of a practicing Catholic. That is why there are large numbers of Catholic US citizens who disagree with Church officials on this issue, and I see no end to that either.

LA replies:

I take Vincent’s point that Church hierarchy statements on immigration are not authoritative in the sense of binding Catholics to any particular course of action. But they are authoritative in the sense of a strong urging that comes from a higher and highly respected source. They are not merely the opinions of individual Catholics.

LA writes:

By chance I just came across an e-mail from a British Catholic reader, Luke P., from last September which I don’t think was ever posted at VFR. It crystalizes for me the issue of the relative degree of authority and influence possessed by various Church pronouncements.

Luke P. wrote:

A few things need to be clarified about Vatican II.

Firstly, Vatican II was not a dogmatic council, and Pope Paul VI affirmed this both at the close of the council and afterwards. This is clear from the documents themselves—the documents of every other ecumenical council set out dogmatic conclusions in clear terms, solemnly anathematizing (thus declaring as a heretic) anyone who did not hold to these conclusions. Rather Vatican II was a “pastoral council,” not meant to set out new dogmas but rather to modernise Church practices and teachings. In my view what Vatican II did was “blur the lines” of Catholic teaching, which of course is a very dangerous thing to do when dealing with eternal truths. An example is the teaching on ecumenism. The idea that the Mohammedans “adore the one God” together with Catholics is absurd, and the scriptures, holy tradition, and the teaching of all past Popes and Councils are against it. However, we must not go so far to say as the documents of Vatican II declare that “Muslims [are] honorary Catholics, and … Muslims will go to the same heaven as Christians” as “Conservative Swede” writes.

In Lumen Gentium, the same passage which states that ‘ the Mohamedans … along with us adore the one and merciful God,” notes that “Whatever good or truth is found amongst them [non-Christians] is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.” So clearly this is not an all-out endorsement of the validity of non-Christian religions. The same passage (LG 16) also ends in the line: “Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature,” the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.” The entire next paragraph (LG 17) is a reiteration of Christ’s command to convert all people to the Christian faith.

It is also worth mentioning that the dogma “Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus” (No Salvation Outside the Church … which will always prevent the Church from granting other religions validity) is reiterated in the post-Vatican II Catechism of the Catholic Church. Mention might also be made of the document “Dominus Iesus” (2000) issued by the then Cardinal Ratzinger, which continues to affirm this.

I count myself as a Traditionalist Catholic, but I must emphasise that the documents of Vatican II do not explicitly teach such grave errors as Indifferentism, the belief that all religions can lead to salvation. In my opinion, many of the councils documents seem to be intentionally ambiguous, which has led to interpretations which stray even further from the original teachings of the Catholic Church. But this can still be reversed. And hopefully under Pope Benedict XVI will be strong enough to try and counter these erroneous trends which have continued ever since Vatican II.

The e-mail casts light on our current discussion about whether the Church commands open borrders. Of course it does not command open borders or belief in open borders, just as Vatican II was pastoral rather than dogmatic. Nevertheless, pastoral guidance by the Church hierarchy, though not dogmatic, does have real influence and authority. After all, the entire Church did, e.g., drop the Latin Mass as a result of Vatican II, even though this was not a dogmatic command. In the same way, papal and hierarchy statements about immigration may be only pastoral not dogmatic, but that doesn’t mean they have no effect on people’s beliefs and their actions in the world!

Another example. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Lumen Gentium and says that “Moslems along with us adore the one and merciful God.” The Catechism continues, quoting Nostra Aetate: “Noting that there had been many quarrels and hostilities between Christians and Muslims, the Second Vatican Council urged that all ‘forget the past and strive sincerely for mutual understanding, and, on the behalf of all mankind, make common cause [with Moslems] of safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace, and freedom.’”

Now perhaps the Vatican Council was only pastoral (and pastoral, as we’re already seen, does not mean nothing), but here a teaching of the Council is included in the Catechism, the authority of which I assume is more than pastoral. It is the Church’s authoritative statement of the Catholic faith. And this authoritative statement lays out a relationship with Muslims that must lead, and has been leading, to the surrender of the Church and the Western world to Islam. The statements may speak of nothing but good will toward Muslims, not hostility to the West. But, given the nature of Islam, a teaching of good will to Muslims is in fact a recipe for the active collaboration of the Church in the Islamic jihad against the West.

Similarly, Luke pointed out that the documents of Vatican II are not an all-out endorsement of Islam. While this is true, it does not change the fact that those documents have led the Church into the monstrous illusion of ecumenical relations with, and political and social accommodation to, Islam. As was said at VFR last autumn when the Pope in St. Peter’s Square quoted the passage in Lumen Gentium about Muslims (thus backing away from his Regensburg speech), as long as Lumen Gentium and Nostra Aetate exist, it would be impossible for the Pope to take a firm stand against Islam.

So please let us not imagine that “merely” pastoral statements do not have real authority, and let us not imagine that a statement of spiritual brotherhood with Muslims, though falling short of an endorsement of the Islamic religion, will not lead the Church to opening the arms of the West to Islam.

Laura W. writes:

I read your writings on the liberal churches and open borders long ago and couldn’t have agreed more that the Catholic bureaucracy, and at least one pope, were conducting a misguided and influential campaign on behalf of unrestricted immigration. I was responding to Karen’s outrageous statement that this campaign is an inextricable part of the faith itself in the way hostility toward democracy and other faiths is an inextricable part of Islam because it is built into its sacred writings. The view that the Vatican’s quest for world domination is eternal, that this quest merely takes different forms in different eras and that Catholics are brainwashed pawns is actually quite common. It is hateful in the way run-of-the-mill anti-Semitism is hateful and doesn’t in any way advance the praiseworthy cause of illuminating and resisting the Catholic open borders campaign.

LA replies:

Yes, this is a fair point. I posted Karen’s comment because I saw in it the key point about the Church’s present negative influence that is of concern to me, but I agree that her attack on the Church was too sweeping. We need to remember that the Church brought Western civilization into existence, and is the oldest institution in Western civilization. Our opposition to the Church should not be to the Church itself, but to the Church in its current form, in which, for example, its claim to a higher spiritual authority transcending that of nations has been combined with an earthly, liberal agenda. Instead of calling men to something beyond earthly existence, it merely seeks to replace one form of earthly existence, the Western nation-state, with another form of earthly existence (or rather non-existence): the exterminating flood of Third-World immigrants.

This is not to deny the genuine differences that exist between serious Protestants and serious Catholics. We cannot resolve that conflict here. Our main concern at VFR is the restoration of Western consciousness and of a fundamental Western unity, without which the West is doomed.

Karen writes:

I just reread the posting on the Catholic Church. Contrary to what has been suggested, of course the Catechism is authoritative. It represents the Church’s position on all major issues of faith. As Luke says, the salvation of Moslems is absurd. However, it is in the Catechism and so is now the Church’s official position on Moslems. He tries to engage in some verbal acrobatics to deny this but the fact that it is contained now within the Catechism means that the Vatican has approved Moslems’ entrance into the West whilst making no serious attempts to evangelise them.

According to Scripture, a person is saved by faith alone in Christ alone. Thus a Moslem denying the divinity of Christ cannot be saved by faith or by the RC tradition of works. The Vatican’s position is a perversion of scripture which has been done for political ends as befits an organisation which is after all primarily political.

Vincent C. writes;

Before proceeding, I wish to emphasize that, in the big picture, Karen and I share a common view that untrammeled Third World immigration threatens the Western way of life. Further, we both recognize that unlimited immigration, particularly from the Middle East, not only imperils the social fabric of any nation, but its physical security as well. Those who are not historically challenged know that there was no greater bulwark against Islamic expansion than the Catholic Church. Finally, we could not agree more that this disaster waiting to happen must be prevented. Where we disagree is Karen’s persistent one-dimensional view that the problem lies at the feet of the hierarchy of only the Catholic Church, not any other Christian denomination. And to add insult to injury, that it is the Church’s leadership that bears the primary responsibility not only for the damage already done, but for the calamity that awaits us all in the future.

Karen’s original comments criticizing the Church’s hierarchy, and her presentation of “facts” leads me to believe that her religious background is Protestant. Fair enough. But the sense that all Catholics must accept open borders is just not accurate. I have no doubt that there are those, and I might include the late Pope, John Paul II, who sought to eradicate national boundaries legitimately (as does the European Union), but, in that desire, there was nothing binding and/or compelling to Catholics like me, and millions of others. Although we are, if I may use a term widely used in England, “papists,” we are not, to use Karen’s term, “brainwashed.” And here her Protestant perspective emerges, but it is not founded in fact. Catholics are required, under the penalty of sin, to adhere to Church teachings as delineated in the Magisterium and catechism, the latter a distillation of the former. I defy Karen, or anyone else, to point to any Church teaching that says that Catholics must accept, like condemnation of abortion, or the sanctity of life, the destruction of national boundaries. No one can, because it does not exist.

If it will make Karen feel better, I can tell her that there is a very large Protestant/Evangelical/Mormon movement to minister to illegal aliens in the U.S. from Central and South America. While I served at the U.S. Embassy to The Holy See, there was concern about the 25-30 percent of Latin Americas who had converted as a result of Protestant missionary efforts.

Still, there are Catholic dioceses throughout the U.S. where parishioners have not accepted their priest’s injunction about welcoming illegal aliens to their towns and cities. Despite their obdurate behavior, not one of these recalcitrant church goers has been excommunicated for failing to observe Church teachings.

LA replies:

On one hand, it is important that Vincent has established for readers the fact that liberal immigration policy is not a dogmatic teaching of the Church and that Catholics can without sin ignore or oppose such promptings coming from the Church hierarchy. At the same time, Vincent in making that argument aims at a straw man that I have already addressed. Vincent says: (a) The Church is accused of obligating Catholics, under penalty of sin, to welcome illegal aliens and support wide open borders generally; (b) the Church does NOT so obligate Catholics; (c) therefore the criticism of the Church as using its authority over its members to push open borders is false.

But (while I can’t speak for Karen) this is not my argument. As I have said, there are forms of Church authority that fall short of the level of doctrines as delineated in the Magisterium and catechism but are nevertheless highly influential. Vincent’s argument comes down to saying, “If an objectionable position taken by popes, Vatican hierarchy, Cardinals and bishops is not in the Magisterium and Catechism, then the Church cannot be criticized for it.” I must say that this is hard to accept. When the American and Mexican bishops publish a statement that adds up to open U.S. borders, whom do we criticize for this, other than the Church whose authority those bishops embody?

Let’s look at it this way. When the EU pushes for Turkey membership in the EU, can we only criticize the EU for this if the EU says that people go to jail if they disagree?

LA continues:

Furthermore, some of the most objectionable and dangerous liberal teachings of the Church are not just pastoral but are in the Catechism and thus required of Catholics on penalty of sin. The Catechism says that Catholics must forget the history of conflict between Islam and Christendom. Catholics are thus obligated to forget that their 1,400 year old enemy, their enemy who is commanded by his religion to subdue and destroy Christendom, is their enemy.

This is worse than suicidal liberalism. This literally turns suicidal liberalism into a religion, which says if you believe that your enemy is your enemy, if you speak the truth about your enemy who is seeking to destroy you, you are in a state of sin and may go to hell.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 17, 2007 09:41 AM | Send

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