The WWJD stick




  1. Either the comment thread is getting crazier, or my medication is wearing off too soon.

    I’ve been trying–but failing–to figure out how I could possibly suggest that sometimes humility and a sense of proportion should lead us to keep our mouths shut about passing trivialities…without dying from mortification that I’m saying so on an active comment thread in which I’ve already posted six or eight times.

  2. Wow. The comments on the Register post were unbelievable. No wonder so many people think Catholics are hardhearted and joyless. With fiends like these, who needs enemas?

  3. I think your meds are fine, Kevin. I am pregnant so I am not even taking allergy medication, so I can verify that, indeed, that comment thread is batcr*p crazy. It was simply lively early on, which I don’t really mind, but as I continued to scroll, well, . . . just wow. Wow I say.

    Thanks for this, Simcha. I avoid news because I prefer to keep my head in the sand (terrible, I know, but somehow I really don’t feel bad about it at all anymore . . . ), but even I had gotten a good earful of the position you’re opposing, and I immediately thought it was *way* over the top. I’m not sure I think that this is entirely trivial (seems to me to be more somewhere in the middle, you know, between completely trivial and *teh ehnd uf teh WUHLD*), and I think a reasonable case could be made from both sides if anyone were actually willing to have constructive debates. But, HA, this has something to do with politics! We don’t believe in being reasonable about politics in this country anymore. 😛

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Simcha, the fact that you even criticize the idea of evaluating Cdl.Dolan’s action through the lens of Jesus is absurd! St. Paul wrote that we are to “have the mind of Christ.” Besides, if Catholicism isn’t about Jesus, and if the “successors of the apostles” aren’t supposed to behave as He would wish, then Catholicism is worse than irrelevant. It is useless.

    BTW, Simcha, the cardinal’s decision to invite (or not to invite) the president is a prudential decision on his part. That means lay people have the right to analyze and critique it, whether you like it or not.

    • I never said that people couldn’t evaluate, analyze, or critique his actions. I said they should stop comparing him to Herod, and I stand by that recommendation.

      Does it bother you at all that, because I said he may be making the right choice, several commenters told me I was headed for Hell, that they can tell I don’t really care about dead babies, and that people who agree with me are probably gay? But yeah, I’m definitely the absurd one here.

      • Simcha, I’m sorry you had to face that. Nobody should have to. Perhaps you can tell Mark Shea about your experiences, since he does the exact same thing (only in a different way) to people who disagree with him.

        Besides, there always will be people who will overreact to your expressed opinions — or, for that matter, anyone’s.

        As far as your column goes, after re-reading it, I think you’re saying that, since the cardinal is being Christ-like (in your opinion), then everybody should just shut up. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way — especially with what’s happened in the church over the past 50 years. People are fed up. Catholics are leaving in droves. Moreover, the hierarchy for centuries (with a few notable exceptions) has been unwilling to sacrifice its access to political power for its fidelity to God.

        I, for one, am sick and tired of Catholics in the media (such as Bill Donahue) running interference for the hierarchy merely because of ecclesiastical considerations.

        • Well, keep reading it until you actually read what I say, my friend.

          Last year I was approached by someone from the USCCB who wanted to establish contact, presumably so he could feed me news and sound bites that would be flattering to them. I turned it down, because what’s the point of having a blog if you’re just parroting someone else’s words and opinion? The last time I wrote something I didn’t fully believe at the time, it was a review of a movie produced by someone who lived locally. I gave the impression that I liked it, but I didn’t. That was about five years ago. Okay? Other than that, if I said something, it’s because I thought of it all by myself, with my own little brain. I’m not running interference or carrying water or anything. Just saying what I think.

          You, too, are free to say what you think. Who’s stopping you? You keep saying that I’m saying “shut up,” but I’m . . . .not. So, okay, bye.

          • Very well, Simcha. Let’s start with the beginning:

            If I were Cardinal Dolan, I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d hold an emergency synod and urge all the bishops and pastors and RCIA leaders to go out to their flocks and tell them, “Stop asking, ‘What would Jesus do?'”

            I’m not kidding, and I’m not making light out of serious matters. I genuinely wish that someone with some moral authority would tell all the laptop theologians in the world to knock it off. “What would Jesus do?” is not a question that ever sheds light, ever.

            Those speak for themselves. If you are not asking people to stop criticizing Cdl. Dolan and to stop evaluating episcopal behavior with “the mind of Christ,” then what are you saying?

            I continue:

            He’s being himself. He’s being Dolan, like God made Dolan to be (and, Dolan-like, he’s clarified his thinking humbly and frankly in a letter that anyone can read). Anyone who says he’s being naive or a dupe or a pawn or showing a lack of courage or trying to play some passive-aggressive game of subtly chiding bishops who’ve acted otherwise — well, think any of this, and you haven’t been paying attention. Those things are not within his character or his past behavior. If Cardinal Dolan is a pushover who’s trying to suck up to the Obama administration, he’s been doing a horrible job of it so far!

            Here’s the thing: When we are supposed to imitate Christ, it means taking our particular gifts and putting them in service of the particular situation we’ve been given. This is what Christ did: He was Himself. What, do you think He didn’t have any particular personality? Do you think that every nuance of His behavior was due to His divine nature, and none to His human nature? He was a true man. Dolan is a true man. They each have their own personality.

            Your are right in saying that “there are lots of ways of being like Christ.” Yet, that’s not the point, really. The point is whether the good cardinal is doing so by issuing this invitation.

            You think he is. Many of your respondents believe he isn’t.

            By the way, I’ve read the comments and I don’t recall anyone saying that you don’t care about dead babies, are gay, or are going to Hell. Of course, the moderator probably edited those out or you received those privately. But anyone addressing you personally has shown you respect, for the most part, and hasn’t indulged in the behavior you cite.

            • “But anyone addressing you personally has shown you respect, for the most part, and hasn’t indulged in the behavior you cite.”

              Look, you’re either a very very poor reader, crazy, or a liar. Take your pick, but it any event you’ve shown yourself to be unworthy of further consideration.

              • Jerk, did you actually read the comments? I did. People were making personal attacks against each other and against Dolan, not against Simcha.

                I challenge you to show me one published example on the thread in question of somebody saying that Simcha was going to Hell, was gay or hated dead babies.

  5. BTW, Simcha, you (and those who agree with you) might want to consider the following from Canon 212 §3:

    “According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”

    • “…with reverence toward their pastors…”

      Yeah, because we’ve sure seen a lot of that in the Great Al Smith Dinner Freakout of 2012.

  6. Joe – As a conservative keeper of the True Faith, I find your thinly-veiled advocacy of a liberal, “horizontal” model of Church appalling. Dolan is a successor to the Apostles and you have no right to tell the world your quibbles with his prudential judgements without confronting him first. Please take your liturgical dance and “do church” elsewhere.

    Also, a gentleman made a gentlemanly challenge to you above and you don’t have the decency to accept or reject it. Poor form, Joseph.

  7. Josh, just what the Hell are you talking about? What “gentlemanly challenge”? And whoever said anything about “liberal, ‘horizontal’ model of Church?”

  8. Joseph – I’m just pointing out that there are a lot of people who think because we have the right to petition and publicly oppose the bishops when they are in error regarding faith and morals, we have an unassailable right to publicly oppose them when we disagree with them. These are different things. A lot of these people agitate for doctrinal or disciplinary changes, e.g., women priests or the moral legitimacy of homosexual relationships. Some agitate for pretty conservative standards for prudential judgements, e.g., Dolan univiting Obama, or barring all pro-abortion politicians and immodestly dressed women from receiving the eucharist. All of them share the same “I’m part of the faithful, and at least 4 other people agree with me, so what we say should be policy!”-approach to church governance. This is the “horizontal” approach. It’s not humble, not docile in the sense we are all called to, and it’s often, especially in the case of liberals, pure fantasy. The defense for these protestations is almost always a very, very broadly applied Canon 212. I’m not a canon lawyer and I can’t tell you exactly what “without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals” means in Canon 212 (canon law language is about as obscure as it gets), but in that clause, I suspect you’ll find why the canon doesn’t apply to moaning on the Internet about the misogyny of the all-male priesthood or how Dolan is the devil’s dupe.

    As to the “gentlemanly challenge,” I take back that part. Not because The Jerk’s joke wasn’t funny, but because piggybacking on another’s work never really works (for example, when I get a cheap laugh by just quoting a movie). Anyway, lighten up, Joe. Haters gonna hate, The Jerk gonna jerk.

  9. Josh, read this first ( Mark Shea is a liar and a dolt. Anybody who dismisses Iranian leaders’ public threats of incinerating another country that has done nothing to it is not worthy of being taken seriously. Why doesn’t Shea use “established Catholic prinicples” when it comes to Iran? For that matter, where’s the Vatican’s vaunted diplomatic corps in all this?

    If you’re looking for a real hypocrite, Josh, then look at Mark Shea. He claims to me “more Catholic than anyone,” yet he routinely distorts opposing positions, constructs rhetorical straw man and engages in personal attacks when all else fails.

    Regardless of Shea, however, the Church itself is “soft on terrorism.” It really doesn’t give a damn about how many innocent people die. All it cares about is maintaining its academic, intellectual approach to morality — which, when it comes right down to it, really isn’t all that moral.

    • J-Money, read this first ( Then slap yourself for sucking so bad at maintaining your cover. You start your bullshit in this thread by trying to be the decent guy who disagrees with Simcha and thinks it’s terrible when people say crazy, mean, off topic things to her. Then, in short order, you stick your dick in the mashed potatoes with that last paragraph and things get real weird real quick. I feel like I need to go tell an adult about this. Be well, Joe.

      • Josh would like to apologize for the above reference to Mr. D’Hippolito and untoward acts involving potatoes. Josh acknowledges this was an unnecessarily crass reference and he has fully repented. And, in no uncertain terms, it should not be inferred that Mr. D’Hippolito engages in such practices.

        – Fr. Bob Loblaw, Josh’s long-suffering confessor and occasional re-baptizer.

  10. Simcha, I think another Catholic blogger, Carol McKinley, has the perfect retort. Some excerpts:

    I’ve read the Cardinal’s response to criticism and the responses of the usual suspects who rush to sweep corruption and cowardice of our esteemed episcopal leaders under the carpets.

    The message seems to be we are just not as holy and humble as Cardinal Dolan, Mark Shea, Bill Donohue (I’ll get to him in a minute), etc. Their manifestos on charity in response to the objections of Catholics, explain, in one way or another, how they are all the imitation of the Christ.

    When Christ drank water from the well of an adulteress to converse with her,we see the an interaction between a Jew and a Samaritan woman. The content of the interaction involved prophecy, enumerating the number of husbands, disclosing His Knowledge that she was not married to the man she was shacking up with, affirmation of the Source of Divinity and living water, which He invited her to drink for the sake of her salvation. He made crystal clear to her what the Source of salvation was and that her own practices placed her in peril.

    By the end of his interactions with the sinner and other Samaritans in the village over the following few days, here is the fruit of the knowledge Christ imparted: “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

    Alternately, the purpose of the Cardinal’s dinner is to raise money for his Archdiocese. Obama is booked as an entertainer. The content of the conversations will be telling jokes, political allies mocking each other over good food, good quality bourbon and cigars.

    We do the same thing here in Boston on St. Paddy’s day. To the best of my knowledge, not a single politician in the history of the event, taking a taxi home from the event, three sheets to the wind, ever showed up at RCIA.

    If I’m mistaken, please correct me.

    To be clear, the Cardinal is not dining with the sinner for the purpose of converting him or anyone else. His actions three weeks before an election has the potential and no doubt will be used by Obama’s political team to give the appearance the Cardinal honored Obama and they can therefore cast their ballots for Obama. When the Cardinal weighed the consequences to our country, to the children slaughtered under this regime, the sick and imperfect who are heading to the death camps to be euthanized in the next four years, he made a ‘pastoral’ decision to use Obama as his cash cow.

    There isn’t a single person in the room of the Al Smith dinner who walk away from the interactions imparted with the knowledge necessary to know Who is the Christ, the Divine Source of Knowledge and Salvation.

    It will do just the opposite as the interaction will be used to lend credibility to Obama as the savoir of the world.

    The Cardinal’s objectives are about the sound of “ca-ching”. Consequently, the Al Smith dinner does not qualify for theological clearances of the salvific actions of Christ.

    This plebe is here to remind you that the Cardinal’s event is about food, booze, cigars and money.

    If you haven’t seen the fruit of Cardinal Dolan making phone calls to Catholics turning them into ferocious attack dogs against righteous Catholics, check out Bill Donohue on Lou Dobbs:

    See how a Cardinal can turn the money and power behind his crozier into a lightening rod?

    Kempis eat your heart out.

    As a friend recently said about the Catholic League, that just about sums up the response from the ‘piety police’: “Thanks Bill. Perhaps another controversy about lights on a building will come along and you can mobilize your grassroots members around the crusade”.

    Is this the unification of a shepherd of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?

    Making phone calls to turn Catholics against one another because his widdle feelings are wounded? He can’t look himself in the mirror and say – Gee, I may have made an error in judgment (and theology)here”?

    If Catholics like Bill Donohue are going to turn chicken sh*t when they get a phone call from F Troop at the Chancery, rather than showing up on Lou Dobbs to do the Cardinal’s bidding, might they consider tiptoeing away to hider under their rocks?

  11. To the Jerk and Josh: I hereby challenge each of you to play Russian Roulette with a loaded revolver. One of two things will happen:

    1. You’ll miss.

    2. The target you intend to hit does not exist.

    • Everybody, “Dolf” here is really Joe. (Dur, how did The Jerk track my IP to my secret identity? Dur.)

      Joe, I don’t know which is sadder: That it took you so many days to come back with this “clever retort,” or that you suck so much at this clever retort business. Like, you really really suck. Hard. Your comment doesn’t even make any sense.

      Maybe you should switch to a game more your speed. Like solitaire. This thinking and writing thing just isn’t your deal. Joe.

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