Friday, July 29, 2005

Good v. Bad Catholics

In the Los Angeles Times, Margaret Carlson offers up a clear-eyed assessment of the current brouhaha over the religious background of Judge John Roberts, President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court. She rightly deduces the distilled argument to be over who is and is not a good Catholic:

So who are the bad Catholics? The easiest way to describe them is that they are … well, liberal Democrats.

Remember when Wolf Blitzer introduced conservative Robert Novak and liberal Paul Begala on CNN for a segment on the new pope? "I am sure Bob is a good Catholic," Blitzer said. "I am not so sure about Paul Begala." Begala shot back, "That annoys me," and mentioned that his oldest son was named after Pope John Paul II. "I don't think anybody should presume that a liberal is not a good Catholic."

But they do, even though frequently the Vatican agrees with liberals. It's just that in politics, the Vatican's agreement with conservative Catholics on abortion and homosexuality trumps its agreement with liberals on the war, the death penalty and taxes.


Click here to read Carlson

At The Record of Hackensack, New Jersey, the editorial board finds good reason to oppose Roberts' confirmation for a seat on the High Court, citing evidence, as shown in his Reagan-era writings, of hostility toward women's and civil rights:

His positions in the memos - against affirmative action, against federal efforts to combat sex discrimination, and for prayer in schools - give disturbing clues as to how he might vote on issues that are very much alive today.

Mr. Roberts sharply criticized affirmative action in one memo, saying the "obvious reason" such programs failed was that "they required the recruiting of unqualified candidates."

Click here to read The Record's editorial

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Cracking the code

Your blogstress finds herself dismayed this morning to find that the usually enlightened folks at Beliefnet.com have permitted the use of their fascinating site to promote scurrilous charges against your écrivane by William Donohue of the Catholic League.

While accusing Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) of speaking in anti-Catholic code for noting, in William Pryor's confirmation hearing for a seat on the federal bench, the "fervent personal beliefs" of the Roman Catholic nominee on the subject of abortion, Donohue refers to your cyberscribe as "a leftist writer." Now, who's using code?

It sure would be news to the folks she worked with at the World Bank that your blogstress is a "leftist". (Your writer did the editorial work on a report that was used as the Bank's presentation to the U.N. conference on sustainable development that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa.)

Donohue also draws a disingenuous parallel between the use of the term "Rome" to denote the home of the Roman Catholic curia, and "Israel," the reclaimed homeland of a people nearly exterminated 60 years ago on the force of Europe's anti-semitism.

Your blogstress fails to understand just how her observation that Rome (as in the curia) must be smiling at the nomination of John Roberts to the High Court constitutes anything close to anti-Catholic bigotry. Judge Roberts appears to embrace the thinking of Church's most conservative prelates, who today stand at the pinnacle of ecclesiastical power. Why would they not smile at his nomination? American Catholics have long constituted an irritation to the curia; too inclined are we to place the dictates of our own consciences above commands issued by the Vatican.

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