Distinctly Catholic

Bill Donohue responds


Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League, has posted a response to my item below.
He claims that Father Sirico never suggested John Galt, the hero of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" was a Christ-like figure. Maybe he should re-read Sirico's article, the whole point of which was to suggest that Rand had some subliminal need to paint Galt in Christ-like terms. Indeed, the title of Sirico's little essay "Who Really Was John Galt Anyway?" indicates that the burden of Sirico's essay is to prove that Galt was for Rand a Christ-like figure. (And such a burden!)In fact, I doubt Rand would have appreciated the comparison which is made by Sirico, not Rand. That is why I compared him to artist Andres Serrano.

Where is Bill Donohue When You Need Him


I have just had a naughty thought. Earlier this morning, I posted about Father Robert Sirico's essay in which he represents the possibility that John Galt, the hero of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," was really a Christ-figure. He considers him as a "God-Man." He compares Galt's suffering and death to that of the Savior. He notes that Galt traces a "Sign of the Dollar" over creation.
So, how is this different from "Piss Christ," the infamous work of art by Andres Serrano in which the artist took one of Catholicism's most sacred symbols, the crucifix, and submerged it in a bottle of urine? Is not the suggestion that Galt is a Christ-figure just as insulting in its way as "Piss Christ" is in its way? Is this not sacrilege? Should we wait for a press release from the Catholic League? Or does Donohue only throw aspersions on the indecencies of the left?

More NYTimes Anti-Religious Bias


Yesterday's New York Times contained an op-ed by Katherine Stewart in which she bemoaned the fact that a local church uses a neighborhood public school for religious services. She thinks this is wrong, that it threatens the separation of Church and State, that such services are divisive not inclusive, etc. Stewart's impoverished imagination fails to see that a scholl can and should be a vibrant part of a community and that opening its doors to groups like churches or community groups that need a place to gather will enhance the community not divide it. She notes that partisan groups are not permitted to use the school, to which I say, well let them in. She complains that some churches do not share her Greenwich Village values, to which I mutter to myself "Thank God" but also think that the First Amendment protects those religious groups to believe what they want and not to be discriminated because of it.

Padovano's Bad Theology


"Baptism unites the church, not ordination," said Anthony Padovano in a keynote address to the American Catholic Council held this past weekend in Detroit. Huh?

There is something decidedly un-Catholic about dividing the Sacraments and placing them in opposition to each other. But, more importantly, baptism unites because it brings one into the Body of Christ, the Church and the "source and summit" of our Catholic life is the Eucharist. No ordination means no priest and no priest means no Eucharist. This is Sacramental Theology 101.

Catholic Health Association Videos


At the recent meeting of the Catholic Health Association, a series of videos highlighted some of the benefits that accrue from the passage of the Affordable Care Act. One features the story of a family, the Malings, whose daughter was diagnosed with cancer at an early age in which the mother recalls worrying about the fact that this would be a pre-existing condition for the rest of the young girl's life. When the health care reform law passed, the mother said she felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her.

Father Sirico's Heresy


So, Father Robert Sirico has come to the defense of Ayn Rand. I confess that I did not think that anything Fr. Sirico might write could shock me, but his little epistle shocked. Not only does he try and disentangle Rand’s foolishness from what he esteems in her thought, but he holds up her hero, John Galt, as a Christ-figure. Like a moth to a flame, like a ship to the Lodestone Rock, like Anthony Weiner with his blackberry, Sirico just cannot help himself.

Gerson's Bad Analogy


I like Michael Gerson. Lord knows, he is one of the most thoughtful commentators from the right and, as a non-Catholic, has a deep appreciation for the value of Catholic Social Thought.
But, in an op-ed this morning about Grover Norquist's tax orthodoxies, Gerson begins with a reference to the theological battle with the Arians at the Council of Nicaea. It is unclear whether he thinks Norquist stands in the place of Arius or in the place of Athansius, but what is abundantly clear is that both Arius and Athanasius had reputable stances, although the former's position was heretical. Norquist may be an economic heretic. Who cares? The problem is that he is an economic idiot. Actually, that is one of the problems. The other is that Norquist is a political genuis and he has forced the GOP to adopt his insane position on taxes as if it really was as important as the debate at Nicaea over the divinity of Christ. It isn't.

Climate Change & the GOP


Former Gov. Mitt Romney has had the temerity to suggest that climate change is a real issue. Conservative radio windbag Rush Limbaugh jumped all over him. So did former Sen. Rick Santorum who called it "junk science."
This is the GOP's problem. They should be focusing like a laser beam on the economy, but they will continually be drawn into debates over climate change, or Paul Revere, or immigration, or the Paul Ryan plan to eviscerate Medicare and Medicaid, or Obama's birth certificate, and in such debates, there is always an incentive to go further to the right to catch the media wave and appeal to the truest of true believers.
Ronald reagan used to joke, whenever there was some confusion about what his administration intended, that "the right hand often doesn't know what the far-right hand is doing." But that was a joke. The bad news for the GOP today is that it is no longer a joke.

The Morality of the Millenials


Yesterday, in a presentation at the Brookings Institute, Robert P. Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute presented the results of new survey data about the moral views of Millenials, those aged 18-29, regarding abortion and same sex marriage. The results confirmed two essential facts: first, Millenials’ views on abortion track largely with older age cohorts, while they are decidedly more tolerant of same sex marriage and, second, Americans remain largely ambivalent about the legality of abortion.

The survey entailed 3,000 phone interviews. Critically, 750 of the interviews were conducted by cell phone, an important – and more expensive – method of polling but one that is essential for obtaining sound data on younger Americans, many of whom no longer have land lines. The poll went into the field in late April through early May of this year, so the data is current.


Subscribe to Distinctly Catholic


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

January 13-26, 2017