Posted by PDill on 14 July, 2009 at 8:00 am. 33 comments already!

The events of this past week really gave clarity as to why I remain ‘sans political party’. Having once been a staunch Democrat, I could never quite bring myself to become a Republican, even as a business owner. Consequently, I’ve since been a registered Independent voting almost entirely, as much as it was possible, Republican/Conservative. To prove my point, today was the first time in at least ten years I’ve ever agreed with anything written in the New York Times, ‘The Audacity of the Pope’. Not only did I agree with Ross Douthat , he was spot on!

But Benedict’s encyclical is nothing if not political. “Caritas in Veritate” promotes a vision of economic solidarity rooted in moral conservatism. It links the dignity of labor to the sanctity of marriage. It praises the redistribution of wealth while emphasizing the importance of decentralized governance. It connects the despoiling of the environment to the mass destruction of human embryos. This is not a message you’re likely to hear in Barack Obama’s next State of the Union, or in the Republican Party’s response. It represents a kind of left-right fusionism with little traction in American politics. But that’s precisely what makes it so relevant and challenging — for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Contrasted with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend piece this week in Newsweek, and the left spinning Pope Benedict’s words faster than Michael Jackson’s stage spin, I had a an epiphany.

In truth, though, Obama’s pragmatic approach to divisive policy (his notion that we should acknowledge the good faith underlying opposing viewpoints) and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists. When Obama meets the pope tomorrow, they’ll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won’t care, because they know Obama’s on their side. In fact, Obama’s agenda is closer to their views than even the pope’s.

For starters, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s piece, written from the level of a 3rd grade educated Catholic with an adult leftist agenda, is loaded with one misconception after another. I would almost have to rewrite the entire article to correct it. Likewise, reading over the comments of Ross Douthat’s piece, the majority of the comments are sophomoric and inaccurate, albeit quite telling in making my point. Less than 10 years ago, in trying to prove the Catholic Church wrong in her teachings, I spent an entire summer reading the last hundred years of papal encyclicals. Having been somewhat of a fan of Austrian Economics, albeit unable to totally buy into “Laissez-faire capitalism”, Ayn Rand/ Objectivism/Atlas Shrugged, I came to find the Church’s social teachings (after finally reading them), simply brilliant. It wasn’t the only reason, but subsequently, I became a practicing Catholic. My point isn’t to convert FA readers to Catholicism, but it is to say this: Benedict just hit the ball out of the park in his latest encyclical on social teaching! Despite President Obama being gifted a signed and leather bound copy by Pope Benedict personally last week during his visit, it will most likely fall upon deaf ears. The deaf ears won’t just be Obamas.


The “left” Pelosi/Kennedy Catholics will continue to spin it into meaningless and out of context political football, never being able to acknowledge that the foundation of all social teaching is the dignity of each and every human life. The “right” will more than likely misinterpret it as too “compromising for the left.” And the others, like many American Catholics who never got beyond 3rd grade catechism, will never take the time to understand it. Last but not least, the anti Catholic bigots, easily identified by injecting “pedophile priests” into any and all Catholic conversation, incaple of any meaningful dialogic conversation (as if before the scandal they loved all things Catholic), can never make the leap to understanding how under attack the Catholic Church has and always will be. As long as the Catholic Church stands, there will always be a powerful and “in the way” voice against socialism and immorality. In the meantime, as our Godless “Brightest and Best” in the WH continue on the guarantee path to destruction, Ayn Rand ‘Atlas Shurgged’ Books, (based in the pseudo ‘philosophy’ of Objectivism) , greed, and Godlessness, continue to become the “most have” book on every shelf. I’m simply amazed, with few exceptions, how many Christians have been duped by such perilous fiction.

Objectivism itself consists largely of trivial victories over unworthy opponents, cheap shots at easy targets, blasts of rhetorical fire directed at straw men, and short trips down blind alleys followed by furtive, unacknowledged withdrawals.

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We began by describing the essence of Objectivism as the claim that “there is no God, and man is made in His image.” We have shown that Rand’s arguments do not make much sense on their own terms, and that therefore our own interpretation should be preferred. Rand is trying to show, in effect, that we can have reason and liberty without God — and she is doing so, not by following the argument where it leads, but by determining in advance where she wants the argument to lead and rejecting, for altogether inadequate reasons, everything that stands in the way of her preferred conclusions. In short, she deliberately eliminates from philosophy every doctrine, every tenet, which she associates with theism, ultimately for no better reason than that she does associate it with theism

I suspect it’s too much of wishful thinking that we could all be “Americans” going for what is right, not “right and left.” Consequently, we continue to spiral into bankruptcy and dictatorship, with the best solution (s) left untried because it simply doesn’t quite “fit” into either political tent. Properly understood with an open and unbiased mind, “Charity and Truth” would wow every reasonable American. Oh well, at least it will still be around for the next indebted generation. After all, the only institution in the world to have survived since the days of Christ is none other than the ‘backwards’ Big Bad Catholic Church; two thousand years and still going strong! Not bad for an institution so “behind the times.”