No other way to say it. Fr. Thomas Reese in a lying disingenuous jerk. Honestly, I get tired even fisking this garbage. It is all just so stupid!

Memo to Bishops: No One Is Listening
By Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, there was a steady drumbeat of opposition to Barack Obama from some U.S. Catholic bishops, which only increased after his election. But despite the attention these attacks received in the media and on Internet blogs, polls show that the Catholic people are not listening.
He has been criticized:

• for being the most pro-abortion president ever, even though he wants to develop programs that will reduce the number of abortions while keeping it legal under most circumstances (he supports restrictions in the third trimester with an exception for the health of the mother);[Of course he wants no such thing. Forget about third trimester restrictions, he doesn’t even support fourth trimester restrictions. His support of Roe v Wade will make any serious restrictions in the States impossible.]

• for allowing organizations that do abortions outside the U.S. to receive government funds, even though the funds cannot be used for abortions but only for non-abortion-related activities such as health care and birth control; [This is so disingenuous! You give these organizations money, you give them money. Money that they don’t spend on things they used spend them on are now paid for by us freeing up money for more abortions. I have a hundred bucks in my pocket. I need to eat and find shelter. You give me another hundred bucks. I spend my hundred on crack and hookers and still have a hundred in my pocket. I didn’t spend your money on crack and hookers but I couldn’t have done it without it.]

• for proposing to revise the Bush regulations dealing with stem cell research, even though the proposed revisions are less radical than many anticipated (no cloning is allowed and only stem cells from IVF embryos that would otherwise be discarded can be used; plus the informed consent rules are tightened);[His defense is, “Coulda been worse!” Bottom line. The U.S. is now paying for the destruction of human beings in the name of pseudo-science. You are gonna have a lot to answer for Father.]

• for proposing to revise the Bush regulations that allow conscientious objection in health care, even though it is clear from the law that the revised regulations cannot require doctors, nurses or hospitals to perform abortions; [This is just a lie. This is exactly where Obama is going. He wants to require Catholic healthcare workers to do just that. This is why Bush put the policy in place in the first place because he knows what these animals are trying to do.]

• and for supporting the Freedom of Choice Act, even though everyone in Congress says FOCA is going nowhere (it has not even been introduced in this Congress) and the President has said it is not one of his priorities (which is the equivalent of deep-sixing it). [Political expediency only. He can’t get it passed right now and he knows it. So he is putting it on the shelf for now until a more opportune moment arises. The man said point blank that it would be a top legislative priority but Fr. Reese wants to give him credit because he failed. ]

These critiques seem to be falling on deaf ears.

In the presidential election, Catholics voted for Obama, and Hispanic Catholics, who are a growing percentage of U.S. Catholics, gave him around two-thirds of their vote. Since the election, Obama has continued to do as well if not better with Catholics in the polls. [Shame on them!]

Nor are Catholics listening to those bishops who have condemned Notre Dame University for inviting the President to speak at its commencement this month. According to a Pew Forum poll, 48 percent of Catholics have not even heard of the controversy. And when asked whether it was right or wrong for Notre Dame to invite Obama to speak and to give him an honorary degree, 50 percent of Catholics said it was right and only 28 percent said it was wrong.

What is wrong? Why are the bishops not being listened to?

Many think they lost their credibility because of the sex abuse crisis. Others say it was even earlier when the laity rejected the hierarchy’s opposition to artificial birth control. [You mean the teaching of the Church which you reject and seek to give cover to all those who similarly reject it putting their souls in peril. Like I said, you have a lot to answer for Father.]

I think part of the problem is that the bishops stopped listening and teaching and started ordering and condemning. With an educated laity it no longer works to simply say, “it is the teaching of the church.” This is the equivalent of a parent shouting, “Because I said you so.”

The bishops must persuade and convince with arguments not by turning up the volume. When they resort to commanding and threatening punishments, people are turned off. Banning speakers, denying Communion, silencing theologians is a sign of weakness not strength. Censorship and violations of academic freedom come across as admissions that their arguments are not convincing and therefore the opposition must be silenced. [He is just upset that he doesn’t get as many speaking gigs as he used to.]

The result is that the sales of books go up after a theologian is condemned. Obama’s Notre Dame speech will be covered by every cable news channels. Even movie producers understand this dynamic, which is why “Angels and Demons” is having its world premier in Rome and is just begging the Vatican to condemn it.

The bishops are being egged on by Republican activists whose presidential candidate lost the election. There is clearly a conservative conspiracy to do whatever is possible (including lying about ambassadorial candidates) to create conflict between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration. They want the Catholic Church to be the Republican Party at prayer. Some bishops are falling for this.

But the Vatican is not falling into this trap. It clearly wants to have a positive relationship with Obama. The Pope sent him a congratulatory note after his election, although it is normal Vatican protocol not to do this until after the inauguration. Recently, an article in L’Osservatore Romano stated that the first 100 days of the Obama administration have not confirmed the Catholic Church’s worst fears about radical policy changes in ethical areas. No American bishop has been brave or honest enough to say this.

The best Vatican journalists John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter and John Thavis of Catholic News Service could find no evidence of an anti-Obama sentiments from the Pope or the Vatican Secretariat of State. The Vatican has had centuries of experience working with governments where they agree and talking to them about those issues where they disagree.

The bishops who oppose the President’s presence at Notre Dame are going to be embarrassed by the warm welcome he receives from the commencement audience. Every round of applause will be a repudiation of their condemnations.

The bishops will also be embarrassed when Pope Benedict welcomes President Obama at the Vatican, or are all these people going to tell the Pope that he cannot talk to a pro-choice President? [This entire section is a complete straw man. Just about every Bishop who has spoken out on the Notre Dame scandal has made the distinction between real dialogue and honoring such a person. Nobody objects to meeting the president or any pro-choice politician, we object to honoring them. Fr. Reese knows this but he is a disingenuous lying jerk who cares not a whit for the souls of men. It is about such men that the Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser wrote:

They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of the law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. As a result, no principle at all, however holy, authentic, ancient, and certain it may be, will remain free of censure, criticism, false interpretations, modification and delimitation by man.“]

Thomas J. Reese, S.J., is Senior Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

posted by Patrick