Studying and reporting on America's role in the world

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In the January 4, 2018 post, I write “America’s foundational principle is that there are no principles.”  What this means is that America’s foundational operating principle is that there are no principles.  Whatever works, practicality, determines the day to day.

The Resiliency of America, Part 3:

Everybody wins

Or,

A Glimpse at The Core Genius of America

Everybody wins. Some more than others, a few the most.  Several before the rest.  Everybody wins.  But you have to know how to play the game.  And that presupposes that you know just what the game is.

At the heart of every decision is me, the self. A decision is made by me, for me, or at least about me, but certainly by me.  Me could consider what others said, or did, or what me saw or thinks or heard or even believes.  Regardless, me is deeply involved in the decision.  And this essentialness of me is protected in law if not also in culture or philosophy or in acceptable cognitive norms of behavior.  Me is the measure of all things, and that idea is found deep in the roots of America, which, if one were in love with trivialities that have grandiose implications, includes the very word, me.

So, in America, me makes the reality, me makes the game. Me considers others – their writings, words, ideas, beliefs.  But me decides on the game.  It may not be considered a game with rules, and pieces, and objectives, and points.  But it can be.  If me wants it that way.  And me decides how to win the game.  Again, me decides based on writings, words, ideas, beliefs of others, but me decides.  No one else.  Me decides.  America encourages that.  Protects that.  Establishes that.  And all the institutions, churches, groups, so-called communities, disciplines, et cetera, make sure that me can make and play me’s own game.

And, so, me needs to be free, to decide what me wants, when and how and, yes, even why.  If me is completely unhindered to decide, then me cannot blame someone else.  A big source of friction is removed in society.  And me is more predictable, more controllable.

All the more so if me makes the game with its rules, and if me decides who wins or loses. So me can be the great writer, or prophet, or savvy businessman, or politician, or savior, or devil, or loser, or victim, or martyr, or saint, or somebody, or nobody, or cool, or not, and so on and so forth.

The game is the game. But, is it the big game?

The big game

And so this me and all the others get to live together, in the same society or perhaps more properly, under the same political regime on the same spit of ground. It’s a great calling card for America.  It appeals to something deep in me and inside of every other me on earth.  It is irresistible because ultimately it…is…all…about…me.

Yet there is this haunting. Is the game for this me, the big game?  What is the big game?

Everyone is distracted by their own game such that they lose sight of the bigger one, the biggest one, the real one.

That game is this: to die with the most money, or, more accurately, make and enjoy the most during this life.  Nothing else is serious, everything else is just fun.  Money determines value of all things and is the highway to success.  Politics, religion, literature, sports, entertainment, and so on and so forth are just for fun, unless or until they interfere with or offer the possibility of, increasing riches, money, wealth.  Then they become important in a fleeting sort of way…until the problem is cured or the benefit secured.  This is the essence of the big game.

Not everybody knows it, but those who do know, know those others who do. It’s in their positive “can do” attitude, a cheerfulness, silliness towards all things (except making money), a lack of brooding, a lack of anxiety, a getting along with everyone even when things turn to crap.  It is the stiff upper lip or the sardonic visage in times of trouble with a hint of a grin in better.  It’s in a look, a gesture, a sense.  Recognition comes quick.

When me is allowed to make or play a game of me’s making, then the big game kicks in because even those appetites of the mes who play games of their own making offer the possibility of making money, of tapping a market. The many games made by millions of mes create not only distraction, but also markets, or opportunities.  But these millions of games are not the big game.

But the biggest markets, the biggest opportunities, are with those who know and play the big game. The biggest markets and the biggest opportunities are with those who know how to make real money and be with those who know how to make real money, or succeed in their chosen field if that translates to serious money, serious money making.  That’s the big time.  Hang around winners, be a winner.  Hang around money, get money.  The big game is making money. Lots of it.

The big game is THE game.

A word about success and winners. And happiness.

Winners succeed. What is success?  Using your talents and pursuing your passions to advance the interests, or for the benefit of, the powerful (that is, the rich) so as to advance socially, economically, culturally, professionally, politically, or in some combination of these.  One of those interests, and one of those things that benefits the powerful (that is, the rich), is to keep alive the belief, the system, the processes, that allow everybody to be a winner.  Let everybody think that in America they can be whatever they want.  Yes, Johnny or Susie, you too can be President of the United States.  Or something or other like that.

And, there is a lot of truth in that. In America, you are free to pursue your passions and interests.  But that may not give you success nor may it make you a winner in terms of the big game.

In America, you can move up in social and economic and power circles. That’s winning, that’s success.  The key is to know your passions and talents and personality to harness all of these things to move up socially, economically.  And be willing to jettison that what keeps you from moving up whether that be a religion or a belief or a habit or a spouse or a job or whatever.

Losers don’t succeed, at least not like winners. Losers don’t know the big game – they don’t know any game.  They think there are no games.  Losers think something is something when it is something else.  Maybe that’s their game – to be deluded and to lose as a result of their delusion and so win by losing.  Losers are known for sure by two things:  their sincerity and their seriousness.  They really believe x, y, z for there own sake even if these are fictions, principles, or even the ideology used to create America.

Happiness is the appropriate satisfaction of the needs and wants of me. That may come with success, as defined above, or winning your own game – whatever that game is because after all, me makes the game.  But, me’s game may not be the game needed for success.  Me might win, but not succeed.  Or me might lose, and be a big success.  Or me could just be a loser and never really understand the game – the big one or me’s own.

This leads us to something more profound in its recognition. America’s foundational principle is that there are no principles.  Practicality is the principle.  Whatever works is the principle.

Whatever works is based on, and emphasizes, a correct understanding of at least some important aspect of human nature. Using these one or two things that are so natural to build loyalty to America.

Part of the reality of human nature is that everybody determines their own course, or at least wants to believe that. Me is important.  Always has been.  America knows that and builds on that.  Inflates it. Enshrines it.  Makes it a moral imperative.  And in doing so validates me with all of the games and rules and scenarios me can make.  Is the plethora of computer games any surprise?

Yet another example of America’s resiliency – the ability to take an important aspect of human nature and use this to draw people into, and keep people in, the greatest experiment of all time.

The Resiliency of the American Experiment:  Part 2, The Catholic Leadership

Or

Catholics Can Advance in America

University of Notre Dame Professor of Law Amy Coney Barrett is qualified to be a justice on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  Intelligent, personable, well-connected and nominated by President Donald Trump, she teaches law, and has for a number of years.  She has practiced law.  She has conducted research.  She has written.  And, perhaps most importantly, she is willing to check her faith (Catholic) at the door.

That became clear during an exchange with Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 6, 2017.  Senator Diane Feinstein correctly described perhaps the most fundamental organizing principle of America which is that “Dogma and law are two different things.  And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma.  The law is totally different.”  The Senator also said to the nominee that “dogma lives loudly within you and that is a concern” because Professor Barrett has “a long history of believing your religious beliefs should prevail.”  In response, Professor Barrett stated that she would “follow all Supreme Court precedent without fail” if confirmed as a justice to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  She also said “I would commit if confirmed to follow unflinchingly all Supreme Court precedent.”  Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois questioned Professor Barrett at which she said at one point that her “religious beliefs would not bear on [the] discharge of duties as a justice.”  The Democrats got Professor Barrett to reject her Catholicism in public office and therefore get the approval of the Establishment, or, in other words, the powerful private interests in America who hold the real power.

Checking Catholicism at the door of public policy is something of which the Catholic leadership (namely, the bishops) approve and even encourage.  Most notably, in a written statement dated September 8, 2017, two days after the grilling by Senators Feinstein and Durbin, Archbishop William E. Lori, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, avoided the most important points of the exchange between the Senators and the nominee.

Archbishop Lori made no mention of the requirement that Catholics are to follow the Catholic faith in all aspects of their lives and in all of their activities which, in the case of Professor Barrett, who may sit on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, means that she would be required to base her decisions on the Catholic faith as well as US law, but the former would trump the latter if there were a conflict.  And, no mention was made of the central point made by Senator Feinstein – that law and dogma (i.e., religious beliefs) – are separate and distinct in America with the latter having no claim on the former.  This is itself a clear violation of Catholic doctrine.

Instead, he wrote that “this week’s hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is deeply disappointing.  Rather than simply consider the professional achievements of a nominee for the federal judiciary, multiple senators challenged her fitness to serve due to her Catholic faith.”  Extolling America’s “strong and venerable tradition of pluralism,” the Archbishop condemned “latent bigotries” and endorsed the “ideals of a healthy, pluralistic society.”  He stressed that “People of faith – whatever faith they may hold – should not be disqualified because of that faith from serving the public good.”

The American system of church-state separation allows for the pluralism that the Archbishop extolled and it requires that civil officials not act on and that the law not be based on any set of religious beliefs. With that separation, we can “all get along” as the laws are based on a morality that does not consider any deity.  And that is itself a violation of the natural law which the Catholic leadership has touted from time to time.  This time, the same leadership endorsed without hesitation the ideology that underlies America, and that ideology is in at least one critical aspect a violation of the natural law.

Fr. John Jenkins, CSC, President of the University of Notre Dame that employs Professor Barrett was more direct than Archbishop Lori.  He wrote in a letter dated September 9 that he was troubled by Senator Feinstein’s mention that “dogma lives loudly” in Professor Barrett.  Then he made clear that Professor Barrett’s primary loyalty was to America, and to Senator Feinstein’s correct statement on the nature of America.  Fr. Jenkins wrote

“Professor Barrett has made it clear that she would `follow unflinchingly’ all legal precedent and, in rare cases in which her conscience would not allow her to do so, she would recuse herself.”

So, in essence, a Catholic is not to let the faith inform or shape public policy, and America got it right with its foundational ideology.

The Catholic leaderships’ actions in September, 2017 do several things.  First, they again endorse what has come to be known as the Mario Cuomo position which is that one can be personally opposed to abortion (or some other evil) but publicly allow it.  This itself, stated by the former New York Governor in 1984, was a re-iteration of the position set out by Fr. Gustave Weigel, SJ, in September, 1960.  Weigel was a fellow-traveler with Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ, whose work was used to sanctify or approve in practice if not also in principle in the Catholic mind the moral legitimacy of the American system of societal organization.  That system is based perhaps most importantly on the principle of separation of church and state which means that religion is not to inform, or direct, how government officials are to act, and that there is no one established religion or church.

Second, if one is not allowed to act in public matters or to form public policy based on one’s religion, then that religion is effectively suppressed since part of practicing that religion is to extend its benefits, or perceived benefits, to all of society.  If that happens, how can Murray’s project possibly be justified?  Murray said that America is the ideal with its First Amendment that insures separation of church and state as well as religious liberty.  In other words, the Catholic leaders are undercutting their very own understanding of the practical if not principled acceptance of the American system of social organization that permits the pluralism lauded by Archbishop Lori.  Religious liberty becomes little more than being allowed to worship as you want while perhaps also the formal church organizations are protected in their own little sphere.  This means that people of faith can never change society but can only give their approval or disapproval to various movements or positions in the society (or secular world).  That will eventually lead to the alienation of portions of the society making more likely the rise of extremism or radicalism and hence violence.  And so in this situation, we see fundamental contradictions within the American ideology.

Third, the Catholic leadership – that is the clergy – approves wholeheartedly the American ideology and demonstrates yet once again that the Catholic Church is an arm of American soft power.  The endorsement of the American ideology is the endorsement of Liberalism and with it the Enlightenment.  While claiming that people of various faiths can act in “serving the public good,” Archbishop Lori never proffers a definition of the “public good.”  The Enlightenment idea is that man can determine what is right and good with reason, or, as stated by Catholic academics (e.g., the late, great Dr. Charles E. Rice) and prelates in the last fifty to seventy years, man can determine the natural law (with all the same tenets).  There are as many conceptions of the natural law and of the public good as there are religions and so the public good upon which everyone, or most everyone in a pluralistic society can agree, is something formed not by the religions, but is fashioned by the powerful private interests in society who have the means, ability and hence the opportunity to create something in their interests and devoid of any deity’s influence.

Fourth, the Catholic leadership reject their own doctrine so as to allow Catholics to advance socially and materially in America.  Most notably, the Catholic leadership fails to follow their own doctrine as stated by the Vatican II Council, and in particular the “Declaration of Religious Liberty” or Dignitatis Humanae.  Chapter 118 of my book discusses the meaning and significance of Dignitatis Humanae, and part of that significance was to condemn American Liberalism and Continental Liberalism, though in soft or positive terms.  Catholic doctrine comes through if one understands Catholic doctrine and the struggle that occurred between Catholics and Americans (with Americanists) in the years especially of 1945 to 1965.

In Chapter I, Section 3, Paragraph 3 of Dignitatis Humanae, it is stated that through conscience one “sees and recognizes the demands of the divine law” and is to follow it “in all his activity.”  In Chapter II, Section 10, the faithful must give the Christian faith “practical expression to every sphere of their lives.”    While human freedom is to be respected with all of the attendant rights, the “higher rights of God must be respected” as stated in Chapter II, Section 11, Paragraph 1.  And amongst those higher rights are that His law be followed as set out in Chapter I, Section 3, Paragraph 1:

“the highest norm of human life is the divine law itself – eternal, objective and universal, by which God orders, directs and governs the whole world and the ways of the human community according to a plan conceived in his wisdom and love.”

To borrow from friend and producer Peter Helland, God’s Law is the Supremacy Clause.

Finally, and perhaps in a more practical vein, the position taken by the Catholic leadership will breed cynicism.  The Catholic leadership in its handling of the Professor Barrett matter is endorsing a way for Catholics to get ahead in society.  Mouth a few Catholic or Christian or religious beliefs. Then, once noticed by the political powers because of these mouthings, one can conveniently discard them at the right time and place.  With their recent actions, the Catholic leadership continues its service to Liberalism and America as the ideal and as such serves to undercut their own legitimacy.  But, it appears to be a price the clergy is willing to pay.

David Wemhoff

 

 

“In the African-American culture….” began the young African-American woman as she addressed the assembled group of Rotarians at their weekly meeting. This was quite a statement for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that it was made to Rotarians in a Midwestern city at a time after the election and inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America. It was also remarkable because it was an acknowledgement, and acceptance by the African-American speaker and the largely White, or European-American audience, that there is an African-American culture in the country known as the United States. With an African-American culture, that means that there is a culture capable of being described and hence identified. That also means that there is a culture, or are cultures, that are not African-American, and have unique characteristics.

Donald Trump was elected by the White working class according to the prime shapers of opinion in the United States. The New York Times made that clear in an article/opinion piece by Nate Cohn the day after Trump’s election with the blaring headline: “Why Trump Won: Working-Class Whites.” Reinforcing the idea that Trump was the candidate of the Whites, especially the “working class” Whites, was economist and commentator Paul Krugman who wrote a December 2, 2016 article entitled “Seduced and Betrayed by Donald Trump” in which he argued that Trump would betray his own constituency, something which one has to do to rise in America anyways.

The American press was quick to cover foreign reaction to reinforce this view that Trump was the White candidate, and pushed that message to the heartland. Geir Moulson covered a meeting in Koblenz, Germany on January 21, 2017 in which “European nationalist leaders came together…in a show of strength…celebrating Donald Trump’s inauguration.” This was all part of the awakening of various peoples in the Anglo-Saxon and continental Europe according to Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party.[1]

These were just some of the articles and commentary that tied White people to Trump, and as time went on, the drumbeat continued. Steve Bannon, a key Trump advisor and former Breitbart executive, had his ties exposed to something called the Alt Right which by implication meant White Supremacy or impermissible racism. Studying and restudying the whole Trump election phenomenon as it was the upset for the new century, the mainline media focused on the culture of Whites as a motivating factor for their turning out to vote for him. In doing so, they tied Trump ever more closely to Whites and made it ever more clear that there are different cultures in the United States. Emma Green in a May 9 article from The Atlantic wrote “Trump’s most powerful message, at least among some Americans, was about defending the country’s putative culture.”[2]

By June, National Public Radio, which clearly provides the ideology that Americans should hold to be truly American, was regularly broadcasting programs concerning Whites, Trump, identity, and religion. When the Southern Baptists, which were formed in the mid 1800s to defend slavery on Biblical grounds, met in the middle of the month, NPR was there to cover it all in a big way. The Baptists discussed and passed a resolution decrying White racism. The resolution, available through a hyperlink on the NPR website, that was ultimately adopted by the Southern Baptists was itself something of a work as it stated the following:

“Racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various white supremacist movements, sometimes known as “white nationalism” or “alt-right”; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it further RESOLVED, That we denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil….”[3]

 

Left intact was the reality that there are different ethnicities with the impression all were equal, though by singling out Whites as harboring racial hatred, the resulting effect was to denigrate Whites. But the Southern Baptists were lagging behind the Catholics.

Pope Francis, “the flag bearer of the global anti-Trump resistance,”[4] was prominent in his defense of migrants and in his opposition to restrict immigration and had been especially as those issues came to the fore in Europe. During the 2016 Presidential election, Francis had exchanged harsh words with Trump. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration Francis said that “it was natural for people to want to regain their identity when it is challenged.”[5] Recognizing that the word populism was used to describe Trump’s win, the Pope recognized that there are various meanings to the term.[6]

Populism today according to Bloomberg meant opposition to “Davos Man” described as “a cross-border species whose values and interests are often divorced from those of more insular compatriots” and Davos Man was the elite for which populism has a “generalized disdain.” The populists are “more insular” and cannot move with ease across borders according to Bloomberg. Of note, “capital, goods, and people should be able to move freely across borders, a principle that can deliver huge benefits to those with education and money but seems terrifying to those without either.”[7]

So populism comes to be associated with the “lower classes” an idea that resonated within and was reinforced by academe which in large measure supports and advances the idea of Davos Man. Professor Mark Blyth, the Eastman Professor of Political Economy at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, declared that the “era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun.” A “global revolt against the elites” was taking place, and it was fueled by “the global economy itself.”[8]

This presents a very interesting situation. The minds of the elites, or the powerful private interests, created an economic system based on the political economy established by the United States Constitution, and are now starting to reap a whirlwind of sorts. Tied to the economic crushing of so many there are affixed labels like populism, nativism, and racism.[9] Despite the negative connotations of these terms, the idea remains – economics and people are interrelated, and the question is begged: for what purpose is a political economy, the laws of a society? Deeper and more profound yet is the question, do Americans have a nation or a country, and what is their obligation to the laws of the land? For after all, as Bloomberg posits:

“But it’s also important not to confuse these destructive isms [racism, nativism] with the popular desire for a shared national identity and sense of purpose – that is, with ordinary patriotism.”[10]

Nation versus country.

The popular, if not also populist, source of information is the online encyclopedia called Wikipedia. It discusses ethnicity and examines the root of the word which goes back to the Greek, ethnos or ethnikos. Classical Greek held the meaning of ethnos or ethnikos to be a nation or people. Herodotus defined the characteristics of an ethnic group as being a group of shared things: descent, language, sanctuaries and sacrifices, customs. Until Max Weber and the early 1900s, ethnic groups were viewed as organic or “primordial” but with Weber’s work ethnicity became viewed as a construct, something artificial, that could be manipulated or created and re-created. Ethnicity is an identity, and race and ethnicity are related concepts despite the controversy that may surround the former.[11]

The above paragraph is important, and especially so is the last sentence. Ethnicity deals with people, their identity, and their culture. An aspect of ethnicity is race, or common descent. The chatter in the dominant media about culture and identity and White people and economics deals with nothing less than an existential threat to Liberalism, upon which America is founded, and hence an existential threat to America itself. America, as I previously wrote, is based on an ideology but that ideology is manmade.  The demands of nationhood, or ethnicity, of groups of people, resurface from time to time and demand accommodation. It is an accommodation which I submit is not possible with Liberalism for Liberalism seeks to do away with differences as these are barriers to the accumulation and the enjoyment of wealth as Amintore Fanfani explained in Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism in 1935.

Trump’s candidacy and election posed an existential threat to America and the world order it has established. His presidency is not an existential threat to America, and it serves to keep America powerful, healthy, and resilient at least because it co-opts those who may threaten Liberalism. Regardless, rumors of this existential threat are used by the powerful private interests to more closely co-opt those with real potential, and who hold a differing view on the proper way to organize a society. Whites will be called to patriotism, and the usual agents will be used to most effectively accomplish this – the conservatives, the traditional family values groups, the pro-lifers, and the very leaders the Whites elected, particularly Donald J. Trump.

Patriotism to what?

Bloomberg sets out that patriotism is to the country, or the set of principles that underlies the political construct known as the United States. This will most likely be the definition of patriotism that is given which is loyalty to an ideology and political and legal system that keeps in place that ideology.

The one institution that could offer a solution or answer to the questions posed had, as I have detailed in my book, been co-opted – the Catholic Church. Certainly, Francis embraces Liberalism and has ignored the encyclicals of Pope St. John XXIIII and the Vatican II documents that speak of the importance, if not also the God-given right of separate and identifiable cultures which means the protection and promotion of ethnicity. The Catholic Church is now a giant circulatory system for the very system of thought and political economy its leaders and its doctrine denounced years ago.

John Cardinal Wright (1909-1979) shed some light on the Catholic meaning of patriotism in his doctoral thesis entitled National Patriotism in Papal Teaching published first in 1942. He recognized that there was something called a nation, or group of people, which are formed in certain conditions and in accordance with the moral order, as defined and set forth by Catholicism. As to the United States, he wrote:

“Thus, on the American continent and in the case of the people of the United States, there may be seen and studied the rise of a new nation and a new patriotism out of peoples gathered together from many other nations and united in the love and pursuit of a distinct res publica or common good, characterized by a new ingenium specifically American, and, if properly subordinated to the order of virtue, the legitimate specific principle of a new nation and a new patriotism.”[12]

Essential to patriotism is the idea of a nation with a fatherland, but a nation all the same is needed. Wright concluded that a nation — that is one nation — could arise in the United States but that it had to be “subordinated to the order of virtue” even though people came from other nations to form the American people. However, the “order of virtue” that he references is Catholicism which mandates, as I explained in my book, that the legal and social policies be based on Catholicism or the Divine Positive Law. An essential part of that requirement was the correct view of human nature to be held by the civil authorities and all leaders in society with freedom not being the highest good but rather truth as being the highest good. Such is not the case in America.

As a result, under the Catholic formulation, there is not formed one people or nation or ethnicity within the United States.  Instead, and in reality, there are multiple ethnicities or nations as the young African-American woman made clear to the Rotarians earlier this year.

This is borne out again if we view Herodotus’ view of ethnicity. That is, there are multiple nations within the United States as there are African Americans (Blacks), European Americans (Whites), Hispanic Americans (Hispanics/Latinos), and so on and so forth because each of these groups can claim amongst its members a shared descent (i.e., race), a shared culture and history, and a shared language with some deviations within the dialects but which significant differences between the English spoken within the other groups.

And yet again, if we take the thinking of Weber and his acolytes, with ethnicity or nationhood something that is artificial or constructed, the powerful private interests in America for a very long time created separate identities – African American, European American, Hispanic American and more – with culture, clothing, language, customs, and history being unique to each group and even solidified into law and public policy.

Under any view – Classical Greek, Weberian, Catholic – there is no one nation and so patriotism becomes an issue of loyalty to what? The answer has to be the one posited by Bloomberg. Patriotism becomes loyalty to an ideology that allows for a political economy that lead to and promoted the current state of things. That ideology as I will explain further in my upcoming book, is an ideology that creates something I call universal capitalism which is that all value in all aspects of life is determined by wealth which means currency. The amount of currency or money that one gets for doing something determines one’s goodness or value and the goodness or value of the endeavor. The ideology offers a carrot to many people and floats a lot of boats, but there is a very big stick that has to be kept in place to insure compliance.

The ideology – the American ideology – creates the very disorders and its supporters claim they wish to eliminate. The American ideology spawns the very existential threat to America’s existence that is decried by America’s supporters, and yet somehow it is able to co-opt those forces that threaten its dissolution. That co-option is best accomplished by those with national consciousness believing that the political system can effect substantial and lasting change, and that is in turn based on the idea that America is the greatest creation, or, to put it another way, exceptional.

 

 

 

[1] Geir Moulson, “Nationalists Hail Trump during European Talks,” Associated Press, South Bend Tribune, January 22, 2017.

[2] Emma Green, “It Was Cultural Anxiety That Drove White, Working-Class Voters to Trump: A new study finds that fear of societal change, not economic pressure, motivated votes for the president among non-salaried workers without college degrees,” The Atlantic, May 9, 2017, from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/white-working-class-trump-cultural-anxiety/525771/ as accessed June 24, 2017.

[3] “Southern Baptist Convention Votes To Condemn White Supremacy,”June 14, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/14/532998287/southern-baptist-convention-votes-to-condemn-white-supremacy as accessed June 24, 2017.

[4] Caitlin Dickson, “Searching for Trump condemnation in Pope Francis’ words,” from https://www.yahoo.com/news/searching-for-trumpt-condemnation-in-pope-francis-words-22…… as accessed March 9, 2017.

[5] Tareq Haddad, “Pope Francis on Trump: `People voted for Hitler and then he destroyed his people’: The pontiff said charismatic leaders such as Trump abuse our judgement in crises,” Business Insider, January 22, 2017

[6] Id.

[7] “Alpine Disconnect: Did the global elite’s devotion to borderless capitalism sow the seeds of a populist backlash?” Bloomberg Businessweek, January 16-22, 2017, 35-37.

[8] Mark Blyth, “Global Trumpism and the Revolt Against the Creditor Class,” Foreign Affairs, November 15, 2016.

[9] “The Patriotic Response to Populism: Demagogues hijacked patriotism last year. It’s time to take it back,” Bloomberg Businessweek, January 9-15, 2017, 8.

[10] Id.

[11] “Ethnic group,” Wikipedia, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_group as accessed May 27, 2017.

[12]John J. Wright, National Patriotism in Papal Teaching (The Newman Press: Westminster, Maryland, 1956), 17.

(This is the text of a talk given at the 24th annual meeting of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists on October 28, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The response of the Catholic intellectuals was interesting — the ones who spoke with me tried to minimize the reality.)

John Courtney Murray and the American Ideology

Or

How the Catholic Church Became an Arm of American Power

 

American power is based on four primary factors or elements: financial, military, media/entertainment, and ideas.   The Catholic Church is an arm of American power in today’s world.  The Catholic leadership endorses or approves of the ideology underlying the formation of America and the political philosophy that forms America’s political institutions which in turn maintain the American ideology.  This ideology is nothing more than the Liberalism condemned by the Popes of the Nineteenth Century and condemned by Catholic doctrine itself, however its acceptance re-orders the relevant societies to be like America or to be allied with America.

Pope Francis gave an interview on May 9 of this year that was published in the French periodical called LaCroix. In response to a question posed by interviewers Guillaume Goubert and Sebastien Maillard in Rome, Pope Francis said “States must be secular.  Confessional states end badly.  That goes against the grain of History.  I believe that a version of laicity accompanied by a solid law guaranteeing religious freedom offers a framework for going forward.”[1]

This was a clarification of comments previously given while visiting the United States several months earlier, and at the same time it was a confirmation of the Pope’s commitment to the American ideology as good in principle. At Independence Hall on September 26, 2015 he praised the Declaration of Independence by saying “The Declaration of Independence stated that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that governments exist to protect and defend those rights.  Those ringing words continue to inspire us today….”[2]  Just a few days earlier and at the White House he said “During my visit, I will have the honor of addressing Congress, where I hope, as a brother of this country, to offer words of encouragement to those called to guide the nation’s political future in fidelity to its founding principles….”[3]

These comments were neither isolated nor unique to this pontiff but rather are a logical consequence of statements by an earlier pope, Benedict XVI, who as Fr. Joseph Ratzinger served as a theologian and peritus at the Vatican II Council.  As such, Benedict represented the intellectual arm of the Catholic Church as well as the highest levels of its leadership and the definitive authority on the meaning of Vatican Council II’s documents.  In an address to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005, Benedict laid out how the leadership of the Church came to accept the American ideology with its disestablishment of any church or religion, and hence the creation of the first secular state in history, as being good in principle.  He said:

“People came to realize that the American Revolution was offering a model of a modern State that differed from the theoretical model with radical tendencies that had emerged during the second phase of the French Revolution….In the period between the two World Wars and especially after the Second World War, Catholic statesmen demonstrated that a modern secular State could exist that was not neutral regarding values but alive, drawing from the great ethical sources opened by Christianity….

“[I]t was necessary to give a new definition to the relationship between the Church and the modern State that would make room impartially for citizens of various religions and ideologies, merely assuming responsibility for an orderly and tolerant coexistence among them and for the freedom to practice their own religion….[L]inked more generally to this was the problem of religious tolerance – a question that required a new definition of the relationship between the Christian faith and the world religions…..

“It is quite different, on the other hand, to perceive religious freedom as a need that derives from human coexistence, or indeed, as an intrinsic consequence of the truth that cannot be externally imposed but that the person must adopt only through the process of conviction.  The Second Vatican Council, recognizing and making its own an essential principle of the modern State with the Decree on Religious Freedom, has recovered the deepest patrimony of the Church……”[4]

With these statements, the highest levels of the leadership of the Catholic Church endorsed as good in principle both the idea of non-establishment or dis-establishment of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith as the church and the religion of the society, and also endorsed the American version of religious liberty. This results in public policy being based neither on a religious faith nor faith based morality.[5] This could be done, as Benedict made clear, because America set the example for social organization.

When the highest levels of the Catholic Church reject their own doctrine, which calls for society and its policies to adhere to the Catholic Faith and acknowledge/establish the Catholic Church as pre-eminent, it follows that those at lower levels will follow suit because the Catholic Church is hierarchical.   How that could happen, how the Catholic leadership could forfeit the best interests of their own organization, and the wider implications of this state of affairs, is addressed in my book, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition. This talk is designed to give you a summary of what is contained in my book.

The Basic American Position and the Basic Catholic Position

We must first come to grips with a few fundamental concepts. The issues presented in this paper, as well as the issues directly implicated by such things as church and state relations and religious liberty, are none other than fundamental principles of social organization.  The most fundamental organizing principle of any society is the one that pertains to the relationship of that society to a deity or deities and a religion or a creed.  This organizing principle becomes apparent in the founding or organizing documents, as well as the basic law of the society.  A political philosophy is devised to give legitimacy to these various foundational principles.

Now to define terms which are used throughout this paper. America refers to a society.  The United States of America or the US is a political entity whose political institutions are established in the US Constitution.  The Constitution also serves to protect and expand the foundational principles of America the society, and creates a political economy.   Religious liberty or religious freedom means the freedom of the individual to choose a religion, or no religion, without coercion or its threat by the governing authorities, or government, or civil authorities of a society or political entity.  Dis-establishment or non-establishment refers to the refusal or failure by a political entity (or state) or a society to give status or standing in law to one religion (i.e., faith system) or church above or before any other church or religion.

The Catholic principles of social organization are irreconcilable with the American principles of social organization because Catholicism requires the society, through the state or civil authorities, to recognize and protect the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith.[6]  The American principles of social organization do not recognize any church or any faith system in its foundational laws as set forth, and protected, in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.  Therefore, there is neither a church nor a faith system established in law for all the society , and public policy is not based on faith based morality or religious tenets.  This is the same thing as Liberalism, as explained, and condemned, by Pope Pius IX in his Syllabus issued in 1864 with Quanta Cura.[7]     Despite this clear difference, the Catholic leadership has accepted as good in principle, if not also as the ideal, the American system of social organization, and the political philosophy justifying it.

Catholic doctrine holds that every society has an obligation to the Divine Positive Law of Jesus Christ which means the Catholic Faith, and that means basing public policy on the Catholic faith or Catholic morality. This doctrine was clearly set forth by Pope Leo XIII in Immortale Dei (1885), and then repeated in Tametsi Futura (1900) and by Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas (1925).[8]  The roots of this doctrine may be found in dogma which issued from the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus Christ established His bona fides as the Messiah.  In Matthew 5:17, it is written that Jesus Christ said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”[9]    This statement applies both to  rulers and to societies in general, and mandates compliance with all of the Ten Commandments plus the doctrines of Jesus Christ.

The significance of Catholic doctrine is that every society is required to formally and juridically recognize the Catholic Church as the established church and the Catholic faith as the established religion, and that public policy is to be based on the Catholic faith. The civil authorities are to protect the faith and the Church.  Citizens are not to be caught between two opposing authorities – the state and the church – which may demand conflicting obligations from them if Catholic doctrine is not followed.  The establishment of the Catholic Church as the state church gives real moral authority or power to the Church to make sure that the teachings of the Faith form the basis of public policy and to modulate the behavior of the ambitious while protecting the faithful and preventing the corruption of doctrine.  The power of the state or civil authorities is then made available to also serve these purposes.  Under Catholic doctrine, conversions are not to be forced.

The American ideology was best set out by Thomas Paine in his pamphlet entitled Common Sense that hit the streets of Philadelphia on January 9, 1776.  These principles consist of several main points.  First, government is evil, though a necessary evil, and society at large is good.  Hence, government’s powers must be limited and its primary purpose is to protect individual rights.  Second, the individual is the measure of all things and ethnicity is eschewed.  Third, religion is defined as worship and is a private and personal matter while government is there to keep it that way in the name of religious liberty or religious freedom.  Fourth, America is dedicated to the accumulation of material wealth and the satisfaction of worldly desires.  Finally, the American ideology is universally applicable as it is the way “to begin the world over again” and serves to give birth to a “new world.”[10]      These ideas are inherent in the Declaration of Independence with the phrase “all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and that among them are the right to…liberty” which issued less than six months later.  The First Amendment, with its “Free Exercise Clause” and its “Establishment Clause,” enshrines and protects the idea that religion is a private matter and is not to form a basis for public policy.

Americans and Americanists[11] Versus Catholics

Henry Luce, Presbyterian, Yale graduate, inventor of the newsmagazine and founder of Time, Inc. publisher of Time magazine and Life magazine was therefore the most influential man in America at the time.  He spent his life advancing the foundational principles of American society.  It was said that there was almost never a time that “he did not know all about the US Constitution.”[12]  In February, 1941, he wrote an editorial in Life magazine that urged the US to enter the war against Germany.  Luce claimed this would be the beginning of “The American Century” which meant world dominion by America and its ideas.   This call for The American Century came a few weeks after the “Four Freedoms” speech of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which was the State of the Union Address for 1941, and set out a vision of a remade world in the image of America.  Two of those four freedoms were “freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.  The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.”[13]

Perhaps just as important though not so well known, Luce gave a talk on November 29, 1953 entitled “The American Proposition”   The talk, given while Luce’s wife, Catholic convert Clare Boothe Luce was US Ambassador to Italy, was given in Rome at the Pro Deo University.  Pro Deo was founded by Felix Morlion, OP, who had been supported and helped by the US intelligence establishment lead by Major General William “Wild Bill” Donovan.  Pro Deo taught that the principles of social organization of America are good if not also the ideal.  These principles, in the form of the Declaration and the Constitution, were taught to young men from all around the world who some day would assume positions of business and civic leadership in their home countries.   Luce said to the assembled thousands of dignitaries, guests and students that late autumn day that “The United States is a nation which depends for its existence on a proposition and that this is the unique and distinguishing fact about the United States.”[14]  That proposition is the American Proposition and the “American Proposition is the Constitution interpreted in the light of certain first principles,” he said.  The “first principles” that “inform the Constitution” are contained in the Declaration of Independence, and these involve certain truths though he could not define or list what all those truths were.[15]

John Courtney Murray, SJ, a Jesuit, theologian and editor of Theological Studies, was a close friend, fellow-traveler, and confidant of Luce who was also Murray’s benefactor.  Luce and Murray believed in the same thing, and together they developed the American Proposition in their respective writings and talks particularly during the period of 1945 through 1965.  Murray drafted Luce’s “The American Proposition” speech given at Pro Deo in 1953.  Credit is also given to Murray for “The Declaration on Religious Freedom,” or Dignitatis Humanae that issued from the Vatican II Council on December 7, 1965.

It was during the post World War II period and in the early days of the Cold War that a debate took place in the pages of Catholic theological journals, as well as the Catholic press. That same debate occurred in the American secular press, most notably Luce’s Time magazine and The New York Times, between the Americans and the Catholics as to the best, if not also acceptable, forms of societal organization.  The Americans, and the Americanists (those within the Church who saw America as the ideal of societal organization), were lead by Luce and Murray.  The Catholics were primarily lead by Redemptorist priest and theologian Fr. Francis Connell, C.Ss.R. (called “the Catholic theologian of America”), Msgr. Joseph Fenton editor of American Ecclesiastical Review (both were professors at Catholic University of America), and Msgr. George Shea, a professor of theology at Seton Hall University.

The debate began with Murray addressing the issue of whether government (or civil authorities) has a moral obligation to suppress false religions. The issue rapidly boiled down to the basis of the obligations of civil authorities.  Murray’s position, which was also Luce’s position, was that civil authorities need only obey the natural law, which was a vague and equivocal term capable of being assigned any or as many meanings as one wanted.  This meant that the civil authorities, or the government, had only to grant religious freedom (i.e., freedom to worship or believe as one wants without coercion by the civil authorities) and disestablish or not establish any state churches or religions.  The government was incapable of determining the true religion, or Catholicism, as the religion to be protected and elevated.  The government’s duty was to protect rights, not to defend either the Catholic Church or the Catholic Faith or the Catholic faithful.  America, which after World War II was viewed by many as the Promised Land, was the ideal form of social organization, and Murray claimed that America was a revival of the Catholic tradition because it separated the civil power from the ecclesiastical powers.  Murray borrowed from and cited with approval the writings of John of Paris who six centuries earlier advanced similar arguments to support the King of France over the Pope.  John of Paris was ultimately censured.[16]  However, Murray admitted to the Rockefellers during his period of consultation for a national purpose in June, 1957 that America is part of Liberalism, or the “liberal, political tradition of the West.”[17]

Murray deconstructed the idea of the confessional state by stating that it is the product of a certain period of history. He admitted this in a private note to Clare Boothe Luce in 1962.  He wrote:

“Clare dear: The point of this historical argument is to show that, as the institution of the state-church owed its genesis to the special structure of an historic-social situation, so also it depends for its justification on the peculiarity of this situation.  Alter the situation, and the arguments for the institution is undermined….How’s that?”[18]

Acceptance of Murray’s position meant acceptance of the American political philosophy. Inherent in that philosophy is the idea of limited government and that in turn means that the civil authorities are not allowed all the power needed to benefit all of society, something the Ancients understood was important. (This I further discuss below.)

As an initial matter, Msgr. Shea disagreed with Murray and noted that history had never supported the claim that the natural law allowed for non- or dis-establishment of a church and/or religion. America was the first secular society with the first secular state, a break from not only centuries of Christian tradition, but also a break with more than 5,000 years of recorded human history.  Fr. Connell targeted the basis of the obligations of the civil authorities.  While the natural law was not inconsistent with the Divine Positive Law, it was incomplete, and each society with its civil authorities was required to follow the Divine Positive Law of Jesus Christ.  From this obligation came the obligation to establish the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith as the church and the faith of the society.  It was possible for the government, Connell wrote, to determine the one true faith and the one true church and therefore protect the same.

Fr. Connell’s comments echo those of a very influential Catholic prelate in America who passed from the scene right as the debate was heating up. Msgr. John Ryan (1869-1945) made clear in his book from 1930, The State and the Church, that the American system of social organization was not in accord with Catholic doctrine.  First, he wrote that “no individual, no group of individuals, no society, no State is justified in supporting error or in according to error the same recognition as to truth.”  From this came the maxim that Murray and others sought to discredit, “error has no rights,” claiming instead that people had rights that should be protected.  Second, Ryan made clear that “[s]pecious neutrality” of the state towards religion was always a “policy of hostility.”  Finally, Ryan rejected a number of arguments used to justify the non-recognition of the Church and the Faith perhaps the most notable being that “those who hold that truth will by its own power speedily overcome error, and that the state should consequently assume an attitude of impartiality toward both.”   Truth’s “victory can be greatly hastened by judicious assistance from the State and, indeed, from every other kind of organized social power” he added.[19]  Ryan’s views were troubling to Luce and many others.  At the secret meeting at the Biltmore Hotel in New York on April 26, 1948 sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Murray stepped up to the plate for the job of deconstructing Ryan’s position.[20]

Luce and the American media in general, portrayed this doctrinal conflict as between two equally valid Catholic viewpoints. The American viewpoint was portrayed as progressive and hence good, and the Catholic position was portrayed as regressive or reactionary as well as authoritarian and hence bad.  It was a classic American fairy tale, or perhaps better put, a classic American Western with good guys like Murray and his fellow traveler and fellow Jesuit, Gustave Weigel, SJ, and Americans in general, and bad guys like Cardinal Ottaviani of the Holy Office, the Curia, and the Spanish in particular.   The issue was never really in doubt given the power of American media, and especially given the refusal of the Vatican to openly condemn Murray.  Ottaviani’s Holy Office secretly issued “four erroneous propositions” in October, 1954 to Msgr. Fenton and Fr. Connell which in essence condemned Murray’s thesis that the confessional state was only a product of history and did not apply to democracies.[21]  Additionally, it became clear with time that Fr. Robert Leiber, a Jesuit like Murray, and the confidant and secretary of Pius XII, favored and protected Murray.[22]

Luce used his enormously influential magazines, Time and Life, beginning in September, 1949 to promote Murray as a great theologian and authority on the church and state matter, and he did so at that time with what amounted to a staged fight between Murray and a leading Protestant theologian, Dean Walter Russell Bowie.  Bowie was a dean at the Union Theological Seminary in New York where Luce sat on the Board of Directors.[23]  Throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, Murray not only received favorable press, but he also helped to edit and write some of the articles in Luce’s magazines to support the fiction that America was founded on, and is based on, Christian principles[24].

The Context of this Discussion, and Its Significance

Why is the issue of church-state and religious liberty so important, and why was it brought to a head after World War II and during the Cold War? The short answer is to extend American power which means the power of the wealthy to better control societies.  It is important to understand that this debate about Catholic doctrine and the proper organization of societies, occurred during the early stages of something called the Cold War, or what I refer to as World War III.  In reality it was a war waged by Communism (representing universal communitarianism) and the United States (representing universal individualism) against Catholicism (which doctrines strike a balance between the individual and the community).   Of course, the much feared and much vaunted Soviet system was similar to the American system because both formed their respective societies on principles which excluded or rejected any deity or religion as the basis of policy.  Indeed, an examination of the pertinent provisions of the US and USSR constitutions reveals a striking similarity between the two in the area of religious liberty.

The Americans knew the value of an enemy like the Soviets and exploited fear of Communism to justify the extension of their power and influence around the globe. The Catholic Church was viewed by Luce and his class of Americans, as well as by US Government officials (particularly in the intelligence agencies), as both an adversary given its doctrine on church and state relations which Paul Blanshard in 1947 identified as central to Catholic power,[25] and a potential asset if its leadership could come to accept the American ideology as good in principle.  As an asset, the vast circulatory machinery of the Church could be used to dispense this ideology along with the view that America is the ideal of social organization in a variety of different cultures and do so effectively.[26]   The US Government, through the efforts of the Psychological Strategy Board and Dr. Edward P. Lilly, a Catholic academic and scion of a wealthy Catholic family, devised a program known as Doctrinal Warfare, later termed Ideological Warfare, in 1953 with the promulgation of the classified document known as PSB D-33.  This program was designed to obtain the approval of the American ideology by leaders (businessmen, academics, politicians, clerics) of various societies around the globe.  The US Government worked together with Luce and the American media in spreading The American Proposition, the chief weapon of US and American doctrinal warfare, around the globe.

Luce and his chief lieutenant Charles Douglas “CD” Jackson hosted a secret conference at Princeton in May, 1954 which helped to lay the groundwork for globalization. Invited were representatives of the American triad – finance, intelligence, media – along with representatives of labor, agriculture, State Department, MIT, and various think tanks.  All attendees were officially present at these meetings in an unofficial capacity.  Essential to the plan being devised, which was termed by Luce and his lieutenants the World Economic Plan or WEP,[27] was the propagation of ideas allowing for a certain form of societal organization, one that allowed the entrance and pre-eminence of private capital into these societies.  The ideas necessary for creating the right environment in these societies comprised the American ideology, or in the parlance of Luce and Murray, The American Proposition.

Economist Walt Rostow, an attendee at the Princeton Conference, put it well. He said that one interest America had in creating a World Economic Plan was “an authentic American ideological interest in the world, and it is that other societies develop not in the image of the United States, but according to some version of the humanistic tradition which is appropriate to their culture.”  Rostow, CD Jackson and others said that the “story of America” had to be told and social structures in foreign countries, such as for instance, Italy, had to change.[28]

In CD Jackson we see the confluence of the interests of the intelligence, media, and finance communities. Working for both Luce and the CIA or other agencies of the US Government, Jackson commented on the enormous success of the American efforts to change the Catholic Church.   CD Jackson made clear the value of Pro Deo and the American Proposition in advancing psychological warfare objectives of the US.  He did so with a talk delivered at the Army War College, which is advanced schooling for those with promise to make general officer in the US Army.  Jackson said

“I have for many years studied the plans of psychological strategy not only when I was an assistant to President Eisenhower, and I must say that this effective new educational activity is one of the few that is working and his [sic] immense potentialities. It is helping to infuse the concept of the American Proposition through young, fervent Latin American disciples instead of relying exclusively on officials from this country.”[29]

Ideas were important, and America beat the Soviet Union in that realm, hands down. The Church leadership was quick to follow the winners.  By 1965, the Americanists, using in particular the Abbott translation of the Council documents controlled the interpretation or the meaning of The Declaration on Religious Liberty, or Dignitatis Humanae. That meant America exemplified Catholic teaching and that America was the ideal of social organization especially as it seemed to provide a good life for so many.  The Catholic priests, prelates and other leaders set about serving as a fifth column in Catholic countries deconstructing the Catholic organization of those societies.  Most notably was Spain under Francisco Franco.   Scholar Stanley G. Payne explained how it was that the Catholic clergy became “the primary public spokesmen for the opposition” and Franco’s regime, which had once saved the Catholic Church in that nation, found that it was “less and less able to count on the Church.”  Despite appeals to Pope Paul VI protesting the liberalization of the clergy and the negative impact on the nation, no help was forthcoming from the Vatican.  Finally, in 1978, after the death of Franco, a constitution disestablishing the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith, and mirroring the First Amendment to the US Constitution, was signed into law by King Juan Carlos I.[30]  Italy went the same way, though it took a little longer.[31]  Both societies are now embroiled in “culture wars” as in the US.

The Significance of The American Proposition

There are, and have been, several consequences to the implementation of the American ideology. First, spiritual values, or religious faiths, do not inform the policies or laws of government, or the civil authorities.  The result is the secular state in history, and that secularism was insured with the First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause” which is the supreme law of the land.  The secular state ultimately results in the secular society for the public comes to shape the private, and the higher comes to control the lower.  The secular state, or government, comes to control religion and the various religious groups as Catholic Bishop Josef Fessler (1813-1872), Secretary of the Vatican I Council, observed and called “heathen Caesarism.”  This control consists largely in attempting to change doctrine or policy of the Church (and other religious groups), and influence the leadership of the religious bodies to endorse the American ideology.

Second, government policies tend to favor primarily, or mainly, the powerful private interests who are also protected in the name of limited government in their efforts to shape and control the culture and hence society. With freedom of the press, the ability to shape thoughts, values and perceptions lie in the hands of the wealthy.  They come to exert great control over society by exerting power through the various cultural engines they control (especially the press, media, and entertainment) or through the government over which they have increased influence.  Religion therefore loses control of the culture, and with American style religious liberty, the churches are always competing for members.  This results in a softening of their doctrines to please people shaped by a culture that is not friendly to religion.  The wealthy therefore come to control religion, and can use religion to support government policies and actions.

Third, society becomes infused with, and oriented towards, material values or materialism. Italian statesman and Catholic professor, Amintore Fanfani (1908-1999)[32] explained that as materialism rises, spiritual values or faith declines and as spiritual values or faith declines, the capitalist spirit rises.  He explained that the capitalist spirit is a spirit of consumerism or a desire to acquire and enjoy an ever growing number of things.  The capitalist spirit seeks the reduction or elimination of hindrances to the spreading of that spirit, and that means the reduction of barriers to markets, the free flow of capital, and commerce.  Those best situated to gain from an increased capitalist spirit are the most powerful in society, usually the wealthiest.  One of the barriers they seek to eliminate is a state established church and a state-established religion because these things hinder their ability to pursue the accumulation of wealth and power.  Hence, even greater importance is given to the concepts of religious liberty, which means the individual chooses how he or she wishes to worship, and the separation of church and state, which means religious beliefs are not to form the basis of public policies.

Other barriers targeted for elimination are ethnicity or any other group not authorized. The successful efforts to define what a person is, the essence of marriage, and one’s right to determine one’s own sexual or gender identity are all the consequence of the American system of social organization that removes religion from the equation for determining public policies.  All of this is characteristic of a materialist society and all these matters are designed to assist with social mobility, a promise made to, relied on and desired by Catholics.

Catholic efforts to stop the legalization of abortion and “gay marriage” failed because of the inherent contradiction in the Catholic stance. Having accepted as good the American system of social organization, the Catholics cannot now claim that it is some version of God’s law that the public authorities must follow.  And, not being the established church or religion, the Catholics cannot expect that their voice will be given any special or greater weight, if any at all.  This is especially so when issues of science or efficiency are brought to the fore in any argument.  More importantly, the Catholic positions on these and other similar issues go against the American drive to advance oneself in society.

Catholic efforts against the so-called “culture of death” will likely continue to fail as will efforts to evangelize the culture as long as their leadership accepts the American ideology.   The culture will remain the same or continue to change in ways not acceptable to Catholics until their leadership (namely, the priests) takes charge of the Church and again recognizes the duty to establish the desirability of the confessional state.  This will open the way for Catholics to work for that end result which also provides accommodation for people of different faiths.   Catholic style religious liberty, set forth in Dignitatis Humanae[33], permits some degree of worship and expression by members of other religions provided the Catholic faithful are not harmed.  At the same time, it does not allow forced conversions, and so overall permits a just form of religious freedom in society.

Whether this will happen seems unlikely at this point because everyone benefits from the status quo. Francis Rooney, former US Ambassador to the Vatican, in his book, The Global Vatican: An Inside Look at the Catholic Church, World Politics, and the Extraordinary Relationship Between the United States and the Holy See wrote of the essential nature of an ongoing collaboration between the US, or America, and the Church.[34]  In words reminiscent of the RCA report studied by CD Jackson fifty years earlier, Rooney wrote that “the United States and the Holy See remained two of the most significant institutions in world history….we should be friends and collaborators…Today, the church remains a singular supranational force, operating effectively in more places and cultures than any other international body…..the church is a powerful and unique source of soft power….”[35]  It is an alluring thing to be asked to join with the only superpower and wealthiest nation on earth thereby gaining its protection and blessings.  Catholics are comfortable being able to serve concurrently the spiritual and the material and both God and Mammon in this their American Captivity.

Thank you.

[1] Guillaume Goubert and Sebastien Maillard, “Interview Pope Francis,” LaCroix posted May 17, 2016 and retrieved October 9, 2016 from http://www.la-croix.com/article/imprimer/Religion/Pape/Interview-Pope-Francis-2016….

[2] Myles Snyder, “Read the pope’s speech at Independence Hall,” abc27news, published September 27, 2015. http://abc27.com/2015/09/27/read-the-popes-speech-at-independence-hall/ (accessed October 9, 2016) (emphasis added).

[3] Ryan Teague Beckwith, “Read the Speech Pope Francis Gave at the White House,” Time, published September 23, 2015. http://time.com/4045956/pope-francis-us-visit-white-house-transcript/. (accessed October 9, 2016) (emphasis added).

[4] Pope Benedict XVI, “Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia Offering Them His Christmas Greetings,” Thursday, 22 December 2005, Vatican website. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2005/december/documents/hf_ben_xvi_spe_20051222_roman-curia_en.html (accessed July 21, 2013) (emphasis added).

[5] As a theologian, Benedict would undoubtedly have been aware of the famous speech by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani on March 2, 1953 in which Ottaviani mentioned the concept of religious freedom in the context of states that refused to recognize the Church’s right to recognition and the Faith’s implementation as the basis of the laws of a society.  As I mention in my book, Ottaviani noted that in “a situation where `the exclusiveness of its mission is not recognized,’ or the rights of God are ignored, the Church speaks of toleration, equality, and the rights of man.”   Ottaviani recapitulated Church doctrine at that talk, and the lay or secular state was never an accepted form of social organization.  David Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition (South Bend, Indiana; Fidelity, 2015), 331; Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, Duties of the Catholic State in Regard to Religion, 2d ed., tr. Denis Fahey (Kansas City, Missouri: Angelus Press, 1993), 14-15;  Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, “Church and State:  Some Present Problems in the Light of the Teaching of Pope Pius XII,” American Ecclesiastical Review CXXVIII (May, 1953), 329-330.

[6] Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, paras. 4,6. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_1-xiii_enc_01111885… (accessed July 11, 2010); Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 94-95, 330;  Ottaviani, “Church and State:  Some Present Problems in the Light of the Teaching of Pope Pius XII,” 326-327.

[7] Pius IX, The Syllabus of Errors Condemned by Pius IX, Part VII, paras. 56, 57, 77, 80.  www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9syll.htm (accessed November 7, 2006); Pius IX, Quanta Cura, para. 3. http://www.papalencylciclas.net/Pius 09/p9quanta.htm (accessed November 7, 2006).

[8] Francis J. Connell, “Christ the King of Civil Rulers,” American Ecclesiastical Review Vol. CXIX (October, 1948), 248, 253; Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 203-204.

[9] Holy Bible, The New American Bible 1994-1995 edition.

[10] Thomas Paine, Common Sense (Mineola, New York:  Dover Publications, Inc., 1997).

[11] On January 22, 1899 Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical letter called Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae in which he condemned the heresy of Americanism.  The encyclical condemned the view that the Catholic Church should adopt the Liberalism (and reduce its internal discipline) that seemed to be so prevalent and successful in civil societies, such as America.  In so doing, he condemned the view that America, and Liberalism in general, knew better than the Church.   Those who came to endorse America as an ideal of social organization and who believed the Church should learn from America are called Americanists.  As I explain in my book, “Americanism…was…one main principle: `that, in order to more easily to bring over the Catholic doctrine those who dissent from it, the Church ought to adapt herself somewhat to our advanced civilization, and relaxing her ancient rigor, show some indulgence to modern popular theories and methods…not only with regard to the rule of life, but also to the doctrines in which the deposit of faith is contained.’  The Americanist project, Leo continued, `involves a greater danger and is more hostile to Catholic doctrine and discipline, inasmuch as the followers of these novelties judge that a certain liberty ought to be introduced into the Church.’  The object of these errors was to allow `each one of the faithful [to] act more freely in pursuance of his own natural bent and capacity.’  Americanism hoped that the Church would `imitate that liberty which, though quite recently introduced, is now the law and the foundation of almost every civil community.’”  Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 104; Pope Leo XIII, “Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae,” The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII Plus Other Documents (Rockford, Illinois:  Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1995), 441-453.

[12] Nation:  He Ran the Course,” Time, March 10, 1967.   http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,836724,00.html (accessed December 31, 2009).

[13] Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Four Freedoms Speech.” http://history.sandiego.edu/ gen/text/us/fdr1941.html (accessed May 29, 2010); Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 59-60.

[14]Henry R. Luce, “The American Proposition,” Henry R. Luce Papers Box 75 Folder 10, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

[15] Id.: Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time Life and the American Proposition, 377.

[16] V. O’Daniel, “John of Paris,” In The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910). Retrieved April 25, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08475b.htm.

[17] Remarks by Father John Courtney Murray Professor of Philosophy, Woodstock College Overall Panel Meeting Wednesday June 19, 1957, Rockefeller Brothers Fund S-7, Box 48, File 545, Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, New York; Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 508.

[18] John Courtney Murray to Clare Boothe Luce, Letter dated February 27 [est. 1962], Clare Boothe Luce Papers Box 795, Folder 11, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

[19] John A. Ryan and Moorhouse F. X. Millar, The State and the Church. (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1930), 26-32.

[20] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 122-127.

[21]  These were “a) The Catholic confessional State, professing itself as such, is not an ideal to which organized political society is universally obliged. b) Full religious liberty can be considered as a valid political ideal in a truly democratic State. c) The State organized on a genuinely democratic basis must be considered to have done its duty when it has guaranteed the freedom of the Church by a general guarantee of liberty of religion. d) It is true that Leo XIII had said: `…civitates…debent eum in colendo numine morem usurpare modumque quo coli se Deus ipse demonstravit velle’ (Enc. Immortale Dei).  Words such as these can be understood as referring to the State considered as organized on a basis other than that of the perfectly democratic State but to this latter strictly speaking are not applicable.” Envelope marked “Under seal of the Holy Office to Be Burned” “Proposizioni Dottinali Erronee” from Francis J. Connell Papers, Redemptorist House Archives, Baltimore Province, Brooklyn, New York; Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 427-430.

[22] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 422-426.

[23] Dean Bowie attacked the Catholic Church as totalitarian and condemned the practice of Catholic states repressing error.  Murray, in characteristic fashion, attacked the messenger and then proceeded to surrender the Catholic position by saying a “`Catholic America’ was `a bogeyman [that] does not exist’” and would not come about.  Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 216 through 218; “Religion Across the Gulf,” Time, September 12, 1949.

[24] With the Eisenhower Administration, religion was actively recruited to assist national objectives.  The National Prayer Breakfast began during that time, the Pledge of Allegiance was changed to insert “under God” in it, and Luce and his magazines promoted the idea that America had a religious founding that gave foundational documents a sacred air.  These ideas persist to this day in this society and are used by the “conservatives,” Evangelicals and others to justify these groups’ participation in the political system, and to recruit members for their various causes.

[25] Paul Blanshard wrote in his 1949 book American Freedom and Catholic Power “The Church’s philosophy of church and state is far more important than the continued existence of a bit of acreage which has its own postage stamps and flag.  In fact, the philosophy of church and state espoused by the Vatican is the most important thing in the whole Catholic system because it determines the political and social policies which the bishops and priests will pursue throughout the world.”; Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 116-117.

[26] CD Jackson read a study done by RCA in 1958 in which the following appeared:  “The Church appears to the world as the most complex of enterprises, inasmuch as she manages to coordinate the most heterogenous of efforts as regards cultural backgrounds and territorial dispersion without the resort to force; no other group at the moment has her extension nor employs so much human energy over such a wide area without any continuity or possibility of physical control.”  Vittorio Vaccari to CD Jackson, letter dated January 23, 1959 with “The Policy of the Catholic Church in the Selection and Training of Her Leaders,” CD Jackson Papers, Box 109, File “Misc.(1),” Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas;

[27] This was effectively a plan for globalization, a word used with great regularity these days.

[28] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time Life and the American Proposition, 432-434; “Proceedings of the Off the Record Conference Held Under the Auspices of Time, Inc.” C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 83, Folder “Princeton Economic Conf., 5/54-Transcript (1),” 24-27, 114-115, 118-119, 252-253, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.

[29] CD Jackson Papers Box 90 Folder “Pro Deo 1962,” Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.

[30] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time Life and the American Proposition, 896-898;  Stanley Payne, The Franco Regime: 1936-1975 (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), 561-563.

[31] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time Life and the American Proposition, 898-899.

[32] Reference is made to the work of Amintore Fanfani, Catholicism Protestantism and Capitalism (Norfolk, Virginia: IHS Press, 2003).

[33] Austin Flannery, OP provided a version of the documents of Vatican II in a 1975 publication that gained the approval of at least one prelate, John Cardinal Wright, who penned the introduction.  Wright stressed the necessity of the Flannery book as initial versions of the Conciliar documents suffered from “hasty” translations, “frequent infelicities,” “inaccuracies,” and contained “the journalistic touch”. The Flannery version had an “air of permanence, completeness and academic thoroughness” which came about as a result of “sober second thoughts and carefully measured words”.  Additionally,  unlike the earlier translations, the Flannery volume did not contain “commentary or reactions” that were “frequently irrelevant and even confusing to one seeking to learn exactly what the Council said rather than what someone outside the Council thought about the matter.”  The Flannery version was “the collection of Council documents and their authentic interpretation that is indispensable for the serious student” and it was “overdue.”  The Flannery volume with its translations was needed not just for serious students or all of those who read and write English, but for scholars the Cardinal wrote.  (see, Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 845 – 857. ) Wright’s comments were a direct repudiation of the editorialized Abbot version of the documents in which Murray set forth in footnotes to select portions of the document an Americanist interpretation and elevated America with the First Amendment as the ideal.  Of note, Benedict XVI referenced the Abbot version during his talk to the Curia on December 22, 2005.

[34] Ambassador Rooney writes of the centrality of the First Amendment to America and the essential nature of Murray’s arguments for garnering support for the American Experiment:   “the religion clause of the First Amendment is fundamental to the whole idea of the United States.”  Francis Rooney, The Global Vatican (New York:  Sheed and Ward, 2013), 224.

[35] Rooney, The Global Vatican, xiv, xvi, xvii.

In my post from October 13, 2016, I wrote the following:  “It occurred to me that with the American ideology that forms the basis of the society known as America, a radically different view of society was put forth in 1776. That view is that society is something to be used and controlled for the benefit of the powerful private interests. Hence, new meaning is given to the term, `ordered liberty.’ ”

While that may be the end game, or the goal, that goal is reached by allowing as many people as possible to benefit from the system, but primary benefit, or greater benefit, accrues to certain elements of society who can then better control the society.  Success becomes the determiner of authority, and that success is material success in whatever form it may take.

The Resiliency of the American Experiment: The Catholic Chattering Class

Part 1[1]

 

The arrival of the circus was announced in March. Well, to be more precise and less dramatic, the University of Notre Dame, the pre-eminent Catholic university in the United States if not also in the world, announced the recipients for its coveted Laetare Medal — Catholics Vice President Joseph Biden and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. This announcement was bound to cause a ruckus as had the visit of President Barack Obama in May, 2009 to the University for the Commencement. The pro-lifers and traditional Catholics were out in force during those sunny days protesting, getting arrested, and generally stirring things up because the President was for abortion, which the United States Supreme Court has made clear is a way for women to move up in society. The Spring 2016 announcement promised to bring about a similar reaction, or circus.

The Laetare Medal, according to the University of Notre Dame, is “the most prestigious award given to American Catholics.” The award, created in 1883, “was conceived as an American counterpart of the Golden Rose, a papal honor that antedates the 11th century. The medal has been awarded annually at Notre Dame to a Catholic `whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.’”[2] Some of the previous recipients were Catholics who strongly supported and advanced the cause of the American ideology not the least of who were “Civil War Gen. William Rosecrans…President John F. Kennedy….labor activist Monsignor George G. Higgins….”[3] Rosecrans was a Union general who helped crush any division or dissent in American society as to the proper basis of societal organization when that question arose in a peculiar context in the mid 1800s. JFK was the Catholic who famously said in September 1960 to the Baptist ministers in Houston that his Catholicism would not inform public policy. Higgins, as brought to light by recent scholarship, was an asset of the FBI who informed on his fellow Catholics to J Edgar Hoover.

A curious set of recipients for an award, and a dubious set of accomplishments justifying the same, especially when on the medal is inscribed “Magna est veritas et prevalebit” (“Truth is mighty, and it shall prevail”). Notre Dame’s President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, said that “We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership…..It is a good time to remind ourselves what lives dedicated to genuine public service in politics look like. We find it in the lives of Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner. While both have been loyal and committed partisans, they were leaders who put the good of the nation ahead of partisan victory, seeking through respectful dialogue honorable compromise and progress.”[4]

At least one of the current recipients and his accomplishments would cause consternation with the usual set of Catholics. But first, the Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the ordinary, or bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend, Indiana, the diocese in which is located Notre Dame, had something to say.

In the March 16, 2016 edition of the Diocesan newspaper, Today’s Catholic, he wrote “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any `pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal…I also question the propriety of honoring a public official who was a major spokesman for the redefinition of marriage. The Church has continually urged public officials, especially Catholics, of the grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that supports or facilitates abortion or that undermines the authentic meaning of marriage. I disagree with awarding someone for `outstanding service to the Church and society’ who has not been faithful to this obligation…..If we honor Catholic politicians or public officials, we should make sure there is a basic consistency between their political decisions and sound Catholic moral and social teaching. We should not honor those who claim to personally accept Church teaching, but act contrary to that teaching in their political choices.”[5]

This was a remarkable statement by a Catholic leader, though its significance was attenuated somewhat by mentioning, and condemning, legalized abortion and same-sex marriage. This placed his comments safely in the channels of approved dissent thereby keeping alive the very thing that allowed abortion and same sex marriage to exist and flourish.

However, the remarkable nature of the statement, aside from the fact it came from a Catholic Bishop and leader of the Catholic Church, was that it repudiated the position of New York Governor Mario Cuomo who in 1984 articulated the idea that he was personally opposed to abortion, but because he was an elected official supported the “right to choose.” This was itself a restatement of JFK’s central point of his speech to the Baptist ministers during the 1960 Presidential campaign.

As I explained in my book, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition, it was a Catholic priest, Gustave Weigel, SJ, who articulated the proposition that Catholic politicians, and hence Catholic members of society, can have a split personality when it comes to matters of policy. Weigel, speaking at the heart of Catholicism in America – the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington DC – on September 27, 1960 said that a politician must lead “a `double life’ because he worships `as he pleases in his private life, but in his public role “he is a man of the law which is framed for practical purposes and canonizes no philosophy or theology.”’”[6] Weigel’s talk was unchallenged by the Catholic bishops of his time, and so it was impliedly endorsed by the Catholic leadership who adopted, and still largely operate on, a dualistic approach when it comes to people. The wealthy and powerful are largely given passes while the bishops pander to those who sit in the pews by mouthing either some correct doctrine or endorse the hot button social issues of the day like opposition to abortion and opposition to gay marriage.

Rhoades’ disagreement with Notre Dame over the award of the Laetare Medal to Biden was a repudiation of Weigel’s talk and of the modus operandi of the Catholic leadership since at least 1960. His comments threatened the whole intellectual superstructure that justified Catholics’ obedience to and support of the American ideology. But that threat was carefully managed by Rhoades himself.

Rhoades’ criticism of Notre Dame’s actions occurred in the context of Americanism. He stuck to the sexual issues which the American Catholic leadership embraced instead of challenging the American ideology which is the source of or gives rise to the conditions and the situations that lead to legalization of abortion and of gay marriage. In other words, Rhoades, like all the other Americanist bishops of today and who went before him, and dealt with only the symptoms and not the root cause of the illness in American society. That root cause was the very ideology, the American ideology that gave rise to this society, distinguishing the people who live within the boundaries of the political entity known as the United States of America, and at the same time is so harmful to the very people who hold it – the Americans. The ideology that distinguishes Americans from others on the planet seems to hold forth the promise of nationhood, yet at the same time this ideology calls them to individualism above nationhood and hence is born a conflict that infuses American existence and surfaces every once and a while in its political arena with the rise of people like Ross Perot in 1992 and Donald Trump in 2016. Another way to put it is that there is at war in America the idea of a universal individualism that came about with Thomas Paine’s Common Sense thereby laying out the terms of the American ideology forming this society, with the idea, if not also the natural reality, of a parochial nationalism born from the reality of people living in a certain geographic area under a common civil authority.

Rhoades and his colleagues might do well to heed the words of Leo XIII who in one of his first encyclicals in 1878 wrote “A religious error is the main root of all social and political evils.” If they did, they would get to the root of the problems that they seem to continuously battle unsuccessfully, and they might actually be able to win a culture war or two. They would then be challenging the American ideology, or the organizing principles of this society which finds itself so conflicted from its inception (see my discussion of nation versus country as posted May 16, 2016), and insist on the organization, or perhaps better stated, reorganization of this society along the lines of the Divine Positive Law of Jesus Christ, or the Catholic Faith. This would also mean that public policy would have to be based on that faith which is dependent on a vision of man’s relation to a Triune God and the need to know, love and serve Him in this life so as to be with Him in the next, as goes Catholic teaching. The Church would be established as the state church and this would not only give real moral power to the Church and to the Catholic Faith, but it would check the powerful private interests and the government itself. All of this and more the Catholics could accomplish, or so their history suggests, and this poses a real threat to the American Proposition.

But to attack the American ideology is a dangerous proposition itself, and one that is not popular among American Catholics. I have firsthand knowledge of that. With my involvement in the so-called pro-life movement over a number of years along with involvement in and support of things like traditional values or family values groups, and my participation in any of a number of parish and Church activities and groups, I came to see just how much the American ideology was accepted and defended and advanced by American Catholics. This point was driven home in a most forceful way by, at the time, my own publisher, the guy who should have been getting the word out about my book, its discussion of the American ideology, and how Catholics came to so strongly support the American ideology, which is Liberalism, something Church doctrine condemns.

Breakfast

“You are paranoid, David! You need psychiatric help!” the furious man yelled in the crowded restaurant at breakfast time. I was the David and the furious man yelling was E Michael Jones who is neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, has a PhD in literature and styles himself a journalist. He is on numerous television shows and has done radio interviews and strives to make himself somewhat of a public figure if not also a leader of sorts. He is also the principal of Ultramontane Associates, In. which operates under the name of Fidelity Press, which printed my book and was supposed to market it, too.

I had just finished explaining a sophisticated form of social control in the society known as America when Jones gave his impassioned outburst. That social control consists of Catholics calling fellow Catholics to fidelity to the American ideology most particularly by elevating the United States Constitution which protects and advances the American ideology. The most notable part of the US Constitution is the First Amendment which not only disestablishes any religion or church, and grants American style religious liberty to everyone, but also protects and encourages people – especially chatterers like Jones and other Catholic journalists and bloggers etc — to write and say whatever they want thereby achieving their own unique version of the American Dream, which of course means indulging and satisfying their desires which could amount to disordered passions as some may say. Jones’ violent response to my statements proved my point. And a strange thing that outburst was considering that Jones himself has lectured and written extensively on social control. This is just one of Jones’ many contradictions, which occurs as a result of his enormous pride that is itself encouraged by the American ideology that allows him to chatter, and in the process of his prideful chattering controls him and others. Indeed, freedom of speech and of the press serves as a safety valve for dissent, allows the dissenters to be identified and co-opted or controlled, and also provides for the raising of good concerns that can be addressed further solidifying the power of the entrenched interests. All the while, those exercising their freedom of speech or of the press benefit too by getting to do what they want, acquiring a following, garnering prestige, making a living while seeming to effect real change.

It occurred to me that with the American ideology that forms the basis of the society known as America, a radically different view of society was put forth in 1776. That view is that society is something to be used and controlled for the benefit of the powerful private interests. Hence, new meaning is given to the term, “ordered liberty.” This contrasts with the view of the ancients and also of Catholic doctrine that society was there for the protection and development and benefit of all its members, or the people, or the ethnic group. But America with its foundational ideology did away with ethnicity and elevated the individual which means, practically speaking, inflaming the pride of each man, woman and child. This in turn serves to recruit or co-opt people to serve and defend the American ideology as it is a way for them to realize their dreams or ambitions or goals or desires. But back to Jones and the Catholic chatterers of which he is one and of which group he serves as an example of sorts.

Jones penned a book called Libido Dominandi in which he claimed that “sexual liberation” is a form of political and social control. Political control and social control are topics which Jones has written about quite a bit over the years. As noted in one article from the January, 2002 edition of Jones’ magazine, Culture Wars, formerly known as Fidelity, entitled “Education as Magic: Harry Potter and the Culture of Narcissism,” he laid out, what I came to realize later, the very dynamic which also held him in its grip. In that article from about ten or so years ago, he wrote:

“The result is a culture of narcissism, one which promotes the illusion of unlimited power while at the same time using those illusions to promote ever more sophisticated forms of social and political control….The culture of fulfillment through consumption, in other words, is a powerful ally in the narcissist’s war on reality, forging increasingly more sophisticated and intrusive forms of control by pandering to the narcissist’s grandiose vision of his own unlimited power.”

So, when Jones started yelling, aside from the fact that it was reminiscent of the tactics of the Soviets in silencing dissenters and questioners by claiming they were mentally ill, I found it all very odd since, as I mentioned before, I was discussing a topic in which he should have had some interest – social and political control. The reason for his outburst, which was so unlike the image of the all-knowing, college professor that Jones works so hard to cultivate, becomes clear upon closer examination.

The American ideology benefits Jones by allowing him to satisfy his desires, which is to indulge his vanity. Like other chatterers, he writes literature (that is, stories and storytelling) and stands or sits in front of cameras or before a room of people. His magazine, Culture Wars, is filled with his articles and photos of him. The same for his social media such as Facebook® where he puts up post after post of some praise for something or other he has written or said, and where, again, he posts photo after photo of himself. If you go to Youtube (this applies to his writing as well) there are probably hundreds of videos of Jones opining with absolute certainty on any of a number of vastly divergent topics. This is all consistent with a “grandiose vision” of “unlimited power.”

Jones’ writing is directed to a certain audience (Catholics) and fills a niche by appealing to a certain view of a moral order in which things sexual, such as abortion, “gay marriage,” the family, contraception, and the like are elevated to pre-eminent consideration. This makes him part of a sophisticated mechanism of social and political control that keeps alive, growing, resilient the American Experiment. This great experiment is based on an ideology which encourages individuals to “be all they can be” to borrow from an advertising slogan used by the United States Army years ago, and in so doing maintaining gratitude and support for the system, Liberalism or the American ideology, that allows these individuals to do so.. Jones will rail against one official or another, one political movement or another, one individual or another, and bash the Jews with regularity, but he will not, like Bishop Rhoades and the Americanists, go to the root of the problem – the American ideology which is Liberalism. This way he keeps his audience, not help them.

That morning at breakfast as the most sophisticated mechanism of social control ever devised came into play against me, in the form of a publisher who should be helping me get my message out, I recognized yet again the incredible resiliency of the socio-economic-political-cultural construct known as America. True, Catholics like Biden and Boehner served the American construct by their public service, and many other Catholics do the same with their governmental and military service, but complaining Catholics are crucial to the continuing existence and maintenance of the American experiment in many other ways. This system, with its core ideology, offers all things to all people and co-opts those who should be critical of it and who give the illusion of wanting to change it. One of those is Jones who, because of the American ideology, gets to realize his dream of being a self-made leader and expert on everything telling us all what to think. In doing so, he feeds his pride, his unlimited desire for self-glory. At the same time he gives the impression that he is a Catholic working to change things by pointing out evils.

The leadership of the Catholic Church, having accepted that America is the ideal and teaches the Church, neither examines nor reviews nor critiques his writings and opinions in any meaningful way. That reality allows Jones, and others, to say and write whatever they want under the self-made cloak of Catholic, and lets chaos or disorder reign in the Church. It is this unhindered ability to point out as evils those things Jones so desires, and the Catholic Church leadership’s apparent acquiescence, if not also encouragement of his private quest, or crusade, that is itself a powerful endorsement and support of the American system thereby bringing the society known as the Catholic Church to ever more closely resemble America. By doing so, the Church leadership encourages disorder in and between its members just as does American society, and these disorders include vanity, bickering, hypocrisy, and endless meaningless discussions. As time passed, I came to realize that Liberalism, and the Catholic leadership’s acceptance of it, affects Jones himself. With impunity he is allowed to project on others and maintain a double standard while feeding his pride.

Pride and Contradiction

“Don’t ever criticize America,” Jones told me at another breakfast meeting years earlier when I started submitting articles to him for publication in his magazine.  It was an odd thing to say – to put something off limits when you are supposed to be pursuing truth. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant at the time, but I had a good idea, and that idea has been confirmed over the years to mean that one is not to either critique or criticize the American ideology which is Liberalism and the fundamental principles of social organization of the society known as America. I deal with this topic in my book John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition. It was the American ideology that the Catholic Church leadership has now come to accept as good in principle and propagate around the world. This ideology reorders societies to give real political and economic power to private interests (i.e., the wealthy) while floating everyone else’s boats, but only incrementally and secondarily. The Catholic Church’s support of this ideology has made the difference, meaning the Catholic leadership has kept the American experiment alive and strong around the globe. Indeed, the Catholic Church is currently little more than an arm of American power and dominance as it serves as a conduit for Liberalism to all of the societies with which it comes into contact.

Overlaying and gradually gutting an English-Scottish cultural remnant, the American ideology created a political economy and a system of societal organization that is protected and advanced by the US Constitution. The First Amendment sets forth and protects perhaps the most essential characteristics of the organizing principles of this society. Those are first the disestablishment of any national church or religion which means that religious tenets are not to form the basis of public policy, both radical ideas with the latter being perhaps the most radical of them all breaking with thousands of years of recorded history. And, second, the emplacement of cultural power in the hands of private interests in the form of freedom of the press which logically becomes freedom of expression. Again, this is another radical idea that is unsupported by even the very same Greek philosophers that the American Founders were so fond of referencing.

The significance of these two principles is that powerful private interests – the wealthy — come to dominate society, the government, and religion if not directly then through the civil or civic institutions and government. These interests invariably are the financial capitalists who were, and are, given a distinct advantage over the rest of society with the US Constitution especially since America was, and is still, so heavily dependent on commerce. These same interests benefit, but so do the smaller people who “carry the water” for this system, but not as much as the powerful interests. Freedom of the press, or freedom of speech, gets these smaller people like Jones and other chatterers in turn to propagate Liberalism by their work which is never to call Liberalism into question but to always keep us distracted with the hot topic of the day.  This keeps a lot of people watching them, like sycophants, and giving them the attention that Jones and others like him so badly crave. This in turn feeds the pride that lies at the root of Jones’ character and that of many others like him, and that in turn harms these very same people.

If I haven’t said it already, Jones is just one of many. There are a plethora of Catholic commentators and bloggers who are like him. It is just that I know him the best, and so he serves as the best example or is representative of how the Catholic chatterers aid the very system their leadership once condemned.

Pride makes Jones the stuff of contradictions, something that an acquaintance hinted to me about a dozen years ago. Pride causes one to hold others to a standard to which one does not hold oneself. A Catholic, Jones claims to present the Catholic viewpoint to all the problems of the world, insists he is in the tireless pursuit of truth, and has acquired a small following of disgruntled Catholics.

Another good example of this pride and these contradictions is offered by the breakfast meeting at which Jones called me paranoid. Jones claims to eschew violence, yet there are various accounts of him provoking others to violence, and I know from my own experience that he has tried to provoke me to violence, but unsuccessfully. It was fury – a form of violence — that ultimately drove Jones to verbally attack me at breakfast a few months ago. Fury brought about by injured pride. Moments before his outburst, I told Jones to talk in a quieter tone – it was 8:45 a.m. on Friday and I was still working on my first cup of coffee. He gets excited and likes to yell about things and it gets tiring and irritating. In any event, after asking him to be quieter, he became visibly, though silently enraged, as he ate his breakfast. He was waiting for me to say something he could criticize.

I didn’t have long to wait. When asking him what he was going to do about publicizing my book he said he would not do anything. When I asked him about whether I should write for his magazine and what was in it for me, he said I never asked that question before. Then he let me have it when I spoke of an incident that highlighted a form of social control that silences commentary and critique of the American ideology. Screaming at me, he was acting to protect the American ideology by personally attacking me, and his wounded pride (I had told him to quiet down), which had fueled his anger towards me, unleashed his fury and fear.

This pride is encouraged and given vent by Liberalism with its free press and emphasis on the individual. This in turn breeds narcissism, again something of which Jones has written, and even a “malignant narcissism” which is identifiable by a number of different traits as described by bestselling author Shahida Arabi in “20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use to Silence You.”[7] Interestingly enough, Jones practices many of the tactics Arabi described.  For instance, there is something called gaslighting in which reality is distorted to fit the narcissist’s vision of it. Along with that is the narcissist yelling, “are you crazy?” thereby making the other person’s views the stuff of delusions. Jones practiced that on myself and a lot of other people more than once. Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone is another one that Jones used on both myself and others, and, of course, always the attempt to control and to do it by shaming. This way Jones, and other narcissists like him, keep people reading his stuff and keep people loyal to his own private Enlightenment project, which I discuss further down in this article. These are also ways to keep people from criticizing him and writing for him – for free! And he never has to say he is sorry – he never has to apologize nor does he.

Jones once told me that he had a “calling” to write. That was another way of saying that was his way to fame, though not necessarily fortune. He doesn’t really care so much about money. His appetite, or passion as he might put it, is to have his face on the screen, or stand in front of the room, or talk on the radio and thereby act the professor by telling us Jones’ view of the world and telling all of us that we must accept his view. His passion is ambition and vainglory, or glory for himself. He just happens to use religion, specifically Catholicism and the Church, as vehicles for advancing that ambition. And he should know about passions, because, as I indicated earlier, he wrote a book about passions.

Liberalism encourages individualism to the point of danger, and as Dr. Martha Stout, a Harvard psychologist wrote in her brilliant and popular book, The Sociopath Next Door, Liberal societies like America have a very high incidence of sociopathology. Liberalism allows Jones ambition and fuels it encouraging thereby his pride and his narcissistic behavior.   The Catholic Church, which he is able to use so adeptly to his purposes, could do something about it, and about him in particular but its leadership won’t or doesn’t, largely because as I explained in my book, it has come to accept America and Liberalism as the model of social organization and now little more than a giant conduit of Liberalism around the globe.

The Church leadership tried to stop the Americans by attempting to thwart their one tool – psychological warfare — which is so easily used by a so-called free press, and by every person who relies on their writings for money or fame, as is the case with Jones. Had the Catholics succeeded, a lot of confusion could have been avoided, the Church itself kept strong and united, and guys like Jones would not be suffering from such inflamed pride. But the Americanists in the Catholic Church subverted that effort by vocally and officially denouncing it more than fifty years ago. Nowadays, Catholics just ignore these efforts by the leadership who announced in 1963 the norm of activity for journalists and writers like Jones, who, like the Americanists, ignores, and on occasion has ridiculed, one of the Church’s greatest weapon against Liberalism – Inter Mirifica.

Warlords

Inter Mirifica was the first document to come out of the Vatican II Council, and as I explained in my book, it was an attempt by the Church to strike back against the main American weapon – psychological warfare. The Americans had perfected psychological warfare which uses words and images to control thoughts, perceptions, values, and more.

Writers and commentators like the Catholic chatterers write for a living – so they have to manipulate words and images in a way that appeals to a certain segment of the population, and that is what psychological warfare is all about. This translates to manipulating the reader usually by pandering to the reader’s darker side. Usually, the appeal is to those who are disgruntled or angry or confused or hurt, as those are the most loyal followers, especially if they seek an explanation and a target for their anger. But sex sells too and Jones for one just loves to write about sex, though Catholic writers and commentators in general are fixated on sex and sexual matters (again, “gay marriage,” contraception, abortion, “family values” etc.) thereby missing the big picture and the reality which is that it is the desire for wealth that primarily drives human activity.  And, if one claims to be Christian, then one has to conclude, by reading the words of the Gospel, that one must choose between serving wealth or serving God.

Social class is tied to wealth accumulation in America, but it includes so much more. The Catholic chatterers won’t touch any of this, because they are all secretly seeking to raise their own social class. After all, that is just what America was founded on: the opportunity to improve oneself in a society where ability and talent, not birth, opens doors, and where anyone can succeed if they have the right stuff. They want the American Dream, too, which to them means, most importantly, being somebody! And that is ultimately about class which is material gain and which is worldliness.

So the Catholic commentators devise some overarching fairy tale, or private nightmare, or pseudo-factual titillating soap opera to guide and give form to their bloviations. The late John Reilly, who served as Jones’ book review editor for years, explained the phenomenon quite well in an open letter that he put on the internet and remains there to this day due to a young man who was impressed by Reilly’s view of things. In pertinent part, that letter explains this creation of a private fairy tale or private nightmare by Jones which draws a few people into his circle, is really the result of the Enlightenment, or, to put it another way, is encouraged and brought to life by Liberalism – the very principles that create the evils which Jones and the others consistently seem to decry for a few dollars and a chance to be the center of attention for a while at least.

Reilly was disassociating himself from Jones whose writings Reilly came to dislike. Here’s the relevant part of his 1998 letter in which Reilly described the creation of private realities and private worldviews that Liberalism and the American ideology brings about for many people, especially writers like Jones and the rest of the Catholic chatterers:

“Finally, regarding the Enlightenment, I think you persistently misunderstand what order of thing it is. The Enlightenment is like the Hellenistic period, and equally contains both good and bad. Richard Rorty is a man of the Enlightenment. John Paul II is a man of the Enlightenment. E. Michael Jones is a man of the Enlightenment. So was Augustin de Barruel. Left and Right, Progressive and Traditional, Liberal and Conservative, all these are oppositions that began with the Enlightenment and are meaningful only within it. The revolutionary tradition is a creature of the Enlightenment. So is the grand tradition of conspiracy theories, to which I have no desire to contribute.”[8]

The reference to “conspiracy theories” was a reference to Jones’ writing which Reilly increasingly styled as psycho-sexual, which was, and still is, an accurate description of Jones’ work. That comports with the idea that Jones has to titillate his audience so as to sell ink and get himself television and radio talk gigs, while making a living to provide for his wife and kids. If there is anything that intrigues people, and plays to the strengths of a storyteller or a person with a doctorate in literature, it is sex, conspiracy, and the Central Intelligence Agency. The Catholic chatterers, are telling stories and propagate their own skewed view of reality with their writings.   Reilly’s position on Jones’ work could, I suppose, be boiled down to this: bad sex leads to all the ills in life, and the Jews are responsible for bad sex.

John Beaumont, an English lawyer, knows Jones, though I would not call him Jones’ friend.   Fans and sycophants Jones craves because they give him and his project legitimacy while providing the only real social connection outside of his wife.  Few friends, if any, he has, because there is a give and take in friendship with the implication that friends are somehow equal, something unacceptable to Jones who craves superiority. If one dares disagree, Jones throws a fit yelling at the person while personally attacking the person, just as he did with me at breakfast earlier this year, again all of which are tactics of highly manipulative narcissists.

Beaumont assembled a book published by Jones’ company and entitled The Mississippi Flows Into the Tiber: A Guide to Notable American Converts to the Catholic Church. The book also deals with a category of people called “reverts” who are people that come back to the Catholic Faith. Jones is a revert, and his inclusion in the book suggests that he is “a notable American.” The article on Jones describes how he came to see the Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church as his way to literary stardom. Beaumont writes, quoting Jones:

“I don’t remember any specific argument from the book [Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain]….The Seven Storey Mountain I thought was first-rate writing and if a man with this much literary talent could believe in God, well belief in God was good enough for me too….”[9]

All of this tracks with what Jones told me once – he has a calling to write. That means a desire, an ambition, a passion to do something, and it is something he feeds by constantly writing for the sake of writing (and feeding his desire for glory), not for telling the truth which is the call, the requirement, of Inter Mirifica, a document Jones has himself ridiculed.

Professor John Rao teaches history at a Catholic college in New York. He has made a number of excellent observations over the years with one of them being that the Catholics have fractured and now we are faced with a situation in which there are any of a number of different rhetorical and ideological warlords who gather their followers. Rao’s comments echo St Paul’s from 1 Corinthians 1:11-13:

“For it has been reported to me about you my brothers, by Chloe’s people that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying `I belong to Paul,’ or `I belong to Apollos,’ or `I belong to Cephas,’ or `I belong to Christ’.”

Paul, Apollos, Cephas could be substituted nowadays perhaps by Voris, Vennari, Shea, Jones, and others. Jones is one of the rhetorical warlords, and he wields his power by a serious demeanor, with a tone of “knowing it all” which appeals powerfully to at least some people. And he has years of experience of knowing what people (or at least some of them) like to hear or read and so he panders to that with his writing, which is the storytelling he was trained to do by virtue of his PhD in Literature and that he so avidly pursues. The problem with storytelling is that it shades the truth here and emphasizes something over there and the result is a story which is not necessarily reality.

However, warlords, as you may know, cannot exist without holy men and warriors. They just don’t rise to the status of warlords if they don’t have blessings and beasts. We’ve spoken of Inter Mirifica and in my book I set out how that was supposed to be implemented. The laity were to coordinate their efforts with the clerics who served as a check on what they wrote, and all are supposed to follow the Catholic Faith. Jones gives the impression he is all on board with that idea because he calls his non-profit company Ultramontane Associates, Inc. Ultramontane is the name given to those Catholics in the 1800s who held closely to papal authority and teaching against, of all people, those advancing Liberalism (yet another contradiction). One would think that Jones would submit to priestly guidance and suggestions and even submit his materials to review by priests but in my years of knowing him that has never happened. In large measure that is due to another dynamic I document in my book – the remaking of the Catholic Church to be like America, which means the Catholic leadership (i.e., the priests) no longer lead, because to do so would smack of authoritarianism, something viewed as bad and unapproved by America and the Americans. So, the Church becomes a version of America with everybody doing their own thing, and the priests facilitating all of this imitation of America.

There are two priests who regularly write for his magazine and with whom he is in touch on a regular basis. One, who I shall call Priest A, is a member of an order founded by a Notre Dame graduate around the 1960s. This priest made a career of putting Dignitatis Humanae under a microscope with the result that it becomes unintelligible while twisting the entire meaning and significance of the document. The priest’s only comments to Jones are to question a picture or headline or disagree on some arcane point, but he is essentially there to give an endorsement to Jones and his project.

Another Church leader who could do something and rein in Jones’ pride is an Opus Dei priest and graduate of the University of Notre Dame who I shall call priest B.   Possessing a weak, or perhaps one could say phlegmatic, personality, though well-read (which is often the case with even the best of the Church leadership), he is younger than Jones and agrees with everything Jones says. I have never heard him challenge or correct Jones on anything. Instead, priest B seems to affirm Jones’ every thought and report on all that is going on. He also contributes to Jones’ magazine, and in doing so endorses Jones while facilitating Jones efforts and Jones’ disordered personality. If Jones puts something on his Facebook® page, almost invariably priest B will “Like” it.

If anything, priests A and B and the other Catholic leaders (bishops and other prelates)should look to Inter Mirifica as the basis of their authority to require Jones and other Catholics to submit to their judgment before writing or publishing anything. The review of the writings would do a lot of good for the writer because it would temper his or her pride and therefore protect his or her soul, an especially important consideration given that the Church is supposedly in the business of saving souls. But that is not the case anymore as the Church leadership is intent on keeping the Church like America by supporting their favorites against other favorites, and the result is a cacophony of voices, a number of warlords.

The beasts for Jones and other Catholic writers are those enamored with their writings. They go out and do whatever they can to get these writers speaking engagements and more, and they spread the word about how great this writer or that commentator is. They’ll even go to the mat to defend their idol when bad stuff surfaces, or proper authority acts. The reality is that the Catholic writers and commentators use their followers and they do so without any regrets or apologies.

The American ideology lets Jones and others do all this and thereby create the very state of nature that Locke’s society was supposed to replace. The Catholic Church, as my book describes, came to accept America as good in principle and so conformed itself to be like America. The current Pope is a great example of this dynamic as he never criticizes America and constantly is seeking to make the Church more like America. As a result, a “state of nature” is created in the Catholic Church as one exists in America, and in that state of nature, the law of the jungle is paramount which means that the powerful rule.

There’s another important consideration here. To have relevancy to Catholics, or perhaps if one is a bit cynical, to access the Catholic market in an effective manner, one should conform to the leadership’s Americanist views, which means writing about things sexual like abortion, contraception, gay marriage, etc. That way the critical issue – Liberalism – is never addressed. That’s one of the real and lasting effects of Americanism.

The Americanist Die

My book recounts, in short form, how the Catholic leadership, that is the priests, came to accept America as the ideal form of social organization. Once accomplished, all the priests and laity can prattle about are sex or grade / high schools. Beaumont’s book captures this and Jones’ acceptance of these parameters of debate. Beaumont writes:

“…the Catholic Church consistently picked up the banner of sexual morality which the mainstream Protestant denominations had let fall…..”[10]

Once the Church decided to view America as good in principle or incapable of being changed for practical reasons, then Catholics were relegated to fighting only three issues, all of which they lost because by refusing the fight the most important issue – the proper principles of social organization – then public policy could be based on a manipulated critical mass of people and that manipulation inevitably meant appealing to baser instincts especially since every individual could determine their own sense of right and wrong under the American system of religious liberty. So, the Catholic leadership embarked on a “culture war” that they largely helped to shape over the years on terms that the Catholics could not possibly win.

Beaumont recounts the “culture war” in which Jones’ and others engaged, paralleling the efforts of the Catholic prelates:

“…the battle over the schools….The second area of contestation he mentions is obscenity….The final area of cultural revolution delineated by Pfeffer had to do with whose idea of the family would dominate in the culture.”[11]

Jones and the rest of the chatterers have a way to become somebody. If they write about sex and sexual issues, which is what the priests were concerned about, they could get the Catholic market in a big way – after all, sex is titillating, and the Catholics were consumed by the subject, having surrendered on the more important and fundamental issue being the principles of societal organization. All that was needed was some doctrinal justification for his writing, and so he turned to St Augustine for dicta which set out a simplistic and incomplete view of the world and how it works. That view is that illicit, or bad, sex distorts souls which in turn distorts the work of these souls. This then puts into issue everyone’s personal life, to include Jones’.

People read Jones’ stuff and that of others because it appeals to them – not because they know it to be true, but because it appeals to them, that is, they like it. That “like” comes from the constant bashing done by Jones and others of anything and almost everything. Jones would complain about the status quo, but he offered nothing to replace it though the impression he created was that he wanted to change things. He did offer a League of St Benedict which was a way to use vacant Church property for young families – another recurring, and engaging theme, for Jones, which garners some following for him especially among traditional or conservative Catholics who make the biological family a false god. But beyond that, he has offered nothing except more writing.

When I floated an idea to him to host a conference about what a Catholic society should look like, he laughed saying he and I would be the only two speaking. Then he said he would think about it which means, “no.” He was uncomfortable with the idea when I floated it to him in June of last year and he was again uncomfortable with the idea when I reiterated it in October, some four months later. By then, it was clear that Jones had other plans, and had had these other plans for a very long time. This shows that Jones doesn’t want to change anything because if society were properly ordered, he might end up losing his following.

Jones does not want to end Liberalism, and he made that even more apparent with his comments on the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia when he mentioned that the foundational principles of America do not matter as America had broken from them. Of course, that is not true and my book puts the lie to that claim especially as those principles are shipped around the world by the USA and the Catholic Church all to reorder societies to allow for the preeminence of private interests, namely private capital, and as those principles continue to hold sway in America to this day. But it is important to misdirect people and to channel dissent so that it becomes harmless, which is what a free press does and what Jones, and the other Catholic chatterers, also do by virtue of their being part of that free press.

Most significantly, though, Jones never even mentioned the Pope’s address at Independence Hall which was Francis’ acquiescence to Liberalism and submission to America and the USA. As if in a reversal from the days of the Holy Roman Empire when the Catholic Church was at its most powerful and required the secular rulers to go to Rome for crowning by the popes, today, during the American Captivity of the Catholic Church, the popes come to America – either Washington or Philadelphia – to profess their allegiance to Liberalism in the form of approving of the foundational principles of America. In doing so, the Church continues on as an arm of American soft power.

The stuff Jones and the other chatterers write is appealing and likeable to the disgruntled and unwary because disgruntled people, especially disgruntled Catholics of a certain ilk, are naïve and vulnerable and Jones and others take advantage of them. The chatterers are not above exploiting the hurt and feelings of inferiority that some people harbor, and they do so effectively.

The pride of these commentators is their greatest vice. Liberalism allows Jones and others to engage and grow this pride because it promises unrestricted writing, or fulfillment of what he called his vocation. If you look at You Tube, you will see hundreds of postings/videos/audios of him talking about everything from soup to nuts with absolute certainty. If you look at his pages on Facebook®, you will see photo after photo of E Michael Jones. That is the same as his magazine, Culture Wars, from which I unsubscribed months ago.

People with great pride are not team players, and pride serves to splinter solidarity, again, something that Liberalism encourages.

A Lack of Integrity

When pride of self is foremost, everything else serves that pride and so everything written or commented upon by such a person is shaded in one way or another to garner support, or perhaps sycophants. That is especially so if someone writes for a living and to support one’s family, which is the case with Catholic commentators by and large.

The Catholic chatterers are primarily about feeding the desires and dreams of the individual chatterers to thereby advance their social status, or so they think. After all, social class or status infuses all aspects of American life and to better oneself – the essence of the American Dream – is what the American ideology serves and is thereby able to garner so much support from so many people, and hence, its resilience. Joe Biden bettered himself. John Boehner did the same. As did Mario Cuomo. They are all marching in the same direction, to the same goal, serving the same purpose – the defense of the American ideology – to achieve their own private American Dreams. Truth, or at least a part of it, is a useful tool on the way to stardom, but nothing more.

A real threat to America is the existential threat, but that threat is effectively squelched thanks to the principles that allow freedom of speech or expression, the Catholic Church’s leadership’s approval of these principles, their modeling of the Church after America, and their encouragement of and involvement in a manufactured, safe struggle known as “the culture war”. Americans are justifiably afraid of those who opt out recognizing that there is an authority greater than themselves. Americans would also be justifiably afraid if the leadership of the Catholic Church ever got serious about having a church, a society that is supposed to be ordered in accordance with their doctrine which is supposed to be of divine origin to serve divine purposes. But that won’t happen anytime soon with the current lot of Catholic chatterers who tell everyone that the sky is falling, that they are the leaders and know everything, and that everyone should follow them – after buying their magazines, and newspapers and books, of course.

As this is being written, Jones is attacking Voris who earlier this year “came out” as being gay, or perhaps more correctly living a “gay lifestyle” though he is now claiming to be celibate. Jones, using tactics that he once deplored (referencing anonymous sources) claims that Voris’ project, “Church Militant,” is dishonest.[12] Jones position is that Voris is still damaged (and suffers from self-loathing as a result of being gay) as he suffers from narcissism. Discussing the personal life of Voris and how it relates to his actions, Jones has opened himself up to the same scrutiny of his life and his vices, past if not also present, of which he has some as do all people, to see how these have affected him and his work while fueling his own narcissism.

More importantly, Jones’ condemnation and judgment of Voris is common amongst the Catholic chatterers who have failed to show compassion. Once someone is wounded, they tend to react and oftentimes they proceed to do so in the public sphere – something that could explain Voris’ actions and Jones’ too as well as the actions of many, if not all, of the Catholic chatterers whose dark secrets propel them to a form of exhibitionism or desire for vengeance with their writing, speaking, crowd pleasing, and more. Such does not help these people to heal but only worsens the situation for themselves and for others. This is where proper authority is needed – to protect these people from themselves, and to protect others – to include the Church itself and the Faith — from the ramblings and vitriol of these people. Voris’ story – probably common among Catholic figures – is an indictment of the Catholic leadership, namely, the priests and the hierarchy going all the way to the Pope who have accepted that America teaches the Church and that Liberalism is good. In doing so they at least suggest that Liberalism may not be so good for the individual, or for the Church given Voris’ attacks on the Church. And in so doing, they invalidate their own individual projects especially given that a wound (“homosexuality” or alcoholism or some other disorder in their lives) usually led them to launch their careers as journalists and commentators.

According to Jones, Voris’ “homosexuality” and narcissism fueled Voris’ harm of the Church. However, Voris would not have a platform nor be allowed to inflict this harm unless he had the same platform that Jones has. The real issue is the ability of chatterers like Jones and Voris to say whatever they want, the Church’s approval of such a system that allows endless commentaries, and the Church’s failure to control these chatterers not only for the Church’s benefit and protection, but also for the good of the Catholic journalists and commentators themselves. The real issue is Liberalism (of which the American ideology is a part) and its acceptance as good by Catholics which allows certain people to publicly criticize the Church and its leadership thereby setting themselves up as leaders opposed to the priests and to garner their own followers, and make a comfortable living.

Any discussion of societal organizing principles are off limits to the Catholic chatterers. Practically, this means that they never attack American style religious liberty and that they never attack, especially, freedom of speech and that holiest of grails, freedom of the press.   For their part, the Church leadership especially the priests, refuse and fail to do their job as set out in their own document, Inter Mirifica, and call the chatterers to account or seriously review their work. These priests are themselves divided along the lines of liberal-conservative in step with the teachings of America. All of this happens in a milieu that elevates the belief that “truth alone will win out,” along with, “you have to decide for yourself” and that is perpetuated by the Catholic journalists themselves to their benefit. After all, Liberalism insures the protection, if not also the creation, of an entire industry – journalism, writing, and the like.

Once the Catholic chatterers call into question Liberalism and its ideology, they would openly de-legitimize their own projects because then they concede that one cannot legitimately make oneself an authority or a leader. At such a point, were it ever to occur, the chatterers would accept the importance of proper authority which – if they are truly Catholics – is the Catholic priesthood. In theological concepts, they would then end their own rebellions against Christ. In the meantime, as the chatterers attack each other and point out the other’s “disorders” they also de-legitimize their own projects by virtue of the attack on the other especially, if they themselves suffer from disorders that propelled them to write and comment. However, they never call into question the basic system that allows this incessant fighting.

In Conclusion

All of this is another reason that America with its ideology, and Liberalism in general, is so resilient. This resiliency is dependent on people remaining plugged into the system, claiming things can change but in reality all they end up doing is serving themselves. If people withdraw, or, say there is a higher authority than the individual and defer to that higher authority, and if that higher authority is willing and able to enforce its claim, albeit in a moral if not also social sense, then the American Experiment, and Liberalism itself, is in trouble because then a credible existential threat exists. This could start with individuals rejecting the idea of and promises of an American Dream, and substituting in its stead a community based on legitimate and moral principles. But the Catholic chatterers and priests, as I hope this article has begun to demonstrate, are there to make sure that will not happen. For as they criticize aspects of the society or the political system (e.g., abortion, gay marriage) in which they live, they are actually reinforcing the very Liberalism that gives rise to that society, the political system that protects it, and the evils against which they rail all to their own benefit and vainglory. The solutions they propose only perpetuate the very principles, the very error, that gives rise to the very evils they seem to denounce. The don’t – they can’t – get to the root of the problem because to do so would be to silence themselves, and that would mean the end of their own private dreams which is what Liberalism is essentially about – being and offering all things to all people. Liberalism and the American ideology is about the American Dream – realizing whatever your private dream may be which means utilizing your unique talents to achieve success, concepts endorsed by the American Founders most notably in Federalist X. The priests and the Catholic chatterers are not about to challenge that.

The priests, who are the leaders of the society known as the Catholic Church, could criticize the underlying principles of this society, and should have enough information to point out how those principles are proving harmful to members of the society. To do so would be to point out the very ideology that allows the chatterers to usurp the authority of the priests and allows the chatterers to appoint themselves as leaders. This would present a real existential threat to America. But there is no indication that will happen, even though the Catholics have a very well-defined body of work to justify such and to propose an alternative of social organization. The Catholic leadership does not have the will to undertake this risky proposition, because they have in fact accepted the American Proposition, and modeled their actions and the Church, in accordance with it. America is resilient because it co-opts those who could be most dangerous to it, and that co-option is aided by allowing some to chatter. America allows Catholics – and many others – to be holy and rich or famous at the same time, to serve God and wealth or self concurrently, and America offers all things to all people. And so the Catholic hierarchy, with the help of Catholic writers, perpetuate the American Proposition and keeps the Church a powerful American asset.

 

[1] This is one in an ongoing series of articles that I will write to document and comment upon the resiliency of the American experiment. These articles are intended as an objective analysis of this most peculiar and unique system, America, though the information relied upon may be both empirical and anecdotal.

[2] “The Laetare Medal,” University of Notre Dame, http://laetare.nd.edu/about/ accessed June 16, 2016.

[3] Id.

[4] Dennis Brown, “Biden and Boehner to jointly receive Laetare Medal,” March 5, 2016, “Notre Dame News,” http://news.nd.edu/news/65074-2016-laetare-medal/ accessed June 16, 2016.

[5] Bishop Kevin Rhoades, “Concerning the decision of Notre Dame to honor Vice-President Biden and former Speaker Boehner with the Laetare Medal,” Today’s Catholic, March 20, 2016.

[6] David A Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition,” (South Bend, Indiana: Fidelity Press, 2015), 592. (Emphasis supplied)

[7] Shahida Arabi, “20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths Use To Silence You,” http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/, retrieved July 21, 2016.

[8] From “With Both Hands” http://www.benespen.com/journal/2015/9/27/the-long-view-an-open-letter-to-e-michael-jones retrieved July 15, 2016.

[9] John Beaumont, The Mississippi Runs Into the Tiber (South Bend, Indiana: Fidelity 2014), 462.

[10] Beaumont, The Mississippi Runs Into the Tiber, 454.

[11] Id., p. 456.

[12] E Michael Jones, Facebook, July 29, 2016: “E Michael Jones Michael Voris was running a fundamentally dishonest operation which was doing damage to the Church. I wrote the piece because no one could explain what was really going on. Everything I said can be verified, but I am going to honor the wishes of those sources who wish to remain anonymous.”

 

(NOTE:  This article was submitted as a letter to the editor to a number of publications last year but never published.)

America is based on an ideology that establishes a political economy benefitting primarily private interests and is characterized by continuous expansion and the idea of exceptionalism. This ideology must be perennially restated to enlist public support which is essential for the expansion of the American cultural-social-economic empire.   Necessary to winning public support or public opinion is, first, the manipulation of the media by the same oligarchs and their allies who exert inordinate influence on the government and, second, the enlistment of the religious leaders who, if they ever came to their senses, would pose a serious threat to the American ideology. This letter deals with the recent efforts to keep the religious leaders in the American camp for the continued prosecution of World War IV.

In early February, 2015 President Barack Obama attended an annual event known as the National Prayer Breakfast, which was begun in 1953 during the administration of President Dwight D Eisenhower as part of his initiative to actively enlist the religious leaders and their denominations in the Cold War against Soviet Communism. The human element of people sharing a meal, time and space together is part of the personal approach American leadership has practiced with great effect ever since at least the days of Miami Indian Chief Little Turtle when he was feted by President George Washington and shortly thereafter became an American agent. It is part of the greater dynamic observed by the great German jurist and thinker Carl Schmitt who wrote that American leadership was adept especially in the international arena at strategies based on practicality and not so much on principle.  And, the Prayer Breakfast is evidence of the correctness of the thesis put forth by Bishop Josef Fessler, Secretary of the Vatican I Council, who said that secular states, as in the US, come to control religion. He also mentioned that there arises a “Heathen Caesarism” that elevates the state as an idol and so infuses the populace.  In any event, the comments by the President of the United States of America at the Prayer Breakfast dictated, in the Americans’ peculiar and seemingly practical and amiable way, religious doctrine. This was a violation of religious liberty as Catholics understand the term, and as John Courtney Murray SJ would have to agree, but it was done in such a way that hardly anyone noticed, cared, or felt comfortable enough to voice an objection. In a way, the President was making an offer no one could refuse, because after all, who is in favor of violence, terror and war? But still, he was defining religion and its doctrines.

First, President Obama said it was a twisting and distortion of “faith” when “violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith.” He then referenced ISIL and also Christians who “during the Crusades and the Inquisition…committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” For emphasis he said “no God condones terror.” [i]   Next, no one religion had it all right as he said the “starting point of faith is some doubt – not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us…that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.” [ii] The call for “humility” certainly did not hinder the most powerful government official in the world from telling the assembled who represented thousands of years of religious study that all that study and inspiration still did not get it right. But such a claim is typically American for the Americans say they got it all right with their ideology and resultant exceptionalism. It was also the kind of statement that was calculated to have the attendees feel secure in their little religious fiefdoms and so in a roundabout way fed their pride and increased their loyalty to the American system, something also observed by Alexis De Tocqueville.

Having listed those ideas that were disapproved, religions were told their place. All humans are “children of God” and none of us should judge anyone else with Pope Francis’ irresponsible remark “Who am I to judge?” quoted by the President. The religions should “work to end injustice – injustice of poverty and hunger”; “stand up for the dignity and value of every woman, and man, and child because we are all equal in His eyes, and work to send the scourge and sing of modern-day slavery and human trafficking”; and “set the oppressed free.”

Most importantly, the President of the United States called the religious to loyalty to the American ideology with perhaps its most important element being the divorce of God’s law from man’s activities in the public policy area. He said, with irony apparent to the discerning observer, that “we need…to uphold the distinction between our faith and our governments. Between church and between state…our government does not sponsor a religion, nor does it pressure anyone to practice a particular faith, or any faith at all. And the result is a culture where people of all backgrounds and beliefs can freely and proudly worship without fear or coercion….”   It was quintessential Thomas Paine American ideology straight from Common Sense – religious liberty means freedom to worship as you wish, no less, no more. And, it was establishment of the terms, and doctrines, for acceptable religions in America.

A couple of weeks later the President made certain comments during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. He repeated many of the same sentiments but he also set out the strategy by which to counter those with disapproved religious beliefs. The first part of the strategy was to target the youth, something the Communists understood. The American version of that was to infuse in them a materialism, worldliness, and related individualism as he said “Countries have to truly invest in the education and skills and job training that our extraordinary young people need. And by the way, that’s boys and girls, and men and women, because countries will not be truly successful if half their populations – if their girls and their women are denied opportunity….America will continue to forge new partnerships in entrepreneurship and innovation, and science and technology, so young people from Morocco to Malaysia can start new business and create more prosperity.”[iii]

Second, an ideological war had to be waged against other ideas, he said.   America had to be presented as something good so he said “the essential ingredient to real and lasting stability and progress is not less democracy, it’s more democracy. It’s institutions that uphold the rule of law and apply justice equally. It’s security forces and police that respect human rights and treat people with dignity. It’s free speech and strong civil societies where people can organize and assemble and advocate for peaceful change. It’s freedom of religion where all people can practice their faith without fear and intimidation.”   This was something Dr Edward P Lilly or John Courtney Murray SJ could have written in 1953. Finally, “faith leaders” have to serve as agents for the American ideology when they see “someone is beginning to espouse violent interpretation of religion.” Nothing new here really when one considers that during the so-called Civil Rights Movement many religious leaders espoused a morality defined by government, or the total strangers with inordinate influence over the government and the media.

[i] Barrack Obama, “Remarks by the President at National Prayer Breakfast,” February 5, 2015, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, www. Whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/05/remarks-president-national-prayer-…. Accessed March 8, 2015.

[ii] Barrack Obama, “Remarks by the President at National Prayer Breakfast,” February 5, 2015, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, www. Whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/05/remarks-president-national-prayer-…. Accessed March 8, 2015.

[iii] Barrack Obama, “Remarks by the President in Closing of the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism,” February 18, 2015, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, www.Whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/05/remarks-president-national-prayer-…Accessed March 8, 2015.

President Obama has just finished speaking at Hiroshima concerning the nuclear bombings there done by the Americans in August 1945.  No apology, but that didn’t stop the pundits from lambasting him for not adequately thumping his chest about American greatness and exceptionalism.

The problem with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, aside from the use of a means considered immoral by many (using nuclear weapons against civilians), is, in my estimation based on a study of Catholic doctrine and of USA history, the fact that it was part of a war aim that was itself immoral.  But no one talks about that.  Well, at least until now, or maybe May, 2015 when I wrote the article below that was a critique of a book by Wilson Miscamble, CSC approving of the use of nuclear weapons.  Miscamble, is of course, a Catholic priest, and the Catholics along with the leadership of their Church, have turned that vast organization into a dispenser of Liberalism and hence an important arm of American soft power.  America depends largely on the strength of its ideas, the American ideology as I describe in my book, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition.  However, giving real doctrinal power to those ideas are the currency of the USA and the armed forces of that same political entity.

“The Most Controversial Decision:

Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan”

By Wilson Miscamble, CSC

Cambridge University Press, 2011; 174 pp.

 

Miscamble’s Most Miserable Morality (Originally published May 2015)

By: David A. Wemhoff

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, dressed in somber hues walked behind a Shinto priest to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo where in late December 2013 he “paid his respects” as Time magazine reported.[i]  The Yasukuni Shrine contains the Book of Souls which has the names of nearly two and a half million Japanese, to include more than 1,000 Japanese convicted of war crimes after World War II.[ii]  The American reaction was swift and severe.  In the words of the Wall Street Journal, “a rare admonition” issued from the US. “`The United States is disappointed that Japan’s leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan’s neighbors,’ said the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on its website, in an unusual direct criticism of Japan’s leader by its main ally.”[iii] Abe’s actions were something less than an unqualified denunciation of fellow Japanese the Americans deemed to be bad, something the conquerors still expected from the conquered nearly seventy years after Japanese surrender.   But there was another and related problem with Abe’s actions in the eyes of the Americans.  By walking behind a priest of the Shinto religion, which had been the state religion of Japan until 1945 when the American occupiers disestablished it, Abe made clear the importance of Shintoism to the Japanese people and the Japanese state.  His actions bore witness to the subordination of the material to the spiritual which is a principle of the natural law, something rejected by the ideology which defines America.

 

The social re-engineering put in place after the Japanese surrender and at the point of a bayonet, or the American equivalent of a bayonet, was starting to unravel.  Japanese national, or ethnic, identity and pride was starting to manifest itself again, and just in time because Japan was suffering a national malaise that even its enemies noted.  With a declining birthrate, symptomatic of severe social ills, the Japanese, by some accounts, were on their way to extinction.  The seeds of this malaise were in the social re-engineering practiced on the Japanese by the Americans after the unconditional surrender of the Japanese government aboard a US warship.  The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki lead to the Japanese total capitulation, but as new life sprang up unexpected, lush, and verdant in the atomic ash-heaps of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shortly after the attacks, new life was stirring the Japanese soul about seventy years later, and there really was nothing the Americans could do about it.  The actions of Abe, imperfect as they may be, evince a desire of the Japanese leadership to have their people live, life comes from on high, and saying yes to life is cooperating with the Almighty.  New life is creation, it is love, it is all part of the order of the universe, or, as the editor of this magazine and the Evangelist St John might put it, part of Logos.

Evil but right?

The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the only times in human history that nuclear weapons were used, and these weapons were used, it should be noted, by the first secular state ever devised by man.  Wilson Miscamble, a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart, priest, and history professor at the University of Notre Dame, concludes that the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both necessary and right even if the bombings were immoral, or evil.  He claims these bombings saved Japanese and American lives.  His conclusion rests on the acceptability or legitimacy of the American war aims which were the unconditional surrender of Japan and the social re-engineering of that society, the fruits of which confront Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today.  Accepting as legitimate the American war aims without any serious discussion of them, Miscamble’s arguments favoring the use of the nuclear weapons on noncombatants depends on two errors rejected by Catholic morality:  that the ends justify the means and that to avoid evil one may do evil.  Both arguments are without merit in terms of Catholic morality, an analysis Miscamble never conducts in his book.

Instead, Miscamble accepts as moral authority the opinions of the Jew Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) about the ideas of Niccolo Macchiavelli (1469-1527).  Miscamble opines that Truman’s decision was the “lesser of the evils available to him” from the “perspective of over six decades…when viewed in the context of the long and terrible war.”[iv]  However, “Isaiah Berlin in his astute commentary on Machiavelli summed up the argument well:  `One can save one’s soul, or one can found or maintain or serve a great and glorious state; but not always both at once.’”[v]

The Notre Dame historian is admitting that the nuclear bombings of noncombatants were evil, but because it was the “lesser of two evils,” the decision was “right” which, without any definition of “right,” suggests morally acceptable.   This goes against the moral teachings of the very religion a Catholic priest is supposed to uphold if not also spread.  The Catholic Faith announces a simple principle that is clearly articulated in the 1992 version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):  “The end does not justify the means.” (CCC 1753, 1759)  And in a slightly different formulation, “`An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention.’ (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Dec. praec. 6).” (CCC 1759)  (The Catholic Encyclopedia from 1912 made plain that “No end justifies an immoral means.”[vi])

Miscamble’s calling that which is evil “right” is anything but a “firm and unequivocal condemnation” of the nuclear bombings.  This demand for all the faithful comes from the Catechism which refers to Gaudium et Spes and its condemnation of the use of nuclear weapons on civilians:

`Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.’ (CCC 2314)

Fr. Francis J. Connell, C.Ss.R., known as the Catholic Theologian of America was Dean of the School of Sacred Theology at the Catholic University of America from 1949 to 1958.  He was a periti at Vatican II and he, along with the Holy Spirit, saved the day when it came to Dignitatis Humanae for he insisted that it mention the Catholic Church as the one true Church and the Catholic religion the one true religion, that it plainly state Catholic doctrine stays the same on matters of church and state, and that the norm of all human behavior is the divine positive law.  Fr. Connell firmly and unequivocally condemned the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the bombings of Japanese and German cities.  In Morals in Politics and Professions:  A Guide for Catholics in Public Life, he cited to an article written in 1944 by Fr. John Ford, SJ (1903-1989) entitled “The Morality of Obliteration Bombing,” and published in, of all journals, Jesuit John Courtney Murray’s Theological Studies:

It must be confessed regretfully that some of the methods employed in the recent World War cannot be squared with the moral principles of the Catholic Church.  For example, the so-called `obliteration bombing’ was nothing else but the murder of noncombatants on a large scale.  The climax of this immoral method of warfare was reached when the atomic bomb was used on two residential cities of Japan.  Even though these cities contained military objectives which could lawfully be the target of our air attacks, the dreadful havoc wrought concomitantly, the destruction or maiming of hundreds of thousands of innocent persons, has inflicted a permanent blot of shame on the United States.[vii]

Connell explained with some emphasis that expediency, as cited by Miscamble for justifying Truman’s decisions as “right,” is improper:

If a means of waging war is intrinsically wrong, no soldier or sailor may employ it, no matter what may be the consequences to himself.  Thus, an aviator commanded to drop his bombs on a merely residential section of a city must refuse even though he will be court-martialed and shot…the law of God takes precedence over expediency, and that if a method of warfare is wrong, it may not be employed, even though it might be conducive to a speedier and more certain victory.  Catholics especially must be mindful of this fundamental moral truth, for as the world is going now, the Catholic Church will soon be alone in upholding unchangeable standards of morality.[viii]

Miscamble’s book and his conclusions, which are anything but a “firm and unequivocal condemnation” of the use of nuclear weapons, threaten to not only cloud this understanding but also to mute the one last defender of the unchangeable standards of morality.  His opinions are likely to cause others to do wrong, and that is scandal, a grave sin in itself. (CCC 2287)  In the place of Catholic morality and Thomism, Miscamble offers the Talmud, but these are the signs of the times for Notre Dame has always served the powerful or the winners, the real life manifestation of a comment made by the priest in Werner Herzog’s powerful motion picture,  Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes (translation:  Aguirre, the Wrath of God).  The WASPs have been replaced by the Jews as the masters of the Catholics at Notre Dame, and now their morality is propagated by professors and apparently priests alike.  This transition is indicative of a tension in America and the West today between the Anglo-American Enlightenment and the belief systems of the Jews, or the Talmud, but I digress.

Context

Miscamble mentions context as justification for Truman’s evil becoming right.  Judging from what he has written, part of that context is the widespread horror and destruction caused by World War II.  In other words, Miscamble engages in relativizing the nuclear bombings citing to other horrible events during World War II such as the supposed destruction of a number of cities by the Germans and Japanese.  Miscamble is saying something that Catholic morality again condemns and that Fr. Connell reminds us:  “Two wrongs do not make a right.”[ix]

Another problem with this approach is that the extent of the damage done by the Germans and Japanese was never as great as that done by the Americans and their Allies.  The Americans and their allies developed and used long range high altitude bombers – a weapon the Axis Powers neither had nor developed — for the express purpose of repeatedly targeting civilian populations on a massive scale.  With the fire-bombings of Dresden and Tokyo (conservatively 100,000 perished in one night, March 9, 1945), as well as the “obliteration bombing” referenced by Fr. Connell above, the Americans and their allies wreaked havoc on a scale unmatched in modern history.  Therefore, in reality, Miscamble’s position is that American evil justified more American evil to achieve the goals of the US Government, which goals, or war aims, were in themselves immoral under Catholic teaching.

The war aims of the US Government and those of the Allies, the morality of which Miscamble does not question, were nothing less than the social re-engineering of Germany and Japan, something which Miscamble freely admits.   To achieve these war aims, the Japanese had to unconditionally surrender.  All of this was agreed to at the Casablanca conference of January 1943 in which FDR and Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Miscamble claims the American public consented to this decision.  Unconditional surrender was a term that meant, according to Miscamble, “no negotiation of terms.”  Germany and Japan “would need to be fully occupied and seriously reformed to uproot effectively the Nazism and Japanese militarism that underlay their rapacious aggression.”  Unconditional surrender hands a blank check to the enemy, and it is something that is only demanded by a physically superior, and at the same time morally inferior, enemy.   The Americans pioneered the concept in modern times with the American Civil War, and associated with unconditional surrender of the Confederate States of America was the total and brutal destruction of the way of life of the American Southerners.  The Japanese leadership undoubtedly knew all of this so they stiffened their resolve as they saw the fight become one for survival as the Americans promised to destroy their way of life which had been formed in accordance with a legitimate understanding of the natural law.  The continued existence of the Japanese people, which was threatened by an American victory that would lead to re-ordering the society and their demise as a people, was, and is, a proper objective under the natural law.  In other words, ethnicity is in accordance with God’s plan, and its defense and propagation is moral.

Since Miscamble mentions context, he should have properly examined the events leading up to the start of World War II, and the Japanese prosecution of the war against China which war was literally fueled by the Americans.  But Miscamble did not do this inquiry because to do so would have called into question American war aims and rendered unnecessary and wrong (to use his categories) the invasion of the Japanese islands and the use of atomic weapons.

Robert W. Coakley (1917-1998) was an American historian who wrote the US Army’s definitive history of World War II.  Military officers read Coakley’s American Military History or parts of it at one point or another especially as it had issued as part of the Army Historical Series which in turn issued from the Office of the Chief of Military History, United States Army.  Coakley made clear that the Japanese war aims were limited.  The Japanese sought to establish under their control a “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere,” or an economic block, an idea that Americans have implemented throughout the world over the course of many years, most notably in Latin America, the Caribbean, and now with the Eurozone.  Coakley explained the Japanese war aims were to gain a defensive perimeter around conquered territories, and not to stretch beyond that.  He also explained that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was meant to keep the Americans from interfering with this strategy:

Japan believed it necessary to destroy or neutralize American striking power in the Pacific, the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and the US Far East Air Force in the Philippines, before moving southward and eastward to occupy Malaya, the Netherlands Indies, the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam the Gilbert Islands, Thailand, and Burma.  Once in control of these areas the Japanese intended to establish a defensive perimeter stretching from the Kurile Islands south through Wake, the Marianas, the Carolines, and the Marshalls and Gilberts to Rabaul on New Britain.  From Rabaul the perimeter would extend westward to northwestern New Guinea and would encompass the Indies, Malaya, Thailand, and Burma.[x]

The Americans played a role in encouraging the very behavior which they claimed had to be rooted out of the Japanese people after their unconditional surrender.  The Americans supported Japanese aggression against Manchuria and China during the 1930s by selling them oil, but that stopped in July, 1941, and shortly thereafter the Japanese decided to push into Southeast Asia for the oil they needed.  That region consisted of French and British colonies.  Like a billiards or pool player who lines up the cue ball to start a chain reaction by sending other balls into the table’s pockets, the US leadership lined up its policy to create mayhem amongst its friends and business clients.

A growing body of research is revealing the American, if not also the British, role in setting the conditions for World War II, if not also provoking the Germans and Japanese to war.  Perhaps most notable in this regard is Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time; Professor Michael Hudson’s Super Imperialism:  The Economic Strategy of American Empire; and Professor Guido Preparata’s Conjuring Hitler:  How Britain and American Made the Third Reich.  The American involvement in bringing about the very evil they then decried is important so as to properly understand why unconditional surrender was demanded, and the decision to use nuclear weapons a foregone conclusion.  This is also important to understand all the better that unconditional surrender and the use of nuclear weapons were not justified.

FDR’s “Four Freedoms” speech which was his State of the Union Address delivered as required by the US constitution to the Congress and the American people on January 6, 1941.  That speech, which has never been repudiated by the US leadership, sets out the reengineering of global societies to conform with a political economy based on the American ideology or Liberalism.  This reengineering, after physically destroying the productive capacity of two of the strongest American competitors, places those and other societies under the control of the powerful American banking interests.

FDR said appeasement or peace with the “new order of tyranny” appeared unattainable, and therefore, war was necessary.  He called on Americans to prepare for a war that would remake the world according to “four essential human freedoms” in “our own time and generation.”  These four freedoms, to be implemented everywhere and anywhere in the world were:

The first is freedom of speech and expression, everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, everywhere in the world.  The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants – everywhere in the world.  The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor, anywhere in the world.[xi]

FDR claimed a new world order was to be based on “the greater conception, the moral order.”  Indeed, from the beginning, America had “been engaged in change — in a perpetual peaceful revolution – a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions….”  The American world order was to be one where there is cooperation of “free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.”  These societies, based on freedom, are in turn to be based on the “supremacy of human rights everywhere” and America’s support of revolutionary movements to permit such “goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them.”[xii]

The financial elites of England and America, having encouraged the rise of a militant German state and encouraged the Japanese war with China, had an excuse to use military force to subdue the two great independent economic powers of the day.  The hoi polloi, like the fathers of many reading this, who would fight and die for these oligarchs or plutocrats and their aggrandizement were given a high sounding purpose to complement an ideology that sent them marching off gladly to the sounds of guns and the horrors of war.  This same ideology destroyed all defenses to the further degeneration of American society over the course of the following decades, and allowed for the abortion of the grandchildren of those known as “the Greatest Generation” — the very people who fought World War II to advance FDR’s “moral order.”

Moral aims

Proportionality governs in setting moral war aims.  Under this principle neither the invasion of Japan nor unconditional surrender nor the use of nuclear weapons was moral.

The 1992 version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses just war (2309), and, as it does with countless other topics, only obtusely refers to war aims.  In stating the “factors for the legitimate defense by military force,” the Catechism states the first factor is to assess whether the “damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grace, and certain.”  The second factor deals with “putting an end to it” with “it” referring to the damage caused by the so-called aggressor.  The final point is that the “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.”  The idea is that damage or a specific evil is to be remedied or eliminated with a just war.  Eliminating an entire people or even inserting into a society the seeds of its destruction, which is what the evidence strongly suggests in the case of American occupation of Japan, is prohibited by this formulation of the just war doctrine because this would not be proportionate to the evils or damages sought to be corrected or remedied.  The remedy to the Japanese actions was relinquishment of their control and occupation of China and Southeast Asia, not re-ordering their society so as to destroy it.  This goal could have been achieved without invading Japan and without dropping the atomic bomb.

The Catholic Encyclopedia does enter into a clearer discussion of acceptable war aims and it starts with the recognition of the “title and purpose” of war.  A state has a “primary title” to go to war if the “state’s right…are menaced by foreign aggression not otherwise to be prevented than by war”; an “actual violation of right not otherwise reparable” and third, the need to punish the “threatening or infringing power for the security of the future.”  Secondary titles may come from a request of another state or people in peril or from the “fact of the oppression of the innocent.”  The Encyclopedia proceeds to explain that “mere expansion of trade” and “acquisition of new territory” does not give a state a “natural title to wage war upon another state.”[xiii]  The Encyclopedia states that the “subject matter of the right of war” is to “enforce submission, implying the acceptance of a final readjustment and proportionate penalty.”[xiv]

Again we turn to Fr. Connell for clarity.  In Outlines of Moral Theology, he elaborated on proper war aims in a section entitled “Obligations of Legal Justice”:

The Catholic Church teaches that the waging of war is not in itself unjust.  However, certain conditions must be fulfilled before a nation may lawfully go to war.  There must be a good reason, proportionate to the evils which can be anticipated.  Thus the recovery of a large piece of stolen territory, and the ejection of unjust invaders, are just reasons.[xv]

The war aims must seek a remedy that is proportionate to the harm suffered.  Admiral William Leahy (1875-1959) understood this and he knew the American war aims as to Japan were disproportionate.  As Miscamble (to his credit) relates, Leahy questioned these war aims and did so directly to Truman.  But Truman would have none of it and dismissed Leahy’s comments by claiming that the American people, as represented by their elected representatives, wanted unconditional surrender and occupation of Japan.

Leahy’s point though was well-taken.  By August, 1945, the USSR was in the war against Japan and routing the Japanese armies in Manchuria, the US B-29s had been raining bombs on Tokyo and other major cities, a naval blockade was constricting the islands making food and fuel scarce, and the Japanese forces in China and Southeast Asia were effectively being isolated and deprived of needed logistical support.  The Japanese were also indicating that they were willing to surrender, but with conditions, the most important of which was to keep the emperor in power and as a god.  The Americans could have reached an agreement to end the war in the Pacific without the use of nuclear weapons, but they did not want to do so simply because they had a grander strategy which involved building what Henry R. Luce called “The American Century,” or the American empire.  The American war aims were themselves immoral and they used immoral means (what Fr. Connell termed “murder”) to achieve these war aims.

Who and how

I first saw Miscamble about nine or ten years ago when I still believed that Notre Dame could be Catholic.  He was making a presentation with the late Ralph McInerny and other members of something called the Sycamore Trust which, according to its website, consists of “Alumni protecting Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.”  One’s initial view of the Sycamore Trust is that it is based on another vague term that pontiffs and other prelates are so fond of using:  “catholic identity.”  That could mean more guys wearing Roman collars or more crucifixes in the class rooms, but it appears to deal mostly with the perennial sexual issues Catholics love to dwell on – abortion protests, and opposition to “Vagina Monologues.”  There is some mention of increasing the number of Catholic faculty, but that really does not mean anything.  After all, Miscamble is a Catholic priest and with his book he endorses what the Catholic faith denounces.  William Dempsey, Class of 1952 and former Clerk to a US Supreme Court Justice and holder of a number of other honors and positions of importance in American society, is the President of the Sycamore Trust.  He is one of the well-healed Catholics who have advanced in a worldly sense by operating from a point of view that holds the American ideology as good in principle.

Every year the University of Notre Dame hosts a reunion weekend.  It used to be that alumni, interested people, and groups like the Sycamore Trust could host seminars for the alumni and their families during this weekend in early June of every year, but that all was changed recently and only those individuals and groups that are properly vetted by the authorities at Notre Dame or the Alumni Association are allowed to do so.  In any event, nine or ten years ago the Sycamore Trust was putting on a seminar to explain what was happening at Notre Dame.  It was the height of indignation at “Vagina Monologues” and people packed the room in DeBartolo Hall.  I was present and saw that the panel consisted of Dempsey, Ralph McInerney, a Dr. Susan Biddle Shearer, a recent Notre Dame graduate (I seem to recall), and of course, Miscamble.

Miscamble said a number of things that were calculated to be pleasing to the audience which wanted to believe that Notre Dame could remain, or return to, being Catholic.  In that vein, he called on the audience, which like all Americans believed in activism, to write letters to the President of the University telling them of their displeasure with things like the Vagina Monologues.  After the panel’s pitch, they opened up the floor to questions.  I observed one short fellow wearing sweaty workout clothes slowly stand up to make a comment.  In the gentle drawl of someone from southern Indiana this fellow said, the purpose of education and especially Catholic education was to save souls.  The room erupted in applause and cheers, and the panel, Miscamble included, appeared pleased.  Then this fellow with the gentle Hoosier drawl said that if Notre Dame was not going to get the “Vagina Monologues” off campus, then let the President of the University know that you would take your money elsewhere.  That brought the house down.  Miscamble catapulted out of his seat while McInerney grew visibly angry and redder and redder in the face.  Miscamble nervously shouted over and over, while pointing at the fellow in the sweaty workout clothes, “Oh no, don’t do that!  Don’t do that!”  In this brief moment, the mask of the charade fell away and the purpose of the Sycamore Trust became clear – to control dissent in a harmless way, something the American psychological manipulators have done so well for so long.  Miscamble’s role in conducting psychological manipulation, which is inherently dishonest and deceitful, was laid bare, though it is not unexpected given his history.

On the Notre Dame website there is a short biography of Miscamble.  Born in 1953 in Australia, Miscamble “received his doctoral degree” from the University of Notre Dame in history in 1980, and in April, 1988 was ordained a priest in the CSC order.  Since then, he has taught at the university.  The biography also mentions Miscamble “served for two years as North American analyst in the Office of National Assessments [ONA], Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Canberra, Australia.”  The ONA according to its website, has the mission of “Analysing the world; anticipating change; strengthening outcomes for Australia.”  The ONA is “an Australian intelligence agency” which “provides all-source assessments on international political, strategic and economic developments” and “coordinates and evaluates the work and performance of Australia’s foreign intelligence agencies.”  It also operates with the understanding that information is to be exploited and that relations with foreign intelligence agencies is important.[xvi]

The Knights of Columbus and Right to Life overlooked all of this and billed Miscamble as an “inspiring international Pro-life speaker, distinguished Notre Dame history professor.”  He was hosted as a speaker and also as the concelebrant of, of all things, a “Mass for Life” during their “Respect Life Month.”  This is an odd turn of affairs given that the nuclear weapon use, approved by Miscamble, paved the way for the American occupation that lead to the introduction of abortion into Japanese society.  Eamonn Keane from the “Renew America” website recounts this oftentimes historically overlooked fact by quoting from Steven Mosher’s book, Population Control:  Real Costs, Illusory Benefits.  Keane writes:

Steve Mosher again makes a telling point when in referring to Japan’s experience with population control, he says: `Perhaps the first ‘successful’ population control program was carried out in post-war Japan. Prostrated by the war, Japanese leaders humbly acceded to MacArthur’s suggestion that abortion be legalized. While it was publicly maintained that the devastated Japanese economy could not support more people, the general’s interest was apparently in fighting the next war — in-utero, as it were. He must have been pleased as the birth rate fell by half over the next few years.’ Following through on General MacArthur’s advice, in 1948 the Japanese Diet passed the Eugenic Protection Law which made abortion, sterilization and contraception widely available.[xvii]

Abortion and contraception are weapons of war. Miscamble is a history professor, and he should know that, even if he were not a priest and prominent pro-lifer. When the Japanese leadership balked at unconditional surrender, they probably anticipated that if they agreed to no terms, they were condemning their people to a slow death as they were placing their people at the whim and disposal of the Americans, whose very country’s existence is due largely to the genocide of the American Indians. A surrender should mean that the victor will not prosecute war against the vanquished and that a just peace shall ensue, but a number of historians provide evidence that this is not the American modus operandi. Whether the Native Americans, the Confederacy, the Filipinos/Moros, Germans, or others, it is after surrender that the Americans often do their greatest harm to a society. The Japanese experience with the Americans is consistent with that of others. This body of evidence suggests that there is something intrinsic to the American character that is opposed to Logos, which character is based largely on an ideology that I discussed in an earlier article in this magazine.

As a former intelligence officer or analyst, and as a member of the religious order known as the Congregation of the Sacred Heart, a notably Americanist outfit, Miscamble picked up a few tricks along the way.  Those tricks become apparent in the course of his book approving the sins of Truman and those who carried out his orders.  The most obvious is to call Truman’s decision evil, but necessary and right.

Photos are used to slant this book.  There are a number of photos of Americans and English political leaders, or scientists and servicemen, thereby strengthening the reader’s psychological attachment to these men who planned, ordered, and executed war crimes.  These photos depict the Americans and English as smiling or strong or serious or in any of a number of other complementary and sympathetic views. Then there is Miscamble’s repeated use of unnecessary adjectives which direct our sympathies accordingly.  One of many instances was Miscamble’s statement that “George Marshall portrayed the matter correctly”[xviii] in a reference to the military situation that supposedly justified use of nuclear weapons.

The absence of photographs of the devastation caused by the bombings is also used to slant the book.  There are two photos taken at a distance for each of the cities attacked, but these photos were taken after the place had been cleaned up some as evidenced by the cleared streets.  There are no photos of the Japanese in Hiroshima or Nagasaki who were wounded or killed by the atomic bombings, and there is no photograph of the Catholic Church in Nagasaki, the Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral, also known as the Urakami Cathedral, which Irish Catholic US Army Air Corp Major Charles Sweeney piloting the bomber “Bockscar” used as the point of reference for releasing the 22 kiloton “Little Boy” on August 9, 1945.[xix]

The photos of physical devastation are easier than the ones of the devastation wrought on human flesh.  Pulitzer Prize winner John Hersey (1914-1993) wrote Hiroshima describing the stories of six people (one of which was a Catholic priest) who lived through the bombing of Hiroshima.  Some were incinerated immediately, others lingered for a period with gamma radiation poisoning.  Still others endured burns from the heat, and some of those burns were melted eyeballs and melted faces.  Shrapnel and debris caused a lot of suffering.  Perhaps most notably Hersey explained that those affected by the gamma radiation of the bomb first exhibited yellow spots or swelling, followed by reddening as the day wore on, followed by swelling and purulence.  In one instance one of the people in Hersey’s book commented on how human skin sloughed off the bodies of the living.  Numerous eyewitness accounts described the stoicism of the Japanese people who had been so cruelly hurt by this new weapon without being given any warning.  But all of this is just hype according to Miscamble who claims the Japanese used it for sympathy after the war.

Eleanor Coerr (1922-2010), who wrote children’s books, was Canadian, not Japanese, and she wrote a heartrending, and true story of little Sadako Sasaki, who, unusually small and frail at age two and a half years due to the starvation diet of the Japanese people caused by the American blockade, was literally blown through the window of her home by the atomic blast over Hiroshima.  Her mother found her alive and two blocks away, but Sadako was one of the 350,000 or so hibakusha,[xx] or those harmed by the bombing.  Her slow death due to radiation induced cancer at age 12 was recounted by Coerr and is now repeated for the purpose of promoting world peace through education and understanding at the Hiroshima School.[xxi]  While about 100,000[xxii] were calculated by the Americans as having died in the two bombings, the effects of the radiation continue to this day.  It should be noted that even some of those children in utero at the time of the bombings developed cancers that killed them as they grew.

Shouldn’t a prolife Catholic priest be concerned about what happens to children in utero when there are nuclear blasts especially when he supports the efforts of an organization such as Right to Life that claims to defend the right to life from conception to natural death?  Shouldn’t a prolife priest be against using nuclear weapons?  Shouldn’t a Catholic priest have compassion for the wounded and suffering?  Or should the motto of the pro-life movement, which embraces Miscamble who holds such troubling views and who makes such outrageous statements, be changed to “save the unborn, nuke the rest”?

Measured back

Miscamble plays up patriotism, whether as an Australian or as an American, but patriotism should not be used to deaden our consciences which Miscamble’s actions suggest is his intent.   He demonizes the Japanese, misrepresents their objectives, and ignores a very important pronouncement of the Vatican II Council and of Catholic moral teaching.  That is as stated in Gaudium et Spes, section 75, paragraph 4 that patriotism has limits as citizens should “always keep in mind the welfare of the whole human family which is formed into one by various kinds of links between races, peoples, and nations.”  The welfare of the whole human family is best insured by following the moral order and the Catholic Church is supposed to be the definitive teacher of that moral order.  This paragraph of Gaudium et Spes should prompt all Catholics to examine the real nature of Enlightenment states and study the conduct of these states in the world today and for the last 200 years or so.  With this knowledge Catholics around the world can engage in concerted action and use their efforts to bring the international community into harmony with the moral order, especially given that as Catholics our loyalty is first to Christ and His Law, and especially since the Council calls on us to do so.  This is further important and relevant to our day given that World War V, or the war against Russia, China and India, has begun.  While it is currently at the informational and economic stage, it is still a war between nuclear powers and the American leadership is intent on subduing, and most likely, later destroying those societies to reengineer them to be like America.

Certainly Miscamble’s book drives home the point that no country should be without nuclear weapons.  If Japan had the atom bomb in 1945, they could have inflicted large losses on the Americans, and Truman would have probably not ordered the atomic attack on Japan.  Given the American predilection to not only defeat but destroy their enemies, and their willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, foreign leaders could conclude that signing treaties limiting the use or possession of nuclear weapons has to be against the good of their own people.  Is this not the conclusion of the Israeli leadership?

Allied with this is something that Jesus said during the Sermon on the Mount which is that “the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” (Matthew 7:2)  So, if it was necessary and right to use nuclear weapons against Japanese civilians because of the militaristic nature of the Japanese, then an opponent of the US could use Miscamble’s same rationale to use nuclear weapons against America and the Americans because of their perceived nature and militarism as has become more readily apparent given the last 25 years of US history, or since the fall of the Soviet Union.  The US has the largest military budget of any country in the world – over 600 billion dollars per year – with the nearest country to them being China in a distant second with about 110 billion dollars spent on defense each year.  Russia recently announced plans to increase its military budget to about 100 billion dollars a year, or less than one-sixth the American military budget.[xxiii]

The Church teaches, and always has, that one joins in the sin of others by praising or approving the sin (CCC, 1868).  Truman’s use of nuclear weapons was a sin, and Miscamble’s treatment of the matter is an approval of this sin.  Therefore, the sin is now Miscamble’s, made worse by the scandal his book is causing.  The Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne South Bend should speak out against Miscamble’s book and conclusions, but perhaps he does not know of it yet.  The Sycamore Trust could help to maintain the Catholic identity of Notre Dame by issuing a statement of condemnation of Miscamble’s conclusions.  If it does not, this failure is more evidence that the organization is just another sophisticated means to safely channel dissent away from Notre Dame’s Americanism.  In any event, whether the Bishop or the Sycamore Trust do their duty or not, it is incumbent on all Catholics to unequivocally condemn the use of the nuclear weapons against Japan, and all sins committed by the Americans and their allies in targeting civilians especially with obliteration or mass bombings directed at noncombatants.

The war aims of unconditional surrender and social re-engineering of Germany and Japan, the indiscriminate bombings of German and Japanese cities, and the use of nuclear weapons against Japan were immoral and sins against God.  These things were, and remain, unequivocally wrong.   Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo, et doloso erue me.[xxiv]

[i] Hannah Beech, “Japan’s Hawkish PM Abe visits Japan’s Controversial Shrine That Honors War Criminals,” Time, December 25, 2013.

[ii] “Yasukuni Shrine,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasukuni_Shrine.

[iii] “Shinzo Abe’s Yasukuni Offensive:  Japan’s whitewashing of history is a strategic liability,” Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2013, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304483804579282143569765268.

[iv] Wilson Miscamble, The Most Controversial Decision:  Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan (New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2011), 123.

[v] Wilson Miscamble, The Most Controversial Decision:  Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan (New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2011), 121.

[vi] Macksey, C. (1912).  War.  In The Catholic Encyclopedia.  New York:  Robert Appleton Company.  Retrieved September 24, 2014 from New Advent:  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15546c.htm

[vii] Connell, Morals in Politics and Professions:  A Guide for Catholics in Public Life, 47-48.

[viii] Connell, Morals in Politics and Professions:  A Guide for Catholics in Public Life., 48.

[ix] Connell, Morals in Politics and Professions:  A Guide for Catholics in Public Life, 46-47.

[x] Robert W. Coakley, American Military History, Chapter 23.

[xi] Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Four Freedoms Speech.” http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/text/us/fdr1941.html (accessed May 29, 2010).

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] Macksey, C. (1912).  War.  In The Catholic Encyclopedia.  New York:  Robert Appleton Company.  Retrieved September 24, 2014 from New Advent:  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15546c.htm

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] Francis J. Connell, C.Ss.R., Outlines of Moral Theology, (Milwaukee, Wisconsin:  The Bruce Publishing Company, 1958), 116.

[xvi] Rev. Wilson D. (Bill) Miscamble, CSC, University of Notre Dame accessed October 28, 2014 from http://history.nd.edu/faculty/directory/rev-wilson-d-bill-miscamble-c-s-c/ ….; Office of National Assessments, Australian Government accessed October 29, 2014 from http://www.ona.gov.au/; “Office of National Assessments” Wikipedia accessed October 29, 2014 from hppt://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_National_Assessments….; Office of National Assessments, “Working at ONA,” http://www.ona.gov.au/careers.html as accessed February 8, 2015.

[xvii] Eamonn Keane “Resurrecting Nazi eugenics” Renew America November 11, 2010.  accessed from http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/keane/101111 November 29, 2014.

[xviii] Miscamble, The Most Controversial Decision,  113.

[xix] “Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” http://www.history.com/topics/world=war-ii/bombing-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/print as accessed October 24, 2014.

[xx] Alan Bellows, “Eyewitnesses to Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” http://www.damninteresting.com/eyewitensses-to-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/ as accessed October 24, 2014.

[xxi] http://www.hiroshima-is.ac.jp/index.php?page=sadako-story

[xxii] “The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” http://www.cnduk.org/campaigns/global-abolition/hiroshima-a-nagasaki as accessed October 24, 2014.

[xxiii] Amanda Macias, Jeremy Bender and Skye Gould, “The 35 Most Powerful Militaries In the World,” Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/35-most-powerful-militaries -in-the-world-2014-7 as accessed November 29, 2014

[xxiv] Ps. 42Translation:  Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy:

Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.