** SNAP CONFERENCE 2012 EXCLUSIVE ** Not Really About Sex Abuse: Radical Rev. Barry Lynn Unleashes Political Tirade Against Catholic Bishops

Barry Lynn

Not really about sex abuse: Rev. Barry Lynn tees off on Catholic Church for SNAP Conference

If there were still any doubt about the anti-Catholic agenda of the advocacy group SNAP, an angry tirade by Rev. Barry Lynn at the group's annual conference in Chicago last month should erase any such doubt.

Lynn built upon a similar speech he gave only months earlier to the pro-abortion lobbying group Feminist Majority (and at which Lynn sat next to Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP). Lynn took aim at the United States bishops' opposition to the Obama administration's healthcare mandate. It is an objection which Lynn went on to describe as a "total fraud" and an "unimaginable distortion of the very idea of freedom." As the description of Lynn's speech in SNAP's conference booklet declared:

"The Roman Catholic hierarchy is trying to radically redefine the meaning of religious liberty. It is no longer the right to worship, engage in rituals, evangelize with parishioners' donations and believe what you want. Now it is 'have your hired lobbyist squeeze as much as much as money as possible out of American taxpayers and follow only the secular rules and laws they feel like obeying.' This concept is now at the heart of the debate over healthcare coverage as well as the ongoing sex abuse litigation involving clergy. It is a hypocritical claim, and it cannot be allowed to prevail."

A shaky argument, and not about clergy abuse

Lynn's attempt to make a connection between the HHS mandate and clergy sex abuse was wobbly, at best. But his lack of cogency did not seem to matter to the SNAP conference attendees, who frequently broke into joyous applause when Lynn took slaps at the Catholic Church, according to sources present.

Lynn asserted that Catholic bishops have "no moral authority to speak" on women's issues and human sexuality, and the Church – even today – "considers itself to be above the law." He then claimed that the Church's objections to the government's mandates were not really about religious liberty, but about Catholic employers being given "special treatment" and the "power" to impose their religious doctrine on others.

In the end, the issue of clergy sex abuse was nothing but window dressing for a larger broadside against the Catholic Church. And Lynn's speech played well into SNAP's real motive: to promote a radical, "progressive" social agenda in direction opposition to that of the Catholic Church.

[See also: "SPECIAL REPORT: SNAP Uncovered: Facts About the Media's Favorite Church-Bashing Group"]


  1. Julie says:

    Wasn't Barry Lynn the leader of an effort to remove the Catholic Church's tax-exempt status? I would say that dovetails with SNAP's efforts to destroy the Catholic Church through financial and legal finagling.

  2. Oren says:

    Isn't the "Reverend" an atheist to boot? 

    • Pauli says:

      Yes, I believe he is, although I think he keeps his lack of real belief under his hat. His main assertion, it seems to me, is that religion has an extremely limited role to play in society, if any. His arrogant tone is that of a big government liberal. The guy comes of like a less calculating and more caustic Harry Reid.

  3. And therein lies the problem with SNAP's credibility.  Its conference is very careful to select speakers whose primary platform is an agenda against the Catholic Church but has nothing to do with protecting victims.  This is precisely the reason why SNAP has lost all credibility with many Catholics including many legitimate victims of clergy sexual abuse.  Its commitment to vindictiveness just does not speak to the needs of real survivors.The problem with SNAP as a "Survivors' Network" is that its leadership is not surviving at all. Even Fr. Tom Doyle is simply reacting to the blow his ego took when he felt that the American bishops did not listen to him in the 1980s. All he has done since is deliver a return blow for the bruise to his ego.  This is what SNAP has become, and it is very sad. I thank Dave Pierre for his continued courage and determination to expose the truth.

    • jim robertson says:

      We, the victims who worked the closest with SNAP for years. Know full well that SNAP does not represent victims. SNAP represents the Church not the victims. Please name one other movement that asks for money from victims but never asks us for our votes.

  4. jim robertson says:

    P.S. The answer is The Church.

  5. Publion says:

    An amazing bit from Rev. Attorney Lynn.
    My thought is that the Framers did an excellent job by preventing the State from involving itself in religion (think of the problems Henry VIII created; and the way things went for Orthodoxy under the Tsars).
    But the Framers could do it because they could still count on a Citizenry that had been Shaped by a Western civilization and culture that was in large part Shaped by Catholic thought, especially political thought.  In other words, the Framers could afford to separate Church and State as organizations because they could still rely on a) a common culture and b) a culture Shaped by the both the Judeo-Christian and Classical (Greek and Roman) civilizations.
    And the contributions – as filtered through the Church in the era of Christendom – were vital to the development of democracy in the West. The Greeks accepted the special status of Citizens but only within the particular city-state, and the Romans saw the rights of Citizenship as applying only if they were conferred by Rome herself.
    But  it was Aquinas who re-grounded those insights on the theological reality of humans’ being created in the Image of God and thus re-grounding those rights as matter of ‘natural law’ (which itself, in the Catholic vision, embraced God and God’s loving Will) to all human beings and applying to them as a natural-right. In fact, without God – Who constitutes the Ground that is beyond the authority of any earthly government to dismiss or ignore – there is no reliable ground for any “inalienable” human rights because they are then left merely to the mercy and whim of the government-state itself, which is also the greatest historical threat to those rights.
    Thus Jefferson could count on those presumptions and dynamics, even as – in the mode of the Enlightenment – he sought to downplay God’s role by referring to “Nature’s God”, and to “Nature” itself as if it were a living Ground.
    Frankly, it has always seemed to me that in a democracy you can and should keep the government out of religion (preventing any repetition of Henry VIII or the Tsars).
    But since the government cannot interfere with the free exercise of religious beliefs, then if individual Citizens or their ecclesial polities wish to voice opinions as to how they want to see the polity’s laws and culture shaped, well … in a democracy that’s fair enough. As long as it’s submitted to genuine democratic process, and as long as there is no interference with the basic rights of the Citizens as human beings, then it is up to the working of genuine democracy to work out a fresh common consensus, should the need arise.
    The actual Problem, then, I think, lies on a much deeper level than that of the Separation of Church and State. It is ultimately and fundamentally a Question as to whether American culture and its government will still operate in a human reality conceived as a Multi-plane (this earthly dimension plus that dimension we might call the Beyond) or conceived as a Mono-plane (this earthly dimension is the only dimension).
    The Mono-plane leaves government in control as both the physically strongest earthly power (“how many divisions does the Pope have?”, Stalin sneered) and also – conceptually speaking – the only power and authority in human history and experience. Whereas the Multi-plane, anchored in the dense and rich substrate of Western political thought as it has developed over the millennia, acknowledges that humans are ‘citizens’ not only of the earthly dimension, but of that Beyond as well; and that human governments do not and cannot exercise a comprehensive or ‘total’ authority even in this world, let alone the Next.
    Thus every human government is conceptually ‘limited’ in the sense that the human being has “inalienable” rights which flow from that Beyond, and no human government can withdraw or repeal those rights. Every human being is a ‘Citizen’ of the Beyond, even before s/he is a citizen of this or that earthly government.
    Governments don’t like to hear things like that.
    The history of the Papacy in the millennium between the Fall of the Empire and the Reformation demonstrates the struggle between the Church and the assorted principalities and later the nascent monarchies and nations to gain complete control over the lives of the human beings within their territorial boundaries. And while in a smaller view, there was an element of politics (Papacy vs. Crown) to it all, in a larger sense the Church was working towards preventing a ‘monarchical totalitarianism’ whereby each national government or authority would be the sole arbiter of the lives (and minds and hearts and souls) of those human beings subject to it.
    It should come as no surprise that as Materialism gained traction in the Modern era, thus increasingly reducing human reality to the Mono-plane and flattening the lived human experience into the Mono-plane, earthly governments have increasingly sought to reduce the Church’s public stature or to abolish it altogether, thus eliminating that Multi-planar rival to total control by governments on the Mono-plane.
    In pre-modern Russia this was accomplished by the Crown co-opting Christianity as an arm of the Crown and the Patriarch as its servant or house-chaplain. That was always the tendency in the Eastern Empire of Byzantium as opposed to the Latin West based in Rome, where for the most part the Papacy successfully worked to retain its conceptual and political independence from the governments that came and went.  Henry VIII was working along those same Eastern lines, but the strength of the Western tradition kept him from replicating the Eastern experience in Europe itself.
    The French – during their revolution – and later the Soviets – during their revolution – tried the more overt method of simply eradicating the Church.
    It seems to me that since the American government – especially in the past half-century or so – has for its own reasons increasingly embraced Materialism and Secularism, then it has also grown to consider the Church as a rival: the Mono-plane once again realizing viscerally that the Church represents a Multi-plane that would somehow limits its power.
    It has been trying a different approach: ‘privatizing’ religion (i.e., you have complete freedom to believe whatever you like, but you have to keep your beliefs to yourself). And simultaneously, it has been working to help corrode the credibility of the Church, which is where the campaign of the sex-abuse ‘crisis’ comes in.
    But there are thus profound matters of vital political philosophy involved here. Because if there is no Multi-planar Ground that anchors and guarantees the rights of Citizens, then what guarantee for those rights  – beyond the whim and optimistically-presumed benevolence of the state and the government – do we have?  Even Jefferson, as mentioned above, recognized the Ground constituted by “Nature and Nature’s God”.
    This, in my view, is the deep and powerful long-range but low-frequency wave that pulses beneath the assorted short-range but  high-frequency ‘chatter’ of assorted pretexts by which the government can work – for its own purposes – to reduce the credibility of the Church these days. The oddly-sustained career of the Catholic abuse ‘crisis’ is one of this era’s most clear examples of that, in my opinion, and the ‘crisis’ cannot be adequately understood without an awareness of these profound and substantial dynamics.
    Reading the comments on the Philly trial site you can clearly see in the comments where some elements reacted with visceral and urgent revulsion to any effort to widen public understanding of the matter. Those elements wanted to control the focus of public opinion so that it would remain tightly and narrowly (and, I would say, shallowly) focused on the ‘stories’ and nothing more. (Not that it did the prosecution much good, in the end.)
    That there have been failures in the Church’s efforts historically cannot be denied; the Church is a human institution, although commissioned with a divine purpose. That such failures have somehow ‘proven’ some of the extraordinary assertions we have heard about the Church … is an assertion yet to be proven by any reliable evidentiary or analytic process I have seen. That the Church is utterly bereft of any moral insight or stature whatsoever is a conclusion that cannot be justified by any arguments I have read or heard – and I’ve read or heard quite a few.
    If the past decades of this ‘crisis’ have impressed upon the hierarchy and clergy the tremendous value of the Church’s role and Message, and hence of the vital living importance of their own responsibilities, then that is all to the good. And if the past decades of this ‘crisis’ have affirmed to dedicated priests and bishops the vital necessity of their life-work, then that is even more to the good.
    I cannot and will not support an endless and bottomless campaign, demanding clearly under-considered measures toward ill-defined ends fraught with lethal consequences, the whole of which is so un-boundaried by demonstrable evidence or clearly-conceived and publicly-stated objectives that the campaign could go on into the unforeseeable and distant future (sort of like Vietnam became, or the current Global War On Terrorism).
    Beyond that, I most surely accept that the spirit of Lincoln’s concluding exhortation in his Second Inaugural should somehow be applied to genuine victims of past abuse: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may achieve a just and a lasting peace amongst ourselves and with all nations”.

  6. jim robertson says:

    So Catholicism through Western Civilization, (I quote Ghandi here: "Western Civilization? It sounds like a good idea.") has brought the world democracy; but for itself said: No thanks?
    Nice work if you can get it.
    As far as the Catholic church in the West goes. the Roman Empire; The Holy Roman Empire, England untill the reformation; The Spanish and Portugese Empires The French from the slaughter of the Hugenoughts through Napoleon (Who through his Code still finds citizens guilty untill proven innocent if accused of crimes.) etc. etc. all with the Catholic Church second and at times, first in command  re the loot. Democracy was no priority with the Church. Remember the slaughter of 36,000 Comunards in Paris in 1877, Defended by the Church and celebrated by the Church with the building of the Sacred Couer in Montmarte and celebrated yearly with a mass that the survivours of the slaughter were forced to attend.
    Democracy has only been supported by the Church when none of it's privliages and wealth were called into question.
    Pub you and I tend to agree I think re the wars in Iraq, Afganistan; and Viet Nam. Would there have been a Viet Nam war if the Church hadn't been so closely linked to the rulers of the puppet South Viet Nam and the Kennedys here?

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      “Would there have been a Viet Nam war if the Church hadn’t been so closely linked to the rulers of the puppet South Viet Nam and the Kennedys here?”

      Yes, because the Communists were the cause of the Vietnam War.

  7. jim robertson says:

    LOL. Creating a false government is not the same thing as representing the people. President Eiesenhower himself said in the '50s if we had in Viet Nam, a full country election. Ho Chi Mihn would win hands down. So the minority Catholic part of the south with the tremendous influence of the Catholic Church created a minority government supported by at first the French and Then the U.S. To the death of MILLIONS not only 50,000 American lives but Millions of Viet Namese and Cambodian lives all due to the chaos created by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Viet NAM. Civil War was turned into the Domino Theory and Millions died.  For what???? What was accomplished???. What was supposed to be accomplished? Murder them to free them?……….I am an Army Veteran of that era.

  8. Publion says:

    ‘JR’ is correct that he and I tend to agree on some particular issues. I would go further and say that we are both attuned to ‘bullplop’ and don’t like it to be ladled over us and anybody else.
    That being said, I would proceed to comment further:
    Religion as a belief system is not in its fundamental essence ‘democratic’ in the political sense of the word. Once you have acknowledged a reality (or in this case a Reality) then from that point on you are committed to taking that Reality into account throughout the rest of your earthly life. Thus belief is not ‘democratic’ in the political sense: churches don’t take a vote from time to time on whether God exists, let alone abide by some vote at some place and some point in time that might result in the majority of adherents declaring that God doesn’t exist.
    (Actually, some 19th century American Protestant polities did sort of try to apply some form of ‘democracy’ to the Reality of God’s existence and wound up something like, to use an example, the UCC under the heavy influence of Ralph Waldo Emerson: what resulted was the physical appearance of a Christian religion but without any recognizably Christian God and, actually, a collapse of an ostensibly Christian religion into the Mono-plane  – to use my term for it from other comments.)
    If you actually intended to agree with Gandhi’s thought then a rather interesting sequence of conclusions flow from that agreement. Limiting myself to what is relevant to this site and the present discussion, I would point out that you are not only averse to the Church (you may want to claim a stronger adjective, if you wish) but also to Western Civilization itself.
    Or perhaps you merely mean that the ‘ideal’ in either case (Church or Civilization) has not been achieved. But that is almost a truism: there is no human organization of any size that ever fully achieves its embraced or claimed ideals. It almost goes without saying that humans and this dimension never fully realize or actualize their ideals. In which case, we are still left with the particularly curious focus on the Church as distinct from other human enterprises or organizations that have to work with the “crooked timber of humanity” and of that humanity’s doings and its accumulated history.
    To reduce the vast and complex historical phenomena you mention merely to the thought (I won’t call it a ‘fact’) that the Church was in it for “the loot” is a nice sound-bite, but it won’t work at all as a sufficient comprehension of what was going on.
    Democracy – as Aquinas pointed out in his “Letter to the King of Cyprus” – flows politically from the fact that human beings are made in the Image of God. Although it has to be said that Aquinas also recognized that not all humans are up to the task of self-governance, even if they are made in the Image of God and have, in some deep sense, the conceptual ‘right’ to do so. Aquinas in that Letter said that the ideal solution would be a Benevolent Christian Monarch – sort of a human incarnation of all the best and only the best of human nature in its ideal state. But even he realized that no human being could actually ever fill that role, and wound up urging the King to treat all of his subjects as – in a very real sense – “kings”. John Courtney Murray, among others, worked that thought in applying it to the analysis of Catholicism’s role in American democracy.
    The great difficulty with ‘democracy’ in the 18th and 19th centuries – evidenced especially in France – was that ‘democracy’ involved revolution (1789 and subsequently, the almost-immediate uprising against the Revolution in the Vendee, and then in 1871 the revolt of the Paris Commune that you mention). And ‘revolution’ is a terrifying thing to live through and wreaks irreparable destruction to numerous lives.
    This is especially so when – as distinct from the American Revolution against a ‘foreign’ power – you are facing a civil revolution against the country’s own government: in the Commune episode, anarchists and Marxists united ostensibly on behalf of the “workers” to overthrow the government, and the government put it down mercilessly, recognizing the danger of revolution.
    The Church’s position in those centuries is not sufficiently comprehended if one reduces her position (as Marx and others preferred to do) as being merely an effort to preserve her privileges and so forth. The Church has always been strongly aware of the wrack and ruin caused by revolution (even if waged with the ostensibly good intention of establishing ‘democracy’ – which the Communards were not leaning toward; they were working on the incompatible but equally bloody possibilities for an anarchist or Marxist polity).
    In the Church’s experience, going back beyond 1789 to the political consequences of Luther’s revolt and the religious wars of the ensuing century, revolution and ‘democracy’ (as then envisioned in Europe, not as we understand it in the classical American sense of 1776 and 1787) were inextricably linked: you couldn’t get ‘democracy’ in any form without also accepting the lethal plague of armed civil revolution (which pretty much would lead to civil war). In fact, Napoleon – the unintended but almost guaranteed outcome of the French Revolution – invaded Rome and took the Pope prisoner and dragged him back to France as window-dressing back for the imperial Coronation.
    Human beings need a structure and an order – based on the Order of creation as Catholics know it from both revelation and reason – and you destroy their potential for living any sort of an endurable life if you subject their social order to the awful realities of civil-war. (Even today, this country is claiming the right to involve itself anywhere on the planet where it considers that humans need a better ‘order’ than the one they are currently living under.) I would say that the Church realized that ‘democracy’ under the circumstances of Europe in those centuries was a cure that would quite possibly kill, or at least lethally maim, the patient (i.e., the humans who would have to experience the civil-war necessary to wage a revolution).
    It took a while for the American hierarchy in the later 19th century to convince the Vatican that ‘democracy’ as it had developed in America was not in any sense a replay of what the Vatican had seen for centuries in Europe and which then-current revolutionary ‘theory’ promised only to intensify if it got the chance .
    So put the tour-book down and give the actual historical complexities and realities more attention, I would advise.
    And when France finally emerged in the late-19th century with the Third Republic, that government sought to secularize French culture and society overnight – which has a kind of familiar ring to it, in light of the American experience since 1968 or 1972. (The French government stepped back over time throughout the early 20th century.)
    After Europe’s Second Thirty-Years War from 1914-1945, the Vatican came to realize that the American Experiment in democracy was indeed profoundly different from the usual European approach, and the Vision of the Framers seemed to offer much promise for a better life for all, although no Pope approved whole-heartedly of the amassing of wealth that unbridled and unregulated capitalism seemed to trend-toward.
    It is one of the great ironies of world history that just as the Vatican got things figured out, America itself began to depart from the Framing Vision, embracing a less democratic and more statist European (and Leninist) approach to operations.
    Let me suggest – respectfully – by observing that if any of the foregoing is news to you, it is not because I am ‘making up’ history as I go along in these comments I make.
    And to conclude, I will share this personal bit since it seems relevant here: I made up my mind a long time ago not to be any power’s  or special-interest’s “useful idiot” (that phrase of Lenin’s that I have used in comments on this site recently). I would, instead, go to the trouble of informing myself as widely and deeply as I could, so that I would not simply be the pawn of whatever Stampede any power or powers known or unknown might want to whomp up. Having watched a whole lot of Westerns in my time, I am firmly committed to never being stuck in the role of the cattle in the background, grazing or mooing or stampeding on cue.
    Nor would I nor will I ever try to use other people as cattle in a Stampede, even if I think that Stampede is in a good cause and just might bring about some nice changes. Stampedes are notoriously destructive and uncontrollable (the ones in the movies are very tightly planned and controlled, so in a very real sense movies are not really good substitutes for studying history and human events).
    And I still remain firmly committed to my idea that victims – genuine and otherwise – have from Day One been used as cattle in a Stampede planned and conducted and sustained by special-interests who only see victimization as a useful pretext for their own agendas, and victims – genuine and otherwise – as useful cattle to put before the cameras.
    Thus, I would say to ‘JR’, that in that spirit, to use one of LBJ’s more noteworthy phrases: “Let us continyuh”.

  9. jim robertson says:

    I am a person who believes not only that class struggle exists but if your class is not winning that struggle your losing it. And since 99% of us have been losing for the past 30 years since the divine St. Ronnie. i.e. pensions; health care and exportation of capital and jobs over seas at the expense of the American worker. Any pretense that that war isn't being waged a, is nonsense and b, that denying it serves only the 1%.
    I do not,  as you well know, believe in a diety. Let alone that we humans were created in "his" image  and likeness. (Why God would need genetallia particularly male ones seems absurd since according to your mythology there is no possibility of a Mrs. God.)
    Since I believe your diety was created in our (Male only thankyou) likeness by a ruling class for the benefit of a ruling class  that was patriarchal; in it's religious; civil and govermental manifestations. Created to control the vast majority of any population.
    That being said your beliefs re history are not mine. You see God as the keystone. and I see truth as the keystone.  You say God is Truth. And I say, Truth is truth.
    I agree revolutions can be very dangerous but if we go by Louis 16 or Czarist Russia, a decadent regime can be very dangerous as well. So to quote Marx,in the opening of the Communist manifesto: "What is to be done?"
    I think the planet from which we all came and to which we all return needs to be protected from us. And I think we humans must not be allowed to destroy it; other species and each other. That's about it.
    And since the American experiment, democracy manipulated by and for the rich has failed the planet and the majority of it's inhabitants. I think a newer model is absolutly necessary.
    Just my opinion.

  10. Publion says:

    As I see it, the Problem of the Beyond – from a political and philosophical, not from a religious – point of view is this: How can you Shape and Ground human self and experience reliably without that Beyond (or, to use my term, that Meta-plane)?  If the universe of human experience is limited to the this-worldly and to the Mono-plane, then the most vital and profound human rights and even the fundamental definition of ‘human’ are instantly bereft of Ground and the principles of Shape (both of which were very amply provided-for in the classical Catholic position, and it was in the strong Afterglow of that position that the Framers constructed their Vision and the machinery of the Constitution).
    If, for example, you want to hoist a piece of something up from the ocean floor, then you have to balance your hoisting mechanism so that it can exercise sufficient force to overcome the weight of whatever it is you are lifting. Thus, if say you want to raise a ten-ton piece of stuff, you can’t put your crane on an 800-pound rowboat and start cranking away – the rowboat is an insufficient platform to handle the loads and forces necessary to complete your task; the result will be that – presuming you can even keep a grip on the block you are trying to raise – instead of your rowboat platforming a successful lift, your rowboat and your crane will be sucked down into the depths unless you knock off and give up. You have to have a) a big enough crane and strong enough ancillary equipment and b) it all has to be grounded on some surface capable of bearing the load.
    The classic Catholic Vision provided both the Platform and the Ground. ‘Modern’ and (certainly) ‘post-Modern’ philosophical efforts have all failed in this regard, no matter how they have tried to get around the Problem. Politically, you wind up with ‘rights’ being grounded merely in the will of the State or the Leviathan … which can hardly be reliably presumed to remain Benevolent (if human history is any example).
    Or think of a philharmonic orchestra. What sort of music can you possibly and reliably produce if a) the Conductor is dispensed with in order to give each player/instrument a chance to play what s/he thinks would be the best interpretation of the piece; and then if also b) the Score is dispensed with since the players are i) presumed to know more than the Composer and ii) even have a ‘right’ to play whatever they want to play; and then if also c) the Composer is dispensed with since in the philharmonic orchestra everybody is ‘equal’? Or what happens if all three – (a), (b), and (c) – are deployed? What sort of music will result? Will it even be music? Would many people pay to hear it? Why do people go to listen to orchestras in the first place?
    Luther ran into this Problem almost immediately: he wound up moving from some very acute and  useful and constructive criticism to declaring that the Pope and hierarchy were nothing more than obstructions to his freedom to have his own personal theological illuminations. Well, that was his choice. But then almost immediately he was confronted by others who said that they agreed with Luther’s principle but they also disagreed with his personal theological illuminations and were setting up shop on their own. Thus almost immediately the Lutheran revolt became a Protestant revolt. (It also became simultaneously a broad-based political revolt – not simply a theological revolt against the Papacy but also a political revolt against all established authority of any sort. Luther’s response to the Protestant princes: crush the revolts ruthlessly in God’s Name.)
    It might be argued that since religion winds up leading to a lack of ‘democracy’ in the Church, and since democracy has worked out well enough politically, then democracy should be the prime Ground of the Church’s praxis and polity. But that is no Ground at all, since you now are trying to lift vast weights on the Mono-plane of human history, without your philosophical or theological ‘crane’ being either a) strong enough or b) well-Grounded enough to do the job.
    Thus the lethal confusions that have exchanged the religious divisions among people for assorted totalitarian approaches where the ‘powers of this world’ are to be mystically trusted as Benevolent even as they are given (or the simply take) the authority and power to define and determine the lives of every human being they can establish political/military control over. Philosophically and ethically and morally and even existentially, I don’t see that the past half-millennium has been much of an improvement, and has even become worse, since the ‘salt’ of genuine democracy has ‘lost its savor’ and now what is to be done?
    Sartre embraced the earthly ‘god’ of Communism; Camus said every person was on his/her own and simply had to live a life on the open sea with his/her own little rowboat and be content with it. But Stephen Crane had already pointed out in the 1890s – in his short story ‘The Open Boat’ – that in that case the Sea or Ocean itself has no care or concern for humans and yet is vastly more powerful than humans. And of course there is always Melville, whose Ahab and that variously befuddled crew all gave themselves over to chasing the White Whale and, if nothing else, stabbing at Everything “from hell’s heart” (the following line being: “for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee”).
    How build a decent human civilization on any of that?
    Yes, perhaps “a newer model” is necessary. But it’s going to have to a) be better than anything it is replacing and b) it is going to have to be reasonably capable of being introduced (rather than imprudently grasped at ‘for lack of anything better’. And then c) we are going to have to face the Question of how to set up and implement such a ‘new model’ (recall Cromwell’s unhappy experiences during the Protectorate). Once you have decided upon a ‘new model’ (and who is that ‘you’ and on what authority can ‘you’ decide on that model?) then How do you implement it? By imposing your illuminations on the unthinking and leaderless masses? That was Luther and Lenin and even Woodrow Wilson and the American Progressives (the first American political generation in love with ‘benevolent and knowledgeable elites’ who would go to Washington and make the country do the right thing).
    So the ‘new model’ solution is, I would say, no solution at all. It is a ‘desiderandum’, but an outcome-to-be-desired is not the same thing as a Plan or a Strategy (as we found out when Bush invaded Iraq and all the rest).
    So I’ll stick with the classical Catholic Vision. While also working to ensure a more richly competent clergy, hierarchy, and laity.

    • jim robertson says:

      To "Shape without that beyond" has been done for millenia. Because religious people believe in an afterlife; and that human morality has been given to us ,from god through his church. Because  those beliefs are just that "beliefs" doesn't mean morality stems from religion or god.
      It comes from man. Not kiling not stealing not cheating  all benefited man long before The Jewish or Christian faiths were thought of. Human kind had a sense of justice and decency ,maybe not ours. But they had it.
      If there was no god or church could the self styled Christian west have been any more rapacious?

  11. jim robertson says:

    O.K. good luck. Sincerely.


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