Some thoughts on being an American Catholic

I am and always have been Catholic because I believe the doctrines and I am certain it is where God wants me to be. It hasn’t been easy maintaining affiliation with a church that, in far too many respects, has been a spiritual desert, but it’s where God put me, not only by birth but also by election.

One of the most distressing things for me has been the overly-long commitment of American Catholics to the Democrat Party. I understand the roots … when Catholic immigrants were flooding our shores, Republicans were Protestant and openly hostile. And of course there’s the not-so-saintly Kennedys.

But dang. Even after having been raised from birth to college in a devoutly Democrat environment, I managed to figure out before the Reagan years that Democrats were promoting abortion. I have tried to understand my Democrat Catholic friends. Some of them are legitimately devout. Yet they turn a blind eye to abortion because “social justice” … or something.

I just don’t get it. Never did.

If there’s been one thing I am grateful for about the Obama years, it is that so many Catholics have finally opened their eyes to just how anti-God and evil the Democrat Party really is. FINALLY, I’ve got leaders in my church that not only don’t make me cringe, but who actually teach and preach and walk the walk!

I just read a news report that Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, has announced he switched his party registration to Republican effective January 2013. He has been a Democrat since 1969, but after the 2012 Democrat Convention, he decided that he could no longer be associated with the party which was “just too pro-abortion.” During an interview about his decision, he called opposition to abortion β€œthe linchpin, the foundation, around which all our discussion of human life has to be built.”

I just want to smack him upside the head and ask him, “HEY, CAPTAIN KOOLAID!! WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN THINKING ALL THESE YEARS?!”

2012?! 2012?!?!?!

I registered Democrat in 1972 and figured out by 1976 that I had to leave because it was plain as the nose on my face that abortion was and is THE social justice issue of the century. This guy is a professional Christian and it took him from 1969 to 2012?! And they made him a Bishop?!


On the other side of the coin are two Catholic leaders I really admire and respect, Archbishop Chaput and Pope Francis. Here are quotes from them that I gleaned from the internet this week.

Archbishop Chaput on threats against religion

Pope Francis and frosting



Filed under Abortion, Barack Obama, Catholic Church, Christianity, Democrats, Pope Francis, Religious Liberty, Republicans

42 responses to “Some thoughts on being an American Catholic

  1. If you can’t express your anger and frustration about your “family” that you love, then it’s not much of a family. Very well expressed, Chrissy. I can’t tell you how many times my wife (a convert) and I have had this argggghhh-inducing conversation about some of the idiot church leadership. Bishop Tobin is not the only one you want to smack upside the head. Thankfully, there are brilliant voices to counter-balance, and always have been. You mention two of the very best: Archbishop Chaput and Pope Frank. Whenever I get too judgmental about people being slow to figure these things out, I have to remember that God has been exceedingly patient with me and the entire lifetime it’s taken me to turn my life around on some things.


    • chrissythehyphenated

      Cardinal Dolan is another who warms my heart. I first heard him when he came right out and admitted/apologized for how weak and pathetic the American Catholic Church had been on all sex-related issues since the 60s.


      • And he was right to do so. The leadership failed us horribly over those decades.

        You know, it’s funny you should mention Dolan along with Chaput and Pope Francisco. Like you, I admire all three of these guys and think they’re, perhaps, the best church leaders we have right now. But I’ve had many arguments with a fellow Catholic blogger, Ann Barnhardt, about all 3 of these guys. She detests Dolan for weakness and Chaput for mysterious personal reasons (I think she argued with him a lot when he was in Denver) and, of course, she thinks the pope is an idiot. So far, her reasons (when she gives them) have failed to convince me. It’s frustrating how folks on the same side of ideological warfare can be so far apart on some things – like whom to trust. I guess that’s one of the big blogging hazards, huh? We never seem to get very far away from the personal battles. We’d be safer at a Chuck E Cheese birthday party! πŸ˜€


        • chrissythehyphenated

          I was looking at some books at Amazon and came across a mention in a comment under one of them panning the book because it was based so heavily on the messages of two anonymous American “seers”, one of whom has declared Pope Francis to be a false pope. The reviewer made the excellent point that, though the book claimed to be Catholic, it lacked an IMPRIMATUR.

          Sorry to be so vague, but I don’t remember details and I obviously passed on the book. I was just reminded of it because you mentioned AB, whose rants I quit reading after she made a ridiculous stink about a very minor point at Pope Francis’ inaugural Mass. She posted the video and I watched it. SHE maintained that he had “refused” to genuflect at the Consecration and therefore doesn’t believe in the Real Presence and blah blah blah.

          It made ZERO sense to me that she inferred this gigantic heresy out of what was plainly a decision made for the sake of SAFETY and DECORUM. None of the priests on the top step genuflected, but everyone paused while all the guys BEHIND them on lower steps genuflected. The top step was absurdly narrow, they were all wearing long vestments and it was live t.v. So duh. Let’s NOT have the new pope trip on his ropes and maybe knock over the consecrated elements and make a disaster.

          Maybe I could relate because every time I got up from the kneeler, I stepped on the hem of my wedding gown. I’d grab the kneeler to keep from falling which, not being nailed down, was no help. My groom and the priest kept me from going bottom up and the priest, being a long time friend, just rolled his eyes and gave me a knowing grin.

          Years before, he’d taken a bunch of us in the youth group to a swanky restaurant to thank us for work we’d done on something. Half way through dinner, I dropped a chunk of food between plate and mouth. Instead of it going into my lap where I could hide it in my napkin, it landed on the neckline of my dress where it provided maximum embarrassment to retrieve, especially since I was sitting directly across from the priest and the dress had a modest, but low cut neckline. I guess I should be glad it didn’t go down the bodice! LOL Later, during dessert, the priest cracked a joke just as I was spooning parfait into my mouth and I spewed whipped cream straight across the table … and on to the priest. It’s a wonder he agreed to do my wedding, come to think of it. LOL


          • Note to self: Do NOT sit directly across from Chrissy at a restaurant or at church … or pretty much anywhere. But with your antics, I think I would be the one laughing and projectile-snorking food across tables. πŸ™‚


          • I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I’ve ever had dinner at a swanky restaurant. The first time was when I was in college. I was on the yearbook staff, and by some miracle the yearbook had come in under budget, so there was money left over, which the editor decided to spend on having everyone on staff go out to a really nice restaurant in downtown Chicago. My friend Barb and I were wearing dresses with sort of low-cut necklines, and we made the mistake of sitting across from one of the photography editors — a basically nice but sort of immature guy who was somewhat lacking in the self-control department. He had a deadly aim and he amused himself during dinner by pitching pennies at us so that they landed right in the middle of our necklines and ended up stuck in our cleavage.


          • But you’re completely right about the weakness of Ann’s arguments about the pope. I’ve thought about writing a post that refutes her claims about him, but I’m torn. Much of it is so petty and groundless, like when she claims he’s “just not that bright.” Really? And she never gives any proper links or citations to back up her version of events which turn out, more often than not, to not back up her claims at all. And what’s the point? She doesn’t respond to criticism, and she doesn’t allow comments on her blog. Also, I’m torn because I admire many of her stands. And she’s a valued friend/acquaintance. She’s eaten Gruntessa’s cooking and sipped our wine on the back deck before. But one has to wonder what she’s trying to accomplish by tearing down the only standard-bearers we have left. Is it personal? Who knows? I have reason to believe it probably IS personal in the cases of Chaput and the pope. If true, can you imagine becoming a permanent pitbull at the pope’s throat just because he isn’t a fan of your pet church group or because of hurt feelings? That’s chutzpah!


  2. If it is any consolation, we have the same issues in Australia. For the life of me I cannot understand why any Catholic priest supports the ALP and for the same reasons…. the ALP supports abortion on demand. The latest is that they are now on the way to supporting gay marriage and in my view this is totally anathema to me as a Catholic.

    With regard to Ann B, I think that she is wrong in her claims about Pope Francis. The notion that not genuflecting at the consecration is somehow heretical is itself an heretical point of view. From a practical point of view, let’s be frank here, if an elderly priest has arthritic knees, the chances of him being able to genuflect without falling in a heap are small !! That does not apply to Pope Francis but it applies to a lot of other elderly priests.

    I have my own story concerning an elderly priest by the name of Fr. Kevin. This is the one who had been to South America and took on the military junta in Argentina. This incident happened a few years ago, and it was on a day when I was having a bit of trouble with the altar steps. I was serving as a reader and on that day as a Eucharistic minister. Fr. Kevin had noticed that I was a bit unsteady, and this elderly man who was a bit unsteady himself turned around to help me down the steps!!

    Heresy is about what one believes which is in fact factually wrong. A priest who for practical reasons is unable to genuflect at the consecration but who bows his head at that moment is not being an heretic and it does not reflect any lack of belief either. Sometimes practical considerations are necessary πŸ™‚


  3. chrissythehyphenated

    The indents are becoming a bit much, so I’m going to write this as a new comment, even though it’s related to Grunt’s wondering what AB’s issue really is.

    When I was new to the interwebs, back in the days when the computer went brrrrsqueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeegrumph while logging on, I frequented the AOL Catholic Board. Anybody remember it? It had three rooms called Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. My s/n then was Gabbatha which I chose for serious spiritual reasons. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that folks would shorten it to Gabby. Not that Gabby doesn’t suit me. Ahem. God has a sense of humor.

    There was this one super conservative Catholic dude who came to the board frequently. His s/n was something like PANGURBAN or PANGURBANX … something along those lines.

    He used to write the most outrageous lies about the Bishop of Rochester. Since I’d attended numerous services presided by Bishop Matthew and attended a luncheon with him at a nearby parish and a dinner he hosted at his home, I thought I had a right to counter PANG’s lies with my own eye-witness testimony. PANG didn’t care. Even when he was being absurd (i.e., “the corpus on his crozier is a nude female”), he was always sure he was right.

    The way this chat room was done, comments appeared in the order they were received, so it was kind of like a cocktail party with multiple convos happening all at once. It was really hard to talk about anything substantive at any length and I really wanted to talk seriously with PANG, so one day I invited him to a private room where we could talk one on one. He agreed.

    Once there, I established civility and logic ground rules and told him I’d leave if he violated them. My intention was to nail his feet to the floor and get him to carry one of his handful of hobby horse rants to its logical conclusion.

    He said he would play along and we agreed to talk about his battle with his pastor who wanted everyone to receive Communion in their hands, while PANG demanded he get his on his tongue. PANG said if his pastor ever refused him, he would keep standing there with his tongue hanging out until Mass ended and everyone had left.

    I told PANG that IMHO, while the presider in this scenario would be guilty of pride for refusing to give PANG a host on his tongue, PANG’s sin would actually be the greater, since it would include not just demanding he get his own way, but also refusing to obey his lawful superior AND giving scandal to the community.

    We stopped talking after that.


    • Good story. And LOLOL about the Gabby screen name thing!! πŸ˜€ I love your self-deprecating humor. I’m wiping the coffee off my display right now.

      I know the PANG type, unfortunately. I’m related to a few of them. πŸ™„ It also reminds me that I used to listen in on Elizabeth Scalia’s Anchoress blog a few years ago, and would occasionally see Ann B (as IAMDAGNY) comment about how the Novus Ordo (new mass) was evil. When one of the regulars engaged her on it in a reasonable way, her reaction was always one of white-hot blind anger, demonizing and name-calling. Maybe we’re lucky she doesn’t allow comments on her blog!


  4. chrissythehyphenated

    IAMDAGNY looks familiar to me. I wonder if she frequented AOL Catholic Chat back in the days of squealing modems.

    Ah, I remember them well … waiting so long for the land line to log on that we would dial up before leaving to walk uphill, both ways, barefoot, and dodging dinosaurs the whole way, to spend our dime allowances at the little corner store on fireballs and wax lips.


  5. GP

    Got this in an email.
    Thought it was appropriate to add here.
    What do you think?
    When the Catholic Church was founded, there were no hospitals. Today, one out of five people in this country receive their medical care at a Catholic hospital.

    When the Catholic Church was founded, there were no schools. Today, the Catholic Church teaches 3 million students a day, in its more than 250 Catholic Colleges and Universities, in its more than 1200 Catholic High Schools and its more than 5000 Catholic grade schools.

    Every day, the Catholic Church feeds, clothes, shelters and educates more people than any other organization in the world.

    The new Obama Health Mandate could end all this and the tax payers would have to make up the loss.

    Also, all Catholic adoption services would come to an end; a human disaster.

    There are more than 77 million Catholics in this country. It takes an estimated 50 million Catholic votes to elect a president. I am asking all of you to go to the polls in 2014 and be united in replacing all Senators and Reps with someone who will respect the Catholic Church, all Christians, and all Religions with the exception of Islam.

    Mr. President, you said, “The USA is not a Christian Nation”. You are wrong! We are a Christian Nation founded on Judeo-Christian values allowing all religions in America to Worship & Practice Freely. Something Islam will never do.

    Oh, by the way, on MUSLIM HERITAGE IN America…

    Have you ever been to a Muslim hospital?

    Have you heard a Muslim orchestra?

    Have you seen a Muslim band march in a parade?

    Have you witnessed a Muslim charity?

    Have you seen Muslims shaking hands with a Muslim Girl Scouts?

    Have you seen a Muslim Candy Striper?*

    Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?


  6. Good one, GP. I certainly agree with the part about the USA being a Christian nation founded on Judeo-Christian values. And I see nothing wrong with Islam being considered incompatible with any free country. From what I’ve seen, the founders never referred to Islam as a “religion,” and they wouldn’t have, since the very term “religion” generally referred to Christian worship and observance and was not the generalized term used today. Jefferson, in particular, but also the rest of the founders, considered muslims to be a particularly troublesome flavor of pirate to be fought, resisted and avoided unless it was necessary to buy our sailors back from them when they were enslaved, which was often.