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Glenn Beck: A Modern Day Paul Revere?

August 28, 2010
That’s the assessment of Father Terence Henry, TOR, the president of my alma mater, who on August 26 prayed and reflected on the meaning of honor with radio and television showman Glenn Beck as a prelude to the Restoring Honor Rally.  Unlike the Republican surrogate Sean Hannity, Beck isn’t a loyal partisan, and prizing honor is hardly an act of political tribalism, so I’m not completely surprised that a Franciscan priest and Catholic university president would associate with this rally.

What I find surprising, and not a little weird, is the lavish praise Fr. Henry bestows on the popular media personality and his overall views.  He compares Beck to Paul Revere, spreading alarm about where this country is going and “doing the job the press is not doing.”  He expresses his admiration for Beck’s sometimes “deeply emotional,” chalkboard instruction about the importance of what is at stake, the first principles of our government, and the exceptionalism of our country.  America has a “destiny to be a bright shining city on a hill,” says Fr. Henry, invoking the biblical metaphor for the disciples of Christ.

Beck, we might remember, urged Christians to run away from their church and find a new parish if it used the words “social justice” or “economic justice,” which he believes are code words for socialism, despite the concepts being a staple of Christian moral thought.  Beck’s understanding of rights and responsibilities also runs counter to Catholicism’s.  Beck, for example, denies that there exists rights to housing and healthcare. The political philosophy Beck espouses envisions a social order incompatible with that promoted by the bishops.  Indeed, Beck would call much of what the Catholic Church promotes as guiding us toward socialism.   I don’t know if Beck knows enough about Catholic theology and philosophy to recognize this, but Fr. Henry surely should.   He might also be surprised to learn of Beck’s moderate views on same-sex marriage, especially as he talked in his conversation with Beck about the threat posed by those seeking to change the meaning of marriage.

Finally, I wonder what Fr. Henry would think of this infamous statement by his modern day Paul Revere:

Hang on, let me just tell you what I’m thinking. I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out — is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus — band — Do, and I’ve lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, “Yeah, I’d kill Michael Moore,” and then I’d see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I’d realize, “Oh, you wouldn’t kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn’t choke him to death.” And you know, well, I’m not sure.

For the record, I would be equally surprised and creeped out if Fr. Henry praised the hat-wearing propagandist as a modern day Cassandra.

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  1. August 28, 2010 4:29 pm

    How appalling!

  2. August 28, 2010 4:57 pm

    Truly there is something rotten in Stuebenville. This is one short step from EWTN advocating torture on the enemies of America. How sad in in so short a time period, American Catholics have so completely integrated into the dominant Protestant culture that they can buy into nonsense about American exceptionalism, which is based on a false Calvinist theology. When are the adults going to step in and put a stop to this crap?

  3. Rcm permalink
    August 28, 2010 5:24 pm

    I’m looking around & listening & frankly it freaks me out.

  4. August 28, 2010 5:31 pm

    Are none of these Catholic Righties bugged (to use no stronger term) that Glenn Beck is a lapsed Catholic?

  5. joan permalink
    August 28, 2010 7:11 pm

    Such snobbery, such elitism.

  6. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 28, 2010 7:13 pm


    Your consistent persistent anti-Protestantism is troubling. It seems also to go against the teachings of the Church on ecumenism.

  7. Cindy permalink
    August 28, 2010 7:59 pm

    I just see Glenn Beck almost as a Tel-Evangalist. What he did today certianly seemed fitting. I actually had a tea party friend of mine scold me for being a Catholic and that no wonder I support Social Justice… I suspected he got that stuff as an avid listener of Glenn Beck.

  8. August 28, 2010 8:07 pm

    Well, as G.K. Chesterton used to say…

    What can you do? Glenn Beck has a lot of nutty ideas. And Fr. Terry is a little quirky too. I don’t think it’s appropriate for the president of a Catholic university to praise Glenn Beck; the enemy of your enemies isn’t necessarily your friend, and it’s somewhat scandalous. I’ll be sending an e-mail to the folks in financial aid.

  9. August 28, 2010 8:13 pm

    I have to say also that, while Fr. Terry acted badly here, MM’s knee-jerk charge of Calvinism strikes me as nearly as silly as Fr. Terry’s comments about Beck and Mr. Revere. There really are more ways of being wrong in this world of ours than ‘false Calvinist theology.’

  10. AdamV permalink
    August 28, 2010 8:15 pm

    Completely unsurprising.

  11. digbydolben permalink
    August 28, 2010 8:59 pm

    My dear Austin Rose, haven’t you been paying attention to the latest turns in the “ressourcement” of Benedict Ratzinger: he rejected Vatican II-style ecumenism in Dominus Iesus, which he wrote for John Paul II.

    It is very important for the Catholic members of a predominantly Protestant society such as this one we have in America that SOMEBODY point out the extraordinary affect on mores, social values and even sexual ethics (“no fault” divorce, serial monogamy, etc.) of theological HERESY.

  12. Mark Gordon permalink
    August 28, 2010 9:36 pm

    Yes, MM should adopt a more “pro-Protestant” point of view, and thereby align himself more closely to Church teaching.


  13. August 28, 2010 9:39 pm

    I don’t think ecumenism is Latin for “surrender,” but I admit my Latin’s a little rusty.

  14. August 28, 2010 10:38 pm

    I’m all in favor of ecumenism, and friendship and cooperation between the major religions, but we must still acknowledge fundamental theological differences.

  15. August 28, 2010 11:05 pm

    I don’t think using the word “Calvinist” and certainly the word “Protestant” to denounce pernicious ideas is constructive. People transcend their group memberships. And, moreover, using that kind of rhetoric will only alienate the mostly good people whose better natures we are trying to prevail upon.

    Here’s an anecdote to illustrate my point:

    I’ve been volunteering at a Catholic Worker House this past summer; one of my co-volunteers was a pretty typical American protestant, immersed in many ways in the dominant protestant culture, so many here on Vox Nova denounce. God bless him; he managed to put up with our saints and rosaries. As you might guess, he judged ideas by the standard of whether or not they were Biblical (or perhaps conformed to a particular way of reading the Bible). Sometimes this lead us to disagree; however, it brought us together in a very important way. He saw his commitment to social justice as a natural outgrowth of Biblical Christianity. In response to people critical of his commitment to helping the poor he would ask, “Have you even read the Bible?” It seems protestant culture can have its good points, after all.

    Instead of labeling and condemning people (even Glen Beck), we should take a more humanizing perspective. This perspective will hopefully humanize both the people seen through it and the people doing the seeing.

  16. August 29, 2010 12:45 am

    So embarrassing and a bit surprising. I went to their website and see that they now boast being “conservative” because they got ranked by someone.

    I also found lots of typos at my alma mater’s website.

    Some of the funnier ones were: “A Franciscan University eduction is Academically Challenging and Passionately Catholic.” and the info for their bioethics chair, Dr. Lee who received his PhD from “Marqeete University.” Runner-up are ones like this one: “They produce television programming for EWTN, the world’s largest religious media netowrk.”

  17. Gerald A. Naus permalink
    August 29, 2010 1:09 am

    “”America is good, not just because America is great, but because we are good! When we are good, we make America great!””

    The Reverend Glenn Beck, clearly on par with “four score” and “I have a dream” :-P

  18. David Raber permalink
    August 29, 2010 7:47 am

    While it’s true that conservative Catholics in this country tend to align themselves with right-wing Protestants, the Church (hierarchy and laity too)certainly has its own history of standing firmly on the conservative side in politics–prior to the big changes in teaching on social matters and human rights culminating in Vatican II. Thank God these changes have taken hold (more or less) at the Vatican and among the US bishops (a bit lesss?), but there may be more Catholic “tradition” among the Beck-loving Catholics than we would like to admit.

  19. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 29, 2010 8:25 am

    This constant harping on how awful is Protestantism would likely be looked upon askance by Benedict and most of the Bishops. You don’t gain love and understanding and even conversions buy the language that you use. In my experience, which is substantial, working with Evangelicals there are great area for common work friendship and through this comes love, understanding and even conversions. I find the political left in the Church, and I include you there Minion, display a sometime irrational hatred of Protestants. Now, certainly this springs from the political and cultural alliance formed by Evangelicals and Catholics. But still, this is just not the way to go and I think the Magisterium would agree.

    About Dominus Jesus and turning back the clock. Successive Popes are not trying to turn back the clock to before Vatican II but trying to take Post-VAtican II away from the progressives who have caused so much pain and mischief. Poor Glen Beck, who was raised Catholic, grew up in a Church dirtied by the left. No wonder he left. That’s why millions left.

  20. Liam permalink
    August 29, 2010 8:56 am

    This is not Calvinism It’s Moral Therapeutic Deism cut with doses of latter-day James Kilpatrick and George Wallace.

  21. August 29, 2010 10:13 am

    Oh please, anyone who reads MM knows he is not against Protestantism as a whole. Those who think so are falling into (typically Protestant) either/or thinking. MM rightly points to the dangers of Calvinism and how it has been an intimate part of american politics. This is not a condemnation of Protestantism as a whole.

    And the charge of being “anti-ecumenical” is disingenuous coming from many of you who rant about Protestantism in other contexts, particularly when Vatican II is the topic of discussion.

  22. Gerald Naus permalink
    August 29, 2010 11:19 am

    “once it turned into a social justice church.”
    Should it ever not have been a “social justice church” ? The Catholic Church obviously has a lot of blood on its hands. But, here just a few examples of “peace & justice” events coming to mind:
    – the ban of the crossbow (granted, the ban only prohibited the use against other Christians….)
    – the prohibition of usury
    – Rerum Novarum
    – Bartolomé de las Casas, OP, 16th century, and the School of Salamanca – concern for the lives of “Indians”, concept of universal human rights (while he at first advocated the import of black slaves, he later regretted it). His and other priests’ efforts led to the abolition of slavery
    – The Jesuits’ effort on behalf of “Indians”
    – The term “social justice” was coined mid 19th century by Jesuit Luigi Taparelli, who greatly influenced Leo XIII., who’d release Rerum Novarum in 1891.

  23. August 29, 2010 11:27 am

    Successive Popes are not trying to turn back the clock to before Vatican II but trying to take Post-VAtican II away from the progressives who have caused so much pain and mischief. Poor Glen Beck, who was raised Catholic, grew up in a Church dirtied by the left. No wonder he left. That’s why millions left.

    Actually, Benedict has spilled considerable ink in Caritas in Veritate arguing that both the pro-life and social justice aspects are inseparable and must be unified. So while Benedict has been trying to reign in abuses on the left, he has with less publicity been doing the same on the right.

  24. August 29, 2010 12:06 pm

    …he has with less publicity been doing the same on the right.

    Is it any wonder why the right-wing dominated Catholic media and barfosphere is not interested in “publicizing” this?

  25. phosphorious permalink
    August 29, 2010 2:23 pm

    Poor Glen Beck, who was raised Catholic, grew up in a Church dirtied by the left. No wonder he left. That’s why millions left.

    Poor, poor Glen Beck. Curse those dirty filthy liberals.

  26. Cindy permalink
    August 29, 2010 2:47 pm

    About the topic ‘social justice’ church. Has anyone seen Fr. James Martins article American Magazine?
    I bring it up because it’s relevant to the current conversation. I don’t know if I am allowed to link an article, but if I am here it is. It’s pertinent to the conversation.

    • August 29, 2010 2:51 pm

      Fr. Martin’s essay is good. Went further than I did in my post today, but mine was done quickly before going to visit my father, so I didn’t have the time to address everything I would have done if I had the time.

  27. August 29, 2010 3:21 pm

    Is it any wonder why the right-wing dominated Catholic media and barfosphere is not interested in “publicizing” this?

    Well, it’s not in the correct highlighting color. ;)

    Sadly, it’s not just Catholic media but media in general. Bene’s been pegged into a right hole and no one, left or right, can comprehend that he doesn’t fit there.

  28. Cindy permalink
    August 29, 2010 6:09 pm

    I was reading from the bottom up today, so I hadnt gotten to your post on it. It would have made more sense to have posted my link on your thread.

  29. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 30, 2010 7:38 am

    OK, Kyle,

    I see that contributors to this blog get to make up quotes from commenters. Ok, good to know, but i guess i already knew the Vox Nova M.O.

    As to the actual content of what i wrote, that Beck, as a young Catholic, was likely poisoned away from Catholicism by the left. What this means is that he was likely catechised by Father Groovy and Sister Aquarius who did not give him the true stuff but a lot of silly hoo-hah.

    Examples abound. Wendy Wright, Evangelical leader, president of Concerned Women for America, was raised Catholic. She left the Church as a young girl after a nun told her the bible was not true. She decided she wanted to be with those who said the bible was true. She found this among Evangelicals. This and millions of similar stories abound because of Father Groovy and Sister Aquarius who are likely now married or otherwise out of the Church or in the case of Sister Aquarius, living in a dying congregation of heterodox nuns.

  30. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 30, 2010 7:45 am

    As to the supposedly awful Protestant individualism that so poisons our country. I suspect that protestants do more than Catholics, certainly politically lefty Catholics, in tithing, in donating their time and treasure to the actually helping the poor. The speciality of the political left is government assistance. If it does not come from the government is somehow does not exist. Take a look at overseas assistance. The usual number for the US is lower than Europe but does NOT include private money, foundation money, university money and all the the other non-government sources. Yes, if its not government money, its bad money!

    The dream Catholic countries that the good Minion longs for are exactly where? France? Spain? Italy? The places where social justice supposedly reigns but where Catholics don’t even go to Church,w here Catholics are not even reproducing themselves, and where they do not even financially support their Churches and where there is hardly any tradition of individual charitable giving?

    As for me, give me what you say is the Protestant culture of the US that saved Europe twice in one century and in their Protestant largesse rebuilt Europe and then protected Europe so that she would not have to protect herself. Yes, those awful Protestants and their individualism!

  31. Kyle R. Cupp permalink
    August 30, 2010 8:05 am


    I removed the quote you say a commenter falsely attributed to you yesterday–as soon as I saw that you contested it.



    • August 30, 2010 8:29 am

      There is a big difference between making up quotes and paraphrasing what someone said. While what Michael I. wrote was not a direct quote, it certainly was taking what was said and paraphrasing it for emphasis. It’s not as if it were contrary to the sentiment being said.

  32. Kyle R. Cupp permalink
    August 30, 2010 8:58 am

    The statement attributed to Austin had quotation marks around it, indicating that the quote was a direct quote and not a paraphrasing or interpretation of what he said. I thought it only fair, therefore, to remove it after Austin disputed the statement.

  33. August 30, 2010 9:13 am

    Austin Ruse,

    I wonder whether you think there is any evil that cannot be attributed to “the left,” as you put it.

    I wonder also what you think about Benedict XVI’s claim, in Caritas in Veritate, that there is an indissoluble link between “life ethics” and “social ethics,” such that any political ideology which attempts to elevate one at the expense of the other is in need of correction.

    Many of the things you write about the social democracies in Europe are, sadly, true; but from this it does not follow that the ideology particular to America is better. My own view is that America has different strengths and different defects than Europe; but we–Americans and Europeans alike–are both in need of radical conversion, and this conversion (at least if Benedict is right) cannot be understood as a political dynamic between “right” and “left.”

    Take abortion, for example, something which I think everyone here can agree is a grave evil. Doesn’t it make sense to think that the enshrinement of abortion as a “right” and as a “choice” gains a certain purchase in the polity because of the economic system of capitalism itself, which encourages a view of persons as individual utility-maximizers who are autonomous, free, etc. etc. etc?

    When I hear you and others like you speak about these issues, it sometimes seems as though you think we can isolate or maintain our conservative “morals” in the face of the unprecedented and radical upheavals that the capitalistic mode-of-production has effected (sometimes for good and sometimes for bad) everywhere it has been implemented. I think that many well-meaning people believe that if we just had enough religion and/or the right kind of “culture,” then our socio-economic infrastructure would right itself. (I should say that at one point of Centesimus Annus, JPII comes close to making this mistake–thankfully other passages in that document (not often cited) weigh against this interpretation.) I just don’t think this is true.

  34. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 30, 2010 9:27 am

    Thanks, Kyle. I did not notice. Forgive me. Many thanks.

  35. August 30, 2010 9:57 am

    Boy, Fr. Henry can’t please anyone. First he gets the right up in arms over his commencement speaker, then he outrages the left with praises for a talk radio host.

    (Kyle, I’m reading the thread post-editing, but I think Austin my be fussing about what appears to be Phosphorious quoting the quote Michael made up. This confused by the fact that neither Michael nor Phosphorious is a contributor — but Austin may not realize that.)

  36. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 30, 2010 11:47 am

    For you Steubenville grads and fans, i have some further bad news for you. I, too, was a commencement speaker and received an honorary doctorate a few years ago.

    • August 30, 2010 1:28 pm

      And for us who think Franciscan University is way off, you prove our point. Thanks.

      • August 30, 2010 1:50 pm

        It’s a shame that you felt you had to cave to “Doctor” Austin Ruse’s bullying, Kyle. It was pretty obvious that I was not “attributing” anything to him other than historical ignorance and a contempt for “liberal” priests that wishes their deaths. Perhaps deleting the quotation marks, if they were found so offensive, would have been a better edit to make?

        And Darwin, for once, is right: I am no longer a VN contributor.

  37. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 30, 2010 12:09 pm


    Concern for the sick and the poor begins in the womb. So, of course, not only is there a connection between pro-life work and helping the sick and the poor, they are, in fact, the very same thing. That is why i consider that my work is pro-life, yes, but also in service to the sick and the poor.

    About abortion growing out of something inherent in the capitalist system. How then to explain its widespread use in socialist countries? How to explain that it remains illegal in capitalist countries like Poland, Malta, Chile, Ireland? How to explain that it is widely used in countries that you would call social democracies?

  38. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 30, 2010 1:29 pm

    Yes, Henry, that one was for you :o).

  39. August 30, 2010 1:46 pm


    That is a helpful response. I have one follow-up question. You write that “pro-life work” is “the very same thing” as service to the sick and the poor. I take it you mean that your work is coextensive with service to the poor and not exhaustive of it. (This would be another way of construing your “very same thing” phrase–I don’t think you intend it that way.)

    I wasn’t aware that there were any socialist countries around anymore except perhaps North Korea and Cuba. (Let’s not forget that Sweden has more open markets that the U.S., for all of it’s social programs.) Of course, there are a variety of motivations for and justifications of abortion; my point was simply that I don’t think you can isolate the phenomenon from the underlying structures that make it seem attractive. In America, these structures have a lot to do with the idealization of a certain type of agency which in turn has to do with consumerism, which is hardly intellgible as a phenomenon without a consideration of capitalism. And, of course, capitalism is tightly entwined with political liberalism in a variety of ways that are hard to parse out in a thread like this.

  40. August 30, 2010 1:57 pm

    Steubenville : Catholic Left :: Notre Dame : Catholic Right


    • August 30, 2010 2:10 pm

      No. I know many of the RIGHT who dislike Franciscan because it is really not too Catholic.

    • August 30, 2010 2:14 pm

      In addition to Henry’s point about some of the right thinking Steubenville is too liberal, it is amusing to hear the right complain about how “liberal” ND supposedly is. In some ways it is really conservative.

  41. August 30, 2010 2:16 pm

    One gets the impression that at both Notre Dame and Steubenville, Church teaching is subordinated to particular social ideologies, rather than informing and critiquing those ideologies.

  42. Kyle R. Cupp permalink
    August 30, 2010 3:23 pm


    I didn’t cave to any bullying. I removed the quoted text because the quotation marks indicated, or at the very least gave the impression, that Austin has used those exact words when, in fact, he hadn’t. You may be right, though, that simply removing the quotation remarks would have been a better edit. My doing so would have allowed you to make your point without giving the impression that you were directly quoting Austin.

  43. August 30, 2010 3:30 pm

    I’m sure that grads like Kyle, Sam, John Henry and I could list off some problems that Steubenville has, but “really not too Catholic” is not one that I’ve heard before.

    • August 30, 2010 3:59 pm

      I’m sure that grads like Kyle, Sam, John Henry and I could list off some problems that Steubenville has…

      In relation to liturgy, I have heard the criticism that Steubenville has become “Protestantized.” If this criticism is not heard from the Right so much, it is because they are predictably preserving Steubenville from the same so-called “traditionalist” critique that they level against any other post-Vatican II worship community.

  44. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 30, 2010 3:54 pm


    When someone is doing work to save unborn children from abortion they are in fact doing work to help the sick and poor. They are doing peace and justice work. They are doing “social justice” work (though i, too, find that phrase repugnant). That’s what i mean.

    About capitalism i am simply pointing out that abortion appears in more than just capitalist societies. It is also illegal in capitalist societies. I am not convinced that capitalism has anything to do with it.

    • August 30, 2010 4:01 pm

      They are doing “social justice” work (though i, too, find that phrase repugnant).

      You are at odds with your church if you find the phrase “repugnant.”

  45. August 30, 2010 4:03 pm

    I wasn’t aware that there were any socialist countries around anymore except perhaps North Korea and Cuba

    Socialism and Communism aren’t identical.

  46. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 30, 2010 4:18 pm

    Some among the traditionalists don’t like Steubenville for various reasons. Back when I was a rock-ribbed bitter trad, I wrote a long piece for the now defunct Sursum Corda and part of it was a bark by bark description of a charismatic prayer service.
    I am, however, now a big fan of Father Scanlon and all that he accomplished there. I would be happy for my children, now 5 and 2, one day to go there. From teh day my wife received her honorary doctorate, we have a wonderful picture of my daughter Lucy, then 2, adoring the cross worn by Father Henry.

  47. August 30, 2010 4:29 pm

    Hmmm. I’ve heard Steubenville campus liturgy criticized for being overly charismatic, and for providing few options for those prefering more traditional approaches to liturgy and particularly music. (Though St. Pete’s is a quick and easy drive down the hill, and there you’ll see not only most of the professors but a lot of the other students as well.)

    I suppose some people might phrase that as being “Protestantized”, though I’ve never myself heard Steubenville as being such.

    But I’d certainly never heard it called “really not too Catholic” — and I’ll admit it seems a little odd to me to make that accusation based on a dislike of the music in on-campus liturgies.

    Generally speaking, I’d heard those who place a heavy emphasis on orthodoxy and morality list Steubenville, Christendom, Thomas Aquinas, University of Dalas and Ave Maria as the “good” schools, in part because they are fairly rigorous in requiring fidelity among the faculty in theological matters — while those who place more of an emphasis on diversity and freedom of conscience in regards to such matters tend to condemn those schools as narrow minded for the same reason.

  48. August 30, 2010 4:50 pm

    If this criticism is not heard from the Right so much, it is because they are predictably preserving Steubenville from the same so-called “traditionalist” critique that they level against any other post-Vatican II worship community.

    Oh, it’s heard from the right. Many traditionalists dislike the liturgies (which is fair enough), even if they like the theology classes. As to being “really not too Catholic,” I don’t really think that’s a valid (or informed) critique. Its particular flavor of Catholicism may not be for everyone, but Catholic it undoubtedly is. To paraphrase Chesterton, every Catholic is a bad Catholic, but that does not make them less a Catholic.

    • August 30, 2010 5:20 pm

      Well, many others point out the theological views encouraged by Franciscan, such as found in the teachings of Scott Hahn, indicates an over-acceptance of Protestant thought. His views, for example, continue to demonstrated his Presbyterian background has not been entirely dismissed.

  49. Rich Browner permalink
    August 30, 2010 4:52 pm

    Having Graduated from Steubenville more than 20 years ago, I have to say that hearing this is surprising. Fr. Michael Scanlon was not known to make many specifically political statements, much less point to an opportunist like Beck and praise him.

    I do not know Fr. Henry at all, so I am making no judgements about him personally. Still, the action of his praising Beck is not a wise move, in my opinion.

  50. August 30, 2010 6:08 pm

    Well, many others point out the theological views encouraged by Franciscan, such as found in the teachings of Scott Hahn, indicates an over-acceptance of Protestant thought.

    That’s a much different criticism than your original comment, Henry, and one I agree with to some extent. I’d say that Scott Hahn’s writings certainly reflect his background strongly. I am not a big fan of his – popularizers must inevitably simplify and with simplifications come some distortions. On balance, however, I think he has done a great deal of good for the Church in the United States. His works seem to effectively reach many Protestants where they are – a good friend from law school has been working through his books along with the Catechism and is considering joining the Church.

    That said, I would hardly take Dr. Hahn’s work as representative of the entire theology faculty or the university more generally. My recollection is that other theology faculty were quite willing to offer criticisms of his views in class, although they naturally were very civil about it.

  51. grega permalink
    August 30, 2010 9:55 pm

    Dr. hc Ruse – this is interesting ‘logic’.
    “When someone is doing work to save unborn children from abortion they are in fact doing work to help the sick and poor. They are doing peace and justice work. They are doing “social justice” work (though i, too, find that phrase repugnant). That’s what i mean.”

    I guess what you mean is just concern yourself with the Abortion issue – the rest who really cares – socialist crap anyway – does not fit our overall agenda . The people that pay my bills are neither poor nor foreigners nor – heaven forbid – poor illegal mexican catholics immigrants- thus what do I care. Besides these liberal catholic sissies seem to care for that stuff – which makes it very suspect indeed. And the fact that the Vatican seem officially to care? – as you know the Vatican is in Italy – one can almost see France from there – if you know what I mean?

  52. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 30, 2010 10:05 pm


    I do not take my cues from you. My informed conscience is quite clear in finding the phrase “social justice” repugnant. I have in fact dedicated by life to helping the sick and the poor, all the while you have been doing exactly what?

  53. August 30, 2010 10:27 pm

    If social justice is repugnant, than Pius XI is repugnant, since he used the term eight times in Quadragesimo Anno, as is John Paul II (4x in Laborem Exercans, 2x in Centessimus Annus), Paul VI (4x in Populorum Progressio), Benedict XVI (2x Caritas in Veritate). Apparently the popes do not shy away from this “repugnant” term. It is also used 13 times in the Compendium. Can a person be Catholic and still find this term repugnant.

    As for the relationship of life issues to other social issues, they are certainly foundational. But only if something is founded on them. If the concern for social justice begins at conception and ends at birth, then the whole notion of social justice is perverted into its opposite, and the Pro-life movement becomes merely the anti-abortion movement, a narrow political agenda. And those who claim to to be helping the sick and poor merely because they are paid to pontificate on abortion may be missing the whole point.

  54. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 6:50 am




  55. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 6:54 am


    The pro-life movement is about stopping abortion and so what? There are many millions of others and billions of dollars, both private and public, spent on poverty relief etc, hardly a tiny few people and a few millions spent on defending the unborn from abortion. It is laughable that folks who do not do a goddamn thing for the unborn want the pro-life movement to do something else.

    • August 31, 2010 7:21 am

      Once again, Austin, you show you are not pro-life but anti-abortion. If you fail to see the connection between being pro-life and working against poverty, I question the basis by which you are “pro-life.” The honor of life is not seen in your words.

  56. August 31, 2010 8:08 am

    Austin, we seem to be in agreement, then: it is not a “pro-life” agenda, but merely anti-abortion. But converted into a political agenda, it never remains just that. Instead, it gets tied to a larger agenda, namely the Republican platform of war, torture, concentration of wealth, abstract “free-trade,” the openly anti-Catholic “Austrian” economics, etc. In other words, “anti-abortion” becomes “anti-life,” not pro-life. The Pro-life movement should have been the foundation of a truly Catholic polity; instead, it has become Satan’s little joke, enabling him to play both sides: get “conservative” Catholics to support an anti-life agenda on everything but abortion, and get liberal Catholics to support, or at least weaken their opposition to, abortion.

    This is inevitable when so-called “Catholics” find the Church’s teaching “repugnant.”

  57. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 8:08 am


    You twist my words, who cares.

    Killing babies is the greatest poverty we know. That is what i work on. How about you? What do you work on, Henry?

  58. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 8:08 am


    It is not various Popes’ fault that “social justice” has come to mean Acorn.

  59. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 8:10 am

    Henry, et al,

    Where do you donate your money? Your time? Or is your notion of social justice simply popping off at Vox Nova. You remind me of the bitter trads I used to hang out with. Their vision of the apostolate was sitting around bitching about the bishops. What you do you DO, Henry?

  60. August 31, 2010 9:34 am

    Austin – We need people dedicated to working on the issue of abortion. What we do not need is a “pro-life” movement that is simply an electoral arm of the republican party and that frustrates the efforts of those committed to the fuller vision of Catholic social thought and action.

  61. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 10:38 am


    I sound like a one note. The prolife movement is much more than the political arm. It is 2000 crisis pregnancy centers. Google heartbeat international and begin volunteering. they work mostly with poor women who want to keep their babies.

  62. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 11:27 am

    It is also prayer, Michael. I said the Rosary with my bishop and some others in front of an abortion clinic a few weekends ago. I suspect your Bishop does the same thing. Join him!

  63. August 31, 2010 12:46 pm

    Please do not be offended, Mr. Ruse, if I am not eager to take prayer advice from you.

  64. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 1:02 pm

    What, you don’t like the Rosary? As you would put it, doesn’t this put you at odds with your Church?

    All I am getting at is there is so much more to the prolife movement that the political arm which you object to. There are lots of things to do, including prayer adn much more…

    • August 31, 2010 2:53 pm

      The Church has never required us to like the rosary, and many saints, like St Therese, were not fond of it. It is an optional devotion, not an absolute necessity to practice to be a good Catholic. Indeed, there are many other prayer traditions.

      As for Bush and ESCR, oh wait, Austin is trying THAT RUSE again? It’s been covered. Bush bragged about being the first president to provide FEDERAL funds for ESCR, and his administration said for others, there is no limit to ESCR which is privately funded.

    • August 31, 2010 3:19 pm

      What, you don’t like the Rosary? As you would put it, doesn’t this put you at odds with your Church?

      I actually quite like the Rosary. I wrote about it here at this blog in fact.

      As Henry points out, though, even if I disliked the Rosary, that would not put me at odds with my Church. It is not central the the faith, unlike social justice which the Magisterium calls a “constitutive” part of the faith. Keep following the alternative magisterium of Glenn Beck, Austin.

  65. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 1:06 pm

    I mean you could sit in the lotus position and chant your mantra, or sing Kumbaya, whatever! Anything!

  66. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:45 pm


    I was joking.

  67. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:46 pm


    Once more, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

    • August 31, 2010 3:50 pm


      Do you want to restate what you said? I would contend there are questions which have not been sufficiently answered for adult stem cell research (because of questions of cloning and when and where we cross that line), but to hear you saying there is nothing wrong with ESCR has got to be a mistake on your part. ESCR is indeed quite evil.

  68. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:56 pm

    Wait a minute, Henry, I think you meant to post hte bush stem cell thing on the new Minion thread, no?

  69. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:57 pm

    No, Henry, embryo DESTRUCTIVE research is evil, not embryonic stem cell research.

    • August 31, 2010 4:03 pm

      The third ethical problem can be formulated thus: Is it morally licit to use ES cells, and the differentiated cells obtained from them, which are supplied by other researchers or are commercially obtainable?

      The answer is negative, since: prescinding from the participation – formal or otherwise – in the morally illicit intention of the principal agent, the case in question entails a proximate material cooperation in the production and manipulation of human embryos on the part of those producing or supplying them.

      • August 31, 2010 4:04 pm

        So we see, Austin, your support for Bush transcends life — as we all knew. The Ruse continues to be up.

  70. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:58 pm

    I think this was the distinction where our close friendship went off the rails…

  71. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 4:06 pm


    Yes, Henry, this is based on the DESTRUCTION of human embryos to use their stem cells. This is evil. Obtaining embryonic stem cells through non-lethal means is not evil.

    • August 31, 2010 4:07 pm

      Austin – you are equivocating. Bush supported ESCR which came from embryos that had been killed, and did not forbid but encouraged such practice in the private sector. You demonstrate that you are not pro-life, but a shill and a sham.

  72. August 31, 2010 4:11 pm

    As Henry points out, though, even if I disliked the Rosary, that would not put me at odds with my Church. It is not central the the faith, unlike social justice which the Magisterium calls a “constitutive” part of the faith. Keep following the alternative magisterium of Glenn Beck, Austin.

    Considering there’s now a mystery regarding the Proclamation of the Kingdom, which is surely a code word for social justice, I doubt the rosary is permitted in the magisterium of Mr. Beck.

  73. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 4:26 pm


    I am not equivocating. I am starting from an important definition, an important distinction. One cannot say Embryonic Stem Cell Research is evil. On to the larger point.

    Yes, his policy was flawed. Indeed it was. He was willing to pay for research on embryos who had already been killed. Yes, a problem.

    Did he encourage embryo destructive research in theprivate sector? That is what Minion said and i will ask you also. Show me where he did that and how.

    I will ignore your pathetic name calling, for now.

    • August 31, 2010 4:32 pm

      “While Bush was banning federal funding for ESCR, he was simultaneously supporting private funding.” That is what you asked for him to support. And it’s been supported. You have changed the question, which is typical. And again, look to what Bush said about the private sector. It’s quite clear. Enough, you are showing yourself to be the shill you are. Indeed, the whole entire talk and debate has been about destroyed embryos. The questions raised to Bush and his administration were about such embryos. Bush bragged about his own federal support for such, and his administration consistently pointed out how they encouraged the private sector to go forward with such research.

  74. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 5:03 pm


    You have not supported that assertion, that bush “supported private funding.” I am eager to see proof from you or Minion or anyone else that bush “supported” private funding of embryo destructive research. Perhaps i am wrong, but i dont think so.

    What’s more, under Bush not a single penny of federal money went to the killing of human embryos for any reason.

    I am eager to see support for your assertions…

    • August 31, 2010 5:07 pm


      Your return to shill once again has been noted. I know, if you just repeat the same lie a few times, you think people will believe it. Sorry — evidence has been given, and your promotion of ESCR has been noted. Good day.

  75. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 5:20 pm


    Yes, it is always a good day when you see the great Henry Karlson sputter….but show me where a single embryo lost its life with federal funds during the bush admin. Can anyone?

    Can anyone show me where Bush supported private funding of research that required the killing of embryos?

    • September 1, 2010 6:45 am

      The ever changing qualifications of Austin in this and other threads show what he is, a shill.

      MM’s original post only said that Bush’s administration funded ESCR and encouraged private research of ESCR as well. When discussing ESCR here, people know what exactly is being discussed. First Austin denies this, then says there is nothing wrong with ESCR, then says he meant only destructive ESCR. Well, the whole discussion of Bush and is administration and ESCR comes from funding of destroyed embryos being used for research — both the federal funding he bragged about, and the encouragement of others to go to private funding if the federal is not enough.

      Austin will constantly change what he means by ESCR himself, if one watches carefully. But it is clear that the discussion in the media, which the Bush administration was responding to, is the kind which Catholics have to deplore. And it is clear the Bush administration was supportive of it. No way around this fact. And the Vatican document points to why “well, they were already there, so might as well use them” responses are also rejected by Catholic moral teaching. Again, Austin will go around in circles, changing what is being said about ESCR, all for the sake of getting Bush off the hook for something Bush cannot be off the hook for.

      This is clear proof what really is in charge at C-FAM. It’s not anything pro-life. And this is why other life concerns are mocked by Austin.

  76. Austin Ruse permalink
    August 31, 2010 5:33 pm

    And, for the record, I do not support embryo destructive research. The Church, and I, allow for embryonic stem cell research that does not destroy embryos.

    Some years ago i hosted a Rome conference on alternative methods for deriving embryonic stem cells. Donal Landry of the Columbia University Medical School delivered a paper on natural embryo death and allowing for their stem cells to be used in research. Bill Hurlbut delivered a paper on what became alternate nuclear transfer-oocyt assisted reprogramming (ANT-OAR). These are theories of ethical embryonic stem cell resaerch.

    The facts of this debate are much more interesting than your name-calling.

  77. Austin Ruse permalink
    September 1, 2010 12:06 pm

    I am trying to be a plain as day here….

    First, embryonic stem cell research in and of itself is not evil. [It could be morally problematic if you view it as a hopeless line of inquiry that will waste funds that could be going elsewhere, but that is anohter question].

    Second, the only kind of embryonic stem cell research that is condemned is that which requires the killing of embryos to get their stem cells.

    Third, embryonic stem cells or pluripotent stem cells can be derived through morally licit means, at least that is where the resaerch is going, perhaps it is already there.

    Fourth, George Bush did fund embryonic stem cell resaerch.

    Fifth, George Bush did not fund the killing of even a single human embryo.

    Sixth, HOWEVER the way he did it IS morally problematic in that he paid for research on embryos that had already been killed. Catholic conservatives protested that at that time and still oppose this approach AS I DO NOW.

    Seventh, again, can someone anyone show me where Bush “supported” or “encouraged” private funding of resaerch involving the killing of human embryos. Anyone at all. I could be completely wrong but i am just not aware that he ever did.

  78. Crowe permalink
    September 2, 2010 8:44 am

    Full disclosure: I’m the web editor for Franciscan University.

    I couldn’t help but note a few comments in this thread and wanted to offer some information. I’ll not comment on Dr. Rocha’s original post but wanted to offer DarwinCatholic and anyone who has concerns about the liturgical life on campus a couple of links and my personal sentiments: Note the top-left item under “Special Mass Schedule;”


    I happen also to be the head MC and head trainer of Extraordinary Form servers, having been raised in a Tridentine parish and maintaining a deep love of the Tridentine liturgy. Not being an alum of this school and with a very traditionalist upbringing I was skeptical of its spirituality when I first came into contact with it, but, though I still find the music at many (not all) of the Masses to be distracting, this school does a commendable job of operating at the liturgical “center” of the Church, reaching in both directions (though never too far), to draw both sides into the wondrous depths of the Mass.

    The spirit is still mostly charismatic, but by its fruits I (not a charismatic by any means) have come to know it to be legit and appreciate its place in the Church.

    No, this place is “not too Catholic:” it is exactly as Catholic as it needs to be, striving to be as Catholic as it can possibly be.

    Dismiss me as a PR hack if you wish, but in so doing you dismiss a personal testimony that comes from the heart.

  79. James permalink
    September 2, 2010 12:29 pm

    Beck a modern day Paul Revere? I don’t think he has put out an album in awhile so I don’t think you can consider him modern. However, he is listed as one of the top 100 guitarist. Paul Revere was a one hit wonder and I think he is still doing county fairs. No comparison, Beck is superior.

  80. GodsGadfly permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:10 pm

    There can be no ESCR without destruction of embryos.


  1. Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator? « The American Catholic
  2. What can we do about fake “pro-life” leaders? SMOKE ‘EM OUT! « The Catholic Fascist

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