Christopher Blosser has a large roundup to the Pope’s Urbi Et Orbi Easter Message and his statement "Nothing Positive Comes from Iraq"
I woke up on Easter to find an email from a sometime reader demanding to know why I hadn’t blogged on the Pope’s statement, calling me a neocon and afraid of the truth. At the time though I hadn’t blogged since Holy Thursday and in fact hadn’t read his message yet.
Now for the record I am not a neocon, as I have said before I am a "kneel con." In the latest issue of Crisis magazine they had an article on neocons and what they are. The descriptions certainly match me to a certain extent. I was "a man of the left" like many neocons and was involved in anti-Vietnam demonstrations. I was also a bleeding heart liberal who thought the government should solve all problems and a wannabe hippie. Like many neocons I became disenchanted over the Democratic Party on the issue of national defense as my own position changed (Thank you Jimmy Carter for waking me up), especially to the anti-American rhetoric coming from the left. Nothing like being in the Navy and traveling the world to get a appreciation for being American. Like Ronald Reagan (who I once despised being a good Portland, Or leftist) I did not leave the Democratic Party, it left me – especially as I left my pro-abortion stand and became pro-life. There is the joke that a conservative is a liberal who was mugged, well I was mugged by reality.
As regards to the Iraq war will know that I seldom blog on the topic and before it started I had reservations about it. There are people I respect on both sides of the question as to whether the initial war fulfilled just war criteria. I know my own biases being both ex-military and a general supporter of President Bush and so I have tried to be very careful into taking that into account. Regardless though whether the initial Iraq war was just I think it would be totally wrong to leave now. When you try act as a midwife to birth a Democracy you don’t run away when the contractions start. The Bush Administration has certainly made major mistakes in the aftermath of the war and the transiting of the government. Though I am slightly optimistic in that the surge does seem to be slowing down some of the violence. So whether there is anything positive coming out of Iraq is certainly something open to question. I just can’t see how withdrawal of our troops will make the terrorists who are often being aided from Iran stop their violence and their search for dominance. Iran likes a destabilized Iraq and they certainly don’t want a successful democracy that would put pressure on them to change.
Right now I support both the troops and their mission. I don’t really understand those who say they support one and not the other. For example if a Democratic politician asked me if I supported them and I said yes, but I won’t give you any money, won’t vote for you, and I don’t like what your doing – I am sure they would think that regardless of what I said I was not in fact supporting them.
I do find it rather funny the new found love that progressives now have for the Pope’s words. Encyclicals, Apostolic Letters, Church Documents can all be discarded, but the Pope making a personal comment on the situation in Iraq and all of a sudden it is as if he has made a dogmatic definition. They latch on to one sentence while not giving the same weight to the Pope talking about "contempt of life" and the horrific situations in the other countries the Pope mentioned. But cherry picking is nothing new.
Mark Shea often gets a lot of heat from both sides as he dares to try to be consistently Catholic. That is decrying torture apologists on the right along with abortion advocates mostly on the left. I really don’t like prefix Catholicism. That is where you have to put some prefix to describe yourself before the world Catholic. I never describe myself as a Conservative Catholic since I think prefixes take away from and not give more meaning to the word Catholic. Exactly how does universal need a prefix? But I am only a truth hating neocon I guess. I learn something new everyday.
Alleluia! Happy Easter Wednesday! Jeff, all this is what happens when one is orthodox… to put it in plain Aramaic, “if they hate you remember they hated Me first”. And, as usual, GKC puts it in terms of dexter and sinister:
This is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. It was the equilibrium of a man behind madly rushing horses, seeming to stoop this way and to sway that, yet in every attitude having the grace of statuary and the accuracy of arithmetic. The Church in its early days went fierce and fast with any warhorse; yet it is utterly unhistoric to say that she merely went mad along one idea, like a vulgar fanaticism. She swerved to left and right, so exactly as to avoid enormous obstacles. She left on one hand the huge bulk of Arianism, buttressed by all the worldly powers to make Christianity too worldly. The next instant she was swerving to avoid an orientalism, which would have made it too unworldly. The orthodox Church never took the tame course or accepted the conventions; the orthodox Church was never respectable. It would have been easier to have accepted the earthly power of the Arians. It would have been easy, in the Calvinistic seventeenth century, to fall into the bottomless pit of predestination. It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic. It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one’s own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob. To have fallen into any of those open traps of error and exaggeration which fashion after fashion and sect after sect set along the historic path of Christendom – that would indeed have been simple. It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.
[GKC, Orthodoxy CW1:305-6, emphasis added]
Amen Jeff. Amen.
Mark Shea gets a lot of heat, not because he is consistently Catholic, but because he’s consistently a jackass.
This morning it occured to me, that:
Every liberal becomes a libertarian
the moment a new tax hits his wallet;
even if only for a moment…
Thanks for the kind words, Jeff!
God bless you, Billy! Happy Easter!
Jeff, quite a good post and some interesting responses! Thanks. And thanks also to Dr. Thursday, BillyHW, and even Mark Shea.
I deeply appreciate your position and find myself very much in agreement. I come from a military family, spent three years in the 1960s Army, fell into the Anti-Vietnam War trap, became an agnostic Leftist, worked with Catholics who considered themselves the vanguard of progressivism and, by the grace of God alone, turned 180 degrees.
Now, being an orthodox Catholic and a noncrunchy Conservative isn’t easy as I live in a liberal area where even my former pastor, a dyed-in-the-wool McBrienite, described himself as a Democrat (in contrast to my politics). But that’s where the Lord put me and wants me. No use trying to guess the reason–it just doesn’t work.
You too Mark.
He is Risen!
The GKC quote was breathtaking! Thank you, Dr Thurs.
Or, I will thank you once I catch my breath.
“Exactly how does ‘universal’ need a prefix?”
Spot on, Jeff!