Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – I keep hearing the news yesterday about there’s 1.2 billion Catholics around the world. That number was larger. That number was larger a decade ago. That number is shrinking. It’s certainly shrinking in the United States. Why? They keep becoming more progressive. They keep adding things that make the Church more, in American political speak you would say liberal. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: I do the news anchoring last night, 5 and 6 p.m., and make my way home. It’s about an hour’s drive. I get home and pop the old computer open, read last night’s rundown, then start going through the other stories of the day. Then I start stumbling upon things like this by Michael Brendan Dougherty. Michael Brendan Dougherty is a Catholic guy. He’s also the gentleman that wrote the story calling me the most radical man in all of talk radio back in May of 2011 for American Conservative Magazine. As a matter of fact, I asked Daniel McCarthy, the editor of AmConMag.com, yesterday about Dougherty. He mentioned he’s got a couple other high-paying gigs. He works for Slate. Bear in mind, as a practicing Catholic, I pray for the new Holy Father. You’re supposed to be happy about all this. You’ve got a new pope, new life breathed into the Church.
I browse over to Slate.com after Rod Dreher posts a paragraph of Brendan Dougherty’s dismay. I find this: “Why Pope Francis may be a Catholic nightmare.” Really? Already? Brendan Dougherty took it easy on Francis. I have this one: “The horror! A Buenos Aires Journalist Describes Bergoglio.” I’m reading Brendan Dougherty and I didn’t know any of this. As a matter of fact, the guy must be a really great journalist because I’d like to know how you discover these things so quickly. This is what Dougherty writes in part, “
He may seem like a humble reformer, but Cardinal Bergoglio is the last thing the Vatican needs.
There are two ways to look at the election of Pope Francis. He takes the name of the famous saint, whose life was defined by a vision in which he was commanded by a crucifix to “rebuild my Church, which is in ruins.” That name, combined with rumors that Cardinal Bergoglio impressed his fellow Cardinals at preconclave meetings with his willingness to clean up the Curia, may be a signal that reform is on the way. [Mike: If you don’t know what the Curia is, the Curia is the bureaucracy that is inside the Vatican. The Vatican is a republic all its own. Vatican City is governed by no external force other than God.]
His choice of name may also signal an affiliation with the Jesuit saint Francis Xavier, an exemplary evangelist and missionary. Cardinal Bergoglio is known as a simple, humble person who eschewed the pomp of his high office in the church. Until now, he has lived in a simple apartment and cooked his own meals. He worked to prevent priests from abandoning their parishes and the sacraments entirely for revolutionary political activism in Argentina, when liberation theology was ascendant.
But the other way to look at the dawn of this papacy is that it is one more in the pile of recent Catholic novelties and mediocrities…
Mike: Do you remember when Pat Buchanan was on this show back when his book came out, Suicide of a Superpower? Buchanan is a devout traditional Catholic. He had written something in his book about the only way the United States is going to be saved may possibly be if there is another Paul of Tarsus, meaning St. Paul, or a Martin Luther. The same may be said of the Catholic Church. I keep hearing the news yesterday about there’s 1.2 billion Catholics around the world. That number was larger. That number was larger a decade ago. That number is shrinking. It’s certainly shrinking in the United States. Why? They keep becoming more progressive. They keep adding things that make the Church more, in American political speak you would say liberal. I’ll give you one example.
It used to be that if you were a practicing traditional Catholic and you were following the canon and liturgy of the Church, when it came to Fridays and Lent, you fasted. Think Gandhi. That’s a fast. Think Jesse Jackson back in the 1980s. That’s a fast. A fast is not saying: Even though I’m 30 pounds overweight, I really can’t go a whole day without eating, so we’ve got to have at least one meal. Then the Church says: Okay, you can have lobster. You can have catfish. You can have shrimp. This is how this whole seafood at Lent thing got started. This is totally a fabrication, folks. None of this was around prior to the 1960s or so. If you’re a trad Cath on a Friday in Lent, you don’t eat; you fast. That means don’t eat. If you have to have a piece of bread or half a piece of bread to munch on because you have hunger pains or really are in pain or whatever, that’s permissible. You’re really supposed to fast. You’re not supposed to eat anything. You drink water all day long, wait till Friday passes, then you eat moderately the following day.
One of the things to make fasting palatable for American Catholics was to make it easier. You’ve got to make everything easier for us. We can’t do anything difficult. Can’t stand in lines, no one wants to wait more than a day for a product to be shipped to them. You name it, everything has got to be now. I want it now. No, I don’t want to wait. I said now. I don’t want to fast. That’s too hard. There’s got to be a different way. Of course, the purpose of the fasting is not just to starve yourself. While you’re starving, you’re supposed to look heavenward and be praying on these things. Just to give you one example here of how the modern, I hesitate to say Roman Catholic Church in the United States, has tried to make it easier and pave the way for Americans to remain Catholic. It’s not working. The numbers keep going down. Maybe you should try something different.
Isn’t this just like the government, too? Isn’t this just like leviathan? You guys keep subsidizing the poor. You told us that if we subsidized the poor, you would teach them how to fish and they would become fishermen. We wouldn’t have to subsidize them anymore. What happens is you keep seeing more poor people. The number of food stamp recipients, I don’t know if you saw the news the other day, is at an all-time high, 20 million-plus. I understand Brendan Dougherty’s worry about the traditions being thrown — my point is that what many people think is needed is for a pope or a leader of the Church to come in and do the exact opposite of what has been done. I’m not alone in that thought. Listen to this:
But the other way to look at the dawn of this papacy is that it is one more in the pile of recent Catholic novelties and mediocrities. He is the first Latin American pope, the first Jesuit to be pope, and the first to take the name Francis. And so he falls in line with the larger era of the church in the past 50 years which has been defined by ill-considered experimentation: a “pastoral” ecumenical council at Vatican II, a new synthetic vernacular liturgy, the hasty revision of the rules for almost all religious orders within the church, the dramatic gestures and “saint factory” of Pope John Paul II’s papacy, along with the surprise resignation of Benedict XVI. In this vision, Benedict’s papacy, which focused on “continuity,” seems like the exception to an epoch of stunning and unsettling change, which—as we know—usually heralds collapse.
There are reasons to believe that Pope Francis is a transitional figure, unlikely to effect major reform at the top of the church. He is not known as a champion of any theological vision, traditional or modern. He is just two years younger than Pope Benedict was upon his election eight years ago. [Mike: That was another puzzling thing. Pope Francis was born in 1936. There were a lot of people that thought maybe they’re going to pick a young guy. Most young guys don’t get named cardinals to start with, but you certainly could have found someone much younger. It seems to me that this is a stopgap measure, an in between.] He has deep connections to Italy, but little experience with the workings of the Vatican offices. A contentious reading of Pope Francis’ rise is that Benedict’s enemies have triumphed completely.
End Mike Church Show Transcript