Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – We have to have an anarchist atheist express a devoutly traditional Catholic point of view on CNN to get one out there. There’s Penn Jillette promoting a book called Every Day Is An Atheist Holiday making more sense than almost anyone that I’ve seen talk about this. Why hasn’t Penn Jillette ever been on this show? It seems that he and I would hit it off fabulous. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
AG: A quick question for you, Mike, as the conclave gets under way for the election of the new pope. For you as a Catholic, what matters in the election of the pope? What should matter to the people? We’re getting a lot of discussions over who’s going to be the next pope, that sort of thing. Me not being Catholic, the question is: Does a lot matter beforehand? Or once the cardinal is elected pope, does that person then take on a whole new identify and therefore some of their past teachings or what they’ve done in the past isn’t quite as important because the title now infers such responsibility and power that you lose sight of what they did beforehand? What ideally would you be looking for as the conclave gets underway?
Mike: He’s God’s representative on Earth. He represents the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. He then becomes the Holy See. Then he becomes, as I said, the representative of God on Earth. As he becomes that, he then does become a leader, he has to be. He also then has to guide those under his care, which are the cardinals and bishops. It is an enormous responsibility. It is one that should only fall to the most devout of all the cardinals and bishops, all the Catholic priests that gather there. I am not a papal historian. It’s a new field of study to me. I’m a little bit at a disadvantage here. I don’t like getting too deep into things that I haven’t studied that greatly.
AG: You mentioned the leader aspect of it. Granted, being in the United States, you get the sense that Cardinal Dolan is a leader. How that is on the international stage, I don’t know. Likewise, I couldn’t tell you if a cardinal from Italy is a huge leader within the Catholic Church. I wouldn’t have that reference to know. Cardinal Dolan seems like a very strong leader of the Catholic Church in the United States. Would he then be a viable candidate because of that leadership quality shown in leading the United States congregation to then expand that to the international stage as the pope?
Mike: There are people that are saying that he has 2.3 million Catholics in the New York Diocese that are under his care, that it only makes sense, that it’s about time for an American and he’s an amiable guy, that he may lead the Church to this or that. First of all, from what I’ve read — I spend a little time Catholic blogging every night. From what I’ve read, I don’t think Dolan has any chance whatsoever of being chosen by anyone that Benedict chose as a cardinal or that JP II chose as a cardinal or bishop. I think that’s wishful thinking by New York media, like the clowns that write about this stuff over at Fox News. That’s number one.
Number two amiability and likeability of the Holy Father, I guess this is something that media likes to bring up and people seem to think that it ought to matter. Even someone as committed to atheism — he has a book out about it now — as Penn Jillette is, actually has a great opinion on the pope. He told Piers Morgan a couple nights ago — boy, this guy is just — you want to know why that show, why CNN nights are never going to be anything? That man is just insufferable. He’s not a good broadcaster. He’s not likeable in any way, shape or form. If he woke up in the morning and tried to be more offensibly and patently wrong on every issue that any mildly moderate American might care about, you would be Piers Morgan. Running the tables and angering the entire audience is not a way to build one. Have you seen this? Did you see the show by any chance?
AG: I didn’t catch Penn on there, no.
Mike: I want to play a clip of this, since you asked the question.
[start audio clip]
Piers Morgan: He probably has a rather different view of all this. You know him as the talkative half of Penn and Teller. He’s also the author of Every Day Is An Atheist Holiday! More Magical Tales From the Bestselling Author of God, No! Penn Jillette joins me now. Welcome back, Penn.
Piers: I can’t think of anyone I’d rather talk to about the unprecedented retirement of a pope than you. What is your honest reaction?
Penn: I think I may be someone who believes in the pope’s position more than most Catholics. I really take people at their word. It seems like all the cynicism and getting in and modernizing, there’s not supposed to be modernizing. It’s supposed to be the word of God. I know it’s only when he’s speaking ex cathedra, not all the time. I really believe that if people believe, I don’t know how they can have opinions on the Catholic Church. You call yourself a Catholic. Don’t you follow everything?
Piers: No, that’s the point. I’ve been increasingly, like many young Catholics…
[end audio clip]
Mike: I don’t want to hear this imbecile. We have to have an anarchist atheist express a devoutly traditional Catholic point of view on CNN to get one out there. There’s Penn Jillette promoting a book called Every Day Is An Atheist Holiday making more sense than almost anyone that I’ve seen talk about this. Why hasn’t Penn Jillette ever been on this show? It seems that he and I would hit it off fabulous.
To answer your question, my friend David Simpson and I got into an argument one night discussing this very subject with another Catholic. It turned almost into a shouting match. Then David asked me: You’re the radio host. Can’t you explain this to this guy? I said the best explanation I can give you to why the canon and liturgy of the Church should not be subject to the evolving societal wishes of the people is because traditions only get started and you only have things that are traditional if they have been demonstrated to have been successful. Very few things are traditional that are not successful, do not produce good or beneficial results. I suppose you could say having the bulls chase you in Pamplona, Spain is not something that’s beneficial. [mocking] “Mike, that’s a tradition.” It’s beneficial to the merchants where 10,000 people descend on the town and buy t-shirts and sangria and what have you.
There’s a reason why there is tradition. There is a reason why there is canon, which is a Greek word for some manner of tradition. There’s a reason why there is the liturgy of the word that has been passed down. I realize there have been schisms in the Church. There was one around the 10th century. Of course, there was a schism during the Reformation when Martin Luther and the Lutherans went their way. I believe that if Catholics don’t stop this, you’re going to view what happened in Vatican II as a schism and a horrifically mistaken schism. The only reason that you would cling to Catholicism as a religion and a way of life is because of its tradition and history, it’s not in spite of it. That’s why I suggested to you that a great guest this week, if they pick a pope, is my friend Tom Woods. Woods has a great little book on this you can read in a day. It’s called Sacred Then and Sacred Now. Woods’ case is that if the Mass and the Catechumens, the Tridentine Mass, the Latin Mass of the Catechumens, if it was sacred when it was created and if it was sacred or the thousand-plus years — I know I’m being rough with my numbers — that it was recanted and practiced, if it was sacred then, then it’s sacred now. That’s what Penn Jillette was talking about. It’s either God or it isn’t. Trying to make God friendly to people is then not having God.
I’ll be very intrigued to see the reaction. We’ll know within a day what the reaction of St. Pius X Society is. If they react negatively to the pope, then you know that the traditionalists just got defeated and the Vatican II will complete their takeover. The Church, I think, runs the risk of becoming insignificant. Andrew, remember the day you called Father Jonathan? What did he say that day? It was his opinion that the new pope was going to have some very difficult decisions to make and he was probably going to preside over the shrinking of the Church. What could possibly presage that? The only thing that could possibly presage shrinking would be a shrinking and a clarification of the rules under which one would operate as the Catholic Church. So a very, very tumultuous time for the papacy.
End Mike Church Show Transcript