You want me to kiss his what?
By Alisa Craddock
The idea that Nancy Pelosi is a "devout Catholic" is as absurd as a leader of the Communist Party USA calling himself a "patriotic American". America is not merely a piece of geography, after all. It is an idea, and that idea is delineated more or less precisely in a document called the United States Constitution. Each member of Congress and the President takes an oath to preserve, protect, and defend that Constitution. In fact, the members of Congress have an additional part of their oath that states that they take the oath "without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion". (In other words, they don't have their fingers crossed when they say "I do solemnly swear" they they will uphold the Constitution.) There exists a body of Justices to determine when some law or activity is consistent with or proscribed by that same Constitution. They, too, swear and oath. That body is the Supreme Court of the United States. As we all know, they don't always get it right.
Unfortunately, over time the character of this nation has changed, thanks in part to a Supreme Court that has serving on it people who have a different idea of America. This evolution is not for the betterment of our country, but for the socialist designs of the most wealthy and powerful people in the world. Stalinist elements have worked to transform this country according to a global design that has as its goal absolute control of everything and everybody. All land and water resources, all industry, all property, all money, all "human capital", whatever can be controlled for the benefit of the elite few to the detriment of the lowly is being transformed.
For 50 years our education system has been modeled on the Soviet model. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), which does occasionally actually defend an authentically American value, was founded by Stalinists, and has set its sights on our First Amendment rights, chiefly religion and the practice of it which stands in the way of the state as absolute authority. The freedom to practice ones religion without government interference has been gradually perverted into the right not to ever have to hear a Christian prayer uttered in a public place. Even a moment of silence is not acceptable because "they might pray." The ACLU intends the absolute eradication of Christianity and its values from the public and political sphere. As our political leaders violate one after another provision of our Constitution and find new, ingenious interpretations of the Bill of Rights that somehow mean the opposite of what the authors of our government intended, it becomes an absurd joke for these people to wave the flag and bang the drum, and say "God bless America." The liberals (and a growing number of RINO's—Republicans in name only) believe in an "alternative form of patriotism." That alternative form of patriotism is best described as "anti-Americanism".
Our Supreme Court Justices are as flawed a body as any, divided (unevenly) between those who actually meant it when they take their oath, and those who mean to use their office to promote that Stalinist agenda. Nevertheless, just as the United States has a final authority on Constitutional interpretation (the Supreme Court), so also does the Catholic Church on scriptural interpretation and Christian moral and theological truth: The Bishops are the ecclesiastical authorities, and the Bishop of Rome, whom the Church calls Pope (Papa) is the "Prime Minister" of Christ. But the Church has something the U.S. Supreme Court does not have—the Holy Spirit to lead it to all truth. From our Lord's lips to the Pope's ears. In matters of faith and morals, he cannot teach error (no matter how many times he errs on other matters.)
To be a Catholic is to accept the absolute authority of the Church to speak for Christ in matters of faith and morals. He gave them that authority: "Whoever hears you, hears me," He said to His Apostles. "Whoever rejects you, rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects Him who sent me." (Luke 10:16). Those words weren't meant for the lambs, the flock, but for Simon Peter whom Christ placed in charge of His flock. "Simon, son of John, do you love me? FEED MY LAMBS." We are the lambs. Peter and his successors are the Shepherds, and the Bishops in union with him. If you don't accept that authority and conform to the entire teaching, you are not Catholic. You are a Protestant -- or a heretic (which simply means "one who chooses").
The late Ricardo Montalban, a truly devout, practicing Catholic (and an early influence on my eventual Catholic conversion), said it best not long ago in an interview with Raymond Arroyo on "The World Over" (a Catholic news program on EWTN):
"There is no such thing as a ‘good Catholic' or a 'bad Catholic'; either you are a Catholic or you are not. If I want to play football, I can't play by baseball's rules. If I am going to be Catholic, it means that I have to play by the rules, and I have to obey all his commandments..."
But someone who flouts ecclesial authority, who rejects and publicly undermines Catholic moral law while claiming to be a devout Catholic is no different than a Stalinist claiming to be a patriotic American while trying to nullify the laws that form the identity of "America". You cannot work to destroy something while claiming to be an adherent of it. The Lord called such people "wolves in sheep's clothing" and "tares among the wheat."
Nancy Pelosi fancies herself a "devout Catholic." It is part of the deception of "Progressivism" (the new word for Socialism, apparently) that its adherents often believe that by transforming the institution into something else, they are improving it, and therefore can call themselves "faithful" or "patriotic". Could it be possible Pelosi really believes that of herself? Don't be deceived. Her "mentor" in the art of twisting Catholic truth was none other than the very liberal and scandalous Fr. Robert Drinan. Fr. Drinan served in the House of Representatives (against Church law) in the seat now held by Barney Frank before the last Pope ordered him to leave political office. But not before he had done considerable damage, as 21 Catholic legislators followed him to the Dark Side. He instructed the liberals in Congress well how to spin their pro-abortion views and give them the flavor of social justice couched in religious language to give it legitimacy. Like anti-Americanism, Ms. Pelosi's alternative form of Catholicism is decidedly anti-Catholic. Yet she apparently was quite eager to meet the Pope. To my eyes, Ms. Pelosi, puffed up with self-importance and her own apparent belief that her position as the "most powerful woman in America" makes her somehow equal in stature to His Holiness, spun the conversation she had with him this way: "It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today. In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel." (My emphasis.) I'm sure the Pope was eating out of her hand over such praise from so exalted a woman. The only problem is, his solutions to those problems probably don't look much like hers. The ends don't justify her means.
The Vatican took no pictures, nor permitted any news correspondents or cameras in the room, while the Pope presumably scolded Ms. Pelosi for her rabid support for the culture of death. The statement released by the Vatican was cool and formal, which made it clear that Ms. Pelosi had received a Papal dressing down, and that he wanted the faithful and the world to know it: "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists, and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development." (my emphasis.) No way was the Vatican going to let Ms. Pelosi go back home and spin this to appear that her visit had been warm and fuzzy, and let her further scandalize and outrage the faithful. (I'm sure he was charitable, more so than I would have been.)
Contrary to the current trend, the idea that one's Judeo-Christian morals should not affect one's legislative decisions is a fairly recent development—a result of the Stalinist influence, and not traditionally an American viewpoint. There is no conflict between duty to state and duty to God in a state where the laws of the land conform to the laws of God, as ours once did. There really is no legitimate excuse for Nancy Pelosi to promote the culture of death as she does. It's bad enough she refuses to submit to the authority of the Pope, which is incumbent upon every Catholic. But it is pure chutzpah for Ms. Pelosi to elevate herself in such a manner that she appears to condescend to the Vicar of Christ. As a Catholic I am outraged.
It was customary at one time (and some faithful still practice it) for Catholics to kiss the ring of the Holy Father, and of the Bishops, as a sign of reverence for their holy office. It takes humility to do that. After the Second Vatican Council this practice was played down and, in some respects, discouraged by liberals within the Church, fellow "Progressives" with an agenda of their own. It is unfortunate that many of the demonstrations of reverence that used to mark Catholic life and served to keep us ever mindful of our humble state before our Maker, and the duty to obedience we have as Catholics, have disappeared, and been replaced by pride, complacency, arrogance, narcissism, disrespect, defiance, and disobedience. We don't know if Nancy Pelosi kissed the Papal ring or not. I'd like to think she did. I hope with all sincerity that she was moved by his words. But this question nags the faithful: How can so many who call themselves Christian promote evil and not be aware that that is what they are doing? The Church calls that the "mystery of iniquity."
Alisa Craddock is a columnist and activist in the culture war, a convert to Catholicism, and describes herself as a Christian Libertarian. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.