RUSH: In that sense, as the program unfolds today, we're gonna go back and revisit this whole contraception, abortion, Catholic Church business. There was a piece called to my attention over the weekend at Ricochet, it's a website started by a good friend of mine Peter Robinson. Peter Robinson took over the equivalent of Firing Line, hosted by William Buckley when Buckley gave that show up. Peter's out at Stanford at Palo Alto and he started the website Ricochet, and it's a highbrow place, highbrow conservatives.
Paul Rahe (r-a-h-e), a professor at Hillsdale College, wrote a brilliant piece that was posted February 10th, last Friday. "American Catholicism's Pact with the Devil." What made me interested in this is we had a couple of calls last Friday. One was from a woman, you'll recall, who was very animated and very upset. She criticized the Catholic Church, the bishops, the clergy, for being in bed with the Democrat Party for decades. She said that they basically sold their souls and became leftists. Rahe explains it and expands upon it. One of the key points that he makes is the Catholic Church got sucked in.
By the way, I don't want you Catholics to get upset here. This is not a rip on the Church per se; it's not a rip on Catholicism. It's a rip on the people who have been running it, starting with Cardinal Bernardin. But the point is, they fell for a seductive notion that the redistribution of wealth equaled charity, that robbing Peter to pay Paul equaled charity. And that allowed them, under the tenets of Catholicism, to support liberalism and socialism. And that's what they became. It's a really brilliant piece. It prints out to six pages and I haven't the time to go through it all, but I did excerpt it. I'm going to share it with you as the program unfolds. It is so good, it's the reason I'm gonna revisit the subject.
It is interesting in another sense, too. People are wondering if what's happened here with Obama, Catholic Church, abortion, contraception, is it a tipping point? Is the outrage from the Church real? Is it enough to cause the Church, at the top, to reverse it's whole association with the Democrat Party? We'll see. One of the things that Rahe does is point out that the same thing happened with the priests who were abusing kids. They looked the other way, just as they looked the other way with abortion. Wait 'til you hear this. It's a pretty profound indictment of Cardinal Bernardin who basically said: Abortion, contraception, are no different than any other popular social issue of the day.
He lumped it in with everything else the Church opposes, and they hemmed themselves in where they really couldn't criticize the Roe v. Wade decision. Rahe points out that when he goes to Mass, he doesn't hear Catholicism anymore. He doesn't hear any moral underpinning from the Church. All he hears is a bunch of socialist, left-wing dogma. Anyway, it's a brilliant piece and I'll excerpt it as the program ununfolds today.
RUSH: Mike in Plainfield, New Jersey. Glad you waited, sir. Great to have you on the program. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I called because I found the critique of the Catholic Church to be wrong, number one. There has been no Church that has stood up better on the issue of abortion than the Catholic Church.
RUSH: Which? Well, now, which critique you referring to? Mine?
CALLER: Your critique at the beginning when you were quoting Rahe.
RUSH: Yeah. Yeah.
CALLER: I've read Rahe in the meanwhile, and he's saying what George Will said on yesterday morning's show. George Will said (haughty impression), "Huh, the Catholic Church brought it on itself! Huh!" Well, Catholic Church has the right to freedom of conscience. Whether it's liberal or conservative it has a right to freedom of conscience. And what Obama did on Friday, as you said, it's just a fig leaf. But there's actually a very real way in which it's not even constitutional. What he's done is he said insurance companies have to pay for the Catholic Church's expense of providing contraceptive services to employees.
CALLER: That's an establishment of religion.
RUSH: Oh --
CALLER: Nobody's really said that, but that's the real problem. A huge problem for it. "Oh, I got a problem? I got a problem with free exercise? We'll make the insurance companies pay for it!" Wrong. That makes it an establishment of religion.
RUSH: Weeeell, I don't know about that, but you don't even need to get there to find unconstitutionality in what Obama is doing. Mandating that an insurance company or anybody provide anything, pay for anything? He can't tell 'em what to charge. He can't tell 'em what policies to offer. He can't tell 'em a damn thing. The states can pass laws that limit competition and this kind of thing, but Obama as president cannot dictate this stuff. Jack Lew, the chief of staff, says they're gonna implement it and they don't care. This is totally in your face. This regime is holding nothing back. To those of us who say, "What you're done is unconstitutional," they say, "Stop us. I challenge you to stop us. We're gonna do it." What they know is they can do anything they want if nobody stops them.
They know that despite the fact that you can't rob a bank, people rob banks. They know that despite the fact that you can't murder anybody, murder still happened. Well, the Constitution cannot be violated, but it can. As long as nobody's gonna stop you, you can do whatever you want. This is what Obama knows. Who's gonna stop him? Public opinion? He doesn't care! The only people that can stop him are in Congress. Just like the recess appointment business. This recess appointment business, when he makes "recess appointments" when there's not a recess, if the Senate isn't going to stop him, he's gonna keep doing it! (interruption)
It's not inside baseball. There's nothing inside baseball about this at all. People want to know how could Obama do this. He doesn't have any moral compunction against it. He doesn't have any moral guidelines that say, "Don't do it." He doesn't have any respect for the Constitution. That's how they do it. And if there's nobody that's going to stop him? If violating the Constitution in such a way that it transgresses on someone else's liberty, if the victim here is not gonna stand up and stop it he's gonna keep doing it. That's who he is! We're dealing with a community organizer, Chicago thug here, folks. It really isn't complicated, and it's not inside baseball. It's very simple to understand. I mean, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner (not to pick on them) can stand up and say they "deplore" this all day.
Obama's gonna laugh at 'em. Do you think Obama's gonna stop because somebody "deplores" his actions? Do you think Obama is gonna say, "Oh, you know, wait minute. I guess we better not do this 'cause, uh, the House and Senate leadership said I couldn't do this." If all they do is say you can't do it, there's nothing to stop him. You think words are gonna stop this guy? You think deploring the action and statements expressing strong disfavor with this is gonna stop it? (interruption) I understand, but he doesn't care. I know it's a general outcry, but he doesn't care. I want to take the occasion of Mike's call here to get into the Paul Rahe piece that ran on February 10th at Ricochet.com. It's "American Catholicism's Pact with the Devil." I printed this out; it goes to six pages.
Let me pick it up in progress. I'll JIP Mr. Rahe's piece. He's, by the way, a professor at Hillsdale College. "This is what the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church forgot. In the 1930s, the majority of the bishops, priests, and nuns sold their souls to the devil, and they did so with the best of intentions. In their concern for the suffering of those out of work and destitute, they wholeheartedly embraced the New Deal. They gloried in the fact that Franklin Delano Roosevelt made Frances Perkins -- a devout Anglo-Catholic laywoman who belonged to the Episcopalian Church but retreated on occasion to a Catholic convent -- Secretary of Labor and the first member of her sex to be awarded a cabinet post. And [the Church] welcomed Social Security -- which was her handiwork.
"They did not stop to ponder whether public provision in this regard would subvert the moral principle that children are responsible for the well-being of their parents." When your parents get old it's your job to take care of them, not the government's! The Church had always believed that. FDR's New Deal came along, and the Church said: Wow, we can support this 'cause this is charity. His point is that when the Church began to equate redistribution of wealth at the government with charity, it was all over for the Church. The Church "did not stop to consider whether this measure would reduce the incentives for procreation and nourish the temptation to think of sexual intercourse as an indoor sport. They did not stop to think.
"In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States -- the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity -- and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism -- the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people’s money and redistribute it," and that started in the 1930s. FDR, New Deal, transfer of wealth, Depression, help the poor, help the suffering.
The Church, the Catholic Church cast aside what it had always believed and then began to say: It is our Christian duty in equating the redistribution of wealth to charity. And, by the way, this survives to this day! How many people do you know who are not even Catholic -- Obama, the regime -- who equate liberalism with Christianity? They claim to find liberalism throughout the Bible, and they claim to find it in the notion that taking from the rich and giving to the poor by the government is charity, and that it is their Christian duty to confiscate other people's money and redistribute it. When the Church went along with the notion that Christianity equals government redistribution, that was the end. "At every turn in American politics since that time, you will find the hierarchy assisting the Democratic Party and promoting the growth of the administrative entitlements state. At no point have its members evidenced any concern for sustaining limited government and protecting the rights of individuals."
Remember, we had a call on Friday near the end of the program from a woman who said, "Look, the Catholic Church is not an innocent victim here. They got in bed with the liberal Democrats long ago." And this is what prompted my interest in the Paul Rahe piece because this woman that called was fiery, she was passionate, and she was dead on right. I got a bunch of e-mails agreeing with that caller, such as this one. "Dear Rush: I totally agree with the female caller who criticized the Catholic Church. The Catholic bishops and the clergy have been in bed, quote, unquote, with the Democrats for decades. How else could Pelosi, Kerry, and Biden be considered faithful Catholics when they are pro-choice? They even get front row seats for communion with the pope. The prominent Catholic clergy gave lip service to church teachings but they will still support Obama." And they supported Obamacare, by the way.
The Catholic Church hierarchy was one of the first to sign on to Obamacare. They looked at it as charity, and the church stands for charity. They made the mistake of equating charity with government taking from some and giving to others, which, prior to this in the thirties the church was not about that. Like that lady said, they teach more socialism from the pulpit than they do Catholicism. And Mr. Rahe makes that point, brilliantly so in this piece, which you'll hear coming up. My e-mailer says, "Parishioners never hear about authentic church teachings anymore, especially on birth control because it might offend somebody. Study after study prove that women who claim to be Catholic use birth control as much as non-Catholic women. We have to put up with sermons of watered down parables and social justice. Our tithes and Catholic sharing appeal funds go to support illegals by helping them stay in the country, because it's charity. It's all disguised as charity."
But her point was, and the e-mails in support, were that the church really doesn't have a whole lot of room to complain because they brought all this on starting way back in the thirties, and then Cardinal Bernardin really sealed the deal in the eighties.
RUSH: Back to the Paul Rahe piece at Ricochet.com, theme of which -- and there are many themes -- I'm trying to boil this down to its essence. The Catholic Church in his words sold its soul to the devil back in the thirties when it began to equate the redistribution of wealth, liberalism, socialism, with charity. The church got behind it. You know what's amazing about all of this is that the church has slowly but surely been co-opted by socialism, the Democrat Party has done its best to put the church out of business, to attack it. The left doesn't like the moral judgments they think emanate from the church. Anyway, continuing here with Mr. Rahe's piece.
"At every turn in American politics since [the 1930s], you will find the hierarchy assisting the Democratic Party and promoting the growth of the administrative entitlements state. At no point have its members evidenced any concern for sustaining limited government and protecting the rights of individuals. It did not cross the minds of these prelates that the liberty of conscience which they had grown to cherish is part of a larger package – that the paternalistic state, which recognizes no legitimate limits on its power and scope, that they had embraced would someday turn on the Church and seek to dictate whom it chose to teach its doctrines and how, more generally, it would conduct its affairs." And that has happened, too.
Mr. Rahe writes, "I would submit that the bishops, nuns, and priests now screaming bloody murder have gotten what they asked for. The weapon that Barack Obama has directed at the Church was fashioned to a considerable degree by Catholic churchmen. They welcomed Obamacare. They encouraged Senators and Congressmen who professed to be Catholics to vote for it. I do not mean to say that I would prefer that the bishops, nuns, and priests sit down and shut up. Barack Obama has once again done the friends of liberty a favor by forcing the friends of the administrative entitlements state to contemplate what they have wrought. Whether those brought up on the heresy that public provision is akin to charity will prove capable of thinking through what they have done remains unclear.
"But there is now a chance that this will take place, and there was a time – long ago, to be sure, but for an institution with the longevity possessed by the Catholic Church long ago was just yesterday – when the Church played an honorable role in hemming in the authority of magistrates and in promoting not only its own liberty as an institution but that of others similarly intent on managing their own affairs as individuals and as members of subpolitical communities. In my lifetime, to my increasing regret, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has lost much of its moral authority. It has done so largely because it has subordinated its teaching of Catholic moral doctrine to its ambitions regarding an expansion of the administrative entitlements state. In 1973, when the Supreme Court made its decision in Roe v. Wade, had the bishops, priests, and nuns screamed bloody murder and declared war, as they have recently done, the decision would have been reversed."
Mr. Rahe believes the Catholic Church could have stopped Roe vs. Wade had they had a reaction then that they had last week. "Instead, under the leadership of Joseph Bernadin, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago, they asserted that the social teaching of the Church was a 'seamless garment,' and they treated abortion as one concern among many. Here is what Cardinal Bernadin said in the Gannon Lecture at Fordham University that he delivered in 1983: Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker."
He was equating abortion as an issue with all of those, not a stand-alone. He said, "Consistency means that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot urge a compassionate society and vigorous public policy to protect the rights of the unborn and then argue that compassion and significant public programs on behalf of the needy undermine the moral fiber of the society."
RUSH: I hate to say it, folks, the Catholic Church has been kissing the socialist ring since the 1930s, and now it has come back to bite them. But I'm not through with the Paul Rahe piece. R-a-h-e is how you spell Mr. Rahe's last name. And I've got a quick time-out. Sit tight. We'll be back before you know it. Don't go away.
RUSH: I want to continue here and wrap up with the Paul Rahe piece that appeared on Friday, February 10th, at Ricochet.com, which again, is a relatively new website started by Peter Robinson, who is a friend of mine. Peter Robinson took over Firing Line for William F. Buckley. It's not called the same thing, but took over the time slot on PBS, and he's now out at Stanford at the Hoover Institute in Palo Alto. And this Ricochet site, it's a great conservative highbrow site. And it's conservative. It's not watered down and it's not made up of a bunch of people who are trying to be the smartest in the room. They already are, and they already know it, and so they're confident in their superiority. They don't have to prove it to anybody. They're not intimidated, they're not inferior and trying to mask it.
Now, I had to race through because of the constraints of time an excerpt that Mr. Rahe published here from Joseph Cardinal Bernardin when he gave the famous Gannon lecture at Fordham University in 1983. It's a two paragraph excerpt, and here it is. "Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us" -- this is a Catholic cardinal here -- " "Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us." Mr. Rahe makes the point, abortion was just one of a potpourri of issues, that all must be viewed the same way. That you can't have a single view on abortion and have it not touch other things.
"Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker. Consistency means that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot urge a compassionate society and vigorous public policy to protect the rights of the unborn and then argue that compassion and significant public programs on behalf of the needy undermine the moral fiber of the society or are beyond the proper scope of governmental responsibility." So he said, if you're gonna say that if you're gonna oppose abortion, you have to then argue that the government should take care of the poor and needy.
Remember, the root of all of this is, Mr. Rahe's point, is the church sold its soul when it began to accept the notion that government redistribution of wealth equals charity. By the way, that has ensnared a lot of groups, not just the Catholic Church. That notion has ensnared a lot of groups and individuals as supporters of the notion that it equals charity, when it doesn't equal charity. It's destruction, it's destroying lives. The redistribution of wealth and the silly notion that the government can provide meaningful, solid lives, morally and economically for people, is absurd. It destroys dignity. It destroys humanity. It destroys the family. But as long as people think of it as charity, it gets them off the hook. It's why Gore and Biden can get away with giving away 200 bucks. "Well, the government's doing it, I don't need to."
Now, Mr. Rahe, in responding to Cardinal Bernardin, "This statement, which came to be taken as authoritative throughout the American Church, proved, as Joseph Sobran [National Review] observed seven years ago, 'to be nothing but a loophole for hypocritical Catholic politicians.'" Nothing but a loophole. "'If anything,' he added, 'it has actually made it easier for them than for non-Catholics to give their effective support to legalized abortion – that is, it has allowed them to be inconsistent and unprincipled about the very issues that Cardinal Bernardin said demand consistency and principle.' In practice, this meant that, insofar as anyone pressed the case against Roe v. Wade, it was the laity." The church wasn't so much.
Mr. Rahe says, "I was reared a Catholic, wandered out of the Church, and stumbled back in more than thirteen years ago. I have been a regular attendee at mass since that time. I travel a great deal and frequently find myself in a diocese not my own. In these years, I have heard sermons articulating the case against abortion thrice – once in Louisiana at a mass said by the retired Archbishop there; once at the cathedral in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and two weeks ago in our parish in Hillsdale, Michigan. The truth is that the priests in the United States are far more likely to push the 'social justice' agenda of the Church from the pulpit than to instruct the faithful in the evils of abortion. And there is more. I have not once in those years heard the argument against contraception articulated from the pulpit, and I have not once heard the argument for chastity articulated. In the face of the sexual revolution, the bishops priests, and nuns of the American Church have by and large fallen silent. In effect, they have abandoned the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in order to articulate a defense of the administrative entitlements state and its progressive expansion." They've become socialists.
"There is another dimension to the failure of the American Church in the face of the sexual revolution. As, by now, everyone knows, in the 1980s, when Cardinal Bernardin was the chief leader of the American Church and the man most closely consulted when the Vatican selected its bishops, it became evident to the American prelates that they had a problem – that, in many a diocese, there were priests of a homoerotic orientation who were sexual predators – pederasts inclined to take advantage of young boys. They could have faced up to the problem at that time; they could have turned in the malefactors to the secular authorities; they could have prevented their further contact with the young. Instead, almost certainly at the instigation of Cardinal Bernardin, they opted for another policy.
"They hushed everything up, sent the priests off for psychological counseling, and reassigned them to other parishes or even dioceses – where they continued to prey on young boys. In the same period, a number of the seminaries in which young men were trained for the priesthood became, in effect, brothels – and nothing was done about any of this until the newspapers broke the story and the lawsuits began. There is, I would suggest, a connection between the heretical doctrine propagated by Cardinal Bernardin in the Gannon Lecture and the difficulties that the American Church now faces. Those who seek to create heaven on earth and who, to this end, subvert the liberty of others and embrace the administrative entitlements state will sooner or later become its victims." And that is precisely what has happened to the church here. And that's why he wrote the piece.
I'll tell you something else you should read in this regard. Those who seek to create heaven on earth, there's a book I mentioned. I don't have to write a book right now. Mark Levin has a book out called Ameritopia and it's about just this very thing. Those who seek to create heaven on earth, the utopians and who they are, and who their forbears are, Plato, Montesquieu. They all believed it was possible to create heaven on earth, and that's what the modern Democrat Party consists of. It remains an effort to create heaven on earth, total equality, no suffering, no pain, no risk, government providing equally for all, charity here, charity there.
And everybody who subscribes to this, everybody who falls prey to it, doesn't matter if it's the Catholic Church or General Electric. They're gonna get bit just like the church has because the church is by no means -- this just happens to be the focus of Mr. Rahe because of what happened last week, but how many other institutions have sacrificed their own identity for this notion that government redistribution of wealth equals charity and therefore they support it? It isn't charity. The word charity comes from the Latin word "caritas," which in the Bible means Christian love. There can be no Christian love when you are forced by the government to give some of your hard-earned income to the government to give to others at the effective point of a gun. That is not charity.
And yet look at the number of people who simply take the easy way out and say, "You know what? In addition to taxes, look at all the charity taken out." It's the simplest cop-out. It's the path of least resistance to equate socialism with charity, and yet look around the world at socialism and what happens to people who live under it! There's nothing charitable about it. Socialism does not improve people's lives. It does not make the family stronger. It does not inculcate a moral code, a virtue that sustains a society or culture. The Church used to do that, but the Church doesn't even do it anymore. The Church has become "progressive." Not just the Catholic Church, either. I grew up a Methodist. Gee, they've gone off the rails, too.
They all have. It's all about left-wing liberalism, socialism, so-called compassion. When that's the last thing it is! The redistribution of wealth ends up being compassionate to one group of people, and that's the people in charge of it, and the compassion that they get is the "credit" for having big hearts. But they don't live under it. You'll notice that the people who believe in redistribution are not on the receiving end. No, no! The redistribution of wealth is not for them. There wouldn't be enough. They couldn't get rich. They couldn't get wealthy. They couldn't get the import duty on every bottle of Scotch sold in America if they lived the philosophy they enforce on so many others. Back in 1932, FDR, in his campaign, praised "churches for standing ready to 'lead in a new war of peace -- the war for social justice.'
"And he insisted that 'government is seeking through social and economic means the same goal which the churches are seeking through social and spiritual means,' to achieve for every American a 'more abundant life.'" FDR also said, "The churches, while they remain wholly free from even the suggestion of interference in Government, can at the same time teach their millions of followers that they have the right to demand of the Government of their own choosing, the maintenance and furtherance of a 'more abundant life.'" So FDR was encouraging not the separation of church and state. He was encouraging religion and the churches to join him in government in propelling his agenda! This country was founded by people who were escaping religious tyranny, and now look what Obama's doing. He's attacking the Constitution at its very root, with his ruling last week that the Church and then -- Okay, sorry. You don't like that? -- insurance companies will provide abortion, contraception, morning-after pills, whatever.
RUSH: Now, one hopes -- and Mr. Rahe makes this point as you continue to read the piece. He said they finally came to an understanding. The Church finally came to grips with the reality when it came to the priest problem. And he hopes that the same thing happens here. He hopes that there is a reawakening of the Catholic leadership because of what happened last week. And if there is that, then can we dream that there would be a reawakening among other institutions who have been seduced like the Church was? I'll give 'em the benefit of the doubt and say they were seduced. Look, liberalism is very seductive. It's the easiest, most gutless choice you can make. Because basically what does it do? It absolves you of any responsibility!
It absolves you of any responsibility for charity, for good works. Let the government do it! Your taxes are paying for it to boot. A double whammy. Boy, what a great citizen you are. All you have to do is become a good liberal. Look at what happened. You care, you have compassion, you're understanding, you're open-minded. Look at all the wonderful things said about liberals, and all you've gotta do is see somebody suffering and say, "Gosh, I hate that. That's horrible," and then you have to learn how to criticize Republicans for causing it, and you're home free! And then you come out and you support high taxes on people that make more money than you do to fulfill the charitable aspects of liberalism and so forth.
And there you go! That's all it takes to be a liberal and you don't have to know jack anything. You don't have to know diddly-squat about anything. So we finally got to the point where being "a good Christian" today is calling for higher taxes on the rich. How easy is that? Doesn't matter. That says everything about how you live your life. That says everything about your virtue. You call for higher taxes on the rich, you wail and moan about how the rich cause the poor, the rich don't care about the poor, that you're willing to do even more to help. You're willing to go out and demand that more people pay higher taxes. Not you, of course, but other people. And look at you! You're accepted, you're loved, you're thought to be smart and brilliant. Paul Rahe. (I hope I'm pronouncing that right) Warren Buffett's gotta be up for sainthood by now. That's how this happens.
I guarantee you in some diocese, somebody suggesting Warren Buffett for sainthood.
Even if he's not a Catholic.