Thursday, March 15, 2007

How a Catholic Priest Taught me to Hate Swiss Cheese

So today we will take a little walk down memory lane with Robert Novak and discover why your favorite moonbat hates swiss cheese. You see, in pursuit of a "better" education than public school, which I did not get, my mother send me for three years to a little parochial Catholic school. The first thing you should understand is that she raised me as a protestant. The second is that I used to sneak the Bible into elementary school to read the Song of Songs to the other kids. Causing the teachers to worry that I was proselytizing. Well I was, but not about religion. Background covered, we will zip ahead a few of those early weeks to one memorable religion class where the nice young Father Ron was attempting to explain "original sin" to a bunch of sixth graders who did not care.

Pondering our drowsy faces for a minute, Father Ron drew a slice of cheese on the black board. Adding many holes, he said "this is the unbaptised baby's soul, full of sin." He erased most of the wholes. "Here is all of your souls after your parents had you baptised." He added half the erased holes back in. "And here is moonbat's soul, whose baptism wasn't perfect, so she's full of a lot more sin and evil than any of you." Heads turned to look at me in a whole new light.

Father Ron got a phone call from my mother than night, and he apologized the next day. I still had a giant burning "P" on my forehead as far as the other Catholic kids were concerned. Unacceptable as a dance partner. Unacceptable to invite to birthday parties or to spend the night. Unacceptable.. sometimes for any reason. One wonderful afternoon several months later, they pinned me in a corner of the bus on the way home, dumped several sodas over me and then spent almost an hour stoning me with crushed soda cans, while the Catholic mother driving the bus ignored my screams. To this day, I still look for them whenever I get on a bus. In a city. Very far away.

One morning, a girl tied her jump rope to the back of my book bag, and then yanked me flat on my back. Younger children were egged on to stone me. I ate lunch alone. I won a speech contest, and the Catholic sponsors refused me the award. I won a social studies project on the Civil War (on the massacre at Shiloh) and the Catholic teachers lost the project before it could be entered in the higher level of the competition, which I had spent 3 weeks constructing. I went with a field trip to the National Cathedral (which is protestant), and was threatened when I complained that the Catholic students were sitting on the altars. I refused to go to the Catholic convent and was threatened with expulsion. I participated in Secret Santa and never got a gift. I was forced to sit through Catholic confirmation class, got the highest grade, despite the fact that the instructional material contained open slander against any non-Catholic faith.

During a special Christmas lesson, I correctly recited the three gifts of the Magi: to which Father Ron immediately berated the whole Catholic student body for allowing a protestant student to make them look stupid. You can imagine what happened at recess that lovely day. When the other students went to confession, I had to sit with my head down and could do nothing other than pray (for my protestant soul). I represented the school at the local Science and Engineering Fair for three years, won the Division Award and advanced to regionals as an eight grader, and received no recognition. My father was deployed to the Gulf War, and my class sent cards to some else's distant Catholic cousin. When a teacher called me forward to ceremoniously cut down the school's yellow ribbon because the military had come home, Father Ron insisted I could not represent the school because I was not Catholic.

You would think I hate Catholics. I was in fact asked why I did hate them once, 20 seconds after remarking in a public high school AP Chemistry class that I agreed with the theory of evolution, and was mocked by several Catholic students in the halls as "the monkey girl" for months after. I hate swiss cheese. You can blame a Catholic Priest, but I can barely tolerate the stuff, and only serve it when it has been purchased by someone else. That may not be the fault of the cheese, but that's the way it is. Every time I look at swiss cheese, I feel dirty.

Novak seems to have no grasp of what it really is like to be singled out because of your faith, and tellingly provides no examples of discrimination against Catholics in the US, beyond insisting it happens as it used to happen to Jews: no country clubs, no jobs, that sort of thing. You see very little of the realities of Catholicism and democratic politics, where one swears on six days to uphold a certain law as determined by ones peers, and on the seventh swears to obey the commands of one man not of one's own country or elected government. The Catholic Church expects to have the power to compel obedience from Catholics, despite that a Catholic may swear an oath to obey other laws, and such a thing wears at the fabric of governance. Although it does not make a Catholic less of a citizen, a politician is elected to uphold the will of the people and the laws of the democracy, and not the edicts of a man 8 hours away by airplane. No politician elected can be a true Catholic to disobey the Pope, and yet betrays the oath of office if that politician obeys the Pope above those who voted. So one has a tension that offers no remedy, yet can't be wished away with demands that no one exhibit a bias against the advancement of Catholic policy or officials in the U.S. One only look at what the Catholic Church has to say on the matter:

"On March 25, 1995 the pope issued an encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, which is an explicit instruction to obedient Catholics in Congress, state legislators, and even to Supreme Court justices in their official capacity, to oppose any laws or proposed laws which would permit abortion. Specifically, the pope said, “In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is never licit to obey it, or take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it."


The issue of "Catholic bias" is the concern that those Catholics elected to office will advance the cause of papal infallibility rather than the public good, even though the majority of the learned opinion of the church did not come to rest against liberal values of family planning and the avoidance of extreme poverty through population control:

In 1963, Pope John XXIII convened a Papal Commission on Population and Birth Control. After Pope John’s death, Pope Paul VI continued and expanded the Commission. The two-tiered commission consisted of a group of 15 cardinals and bishops and a group of 64 lay experts representing a variety of disciplines. The Commission met from 1964 until 1966. According to Commission member Thomas Burch, a professor at Georgetown University in the 1960s, Pope Paul VI himself assigned them the task of finding a way to change the Church's position on birth control without undermining papal authority.

They were asked by Pope Paul VI two questions: (1) Suppose the Vatican changed its mind on contraception. What can we do to present this in such a way that the Church will not lose its moral influence over people? And (2) Suppose the Vatican changed its mind on these issues [population and birth control]. How can we preserve our influence over the marital behaviour of individuals?"

After two years of intense study, the laymen voted 60 to 4, and the clergy voted 9 to 6, to change the Church's teaching on birth control. However, they failed to find an acceptable way to accomplish this without undermining papal authority. Because of conflict with the recently adopted Doctrine of Infallibility (created in 1870), the publication in 1968 of the encyclical Humanae Vitae permanently ruled out a change on the birth control issue."


Real effects of the Church's desire to maintain it's unquestioned authority can be seen all over the international stage and inside America. In 1998, the Holy See strove during debate over the International Criminal Court to exclude "forced pregnancy" from the list of war crimes. In 2001, the Church used it's position at the United Nations to condemn the prevention of AIDS through the use of condoms. Catholic politicians in the United States who do deviate from the church's position are regularly threatened with excommunication. Can we expect as the American public for a politician to condemn his or her soul to perdition as explained by the Catholic faith and not change mortal law at the command of a foreigner? Are such thoughts true discrimination when these are the rules Catholics choose to live by, that they choose a religion antithetical to democracy? When has such questioning become equal to rocks and bottles and soda cans?

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