Canadian Priest Accuses Pro-Lifers of Hatred and Bullying

One of Canada’s best-known priests, Rev. Thomas Rosica, CSB, has described the pro-life critics of the Kennedy funeral as "not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment, and violence." Father Rosica is CEO of a Catholic Canadian television network — Salt + Light, endorsed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In his September 3 blogpost, Father Rosica also made a veiled criticism of Raymond Arroyo, News Director of EWTN, for his August 31 comment, "Ted Kennedy: Catholic Legacy and the Letters." Father Rosica aimed his criticism at the "many so-called lovers of life and activists in the pro-life movement, as well as well known colleagues in Catholic television broadcasting and media in North America." There is no one he could have meant but Arroyo, because no other colleagues in Catholic television have made negative comments about the funeral.

As a result, LifeSiteNews, based in Toronto, covered the story on September 4 with an article titled "Battle of the Catholic Stations: Salt and Light’s Fr. Rosica Rips EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo over Kennedy Funeral." John-Henry Westen, writing for LifeSiteNews, opined, "The root of Fr. Rosica’s concerns seems to be the fact that lay persons are daring to publicly question the actions of clergy."

Faher Rosica, however, later slammed Westen’s article and denied his reference was aimed directly at Arroyo. In a September 9 interview with Bob Dunning on "Across the Nation" (Sirius Catholic Radio), the priest said:

I don’t agree with Raymond Arroyo’s blog that he wrote criticizing Cardinals McCarrick and O’Malley…. For them to say that I aimed everything at Raymond Arroyo; there were about 20 different people. Raymond Arroyo was the most public that they cited, which I didn’t mention in my article, but we all saw Raymond Arroyo’s blog, but we saw many other people stirring up — and priests especially, who claim to be pro-life, causing more division in the Church. (Taken from a transcript of the program.)
Father Rosica went on to explain to Dunning, "I think civility, charity, kindness, and humanity — when they fall from the picture, when they are not present, we have a big problem on our hands." Yet, in his September 3 blogpost this is how he described the critics of the Kennedy funeral:
Through vicious attacks launched on blogs, a new form of self-righteousness, condemnation, and gnosticism reveals authors who behave as little children bullying one another around in schoolyards — casting stones, calling names, and wreaking havoc in the Church today! What such people fail to realize is that their messages are ultimately screamed into a vacuum. No one but their own loud crowd is really listening…. Sowing seeds of hatred and division are not the work of those who wish to build a culture of life (emphasis added).
I have read through Arroyo’s comment several times and have found nothing like what Father Rosica describes above. Interestingly enough, the priest also took a swing at the internationally respected LifeSite News:
For the 1/10th of kernel of truth that they purport to uncover, and there is truth in what they do, 9/10ths is exaggeration. It is bombastic, it is derisive and it is divisive (emphasis added).
Once again I find nothing in Westen’s story that sounds as "bombastic" as Father Rosica’s own comments.

Father Rosica is an influential priest
as well as an accomplished scholar. He has been known to defend Catholic dissenters in the past, as he did in 1996 as director of the Newman Center at the University of Toronto. A group of faithful Catholics were peacefully protesting a lecture by noted dissenter and defrocked theologian Gregory Baum at Toronto University’s Catholic Newman Centre.

Father Rosica called the police to remove a group of protesters handing out flyers documenting the damage Professor Baum, an excommunicated priest, had done the Church. "That’s pure madness in those flyers," Toronto’s Catholic Register (May 27, 1996) reported Father Rosica as saying. (Baum was one of the leading dissenters from Humanae Vitae.)

Not surprisingly, Father Rosica now criticizes those who questioned the wisdom of a funeral for a famously pro-abortion politician which, as Arroyo wrote, "was truly about cementing the impression, indeed catechizing the faithful, that one can be a Catholic politician, and so long as you claim to care about the poor, you may licitly ignore the cause of life."

Yes, there were scattered blog comments attacking the funeral and the participation of Cardinals O’Malley and McCarrick. But I am not aware of a single recognized Catholic commentator who is guilty of the invective which Father Rosica describes. Just as I wrote last week that none of the major critics of the Kennedy funeral was guilty of what Bishop Morlino warned against — delight in a soul’s damnation — none is guilty of "the division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment, and violence" bemoaned by Father Rosica.

He told Dunning, "Let’s call a spade, a spade." Indeed, let’s! We should begin by hearing the names of the "20 different people" who are sowing this division by disagreeing with Father Rosica. That would be a good place to start.

Deal W. Hudson


Deal W. Hudson is ​publisher and editor of The Christian Review and the host of "Church and Culture," a weekly two-hour radio show on the Ave Maria Radio Network.​ Formerly publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine for ten years, his articles and comments have been published widely in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and U.S. News and World Report. He has also appeared on TV and radio news shows such as the O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, NBC News, and All Things Considered on National Public Radio. Hudson worked with Karl Rove in coordinating then-Gov. George W. Bush's outreach to Catholic voters in 2000 and 2004. In October 2003, President Bush appointed him a member of the official delegation from the United States to attend the 25th anniversary celebration of John Paul II's papacy. Hudson, a former professor of philosophy for 15 years, is the editor and author of eight books. He tells the story of his conversion from Southern Baptist to Catholic in An American Conversion (Crossroad, 2003), and his latest, Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States, was published in March 2008. He is married to Theresa Carver Hudson, also a Baptist convert, and they have two children, Hannah and Cyprian who was adopted from Romania in 2001.

  • Tito Edwards

    As you, I have not come across one vindictive Catholic blogger nor writer that has come to anything close to what Father Rosica describes.

    I am a self-described Catholic nerd, constantly surfing Catholic blogs for commentary and analysis, and have failed to find anything resembling what he wrote.

    I find it sad that he would even attack Mr. Westen, whom I read often and who has written mostly evenhanded and apolitical posts, to be beneath him.

    I’ll pray that him and others like him pause and reflect the damage they do to the most vulnerable among us.

  • Hess Family

    This just in: Sun Rises in East.

    It’s a little surprising that faithful Catholics are still shocked by these kinds of antics.

    There is a battle going on inside the Church. Whose vision will shape Church policies: Catholics faithful to the Magisterium or the progressive, can’t-we-all-just-get-along (with the culture of death) types?

    We were never promised that every attack on Christianity would come from outside the Church, as the last 40 years have clearly shown. In fact, until the “great apostasy” (in whatever form it takes) comes, Our Lord won’t return in glory.

    So “meh.” Pray for the lost souls inside and outside the Church, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

  • Jim Singer

    Bishop Morlino says:”Some reacted sinfully to Ted Kennedy’s Catholic burial”…. article well worth reading

  • Deal Hudson

    Jim, Bishop Morlino said the sin was delighting in a soul’s damnation, neither Arroyo nor anyone any other major commentators have done that.

  • Scott

    No one I have read in the Catholic blogosphere denies that Ted Kennedy “deserved” a Catholic funeral. No one damned him to Hell, no one even denied his good legislation, though it pales in comparison to his blind eye to the unborn.

    The Mass should have been a subdued, reverent liturgy to pray for the repose of his soul, not a mere celebration of his life (and, presumptiously, his blessed afterlife). That’s the point we’ve been making all along, and we have made it by speaking truth with charity.

  • Austin

    Father Rosica is certainly entitled to his opinion, but just because he is a priest does not make him right. Bishops and Priests who express opinions sometimes expect a lot of deference from the laity. If they are reflecting the Official Magisterium of the Church that’s one thing, and the laity should show respect accordingly. However, if they are expressing their own opinion, be it about health care, the Kennedy funeral, etc. then the laity is going to express their opinion and it may not be in accord with that of the Bishop or Priest.

    Cardinal O’Malley had every right to attend the Kennedy funeral, and I will not criticize him for doing so. Given Kennedy’s record on abortion, however, I can understand why some Catholics, especially those in the Archdiocese of Boston may question the Cardinal attending. This does not make them “sinners” or “malcontents.” They are entitled to their opinion too.

    Father Rosica is a Priest, but he is not the Pope. He is entitled to his opinion, but his opinion carries no more weight than any other.

  • Ender

    No one I have read in the Catholic blogosphere denies that Ted Kennedy “deserved” a Catholic funeral.

    That Kennedy deserved a Catholic funeral is the assumption but is it forbidden to ask if it is true? Canon 1184 says “Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals …” Given that we could not possibly know whether Senator Kennedy did just that we would have to presume that he did and if that was all the Church had to say on the subject the answer would be “Yes, next question please.”

    The Catechism of Trent, however, does seem to have more to say, specifically this: But with regard to public sinners, as we have already said, they were never absolved until they had performed public penance. Is this applicable here? Does it change the application of 1184? I have no idea but the questions seem valid and it would be nice to have a definitive answer before this situation arises again.

  • Mother of Two Sons

    On Saturday I marched on Washington with 1.5 million other amazing Americans to protest many decisions that have been made by our Government elected representatives. There were young people asking for signatures against Federally funded Abortions in the Healthcare reform bill and there were those carrying outrageously shocking posters that captured their greatest fear that our country is being accelerated to a Socialist government against our will and without our consent!
    The vast majority of hand-made signs were heartfelt, thoughtful appeals to their Representatives to listen and block the fiscally irresponsible Government take-over of our Healthcare.
    I just thought that you might not have caught it on the news….. it did happen….. and it was a wonderfully uplifting experience of the conservative America I knew and loved…. I am sure given the fact that we were dismissed and blacked out/unmentioned/uncovered by most media including Inside Catholic…. we will be marching less like lambs the next time…..
    Which leads me to my point in writing here today…. yesterday I visited Arlington National Cemetery and it was quite moving to see the 320,000 graves of those who have fought to protect our American Freedom and to promote Freedom in different parts of the world who appealed to us for assistance. It struck me as I looked across the massive cemetery that 15 times this number of graves would represent 48 million of the Americans we have aborted as a nation since Supreme Court Ruling of Roe V Wade in 1973. I am sorry, I leave Ted Kennedy’s eternal destination in God’s hands, but I walked silently by his grave without acknowledgement in protest, and begged God to let him visit OBAMA on down in their dreams and tell them what he had wrong!!! He definitely had his votes for Abortion all these years, wrong! So does that make me a hate-filled Catholic?

  • Sheila B.

    Fr. Rosica is a faithful Catholic priest. He was the chairman of World Youth Day 02 in Toronto, and is considered orthodox and very pro-life. Yes, his remarks are over-the-top, but the fact is, there was quite a fuss being made about the Kennedy funeral by conservative American Catholics — on Facebook, in the blogosphere, and by individual pro-life groups. It doesn’t surprise me that the general reading of it all came across as divisive and judgmental. Especially given the fact that there is a perception outside the U.S. that many active pro-life Catholics are very partisan. People like Fr. Rosica live outside the fishbowl of American politics. The Church is universal, not American, and there are other ways of looking at issues than just the way American Catholics do.

  • Pammie

    I need clarification please. Mr. Kennedy has been lauded for his legislation on behalf of the poor. This assistance required a shift in resources from one segment of the population to another. It did not come from Mr. Kennedy’s personal resources alone, but from almost everyone’s reading this. Does this alone qualify one for the type of Catholic fanfare he was given? Wouldn’t Marx or any other socialist be as worthy on this basis alone? Was he as generous with his personal fortune as with his fellow citizens’ salaries? His “helping of the poor” was in contrast to his sister Mrs. Shriver, who gave of her personal resources and ASKED for contributions, not DEMANDED them.I appreciated the Hess Family’s comment, but what does “meh” mean?

  • Mitch

    Pro-life critics of the Kennedy funeral — “not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment, and violence.”

    Father Rosica nailed it!

  • ADB

    Was he as generous with his personal fortune as with his fellow citizens’ salaries? His “helping of the poor” was in contrast to his sister Mrs. Shriver, who gave of her personal resources and ASKED for contributions, not DEMANDED them.

    I don’t know the answer to your question and I don’t see it as mattering very much. The average Catholic pro-lifer gives very little money to help pregnant women, so unless you’re ready to call most people hypocrites, I don’t get your point.

    Ted Kennedy had many accomplishments that most Catholics can applaud… He started Meals on Wheels, he defeated segregationist and anti-immigrant laws, he confronted South African apartheid, and strengthened voting and labor laws. He helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act and the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. He was also the main author of the bi-partisan No Child Left Behind legislation, and he co-wrote a bill with Sen Brownback to make it illegal to abort a child based on disability.

    Yes he was still pro-choice, but at the end of a life, what should be applauded is what good has been done, and leave the rest to God.

    It is the business of those who ministered to Kennedy at the end of his life to determine his standing with the Church and the way the Church should handle his funeral.

  • Brian English

    In his defense of his participation in the Kennedy funeral, Cardinal O’Malley noted “the profound effect of Catholic social teaching on so many programs and policies espoused by Senator Kennedy.” That statement by Cardinal O’Malley raises three issues.

    First, can anyone identify for me any aspect of Kennedy’s promotion of Catholic social teaching that was also not in complete conformity with the policy goals of the Democratic Party? I do not know what was in the man’s heart, but I think it is fair to wonder whether his Catholicism was shaped more by his political goals than his political goals were shaped by his Catholicism.

    Second, the Cardinal’s statement reflects the kind of thinking that Traditional Catholics found so alarming in the last presidential election — being “right” on certain social issues means a politician can be wrong on abortion and still be in good standing with the Church.

    Trying to present Kennedy as a champion of Church social teaching who just had a blind spot with regard to abortion is substantively wrong and also sends the wrong message. To put it bluntly, the Catholic Church should not want any young Catholic politicians to follow in Kennedy’s footsteps.

    Third, the alleged influence of Church social teaching on Kennedy’s policy goals reveals the stark hypocrisy of his position on abortion. He allegedly could not promote the Church’s position on abortion because that would be imposing his religious beliefs on others. Yet, he felt free to impose his personal religious beliefs on others in more “progressive” areas of Church social teaching. Once again, this is the type of behavior in Catholic politicians that the Church should be condemning.

    Having a funeral Mass for Kennedy was fine. Cardinal O’Malley’s limited involvement was fine (his subsequent attempt to justify his involvement created the problem for me). Praying for Kennedy’s soul is fine (I have several times since his death). However, his funeral should not have, in any way, celebrated his public life.

    A good start would have been to ban television cameras from the Church. That would have helped emphasize the real purpose of the Mass.

  • Rich

    I try to add my voice to this site, but often find that it is much like an echo chamber.

    I am not speaking directly to Fr. Rosica’s issues with any specific persons. My comments are about the tone of things in general.

    Deal, above, posts that:

    “…I am not aware of a single recognized Catholic commentator who is guilty of the invective which Father Rosica describes. Just as I wrote last week that none of the major critics of the Kennedy funeral was guilty of what Bishop Morlino warned against — delight in a soul’s damnation — none is guilty of “the division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment, and violence” bemoaned by Father Rosica.”

    While this might be true in a literal sense, there is still some truth in what I hear Fr. Rosica saying in general. I have been saying some of that myself.

    Notice that Deal only looks at “recognized” Catholic commentators. He does not note that blog comments can create long threads of negativity towards others that seem to foment all kinds of self righteousness, division, vitriol, hatred, judgment, etc. These things are created by providing and fueling implication, but never actualy stating precisely what Bishop Morlino is suggesting.

    I have read numerous posts on this and many other Catholic websites in this past year that do carry this kind of divisiveness.

    In my opinion, there is a dangerous trend happening in America politically, and religiously. Many fears we carry around inside us — fears about the world and what is happening — can all too easily be projected onto others in a way that quickly demonizes them and allows many in an echo chamber to blame all the ills of society on that person or persons. Sorry to say folks, but the blame is shared by all of us far more than most want to admit.

    Many on the right in America point at the Dems and Obama as a target to blame for EVERY SINGLE thing that is wrong in the world and this country. This is a growing problem, and my guess is that it will only grow as time goes on. While there are some on the left that did the same with Bush and Cheney, the echo chamber does not appear to be as shrill, nor as dangerous.

    Unless the Church becomes a voice of reason in the cacophany of noise that is growing in this country, and God forbid, something terrible does befall an American politican or outspoken leader, there could be some truth to the argument that many Catholic media outlets and blogs contributed to the climate of hatred.

    This is only my opinion, but I feel it important to have some contest to the spin that does exist in this echo chamber.

    Personally speaking, I know that I, too, can become quite passionate in my responses, nonetheless I try to be sure I am conciliatory in tone, as much as the written word allows. Still, I have failed at times, yet I own my failures. I am a practicing Catholic, and the Universal Church needs every voice, mine and Fr. Rosica’s as well. There is something valid in what he has to say? No?

  • Eric

    I’m prepared to give Fr. Rosica the benefit of the doubt on this matter; it is possible that two things shaped his perception to the Kennedy funeral:

    The first was, perhaps, some messages he might have received which took the extremist stance that Kennedy was headed straight for hell, and good riddance. Others have remarked about this (see Bp. Morlino’s comments), though in my own experience this sort of commentary has been almost totally absent from the debate that has taken place on blogs like Mr. Arroyo’s. However meagre such communications may have been, they seem to have coloured Fr. Rosica’s overall conception of the debate.

    The second factor is that Fr. Rosica seems to have liturgical ideas which are firmly rooted in ‘the spirit of Vatican II.’ His legacy at the Toronto Newman Centre is a particularly telling example of this. Liturgical liberals’ devastation of the funeral rites of the church is something which they have been extremely successful at. Therefore, it is very little wonder that when confronted with arguments in favour of a more subdued, restrained and solemn approach to a funeral mass *in any context*, but particularly when such an approach is associated with what should have been some sort of teaching effort on the part of the church, a devoted liturgical liberal should express disgust. If I am correct, Rosica is having a hard time understanding why anyone shouldn’t receive glowing eulogies and praise before he’s launched into heaven. From this viewpoint, for someone to warrant a solemn, quiet and mournful funeral, as many conservatives have argued, they must have been a pretty bad dude.

  • Mark

    “not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment, and violence.”

    Right words, wrong application. This is precisely how pro-abortion politicians live their entire public lives… and the people who vote for them aren’t much better.

    Have we really gotten to the point that stating the obvious (that Ted Kennedy was an unrepentant lifelong pro-abortion politician) is worse than the tens of millions he was complicit in destroying?

    While I appreciate the good Fr. Rosica pointing out the speck in our collective eye, he might find his time better served in directing his energies toward getting the Canadian Bishops to retract the almost unprecedented disobedient Winnipeg Statement.

  • Michael O’Neill

    I am very sorry to see the stand Father Rosica has taken.
    It is of no service to the Pro Life side of our dear Church.
    I will be cancelling my S&.L channel because of this.

  • R.C.


    Neither you nor Fr. Rosica can provide an example of the “destruction, hatred, vitriol, …violence” you both claim is present among the faithful.

    Or, let me correct myself. If you work hard at it, you’ll be able to find a couple of commenters on this or another blog site catering to the faithful, who go over the top. But the leading voices have not done so, nor have the vast majority of even the commenters who support them on their websites.

    Inside Catholic, itself, has a reputation for leaning in the “sticklers-for-orthodoxy” direction…yet, as I look around, I observe it is very far from being the seething cauldron of “destruction, hatred…,” yadda, yadda that Fr. Rosica describes (and that you affirm). Where is he getting this? Where are you?

    The timbre of commentary here, at the Anchoress, at American Catholic, at Patrick Madrid’s site, and so on, was really fairly mild. Nearly every post commenting on Kennedy’s funeral, even when written to harshly condemn Kennedy’s anti-life record, nevertheless contains some qualifier or caveat or proviso, intended to convey that the author is praying for God’s mercy, not his judgment, on Senator Kennedy.

    No, no, no, Mitch. Perhaps you have a vague expectation that the type of person who audibly lauds orthodoxy is likely to be a Barnum-Bunkum Bible-Beating Bastard, to use the phrase from Inherit the Wind. You may have come by that prejudice, if that’s what it is, innocently: Perhaps you’ve known a disproportionate number of too-excitable, inarticulate pro-lifers? Enough to form in you an impression that “they’re all like that?”

    You can begin from such an impression innocently enough, but such biases aren’t actual data. They don’t constitute a statistically valid sample set. So look around you.

    In fact, take a second look: No one has expressed either a certainty or a desire that Senator Kennedy is in hell, which is what is implied if you say that they are full of vitriol, violence, hatred, and “judgment.”

    That there is a risk of this cannot be denied from Catholic teaching, of course, because of Kennedy’s defection.

    That cannot be denied without denying Catholic teaching, but the folk expressing sorrow for Kennedy’s disobedience and public scandal express just that: Sorrow. Mostly, these commenters, while not mincing words about the actual damage Kennedy did, go on to say of him what St. Paul said of Onesiphorus: “May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day.” (2 Timothy 1:1smilies/cool.gif

    So I think you’ll find that your accusation (or, rather, your support of Fr. Rosica’s accusation) is based on something other than what pro-life commenters have actually said.

    I suspect you think — no, I’m sorry, let me be precise: I suspect you feel that a group of people are “full of hate” because they felt compelled as a matter of honesty to openly state what some were leaving unsaid out of mere politeness:

    – That Kennedy had publicly dissented from Christian morality in a grave matter in which there was no sign that his judgment was impaired, nor that he ever repented;
    – That this closely tracks with the definition of mortal sin, even had it been private; but since it was public, scandal is added to the mix;
    – That this is a bad thing;
    – That the Church Canons allow a person fitting that description to be denied certain funerary rites applicable to more obedient Catholics…though the Church is gracious and charitable and can be seen, in Senator Kennedy’s case, to be exercising propriety in the form of mercy;
    – That certain aspects of Senator Kennedy’s funeral were laudatory of the Senator beyond what is normatively permitted even for an obedient Catholic, which has the undeniable effect of making some of the more enthusiastic clergy look unconcerned about giving scandal;
    – That this, too, is a bad thing.

    These are facts, and they are unemotional things. That a person states them really should not be construed as reflective of the emotional state of the person admitting them: He may be outraged, he may be saddened, or he may be bored with the whole topic.

    For my own part, I’ll stick with “there but for the grace of God go I.” Which, whatever you may imagine my emotions to be when I say it, is justified by being true.

    It is implicitly critical of the Senator, I suppose. But is that such a horrible thing? If that, and the other expressions of disapproval that pro-lifers make re: Senator Kennedy are to be interpreted as “hate,” “vitriol,” and so forth, then I suppose there’s no room for honest criticism in the world, any more!

    And if carefully precise criticism is really such a horrible thing; why then, dishonest and exaggerated criticism is presumably worse. In which case, you and Fr. Rosica should look to your eyes, and work on the planks therein, while I blink out this annoying speck.

  • R.C.


    You state,

    The average Catholic pro-lifer gives very little money to help pregnant women, so unless you’re ready to call most people hypocrites, I don’t get your point.

    You should really be more careful to qualify such statements; perhaps prefacing them with “as far as I know.”

    Because what statistics there are on the subject contradict your view.

    I don’t know that there are any direct statistics about the charitable giving of “pro-lifers” per se.

    But I suppose you and I can agree that people who are (a.) critical of Ted Kennedy’s political record; and, (b.) visibly and actively pro-life, are most likely right-of-center, politically speaking. Yes? All other things being equal, this is probably true, right?

    If so, then be aware: The statistics show (this really ought to be common knowledge, but for some reason it isn’t) that folk in the U.S. who are politically right-of-center give to charitable causes at roughly double the rate of folk who are left-of-center. This is true in proportion to income; it is true at all levels of income, at it is even true of donated time; that is, volunteerism.

    In short, ADB, you show me two otherwise identical groups of people, one of whom holds up a sign outside abortion clinics and criticized Senator Kennedy’s legislative record, and the other of whom voted for Kennedy and really wishes the pro-lifers would pipe down a bit…and I’ll bet you the former group gives much larger proportion of their pre-tax income to help pregnant mothers along with other needy folk; plus they volunteer in shelters twice as often.

    Which means that Pammie’s comment…

    Was he as generous with his personal fortune as with his fellow citizens’ salaries? His “helping of the poor” was in contrast to his sister Mrs. Shriver, who gave of her personal resources and ASKED for contributions, not DEMANDED them.

    …which you criticized, was actually right on the money.

    There are exceptions, of course. There are some on the left side of the aisle who actually donate and tithe (and more, as they ought to do if they’re especially high-income), like folks on the right side of the aisle do. But culturally, it’s not very common.

    Which is to say: It’s probably those pro-lifers who really care for the needy most. Their political opponents set up a government program with taxpayers’ money, thereby putting the needy at arm’s-length and “caring” without any real sacrifice. And if they’re congressmen and senators, this public, well-advertised action is lauded as “helping the helpless.” They are applauded and they get campaign slogans out of it: They have their reward.

    But we pro-life folk? Well. We give privately, for the most part, where only The Father sees it…well, Him and the guy who helps us with our taxes. If you haven’t especially noticed us giving “money to help pregnant women,” that’s why. (And doing it that way is Scriptural, which is why we’d rather keep it that way.)

  • I am not Spartacus

    “Through vicious attacks launched on blogs, a new form of self-righteousness, condemnation, and gnosticism reveals authors who behave as little children bullying one another around in schoolyards — casting stones, calling names, and wreaking havoc in the Church today! What such people fail to realize is that their messages are ultimately screamed into a vacuum. No one but their own loud crowd is really listening…. Sowing seeds of hatred and division are not the work of those who wish to build a culture of life (emphasis added)”

    This response is one of the, many, things wrong with the Catholic Church on this Continent.

    Dr. John Zmirak describes just what is wrong with such a response by Fr.Roscia.

  • Brian English

    The fact that conservatives give more money to charity than liberals is examined in a recent book called Who Really Cares? It was written by a professor from Syracuse whose name I cannot recall as I sit here.

  • Clarence Knutsen

    Perhaps the gentle way to answer Fr. Rosica is to send him a mirror with his own words pasted on it. Father, such language!

    To Sheila B: The blasts you found offensive were directed to the patently politically charged accolades to the late Senator and his deadly anti-Catholic dogma. E.g.: since when are the Prayers of the Faithful meant to celebrate activity condemned by the CHURCH?

  • Ted Seeber

    Was he as generous with his personal fortune as with his fellow citizens’ salaries? His “helping of the poor” was in contrast to his sister Mrs. Shriver, who gave of her personal resources and ASKED for contributions, not DEMANDED them.

    I don’t know the answer to your question and I don’t see it as mattering very much. The average Catholic pro-lifer gives very little money to help pregnant women, so unless you’re ready to call most people hypocrites, I don’t get your point.

    I’d like to see you justify that statement. Most Catholic pro-life organizations I know about include, as a large part of their ministry, homes for unwed mothers.

  • Carlist

    Returnig to the subject of the post, I’d suggest that Fr. Rosica is merely defending his primary allegiances..

    i.e. to an evolving Unitarian Church and its political enablers!

    This is the path taken by Protestantism in the 19th Century and embarked upon by those who directed the Church’s leftward political and theological course after 1958.

    Those who adhere to, and defend the Traditional Faith will always be characterized in the manner utilized by Fr. Rosica and his cohorts!

  • Hess Family

    I appreciated the Hess Family’s comment, but what does “meh” mean?

    I think the modern dynamic equivalence translation is something like, “I’m neither surprised nor impressed.” [smiley=laugh]

  • Deal Hudson

    Brian, the book you mention was written by Arthur Brooks, who is now the president of the American Enterprise Institute in DC. He is a Catholic, by the way.

  • Pammie

    Thank you for recalling to mind some of Mr. Kennedy’s legislative accomplishments.One or two things came to mind while reading them. 1) In light of the senator’s conduct with Miss Kopeckne, the Florida rape victim and his public behaviour toward his wives and girlfriends, may I be forgiven for not being all that impressed with his part in the 1994 Violence Against Women Act ? 2)As fot the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which justice demanded; the faulty implementation has virtually decimated public schools in various parts of the country. Some of these school systems are now 85% single race and under federal control due to poor student outcome. Throwing yet more taxpayer money at it-(The No Child Left Behind Bill) has yet to have ANY effect on the situation, that I can see. I am edified to know that Mr. Kennedy overcame his political scrupples enough to protect disabled unborn children from the abortionists’ tools, perhaps through Mrs. Shriver’s influence.

    Looking around and seeing the consequences past well-meaning legislation has inflicted on the citizenry, leaves me unimpressed with most politicians and those elites who always seem to avoid living by the rules they make for the hoi polloi. Ted Kennedy was just another one of those kind and nothing more. May Our Lord have mercy on him ,the clergy involved and all the rest of us too.

  • Todd
  • George Kadlec

    I am writing this from a library PC and hope my memory serves me reasonably well. There is a chapter in Corinthians, I believe it is chapter 4 or 5 about a man who is have sexual relations with his stepmother. St. Pauls states that he is to be excommunicated. He further states that anyone who calls himself a brother (Catholic) and is coveteous, adulter, etc. should not be associated with. He also states you are not to even eat with the man.

    I would like to ask the dear Father Thomas Rosica which is the greater sin, having sexual relations with you stepmother or abortion, also called murder, homocide, etc.

    It states in the article that his is an accomplished scholar. Scholar of what? Fraud, deception, ignorance?

  • Roberta Young

    R.C. you have some fantastic posts there. I wish Father Rosica would read them. As a Canadian Catholic, I am very disappointed by the harsh language he uses in describing those whose opinions he doesn

  • Anthony Wawrzynski

    I think it is interesting and, and perhaps quite revealing, to read the harsh comments made against pro-lifers by certain members of the clergy and others over the last week or two. I don’t recall anything even similar in tone or substance being directed (from Church officials, anyway) at Senator Kennedy during his long career of energetically advancing the culture of death; the mildest of rebukes were extremely rare. “Ender” is right, a public repudiation of his positions on abortion, homosexual rights, etc. should have been demanded from Kennedy during his lengthy illness by the priests ministering to him for the good of his soul, the Church and society. As it is, his political allies will continue to use his rotten legacy to further their evil agenda, and will be completely justified (by their reasoning) in doing so.

  • jim

    the problem with blogs is that people speak (i.e. post) but rarely listen.

    most of the people on this blog doing their posts would be well served to listen to the good priest’s well thought out comments. if you folks don’t see the bullying that goes on in these forums, well then, you’re just not looking carefully enough.

    it’s time to listen.

  • Andy

    the problem with blogs is that people speak (i.e. post) but rarely listen.

    most of the people on this blog doing their posts would be well served to listen to the good priest’s well thought out comments. if you folks don’t see the bullying that goes on in these forums, well then, you’re just not looking carefully enough.

    it’s time to listen.

    You shouldn’t lie. Provide examples or it didn’t happen.

  • JC

    There is nothing wrong with vitriol and divisiveness. The only people who say so are those who want to comfortably compromise with the world.

    Jesus said, “I came not to bring peace, but the sword and division.” He said “I came to pit father against son, mother against daughter. . .. ” He said, “Anyone who does not hate father or mother, sister or brother . . . is not worthy of Me.” He said, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by storm.” Over and over, Jesus says that the Gospel is a message of division. He calls His own Apostles a “wicked and perverse generation” for their failure to exorcise a demon. He routinely calls the Pharissees “vipers” and other terms we could easily call “vitriolic.”

    Certain Kinds of Priests (TM) encounter such passages in the lectionary and begin their homilies by saying, “This doesn’t sound like Jesus, does it?” and go on to say how the Gospel account is wrong or misleading.

    Was Ted Kennedy worthy of a Catholic burial? Canonically, yes. Where is Ted Kennedy now? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I pray for the Holy Souls. If he’s one of them, he gets my prayers. He’s far more likely to be in Heaven than his brothers.

    I’ve always looked with disdain on the whole Kennedy Cult–especially when I see pro-life Catholics falling into it. Jesus asked what it profits to gain the world at the cost of one’s soul. JFK did not break a “glass ceiling” for Catholics (or whichever metaphor you choose), as many Catholics have said in the past month. He only broke boundaries for Catholics who are willing to say publicly “Non Servus!” to the Holy Father.

    Can anyone really contend that the spectacles in Boston and Arlington were about anything other than human respect? Can anyone really say they were about praying for a man’s soul, when various homilists and eulogists treated it like a canonization mass, and the only one to admit that Ted Kennedy even had flaws was our pro-abortion, non-Catholic president? Cardinal McCarrick reads a letter Kennedy wrote to B16 saying, “Hey, I’m great!” and B16’s formulaic “I’ll be praying for you” response (some have pointed out the contrast between that letter and a recent letter B16 sent to Eunice Shriver), and this is taken as an endorsement from the Pope.

    Meanwhile, the retired bishop of Corpus Christi, one of the best bishops of the past generation, who greatly increased Eucharistic devotion and priestly vocations in his diocese during his tenure, admits that the whole thing was a scandal and recommends people read the very commentaries that Bishop Morlino and Fr. Rosica condemn.

    The lack of charity to Ted Kennedy is shown by those who insist on saying “he reached his goal” or whatever, presuming he went straight to Heaven and not actually praying for his potential deliverance from purgatory.

  • Ron

    Reading Mr Hudson’s denial of any vitriol on anti abortion Catholic websites left me astonished. Fortunately Eric’s Echo Chamber comment provides the necessary counterpoint.

  • LifeObserver

    Fr. Rosica is a known progressivist in the Catholic Church in Canada. I will certainly do all I can to make sure he not made a bishop. God help us if he is!

    For those who bring up, “but he organized WYD, so he is good.” Sorry, organizing a World Youth Day is not a free pass to sainthood. I would love to know if Fr. Rosica is really pro-life, meaning 100% anti-abortion in all cases, many of our Canadain bishops are not anti-abortion if they think that abortion would be “life-giving” for the mother.

    I recommend that faithful Catholics cancel subscriptions to Salt and Light, and encourage others to do so as well. The main reason this station was set up in Canada is because the Canadian Bishop’s Conference didn’t want Catholics in Canada to watch EWTN since it’s not what “the Catholics in Canada stand for.”

    A priest friend was once chastised for even mentioning EWTN in his homily. In comparing the two stations, a faithful Catholic would be quick to pick out which one consistently gives a strong sense of orthodox Catholic teaching – EWTN hands down, not even a close race.

    Thank God the faithful are waking up and standing up for the Church’s teachings. It’s about time!

  • Andy

    Reading Mr Hudson’s denial of any vitriol on anti abortion Catholic websites left me astonished. Fortunately Eric’s Echo Chamber comment provides the necessary counterpoint.

    Still waiting on that citation.

  • kathy

    How can you possibly make the statement that the average pro-lifer gives very little money to help pregnant women? I get so tired of these drive-by comments. Where is your proof? Give us the statistics. What sources are you quoting? Give us the links you are utilizing so we can get the information for ourselves. If you can’t provide this information then maybe you should keep your mouth shut.

  • Gerry

    You can’t miss it because it isn’t here.

  • JC

    Ron, whether people are beign “vitriolic” is a matter of the beholder (and, again, what’s wrong with vitriol? The last priest I heard from the pulpit who preached the “peaceful Jesus” and second-guessed the invective passages in the Bible resigned to pursue his pornography addiction). Fr. Rosica made false claims about people presuming Ted Kennedy went to Hell, which is not the case.

    At issue is whether his funeral should have been such a public, and laudatory, affair. Judging works two ways. If we are not supposed to publicly condemn Kennedy’s many votes in favor of abortion and contraception, then we should not publicly praise his votes in favor of positions that may or may not correspond to authentic Catholic social teaching.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    The Church denies public funerals to Mafia dons, even if the Mafia dons themselves have received Last Rites. In theory, the public scandal that would be caused by these men who committed such evils receiving public funerals is so great that the Church doesn’t do it.
    Juan Peron was excommunicated for legalizing divorce in Argentina. His wife, like Ted Kennedy, was practically canonized at her own funeral despite her very public sins that were not publicly repented.

    Either abortion is just as bad as murder, or it is not. If abortoin is as bad as murder, then a man who voted repeatedly to pay money for abortions, voted to make abortions legal, voted to pay for contraceptives, screamed on the Senate floor to stop the nomination of a judge who wanted to overturn _Griswold v. Connecticut_ (enshriningn contraception as a de facto constitutional right), etc., should be just as guilty of facilitating evil as John Gotti.

    So, if McCarrick, Wuerl, O’Malley and Rosica are consistent, they must either a) go back and do public funerals for a laundry list of mobsters. McCarrick should dig up letters written from those mobsters to the Pope saying “I’m a great guy–I give lots of money to poor people!” O’Malley can sit proudly and watch as canon law is violated by the eulogists at those funerals and as celebrant priests talk about how the mobsters are safe and have achieved their goals.

    Or else they’re hypocrites.

    Again and again, they tacitly imply that they really don’t think abortion and contraception are all that bad.

    If Ted Kennedy were an anti-Semite or a Segregationist, would we see the same adulation from Catholic bishops? Would we hear such emphasis placed on how his social justice actions outweighed his few “flaws”? Would we be told not to judge him?

  • Robert J. Gieb

    ADB writes: “The average Catholic pro-lifer gives very little money to help pregnant women, so unless you’re ready to call most people hypocrites, I don’t get your point.”

    Do tell!

    I and hundreds of thousands of my fellow Catholicss have worked for and given money to thousands of pregnant woman at pro life centers across the world. In Ft. Worth hundreds of us over 25 years have given thousands of hours of work and expended many thousands of dollars in rental assistance, medical assistance, clothing, food, and other necessities for pregnant woman. This service is multiplied all over the U.S. and Canada too. I invite you to become informed, and then to join us as a giver and protector of life, and not an apologist for the leaders in the blood trade of abortion.

    In summary, ADB, your allegation was flippant, false, and offensive. And for what? A poor defense of an old baby killer who died with the blood of a million innocents on his hands. Justice for Ted Kennedy is a matter for God as it is for anyone, including those who aid and abet in genocide, but we do not defend their illicit actions, especially we do not do it with falsehoods.

  • JL

    I have been thinking about this lately and listening to both sides. The main question is what harm was done by having a public funeral for Ted Kennedy – more importantly, the participation of bishops and cardinals and the eulogy by President Obama (a Harvard grad who doesn’t understand 10th grade biology about when life begins).

    The harm is three-fold:

    Practicing Catholics (those who accept (we still may struggle -we are sinners after all)) the teachings of Mother Church and are faithful to the Magisterium are scandalized and wonder at what point do the Church leaders stand for Truth. However, because our faith is in the Trinity and Church founded by Christ himself we will not walk away.

    Those in the Church who call themselves progressive (really regressive) because they now feel vindicated and have not taken this moment to discern the fullness of the Truth.

    The lukewarm (and these are the ones harmed the most). They can continue to exist within the Church with never really being challenged in the Faith. How can they have that “aha” moment and recongize their need for repentance and a change of heart?

    As John the Bapist send in preparation of the coming of Jesus -“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” I am not speaking of end times – I am talking about conversion of heart – it can not happen when no one is willing to help us understand what it is we are called to do.

    I didn’t watch the funeral Mass – but was confession and purgatory ever talked about? If not, what a waste of a teachable moment. God uses every moment of our life to teach not only us but those around us. As St. Therese of Avila said – we are His hands and fee.

    Let’s step up to the plate – we were made for more!

  • Laurie

    I just went to a funeral yesterday for a 44 year old woman of six children. There were 5 priests up on the altar, at least six nuns in the pews. The church was completely full. This woman lived in my town for only three years, yet her handprint left on all our lives was so significant. For all the people that were there from young children to the elderly, the witness of her Catholic faith was so profound. I am glad I could see the beauty of this Catholic funeral, after all the confusion of Mr. Kennedy’s. I for one never wished Mr. Kennedy any ill. I prayed for his soul and salvation before his death and after his death. Mr. Kennedy’s very public and somewhat over the top funeral left many of us confused. The teachable moment was lost on so many struggling Catholics, who really needed to know their faith. I am glad that the Catholic Church gave me and the many that went to this beautiful funeral yesterday a chance to know waht a life of following their Catholic faith both privately and publicly really means.

  • Scott H

    Thank you Deal for your excellent article. I think a lot of people, including Fr. Rosica, just don’t understood what actually scandalizes people who are literally shocked when they actually pause to read words like “51 million abortions”. It’s easy for the eyes to glaze over three little words, isn’t it?

  • JLS

    Fr. Rosica evidently does not know where unity comes from; he presumes it comes from what we think, say and do. But unity, ie union with God, comes from the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Perhaps Rosica should be honest and convert to Protestantism, which is what he in effect professes.

  • James T.

    Recently I was in communication with Fr. Thomas Rosica. Fr. became extremely defensive and aggressive when I questioned his view points concerning the approval of the Kennedy funeral.

    He, as a cleric, seems to believe that his words are gospel as are Cardinal O’Malley’s and other religious figures of note.

    When I challanged such a notion, and suggested much of his defiance was rooted in self pride, he really gave it to me and said that my additude was the problem in the Church, and that it was I who was spreading confusion, and hatred.

    Horse manure!

    The good priest needs to get off his pedestal and grow a spine.

    Those who would tell the truth these days are getting pursecuted from both with-in and with-out the Church, by those who reject the authority of the Magestarium.

  • Barbara

    If, IF Kennedy were truly repentant for killing Mary Jo he would have issued a statement just before his death.
    He would have publicly admitted he killed this young woman.
    He would have admitted he voted pro abortion so he could keep getting elected.
    He would have admitted he cheated on his wife Joan.
    All his crimes were public and deserved a public admittance.

  • Joe Cober

    “First honor God, the rest will be given”. To lay the first stone to repair the Catholic Church:a) receive on tongue. b)demand the use of communion-rails.I go to receive holding palm of hands together; to indicate the holiness of what is going on, to evangelize especially to youngsters.I wrote bishop that he is not worth his salary and cut Sunday offerings, that does not mean that I hate him.If no use of altar-rail,I give only 25cents or lesss. In Latin Mass,I give many $.Dare evangelize in public.You are not a “show-off”, but a “show-up”, who steps up to the front line, where the battle is fought. Joe

  • JLS

    Tyranical characters display that type of reaction to opposition. I ran into such a one, a professor of theology at Catholic Univ of America a couple decades ago … he simply could not find a reply to my simple question, and so he then blustered and stomped his fist on the table we were sitting at. There was a bunch of younger professors, some priests, standing around observing. Form without function is what I call it.

  • Celine de Silva

    James T. I totally agree with you and many other commentators here.

    I had a similar experience with Rev. Rosica when I questioned him as to why he brought a Protestant woman Pastorina dressed in clerical collar on a Catholic show to speak about the need for women priests in the Catholic Church. She also called St. Teresa of Avila the first feminist. There is nothing farther from the truth.

    Rev. Rosica reacted defensively and very aggressively, saying that I was the first to complain about S & L TV; that 99% of comments were positive ones. I told him that he was in deep trouble since he was giving people what they wanted to hear and see, not the truth.

    I am a Canadian, and many Catholic Canadians including myself watch EWTN every day. I don

  • Celine de Silva

    Pro-lifers are not extremists. Neither are they militant in the sense Rev. Rosica describe them. Pro-Lifers have been moved to speak up against the crime of the murder of innocent children created by God. We, the Catholic faithful are members of the Church militant here on earth. We have an obligation to stand up to defend all the teachings of the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ. We are also acutely aware that Truth and Charity cannot be separated.

    Since you mention the Kennedy funeral, I do have a comment and hope you will publish it.

    One does not need to be a theologian or study in Rome to know when something is terribly wrong. As Catholics we are aware of our own sinfulness. We struggle daily with life