Commie Catholics

Someone at Vox’s asked when Catholic bishops started meddling in US politics, whether it began with JFK or predated him.  It’s really both.  Of course, there’s a long history of the Church being involved in politics (and vice versa).  After all, for centuries the Church guided the Holy Roman Empire, and at one time the Vatican ruled over the Papal States and was a military and political force in its own right.  Compared to those times, the Church’s direct influence on politics today is quite low.

The difference now is that the Church’s influence on politics is almost entirely in the service of economic and cultural Marxism.  While there are orthodox, traditional bishops (and more of them now thanks to Pope Benedict), they spend most of their efforts trying to shape up their own flocks.  Some of them do speak out strongly against sins like abortion and homogamy, but they do that officially from the pulpit.  They don’t pal around with politicians and try to influence them personally, because that’s not their job, and they have plenty of problems within the Church to work on.  So when it comes to playing politics, the leftist bishops and priests pretty much have an open field.

So when did it start?  I’d say there were two main events.  The first was the Soviet infiltration of the Church.  The USSR attempted, often successfully, to infiltrate many influential organizations, of course: governments, Hollywood, universities, etc.  But the Catholic Church — on record as one of the most outspoken and influential opponents of socialism — was a major target.  Soviet agents worked to place thousands of men in seminaries, some outright agents and some simply sympathetic to Marxist ideals.  Many of these men were ordained and rose into positions of influence, ready for the next blow.

Which blow came in the form of Vatican II.  The context of Vatican II was that the Church was doing very well — vocations were up, the pews were full — but some thought things were getting a little stale and old-fashioned.  So the idea was to throw open the windows and let in new ideas, while at the same time opening up the Church in a more welcoming way to non-Catholics.  In hindsight, it was a staggering show of hubris, as they seemed to forget that when you throw open the windows, bad can come in with the good.  By convening a Council, everything that wasn’t a matter of settled doctrine could be changed, and even settled doctrine could be obfuscated and interpreted in confusing new ways.  The leftists within the Church took full advantage of this opening.

Church members who wished the Church could change her stance on things like socialism, artificial contraception, or divorce simply acted as if she had.  The attitude developed that Vatican II had made virtually all doctrines optional and subject to personal interpretation and approval.  That allowed priests and bishops to preach virtually anything they wanted, and only a few hide-bound traditionalists would object.

There were other factors, of course.  Modernism had been a growing problem for a long time — just ask Chesterton — but the Soviet infiltration was the first concerted effort by a major power in that direction.  And to some extent, all institutions were affected; the Church wasn’t and isn’t alone in swinging toward leftism, globalism, socialism, equalitarianism, and so on.  But the Church does seem to have been especially affected — the institution feared for Crusades and Inquisitions becoming a doormat for nearly every left-wing cause — and I think the double-whammy of Communist infiltrators and Vatican II accounts for that.

The good news is that the generation that was infiltrated is on the way out.  The seminaries have been considerably cleaned up, thanks to the homosexual abuse scandals (which were part of the infiltration, not a separate issue), so younger priests are much more orthodox.  They just can’t be too open about that, lest it get them in trouble with their Boomer superiors.  And in Pope Francis, who hails from the part of the world afflicted with LIberation Theology (Marxism with a Catholic coating), we have an instructive example of what lies in that direction.

In 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a vision in which he saw a Job-like conversation between God and Satan.  The exact conversation isn’t known, but the gist was that Satan claimed that he could destroy the Church if God gave him a century and more power over those who would follow him.  God consented, and Satan chose the 20th century, or the period running approximately 1885-1985.  The 70s and 80s really were the nadir, with the effects of Vatican II, the Novus Ordo, and the abuse scandals.  Since then things have been improving, but slowly.  Much damage was done, and many feet are still being dragged, so we have a long way to go.


24 thoughts on “Commie Catholics

  1. I have the idea of a post I’ve been meaning to write for a long time which touches this subject. I’ll see if I can get around to writing it.

    Good post btw.

  2. It saddens me greatly to have been shortchanged the Church in which my parents were raised. I was fortunate to have been born to two people who were already establshed adults by the time I was born in the summer of love and who were the kind of rank and file Catholics who probably did not fully understand the implications of VII and never would have imagined the motivations behind it.

    I wish I had more faith in the possibility of a turnaround in the Church, but the infection is deep in the USA, whose clergy would not recognize subsidiarity if it clubbed them in the head and are so naive (that’s being charitable) to to think that Leviathan would ever answer to their wishes. Indeed the state will not settle for indifference to its madness as it demands enthusiastic support.

  3. In my opinion, the Roman Catholic church has been involved in politics since 312 AD.
    Constantine was a general and a Caesar, not a choir boy, and he created an organization modeled on the Roman army. As you point out, the Pope could and did command armies raised from the commoners and nobility of the Papal states, and if that’s not politics, what is?

    Now, I challenge the notion that the Roman Catholic church has opposed socialism, at least in the last 150 years or more. Some forms of socialism, such as Stalin’s “Socialism in one country”, yes. But “social justice” as articulated since Luigi Taparelli arguably coined the term in the 1840’s certainly has shown itself to be a form of socialism, and “social justice” is very big within many branches of the RCC. This could be why liberation theology was so easy to graft into the Latin American branches of the RCC. This could be why many of Stalin’s infiltrators found ready ground for their collectivist notions to take root in. I could point out the role of the Maryknolls in the Central American wars of the 1980’s, too. But enough of that.

    However, I will point out that the RCC bishops were totally OK with Obamacare until the issue of funding contraception and abortion was inserted by the department of HHS. Nationalization of health care, and 12% of the US economy is arguably a huge Socialist act – and so far as I can tell, the RCC had no qualms and even celebrated socialized medical care until it was Catholic theology getting attacked, rather than the health insurance of ordinary people. Then it was different. Even as we see that the ACA is failing to deliver, and that it is making health care less reliable and predictable, even as we see that ordinary working people’s lives are made harder by ACA, the only objection the RCC hierarchy has to ACA is abortion and contraception.

    Maybe these are the boomers you refer to? I’m pretty sure you know how this looks to people outside of the RCC.

    It would be very different to live in a world where the RCC wasn’t involved in politics, or even had a reduced role. It is difficult to imagine. Maybe I’ll live to see it. But I’m skeptical.

  4. AR, that was my point. The Church has been involved in politics ever since it became the religion of the Roman Empire, and in most ages it was more involved than today. What’s different today is that the Catholics most involved in politics are the least Catholic — in most cases, their involvement in politics is a way to oppose Church teaching rather than to enforce or spread it.

    Socialism is a perfect example. It has been condemned by popes ever since it started to become an issue, starting with Piux IX in the encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum in 1849:

    You are aware indeed, that the goal of this most iniquitous plot is to drive people to overthrow the entire order of human affairs and to draw them over to the wicked theories of this Socialism and Communism, by confusing them with perverted teachings.

    The pope who spoke most directly to socialism was probably Leo XIII, in Quod Apostolici Muneris in 1878:

    We speak of that sect of men who, under various and almost barbarous names, are called socialists, communists, or nihilists, and who, spread over all the world, and bound together by the closest ties in a wicked confederacy, no longer seek the shelter of secret meetings, but, openly and boldly marching forth in the light of day, strive to bring to a head what they have long been planning – the overthrow of all civil society whatsoever. Surely, these are they who, as the sacred Scriptures testify, ‘Defile the flesh, despise dominion and blaspheme majesty.’ (Jud. 8).

    In 1931, Pope Pius XI said socialism “cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that. You can find similar condemnations from most of the popes since then, even the post-Vatican II ones, though they wrap it in more happy-talk. But the Church has never withdrawn the condemnation of socialism. To the extent that there’s something called “social justice” that can be fit into Catholic doctrine, it would have to have the socialism stripped out of it, which would make it pointless for most of the people pushing it.

    And yet, as you point out, it seems like the Catholics most involved in politics are socialists. (Yes, most of them would have loved to support Obamacare if the Democrats had just taken out the abortion support.) So they’re not pursing Catholic doctrines through politcs; they’re using politics to work against Catholic doctrines in a roundabout way. They’re trying to change the outer society, hoping the Church will eventually succumb to pressure and change to match it.

  5. Hurting, I don’t disagree with you; I don’t necessarily expect to see us get back to 1962 within my lifetime. Depends how much longer I’m around, I guess. I think the way back to tradition will open up significantly in another decade, as the Vatican II generation dies off. But while that will remove one major source of resistance, it doesn’t mean the Church will automatically go that direction. While younger people don’t hate tradition the way the Vatican II generation does, they don’t have any particular love for it either. They’re just clueless. They’ll have to be reintroduced to real Catholicism — not just liturgy, but the Catholic culture that their parents and grandparents forgot — and it’ll take time for them to get used to it. I think this will also depend on how much Catholics are persecuted in the coming years. There are signs that persecution is coming, but who knows how bad it will be. Perhaps first we’ll get, as Pope Benedict predicted, a much smaller and leaner Church, which will have to survive persecution and come out the other side better.

    As for the modern Church, here’s the way my logic goes: we’re promised that the gates of Hell won’t prevail against it. Well, I can’t see the Church of the Novus Ordo and a 90% birth control rate standing up to the gates of Hell. That Church can’t stand up to Nancy Pelosi, let alone the real thing. For the Church to survive and prevail as promised, she will have to return to a robust faith based on Tradition and Scripture and overcome the heresies of Modernism that have taken hold in the last century. So I’m convinced that will happen because it must, but I don’t really know when.

  6. Cail, I’m going to have to contrast the words you post from Popes with the actions of the RCC. For example, it’s all very well for a Pope to write against Socialism in 1931, but at that very moment in time the cooperation between the RCC and the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini was not exactly difficult to see. Just as cooperation between the RCC and the Spanish Falange of Franco was obvious from the 1930’s until Franco’s death in the 1970’s. We can argue about labels if you want, but the particular corporatist form of Socialism under Mussolini doesn’t change the fact that it was a form of Socialism.

    To the extent that there’s something called “social justice” that can be fit into Catholic doctrine, it would have to have the socialism stripped out of it, which would make it pointless for most of the people pushing it.

    Except that the people pushing it are Catholic, some of them are bishops or even Cardinals, and it is clearly another form of socialism, you might have a point. It’s like the big words about “subsidiarity” that get thrown around from time to time; nice words, too bad there’s no actions to back them up.

    And yet, as you point out, it seems like the Catholics most involved in politics are socialists. (Yes, most of them would have loved to support Obamacare if the Democrats had just taken out the abortion support.)

    Cail, is Dolan of New York enough of a Roman Catholic for you? Is he a Marxist? So far as I can tell, the only objection he has to the ACA is the abortion / contraception issue. Strip that out and he’s just fine with government controlled health care, i.e. Socialism. And he’s hardly alone in that. All of my adult life the RCC from top to bottom has been almost totallly in favor of ever more centralized government power over the US. There are probably multiple reasons for this, but the effect is the same regardless. The same church that helped push the country into Obamacare is also going to make Dorothy Day into a saint. Coincidence?

  7. Cail, I guess I’m confused. I can’t tell if you are arguing that RCC political action is old and traditional so it’s really not a big deal, or you are arguing that RCC political action is a good thing so long as it isn’t Marxist, or something else.

    Whatever point you are trying to make, I appreciate you taking the time to make it and to try to support it with references, and I’m trying in return not to just empty-headedly pick a fight over the RCC on your site.

  8. AR, I started writing this post in response to someone who asked whether Catholic involvement in politics started with JFK. My point was that the Church has always been involved in politics; what’s changed is that now so many Catholics are involved in politics in service of leftist causes instead of Catholic causes. I’m not saying that never happened in the past, but it’s overwhelming now. Good orthodox Catholic priests and bishops do exist, but the media makes sure you don’t hear about them, of course.

    And yes, I realize it can look like socialism is a Catholic teaching when so many bishops and cardinals support nationalized health care and other leftist ideas. Trust me, I’m fully aware of how much of the hierarchy is left-wingers. But the Church is not a democracy. Catholic teaching doesn’t change because a bunch of people, even the people currently in charge, want it to. Over 90% of Catholics use birth control and most of their priests and bishops nod and wink, but Catholic teaching still says it’s a sin. I don’t care if 99% of priests preach in favor of socialism; they can’t make it compatible with Catholic teaching.

    Yes, many Catholics are socialists. No, that doesn’t mean socialism is Catholic.

    The Church has survived widespread heresies and corruption in the past. Generally, that’s when saints emerge and the Church goes back to basics and regroups and becomes stronger (and smaller). That usually doesn’t happen until plenty of damage has been done and everyone can see the problem, though (see the Council of Trent, for instance, which should have happened before the corruption inspired Luther and others). We’re not to that point yet.

  9. AR, thanks for your considerate discussion as well.

    By the way, it’s funny that this started with someone asking about JFK, because JFK set the precedent of not involving his Catholicism in his politics. In a speech to a group of Protestant ministers in Houston, he promised to keep his faith out of his political decisions. He also declared that no priest or minister should try to influence a politician in his flock.

    So far from setting any kind of precedent of bringing the Church into politics, he set the precedent of locking faith out of politics, at least if it’s any kind of traditional Christian faith. Apostate Catholic politicians have used his example as cover ever since, insisting that they have no responsibility to oppose abortion, for instance, as if their votes won’t count when they reach Judgment Day.

  10. We do know what was said:

    “As he listened, he heard the following conversation:

    The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasting to Our Lord: “I can destroy your Church”

    The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”

    Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”

    Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?

    Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”

    Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.” ”

    Further the St. Michael prayer which was ordered by Pope Leo XIII to be said after all Low Masses is the end of the whole St. Michael Prayer. Here is the full version from the 1910 Raccolta:

    292. Prayer to St Michael.
    Leo XIII, Mot. Pr, September 2,5, 1888,

    O GLORIOUS Archangel St Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defence in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and Powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom GOD created immortal, made in his own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of the LORD, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of his CHRIST, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of GOD, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defence against the malicious power of hell; to thee has GOD entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the GOD of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the LORD; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

    V. Behold the Cross of the LORD; be scattered ye hostile powers.
    R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda has conquered, the root of David.

    V. Let thy mercies be upon us, 0 LORD.
    R. As we have hoped in thee.

    V. O LORD, hear my prayer.
    R. And let my cry come unto thee.

    Let us pray.
    O GOD, the FATHER of Our LORD JESUS CHRIST, we call upon thy holy name, and as suppliants we implore thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St Michael, thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.


    A good article on this subject is: The Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII

  11. Concerning Communist subversion of the Church:

    The Prophecy of Bella Dodd

    In light of the current confusion and moral scandal in the Church, it would be well to consider a neglected bit of recent Church history: the public testimony of Bella Dodd, who served as legal counsel to the Communist Party in the United States until her conversion to Catholicism, after which she spent the rest of her life atoning for her role in the communist infiltration of the Catholic Church.

    An article in Christian Order magazine (November 2000) recounts how Dodd and her associate, Douglas Hyde, revealed the plan for communist subversion of the Church:

    Ex-Communist and celebrated convert Douglas Hyde revealed long ago that in the 1930s the Communist leadership issued a worldwide directive about infiltrating the Catholic Church. While in the early 1950s, Mrs. Bella Dodd was also providing detailed explanations of the Communist subversion of the Church. Speaking as a former high ranking official of the American Communist Party, Mrs. Dodd said: “In the 1930s we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.” The idea was for these men to be ordained and progress to positions of influence and authority as Monsignors and Bishops. A dozen years before Vatican II she stated that: “Right now they are in the highest places in the Church” — where they were working to bring about change in order to weaken the Church’s effectiveness against Communism. She also said that these changes would be so drastic that “you will not recognise the Catholic Church.”

    Dodd gave voluminous testimony on communist infiltration of Church and state before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in the 1950s. In a lecture at Fordham University during that time, Dodd unveiled what would seem to be an uncanny prophecy of future chaos in the Church. The lecture was attended by a monk whose account of the talk is presented in Christian Order:

    I listened to that woman for four hours and she had my hair standing on end. Everything she said has been fulfilled to the letter. You would think she was the world’s greatest prophet, but she was no prophet. She was merely exposing the step-by-step battle plan of Communist subversion of the Catholic Church. She explained that of all the world’s religions, the Catholic Church was the only one feared by the Communists, for it was its only effective opponent. The whole idea was to destroy, not the institution of the Church, but rather the Faith of the people, and even use the institution of the Church, if possible, to destroy the Faith through the promotion of a pseudo-religion: something that resembled Catholicism but was not the real thing. Once the Faith was destroyed, she explained that there would be a guilt complex introduced into the Church…. to label the ‘Church of the past’ as being oppressive, authoritarian, full of prejudices, arrogant in claiming to be the sole possessor of truth, and responsible for the divisions of religious bodies throughout the centuries. This would be necessary in order to shame Church leaders into an ‘openness to the world,’ and to a more flexible attitude toward all religions and philosophies. The Communists would then exploit this openness in order to undermine the Church.

    Does any of this sound familiar? Unless you have been comatose since Vatican II, you would be aware that Bella Dodd was describing the state of the Catholic Church today. Today, post-conciliar churchmen wallow in guilt over the Church’s “intolerant” past, make public apologies for the sins of dead Catholics (but not their own sins against the living faithful, including the victims of the homo-priest cover-up), and extol the virtues of other religions, thereby de facto abandoning the defined dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church.

    Bella Dodd was no prophet. She merely told us what the infiltrators of the Church were planning to do. And lo, they have done it.

  12. Does the clergy in the USA really not understand that service the government pays for only come at the point of a gun – and at any level of government?

    There are enough Catholics in the USA so as to afford us the opportunity to have our own self-contained network of healthcare – a network that could be extended to the needy throughout the land; one that could truly operate compassionately. And yet our leadership agitates for ever more intrusion.

  13. Hurting, yeah, they don’t even know their own history. The Church created the original network of American hospitals (and schools) that served the needy. They should know better than anyone that it can be done privately. Of course, that’d be harder to do now, since so many of the religious sisters who staffed them were driven out or converted to leftist causes like nuclear disarmament.

    As for your first question: no, they don’t know that any more than most people know it. Clergy are just as likely as anyone else to see government as a bottomless source of cash to spend. It all comes from “rich people” somehow, you know.

  14. I am amazed: the idea that the Soviet Union somehow infiltrated the RCC or were interested in doing so leaves me as speechless as when I was told, not so long ago, that the Soviet Union disintegrated by reason of anti-Soviet Rhetoric from JPII – and that was averred to me as fact by someone who is neither a Catholic nor of any religious affiliation.

    What does seem plausible to me, however, is that the RCC became caught up in modernism and in a bid to make itself ‘relevant’ ditched almost everything that distinguished it and its Monks and Nuns not merely from Protestantism but also from ordinary life. Shawn of their metaphysical and bodily religious clothing they look and sound like paid up Marxists and Feminists – I had always had a soft spot for Nuns, until I had the misfortune to meet socially one of its modern American incarnations. It is thus easy to see how with their concern for the poor and the sinful they appear now indistinguishable from social workers or social justice warriors: far too concerned with the things of this world rather than those of the next.

    I once read the section of Vatican II on music: I have to confess I understood not a word but have got to say that replacing Plainsong and Palestrina with Pop-music seems to me to be an unintended own goal.

    As the RCC remains the world’s largest Xtian Church and probably larger in itself than any other religion, it would be harsh for me to say that they were unsuccessful by reason of their hubristic sweeping-clean. I have to confess however, that as I live in a country which is anti-Catholic (the only Catholics are either Irish, Polish or Italian) and which in just three weeks will be celebrating through its bonfire societies and its burning of papal effigies, its dislike of Rome, I may perhaps be exhibiting prejudice.

  15. Opus, you’re right: the RCC became caught up in Modernism and did everything you say. But it’s also true that the USSR worked hard to infiltrate it, as it did other large organizations. The two forces worked together. Without the infiltration, modernism still would have continued and had its effects, but maybe things wouldn’t have gotten so much worse so quickly in a few years. Hard to say.

    With regard to the nuns, the two attacks on them came from witchcraft (bound up in feminism) and group psychology. There’s a good book on that subject called Ungodly Rage. With group therapy they broke down their faith and rebuilt it on leftism and goddess worship, all in a matter of a few years.

  16. Cail Corishev says:
    October 13, 2014 at 9:43 am

    You are eminently correct that the average person in the pew does not realize, that, for example, with respect to a public service paid for by property taxes, a disgruntled property owner attemptig to withhold payment of his bill due on the basis of dissatifaction with the putative service would eventually be greeted by an ARMED officer of the state there to seize his domecile. How one can conflate this scenario with charity is quite beyond my ability to comprehend, but the square is circled nonetheless in myriad minds every Sunday morning.

    Catholic schools are the last best hope to show the world that a truly meaningful effort at improving the human condition can be accomplished with a minimum of state interference (yes, I am keenly aware of limited public funding in various forms of Catholic education in the USA).

  17. I hesitate to bring this up because it might be in tin-foil hat territory, but does anyone have any thoughts on Fr. Malachi Martin’s claims that Soviet threats interfered with one or to papal election conclaves?

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  19. Corn, I wouldn’t be surprised, though now they would have enough fellow travelers within the hierarchy that I’m not sure how much actual interference would be required. I’ve only read one of Fr. Martin’s books, but have been meaning to get to others.

    The last two conclaves are hard to reconcile. Now, Pope Benedict called himself a man of Vatican II, and talked about the “hermeunetic of continuity,” how Vatican II could be reconciled with previous tradition as long as you read it very carefully in that light. So he wasn’t a hard-core traditionalist. But he said some pretty harsh things about the modern Church and liturgy over the years as Cardinal Ratzinger, and he didn’t get the nickname of “God’s Rottweiler” for nothing. It’s hard to overstate how much the liberals hated his bringing back the Latin Mass. But somehow they picked him. And then eight years later, they picked a liberal Jesuit from liberal Liberation Theology land (who was available last time). It’s hard to figure how pretty much the same group of guys made both selections.

  20. The Church created the original network of American hospitals (and schools) that served the needy. T

    I see, so the Quakers, the Methodists, the Presbyterians – none of these groups ever founded hospitals in the colonial or early American historical period, is that correct?

    The Pennsylvania Hospital founded in Philadelphia in 1751 was explicitly intended to serve the poor.

    It was not the only hospital established in the colonies in the 18th century, merely the first.
    I’m aware of the RCC’s establishment of hospitals in the 19th century and into the early 20th century. Many of those built upon existing facilities, too. To claim that the RCC created the first network of hospitals, that the colonies and later the US was a howling wilderness with no medical care until the RCC showed up, is simply false.

    And the same goes for schooling. When James Fenimore Cooper wrote “Last of the Mohicans” the literacy rate in the US was about 90%. The much reviled Puritans took great care to teach all children to read. So did all the other Protestant denominations. The Catholic school system was created as a parallel institution, duplicating the existing Protestant schools, for reasons of theology. But again, the notion that there were no schools in the colonies or the US prior to the establishment by the RCC is simply not born out by any historical facts.

    You may not realize how arrogant, smug and ignorant many Catholics come across from time to time. This is one of those times. I’m not here to pick a fight, but really, this is simply not true, and I frankly expect more accuracy from you, Cail.

  21. With regard to the nuns, the two attacks on them came from witchcraft (bound up in feminism) and group psychology.

    For some sufficiently broad definition of “witchcraft” I agree. I’ve lost touch now, but used to know of some women who were on the edge of goddess worship, and there was a great insistence that the activity was fully in line with some local Roman Catholic group. The theology wasn’t of interest to me, but the pagan aspects were obvious. There was some overlap to a Wicca group, for what that is worth.

    Your commment about group psychology is, of course, absolutely correct. One of the things we know from Game is how a herd of women revolves around a handful of opinion leaders. A group of women with no men available to lead them thus is going to follow the dominent woman – the lead mare, as it were. It’s a feature, not a bug. But it’s a feature that can be used for any end, any end at all (coughMaryknollcough).

  22. AR, I didn’t say they were the only ones, but they were certainly the most extensive. Maybe I should have said “most extensive” instead of “original.” In many towns in late 19th and early-to-mid 20th century there was a Catholic hospital and a Catholic school, and that was it other than the public options. You make a good point that education was important to the early Protestant settlers, but since the country was essentially Protestant, the public schools that started in the mid-1800s supported them okay (for a while). Catholics had to create their own schools out of necessity (and that’s not a complaint).

    I didn’t say anything about a “howling wilderness” preceding that, so I think you’re reading too much into it.

    Anyway, my point wasn’t to ignore the efforts of other faiths; but just to say that Catholics, of all people, should know that private charity can do the job, because they did it before. But then Catholics don’t know their own history.

  23. Bella Dodd’s book, School of Darkness, is available for free online. It’s on my list, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, though I have some sense from other reading of what she claims.

  24. The first US bishop had previously served as a chaplin in the Continental Army and gone with the troops to Quebec to attempt to persuade them to join the revolution. (He did not get named until George II started neming Anglican bishops after the revolution; at least Father John Carroll wasn’t named by a foriegn ruler who had sen troops to the US; and I’m sure that the new Anglican bishops didn’t serve in the Continental army or have brothers who signed the Declarion.)

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