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Good Democrat Day
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PRISTINE DEMOCRAT POOL
Re: The Prowler’s Dirty Democrat Pool:

Will you please retract your scathing accusation that the Democrats made this up? Now that Mr. Martinez’s aide has come forth to claim responsibility for writing it, I would hope that you would apologize for jumping on the Democrats and accusing them of “Dirty Pool.” Your integrity is on the line here.
Kathy Hardman

Your March 24 article entitled “Dirty Democrat Pool” makes the claim that the disgusting memo promoting the Schiavo tragedy as a political tool for Republicans was originated by unnamed Democrats in an attempt to make the GOP look bad. Given today’s admission by Republican Senator Mel Martinez that the memo originated in his office, when should we expect to see a correction/apology?
T.F. Bernett

“It’s Rathergate all over again.”

HA HA HA

Finally people will start seeing through their 9-11 haze and discover how disgusting the Republicans truly are.

Have a nice day.
George D.

Will you print a retraction now that the Florida Republican Senator has come forward admitting it was generated from his office?
unsigned

Are you going to print a retraction/apology for the Schiavo memo piece?

I doubt it.
John Long

Dirty Republican Lies. Let’s see an uproar about this…
J.W.E.

I know The Spectator is not an unbiased organization, but you now are just as bad as Dan Rather and Rather Gate (as you call it). What a bunch of hypocrites!!! I hated what CBS did, and I thought you were better than to spread the same lies about Democrats! Well, are you going to “retire” now that the truth is out about the Schiavo Memo? Are you going to apologize to the Democrats you falsely named as creating that piece of garbage? My guess is no. I don’t expect you to be fair, but you could be decent and do a little “reporting” (not sure anyone knows what that is anymore) and get your facts straight before blaming innocent people! Are you going to do a follow up about Sen. Martinez? His staffer? I doubt it — that would be too decent.
Dawn Merwin, a one time Spectator reader
Magnolia, Texas

Your March 24 article on the Schiavo “talking points” memo concludes, “But there is no evidence that the talking points were a Martinez staff product.” Now that Sen. Martinez’s aide Brian Darling has publicly admitted that he wrote the memo and resigned, I hope you will print a retraction of the allegations of Democratic hoaxing and apologize to all the news organizations that got the story right from the beginning. Don’t believe everything you read in the “blogosphere.”
Jeff Belfiglio

The Editor replies:
Just before the concluding sentence quoted by Mr. Belfiglio, the Prowler also wrote this:

Republicans staffers looking into the “talking points” case believe that at least some of the language used for the original Traditional Values Coalition may have come from documents pulled together by the staff of Sen. Mel Martinez, who has been out front on the Schiavo case, and pressed hard for federal action to save her life.

It was no secret, in other words, that Sen. Martinez’s staff were active on the pro-life front. At the same time, whatever came out of their office should not have been characterized in the press as the work of Republican leaders and senators who were also described as the disseminators of the controversial memo. Are all the above Democrats who took advantage of the new bipartisan spirit to write in gloatingly confident their political allies played no role in this mischaracterizing?

JUST RIGHT
Re: George Neumayr’s St. Peter’s in Chains:

Mr. Neumayr has a talent for using very few words to encapsulate the broad reach of thoughts: “A liberal Pope, as far as they are concerned, would be even better than a liberal Chief Justice on the Supreme Court.”

Bravo! Perfectly written.
Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico

Perhaps the Reformers and the Media could visit the dioceses in Denver, and Peoria. They would also do well to visit the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) seminary in Lincoln, Nebraska. Where the bishop holds true to orthodox Catholic teachings, the Catholic community flourishes. There are no priest shortages in Peoria or Denver, and attendance to masses exceeds the national average. The FSSP seminary has a waiting list, and they have outgrown their original buildings. It appears there is a felt need for both the Tridentine Rite, and for bishops who are dynamic Catholic Evangelists.

There are many good bishops in America; however, many seem to be either embarrassed of their faith, or worse. The bishops’ conference and its bureaucracy only appears to get excited by issued that have nothing to do with their people’s salvation (e.g. global warming, living wages, or gender equality). The late Pope towered above both our Bishops, and Europe’s Bishops. His prayer life, as well as devotion to Christ and to His Mother set him apart from the old musty clerisy which dominates most chanceries and seminaries. The decay of Europe’s religious life is a forerunner to ours. The reasons for decay are obvious: apostasy and heresy brought on by secularism. The very people and organizations who caused this decay now say they have the answers. Now is the time to pray.
J.P. Koch

George, “St. Peter’s In Chains” was a great piece. Congratulations. It amazes me that most of the press and the liberal left don’t get what’s going to happen next. The Cardinals are going to meet, they’ll seek spiritual guidance from The Holy Spirit, they will pray, and finally they will elect a Pope who they believe will be best suited to safeguard the dogma and teachings of Roman Catholicism. Period, end of the story, finito, no other considerations apply. Tell the rest of the press that they’re selecting a Pope, not electing a President.
Dan

I, as you, have been following the liberal critics of JPII with some amusement. Thomas Cahill and his ilk do have a valid point. Attendance in Catholic churches is declining and aging. This cannot be denied. However, to claim that it can be reverse by loosening the church’s standards is patently absurd.

If one were to “shop around” looking at ways for a church to become popular, one would quickly see that liberalizing morality is not the way to go. The so-called mainstream churches have been going that route for years. Where has it got them? They are in worse shape than Catholicism. So how is loosening Catholic standards going to “save” the Catholic Church? It isn’t. It can’t. It won’t.

The only churches gaining in membership are those that do make firm stands. If anything, the Roman Catholic Church isn’t firm enough. It needs to demand more of its members.

Take a look at the most successful church of all, the Mormon Church. It is growing by leaps and bounds. They can’t build chapels fast enough, and those that hey do build are generally filled with multiple congregations by the time they are dedicated.

Are they loosening their stances on morality? No. Are they ordaining women? No.

What they are doing is demanding a great deal of their members. They have no paid clergy. Everything is done by the lay-people.

So if the papal critics were intellectually honest, shouldn’t they be calling for the Catholic Church to toughen their moral stance and to demand more of their members, not less?
Mark Hammer
Bellevue, Washington

PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Adventures in Harvard America:

That was a fun article to read this morning. Well done. It’s a good thing The Left, The Democrats, and The Liberals know it all — I can rest better now knowing that they will take care of us all and our “common good”!! And just think that I was dumb enough to believe that I could stand on my own two feet, make my own decisions about self-interest, make my own dreams come true, and live my own life. What was I thinking?!?!

Keep up the great reporting.
Chris

Fabulous article. Sums up the dilettante left — a dangerous ideology of good intentions & wishful thinking.
Ron Pettengill
London, United Kingdom

Wonderful, Wonderful.

The Dems who seem to not take a fancy to corporate anything seem to put forth copy right out of a corporate brochure…you can pick any corporation you like and find this dribble.

Working with writers all my thirty years of life in advertising I can recognize dribble and so can you.

I wouldn’t be so funny if I really did believe they believe this type of trite can sell anything anymore.

Thank You.
Paul Filler

SHUCKED PEANUT STATESMAN
Re: The Prowler’s Jimmy Carter Who?:

Let’s face it, President Carter was and is the antithesis of “gravitas,” ergo his presence in Rome would tend to give the solemn proceedings the air of a farce. For me, an epiphany on his record-setting fecklessness and wrong-headedness came last summer when I watched a shocking reprise of his 1980 Democratic Convention speech on C-Span. Here this snarling chihuahua of a man was sweating as profusely as a stevedore and landing one unclear-on-the-concept haymaker after another, such as “the Republican nominee advocates abandoning arms control policies…this radical and irresponsible course would threaten our security and could put the whole world in peril,” “when Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan, we moved quickly to take action…I suspended some grain sales…and led more than 60 other nations in boycotting…the Moscow Olympics,” and my personal favorite, “they want to eliminate the 55-mile speed limit.” Well, I suppose we ought to give him some credit; at least he was being factually correct on that last assertion.
Nelson Hernandez
McLean, Virginia

We are now on the second say of the Carter “snub” story and the media still wants to drop a barb or two. Though some of the morning network shows lead with the Carter story as their first story on Wednesday, none seemed to mention that in 1978, then President Carter sent his wife as the delegation for the funeral of Pope Paul VI. A month later President Carter sent his mother as the delegation for the funeral of Pope John Paul I. He attended neither.

However, what I found most ironic was the suggestions and commentary on one of the network morning shows that it would be appropriate for Condi Rice, the sitting Secretary of State (who was born and raised in Alabama), to give up her seat on “The Plane” to a gentleman Nobel Prize winner (from Georgia) by the name of Carter. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this suggestion?
Dave Less
Indianapolis, Indiana

MUSICAL PRETENSIONS
Re: Paul Beston’s Bedtime for Bono:

Rock ‘n’ roll is pure escapism — a noxious mixture of grind and elation adhering only to an imagined, momentary euphoria. Bono’s political stances, whether or not they are on point or not are of equal value to his compatriots and Hollywood types that ask the same of us: “Buy our product, and the related merchandise when available, but we’re also really serious about waste management, etc.”

It is a mixed message, incongruent, and perplexing to those of us that use rock for what it is: pure escapism, if for only a few minutes in an otherwise day of important decision-making. And like most entertainers, I respect their right to “go political,” but don’t expect me to follow you there. These performers risk a lot by “going political,” but I can play any Stones song and not feel like I’m (even emotionally) subsidizing their cause, which might not be my cause.

Remember too, Mick Jagger did divorce Bianca.
P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, MI

SKIP COLLEGE
Re: Brandon Crocker’s The Limits of “Academic Freedom”:

Given the relentless leftward politicization within liberal arts faculties and the mishmash of pseudo-scholastic trendiness accepted as normal, the question might no longer be what can be done to save or rescue academia. The question could well be why, in the here and now, given the barbaric yawping mountebanks run rampant in our post-modern academy, is a non-scientific or non-technical B.A. still considered either a necessary or a sufficient credential for advancement in the real world? Yes, there is still legitimate scholarship to be found in humanities faculties–but enough bad coinage has devalued the good to remove a liberal arts university education as reliable intellectual or social currency.
Paul Freedman
Falls Church, Virginia

BEHOLD THY MOTHER
Re: Re: Patrick O’Hannigan’s The Question of Motivation:

Continuing the conversation with Patrick O’Hannigan, and in the spirit of reconciliation, I’d suggest he read two articles. The first was written by Catholic priest Andrew Greeley. It calls for greater democracy in the Catholic Church and reminds us that the first Popes were chosen democratically. Do today’s Catholic parishes get to choose their priest, or is he assigned by the diocese?
The second article (subscription required) is from Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. Written by Gabriel Kahn, it describes the tenure of American Cardinal Edmund Szoka as President of the Governatorate of Vatican City and his efforts to introduce capitalism into the daily operations of the city-state. Was John Paul II a capitalist who resisted the Liberation Theology of Communist priests? Just a bit more food for thought.

And does my memory serve that the Inquisition took place under the “Most Catholic” Church? How does the Most Roman Christian Church sound?
Bruce Thompson

I think O’Hannigan is overdoing it here. Sure, there are idiot Protestants. There are idiot Catholics. Now is the time for Christians to stick together, not start fighting each other.

He should have let his article sit for a day, reread it when he had calmed down a bit, and revised it. He would have sounded more like a grown-up.
Dorothy Willis
Redding, California

The author is mistaken. Pope John Paul II’s devotion wasn’t to Christ, it was to Mary.

Consider this: “We entrust, O Mary, and consecrate the whole world to your Immaculate Heart!” –Pope John Paul II
Bill Sundling

Patrick O’Hannigan replies:
Context is everything. A great king shares his glory with those in his court, and when Mary said (in scripture!), “All generations shall call me blessed,” she wasn’t kidding.

REPLY FROM THE FLOWNOVER
Re: Andrew Cline’s St. Jack the Ripon:

Me, my mule Molly and my goat Gordo arrived here in downtown Cow Paddie late last night for our weekly bath at the Westward Ho House, Saloon, Deli and Disco and, as usual, went out there on the Internet to see if the rest of the world was still there.

As always, I went right to your web site for a quick taste of the truth and ran across Andrew Cline’s column, “St. Jack the Ripon.”

As one of the great unwashed and a charter member of the Red State Forever Cartel I must admit, and hopefully not too crudely, that it is time for former Sen. Danforth and his blind, if not brain-dead, friends to extract their heads from where the sun does not shine.

That catchall phrase, the Christian Right, will be judged by time as one of the most inaccurate labels in the history of mankind. There is no Christian Right — just people who are still believe in right and wrong. This is a point missed by Republicans and Democrats alike and it is something that will eventually bury both parties as they meld into oneness.

Right and wrong!

Think about that. What a concept.

The rich and powerful elite who control the blue states — which basically are the welfare states — consider us as the dim-witted mongrels of American society — the low-crust, beer guzzling trailer park trash of this country.

People such as Sen. Danforth think they know us, but they have no idea who we are.

We are for the most part the sons and daughters of European immigrants and have bred into us the commonsense one cannot get at such academic outhouses as Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Our world is real and we are silently sit at the head of the class because we do understand.

This so-called Christian Right is made up for Italians, Germans, Scots, Irish, Polish, Russian, English, Mexicans, Swedes, Africans, etc. It embraces those who worship regularly and those who do not believe in god. It is made up of saints and sinners and those who can’t tell the difference. Jesus freaks or fornicators — all are welcome to dwell among us.

The blue-state elite have had their say with this country for longer than we should have permitted and that is all about to end — not because we are members of the Christian Right but because we are simply decent people who understand right and wrong.

The elite have ruled because we were too busy making a living and supporting our families to protest. In the process our silence has led these intellectually defective people to believe they represented the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.

They will soon realize they were but the fools of the moment and I am speaking of both Democrats and Republicans.

The reign of idiocy is over.

The mongrels of society are about to return to power in this country and what most of the blue-state liberal elite do not understand is that it started this week on the Arizona-Mexican border.

More to come — for sure!

We unwashed remain decided, determined and defiant.
Kelso Sturgeon
“Cow Paddie, Nevadee”

DEVOTIONAL CHALLENGE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell’s The Mystic Pope:

Thank you for remembering him and his service as you did, particularly that he reinvigorated the Catholic Church — though challenging Catholics to decide how much of a Catholic they would be and what they would do about that — bridging the gap between Christianity and Judaism, in calling Jews “our elder brothers”; and raising the dignity of human life and forcing each of us, Christian or not, to reflect on what that means.
C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

BACKSLIDING TO OBSCURITY
Re: Ben Berry’s letter (under “Earned Rudeness”) in Reader Mail’s Rainy Night in Georgia:

Mr. Berry must understand that the Roman Catholic Church does not oppose gay marriage because it is “bad for society.” It opposes it because as a tenet of its core beliefs, homosexuality is wrong, sinful, unnatural, and anti-god. If you don’t agree, then don’t be a Catholic! Just walk away. The divorce rate has nothing to do with the Church’s stand on divorce. The admonition by Christ that “what God has brought together, let no man put asunder” does. Once again, just walk away. If you don’t think that the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church is true, legitimate, and Godly, walk away. But because there is evil in an organization with several billion members, do not expect the hierarchy to accommodate that evil by mutating into some amorphous form that will accept it. After all, should the government be eliminated because there are those in it who commit evil acts?

As for Chris Matthews, I can’t figure out if you were trying to tell me not to be upset because Mr. Matthews is ALWAYS rude, or that his rudeness, in this case, was justified because he was talking to a Catholic priest. Oh, and I guess you know that particular young priest because you identified him as “hypocritical.” I’m just a poor high school teacher so I still have to meet and spend some time with people before I can determine whether they are hypocritical or not. Say, how do you do that?
Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

DYING FAITH
Re: Paul DeSisto’s letter (under “Dying Order”) in Reader Mail’s Pontiff and Pontificators, George Neumayr’s Lying Jesuits and Journalists, “Faith of Our Fathers” letters in Reader Mail’s Miles to Go, and Vincent Chiarello’s letter (under “The Drinan Drag”) in Reader Mail’s Expressions of Support:

While it can be tiresome to hear or read of the misdeeds of any person or organization repeated ad infinitum, allow me a short response to Paul DeSisto’s recent commentary related to the Society of Jesus.

In 1998, James T. Burtchaell, a Catholic priest and former Provost at Notre Dame University, wrote of the decline of religion at religiously established universities and colleges in the U.S. The Dying of the Light is a case study of 17 educational institutions that have, for all intents and purposes, severed their ties to their religious founding fathers. Six of the seven scrutinized are Protestant: Baptist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran and Evangelical. One of the three Catholic colleges/universities examined was Boston College. It is Burtchaell’s contention that Jesuit and lay faculties at Boston College and similarly constituted Jesuit universities have, by purposeful design, sought to consign religion to a much diminished role in the overall education of their students, driven by the pervasive belief that religion is outside the boundaries of intellectual discourse, and of minimal importance in quotidian life. Like its companion Jesuit institution, Georgetown University, where a huge brouhaha erupted about putting crucifixes in classrooms, Boston College is, essentially, Catholic in name only.

Finally, I was assigned to our Embassy to The Holy See when Padre Arrupe died. The funeral mass for the Father General is held at the Church of the Gesu, the splendidly baroque Jesuit church in Rome. Pope John Paul II, demonstrating his disappointment with the Jesuits, sent his representative to the mass. Many, including this writer, interpreted that absence as the pontiff’s way of saying that the Society had to be rehabilitated. Father Drinan’s continuing presence amply demonstrates that the “business as usual” routine at Jesuit institutions continues, while the Society moves further adrift.
Vincent Chiarello
Reston, Virginia

LEGALLY FRIGHTENING
Re: George Neumayr’s Lawless Judges:

George Neumayr’s article of March 16 regarding “Lawless Judges” is the most frightening piece I’ve ever read. Simply, because what he says is true. God help America. U.S. citizens had better wake up now because it truly is “later than we think.”
Margie Tiritilli
Montebello, California

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