Sky Links, 8-18-18

Satan Nesting in the Catholic Church
2002 came, and Rod started reporting on the priest sex scandal. Many of us thought Rod was going too far, going off the deep end, pulling out his hair. Like many others, I just could not believe some of the things we were hearing. What’s more, I instinctively thought that the bishops were doing, if not the right thing, then the thing that made sense given who they felt they had to listen to: insurance companies, lawyers, and psychologists.
I just could not believe that Cardinal Law, for instance, was the bad guy. I just could not believe that such a friend to the pro-life movement was an enemy. I thought this was almost certainly the devil’s way of ridding us of such a valuable ally.

I believed the bishops had to protect the Church, that the lawyers were probably right to offer compensation to victims and require them to keep quiet so as not to scandalize the faithful.
What’s more, they were following the best “scientific” advice from psychologists, that these men could go into counseling and be “cured” such that they could enter ministry again, at least away from young people. A few years after 2002, I was with one of the most celebrated psychiatrists in the country, one who is Catholic and outspokenly pro-life [not Paul McHugh] and I asked him if his profession held that pedophilia could be cured. He said yes.
I thought the media was ginning up what was a scandal, to be sure, but one that was small, localized, and now blessedly over. And Rod was banging out story after story bringing down the Church. I thought he was overemotional. He was making things worse.
I recall perhaps the last time I was with Rod. It was at some conference years ago, still in the shadow of ‘02. I don’t remember where. We sat at a table along with Robert Royal and David Mills, and we talked about this issue. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but it was strained. There was already an estrangement over this issue and what he was doing. At that time, as we have come to know, Rod was under severe pressure from influential Catholic laymen and from important bishops to lay off. Father Neuhaus actually yelled at him. You are hurting the Church, they told him. This will blow over. This is being handled. Handled. Yes.
Rod explained all along that he had stories, horrible and sickening stories that he could not report because no one would go on the record. We now know that one of the stories was about the crimes of then Cardinal McCarrick. When the McCarrick story broke a few weeks ago, I was surprised to discover in the New York Times that one of the heroes in the McCarrick story was one of my old spiritual directors, Fr. Boniface Ramsey, then pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Fr. Ramsey had gone to Cardinal Egan, Cardinal O’Malley, and the Vatican and no one did anything. Ramsey went to a frustrated Dreher, too, but he would not go on the record.
My casual friendship with Rod was never the same again. And at this remove, I can say this: Rod was right, and I was wrong.

Rod Was Right, I Was Wrong -Austin Rose


Rod responed:
Thank you, Austin Ruse. It wasn’t necessary, which is why I’m all the more grateful for it.
At the risk of oversharing, the most painful thing about covering the scandal from 2002 until I left the Catholic Church in 2006 was losing my Catholic faith, which had been at the center of my life since my conversion in 1993. But it was also losing a world I had loved, and in which I had many friendships. Some of those friendships ended when I left the Catholic Church, and others remained intact, but weren’t what they had been. Folks felt that I had betrayed them somehow.
And then there were the Catholics who did not know me, but wrote to condemn me, often viciously. These were in some cases the same Catholics who, for the previous three years, had been e-mailing me with awful stories of clerical sexual corruption in their own parishes or dioceses, urging me to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT — but of course they wouldn’t put themselves on the line by going on the record, which is the only way that I or any journalist could have done something about it. I confess that I carried a lot of resentment back then against those people. Had they spent even one day dealing with the details of what journalists like me were dealing with, the evil would have fried their minds. I’ve often compared doing this kind of work to that scene from The Lord Of The Rings when Pippin stares at the Eye of Sauron through the Palantir, and it overwhelms him.
It overwhelmed me too, eventually, and my Catholic faith finally collapsed. Most of you know this story. What’s worth pointing out is that the final straw was realizing that my wife and I could not trust the institution anymore.
Traitors in Their Midst -Rod Dreher





John MacArthur Doesn't Get Social Justice 
Speaking of people who just don’t get it, time to revisit our old friend, Dr. John MacArthur. One of my friends once said of Johnnie Mac, “He ain’t neutral about nothin’.” Well, he ain’t neutral about “social justice,” that’s clear.

Evangelicalism’s newfound obsession with the notion of “social justice” is a significant shift—and I’m convinced it’s a shift that is moving many people (including some key evangelical leaders) off message, and onto a trajectory that many other movements and denominations have taken before, always with spiritually disastrous results.
Over the years, I’ve fought a number of polemical battles against ideas that threaten the gospel. This recent (and surprisingly sudden) detour in quest of “social justice” is, I believe, the most subtle and dangerous threat so far.
The good doctor once again betrays his historical ignorance of anything outside of what he considers to be the “pure stream” of orthodox faith. If he didn’t have his head stuck in the separatist sand he’s bogged down in, he would recognize that, in many ways, evangelical faith has often been at the forefront of social movements, protests, and efforts to bring justice for the marginalized and to promote societal change, especially in the wake of the 2nd Great Awakening here in the U.S. Perhaps it is because MacArthur and other neo-Calvinists consider anything coming out of the 2nd Great Awakening to be tainted by a kind of evangelical faith they don’t deem genuine.
Whether he wants to admit it or not, the abolition movement, campaigns for women’s rights, workers rights, and assistance for the poor have deep roots in an evangelical understanding of the gospel. On one side or the other, evangelicals have been leaders in the “culture wars” in this and other countries. For MacArthur to say this is a “newfound obsession” is simply absurd. For him to claim that it is “the most subtle and dangerous threat so far” is one of the silliest statements I’ve ever heard.
Of course, we here at Internet Monk have been loudly critical of “culture war Christianity,” but that’s because in our generation, we think the approach of those who make that their priority (particularly the Christian Right) has led them to embrace strategies, attitudes, and behaviors that are contrary to the way of Jesus — specifically seeking positions of power to impose their beliefs on others.
That’s not MacArthur’s beef. He has an issue with “social justice” itself, and to me that reveals he has a gospel that is too small. In my view, he simply does not understand the trajectory set by the New Testament and its emphasis on a good news that is actually meant to change the world, not just relieve the guilt of individual consciences.
I would agree that there are social justice advocates who cross lines and make the same mistakes those on the more conservative ends of the culture war do. That, again, is not what MacArthur is saying. He is painting with a broad brush here that ignores not only the reality of church history but also the message of a large portion of the Bible. See the prophets for more information.

Internet Monk Saturday Brunch, August 18, 2018 -Chaplain Mike




Our Pants on Fire Press
But it wasn’t just Brennan and Comey and Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and all the rest of them in the intelligence community who played questionable roles around the election and the accusations of Russian meddling in it. The American media were also there, and very prominently. Which is why when 300 papers publish editorials pushing against Trump ‘attacking’ the media, you can’t help but -wryly- smile.
Why does Trump attack the press? Because they’ve been attacking him for two years, and they’re not letting go. So the press can attack the president, but he cannot fight back. That’s the rationale, but with the Mueller investigation not going anywhere it’s a hard one to keep alive.
There are three reasons for the behavior of the New York Times, WaPo, MSNBC, CNN et al.
The first is political, they’re Democrat hornblowers. The second is their owners have a personal thing against Donald Trump. But these get trumped by the third reason: Trump is their golden goose. Their opposition makes them a fortune. All they need to do is publish articles 24/7 denouncing him. And they have for two years.
That puts the 300 papers’ editorials in a strange light. Many of them would have been fighting for their very lives if not for anti-Trump rhetoric. All 300 fit neatly and easily in one echo chamber. And, to put it mildly, inside that chamber, not everyone is always asking for evidence of everything that’s being said.
It’s not difficult to whoop up a storm there without crossing all your t’s. And after doing just that for 2 years and change, it seems perhaps a tad hypocritical to claim that you are honest journalists just trying to provide people with the news as it happened.
Because when you’ve published hundreds, thousands of articles about Russian meddling, and the special counsel that was named to a large degree because of those articles, fails to come up with any evidence of it, it will become obvious that you’ve not just, and honestly, been reporting the news ‘as it happened’. You have instead been making things up because you knew that would sell better.

Free The Press -Raul Ilargi Meijer


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Photo above: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0

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