Did Trump Get a Little Too Close?
Trump Is the New Devil
In this article I develop two theses that are related.
The first is that the idea is worth exploring that the reason why major American cities find themselves suddenly besieged by lawless rioters, thieves, murderers, thugs, robbers, anarchists and the like, is that the Trump Administration was getting a little too close to revealing some of the criminal, anti-American works of the Obama Administration. The latter needed a diversion. I conjecture that they called-up their legions of thugs to wreak havoc on American cities. They called up their media toadies to defend the crime wave as righteous and just. And whether or not they called up certain Episcopates and priests to lend their ecclesial weight to the Trump opposition, I don’t know. Some Episcopates and priests are already anti-Trump; they don’t need anyone to call them up. They don’t exactly preach “Death to America!”, like Ayatollahs. But what They do preach can be just as destructive: that the best friend of peace and tranquility in America, President Trump, is the devil.
In truth, there is nothing about this crime wave that bothers me more than to see some among the holy Episcopacy and Priesthood use it as an excuse to demonize and bash President Trump. That is a yuge topic in itself, which I will return to. For now, I am positing my conspiracy theorem: that, behind the crime wave is the Obama/Clinton political $machine. I conjecture that they are lighting and fanning the flames of anarchy and mindless crime. I would call it “useless” destruction and crime—the word that Benedict XV employed to describe the slaughter of World War I—except that I believe that it has a use: to throw the Trump Administration off the trail of the crimes of the Obama Administration, including those of Sect’y. Clinton.
If you would be so kind as to remember American politics just two weeks ago, you might recall how the Obama/Clinton political $machine had its breeches in a knot, because, in the process of exonerating Lt. General Flynn, a direct line of criminal behavior was exposed. This line extended from the usual suspects at Obama’s FBI and Justice Dep’t., straight to the White House, Susan Rice and the President’s counsel. This line still points directly at President Obama. And President Obama complained about the impending exoneration of General Flynn, calling it an injustice that a man pleading guilty to a crime would be going free. But now, suddenly, all of that is on the back burner, if not taken off the stove entirely.
I conjecture that the Obama/Clinton $machine, through hired thugs, and via its media arm, cobbled together an entirely novel phenomenon, along with a supporting and false narrative. The phenomenon is so evil, so criminal and so anti-American, that no American can really neglect it entirely. It has effectively taken the heat off of President Obama for now. And doesn’t my conspiracy theorem fit the pattern?
Be so kind as to consider the things that have happened to the Trump Administration, and to America, since the election of 2016, even before Pres. Obama left office. There have been many, anti-Trump, anti-American hands at work. They are either seen or unseen. But the fingers of these hands always point away from the Obama/Clinton political $machine, and toward the Trump Administration. And now, away from Obama/Clinton, toward America herself, and how evil we are, and how racist. We’re a horrible, abominable nation, where minorities get no justice, no fairness, no chance of making a good life for themselves. Sound familiar?
It should; President Obama preached it for eight, long years. The false narrative that America is racist and evil is the signature footprint of one of President Obama’s feet; it is all over this crime wave.
Do you think that so many of the world’s poor and downtrodden want to immigrate here, so that they can be strangled to death by our cruel, evil, racist police officers that hate blacks and minorities? Is it because they want live in hopelessness of ever making a nice life for themselves? Is it because they are masochistic, and love the abject poverty that all racial minorities experience here? Is it because they want to be taken advantage of by a priviliged racial majority that cares only about itself? Or is it because America is still a land of opportunities that they have never known before? Could it be because America is actually, aside from our occasional and mindless crime waves, a much nicer and more peaceful place to live than where they now live? Maybe it’s because, in America, working people earn a better wage than where they now live, that is, when our wonderful State governments permit us to leave our apartments and go to work. Maybe it’s because the standard of living here is better than where they are now. I just can’t accept the narrative that we are a racist and evil nation. If we were, everyone would be trying to leave here, not trying to live here.
The duration since Election Day, 2016 has been a continual, three and a half-year distraction. Since they failed to convict Trump of anything, now they are witch hunting America herself. It might not matter much to them whom or what they are witch-hunting, as long as the witch hunt leads our minds and hearts away from investigating the criminality of the Obama/Clinton $machine. But I notice that they always witch hunt good people—and now, a good nation—never criminals, thugs or white-collar terrorists in their own organization. I think that these riots were organized and built; they were planned and enabled by an evil, anti-Trump, anti-American and political $machine. After seeing the damage that the Obama/Clinton $machine has been inflicting on the U.S. over the past 3.5 years, I really would not put it past them.
It is apparently imperative to the Obama/Clinton $machine that we see them as virtuous and righteous, and this imperative bleeds over to the crime wave itself. Dem-run media insist that we interpret the crime wave as virtuous and righteous, even Christian. This is also exactly how we are supposed to see the Clinton/Obama $machine—as virtuous, righteous and Christian. The crime wave acquires from them that fomented it the same halo that they want us to believe surrounds their heads. This is, in effect, the footprint of President Obama’s other foot.
Trump is the New Devil
I have also observed that a Roman Catholic (RC) Episcopate and a Jesuit-run media group have used the riots as a sort of soap box to climb onto and demonize President Trump. The more that I ponder this, the clearer it becomes to me that some in the Episcopacy seem to believe that the best use of the RC religion is to essentially turn it into a political machine that demonizes the American right and glorifies the American left. These Episcopates and priests don’t need anyone to believe that the devil or the Gates of Hell exist anymore, because They have defined a new devil that we are supposed to oppose: President Trump.
It is as if anti-Trump Episcopates and priests don’t know what to use the RC Religion for, if not to demonize the American right and glorify the American left. If the Lord were to appear to Them and command, “Thou shalt not use My Church for those purposes anymore”, They would not know what to use the Church for. The Lord would have to instruct Them from square zero what His Church is for.
Anti-Trump Episcopates and priests also recognize and seek a new, social virtue. It is not the kind that God bestows. Rather, it is thought that men bestow this kind of virtue on other men, when the latter say and do things that the former like.
One anti-Trump Episcopate has robed himself in the mantle of St. John Paul II, arguing that the saint would not have supported President Trump. So, in this part, I argue that the saint would not have demonized President Trump; he would not have been anti-Trump.
Before we begin, I wish to make some things clear:
1) I am not against Episcopates or priests, not even those that misuse their positions for political ends, or try to turn the RC religion into a political machine. I do not want a hair of their heads touched. Inasmuch as they demonize a good President, or portray an anti-American party as saintly, They need help and correction from Jesus, AND NOTHING MORE!
As a rule, I keep my criticisms of the RC Episcopacy and Priesthood to myself. But I understand from the Angelic Doctor that people can legitimately and publicly correct a prelate, if the prelate is endangering the faith; in that case, correcting him is a work of mercy. For instance, St. Paul had to once correct St. Peter (cf. Galatians 2: 11-21):
To withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of fraternal correction, and so Paul would not have withstood Peter then, unless he were in some way his equal as regards the defense of the faith. But one who is not an equal can reprove privately and respectfully. Hence the Apostle in writing to the Colossians (4:17) tells them to admonish their prelate: "Say to Archippus: Fulfil thy ministry [*Vulg.: 'Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.' Cf. 2 Tim. 4:5]." It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter's subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Gal. 2:11, "Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects." (St. Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theo. ...Article 4: Whether a man is bound to correct his prelate?)
I do not argue, as some do, that prelates have no right to engage in politics. They have that right, just like anyone else; becoming ordained does not mean the loss of rights. However, when They teach mere political, worldly doctrine as divine, that is when They go a bridge too far, because that is when They pollute pure, Christian Doctrine with what is worldly, base and academic. That is an attack against the faith—a desecration of holy, Yerushalamic Doctrine. To criticize such desecration is entirely within the guidelines set by the Angelic Doctor, because inevitably, each holy Episcopate must answer Tertullian’s questions to Our Lord’s satisfaction:
What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians? (Tertullian, Holmes Translation)
When it comes to holy Doctrine, the Church has nothing whatsoever in common with the academy. Christian Doctrine is Yerushalamic and immutable; it is not to be sullied by anything worldly, political, academic or Modernist.
2) Defective doctrine, that is, human, political doctrine, is an equal opportunity abuser of human minds. It afflicts all races, both genders, all nationalities. It afflicts believers and unbelievers, Jews and Gentiles; inasmuch as anyone accepts it, they are afflicted by it. My criticisms here do not have anything to do with race, gender or nationality. I even try to ignore political persuasion, but I must admit, I find that very difficult. My criticisms have to do with doctrine, with the responsibility of Episcopates to keep it authentically Christian, and to not call it holy unless it is Christian.
3) I realize that not all of the protesters that were tear gassed in Lafayette Square were committing crimes, or tearing up the city. But they were in the same mob as some that were. They must understand the risk that they thus take: to restore law and order, the police are not able to interview every protester, and determine whether or not he or she is a criminal. The police do not have enough personnel to do that. And frankly, I don’t want them to. I don’t want a police force larger than the mob. That would be a police state. Instead, non-criminal protesters need to understand that, when they gather in a mob with some that are bent on crime and wanton destruction, they take the risk that the police will oppose the whole mob, without discrimination. If protesters and/or religious want to take that risk, they are free to do so, but inasmuch as law pushes them around and tear gasses them, they need blame no one but themselves. They made the decision; they took the risk.
For that matter, it is not only the police that might use force against a mob. It is also law-abiding business owners that don’t want their businesses torched or rammed. It is also American citizens that don’t want their city burned down and vandalized. If you are law-abiding, and protesting amidst criminals and thugs, you might get hit by anyone, at any time, from any direction. You might get hit by criminals and thugs in your midst, because guess what? They don’t care about you or anyone else, only about themselves and their pathetic sentiments. It’s a risk that you freely take. If it happens, you need to blame no one but yourself. You did it to yourself; you took that risk. People are free to do what they want, even to do dumb things, like torch a church two blocks away from the White House. It is not the role of the Episcopacy or the Priesthood to get all irate at the law, or at the President—the prince, as the Apostle would call him—for trying to restore peace and tranquility, especially when mindless violence strikes so close to the seat of our national Government.
4) I am not going to discuss the crime that a now former law officer committed against Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis, because the present, criminal activity is not even about that crime. That was only the event that anti-Americans used to ignite a larger conflagration. This situation is sort of like the beginning of World War I, wherein two Austrian royalty were assassinated in Sarajevo. After alliances—and with them, political interests and agenda—kicked in, it was not about the assassinations anymore. It had become a European War, with many, varied interests and agenda surfacing and attacking other interests. Today’s riots are like that, in that just one man was murdered, actually, democided. It has now been expanded into something entirely different, and more sinister. As I argued above, I think that the expansion is deliberate—bought and paid for—and that the Obama/Clinton $machine is behind it.
Let’s start with a different point of view—mine—that Trump is not the devil, and that the U.S.A. is a good nation.
One of the more inspiring moments that we could witness during these dismal and dystopian days of rioting and mayhem was the walk that President Trump took from the White House, across graffitied Lafayette Square, to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was boarded-up, and in which a fire had been deliberately set during the previous day’s rioting. The President’s walk might be called a George S. Patton moment.
It was a perfect little counter-demonstration, because the rioters had taken it a bridge too far, a bridge too close to the White House. The rioters had not only set a fire in St. John’s, they also set cars afire in Downtown DC, burned an American flag, set a fire in the lobby of the AFL-CIO building. Obviously, the President’s fighting spirit was having no more of it.
Trump’s little counter-demonstration reminded me of that scene in the movie Patton, where two Nazi bombers were strafing and bombing his headquarters in Tunisia, and Patton would have no more of it. He pulled out his sidearm, jumped out of his office window onto a trailer, and from there to the middle of the street, where he fired at a bomber. I think that Trump had similarly had enough, and that his little walk to St. John’s Church was a Patton-like reaction to evil: the violence, thievery, robbery, wanton destructiveness, murders and senseless beatings. I am with the President 100 percent.
This is America. To paraphrase Merle Haggard, if you’re burnin’ down my country, Hos, you’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of Me! And if you are preaching in the good name of the Church that the only Christian response is to wet-nurse protesters and rioters, because after all, they have the right to burn down my country, and Jesus taught that we must love one another; if you are preaching in the good name of the Church, that the President is a tyrant because he had police clear Lafayette Square with tear gas, you are rankling my ire, but in a different sort of way: you are sullying the reputation of the Church.
Just because we are Christians, that does not mean that we must put up with wanton, destructive, criminal behavior. Maybe people need to read, for instance, Romans:
Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation. For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God's minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. (Romans 13:1-5)
I looked about, and there was none to help: I sought, and there was none to give aid: and my own arm hath saved for me, and my indignation itself hath helped me. And I have trodden down the people in my wrath, and have made them drunk in my indignation, and have brought down their strength to the earth. (Isaiah 63: 5-6)
When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, did you want any thing? But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end. (Luke 22: 35-37)
I stand with the President 100 percent, because I oppose demons of criminal violence, murder and mindlessness, Antichrist, demons of anarchy, robbery, thievery, wanton behavior and rioting. And if never-Trump, politicized Episcopates and priests want to know what to do, besides turn the RC religion into a political organization, there is an answer. America is under siege at the hands of people that apparently have demons. Maybe some of them will eventually be looking for deliverance. Others are dispossessed and ruined, either by the lockdowns, or the riots. They need help. There is plenty of real ministry to do in America. And to be effective, it has to start at the level of the Episcopacy, where exorcists are commissioned.
Inasmuch as ministers attend riots to minister to people, that’s fine with me. It is not fine with me if they then demonize the President, inasmuch as police rough them up. The police have a very difficult job, when trying to restore order. Don’t expect it to always be pretty; they don’t have time or personnel to make it pretty, because people are tearing stuff up. You are not at a church picnic. You are at a riot!
I for one am proud of my President for having the courage to make a clear statement in defense of Christianity, of Churches and of our country in general. Some, such as the Honorable Senator Charles Schumer, (D-NY), found fault with the President’s inspiring, Pattonesque walk. Sen. Schumer urged the U.S. Senate to adopt a resolution condemning the President for it. Schumer seized upon the police’s use of tear gas to disperse the protesters. That’s just the Honorable Schumer trying to score political points, as usual. Kellyanne Conway gave him what for. But the Honorable Schumer is not the only high-ranking hypocrite in Washington, DC, or in the U.S., that is using the riots to try to score political points. I am sad to say that some Episcopates and priests are also preaching like never-Trump, political hypocrites, not like Christians.
Again, it is the job and the duty of the prince to restore peace and tranquility. If you want to tangle with the sword that he wields, you are free to. But it is really stupid. RC Episcopates and priests do not exactly, that I know of, come to the defense of rioters. Instead, some of Them bash and demonize President Trump, the chief protector of peace and tranquility.
I am not arguing that some Episcopates and Priests want chaos and anarchy. However, inasmuch as They have become leftist political activists, They sign on to Obama/Clinton agenda. In this case, those agenda seek, among other evils, the “complete chaos” that Pius XII warned us about in 1947:
Those who deliberately and rashly plan to incite the masses to tumult, sedition, or infringement of the liberty of others are certainly not helping to relieve the poverty of the people but are rather increasing it by fomenting mutual hatred and disturbing the established order; this can even lead to complete chaos. Factional strife "has been and will be to many nations a greater calamity than war itself, than famine or disease." (Pius XII. Optatissima Pax, 5)
The Obama/Clinton $machine also wants the demonization of President Trump. Inasmuch as Episcopates or priests sign on to Obama-Clinton agenda, they make themselves look really sinister and anti-ministerial. Sure, They might acquire social virtue in the eyes of some. But in my eyes, and in the eyes of many Americans, They acquire the opposite of social virtue. Some of us can hardly help but tally up Their social vice score, that is, the extent to which Their defining of political doctrine as divine pollutes holy Doctrine, and causes “scandal concerning faith” (St. Thomas, ibid.). It really is impossible to ignore.
You have perhaps heard of the proverbial woman, stranded on the rooftop of her house, surrounded by swirling floodwaters, waiting to be rescued by Jesus. A neighbor comes by in a skiff, and invites her down off the roof. But she says, “No thanks. I am waiting to be rescued by Jesus!” A motor lifeboat comes alongside, and the coxswain says, “Jump on board!” But she says, “No thanks. I am waiting to be rescued by Jesus!” Then a rescue helicopter drops a basket to her. She waves them off: “I am waiting to be rescued by Jesus!” Then the flood overwhelms the house, and the woman drowns. Jesus appears before her, and she asks, “Lord, why didn’t you rescue me from the flood?” Jesus replies, “I sent you a skiff, a motor lifeboat and a helicopter, but you refused.”
Some Episcopates and priests are sort of like the proverbial woman. They reject the help that the good Lord sends, because it comes in the form of President Trump, and They are leftist ideologues. They say to this effect, “No thanks. I am waiting to be helped by Barack Obama and the DNC!” Like the proverbial woman, They double-down on their religious convictions, except that in Their cases, Their convictions are more political than religious.
Some Episcopates and priests bash the President as if he were a piñata. This is to virtue signal to social doctrine politicos: “See? We are bashing President Trump. We are good people, just like you, who are bashing President Trump! Give us some social virtue points, please.”
The sign in front of the boarded-up St. John’s Church reads, “All are welcome”. It does not say, “All are welcome except President Trump”. Even so, President Trump is not welcome there. The Episcopal bishop of Washington, DC, the Right Reverend Mariann Budde, made that clear, when she said that she was “outraged” by his presence there. She also is virtue signaling to social doctrine politicos: “See, I am bashing President Trump. Aren’t I a wonderful person? I am so cool, just like you! Give me virtue points, please.”
The fallacy that men acquire virtue from criminals enjoys a certain degree of popularity, even among some Catholic religious. There is an article, for instance, from America Magazine, accusing President Trump of trying to “drag the Church into a culture war”, and arguing, “We should not let him.”
Maybe the Church needs to again acquire the time-honored practice of ordaining fishermen and working men, instead of academy grads only. Some of us at least know donkey dung from Kiwi shoe polish.
Every Christian is baptised into exactly the kind of culture war that afflicts us today. Trump did not pull anyone into this war between good and evil, that works itself out in the culture. Jesus did, Who instructed His Apostles, “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matth. 28:19). Every baptised Christian is at war with the devil. This is why we used to call ourselves Church Militant. Some didn’t get that memo that comes with baptism. So, St. John Paul II made it crystal clear to us that we are in a culture war.
In Evangelium Vitae (EV), the saint wrote of a culture of death (EV 12) that opposes both life and innocence, and of a culture of life that he hoped the RC Church would become. It is in the culture, be it of death or life, that we fail to learn and live Christian morality, or that we learn and live it. Today, some at America Mag. want us to believe that holy Church is somehow aloof from the culture war—or was aloof, before the evil Trump dragged us into it. But holy Church has never been aloof from the culture war:
...The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenceless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part. The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: "How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practised: some individuals are held to be deserving of defence and others are denied that dignity?" When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun.
The saint wrote of how “when the sense of God is lost”, there follows a loss of the “sense of man, of his dignity and his life; in turn, the systematic violation of the moral law...” The saint did not limit this phenomenon to abortion and euthanasia. It applies to other cultural evils as well. One such cultural evil is when Episcopates and priests preach human, political doctrines as divine. Inasmuch as They do that, it seems to me that They have already lost “the sense of God”, and They are responsible for some of the flock also losing it.
For instance, what do you call these dismal and destructive riots that we are witnessing? A sacred exercise of Constitutional rights?
I call them a “systematic violation of the moral law”. I call them planned anarchy. They are the opposite of the very tranquility and security that government can bring, and that are the main reasons for the existence of government. Anarchy attacks tranquility and security. How, then, does any Christian religious become an enemy of the good prince—the one that tries to dispel rioting and anarchy, and restore tranquility? It is as if their “sense of God”, and then, their “sense of man” have indeed vanished. Maybe they have been sucked into the whirlpool of worldly, anti-American, anti-Trump, leftist doctrine.
The Archdiocese of Washington, DC wrote this:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Here is a statement from Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory regarding the planned visit today from the president at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine:
The Most Reverend Gregory was suggesting that the Executive Director of the Shrine deny to the President and his Catholic wife, Melania, “the rights of all people” that The Most Reverend Gregory says he is called to defend. It is to the Executive Director’s credit that he permitted the visit to go ahead, as had been planned before the President’s horrible, insufferable walk across Lafayette Square.
Oh, the horror! The President taking a walk to a church! And carrying a Bible! Eeeeee!
The President and Melania have every right to visit the St. John Paul II shrine, any time they want. They also have the right to walk across Lafayette Square without being mobbed, and stand in front of St. John’s Church, holding a Bible, anytime they want. Remember, this is America, where we have freedom of religion. This is not the PRC. Since They argue that the President was wrong to take a walk across the square, then what are They arguing, that none of us have the right to hold up a Bible in front of a Church in the midst of a riot wherein rioters tried to torch that same church?
Of course not. That is not at all what They argue. They are making Their usual, fallacious argument: that it was wrong because Trump did it. If Joe Biden had done what Trump did, They would have praised it as a profile in courage.
Again, I reject the argument that, because we are Christian, we can’t do anything to counter the senseless violence. On the contrary, I think that it’s high time we kicked some butt. The thugs, thieves, robbers and murderers have no right whatsoever to burn our cities down. If all that happens to them is that they get tear gassed, they are fortunate.
The Most Reverend Gregory virtue signaled about how “reprehensible” the Saint John Paul II Shrine is for allowing “itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles...” What religious principles? Or, since when is it against Catholic religious principles for a Christian President and his Catholic wife to visit a Catholic shrine? Since the Most Reverend Archbishop says so? Is he making up Catholic principles on the fly? Has virtue signaling really become that important to some in the Episcopacy?
I am afraid so. Maybe it was just an aberration from Archbishop Gregory. I have never met him or seen him in person. All that I know about him is what he wrote above. I am sure that there are things about him that I would admire; I just don’t know of any, because I have learnt next to nothing about him. I am criticizing only one unfortunate little statement that he made.
President Trump has been inspirational. He at least took a walk to a besieged Church and elevated a Bible. He pushed back the perimeter to two blocks, as if to say, “You will not pass!” He at least got photographed at the shrine of St. John Paul II. I am of course ignoring the leftist narrative against him. Maybe I need to pay attention to it, so that I can earn some social virtue credit:
Oh, how evil. How utterly despicable and egrigeous, Trump walking to a church, holding a Bible! But have no fear; some Episcopates are smearing Trump, holy Church’s best friend, just to gain social virtue. So inspirational.
Okay, maybe that won’t get me any social virtue credit. I just thought I would give it a try.
The Most Reverend Gregory wrote that St. John Paul II would frown on Trump:
Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.
I disagree. I think that St. John Paul II would frown on the rioters. Yes, people have inherent rights from God, and can obtain dignity from Him. But they put their rights and any dignity that they may possess on the line when they decide to “tear stuff up”, (that is almost, but not quite the way that truck drivers say it), or burn stuff down. People are free to commit crimes, but there are consequences, both temporal and eternal. Some Episcopates are preaching to this effect: “Look at Us! We bash and demonize the prince with the sword that would restore peace and tranquility! Aren’t We cool? Be good followers now, and bestow you social virtue on Us!” This is appeasement; it has never been a legitimate Catholic teaching. Let’s again read Saint John Paul II:
Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values. This is the direction taken by doctrines which have lost the sense of the transcendent or which are explicitly atheist. The individual conscience is accorded the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil. To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one's conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one's moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and "being at peace with oneself", so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment.
The Most Reverend Gregory and the religious at America Mag. seem to be conforming to, and preaching, an “individualist ethic”—a subjective one that is anti-Trump and never-Trump—rather than adhering to “universal truth”. And the rioters have apparently accorded to their individual consciences, “the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil.” It’s what rioters do. The saint continues:
Although each individual has a right to be respected in his own journey in search of the truth, there exists a prior moral obligation, and a grave one at that, to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known. As Cardinal John Henry Newman, that outstanding defender of the rights of conscience, forcefully put it: "Conscience has rights because it has duties".
We must know the truth, not just a mountain of academic, worldly doctrine. And we must preach the truth, not just obtain that worthless, so-called virtue that we are now supposed to believe is man’s to dispense to other men. Inasmuch as this is what the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Episcopacy has come to, we are in very bad shape doctrinally.
It is, at any rate, clear that St. John Paul II was in agreement with Cardinal J.H. Newman, that conscience and its rights are not rightly separated from the duties thereof. In other words, protesters are free to protest, but they are not their own sources of infallible moral law. They have a duty to remain law-abiding, and indeed to recognize an absolute moral law that is above and beyond their thoughts and sentiments—a moral Law that comes from on High. There is more to this than the worldly interpretation of it: “The evil Trump had the good protesters tear gassed, and look at Us, how virtuous We are, because we bash the evil Trump, and support the good protesters. Give us virtue points, please.” There exists a good God, Who is above mere human sentiments and emotions, above human egotism. He does not play the social virtue game. He has no need for it, because He possesses and dispenses real Virtues that are far superior to the phony, human version of virtue, that we are we are supposed to be so enthusiastic about seeking.
We are free to become rioters, but that freedom obtains neither righteousness nor virtue, because rioters become their own formulators of moral law. It is really a grave error to ascribe to looters, vandals, arsonists and anarchists, a holy Ordinance that belongs solely to God: that of bestowing Virtue on men that seek it. The Apostle Paul did not give such criminals so much credit. Neither did Saint John Paul II:
In teaching the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the Church accepts the teaching of Sacred Scripture. The Apostle Paul emphatically states: "Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:9-10). (Veritatis Splendor, 81)
Rioters, thieves, robbers, murderers, looters and the like may have strong sentiments about the crimes that they commit. And they may interpret those sentiments as conferring moral superiority to themselves, and over their victims. They might really believe themselves morally superior. That doesn’t mean that they are, or that anyone should treat them as if they were.
Consider the point that James Rachels made in The Challenge of Cultural Relativism in 1978:
In some societies, people believe that the earth is flat. In other societies, such as our own, people believe the earth is (roughly) spherical. Does it follow from the mere fact that they disagree, that there is no “objective truth” in geography? Of course not; we would never draw such a conclusion, because we realize that, in their beliefs about the world, the members of some societies might simply be wrong. (Rachels)
The same observation applies to moral theology. Some people believe that their thoughts and sentiments are infallible formulators of authentic moral law. Others agree with St. John Paul II: that there are not many authentic moral laws, but only one: the one that God gives, and that we humans have a duty to discern and abide by. From the mere fact that people disagree on this, it does not follow that Episcopates or priests should preach that a President that takes seriously his Constitutional duty to establish justice and insure domestic tranquility is the devil incarnate.
We must realize that they are simply wrong, who see their thoughts and sentiments as infallible formulaters of moral law. Saint John Paul II preached against such errant and disastrous formulations of moral law, and We the Believers deserve that our Episcopates and priests fall in behind him. Inasmuch as They refuse to preach Veritatis Splendor, and Evangelium Vitae, They do not deserve to be Episcopates or priests.
Pius XII. Optatissima Pax, 5. 1947. The Vatican
Rachels, James. The Challenge of Cultural Relativism. 1978. Republished in Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues. Steven M. Cahn and Peter Markie. Oxford University Press. 2009. p. 699
St. John Paul II. Evangelium Vitae. 1995. The Vatican
St. John Paul II. Veritatis Splendor. 1993. The Vatican
St. Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologiæ. Second Part of the Second Part. Treatise on The Theological Virtues. Q.33 OF FRATERNAL CORRECTION (EIGHT ARTICLES). Article 4: Whether a man is bound to correct his prelate?
The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory. Archbishop Wilton Gregory Issues Statement on Planned Presidential Visit. Archdiocese of Washington. June 2, 2020