The Symbiotic Relationship Between Liberals and Conservatives

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By
the standards of traditional Catholics, a major controversy has
erupted recently in the pages of The
Latin Mass
magazine and The
Wanderer
newspaper.

The
Latin Mass published my article "Humanae Vitae: Heroic,
Deficient or Both?" which prompted The Wanderer to
print extra copies of their May 23rd edition containing
4 separate articles attacking: me personally, the article itself,
The Latin Mass magazine for having the "temerity"
to publish it, and editor Fr. James McLucas, for taking the magazine
on a "dangerous and presumptuous" tangent.

You
can read the original article at the website of The Latin Mass
magazine. That page also has the 2 rebuttals that were published
simultaneously, my response to the 2 rebuttals, and Fr. McLucas'
response to The Wanderer. The Seattle
Catholic
website has put together a single page with links
to all the articles and responses in chronological order. This site
includes Tom
Drolesky's analysis
of what has happened to The Wanderer
and my
reply to The Wanderer
which they have promised to publish
in the next issue.

I
believe an examination of the process at work here will be of interest
not only to Catholics, but to all those who try to maintain and
defend objective standards when the organization to which they belong
decides to "reach out" and "grow."

When
my father got his copy of The Wanderer, he called and left
a message saying, "This is Archbishop Weakland calling to thank
you for distracting The Wanderer for at least a week."
Archbishop Weakland seems like a natural enemy of The Wanderer
since he's an liberal bishop who has oppressed conservative Catholics
throughout his tenure in Milwaukee. Now that his sordid little homosexual
affair (with massive cover-up payments) has been exposed in the
media, conservative Catholics are trying, in a spirit of Christian
charity, to restrain
their glee
.

So
why should a conservative Catholic newspaper like The Wanderer
take a time out from exposing these "thieves and robbers"
masquerading as shepherds, in order to attack a relatively unknown
traditionalist? The answer is clear: because traditionalists like
myself are the real enemy. Liberals, in contrast, are the conservatives'
best friends. In fact, liberals and so-called conservatives live
together in a symbiotic relationship.

Let's
consider just a few examples: Would anyone consider George Bush
to be a conservative if it were not for Al Gore? Al Gore by his
mere existence guarantees the conservative bona fides of George
Bush. If George Bush were compared to any objective standard of
conservatism, he would fail every criteria. But by the relative
standard of placing him next to Hillary/Bill/Al, he's farther to
the right, even if that is still out in left field.

The
same situation exists to an even greater extent in the Catholic
church. Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, he who has occupied so many
headlines recently, is often called a "conservative" bishop.
I lived in Boston, and I can tell you that, even leaving aside the
current scandals, he is nothing of the sort. For example, after
a shooting at an abortion clinic (by a delusional psychotic gunman),
he prohibited public pro-life displays in the diocese. He doesn't
want to be "confrontational," any more than he wants to
be confrontational with the Kennedys when it's photo-op time at
a funeral.

The
same Cardinal Law who last month led all the American cardinals
to Rome for a face-saving
PR opportunity
had previously led the same group over to Rome
a few years back in an (unsuccessful) attempt to pressure Rome into
approving the "inclusive-language" Bible readings that
he was responsible for producing. Cardinal Law is considered a conservative
only because liberals like Archbishop Weakland are even worse. Without
the cover provided by bishops like Weakland in Milwaukee and Mahoney
in Los Angeles, Law would have been exposed as a modernist years
ago.

Traditionalists
function in just the opposite way. Instead of offering conservatives
a painless self-affirmation, they show what the conservatives would
be if they hadn't sold out. So in the political field, the bitterest
venom of the National Review is reserved for Pat Buchanan.
Tory newspapers in England wore out their word processors using
terms like "racist, xenophobic, anti-semitic and homophobic"
to describe Jean-Marie Le Pen. The haste with which conservatives
around the world fled from association with Joerg Haider would have
been comical were it not so unseemly.

This
has nothing to do with disagreements over particular issues. The
viciousness of these attacks is due simply to the fact that these
men take positions they really believe in. They can't be counted
on to toe the party line. Without agreeing with Pat Buchanan on
every issue, you can see that he has a vision of America that he
continually compares against objective standards of adherence to
constitutional principles. This is precisely the exercise that "conservatives"
want to avoid at all cost. With liberals in place to justify their
existence, they can safely ignore issues such as the lack of constitutional
authority for 99% of the federal government.

It
is a truism (and also true) that there's not a dime's worth of difference
between the Democrats and the Republicans. Is your life really different
in any way because George Bush is president rather than Al Gore?
To tie the religious and the political realms together: has the
moral climate improved now that President Bush has embraced Ozzy
Osbourne at the White House? Has even one baby been saved from abortion?
Has the government gotten smaller? Is the "sovereign family"
any safer from government intrusion? To ask the questions is to
answer them.

Well
the exact same situation holds true in the Catholic church. There
is not a dime's worth of difference between the so-called "liberal"
bishops and the so-called "conservative" bishops. Does
any diocese in the US (or the world, for that matter) allow the
generous celebration of the traditional Latin Mass and the other
sacraments according to the traditional rite? Does any diocese promote
traditional marriage theology? Does any diocese take a critical
stand against the fuzzy-logic philosophy of Vatican II? If you attend
Mass in a "conservative" diocese, will you find it any
more reverent or supernatural, will there be any fewer abuses of
the liturgy? The answer to all the above questions is an emphatic
"No!" as any practicing Catholic can tell you.

Here's
where the rubber meets the road: Would I put my child in any government-run
school, anywhere in the United States, regardless of whether the
particular state or the federal government were run by a Democrat
or a Republican? Absolutely not. Likewise, would I put my child
in any diocesan-run school in any diocese of the United States,
regardless of whether it was run by a liberal or by a conservative
bishop? Just as emphatically no.

I
speak from many years of experience. My older children suffered
through 12 years of Catholic schooling in four different dioceses,
none of them considered liberal. I have seen at first hand the way
that parochial schools destroy whatever Catholic Faith the children
bring with them when they enter. In many ways it is worse than government
schooling because you are deluded into thinking that your children
are getting something different. The reality is that they are being
indoctrinated into the exact same mindset. You can tell that your
child is attending a Catholic school when he comes home with a lot
of anti-Catholic propaganda. He wouldn't get that from a government-run
school.

To
return to the original topic, as a conservative Catholic newspaper,
The Wanderer reserves some of its most biting attacks for
traditionalists. Last year they ran a 13-part series by Stephen
Hand filled with scurrilous innuendo against traditionalists. Hand
had been a traditionalist until only weeks before he wrote the series,
when he suddenly decided he had been "blinded by the right"
and turned against his former friends. (You can read the reply to
that series here.)

To
be fair, The Wanderer has done a huge amount of good. For
example, it has been far out in front of the pack exposing the slew
of clerical scandals. It has tirelessly exposed the lies and deceits
of the liberals who are actively working to destroy the Church,
just as Republicans serve a useful function by exposing the lies
and deceits of Democrats.

Ultimately,
however, The Wanderer supports the same program as the
liberals.

It's
mission is seen simply as fighting against "abuses" that
go "too far." Just as a neo-conservative Republican and
a Great Society Democrat support the exact same program, but one
is a few years behind the other, The Wanderer supports all
the programs of the liberal reformers, they're just a few years
behind the times:

  • Promotes
    Vatican II? Weakland, Yes; Wanderer, Yes.
  • Promotes
    Novus Ordo Mass? Weakland, Yes; Wanderer, Yes.
  • Promotes
    ecumenical "dialogue"? Weakland, Yes; Wanderer,
    Yes.
  • Supports
    altar girls, communion in the hand, eucharistic ministers, etc.?
    Weakland,
    Yes; Wanderer, Yes.

What
would Republicans do if they didn't have Democrats around to justify
their existence? Would they then be forced to examine the nature
of our constitutional government and how we have come to stray so
far away from it?

And
what would The Wanderer do if it didn't have bishops like
Weakland, Mahoney and the rest of the liberal crowd to use as scapegoats
for all the recent failures of the Church? Would they then be forced
to examine 2000 years of Catholic tradition and notice how we have
abandoned it since Vatican II?

June
6, 2002

John
Galvin [send him mail]
is a businessman living in Cincinnati. His most recent publication
is “Humanae Vitae: A Critical Re-evaluation.”

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