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Catholicism's new cold war: the church militant lurches rightward.

Each time Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II) born Karol Józef Wojtyła   has visited the United States, his hard-line message of Catholic fealty fealty: see feudalism.  has grown a little sterner. Back in 1979, all of the papal fanfare obscured the realities of papal conservatism. Onlookers were too busy watching the popemobile whiz by to hear John Paul II's call for a return to pre-Vatican II Catholicism, cloaked in the rhetoric of adherence to the "spirit and essence" of the post-conciliar age.

By the time of his second visit in 1987, U.S. Catholics began to realize that their pontiff was less concerned with episcopal collegiality--a tradition which sees consultation and doctrinal inquiry as shared among the pope and body of bishops, which was reinforced by Vatican II--than with the assertion of his own authority. Widely respected prelates like Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, and Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee found themselves at loggerheads log·ger·head  
1. A loggerhead turtle.

2. An iron tool consisting of a long handle with a bulbous end, used when heated to melt tar or warm liquids.

 with the pope and his conservative supporters in the United States, who were bent upon what reactionary papal loyalists call the "Roman Restoration."

Several priests and bishops, including Hunthausen, became targets of critical and often vicious letter-writing campaigns, led by disaffected right-wing Catholics who voiced "concerns" about perceived leniencies on issues relating to sexuality, the sacraments, and the role of women in the church. Right-wing Catholic newsweeklies like The Wanderer continually vilified church leaders with whom they disagreed and sought to enlist Rome in a veritable holy war against perceived unorthodoxies among the shepherds of the faithful.

Throughout the 1980s, the U.S. bishops had very publicly pronounced positions on social issues ranging from the threat of nuclear war to homelessness and the rapaciousness of free-market capitalism. These did not sit well with Rome or Washington, and the Curia zealously sought the silence of any cleric deemed to be too "political," a code word for progressive. It was encouraged in this effort by Catholic reactionaries in the United States who have helped build a movement, a culture, and a new and receptive audience for the deeply conservative message of a deeply conservative pope. Throughout the 1980s, powerful and often wealthy Catholic rightists like J. Peter Grace, Thomas Monaghan, William Simon, and Michael Novak openly challenged the bishops and sought to align themselves with a papacy seemingly sympathetic to their own pro-capitalist, Cold War view of the world. Bishops be damned, they thought; we've got the pope.

When John Paul II John Paul II, 1920–2005, pope (1978–2005), a Pole (b. Wadowice) named Karol Józef Wojtyła; successor of John Paul I. He was the first non-Italian pope elected since the Dutch Adrian VI (1522–23) and the first Polish and Slavic pope.  returns to the United States in August 1993, he will be greeted by a stadium full of younger Americans reared on a steady diet of such Cold War Catholicism. And with the old Cold War officially over, the Catholic church has embarked on a new one--a struggle against the progressive tendencies within the American church and against the very project of modernity itself. This is, in fact, the most intensive campaign against modernism, secularism sec·u·lar·ism  
1. Religious skepticism or indifference.

2. The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.
, and liberalization lib·er·al·ize  
v. lib·er·al·ized, lib·er·al·iz·ing, lib·er·al·iz·es
To make liberal or more liberal: "Our standards of private conduct have been greatly liberalized . . .
 launched by the church hierarchy since the papacies of Leo XIII and Pius X at the turn of the last century. Under the present pope, the 1990s are looking more and more like the 1890s--not so much "back to the future" as "ahead to the past."

This pope has also packed the College of Cardinals College of Cardinals
n. Roman Catholic Church
The body of all the cardinals that elect the pope, assist him in governing the church, and administer the Holy See when the papacy is vacant.

Noun 1.
 with ideological soulmates--theological, political, and social conservatives more than happy to toe the Vatican line. And he has made many bishops, elevating only those deemed pontifically pon·tif·i·cal  
1. Relating to, characteristic of, or suitable for a pope or bishop.

2. Having the dignity, pomp, or authority of a pontiff or bishop.

3. Pompously dogmatic or self-important; pretentious.
 correct. They, in turn, have transformed their respective diocesan newspapers into organs of official policy, often sacking editors with whom they disagreed.

According to one tally reported in the May 19, 1993, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times, 22 editors left the country's 155 diocesan papers in 1992. In some of the larger cities (like Dallas, Hartford, San Diego, and Cincinnati), these resignations were due to outright disagreements between liberal-to-moderate editors and conservative bishops who now demand better public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most  in place of fair and balanced "Fair and Balanced" is a trademarked slogan used by American news broadcaster Fox News Channel. The slogan was originally used in conjunction with the phrase "Real Journalism.  reporting. Catholic editors and writers have banded together to form an organization known as Catholics for a Free Press, devoted to keeping diocesan weeklies and monthlies from becoming mere house organs for right-wing prelates.

Open debate is now rarely, if ever, tolerated, and liberal-to-moderate Catholics--priests and laity alike--find themselves increasingly alienated from the small neotraditionalist core. The result, as we shall see, has been an "official" American Catholicism all too willing to join forces with the evangelical Protestant right --folks like Pat Robert, son and his Christian Coalition Christian Coalition, organization founded to advance the agenda of political and social conservatives, mostly comprised of evangelical Protestant Republicans, and to preserve what it deems traditional American values. .

Catholic seminaries have also become more conservative as Rome stresses a "return" to the fundamentals of the faith. In many areas, hardline Thomists have won the day, ejecting texts written by the visionaries of Vatican II, among them the late German philosopher and theologian Karl Rahner.

And given the ever-increasing shortage of priests in the United States, the Vatican now regards North America as something akin to a missionary region. Younger priests from Eastern Europe (particularly the pope's own Poland) have been called to serve in parishes throughout the United States, along with Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans trained in doctrinally conservative seminaries in their home nations.

Papal loyalists--conservatives all--have also taken to the airwaves. Mother Angelica's Eternal Word Television Network The Eternal Word Television Network ("EWTN") is a U.S.-based broadcasting network that carries Catholic-themed programming, including a Daily Mass from its Birmingham, Alabama Monastery/Studios, talk shows such as EWTN Live and Sunday Night Live,  broadcasts a wide range of programs with a narrow theological and political bent, complete with on-air adult classes on ultra-traditional figures, topics, and themes. (Needless to say, Satan receives prominent mention in all of these proceedings.)

Mornings, viewers can join retired right-wing prelate PRELATE. The name of an ecclesiastical officer. There are two orders of prelates; the first is composed of bishops, and the second, of abbots, generals of orders, deans, &c.  and loyal contra supporter Archbishop Hanaan for his talks on various subjects. In the evenings, EWTN EWTN Eternal Word Television Network  offers lectures on Thomism, natural law, and Catholic apologetics, as well as "Franciscan University Focus," a weekly program from the ultraconservative Franciscan University of Steubenville Franciscan University of Steubenville is a Catholic institution located in Steubenville, Ohio, 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1] The school (originally named the "College of Steubenville") was founded in 1946 by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular.  in Steubenville, Ohio. To watch EWTN, one would think that Catholic ecumenism ecumenism

Movement toward unity or cooperation among the Christian churches. The first major step in the direction of ecumenism was the International Missionary Conference of 1910, a gathering of Protestants.
 is dead--and it is. Here, triumphalism tri·umph·al·ism  
The attitude or belief that a particular doctrine, especially a religion or political theory, is superior to all others.

 abounds. Mariological devotion is strongly emphasized, lest any channel-surfing Protestants think that they've found TBN TBN Trinity Broadcasting Network
TBN Trombone
TBN Total Base Number (oil sampling)
TBN To Be Named
TBN To Be Nominated
TBN Taekwondo Bond Nederland (Netherlands Taekwondo Association)
TBN To Be Negotiated
 or the Family Channel. Broadcast hours are rife with popular piety, including recitations of the rosary, litanies to Mary, and devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In the world of EWTN, nuns wear habits, priests never appear in "civvies civ·vies also civ·ies  
pl.n. Slang
Civilian clothes.

[Shortening and alteration of civilian.
," and brothers and monks appear on-screen only in the identifying garb of their orders. Lay philosophers are men who wear loud ties, have big families, and rail against the evils of modernism while sitting in tatty armchairs. No one on Eternal Word seems to mention social injustice or the plight of the poor, and Mother Angelica is often openly contemptuous of bishops she deems too "liberal" on her regular call-in show.

The theme of social justice once emphasized by the U.S. bishops has given way to something called "respect for life," which confines political participation to such things as opposition to abortion and support for so-called traditional family values. Watching EWTN, one would never know that recent Gallup polls show the majority of American Catholics dissenting from Rome on a wide range of issues, from abortion and birth control to the role of women, gays, and lesbians in the church.

World Youth Day, Catholic Campaign, and the 20/80 Split

World Youth Day '93 is a massive event with over 150,000 registrants. Organizers have reserved every major venue in the city of Denver
For the city, see Denver, Colorado.
" logos such as this adorned the ends of the observation cars on the City of Denver.]] The City of Denver
, including Mile High Stadium, the Colorado Convention Center The Colorado Convention Center is a multi-purpose convention center in downtown Denver, Colorado which recently underwent a major expansion. The expansion added 600,000 sq. feet of space and a 5,200 seat concert hall. The total area of the convention center is 1.2 million sq. feet. , and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is an organization in Denver, Colorado which provides a showcase for live theatre, a nurturing ground for new plays, a preferred stop on the Broadway touring circuit, an award-winning multi-media production facility, a . A papal mass planned for August 15 is expected to attract over 500,000 people and will cost the city millions of dollars.

This pope has made a special point of appealing to the young, especially throughout Europe and Latin America, where teenagers and twenty-somethings pack stadiums for candlelight vigils, rallies, and papal masses. The Vatican now links such papal tours to two multimillion-dollar projects called Evangelization e·van·gel·ize  
v. e·van·gel·ized, e·van·gel·iz·ing, e·van·gel·iz·es
1. To preach the gospel to.

2. To convert to Christianity.

To preach the gospel.
 2000 and Lumen 2000, both designed to "give Jesus a 2000th birthday gift of a world more Christian than not," in the words of project director Father Tom Forrest.

The twin programs are aimed at keeping young Catholics Catholic--and in a manner consistent with the Vatican's vision of a "restored" church, beyond the modernizing taint of Vatican II. Evangelization 2000 and Lumen 2000 serve other functions as well, especially in Latin America, where Protestants have evangelized millions of former Catholics. The projects are meant to counter such inroads--and to keep liberation theologians in line, or conveniently silent. As Humanist columnist Sara Diamond notes in her invaluable 1989 study, Spiritual Warfare, both Evangelization 2000 and Lumen 2000 include plans for an international computer network intended not only to link parish churches in target dioceses but also to monitor the activities and writings of liberationists and supporters of the so-called popular church, especially in the Third World.

Colorado's World Youth Day is best understood in this global context and in light of these Vatican-sponsored projects. So while the pope will be reaching out to younger Catholics from a variety of U.S groups and organizations, he will not be meeting with younger representatives from Catholic Organizations for Renewal, an umbrella for some 30 progressive groups from across the country. In fact, the Vatican explicitly rejected a request from COR to meet with the pointed. As COR member Anthony Padovano pointed out in the Rocky Mountain News The Rocky Mountain News is a daily morning tabloid-format newspaper published in Denver, Colorado. It is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company. (Despite Scripps still running the paper, it's the only newspaper in the Scripps family not to have the corporate lighthouse logo on : "When the American church meets the pope in Denver, it shouldn't be the views of a 20 percent minority of American Catholics whose voices are heard."

This 20 percent minority, which has done so much to change the face of American Catholicism over the past 12 years, is as well-heeled as it is outspoken. Back on May 5, a group calling itself the Catholic Campaign for America The Catholic Campaign for America (CCA) is a Roman Catholic activist organization founded in 1989 by Thomas V. Wykes, Jr., "who wanted to address the moral crisis in America with a Catholic response".  held a nation, wide teleconference on the moral decline of the United States. The meeting featured William J. Bennett, former US. Secretary of Education and George Bush's "drug czar," and Mary Ellen Bork, wife of Judge Robert Bork. Other participants included prominent anti-abortion activist Judith A. Brown of the American Life League One of the largest pro-life organizations in the United States, according to their website, American Life League, or ALL, opposes all forms of abortion, birth control, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia. ; Thomas Monaghan of Domino Pizza fame; two former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican, William Wilson and Frank Shakespeare; and Cardinal John O'Connor of New York.

Bennett praised those parents of New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City

City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S.
 school-children who battled former Schools Chancellor Joseph Fernandez and the much-hated "Rainbow Curriculum," which sought to educate young people about sexual and ethnic diversity, as well as AIDS. Fernandez was driven out with the help of ethnic Catholics and members of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, which later provided over half a million school-board voter guides to 1,800 diocesan churches throughout the five boroughs.

Mary Ellen Bork, seconding Bennett, argued that Catholics who became involved in political affairs were not violating the separation of church and state
See also: .
Separation of church and state is a political and legal doctrine which states that government and religious institutions are to be kept separate and independent of one another.
. "Believers are citizens, too," she told her listeners. "In fact, we see the life of virtue, the spiritual life of all religions, as a very definite asset to the state "

Bork spoke out against "special-interest groups"--gays and lesbians, feminists, and supporters of choice--and observed that the CCA (1) (Common Cryptographic Architecture) Cryptography software from IBM for MVS and DOS applications.

(2) (Compatible Communications A
 was standing for moral authority against the opponents of virtue and natural law. Her closing remarks were equally unequivocal: "We want to state clearly that there are moral absolutes that are rooted in natural law." And Thomas V. Wykes, Jr., the executive director of the Catholic Campaign for America, noted that Catholics "are the nation's largest denomination, 58 million strong, and we are long overdue in terms of organizing and mobilizing those numbers." Of course, both Bork and Wykes failed to mention the significant dissent within the ranks.

If CCA's public statements often skirt the issue of church-state separation, its in-house publications are even less circumspect cir·cum·spect  
Heedful of circumstances and potential consequences; prudent.

[Middle English, from Latin circumspectus, past participle of circumspicere, to take heed :
. In the winter 1992 issue of Update, Rocco Martino, a Philadelphia attorney and CCA activist, referred to church-state separation as a "false premise" and called for a restoration of the "true meaning of the Constitution."

This seemed to be the sentiment behind the "Vote Your Values" campaign, a series of 30-second commercials funded last November by CCA to the tune of $50,000. Writing in the April 1993 issue of Church and State, Joseph L. Conn pointed out that the election-eve spots, pitched to ethnic Catholic voters, ran in Philadelphia, Boston, New York Boston is a town in Erie County, New York, United States. The population was 7,897 at the 2000 census. The town is named after Boston, Massachusetts.

The Town of Boston is an interior town of the county and one of the county's "Southtowns.
, and Chicago. No candidate endorsements were included because none were necessary; the values espoused were clearly those of the Republican Party and included references to school vouchers, legal protection for the unborn, and the need for a "wholesome moral environment."

Old Right, New Right, Catholic Right

Groups like the Catholic Campaign for America are nothing new. Many leaders of the American right are and have been Catholics, including William F. Buckley, Jr., Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Buchanan, and Paul Weyrich.

Weyrich is a particularly important figure in the Catholic-New Right axis, linking powerful figures and public-policy institutions in Washington to both Protestant and Catholic conservatives. He is often credited with both bringing Jerry Falwell to the national stage and adding a new term to our political lexicon--Moral Majority. In 1973, Weyrich and Joseph Coors of the Coors brewing family cofounded the Heritage Foundation, one of the most influential right-wing think tanks in the world. Weyrich is also a regularly featured speaker at events and meetings sponsored by the Christian Coalition.

A lesser-known but equally important Weyrich enterprise is the Free Congress Foundation, the tax-exempt research and education arm of the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress. Both Heritage and the FCF FCF Free Cash Flow
FCF Free Congress Foundation (conservative activist group)
FCF Feline Conservation Federation
FCF Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship
FCF Functional Check Flight
FCF Fluids and Combustion Facility
 have close and cordial (and ongoing) relations with members of the militant anti-choice underground, among them Randall Terry of Operation Rescue. In fact, Weyrich is often credited with helping to launch the anti-abortion movement; in the 1970s, he helped Paul and Judy Brown organize the American Life Lobby, one of the earliest of the "pro-life" activist groups.

The Free Congress Foundation also supports the Center for Catholic Policy, previously known as the Catholic Center. According to the Wall Street Journal, Weyrich founded the group to make the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops "squeal and scream in anguisw" for issuing "The Challenge of Peace," the pastoral letter on nuclear war, and also to force otherwise recalcitrant bishops to toe the Reagan, era line in Central America.

Weyrich organized a series of seminars in the early 1980s designed to teach conservative Catholics how to pressure progressive bishops on issues relating to war and peace, opposition to U.S. policy in Latin America, and support for the sanctuary movement. With the help of Cuban exile priest Enrique Rueda, an outspoken critic of liberation theology and a regular broadcaster on Radio Marti, Weyrich used the mailing list from the Wanderer and funds from Joseph Coors to create "truth squads" in cities with progressive bishops.

Seattle's Raymond Hunthausen was the first to feel the scorpion's sting. Petitions were circulated, letters were written, and Wanderer editorials regularly castigated Hunthausen for his alleged pro-communism. Rome responded quickly and eagerly to this campaign of vilification cooked up in Washington; in short order, Hunthausen was silenced and publicly humiliated.

Weyrich has also been accused of quietly supporting a Brazilian-based group, Tradition, Family, and Property. Neofascist in orientation, TFP TFP Total Factor Productivity
TFP Tradition, Family and Property
TFP Time for Prints
TFP Transference-Focused Psychotherapy
TFP Trade for Prints (modeling)
TfP Training for Peace (South Africa) 
 blends monarchism mon·ar·chism  
1. The system or principles of monarchy.

2. Belief in or advocacy of monarchy.

, mysticism, and zealous devotion to the group's founder, Plinio Correa de Oliveira, with a rigid anti-communism and extreme anti-modernism. TFP was founded with the aid of land-owning bishops opposed to Brazil's agrarian reforms in the 1960s, and its members figure prominently in the Brazilian government and military. In other Latin American countries, TFP has been suspected of supporting political violence; in fact, Venezuela's government has outlawed the group. Even other Catholic rightist right·ism also Right·ism  
1. The ideology of the political right.

2. Belief in or support of the tenets of the political right.

 organizations regard TFP as cultlike.

In the early 1980s, Weyrich helped TFP organize a Washington press conference where U.S. and Brazilian representatives denounced land reform and attacked liberation theology as a form of banditry. In turn, TFP's American branch, the Foundation for a Christian Civilization, honored Weyrich at a banquet held at its elegant estate, Our Lady of Good Success Our Lady of Good Success, also called as Our Lady of Good Events (Spanish: Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso; Filipino: Ina ng Mabubuting Pangyayari) is the one of the titles of Blessed Virgin Mary. , in Bedford, New York Bedford, New York can refer to:
  • Bedford (town), New York
  • Bedford (CDP), New York (census-designated place)
  • Bedford, Brooklyn and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Later, at least according to Charles M. Wilson of the Saint Joseph Foundation of San Antonio, Texas “San Antonio” redirects here. For other uses, see San Antonio (disambiguation).
San Antonio is the second most populous city in Texas, the third most populous metropolitan area in Texas, and is the seventh most populous city in the United States. As of the 2006 U.S.
, Weyrich forced the inclusion of TFP members in various "orthodox" Catholic roundtables and institutes, among them the Carroll Group and the Siena Group for Public Policy. In a letter written to Fidelity magazine and published in its September 1989 issue, Wilson claimed that Weyrich had pulled a "railroad job" in getting TFP representatives involved in various projects over and against the sometimes strident objections of other organizations.

Fidelity, the monthly organ of the highly conservative Ultra-montanists, criticized Tradition, Family, and Property in its May 1989 issue. Writer Thomas Case noted that, in the mid-1970s, TFP had been repeatedly accused by the Brazilian authorities of "inducement to flight, reckless transfer, and concealment of minors"--and this despite TFP's own slavish slav·ish  
1. Of or characteristic of a slave or slavery; servile: Her slavish devotion to her job ruled her life.

 devotion to the military regime.

Young men were alleged to have been deceitfully recruited by TFP, to be trained in their academies as "warrior monks" for the cause. According to the Brazilian government, TFP sought to obtain legal guardianship over the minor children of parents dedicated to TFP and then turned their sons against both them and the mainstream church, regarded by TFP loyalists as an institutional fraud.

TFP is so outlandish in its views that it regards the current papacy as "apostate" and only one generation removed from the biblical end of time. Even so, several of Weyrich's closest associates, among them Connaught ("Connie") Marshner, resigned from the board of Fidelity in anger over the magazine's expose on TFP and its American affiliate.

These, then, are Weyrich's associates on the fringes of Catholic anti-modernism. Indeed, Weyrich himself is so far removed from the Catholic mainstream that he fled to an ultratraditionalist Byzantine Rite church, still technically within the pale of Rome's jurisdiction. He continues to work closely with the evangelical Protestant right in this country, providing logistical support for ventures like the Christian Coalition.

Charismatics Lurch Rightward

Back in the 1960s, the Catholic "charismatic renewal" movement sought to invigorate in·vig·or·ate  
tr.v. in·vig·or·at·ed, in·vig·or·at·ing, in·vig·or·ates
To impart vigor, strength, or vitality to; animate: "A few whiffs of the raw, strong scent of phlox invigorated her" 
 the post-Vatican II church with practices once peculiar to pentecostals and "holy rollers "Formerly staid and steady mass-goers gathered in Bible-based prayer groups to experience miraculous healings and glossolalia glossolalia (glŏs'əlā`lēə) [Gr.,=speaking in tongues], ecstatic utterances usually of unintelligible sounds made by individuals in a state of religious excitement.  (speaking in tongues). Such "gifts of the spirit" were seen as signs of renewal by Catholic charismatics.

But according to journalist Russ Bellant, some charismatic leaders took an authoritarian and ultimately right-wing turn along the way. In 1967, two lay Catholic ministers at Michigan State University Michigan State University, at East Lansing; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1855. It opened in 1857 as Michigan Agricultural College, the first state agricultural college.  organized Word of God, a charismatic fellowship. Steve Clark and Ralph Martin had been conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. , and the group initially reflected their own commitments to egalitarian, unstructured, and democratic governance.

By 1970, though, Word of God had become more formalized for·mal·ize  
tr.v. for·mal·ized, for·mal·iz·ing, for·mal·iz·es
1. To give a definite form or shape to.

a. To make formal.

, complete with adult rites of initiation and hierarchical leadership, according to Bellant. With time, Martin and Clark created an authoritarian, charismatic "covenant Christian community"--a virtual church within a church--which sought to direct the personal lives of its members through a process called shepherding. (Interestingly, Martin and Clark's tactics were picked up by an evangelical Protestant ministry, Christian Growth Ministries of Fort Lauderdale, Florida Fort Lauderdale, known as the "Venice of America" due to its expansive and intricate canal system, is a city in Broward County, Florida, United States. The city's population is described as metropolitan, where diverse culture is commonplace. According to 2006 U.S. , in the early 1970s. It was the first pentecostal organization to embrace the shepherding/discipling model, which is extremely popular--and controversial--in evangelical circles today.)

Martin and Clark's organization grew in size with the rising fortunes of the charismatic renewal movement. By 1983, Word of God had created Sword of the Spirit, dedicated to spreading the charismatic message nationally and internationally. Commit, ted to evangelism, deliverance ministry, and "spiritual warfare," Sword of the Spirit has its institutional home at the arch-conservative Franciscan University of Steubenville. The university, which regularly sends busloads of students to participate in abortion-clinic blockades throughout the Ohio Valley, is dominated by members of Word of God. Its leading patron is pizza baron Thomas Monaghan, who also sits on the university's board of directors. Monaghan prefers the narrow vision of the church espoused by the Steubenville faculty, as opposed to the academic and pastoral work going on at other Catholic centers of higher learning--so much so that he once compared the University of Notre Dame with the "work of the devil."

Monaghan has long used his vast financial resources to fund conservative (especially conservative Catholic) causes. During the Reagan years, he was an outspoken supporter of the Nicaraguan contras and was also heavily invested in Honduras. In 1987, he founded Legatus, an organization of like-minded Catholic corporate CEOs, which opened its first chapter in Honduras. Legatus meetings and retreats have featured such Catholic New Fight and Old Right luminaries as Phyllis Schlafly, Paul Weyrich, Michael Novak, and Mother Angelica of EWTN.

Catholic Neoconservatives and Crisis

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Michael Novak was a left-leaning Catholic social critic who had left the seminary just prior to ordination and became a political nomad, spending time in Mexico with philosopher Ivan Illich and joining the war re-sisters in Paris. During this period, Novak wrote two ground-breaking books: The Open Church, a positive appraisal of post-Vatican II Catholicism written in 1964; and Ascent of the Mountain, Flight of the Dove, a meditation on spirituality and the academic discipline of religious studies.

But like so many other Cold War Democrats, Novak could smell the tide coming in. By the early 1980s, he had left his chair in religious studies at Syracuse University to become a scholar-in-residence at the American Enterprise institute The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is a conservative think tank, founded in 1943. According to the institute its mission "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism — limited government, . AEI AEI American Enterprise Institute
AEI Archive of European Integration
AEI Australian Education International
AEI Automotive Engineering International
AEI Australian Education Index
AEI Albert Einstein Institute
 published a brief monograph by Novak entitled Toward a Theology of the Corporation, the first in a series of encomiums on what Novak called democratic capitalism. By this phrase, Novak (already a committed Reaganaut) meant unrestrained, supply-side multinationalism--or, in the words of the New Republic's Leon Weiseltier, capitalism most cruelly constructed"

In subsequent treatises, Novak took the U.S. bishops to task for their pastoral letter, Economic Justice for All, which was a powerful critique of unbridled capitalism. And despite similar criticism of the so-called free market by the pope himself, Novak slyly (though incorrectly) argued that John Paul II wasn't really talking about American capitalism but, rather, certain unidentified "aberrations" of capitalism in Europe.

Novak currently serves as editor-in-chief of Crisis, which bills itself as a journal of "lay Catholic opinion." But not just any lay Catholics, mind you. The Crisis masthead mast·head  
1. Nautical The top of a mast.

2. The listing in a newspaper or periodical of information about its staff, operation, and circulation.

 reads like a who's who of the Catholic right and features several prominent members of the powerful and wealthy Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta Knights of Malta and Knights of Rhodes: see Knights Hospitalers.
Knights of Malta
 or Hospitallers in full (since 1961) Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St.
, among them Lewis Lehrman, Alexander Haig, J. Peter Grace, Bowie Kuhn, and William Simon. Other members include wannabe pundit An expert or knowledgeable person. From "pandit" in Hindi. See guru.  Dinesh D'Souza and the ubiquitous Paul Weyrich.

Novak has quite clearly abandoned the ecclesiological ec·cle·si·ol·o·gy  
1. The branch of theology that is concerned with the nature, constitution, and functions of a church.

2. The study of ecclesiastical architecture and ornamentation.
 vision of his earlier work, The Open Church. In the March 1993 issue of Crisis, immediately following a lengthy anti-abortion polemic, Novak writes of Vatican II: "It now seems clear that the Vatican II catch-phrase, |the people of God: is subject to many radically different interpretations. Such a phrase can suggest, and often has suggested, something quite pagan"

Here Novak is not merely offering his own brass-bound assessment of the fundamental documents of Vatican II, especially "The Church in the Modern World"; he is also taking a swipe at one of his most ardent and intelligent critics--the late Catholic journalist Penny Lernoux, author of The People of God. Unlike Lernoux, Novak pines for a restored clerical class that looks and acts less like the corporate body of Christ
This article is about the religious concept. For article about the sect, see The Body of Christ.

The Body of Christ is a term used by Christians to describe believers in Christ. Jesus Christ is seen as the "head" of the body, which is the church.
 and more like a Fortune 500 company.

But Novak is more than a mere lover of reactionary ideas and florid florid /flor·id/ (flor´id)
1. in full bloom; occurring in fully developed form.

2. having a bright red color.

Of a bright red or ruddy color.
 prose. He is also a long-time activist who served the Reagan administration well in its war against human rights. In 1981, Jeane Kirkpatrick was asked to name a delegate to the U.N. Human Rights Commission session in Geneva Geneva, canton and city, Switzerland
Geneva (jənē`və), Fr. Genève, canton (1990 pop. 373,019), 109 sq mi (282 sq km), SW Switzerland, surrounding the southwest tip of the Lake of Geneva.
. She named Novak--a friend and American Enterprise Institute colleague--to the post.

As the US. delegate, Novak found himself facing a dilemma. Argentina's "dirty war" was still raging, and the junta was continuing its campaign of disappearance and political murder aimed at those deemed "enemies of the state" When called upon to address Argentina's barbaric human-rights record and the murder of tens of thousands of its own people, Novak rose to the occasion in fine Reagan-era doublespeak dou·ble·speak  
See double talk.

Noun 1. doublespeak - any language that pretends to communicate but actually does not

We recognize in Argentina one of the world's advanced civilizations, a religious culture, a proud institutional tradition.... We understand the full context of the "disappearances" of 1976-1977. Argentina was experiencing guerilla warfare; daily acts of terror, murder, and bombings which in certain weeks claimed hundreds of lives .... Whoever condemns disappearances without condemning this terror attempts to clap with one hand.

Novak praised Argentina as a "freer nation' and pointed out to his by-now-stunned listeners that "the very freedoms of Argentina result in its being held to a standard which societies with lesser liberties escape." He also reiterated Jeane Kirkpatrick's sham distinction between authoritarian and totalitarian governments and smeared the dirty war's critics as terrorist sympathizers, even though--as lain Guest notes in his masterful study Behind the Disappearances--the claims of a great "terror war" repulsed by the Argentine military were little more than contrived apologia ap·o·lo·gi·a  
A formal defense or justification. See Synonyms at apology.

[Latin, apology; see apology.
 for repression and state terror. And although Novak was fully and consciously complicit com·plic·it  
Associated with or participating in a questionable act or a crime; having complicity: newspapers complicit with the propaganda arm of a dictatorship.
 in the U.S. campaign to silence critics of Argentina's absymal human-rights record, he continued to attack liberation theology, basic Christian communities, and the church of the poor as heresies, while supporting the military violence of allies allegedly struggling toward "democratic capitalism."

Interestingly, Novak is regarded with some suspicion by those to his (admittedly immediate) right in the church. Fidelity magazine often skewers Novak for his perceived unorthodoxy in his attempts to meld free-market capitalism with Catholicism. The more medievally inclined among the Roman Restorationists view Novak's warm feelings for technocracy tech·noc·ra·cy  
n. pl. tech·noc·ra·cies
A government or social system controlled by technicians, especially scientists and technical experts.
, innovation, and trickle-down as still too modern and too materialistic for proponents of the "true church," who long instead for the days of feudal rule, papal largesse lar·gess also lar·gesse  
a. Liberality in bestowing gifts, especially in a lofty or condescending manner.

b. Money or gifts bestowed.

2. Generosity of spirit or attitude.
, and a society of trade and craft guilds. In short, Catholic fascism.

Rightward Christian Soldiers

Like the evangelical right, the Catholic right in America is divided and heavily factionalized. The Ultramontanists dismiss the TFPers as cultists, while both regard the wealthier, new-money Catholic neoconservatives like Michael Novak with distrust. Still, they are often willing to put down their gloves when matters of action are discussed. The anti-choice movement has proven to be an important meeting ground for some very divergent viewpoints among Catholic rightists.

As the Catholic right continues to mobilize, it is reaching out with increasing frequency to the evangelical Protestant and Jewish right, forging alliances around local and regional projects aimed at altering public-school curricula, or supporting "pro-family" slates for school-board elections. Robertson's "700 Club" frequently airs chats with ultraconservative Catholic clerics who share the Christian Coalition's views. And with the help of strategists like Paul Weyrich, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish rightists are forging a new social ecumenism based upon a shared vision of reaction. It's the social gospel turned inside out.

One wonders, though, how the vast majority of moderate, to-liberal Catholics will finally respond to the Roman Restoration. Many have already responded with their feet, leaving behind increasingly conservative parishes in the northeast, south, and midwest. Some have sought to build their own church-within-a-church, modeled after the basic Christian communities of Latin America, complete with floating, at-home liturgies, Bible study, and sex-inclusive worship. Such communities are often dedicated to social justice and the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, or, as in the case of the followers of eco-theologian Matthew Fox, concern for the earth. Still others have broken completely with Rome, as in the case of the Reverend James Stallings, founder of the African-American Catholic Congregation.

As the American Catholic church American Catholic Church may refer to:
  • American Catholic Church in the United States
  • Roman Catholicism in the United States
  • Roman Catholic Church in North America and South America
  • American Catholic Church California Diocese
 continues to be reshaped by pressure from a small but powerful "papalist Pa´pal`ist

n. 1. A papist.
" minority, how will it look as it enters the next century? Will it have become a full-scale force for social reaction, as in the case of the Southern Baptist Convention Noun 1. Southern Baptist Convention - an association of Southern Baptists
association - a formal organization of people or groups of people; "he joined the Modern Language Association"

Southern Baptist - a member of the Southern Baptist Convention
? Or will it have lost so many members that it will retreat into a cultural cocoon, looking very much like the dull, gray church of the 1950s gleefully glee·ful  
Full of jubilant delight; joyful.

gleeful·ly adv.

 (and wrongly) remembered by restorationists? Only time, and the Curia, will tell.
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Title Annotation:The Political Power of the Catholic Church
Author:O'Sullivan, Gerry
Publication:The Humanist
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:Papalism and religious liberty.
Next Article:Vatican interests versus the public interest.

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