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24 November 2009


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Patrick Lang


Happy Thanksgiving.

I did not claim to be a good Catholic. I accept the Church's teaching on the death penalty. In the case of the particular wretch that you named, I am personally unable to follow that teaching, but I do not claim that the church's teaching on the death penalty is incorrect as Representative Kennedy does with regard to abortion. pl


Happy Thanksgiving to you too Colonel. If I recall, Patrick Kennedy claimed to be imperfect, though.

In any event, the Catholic Church, through its own hierarchy, has broken its own rules is such a grave manner with its handling of the sex abuse scandal, more of which came out today, that this "bad" Catholic simply has no respect for the corrupt hierarchy singling out and lecturing Rep. Kennedy in this way while they simultaneously sell false dispensations to the likes of the pro-death penalty Newt Gingrich.

Now, I'll be off to dinner with the rest of my Catholic family, who are also excommunicable for the mortal sin of practicing birth control. Sorry if I sound hostile. I am.

Patrick Lang


"Sorry if I sound hostile. I am."

Yes. You do sound hostile. Civility is a good idea especially among those who disagree.

In fact, I largely agree with your criticism of the failings of the clergy and hierarchy.

On the other hand, I do not think that contraception and abortion are equivalent. I don't know anyone who has been excomunicated for practising contraception. Do you? Actually, Kennedy has not been excommunicated.

It seems that you explicitly reject the teaching authority of the church. If that is so, why stay?

If it is for the sacraments, then that is a bit of a mystery to me. pl

Sidney O. Smith III

Steering away from Matthews and Catholic priests, Ernest Hemingway wrote a short story that warrants consideration when discussing the repercussions of abortion, particularly as it effects the man and the woman. First published n 1927, this short story arguably opens the door and leads to certain insights of the human psyche not available to the rest of us .

Of course, Gore Vidal referred to Ernest Hemingway as a decent Field and Stream writer and nothing more. Now that’s a very funny, if not hilarious, comment and no doubt Vidal was/is a gossip extraordinaire, and I agree with much of his stance on US foreign policy.

But, alas, imo, Hemingway was willing to take the inner journey to places that Gore would not even dare to venture. Hemingway may have paid a price for it but who knows…

The title of this short story is “Hills like White Elephants”. Much of this story appears to reside on the very edge of human consciousness.

As a literary artist, is Hemingway correct or incorrect? Does Hemingway correctly or incorrectly point to the potential unconscious repercussions for the individual (man and woman) and society at large when such decision making is not fully explored?

Each must face the story unafraid and then decide for himself or herself.


(I would like to opine if the story were written today, we could very well see an exchange of gender roles in terms of how the man and woman respond to the situation. As an example, imagine Paddy Chayefsky’s character Diane Christiansen as “Jig”).

If by some chance, Hemingway’s insights are at least somewhat merited, then, imo, compassion is the best way to deal with the pain of an increased awareness. A lack of compassion would be an indicator of misogyny, including among the sacramental priesthood, imo.


I'm really sorry I'm so late to this discussion. I agree wholeheartedly with Col. Lang, i.e., if you're not going to follow the rules, just go somewhere else.

Problem is, if you were raised R. Catholic as I was, you were brainwashed to believe that if you left "the one true church" you were endangering your immortal soul. Even as preposterous as this sounds to anyone over the age of 7, we carry it around in our psyches forever.

Some of us have escaped the psychological tentacles of the Church of Rome, but for others it remains a struggle, hence the "cafeteria" style Catholicism.


William P. Fitzgerald III

Pat Lang,

I believe I detected an excellent play on words in your reply to Mary, "If it is for the sacraments, then that is a bit of a mystery to me."

I must also observe that some things never seem to change: church and state, Protestant and Catholic, Christian and agnostic/atheist, the arguments rage on

I ran into your recipe for cooking country hams while searching country hams and plan to put it to use. First I must procure one, probably a Smithfield.




Please understand that I did not mean to be hostile to you or your readers and I apologize for my tone. But yes I am hostile to the Church and I left the Church but they won't take me off the rolls even after I asked them to! I attend at certain times only for the comfort of my large Catholic family.

My mother was excommunicated by her local priest for confessing to birth control in the 60s after 4 kids in 4 years. The Church gave her a Catholic funeral and burial anyway presided over by Cardinal McCarrick, who is now in Rome, when she suicided on their property 20 years later. Lovely, perhaps, but the Church is not and has never really been consistent on its supposed core principles. And the Church does indeed equate birth control with abortion, even though you may not.

In any event, no hard feelings, OK?


Colonel, Sir: Allow me to preface this by saying I am rather new to this site, but one of my Profs in college has introduced me to SST, and I like your style.
And to the point, I agree with you Col., and being Methodist (like the Anglican who had posted) I have no horse in this race. It strikes me that this scenario is really about two spheres: Kennedy's private religious beliefs and his public political leanings. The Bishop is speaking more to the former, because of what he has witnessed in the latter. Eg: If you belong to the NRA but are vociferously supporting the ban of all privately held weapons-whats the point of being in the NRA?
The Bishop isn't trying to sway Kennedy's vote; rather, he is simply asking Kennedy to evaluate whether his beliefs match with those of the Church with which he claims affiliation. If they don't, why not simply join a different church? Oh and I've learned that cable news networks hardly have anything of use, I'm more of a C-SPAN man now.

Ian Welsh

The problem is that the Catholic Church often does act as if it's a buffet. The Church has other positions about, say, un-just wars, which it has not enforced with such threats. It seems that on the buffet gay marriage and abortion are much more important than other parts of the meal.

Each to their own, but the Jesus I learned of wasn't primarily concerned about those two issues. But then, my general position on what Christ really cared about was purged from the Church by Ratzinger at the behest of the last pope.

As Gandhi said "I like your Christ. Your Christians, not so much".

Wasn't so long ago that a presidential candidate had to promise that he wouldn't obey Rome, now RC bishops are on the phone with Congressional leaders dictating whether a woman can have an abortion or not.

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