Friday, September 16, 2005

Allen Speaks

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means....

JLA does a lot on the Sant'Egidio gathering cited here earlier, but -- especially given the recent screaming on this side of the pond -- the following vignette stood out:

One of the featured speakers during the Sunday evening opening session, held in front of an overflow crowd in Lyon's Maurice Ravel auditorium, was French Holocaust survivor Simone Veil.

In addition to being a noted writer and lecturer, Veil, who is Jewish, was also Minister of Health from 1974 to 1979, and the primary sponsor of a 1975 law that legalized abortion in France. She is one of the most prominent "pro-choice" voices in the country.

In the United States, that background might have made it difficult for a Catholic organization to invite her to speak at an event where six cardinals were present. Organizers told me, however, that the issue never came up here.

In part, this may reflect differing American and European Catholic sensibilities. American Catholic leaders often see giving pro-choice politicians a platform as a sort of tacit tolerance for their position, while Europeans sometimes see it as a way of keeping lines of communication open.

So are the Europeans heretical? Should everyone who expressed no qualms about the speaker be fired? By the absolutist American standard, they should.... Yet it's further proof that conservative Americans don't form the only valid caucus of Catholic opinion, however verbose their claims to monopoly.

Thank God for universality.



Blogger Jon said...

Rock, Snowflake, Darling,

I love John Allen almost as much as you (guess how much that is?) but at least I respect him for his attempts at impartiality which, if you haven't noticed, has gained for him his lofty perch. Why don't you give it a try, lad? It might take you to places that will make your nose bleed. Just think, you'd be able to cease rattling the coin can and earn the respect of "verbose conservatives" in the process.

Oops, I'm sorry, that would require maturity.

16/9/05 16:20  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Jon's daily Holy Communions, transubstantiated according to the prescriptions of Quo Primum, received kneeling, and impaled upon his acerbic tongue, are clearly doing the obnoxious twit a Cappa Magna's world of good!

Then, after shitting all over his fellowman, it's off to the abortion clinic to save an unborn life.

TGIF! :-)

16/9/05 16:26  
Blogger Jeff said...


Yes, I see your education and spirituality quite clearly exposed in your last comment. You are a ahining example to us all!


Yes, Thank God for universality. It sometimes happens that OTHER people have something to learn from US, the despised Americains.

Should we imitate the European Church, a secularized, dying Church in a secularized, dying society? The poor Europeans scarcely HAVE any pro-life politicians. We still--for a few years if we're lucky--have an actual movement devoted to the protection of the unborn. But the millions of dead unborn are not important enough to single out; oh, no. Let's make sure we don't forget higher pay for teachers; that's equally important.

16/9/05 16:41  
Blogger Gene O'Grady said...

Jeff --

Isn't it the case that almost all Western European countries have a lower abortion rate (abortions per woman of childbearing years)?

And I suspect the "secularization" of European society has been overstated -- and I'm sure the "dying" is. Try the Archbishop of Canterbury web page for his recent addresses, or the Editions du Cerf web page for their current publications. I don't know where to look for anything equally intellectually serious in the US. (Yes, I do like the Ignatius Press, even if they like to hit one over the head, as well as the Paulist Press). And name a theologian as serious as Ratzinger (or de Lubac or Congar or Barth or Guardini and on and on) that has ever emerged from the US.

Our top of the line is probably Cardinal George -- he recently raised a serious issue of the merits of Benedict XV's peace initiative vis a vis Woody Wilson -- and got jumped on by the mainstream Catholic media and as far as I know hasn't pursued it.

Apologies if I ramble.

16/9/05 17:36  
Blogger Fr. John said...

The difference between the approaches of the Church in Europe and the approach of many American Catholics, especially those who would most likely label themselves as conservative, is this: in the US large elements of the Church have been infected with Puritanism. Puritanism, as you no doubt recall, is a Protestant heresy that sees the world divided between the saved and the damned, and the saved know they are the saved, and think it is their job to rule, even if that makes things damned miserable for everyone.

16/9/05 18:41  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...


Did you have a comment on the opinion I expressed or were you only interested in renewing your endless ad hominem attacks on me - your endless SICK preoccupation with commenting on my education and spirituality?

I was addressing Jon and Rocco - not you - nor do I give a damn what you think about me - or about anything, really. You're a tedious boor, in my opinion. I don't like you. And I don't like having to reply to your endless baiting of me.

So could I make a request?

Unless I address you directly, could you cease coming after me when I'm not addressing you - please? You comment on virtually every topic Rocco posts. Can't you leave it at that and leave me the hell alone? Or if you do have to comment, comment on some opinion I post and leave off the endless attacks on my education and spirituality?

I would like to be able to post on this blog, if I choose to, as if you don't even exist and without having to go through this tedious exercise of dealing with your obsessive need to address my education and spirituality.

Thanks for considering my request.

16/9/05 20:49  
Blogger Jeff said...


As for tedious boors, I repost your last comment for you to consider:

"Jon's daily Holy Communions, transubstantiated according to the prescriptions of Quo Primum, received kneeling, and impaled upon his acerbic tongue, are clearly doing the obnoxious twit a Cappa Magna's world of good!

Then, after shitting all over his fellowman, it's off to the abortion clinic to save an unborn life."

That's the sum total of it. And upon re-reading, I see you were right. It needs no comment whatsoever. "Res ipsa loquitur."

On the whole--ON THE WHOLE, mind--I am amenable to ignoring your nasty little screeds. But I make no promises. If you don't want public responses, don't comment in a public forum. And if you don't want your often vicious and personal attacks responded to, don't make them!

And...if you don't want your education and spirituality alluded to, don't boast about them or use them to shield yourself from criticism.

Basically, don't expect that you will be treated with any greater deference than you treat others!


16/9/05 23:27  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Jeff -

Have it your way - but you're NOT going to silence me or drive me away with your own special brand of heavy-handed intimidation: that passive-aggressive bullshit, honed to a fine art by your brand of Roman Catholic, stopped frightening me right around the time I kissed my last ass and last ring.

The business about my "education and spirituality," which has really so pissed you off, was SO far back and was completely legitimate in the contexts in which I made reference to it. So sorry that my having studied Latin and Gregorian chant and having a predilection for the Tridentine Rite, in certain circumstances, annoys you. No, on second thought I'm not. Tough shit.

Why should anyone feign ignorance just to make someone who is threatened by such knowledge feel better about himself (and your CONTINUING harping about that long-ago post is really indicative of your own need to, at the very least, chill out).

So, I guess if the cost of knowing something about anything invites your ridicule, I guess that's just the way it has to be.

But your last line, I must say, is really the clincher:

Basically, don't expect that you will be treated with any greater deference than you treat others!

Fair enough, I think, IF it is THE other who responds. But if you feel that YOU have to come after me on Jon's behalf - and I remember now that you told us all how much you admire his balls - then by all means be his knight in shining armor, just expect that while I'm knocking him off his high horse, I'll do my best to put you on your ass as well.

Cheers? It's all pretty pathetic, really.

17/9/05 00:10  
Blogger Jeff said...


Jon is catty with Rocco. He does not address you. You respond in vulgar and vicious fashion, though you are not addressed. Fair enough.

I address you, though I myself am not addressed. "Foul!" you cry. "I wasn't talking to you!"

As you say, it's pretty pathetic. I agree. As well as the constant harping on "balls", "shit", "ass", etc. Or is this another dig at your linguistic achievements?

I don't know Jon and didn't even remember that I had taken his side in an argument with you until you reminded me. I'll take the side of anyone who's is the victim of vicious and wrongheaded attack, why not?

As I've said before, I admire your mastery of the classics and I share your love of the Tridentine Mass. I don't know how to make that any clearer. But when you say, "*I* go to the Tridentine Mass x number of days a week, but I'm not like hoi polloi who go a-whoring after Cappas" or "those people who say we should go back to the old Roman Rite don't even know the Rite of Lyons when they see it" you are using your education and spirituality to cow and subdue. You invite attack, not on your knowledge and experience, but on the way you use them to construct a hollow superiority. And if you accuse others of ignorance and lack of charity, you'd best make sure you don't exhibit them yourself!

If you want to make vicious personal attacks and snobbish sneers, don't pretend that you're an innocent whose love of languages is being made fun of. If you want a charitable tone of sweet reason to prevail, by all means, I will respond in kind.

Though you have not taken a fancy to me and you don't give a fig for my opinion, I DO often (not always!) admire your wit and your way with words. And I DO regret having maddened you, though I think your complaints are without merit and though you have in large part brought it on yourself. Still, if you aim your vitriol at someone or something that seems to me worth defending, I think I should be able to respond, and if you taunt me or others, I should be able to taunt you.

And now I think the thread has had enough of the personal quarrel, don't you?

Best wishes,

17/9/05 01:30  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Jeff -

I thought it was enough the first time you came after me and I responded.

But reading over this last post of yours, it's all pretty clear: you just cannot stop, just cannot leave it alone.

So keep going if you want to.

I'm just going to pretend you don't exist.


17/9/05 02:01  
Blogger Jon said...


It's a good thing it's Saturday, and the manicurists are open. As I believe you've broken all your nails.

17/9/05 09:18  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Hey Jon,

Not only are you the most pious Trad on here, you're actually one wild and crazy funny guy!

Oh, excuse me. Not just a guy. You're the MAN! Posting such manly rebukes of Rocco and now of me. Your little buddy must be right: you've got some balls!

17/9/05 12:07  

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