Friday, August 24, 2007

Does She Make The Case?

Catholic revert Anne Rice says that the Democratic Party upholds Gospel values better than the Republicans do, and would do a better job of putting an end to abortion. Is she right?

As reported here last December, the author Anne Rice , author of the superb novel Christ the Lord out of Egypt, has reverted back to the Catholic faith of her youth, and is committed to keep on using her talents to write stories about Christ.

She's also generated a bit of buzz on her website this week in her endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President. Some excerpts on what she has to say about the two parties and about abortion.

I hope you will read this statement in a soft voice. It is meant to be spoken in a soft voice... I am also keenly aware that we have only two parties in this country. Only two. This point can not be emphasized enough. We do not have a slate of parties, including one which is purely Christian. We have two parties, and our system has worked with two parties for generations. This is what we have...

Though I deeply respect those who disagree with me, I believe, for a variety of reasons, that the Democratic Party best reflects the values I hold based on the Gospels. Those values are most intensely expressed for me in the Gospel of Matthew, but they are expressed in all the gospels. Those values involve feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and above all, loving one’s neighbors and loving one’s enemies. A great deal more could be said on this subject, but I feel that this is enough.

I want to add here that I am Pro-Life. I believe in the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Deeply respecting those who disagree with me, I feel that if we are to find a solution to the horror of abortion, it will be through the Democratic Party.

I have heard many anti-abortion statements made by people who are not Democrats, but many of these statements do not strike me as constructive or convincing. I feel we can stop the horror of abortion. But I do not feel it can be done by rolling back Roe vs. Wade, or packing the Supreme Court with judges committed to doing this. As a student of history, I do not think that Americans will give up the legal right to abortion. Should Roe vs Wade be rolled back, Americans will pass other laws to support abortion, or they will find ways to have abortions using new legal and medical terms.

And much as I am horrified by abortion, I am not sure -- as a student of history – that Americans should give up the right to abortion.

I am also not convinced that all of those advocating anti-abortion positions in the public sphere are necessarily practical or sincere. I have not heard convincing arguments put forth by anti-abortion politicians as to how Americans could be forced to give birth to children that Americans do not want to bear. And more to the point, I have not heard convincing arguments from these anti-abortion politicians as to how we can prevent the horror of abortion right now, given the social situations we have.

The solution to the horror of abortion can and must be found.

Do I myself have a solution to the abortion problem? The answer is no. What I have are hopes and dreams and prayers --- that better education will help men and women make responsible reproductive choices, and that abortion will become a morally abhorrent option from which informed Americans will turn away.

There is a great deal more to this question, as to how abortion became legal, as to why that happened, as to why there is so little talk of the men who father fetuses that are aborted, and as to the human rights of all individuals involved. I am not qualified as a student of history to fully discuss these issues in detail. I remain conscientiously curious and conscientiously concerned.


jackjoe said...

Jeff, point number 1. Laws will not reduce the number of abortions; anti-abortion laws will simply change under what conditions they are performed and by whom.

Point 2. There will always be abortions that are acccepted and necessary. The question then is who determines when an abortion is necessary. Choice: the pregnant women and her doctor OR some type of government official. Neither choice is perfect but the woman and her doctor are to be prefered over a government official.

Point 3. Jeff, i hate to do this but Ms. Rice's vampire writings were good fiction. This last book on Jesus is one of the worst pieces of writing I have read in many decades. Jack

crystal said...

I agree with her about the democratic party being more for gospel values, and about the abortion thing.

Do you agree or disagree?

Steve Bogner said...

I agree with her on most points, and I'm a (reluctantly) registered Republican. I'm also chairperson of a pro-life pregnancy counseling center; the realities on the ground are much, much more complex than simply repealing Roe v. Wade.

Maybe I can write more after Mass, and soccer games :) Love the fact that soccer season has once again started...

Jeff said...


I would certainly agree that hearts need to change, as well as the economic and social circumstances which steer people into feeling compelled to make negative and destructive choices, before laws can be enforced that don't reflect a popular consensus. Otherwise, the law is a waste of time and does nothing but build disrespect for the law. As I've quoted Justin Martyr here before, the task set before a Christian is not to conquer, but to convince.

As to the choice being limited to a woman and her doctor, I hear you, but I sometimes wonder how often an abortion is a convenient decision actually being made with pressure by some man or another. In my experience, it seems to me that woman don't often destroy unborn life for the sake of convenience, interruption of plans, or to dispose of a nusiance. On the contrary. In many cases, it seems to me, it is a decision forced on a woman by a man on whom the woman cannot or will not be able to rely upon to share the responsibilities of parenthood. I also think that strong arguments can be made that the state has a compelling interest in protecting vulnerable and innocent life. Human beings are being aborted, both male and female alike. Therefore, all human beings have a right to weigh in on the debate. I don't buy the argument that my sex disqualifies me from that discussion.

As to Anne Rice's latest book, I'm sorry that you don't agree with me about that. I thought it was a terrific piece of work, done with meticulous historical research. I thought she did a great job of putting the reader back into the ancient world of Judea and Galilee, and getting into the head of an exceptional 12-year-old boy who was struggling with his own realization of who he was.

I've never read her other books, so I don't know how the writing style compares with her earlier work. She'd probably say that there was a deep spiritual element of human longing to be found in those books. I don't know if Interview With a Vampire was any good or not. The movie was crap. At any rate, I'm glad that she has decided to put her talents to work in writing about the world of light to be found in Christ rather than remaining in the dark world of vampires and sado-masochistic bondage porn.

Jeff said...


You know, on balance, I do agree, which is why I am seriously considering going back to my roots, the party in whose ethos I was brought up in.

This blog in part is very much an experiment and foray to see if pro-life people have any place to be found in the Democratic Party or not.

Once, in another venue, a woman pointed out a Sojourners article to me that pointed out that abortions were actually going down in the last Democratic administration, and went back up again when George Bush became President. This was a few years ago, I don't know what the statistics say now, but the author attributed the following factors as to why this might have occurred:

First, two thirds of women who abort say they cannot afford a child (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Web site). In the past three years, unemployment rates increased half again. Not since Hoover had there been a net loss of jobs during a presidency until the current administration. Average real incomes decreased, and for seven years the minimum wage has not been raised to match inflation. With less income, many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed.

Second, half of all women who abort say they do not have a reliable mate (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). Men who are jobless usually do not marry. Only three of the 16 states had more marriages in 2002 than in 2001, and in those states abortion rates decreased. In the 16 states overall, there were 16,392 fewer marriages than the year before, and 7,869 more abortions. As male unemployment increases, marriages fall and abortion rises.

Third, women worry about health care for themselves and their children. Since 5.2 million more people have no health insurance now than before this presidency - with women of childbearing age overrepresented in those 5.2 million - abortion increases.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops warned of this likely outcome if support for families with children was cut back. My wife and I know - as does my son David - that doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical insurance, special schooling, and parental employment are crucial for a special child. David attended the Kentucky School for the Blind, as well as several schools for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. He was mainstreamed in public schools as well. We have two other sons and five grandchildren, and we know that every mother, father, and child needs public and family support.

What does this tell us? Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without health care, health insurance, jobs, child care, and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need policies that provide jobs and health insurance and support for prospective mothers.

I do have to say, however, that I find Rice's endorsement of Hillary Clinton a little bit puzzling in this regard. Of all the Democratic candidates in the field, I think she would be the one least interested in trying to find some kind of common ground with anti-abortion people.

Jeff said...

HI Steve,

I respect and admire the effort you have put in on this issue, and I am looking forward to reading what you have to say about it.

Soccer season! It's a great sport, isn't it? Brendan was on a club soccer team this year, so he played all through the spring and went to a soccer clinic during the summer for a week, just before football practice started. All the running for soccer put him into great shape. Needless to say, his mom is wishing he was playing soccer this fall instead of football, but he loves football.

jackjoe said...

Jeff, I'm not sure we disagree. When I said the decision should be made by women and doctor, I certainly did not mean to exclude the husband. All I was saying was that matters such as this are family decsions, although mistakes may be made, and not decisions made by government officials. Abortions ARE going to occur so the real issue is, as I said, under what conditions and performed by whom. Some things cannot realistically be decided by laws. If a state tried, as they have and still do I believe in some states, to restrict {pardon me} sexual activities to certain 'positions' such a law would do nothing, as you indicate, but weaken faith in law. Wasn''t it Churchill who said something like 'statemanship is the art of the possible'?

As to Ann Rice; I despise all her books or any book for that matter about vampires, the occult, ufo's etc.And I have to confess I've only read one of her books other than the Jesus book. The short,simplified, choppy sentence style of her writing in the Jesus book, I thought, was bad writing.

Again, thanks for your help. It's meant a hell of a lot to me!! Jack

crystal said...


I also read that abortions went down during the Clinton administration because of better care for women and children ... Tom Reese SJ wrote about that a while ago ...

Many canon lawyers and moralists believe that a politician could be against abortions and still oppose criminalizing it for prudential reasons, for example, because he believes such laws would be unenforceable, divisive and politically unrealistic. He may believe that a more realistic approach is to enact programs (healthcare, childcare, welfare, employment) that will reduce the number of abortions by giving women a real choice, by empowering them to say yes to life. These politicians point to the fact that there were fewer abortions during the Clinton Administration than during the Bush Administration. Raising the minimum wage, for example, would reduce more abortions than outlawing partial birth abortions. Such a politician could say, “I am opposed to abortion and will do everything possible to reduce the number of abortions short of putting women and doctors in jail.” (link)

As for why she picker Hillary - probably smae reasons I have :-). She is not as obviously religious as the other candidates, but you must realize that being anti-abortion is not only a religious thing .... those with no religious beliefs (but she does have some) still have ethics and values and care about life, and sometimes their rationale is more of a committment than those who only do what their religion tells them is right.

Mike McG... said...

Does Anne Rice make the case? Yes and no. Much of her statement is commendable:

First of all, the soft voice. Too often voices addressing abortion are shrill. The deep respect she voices for those who disagree with her is exceptionally rare. Those who dissent from approved scripts tend to be demonized. I hope she survives this skirmish in the culture wars without scars.

Secondly, the recognition that there are only two parties. If we want to be players in the political process, the serious choices are the Democratic and Republican parties. I decided long ago that Democrats evince gospel value poorly…but better than the Republican alternative by a country mile. There are *many* justice issues at play. (Abortion seems to be the most important priority for conservative Catholics and the least important for progressive Catholics. Why? Jeff's essay immediately prior to this one speaks to this paradox.)

Third, the admission that she doesn’t have an answer to the abortion problem. Refreshing candor, that. I hope that someday we’ll be lead out of the woods on this issue by women who are themselves post-abortion and able to convince us with authenticity of a better approach to problem pregnancies.

Finally, the belief that political solutions won’t alone "stop the horror of abortion." Rice writes, “I do not think that Americans will give up the legal right to abortion.” I think this is an accurate reading of public sentiment today, just as it would be to say, “I do not think that Americans will give up the legal right to capital punishment.”

And yet…

It is extraordinary how much prochoice rhetoric depends on caricature of prolifers. I think Rice is wrong to buy the meme that impugns the sincerity and consistency of anti-abortion folks. This grotesque stereotype is largely false. But even if it were true, it is an inadequate rebuttal to the position that fetal life deserves protection. Even if true, I very much doubt that prolifers own the franchise on hypocrisy. How much NARAL money goes to support the wonderful counseling work performed by Steve and others?

I also think she is wrong in adopting, without critique, the prochoice framing of the abortion conversation. There are two potential frames: *who decides* and *what is decided*. When one adopts the former frame…the quintessential individualistic American frame…the answer is obvious: the woman should decide rather than some misogynistic congressman. But when one adopts the latter frame…the traditional communalistic catholic (small c) frame…the answer is no less obvious: the fetus ought not to be killed.

In fact, the rights of mother and fetus must be held in tension. The community should discern when and in what circumstances the autonomy of the mother overrides the right of the fetus to continued life.

There is no question that the former frame is ascendant; the ‘woman’s right to choose’ position has wide resonance. And yet even today a majority of Americans support restriction of abortion under certain circumstances. Arrival at any third way compromise can’t occur as long as Roe vs. Wade is the law of the land. Support for Roe vs. Wade seems to be the price of admission to progressive and Democratic circles. Consequently Democrats like me must live with the fact that our party is the bulwark protecting the right to procure fetal death at any time for any reason.

Final comment: it is a canard to say that abortion restrictions would not decrease the incidence of abortion. The incidence of abortion was substantially lower before Roe and the incidence of abortion can confidently be predicted to decline, albeit modestly, post Roe. The law teaches and shapes behavior. When drinking ages were lifted from 18 or 19 to 21, a substantial reduction in gonorrhea was recorded (lowered consumption>better decisions).

It would be as short-sighted to see prohibition as an adequate response to abortion as it would be to neglect its utility altogether. Yes there would be tragic unintended consequences, but let’s not forget the blood on our hands under the current regime. Remember the story about the beached starfish. An observer questioned the practicality of throwing individual starfish back into the sea, citing the thousands on the beach. The rescuer responded that it mattered to the one thrown back. And indeed it did.

Sadly my fellow progressives seem to have arrived at a prochoice consensus so rigid that they can’t even imagine why someone would argue on behalf of legal protection for the unborn. Anne Rice stands in contrast. I’m heartened that she continues to be “conscientiously curious and conscientiously concerned” regarding abortion.

Jeff said...

Hi Mike,

Sorry about the way these abortion topic posts keep getting buried before you get a chance to throw your responses in...

I agree about commending her for the soft voice. It is a much needed tonic in today's 2-minute cable news sound-byte world. I think she's about to find out what it feels like to take the lash of real criticism for wading into the culture wars like she has.

I think Rice is wrong to buy the meme that impugns the sincerity and consistency of anti-abortion folks. This grotesque stereotype is largely false.

A point that I failed to address, thank you.

As for the canard that abortion restrictions would not decrease the incidence of abortion... I think that the absolutism of Roe v. Wade does not even come close to reflecting the consensus in 1973, or the one that existed in 1988 or so, when Webster vs. Casey came down. I think with the rise of evangelicalism, the consensus has gotten even much more conservative since then. I'm assuming that the comments about laws that everyone was making on this thread earlier were around an outright ban and criminalization. I think that some kind of compromise at the national level (rather than a patchwork quilt of conflicting state laws) that reflects a national consensus needs to be arrived at somehow, but I'm not sure how it's going to happen. I know we can't stop them all, but can we ask to stop many, if not most? Can't everyone agree in principle that this is the right thing to want?

As for Anne Rice, I know she's short on details, but hey, at least it's something. Pro-life people of Democratic persusasion have waited a long time for at least something.

Jeff said...


Interesting remarks by Reese. Maybe that's why he's in the doghouse. :-)

Jeff said...


Again, thanks for your help. It's meant a hell of a lot to me!!

It's alright. don't mention it. :-)

Anonymous said...

mike, i respect you after our little tussle on the Spanish civil war. your moderation is commendable, but, in my opinion, respectable as i am of you your comments here are basically hard line anti-choice in a velvet glove.

For example, your charge that anti- abortion folks are caricatured does not seem to be accurate. At least the literature, writings ,speaking of the anti-abortion group , to me, is far more strident and irrational than the pro-choice folks.

I can't understand your statement that no compromise is possible until roe is overturned. to me, roe, is a compromise. as i read it and see it work out it does not make all abortions restrictions unconstitutional. so is your point that the anti-abortion group has become so welded to "repeal roe" that it is a mantra to the anti-abortion people.

your praise for moderation seems somewhat harmed by "blood of your hands" statement and the whole tone of the second part of your comment.

Mike, we could probably go on and on but let me, because I trust your honesty, as this question you heard a million times and goes do the sincerity of the anti=abortion cause. Why do the overwhelming majority of the anti-abortion group, with a couple of exceptions, always want to "charge" the doctor and not the women? To me this is sheer hyocrsy and at least casts some doubt on the anti=abortion message. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I have a solution. The solution is national free daycare, after school care, and year long schooling.

It will double our property taxes. But if you make parenting 'free' then no one will shy away from doing it.

That's the elephant in the room that conservatives don't want to talk about. A massive socialist entitlement to end abortion for sure.

Incidentally, it could also be created in such a way as to protect English as our national language. Free english daycare would surely protect the lingua americana.

Mike McG... said...


Thanks for you expression of respect. I offer the same back to you. I think it would be a great leap forward if people who disagree could at least understand each other. As social psychologist Jon Haidt writes, "It seems to be part of the nature of moral argument that one’s opponents are seen to be motivated by evil….But such moralization and demonization obscure the true nature of the conflict and make moderation or compromise into a moral failing – one should not negotiate with the devil. It is more accurate, and certainly more conducive to cooperation, to acknowledge that both sides are driven by their moral commitments…The two sides differ in their conceptions of the good, not in the goodness of their motivations."

In response to your comments:

1. My 'caricature' comments spoke to the characterization by prochoice elites of prolife rank and file, not prolife elites. I stand by those comments; they reflect my observation over many years.

If your point is that prolife activists are vile and hateful in their characterization of prochoice activists, we are in agreement. I would only add that prochoice activists return the favor.

2. I believe that Roe was intended as a compromise but I don't believe it has worked out that way. Virtually no abortion request, with the recent very rare exception of so-called partial birth abortions, can be denied. The rationale: 'health of the mother' exceptions are broadly interpreted to include mental health and late-term abortions can be requested on such grounds.

3. I am very sensitive to 'tone' and take your critique here quite seriously. I deplore much of the lurid language employed by prolife activists. However, Anon, there is no way to honestly deal with this issue without acknowledging that it spills blood and procures the death of the fetus. One may well claim that the woman's rights override the fetus' rights, but to sanitize the 'procedure' is, in my estimation, dishonest.

4. I am not sure I understand your point about prolife 'hypocrisy' for advocating prosecution of the doctor rather than the woman. Are you saying that if prolifers 'really' believed that human life was taken the woman should also be charged?

If so, my response would be as follows: prolifers would argue that the woman who has chosen to abort is particularly vulnerable and often weakly supported. As such, she is a second victim of abortion. The doctor is not vulnerable and thus fully responsible.

Anonymous said...

Mike. I agree with much you say. I'm tempted to challenge your analysis that an impregnated egg is a person and that removing it is tantamount to bloodshed in its crudest sense. Certainly you would agree that if a choice had to be made between a full=grown woman and a few undifferentiated cells in terms of what should survive,most would go with the former. The fact that health of the women might be abused is not an argument, it seems to me, to eliminate its legitimacy, but to condem its abuse.

Mike, you used the word "dishonest" once. I use the same word, but do not apply it to you. But having been involved in this issue for years, as you have,the argument that the women is weakly supported and under pressure, if fully accepted, would destroy our whole concept of Western jurisprudence. The fact the women is weakly supported as a justification for murder,as you seem to imply in the case of abortion, is without merit to me. The prolife proponents use the argument because they realize capital punishment or extended prison
terms for women who get abortions would so further weaken the pro-life position in the public eye to the degree their whole cause would be destroyed.

I hate to sound like Luther on a Catholic blog, but I can only stand firm on the dishonesty of the pressure, weakly supported claim justifies murder . My admiration for you stands firm as well despite what I think is your egregious error on the 'weakly' argument.

BTW, your quote from Haidt is straight from the Greeks[ Plato, Aristotle] and supposedly was being refuted by Paul when he said {loosely} "I know what is right but do wrong."

Hope we're still blog friends. From my view, we are. Jack

Jeff said...

Stopped in back home for an evening. Thought I'd check things out.


As far as the hot and emotional topic of abortion is concerned, I have some ground rules here. I would prefer that the terms that are used are to describe the competing sides in this debate be the terms in which they describe themselves. Discussions inevitably fall apart almost immediately otherwise.

I would prefer if you would please refer to people who call themselves pro-choice, as pro-choice.

I would prefer if you would please refer to people who call themselves pro-life, as pro-life, although I will accept the term anti-abortion.

Please do NOT use the term "anti-choice". That Orwellian Newspeak term will not be tolerated here.

Hi B.,

Interesting suggestion about the day care. Seems to me, that can accurately describe what they have in Europe, and as you know, there is hardly a population explosion going on there (By the way, IMHO, Haiti is not poor because it is overpopulated. Haiti is overpopulated because it is poor, due to unjust social structures). Now, if it was free medical care, then I think we'd be onto something, but I think you and I would both agree that statism is not what we need here... We don't need the state looking after people's children for them. I'd be more satisfied to see a living wage and more things actually made in this country. The real elephant in the room that the conservatives don't want to talk about is the root cause of the explosion of social pathologies that have devastated urban and rural America since the sixties - the loss of manufacturing jobs.


I'm sorry to have to tell you, I was really disappointed by that comment about "a few undifferentiated cells". Never mind just Catholicism, I don't see how it's a viewpoint that's compatible with any stripe of Christianity, be it Catholicism, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, or anything else.

jackjoe said...

Jeff, so anon. is Jack. Well you're right. My daughter urges me to use anon. for fear the Mafia or sombody will get me. She has never blogged.

I hope I was not the one who used the 'offensive' word. If I did I'll be carefull.

Hate like hell to disappoint you,but surely you don't believe a women's life or health should be seriously endangered by forcing her in all cases to carry a fetus to term? With thanks and respect, Jack

jackjoe said...

Jeff, don't know if this is kosher, but if you have a chance could you look on Liam's blog and read the questions from the three boys while you were gone. I added to it on the next blog down because I promised the boys I would not read their comments so I had to use the earlier blog. Jack. I would appreciate your opinion. You probably think I have the worst life possible. But now after you know my story, and this other story, I really don't think much about myself. Good therapy.

Jeff said...

Hi Jack. :-)

I think everyone here knows 'anonymous' is you by now. I'd like to turn anonymous posting back off now on this blog, if you don't mind. Let's be above board with everything we say here and in our dealings... No more secrets. As I'm sure you know from what happened to my church in recent years, continuing to carry on things in secret and with subterfuge has a long term corrosive effect that can wind up being worse than what one was trying to keep hidden in the first place.

Hate like hell to disappoint you,but surely you don't believe a women's life or health should be seriously endangered by forcing her in all cases to carry a fetus to term?

Well, I hate like hell to disappoint you too, but I probably will. ;-) What do you mean by health? It's a term that can be applied broadly, and has been stretched to include just about anything and everything.

Every woman who carries a child to term is assuming a risk that can put her life and health in danger. Childbirth, even with modern medical advances, is nothing to take lightly. My wife is 45 now, and has had 6 children already. We don't use artifical birth control. Every time we're intimate, this is something we bear in mind. She herself is the daughter of a woman with Type-1 Diabetetes who had four healthy children, regardless of the fact that she had been harangued by her doctors and nurses not to have any. This was back in the early sixties, and she even received hateful telephone calls about how reprehensible it was for her to even consider having children. This was back in the days when doctors thought they has the right to sterilize people whom they didn't deem worthy of having children. I wish I could sound more sympathetic to your point of view in this regard, but I have a hard time doing it.

The life and health of a mother is surely an issue to take seriously and wrestle with in these circumstances, but I don't think that referrring to the unborn child as a mass of undifferentiated cells is taking the other side of the equation so seriously.

The wisdom of the "world" would in most cases weigh in heavily against the fetus in these instances. I understand that, and that is why, as a Christian living in a pluralistic society, I am willing to deal in positions that are not absolutes... You think it is a sigm of illogic and hypocrisy to prosecute doctors rather than women. As Christians we are called to a wisdom that is different in some respects from the wisdom of the "world". Either we believe that God has a hand in our creation or not. Either God's will is manifested in our lives or it is not. Either we put our trust and faith in God in times of difficulty or we do not. Forget laws for a moment. Christ freed us from the law. We are now to live in freedom, but not merely for the sake of being free agents. We are supposed to use our freedom for selfless purposes.

I see illogic, therefore (in a Christian perspective), in supposing that children are merely products of genetic, evolutionary chance, or just a product of our individual choices. We are stewards of creation (and children), not the owners of life.

Like I said, not everyone in a pluralistic society is going to see things this way. I see the dilemma in these scenarios that represent the vast minority of cases. What then, of the abortions that are not threating to a woman's life or health?

jackjoe said...

Yes, Jeff, turn off anon. I think you know why I used it earlier. Your first paragraph did sting. Not "being above board", engaging in "subterfuge", and being a "corrosive effect" hurt a little. But I'm a 'big boy'. I gave you some personal information, which was probably not wise. I will stay clear.

As to your second paragraph you are free, of course, to be irritated by what I had to say as not well reasoned. Of course I have the same priledge with your response. I'm thinking now that the emphasis should be on "catholic" blog with less emphasis on "liberal". Jack Haynes

jackjoe said...

Jeff, apologies. I believe you do not want to be labeled "liberal". Jack Haynes

Jeff said...


My first paragraph had absolutely nothing to do with what you had told me in confidence in the past, but we are past that phase, aren't we? My remarks had nothing to do with that. I apologize if you took them as a reflection upon you.

As for my latter paragraphs, I think they should apply to Christians of any stripe, not just Catholics.

In any case, I've never called myself a liberal. If that's a problem for you or anybody else, please feel free to take it or leave it. I am what I am.

Jeff said...


By the way... hope you are still reading... I will not push you away, Jack. How could I? If you ever decide to leave, it will likely be by your own choice, not mine.

I read the testimony (and questions) of Frank, Glenn, Brett over at Liam's. It was moving, and I wouldn't have anything better to offer than what Liam has already said. Liam put it in his usual kind, logical, and graceful way, and that is why I put so much value on him as a friend and correspondent. Now you can see the "difference between the Liams" too. If I can add anything, it would be this...

The "juridicial" approach to confession has been largely put to rest (hopefully!). Rather than categorizing sins by name, category, and number, it is now referred to as the sacrament of reconciliation. It is closer now to the spiritual advisor model that was prevalent in the Celtic Church in the first millenium. A good priest would let these young men guide their own discussion the way they would like it to go, and would be be a healthy facilitator for that, in the best case. The priest will not be asking leading questions about private parts or anything like that unless they bring those matters up themselves. For a lifelong confession, I'm more inclined to think that these guys want to talk more about what God has meant in their lives than about sexual matters. If the priest does ask leading questions about private parts, etc... tell them not to walk out, but to run... I don't think, however, that they really need to worry about that happening.

Jeff said...



Just read your post about me. Too little too late, on my part I guess.

Garpu the Fork said...

OK. Now that I have a clue what this is all about, Jack, I think you're taking things way too seriously. A lot of things happen behind the scenes that occasional readers such as you and I have no clue about. I know I quit using anonymous comments because I got sick of the spam and sackless wonders (of the 18 year old radtrad variety), who saw fit to flame me over some of the things I posted. A lot of that other people never saw them, but I saw every damn comment because I have them emailed to me. In the end, this isn't a public forum, and it's Jeff's space. His space, his rules. He's not the enemy, and for every person who uses anon responsibly (like you) there are hordes more who don't.

Jeff: feel free to delete at will. I'm sick of you getting slammed every chance. I've said my piece.

jackjoe said...

thank you gapu. but jack had told jeff some very personal stuff from his younger days, and as i read jeff's reply it still seems like a slap. secrecy is bad; you tried to use secrecy earlier, jack; therefore you're bad.i hated it more because it was the last comment jack saw."i won't discuss it further". by the way jack's cousin from Harvard and the Sorbonne[name dropping} has addresed some of your issues. alice haynes