Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Friday, May 07, 2004
The counter-McCarrick ad

Here's the American Life League ad directed at Cardinal McCarrick for his flaccid stand on communion and pro-abortion Catholics. I have mixed views on it.

First, it's a brilliant ad. And the first card it plays -- that the Passion establishes the Christian's only baseline entitlement to "comfort" -- is spot-on. (That's my first objection to the expression "death with dignity": the Passion is the most dignified death we can claim as of right; anything better is a gift from God.)

But second, I'm not sure about laypeople attacking bishops this way. Not that bishops are per se above criticism. My problem, rather, is that ads like this smack too much of the "we can't do anything until our bishops give us the lead" attitude. That's clericalist and no good. Laypeople have an obligation to act on the truth in the public arena even if they don't get support from their bishops.

But third, it's probably constructive to send the opinion-making world a signal that the bishops are subject to criticism from the (so to speak) "right" as well as from the (so to speak) "left". I think many in the mediacracy have this idea that the laity are uniformly pulling the hierarchy toward compromise and airheaded "reform", and that the bishops constitute a conservative force trying to hold back the liberal tide. To the extent pro-lifers can show that the tide is also pushing from the other direction, this may make it easier for bishops to follow the path blazed by Archbishops Burke, O'Malley, and Myers, and Bishop Galante and others.

On the whole -- two cheers for the American Life League!