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Sarah Palin Apparently Thinks She’s A Catholic Theologian

Sarah-Palin-at-Podium

Sarah Palin is on a tour to promote her new book and the non-existent “War On Christmas.” and she apparently felt the need to weigh in on developments out of Rome in the wake of the elevation of Pope Francis to the Papacy:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) said Tuesday that some of the pope’s statements “sounded kind of liberal,” but assured CNN’s Jake Tapper that she wouldn’t necessarily trust her ears nor the “lamestream media” until she did her “own homework” on the matter.

“Having read through media outlets, he’s had some statements that to me sounded kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me,” the former Republican vice presidential nominee said on “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” “But there again unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I’m not going to just trust what I hear in the media.”

What’s amusing, of course, is that Palin is making the same mistake that the institution she often derides as the “lamestream media” does when discussing things that come out of Rome, she’s applying “left” and “right” labels traditionally used to talk about American politics to Catholic theology while at the same time clearly not understanding what that theology is all about. While I don’t pretend to be an expert in the subject myself, it doesn’t take much knowledge of the field to understand that nothing that Pope Francis has said is inconsistent with Church teaching, and that it’s completely inaccurate to describe it as being either “liberal” or “conservative.” Indeed, much of the explanation for the “change in tone” that we are seeing from those people can be exampled by a combination of his own personality, his Jesuit training, and the fact that he is clearly heavily influenced by the teachings of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi. This is is more prominent in the fact that he has chosen to forgo much of the regal trappings of the Papacy for a simpler lifestyle and that he has called on Bishops and Cardinals to do the same. The same is true of the fact that he has chosen to be more direct in the manner in which he emphasizes the Church’s work on behalf of, and concern for, the world’s poor, especially those in the Third World, which is after all the part of the world where Catholicism is growing the fastest. Similarly, his comments about the Church being more compassionate toward gays and lesbians, while continuing to adhere to Catholic teaching that sexual relationships outside of a male-female marriage are sinful, is entirely consistent with Church teaching on the matter. It’s not “liberal,” nor it is “conservative.” At the most, it’s choosing to emphasize and more compassionate side of Church teaching, which shouldn’t really be something that gets a meaningless political label attached to it.

In other words, it doesn’t take much to understand what Pope Francis is doing and saying as long as you understand the background that it’s based upon. Of course, that requires being able to apply a level of nuance to a subject that stretches back through 2,000 years of human history that both Palin and the media she loves to criticize are, generally, utterly incapable of doing. The fact that Palin herself isn’t Catholic only makes the effort to comment on the subject all the more filled with error and failure.

Here’s an idea for talking heads like Palin, stick with what you know rather than pretending to understand what you clearly don’t.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mike Licari says:

    What does someone who knows nothing talk about then?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 2

  2. Xerxes says:

    Everything you said here, Doug, I agree. But one tiny point to bring up: Palin was raised Catholic. Her parents are practicing Catholics still. Sarah left the Catholic Church after college according to her bio.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. Sejanus says:

    “Here’s an idea for talking heads like Palin, stick with what you know rather than pretending to understand what you clearly don’t.”

    Oh I get it, you’re asking her to never speak ever again.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    Part of the problem is that the hierarchy of the Catholic church in America has become conservative. Pope Francis is a Jesuit and they are a different breed of Catholic so they should have known they were going to get a different breed of Pope. Describing the Jesuit Order as liberal is probably not that far off. In addition to being priests many Jesuits are also respected scientists.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  5. slimslowslider says:

    Paging Rod Dreher, paging Rod Dreher!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. Mu says:

    nothing that Pope Francis has said is inconsistent with Church teaching
    It is impossible for him to say anything that’s inconsistent with Church teaching – anything he says becomes church teaching if he insists “ex cathedra”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  7. Pinky says:

    Doug, did you even read the Palin quote? She’s saying the same thing as you are, that you need to look at the history and context of the Church to really understand what Francis is saying. You agree with her. She’s saying that pulling a couple of statements out of context can make them appear to say something different than intended. She’s calling for nuance, and you’re calling her incapable of nuance because of it.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 22

  8. CB says:

    Nobody should pay attention to what she says. Nobody.

    At this point, shes nothing but a self perpetuating marketing machine.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  9. An Interested Party says:

    She’s calling for nuance, and you’re calling her incapable of nuance because of it.

    Umm, not really…what she is doing is trying to take a potshot at the “lamestream media” because she seems to find it hard to believe that the Pope would say anything that is *GASP* “liberal”…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  10. Mr. Replica says:

    Hmm. Sarah Palin said something that draws attention to herself. She must have something to sell…

    *checks the interwebs*

    Oh hey, look at that, a new book.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  11. Rick Almeida says:

    @Mu:

    It is impossible for him to say anything that’s inconsistent with Church teaching – anything he says becomes church teaching if he insists “ex cathedra”.

    This is not quite the case.

    Pope John Paul II wrote “[T]he conditions for the Roman Pontiff’s exercise of the infallible…can be summarized in this way: the Pope must act as “the shepherd and teacher of all Christians,” pronouncing on truths regarding “faith and morals,” in terms clearly showing his intention to define a certain truth and to require definitive assent of all Christians.”

    I think the past time a Pope spoke ex cathedra was in 1950.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  12. C. Clavin says:

    If only Palin were as fictional as Christ.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 12

  13. John425 says:

    I can accept Palin’s point of view and take it in stride. What galls me is Hillary thinking she is God.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 50

  14. Pinky says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Umm, not really…what she is doing is trying to take a potshot at the “lamestream media” because she seems to find it hard to believe that the Pope would say anything that is *GASP* “liberal”…

    Come on. She was going to take a shot at the media anyway, and as for the coverage of the Pope, some of it has made him sound like what in the US we would call “liberal”. Look at Ron’s comment. He’s fine with casting Francis and the American bishops on the liberal/conservative continuum, and I don’t think anyone’s going to write articles decrying him for it.

    Here’s a test. If Joe Biden in 2007 said that “Benedict sounds like a conservative, or at least the Fox News crowd is trying to make it sound like he is, but if you read what he’s actually saying you’ll understand that he’s speaking to the entirety of Catholic tradition”, would anyone have written an article making fun of him for it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  15. Grange95 says:

    Implicit in Palin’s comments is the conceit common among many Republicans that liberalism is incompatible with–and even opposed to–Christianity. Palin and her ilk find it unfathomable that many Christians concerned with issues of social justice might find Democratic political positions more compatible with their religious beliefs. Yet there is a reason that American Catholics have historically supported Democratic candidates, and why many evangelical Christians (particularly yoinger evangelicals) are trending toward the Democratic Party.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 0

  16. Ken says:

    Sarah Palin is on a tour to promote her new book

    Which makes her one of those exceedingly rare people who have written more books than they have read

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 54 Thumb down 1

  17. KM says:

    Exactly what is His Holiness doing that’s so liberal? From all accounts, the man is acting like a superb role model in life and in faith. He is doing his job – serving the faithful and world the best he can. Is acting in a Christ-like manner so unusual to her and her world that it’s “liberal” (the catchall term for “things I oppose/don’t like/fear”)?

    Honestly, I’m not that religious but I can’t find a thing for Sarah to complain about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  18. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Ugh. If I never see anything from her ever again I’m fine with that. Please OTB, don’t encourage her and let her sink back into the anonymity she richly deserves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  19. Gustopher says:

    Is the Pope involved in the War On Christmas?

    I actually suspect that he might be… more emphasis on doing good, less emphasis on Christmas carols and getting presents.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  20. Pinky says:

    @Grange95: That may be part of her thinking. I know you’ll find some people who think that way. But it’s not implicit in her statement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  21. slimslowslider says:

    @Pinky:

    Joe Biden is a practicing Catholic, so that deflects some of the would be criticism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  22. C. Clavin says:

    @Ken:
    Ken wins the thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  23. al-Ameda says:

    I can see why she’s popular – in a watch a NASCAR race kind of way. Everyone wants to see the spin outs into the infield and the crashes into the walls at the turns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  24. JoshB says:

    “Sarah Palin apparently thinks…”

    I found a problem with the headline, Doug. There is yet to be any evidence to suggest she thinks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  25. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Palin seems to have a better grasp of Catholic theology than either soi-disant Catholics like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, or most anyone named Kennedy…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 28

  26. CSK says:

    @Xerxes:

    It’s true Palin was baptized Roman Catholic, but when the family moved to Alaska, they joined a Pentecostal church. Palin was a small child at the time, so she “left” the Catholic church long before college.

    This past weekend she made a doozy of a comment that I’m surprised didn’t go viral. Speaking to someone in Iowa, she said that her mom went from being a Catholic to being a Christian when the family aligned themselves with the Pentecostals.

    Someone should tell her that, ahem, Roman Catholics are, in fact, Christians.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  27. beth says:

    Did Jake Tapper really interview someone about a book on the War on Christmas? What’s he going to tackle next – the all important question of what’s the correct way for the toilet paper roll to hang? Remember when CNN covered real news?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  28. Pinky says:

    @CSK: That’s very common evangelical-speak.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  29. beth says:

    @CSK: Wow I hadn’t heard that. The only thing I miss about Keith Olbermann was his utter joy in saying “That woman is an idiot”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  30. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @CSK: “Christian” is used as a shorthand term for various non-denominational groups that tend toward the evangelical. It’s not intended as a slight towards any other form of Christianity, and most other Christian denominations don’t take it as a slight.

    One example of what you’re talking about, though, are the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, who are a white supremacist group. They are one of the few groups on the SPLC’s Hate Groups list that actually deserve to be there.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 25

  31. Tillman says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: Can we all just listen to this dude and stop caring about her? Honestly, there’s too much factionalization around assaulting or defending a person who does not matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  32. Anderson says:

    until she did her “own homework” on the matter.

    Not until the Greek Calends, IOW.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  33. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Jenos, I don’t think anyone is interested in what Palin actually said. This is a feeding frenzy. That being said, I wouldn’t say that most Christians are fine with the evangelical phrasing, but they understand it. What bothers me is when Palin-bashing (or Obama-bashing, or whoever-bashing) focuses on a vernacular that a good chunk of the population uses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  34. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Pinky: You have to understand: Doug has a fixation on Palin. He can’t let any mention of her go uncommented-upon. And the Palin hatred is strong among the Usual Gang of Idiots who comment here.

    And I accept your modification on “Christian.” To clarify what I was trying to say, those who go by “Christian” are trying to emphasize that they are not Baptist, Episcopal, Catholic, Mormon, Pentecostalist, Methodist, Lutheran, or any of the other denominations, but “Christian” in an almost generic sense. Yes, they tend to believe that they have The One True Faith, but that is true of pretty much every other denomination. It’s essential — if you don’t think that your faith is The One True Way, or at least The Truest Way, then why the hell do you belong to it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  35. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Yup. We agree on the evangelical use of the term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  36. Buffalo Rude says:

    @CSK:

    Someone should tell her that, ahem, Roman Catholics are, in fact, Christians.

    But everyone known Papist are not real Christians. At least not like the true patriot Christians in “real” ‘Murika.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  37. Pinky says:

    @Buffalo Rude: Are you saying that anti-Catholicism is more of a phenomenon of the American right than of other countries or political leanings?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  38. C. Clavin says:

    @beth:
    It rolls over the top…otherwise the pretty floral print would show…and hotel folds wouldn’t work
    Also…the egg came first.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. gVOR08 says:

    Yes – applying left and right as defined in the context of 2013 US politics to the Vatican, other cultures, or history, is a questionable exercise.

    However, the Vatican ambassador to the US reportedly told the bishops back off on ideology. And at the end of the TPM link in Doug’s post you get

    Francis raised eyebrows in September when he criticized corners of the church for being “obsessed” with “small-minded rules” on abortion, gay marriage and contraception. The pope later reiterated that abortion was wrong.

    It’s easy to feel like Francis IS talking about US politics in 2013 and feels the Church in the US should be less activist.

    Given that their activism has been largely conservative, I don’t know that Palin’s wrong to feel the new Pope has said things that “sounded kind of liberal,”, at least in comparison to what many might expect him to say. TPM didn’t provide much context, but the rest of what Palin said just sounds like trying to back out of hole she’d talked herself into. I wouldn’t read much into it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  40. C. Clavin says:

    BTW…the Govenor of Hawaii has signed the same-sex marriage bill…so there’s another Christian thing that “Real Christians” don’t like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  41. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “To clarify what I was trying to say, those who go by “Christian” are trying to emphasize that they are not Baptist, Episcopal, Catholic, Mormon, Pentecostalist, Methodist, Lutheran, or any of the other denominations, but “Christian” in an almost generic sense.”

    Actually, what they’re trying to emphasize is that they are real Christians, and all those Baptists, Episcopalians, Catholics, Mormons, Methodists, Lutherans and all the rest are not.

    It’s like claiming you’re a “real American” because you live in a state where your senator represents fewer people than the mayor of a mid-size city.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  42. Pinky says:

    @wr: It’s more complicated than that. The evangelical typically doesn’t look to an established church as proof of his Christianity. He would therefore not consider someone attending a, say, Baptist church as proof of that person’s Christianity. An individual Baptist may be a Christian if he gives himself over to Jesus, but that’s considered separately from denomination. I haven’t checked the original Palin quote, but a person may well claim to have found God and become Christian when they stopped attending their established church.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Considering what a lot of Protestant sects think about the Roman Catholic Church, I beg to differ….

    They know EXACTLY what they’re sounding like. Haven’t you run into any of the “Whore of Babylon” insults?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  44. Rafer Janders says:

    @Mu:

    It is impossible for him to say anything that’s inconsistent with Church teaching – anything he says becomes church teaching if he insists “ex cathedra”.

    It’s really not impossible — if, for example, the Pope suddenly started insisting that there is no God but Allah, and that Mohammed is his Messenger, I seriously doubt that this would suddenly become Church doctrine to be taught in Sunday School that weekend…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  45. Tillman says:

    @grumpy realist: Maybe I come from a group of mellow Christians, but I figured calling the Catholic church “the whore of Babylon” died out in pop culture around Roosevelt’s fourth term. Or maybe it was the Kennedy assassination.

    Can’t speak for evangelicals though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Christian” is used as a shorthand term for various non-denominational groups that tend toward the evangelical. It’s not intended as a slight towards any other form of Christianity, and most other Christian denominations don’t take it as a slight.

    Sheer nonsense. It’s certainly intended as a slight (how else could it be intended?) and many other denominations do indeed take it as that. Catholics certainly do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  47. Rafer Janders says:

    @Tillman:

    Maybe I come from a group of mellow Christians, but I figured calling the Catholic church “the whore of Babylon” died out in pop culture around Roosevelt’s fourth term.

    I’ve heard stuff like that from evangelicals in Texas and Oklahoma within the last five years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  48. Tillman says:

    @Rafer Janders: The word’s meaning has been polluted trying to cater to a segment of the population particular about what they’re called, thus offending the rest of us who have to dissociate ourselves every time the word comes up in conversation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  49. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    To clarify what I was trying to say, those who go by “Christian” are trying to emphasize that they are not Baptist, Episcopal, Catholic, Mormon, Pentecostalist, Methodist, Lutheran, or any of the other denominations, but “Christian” in an almost generic sense.

    Just like when I say that I’m an “American”, I’m trying to emphasize that I’m not Jewish, Hindu, Moslem, Buddhist, Hispanic, Italian, Polish, Arab, African-American, Indian, Chinese-American, South Asian-American, etc., but “American” in a generic white Christian sense…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  50. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I grew up in fundamentalist and evangelical circles, and referring to oneself as “Christian” in opposition to being “Catholic” was absolutely an intentional anti-Papist slight. Catholics were idol worshippers (saints and Mary), little better than Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, and definitely *not* Christians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  51. Dave D says:

    I never thought I’d be defending Palin, but if you look at the recent history of the Catholic Church in the US it is hard to not apply said labels. Look at when Paul Ryan who the day before had been hyping his Catholic bona fides released his budget and a large group of nuns started protesting him. In the US since the whole molestation thing hit, there has been a liberal vs conservative battle in the upper reaches of the church. Usually where your have the Nuns and Society of Jesus on a more liberal, social justice and poverty concerned side. And the Bishops and Cardinals on the more anti-abortion conservative social issues side. Now can we apply that to the political leanings of the Pope? Unlikely, but in left vs right terms unless you closely follow the goings on of the Church you easily can fail to see both are preaching to the Beliefs of the Church, it is just where they decide to emphasize their doctrine.

    And the case with Jesuits being scientists it is because they need a PhD in religion and in another area so they tend to be the most educated of the orders. When St. Ignatius started the order it was to educate the children of the nobility and to be missionaries. Eventually some in the Royal courts in Europe realized they had amassed a lot of power and influence. But primarily they are teachers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  52. Gustopher says:

    I really, really hope Palin’s book sells well.

    Every dollar spent there is a dollar that could otherwise be spent opposing the things that I care about. Sarah Palin is by far my favorite right wing pundit/politician.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  53. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Probably, Kathleen Sebelius would do a much better job explaining Catholic theology. She explains things incredibly well. And often.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  54. An Interested Party says:

    Come on. She was going to take a shot at the media anyway…

    Oh please, as if that was just some after-thought rather than one of her main points…arguing that is about as ridiculous as trying to claim that people referring to certain Christian sects as “Christian” while not others isn’t an intended slight against those other sects…

    @11B40: Nice to see that your ODS is so strong that you feel the need to hijack threads that have nothing at all to do with your bête noire…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  55. Peterh says:

    Someone should tell her that, ahem, Roman Catholics are, in fact, Christians.

    I heard tell, the lions will attest to that…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  56. crysalis says:

    Comparable and proportionally accurate counter-headline ” Barack Obama apparently thinks he is an honest person.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  57. Pinky says:

    @Dave D: Your post is very incorrect. “Nuns” cover a wide range of apostolates and beliefs. The heirarchy isn’t conservative, at least as you’re using the word. The sexual molestation scandals didn’t exacerbate the “right”/”left” tensions. Abortion isn’t an issue; excommunication of pro-abortion politicians is. Jesuits are maybe more publicly “liberal”, but not only is it more complicated than that, but there’s a strong minority in the Jesuit community that’s dynamic and orthodox.

    Edited to add: that comment of mine is too harsh. You made some valid points. But a lot of what you said is off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  58. crysalis says:

    Someone should tell her that, ahem, Roman Catholics are, in fact, Christians.

    And yet, strangely, the Catholic church persecuted Protestants for 350 years through this little thing called the inquisition.

    Yeah, they’re just one and the same and Palin is – of course- a complete loony for making a distinction.

    Hint to liberals. If you’re completely ignorant about a subject the best choice is to keep your mouth closed so as not to reveal your lack of knowledge. Making a fool of yourself does little to enhance your credibility. I know it gives you street cred on web sites like OTB but other than that… well then you get silly little folks like me pointing out that you really don’t have much of a clue about , well, you know, … facts and history and stuff.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 19

  59. mattbernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Christian” is used as a shorthand term for various non-denominational groups that tend toward the evangelical. It’s not intended as a slight towards any other form of Christianity, and most other Christian denominations don’t take it as a slight.

    Clearly you’ve never had a discussion with more extreme Evangelicals or Protestants. Many I’ve talked with very clearly use the Christian/Catholic divide as a slight towards Catholics.

    And in none of those many conversations have I ever heard “Christian” used to differentiate non-denominational evangelicals or charismatic Christians from *Protestants.*

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  60. Dave D says:

    @Pinky: I was never arguing the nuance of the situation. My apologies for not expressing that well enough after rereading it. My point was to an outside observer who likely doesn’t follow the trappings of the Catholic Church closely it may appear that way. I also understand the habit comes with many different forms but I have seen and heard of more seemingly left groups of nuns than not. Not saying that they are left, but seemingly seem to highlight the more compassionate social justice teachings of the church. This may be due to the role they play with community outreach and teaching idk. Every Catholic group is against abortion, I understand that I should have been more specific. As with the child abuse there has been a large split with whistelblower groups and catholics for truth an the like. These are usually started by nuns and low ranking priests as victims rights groups in the face of the Bishops and Cardinals that sheltered these men for so long. As with any diverse group of people who advocate a very strong belief there are going to be a lot of differing voices. I didn’t mean to minimize that this situation like most in life it isn’t black and white, nuns do this cardinals do this. But to a casual observer who wasn’t raised in the Church and may just have a cursory view from a quote here or there from a Catholic advocacy group or the Pope, it may seem that way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  61. Pinky says:

    @Dave D: Like I said, my earlier comment was over-harsh. This is just so much more complicated than the press depicts it. For example, the women’s religious orders in America: the largest split is between the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). This is partly generational, the former being more baby-boomer and the latter being newer orders. The LCWR is more politically active. The press, as I commented on an earlier thread, loves to cast stories in terms of conflict, and they play up a fake narrative of the LCWR versus the hierarchy. Eh, you know what, it’s late and Windows ate my last comment, so I’m just going to stop typing. Suffice it to say that I agree with Palin that you have to look beyond the press stories to understand what’s going on: not that it’s covert or confusing, but just that the press does a really bad job of religious reporting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  62. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mattbernius: Clearly you’ve never had a discussion with more extreme Evangelicals or Protestants. Many I’ve talked with very clearly use the Christian/Catholic divide as a slight towards Catholics.

    The devout Christians I’ve been close friends with disagreed with the Catholics, but weren’t looking for any fights with them.

    What I do hear an awful lot of, though, are people who are openly anti-religious talking about conflicts between denominations of Christians, conflicts between Christians and Jews, and whatnot. I have two theories:

    1) They’re trying to stir up fights between the groups, so they don’t become the natural allies that their faiths should push them to be;

    2) The anti-religious bigots are projecting their own stereotypes on to the religious, even to the point of making up anecdotes to reinforce their point.

    I’m an atheist, but I’ve had far better interactions with the devoutly religious than I have with the militant atheists. And yes, I make my lack of belief clear as soon as it becomes relevant.

    And let’s never forget:

    Bill Clinton: Baptist
    Hillary Clinton: Methodist
    Harry Reid: Mormon
    Nancy Pelosi: Catholic
    Joe Biden: Catholic

    and…

    Barack Obama: former member of Trinity United Church of Christ, now non-denominational Christian.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  63. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Mike Licari: In Korea where I am teaching, my students are reluctant to do speaking exercises where they need to use language like “I think” or “I believe.” Some of the reluctance is cultural, but a lot of it seems to be related to their school training where people who don’t know things do not opine about them. I often tell them that in America, we have opinions on everything–not having any actual knowledge on the subject makes no difference at all. So, we can always say “I think…” about anything.

    Surprisingly, this explanation helps them to do the exercise and use the language.

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  64. CB says:

    @crysalis:

    “In all lies there is wheat among the chaff…”

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  65. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: I was going to weigh in on this particular comment from “no ponytail,” but declined for two reasons. First, you all are doing a bang up job of deconstructing his words (and I DO agree with your take on this particularly as MY DIRECT experience in the language of Evangelicals).

    Second, as I watched him trying to backpedal in the doubling down manner that he uses, I realized that the comment was REALLY only offered to defend Palin–one of his favorite members of the right wing brain(less) trust. His words, as usual, actually mean nothing.

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  66. Dave D says:

    @Pinky: Life is always easier and gets more attention when it is placed in a black or white box, and or conflict is involved. I think we were both trying to say the same thing… This issue is complicated like almost every issue in life, and it is presented poorly in the media. This is likely because the media does a terrible job conveying nuance and stirring up strife leads to much better ratings. All in all it is easy to see things in simple terms if your have ancillary knowledge on the subject.

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  67. grumpy realist says:

    @crysalis: So you’re saying that Roman Catholics aren’t Christian, then?

    That’s the only logical conclusion I can draw from the word salad you just spat out. For someone ranting about how commentators on OTB don’t know anything—your own communication skills seem to be lacking.

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  68. KM says:

    I’ve always felt that newer sects of a religion must demonize their predecessors in order to explain why they are the One True Way, Pure From the Start. After all, they must have fallen aside for this new group to be needed – otherwise, they’d still be part of the first! So Christians demonized Jews,Lutherans demonized Catholics, the Church of England demonized Catholics, Baptists demonize the Church of England, etc…. all to explain why people should listen to them as the new kid on the block. Whether or not the griefs were legitimate, you kinda have to give the mother branch crap in order to create your own identity (I’m against them!! instead of And I’m for..???)

    Since evangelicals think they originate straight from Christ rather than a sect of a sect of a sect, they talk smack about their elders to boost themselves. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

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  69. Rick Almeida says:

    @Pinky:

    Not sure why people are downvoting Pinky on these posts, he’s pretty spot on in his observations of the internal workings of the Roman Catholic church and the shoddiness of reporting on religion.

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  70. rachel says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: It can also help to suggest they for less formal discussions they use “I feel (that)…” or “It seems to me (that)…” instead because even people who don’t know everything about a situation can have feelings or intuitions about it. Something like this:

    “I feel that President Park didn’t keep her promise to give more pension money to retired people because…”
    “It seems to me that Psy is…”

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  71. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Rick Almeida: I agree, there are times when Pinky, (and on rarer occasions Jenos) actually do make valid arguments that seem to be down- voted anyway. It really is true that the messenger is more important than the message to many people. I don’t care if you are a non-sense spouting idiot 99% of the time. If you say, “The sky is blue”… I’ll say “here here!”

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  72. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    I don’t care if you are a non-sense spouting idiot 99% of the time. If you say, “The sky is blue”… I’ll say “here here!”

    Yeah, but there is also “the boy who cried wolf” phenomenon. If you’re a nonsense spouting idiot 99% of the time, it soon becomes really really hard for anyone to notice the 1% of the time you make sense.

    If you want to be taken seriously, act seriously. If you want to be a liar, expect people to treat you like a liar.

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  73. Pharoah Narim says:

    I’ve been on both sides of the coin–raised catholic, attended catholic primary schools (some of the best by the way), left the catholic church, and later became active in evangelical, non denominational churches.

    What I can tell you is that denominations and their interpretation of scripture and formulation of doctrine are directly related to the mental and emotional maturity of the leaders and individuals in that movement. It always serves as a marker to me when people say “Catholics are X, Protestants are Y, etc” that the speaker in question is incapable of being overly introspective into human nature. We all understand that almost no group of people is monolithic–its just that its ok to do it to religious groups as opposed to ethnic and racial groups. Either way, the person that does it to one group is doing it from the same motivation as those who do it to others. Same hose, the difference is whether the grass, flowers, or trees are being watered.

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  74. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Rafer Janders: You are correct, there is a shut-off switch in the human psyche for such people and it IS a labor to try to give their thoughts objectivity. I work at it–hard.

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  75. Barry says:

    @Mu: Wrong; Papal infallibility only applies when he’s speaking ‘ex Cathedra’ (which means something other than just saying something).

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  76. Pharoah Narim says:

    Yes its true, many fundamentalist circles do not consider Catholics “saved”. But many evangelicals do consider them fellow Christians for the simple reason that in order to be a Catholic you have to accept Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. They believe many of the extra-biblical practices and beliefs of Catholics are in error but nothing that conflicts with or nullifies the original decision to follow Christ.

    Three people read the Bible, one comes away thinking everyone who doesn’t believe will go to hell, one thinks God is Love, the other thinks it was a complete waste of time reading a fairytale. What you come away with says more about who YOU are than what the Bible says or doesn’t say. I don’t have a problem with fundamentalists because its obvious who they are and it makes them easy to avoid. These people are extreme tribalists and and they bring strict conformity to everything in their life and attitudes….including the bible. They often are the least knowledgeable about the bible and are easy defeated in debates where they aren’t preaching to the choir (which most of their time is spent doing).

    Most evangelicals are live and let live types but you would never know it unless you interact with the 99% who are not involved in the Church Industry or Religious Political community. Fundamentalists are Evangelicals but not all Evangelicals are Fundamentalists. Its really the same dynamic as the Tea Party / Republican Party. Evangelicals simply want to market Christianity around the world and get people to accept the message. If you don’t accept it–fine. Their job is done. They are less interested in what denomination you belong to after conversion. They believe that there is right and wrong but people have the right to pursue wrong choices without legal compulsion (abortion being the exception). You can’t have a feel for what evangelicals feel from their TV portrayal anymore than you can have a feel for what African Americans feel by watch Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson on TV. I have spent time in the community–they are largely regular folks. BTW–I am not evangelical.

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  77. Pinky says:

    @Rick Almeida: I’ve found that the more I find out about any subject, the more I find errors in the press coverage of it. It leaves you with the creepy feeling that they never get more than 80% of their information right in any story.

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  78. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I think the pro-life movement did quite a bit to alleviate the tension between evangelicals and Catholics. There’s still tension – I mean, they disagree, so it makes sense – but there’s a sense of being on the same team. I recently saw Jack Van Impe talking about the pope. I paraphrase – “The pope is not the Anti-Christ. A lot of people allege that the pope is the Anti-Christ, but the Bible is clear that he’s not the Anti-Christ. He may be the false prophet of the Anti-Christ.” :)

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  79. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Pinky: The only tension was between the talking heads with empires to build and the “tea-party” wings of each denomination. Basically a few noisy trouble makers.

    Any doctrine attempting to link “Anti-Christ hood” to public figures of the day is on shaky ground from the beginning. The Book of John records that the Anti Christ was on earth “now” (meaning, when the letter was written). Last I checked, Pope Francis, Obama, Hitler, (insert your favorite bad guy), wasn’t around before the third century which is the latest date ascribed to the authors of the New Testament. Evangelicals are nice people….but easily separated from their money when someone with Rev behind their name uses a few profitable buzzwords. Sarah Palin has learned how to tap into the loose slot machine.

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  80. G.A.Phillips says:

    Barack Obama: former member of Trinity United Church of Christ, now non-denominational Christian. lol, and I thought he was a smug prick.

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  81. JohnMcC says:

    Very early in this thread a perceptive comment put out a call for Rod Dreher. His latest at American Conservative (always worth the time — free plug) is entitled: Pope Francis & Two Catholic Tribes at War.

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  82. John McC,

    It’s worth noting that Dreher is an Eastern Orthodox Christian, not a Roman Catholic.

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  83. mattbernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    What I do hear an awful lot of, though, are people who are openly anti-religious talking about conflicts between denominations of Christians, conflicts between Christians and Jews, and whatnot. I have two theories:

    1) They’re trying to stir up fights between the groups, so they don’t become the natural allies that their faiths should push them to be;

    2) The anti-religious bigots are projecting their own stereotypes on to the religious, even to the point of making up anecdotes to reinforce their point.

    Option 3, you haven’t been exposed to any of these fights.

    Trust me, if you look across my posts, you’ll see I’m clearly not anti-religious. But my life has brought me into a lot of situations that you — as an avowed aethist — would not be in. This includes tent revivals, campus Christian group meetings, Christian Youth Camps and Summits, etc.

    Depending where you are in the country, the entire Evangelical/Catholic divide is very real. And that’s before we get to the deep divides between Christians and non-Christians. And this often plays out among the conservative and liberal divides within christian bodies (heck even within the same general denominations… many of the more Conservative Lutherans see the Liberal synods as one step away from Uniterianism).

    To Pinky’s point, many of these issues are pretty complex, and often to appreciate the meaning of certain terms you need to have spent a lot of time on this inside first. Hell, you need a degree in theology to even start to understand the high Protestant argument that the Pope is the Anti-Christ.

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  84. Grewgills says:

    The Leadership Conference of the Women Religious has been in pretty high profile conflict with American Catholic hierarchy for a while now over this divide. The women religious as a group is less doctrinal and organized most of their effort in social justice and poverty issues rather than spending many resources opposing abortion and gay marriage. The Church hierarchy sent minders to help realign their priorities. That can be seen as a political fight that aligns along a contemporary American Right Left axis. Francis’ recent statements seem to indicate support for the position of the women religious in part of that battle.

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  85. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: The LCWR leadership is far more doctrinal, just a different doctrine.

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  86. JohnMcC says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You are correct, sir, and I apologize if it seemed I was trying to misinform our fellow OTBers. It is also true that a great deal of his spiritual journey was made in the RC Church. Whether that’s important to one or not — everyone can make up their own minds.

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  87. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Arguable, but beside the larger point.
    There is a liberal conservative divide within the American Catholic church, because they are Americans and so divided on that line along with the rest of the country. In broadly generalized terms, the liberals in the Church want the Church to tone down their rhetoric on abortion and gays and focus that energy of the Church on alleviating poverty and on other social justice issues. The politically conservative in the Church want to continue the high level of focus and energy being put into anti abortion and anti gay marriage issues. Francis’ recent statements tend more to support the way the liberals in the American Church want Church resources allocated. In that sense he MAY seem liberal on the American political spectrum, but it doesn’t extend much beyond that and some slightly more inclusive messaging.

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  88. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: I just don’t think that’s accurate.

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  89. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    I went to a Jesuit High School in the deep south and have taught in Catholic schools (mostly Marionist schools West of the Rockies) since and that is a divide I have seen there. I was in a Catholic girls school when Benedict was elevated and an audible groan passed through the school.

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