Thursday 17th January 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Language As A Political Tool

August 17, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By STEPHEN M. KRASON

(Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s “Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic” column appears monthly [sometimes bi-monthly] in Crisis. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. Among his books are: Abortion: Politics, Morality, and the Constitution; The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic; Catholicism and American Political Ideologies, and a Catholic political novel, American Cincinnatus. This column originally appeared in Crisismagazine.com. His views, of course, are his own.)

+ + +

I always recall the statement by the renowned international anti-euthanasia activist Rita Marker that “verbal engineering precedes social engineering.” Even a quick examination of current controversies in the sociopolitical arena provides abundant confirmation of this.
One obvious current example is how the defenders of virtually uninhibited immigration or open borders choose readily to ignore that massive numbers of people are in outright violation of the law by referring to them as “undocumented immigrants” instead of “illegal aliens” — even while it’s not clear what “undocumented” means. The aim, of course, is to make it seem like these people have done nothing against the law and to create a different picture in the public mind — as part of a political propaganda war — than what is the reality.
The manipulation of language has been a significant feature of the fifty-odd years of the abortion wars. Early on, the pro-abortionists frequently used the term “blob of tissue” to dehumanize the unborn child and thereby try to put down the obvious moral objections and claims that there was a right to life. After science made the blob of tissue claim increasingly difficult to sustain, we haven’t heard it so much and the justifying rhetoric shifted to “choice” and “freedom to choose.” “Choice,” of course, generates an approving ring in a culture ever more fixated on rights and with a deepening individualistic ethos. Opposing choice immediately puts one on the defensive, putting the onus on him to justify himself.
While people seem hardly to have noticed, terminology helped at an early stage to give legitimacy to the effort to mainstream homosexual behavior. The use of the term “gay” to refer to male homosexuals entered the American lexicon widely in the 1970s and quickly became the new term to universally identify them and their sexual behavior. Most people previously had understood the term to mean sprightly, lively, full of fun, exuberant. While it’s not clear that the usage of this term was deliberately intended by the early homosexualist movement to help advance their agenda, it likely had that effect — and they certainly didn’t discourage it.
In fact, some in that movement now claim that the term “homosexual” is almost the equivalent of a racial slur. It’s likely that a term that people associated with a joyful attitude was going to affect people’s conception of homosexuality and their reaction to it. Even if not intended, “gay” fit well into the homosexualist movement’s agenda and helped advance their cause. It also provided cover for the ugliness of homosexual behavior that had traditionally caused people to recoil from it and also for its physical and psychological consequences, AIDS and all the rest. Some groups deliberately hijacked other terms to try to legitimize homosexuality, as seen with the name of the (supposedly) Catholic pro-homosexualist organization Dignity.
Speaking of euthanasia, we see its proponents routinely using verbal manipulation to reshape thinking. This obviously explains why someone like Rita Marker is so attuned to it. At the forefront is the claim that what is sought is simply “death with dignity” (cultural radicals seem to like to grab that term “dignity”). The attempt obviously is to create sympathy in the mind of the hearer. Although no one is quite sure what “death with dignity” means, it sounds right. After all, doesn’t everyone want his dignity to be upheld, even more so when he is close to the point where his earthly existence will end. This, of course, obscures the fact that what’s involved is someone deliberately killing an innocent person, or aiding the person to kill himself. The euphemism aims to make one forget that this is the very definition of murder.
Then, there’s the question of simply redefining or delegitimizing basic terms — even very basic ones — as a way of changing, even radically, people’s attitudes and to further an ideological agenda. Nowhere has this been seen more clearly for some decades than with the feminist movement. While even the crudest of four-letter words have gone completely mainstream, the feminists have demonized the three-letter words “man” and “men.” Even though the first definition of “man” in a dictionary — at least in the pre-political correctness era — was human being or homo sapien, suddenly that didn’t matter. The generic use of “man” or “men” was suddenly out, and we now all had to say “person” or “people.” Suddenly, one was left wondering if the signers of the Declaration of Independence were not hopelessly ignorant by saying that “all men are created equal” — despite the fact that if they had not vigorously asserted the imperative of natural rights, women’s rights would probably never have had a chance. Even the Catholic liturgy fairly quickly had to catch up to the new feminist-induced linguistic weltanschauung. The imprecision — not that it mattered to feminists — was striking: at law a “person” can be a man, woman, child, corporation, unincorporated association, partnership, etc.
So, I used to quip that while I could identify what a man and a woman were — at least in the era before we were told that gender was somehow fluid — I couldn’t recognize a person. Indeed, it is likely that the feminist effort to obliterate gender distinctness — making us all amorphous “persons” — helped pave the way for the transgender fanaticism of today, even while some feminists don’t like it.
As far as feminism’s contortion of the traditional meaning of language is concerned, we now see it applied in other ways to further an increasingly extreme sociopolitical agenda. So, as I have discussed in previous articles, the meaning of sexual harassment is open-ended, with feminists who claim it is endemic never bothering to define the term. There is now confusion even about what rape is. The Obama Department of Justice, under feminist influence, called “verbal threats” a form of “sexual violence” and in a report addressing the supposed “rape crisis” on American campuses, included in the category of “sexual victimization” of women “general sexist remarks” made in front of them.
The snarl word “sexism” was essentially invented by the contemporary feminist movement and used mightily to advance its agenda by intimidating others, especially males. Again, though, what it means is never clearly defined and it’s the movement itself that is the arbiter of what is sexism.
Probably no word in the U.S. nowadays is as toxic and potentially damaging to those it’s leveled at as “racism.” Anyone who reads the news should be able to see that it is now almost devoid of serious meaning. It is routinely used to embarrass people (usually Caucasians), after race-baiters stoke up a social media frenzy, following incidents that just happen to involve persons of different races even if there is no racial motive involved. Is it truly racism, for example, when certain businesses are concerned about being victims of crime by, say, young male members of certain demographic groups when there is a disproportionate level of criminal activity among them?
Or else the word “racism” is used to help advance political agendas, such as with claims that requiring people to produce identification when going to vote so as to maintain the integrity of elections is inspired by racism. For some people, it is even racist to use the term “Negro” or “American Negro.” I guess they had better tell that to the United Negro College Fund and the National Council of Negro Women and also be prepared to call Martin Luther King, Jr. a racist, since that was the term he always used.
Not much can be done about the racial opportunists, but maybe those who are ignorant of the history of race relations in America and so are ready to find racism in every little thing or word or phrase should try to educate themselves about what genuine race prejudice and oppression was like in the Jim Crow South. How much the term “racism” has been convoluted can be seen in the claims that a concern about threats from Islamic elements — despite our being in an era of Islamist terrorism — is “racist.” The last time I checked Islam was a religion, not a race. It helps leftist, secularist propagandists in their efforts to support Islam as a way of obliterating what remains of Christian civilization to be able to tar anything critical of it as an example of that universally loathed thing called “racism.”
Finally, we see the misuse of language — sometimes with a political or cultural revisionist motive in mind — in the way certain demographic groups are identified. So, American Indians are now routinely called “Native Americans” (even though the term is not widely accepted even within this demographic group). This designation apparently had its origins among some cultural commentators in the second half of the twentieth century and then some in the federal government jumped on the bandwagon. The term is inaccurate because the anthropological evidence is that the first settlers came to the Western Hemisphere from Asia; there were no indigenous (i.e., native) peoples here.
It also raises a question from the standpoint of Catholic doctrine which holds that the entire human race came forth from one man and one woman and people did not spring up spontaneously in different places. One wonders if it was inspired, at least to some degree, by a desire to denigrate the European role in settling the New World and make it seem like they were somehow interlopers. It also perhaps suggests that everyone else outside of this demographic are “less American” than they are. In that sense, it slightly rings of an earlier misuse of the term “native” when Catholic ethnic groups were held by nativists to somehow not be true Americans.
What should people do who are concerned about this endemic problem of twisting and distorting language to promote untruth, reshape people’s thinking in an undesirable way, and to promote troublesome social, cultural, and political agendas? Simply don’t go along with it even when it has become de rigueur and, more, speak up to tell others why they shouldn’t and explain what’s wrong with it. Maybe even write letters to the editor about it. In an age when we desperately need to restore sound culture, this is a way that the rank-in-file who want to work to get things back on the right track can have a small but perhaps over time decisive effect.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

"I do not think it is accurate to say that the sexual abuse of minors is owed to clericalism. That would be to give the impression that there is something about the clerical state that involves the sexual abuse of minors." Part 2 .. Interview
https://t.co/7Ja8po3UlN

Honest to God, I am really getting sick and tired of these caravans. What in the world is this? Just come and push your way into the country? And all of this just happening by itself? Thank you, @realDonaldTrump for standing firm against the un-American #Democrat party. #MAGA

@BethellDonna @Church_Militant @george_neumayr @JZmirak
@TaylorRMarshall @DanielCMattson @Patrick_Coffin @DictatorPope @ProtecttheFaith @TheWandererNews @LorlebergPetra Please help share and sign! This is a good way of putting pressure on Rome to do the right thing in February!

LifeSiteNews.com on Twitter

“Swiss group launches global petition asking Catholic bishops to stop homosexual networks https://t.co/EyvvxXzIeM”

twitter.com

Load More...

China’s crackdown on Christians continues

Beijing, China, Jan 15, 2019 / 02:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A campaign by the Chinese government to ‘Sinicize’ religion is ongoing, with detention and indoctrination of Muslims in the far west of the country, and the closing of underground churches…Continue Reading

Cdl. Wuerl will not celebrate youth Mass prior to March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl will not celebrate the Archdiocese of Washington’s January 18 Mass for Life, which is scheduled to occur before the annual March for Life. Instead, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to…Continue Reading

Support Archbishop Viganò on his 78th birthday!

January 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, turns 78 years old today. Born in northern Italy, Archbishop Viganò was ordained to the priesthood in 1968. He spent the next several…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke told German TV in a January 8 interview that Pope Francis’ response to the abuse crisis is “confusing.” Cardinal Burke stated that Pope Benedict was “very clear on this [matter of abuse],”…Continue Reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trashes Pro-Life People: You’re “Not in Line With Society”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s radically pro-abortion prime minister, blasted pro-life advocates Wednesday amid a nation-wide outrage about barring pro-life groups from a federal grant program. “An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion,…Continue Reading

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be…Continue Reading

Trudeau to issue new coin commemorating decriminalizaton of gay sex

OTTAWA, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has granted the Royal Mint permission to release a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality. Trudeau’s government approved the coin…Continue Reading

CARDINAL CUPICH KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR DISSIDENT PRIESTS’ CONFERENCE

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Blase Cupich is slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for a notorious dissident priests’ organization. The annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will take place in June 2019, and…Continue Reading

Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differences

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican spokesman and his deputy resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure. A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg…Continue Reading

Chinese city bans public displays of Christmas, cites ‘clean city’ as reason

LANGFANG, China, December 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A city in China has issued a sweeping ban on Christmas-related decorations, public celebrations, and advertisements, claiming it’s necessary to keep the city clean for an upcoming awards contest. Christmas is not an…Continue Reading

Priest: Pro-LGBT rainbow rosary promoted by Fr. Martin ‘comes from the pit of hell’

December 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – During a radio interview about the pro-homosexual “social justice” rosary that Fr. James Martin has been promoting, Fr. Donald Calloway prayed for Martin’s “radical conversion” and that the Jesuit might “repent of the things he has…Continue Reading

President Trump’s Decision to Defund Planned Parenthood of $50-60 Million Likely to Win in Court

President Donald Trump appears likely to win a court battle against the abortion giant Planned Parenthood. At issue are new guidelines for Title X grants, which fund family planning programs across the country. In February, the U.S. Department of Health and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Vatican: Abuse summit to help bishops know ‘what they need to do’

Vatican City, Jan 16, 2019 / 06:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Just over a month ahead of the much-anticipated February meeting on sex abuse, the Vatican said the summit’s goal is for bishops to leave the meeting knowing clearly what it is they need to do to stop the abuse of minors. According to a statement by papal spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti Jan. 16, the February meeting “has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò urges McCarrick to publicly repent in new open letter

ROME, January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — With a tone of fraternal and priestly charity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has written an open letter to former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, encouraging him to publicly repent of his sins and thus to save his soul. In the brief letter, dated January 13, 2019 and published in English and Italian (see full text below), Archbishop Viganò has also sought to persuade McCarrick that he has a unique opportunity to greatly benefit the Churc

U.S. Catholics losing trust in clergy, survey finds

Washington D.C., Jan 11, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Trust in the clergy has declined sharply over the last year, a new Gallup poll shows. Only 31 percent of American Catholics now rate the honesty or ethical standards of the clergy as “high” or “very high.” The figures, released Friday, show a drop of 18 points since 2017. Among American Protestants, the same question produced a relatively stable number of 48 percent, a drop of…Continue Reading

Vatican News pays tribute to Cuba’s brutal communist revolution, then deletes post

ROME, January 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An article at Vatican News, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, disappeared from the Holy See’s website just one day after it appeared on January 1. No explanation was offered for the self-censorship of the article, which marked the rise to power of Fidel Castro and his anti-clerical Marxist government, which has long been marked by grievous human rights violations. The Vatican News article, in…Continue Reading

Wuerl knew McCarrick abuse allegations in 2004

Washington D.C., Jan 10, 2019 / 05:13 pm (CNA).- An allegation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was reported to Cardinal Donald Wuerl in 2004, despite Wuerl’s insistence he knew nothing about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct until 2018. Wuerl forwarded the report to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Thursday. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington confirmed to CNA that an allegation against McCarrick was presented to Wuerl while…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

An Answer To A Sedevacantist Wannabe

By FR. JOHN T. ZUHLSDORF (Editor’s Note: Someone who is “seriously considering adopting some form of sedevacantism” wrote recently to Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf, and Fr. Z posted his reply on his January 7 blog. The question and answer are reprinted here with permission.) + + + Quaeritur: Father, I’ll get straight to the point:…Continue Reading

Critics Warn… New Mexico Bill Could Allow “Suicide Tourism”

SANTA FE, N.M. (CNA/EWTN News) — Proposed legislation in New Mexico could legalize assisted suicide in the state, and may even allow for the prescription of deadly drugs outside the state via telemedicine, and by health-care professionals other than physicians. Deacon Steve Rangel, associate director for the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the…Continue Reading

The Case Against The Sign Of Peace At Mass

By REY FLORES O Lord Jesus Christ, Who said to Your Apostles: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you,” regarda not my sins but the faith of your Church, and deign to give her peace and unity according to Your will: Who live and reign God, world without end. Amen. — At…Continue Reading

Candor Is Not The Enemy Of Love

By DONALD DeMARCO Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, in his book Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World, makes two most important points when he reminds all those who love life that “candor is not the enemy of love” and that “real hope begins in honesty.” Candor may disturb one’s…Continue Reading

No, This Is Not JFK’s Democratic Party

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House has more women, persons of color, and LGBT members than any House in history — and fewer white males. And Thursday, January 3, the day Rashida Tlaib was sworn in, her hand on a Koran, our first Palestinian-American congresswoman showed us what we may expect. As a…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

His Bride Is The Church

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Cor. 12:4-11 John 2:1-11 In the readings for the past three weeks, the Church has given us the three traditional events which manifested our Lord’s divinity. The word Epiphany means manifestation. These manifestations took place thirty years apart, but were celebrated together because they point…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Wall And Abortion: No Moral Equivalency

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The March for Life event each January draws thousands of pro-life Americans to Washington, D.C., to witness for the weakest and most defenseless among us, preborn boys and girls who cannot speak on behalf of the sacredness of their lives in the face of legalized abortion which, in some cases, threatens their existence at every…Continue Reading

The Authority Of Bishops . . . The Hierarchy Of Orders In The Catholic Church

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 It is a well-known fact that the Church today is going through a crisis, especially in faith, as can be seen as early as 1985 when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger allowed the publication of The Ratzinger Report. I believe that Benedict XVI was the only Pope in Church history whose mind was already well-known…Continue Reading

The Crisis Of Hope In The Modern World

By DON FIER Two opposing vices were identified last week as contrary to the theological virtue of hope: despair and presumption. Despair, on the one hand, goes against Divine Mercy; presumption, on the other hand, goes against Divine Justice. To explain, the renowned Thomist philosopher Dr. Josef Pieper describes hope as “preeminently the virtue of the status viatoris [condition or…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In a recent reply about the appropriateness of giving blessings to those coming to Holy Communion, we said that the practice was an unauthorized innovation that should be discouraged. We have since learned that Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., has instructed his priests and deacons not to give such blessings. Here is his rationale: “I do not…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Calabria

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Teresa of Calcutta answered a call within a call by founding the Missionaries of Charity to help the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. Soon her apostolic endeavors to serve the most destitute of persons spread throughout the world, while she said that the greatest poverty is in the West where people do not know…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds are finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading