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By Their Fruits Shall Ye Know Them

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By CHRISTOPHER MANION

As the Rome “summit” on sex abuse ended, USCCB President Daniel Cardinal DiNardo said, “These have been challenging, fruitful days.” What fruits did the summit bear? “New mechanisms,” he said.
We wonder, what happened to the cardinal’s profound resolve of last November, thoroughly to investigate the McCarrick scandal with transparency, accountability, justice, and results? Did Pope Francis shut him down? It raises the question, who runs USCCB these days — could it be Cardinal Cupich?
Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., is undaunted. He still wants to see the Vatican’s final report on the McCarrick investigation. Meanwhile Los Angeles Archbishop José Gómez surprises us with his observation that, “at its heart,” the abuse-and-cover-up crisis has been caused by — sin!
And what sin in particular? Before the summit, Walter Cardinal Brandmueller joined his “dubia” colleague Raymond Cardinal Burke to challenge the Vatican’s “conspiracy of silence” at the summit. When the gathered prelates persistently avoided the question of homosexuality’s role in the scandals, Cardinal Brandmueller explained why: “It would have become dangerous for them, because it’s evident there is a network of homosexuals within the Vatican. That’s the problem, there’s no question.”
Demanding action would be especially “dangerous” for Archbishop Gómez. As vice president of the USCCB, he’s slated to succeed Cardinal DiNardo as president when the USCCB convenes this November. No reason to rock the boat, with a substantial number of bishops steadfastly committed to protecting themselves and their colleagues who covered up for abuse in the past.

Socialism Sells

Democrats are steadily moving further to the left, but some Democrats want it to move faster. “Demand Justice,” a new left-wing organization, has raised big money in their campaign to “pack the court”: to expand the number of Supreme Court justices (by adding more Democrats, of course) and negate the court’s “conservative” tendencies.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 1/1024th American Indian, wants reparations, as well as new Senate rules. She’s competing with other Democrats in the 2020 presidential race who are desperate to keep blacks and Hispanics in the party. That’s a daunting challenge, given the progress that minorities have shared in benefiting from Trump’s booming economy.
The destructiveness of the American left is more visible than ever. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, advocated abolishing the Senate altogether with his last published commentary before he died in February. (The funeral for Dingell, a Catholic with a 100 percent pro-abortion record, was held at the Church of the Divine Child in Dearborn, Mich., reports Church Militant.)
Hillary Clinton wants to do away with the Electoral College, but her proposal and Dingell’s would require constitutional amendments. While the Electoral College is still around, Colorado and several other states are moving to require their electors to cast their votes for the candidate who wins the national “popular vote” for president, regardless of who wins in their respective states. The Founding Fathers would never have dreamed that a state would cede its sovereign constitutional right on such a fundamental issue, but the Democrats are bent on change, whatever the consequences.
And those consequences can be dire. The “Green New Deal,” proposed by a sizable Democrat socialist faction, would do away with fossil fuels, cars, cows, and other impediments to progress. Their ideology is based on a hatred of the past, even a hatred of reality itself, so boring and tedious as it all is. The way they see it, they’re the tip of the spear of the future.
Embracing Karl Marx’s 1845 marching orders to change reality rather than deal with it, today’s socialists share a view that Eric Voegelin aptly describes as gnostic: They are by nature superior to others, and their unsurpassed knowledge is impervious to question. They can ignore the historical record of socialism’s failure every time it has been tried, because they have the power to surmount reality and make it work this time around. In an interview shortly before his death in 1985, Voegelin calls this pathology “magic”:
“Magic means the attempt to realize a desired end that cannot be realized if one takes into account the structure of reality. You cannot by magic operations jump out the window and fly up — even if you so desire. If you try such things — for instance, producing a change in the nature of man by the dictatorship of the proletariat — you are engaged in a magical operation.”
Scripture calls this temptation “superbia vitae” — the pride of life. But it represents a very appealing contemporary concupiscence. By necessity, since it denies traditional morality along with reality, it substitutes a new one. Newly elected Democrat socialist Cong. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) asks whether it is moral for young people to have children at all. “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,” she says, touting her Green New Deal.
While we find AOC (as she is often called) entertaining, we have to soberly acknowledge that her ignorance is widely, even wildly, popular, especially among the young who were deprived of an education in our costly schools and who have not yet had the chance to learning anything worthwhile in the school of hard knocks. Some shocking surveys indicate that a third of American “young people” call themselves “socialists.”
Perhaps suggesting that they spend a year in socialist Venezuela might bring them around, but don’t count on it.
In fact, AOC and her socialist senator fan, Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.), want to make college education free (and even more closely controlled by government, of course). But what does that offer the millions of arithmetic-deprived millennials who thoughtlessly signed applications for loans that today amount to $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt?
A danger sign on the horizon: “I have met people with $300,000 in student debt. That is crazy! We have got to make public colleges and universities tuition-free and substantially lower student debt,” Sanders tweeted recently.
Uh-oh.
We recall that, while Obamacare was hotly debated in 2009-2010, Democrats quietly adopted legislation that put all student loan programs in the hands of the federal government. Consider: Presidential candidate Sanders already has an astounding number of small-donor supporters. Many of them have student debt obligations so large that they cannot afford a mortgage. And even sensible millennials often point to their student debt as the reason they don’t get married, postpone marriage, or have fewer children than they otherwise would, if they marry at all.
If Sanders promises to erase government-held student debt, look out: You don’t have to be a leftist to be powerfully attracted to a candidate who waves a magic wand and makes your six-figure debt disappear.

Catholic Pro-Aborts Strike Again

On January 29, “fourteen Catholic senators voted against the bill that would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization, including Sen. Richard Durbin, whose residence is in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois,” writes Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill. Since one of those senators was Dick Durbin of Springfield, Bishop Paprocki addressed the occasion:
“Because his voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes ‘obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,’ the determination continues that Sen. Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin. This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart. Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life,” the bishop wrote.
On February 25, ten Catholic senators voted to prohibit a vote on the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” which essentially does just what it says: prohibit infanticide.
Perhaps their bishops could follow Bishop Paprocki’s courageous lead.

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