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Nearer My God to Thee

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 23, 2006

McDonough and Bianchi's sympathetic sociological study of American Jesuits, published in 2002 and titled Passionate Uncertainty, found the contemporary Society of Jesus to be an association of talented but directionless bachelors. They wrote:

What has come close to disappearing is the distinctiveness of the priestly role as conceived by Jesuits and, to a lesser extent, of the moral sanctum of Catholicism. Much of what Jesuits do remains valuable. Much of what they believe in and stand for is appreciated and shared by adherents of neighboring religions and ethical traditions. But there seems to be less and less that sets the Society of Jesus apart, at least with respect to an edge on the truth or expertise in pedagogy, social action, and pastoral practice. Obliteration by assimilation has become a real threat.

As with a palace guard that no longer believes in the monarchy, the post-ecclesial Jesuits have been in search of a reason to exist. For many in the U.S., the Democratic Party has filled the void left by the Catholic Church: indeed they tend to pay the former the compliments once understood to be due the latter. No man better illustrates this change of pieties than Father Robert Drinan, S.J., the American Abortionist's Favorite Catholic, who as a congressman from 1970 to 1980 did more than any other individual to push his fellow Democratic officeholders to the extreme abortion-on-demand position. Today's issue of the Boston College student newspaper, reports on a lecture in which Drinan indulgences in some self-congratulatory jesuitry Ad Majorem Democraticorum Gloriam:

Drinan discussed the Catholic viewpoints on multiple issues, illustrating how their stances are often in agreement with those of the Democratic Party.

On the problem of poverty, the Catholic belief in the preferential option for the poor claims that everyone is responsible for helping the poor, he said. Still, many Catholics, like people of all religions, forget about this duty when they become wealthy, he said. "They don't care about the preferential option for the poor. They don't want their taxes to go up anymore. They should know better than that."

Another duty of the Catholics, he said, is to abolish war and violence, which is almost never justifiable. He discussed the hypocritical nature of the United States for claiming to promote peace while supplying the world with two-fifths to two-thirds of all its weapons.

On the issue of gay marriage, he described a Catholic woman whose son announced that he was gay at age 24. "This woman said, 'God made Joey that way, and I won't love him less.'"

On religion and God in the public sphere, Catholic Democrats do not have a firm position, he said. The Catholic bishops propose a compromise between an absence of religion and the level of religion that evangelicals vie for in the public sphere, said Drinan. "Of course we want God, religious values in public life somehow, in a way consistent with our tradition and our constitution." Democrats are not a party of atheists, but a party trying to be fair to every citizen, including the 100 million Americans without any religious affiliation, he said.

I liked this bit:

Drinan closed with St. Ignatius' three questions: "What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ?"

Perhaps unsurprisingly, no mention is made in the article of the Democratic Party's abortion stance or Drinan's key role in its crafting. As a congressman, Drinan had a nearly perfect pro-abortion voting record, and after he was forced to leave continued to work to torpedo pro-life efforts. In 1996, Drinan published an op-ed in the New York Times attacking the bill that banned partial birth abortion, praising President Clinton for vetoing it, and urging the Senate to uphold Clinton's veto. He succeeded.

Drinan, who was the first congressman to call for the impeachment of Nixon, began with an overview of Democratic presidents in recent history. He noted that many of them transformed the nation and the world. "When I look back at what the Democrats did over the last century, I'm very proud," he said.

There speaks a man who accomplished what he set out to do.

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Show 12 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Laity1 - Feb. 28, 2006 10:42 AM ET USA

    Am I mistaken, or are those wishing to do evil so much more bold and "courageous" than those wishing to do good?

  • Posted by: Ross Dee - Feb. 25, 2006 4:51 PM ET USA

    Father Drinan is not a typical Jesuit. Please do not insult St Ignatius,he is very much alive and does not appreciate having most of the Jesuits compared to Drinan. There are a lot of Jesuits that are great and have done great work for Jesus. However, I know of no other Jesuit that publicly promoted abortion and voted for it like Father Drinan, which is a travesty. He was in the House of Representatives and could have been a positive influence on his fellow congressmen, but chose to Vote Evil.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 25, 2006 3:01 AM ET USA

    I reject any suggestion that being a Democrat necessarily entials being a bad Catholic. There are dissenters and deviants on both sides; most often, one finds Republicans to be the sort of hypocrites Jesus railled about in the Gospels. There are, in fact, many pro-life Democrats who happen to think the Republican party is bigoted, smug, a party of thieves, and, of course, hypocrites. Rather than a typical Democrat, Drinan is a typical Jesuit.

  • Posted by: BostonBlackey - Feb. 24, 2006 8:08 PM ET USA

    Have you ever noticed how clerics like Fr. Drinan, who live very luxurious lifestyles with no concerns about meeting mortgage or tuition payments, are always harping about the lay people who forget the poor?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 24, 2006 9:18 AM ET USA

    Drinan's fame clock is at 14 minutes and 57 seconds.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 23, 2006 6:42 PM ET USA

    The Holy Father owes it to the Church to make an effort to reform religious life. Maybe it won't succeed, but some attempt to govern will buoy the faithful and alert them to error being spread. Drinan is a perfect caricature of the depth of the corruption that occurs when Popes fail to reform, Bishop's fail to govern, and superiors become suppliant to the spirit of the age. JPII's failure to reform and govern the internal life of the Church is a true black mark on his otherwise saintly legacy

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Feb. 23, 2006 3:54 PM ET USA

    Here's a quote lifted from one of Drinan's colleagues in the linked-to post: "[T]he traffic lanes were jammed and halted, presumably because of an accident ahead, and Bob Drinan drove 60 miles an hour down the breakdown lane." A novelist couldn't come up with a better metaphor for Drinan's life. This brief incident tells us who Drinan is.

  • Posted by: patriot6908 - Feb. 23, 2006 1:59 PM ET USA

    People get seduced by the devil most often without even meeting up with Old Nick in person. The main way is through that often honored vice of pride, that sense of self-importance can lead to unholy leadership in their communities. Fr. Drinan is aging as an elderly old fool, and one who did irreperable harm to his Church while who proudly promoting the infanticide of unborn infants. His body will soon rot. His soul is best left to the inscrutable judgment and mercy of God.

  • Posted by: Andy K - Feb. 23, 2006 1:27 PM ET USA

    Dear Leo, You have not been near younger candidates entering those orders recently. I also see Fr. Drinan has not mentioned how "gay marriage" resonates with the Catholic teachings. Of course, we know they resonate poorly.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 23, 2006 1:11 PM ET USA

    PREDICTION: Unless the Holy Father soon requires a cleansing and redirection of the order, the Jesuits will disappear within the next 20 years, along with other religious orders which have lost their mission.

  • Posted by: Lucius - Feb. 23, 2006 12:53 PM ET USA

    This sad example of a priest and a Jesuit is the type of ecclesiastical Frankenstein monster created by the failure to govern on the part of bishops and religious superiors. It is a scandal that this man was allowed to perpetrate evil and spread his sophistries as Catholic doctrine. It by and large is a testimony to an approach to governing by the Holy See that has a dismal track record and has allowed the flock to be ravaged, It has caused the crisis to expand to geometric proportions.

  • Posted by: major - Feb. 23, 2006 12:36 PM ET USA

    i wonder how proud he will be when he sees his Maker face to face. Judging by the picture, that moment won't be too long in coming.

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