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un-American-- or at least unorthodox

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Jan 28, 2009

 The late J. Edgar Hoover directed FBI agents to probe the  background of the late Father Robert F. Drinan. In reviving that old story, the Boston Globe also provides Hoover's explanation for the investigation:

"I had doubted Father Drinan's authenticity as a Catholic priest because I had read of certain views he expressed that seemed to be un-American, as well as unorthodox, from a religious standpoint. If he is someone who has been 'planted' in the church, he could do great harm."

Let's leave aside the question of whether Father Drinan's views were "un-American." The use of that phrase has caused enough trouble already. Let's concentrate on the idea that the late Jesuit's views were "unorthodox, from a religious standpoint." That's hard to dispute. Drinan was, among other things, a strong supporter of legal abortion. 

So the logic behind Hoover's suspicion runs something like this:

  • We would expect a Catholic priest to profess what the Catholic Church teaches.
  • But Father Drinan does not profess what the Catholic Church teaches.
  • Therefore we question whether Father Drinan really is a committed Catholic priest. And if he is not, he could be something more sinister.

And the flaw in that logic is...



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