Without benefit of clergy: McCarrick stumps for same-sex unions

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 08, 2006

Theodore McCarrick, the tardily retired Archbishop of Washington, musters "defenses" of Church teaching so lousy, so mind-numbingly feeble, that they look like arguments for the other side. Yesterday CNN quizzed the Demosthenes of Dupont Circle on the Federal Marriage Amendment. (Tip to Gerald Augustinus).

BLITZER: So just explain. You think that you could live with -- you could support civil unions between gays and lesbians, but you wouldn't like them to get formally married, is that right?

MCCARRICK: Yes. I think -- I think basically the ideal would be that everybody was -- was able to enter a union with a man and a woman and bring children into the world and have the wonderful relationship of man and wife that is so mutually supportive and is really so much part of our society and what keeps our society together. That's the ideal.

Really so much part of our society. You'd think he were talking about the ability to make a right turn on red.

If you can't meet that ideal, if there are people who for one reason or another just cannot do that or feel they cannot do that, then in order to protect their right to take care of each other, in order to take care of their right to have visitation in a hospital or something like that, I think that you could allow, not the ideal, but you could allow for that for a civil union.

Inspiring. I don't remember St. Paul's urging the Corinthians to accept a wee bit o' sodomy to expedite sick calls, but then McCarrick, the centrist, seems always to read from a different text. As a general rule, incidentally, whenever you hear a moralist use the word "ideal," you know the argument has gone off the rails.

But if you begin to fool around with the whole -- the whole nature of marriage, then you're doing something which effects the whole culture and denigrates what is so important for us. Marriage is the basic foundation of our family structure. And if we lose that, then I think we become a society that's in real trouble.

So we're to understand that civilly legitimating male-male and female-female pairings is not "fooling around" with the whole nature of marriage? Pointless to ask, of course. That whole paragraph could have come verbatim from an Eighth Grade classroom debate. More significant is what goes unmentioned, viz., that souls are imperiled by giving consent to a life of mortal sin -- something you'd have thought a Catholic might have an opinion about. But this is McCarrick. The centrist.

The Canadian author Stephen Leacock offered a cheerful and memorable explanation of his status as emeritus professor: "Emeritus comes from two Latin words. E, 'out,' plus meritus, 'and rightly so.'" Obliged to continue listening to the egregiously emeritus Archbishop of Washington, one is moved to wonder, not why he's out, but how in God's name he ever got in.

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 14, 2006 12:02 AM ET USA

    Our friendly neighborhood future Imam is, to strain a boxing analogy, practicing Rope a Dope pastoral care as Muhummad Ali (get it?) did against George Foreman. Sultan McCarrick has been covering up on the ropes taking punches for 3,467 rounds now. The other sides arms are getting really tired. One of these days, I tell ya, McCarrick's going to open up and flatten the other side.

  • Posted by: Fatimabeliever - Jun. 11, 2006 3:36 PM ET USA

    Would Cardinal McCarrick explain how letting someone who is commiting a grevious mortal sin by just letting them continue in this sinful behavior could possible be construed as an act of charity? Even Jesus' apostles reprimanded sinners. Does Cardinal McCarrick think his way of handling the situation better than the apostles? Truth be known, I think they would be horrified that a Cardinal isn't calling this what it truly is, an abomination in the sight of Almighty God and it must stop.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 11, 2006 12:30 PM ET USA

    2. I think JP II & Ratzinger learned a terribly hard lesson about the U. S. bishops in 2002; & I believe Ratzinger knew then he & JP II had a great deal of learning to do about the U. S. That, I suspect, may be why Ben XVI called on Levada, not because Levada a) is an intellectual Sequoia or b) reminded him of Cardinal von Galen, the Lion of Munster. Personal relationships seem to mean a great deal to Ben XVI. He worked for yrs with Levada. Kasper was also at Tübingen, & so forth. Take heart!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 11, 2006 11:38 AM ET USA

    From the ridiculous to the sublime. One step at a time. How long will it be before these idots petition for the "right" to marry their dog or cat? Some people already bequeath these creatures their estates or huge sums of money. It is time for right reason to send these people packing. Logic demands it.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 10, 2006 12:12 PM ET USA

    Pete, much as I love and pray for the Holy Father, I cannot buy "Rome may not know all these happenings." BXVI may not know about this particular statement yet, but as others have pointed out, this is just the latest in a long string of dissenting statements by Cdl. McCarrick that faithful Catholics have been screaming about for years. Rome long ago abdicated the power to discipline bishops, whose charge is to teach the truth unvarnished. No wonder Catholics are confused about the Faith.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 9:22 PM ET USA

    Norwood: Papal governance is THE KEY to the Church's problem today. Bishops reign as virtual monarchs in their dioceses, but they are monarchs subject to the Pope who can replace them anytime he chooses. I cannot judge the soul of H.E. Cardinal McCarrick, but he has proven himself on more than one occasion to be an enabler of heretics and infidels and should have been fired long ago. The same holds for a certain prelate on the Left Coast of the United States.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 8:47 PM ET USA

    Even the Masons won't accept a man in his dotage. The is a time when age can affect the mental ability of what was once a clear mind. Allow those to retire into the country and be silent. SILENTIUM! --especially on matters of faith and morals. Homosexuals violate natural law and that becomes a moral issue. The Church does not make accommodations with Satan. Compassion --yes. Love the sinner. Hate the sin.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 8:32 PM ET USA

    I'm having a tough time figuring out which Warner Bros. cartoon character this fellow's episcopal gyrations remind me of. Regardless, the Tasmanian Devil is smiling.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 4:34 PM ET USA

    I'll do my best with 500 characters, Lorenz. 1) "[S]wiftly & ruthlessly"? Not 'til '88, 18 yrs after 1970 founding of SSPX, did JP II excommunicate principals & publish Ecclesia Dei. Listen to Fellay & Co. 18 yrs later. 2) Paul VI, JP I, JP II, & Card. Ratzinger did not "leave[] heretics alone" (cases in point - Küng, DeMello, Dupuis, & Haight) over that same time. 3) Re Levada & S.F., see my comments on related CWNews items of 05142005, 05172005, & (in OTR) 10312005. Ditto for Wuerl. Okay?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 3:36 PM ET USA

    Hey Folks! Don't lose hope -- remember Fr Benedict Groeschel's great line: "SOMEONE has to turn the lights out in purgatory!"

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 2:30 PM ET USA

    And don't forget the 'women's ordination' party boat on the Danube between Germany and Austria in July, 2002, Lorenz. John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger excommunicated the lot in about 18 days, not 18 years. Your "swiftly and harshly" point, in my humble opinion,, was not at all well taken.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 12:22 PM ET USA

    Norwood Farmer, if McCarrick was moved so quickly, why was he replaced by Don Wuerl who is a virtual clone? Why was Levada appointed to the CDF? Why was Levada allowed to orchestrate the gay-friendly Niederauer as his replacement in San Francisco? Yes, the church is more then the USA but these are key positions. The Vatican overtly or covertly undermines its own mission. The church moves swiftly and ruthlessly against traditionalists but leaves heretics alone to harm the faithful.

  • Posted by: Universal - Jun. 09, 2006 12:22 PM ET USA

    Good point of simple reason, Pete: No failures of B XVI or Vat II or apocalyptical explanations. Just sheer limits of time, energy, will, ability to prioritize or understand et al. Just like in our own lives. We as faithful Christians just have to keep up testifying the God of love and life, pray for those things we cannot impact and abstain from wasting time and energy on useless discussions and judgments (or "angry mails"). Christ has rescued us and the Holy Spirit will lead us. That's enough.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 11:29 AM ET USA

    It is so important to see the Jesuit dimension of the McCarrick legacy. Please read my earlier posts here in view of the April 4, 2005, article in this very "Off the Record" forum of the Jesuit Paul Mankowski: "Over the course of 28 years in the Society of Jesus, I've watched Wojtyla-hatred turn into one of the principal sub-themes of Jesuit life." In sum, I see it as no accident that St. Matthew's is a short walk from the Dupont Circle HQ of the Ass'n of Jesuit Colleges & Universities.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 11:21 AM ET USA

    Peter, I agree. The Church is worldwide and we are not necessarily the focus. But, the Italian bishops are vociferously opposing civil unions and the Pope is behind that 100%. Why isn't it the same for our country?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 11:04 AM ET USA

    To help you & others understand me, tomecom: I agree wholeheartedly that McCarrick "means well & does his best." I saw him & heard him preach many times in the Basilica of the Nat'l Shrine. I am not consigning the man to hell, but I am condemning, as an obj've matter, what the public facts plainly show to be a woefully misguided yet fully deliberate effort throughout his career to lead the "centrists" in the U. S. against the likes of JP II. In the CNN interview, see his endorsement of Wuerl.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 10:46 AM ET USA

    2. While we in the US see such comments as a major problem, we are not considering the universal problems Rome must handle: The Church in China; 80-100+ wars throughout the world; slavery, drought, and starvation in Africa; the Middle East; and many more problems. Just like our limitations, they also have but 24 hours per day. I think I've proven the case for increased prayer on our part--especially my own. God Bless all of us and keep us in His constant care!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 10:41 AM ET USA

    1. Many times I've been tempted to question the lack of disciplinary action from Rome. Others have asked why the Popes haven't disciplined the many dissidents in the US. Perhaps my military background will provide some insight--some commanders at all levels are hesitant to let their commanders know there is a problem within the command. They fear admitting a problem indicates they are unable to lead or command, which would inhibit their advancement. Rome may not know all these happenings.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 10:34 AM ET USA

    I downloaded a "Will to Live" (Illinois--total of 10 pages in .pdf form) from the Priests for Life web site (www.priestsforlife.org). The first 3 pages are a general explanation. The balance is specific to Illinois and the necessary documents. I believe Right to Life also has this. Unfortunately, our bishops are very well educated men. Thus the dissent is NOT from lack of education. We cannot excuse such comments because they don't know any better.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 10:21 AM ET USA

    I could not disagree any more emphatically with benedictusoblatus & others inclined to see the tenures of McCarrick et als in the U. S. as some indication of grave weakness in Benedict XVI, JP II, or Vat II. As Blitzer points out in this same interview, many still see McCarrick in his "prime." Benedict removed him. Period. 40 yrs is far from an eternity. Benedict is no less resolute now than he was in June '04. The wheels of justice, both civil & ecclesial, turn slowly, my brothers & sisters

  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Jun. 09, 2006 9:42 AM ET USA

    Newf, re. “very sick”, I hope you’re right. It would lessen the guilt I feel at being so angered by a deep sense of betrayal by dissenting clergy (observation not judgment) who undermine the Church’s authentic Magisterium (e.g., ‘Considerations’ doc. - homosexual act is mortal sin) and thereby put souls in jeopardy. These clergy, who are perceived to be re-presenting Christ, seem in effect to be stating that Jesus sees no sin in homosexual unions but would nevertheless refuse to sanctify them.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 8:45 AM ET USA

    That's right, Snowbird, & there are several other inexpensive estate management devices, e. g., simple trusts, joint tenancies (as Where'sthemoneyRoger? pointed out) to meet legitimate ends. Washington is flooded with lawyers, & many good Catholic lawyers. If His Eminence were as inclined to confer with them before talking with Wolf Blitzer as he has been to hobnob with the infirm Kerry, Kennedy, Leahy, & Dodd, he would know better. 'Newf', we "judge" the obj've act, not the subj've actor.

  • Posted by: Charlie887 - Jun. 09, 2006 12:07 AM ET USA

    On March 29, 2004 the Massachusetts Legislature approved a state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages but grant same-sex civil unions a legal status equivalent to marriage. In a never-retracted statement, Bishop Kevin J. Boland, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family, said the amendment was not the "ideal" solution but could be acceptable because it defends the institution of marriage. So, Cardinal McCarrick wasn't the first to get it wrong.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 11:46 PM ET USA

    So it seems clear H.E. Cardinal McCarrick is not very bright and he is neither hot nor cold. He's apparently a very nice man. Unfortunately, he's either a spineless coward who refuses to defend Catholic doctrine, or he is actually a heretic who denies it. The Holy Father is also very nice and has, so far, refused to silence/discipline people like the cardinal. The Holy Father's actions in this regard speak volumes. Principled governance requires diligent and swift correction of malefactors.

  • Posted by: unum - Jun. 08, 2006 9:51 PM ET USA

    McCarrick is the poster boy for what's wrong with the American bishops. He applies his "I know what's best ..." attitude to Christ's Church, politics, and social science. Carrying such an attitude must be a heavy load compared to the humility of Christ.

  • Posted by: Clorox - Jun. 08, 2006 8:37 PM ET USA

    Let's avoid extremes. The Church is not about the Old Testament on the one hand or the New Testament on the other. We must choose a middle path. (Hey, Uncle Di, do I sound profound? Can I become an American bishop now?)

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 8:26 PM ET USA

    NORWOOD FARMER says it all. Each time I go in hospital, I sign a medical power of attorney form; naming my cousin to act in my behalf and to be with me at any time during my stay. Never had to "marry him" to get the job done. I understand that this medical poa is valid and available in all 50 states.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 8:18 PM ET USA

    Every now and then even a blind squirrel finds an acorn. I'm glad the newly ordained priests for the Washington Archdiocese are orthodox. I can't help wonder how long that will last when exposed to others who aren't, and make a career out of making life tough for those who are. Yes, I wish the Vatican would squealch those who fail to fully support the doctrine of the Church. Perhaps the "bloodletting" would be more painful than the scandal and the damage done by letting them remain.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 7:23 PM ET USA

    A continuation to Tomecom et al - Tomecom, you also ask ""can't he do anything right." Well, even a broken clock is right at least twice a day - but it's still a broken clock! Also, it's irrelevant whether or not he "means well"; the real question is, "Does he DO well?" I think we all know the sad answer to that. Now as to why he can speak so freely - precisely because he is on his way out. There is no leverage over him now.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 7:20 PM ET USA

    Tomecom, you write "The only endorsement he made of gay unions is for people who choose to live that lifestyle". Perhaps you need to be reminded that "that lifestyle" is inherently evil. One may not facilitate evil without incurring its guilt. Such is the same logic of "I wouldn't abort, BUT.." It doesn't require a rocket scientist to grasp that concept, so "he isn't that bright" is not a defense. Do bear in mind that he does bear the charism of his ordination, so he's all the more culpable

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 7:10 PM ET USA

    you people are very sick, so i imagine that God will forgive you for your judging your brothers and sisters, which is not your call. God loves them all and they are just as graced as you.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jun. 08, 2006 7:02 PM ET USA

    Cdl. "just call me teddy" McCarrick's personal views on "civil unions" are in direct conflict with the Natural Law and basic Catholic Church Teaching. Can't the Holy See silence him, suspend his faculties for public Masses (& the celebration of other Sacraments), or at least make it clear that he no longer speaks/teaches in the Name of the Church? Saint Benedict, pray for our Holy Father and for all of us.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 5:26 PM ET USA

    altar boy, et. al., I never have understood why Cardinal McCarrick is by far your most frequent target (except that Diogenes is reportedly based in Washington). Mahoney is much worse. My impression of McCarrick is that he means well and does his best. He's just not very bright. He'll never make you happy, but he isn't an evil man. And can't he do anything right? He did just ordain TWELVE priests, whom, I hear from someone who spent a day with them, are extremely solid and orthodox.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 3:47 PM ET USA

    The way Teddy equivocates I am convinced that he is a secret Canadian Bishop wearing a clever disguise.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 3:33 PM ET USA

    I never thought I'd see the day when I'd say this, so let me think this through before I hit the 'Add Comment' button. ... Okay. I'm ready: I agree, and agree completely, with altar boy. :-):-):-)

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 3:10 PM ET USA

    tomecom: This is the same Cardinal McCarrick that: prayed publicly in the name of the god of Islam; lied to his fellow bishops about the contents of a letter from Rome, the gist of which he did not agree with; gave aid and comfort to John Kerry, a self-proclaimed Catholic and public proponent of abortion-on-demand; and, is suspected of having certain homosexual proclivities. So you’re right, at least he’s not a heretic. Besides, it could be worse, he could be a member of - gasp! - SSPX.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 2:35 PM ET USA

    You can amend (and most states already have) civil law to allow for hospital visits, conservatorships, or whatever legal arrangements anyone might make. This has nothing to do with a civil union or parternship (which are ways to have marriage by another name). I have always been able to own any real or personal property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship with any one I choose. This civil union issue is a Levadaesque smoke screen.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 2:21 PM ET USA

    tomecom: Are you kidding: We're not supposed to be giving any quarter to anyone who want to "live" the homosexual lifestyle. THAT'S the point. McCarrick of all people should know this (well, maybe not. I must remember about whom I'm writing). Anyway, the Vatican just issued a document in which it laments the fact that traditional marriage is opposed as never before and then McCarrick goes out of his way to sponsor civil unions. NEED I SAY MORE?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 2:12 PM ET USA

    Hang in there, Winky. All of us struggle, & all of us struggle within & often against a culture; but the present culture makes life especially hard for you in your struggle. A word of encouragement for you: It appears that you see what you are up against culturally much, much more clearly than the many educators assembled at Land o' Lakes, Wisconsin, did in July, 1967. They were foolish enough to envision themselves & secular academia in a truly loving embrace. May we all see as clearly as you

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jun. 08, 2006 1:40 PM ET USA

    Why is Cdl. "Just call me Teddy" McCarrick still allowed to say anything publicly? He lied about then-Cdl. Ratzinger's letter referring to Holy Communion & "Catholic" pro-abort pols... & now he defends gay unions. Why has the Holy See not seen fit to apply the "Fr. Maciel decision" to Cdl. McCarrick & to other "successors to the Apostles," such as Abp. Weakland (who was living the gay union lifestyle, paying some $400,000 to his former "union" associate), who so publicly oppose Church Teaching?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 1:30 PM ET USA

    But, Your Eminence & tomecom, we need civil unions to address your legitimate concerns as much as we need atomic fly swatters, As a lawyer with over 20 yrs of experience, let me assure you & many others who raise this rickety defense of the cockeyed civil union proposal: A simple power of attorney does the contemplated jobs. Hospitals, banks, etc., given a facially valid power of attorney have no interest whatsoever in asking questions about biological, anatomical, or other relationships.

  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Jun. 08, 2006 1:06 PM ET USA

    Canadian Conf. of Catholic Bishops: "What about civil unions for same-sex partners?" "There are other relationships between adults that involve commitment, caring and emotional and financial interdependence, whether or not these may involve a sexual component. Should the government see fit to address their concerns through civil unions or registered partnerships, it should be done in a way that does not radically redefine marriage. Marriage must be maintained as an opposite-sex institution."

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 1:06 PM ET USA

    Guys, guys, lighten up! Cdl. McCarrick is NOT very bright. That is obvious. But he is, in his own way, defending Church teaching on marriage. The only endorsement he made of gay unions is for people who choose to live that lifestyle, it seems right to permit them to visit each other in the hospital and other such things -- hardly an endorsement of same-sex unions. And he said a society that messes with marriage is messed up. So he doesn't speak well. Fine. That doesn' t make him a heretic.

  • Posted by: Bigs2480 - Jun. 08, 2006 12:45 PM ET USA

    I know some of Cardinal McCarrick's comments are disappointing, but I need to add a comment to his defense. I was confirmed this past Easter Vigil, coming from a conservative, Evangelical background. One time I heard him speak and he was asked if voting in the conclave was the greatest moment of his life. He replied, "No, it was this morning when I consecrated the Eucharist". His response and clear love of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament helped bring me home to the Catholic Church.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 12:39 PM ET USA

    McCarrick got in just as Levada, Mahoney, Bernardin, Weakland, Turcotte (in Canada) and countless other Judas priests got in. McCarrick's replacement Don Wuerl in Washington is virtually identical to him. Weak feebleminded clergy who do not cause a stir in the media appear to be the Vatican's choice for the top positions. Media attention and politics are more important to the Vatican then the souls entrusted to it's care. I agree this is getting old and I wonder when it will all end.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 12:38 PM ET USA

    I half expect that at the Cardinal Egregious, er, Emeritus's rate of decline he'll begin singing duets with Bernie Taupin and Elton John soon. Perhaps they could invite Timothy Radliffe to make a barbershop quartet.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 12:35 PM ET USA

    McCarrick is a Solzhenitsyn Catholic; He's a centrist right down the middle of his soul.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 12:05 PM ET USA

    Yup, His Eminence was nearly next-door-neighbors with the Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities. St. Matthew's Cathedral is at 1725 Rhode Island Ave., N. W., a scant half mile from the anything-but-evangelically-impoverished digs of the U. S. Jesuit academic juggernaut. Check it out at Map Quest. One Dupont Circle to 1725 Rhode Island Ave., N. W., is a delightful short walk. Now how in God's name do you think McCarrick "got in"?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 11:56 AM ET USA

    Uncle Di, which Vatican dicastery would be the best one to send an angry email (and I think everyone who reads this story should send one)?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 11:53 AM ET USA

    "The Demosthenes of Dupont Circle." I like that. How in God's name did he get in? I have a thought. As I have pointed out on many more than one occasion in the past, McCarrick, as a youngish President of a Catholic university in Puerto Rico in the summer of 1967, joined Theodore Hesburgh & a bevy of Jesuit college presidents 'n such in signing the Land o' Lakes Statement. At One Dupont Circle, Ste. 405, a short walk from St. Matthew's, is the HQ of .... (Go to http://www.ajcunet.edu.)

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 11:49 AM ET USA

    Most of our clergy do not believe that chasity is possible. I can only guess why. I do know that many priests have told me in confession as I struggle with same sex sins that I should relax and get a boyfriend and "enjoy a loving relationship." The chaplin of my Courage group (the Catholic fellowship for same-sex-attracted men and women who want to lead chaste lives) has been around for a long time and he confirms that most priests he knows dismiss the the value and possibility of chastity.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Jun. 08, 2006 11:40 AM ET USA

    In all due charity, what an idiot! With a long clear track record of such remarks one hopes that the Holy See would retire him from any public speaking; or, to give him the benefit of the doubt, require he enter a Scripture 101 class and Fundamental CATHOLIC Morality course. His stance, or lack thereof, makes one wonder: is he pro-life? is he pro-sodomite? is he, really, Catholic?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 11:13 AM ET USA

    Here's what I do not understand: when is Benedict going to issue a public rebuke to the likes of McCarrick, Martini, Danneels, Kasper, et al. He and John Paul are always out there when it's the SSPX or Neo-Catechumenal Way, but when prominent cardinals PUBLICLY speak out AGAINST Church teaching, never a word is said. I love the Pope, but this is getting old and very frustrating. I'd email the Vatican, but what's the point?