kissling's cousins

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 07, 2007

"The Catholic right is uglier and meaner than anyone on the religious right, worse than the Falwells and Robertsons," said Kissling, who stepped down as president of the organization March 1. "The viciousness of the [William] Donohues, the Deal Hudsons, the George Weigels and the [Fr.] Richard John Neuhauses is soul-numbing," said Kissling.

Now that hurts. Not so much as a mention of Catholic World News, and after all we've had to say over the years about Catholics for a Free Choice, too. I guess we went wrong by exaggerating the Mister Nice Guy approach and always stressing the positive -- even about those we criticise -- as a basis for finding common ground. There just ain't no justice out there.

Joe Feuerherd's excellent NCR interview with Frances Kissling on the occasion of her retirement from CFFC is a very interesting read. She is peevishly critical of many of her fellow lefties, including and especially Catholic lefties. Feuerherd is to be congratulated for preserving so much of Kissling's candor in his article, and the NCR deserves credit for publishing it. Regrettably, it's subscriber-only access, but I think I can pass on the following excerpts without violating the fair use boundaries.

Having dismissed Voice of the Faithful as ineffective, Kissling says:

"Look at all the rest of us, Call to Action, ARCC [the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church], Dignity, the Women's Ordination Conference." So small in number and influence, Kissling said, that "the movement doesn't exist."

It's no better -- worse in fact, she said -- on the political front, where such groups as Sojourners, the Washington-based liberal evangelical political action group, and the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good, the recently formed effort to counter the religious right, "have gotten a free ride." Kissling said, "They make claims about their effectiveness in the 2006 elections" that are not borne out by the facts.

Heresy. And it's interesting that she sees lefty Catholics' crush on the Democratic Party to be as pointless as are the hopes of conservative Catholics that the GOP will do the right thing by pro-lifers:

Meanwhile, Kissling said, the progressive religious community's efforts to ingratiate itself with the Democratic Party works against the efforts of church reformers, especially feminists. "It is threatening because what the Democratic Party wants from religion is respectability and credibility. They want a rabbi with a yarmulke on his head, a minister who wears a collar or some religious garb. They want a mainstream respectable image of religion.

"There's nothing respectable about a gay rabbi and almost nothing respectable about a woman pastor who is a feminist. They don't call up and say, 'Send me [feminist theologian] Mary Hunt, send me your most radical spokesperson within your denomination.' They call and say, 'Do you have a nun who still wears a habit who can show up at my press conference [or] can you send me a collar?'"

The fact that such tokens of respectability are still tokens of respectability 40 years after Vatican II speaks volumes about the progressivist claim that they impede the pastoral encounter. As for the myth of the existence of the "personally opposed" Catholic, the following quote will seem to most OTR readers to state the obvious. It's significant, though, that Kissling is the one to say it:

Moreover, she said, there's more than a "degree of hypocrisy" among many Catholic progressives, many of whom, she says, don't believe that abortion is "always immoral and should be illegal."

"My experience in the progressive movement in the church is that most of the people I work with are personally pro-choice and will simply not admit it publicly," she said. "They think it will be bad for their organization and they want to continue to have ties to the hierarchy, to parishes, and they know if they come out on abortion they are going to be totally marginalized within the institution, so it's the one [issue] on which they lie the most."

Kissling said, "I have more respect for people who are genuinely antiabortion and who say it than I do for many of my colleagues ... who lie about this issue, who refuse to take a stand on this issue."

No argument, Frances. It isn't often we agree, but you're on target here. Tell your Uncle Di: was it in anticipation of this tender concord that you left us off your Vicious List?

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 08, 2007 12:19 AM ET USA

    Seekest thou only Kissling's kiss-off, and not a fairer kiss? BTW, I'd think it would be hard to know what is or is not "soul-numbing" when your soul is in the state that Frances' must be in.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2007 9:59 PM ET USA

    I almost choked on my cigar while watching my minimum wage factory workers crank out more widgets from my offshore operations in the Caspian Sea. What does a guy have to do to get noticed by my Kissling cousin these days?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2007 6:19 PM ET USA

    Yes, Diogenes, I was disappointed that CWNews and you, particularly, were left off of Frances' list... From the list she offers, Frances really doesn't embrace her own agenda of "diversity," does she?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2007 4:04 PM ET USA

    Convert, I hear your frustration. You are right of course, but it may be some consolation to consider that many of us ARE acting, just not in the arena of politics. We are busy raising our (large?) families, instructing them in the faith, and praying. This is not highly visible or widely report work, but it will be beautifully effective.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2007 3:06 PM ET USA

    >> Tell your Uncle Di: was it in anticipation of this tender concord >> that you left us off your Vicious List? I don't know about everybody else, but I thought this Uncle Di post was Particularly funny! If there is an award for "The Most Inside Jokes in a single Post", this one should be a candidate!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2007 2:34 PM ET USA

    The White Rose movement in Nazi Germany also had a silent majority, I'm sure. And don't trouble yourself about not making the Quisling, er, Kissling enemies list, Uncle Di -- she would have mentioned you, but she wasn't sure how to pronounce or spell "Diogenes," and might have been afraid she'd be asked about that old Greek fellow with the latern, or whoever he was.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2007 2:26 PM ET USA

    You make a valid point, Altar Boy. I don't believe there is a Catholic right or Catholic left but there is a Catholic right and a Catholic wrong! Either you stand for what Christ and His Church teaches or you don't. It's that simple. Ms. Kissling is endangering her soul by her slavish devotion to the agenda of death. Why aren't we pro-lifers more fervent? Why do we let those who oppose the culture of life set the agenda and the rules for debate? We know our cause is just so ACT!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2007 12:45 PM ET USA

    There is no “Catholic right” (never was, not now, never will be). No one, in the history of the civilized world, has been, or could be, “meaner” than those that carry out the murder of innocent children. And the “viciousness” of Kissling, and her ilk, is unmatched in written history, even by the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Repent, Frances! It is not too late.