The ‘Catholic Left’ Thinks It’s Cool To Be a Catholic–Until You Act Like One

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There was hardly anything more disturbing in recent news than Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) implying that judicial nominee Amy Barrett could be disqualified for her position because of her Catholic faith. Unfortunately, the story got worse when, on Sunday, Sen. Feinstein prefaced a defense of her grilling of Barrett with the explanation that she attended a Catholic school in her youth.

Sadly, Sen. Feinstein’s insistence that she understands Catholicism while also spitting in its face is indicative of a larger attitude on the political left. They believe you can call yourself a Catholic, or a Christian–but only if you don’t practice what you preach.

Indeed, Catholics who identify as conservative, adhere to the Church’s social teachings, or even outwardly express their faith, are labeled “bigots” and mocked by the left. In practice, the left’s timid embrace of religious freedom only extends to those who check the boxes of liberalism.

For example, look at how Hillary Clinton’s campaign leaders and friends talked about Catholics in a series of emails leaked in 2016 from John Podesta’s server. Progressive leaders mocked and derided conservative Catholics and called for a “Catholic Spring” to purge the Church of such right-leaning heretics.

“They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy,” John Halpin, a fellow at the Center for American Progress, wrote about conservative Catholics in a 2011 email.

“There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church,” Sandy Newman of Voices for Progress wrote, while Podesta declared that he had been preparing for such a moment.

It’s especially distressing that several of the people captured in the email leak, including Podesta, are self-identifying Catholics. Clearly, orthodox Christians of any kind shouldn’t expect to find sympathy with members of the “Catholic left,” and instead may consider them a unique threat to their faith.

Then there was former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), serving in the good company of Dianne “The Dogma Lives Loudly Within You” Feinstein, who derided a Catholic priest for daring to disagree with Pope Francis on climate change. Boxer was far too focused on playing “gotcha” to let the priest explain to her that the pope does not speak from magisterial authority when he speaks on issues of science.

And let’s not forget our good friend Sen. Bernie Sanders who completely jumped the shark when he slammed Russell Vought, Trump’s pick for Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, for–you guessed it, being a practicing Christian.

Sanders accused Vought of Islamophobia for writing, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Clearly no one told Sen. Sanders that Vought’s language comes straight out of the New Testament. John 3:18 reads, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Leftists will be the first to stand on the side of religion when they think they can use it to push the policy chips in their favor. They love to lecture Catholics about “what Jesus would do” when trying to expand redistributive welfare programs, weaken the nation’s borders, or pass burdensome regulations meant to combat climate change.

But don’t ask them to support Catholics when it comes to ending abortion, defending traditional marriage, or running a private business in accordance with the faith. And definitely don’t ask them to separate a Catholic’s religious beliefs from their ability to perform a job. That’s just too far.

The reality is that if the left wants to claim “tolerance” they can’t just pick and choose which parts of Catholicism are acceptable in relation to their policy goals. And Catholics can’t be afraid to stand firm in their beliefs even when it means not fitting in. Otherwise their faith risks political manipulation.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

mm

Amber Athey covers media and breaking news for The Daily Caller and is a columnist for CatholicVote.org. Prior to joining TheDC, Amber reported on instances of liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform and was a member of the 2016-17 Koch Associate Program. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Government and Economics from Georgetown University in 2016. While in school, Amber chaired the GU College Republicans and the Club Field Hockey team. Follow her on Twitter @amber_athey.

24 Comments

  1. This rings true to a degree.

    Recall when the Pope made the “Who am I to judge” comment. Many of the left were happy to co-opt this statement and infer/declare moral authority on part of the Pope when they believed that the statement was in favor of what they were for.

    If the Pope were to publicly affirm Church teachings on SSM, I’m quite sure his former cheerleaders would have an immediate about-face in RE: the Pope’s moral authority. We’d get the “funny hat, red Prada shoes” warhorse trotted out in a nanosecond.

  2. If it’s wrong for the left to “pick and choose” which parts of Catholicism members of the left wish to follow, the same holds true for conservatives.  Yet, the author blatantly ignores the teachings of the Catholic Church on the salvation of Muslims in the Catechism.
    “The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” (841)
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p3.htm
    I guess the Catechism must be wrong, huh?
    What, exactly, is the purpose of this website?  You claim to speak for some sort of authenticity of Catholicism, but anytime dogma conflicts with conservative beliefs, you seem to side with conservative beliefs.  I find that to be truly sad.
    Is the position of this website that Jews are condemned to hell?  I think you should answer that question very clearly, because according to your definition, they would be.

    • Anna-

      Russell Vought is not Catholic, to my knowledge, and thus is not bound to Catholic teaching RE: the salvation of Muslims.

      He was brought into the article, as far as I can tell, to demonstrate a pattern of religious litmus tests on part of prominent Democratic officials and office-holders.

      • Ram – come on! The author says Bought is right. She goes on to quote the Bible to support his viewpoint. It’s right there in the text!

        • No, Anna, I quoted the Bible to explain why it could be reasonable for Vought to hold that belief as a Christian. Hence why Sen. Sanders’ insistence that Vought is “Islamophobic” is dishonest.

          • Just to clarify, you would agree Senators shouldn’t question nominees who believe Jews are automatically condemned to hell, right? It’s straight from the Bible.

          • Amber

            From the reading, you appear to affirm Vought’s beliefs whilst posting to a Catholic-based site through YOUR presentment of a Bible verse that supports it.

            You didn’t provide Vought’s support for his position-you supported his argument for him here.

            Big difference.

            The reader here takes that you support Vought’s statement and provided Biblical support for it.

          • I guess my point here is that there’s no need to worry about Russell Vought and protestants here.

            There’s an abundance of well-documented situations RE: Catholicism that made your point just fine.

            The Russell Voughts of the world can fend for themselves-they do it theologically, so they can do it in the public square. Catholics don’t need to place themselves as defenders of their DIY theological statements.

          • “I guess my point here is that there’s no need to worry about Russell Vought and protestants here.
            There’s an abundance of well-documented situations RE: Catholicism that made your point just fine.”

            This is a fair criticism. Thank you.

    • I am amending my reply to you.

      I read further and saw that Ms. Athey, oddly, used the “protestant playbook” and ran a Bible verse out that serves to condemn non-Christians.

      If she IS Catholic, she knows that it’s not her job to condemn anyone, and she would be well-served to employ the “three-legged stool” (Scripture, Teaching of the Magisterium and Sacred Tradition) to inform her faith vs. waterboarding the Bible to give up a verse that supports her argument.

      Thanks.

  3. And… suddenly no response from the author on the question of Jews’ salvation. Sadly, it seems every far right wing view has its day at this website.

    • To be completely fair, I don’t think the author is required to respond to a hypothetical from you nor me, is she?

      I don’t think Jewish nor Muslims people would be subject to this type of thing from the Democrats, and if they or any other non-Christian would be subjected to it by a Republican, I’m quite certain you’d be incensed. The merest inference of it would be the subject of the political “shout shows” for days on end.

      • Again, she wrote that quote from the Bible. I don’t think it’s hypothetical. No one made her write it. By definition, it applies equally to all non-Christians. Either that or the author is picking on Muslims.

        • She pasted that from the Bible, yes.

          Clearly, the target was Muslims, given the context.

          That’s an inherent problem with cherrypicking Bible verses-it removes said verse from it’s context inasmuch as Sola Scriptura removes scripture itself from it’s context.

    • mm
      Stephen Herreid on

      Anna,

      You’re out. It’ll be a good parting of ways. I’ve reviewed your comments here. You’ve commented on most of our posts for at least this year, and nearly every one of your comments indicates that you do not benefit from or even approve of our work here.

      I hope you do continue to visit the site. Perhaps you will enjoy some future posts.

      Goodbye,

      Stephen Herreid

      • Stephen-

        You may administer this site as you see fit, of course, but in this instance the author clearly, of her own volition, made active defense of a protestant’s clearly non-Catholic viewpoint on people of other faiths – within context of an article correctly noting aggressive anti-Catholic animus on part of Democratic party operatives.

        To the reading, she (Athey) was presenting a POV on your site directly contrary to the Church’s teaching to support of her argument and she was called on it.

        Anna IS a contrarian, and I do not believe that there’s anything that could be posted here that she would agree with, but she was on point here.

        FWIW.

        Thanks

  4. Could we please stop referring to these people as “Catholic Left” or “liberal Catholics” or even “Cafeteria Catholics”? They are clearly Protestants, as they reject parts of Catholic teaching. We need to confront them on this and call a spade a spade. I am sick and tired of having to qualify my Catholicism as “traditional” or “orthodox” or “conservative” — I AM A CATHOLIC. Anyone who does not accept the fullness of the faith is NOT. It is that simple.

    • Never thought about it that way Pamela – thanks, I’ve been having difficulty with this too but couldn’t sort it out.

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