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October 29, 2003

Comments

Donald R. Mcclarey

A Ratzingerite is a Catholic who has the temerity to disagree with any of Mr. Sullivan's ex cathedra statements.

mary

In a court of law when one attorney introduces an issue he opens the door to the discussion of that issue. Mr. Sullivan opened the door to issues of sexual orientation by using Terri’s case to defend same sex marriage. Forget the Catechism Mr. Sullivan why don’t you review the contents of the marriage vows “In sickness and in health” and the requirement of fidelity-physical and emotional. What that means Mr. Sullivan, is that if my husband (God prevent) had a debilitating stroke tonight-never again to walk, never again to be able to communicate in any way- I would be required to care and be faithful to him and my vows until his or my dying day. That is what marriage is Mr. Sullivan. Faithfulness, and it is not just a Catholic concept. It is not having an affair while your spouse lies critically ill, it is not becoming engaged to another person while your spouse still lives, it is certainly not bringing children into this world outside of the sanctity of marriage. If Mr. Schiavo can be justly accused of one thing it is breaking and annihilating his marriage vows. He should not determine Terri’s fate because he has long since stop functioning as Terri’s husband. And if the courts are misinterpreting the law in his favor, then in a democracy the law should be changed by our elected representatives, because that is what we elect them to do-create laws!

saint

Amy,
I'm not a Catholic and never have been. But I am a regular reader of your blog, and occasional reader of Mr Sullivan's. I will have to say you are the most even-handed Catholic blogger/writer I know - whether commenting on Mr Sullivan's public confessions (and you have never once intomated Sullivan was no longer a Catholic - and I personally am not so generous)
or the complexities of Terri's case, you have extended grace and the benefit of the doubt in bigger measures than I could ever dish out. And you have been generous too in your willingness to allow debate, even encouraged it. You have integrity and guts that I admire, even if I don't agree with every last skerrick of Catholic theology. In you, I recognize a true woman of God.

In any case, I am not surprised Sullivan has chosen to lash out at you personally, and not at anything you wrote. Why, because we have all seen it a thousand times before. Mr Sullivan is not the first to have walked the road he is travelling on. And some of us have also walked that road before ourselves, which makes it easier to recognise. Sullivan is merely shaking his fist at Christ. And that means he will shake his fist at any who are Christ's ambassadors. Sorry Andrew, my opinion.

But whehter I am right or wrong on this is irrelevant; what is obviously true, even to ordinary half-brained individuals like me: Sullivan owes you a public apology for his false accusations, and yes, blatant lies.

And I probably owe you an apology Amy, for just sounding off on your blog.

c matt

A.S. makes typical ad hominem attacks against Amy. As one who frequents her blog, and frequently disagrees with some of the posts, she has been one of the more open to debate hosts around (much more so than A.S.). Intellectualism is not an end in itself. In fact, intellectualism is often the enemy of open ideas and debate. Intellectualism means dismissing arguments because the person propounding such does not possess the required (or desired) pedigree. I would be glad to be labeled and anti-intellectual.

Having said that, A.S. is perfectly within reason to cite to the CCC to prove a point to those who accept the CCC. However, in doing so, he needs to cite accurately and fully if he wishes to be persuasive, and more important, he must also accept as correct the "official" interpretations of the catechism as binding (i.e., Tradition as interpreted by those with authority to do so), not his own interpretations of it.

c matt

A.S. makes typical ad hominem attacks against Amy. As one who frequents her blog, and frequently disagrees with some of the posts, she has been one of the more open to debate hosts around (much more so than A.S.). Intellectualism is not an end in itself. In fact, intellectualism is often the enemy of open ideas and debate. Intellectualism means dismissing arguments because the person propounding such does not possess the required (or desired) pedigree. I would be glad to be labeled and anti-intellectual.

Having said that, A.S. is perfectly within reason to cite to the CCC to prove a point to those who accept the CCC. However, in doing so, he needs to cite accurately and fully if he wishes to be persuasive, and more important, he must also accept as correct the "official" interpretations of the catechism as binding (i.e., Tradition as interpreted by those with authority to do so), not his own interpretations of it.

Patrick Rothwell

I agree that there was nothing wrong in itself with Andrew Sullivan quoting the CCC to prove a point to accept the CCC as authoritative.

The problem with Andrew Sullivan's post was that the CCC passage which discussed the distinction between the use of medical treatment that is overly burdensome and those that are not, does not in itself address or resolve the problem of Terri Schiavo's condition at all. There are other issues involved including (a) the end Mr. Schiavo is seeking, i.e., he is withdrawing nutrition and hydration for the purpose of killing her and (b) the issue of whether nutrition and hydration is "overly burdensome treatment" or "ordinary care," (c) whether Terri is in PVS or even if that matters, and (d) the allegations that Michael Schiavo only sought to withdraw nutrition after receiving a pile of money to be used in part for her maintenance. After reading his quote of the CCC, one reasonably asks, "And? So?"

Andrew then follows by making the non-sensical statement that because Christianity believes in the glory of the afterlife, that he finds it somewhat illegitimate that Christians should be concerned about the protection of life in this world. That argument was a non-sequitur and Sully should know better.

All of that considered along with the gratuitous "Ratzingerite," (as if Amy and Mark were adherents of some peculiar heretical sect like the "Hussites",) Andrew's post was nothing more than a temper tantrum directed at "religious conservatives" in general.

I have been critical of religious conservatives who gratuitously dump on Sully. Yet it seems to me that the more he engages in nonsensical diatribes against Catholic conservatives that completely miss the mark despite his sharp analytical skills in almost every other respect, the more likely it is that Mark Shea may be on to something: when the little head goes up, the big head goes out the window. Sully is a smart man and can and has critiqued religious conservatives better.

Steve

A Ratzingerite is anyone who is a faithful Catholic. I'm a cradle Protestant (LOL), but I'd rather be a Ratzingerite than just about anything else.

Is it not the case that Andrew Sullivan is self-excommunicated? Is that not canon law?

The Hussites weren't heretics. They were VII Catholics (letter, not 'spirit of') a few centuries too early, and didn't get the promised hearing at Constance.

The Barrister

I don't disagree with Patrick Rothwell, but wanted to point out one minor discrepancy regarding Andy's citation to the CCC.

I also don't have a huge problem with Andy turning to the CCC, but the part he cited has nothing to do with Terri's situation at all. Patrick is correct: Food and water is NEITHER "burdensome" NOR "ordinary" medical care. I go one further: more specifically, food and water is simply NOT medical care. Period. Food and water are the staples of life, and no one has the right to deny those things to another.

So although Andy has the general right to cite to the CCC, the section he cited has nothing to do with this case, and he shouldn't cite it in a skewed argument to support his chosen degenerate lifestyle.

Registered Independent Joel

I gave up on Sully a long time ago. He is indeed brilliant, but his political and social commentary is so shallow and inconsistent that he is painful to read. A wasted intellect.

Don't let it bother you that he has decided to attack you. He's a pygmie in comparison, never mind the sitemeter stats.

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

A few years back, my husband was debating with a bitter ex-Catholic who mockingly called him a "Hahnite" (ie. follower of Scott Hahn). Which was absurd, since Jim studied the works of many Catholic apologists, and had no particular attachment to Scott Hahn over any other apologist. But no matter how much we tried to say "We're Catholics, not Hahnites!", he just called us that all the more!

I think that some people enjoy calling their opponents names like that. It makes it easier to dismiss an opponent if you can tag a lable on him which makes it seem like he belongs to some fanatical sect centered around one man. Ever hear the saying, "I'd rather be listened to than labled"? Once you lable someone it gives you an excuse to stop listening to them, I think.

In Jesu et Maria,

Mark Cameron

A great irony here is that what touched this off was Sullivan's pointing out that the Catechism was more nuanced on when life saving treatment could be withdrawn then some American Catholic pro-lifers seem to be. And who is the main co-author of the Catechism? Cardinal Ratzinger (along with Cardinal Schonboern of Vienna). So a Ratzingerite is somebody who disagrees with what Ratzinger wrote in the Catechism?

Nicole

Amy, this is a huge bummer. I agree with others who have said that you are one of the most civil, even-handed bloggers around. I don't blame you for being upset.

HUGS,
Nicole

SJ

Sullivan acknowledged the irony today: "All I was trying to do by quoting the Catechism is to show that even under Ratzinger, there is an understanding of a balance here."

I'm also not sure that it's accurate to characterize Sullivan's statement that "The extreme defense of keeping people on earth at all costs seems an odd priority for a Christian church" as equivalent to "[since] Christianity believes in the glory of the afterlife ... he finds it somewhat illegitimate that Christians should be concerned about the protection of life in this world." I have been struck by some who have posted who state that Terri could not have ever stated that she would prefer not to be kept on life support, as everyone would prefer to be alive, even if in PVS. I'm fairly certain that's not true, and I think the promise of an afterlife certainly tempers the urge to cling to this life.

Now it is clear that this bog has contained diverse views on this issue.

test

test

bryan

go rape some altar boy.

Sage

I agree with Registered Independent, above, though I still read Sully almost daily. His considerable intellect becomes conspicuously hobbled when dealing with any issue about which he has the slightest personal stake.

He regularly demonizes his opponents as the the intellectual and political heirs of Herr Hitler, refers incessantly to the "theocratic right" as a way of discrediting anybody to the right of, well, himself, and never seems to find a single praiseworthy thing to say about his precious Church, ever, ever, ever.

He's hypersensistive, melodramatic, and irrational where questions of Catholicism are concerned. It must be asked: why remain Catholic? Is the Church right about the True Presence and wrong about nearly everything else? At any rate, his use of a document he does not find authoritative to bolster a point not even supported by that same document is telling indeed.

Remember, Andrew, that it is YOU who finds the CCC superfluous--you agree with it only where it agrees with you. Which is to say, you believe it's either unnecessary or wrong, in every instance. So don't be surprised if people who take it seriously are miffed by your hypocrisy, and don't be surprised when they give as well as they get.

S.F.

I simply don't understand why Andrew Sullivan is taken seriously. He's a second-rate intellectual. He generally mischaracterizes religious conservatives and their opinions. It's one thing to disagree. Another to consistently get the facts wrong.

There are only two possiblilities with Sullivan. The first is that he lies about Catholicism. The second is that he so damn ignorant about Catholicism, that he can't get it right. Either way, he's wrong.

Matthew

Keep it all in perspective, Amy. As faithful Catholics, we have all had the unpleasant experience of being attacked by CINO's ('Catholics-In-Name-Only' - who are generally people who haven't seen the inside of a church since their mom stopped making them go to CCD in 6th grade). They love to regale how they've become enlightened to the Church's flaws, and how they decided they would never support the Chruch as a result of some self-righteous epiphany they had. I realize I paint with a broad brush here, but this has been my experience with CINO's.

I think most CINO's believe that calling themselves 'Catholic' lends their swipes and barbed comments toward the Church an air of legitimacy. Personally, I've had CINO's rail on me over abortion, women priests, celibate priests, birth control, and just about any other tenet of the Church that doesn't jive with their TV-driven view of the world. Even if you won't say it, I believe Andrew Sullivan is just another flavor of your garden variety CINO.

What has always been clear to me in watching Sullivan's tedious (and very public) struggle between his sex life and his Church is that Sullivan's gay-agenda has ALWAYS been stronger than his support of the Catholic Church.

The man has a clear agenda when it comes to homosexuality. Everything he says should be viewed through that lens. And you should not take any of his attacks personally.

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