Two weeks ago I noted the quiet demise of the catholyc group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG).
I was happy to see the group disband, especially after discovering that their chairman of the board, Alfred Rotondaro, argues publicly that the Church should accept the fact that abortion and contraception are here to stay and that gay sex is a gift from God that the Church should celebrate. Obviously, these views have a home among the political-progressive movement, but they deserve no place within the church of Christ.
It came as little surprise when I discovered Alfred Rotondaro has reared his head once again, this time in the pages of the National Catholic Reporter, where writer Jerry Filteau breathlessly reports that, while CACG is currently lying dormant, “two more directly political Catholic groups still going strong”, namely Catholics United and Catholic Democrats. I’m happy that Jerry chose to lump these groups together, agreeing with me that these Catholic groups are all cut from the same political-progressive cloth. (The president of Catholic Democrats, Patrick Whelan, is on the NCReporter board of directors. So they really are all one big happy progressive family.)
Jerry attempts in his article, like many writers at NCReporter, to continue the myth that the Catholic left is alive and well. That’s a joke. And this myth is now in the process of unravelling before our eyes. It has Deal Hudson laughing (the only power the Catholic left has at this point, he notes, is mythology).
Here’s what I mean: through my daily work in DC and in association with CatholicVote, I know how to make the distinction between making a difference, and attempting to appear to make a difference. The Catholic Left can no longer claim to actually be making a difference, so they are left claiming to make a difference.
Let’s take a look at some of these shoddy claims that Jerry tries to publish as fact:
- “In July, Catholics United announced a $500,000 campaign to retain the House seats of four pro-life Democrats who voted for [the Democrats' health care bill]. … ‘The campaign is going great,’ said Chris Korzen, Catholics United executive director. He said the organization has campaign workers in all four congressional districts and has brought out local Catholics [to demonstrate].”
Hahahaha … okay, I’m laughing now too. Korzen is referring to demonstrations like this one, which shows clearly that Korzen’s “local Catholics” are most likely professional union demonstrators which Korzen’s cronies hired for this express purpose. Considering this supposed half-a-million dollars has resulted in nothing tangible except fielding some burly-looking people at a few rallies, this must be where all that money is going. Or else they don’t really have $500,000 to work with. So pick your falsehood.
Here’s the next “huh?”-inspiring claim in Jerry’s article:
- “Steven Krueger, Catholic Democrats’ national director, [said they have] … built a track record of effectiveness in the public square as well as successes behind the scenes” and “We have every reason to believe that we will be successful.”
I’ll eagerly await to see if this prediction comes true. But back to Krueger’s claim, besides offering free window stickers and blog posts comparing Bishop Olmsted to a character in a Monty Python sketch, I’m not quite sure what Catholic Democrats has actually done. In fact, they barely appear in my news archives, and I watch these issues pretty closely. I mean, if I really look hard, I can find Bill Roth of Catholic Democrats claiming at a debate that Catholics who opposed Barack Obama were followers of “pelvic theology.” But maybe Bill was just working on comedy routine for their upcoming fall fundraiser.
My final point is one about a glaring omission in Jerry’s article: CatholicVote. Instead of comparing the activities and “vitality” of Catholics United and Catholic Democrats with, say, an organization like ours (which actually has “Catholic” proudly in its name), Jerry chose to go after the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.
This is revealing. Here’s why: Jerry chose to contrast supposedly-”Catholic” organizations with a POLITICAL organization, instead of a faithful Catholic organization (like ours) which focuses on politics. Why? Because the progressive organizations that Jerry wants us to believe are carrying forward Catholic social teaching, in fact are focused on promoting political (i.e. Democrats’) policy goals and politicians against Republican policy goals and politicians, which means the activity of these progressive groups are more accurately described as “progressive” rather than “Catholic,” because (as I’ve always maintained), those who run these organizations are inspired first and foremost by their political ideology, not Catholic principles.
But there’s a second reason why Jerry chose to contrast progressive Catholic groups with a political organization rather than a bipartisan Catholic one like ours….
… We are flourishing. CatholicVote’s email list numbers more than ten times the largest email list that any of these progressive Catholic organizations can claim. We are happy to have launched an “I am the Catholic Vote” campaign, because the face of CatholicVote is youthful, joyful face and one full of promise. We don’t rely on the largesse of powerful “Washington socialites” (like CACG admitted it did). Our funding is grassroots (our current campaign promotes a large matching-gift offer from a married couple, but what we actually raise depends entirely on how many small, individual donations we get).
So it’s no surprise that Jerry doesn’t mention us. WE here at CatholicVote are the direct rebuke to the myth he wishes to create about a vibrant Catholic left. That’s why liberal groups such as Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and yes, even National Catholic Reporter, have never attempted to engage me personally in debate. They know I’d (we’d) win. We’re not enslaved to the progressive orthodoxy or any party, rather, we’re living the Church’s social teaching in an integrated fashion.
In the meantime, the Catholic Left stays put in their emptying echo chamber.
But I have news for them: the public square has new tenants. And we’re here to stay.