Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

'The Point'

Ah, so this is Patrick's point: not, after all, that the Army is plotting war upon Catholics, not that Catholics are uniquely entitled to state promotion of our religious beliefs among our non-Catholic fellow citizens, but 'the need for hierarchical accountability.'

Fair enough.  Two remaining questions, then:

1)  What more is the Army Reserve chain of command, having repudiated and excised the dopey slide of which it was apparently unaware, now to do in order to satisfy Patrick?  And how far up the chain of command does Patrick recommend that what ever he has in mind by 'accountability' reach?  Will he be content with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?  The Secretary of Defense?  Or will he reach all the way up to the Commander-in-Chief or the voters?  What must these people do to earn Patrick's forgiveness?  

2)  Back to the gander's sauce, what manner of accountability does Patrick demand of the hierarchy of that Church to which he, if I understand his earlier posts correctly, believes that our nation's Constitution should ultimately guide the full citizenry?  As serious an offense as a single anomalous slide ascribing, my goodness, 'extremism' to Catholics admittedly is, I can't help but think that repeated, systematic, and apparently conspiratorially concealed child abuse is a matter of some concern too.  And, to complete the parallel with Question (1), how high up this 'chain of command' does Patrick recommend that his brand of accountability reach?  The Bishops?  The College of Cardinals?  The Pontiff?  What must these people do to earn Patrick's forgiveness?

The US military is, in my view, much overused.  But it is in many ways a distinguished institution in which most people learn to control excesses and, notwithstanding periodic scandals, to comport themselves with restraint.  Much the same can be said of the Church - the non-'militant' Church, at any rate.  The apt response to cockupery of the sort that has exercised Patrick is dignified remonstration of the sort registered by the AMS (USA), to which Patrick helpfully links and to which it is difficult to imagine anyone in the military not being receptive.  Shrill professions of 'outrage,' conspiracy-'theorizing,' and militant clamoring befits only fanatics and, yep, extremists, ultimately making even the silliest of slides look a good bit less silly.           



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The point is someone with great influence in the Military is using propaganda to try to demonize the Catholic Church and has not been held accountable. To someone who has a great influence in the Military, The Catholic Church has become an obstacle. Oh what a tangled web some are trying to weave, despite The Seamless Garment, there is this common thread!

Posted by: Nancy | Apr 13, 2013 12:31:49 PM

And yes, we should be fearful and be on guard, not for He Who is like a thief, coming at that Time, as yet, unknown, but for the actual thief, who plans behind close doors, to dismantle any obstacle that appears to be in his way, for his time is not quite ripe.

Posted by: Nancy | Apr 13, 2013 12:46:53 PM

What I see happening is not the military trying to demonize the Catholic Church. Rather, I see a law professor at a major university who *seems* to me to be condemning the Constitution, demonizing the Founding Fathers, and (at minimum) wishing the Establishment Clause out of First Amendment. Professor Brennan *seems* to be out of sympathy with the constitution and with American democracy itself. Now, of course, everyone has the right to freedom of speech. But if it is necessary to repeal the entire First Amendment in order to get rid of the Establishment Clause, then Professor Brennan might not be able to criticize the constitution or the Founding Fathers with impunity.

Posted by: David Nickol | Apr 13, 2013 3:19:02 PM

Noise to deflect the issue that someone with great influence in the Military views The Catholic Church, due to most likely The Catholic Church's teaching on sexual morality, to be a major obstacle. We should be very concerned.

Posted by: Nancy | Apr 13, 2013 4:26:22 PM

And let us not forget, our Judeo-Christian principles, at the time of the founding of this Nation, did not support abortion or same sex sexual unions. However, when we compromised our Judeo-Christian principles in regards to liberty because the issue of slavery, being a violation of the inherent Right to Liberty, was not addressed immediately, our Nation suffered greatly.

Posted by: Nancy | Apr 13, 2013 4:38:16 PM

Why doesn't Patrick Brennan allow comment on his post? It's 2013.

Posted by: Grant Gallicho | Apr 13, 2013 5:32:45 PM

Why does Grant Gallicho delete conservative comments on his posts?

Posted by: Mark | Apr 13, 2013 10:15:24 PM


Why don't you use your full name when making accusations against other commenters?

I read dotCommonweal regularly, and I have seen Grant repeatedly warn people (not just conservatives) that they are crossing a line before resorting to deleting their messages. It is, though, the prerogative of those who host online discussions to try to shape them as they see fit. Those who provide space for discussion get to control it. It is disappointing to me and I am sure to other commenters that some contributors here virtually never open their posts to comments, but that is certainly their right.

Posted by: David Nickol | Apr 14, 2013 2:16:49 AM

Well, I suppose if one believes in conserving all of The Truth, and applying The Word of God, liberally, there really is no line to cross:)

Posted by: Nancy | Apr 14, 2013 1:51:22 PM

Classic move, mark. Poor victimized conservatives. I delete noxious and off-topic comments, regardless of their ideology. But I'm not the subject of this thread. Brennan is. I just wonder why Patrick Brennan does not allow comments on his posts. (Same goes for Robert P. George.)

Posted by: Grant Gallicho | Apr 14, 2013 4:00:16 PM

I'm afraid I cannot agree. I have seen you delete comments that take you to task for acerbic and snarky remarks you post from time to time. Now you are bringing that same level of vitriol to this thread (how else can one interpret your snide “It’s 2013”), and I am asking you to stop.

As for why certain posters here do not open their threads to comments directly, why not take the high road and assume they simply do not have the time to monitor the comments that might be made, which I assume they would be obliged to do with open threads? Or why not simply ask them privately offline, rather than making veiled insults?

Posted by: Mark | Apr 14, 2013 4:40:23 PM

Mark ______ ?

I hardly think that "It's 2013" can be considered a vitriolic remark!

Your criticisms of Grant here are possible because he identified himself by his full name and Commonweal affiliation. It seems to me nervy to criticize the role he plays at Commonweal when he could just as easily have logged in here anonymously, as you do, and said the same thing as he said above. You say to Grant, "I am asking you to stop." Well, who are you?

I understand there are good reasons why some people do not want to reveal their identities, and if people want to post under assumed names, first names, or initials, that's fine with me. But it seems unfair to me when people who post anonymously start attacking people who use their real names, especially when those attacks have nothing to do with the forum in which they appear.

In any case, this thread is not about Grant, so discussing what happens on dotCommonweal is a total distraction.

Posted by: David Nickol | Apr 14, 2013 6:52:46 PM

I wonder what the name is of the person(s) responsible for attempting to equate Christ's Church with terrorism?

Posted by: Nancy | Apr 14, 2013 7:08:21 PM

I find it’s generally best to ignore certain types of comments, but in this case I feel the need to point out that, as much as this thread is not about Grant Gallicho, it is not about me, so I trust readers can see the contradiction in David’s, I must say, vaguely creepy, fixation with my name.

Now, out of respect for Professors Garnett and Hockett, let’s try to get back to the point, shall we? Professor Hockett, I gather that your muted reaction to the anti-Catholic bigotry at the source of these several threads is due to this statement in the original Washington Times story exposing the bigotry:

“An Army spokesperson said the presentation ‘was produced by an individual without anyone in the chain of command’s knowledge or permission.’”

How can you be so certain the Army spokesperson is not attempting to cover up a much more serious issue? What basis do you have to accept this explanation at face value? Thanks.

Posted by: Mark | Apr 14, 2013 7:56:16 PM


I couldn't care less what your name is. My objection is that you and others who don't identify yourselves attack other people from behind the cloak of anonymity. This is not some bizarre personal quirk of mine. There is a vast literature about the deleterious effect of anonymous commenting on the Internet discourse. I suspect both Grant and I know who you are, in any case.

Posted by: David Nickol | Apr 14, 2013 8:10:07 PM

Why won't Robert George acknowledge me? It ain't the way I wanted it! I'm smart! I'm smart and I want respect!

Posted by: Fredo | Apr 14, 2013 8:42:02 PM


It is not a matter of not being "acknowledged" by contributors who don't open their posts to comments. It is a matter of there being no space for discussion.

Posted by: David Nickol | Apr 14, 2013 11:25:37 PM

I find the use of "cockupery," a new one for me, perhaps the most useful aspect of this whole post and thread.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 15, 2013 11:46:33 PM