The Cardinal And The Politics Of Fear

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The current Archbishop of Chicago, Francis George (left), recognizes the “difficulty of public discussion … is that the political is the highest level of public discourse.” In explaining the Catholic Church’s concern with the HHS mandate regarding contraception. His Eminence said the first question to ask is: “Is it true or false?”

The product of reason is truth. British philosopher, John Stuart Mill, defined logic “as the science which treats of the operations of the human understanding in the pursuit of truth.”

George told members of the Union League Club of Chicago that offering birth control is “operating with evil,” and that:

the Church may otherwise sell its hospitals, pay penalties, or in a last resort, close them altogether, rather than offer birth control.

In George’s argument, he commits the logical fallacy of ad baculum, the Appeal to Fear. It is a well known tactic when your conclusions cannot be reached through logical reasoning. The use of the Appeal to Fear tactic is an admission by George that his conclusions are not sound.

As an example of an Appeal to Reason, Eleanor Schwarz, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, said:

When we keep it within the purely health-and-science realm, we understand it saves people’s lives. All available contraceptives are much safer for women’s health than an undesired pregnancy.

George’s primary concern is obviously not women’s health. His primary concern is his church’s health and well-being. Contraception lowers birth rates and fewer babies means fewer potential Catholics. George does not trust women to make the pregnancy decision for themselves.

H/T: The Non Sequitur, Chicago Tribune, CBS Chicago.

52 thoughts on “The Cardinal And The Politics Of Fear”

  1. I didn’t expect such a politically-charged post on your blog, Prof. Turley. It really makes me question your integrity. The last paragraph makes quite a few untrue assumptions, and it’s rather sickening. Thanks for the memories, but I don’t think I’ll be following your blog anymore.

  2. I thought Marx said “Opiate of the people” The word Masses could include a dog pack.
    But Karl was right and so was his brother Chico when the priest asked him for a dime for the telephone and Chico said “I dont go down that road.”
    We dont get the Marx Brothers movies in this neck of the woods and I think it has something to do with the power of the churches.

  3. TalkinDog,

    I don’t care to disclose what my religion is. That said, Karl Marx stated that religion is the opiate of the masses.

  4. TalkinDog, I believe all those systems (Roman Catholic Church, Sharia law, the various forms of Fascism, more etceteras than I know about) that are fiercely patriarchal and rigidly hierarchical do the very same thing. Should they PUBLICLY adopt a position that doesn’t fit the reality of their systems, they have to lie about it, “move the pieces around on the checkerboard,” deny, punish those who see that the Emperor has no clothes on, etc. etc. Only with effective punishment can real opposition to these systems be controlled, as we have recently seen with Syria. Even in the FACE of effective punishment, the opposition sometimes takes over, even if briefly, even if imperfectly — and then others will be punished.

    Once I was in a meeting with the then chief judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit of Family Courts in New York, and she had granted us the meeting because we were complaining about the actions of a judge in Rockland County family court who had been handing over kids to abusers in cases that were so obvious that the local HOSPITAL had turned in a report of abuse of a child to CPS and they had refused to investigate it because the judge didn’t want them involved. It was so obvious that even the chief judge was aware of it; there was no effective way to deny what was happening. At the meeting were six professionals including the chief of pediatrics at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and me (not a professional). The Chief Judge said, “I have very limited power. What do you want me to do? All I can do is to move him to another jurisdiction, and if I do that, the people THERE will complain to me. I can’t do anything TO HIM.” We wanted her to initiate an investigation into his last hundred or so cases, to see what evidence he had refused to allow onto the record (such as HOSPITAL RECORDS of a child who had pelvic inflammatory disease at the age of eight!) but she said she couldn’t — maybe that was true, maybe not. She told us that she had discovered that a guardian ad litem in the New York program for representation of the indigent, who had gotten cases from her assignments, had molested kids he was representing in court! She said she removed him from the list of attorneys to assign to these kids, but she did not investigate his cases. She commented that he had SUED HER for removing him from the assignments list! She closed our meeting with a very odd comment: “All I can do is to move him to another place, like the Catholic Church moves the pedophile priests.” There was always a tacit admission of the problem, and even the SCOPE of the problem, but there was a strange, conscience-free refusal to address it in any effective way. That is why I began to believe that the cover-up is worse than the crime.

  5. As the “Philadelphia Story unfolds, the world will again be treated to the crimes and coverups for what happens under the cover of priests and their hoodies. The manner in which they moved their criminals from parish to parish –often across the country or the world– to keep them operating in Gods name is remarkable. Then when the beast priests are actually driven out of the flock herder tribe they find jobs in the secular world as teachers or child care operators. Never do they go to jail for their hideous crimes and never does the worshipping flock raise their noses or blind eyes from the foilage on the ground while the flock dutifully sends more juvenile fodder into the parsonage to be sodomized. Ah, Sodam and Gonora.

    And Americans meanwhile have problems with contemplating Sharia law.

  6. @ Dredd — thanks very much. Wow, how do you know everything about everything?

    But I am going to lose sleep studying this newly opened book — perhaps I should sue you if this results in a diagnosed sleep disorder! (Gene H, can you throw me one of those cute faces?)

  7. “The question therefore is, how is true belief (or belief in the real) distinguished from false belief (or belief in fiction). … the ideas of truth and falsehood, in their full development, appertain exclusively to the experiential method of settling opinion. A person who arbitrarily chooses the propositions which he will adopt can use the word “truth” only to emphasize the expression of his determination to hold on to his choice.” — Charles Sanders Peirce, “How to Make our Ideas Clear,” Popular Science Monthly (1878)

    The Cardinal does not use the word “truth” in any legitimate sense recognizable by those who live and think in the modern, scientific world. In fact, he attempts to undermine empirical reasoning by implicitly substituting deductive “belief” — specifically, a belief in fiction — for the word “truth,” which concerns evidence-based inductive reasoning, or reality

  8. Geeze Elaine…..that’s sick and disgusting….. Tell me more about pete Seeger….

  9. Philadelphia Priest Trial Painful, Poignant For Catholics
    By MARYCLAIRE DALE 04/21/12


    PHILADELPHIA — Graphic testimony in a Philadelphia clergy-abuse trial this month has ripped open secret church files and reopened old wounds among Catholics as scarred men and women tell jurors that priests groped, molested or raped them as teens.

    The testimony has proven both painful and poignant, especially that of a 48-year-old man who said he had been in love with his parish priest during a five-year sexual relationship that began in ninth grade – and jealous when the priest allegedly bedded down at his farmhouse with other teens.

    The stories have been told before, in two Philadelphia grand jury reports and in lawsuits filed around the country.

    But Monsignor William Lynn’s decision to go to trial on child-endangerment charges stemming from his 12 years as secretary for clergy has brought the grand jury reports to life – and seemingly put the archdiocese on trial. The judge is allowing testimony about more than 20 accused but uncharged priests, because Lynn knew of complaints lodged against them or took part in internal church investigations.

    The accused priests were left in ministry, often transferred to unsuspecting parishes.

    Nearly a dozen alleged victims have testified, while internal church memos and Lynn’s 2002 grand jury testimony have been read aloud. And jurors will soon hear from a former altar boy who says he was raped by two priests and his fifth-grade teacher.

  10. “It is now easy to understand why a savage should desire to partake of the flesh of an animal or man whom he regards as divine. By eating the body of the god he shares in the god’s attributes and powers. And when the god is a corn-god, the corn is his proper body; when he is a vine-god, the juice of the grape is his blood; and so by eating the bread and drinking the wine the worshiper partakes of the real body and blood of his god. Thus the drinking of wine in the rites of a vine-god like Dionysus is not an act of revelry, it is a solemn sacrament. Yet a time comes when reasonable men find it hard to understand how anyone in his senses can suppose that by eating bread or drinking wine he consumes the body or blood of a deity [emphasis added]. ‘When we call corn Ceres and wine Bacchus,’ says Cicero, ‘we use a common figure of speech; but do you imagine that anyone is so insane as to believe that the thing he feeds upon is a god?’” Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough: a study in magic and religion

    Or, as I paraphrased this ancient observation in “Boobie Political Science” (an episode of Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-literate retreat to Plato’s Cave):

    As Cicero in Roman times
    Inquired of something odd:
    “Is there a man so mad he thinks
    He drinks and eats a god?”
    The mack’rel-snapping Boobies blushed,
    And answered with a nod.

    If eating flesh and drinking blood
    Sounds like a lousy deal
    Consider Neolithic times
    When savages would steal
    A cave man from a nearby tribe
    And make of him a meal

    Since dinners in those bygone days
    Were far apart and few
    A dead piece of organic meat
    Made quite a hearty stew
    To dimwit troglodytic brains
    It seemed the thing to do

    But still some lazy cave man types
    Declined to toil like beasts
    They shunned the work of killing foes
    And serving them at feasts
    So some forgotten con man thought
    Of parasitic priests

    Someone would have to say the words
    Someone would have to curse
    Someone would have to gather beads
    And drop them in his purse
    For later use in living high
    While others fared the worse

    And so the classes formed at once
    With kings and priests on top
    And all the others down beneath
    With nothing left to stop
    The sword and “GAWD” from draining them
    Of every living drop

    Two thousand years of eating fish
    On Fridays hasn’t changed
    The need for human sacrifice
    Felt by the more deranged
    But only caused the ghouls to have
    The menu rearranged

    Still practicing ritual cannibalism after two thousand years. And these parasitic priests want to lecture sane people about “truth”? Ugh!

  11. Nal,

    How can Rands economics be separated from the philosophical components and still make rational sense? Philosophically I buy into some of what rand is selling….. She is a metaphysical mystery to me…. I am just trying to grasp the impact……

Comments are closed.