When Sen. Dianne Feinstein grilled federal circuit court nominee—and now Supreme Court nominee—Amy Coney Barrett three years ago, she fretted that “the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.”
Given the senator’s obvious prejudices, she should indeed be concerned. Ms. Barrett’s life story suggests that she actually believes and seeks to live what her Catholic faith teaches. Worse, she has a superb intellect, a deep grasp of the law, and an excellent record as a jurist. In other words, she’s a nightmare for a certain kind of political tribe.
Let’s put aside for a moment Sen. Feinstein’s Know Nothing-style vulgarity. After all, she’s hardly alone in her bigotry. Disdain for vigorous religious convictions, especially the Catholic kind, is a virus that’s going around. It seems to infect a number of Democratic senators, including Sen. Kamala Harris, Feinstein’s California colleague and vice presidential nominee, who saw looming peril in that dangerous national conspiracy otherwise known as the Knights of Columbus.
Sen. Feinstein’s words help us see clearly how some in our political class now view Catholics who are more than merely “nominal” in their faith. It’s true that anyone baptized as a Catholic is, in fact, a Catholic. In the eyes of the Democratic party, that’s not a problem. If you’re photographed piously with your rosary beads at prayer—even better. The cultural loyalty of many Catholic voters to a once heavily Catholic, working-class party dies hard, no matter how different that party is today. As an elected official, you may even get an award from a major Catholic institution. But if you’re the kind of Catholic who seeks to discipline his or her life around Catholic beliefs regarding marriage and family, religious freedom, sex, and abortion—well, that’s a different matter, as Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski discovered when his own party dumped him in a primary earlier this year. In Bill Maher’s immortal words, a woman like Amy Coney Barrett, whatever her professional credentials, is just “a [expletive] nut.”
Today’s hostility toward those who support Catholic teaching should concern every practicing Catholic—and anyone who values the First Amendment. If attacks on belief are an acceptable standard by which to impugn judicial nominees today, then tomorrow they’ll be used on the rest of us who uphold the teachings of our faith. What’s been playing out in Senate confirmation hearings and public debates over judicial nominees is a harbinger of future attacks on the Church herself and on any Catholic who holds with her enduring moral witness. Over the past decade, we’ve already seen the Catholic Church— and many of her ministries and institutions—targeted specifically for matters of belief.
Those who value our First Amendment right to religious freedom should realize that tests about belief are attacks on religious liberty. And positioning dissenting Catholics as “mainstream Americans” and believing Catholics as “extremists”—now a common and thoroughly dishonest culture war technique—is a particular affront to the free exercise of religion. It puts the rights of far more Americans at risk than will ever be nominated for the court.
Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia. His latest book, Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living, will be published by Holt in March 2021.
Full story at First Things.
After that terrible debate performance by President Trump last night, this nomination had better be confirmed promptly because Trump is likely to be the last Republican president in our lifetimes, and his term is about to end in four months.
Keep dreaming! But you’re right about the debate. It was two against one. No wonder President Trump keep interrupting. I believe people are not stupid and they know when the odds are stacked against them. This will probably assure his win in November.
Trump’s performance was embarrassing and boorish. I’m voting for Trump, but only because he’s the only realistic defense against Democrat totalitarianism. I think the man is personally repulsive.
Why would you vote for someone you hate? If you listen to the debate again, you will see that it was Biden who personally attacked Trump, calling him stupid, racist, clown, etc. and telling him to “shut up”. And because Trump was debating not one but two, Chris Wallace & Biden, wouldn’t you try to get a word in by interrupting? Wallace’s questions to Trump were outrageous while his questioning of Biden were not aggressive enough. Biden never answered the questions so Trump needed to step in there to get him too. Apparently Wallace could have cared less.
Only someone who listens to government media complex says this….they said he lost every debate to Hillary…. we know how that ended…???
It ended in Trump losing the popular vote. That’s how it ended.The PEOPLE wanted Hillary not the Trumpster.
Well luckily we are not a majority rule country, otherwise the thugs on the coasts would never let go of power …
You mean the illegals, dead people and animals who voted!
Well, I wouldn’t bet on that. How about Biden’s terrible debate performance? Telling the President of the United States to shut up is very telling – no respect for the office. Of course you know that even if Biden wins (which he won’t) that he is only a puppet and others will take over the office.
Dear Sheila? Biden told the President to shutup only after Trump couldn keep his mouth shut and respect his debate opponent. The problem is that the President literally can’t keep his mouth shut. He spews state secrets to his friends and to our adversaries. He talks all of the time in lies about how this virus will just magically go away. He continues to talk all of the time about how unfair the IRS is to him, when in fact he has paid nothing to the IRS or the American people for two decades.
It was two against one what did you expect? And Biden refused to answer the questions and of course, fair and balanced Wallace, never challenged him on that. He can’t keep his mouth shut because he was outnumbered. And oh, by the way, where did you get those liberal lies you’re pushing? For over three years it’s been non-stop attacks and lies from the deranged, unhinged Left. It’s really sad that they can’t debate him on the issues.
.Chris Wallace didn’t help with all his interruptions benefitting Biden, rule corrections,
Anti-Catholicism is as American as apple pie.
And the irony of it all is that the American continents were named after St. America and Amerigo Vesppuci. Both were Catholics.
America is named after Saint America? Um who is Saint America????
Look it up. There is actually a St. America or Amerigo. Vespucci was named after him.
Best website explaining this is “Amerigo Vespucci-The Book Haven-Stanford University.”
I’d like to have some t-shirts made up with the phrase, “The Dogma Lives Loudly.”
My neighbor has a dog that lives loudly.
And its name is Soros
Touche! and super Bingo!
This once again proves that dogma is man’s best friend.
Let’s hear it for dogma and dogs!
Well, the dialogue on this string just proves how easy it is to deflect a discussion. In this case, an article on dogma ends up a discussion of the pros and cons of an absolutely horrible debate. At this point, 95% or more of the people have decided for whom they will vote. Over a million have already submitted their ballots. The major concern at this point should be the hearings to decide on the consent to the President’s nomination for SCOTUS. The senior senator from California has already expressed concern over Barratt’s catholicism.l That is not supposed to happen. The junior senator from California and a senator from Hawaii have questioned another candidate for the bench about his membership in the KC, that they described as an extremist organization. So, if the dogma lives deep in us, we should feel the pain of anti-catholicism, fight to end it. It is ok in America to disagree with a nominee’s views and potential rulings and still insist on a fair consideration of qualifications. Let’s stick to the subject.
I agree 1000% with what you just said, Bob One. But can I just ask you whenever have you ever seen the commentariat stick to the subject. It’s about to go gay in three….two…one…..
Sooomewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly.
Does that make you happy? YFC.
Or how about this: “and the child that is born on the Sabbath Day is bonny and blithe and good and gay.” Of course “gay” had a whole different meaning back then.
This is what the commentariat thinks up when we are locked up too long. O Galileo, to have been so fortunate. And to think I have written all this “stone-cold” sober. That is what iced green tea does to a person who drinks too much of it.
So gays think it’s all about them, all the time. Nah.
The most self absorbed humans on the planet…..
Yes, let’s. Judge Barrett is a faithful Catholic and any attempt to smear her based on this must be condemned. Also condemned, must be the Democrat presidential candidate who while claiming to be a faithful Catholic, defends and promotes abortion. That is anti-Catholic. People of all stripes may claim the name, but only those whose lives mirror their faith can truly be considered as such.
Catholic Barrett, Heavens Yes. Fake Catholic Biden, Hell No.
It is interesting how things change, isn’t it? Not that many years ago a woman who left thier 7 children to go to work would not be called a faithful Catholic and would be criticized, not lauded. Unless, of course, she was widowed.
Quit your whining, Catholics. Contra Chaput, historically, you didn’t fight your way into the mainstream. You assimilated, acculturated, and in many cases just plain got your act together values-wise. Thank your lucky stars.