Thought Control is Futile in the Age of the Internet




A follow up to Paul’s post, here, regarding the impotent attempt by the powers that be at the Archdiocese of Washington to silence Monsignor Pope’s views on the Saint Patrick Parade fiasco.  I am dumbfounded that in the age of the internet such attempts as removing a post can be thought to accomplish anything except to give wide coverage to the pettiness and lack of intelligence of those guilty of such attempts to “reason” with those who disagree with them by attempting to silence them.

Here is the Monsignor’s post.  It is run here expressly without his permission and without any consultation with him:

Time to End the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner?

By: Msgr. Charles Pope 


The time for happy-clappy, lighthearted engagement of our culture may be nearing an end. Sometimes it takes a while to understand that what used to work no longer works. Let me get more specific.Decades ago the “Al Smith Dinner” was a time for Republicans and Democrats to bury the hatchet (even if only temporarily) and come together to raise money for the poor and to emphasize what unites us rather than what divides us. But in the old days the death of 50 million infants was not what divided us. We were divided about lesser things such as how much of the budget should go to defense and how much to social spending. Reasonable men might differ over that.But now we are being asked to raise toasts and to enjoy a night of frivolity with those who think it is acceptable to abort children by the millions each year, with those who think anal sex is to be celebrated as an expression of love and that LGBTQIA… (I=intersexual, A= Asexual) is actually a form of sanity to which we should tip our hat, and with those who stand four-square against us over religious liberty.

Now the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it.

In New York City in particular, the “parade” is devolving into a farcical and hateful ridicule of the faith that St. Patrick preached.

It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world. Better for Catholics to enter their churches and get down on their knees on St. Patrick’s Day to pray in reparation for the foolishness, and to pray for this confused world to return to its senses. Let’s do adoration and pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet unceasingly for this poor old world.

But don’t go to the parade; stay away from the Al Smith Dinner and all that “old school” stuff that hangs on in a darkened world. And as for St Patrick’s Day, it’s time to stop wearin’ the green and instead take up the purple of Lent and mean it. Enough of the celebration of stupidity, frivolity, and drunkenness that St Paddy’s day has become. We need penance now, not foolishness. We don’t need parades and dinner with people who scoff at our teachings, insist we compromise, use us for publicity, and make money off of us. We’re being played for (and are?) fools.

End the St Patrick’s parade. End the Al Smith Dinner and all other such compromised events. Enough now, back to Church! Wear the purple of Lent and if there is going to be a procession, let it be Eucharistic and penitential for the sins of this age.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

How say you?


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  1. He said what I’ve been thinking for a long time. So sad the leadership in too many places just doesn’t get it. God Bless the Monsignor!

  2. One thousand amens to Msgr. Pope. My greatest fear is that this Cardinal Dolan involvement is artificial and career oriented (as in papacy some day) by being same as Pope Francis on unjudging….but at the Diocesan level, don’t rule out an Irishman behind the curtains peeved by the truth of the “drunkeness” remarks either… along with papal fawning on unjudging. The parade should now be stopped. Romans 1 says one thing about gay acts and the parade says something else to millions of young people who never read Romans 1. The parade now militates against repentance. The parade at the deepest level will thus hurt all active gays who all are being called by God to stop this conduct. What is weakening many people is that many families have an active gay and want peace at any price come Christmas etc. But did Christ come to establish peace…or division when necessary for entering the reward of Purgatory and thence Heaven. He came to bring division in such areas just as Pope Francis rightly brought division to Mafia culture in his Italy travels….would that he had done the same with that elderly priest in Italy who promotes active gay causes.

  3. AMEN!
    This should of been from the desk of Cardinal Dolan. I hope the good Cardinal thinks deeply on Msgr. Pope’s letter.
    Thanks for the post.

  4. I had commented on Monsignor’s post while it was still up on his blog. When I went back to check the comments and the blog was down, I had first assumed a member of the Tolerance Brigade had hacked the site. When I checked later and the blog was still down, the thought crossed my mind that maybe his superiors had become involved, but I dismissed that since I thought his post was forceful but still respectful of all those involved. How stupid of me.

  5. When Wm. Donohue was commending Bp. Wuerl a dozen years ago over his handling of sexual abuse cases in Pittsburgh, a tradtionalist priest offered me a caution: “he’s a nasty guy”, and insisted that the Diocese of Pittsburgh had bribed an ecclesiastical tribunal in Rome for a favorable ruling. Whether he’s nasty or not, subsequent behavior by Wuerl has demonstrated he’s no teacher and has his finger in the secular culture wind.

    There are 18 American cardinals. At least three had a history of scandalous discretionary decisions regarding sexual perversion in the clergy, at least three have engaged in public behavior unbecoming of a serious teacher of the faith, at least one fostered a rancid institutional culture in his chancery (degenerate press secretary, &c). One of the ones with a more congenial public profile has been removed from pastoral work and parked in a Vatican tribunal (and now stripped of his ancillary offices). For lower-octane disagreeableness you have the hostility to the traditional rites (characteristic of at least two others).

  6. “a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness…”

    On St Patrick’s Day, in the Irish regiments of the British Army, the men are woken by the pipe major and “Irish gunfire” (a mixture of coffee and Irish whiskey (sic)), is served by the officers and sergeants to other ranks. This recalls the Roman Saturnalia, when masters waited on their slaves.

    There is a Church Parade at 0800, followed by a march past at 1100, during which shamrock is distributed, usually by a member of the Royal Family. This is worn in the cap.

    Lunch is again served by the officers and sergeants to the other ranks and the afternoon is passed in the mess, to which former members of the regiment are invited and I understand that a certain amount of liquid refreshment is taken. The entertainment consists of songs and recitations, to which all are expected to contribute.

    I have never heard of any criticism of these festivities by the padres, or by anyone else, come to that.

  7. The Penal Laws were “a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man. -Edmud Burke

    Now the important part of that quote to me is this: “and the debasement in them of human nature itself”. We see that when the devil swings The Irish people were demeaned in such a literal killing way for generations. The problems many Irish suffered with alcohol are legendary. At the same time, they made super attempts to remain faithful to the mass and to Mother Church while suffering the “impoverishment and degradation” born in hate and greed. St Patrick had prayed for them to remain faithful and asked the blessed Virgin to care for them.
    The Penal Laws were a punishment for stubbornly holding on to the Catholic Faith, for The Eucharist at “mass rocks” for the love of the humble and chaste Lady, and their oft repreated prayer- JMJ Jesus Mary and Joseph.
    When she came to them at Knock, she brought with her Joseph, John the Beloved Disciple and most importantly the Lamb of God – the Mass. The teachings of the Church, the Faith of the Catholic Irish were validated. They saw at Knock the vison of the Mass ongoing eternaly as seen by John in his Revelation.

    The devil is still slashing his knife-sharp tail and Irish descendants (Timothy Dolan?) of faithful and holy Catholics, are succumbing. The Faith that Irish people, Polish people, Chinese people, African people died for is being given up, without even a whimper on the streets of New York.

  8. Then-Bishop Wuerl showed his true colors in 2004. John FARC Kerry’s wife, the widow of the late Senator John Heinz, retained some estates around Pittsburgh. Kerry showed himself for and was given Communion, despite his abortionist stance.
    Wuerl was, on the surface, very tough against those accused of sexual abuse. This, as well as Bill Donahue’s personal knowledge of him, led to Donahue’s remarks. Wuerl was never a good friend of the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community.

    Wuerl and Dolan…..peas in a pod.

    Under Wuerl’s leadership, the Pittsburgh Diocese, still one of the 20 largest in the USA, vocations decreased and numerous parishes closed. Some of those parishes were from very hard hit areas that were clobbered in the recession of 1981-82 and have never recovered, but still…..

  9. I actually had sent out the original post of Msgr Pope before it was taken down [by him-as he claims? or in response to some official urging? I have my guesses.]

    To your point, Donald, concerning “thought control is futile in the Internet Age” I would offer some reflections.

    I do believe that if a site, blog etc refers to itself as Catholic in ‘name’ or ‘mission’ there should be ‘truth in advertising’, just as there should be in every Catholic institution: i.e. schools, hospitals, Catholic Charities etc. By Catholic I mean being in communion with the teachings [all the teachings], sacraments [all the sacraments] and with the bishops in union with the pope. Needless to say this is a tough one and we all have plenty of examples where the name “Catholic” might be problematic to describe the institution etc.

    Having said that, I believe, and have expressed this before on this blog, that communion means Unity in Truth and Love. Both are necessary and cannot be separated. However, in today’s Church there seems to be a tendency (more than a tendency lol?) for us to lean more toward one than the other and isolating ourselves from ‘the other’ one. This has some very real consequences.

    Of course, Donald what you wrote concerning the reality of the Internet being ‘free and wide open’ certainly is correct. None of us want anything close to a government or other institution closing down sites etc. I don’t believe in Big Brother. As Americans we know that we have the right to free speech, but what does that mean for us as Catholic Christians?

    I believe we are even freer than the freedoms of which I just wrote. We have been delivered from bondage by Jesus Christ and given the freedom of the Spirit. That freedom however is not simply a ‘freedom from” but a “freedom for” and that’s where ‘Unity in Truth and Love” comes in. It is only when we are living in and expressing this Unity in Truth and Love that we are really free!

    For me this means, and I have expressed this before on this blog, that we have the responsibility to speak the truth with love. We all fail at this, including myself, so I am not casting stones here. I am simply expressing one very important aspect of this here. At times I have ‘challenged’ us all to raise the conversation a bit if we were getting carried away with our ‘criticisms’ etc. Anyone regularly reading this blog knows this. On this I don’t think I need to go further. I am simply reminding myself as well as the rest of us on this important issue.

    That being said, however, and here is the real crux of my post. Can the Church not only survive but actually thrive, when we speak with truth as well as love. In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, in the Gospel for this Sunday (Sept 7th) Jesus Himself speaks of the three steps in which we can and often need to correct our brother. It is not as if Jesus expected His disciples in front of Him or the rest of us down through the ages to be ‘perfect’. The only perfect Person was/is the One speaking (His Mother was by grace not nature). That means His Community of Disciples which He called “Church” and is built on Peter is full of disciples who need correction, conversion, reconciliation etc.

    Note that Matthew’s Gospel, which has a special emphasis on Peter, as well as the other four Gospels and Paul (in his Letter to the Galatians) have no problem speaking of the weakness, failures, and sin of Peter. Three of the Gospels recall Jesus referring to Peter, the Rock, also as “Satan”, an instrument of the Adversary, a Skandalein, stumbling stone, who in his own bumbling way, ‘thinking as man thinks and not as God thinks’, was an obstacle for Jesus. Paul speaks of taking Peter on “to his face”. That is tough stuff! The Apostolic Church had no problem being ‘open’. ‘transparent’ about Peter, or the rest of the Twelve for that matter-Judas betrays Jesus, Peter denies Him and the other ten abandon Him in the worst scandal ever to rock the Church

    How could the Apostolic Church be like this? How could they be so honest (blunt)? Because, while owning the truth that they were the Church, ‘the pillar and bulwark of the truth’ (1 Timothy 3.15) they also recognized that they were redeemed and established as Church through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the grace of His Spirit. They recognized that they were God’s work, what they were accomplishing was His doing, and they were nothing more than “unworthy servants” [see Luke 17.10]. In the Apostolic Church the focus was on Jesus Christ and not ‘the Apostles” themselves.

    Don’t get me wrong. We cannot divide Christ from the Apostles and or Church. What God has united let no man divide [see Ephesians 5 on the union of Christ and His Bride the Church] But while we can and should expect those in Holy Orders to live out their discipleship and Holy Orders faithfully (call to holiness) both they and we should not either expect nor pretend that they, any more than ourselves, are going to be perfect.

    What I am saying is this. The Church can and will survive honest dialogue (oooh there is that word lol) and yes criticism. This situation with the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York is something that touches the whole Church-immediately in America and not just NYC. The way it has been handled by Cardinal Dolan is open to criticism, to say the least. If Msgr Pope was asked/told to take it down by higher authorities in DC then they fail to understand that the Church not only will survive but thrive because of such open discussion and yes, criticism. If the Gospels can ‘reveal” and not hide what happened on the original Holy thursday night, this is a piece of cake lol [The issue of the canonization process for Archbishop Fulton J Sheen is a bit murkier at this point]

    As for ourselves, when criticizing anyone, including those in Holy Orders remember to hate the sin and love the sinner. Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Wuerl and whoever else including Pope Francis have a right to their good name and reputation. We all have that responsibility under the Eighth Commandment. However that does not mean we cannot point out, criticize something they did (wrong) or good that they have failed to do-just like the rest of us!

  10. If O’Reilly allows and Cardl. Dolan permits sodomites, abortionists and atheists to proclaim their evil on banners during the parade they will have joined the blasphemers.
    Blasphemy does not have freedom of speech and press. Only truth has freedom of speech and press. The atheists deny the existence of God and the First Amendment freedom of religion. Abortionists deny the sovereign personhood of the child in the womb from conception, endowed by “their Creator”. The sodomites deny the human soul and invent fraudulent husbands and wives. People yes, banners, no. Lying is not allowed in court nor in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade.
    Time to take back the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner.
    Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Now, Saint Patrick must drive the snakes out of the U.S.A.

  11. Botolph: “‘truth in advertising’” says it all. The secular law demands that truth, the absolute absence of evil, be the only truth that is allowed in the public domain through freedom of speech and press.
    Blasphemy, perjury and all that is evil incites to riot disturbing the peace and must be confined, imprisoned, ostracized, and exiled.

  12. Bill Bannon wrote, “now we don’t know whether Msgr. Pope removed his own post on further reflection.”

    Perhaps, Mgr Pope concluded that the website of one diocese was not the appropriate forum in which to criticise the bishop of another, however well merited he might consider that criticism to be. His statement that “my intent is not to directly criticize any bishop or diocese” would appear to lend credence to that interpretation.

  13. “If O’Reilly allows and Cardl. Dolan permits sodomites, abortionists and atheists to proclaim their evil on banners during the parade they will have joined the blasphemers”

    Nothing has shocked me more than the quick change in Dolan. I have never been under the delusion that O’Reilly thought his faith was something that should have deep implications for his own public actions–he has made comments re: the Catholic Faith that indicate to me his faith is more head knowledge & is a fire escape for him (just in case there is a Hell.)

  14. Barbara Gordon wrote, “What I want to know is which bishops are true to the Faith …?”

    We have always had a test and a very simple one; those who are in communion with Rome.

    As Mgr Ronald Knox explains, “The fideles, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome. No doubt, in the long run this means the people who are so orthodox that Rome has seen no reason to excommunicate them, so that unity and orthodoxy still react upon one another. But the fact remains that the Roman theory does give a test for defining the fideles without the question-begging preliminary of ascertaining who the fideles are, from an examination of their tenets.”

    It is a test remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

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