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February 20, 2006

Comments

Steven D. Greydanus

I read NOR at one point, more than a decade ago. Today, my primary impression of the NOR is largely those godawful full-page ads they run in other publications that practically make me want to boycott the publications that run them, let alone the NOR itself.

It may be that (as Amy Welborn wrote in defense of her Vree-maligned critique of Goodbye, Good Men) my issue with NOR has more to do with methodology than substance. Not that methodology doesn't matter, and not that I'm clearing Vree of more substantial misdoings.

The problem with Vere's attack on Vree might also be described as one of methodology rather than substance. That said, Ed's body slam to Vere's method is well taken. In another post combox I wrote,

Memo to polemicists: Invoking the alleged duties of one's opponent regarding their future confessions is only a step or two above triggering the Godwin's Law corollary by comparing them to Nazis and Hitler. You're basically waving a flag that says "I'm not really trying here and please don't take me seriously."

Much the same could be said of consigning one's opponents to eternal damnation. It's one thing to say that a periodical is (figuratively) "going to hell"; it's quite another to say that a human being is (apparently literally) on his way to the same destination. Friends, enemies, let's do better than this.

AmericanPapist

at first read I kept thinking that some of the worst offenders were trying to ironically assume the attitude of provocation they assign to Dale Vree and NOR ... then I realized that they really were genuinly using the same "fire and brimstone" language that they perenially mock NOR for employing (rightly or wrongly).

Brent Brown

"Blessed are the believing GenXers, for theirs is a world with abundant outlets for orthodox expression."

Being one of those GenXers, I thank you for that perspective. Not being a fan of NOR (to put it mildly) I have often wondered why it even got all the attention that it does. That helps a lot.

momof6or7

Thank you Mr. Peters, for a fair and well-reasoned post. As the mother of a GenXer (to use a phrase), I appreciate someone saying "don't talk to your elders that way". I admit to reading NOR, and while enjoying the coverage of some very important topics, I have to admit that the invective makes me squirm. Kinda like eating some wonderful roast turkey, with some nasty Aunt Ruth's gravy. We can all disagree without falling for "if you're not with us, you're agin us".

Gilles St. Denis

Didn't this start because Vree attacked Michael O'Brien during the last Canadian election? It probably has more to do with nationality than age. O'Brien is revered by many orthodox Catholics in Canada.

Gilles St. Denis

PS I know you're going in Ed but I doubt Vere will respond. He rarely responds to attacks against him. You have to attack one of his friends to elicit a nasty response.

ann

Although I not always agree with Vree and the magazine, I really respect Vree's willingness to allow criticism and rebuttles to go on long enough to really inform his readers of all sides.

That, I believe, takes a humility that many in the Catholic publication world do not have.

RC

Thanks for writing about this, Dr. Peters.

Some of the same points you've made about NOR apply to Michael Jones' _Fidelity/Culture Wars_ too. He also fought the good fight through the '80s when there were only a handful of publications addressing the concerns of orthodox lay people. Although some of his writings in the past few years have seemed to be a detour into crankery, he still gets some things very right, and we can still be grateful for the good he's done.

michael hugo

I would like to make a distinction between giving someone credit vs. giving them a pass for the good they have done in the past.

I agree with Dr. Peters has said about NOR being a voice in the wilderness for so many people trying to stay faithful in the midst of the chaos. All due credit must be given to Dale for the courageous and impressive work he contributed to the debate over the years.

That being said, when he is being petty and uncharitable, we have an obiligation to speak against it. For his sake, as well as those he has injured.

I have decided not to subscribe to NOR again, because it seems to have "vered" off the curb; ranting about Ave Maria College, Tom Monagahan and Fr. Fessio, and it calls into question his judgement on other issues. Dale Vree has made his choices, and we are all free to make ours.


BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

So Vree did some excellent work in the past? So what? Now he is on a tear attacking & smearing his fellow orthodox Catholics. Read the Prophet
Ezekiel Chapter 33. All the good Vree has done is null & void as long as he continues to do evil to his fellow orthodox Catholics. But of course that would all change if he would realize the error of his ways repent & change his behavior. Until that happens nobody does him any favors by white washing his activities.

He must repent & change his ways or every good thing he had done for the advancement of the Church means nothing. It makes him 100% worthless as a Catholic Commentator.

Thomas Cook

I go back and forth on NOR. I subscribe to it, First Things, and Crisis. There's a combo of magazines that don't play well together for ya! I also live in Ann Arbor MI so I hear a lot of good and bad on Tom Monaghan and Ave Marie College and University. Plus I have a deep respect for the Legionaries of Christ and they are a constant target in NOR. So, to say the least I'm conflicted. You see pretty respectable names on the masthead (like Karl Keating) at NOR and then you read some real screed inside against someone like Fr Neuhaus and FT or they constantly beat on Deal Hudson of Crisis for his public sins and you wonder who's right and who's got the moral high ground. Since none of the above have Pope as their first name I guess all we can do is sift thru their attacks as best we can and decide for ourselves when they're full of BS. I'm a pretty feisty orthodox Catholic (beware of converts, we go all-in when we get off our duffs) but NOR is just plain mean spirited too often for my liking. They like to make the excuse they're telling the truth but you don't tell someone their wife is fat even if she is and you don't tell other people how fat X's wife is even if it's true. NOR, especially in Deal Hudson's case, is very often guilty of detraction.

KM

NOR has turned into a repulsive and worthless rag. I would sooner read the National Catholic Reporter or America before bothering with the NOR again. The magazine now seems to have two main topics: bashing homosexuals (referred to as "fags" in the journal) and bashing otherwise orthodox Catholics who make an errant remark (Scott Hahn anyone?) As someone else pointed out, the monthly is rife with detraction, detailing all the sexual picadillos of any and all prominent Catholics the editors can find. What purpose does this serve? No wonder Vree has started begging for donations in his rag - he is probably hemmoraging subscribers who have had enough of his poison.

Mr. Murphy

I'm sure glad Dale Vree has fallen on hard times. If it keeps on his views are likely to be toned down a bit.

I'm not mad at him for how he lives his life. I am merely mad at his voice with it's way of bashing down other good Catholics.

But I think he will keep his loud mouthed swan song to the end.

Unless some Catholic Billionaire gives him a heap of money. Then he will keep on critizing utill the day he dies. And I suspect he will live a long time.

As for what Joe Wall says, quote:
Joe Wall says: "The bottom line is that it is wrong and immoral to kill innocent human beings, whether they be German and Japanese civilians or American unborn children, regardless of the excuses given. You can't do evil that good may come of it."

unquote.


I myself think it's not always wrong to kill innocent humans in warfare.

God told Joshua and the thousands of Israelite Warriors to kill innocent human beings that were civilians of Canaan. He commanded them to kill the populations of whole towns. That's terrorism. That murder in warfare. What the Jews did would nowdays be called genocide. But would God call it genocide?

Yes, the Geneva Convention is not new. Since the days of the early church we have not liked killing civilians. But does God really care? When he was behind the rains of waging war, he made His People bloody their hands with the deaths of innocent people and unborn babies. Obviously, God at one time made the Israelites brake the Geneva Convention. FDR and Winston Churchill were no worse than Joshua. Except Joshua may not have killed in the 600,000 people. But still, he participated in the "indiscriminate destruction of whole cities."
If he condemn Joshua, aren't we overstepping our bounds? Should we try to be Holier when we wage war than God as leader of his own brutal Holy War? Wasn't his idea to murder entire villages a Just war even though many of his victims were non-collateral civillians?

Later on the Bible tells the Jews that they may kill the entire male population of a town when attacking it. Jesus never said they couldn't wage war this way. Thus,the Catholic Church with it's Just War Theory breaks away from what God intended in warfare. The Jews at least, have no reason to care about others opinion in killing civilians or the Geneva Convention.

Thus, If we are fighting in Iraq and soon perhaps Iran to save Israel from it's enemies, we don't have to listen to Just War Theory either. The Old Testament Laws for waging war still override the Catechism.

The Catholic Church went soft. In WWII when civilians were killed wasn't that different than when Canaanites were killed. Why are we blaming Hitler for the London Blitz, and Churchill, FDR, and Stalin for the German Blitz, and yet we don't blame Joshua, Moses and even God for their Murderous and Preventive Strike Take over of Israel? They all broke Catholic Just War Theory. But so did Joshua. Is Winston Churchill any worse than Joshua? Does Joshua get off easy because there was no Catholic Church back then with their War Theory?

But why Should Catholic Just War Theory Overide the Old Testament? God said to the Jews that they could kill the male population of an entire village. That means old men, young boys and babies. We, the Gentiles, commonly believe many of the Old Testament laws now apply to us. But how come the Catholic Church disobeys this law?

Is it because God had told Joshua to do it, and thus he wasn't taking the law into his own hands like the WWII leaders did? But killing an innocent baby with human hands is still killing a baby, no matter if God told you to do it or not. The man who did the deed should feel no different. And in some ways, the Israelites killed the babies with bloody swords and witnessed it close up. We Americans killed the Germans with bombs. Whats really more gruesome? Is Wins


So I find that Catholic Just War Theory and God's Old Testament Just War Theory don't add up. The bottom line is that it isn't "wrong and immoral to kill innocent human beings" when God tells you to. But does it matter it when he doesn't? And does that mean if we are helping Israel in the Iraq War we should have no blame either?

You may say God has changed since Jesus. But God is the same as he was 4,000 years ago. If he told the Jews to kill innocent humans back then, he may command them to do it again in our modern age.

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