Wednesday, September 24, 2014

News Flash! General Franco is Still Dead and Frank Bruni is Still Upset With the Catholic Church

Chevy Chase mocked deceased General Francisco Franco during the first season of Saturday Night Live, reporting on his nightly news spoof that "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is Still Dead."  The gag went on for two years, according to a Wikipedia article on this very topic.

Maybe Saturday Night Live needs a fresh spoof. How about this? "Frank Bruni is still upset with the Catholic Church."  Today's New York Times ran another of Bruni's attack essays against Catholicism. This time he reported that a Catholic priest in Montana denied communion to two men who recently got married in Seattle.

I agree with Mr. Bruni that all people should be treated with respect and that no one should be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. But the Church's stance on sexual morality forms part of the Church's core doctrine, and it is not going to change simply because Mr. Bruni continually criticizes the Church in the New York Times.  And flattering Pope Francis (as Mr. Bruni often does in his columns) will not make the Pope rewrite the Catechism.

Frankly, I don't get it. The Catholic Church's position on marriage is basically identical to the doctrine of the Mormon Church and the Southern Baptist Church. But Bruni and the New York Times don't constantly criticize those denominations.

Sometimes I think the the Times has a 24-hour hot line for disaffected Catholics, a line that automatically rolls over to Frank Bruni's cell phone. It seems like the Times never passes up an opportunity to undermine the Catholic Church.  Just last week, the Times reported that Vice President Biden was chummy with a group of disaffected nuns--a real non-story if ever there was one.

I suspect the Times and Bruni think that these relentless attacks will eventually cause people to leave the Catholic Church.  In fact, Bruni quotes Andrew Sullivan, another unhappy Catholic, as saying, "There is only so much inhumanity that a church can be seen to represent before its own members lose faith in it."

And of course some people have left the Catholic Church.  There are thousands of people who refer to themselves as "recovering Catholics," as if the faith they forsook is a disease.

But the Church is still strong in the U.S.--there are 70 million of us, and the Catholic churches in my part of the country are packed. Frank Bruni's essays may cause some Catholics to abandon their faith, but not all of them.

As I have said before, millions of Catholic died for their faith during the twentieth century. A small number were canonized--St.Edith Stein, St. Maximilian Kolbe and a few people who were killed by the Calles regime during Mexico's Cristero rebellion--but most died obscure deaths and have been forgotten.  A couple of million Polish Catholics were murdered by the Nazis and who remembers them?

But I am inspired by people who refused to renounce their Catholic faith even when faced with death. Does Frank Bruni think his repetitive and petty carping will weaken us?

If the Times is really serious about undermining the Catholic faith in the United States, it is going to have to do more than underwrite Frank Bruni. It is going to have to invest in some concentration camps.

Still dead and Frank Bruni is still upset with the Catholic Church


Bruni, Frank. 'I Do' Means You're Done. New York Times, September 24, 2014, p. A29.

Generalissimo Franco is still dead. Wikipedia. Accessible at

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