« Commentary Magazine Podcast

Commentary Podcast: Tearing Down the Icons

2018-08-28 | 🔗
The passing of John McCain and the crisis afflicting the Catholic Church take up our newest podcast. We speculate about McCain's meaning in contemporary American life and why his presence in public life was such an affliction for Donald Trump—before examining the bombshell claims about a "conspiracy of silence" at the highest levels of the Catholic Church. Give a listen.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
well Come to the commentary magazine podcast today is Tuesday August twenty, Two thousand and eighteen, I'm John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary magazine with me, is always a Greenwald. Our senior editor hi Abe, Hi John Associate editor Noah Rothman hi. No, I'm John and senior writer sort of Amari hi, sorry, hello, John, so commentaries of the seventy odd year old, monthly of intellectual analysis, political probity and cultural criticism from a conservative perspective join us a commentarymagazine dot com. We give you
if we reads asking to subscribe, one thousand nine hundred and ninety five for a digital subscription, two thousand nine hundred and ninety five for an all access subscription, including Arbutus. Monthly magazine in your mailbox eleven times a year? So the last few days have of course, been taken up in the public square with the passing of John Mccain at the age of eighty one from a tragic case of brain cancer, it is unnecessary. I think at this point to rehearse his, titanic life? The standing, unsinkable bravery was called upon to demonstrate and to live through after his capture at the age of thirty one by the North Vietnamese, following the crash of his plane, the in around Hanoi in nineteen sixty seven and the five years of captivity that he and work which included repeated beatings and torturing this they should the
the breaking of his his his arms and just and the men's temptation that he was. He was subject two when the N Vietnamese said that they would release him because he was as some kind of gesture propaganda gesture, because his father was was one of the leading admirals in the in the Us Navy, and he refused interesting parallels too a nuff and then Anatoly Sharansky who, was similarly offered a release from from the Labianca, the the the prison if he would simply renounce his his political goals of emigrating from the Soviet Union to Israel and- and he describes in his book Sharansky. The.
The long night of the soul that led him finally too, to refuse the offer an the liberation that he actually felt at the decision to remain in prison. Ok, so that's that's, of course, the context in which, we will the world history will remember. John Mccain is not as a as interesting. Exceptional senator. Politician, but as but as as a sort of a a great sold war hero, and you know a man of of of great sacrifice who who showed up his captors by becoming one of the leading Americans of his time. I Noah, so the leaving from the from this veil for John Mccain have then accompanied by serve three days.
Of tributes and then questions about Mccain's relationship with the sitting president and the behavior of the sitting. President relation to Mccain and his passing it was. This is the sort of normal and it is a seven don't. Okay, no, no Nothing we saw in the last two thousand four hundred and forty eight hours was normal. The late Senator Mccain has been, as we said, venerated as basic the hero of the republic, he's going to lie in state in the capitol building with a very few people. Do that, let alone are senators, it's a great honor and he's deserving of it. But just about the only person, I suppose who doesn't think that uh.
Is the president of the United States in his camp. He made very ostentatious displays of distaste for John Mccain, according to reports, made a very public effort, do not honor him in the way that the members of his administration did his cabinet officials as press secretary, his vice president choosing and had to issue a twenty one word tweets where he didn't say anything about John Mccain, but offered condolences to the family took the the flag down above the White House for just over twenty four hours and in strict observance the statute as opposed to this custom, which is allows the it has the flight down for the period between death and interment, which in this case is about five days. It's approximately how long broke a bomb. I kept the flag down for maintenance Leah, so this is sort of a bipartisan thing, and then he refused very much to you know on several opportunities. Refuse
the opportunity to say anything about John Mccain, very much. It's creating a conveying his frustrations with the senator and But, as I wrote about this, a lot of this was described as petty small and I certainly was small, but I don't think it was petty at all. Donald Trump is sort of derided as a man who doesn't have a thought in his head to Lydia Logical thought at least he's not a man of ideas he's just sort of has these personal grudges that he litigates to the death and then from beyond the grave but I don't think that's entirely fair 'cause, there's a it has said on several occasions. He does have one central thought, which can be described as an ideological thought, which is that America foreign policy is bad, and his central contention is that american Foreign, We should be more introverted that America should retreat and should rethink its its alliances and its adversaries for that matter and
essentially leave the world to its own affairs. That's a strain of thought that is not unfamiliar with and republicanism. Let's say nothing of conservatism is a vibrant debate between the extroverts foreign policy extroverts, like John Mccain and farm the introverts- and that is a vibrant debate within the republican firmament. Similarly, John Mccain's comportment his emphasis on persuasion. And getting along with the other side of the aisle, is in direct confrontation, competition with the ideological predisposition of the Donald Trump Wing of the Republican Party, which views confrontation. And owning the libs and being provocative and performative for the benefit. The audience and issuing persuasion entirely. That is. It's another similar debate, immigration, the nature of expertise within the Republican Party, in the virtue of, leaning on that uh on experts, as opposed to conveying to voters that they have control over the
free homogeneity, racial and cultural homogeneity versus originating. These are all very lively debates within the GOP, and these two men were examples of their camps, their respective camps that are in contention in combat over the right is so I wouldn't dismiss this as just petty feuding over some personal slights grievances. There are some real issues at play here, so I'll go ahead. Oh just about there titanic conflict, I mean I've written this before. But for me the moment that crystallized a that we're in a very weird place nationally and be that Donald Trump, probably become president. Although you know, listeners of our podcast know that now that he's president I'm willing to Call balls and strikes would say you know when he's policy, these right when he's horrible in terms of his rhetoric and conduct of the office, a call that it out as well, but the
that I thought that, if it's possible that this man should become president and the fact that he may become, president is terrifying was precisely that insult at Mccain. When he was sitting in an interview, and he said I I like veterans, who weren't captured. I the fact that he said it, but that he survived it and that is his. It and number of people number rally to relative. I thought this is a national and- and hopefully I was a bit of that, but it's going to be over soon, okay. Well, let me let me propose and have have a respond to some of the rises tangentially from Noah's observation about this war of ideas within the party. What may be an again, I think it was instinctual what Trump understood in twenty fifteen and two thousand and sixteen was that his ability to win in the Republican Party dipen did upon his smashing the party
idols to smithereens. There wasn't just that he could supplant them or change the top. It wasn't just that. He would say that you know the Iraq war was the biggest under ever, and you know maybe nine hundred and eleven we should look into. Who was responsible for that. You know that weird stuff he said in before the north primary south primary about nine hundred and eleven and the hostility to George W Bush, and all of that that it wasn't just that he had, to say I'm a new kind of politician. It was that everything before him had to be obliterated and and and slimed and torn down so that there was rubble so that he could stand on the rubble? A blue thing, I mean I'm not. I think that is a description of what happened. I'm not sure about the premeditation. In
I don't, I said instinct. I don't think it's think right. You know right right. I think I think you know, getting back to the idea that we've discussed several times. Trump is someone who sees challenges in this sort of five minute, five minute segments I think he does want to destroy who, whatever his immediate opponent is and there's a succession of them and they all happen to come from the republican establishment and in a seriously he has he has work to do to make rubble of GOP of the of the of the of of the little ideals of the GOP. I mean that is, of course, the the like tragic poetry. Of Mccain dying in as Trumpism is working to redefine what conservative and republican is. I mean you of campus disagree
final conservative is, except, if you have a bunch of Americans walking around saying I'm a conservative, came was a liberal and trump Very conservative, then there's some version of of this tragic ok, so I've been thinking about the since he died of a thing about the tragedy, the sun, The tragedy of Mccain's life I mean, is the personal heroism and a personal life which is complicated, but in terms of his career. There was this painful fact, which was this- that the whole case against him becoming president or much of the case against him. But, president. The linchpin was his choice of vice president, which was Sarah Palin. Who is this kind of prototype Trump at the only you know, buck ignorant figure from from the from the kind of base populace fringes of the party and people like
Christopher Hitchens and many others said you can't have a heartbeat away a woman like Sarah Palin and you know not to speak ill of the dead, but also as Hitchens famously said. If we don't speak ill of the dead, who will you know, that was the choice that I think largely probably had contributed his I game this. But the point is that I always thought about this about making that not only did he survive. The full eight years of the Obama administration, but didn't live to see the even worse kind of after right of it. We can fight on a games. Mothers still is a lot more. That's the that's the that's the by the way. It's a This totally out of the political, like it's heartbreaking to think of his one hundred and six year old mother having to see a child. I like that's just
it's! So what I like about the cynicism that was of the arguments that were made in two thousand seven, two thousand eight about John Mccain's health and his right javadi right, and it wasn't as simple attempt to create a a contrast against I'm in the very young look forty two year old or what have you Barack Obama first of all, you know Mccain lost by eight points. So the notion that Sarah Palin, who was there were political science surveys that suggested that Palin marginally helped Mccain so So this idea that, like Mccain, lost because Apailana, is simply wrong and there's one other interesting aspect of which is, she was a pro trump, including the very political talent that she displayed before her ign. Prince before her and so chilled everybody to the bone, let's say, and that laid the way
Trump, because Trump showed exactly the same kind of ignorance and republic. The least decided that enough Republicans side that was okay with them. I mean not, remember he's still. We got forty five percent of the public debt overall republican primary vote? So this is a whole other story, but you know She had this protean political talent. She went right at people where they live. She said you know, I put, I put the alaskan state play on Ebay. You know, I'm like you, I'm a hockey mom. You know I am nothing gets me madder than seeing these people in Washington. Trying to this put themselves on you and the swamphen. All of that that was all Palin and Trump she introduced that voice in some sense into the common political discourse and it needed the next
you know, and then there was sort of the Romney interact. While she was not, then what she is today she know she was restively ignorant as she is today. What happened was she became known? I was writing this. She was. She demonstrated a capacity to learn, as vice president presidential nomination, because she was out of her depth and she recognized it. What happened in the interregnum was that she became a celebrity, a figure that was embraced by the conservative entertainment complex and the send the ignorance was celebrated as some sort of authenticity, and now it's manifest in some sort of bizarre, theatrical display of arrogant. It's stupidity, It's it's out. It's almost like she revels in her own credibility, but be coherent right, but it turns out that she's right and we're wrong right, so she's american reveling in our own stupidity in Trump is president somebody who you know.
Even as president, doesn't know a lot of what, in the elementary things about being president and don't know how she's right she's, not president, What I mean is that her understanding that the american political culture, not her understanding but blue culture was moving beyond when you turn into a identitarian system in both parties become identitarian uhm, you know, we're seeing this Bernie Sanders got almost as many votes as Hillary Clinton. Knowing anything about his own healthcare plan. I mean you know That's the whole point like that: what that all was, in other words, the expectation that the people who are going to be running the country new more than everybody else understood more and had a larger and had a had total listing understanding of how there. The policy of their foreign policy harmonize the roots of it, and all of that things that you serve wanted from your president and even when people said people like
Ronald Reagan was an idiot they were already operating on a very at a very high level of what they meant by being an idiot, because, of course, Reagan was unbelievably articulate about the ways in which his policies reflected american tradition and western tradition and western cultural tradition. All of that, it was just that you know he wasn't his mean, wasn't particularly intellectual and he wasn't technocratic. Now you don't have to be anything, is the point and showing showing all that might even make. You seem like you're, like a smarty pants you're like a smarty pants, pointy head. It would be very weird of Democrats adopted that dynamic though 'cause the central criticism of Republicans since Reagan, not Reagan. I'm sorry since Lincoln has been They are amiable, dunces of almost all of them very few of escapes.
Staff members censure and Democrats pride themselves on being sort of elitist and- and if I didn't work, did it the the amiable dunce attack never worked, it didn't work against Reagan. It didn't working in storage at Darien, wasn't there anymore or did right rights, so the amiable dunce is what Clark Clifford called Ronald Reagan. It was. Ludicrous thing to say, but it's stuck because that's people want were Democrats always wanted to believe that Republicans were stupid or well now we have a affirmatively, a republican political to culture that revels in a certain level of stupidity, that is to say it says we don't care about expertise. We don't care about that. We're just tearing things down and seeing how we can remake them, and if you think that that temptation isn't going to be, That is not a temptation that Democrats are going to want to follow down their path, interesting will see I mean I don't know what we don't know who it would be, but it's going to be very hard thing to do, because there's
central messages, one of expertise. It's like you know what what's I mean they have to it's going to be about fairness and democracy and keep writing empathy from you. Don't need it to bring it inside keeping us from fascism. So you know and maybe you need to you know who may be needing the idiot to fight a meeting right right. I don't know I mean I honestly but the but the This is another you can play an idiot without actually being one hi I don't think that will actually given, like you know the marketplace for idiocy now I don't think I think I think you got to be authentic. Now the comedy of Trump's dis, respect for you know, disapproval of Mccain, and everything like that is that Mccain was became the earth figure of the Vietnam WAR in Post Vietnam WAR era of what might call the warrior intellectual right. So he was a
little red. He spoke. He knew his business, he wrote books or co, wrote books that were of uncommonly high merit. He knew a lot about a lot of stuff. He was very witty. He was incredibly quick. He was very bright. He was very in. He was a very interesting person knew a lot about a lot of things and Trump is of course surrounded, but surrounded himself is Marshall hard of John Kelly and Jim Mattis, and you know we until recently a term it may these, all of whom are cut in the same mold. You know they're. They have graduate degrees, Mcmaster and Madison what phds you know and Trump to have these generals around him to kind of protect them. Let's say in some weird fashion who
who were they emulating? Well, I know exactly emulating Mccain, but Mccain was kind of like the was the most import, military man of our time he became the republican nominee in two thousand and eight almost exclusively because he had been a career. You know he was he left the service after he. After his release from captivity, he was thirty, seven years old, he spent. You know, he was in the server from an apple Through his shoot, you know his being shot down. He was he had served thirteen years, you know in the Navy he was a commander when he was shot down. If you'd stayed in the military, he would have risen to a very high level. You know he would have he would have been
star general or something and yet so Trump likes the trappings. He just doesn't like anybody who doesn't pay him appropriate obea sense and that That was Mccain. I think it's just to just to put a fine point on that on Soros. Point about the tragedy here is that you think of Mccain. At least I do as the most deserving American of the presidency yeah the American most most deserved it and not only was deprived it or not eating the tainted. Whatever again, no one actually deserves it, but he he he died with his in many ways: polar opposite in the White House, in his party, which and and and and arguably the least, is hurting which is typical in the life of of a books, you know that the guy who who serves as then is is, is
other would have you because his nation kind of misunderstanding, but to stick with the tragedy theme. You know I'm trying to think what was the one event as far as presidential politics is concerned, that led us to this point and I'd have to say, probably is Mccain's defeat. I mean there are many other factors, social, socially demographically, and what have you, but with the narrowing of politics in in Mccain's if he, because it meant Obama's victory and a picture of someone who it turned out was- was very much keen to re, write the social contract I didn't to Terry and eyes left wing politics to a degree. That was not familiar with it for the american people up to that and kind of invited this great backlash, which was already may be brewing, as we said with a laugh, but you can also back at bat back it further back and say that make
in is the author of this tragedy. If you wish to because he was one of the champions of the Iraq, or it was the failure to secure victory in the Iraq war that made directly led to Obama's victory I you know what's interesting is that apparently, in his recent book, Mccain said the Iraq war was a mistake and it's it's an odd moments. Have this conversation at the rock war being mistake? This is taking this in a direction that you know. I don't think we have time to really explore much today
but you know so. The Iraq war was so as to his two thousand and three. It's now a twenty eighteen we effectively pulled out of a rock and two thousand eleven one thing of rock is no longer is a threat to anybody on earth. Right, I mean the rock was arguably the most destabilizing country in the world from about one thousand, nine hundred and seventy nine, until until the toppling of Saddam in two thousand and three started the IRAN Iraq war. He invaded Kuwait. He engaged with us for twelve years and bizarre games of chicken that, ultimately, if you think he really
not have any kind of a program. You know with some weird suicidal effort to get the United States to attack him and drive him from office. But you know Iraq is not in calamitous shape. It's not! It's not! You know a model democracy, but it is a. It is a country that is stumbling along. Prague progressing and it is no longer a threat and the Democrat this idea that Iraq was the most the most horrible disaster that we've ever suffered. I does not stand the test of time yeah. You know it's sort of sad in some ways that Mccain would have ended his life thinking. The specialist was a mistake. When I don't I mean it, it's understandable why you would say it was a mistake because it did not succeed in fulfilling any of the goals that somehow we see
Ford, except for Saddam being driven from power, but it was something other than it. We could do this for hours yeah. I would argue the opposite just, but all that would be me. What can I do before you do, because when I have one one small things judgment, it's a special. The unfortunate. My mind, to hear it. Mccain say that cause uh would very likely be a complete disaster today. Were it not for the which, which he strategy, which he was such an extraordinary champion, yeah so yeah right right. That yeah so it's hard to. I just think everybody who has an ideological predisposition to say that the Iraq war was a mistake there for all. My priors are confirmed. With the exception of John Mccain, John Mccain and those like him, really came around to it had a conversion moment. But I can't I don't know whether or not you would see an arab spring. For example, if you didn't have the images of Iraqis with purple fingers
stuck in there and that is a direct result of American. Military might and power projection and democracy promotion and everybody wants to say the arab spring was an absolute disaster. Well, go to Tunisia and talk to Tunisia, which is the only model arab democracy in the region today, and it is a dramatic example of what demo Ocracy promotion can achieve a further there's a Blodgett forever Tunisia there's a bunch of serious and Libby's and efforts where american efforts have short, and I would say it all of those that that is the case in point of how mismanaged american interventionism and mismanaged american non interventionism is the result. It results in the kind of catastrophe that we're dealing with today, right, okay, so
In essence, uh, I don't think we are and we're we're not in any real disagreement. I just think that you know it's very hard to look back and say If you knew, then what you knew now, what would you do and there's no way of the you know the the those kind of counterfactuals make no sense anyway, because homeowners could you possibly know you know? I mean I I I had a counter factual once, which I thought was pretty amusing, where nine eleven happens and Bush and the Bush administration defiantly do not say that erotic save, given the intelligence we have. A rock was not friendly with with with Bin Laden, had nothing to with this and we're not going to go in, at which point you could have had a resurgent democratic party running to the right of the Republicans on the grounds that Bush did not want to go into a rock, because
he didn't, want to humiliate or show up his father or because of oil? we're doing, a reform bill Clinton yes, exactly the war in Iraq. Three consecutive time, that's rich many at which point Al Gore who had you know nearly won the election. Two thousand some people think one the action? Two thousand comes whoring out of the background to say, elect me president, because this guy is too much of a wimp to deal with the real problem of global terror in the hands of what we in the Clinton restoration Explain, was a rock was the epicenter of the war on terror and wins the election in two thousand and four by running. The right of Bush on Iraq and wins. The democratic party then, is the like the Balkans. The democratic party goes to war in Iraq. The in two thousand and five. That was where I say there is no scenario in american politics in which America does not end up in a major
or the rock after nine hundred and eleven. Perhaps perhaps not, though, what if there's this rain of thought on the paleo right and the far left where they meet in the middle, and they agree that John Mccain was a horrible person who, if he had won the presidency in two thousand, they would have taken us into a whole bunch of wars and South America, Latin America, the Balkans. And what have you? It's neat yeah, it's it's by some wish fulfillment. But what? If? What? If John Mccain had bested George W Bush in two thousand, I'm not entirely sure that he would have end up. If he won the presidency, he would have end up going into Iraq. Because I just don't see the political imperative if John Mccain had beaten, George Bush in two thousand and had become the republican nominee also not clear. He would have won the presidency from metal
like that's where you go, you know remember the whole point of that hope. What about George W Bush with its comical to think about now is that he was a candidate more appealing to women in the Republican Party. That was the whole point. He was running for the if he was running for the lower middle class, mom who's going to give a big tax cut to the single mom. You know with two kids working at Danny's, that was the person, bush was supposedly. This is another thing that annoys me. This isn't actually going up and a lot of tangents but think about the the two candidates for the republican slate in in two thousand were running on the notion that too much money in politics and we need to basically basically controvert the constitution in order to get money out of politics, I was and compassionate conservatism, which means we have expand the welfare state in order to appeal to voters, and then conservatives today have the gall to say that the United States is not a.
Country, and we haven't we haven't made, haven't advanced any conservatism and conservatism is losing only constantly losing. Can you even imagine what the of party would look like if we had remained on that trajectory. That The party has gotten markedly more conservative, specially over the Obama era, Donald Trump notwithstanding absolutely true, you know what Noah you need to tell everybody about about Casper Mattress, labor day labor Day coming up this weekend, guys so podcast listeners commentary, podcast listeners, you dear listener, are invited to say goodbye to summer with Casper by taking advantage of Casper. It's limited time. Labor day offer caspers expert team of engineers and designers, research, prototype and test their mattress is to meet the needs of all kinds of sleepers and provide that just right. Balance of comfort and support all
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yes, I'm! You know I get the most out of 'em, it's really really deep sleep and if I'm not getting enough sleep, it's not because of the mattress at all. It's because I've been waking up early and going to bed very late, but the mattress itself is infection. So if you two are addicted to catholic Church in Crisis Twitter, then you can go to caspermattress dot com the time visit, Casper, mattress, dot com, slash savings and get ten percent off any mortar with a mattress. This special offer expires on September third, two thousand and eighteen, so act now terms and conditions apply. That's casper, mattress, dot com savings to get ten percent off your labor day order! Ok! Well, it was an interesting sort of that you chose to introduce
the topic of what is obviously the most important news, local of the moment and conceivably of our time. Given the historical nature of what is being exposed, the which broke sort of hard and fast again, with the release of this report in Pennsylvania, about the thousands of reviews over seventy years by it was a three hundred thousand children, three hundred Pres seven day over seven seven decades, and then has now seen this astounding document released by the former, essentially ambassador of the Vatican to the United States, Carlo V N L, yeah yeah. I know
So can you let the basic facts are these? This particular document is not related to that Pennsylvania. Grand jury report, this actually earlier because It's been a summer of shame for the Catholic church, but in in earlier in the summer, we had the downfall of probably the most prominent american Cardinal Theodore Uncle TED Mccarrick. TED was what he called. We asked young seminarians whom he preyed upon and slept with the column instead of Father or your eminence, or what have you have them call the column uncle TED, so he we you know. But finally, there was a. There is a statement that came out of the New York Arch dices, saying that there are credible accusation of child abuse against them, and then more reporting revealed that in the early 2000s. Thousands, his various diocese had settled allegations against him. So the question instantly
aim who knew what when did his successor, as the cardinal Archbishop of Washington Donald World know that Mccarrick had been a predator. Did others in the american episcopacy know that he had been in predator, and so that was simmering. Then the Pennsylvania Grand jury happens, which boiled brings things to you, know more fever pitch and while the church, The Pope is visiting Ireland on it for the world meeting of families, on Saturday night, this bomb, Shell personal testimony, appears from this apostolic nuncio, which is at the Vatican Ambassador to Washington. He served from two thousand seven to that two thousand, sixteen in which he alleged that lots of lots of prominent clerics knew about mccarrick and that they have better
his rise by maintaining a circle of silence and most explosively of all. He alleges that Pope Francis himself, no because he says that I told Pope Francis in two thousand thirteen, that the character has a dossier, this thick of abuse and he alleges or says that that Pope Benedict had already privately sanctioned mccarrick in two thousand nine two thousand ten over these allegations, and that then, that that that what happened was that in two thousand thirteen, somehow Pope Francis rehabilitated Mccarrick, never the less and adopted him as one of his top advisers. So et it's all. You know it
the kind of thing I told I told a bit is that when you are going through a kind of tectonic event, that's in fact the ones and maybe a half a millennium type event. It doesn't feel like it unless you're one of the major actors like you, otherwise, you sort of you know the rest of us like go to work. We eat breakfast, we our children to bed. Meanwhile, things are opening that you know will be written about a hundred years from now, maybe as the testimony that did acts in the catholic church. So it's all unbelievably shocking. So we have these, we have the serve series of unprecedented events. As I understand it, I mean obviously the abdication of of of Benedict in twenty thirteen thirteen. The first application six hundred years and years uh
or or or poor, literally onyx and unexplained to to speak decision to abdicate. In other words like it's on the set hi, you know I've been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or I can no longer fulfill my you know responsibilities or were you just? He said I will go into the in and pray for the rest of my life right. That's essentially, what he's we decide mean? I think he eluded to being not having the energy to I did not being able to carry out anymore is right which just such an astounding yeah things. What happened in for the most feel, logically conservative intellectual pope of our you know ever,
to to do some things, not ever since, since since the second Vatican, council, okay, sir yeah okay, but you know, but what, with their with terms like that, it may make more sense in the late twentieth century when they made another times right, but that he would sort of create a new reality. What was the last thing that was spent expected new institution reality by making it thinkable the Pope could could could leave office while he was still alive. Which of course, is now given rise to this idea that Pope Francis will necessary if all of these allegations by a bear out in may have merit and the he he he is exposed, as as, as the doctor expose him that he'll have to abdicate. To It strikes me there to have two Ameritas popes is ate too much. You know there was the avenue own papacy period where there was a period when the french- their own non roman
people, see in the city of Ave on right, I was one in a in Roman one elsewhere, so there's a period when, in the medieval times when there were three contestants to the pet trying off yeah or three put that of course, but of course it survived, because it was the only game in town, but you know the cat catholic church. There was nothing but the catholic church, and now I mean what what strikes me about all this, a site you know being being a Jew and not feeling myself competent to discuss the you know in in in terms seen workings of of the of the of these politics or or or of your church, is just the the threat. What the catholic church is- is an institutional religion right and organized top down institutional religion.
And the institution itself is being shaken to its foundations. Other religions have classically the history of Judaism, was Judy's or the ultimate top down religion based on in Temple, worship, the destruction of the Temple,
had led to the necessity for the religion to become a radically radically decentralized religion with no central authority and with with with the priesthood that basically was simply a bunch of educated people who helped guide their communities to fulfill the laws with no killer standing. They were in fact employees and not not sort of higher creatures are people with people with some connection to God that others didn't have what how, as as you live through this, what is the catholic church? If it is not, you know a grand institution, it cites the bedrock institution of the less than my mind and.
Yeah, the real, the real question to me. Isn't I mean the real problem to me: isn't authority per se? In other words, in fact, I think in our age, which is unbelievably dis it in so many ways? I think the idea of there being one institution that that that speaks very sort of absolute truth claims and whose absolute truth claims are in part bound up in the authority of one man when we believe is you know, is good the vicar of the very son of God on our right act. You know it has its
needed it's necessary. I think the real I mean I've come to understand that the real problem now in the church is this that for a number of years, there's been this cold truce between various forces in the church. If you want to call him liberal, conservative or orthodox heterodox, or what have you where the church teaches something publicly, that's traditional an orthodox that it on since Vatican, two, it allowed all sorts of orders and also to think is to some degree to reject it as long as they didn't speak out against it, and I think that led to this culture of of hypocrisy in the church that partly at least permitted this and that truce may end that trees is coming to a head. You right now you have bishops open the more or less open the attacking each of the each is under
global. You have bishops. Basically you know they won't say it directly, but in response to their vegan or revel and some of them are saying this is terrifying and it sounds plausible incredible and we take we gonna seriously investigated and something was saying this guy's a coup master trying to take down the pope, meaning there the bishops are at war with each other. So the real risk of this is is the catholicity of the church. Is it will there be that part of the reserve? Real? Possibly if this is a, if that truce breaks- and I don't know- I don't know- which is to say- should break because it's it's a sort of hypocrisy that cause problems and was wrong or should it you should? Is that an attempt to patch it up? Can some someone Third Pope emerged? We can somehow bring the churches. Together. Well, you you said that this could be. You know, once in a half a millennium, right so the last half a millennium was
ism right right, yeah, the the greatest schism in world history, probably that led to the? the protestant reformation pricing, reformation and and the you know our and, of course, what that was a revolt against what was seen as the financial and moral corruption, but from a particularly financial, I think, of of the church, the selling of indulgences, the the way weird behavior of of of of of of paper season, which the Pope had illegitimate, children and stuff out running around. How will we know where you're saying we'll never really know that were at that were at that half of a lineal half a will in the end point. Until it's already happened right I mean
I mean, if you have, let's say: if God forbid, I really don't want this to happen, but, let's say a a small but significant number of of traditionalist cardinals. Who say that I don't know who, in some radical fashion, I don't know what the legal terms would be, but they say that you know that Francis should be subject to discipline and Francis obviously he'd be he's the you know the vicar of Christ on earth. He depose them as cardinals. Whatever? What have you? I mean these. These are the kinds of possibilities. If you see that kind of happen And then those cardinals, I don't know you have faction of Catholics who say we follow cardinal acts and so on and so forth. I hope come to that. There have been such individual cases right. There were Lefevre rights of the nineteen eighties. That was a sort of a cardinal who was kicked out and and are sort of on things a cardinal but yeah are okay so but anyway, yes, yes, but
But if the source of this is the child, sex abuse scandals, and we not only have the ones here than this question of if they're you know three hundred priests thousand kids in Pennsylvania, six one state models diocese right but, like you know what about New York, what about Massachusetts? What about Illinois? What about you know states that, are you know what about Louisiana? What about Maryland? Like the catholic states of the country, I mean this could be the tip of the iceberg on these scandals, and then there were reports. I can't remember which s american country. Just she and Honduras. Just have had these essentially kind of internal truth commissions, revealing these uses of seminarians in those cases. Ok, so we have a worldwide, we potentially have a sore worldwide sexual crisis that, though people are desperately terrified to say it in
was homosexual sex, mainly ATM center right, okay, so primarily, and that we are therefore in a in a world in which it's not like one cardinal, you know one bishop, whatever says he wants to perform the Latin mass and he doesn't approve. You know he doesn't approve of guitars like this. Is this question of whether or not there is wrought at the core of the church that extends into the Vatican and that that's where you get that Martin Luther parallels right? That's where you get the what can happen here? Something has to an evil has to be extirpated if it can't be extirpated. Then one right is that, but are we? Are we anywhere near that or- and so I found this on twitter, so of course everything is always near apocalypse that's kind of other eventual Japan, because that's good with that jumped out.
Me. There's a there's, a strange contrast here. What's going on, because when you talk about Churchill, You talk with these giant cycles and once in half millennial events, yet this is holding at a time where all cycles, all interactions. All movements are are so much shorter. Does church gets worked up into that or does it you know it? Can it doesn't resist that and continue to serve operate on this slower scale, no I I think what we're seeing is is, like I said, archbishops tweeting and right right, so so there may not. It may not be a once in one slash two half millennium a sort of cycle anymore. For these things I mean look. What did Luther do? He pinned a note on the church door and that note, you know, was the most. You know import
event in you know, created the modern world. Practically it was one piece of paper on one church Now you know this could be organized Worldwide Matter in five minutes. Of course, I could make it more evanescent, rather than less that's or war or the I mean the interesting thing, of course, is there's a nat. Suddenly the the voice, as for severe to show more form are coming from a quarter that, at least in the in the John Paul. The second era was very resistant to the notion that the church needed these performs. Has some people point out that Rick around first Things magazine Richard John Newhouse, who is the Pope's great friend, the United States, a Lutheran minister who became a catholic priest.
That the claim that the child sex abuse scandals that were first uncovered in Louisiana by journalist, named Jason, Barry in the late nineteen eighties that these were over blown and the people are making too much of them, and this was in fact just an attack on Catholicism by a secular forces and needed to be resisted and now a lot of the who would have been the most welcome audience. For that. I. Here are the most fervent about the need for radical and look at the contest. Is an organization called it's based, a one man organization called the Catholic League, which is a sort of we defend Catholics against Anti Catholicism in the? U is bill. Donahue right, in an earlier age. He would have released a statement, saying this is this is Anti Catholic Witch Hunt and he there it would have found an audience this time around. He released something like that. An the into Are conservative catholic world
came down in his head saying, what are you talking about like this is serious, so me to have happened in the secular world. At first things itself at Richard John Neuhaus is magazine. First things catchments. Who is one of the editors in chief bloggers is one of the leading voices for you know for the idea that the that the for the France paper c, is in deep and possibly terminal crisis and the idea that look. If, if this, clean up mean this cleansing means it will embroil our guys, like the conservative, so be it. You know, let's, let's tear this thing out, that's coming from
quarters, were you wouldn't? So what is the the? The counter attack that I've seen, which you know I I'm I'm very peripherally- engage in this whole issue, but it seems very much like the focus is on conservative Catholics, making conservative claims about the nature of this papacy and the nature of of the how how the catholic church is operated under Francis and an earlier, but generally they're trying to dismiss it as that. This is kind of a good conservative revolt and in the american conservative contacts. But I don't know catholic insignificant international code, caveat server context, and, what's so is relevant, is the truth and to what extent does that even matter.
So I mean I I've argued that it does. I have seen him in so that I I I can at. I guess some kind of access, so I have seen- and I'm not sure where it, the litany of grievances- and I think it was in the Saturday revelation- focused quite a bit on the efforts to undermine politically conservative catholic voices within the church. Correct yeah. I mean there's been this larger debate about about the Pope, Francis attempting certain reforms which he he insists, are in continuity with traditional catholic moral teaching but which conservatives will say are not so admission of the divorced and remarried to communion the main one, the toleration of certain priests and other voices who are playing around with the church's teaching on homosexuality, but who never outright will say that they rejected, but they
they are or there so in subtle ways: question I'm thinking about Father, James Martin, who's, the New York Times is favored catholic priest e, who, in an earlier contacts with I'll, surely have been suppressed in various ways. So as far as the wider kind of all the ideological culture word, conservatives will say that not that pederasty. Or what have? You is exclusively a problem of liberal Catholicism because obviously it wasn't there when there's a famous order called the the legionaries of Christ. Who's was very much champion by Pope John Paul, the second very orthodox, very serious, very catholic and then the founder of turned out to be a sex abuser. So it's not the case of death issue, but that that the failure to stand firm on the church's teaching on sexuality in general has a better these kinds of. So
what I'm getting around to is at what point? Do we see the Auntie Auntie Francis Movement thrill here? wondering it starts at essentially that his detractors are bigger threat than what it is, but it started it started. We were talking about this urban two pieces of the New York Times since the since the the revelations over the weekend that essentially say that both both ones that one to set in ITALY in one set in the United States. It seems to suggest that this is an ideologic counter attack, but under other auspices, against Francis who was trying to liberalize, trying to bring a new, liberal or empathic perspective to the church, and that this is the the way it's essentially like a version of negative camp. Right that they're they're they're, claiming that he did things they have no reason to the claims of the dead and all right so that the anti Anti Francis he's lying if the claims are follow through and investigated and they're all empirical truth crane's eyes, there
Pope Francis had heard about Mccarricks abuse is an and didn't. All up on him and actually adopted him as one it's going to be Aries or he didn't either Donald World, the liberal, ish, cardinal and washing new about what his predecessor had done, or he didn't so I think the ideological questions are irrelevant innocence and well. You're right, but this is the way this is what happens when you have an institutional crisis? Is that people say well consider the source you know this with this is this is that this is the counter attacked of the of the of the Benedict forces, who were lost power when Francis who was so much more lovable and, given that x over to the heart of terms right then x orphans, so it's already happening? No, but So source point is the
The problem is that you may never find out the answers to those questions. What will compel the public revelation of the answer. This questions to the only thing will compel it is a Francis essentially create some kind of a truth. Commission that released a report you five years from now, that could say Quincy, unless somebody stands up and says this was done to me, you know and who seems incredibly credible, the most interested him at the anti Anti Francis us and it connects to all kinds of weird things that are going on. Now is this ocean that suddenly now the the E2. Let's say not this fits that category, but the sort of the world of the you know, someone claiming sex
abuse of some sort on a very long. Large continuum from you know flippant remark or a touch of the hand. Two actual rape right that Some of this is now coming uncomfortably close to people that the liberal media consensus really would rather not it not touch at all Frances Francis is certainly such a figure. This is a hopeful figure for for western. With liberalism in the you know in in the contemporary sense of the term, another one is Cardinal Blaze, Sue, pitcher Chicago who, in that document claims owes his cardinal's red hat and his his obtaining the city of Chicago to Mccarrick's, lobbying efforts and so forth that sort of mutual pact of Self mutual protection. So he's he's
put it at and, and he said, the Pope, the Pope is focused on a larger agenda. Fighting climate change, a change in immigration and emigration not fighting and welcoming right you use. You should also mention all all the particles in the world which are you You should also mention the pubs response right. There was a very strange cryptic and so when, when finally reporters acts, he said, I will anchors you to read the document. It speaks for itself and make your own judgment about it, which is switches range. Well, it's it's startling because the document says that he's that he is part of a effective experience. Conspiracy of silence so it speaks for itself he's and he's a pleasantly and or saying we've charges and doc out of it in the his defenders will say that Francis never takes on a direct attack that he always was it's as a footnote right, the entire, the entire crisis that is the subject of Ross Douthat's,
book about the Catholic Church is about a footnote in which he seems to express support for, as you said, The communion for the horse remains right of of such so the that is the papacy. This is a paper see that even know that they even the secular, have been hoping for if they hope for anything from papacies, because since John Paul. The second's elevation in was at one thousand nine hundred and seventy eight right it was essentially Pope and it's John Paul and Benedict Worthy Bolwar, Figures of I don't know what you would all the traditional list of still in the west that you know this is the largest religious denomination in the world. The most or religious denomination in the west, and they were holding up, they were holding
their side and benedix application, led to the church passing into the hands of the very people that the traditionalists were most afraid of, which is why I think the anti Anti France line will gain some you're going to see a lot more of it You will see I'm trying to think of who you I mean will be an interesting test will. Garry Wills, who is probably the most important liberal catholic voice in the hopes, secular press. Will he be? Where will he come out on this? because there are two ways of looking at one of witches is: if you think that the church needs to be taken, if you're a certain type of liberal things, the church needs to be taken down a peg, say yeah. It's been a nest of of
with use, and so you know maybe it should go into a period of deep reflection and stop trying to interfere in in world politics, or you can say. No, no Francis is the greatest sign of a possible change, in our direction- and we have to defend him at all- costs, to see both I'm curious now, which of the two will come out. Dominant Well, I I don't know- and I believe that neither one has to be dominant, I mean you could have both voices at the same time, I think they're weak if personal testimony starts really coming out. Like the thing at the Pennsylvania stuff. Is that a lot of it? Is it yeah, so really need contemporary. You need people is. This is like what happened to the Boston Archdiocese right, the thing that's portrayed in spotlight was people willing to come out publicly and deliver
testimony by name in their own names about what what what had been done to them. That really gave you know what led to the resignation of cardinal so I will say this not as a Catholic, obviously for those of us one of the things that it's a conservative, a true conservative, a true conservative. I don't mean you know these sort of like every nice about a Donald Trump and you and everyone who doesn't doesn't value Donald Trump, should be thrown in the garbage heap. Newt Gingrich Kirch, Leister view of conservatism, but genuine conservatism. Believes that the world is upheld not by governments but by also
it's of mediating institutions that represent that provide a bulwark against politics and everything being political, and I obviously churches are the most institution, the faith are the most important because they also represent a competing source of authority, two elected government officials of government, all sorts of other institutions that everybody always talks about in the United States context. You know the koan
clubs, in the be a voluntary associations right that that Tocqueville talked about, and I I think, it's frankly terrifying to think that the most important religious institution of the West should you should end up undergoing this trial by fire or bore bore. You know, examination self examination, because it's just another way that above politics and up having no challenge just you know, everything is political, because everything, nothing that is non political plays
an important role in Q Plays, is playing less and less and less of the world. On the other hand, there is the famous quote from Cardinal Consalvi, who was Antena Paul Yanick force in the nineteenth century right and the famous like I was in the Napoleon wanted to that sort of had to have been a pathetic of the catholic church, bowed to his to his consecutive pyre and Concarneau Consalvi, famously said, You know. After two thousand or something years we bishops haven't been able to destroy the catholic church. Do you really think you can? Well, there you go I mean the writing. Obituaries for religions is a you know, is a fool's errand yeah. I know I deal with other religions. No, I know, but I know, but it's a fool's errand and you know people have written the written they've they Obituary of Orthodox Judaism and you use of in general, and you know here
We are in twenty eighteen and there more Jews onerous in there than there was in there likely were at the you know. At this before Hitler rose to power. So it's no joke, you know, God will is not mocked, and with that we will bring it. We will bring this podcast to a close for a Crosman and Sorghum REM. John Podhoretz keep the candle burning.
Transcript generated on 2019-11-13.