I have two posts I'd like to do soon on issues stemming from what I consider to be a terrible Catholic magazine. This is the first.
Last night I was listening to Raymond Arroyo's "World Over" news program as I drove to Ritter's Christmas concert. One of the things discussed was the whole Bush tax cut extension that is getting so much news play right now. The political debate there isn't really the issue (although Arroyo and his priest friend were at least right in noting that politicians, once a tax stream is steady, start to forget that it isn't the government's money, it is still the people's) - what I found horrible was that U.S. Catholic magazine had an article saying that extending the Bush tax cuts would be a violation of Catholic Social Teaching. Again, beyond the politics, the fact that a magazine would say something that asinine pretending to represent the Church is shocking for two reasons:
A) NOWHERE does Catholic social teaching even start to talk about tax rates or anything approaching such minute details of governance. I am teaching Catholic Social Teaching to seniors right now, and the Church's clarity, breadth, and guidance are stunning to behold and examine; for me it has been a great class to teach these past two years. The Church talks about many broad issues concerning how countries and nations ought to govern, how workers are to be treated, when war is acceptable, how companies and governments can get too big, the importance of families, the right to life, etc. But to say that anything from the Church has ever even come close to hinting at the morality of tax decisions is completely false.
B) The people who write U.S. Catholic don't typically give one ounce of credence to what the Church teaches about anything else, yet here they are trying to use the respect that some have for the Magisterium (the same Magisterium that the magazine typically attempts to undercut) to pass off a complete lie as coming from that Magisterium simply to further their own agenda. At this point I am reminded about something from the Gospels about wolves in sheep's clothing.
The fact is that "Catholic Social Teaching" is very often lied about, misrepresented, and abused by people who otherwise hate the teaching aspect of the Church - often simply for the purpose of furthering their liberal political agendas. Interesting that when pro-lifers get involved in the political realm, dissenting "Catholics" accuse them of being one issue voters and politicizing religion. Maybe what pro-life Catholics need to do is borrow a page from U.S. Catholic and simply decide to make up Church teachings to justify their politics.