Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh walks past the media after a photo opportunity with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 10, 2018. Kavanaugh is on Capitol Hill to meet with Republican leaders as the battle begins over his nomination to the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently and with minimal controversy to promote conservative principles.

In doing so, the president has also driven the ideology of the Catholics on the court further to the right. Kavanaugh, who early in his career was a law clerk for Kennedy, is a more doctrinaire conservative and is more heavily and outwardly invested in his Catholic identity than his mentor.

Perhaps unintentionally, Trump’s efficiency has exacerbated the already heightened angst (or excitement, depending on who's being asked) about the institution’s ever more conservative Catholic majority.

For those who aren’t keeping scorecards: Among those nominated by a Republican president, Justices Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Samuel Alito are all Catholic. Fellow conservative Neil Gorsuch was raised Catholic but has more recently attended an Episcopal church. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, appointed by President Obama, is also Catholic.

Kavanaugh’s rise to the high court is welcome news for the religious right of whatever denomination, and a relief to social conservatives who have been put off by Trump’s obnoxious speech and behavior but nevertheless supported him in hopes that he would shape the federal judiciary to their liking.

Once wary of Catholics, conservative Protestants have worked with Catholics on shared priorities for decades. They now see the learned jurists of the Catholic right as indispensable allies. With their elite credentials and intellectual grounding, the Republican justices represent a large, sometimes controversial, corps of legal minds the evangelical tradition has not produced on its own.

One of the judges on the Catholics’ deep bench is Amy Coney Barrett, who was reportedly in the running for the seat now offered to Kavanaugh. A former Notre Dame law professor, she became a heroine to religious conservatives when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, at Barrett’s confirmation hearing for a circuit court judgeship last fall, questioned her impartiality as a judge, saying, “The dogma lives loudly within you.”

This gaffe was a rallying cry for conservatives enthralled with the notion that devout, orthodox religious people are systematically excluded from positions of elite influence, and particularly positions of legal authority.

Many social conservatives hoped Trump would nominate Barrett to the high court, even though she has only been a judge for seven months, if only to “trigger the libs”: A Catholic woman joining the Catholic men in overturning Roe v. Wade against the other female justices’ dissents would have been a sweet victory for the right.

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, seated center, leads Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, front row, left to right; Justice Anthony Kennedy; Justice Clarence Thomas; Justice Stephen Breyer; and back row, left to right, Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch in taking a new court photo including Gorsuch, their most recent addition, at the Supreme Court building in Washington on June 1, 2017. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

This triumph of conservative Catholicism on the court has a dark lining, however, in the increasingly deep political split within American Catholicism. Though always a matter of debate, Catholic politicians' and even judges' conformity to party platforms is causing especially tense discussion right now. This spring, at a conference on Catholicism and politics in an age of division held at Loyola University-Chicago, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy challenged Catholic political thinkers to take up social causes beyond the church’s opposition to abortion rights.

At Georgetown University last month, Catholic leaders from across the spectrum met to discuss polarization in the church. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, while known as a fierce defender of immigrants’ rights, called abortion “the most important social justice issue facing the church,” according to America magazine’s account of the conference.

Some of the division is being driven by Pope Francis and his appointed cardinals and bishops, who have shifted the emphasis of Catholic politics to social justice concerns, speaking out on the environment and gun violence, even redefining immigration policies recently as a “life” issue. In June, McElroy told a group of Catholic priests that Francis rejects “a notion of law which can be blind to the uniqueness of concrete human situations, human suffering and human limitation.”

Amid this leftward drift, the Catholic Supreme Court has shown evident disregard for workers, the environment and voting rights, taking positions that directly oppose Catholic social teaching.

Of course, the justices decide on matters of law, not theology. Those of us attuned to the role of religion in public life may ultimately concede that in matters of law, faith is not as consequential as we are inclined to think.

But it will be important to note how the Jesuit-educated Kavanaugh’s background influences his perspectives on the rights of labor and migrants, the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, and the problems inherent in America’s excessive confidence in individualism and capitalism.

(Jacob Lupfer, a frequent commentator on religion and politics, is a writer and consultant in Baltimore. His website is Follow him on Twitter at @jlupf. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)


  1. The church doesn’t move anywhere. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and foreverl

  2. But society is always changing and it supplies the members for the churches.

  3. doesn’t matter. Jesus and His word does not change

  4. “Kavanaugh’s rise to the high court is welcome news for the religious right of whatever denomination, and a relief to social conservatives who have been put off by Trump’s obnoxious speech and behavior…”

    Where are all these social conservatives who’ve been put off by Trump? The ones I run across fall all over themselves making excuses for the guy. Just look at those who post on this board. I’ve yet to see any of them admit to Trump having any character flaws at all.

  5. Pope Francis is not the Catholic Church.

  6. Jesus and his word inform and guide the Church but are not identical to it. The Church is not God. To believe otherwise is to be guilty of the sin of ecclesiolatry.

  7. Yes but what of his supposed words are historic. Rigorous historic testing of all the NT passages conclude that only 10% of said passages are authentic. The rest were invented by P, M, M, L and J.

  8. Oh please. The entire skeptical Jesus Seminar cult was/is three shades past Emergency Exorcism status.

  9. SCOTUS and god and religion:

    Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879)

    Court finds that the federal antibigamy statute does not violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion.

    Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947)

    Court finds that a New Jersey law which included students of Catholic schools in reimbursements to parents who sent their children to school on buses operated by the public transportation system does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

    McCollum v. Board of Education Dist. 71, 333 U.S. 203 (1948)

    Court finds religious instruction in public schools a violation of the establishment clause and therefore unconstitutional.

    Burstyn v. Wilson, 72 S. Ct. 777 (1952)

    Government may not censor a motion picture because it is offensive to religious beliefs.

    Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961)

    Court holds that the state of Maryland cannot require applicants for public office to swear that they believed in the existence of God. The court unanimously rules that a religious test violates the Establishment Clause.

    Engel v. Vitale, 82 S. Ct. 1261 (1962)

    Any kind of prayer, composed by public school districts, even nondenominational prayer, is unconstitutional government sponsorship of religion.

    Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)

    Court finds Bible reading over school intercom unconstitutional and Murray v. Curlett, 374 U.S. 203 (1963) – Court finds forcing a child to participate in Bible reading and prayer unconstitutional.

    Epperson v. Arkansas, 89 S. Ct. 266 (1968)

    State statue banning teaching of evolution is unconstitutional. A state cannot alter any element in a course of study in order to promote a religious point of view. A state’s attempt to hide behind a nonreligious motivation will not be given credence unless that state can show a secular reason as the foundation for its actions.

    Lemon v. Kurtzman, 91 S. Ct. 2105 (1971)

    Established the three part test for determining if an action of government violates First Amendment’s separation of church and state:
    1) the government action must have a secular purpose;
    2) its primary purpose must not be to inhibit or to advance religion;
    3) there must be no excessive entanglement between government and religion.

    Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980)

    Court finds posting of the Ten Commandments in schools unconstitutional.

    Wallace v. Jaffree, 105 S. Ct. 2479 (1985)

    State’s moment of silence at public school statute is unconstitutional where legislative record reveals that motivation for statute was the encouragement of prayer. Court majority silent on whether “pure” moment of silence scheme, with no bias in favor of prayer or any other mental process, would be constitutional.

    Edwards v. Aquillard, 107 S. Ct. 2573 (1987)

    Unconstitutional for state to require teaching of “creation science” in all instances in which evolution is taught. Statute had a clear religious motivation.

    Allegheny County v. ACLU, 492 U.S. 573 (1989)

    Court finds that a nativity scene displayed inside a government building violates the Establishment Clause.

    Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649 (1992)

    Unconstitutional for a school district to provide any clergy to perform nondenominational prayer at elementary or secondary school graduation. It involves government sponsorship of worship. Court majority was particularly concerned about psychological coercion to which children, as opposed to adults, would be subjected, by having prayers that may violate their beliefs recited at their graduation ceremonies.

    Church of Lukumi Babalu Ave., Inc. v. Hialeah, 113 S. Ct. 2217 (1993)

    City’s ban on killing animals for religious sacrifices, while allowing sport killing and hunting, was unconstitutional discrimination against the Santeria religion.

  10. For your edification:
    “The ground-breaking
    work of the Jesus Seminar appears in two texts: The Five

    Gospels (1993) and Acts of Jesus (1998), both published by Polebridge

    The Jesus Seminar is a group of biblical scholars chaired by Robert Funk,

    who took the unprecedented step of voting as a group on the authenticity of

    teachings and acts of Jesus. The following observations are taken from the

    introductory chapters of 5G and AOJ.

    Every individual saying and action was examined and rated by the Seminar as

    whether Jesus actually said it or did it, or whether it was primarily the

    product of the author of the gospel. Building on the earlier work of

    scholars, the Seminar’s research represents an unprecedented cooperative

    to separate what Jesus really said and did from what gets added on over
    time in

    the story telling and writing process.

    In addition to the four Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, that we

    known for two thousand years, the Seminar also included the Gospel of
    Thomas in

    their considerations. Thomas consists of sayings of Jesus that were

    at Nag Hamadi, along with hundreds of other ancient texts, in a major

    archeological discovery in 1945. Thomas is not in story form, but it is a

    series of sayings. Many of the sayings are very similar to what appear in

    other four gospels, and it was used by the Seminar as an independent report

    what Jesus said.

    The Seminar’s work assumes that for a period of some years the stories

    Jesus were passed on by word of mouth as his followers practiced his

    and some anxiously expected his return. Ten years may have gone by before

    teachings and actions began to be written down, and perhaps another ten

    passed before they were put into larger collections like Thomas. These

    collections were probably taking place about the same time that Paul was

    letters (Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans) to various Christian

    Eventually the materials were put together in story form, probably first by

    Mark, sometime around 70CE, followed by Matthew, John, and Luke/Acts, in

    order. Some of the writing occurred as late as the first part to the middle

    the second century CE.”

  11. “When the Seminar members voted, a red vote received 3 points, a pink vote
    received 2 points, a gray vote received 1 point, and a black vote received 0
    points. The colors were given the following definitions: Red = This statement
    is an accurate representation of what Jesus said or did. Pink = This statement
    very likely represents what Jesus said or did. Gray = This statement is most
    likely a formulation of the author, but the content is similar to what Jesus
    actually said or did. Black = This statement is purely a formulation of the
    author. A statement or event was given a final color code based on the
    following percentages: Red = .7501 or more of the scholars agreed that the
    teaching or event was authentic. Pink = .5001 to .7500 of the scholars agreed
    that the teaching or event was authentic. Gray = .2501 to .5000 of the scholars
    agreed that the teaching or event was authentic. Black = .0000 to .2500 of the
    scholars agreed that the teaching or event was authentic.

    THE SCHOLARS USED RULES to determine if Jesus really said or did something; for

    1. Primary assumption: Jesus was a reasonably well integrated person whose
    behavior was more or less congruent with his words.

    2. Certain categories, some much more than others, are common to the teaching
    and behavioral materials.

    (a) Itinerant

    (b) Family ties don’t bind

    (c) Demon possession and exorcism

    (d) Social deviance

    (e) Association with undesirables

    (f) Embracing the unclean

    (g) Sabbath

    (h) Critics of Jesus

    (i) Healing

    3. Material that reflects knowledge of events after Jesus’ death must be looked
    at cautiously.

    4. Material that appears in independent sources is older than the sources.

    5. Material that appears in independent contexts circulated on its own at an
    earlier time.

    6. Similar content that has taken on different forms had a prior life of its

    7. Oral memory best retains short, provocative, memorable material, like
    aphorisms and parables.

    8. It is more likely that the core or gist of a matter was recalled, rather than
    precise words.

    9. The writers likely put their own words in Jesus’ mouth under the following

    (a) Story transitions: for example, “Let’s go over to the other side.” (Mk 4:35)

    (b) Summarizing the message: “The time is up. God’s imperial rule is closing
    in.” (Mk 1:15)

    (c) Anticipating the story: “The son of Adam is being turned over to his
    enemies, and they

    will end up killing him.” (Mk 9:31)

    (d) Expressing the writer’s view: “Why are you so cowardly? You still don’t
    trust, do you?” (Mk 4:40)

    (e) Underscoring a narrative point: “He was unable to perform a single miracle
    there, except.” (Mk 6:6)

    (f) Clarifying current practices: “The days will come when the groom is taken
    away from them, and then they will fast on that day.” (Mk 2:20)

    (g) Eliciting a confessional point: “What about you, who do you say that I am?”
    (Mk 8:29)

    WHEN THE RULES ARE APPLIED an emerging pattern reinforces itself:

    (1) Talks distinctively, distinguishable from common lore.

    (2) Teaches against the social and religious grain.

    (3) Surprises and shocks by role reversal or frustration of ordinary

    (4) Uses characteristics of exaggeration, humor, and paradox.

    (5) Uses concrete and vivid images.

    (6) Uses metaphorical language without explicit application.

    (7) Seldom initiates dialogue, debate, or healing activity.

    (8) Rarely speaks about himself in the first person.

    (9) Makes no claim to be the Messiah.”

  12. Rigorous historic testing of the NT can also be found in the studies and publications of Professor J. D. Crossan and also Professor Gerd Ludemann with the Professor Ludemann’s studies published in his book Jesus After 2000 Years, the latest and best available.

  13. Correct. He’s merely the head of it, as all you conservatives were quick to remind us liberals when the über-conservative Ratzinger was in charge. And in the Catholic Church that means something, as well you know.

  14. The world will do anything to discredit the truth. When are you going to learn that RC?

  15. The world will do anything to find the truth. Time to search outside the bible box you are trapped in.

  16. Yes, that’s one Scriptural image. Another is the Church as the Bride of Christ, and yet another is the Church as a sheepfold. None of those is to be interpreted simplistically and none implies that the Church is perfect.

  17. First of all, Kavanaugh isn’t confirmed yet; so let’s not assume anything is final until it actually occurs – there are still RINO’s in the senate that can foul this up.

    I love how every article you read implies that justices have a political tendency. I disagree. I would argue that judges are either originalists or those that believe that it is their role to make law from the bench. The fact is that the conservatives are the former, and the liberals the latter; so the court hasn’t moved right as much as it has moved (back) toward originalism. Therefore, there is no triumph of conservative (insert religion of choice); but a triumph of the founding principles.

    It’s a cheap shot by the author to imply that the catholic court has shown evident disregard for workers, the environment and voting rights… How about, the justices ruled according to the guidelines as stated in the constitution and precedent law? Or, how about you had a crappy case that had no legal footing. Not everything has to have a political angle to it; however, that seems to be the world we live in.

    Finally, regarding the deep political split among American Catholics – this is not a political split. It is a doctrinal split that happens to fall along established political lines. We have discussed it here in length the war between the liberal hierarchy of the church (and some of its members) and the conservative traditionalists. There should be no divisions as all Catholics should adhere to the catechism of the church. That is the real battle; those who wish to follow the catechism and those who wish to change it to suit their humanistic desires.

  18. Jim, the truth never changes regardless of time; correct?

  19. The Church are followers of Christ. They will do as Christ has commanded.
    Individuals will fall and get up again, but the church supports what Christ taught. It doesn’t move left or right.

  20. “You conservatives” from the author of “The only reason the Enneagram is popular among some is because of the need among some to pigeonhole people and categorize them into neat little boxes. They do this because they can’t wrap their heads around the fact that each human being is different from the next. This frustrates some people and so they look to personality tests such as the Enneagram to help them deal with their frustration.” would be screamingly funny if it were not clear that you aren’t even aware you’re doing it.

    The “über-conservative Ratzinger” was not the Catholic Church, either.

    The only all-powerful force in Christianity that comes to mind that can invent new words for God, change the essence of sacraments, and so on without any apparent limit is the Episcopal Church’s triennial General Convention.

  21. You are confusing the teachings of Christ and the Church. They aren’t the same thing. The Church is comprised of fallible human beings.

    Moving on. Have a nice evening.

  22. First of all, Kavanaugh isn’t confirmed yet; so let’s not assume anything is final until it actually occurs – There are still RINO’s in the Senate they can foul this up.

    I love how every article you read it implies that justices have a political tendency. I disagree. I would argue that judges are either originalists or those that believe that it is their responsibility to make laws from the bench. The fact is that the conservatives are the former, and the Liberals the latter; so the court hasn’t moved right as much as it has moved back toward originalism. Therefore, there’s no triumph of conservative (insert religion of choice); but A triumph of the founding principles.

    It’s a cheap shot by the author to imply that the Catholic court has shown evident disregard for workers, the environment and voting rights. How about, the justices ruled according to the guidelines as stated in the constitution and precedent law? Or, how about you had a crappy case that I had no legal merit. Not everything has to have a political angle to it; however, that seems to be the world we live in.

    Finally, regarding the Deep political split among American Catholics – this is not a political split. It is a doctrinal split that happens to fall along well established political lines. We have discussed it here at length the war between the liberal hierarchy of the church and its members and the conservative traditionalists and its members. There should be no divisions as all Catholics should adhere to the catechism of the church. That is the real real battle; those who wish to follow the catechism and those who wish to change it to suit their humanistic desires.

  23. Oooooo no! Save us from said monster!

  24. Fallible human beings have opinions.

    The Church teaches.

    It is only when fallible human beings think their opinions ARE teaching that there is any dissonance.

  25. Why would they be considering his character flaws in the first place?

    He was elected to do a job.

    Shouldn’t he be rated on how he is performing it?

  26. the church maintains the teachings of Christ. the fallibility was discussed above.

  27. Truths are facts. Many do change over time. Even accepted morality.

  28. If you are also a “fallible human” this statement does nothing to increase the likelihood that the”Church” teaches.

  29. I disagree. An absolute truth is always the truth regardless of facts.

  30. Because of his character flaws, he’s not performing his job. Mueller will tell us all about it soon.

  31. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and foreverl”

    That is… dead.

  32. Apostle Paul stated in 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

    Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

    OLD TESTAMENT: The Old Testament was the only form of Scripture used by the Lord Jesus Christ who often quoted from it, as did St Paul, St Peter, St John the Evangelist, other New Testament authors and the first Christian community.

    Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
    Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

  33. THE PLOT AGAINST THE CHURCH, by Maurice Pinay. This book demonstrates with no room for doubt the existence of a great conspiracy, attempting to convert Catholicism into a blind instrument in the service of communism, Masonry, and Judaism, in order to weaken free humanity with it and to facilitate its ruin and, with this ruin, the definite victory of atheistic communism. This conspiracy’s most useful instruments are those Catholic clergymen who, betraying Holy Church, attempt to destroy her most loyal defenders, while at the same time they assist, in every way they can, Communists, Masons and Jews in their subversive activities.

  34. “The evil influence of Satan was evident in the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy, with cardinals who do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the demon,” Vatican Chief exorcist Father Amorth said.

    “As for what they say about destroying your Synagogues, make your sons cannons and clerks, that they may destroy the Christian’s churches.” ~ [(Signed the prince of the Jews of Constantinople) 16th century Spanish book Le Silva Corrosa. By Julio Ingez de Medarro from Paris Oro 1608 P156-157.]

    The Roman Catholic church has been infiltrated at the highest levels by Luciferian Freemasonry.

  35. All post Vatican II popes are antichrists. For example: Pope John Paul II kissed the Koran, on May 14, 1999, even though the Koran denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
    Pope Francis kissed the Koran, said that the Koran, and the spiritual teachings contained therein, are just as valid as the Holy Bible, and hosted Islamic prayers in the Vatican!

    Islam denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II both embraced Islam, this makes them antichrists, per 1 John 2:22 “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

    In this photo, a shaman works her sorcery on Pope Francis. [PHOTO: Third Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, Feb. 15, 2017]×493.jpg

    2 Corinthians 6:16-18And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

  36. A rather naive sentiment. Americans are rather fussy about the character of their national elected leaders.

  37. You have no way of establishing this as a truth. Your book and some basic tenets remains the same but the ‘truth’ has succumbed to hundreds of interpretations.

  38. Because of fallible humans we now have thousands of differing teachings/opinions all claiming to be the truth. And no one to referee (where are you god when they need you to set them straight?).

  39. So… do you profess yourself to be wise?

  40. I don’t think the Catholic Church is “moving left”. It’s just that we’re stuck with a liberal pope at the moment and the propaganda team around him. The large majority of the faithful (who practice) are not as enamored with him and on board with his program as the media would have you believe.

  41. Since you must depend on a 2000 year old book with words that don’t change, you can’t tell if they still apply and are still true even if the were. Since He hasn’t returned you can’t know to what extent He may have changed.

  42. If they were, we would not have had Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, or Lyndon Baines Johnson – among others.

    Now if you tell me Americans love fantasy politics, I would be inclined to agree with you.

    Among those fantasies would be that Hillary Clinton was the more moral of the two candidates in the last presidential election.

  43. I try to avoid zany religious movements, cults, and the like.

  44. Both the Orthodox and the Catholic communions seem to believe they have mechanisms to avoid that problem.

    Whether they do or not is up to the individual seeker to determine, but they certainly seem to have a done a good job of avoiding nonsense like the triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which apparently believes it has no limits.

  45. The qualifer “who practice” is the critical one.

    I am not sure why anyone would be interested in the opinions of those who self-identify as “Catholic” but are non-attendants.

  46. The Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church may not change, but the Roman Church changes to keep its power and influence. Look at history..

  47. In a country as diverse as the US, the Supreme Court is too lopsided in terms of education and religion. We need more diversity of backgrounds on the court. We need more judges on the court with perhaps 15 justices just to have a variety of life better represent the nation.

  48. How many more years will it take Mueller to announce there was no collusion?

  49. You mean like archaeology showing that John’s gospel was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD)?

    Along with John being the last gospel written, per the Muratorian Canon, ~160 AD. A date where there is a high probability of some living, who heard the gospels from those who listened to the Apostles (Ignatius of Antioch d108, or Polycarp d156 ).

    Seems historical evidence is pushing the initial autographs of the Gospels, back to the time of Paul’s 1st journey.

  50. “these textual facts can be interesting, but there is nothing in them to challenge their faith”, Bart Ehrman,

  51. Oh please (Part Two). I’ve already read the unsanitary biohazard known as “The Five Gospels” in its entirety (umm, it was the only way to pass the class and I needed the credits).

    Funk and company probably should’ve been sent to Riker’s Island for Aggravated High Treason Against Religious Scholarship. (Or, in the alternative, immediate deportation to Antarctica would do nicely).

  52. Evangelicals were downright OBSESSED with character in America’s elected leaders (as Bill Clinton could tell you)… but then, a funny thing happened in 2016. They suddenly flip-flopped and declared that character was unimportant and not worth discussing. Interesting coincidence, no?

  53. or those who are not catholic yet have an opinion on everything in the church and how catholics should relate to church teaching .

  54. the wine is always new . the church needs always to replace the wine-skins that hold it .

  55. All bow to the Yale and Harvard law schools who have educated all of the SCOTUS judges.

  56. that’s believing the RCC is really a church

  57. I depend on the word of God, thanks. Christ does not change

  58. you have no argument with me. They are not “the church”.

  59. The OT would only be the form of Scripture used by Christ – there was no NT when he was here.

  60. Past investigations have gone on much longer than this one.

  61. It and the Orthodox not only believe themselves to be “a church”, they believes themselves to be THE church.

  62. It has been somewhat amusing to see the “higher criticism” etc of Rational Conclusions’ “facts” get picked apart by modern archeology.

    “Q” appears to be gone, Matthew appears to be the first Gospel, and so on.

    That’s what you get for listening to 19th Germans and their progeny.

  63. Why do we need more diversity?

    Don’t you trust men?

    Don’t you trust white people?

    Their job is to apply the law to facts duly ascertained in courts below them (with some minor exceptions for their own jurisdiction).

    How would “life experiences” affect that?

    Their job is NOT to “represent the nation”.

    That’s the job of Congress.

  64. Merely attending Mass does not equate to being a “practiciing Catholic”. Even Jesus Christ said as much.

  65. The “word of God” has changed significantly. It’s been translated and edited numerous times, interpreted and re-interpreted and utilzed for nefarious purposes.

  66. Let’s see. Nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate. How much diversity is there in these two institutions?

  67. Thank you for that — I intend to save it for a certain atheist I know who has a habit of yelling through the keyhole of the church door.

  68. Well we had a good-old-boy press back then that tended to hide the indiscretions that the modern press live to uncover.

  69. I’d like a link to your evidence. John did his writing near the end of the century.

  70. Another with modern archaeology. Please give me links.

  71. That would only be true if absolute truths existed. If so it would be because of the facts not regardless of them.

  72. Mr. Lucifer whom wrote this article is just another nick in the wall of inequity whiners ….pay no attention

  73. The diversity needed is not in race or gender. In a secular nation, there should be a diversity in religious and non-religious belief system so that the decisions could be looked at by those of differing belief systems.


    (ha ha)

    About the only reason to hold that Mark was written first, that a source “Q” ever existed, or any of Rational Conclusions’ shtick is to discredit the Gospels and therefore Christianity.

    It the theological and archeological equivalent of the economists assuming a ladder.

  75. Yes, they never showed FDR using crutches or his leg braces, among other things.

    Then the media decided IT ran the country.

  76. There reason or opinion about practicing would be interesting. There political opinions would also.

  77. Who should they have voted for? Hilliary? Surely you jest.
    Your weak argument uses Christians morality against them. At least they have morals… you never hear democrats/socialists being accused of voting against their morals; because they have none.

  78. Here is a readable but limited link from the Biblical Archaeology Review, positively identified about 10 years ago:

    In John’s Gospel, 5:2-3;
    2 Now in Jerusalem next to the Sheep Pool there is a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five porticos; 3 and under these were crowds of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed.

    John uses the present tense, indicating while he was writing his draft, the Pool was still standing. The area was destroyed in the year 70 by the Romans, & for all practical purposes forgotten.

  79. I think that would only be true in mathematics. Probably physics. Not in moral values.

  80. No, evangelicals were never “downright OBSESSED with character in America’s elected leaders”.

    They were somewhat obsessed when an immoral agenda (e.g., pro-abortion) was linked with an amoral President (e.g., Bill Clinton).

    In the last election the choice was between two amoral/immoral candidates (unless you want to make the case that Hillary Clinton was a reliable moral compass) and one immoral party platform.

  81. WRT the Pool of Bethesda, it was destroyed with the fall of Jerusalem (70 AD), while John notes it’s existence, in writing his Gospel.

    See Biblical Arch. Review Sept./Oct 2011 for a good discussion on the archaeological evidence.

    It seems a lot to ask a NT reader, to promote a later date for John’s Gospel, when the fall of Jerusalem is ignored, by all the Gospel writers.

  82. If you have a chance, try to get the book by Dead Sea scholar Fr. Jean Carmignac, He back translated Mark from Greek to Hebrew, which made a better reading then the “coarse” Greek, along with the nuances Hebrew carries with it.

  83. The RCC will do whatever it has to do to stay in business.
    That means allowing as many immigrants, illegal or otherwise, into the US – so long as they are Catholics.
    Warm pews = $$$$

  84. And you’ll write anything to keep your shtick on-line.

  85. I spent some time looking for Jean Carmignac books, and all I found were in French.

    If you have a title for a book in English, let me know.

  86. The Holy Apostolic Catholic Church is the church of all Christians from the Apostle’s creed. The creed says nothing about Rome or a pope.

  87. All churches believe they are the true church or closest to the true church. THE church exists in the hearts of the believers not in Rome or Constantinople (aka Istanbul)

  88. So once again saying that Catholics aren’t really Christians, which you deny ever having said whenever you are confronted with it.

  89. Considering those two communions represent 80+% of Christians, it is fair to suggest there are some differences of opinion.

  90. As ever, Ben tries to put words in my mouth. How is my dysfunctional family that you invented in your obsession with me?

  91. Christians follow Christ, not creeds

  92. That maybe correct, but the alternatives are so downright horrible, one does not have much choice. And he does roll back a good part of the progressive agenda, in contrast to most other “conservative” politicians. It need an extraordinary amount of thick skin to do that, I grant that.

  93. Fair enough, but it begins and ends there.

  94. “That’s believing that the RCC is really a church.”

    That’s what you said, implying that you don’t, which also implies that they are not Christians. As for your dysfunctional family, I didn’t use that word, but you just did. You also said something about your close relative who was gay, and how upset that made you.

    But sure. When you cannot claim that you didn’t say what you totally said, be sure to attack me.

  95. Thanks for trying to keep close tabs on me. I’ve never been so flattered by someone obsessed with me. 🙂

  96. Simplistic article which would require a lot of time to unravel. Most obviously, it’s incorrect to refer to Kennedy or Sotomayor as “Catholic.”

  97. It doesn’t matter if the culture accepts a morality prohibited in the Bible. That does not male the morality correct. God’s word is absolute

  98. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. His word does not change

  99. Christ is the one who does the saving.

  100. You can think so, but its not likely that if there is a God, that he is concerned about our morals.

  101. Bob. He does care. Also, He knows the number of hair on your head, He loves you that much.

  102. If its only the number of hair on my head, that easy.

  103. which means what ? it is all literal ? one must accept all the instructions of exodus and leviticus exactly as written ? or is that not god’s word ?

    what precisely do you mean ?

  104. Exodus and Leviticus were laws given to Israel by God, through Moses. Most of the laws, I would expect, are still adhered to by the Jewish people.
    Christians are not under these laws, except, the moral laws which Christ brought into the New Testament. We are free to eat pork and shell fish. Two types of fabric, etc. is a Jewish cultural law. I hope this helps

  105. Here are the facts so far in the investigation:

    There are 187 criminal charges in active indictments or to which individuals have pleaded guilty

    Another 23 counts against President Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates were vacated when he agreed to cooperate with Mueller

    Thirty-two people and three businesses have been named in plea agreements or indictments

    Six guilty pleas from five defendants, including Gates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, businessman Richard Pinedo and lawyer Alex van der Zwaan

    Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort faces 25 criminal counts

    Van der Zwaan served about four weeks in prison and has been deported to the Netherlands, his home country

    The indictments include charges of conspiracy against the United States; conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct justice; conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud; bank fraud; obstruction of justice; aggravated identity theft; failure to report foreign bank accounts; and tax fraud

    52 counts of conspiracy of some kind

    113 criminal counts of aggravated identity theft or identity fraud

    Four guilty pleas for making false statements

    25 Russian nationals have been charged with crimes along with three Russian business entities. Those individuals were charged in two indictments, one focused on Russia’s alleged effort to foster divisiveness on social media (indicted in February) and one focused on alleged hacking (indicted Friday)

    13 individuals believed to be linked to Russian intelligence agencies have been charged, including Manafort’s longtime associate Konstantin Kilimnik, a resident of Ukraine

    Four individuals working directly for or acting as advisers to Trump’s 2016 campaign have been indicted; three have pleaded guilty

  106. While these people are interesting, I would be more concerned that the leaders of our national security agencies have such a bias, noted in the inspector general report, as to attempt to invalidate, or swing a presidential election.

    A second concern would be the lack of security of H. Clinton’s server that was such a security blunder, that high school level hackers could break in.

  107. In CHRISTIANITY it isn’t supposed to!!

  108. I beg to differ GREATLY with that one.

  109. Trump’s character flaws are irrelevant. He is not anti-Catholic, which the Democratic Party and the Left are.

  110. Yeah, right, because the Democratic Party had no contact with the USSR from 1917-1989: trreason, espionage, Hollywood 10, Nuke Freeze, etc.

  111. Technical mumbo-jumbo. No collusion by Trump or the RNC.

    See ya in 2021 at the Re-election Inauguartion !

  112. Not really. Clinton treated the White House like a whore house and engagad in funny-money campaign violations plus criminal trading of cash for favors for pardons.

    Trump is nothing like that.

  113. Hey, common sense is a TOS violation, Bob !! LOL

  114. Or so you desperately want to believe, all the while ignoring Trump’s many immoral acts that betray a far worse character. But it’s all forgiven as long as you can hope to overturn Roe v. Wade….

  115. The issue isn’t a matter of liberal or conservative Catholics but rather orthodox and faithful vs neo-protestants who often are social justice warriors. Most often, the “liberal” Catholic ignores the concept of prudential judgement where legitimate differences can occur. Being an orthodox Catholic, I’m mystified that a person can call themselves Catholic and still vote for a representative who endorses abortion, homosexual marriage, or transgenderism . All of which are intrinsically sinful.

  116. And now Trump is kissing up to Putin. Again. While calling our allies “foes”. But that’s ok with you?

  117. And Trump’s Twitter account is high-level security, right?

  118. No, idiotic traitorous a$$holes don’t get re-elected.

  119. You hypocrites seem unconcerned with a treasonous President who lies continually and who kisses up to dictators while weakening our security. As far as I am concerned, anyone who supports Trump is a traitor. And Hillary is no longer in the picture, you know.

  120. Character flaws are never irrelevant because they influence a person’s actions. For example, it was Trump’s massive ego and stubbornness — both character flaws — that caused him to publicly kiss Putin’s butt and undermine the U.S. intelligence community in that disgraceful display in Helsinki yesterday.

    Also, my post wasn’t about Catholicism. Some character flaws have nothing to do with religion.

  121. Trump was no more treasonout than Obama and the Democratic Party during the Cold War.

    Nuclear Freeze protest marches, anyone ?

  122. I expect immediate action in repealing all racial quota and affirmative action policies, anathema to white ethnic Catholics.

    Another reason to support Trump and the GOP.

  123. No, I think Putin is a thug. But Trump is just giving him words. The Administration maintains a tough line on Putin (sanctions, etc.).

    Trump needs to be tougher, yes. But the last thing we need is Cold War Appeaseniks telling us to shape up.

  124. The Cold War was well over by the time Obama became president. In any event, protest marches aren’t treasonous. Supporting a foreign dictator who’s tried to undermine a presidential election is. Anyone with half a brain understands the difference.

  125. When the protest marches support a foreign dictatorship that has killed tens of millions and is bent on global domination, yeah, that’s treasonous.

  126. “… support a foreign dictatorship that has killed tens of millions and is bent on global domination, yeah, that’s treasonous.”

    Do you mean Putin? I quite agree. Trump shouldn’t have supported him.

  127. you seem to like the words of paul : “…but now we have been released from the law because we have died to that in which we were held so that we might serve in newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” [romans 7:6],

    but not the words of jesus : ” Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. [matthew 5:18]

    but, to this discussion, no matter . what i was responding to was your statement above : “It doesn’t matter if the culture accepts a morality prohibited in the Bible. That does not male the morality correct. God’s word is absolute. ”

    is it or not ? is god’s word absolute or not ?

  128. What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7
    The Jews do follow the Law. I am a Christian, and Christ brought the morality laws into the New Testament, but not the civil and ceremonial laws that the Jews follow.

  129. you do seem to like paul .

    but jesus, who you have assure us never changes, says (i repeat) : “…until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”

  130. I think you need to learn about Paul and his teaching. That would be your first move in understanding. Blessings

  131. your and my knowledge of paul has nothing to do with the meaning of matthew 5:17-20 . do you need to learn more about matthew and his presentation of the teaching of jesus ?

  132. no but thank you. I suggest again that you do some research on Paul

  133. i suggest you reread your previous comments . you emphasize strongly that jesus … well in your words : “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever” , and a following comment : “Jesus and His word does not change” , and again following : “God’s word is absolute” .

    but now, when i suggest that you are not serious in meaning that, you avoid and evade and change the subject . do you believe in the literal bible or not ? are you one who says that you do but then interpret the plain meaning away ? what are you doing here ?

    p.s. do not assume i have not studied and researched paul . years before i ever heard of sandinwindsor .

  134. From your comment to me, I suggest you learn about Paul

  135. sandinwindsor you seem not to want to talk or discuss in the least . i have suggested to you that your approach to the scriptures are not sufficient to interpret fully what the jewish and the christian scriptures are telling us or mean to us .

    you don’t engage because you seem to think that i have missed something that paul has said . but paul won’t change . i have read paul and i understand his distinction between the law and the teachings of jesus . but the message of jesus that matthew has given us, written down some 10 to 40 years after paul wrote his letters gives us a different version of what jesus wanted his followers to do . matthew, it can be assumed, knew what paul was writing and preaching .

    don’t keep repeating yourself . if you have an analysis of how the two harmonize give it and let engage . else i will only believe that you are out of your depth and just know to point to a few verses that say what you need them to say .

  136. I’m sorry more, I’ve allowed myself to be a bit rushed this weekend.
    Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees – taught by Gamaliel. If I remember correctly their scriptural knowledge surpassed that of the Sanhedrin.
    Paul was chosen by Christ who approved all that Paul was going to teach.
    Christ taught Paul via revelation for 3 years in Arabia (Galatians 1:11-18)
    God created the Bible and it is inerrant (John 1:1-5)
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16

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