This morning, His Excellency sent me a pithy response to our listener which I have posted at the bottom of this post.
Our show on America and Catholicism garnered a lot of interest from various parts of our listenership. One listener made a blog comment but there were so many points made in the comment that it made more sense to answer this as a blog post and anonymize the comment of said listener. I'll post the comment below and then try to systematically answer through all the points made.
Mr. Heiner, I listened to your podcast "America and Catholicism" today. I was surprised at you and Bishop Dolan's repeated attacks of Fox News. It was very strange. I think you guys mentioned Fox News about 20 times.
Well, I don't think it was 20 times, to be fair, but let's start here.
If it wasn't clear from our broadcast, both the Bishop and I see a severe problem with Catholics who spend more time watching Fox News than learning about Catholicism. We don't think that "being informed" about things one really has very little power to change is a healthy way to live one's life. The problem is not just Fox News, it's CNN, MSNBC, pick your poison. If you call yourself a Catholic and spend more time following the news than learning about your faith in this time of darkness, that's a problem. That's a big problem. I don't believe at your particular judgment that Our Lord is going to ask if you truly believed Billo was "looking out for you" or whether you were a "Great American" via the Hannity formulation. All of your "knowledge" about the evil plans of the Democrats aren't going to matter. At all. We were attacking Fox News as the substitute religion for Catholics, traditional or otherwise. I even said on the radio program that if a family is watching TV in the house regularly (as opposed to having a TV for the occasional movie) that is problem #1, so I'm already fighting a losing battle when I say that watching Fox News (or whatever your news of choice is) might be the biggest waste of time in your life.
I say this as someone who once thought that watching Fox News and voting Republican was a sensible thing to do. But as I learned more about Catholicism, the Social Reign of Christ, and my Faith in general, I realized that was all wrong.
Catholics understand that, as Dr. Thomas Fleming once said, "A Dark Age is what you make of it." I am using this Dark Age to read, learn, and listen about my Faith first and everything else second. Fox News wouldn't even make the bottom of my list of 100 things I should spend time paying attention to.
Then you guys slammed the Tea Party movement. I am not claiming the Tea Party or Fox News to be Catholic in nature. But what is wrong with wanting a smaller efficient government? I understand the need for government, but should the government be in the "wealth redistribution" business? I work with a "Traditional Catholic" Socialist and sometimes you guys sounded like him!
Bishop Dolan said there is "no difference" between the Democrats and Republicans. Since you guys like labels, what do you label yourselves? I agree they can be similar on some issues but saying that there is NO difference is silly.
It is unfortunate that U.S. Catholics have to vote for the "lesser of two evils" but in your opinion Obama/Pelosi and company are on equal footing as Republicans. I don't identify myself as a Republican but I just didn't understand you beating up on them and not touching at all on the Democrats and liberals in this country.
I had a hard time on this one. Firstly, I utterly reject your premise that one has to vote for the lesser of two evils. It is precisely that kind of compromised JFK-esque Catholic type-thinking that has gotten the country to the state it is currently in. If Catholics voted like Catholics this country would be in an amazing state! And as far as Obama/Pelosi, at least they are open about their agendas. Republicans simply lie to "conservatives" to get their votes and then don't do anything to change the status quo.
And why would we use airtime to talk about the Democrats? We have to assume that our listeners know what they are about and that they are against the Faith. I've met plenty of Democrats who actually believe what they stand for - they are terribly brainwashed. But what is worse than honest Democrats is the assumption that the Republicans are the "good guys" simply because they stand against the Democrats (if you can even call it that). If our radio show and our attack on Fox News, Republicans, and the Tea Party caused you to take even one step back to examine the situation, then in the words of one decidedly not-conservative Republican, "Mission Accomplished."
Government is necessary but is it supposed to redistribute wealth in the form of social welfare (and corporate welfare)? How many conservatives do you know that support Obamacare or the immoral HHS mandates?
From Bp. Dolan:
Some Fox News Alerts may actually alert one to something worth while. Some Tea Parties may offer a good cup of tea and those great little sandwiches the Brits have. But I invite you to step back from the plugged in conventional American lifestyle to reground yourself as a Catholic. Start reading Papal teaching, Fr. Fahey, and so much more. Continue listening to Restoration Radio. Follow up on leads. Educate yourself out of the box they put us in. Magna set veritas et praevalebit. Subsidiarity is exactly the principle which promotes smaller government. Read about it. Enjoy the wonderful discovery which awaits you!
With every good wish and prayer,