#639 – Dick Bernard: Election 2012 #57. “God Bless the Uns”

Written by admin on October 24th, 2012

In his homily, Sunday, at Basilica of St. Mary, Fr. Greg Welch recited a declaration in behalf of the “uns”, spoken by Cardinal Dolan at the Al Smith dinner in New York City last week.

Of course, about all that is newsworthy about the Al Smith dinner is the Presidential candidates poking fun at themselves in front of the elite of New York City. I don’t recall any other mention of Cardinal Dolan’s remarks, which I easily found on the internet, here.

The remarks are well worth the brief time necessary to read them.

Here is the specific section about the “uns”, as articulated by Cardinal Dolan at the Al Smith Dinner:

“– the un-employed

– the un-insured

– the un-wanted

– the un-wed mother, and her innocent, fragile un-born baby in her womb;

– the un-documented

– the un-housed

– the un-healthy

– the un-fed

– the under-educated.”

Interesting words I’m well familiar with, as a life-long Catholic.

I was also interested in another more complicated topic diplomatically touched on by the Cardinal in these remarks. He welcomed:

Catholics, Christians, Jews, Latter-Day Saints, people of no particular creed;

people of wealth, yes, but some folks as well who barely get by…

Politics makes for all sorts of rhetorical gymnastics.

Of the list of “uns”, the hierarchical Catholic Church – the management, if you will – pays lots of attention to only one of Dolan’s listed “uns”. I don’t need to spotlight which un that is.

The rest of the uns have been traditional roles for the Church, but are no particular priorities to the hierarchical institution. They are the past “laurels” on which the institutional church rests its reputation. For a time this past summer the Nuns on a Bus tour emphasized these, and the dissonance with Republican philosophy.

Temporal power is the churches emphasis these days: to stop birth control; to give its most zealous members priority status when it comes to what moral rules to follow, or, alternatively, to determine what others practices might be, even if the others have different beliefs.

As a friend powerfully noted recently: “A bumper sticker I saw this past week on an automobile parked in a supermarket parking lot: If the fetus you are trying to save turns out to be gay or lesbian will you fight for its rights? Kind of says it all, doesn’t it.”

In fact, this Catholic hierarchy, including Dolan, wants in power the party least interested in the well-being of most of the “uns”. As some would define them, most uns are “takers” not “makers”. As Governor Romney himself so clearly defined them, they are the 47% who are to be disdained.

But the Al Smith Dinner was a political gathering, in behalf of Catholic Charities, where the rich and powerful gather for an evening of fun and frivolity. And the Presidential candidates were there. And maybe one or two lesser folks, invited to represent the “poor ones”.

Cardinal Dolan welcomed, of course, all creeds to his gathering.

The conservative Christian power structure, including Catholis, is having a “come to Jesus” moment when it comes to religious tolerance, now with a Latter Day Saint as its standard bearer.

Mormons never counted as Christians in any sense of the word, and this is until very recent times. Two or three years ago, in Salt Lake City, a place I have visited often, I saw a sign posted outside the Catholic Cathedral, on Cathedral grounds and thus sanctioned, more or less lampooning the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” whose world headquarters was within sight, just blocks down the street.

In my 1955 Baltimore Catechism – the book used when I was being confirmed – much print space was taken to define the Catholic Church (then considered to have 37.5% of Americans as members). It is now about one-fourth.

In 1955, Mormons, Latter Day Saints, didn’t make the Christian cut.

The new tolerance is certainly a phenomenon of a “latter day”, and probably temporary if Romney loses.

(click on illustrations to enlarge)

Baltimore Catechism 1955 page 21

Back in the good old days when I was growing up, when Catholics and Protestants were in pretty active conflict, there was off and on talk about Catholic gymnastics: how we knelt, sat and stood during Mass, and the Priest rarely looked at the flock, except during the sermon. It puzzled the curious from other faiths.

Today there is a new conservative Christian gymnastics, easily understood, though at the same time quite puzzling. Religious Belief marries Secular Political Doctrine with not always positive results.

Baltimore Catechism p. 37

Baltimore Catechism 1955 p. 19

Baltimore Catechism 1955 p. 32

Of course, this commentary/argument can be endless…and perhaps, pointless too.

The Al Smith dinner, and the remarks at that dinner, are not directed to the “widows mite” crowd; rather more to the bunch who have earned their riches on earth, and will have the biblical problem of being like the camel going through the eye of a needle heading into heaven (including Cardinal Dolan and most of us Americans who are pretty well off).

(“Amen I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who have been putting money into the treasury. For they all have put in out of their abundance; but she out of her want has put in all that she had – all that she had to live on.” Mk 13:43-44; “And further I say to you it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 19:24)

The people in that room, whoever they were, control how their riches are spent, including to who or what they contribute.

The Smith dinner was not a celebration of the “uns”, rather than a recognition of the “haves”.

Here’s a closing comment politically related from someone I know who is much closer to the New York City “haves” than to the “uns”:

“All,

In the spirit of “let’s just laugh because politics is bullshit” I thought I would send this along. President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney spoke at the Al Smith dinner last week. The beauty of this event was the humanity that both candidates showed – THEY let go. No one won, this is not a politically motivated email…I know MANY on this list disagree with whatever view they perceive I have. That said, it is just FUN! These two guys NEED TO and DO make fun of each other and themselves…It brought a level of CIVILITY to a press oriented contest that I applaud.

That said…I am RESPECTFULLY asking for no replies or political views. THIS IS NOT intended to stir a debate, but to HAVE FUN. I have not sent any political emails to date…and I won’t send ANY! This one brings up Mitt Romney but there is a link on the right pane for President Obama’s! IT IS EQUALLY AS GOOD IF NOT BETTER ON MANY COUNTS – WATCH THEM BOTH – IT WILL TAKE 20 minutes out of your lives to laugh at the 20 months of BS we have listened to!!!!”

The correspondent says his comment isn’t political, and wants no replies….

I’ll respect his wishes.

But note this: he has his say; he says he doesn’t want to hear mine, or anyone elses.

This is sort of how it works, eh?

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