"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blogger to Burn Copies of National Catholic Reporter

Unless you've been living in a cave (not a bad idea, actually), you've by now heard about Reverend Terry Jones, and his plans to burn copies of the Quran tomorrow, September 11. Jones is pastor of the "Dove World Outreach Center," described as "nondenominational." ["Nondenominational" means one step closer to the eschatological ideal of everyone having their own, personal church. But we digress.] This has led to the usual caterwauling that to do so is "insensitive," and will lead to unrest amongst Mohammedans with way too much time on their hands, and might well cause "reprisals." We presume that "reprisals" means the public burning of all existing copies of "The Mighty Thor," but we can't be sure.

Brother Jones is also apparently the author of a book, "Islam is of the Devil," so there's very little confusion about his views. It's worth noting that the book is presently out of stock at Amazon, where it's ranked number 3,832 in the bestsellers list. And, oh yes, did we mention that it was published only a few weeks ago? Ehem.

We here at Glib & Superficial have been at a loss as to how we feel about all this. On the one hand, this is still America, where every citizen enjoys the right to be an asshole. On the other hand, we're well-nigh hard-wired to loath the notion of burning any book. On the third hand, it's terrifically entertaining to watch the same crowd that thinks burning the flag is a God-given right, getting their thongs all in a bunch over this. On the other hand, basic decency and love for one's neighbor counsels that we ought not go out of our way just to irritate people. But on the other hand, it's interesting that no one thinks that were we to burn a dozen copies of the Old Testament, angry mobs of yeshiva students would take to the streets.

But the answer has been provided by the good folk at Acts of the Apostasy:
(AoftheAP) A little-known central Kansas Catholic blogger has announced that he will burn a copy of the National Catholic Reporter on his front lawn on Monday September 13, the Memorial of St John Chrysostom.

Renfrew Dachs, who blogs at 'Orthodachs Review', announced on Labor Day his intention to set fire to the most recent issue of the left-leaning paper. As he wrote on his blog:

"It is time to expose this publication for what it is. It is a heterodox publication that is trying to masquerade as a Catholic publication, seeking to deceive many within the Church."

Dachs' blog and Facebook page, which combined boasts all of 50 followers, has been inundated with hits and friend requests since his statement. He says that the split between supporters and detractors is fairly even.

"I've had people tell me they're coming to attend the burning. A bunch have mailed me copies of the National Catholic Reporter, along with some back issues of Commonweal and America, so I expect a pretty large fire Monday. I've also received a number of nasty emails, too. They're not death threats - pretty much just folks telling me to stop being judgmental, or that I'll harm the environment by increasing my carbon footprint, with all that smoke and stuff."

Dachs said he chose the memorial of St John Chrysostom for this event because the revered Doctor of the Church, whose name means 'Golden Mouth', defended Church teachings throughout his life. "The stuff the NCR publishes, on the total opposite spectrum of what he taught, of what the Church teaches," Dachs said. "Reiki, women priests, gay marriage? I think St John would get in their grill over those positions, so I thought it kinda appropriate."

Dachs' intended action has drawn its fair share of criticism. The editorial staff at the NCR published a scathing column, which said in part: "It is regrettable that a blogger in central Kansas, with a blog with fewer than 50 followers, can make this outrageous and distrustful, disgraceful plan and get the world's attention, and yet we can't even get a link to the Huffington Post."

In the Diocese of Rochester (NY), the plan has sparked outrage.

"It is the duty of Catholycs to react," said Sr Joan Sobala, Pastoral Leader of Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Anne Cluster. "When our holy paper NCR gets burned in public, then there is nothing left. If this happens, I think the first and most important reaction will be that wherever orthodox Catholics are seen, they will be shunned. I mean, we've already done a fair job of that here, but there's more that can, and should, be done."

In addition, groups such as Call-to-Action, Catholics United, Catholics for Choice and the LCWR have all condemned the action.

The LCWR released the following statement: "The Vatican ought to do an Apostolic Visitation on this guy, and see how he likes it. His intolerance and bigotry cannot go unchallenged. It's sad that even in these modern times, a 'rad Trad', Latin-spewing, mantilla-hustling, incense-sniffing bigot can't be tolerant and loving like us."

Fearing the burning could spark additional pro-orthodox Catholic sentiment, Call-to-Action ordered their members around the world to renew their subscriptions to the National Catholic Reporter. The move came a day after Jim FitzGerald, CTA Executive Director spoke with Chris Korzen, director of Catholics United about the matter.

"We both agreed that burning a copy of the NCReporter would undermine our efforts in the US, by bringing attention to our false theology and lack of fidelity to the institutional Church. We recognize that he is "following his conscience", but everyone knows that only counts when you dissent from what the Church says."

Members of the regional chapter of CTA, called Northeast Kansas Catholics for Renewal, plan on assembling across the street from Dachs' house to read aloud portions of the National Catholic Reporter during the burning. They will be joined by two womynpreests who will attempt to perform an exorcism.

Dachs is unfazed by their counter protest. "I plan on blaring Gregorian chant from my pick-up truck stereo," he said. "I won't even hear 'em."

The USCCB has also issued a statement: "We would hope that Renfrew Dachs and his supporters will consider the ramifications of their planned NCR-burning event," they wrote. "The paper's not all bad - John Allen is a fair reporter, and he deserves better."

Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has chimed in with her wisdom. "As an ardent and devout Catholic, I find this plan highly offensive. We all know that the NCReporter is full of words, and my favorite word is the Word. So you can see how important this is."

There has been some speculation that Dachs' plan may negatively impact the Holy Father's upcoming trip to the United Kingdom. Vatican spokesman Fr Lombardi, when asked for Pope Benedict's thoughts on the issue, shrugged his shoulders and asked "What's the National Catholic Reporter?"

Dachs remains undeterred. "I've got the Constitution on my side. I have my First Amendment right to free speech. I'm not convinced that backing down is the right thing to do."

Barring a last minute change of heart, there will be a different sort of "heretic burning" in Kansas on Monday. What remains to be seen, is what will rise out of the ashes come Tuesday.

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