Monday, September 25, 2006

Personal Asides: The Best Papal Defense…Carol Marin Scores…Poor Mark Brown…Bernie Stone’s Courage …Bernard Lewis on Iraq.

SZ200_Mark Brown
Pope Benedict XVI

Best Papal Defense.

After reading the text of Benedict’s lecture that infuriated the Muslims, I find the best writing anywhere in defense of the Pope been not in the Catholic press…and in no secular paper better than in “The Wall Street Journal.” Start with the column “Global View” on September 19 by Bret Stephens, a staffer, entitled “Pope Provocateur”—a sophisticated and theologically brilliant discourse that tops anything Papal apologists have disseminated either here or overseas. Excerpt: “Let’s play that again, since the rest of the media failed to notice—Pope Benedict suggests that the God of Mohammad is, or may seem to humans to be, `not even bound to truth and goodness.’ Who knows whether that really reflects a consensus view down the ages among Muslim theologians—Benedict makes his case about Islam by citing one scholar who cites another scholar who cites another…

“In fact, Benedict saves his sharpest barbs for non-Muslim targets: Protestantism which seems a `primordial’ form of faith; liberal theology which reduces Jesus to `the father of a humanitarian moral message’; scientific rationalism, the ethics of which are `simply inadequate’ to answer the `specifically human questions about our origin and destiny’; and what might be called Catholic pluralism, a culturally adaptive notion of the faith that Benedict denounces as `false’ and coarse.’” Then there’s Daniel Henninger’s (deputy editorial page editor) in Friday and seemingly additional comments every day. One has to really hunker down to remember graduate theology to savor all these: remarkable for a secular economic newspaper. How different from the crass (you’re just as guilty as they are) Martin Marty in the “Tribune” not to mention the Sun-Times’ all-purpose know-nothing, nominal Catholic, Richard Roeper, the aging marketing niche-directed “youth” columnist.

Carol Marin.

Aha, you thought I was going to crack her again, didn’t you? No, Carol Marin’s column questioning the consistency of Mike Quigley, the Cook county commissioner supposedly the “reformer’s reformer” who sanctioned his top aide going to work for Todd Stroger although Quigley won’t vote for Stroger, is superb. Quigley has been dining out on his reform credentials but uses the old liberal dodge of not voting for Peraica because Peraica is pro-life, just like the other purist liberal Forrest Claypool, who, though a good man, can’t afford to offend the pro-abort sacred cows in his lefty party. Frankly, Peraica isn’t even that much a pro-lifer…refusing to do what George Dunne did and rescind the public abortion policy at County Hospital. Nevertheless Quigley-Claypool use that dodge to ingratiate themselves with their fellow lefties as the pretext for not voting for Todd Stroger.

If pro-abortion and gay rights meant as much to them as they say, they’d vote for Todd Stroger who supports both. Com’on Quigley and Claypool: don’t melt away into the woodwork. You can’t have it both ways. Aren’t abortion and gay rights of such importance that you can’t vote for Stroger when he’s running against a pro-lifer and non-gay rights supporter? Where is Terry Cosgrove of Personal PAC, the whip-cracking disciplinarian of the pro-abort movement? Is Cosgrove going to let Quigley and Claypool get away with this wimpy evasion—not voting for Stroger? Kudos to Marin for pointing out Quigley’s phony-baloney stratagem…refusing to vote for Stroger but sending his top aide over to support him.

Poor Mark Brown.

Poor Mark Brown of the “Sun-Times.” He has decided to vote for Peraica but he has to make amends to the liberal constituency of the city’s Democratic newspaper of record. Honest, he’s a liberal Democrat. Honest, he’s for abortion rights. Honest to God he’s for gay rights. But he’s going to vote for Peraica anyhow because, well, er, Peraica can’t get his terrible social conservatism through the County Board. Honest. He can’t. Of course he can’t. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still a liberal Democrat; honest to God I am. Let me count the ways! Oh shut up, Mark. You won’t lose your lefty credentials; stop worrying. Gawd. What a slavish ideological sycophant.

Bernie Stone’s Courage.

Understand, I don’t know whether or not the late Fred Roti was a crook or not—but that’s immaterial: I have a tremendous respect for Alderman Bernie Stone who defended him last night on my radio show…saying that the FBI waited until Roti was dead before they listed him as a crime figure. Stone is one of those rare, rare politicians who has the courage to stand by his friends…and he said he loved Roti…no matter what the prevailing winds of political correctness ordain. Anyone else would sink the dagger into the corpse and say the FBI may be right etc. Not Stone. He knew Roti for a long time and denounced any thought that he was involved except for association with the name. I like that. How different that is from the twisting and turning of Stone’s colleague in the 49th –picking up the juicy phony populist campaign for his own self-aggrandizement. Although I will say that Joe Moore is welcome on my show not because I agree with him but because he is a good guest.

Bernard Lewis.

What you want to do is to subscribe to “Imprimis” the free…absolutely free…newsletter from Hillsdale College. Costs you nothing. The latest issue describes a lecture given by profound and unexcelled Middle East expert, 90-year-old Bernard Lewis. Since you can get it free, I won’t bother summarizing it. If you want me to, just say the word and I will. As for now, it’s late and I have to go to bed. Goodnight all.


  1. Thank you for suggesting the fine article by Bernard Lewis; I read it at

  2. Tom,this is Steve who called in the question to Alderman Stone about his good friend Alderman Roti.Let me quote you "Understand, I don’t know whether or not the late Fred Roti was a crook or not-but that’s immaterial:".Tom,let me quote the Justice Department indictment and what they had to say about Alderman Roti."Fred Roti was convicted of RICO conspiracy, bribery and extortion regarding the fixing of criminal cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County, including murder cases involving organized crime members or associates and was sentenced to 48 months' imprisonment. Roti was released from prison in 1997. As First Ward alderman, Roti was a key political patronage boss and, along with his co‑defendant Pat Marcy, a fixer for the Chicago Outfit. Roti has directly participated in interfering with the rights of the members of LIUNA in the selection of their officers and officials in that he has improperly influenced the selection of officers of the CLDC and has been responsible for the pervasive hiring of LaPietra crew members and associates at the Chicago streets and sanitation department. Roti is a made member of the Chicago Outfit." You still don't know if Fred Roti was a crook? Let's give the Clinton Justice Department credit for having the guts to say what they said.