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Bill O'Reilly Doesn't Know His Catechism?!

Reported by Priscilla - May 16, 2011 -

Move over Pope Benedict cuz we have a new pontiff in town. Eminent Catholic theologian Bill O'Reilly has decided that the theology of the Catholic Magesterium isn't good enough for him, so watch out Il Papa. Speaking "ex-cathedra," Bill O'Reilly, in his defense of John Boehner, disagreed in last week's (May 12th) "Talking Points" with a group of Catholic academics who invoke Catholic teaching on poverty issues in their criticism of Republican budget proposals. On the same show, he took on two of these scholars in a discussion during which O'Reilly was very skeptical of their arguments because he had 16 years of Catholic education. I guess that proves it!

After Professor Dr. Stephen Schneck, from Catholic University, said that "Catholics are obliged to preference the poor in regards to public policy," Bill asked him for a specific example of how Boehner, a Catholic, wasn't heeding that teaching. Schneck cited the proposed cuts to the WIC program as well as "diddling" with Medicare and Medicaid. Hoping for a gotcha "cafeteria Catholic" moment, "independent thinker" Bill asked Schneck if he supported cuts to Planned Parenthood. Schneck answered in the affirmative. Bill launched into right wing smear the liberals propaganda mode: "So basically what you're both telling me -- and you correct me if I'm wrong -- is you're taking the liberal line that the government has an obligation to take from the wealthy, to give to those who aren't wealthy. I mean they have an obligation to do this..." Professor Vincent Miller, theology professor from University of Dayton, said that the "Catholic Church teaches about distributive justice. Theologian Bill said that he went to 16 years of Catholic school and never heard of it. Miller responded that Bill went to Chaminade, a Marianist school and he (Miller) has worked with that order. Bill asked Miller to explain distributive justice which Miller defined as the principal that "societies have an obligation to care for everyone within them. And that those who are wealth have a greater obligation to care for those who are not in every society." O'Reilly cited a popular right wing meme that doesn't tell the whole story about taxation: "I think the tax code shows that the wealthy does that. The wealthiest people in this country carry about 75 percent of the income tax load so I think that that has been demonstrated." Miller responded that the tax burden has been dropping since Reagan. Bill whined "If my tax burden is around 50 percent when you add it all up, all right, that seems to me to be a fairly good chunk of change that the government is taking from me to distribute to other places."

After Miller referenced how Catholic teaching stresses "preferencing for the poor," Bill opined that "short of socialism" the government is doing that. He then asked if the professors were socialists. Bill's claim that the US has a very low poverty rate of around 10%, was refuted by Miller who said that for an advanced capitalist nation, we have one of the highest poverty rates. Bill disagreed and asserted that western European countries weren't capitalist but "quasi-socialist" with "cradle to grave benefits." After both Miller and Schenck provided more commentary on the Catholic position regarding the responsibility of the government to the poor, Bill challenged them with his statement about how no bishops had signed on to their statement. When Schenck said that no bishop was asked, the infallible and all-knowing Bill said that they were wrong because "we did the research." (Called them liars without providing proof.) He said that if they could produce a bishop, he would interview him.

Comment: Bill should check his catechism because item 2236, under "Duties of Civil Authorities" states that "Those in authority should practice distributive justice wisely, taking account of the needs and contribution of each, with a view to harmony and peace." Item 2411 defines the term as that which "regulates what the community owes its citizens in proportion to their contributions and needs." I only had 12 years of Catholic education in the same time period as Bill O'Reilly so I assume the curriculum was similar. If so, he would have studied, as did I, Pope Leo XIII's "Rerum Novarum" which states that “Among the many and grave duties of rulers who would do their best for their people, the first and chief is to act with justice–with that justice which is called in the Schools distributive–towards each and every class." (Maybe Bill was absent for that or was having loofah fantasies during the class!) I wonder if Catholic Bill, not a fan of the UN, knows that in 2005 the Vatican stated, with regard to a report on development goals, that it was "pleased to align itself with delegations which support a social policy which includes distributive justice," adding that such policies should "become the basic yardstick for measuring the quality and pace of development."

If Bill O'Reilly were pope, this kind of seditious, socialist stuff would not be tolerated. But before he throws his mitre into the ring, Bill should really study up because in the company of real scholars, he's really out of his league - which is quite minor, dare I say, bush!


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