The National Catholic Review

When someone first assked me whether I heard that the American bishops were investigating the Girl Scouts, I thought he was pulling my leg. Later that day, I heard remarks: "First the nuns, now the Girl Scouts. I guess it means the church does not want any independent women!" (with an allusion to the Girl Scouts' motto of supporting "girls of courage, confidence and character."). When I finally read the news reports that there was, indeed, an 'official inquiry' into the Girl Scouts led by Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne as chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, I was perplexed by the published remarks in The Washington Post that there were some questions about the Girl Scouts' links to the Sierra Club, Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders! It seems these three groups do not have the same position on contraception as Catholic official teaching. I mused if that meant that I should cancel my own membership in the Sierra Club or that the Jesuit Refugee Service should sever any relation (crucial for them in their work) to Doctors Without Borders!

I have come to realize that there has been a long-standing animus against the Girl Scouts by right-wing Christian groups, including Catholic ones. More than a decade ago, Kathryn Jean Lopez of The National Review wrote: "The Girl Scouts' leaders hope to make their youthful charges the shock troops of an ongoing feminist revolution". That the Girl Scouts allowed non-Christians to substitute Buddha or Allah in their oath about serving "God" got attacked by Focus on the Family in 1995. Cathy Ruse of The Family Research Council alleged that the organization is "pushing promiscuous sex on the girls." The popular right-wing website, WorldNetDaily, has accused the Girl Scouts of promoting 'lesbianism' and 'paganism'. Recently the conservative Catholic EWTN network aired a program attacking the Girl Scouts.

The gist of this concerted effort, since the spring of 2010, to attack the organization had to do with a meeting held under United Nations' auspices which brought together representatives of The Girl Scouts, Unicef's Working Group on Girls, Girls Learn International and The Grail. Some time after that meeting ended, Sharon Slater, a pro-life advocate, entered the room where the meeting had been held (other groups had also earlier met in that room) and found a copy of a Planned Parenthood sex guide brochure, " Healthy, Happy and Hot" which encouraged masturbation, use of birth control devises etc. Clearly, the brochure is counter to Christian views on healthy, moral sexuality. The Girl Scouts have denied that they had anything to do with the brochure. None of the girls attending the meeting claimed to have seen it.

But the right wing blogospehere of Concerned Women of America and The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute ( C-Fam) have been insistent in keeping the alleged story alive. C-Fam, on its web site, says it sees itself as a watchdog against U.N. incursions on our national sovereignty, of U.N. attempts to subvert American and Catholic morality. C-Fam's vision is " the preservation of international law by discrediting socially radical policies at the United Nations and other international institutions.". Another target of those who attack the Girl Scouts is its membership in The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts ( which includes 145 different organizations), The world association does countenance contraception. C-Fam claims there are close ties between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood ( something both organizations deny). C-Fam notes that, in 2004, the Great Plains Council of Girl Scouts hired Beverly Nolte as their C.E.O. Previously, Nolte held marketing and lobbying positions with Planned Parenthood of Nebraska. A competitive joker in the pack is that right-wing Christian groups, in 1995, formed their own competitor to the Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls. Their group is only open to Judaeo-Christians.

Perhaps, the most bizarre attack on the Girl Scouts occurred earlier this year when Representative Bob Morris (who represents Fort Wayne) circulated a letter to his fellow Republican members of the Indiana House demanding that they not pass a resolution congratulating The Girl Scouts on their hundredth anniversary. Morris, a devout and conservative Catholic, echoes various comments about the Girl Scouts found in the right-wing blogosphere. He alleges that they are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, allow and promote homosexuality. At one point, he excoriates the fact that Michelle Obama is the honorary chairwoman of The Girl Scouts (as every first lady has been!) and, then, snidely, calls her a notorious pro-abortionism. One can only be puzzled, in 2012, by Morris' allegations that Girl Scouts somehow favor communism!

Denver Auxiliary Bishop James Conley warned parents that "membership in the Girl Scouts could carry the danger of making their daughters more receptive to the pro-abortion agenda." The pastor of Saint Timothy's Catholic Church in Chillity, Virginia summarily told scout leaders they could no longer use the church or parochial school facilities after the current school year, not offering any public explanation! The Girl Scouts, in point of fact, take no position on abortion or contraception. A blogger in a Catholic diocesan newspaper had this to say: "If we as Catholics really believe abortion and contraception are against God's laws and the teaching of the church, then how can we partner with a secular organization that will not take a stand on these issues ?"

The Girl Scouts have forthrightly said, in a Feb.28 newsletter, that the Girl Scouts does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood and does not plan to create one. It said it did not participate in the development or distribution of a Planned Parenthood brochure mysteriously found at a 2010 United Nations' event. Parents and volunteer troop members in Catholic churches, they said, have total control of the Girl Scouts' programming which their girls receive. As Michelle Tompkins from Girl Scouts notes in that newsletter: "While Girl Scouting encourages girls to think on their own, Girl Scouts learn to think on their own under the close guidance of the parents who are our trusted volunteers." Tompkins laments: "I know we're a big part of the culture wars. For us, there's an overarching sadness to it. We're just trying to further girls' leadership."

The new C.E.O. of The Girl Scouts, Anna Maria Chavez, a Catholic, has been cooperating as closely as she can with the investigation to continue and enhance a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Catholic parishes which dates since the time of Cardinal Gibbons. 500,000 of the Girl Scouts are Catholic. The Executive director of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Robert mcCarty, put up a web page debunking false rumors about the Girl Scouts (he too has recently come under attack in the right wing blogosphere). McCarty likens the Girl Scouts' participation in the international scouting group to the Vatican's reepresentation vis-a-vis The United Nations which does not always agree with or support everything that happens in the U.N. "It's the whole thing of guilt by association. Does one policy with which you can not agree prevent you from being involved in a broader coalition. My position is that the only way you can advocate for the church's position is to be engaged in dialogue."

But, as a May 10th article in The Washington Post put it: "There is a strong push among some bishops to ensure that no church organization has even remote connections to doctrinally problematic groups. And conservatives do not seem assuaged by the re-assurances" by people like McCarty.So, a lot more is at stake in this controversy. Will the church remain the church ( which, as James Joyce put it, means 'Here comes everybody') or will it become a mere stand-alone sect of only the like-minded (betraying its calling). In the end, as McCarty put it, "The only way you can advocate for the church's position is to be involved in the dialogue." In a pluralist society, he got that right for, in a religiously and philosophically and politically pluralist society, that is the only way the cookie really crumbles! I do hope the Catholic Church avoids getting further entangled in the culture wars. It makes defending our bishops so much more difficult.

John A. Coleman



Jack Barry | 5/21/2012 - 12:46pm
Implications extend far beyond the Girl Scouts.  If a Catholic is out enjoying nature in the woods this summer and comes across evidence that the Sierra Club has been, or worse, may be active in the area, what are one's moral obligations?   (Funny  -  In olden days, we used to hope to find tracks of the Sierra Club while wandering around out there.)  Pending results of the episcopal inquiry, is there a duty to  counteract their works physically or is it enough to turn away and flee?  
Marie Rehbein | 5/20/2012 - 10:07am
Sometimes when I read articles about what the Catholic bishops are doing, I think I am reading The Onion.

Good job Jim McRea #24.
Craig McKee | 5/19/2012 - 1:54pm
If nothing else, the USCCB is consistent. Just think of all those Girl Scouts who will not grow up and enter all those LCWR communities. Makes perfect sense to me...
Marcy Meldahl | 5/19/2012 - 1:16pm
I am speechless. An investigation of Girl Scouts?? I was one and I NEVER had any experience with anything alleged. Ever. My girlfriend's mom was our leader.

What next? 
J Cosgrove | 5/17/2012 - 11:03am

I know the term left wing is used as an ad hominem and I have probably been guilty of it in the past and when I used it I should have been reproached.  But the term ''left'' still maintains its original meaning which is essentially one to force equality in society in some manner.  Since most in this country believe in equal rights, that is not the form of equality that is usually meant.  In the past it might have been physical force of police or military tactics but a lot of it now is government action backed up by legal actions which actually have as the final backstop, police force.

The term ''right'' does not have the same meaning as before and that is the point.  It only takes on relevance to those who are ''anti'' left some how or in some degree and is often used by some on the left against others on the left who they do not like.  But if it is used against those who have some objections with the left, it can include libertarians, classical liberals, or the odd extreme group you can name which are probably sometimes actually organizations of the left.  The term conservative is also a meaningless term since in one place it could mean a yearning for royalty and a class society based on nobility, in another place it could be those you yearn for a return to the Soviet, while in the US it means essentially classical liberalism and adherence to the constitution, property rights and the rule of law.

If you want to have a civil discourse then try not so hard to put someone down.  Just look at what the OP has generated in the few comments so far.  Comments on one person or a small group, whether wise or not, has drug up a whole litany of horrors.  My guess that was  the intent of the OP as there was little intent of trying to understand  if there was valid point of view.
Carolyn Disco | 5/18/2012 - 6:41pm
Thank you, #5 John Barbieri et al for the welcome laughter this afternoon.

There are too many to cite, but your posts are delightful.
J Cosgrove | 5/17/2012 - 10:27am
''So I am going to turn my attention to the local horror ginned up by the people Mr. Cosgrove says are non-existent''

Now here is an ad hominem with no basis in reality but is used instead of civil discourse to disparage someone. 
Robert Dean | 5/18/2012 - 6:02pm
First they came for the sisters, but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a sister.  Then they came for the Girl Scouts, but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Girl Scout.  Then they came for ...
J Cosgrove | 5/17/2012 - 1:27pm
''No way. I never even thought of Mr. Cosgrove.''

Then why use my name?  You have used my name more than once in ways that are meant to demean.  I never said anything about illegal immigrants so why use my name with what you were saying?  

As I suggest the best way to proceed is to use civil discourse.  And just as a civil question, why are some who object to illegal immigrants, ''right wingers?''
Shayne LaBudda | 5/18/2012 - 3:05pm
When I hear someone state they are immune to a certain antibiotic, or worse, pronounce the word asterisk as "astericks" or "asterix" I first want to scream, and then I want to explain how foolish and incorrect their statement is.  Most people don't care, and in response to my insistence on correct language usage, I might kindly get called fastidious, but probably worse.  I don't like it, but I know what they mean, and carry on. 

Everyone knows the current meaning of "right" and "left" as it is applied to modern politics.  That is not to say its use is consistent, or even accurate.  People get sloppy.  We all do.  The topic is what?, presumably the axe-grinding of those "on the other side of the aisle" on the topic of the Girl Scouts' unholy training.  "Left wing" or "progressive" is used in the same manner as "right wing" or "conservative" day-in and day-out (take a gander at FoxNews some day, egads).  Getting hung up on the historic meaning of any term, especially one that is not really the heart of the conversation, one risks getting called fastidious, if not worse.
J Cosgrove | 5/17/2012 - 1:16pm
''Thank God we have the scholar Jonah Goldberg, in this deeply historical ''Liberal Fascism.''  ''

Another fruitful comment that  is meant to put someone else down.  The book has been fully vetted and found that  little  was wrong in it. Whether it received awards or not, no one is disputing anything of consequene in it.  So I suggest you read it before slinging aspersions. 
J Cosgrove | 5/18/2012 - 12:16pm
Mr. Reidy,

I wanted to stop a long time ago.  But if someone attacks me personally or questions something I say, or says something to me as you have just done, am I to remain silent.  I will not say anything further on this but if you look at 8 of the 9 comments, they  were in response to other commentsjust as this one is and most were making negative comments about me personally. 
ed gleason | 5/17/2012 - 11:24am
I think the Catholic 'rightwing' stuff started with the white flight to the suburbs in the 1960s. NYT today says that white births are less then half of the nations births. And with the white  young wanting to leave the boring burgs to live in the inner cities,  this Catholic reactionary stuff [watchout for the Other]is a short term blip.
Leftwing Ed.
J Cosgrove | 5/18/2012 - 11:48am
''But it continued to be about ad hominum attacks on him instead of silly investigations of the Girl Scouts, and now I am trying to figure out how the liberals could have been on both sides of the Spanish Civil War''

Does anyone think that this thread is about the Girl Scouts.  Come on, don't be so naive.  That is just a fill in for the latest bashing of the bishops.  Pick a topic that some bishop or a group of bishops speak out on and fill in the blanks with negative comments about them.  Start going back to the OP's on this site to see a long line of anti bishop bashing.  This is just one in a long line and the Girl Scouts just happened to be the flavor of the day.

Historically, the battles between various elements of the left have been described as just mad dogs fighting over the  same bone.  In the Spanish Civil War one side persecuted Catholics while the other defended Catholicism.  Both were of the left and both were reprehensible.  Now to avoid any similar comments, just leave it alone and no response will be necessary.  The real issue here is why the bishops are constantly attacked on this site.  I was just pointing out the irony of form of the attack.
T BLACKBURN | 5/17/2012 - 11:12am
I was thinking about the way absurdity can be piled upon absurdity, with an occasional broken thread of fact showing through, and about how that applies to the paranoid frenzy into which the Girl Scouts have sent Some People, and how that frenzy is like the local one over illegal voting and is supported, promoted and reinvented regularly by the same Some People. I was thinking the Some People might be right-wingers. But then Mr. Cosgrove arrived and said there is no right wing. Alas, I didn't know what to call Some People I was thinking about. So I identified them by their non-existence. And, for that, Mr. Cosgrove accuses me of ad hominum attacks. No way. I never even thought of Mr. Cosgrove. I was thinking only of the Some People he and Jonah Goldberg say are not right wingers. OK? Don't think everything is all about you, Mr. C.
Rick Fueyo | 5/18/2012 - 11:21am
"I am trying to figure out how the liberals could have been on both sides of the Spanish Civil War."

You and me both.  Who knew that Orwell's "useful idiots" described the Right? 

Maybe he presaged this thread? 

Rick Fueyo | 5/17/2012 - 10:58am
And here I was thinking that the "right/left" distinction dated back to the French Revolution and support the monarchy.

Thank God we have the scholar Jonah Goldberg, in this deeply historical "Liberal Fascism."  Lest anyone doubt the ability of that scholarship, I think you mentioned that it's been nominated for a few Pulitzers.  The records may have been lost in these nominations, but we know that that's from a leftist conspiracy.

Self reinforcing closed systems lead to great confidence in opinion.
T BLACKBURN | 5/18/2012 - 11:02am
How did this threat become all about JS Cosgrove? Looking back, I seemed to
have been the second to unintentionally ad hominum him in some way, but I already said my mea culpa. But it continued to be about ad hominum attacks on him instead of silly investigations of the Girl Scouts, and now I am trying to figure out how the liberals could have been on both sides of the Spanish Civil War. Whoops, that was ad hominum. Please don't explain, and I didn't mean to offend Gen. Franco, who may or may not be dead, either.
Kang Dole | 5/17/2012 - 10:40am
Yessssssss-see, that's the thing, Mr. Cosgrove-the right-left terminology didn't start with Stalin, but has been around for a while and is pretty well engrained in political discourse. That is as indisputable as the fact that cookies are tasty. If "right" is no longer applicapble because of the cessation of monarchy, then why on earth is "left" still viable? You seem to have lost sight of the fact that the terms are used to describe a spectrum, and if that spectrum is, as you're claiming, only properly understood as being oriented around the question of monarchy, then it doesn't make any sense to claim that only the term "right-wing" lost meaning when monarchy ceased to be an issue. You can't have a spectrum with just a left.

And, really, don't be dishonest: you know as well as anybody else that the term "left-wing" gets used as an ad hominem as much as "right-wing."
J Cosgrove | 5/18/2012 - 10:54am
''And its certainly off topic for this thread''

The author used the term ''right-wing'' I believe six times and in a not too positive manner.  I was pointing out that this term has become a generic epithet for people that some do not like.  They are trying to associate what they are saying with very undesirable people, namely fascists and nazis who are the all purpose bad guys in history.  So I was saying it was very inappropriate to use this all purpose pejorative and it should not be part of this blog.  So in that sense it is definitely part of the original thread and the author was probably aware of what he was doing when he used it so many times.

I pointed out that the irony of the use of this term is that it doesn't really describe the bad guys we are trying to associate the term with.  Fascist and Nazis were not right wing even though most will reflexively associate them with that designation.  That they are associated with the right is the result of others on the left inculcating that understanding in the average person's perception of the word.  Jonah Goldberg does an excellent job of explaining that.  For example of this misunderstanding, you used the term Falange which people also try to associate with the right.  From Wikipedia

''The Spanish Phalanx of the Assemblies of the National Syndicalist Offensive ...known simply as the Falange...  And the term syndicalist means: a type of economic system proposed as a replacement for capitalism and an alternative to state socialism, which uses federations of collectivised trade unions or industrial unions. It is a form of socialist economic corporatism that advocates interest aggregation of multiple non-competitive categorised units to negotiate and manage an economy.''

The Falange of Franco in Spain was a movement of the left.

For explaining these improper associations, several commenters went after me with insulting and sarcastic remarks.  Apparently they want to be able to use the term ''right wing'' so they can assoicate it with bad people they do not like or maybe do not like like the fact that someone challenged it.   Am I not supposed to defend myself?  Another irony is that the editors sometimes shut one down on this site when the person defends themself and asks for a civil dialogue.

The obvious reason the term gets used so frequently is because many times a term can have several meanings so we use the term in one way that may describe something that is completely innocious, but it has other connations that are anything but that and are actually poisonous.  It is certainly possible to have a discussion about political philsophy that uses the term ''right'' and ''left'' in todays understanding but that was not the intent here.  Does anyone thing it was?  Have you heard the term ''right wing Catholic?''  What does that mean?  The term ''right'' currently is associates with Republicans, conservatives, classical liberals which is all fine and dandy but the term is also very associated with fascists etc and as I said wrongly. 

The juxtaposition of ''right-wing'' and bishops was not by accident and I have to ask why.  There is a constant assault on the bishops here.  Yesterday, I was driving two little girls to Church for Ascension Thursday that my wife and I were baby sitting for the day.  The nine year old was reading to her younger sister a story which I wasn't paying attention to.  Then I heard the phrasse, ''A house divided against itself cannot stand.''  It hit me that is what many are trying to do with the Catholic Church.  The constant drumbeat is not by chance. I have no idea where it will end but it is not constructive.
Amy Ho-Ohn | 5/17/2012 - 10:29am
"First the nuns, now the Girl Scouts."

First, it was the altar girls. Before that, it was the "witches." Let's see how long Mary can hang in there.

It seems clear what the nuns and scouts need to do: if the Church in the modern world is meant to be a gigantic theatrical production, full of men in gaudy faux-medieval costumes running around waving faux-medieval props and shouting pretentious faux-medieval language at each other, women should do their utmost to be exactly like the female characters in the Lord of the Rings.

For those who were never twelve years old: there are virtually no female characters in the Lord of the Rings.

(Coincidentally, J.R.R. Tolkein's son is believed to have been one of the most prolific pedophile priests who ever lived, with more than six hundred credible accusations against him. One wonders how he ever found time to say mass.)

Thomas Rooney OFS | 5/18/2012 - 8:54am
I don't understand this at all.  While I'm certain there are scores of Catholic parishes across the country  that sponsor local Girl Scouts and Brownie troops, the bottom line is the GSA is not a Catholic organization. 

Why in the name of God would they allow the USCCB to "investigate" them???  
J Cosgrove | 5/17/2012 - 10:24am
I suggest you read Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg.  The ''right'' originally meant the traditional monarchy form of civilization that was so prevalent in most of the world up to the 1700's and in a lot of countries even into the 20th century.  It comes from France at the time of the  French revolution.  It essentially does not exist anymore in Western society but still has a significant presence in third world countries .  But the term ''right  wing''  continues to have cache with the ''equality'' crowd of which there are several variants such as communism, socialism, fascism, corporativism, syndicalists, progressivism, liberalism (non classical liberalism) etc.  The term ''right'' is an all purpose bogey man for anyone we do not like.  It is at best sophistry and should not be used here.
Also my wife and I bought over 100 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and donated them to the troops and kept a few for ourselves.  And I can usually back up anything I say.  If I cannot, I admit it and apologize.  Not true of many who just throw ad hominems here and ''right wing'' is an ad hominem.
Rick Fueyo | 5/18/2012 - 8:24am
An independent historian like Thomas Sowell vouches for the book's historicism?  That changes everything.  Pace "The Blues Brothers" - you have the full spectrum of historical scholarship - country and western.

I'd also be cautious about talking about fascism as a bad thing on this board.  You have some fairly regular contributors that use terms that sound like their Catholic worldview was formed by a personal prelature with deep roots in the last fascist government in history.  But then I'm sure you knew that, given your deep reading on the history of fascism, although my understanding may be too superficial for a scholar like Jonah, and perhaps the Falange has been misunderstood, and more modern governments of more leftist leanings are the true fascists.

It's all over my head without a true Conintern immersion.

And its certainly off topic for this thread, unless Jonah has determined that the GSA is the next Hitler/Communist Youth, given that the two movements, previously thought to be opposed, are indistinguishable in his eyes.

T BLACKBURN | 5/17/2012 - 9:59am
Has anyone been able to get word to Bishop Rhoades that Girl Scout troops are led by moms (another group in desperate need of investigation?), who are the first teachers of their families and whose wisdom in these matters is supposed, in Church teaching, to trump state and local government (although, possibly, not Indiana bishops)? I am picturing tens of thousands of moms smilingly approving abortions or bondage games or whatever it is the Girl Scouts are teaching right in front of their faces.

I am having trouble with the picture. So I am going to turn my attention to the local horror ginned up by the people Mr. Cosgrove says are non-existent. Picture thousands of illegal immigrants who look like Juan Lopez and  talk like Juan Lopez voting under the names of such deceased persons as Brian Dillingham, Sven Olsen and Forbes Pryce-Jones. We are in big terror of that happening in Florida.
J Cosgrove | 5/18/2012 - 1:07am
''There are plenty ignorant of history who needs their facts fed to them to avoid inconvenient historical facts.''

That is an interesting claim.  Why don't you start listing the ones that are seriously wrong.  Goldberg has said he will make some corrections for a later edition but that nothing of consequence was found wrong.  In fact the lack of serious claims is what is striking about the book.  Oh, there is a lot of harsh criticisms which you would expect with such a topic but just what is wrong historically since it is history that you allude to?

Even if your claim is right, which I do not believe it is, it is another ad hominem which are starting to pile up on this thread.  Interesting given that you protested on another thread about ad hominems after throwing a few yourself. If you are going to object, then be civil and point out errors and let the readers judge.  In the mean time, you might decide to read the book to decide which of the thousands of things Goldberg discusses is wrong.

The interested reader can listen to an interview by him on his new book but in it he talks extensively about the reception of Liberal Fascism. 

Goldberg isn't the only recent author who takes on the phony use of ''right wing.''  Thomas Sowell does it too in his latest book, Intellectuals and Society.  Both this book and Liberal Fascism can be downloaded for a Kindle or Nook in about a minute to see just what they say.

Kang Dole | 5/17/2012 - 9:56am
J.R., I find what you say to be new and interesting. Please give me the source of your claims concerning right-left political terminology so as that I can learn more. (If, however, the source of your claims is your fundament, please keep it to yourself)

Otherwise, I'll say what I've said elsewhere: the new Girl Scout cookie candy bars that will be available in mere days will be like a great quantity of incense to fill a censer. And when that candy bar-filled censer is thrown to the earth, the firmament will roll up like a great scroll, and there isn't a bishop alive who will be able to stop the dawning of a new day. Let the holy still be holy, and let the cookie-eaters still eat cookies. And let everyone who is hungry come.

Jim McCrea | 5/17/2012 - 9:29pm
If you think this Girl Scout strum und drang is nonsense, you ain’t seen nothing yet:
“Hallmark Channel Under Scrutiny from Catholic Bishops”
NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced this week that it has launched a long-awaited investigation of the Hallmark Channel.
At issue are concerns about programs which some Catholics might find offensive, including scenes of married couples sleeping in the same bed, episodes of I Love Lucy in which Mrs. Ricardo and Mrs. Mertz abandon their vocations as housewives and look for jobs, and multiple scenes in which Timmy Martin kisses Lassie, suggesting an abandonment of the natural law in favor of bestiality.
The Hallmark Channel has long been targeted by the Catholic Defense League, whose president William A. Donohue has repeatedly demanded to know why Ward and June Cleaver had only two children, despite the fact that neither parent ever alluded on-air to using the rhythm method.
The bishops’ conference said that other “problematic programming” includes episodes of Cheers in which customers left the bar without a designated driver, as well as several scenes on The Andy Griffith Show where an inebriated Otis Campbell makes elevator eyes at Aunt Bee.
The new inquiry will be spearheaded by Reverend Mother Mary Angelica of the Catholic broadcasting network EWTN.
"I don't think any of this material was intentionally mean-spirited," Mother Angelica told a reporter. "I think a lot of it was the result of an obsession with entertainment and ratings rather than fidelity to Gospel values."
John Barbieri | 5/17/2012 - 9:23am
When does the bishops' ''visitation'' of the Brownies begin?
(They should, of course, also demand that money from cookie sales be used to finance their ''visitation''!) 
Vince Killoran | 5/17/2012 - 9:03pm
Thanks Rick-I agree. 
J Cosgrove | 5/17/2012 - 9:18am
Fr. Coleman,

I hate to break it to you but there is no such thing as ''right wing.''   There is actually a left wing and it includes all sorts of separate ideologies that are often in conflict with each other.  ''Right wing'' is a term used by Stalin to stigmatize all that were critical of communism.  So if even if someone was another form of socialst, they were right wing.  If they were a free market advocate, they were right wing.  If they were a monarchist, they  were right wing.  

''Right wing'' is just a meaningless perjorative used to say ''look at how good a guy I am and how bad they are.''  That is how it is being used here. It is a typical ''straw man'' argument that is used so frequently on this site to marginalize others without dealing with the essence of the ideas.  You and other authors here should refrain from using the term in the future.  It distracts from what is actually being said.
Rick Fueyo | 5/17/2012 - 8:42pm

i was being sarcastic.  i am well aware of Mr. Golberg's limitations and the fatuousness of that book.  but he made a few bucks.  There are plenty ignorant of history who needs their facts fed to them to avoid inconvenient historical facts.  Mr. Golberg found a market vulnerability.
David Pasinski | 5/17/2012 - 7:30am
Can we put this respectfully, delicately, sensitively, with humility and due discretion... the bishops are really going crazy.
Vince Killoran | 5/17/2012 - 7:17pm
"Thank God we have the scholar Jonah Goldberg."

Mr. Goldberg is NOT a scholar.  He holds no advanced degrees, not not engage in archival research, and does not publish in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.
Stanley Kopacz | 5/17/2012 - 6:50am
Some folks seem to be more comfortable having enemies than friends.  They like the dynamic.
ROBERT HARRIGAN MRS | 5/17/2012 - 6:55pm
What's with some of you guys? JRC for starters  This exchange reminds me of 'pseudo-intellectual' high school sophmores who have suddenly discoved the fun of argument for the sake of putting the other guy down!  As for the bishops and their rules: since they don't really know anything about girls and women and are too scared to find out, let's just ignore them, shall we?
Rick Fueyo | 5/17/2012 - 6:42am
Can't let them start thinking for themselves at an early.   Leads to independent minded women
Carlos Orozco | 5/17/2012 - 6:04pm
Kick the bishops and kiss Obama's rear. That seems to be the path towards modern American Catholic liberation.
ed gleason | 5/18/2012 - 4:19pm
"called fastidious, if not worse' ... worse.. (-:
David Pasinski | 5/17/2012 - 12:23pm
I thought by now everyone knew that "left wing/right wing" comes from Leonardo's study of birds and his observation that the "right wing" gave stability and the "left wing" gave direction.

And "no wings" was the best of all.

And those dinosaurs that had become birds and then some evolved into land animals.

I either read this in a definitive history ... or on Colbert... whatever...

Recently by John A. Coleman

Building 'Fences' (April 23, 2014)
What to Hope for in Pope Francis' First Encyclical (March 28, 2014)
Julian of Norwich (March 17, 2014)
The Ironies of Wonder Woman (February 28, 2014)
Catholic Prison Ministry (February 4, 2014)