"The New Evangelization": The Equivalent of National Socialist Bread Prices?

November 2001

You may recall Kenneth Whitehead’s article in our July-August issue called “‘No Enemies to the Left’ — Still!” He noted that, in our progressive culture, conservatives “often find it difficult to be forthright about their own conservatism,” and that “liberals and leftists tend to be proud of their positions while conservatives tend to be apologetic about theirs….”

Whitehead was deploring this state of affairs, and his focus was on culture-war issues. His case in point was the Senate confirmation hearings on John Ashcroft’s nomination to be Attorney General, where the prolife Ashcroft “felt obligated to downplay…his own well-known views,” to the point of even pledging that he would not seek the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Whitehead noted that “by trying to appease his enemies,” Ashcroft appeared to be “abandoning the principles for which he was being chosen in the first place — or to be someone prepared to resort to equivocation…in order to get confirmed.”

Whitehead also noted that “all too often conservatives feel it necessary to soft-pedal their own basic message, trying not to alienate anybody, and to bill themselves as conservatives who are ‘compassionate’ or ‘moderate’ or ‘pragmatic’ or some such thing.”

Well, Fr. Owen Kearns, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the National Catholic Register, goes a step further, disavowing the conservative tag altogether. In his commentary in the Register (Aug. 12-18) entitled “The Register Is Not ‘Conservative,’ I Told the Bishop,” he recounts his recent conversation with a bishop who indicated that it was his impression that the Register is “conservative.” Fr. Kearns replied, “Bishop, the Register is not conservative.”

Kearns proceeds to tell his readers about a column on the vocations situation syndicated by Catholic News Service (CNS), in which the Register was called “conservative.” Kearns says he was “dismayed.”

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New Oxford Notes: November 2001

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