Ms. Mullarkey misrepresents comments of the Roman Catholic bishop of Madison, Wisconsin in “Politics as Spiritual Warfare” in the November 2020 number of Chronicles.
Her quotations are totally accurate but they are grossly out of context and do not convey what the bishop actually says [about abortion as a voting issue] in his Sept. 23 article in the Madison Catholic Herald. I invite Chronicles readers to visit that publication’s website to read Bishop Donald J. Hying’s article and to compare it with Mullarkey’s interpretation to see who is actually guilty of doublespeak.
Defaming good men by manipulating facts to support a preconceived idea is a tactic leftist writers perfected long ago, so I am grievously disappointed to see a Chronicles writer employ that tactic. In fact, I now doubt the accuracy of everything Mullarkey has to say, as much as I want to agree with her.
I’m also wondering how many other articles in Chronicles play fast and loose with the facts. If basic honesty and a sense of fair play cannot be found in the pages of Chronicles, then the soul of the culture is already lost.
—Mike McCarrier
South Milwaukee, Wisc.
Ms. Mullarkey Replies:
Mr. McCarrier concedes my quotation from Bishop Hying’s September statement about the issue of abortion in the 2020 election is accurate but denies my description of it as doublespeak. If he better understood the larger context to which he refers, he might agree that Bp. Hying’s tutelage was equivocal. The left-wing tactic Mr. McCarrier deplores was used by his own bishop.
Bishops are obligated to provide clarity on moral issues. But Bp. Hying evaded clarity. Candidate Biden’s ambition to reverse existing limitations on abortion was in full view. Equally visible were his blessings on same-sex marriage and gender theory, including transgender “rights” for minors. Yet Bp. Hying was mute on Mr. Biden’s broad dismissal of natural law.
After intoning a litany against abortion as “an intrinsic evil,” Hying washed his hands of further pastoral responsibility. He sidled away from unambiguous warning against a de-Christianizing platform contemptuous of Church teaching. He retreated to magisterial cant (“anthropology of the human person”) and piety too gelatinous to support a firm moral commitment:  
Jesus Christ is our Savior. His teachings and the moral truth of the Church guide us in all aspects of our lives, including how we vote. The Church cannot and will not endorse a particular candidate or party. …[N]o individual or party can ever represent the totality of our values and beliefs. 
Hying’s nonpartisan hedge chimes with guidelines recommended by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The passage he quoted from the episcopal directive offers a go-ahead to Biden voters: 
There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible…
That dodge is on a dripline from Cardinal Joseph Bernadin’s “consistent ethic of life” coined in 1983. Card. Bernadin insisted that being pro-life is not only about abortion. It includes attention to all factors affecting material well-being: war, poverty, education, health care, and so on. Pro-life is a “seamless garment.” Single threads cannot be pulled.
The seamless garment meme lessened abortion’s dominant status among expanding social concerns. It penetrated hierarchical reasoning. It also became a pro-choice maneuver to blur the indecency of abortion with a dusting of legitimacy. (Think reproductive health.)
Revised in 2019, the USCCB voter guide cites Bernadin’s “consistent ethic of life.” Accordingly, it is a 53-page smorgasbord of humanitarian agendas competing with abortion. It is piled with secularist enthusiasms circulating around that darling phrase of liberation theology: a “preferential option for the poor.” Here is migration, health care, sustainable agriculture, food security, affordable housing, climate change, renewable energy, workers’ rights, support for United Nations programs, universal access to the Internet, plus “global solidarity.”
Voters should choose candidates who will—somehow—eliminate underdevelopment and global poverty, solve regional conflicts, and “humanize globalism.” Voters must abjure discrimination, consumerism, and the death penalty. That matter of killing the unborn eddies around in a stream frothing with ideologized clutter. From the USCCB voter guide:
86. Care for Creation is a moral issue. Protecting the land, water, and air we share is a religious duty of stewardship and reflects our responsibility to born and unborn children, who are most vulnerable to environmental assault.
…We know that approximately a third of all food produced is discarded, and “whenever food is thrown out it is as if were stolen from the table of the poor.”
Hying’s pre-election communiqué fluttered the seamless garment from which one evil cannot be isolated from the sum of all others. This schmatte makes it impractical to decide where Church truth applies with greatest certainty. Instead, it permits political ideology to bend a makeshift morality to the temper of the day.
More About the Elites
The December number of Chronicles contains an insightful editorial by Edward Welsch (“The Long March Ahead for the Real Right”), which makes a useful distinction between the professional-managerial class and the working class, drawing upon the classic work of James Burnham; and which sees that working class support for Trump has been caused by a professional-managerial class ideology that disrespects the cultural values of the working class.
above: cover of C. Wright Mills’ 1956 book The Power Elite

But our understanding also ought to include the insights of the seminal work of C. Wright Mills, who described in his 1956 book, The Power Elite, a “power elite” forged by managers of the largest corporations, the highest members of the executive branch of the federal government, and the military chiefs.
This power elite still exists, although the corporations have become more concentrated and more global since Mills wrote. Domestically, the power elite has an interest in converting U.S. citizens into consumers. Internationally, the U.S. power elite seeks to reduce the capacity of Third World states to regulate and protect their economies, so that it will have unrestrained access to the natural resources, labor, and markets of the world; to this end, it is driven to aggressive imperialist wars in distant lands. 
The power elite uses its control of the media and think tanks to disseminate ideas and news reports that support its domestic and international objectives. The power elite supports the “woke” ideology of the professional-managerial class, because said ideology channels the movements of historically excluded sectors toward participation in the consumerist, globalist, and imperialist agenda of the power elite; and because the “woke” ideology divides the people.
What we need today is a popular movement that transcends the conventional distinction between left and right, based on an ideology that respects the cultural values of the working class, and that rejects imperialism as an unpatriotic violation of the founding principles of the American Republic.
—Charles McKelvey, Professor Emeritus
Presbyterian College
Clinton, S.C.