AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

National Public Radio’s ludicrous firing of Juan Williams and a subsequent mainstream media article on Catholic bloggers may seem to be two separate issues. Some may say what does the overwhelmingly conservative leaning Catholic blogosphere have in common with the liberal leaning Juan Williams? The answer is quite simple; both scare the mainstream media because Juan Williams and the majority of the Catholic blogosphere put forth interesting solutions to often discussed questions.

The modus operadi of some in the mainstream media is to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. Combine this with a Juan Williams quote which most of America agrees with and voila you have it; the ultimate straw man from which you can tear apart any minority who appears on Fox News or any Catholic blogger who faithfully defends the teachings of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church.

In this Associated Press article on the Catholic blogosphere, the piece mentions Thomas Peters and Michael Voris (who is known for his videos not his blogging,) but focuses on harsh unnamed Catholic bloggers. The article quotes John Allen who calls elements of the Catholic blogosphere “Taliban Catholicism.” The highly respected Mr. Allen, who though working for the dissident leaning National Catholic Reporter, is often known for his many high ranking Church contacts and his fairness. He should have know better than to give the quote that he did. To take a few bloggers from the right (or even from the left) and call them the Catholic blogosphere is the type of journalism that would not pass muster for a high school paper, let alone the AP. This would be akin to taking the worst rated college or pro football team and telling the world this is the best of American football, or perhaps watching the Walla Walla Community theater production of Hamlet and saying this is Hamlet at its finest. John Allen should have realized where this article was going and chosen his words more carefully.

The AP article continues by naming a Church official who seems worried about the Catholic blogosphere. One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Semple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana. I worked for years in a diocesan office and I have yet to meet, even in my travels, a diocesan official who is well versed in the blogosphere. It seems to be a generational thing and most diocesan officials are not to be confused with the younger, more conservative seminarians or young priests being ordained.

While some in the mainstream media snicker at the Pope and Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church) they in reality have their own magisterium. In their secular magisterium anyone who believes in the Catholic Church’s authority is hopelessly outdated, because according to gatekeepers in the mainstream media, true thinkers are those in the dying liberal churches who don’t know what they believe. Sadly, GK Chesterton prophetically predicted this would happen. He said, “It’s not that atheists and agnostics believe in nothing, they believe in everything.” In modern parlance, “It’s all good.” How sad that some who proclaim to be “open minded” can’t see the obvious; liberal Christianity is dying on the vine.”

Archbishop Edwin O’Brien has said that man will give his life for a mystery, not a question mark. Liberal Protestantism and liberal Catholicism have resulted in people leaving those churches in droves. This is especially made manifest in ordination numbers.  64 to 6 and 14 to 4 stand out. What does this mean? In 2006 when writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64. That same year of 2006 Denver had 14 young men ordained to the priesthood (eleven in May and three earlier in the academic year,) while Los Angeles had four; a staggering statistic when one considers that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 4,300,000 Catholic residents compared to 385,000 Catholics for the Archdiocese of Denver. In 2006, Los Angeles and Rochester were led by two of the most liberal prelates in the Church, while Omaha, Lincoln and Denver were led by three of the more conservative bishops in the US, a revelatory statistic to say the least.

While liberal convents are strapped for cash because they haven’t had a postulant in years, more conservative orders like the Sister of Mary in Ann Arbor, Michigan are running out of room due to the large number of young professional women coming their way. They are not the only conservative order growing; the Nashville Dominicans among others are also experiencing growing pains. Have you ever heard this reported by the mainstream media?

How about the freefall in the liberal mainline Protestant churches that have often changed their doctrine to comfort those who live by the whims of the modern world, has that been reported by the mainstream media who loves to champion these dying churches? While the Catholic Church and various Evangelical churches are growing, liberal Christianity is dying. In Britain it is estimated that more people attend Friday prayers at their respective Islamic mosques than attend Anglican church services on Sunday morning. Recently, the leader of the Anglican Church, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams stated that he welcomed Sharia Law being applied in Great Britain. Yet it gets worse for the Anglican Church. In addition to the laity, the Anglican Church lost a large amount of their clergy as well, and many more are coming to the Catholic Church, thanks to the Personal Ordinate offered by Pope Benedict XVI. (If this last paragraph intrigues you, please read If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Had Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters.) along with  The Jesus the Professional Left Chose to Ignore and The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.

Another area in which the mainstream media hammers the Catholic Church is in the area of sexuality. All of the world’s major religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam had always taught against homosexuality. Catholicism had been one of the more liberal religions in that it taught that some people are same-sex attracted and though they should not act upon these feelings, they should be loved and encouraged as this was there cross. The Catholic Church had long taught that every human being is to carry a cross in this world. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members. For many years, some religions took the Catholic Church to task for being too liberal, some said the Church should tell anyone, who acts on their homosexual feelings and does not repent, that they are destined for hell. Now the Catholic Church is catching it from those on the left who say the Catholic Church is engaging in hate speech for saying those who are same-sex attracted shouldn’t act out their feelings.

Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors, quite a fair minded piece by the Old Gray Lady. The article chronicled Tushnet’s growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality, teachings exemplified in a recent letter on the subject from the prelate of Phoenix, Bishop Thomas Olmsted.

For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny, not only what Christ said  in Matthew 11:20-24,) but His Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)  In addition to the Apostles, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. In other words, every one of these great religious minds, as well as almost every political mind until about the year 2000 would have to be wrong for same- sex marriage to be right. It should also be stated that a majority of homosexuals don’t plan to get married. If homosexuality is only 5-10% of the population and the majority of that population don’t want marriage, why the push for it?

Many who disagree with the Catholic Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.

Just like Watergate was the magic bullet for liberals to paint all conservatives of the early and mid 1970s as sinister, paranoid and corrupt, the Church Abuse Scandal has given those same secular liberals the vehicle to paint all Catholic who faithfully believe in the 2,000 teachings of the Catholic Church as ignorant. The overwhelming majority of those heinous abusers were those who wanted to change the Church. (On a personal note I want to state that I take the Abuse Scandal very seriously, my childhood small town parish had two priests who were arrested and spent several years in prison. These two priests were there when I went to Catholic grade school and Catholic high school. Sadly, I knew some who were abused. However, I also knew the views of these two abusers, and like many others who harmed children, they wanted to change the Church and society into something most would not recognize.)

When talk radio and Catholic bloggers point out that Saul Alainksy dedicated his infamous book, Rules for Radicals to among others Lucifer, the only mention in the mainstream media is to point out how kooky talk radio and Catholic bloggers must be. According to the mainstream media, one might be tempted to think that many authors dedicate their works to the Prince of Darkness. Yet, when liberal candidates who take campaign money from many questionable sources state out of thin air that conservative campaign money must be coming from nefarious donors, the statement is treated as fact.

In fairness to some liberal journalists who have a hard time with religion, some of it may come down to their understanding of the Judeo Christian model. While they may have seen an “old school Moses” holding back the Red Sea or fighting various enemies of Israel, all too often the Jesus they have seen portrayed on the silver screen or in song may have more in common with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead than the Son of God. The sensitive and ponderous Jesus of The Last Temptation of Christ and various other productions, which many secularists and liberal theologians tried to construct, hardly portrays the historical Jesus that existed before the liberal revisions.

Yet, in both the study of Judaism and Christianity, the long assumed liberal ideas about Julius Wellhausen’s Documentary hypothesis of Old Testament writing, along with the dates and writers of the New Testament has in the last 20 years literally been turned on its head. More and more Bible scholars are refuting the modernist theology that came out of the late 1800s and much of the 1900s. Finally Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X seem vindicated! The revision doesn’t end with theology, it is very much alive in the field of history. The French Revolution is often hailed as the equal of the American Revolution and some even prefer its bloody class and religious war carnage to that of the America Revolution. However, the supposed Liberty, Fraternity and Equality which started at the Bastille only served as vehicle to try and destroy the Catholic Church. Though he never lived to see the French Revolution, Voltaire voiced the opinion that the coming revolution would destroy Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.  Yet, liberal theologians and their allies in the mainstream media hail the revolution that saw thousands of Catholic clergy and simple Catholic peasant laity hauled off to the guillotine. 

Is it any wonder that some elements of the mainstream media take their cues from Voltaire and construct fictional accounts to try and destroy the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI? Perhaps it is because the Holy Father’s oft repeated remark of the Dictatorship of Relativism drives those who flow with the whims of popular culture up the wall. To his credit, Michael Sean Winters of the liberal National Catholic Reporter called the New York Times hit piece on Pope Benedict XVI an article filled with animus and lies. Former Newsweek Editor Kenneth Woodward, who is not Catholic and hardly a political ally of conservative oriented Catholics, penned a blistering article on the screed that was the New York Times article attacking Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) for his role in investigating the Abuse Scandal. (You may want to this article entitled; CNN Joins the Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church. In addition this article written by several Catholic professors refutes the entire New York Times and CNN story.

One only need look at cable and network news to realize how far to the left they have become. MSNBC was once known as having the far left Keith Ohlberman as their firebrand. However, Olberman is now somewhat to the right of their ever increasing liberal fountains of misinformation; Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnel who would have us living somewhere between Gomorrah and Havana if they had their druthers. It gets worse even ABC, who is somewhat to the right of NBC and CBS with their news division, has turned their Sunday morning show into something unrecognizable. Who would have thought that George Stephanopoulos would be missed. However, he is because outside of the conservative leaning George Will, their famous roundtable often consists of Catholic dissident Cokie Roberts and Paul Krugman who seems to think no debt is large enough. The Nobel winning Krugman (I wonder what old Alfred thought about that) often writes articles stating the incredible US debt is nothing to worry about, and he even took German Chancellor Angela Merkle to task for trying to reduce her nation’s deficit. To top it all off Christiane Amanpour is a crusading acitvist jouranlist who makes no apologies for it. This gang along with their compatriots at MSNBC are so far left, the only place they would win an election with their views would be Manhatten, Cambridge, Berkeley and Martha’s Vineyard. Still they march on insulting Middle America and everyone who believes in traditional religious, moral and economic values.

The 21st century has given us the antithesis of the fictional happy-go-lucky country club conservative Gilligan’s island character of Thurston Howell III. The new Ivy League man is often an angry liberal like George Soros who openly proclaims his hatred of conservatism and religion.  When one has over a billion dollars to spend and makes no bones about spending it all, those in the crosshairs have every right to sit up and pay attention.

Many may be aware of Mr. Soros’ nearly 2 million dollar donation to National Public Radio in which he designated what he wanted the money to be spent on; a cadre of state reporters who would report on the ins and outs of their particular state. It is not only National Public Radio who Mr. Soros has been a sugar daddy to, but even liberal religious groups and dissident Catholic groups, a strange group for an atheist’s donation. The Catholic League reported on a disturbing account of Mr. Soros giving a dissident Catholic group a substantial donation, which leads one to wonder what other dissident Catholic groups or publications the atheist Soros has been helped? It doesn’t stop there, The National Review also reported that Mr Soros gave money to a liberal Protestant group headed by Jim Wallis. Why would an atheist, who wishes religion  didn’t exist, give money to religious groups? Perhaps, Mr Soros is telling the truth and feels the best way to end religion is by funding dissidents from with inside the various churches.

The truth of the matter is though they may be attacked by the likes of George Soros and the lackeys he controls in the mainstream media, Juan Williams and many Catholic bloggers can’t be confined to their plantation style mentality. Though they claim to be open minded, many in the mainstream media as evidenced by their anti conservative and anti religious beliefs, are hardly the purveyors of open mindedness or diversity which they claim to be. The Juan Williams firing and the latest article on the Catholic Church, via the AP story on the Catholic blogosphere, is further evidence of it. Perhaps the reason Mr Soros and his compatriots are so upset is try as they might, society is never going to be what they want it to be; free of religion and those on the right (and even on the left like Juan Williams and Pat Caddell) who don’t toe their line.

Dave Hartline

19 Responses to AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

  • Keep preaching brother!

    I nominate the following excerpt to be the quote of year here at The American Catholic.

    “One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Simple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana.”

  • Nothing to “wonder” about. The answers are self-evident.

  • Well said, excellent, wonderful!

  • Uh…it’s “magisterium.”

    Good piece, though.
    :-)

    -Theo

  • It’s not clear to me that Allen was interviewed for the AP story. He was using “Taliban Catholics” in his own writing at least as far back as February.

  • Great piece with good insight. I especially like your quote about people not knowing the difference between Catholic bloggers and others.

    One note: Allen’s quote reveals more about himself than it does about Catholic blogging or orthodox Catholics. For all those who believe him to be fair, you might want to read his work more closely and don’t forget that he chooses to work for the dissident Reporter. His work displays some real blind spots.

  • It’s just funny that in article that to some extent is bemoaning in the incivility of the blogosphere, the term “Taliban Catholic” is so casually tossed about as though there is nothing uncivil about that comparison.

    But that, of course, is par for the course for people who yelp the loudest about tone and the harshness of dialogue. What it really is is an attempt to change the topic and avoid having to defend indefensible positions.

  • Defending the indefensible?

    As in an article that defends the civility of Michael Sean Winters but paints Catholics who are righteously standing up and saying enough as fringe.

    30-40 thousand readers a month may be ‘nobody reading’ to you, but I think it is enough to get an army of Catholics to get folks who espouse the opinions of dissent, silenced.

    It is half past time we take our parishes and schools back.

    We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Carry on.

  • Someone should ask John Allen when was the last time a Catholic blogger destroyed millenia-old works of art. Or shot a woman in the back of the head as halftime entertainment at a soccer match. Or sponsored terrorists who flew airplanes into buildings killing 3000 people.

    For the life of me, I’ll never understand why people who should know better consider John Allen to be “fair”. “Fair” people don’t make such idiotic comparisons.

  • We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Umm, what? I was critiquing the Allen quote and the condescending tone of the AP article, not Dave’s post.

  • Please, please, please – check your spell-check and correct “magEsterium” to “magIsterium”. The word comes from the Latin – magister.

  • Paul,

    Yes, my comments were about the article, not your comments which I completely agree with and thank you for stepping up to the plate to say.

  • p.s. I am not of the opinion that the article had coded message in it that needed to be cracked.

    There are many of us that are finished with letting teachers and priests preach and teach dissent and we area shutting it down by exposing what is going on with teaching, sanctifying and governing.

    Writing intellectual treatises on the internet is swell but it is not helping our children down at the local school being hoodwinked by Sister Mary Wear the Pants and Fr. Hehirtic. We have had to flee from our parishes, pull our children out of schools.

    What are we running from? It’s time to go back and demand our religion be taught.

    1. Pour through every bulletin and expose every problem, naming names and exercising your gifts by explaining the theological problems and consequences to our children.

    2. Start holding the priest accountable.

    3. If the priest won’t be held accountable, go to the Bishop.

    4. If the Bishop won’t be accountable, go to the Nuncio.

    5. If the Nuncio won’t hold them accountable, go to the Holy See.

    Round up as many in your area who are willing to do it.

    If in time, they do not intercede and do something to stop the people poisining the wells our children are drinking from, start a campaign to hold up the money on the annual Bishops appeal.

    Build it and they will flee.

    People may call it harsh. People like this author will call it fringe. Whatever hits you have to take from the author of this article on The American Catholic or anyone in the AP – Do it anyway.

    :O)

  • Anna, I do hope your not talking about me as being part of the dissent, or just sitting at my computer composing essays while Rome burns. I do think my bona fides as a writer, educator (working in the Church and taking a lot of heat from Church liberals) etc should fit pass muster. I would hope so anyone, considering how many nasty names I have been called by the liberals in the Church. If I have misinterpreted your remarks, please forgive me. However, it would appear to me that you think this article is somehow not orthodox enough. I don’t know how that is possible. It would seem to me that the first three or four commentors (among others) like what I have to say. Anyway, God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I actually never knew you existed before I found your article, but I can see that you are not a dissident.

    It has been such a refuge to come to the internet and read solid opinions. But we need those opinions to get into our schools and parishes and it is time to do something a little different.

    As a Boston activist who is part of the blogging community described in the AP, those of us on the ground doing this difficult ministry not only get called ‘names’ by dissidents, we are undermined by people on the right, sitting staring at their computers using their orthodoxy and bonafides to take cheap shots at us.

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    Is blogosphere a game of “who is the bigger player”? Is it about chumming around with folks who post comments telling you how great you are?

    Oh wait…

    Look, I’ve done my share of years of writing and defending the Magisterium.

    But you know what we realized?

    Not a single dissident in our children’s schools been removed from teaching children by the things we are writing on the internet (myself included)

    A lot of us have been parish shopping for ten years.

    It’s time to go to plan b.

    I can appreciate your frustration with the article that they failed to recognize the big wazoos who have been banging away at their keyboards. But the work we are doing is critical new work and the author of the AP article knew more about that then you did!

    Nobody on the ground is a threat to your thunder. We will not be competing in who is the greatest of them all contests. At ease.

    We are people who are trying to focus getting orthodoxy to our own children, family and friends while you bang away at your ministry doing it for people in the com boxes. Not as worthy as the work you are doing, but it is nonetheless, worthy work that did not deserve your cheap shot.

    The kicker was your respectful attitude towards John Allen, who in between working with Joan Chittister, Tom Roberts, Michael Sean Winters and Bishop Gumbleton (talk about fringe!) serving up poison to Christ’s souls, characterized parents fed up with dissent that is continuously being taught no matter how much you write with concerns to your Bishop, as lecherous murderers.

  • Goodness Anna I think the liberals have got the best of you. I spoke kindly of John Allen? I took him to task for his comment. I only said he was respected by many. Have you ever read what Father Zuhlsdorf says about John Allen? Father Z calls him “his friend and highly respected.” Do you think Father Z has gone wobbly too?

    I understand what you must be going through living in Boston. You may remember that I mentioned in my article that my childhood parish was scourged with not only one priest sent to the slammer for molestation, but two. Some of those these two deviants molested were my friends, so believe me I don’t need any lectures on that subject.

    I would suggest you take some time to pray over the whole matter, calling those that are on your side not wholly orthodox doesn’t help. God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I must not be making myself clear.

    I have the greatest respect for Fr. Z. But I disagree with his characterizations of John Allen. I am NOT attacking Fr. Z or his orthodoxy. Nor, am I attacking your orthodoxy. Nor am I attacking you.

    Phew.

    There is no need to be defensive. Be at peace.

    The AP wrote an article about a new ministry in the Church and your reaction to it was a knee-jerk.
    Look here:

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    The good people in Boston are getting off their fannies and taking our schools and parishes and chancery back. That’s what the article was about.

    What is it about that you wouldn’t embrace?

  • Anna, there is nothing about what you said that I wouldn’t embrace. God Bless you and the good people of Boston who are helping turn the tide. May God Be With You All!

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