Fact Check? We Don't Need No Stinking Fact Check!

Now, I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure that Ms. Dowd wrote this entire article based on her headline, “A Nope for Pope.”

She was probably sitting there reading DailyKos when suddenly she realized, “OMG, Nope rhymes with Pope….I could write a whole article just on that!  It’ll be easy and I won’t even have to fact-check the article because it’s about the Catholics!  Times Journalism Rule #1:  Catholics = NO Fact-checking required.  Yippeee!”

And so, unfortunately for us all she proceeded to compose the article that was then published on March 28th in The New York Times.

For your enjoyment, and in the interest of fact-based journalism (okay, fine, maybe I inject a little of my own opinion), I present to you Ms. Dowd’s complete article [along with my comments in red…h/t to Fr. Z for the comment “format”].

A Nope for Pope

Yup, we need a Nope.

A nun who is pope.

The Catholic Church can never recover as long as its Holy Shepherd is seen as a black sheep [not sure why he’s a black sheep, but whatever] in the ever-darkening sex abuse scandal.

Now we learn the sickening news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, nicknamed “God’s Rottweiler” when he was the church’s enforcer on matters of faith and sin, ignored repeated warnings [except that he, ummm…didn’t.  The facts reveal otherwise as noted by Fr. De Souza here and Fr. Brundage here] and looked away in the case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys.

The church has been tone deaf and dumb on the scandal for so long that it’s shocking, but not surprising, to learn from The Times’s Laurie Goodstein [in a non-fact based article as noted here] that a group of deaf former students spent 30 years trying to get church leaders to pay attention.

“Victims give similar accounts of Father Murphy’s pulling down their pants and touching them in his office, his car, his mother’s country house, on class excursions and fund-raising trips and in their dormitory beds at night,” Goodstein wrote. “Arthur Budzinski said he was first molested when he went to Father Murphy for confession when he was about 12, in 1960.”

It was only when the sanctity of the confessional was breached that an archbishop in Wisconsin (who later had to resign when it turned out he used church money to pay off a male lover) wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger at the Vatican to request that Father Murphy be defrocked [except that this never happened, according to the archdiocesan prosecutor assigned to the case!  See here again].

The cardinal did not answer [the letter that would have gone to the Rota anyway, and not the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith where Card. Ratzinger worked].  The archbishop wrote to a different Vatican official, but Father Murphy appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency and got it [No, Father Murphy died while still a defendant in a church criminal trial], partly because of the church’s statute of limitations. Since when does sin have a statute of limitations [like most modern legal systems, canon law has statutes of limitations, except not anymore on criminal sexual abuse]?

The pope is in too deep [in your non-checked “facts”]. He has proved himself anything but infallible. And now he claims he was uninformed on the matter of an infamous German pedophile priest. A spokesman for the Munich archdiocese said on Friday that Ratzinger, running the diocese three decades ago, would not have read the memo sent to him about Father Peter Hullermann’s getting cycled back into work with children because between 700 to 1,000 memos go to the archbishop each year.

Let’s see. That’s two or three memos a day. And Ratzinger was renowned at the Vatican for poring through voluminous, recondite theological treatises.

Because he did not defrock the demented Father Murphy [because he was never asked to], it’s time to bring in the frocks [wait, so because you allege (without evidence) that Pope Benedict messed up, a woman should be Pope?  Did his alleged mistake happen because he is male?  I’m missing the connection].

Pope Benedict has continued the church’s ban on female priests and is adamant against priests’ having wives. [Ummm…what does this have to do with a sexual abuse cover up?  Seriously, what’s the connection?  Logical FAIL] He has started two investigations of American nuns to check on their “quality of life” — code for seeing if they’ve grown too independent. As a cardinal he wrote a Vatican document urging women to be submissive partners and not take on adversarial roles toward men.

[Full RANT /On] But the completely paternalistic and autocratic culture of Il Papa led to an insular, exclusionary system that failed to police itself, and that became a corrosive shelter for secrets and shame.

If the church could throw open its stained glass windows and let in some air, invite women to be priests, nuns to be more emancipated and priests to marry, if it could banish criminal priests and end the sordid culture of men protecting men who attack children, it might survive [I’m pretty sure she had to pause here and wipe spit off her keyboard]. It could be an encouraging sign of humility and repentance, a surrender of arrogance, both moving and meaningful.

Cardinal Ratzinger devoted his Vatican career to rooting out any hint of what he considered deviance. The problem is, he was obsessed with enforcing doctrinal orthodoxy and somehow missed [except he didn’t, but don’t let that stop you.  He was the one who changed the Vatican rules making it far easier to quickly remove offending priests] the graver danger to the most vulnerable members of the flock.

The sin-crazed “Rottweiler” [put on your seatbelt, she’s on a roll] was so consumed with sexual mores — issuing constant instructions on chastity, contraception, abortion  [Nice assumption!  Maybe you should use your internets to look up what he has written?  Yeah, I’m guessing she hasn’t read much of Card. Ratzinger’s work.  Almost everything that he has published has been on theology, scripture, liturgy and tradition] — that he didn’t make time for curbing sexual abuse by priests who were supposed to pray with, not prey on, their young charges.

American bishops have gotten politically militant in recent years, opposing the health care bill because its language on abortion wasn’t vehement enough, and punishing Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights and stem cell research [Ah-ha…so this is why she’s so riled up!  How DARE they speak of moral issues.  I’m betting she would have been really steamed in the 1960’s when Catholic bishops demanded school desegregation.]. They should spend as much time guarding the kids already under their care as they do championing the rights of those who aren’t yet born [Lame.  Tired Argument.].

Decade after decade, the church hid its sordid crimes, enabling the collared perpetrators instead of letting the police collar them. In the case of the infamous German priest, one diocese official hinted that his problem could be fixed by transferring him to teach at a girls’ school. Either they figured that he would not be tempted by the female sex, or worse, the church was even less concerned about putting little girls at risk [Yes, we must remember the underlying and unproven first principle: the Church hates women].

The nuns have historically cleaned up the messes of priests. And this is a historic mess. Benedict should go home to Bavaria. And the cardinals should send the white smoke up the chimney, proclaiming “Habemus Mama.” [Get it?  How much you want to bet she thinks they say, “Habemus Papa?”]



  • Jay McNally

    Great analysis. A fun read.
    Dowd is sort of funny when you realize her influence probably doesn’t extend past downtown Manhattan.
    Several years ago Drudge ran a great caption contest for a photo of Dowd all dressed up for some event, sitting at a bar. Red dress, red shoes. I think she was smoking a cigarette. It was hilarious.
    She’s a kind of political prostitute who knows how to type. Her customers are militant secularists and her job is to give them five minutes of fun.

  • Sherry

    Gee. We should all just make our Church and faith over in Maureen Dowd’s image. Then everything would be just peachy. Yuck.

    I don’t mind being too mean to her. Bitter self righteous crow that she is.

    I know, it’s Holy Week. I’m going to have to work on being sorry though….

  • DPierre

    This is not the first time Dowd has been cited for an error-filled, anti-Catholic hit piece.

    October 2009, NewsBusters: “NYT Dowd’s Anti-Catholic Piece is Riddled With Errors, Deceptions”


  • Patrick Thornton


    You make a good point. But I quickly realized that if I took issue with all of her errors and falsehoods, there would be far more red than black left on the page.

    Plus, I didn’t want to appear too mean.

  • bpeters1

    You could’ve gotten her for misconstruing infallibility as well!

  • George @ Convert Journal

    [I’m pretty sure she had to pause here and wipe spit off her keyboard]

    All of this is so outrageous that it is about time that we poke fun at those attacking us. Your comments are great.



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