Michael Sean Winters is one of the smarter ideologues over at the National Catholic Reporter. Typically he’s smart enough to know he shouldn’t get into public debates with me, but on the issue of PA hospital closings and the involvement of Sr. Carol Keehan, he apparently believes he is on safe enough ground to go on the offensive. I think this is wonderful, because every time Winters writes, he betrays the classic symptoms of a liberal Catholic polemicist.
In this sense, he is an expert at “boomerang arguments”, ones which come back to hurt him more than they trouble me.
First exhibit – lies: Winters claims I think “Democrats are the root of all evil.” I don’t.
Second exhibit – more lies: “We all know, in Peters’ worldview, that Sr. Carol would say anything and do anything to support Obama.” Nope, I don’t. But it’s certainly clear that Sr. Carol is willing to do things I am not willing to do to support Obama, for instance, publicly oppose the prudential advice of the the bishops of America on a matter of critical importance. I’m not claiming she’ll do anything, I’m claiming she has done something, and that something was wrong. She should also fact-check her pro-Obamacare brochure (page 9, for instance).
Third exhibit – twisting the truth: “We all know, in Peters’ worldview, that Sr. Carol is disloyal to the bishops,” Winters claims. Hold on! … “My worldview”? Winters is right that in my rush to compose the article I accidently cited words attributed to Cardinal George that have been called into question (I take it he checked the other 25 links in my original story and those all checked out). This correction of the record poses no problem for me, because I’ll simply switch that original quotation over to a full interview conducted by National Catholic Reporter’s own John Allen with Cardinal George. I invite Winters to read the interview published by his own organization, which supports my original claim.
When he is done, Winters should then read this statement by Daniel Cardinal Dinardo, Chairmain of the USCCB’s pro-life Committee, Bishop William Murphy, chairman of its Committee on Domestic Justice, Bishop John Wester, chairman of its Committee on Migration. Then, Winters should next read this statement by Archbishop Raymond Burke. I’m confident there are others in the same vein.
As you can see, “my worldview” is actually in good company. Indeed, in a way, I’m maybe nicer in my criticisms than are the bishops. So whose worldview is Winters living in?
As Winters writes about me, “Peters likes the bishops when they like him, but surely it is the work of Satan when the bishops’ own news agency directly contradicts, with facts and quotes, assertions he made based on shoddy reporting at the Spectator.”
My quotation of these three statements above demonstrates that many bishops of senior authority in the Church have a serious problem with the actions of Sister Keehan, actions which call into question her loyalty and obedience to their authority, and which suggest that “her worldview” is not one of a faithful Catholic (I’ll get to the Spectator shortly).
But of course, to paraphrase his own words back at him (boomerang!): “Winters likes to ignore the bishops when they disagree with him, choosing instead to attribute the fault to me when the bishops’ own words directly contradict, with facts and quotes, assertions he made based on his own shoddy understanding of the nature and teachings of the Church.”
In other words, Winters is skilled precisely at accusing others of making the sort of mistakes that he specializes in (boomerang!). Logic 101: if Winters has such a problem with my critique of CHA, and I show how my critique of the CHA is shared by senior bishops, Winters ought to take it up with the bishops I mention above, not me.
Winters says (sarcastically) I should consider running as a Senate candidate sometime. Well, I hate to break it to him, but I’m focused on being a good Catholic commentator today. And I think I’ve sufficiently defended my position here. (Before I finish entirely, however, and move on, Winters may want to tell his editors at NCR that the version of the CNS story they chose to republish is the old, uncorrected one, the same one that CNS corrected after we demanded that they revise it.)
In my next post I will spend more time discussing the developing story about Catholic hospitals closing in Pennsylvania, and what lessons we can take from the situation.