Sunday 15th September 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Hyperbole And The Magisterium

September 5, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


One of the best pieces of advice as a young politico I ever received was to interrogate every piece of information with two questions: 1) who benefits if I believe this, and 2) why am I being asked to believe this?
Longtime observers of the Catholic media landscape understand the rivalry — if it can be called that — between some of our disparate publications. National Catholic Reporter (progressive with a p) squares off against National Catholic Register (God’s Marines with a g); incrementalists at LifeNews square off against absolutists at LifeSiteNews; traditionalists at Church Militant square off against the European social democrats at La Croix International — or at least, the Europeans try.
Thankfully, I’m sure you will agree that The Wanderer has no peers. Even if we did have a peer, there’s something comforting about being able to hover above the mediocrity of the Babel of social media, collect one’s thoughts, and observe the comings and goings of the world. Sam Walter Foss, a late nineteenth-century poet, isn’t exactly a household name but here it goes anyway:
“Let me live in my house by the side of the road / Where the race of men go by / They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong, / Wise, foolish — so am I. / Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat / Or hurl the cynic’s ban? / Let me live in my house by the side of the road / And be a friend to man.”
To wit, Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter (progressive with a p) has decided to publish a fatwa against John-Henry Westen and the folks at LifeSiteNews. Their target? A project known as “Faithful Shepherds” that lists and grades every bishop in America according to their alignment with LifeSiteNews on a series of issues.
The format is familiar, if for no other reason than it was borrowed from us political types to “scorecard” good guys and bad guys. Of course, these have evolved. Anyone with a little bit of time, an opinion, and a spreadsheet can orchestrate a series of issues and grade the class asking if one is a good witch or a bad witch — and if a bad witch, drop houses on them accordingly.

Beware The Spirit Of Division

My point in all of this isn’t necessarily to pick a side one way or the other, though my thoughts on Michael Sean Winters’ so-called Catholicism are well known (as are my reservations about some people’s seeming alliance with the nationalist right).
What I would prefer to do here is provide a word of caution.
Most of us readers are Americans, or if overseas, then readers with an American ear. We love hyperbole; it is perhaps our number-one export. Words we use to describe the state of affairs in the Catholic Church today can sound alarming: heresy, apostasy, schism.
But do the prescriptions really fit the disease?
Let me put it more succinctly. Just because Winters decides to write something in a heterodox publication escaping the jurisdiction of his own bishop? That might be the opinion of NCR (the leftist one) and their donors but isn’t the opinion of 75 million Catholics in America.
Moreover, grading and check-listing every Catholic prelate in America doesn’t sound like fidelity so much as it sounds like politics. To read the term “abortion politics” in the LSN project should remind us that abortion isn’t finally a political issue, it is a spiritual disease. Judie Brown of American Life League has spent 40 years trying to remind the pro-life movement on this point.
The cure for abortion will not be found in Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court, but in the requests of the Blessed Mother to pray the rosary — causa finita.

Alinsky Vs. The Magisterium

What should concern us are the tactics of modern politicians to “doxx” public figures in an attempt to shame and coerce them into some activity. Doxxing — if it has not reached your vocabulary — is an old public relations term that gathers documents (docs) that are either incriminating or could be carefully construed to be incriminating against its target.
If you detect the fingerprints of Saul Alinsky here, you have the gist of where this goes.
Again, this is not intended to be a dunking contest against provocateurs on the left or the right. Surely “doxxing” people like Theodore McCarrick was a worthy project, but such evidence was produced as part of an investigation in a juridical setting and not on a blog.
Flip side? Look at what the media have done to men like Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong as he begs Pope Francis to come to the aid of the Catholic Church in China, or to Cardinal Burke with regard to Malta, or to Cardinal Pell as he rots in an Australian jail for crimes he did not commit.
What I would prefer to do is offer a word of caution on both sides of this argument.
The folly of God, we are reminded, is stronger than the wisdom of man; the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength (1 Corinthians). Those of us who believe that the Deposit of Truth and Faith require an assist from “the god that fails” (i.e., government or coercion) are falling into the same Luciferian trap that human beings always fall into. We want to control things and mediate our own salvation; we forget that Christ already did this on the cross.
Mr. Winters is perhaps a touch concerned about this “mediation” coming from the likes of Mr. Westen, no doubt because Mr. Westen et al. are a touch fed up with the “mediation” attempted by the reformers of the reform to cram a very different idea of Catholicism down the throats of those who adhere to the faith of our fathers.

Mediating Truth

Yet the funny thing about truth is that no matter how carefully one arranges the facts, the truth is still there and has a funny way of persevering. The apparatchiks can play their games, but the Deposit of Truth and Faith is immovable and will endure.
What I fear is happening as we discuss issues concerning the Church is the effort of a handful of apparatchiks to skew an argument into a crisis where none exists. Do the bishops need some encouragement to actually be bishops? Of course they do. Do they need to be “doxxed” by those attempting to shepherd the shepherds? No. Is the National Catholic Reporter fit to line a birdcage? Perhaps, that is, if only to put the paper to its highest and best use….
But are we on the cusp of a schism? I suspect (and worry) that there are small camps secretly harboring this desire. One only need cast eyes toward the Amazon Synod (sic) — which should really be called the Buchenwald Synod given its proponents…but that’s another topic.
Where the spirit of division exists, there exists the Leviathan — and it will not run from man-made weapons such as blogs or checklists (Job 42).
Also, hyperbole is a dangerous tool, leveraged by advertisers and sometimes exercised as a rhetorical flourish (of this I am particularly guilty). But we should be cautious about efforts to divide our bishops and also be allergic to mediators of truth who exist outside the Magisterium of the Church. Why are we being asked to believe this? Who benefits if I believe this?
“Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat / Or hurl the cynic’s ban? / Let me live in my house by the side of the road / And be a friend to man.”

+ + +

I continue to thank each of you for your prayers for my friend. His recovery continues at pace, which at present consists of him playing old videogames he enjoyed ten years ago rather than reading a set of Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples that I sent to him. C’est la vie. . . .
St. Louis de Montfort and Venerable Matt Talbot, pray for us!

+ + +

First Teachers warmly encourages readers to submit their thoughts, views, opinions, and insights to the author directly either via e-mail or by mail. Please send any correspondence to Shaun Kenney c/o First Teachers, 5289 Venable Road, Kents Store, VA 23084 or by e-mail to

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

I wonder how someone becomes an abortion doctor

Like what's going on in your mind when you choose that as your career

"Kill some babies? Hmmm.. yeah I guess I can see myself doing that for the next 30 or so years"

Controversial tweet. Might delete!

30 years ago, Catholics who warned about the homosexual abuse wracking the Church were reviled by bishops & ignored by major media. The late Paul Likoudis, intrepid and faithful researcher @TheWandererNews, was persona non grata @USCCB, but he's now been vindicated. deo gratias.

Stephen White on Twitter

“The ongoing circus in the Diocese of Buffalo should remind everyone: The price the Church pays for trying to save face is, in the end, always g...

Load More...

Missouri AG refers 12 former Catholic priests for potential prosecution after abuse probe

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Friday that his office had referred 12 former Roman Catholic priests for possible criminal prosecution following a 13-month probe of how diocesan leaders handled allegations of child abuse. The investigation reviewed personnel records for every priest serving…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider call for prayer crusade, cite dangers of Amazon Synod

Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider have issued an eight-page declaration warning against six “serious theological errors and heresies” they say are contained in the Amazonian Synod working document, and calling for prayer and fasting to prevent them being approved. Cardinal Burke, patron…Continue Reading

Leader of Jesuit order: Satan doesn’t exist as ‘personal’ reality, only ‘symbolic’

August 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The devil is a not a personal reality but a symbol for evil, the head of the Jesuit order said this week. Satan, the devil whom the Catholic Church says was behind the fall of…Continue Reading

American Catholics Must Stand with Hong Kong

The autonomous territory of Hong Kong is in a fight for its life. For over two months, the citizens of Hong Kong have persisted in protesting an attempt by the Hong Kong chief executive to impose an amendment to the…Continue Reading

German archbishop in Auschwitz: Stand up against hubris of the politically powerful

Krakow, Poland, Aug 14, 2019 / 02:31 pm (CNA).- On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, a German archbishop has called for a stand against hubris and arrogance of those in political power. Speaking…Continue Reading

Vatican ‘struggling to put out fire’ of public scandal over JPII Institute purge

ROME, August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “firefighters for the new direction” being taken at the John Paul II Institute in Rome are “struggling” to put out a blaze of public scandal, as controversy sparked by a recent purge of professors threatens to reach the door of the Pope’s…Continue Reading

Survey on Catholic belief in the Eucharist prompts calls for better catechesis

Washington D.C., Aug 10, 2019 / 03:32 pm (CNA).- After a recent survey found that two-thirds of Catholics do not believe Church teaching about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Catholic commenters are stressing the importance of better…Continue Reading

Apple News bans LifeSite without warning: says it ‘shows intolerance’

July 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A little over one week ago, Apple approved LifeSiteNews’ application to publish our news on their Apple News platform. Today, without warning, Apple News abruptly reversed course, telling LifeSite that they had deleted our channel and all…Continue Reading

Kamala Harris’ “Medicare for All” Plan Will Force Americans to Fund Abortions

Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris released her own Medicare-for-all proposal today. Just like the proposal handed down by pro-abortion presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Harris’s plan would force Americans to fund abortions. Harris confirms her plan will cover abortions in an…Continue Reading

Pew report: Only half of America’s Catholics know what the Church teaches about Communion

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) ― Do only half of America’s Catholics know what their Church teaches about Holy Communion? In a recent report called “What Americans Know About Religion,” the Pew Research Center suggested that Catholics are divided…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Businessman Michael Lindell, Creator of MyPillow, May Run Against Pro-Abortion Ilhan Omar

Michael Lindell is a pro-life businessman and the creator of MyPillow, a successful invention and company in its own right. Lindell was responsible for helping to fund production of the popular movie “Unplanned,” but now he’s turning his attention to…Continue Reading

Tucker Carlson: big business is now at war against your family

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The first thing to note about Tucker Carlson is that when he’s on stage and riffing on his irritations, he is hilarious. He began his keynote speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

Rochester diocese, facing flood of sex-abuse claims, files for bankruptcy protection

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, facing potentially huge judgments for past sexual abuse by its priests and other ministers, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday. “This was a very difficult and painful decision,” Rochester Bishop Salvatore Matano said at an afternoon news conference that detailed the action. The diocese filed its petition for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rochester at about 9:30 a.m. The petition estimates the diocese’s…Continue Reading

A New Church?

St. Peter Claver was born at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580, of impoverished parents descended from ancient families. He studied at the Jesuit college of Barcelona, entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona in 1602, and took his final vows on August 8th, 1604. While studying, the young religious was influenced by St. Alphonsus Rodriguez to go to the Indies and save “millions of perishing souls.” In 1610, he landed at Cartagena (modern Colombia), the principle slave market of the New World, where a thousand slaves were landed every month. After his ordination in 1616,…Continue Reading

Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference


(Vatican News) Press conference on the flight back from his Apostolic Journey in Southern Africa: Pope Francis recalls the joy of the children he met and affirms that the State has the duty to take care of families. He says that xenophobia is “a disease” and asks that people’s identities be preserved from ideological colonization. He speaks of the criticisms he receives and replies to a question on schismatic temptations with: “I pray that schisms…Continue Reading

Half of Catholics attending Mass 28 years ago no longer do, figures show

You may have noticed the space in church pews widening between you and your fellow Catholics attending Sunday Mass in recent years. It is not your imagination. Mass attendance in parishes of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been dropping for years, and several factors have steepened the long-term pattern of decline to the point where today, half as many Catholics in the archdiocese attend Mass regularly as did a generation ago. The findings of the…Continue Reading

Catholics to gather near Vatican next month to pray for Church in her hour of crisis

ROME, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Catholics from around the world are being invited to assemble, on Oct. 5, near St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, to pray for the Church as she lives through what many see as the hour of her “Passion.” The announcement came in a letter published on Sept. 6 on Stilum Curae, a blog hosted by respected Italian journalist Marco Tosatti. According to the letter (see full text below), an interna


When The Obvious Is No Longer Obvious

By DONALD DeMARCO The late Fr. James Schall, SJ, was a great admirer of Samuel Johnson and, by his own admission, read something from Boswell’s Life of Johnson almost every day. Dr. Johnson was one of the most formidable figures of literature and life of the eighteenth century. He made lasting contributions as a poet,…Continue Reading

After Bolton, Trump Goals Remain Unrealized

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN The sudden and bitter departure of John Bolton from the White House was baked in the cake from the day he arrived there. For Bolton’s worldview, formed and fixed in a Cold War that ended in 1991, was irreconcilable with the policies Donald Trump promised in his 2016 campaign. Indeed, Trump…Continue Reading

K Of C State Council . . . Helps Sponsor Cardinal Burke’s Upcoming Detroit Address

The State Council of Knights of Columbus made a generous donation to help Call to Holiness bring Raymond Cardinal Burke to speak at a dinner on October 26 outside Detroit. The cardinal’s celebration of Mass on the following day will contain all of the ceremony appropriate for a prince of the Church. Cardinal Burke was…Continue Reading

New Divorce Bill In The UK… The Case Against No Fault Divorce

By PIERS SHEPHERD On June 13, 2019, the British government published the Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Bill. The purpose of this legislation is to remove the concept of “fault” from the divorce process, effectively allowing divorce on demand, subject to a six-month waiting period, and taking away any right of either party to contest the…Continue Reading

What Happened To The Concept Of “Person” In American Legal Theory?

By JUDE DOUGHERTY In a sense, there is no such thing as American legal theory. Like science, theory transcends national boundaries. The legal theory in the United States has deep roots in classical and medieval philosophy and more immediately in the British common law. To seek the roots of the current legal meaning of “person”…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. There appears to be some speculation that Pope John Paul I was murdered during the Vatican Bank/Mafia scandal in the late Seventies, especially in the actions of Jean-Marie Cardinal Villot, who appeared shortly after the Pope’s death and essentially was responsible for cleaning and removing all possible evidence from the Holy Father’s bedroom. Your input, please. — R.B.K., via…Continue Reading

Founding Professor . . . Laments “Destruction” Of John Paul II Institute

(LifeSiteNews Editor’s Note: The following is an English translation of the “Public Statement Concerning the Turmoil Surrounding the Pope John Paul II Institute for the Family in Rome,” released on August 28. (The “Statement” was addressed to: Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Great Chancellor of the Institute; Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri, President of the Institute; Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, prefect of the Congregation for…Continue Reading

We Need A Conversion Of Heart

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14 1 Tim. 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-32 In the Gospel reading we are told that tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to listen to Jesus. This did not sit well with the Pharisees who complained, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Many things could…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Storm That Never Passes

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “This too shall pass.” These words are often spoken in sympathy to those suffering the darkness of internal anguish or the mind-numbing pain of serious physical illness. Also, more famously, to someone enduring the storm breaking over him following criminal wrongdoing in the aftermath of Watergate: the president humiliated in resignation, Richard Nixon. Always true…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. On the controversial matter of whether to admit to Catholic schools children of same-sex parents, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has written a very good article. Perhaps you could share it with your readers. — A.M.D., via e-mail. A. We are happy to do so. Here is some of what Mr. Donohue said: “Parents are not required to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Child Martyrs Of Tlaxcala

By CAROLE BRESLIN Viva Cristo Rey! This was the call of the Cristeros (1926-1929). Many Mexican saints were martyred during that massive and demonic persecution of the Catholic Church. One young man, José Sanchez del Rio, was only 14 years old when he died for his loyalty to the faith. He had refused to deny Christ, even under torture. Three…Continue Reading