In yesterday's essay, Dowd criticized the Church for censoring the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a renegade organization of American nuns that has strayed from Catholic doctrine. Not surprisingly, her essay was packed with untruths and mean-spirited insinuations.
Dowd began by accusing Pope Francis for condoning "the most base Vatican sport: bullying nuns." But of course, the Vatican isn't bullying nuns. Displaying great patience and forbearance, the Vatican has put up with a group of sour-spirited women religious for many years. Only recently has it put its foot down and censored the group for wandering outside orthodox Catholic doctrine. None of the dissidents have been bullied, penalized, or inconvenienced in any way.
Dowd then goes on to charge the Vatican with accusing the rebel nuns of "caring for the sick instead of parroting church teaching . . . ." Of course, that statement is an outright lie. Does anyone think the Catholic hierarchy criticized The Leadership Council of Women Religious for ministering to the sick?
Dowd then goes on to indulge in that ancient trick of anti-Catholic bigotry--quoting the Church's many critics. She quotes Paul Vallely, Pope Francis's biographer, as saying the Pope basically agrees with the dissident nuns, which is essentially an insinuation that Pope Francis does not have the courage to express his true convictions. Does anyone believe that?
And then Dowd quotes author Kenneth Briggs to drag up an old accusation that Pope Francis did not do enough to oppose the military junta in Argentina during the years the Pope was head of the Jesuits in that country. "It was a sin of omission," Dowd quotes Briggs as saying. "He apparently didn't have the gumption to go the next step. It parallels what happened with the nuns."
What a nasty thing to say--and completely unwarranted.
Of course, Dowd would never have made a negative reference to Pope Francis's pre-papacy years in Argentina if the Pope had done what Dowd and the New York Times want him to do, which is t jettison Catholic doctrine and embrace loosey-goosey Postmodern sexual values.
Of course there is more. For example, Dowd, who rarely passes up an opportunity to hurl a gratuitous insult at the Catholic Church, referred to Saint John Paul II--the greatest pontiff of the last millennium--as "the pedophile-shielding pope."
And what has Pope Francis done to deserve such high-profile abuse from the op-ed pages of the New York Times? Only this--he has humbly testified to the truth of the Gospel, very much in the spirit of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi. And he has refused to abandon the Church's ancient doctrine on sexual morality.
Pope Francis is not the wishy-washy, ambivalent, and cowardly man that Maureen Dowd portrayed him to be in yesterday's issue of the New York Times. On the contrary, I believe he is a man of steel. As Catholics, let us listen to him and pray for him as he steers our fragile boat through the rocky shoals of the postmodern age.
And let us have faith in our new Pope's courage. The very fact that he has enraged Maureen Dowd is a very good sign.
|Leadership Conference of Women Religious|
Finally got the scolding it richly deserves
Maureen Dowd. With Malice Toward Nuns. New York Times, Sunday Review section, p. 13.