Dissident Rag Calls Church Militant ‘Not Authentically Catholic’

News: Commentary
by Trey Elmore  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 11, 2017   

National Catholic Reporter has been asked twice to drop the word "Catholic" from its name

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Michael Sean Winters, a blogger and columnist with notorious liberal outlet National Catholic Reporter (NCR), published a scathing follow-up on The Atlantic documentary piece published on this apostolate on May 9.

In the piece, Winters spouts a barrage of ad hominem attacks about Michael Voris, including that Voris is "viciously extreme and extremely vicious" and that Voris is shown "spouting gibberish."

He goes on to refer to gay-friendly clerics like Fr. James Martin, S.J., as "truthful, balanced and evangelical." He's referring to the same Fr. Martin whom this apostolate has highlighted for his public support of homosexual priests and who recently made headlines for his latest troubling remark online, where he said that there may be "gay saints in Heaven."

Examples of blogs for the NCR from Winters include the one in which he blasted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for condemning the Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing so-called same-sex marriage, as well as a more recent blog where he asks if the pro-abortion D.C. Women's March "will become a movement," and laments the fact that organizers of the march didn't want pro-life groups participating. He argues that the coalition will succeed only if it is more inclusive — omitting the more fundamental and important truth that to support abortion is evil in the first place.

Church Militant has previously reported on one of the many antics of the NCR in which it named two active homosexuals as its "persons of the year," whom they said provided a "faithful public witness as gay Catholics."

The first time NCR was publicly charged with error was in 1968, when Bp. Charles Helmsing, the fifth bishop of the diocese, said the following in his letter outlining the erroneous teachings coming out of NCR:

I have tried as their pastor, responsible for their eternal welfare and of those whom they influence, to guide them on a responsible course in harmony with Catholic teachings. When private conferences were of no avail, as is well known, I had to issue a public reprimand for their policy of crusading against the Church's teachings on the transmission of human life and against the Gospel values of sacred virginity and dedicated celibacy as taught by the Church.

Bishop Helmsing even made a point to clear up confusion among Catholics reading the letter, to provide an important distinction between erroneous understandings of editorial freedom versus the authentic Catholic understanding as taught by Vatican II.

At all times it was presumed that the policy of editorial freedom was none other than that legitimate liberty declared and defended by the Vatican Council II in its Declaration on Religious Liberty, further defined in the conciliar Decree on Social Communications, and, likewise, defended in the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. It could not imply that pseudo-freedom from man's obligations to his Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier in vogue under the standard of the 19th-century liberalism. It could not imply, as a conciliar declaration on religious liberty clearly states, freedom in the moral order.

The second time NCR came under fire from its local bishop was in 2013. Bishop William Finn, the immediate predecessor of the current bishop, James Johnston, Jr, wrote in a column the following about the NCR's continued disregard of Church teaching:

In a different way, I am sorry to say, my attention has been drawn once again to the National Catholic Reporter, a newspaper with headquarters in this diocese. I have received letters and other complaints about NCR from the beginning of my time here. In the last months, I have been deluged with emails and other correspondence from Catholics concerned about the editorial stances of the NCR: officially condemning Church teaching on the ordination of women, insistently undermining of Church teaching on artificial contraception and sexual morality in general, lionizing dissident theologies while rejecting established magisterial teaching and a litany of other issues.

If adherence to magisterial teaching is a meaningful definition of "authentically Catholic," an outfit like NCR, which has been told twice, by two separate bishops, 40 years removed from one another, to remove the word "Catholic" from its name, scarcely has two pennies to rub together, to borrow a phrase from Winters' piece.

For a piece that states in its headline that Church Militant is "not authentically Catholic," the article contains no reference to a magisterial document nor does Winters show specifically how Church Militant has denied magisterial teaching. The article contains zero references to the Catechism.

Winters elsewhere in his article accuses this apostolate of undermining the authority of the Holy Father. We regularly receive emails and criticism for refusing to do exactly that.

The article contains no reference to a magisterial document nor does Winters show specifically how Church Militant has denied magisterial teaching.

What Winters does offer in his piece is a description of his understanding of the nature and mission of the Catholic Church, which is at best vague and at worst a collection of poetic and hip-sounding platitudes aimed at his readers' emotions:

And the bishops need to consider how they can ensure that no one mistakes Church Militant for the authentic Church, which, day in and day out, cares for the poor, wrestles with the truth in humility, celebrates the sacraments and tries to build up the unity that arises from those sacraments and applies the medicine of mercy to a hurting world.

In contrast, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), referencing the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium (LG), describes the mission of the Church:

From this source, the Church, equipped with the gifts of its Founder and faithfully guarding His precepts of charity, humility and self-sacrifice, receives the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that Kingdom."

The CCC in section 767 also references the words of Our Lord in the Gospel of St. Matthew in its discussion of the Catholic Church's mission: "[T]he Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them."

The Lepanto Institute has published a more complete list of the antics of the poorly named National Catholic Reporter, and Church Militant has likewise published a petition to the USCCB regarding the dissident newspaper.


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