The head of strategic initiatives at the lobbyist shop Financial Services Institute (FSI) was outed from his secret role at the traditionalist blog after readers were offended by his Twitter attacks against Vatican whistleblower Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò.
According to his bio, Paulitz is "a veteran of Capitol Hill, spending more than a decade in presidential and congressional campaigns, working as a spokesman and strategic advisor for both U.S. House and Senate leadership offices, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Bush administration."
Paulitz's bio does not mention his former role as communications director for former U.S. representative Mark Foley, who resigned from Congress in 2006 after sending sexually explicit messages to male teenage congressional pages.
The lobbyist, who also serves on the board of Wealth Solutions Report (a digital media wealth management platform), does publicize his work as communications director for former senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and as senior advisor to former U.S. senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio.
"The guy seems to spend all his time lately tweeting out nasty things about Abp. Viganò and any other Catholics who don't buy into the latest D.C. Biden-deep state war propaganda," one whistleblower said. "Unlike Viganò and others, he doesn't have the courage to use his own name."
"The latest is that I see that this guy is retweeting a post that calls Viktor Orbán — brave Orbán who stood up to Soviet tanks decades ago — a 'coward' because Orbán wants to stay neutral in this current Russia/Ukraine mess," the whistleblower noted. The tweet was later deleted.
Paulitz phoned Church Militant's Rome correspondent on Saturday after learning his role with Rorate Caeli was being investigated. He categorically denied any links with the traditionalist blog. "I don't tweet. I don't post," the lobbyist repeatedly asserted.
However, minutes later, Rorate Caeli responded to a Church Militant email querying Paulitz's involvement and the reason for the blog curator's anonymity. The reply used the same phrases: "I'm not Chris Paulitz. He doesn't tweet, and he doesn't post. That's all you need to know."
Church Militant did not ask if Paulitz tweeted or posted for the blog. Instead, Rorate Caeli was asked why he was portraying himself as a trad Catholic but under the cover of anonymity and whether Paulitz was denying association with the blog because of his position as a Washington lobbyist.
"Why are you doing this, man? We're not involved in the Church Militant fights. Leave us alone," the anonymous blog curator wrote. When asked again in a second email why the blog operated anonymously, Rorate Caeli blocked this correspondent from its Twitter page.
The lobbyist's categorical denials are further debunked by a 2010 posting on Rorate Caeli naming him and informing readers that the blog's Twitter account will be updated by "Chris Paulitz." The blog even lists his email address as email@example.com.
Paulitz also reveals his own identity on a 2010 "posting of enrolled souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society" by listing the above email address. A year later, however, the lobbyist anonymizes his email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And in 2011, Paulitz was a signatory to a statement published in The Remnant sent to the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints regarding the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Paulitz signed his name as "Contributor, Rorate Caeli."
High-profile contributors to the blog, including Dr. Peter Kwasniewski and Dr. Joseph Shaw, told Church Militant they had no difficulties with the anonymity of the website and did not know the identity of its curator, who goes under the moniker of "New Catholic" — a moniker Paulitz is suspected of using.
Paulitz told Church Militant he did not know the identity of "New Catholic." However, he also added that "New Catholic" was a convert, while he was a cradle Catholic.
Former contributor to Rorate Caeli Dcn. Nick Donnelly told Church Militant he would share his personal views on the ethics of anonymity but did not want to be seen as attacking the blog.
Donnelly, a popular Catholic writer who has been persecuted for his writings, elaborated:
Since my first posts on a blog and social media in 2010, I've thought it essential to write under my own name. When Bp. [Michael] Campbell ordered me to stop posting on Protect the Pope because it annoyed other English bishops, some suggested that I create a new website and post anonymously. I decided against this because I thought it dishonest and underhand, given my circumstances.
By posting under my own name, I'm holding myself morally accountable for what I write, which protects me from the concupiscent inclination to post mean, unkind and unchristian attacks against others when they irk, annoy or infuriate me.
There has been a cost to my openly posting under my own name — the LGBT mob got me fired from a job I loved, reducing my income to almost nothing; my opponents in the Church have attempted to get me canonically sanctioned or threatened me in other ways.
"But I think this is the cost of witnessing to the truth," the deacon stressed. "How can you witness to the truth if you're not truthful about who you are?"
The phenomenon of anonymous Catholic websites is almost exclusive to the traditionalist wing of Catholicism and does not have a parallel among liberal or conservative Catholics or even among evangelicals or fundamentalists in Anglican and Protestant denominations.
Anonymous trad blogs include the sedevacantist Novus Ordo Watch, which claims to be "a lay-led internet apostolate whose primary goal is to educate the public about the true Roman Catholic religion and the institution we refer to as the 'Novus Ordo Sect' (or 'Vatican II Sect'), a Neo-Modernist sect which falsely claims to be the Roman Catholic Church."
The blog does not name its curator on its "About" or "Contact" pages, but its non-profit umbrella body Interregnum Foundation names its president as Mario Derksen. In March, the blog finally identified "the man behind Novus Ordo Watch."
Defending his decision to write for an anonymous website, Dr. Kwasniewski told Church Militant he "admired Rorate Caeli's news, analysis and reach for some years before I agreed to be on the masthead and contribute regularly."
The traditionalist Catholic scholar and writer elaborated:
While I admit it is unusual not to know the name of the one who runs a blog, nevertheless with the unbelievable pettiness and nastiness to which anti-traditionalists will often descend these days (which can have an effect on one's employment and family), I understand why a major influencer may wish to remain anonymous, and I respect that decision.
However, whistleblowers have accused Rorate Caeli of "sick and evil" tweets, "suggesting Viganò's a traitor, a KGB agent, that people posting Viganò's writing are just doing it for money, etc.)."
"When you're a D.C. lobbyist living in a house valued over $1 million, it's easy to throw potshots against journalists making 10 times less than him and trying to make an honest living, I guess," one source said.
On Friday, Kwasniewski, who is Facebook friends with Paulitz, reposted a tweet by Rorate Caeli attacking Viganò. Kwasniewski defended his association with the trad blogger, noting: "Nor do I think it's fair to call them neoconservative without qualification."
"Some of the writers and their content on it are good, sure. It's the administrator(s) of Rorate Caeli that are the problem," Michael Watson from Brisbane responded.
Rorate Caeli tweeted the same day, "Viganò has to be brought to heel," and slammed the archbishop for his "monstrous utterances."
Earlier, the anonymous blogger posted: "Viganò is being fed KGB propaganda directly from Moscow," accusing the prelate of "repeat[ing] Moscow's lies without blushing."
Church Militant asked Dr. John Zmirak, senior editor of The Stream, what he thought of "traditionalist websites who hide behind anonymity and launch attacks on others."
Zmirak, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, explained why the issue "isn't just about courage, but accountability."
Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, says that a speaker's character is a crucial element in judging what he says. You cannot weigh the "ethos" of a pseudonym. Nor can you take someone seriously who wants to dismantle others' careers or deprive them of their livelihoods without risking his own. He's not a warrior but an assassin.
When I take a stand on an issue, a critic could dig through archives and check to see if my position is consistent with principles I claimed to adhere to; or if I was applying a gross double standard; or engaging in special pleading; or simply settling an old score. Such information is important to evaluating an author's credibility.
Zmirak said he'd never written anonymously in the 35 years he's authored articles on life issues, social issues and politics. He emphasized:
Do a Google search of my rather distinctive name and you come up with 60 pages of reasons to "cancel" me. From the anti-LGBTQ columns I wrote at Yale, to the pro-life columns I wrote in graduate school, to the pieces I wrote opposing the Iraq war in 2003 — and the dead baby vaccine in 2021. Every time I give my opinion, my reputation and career are on the line, as they should be.
The author shared with Church Militant his own experience of dealing with anonymous polemicists:
A commenter who attacked me on a controversial subject accused me of "cowardice" for a piece I'd written and signed. But he went by a sobriquet like "Integralist Muck Farmer" or something. It struck me as rich that this somebody who risked nothing was pumping his own testosterone levels (however briefly) by calling people cowards for speaking their minds while using their names.
Traditionalist Catholics have also anonymously authored polemical books against fellow trads, including two books against the well-known Tradition, Family, Property, founded by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in Brazil in 1960.
The Italian volume Tradizione, Famiglia, Proprietà: Associazione Cattolica o Setta Millenarista? (Tradition, Family, Property: Catholic Association or Millenarian Catholic Sect?) is translated from an anonymous French book.
TFP was forced to respond to a second French book titled Rapport sur la TFP (Report on the TFP). The rebuttal by TFP was billed "Assessment of a report: the thesis: absurd; the argumentation: inconsistent; the witnesses: anonymous."
"I appreciate the contribution of everyone to the debate, including those who, out of prudence, need to be anonymous," Dr. Joseph Shaw, president of the Traditional Latin Mass society Una Voce International, told Church Militant. "It is often people with intimate knowledge of the workings of the Church in particular places who are in this position."
In his message for World Communications Day in 2011, Pope Benedict XVI warned against the internet becoming an instrument that "depersonalizes people," noting that "the gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives."
"Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the Faith!" the pontiff exhorted.