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AP Claims Catholic Bloggers Want to “Purge Dissenters”

Posted on October 25 2010 7:00 pm
Lisa Graas has covered politics and religion at her blog since 2008. She has served as a crisis pregnancy counselor, youth speaker, mental health advocate and legislative consultant.
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A new article by Associated Press [AP] writer Rachel Zoll claims “Catholic bloggers aim to purge dissenters” and includes a quote comparing us to the Taliban because we use “stark language.” The leftist media shows here a disturbing inability to distinguish between (a) the use of speech to debate ideas and (b) burning heretics. Do Catholic bloggers really want to kill people who disagree with them?

As a Catholic apologist for many years, I am somewhat accustomed to claims, both open and veiled, that bold disagreement with non-Catholics, dissenting Catholics, and the Left at large is somehow equivalent to “purging dissenters.” My mother is not used to it, though. A Baptist with an unshakable belief in Sola Fide, she said she was “shocked” to read this headline at the Washington Post: “Catholic bloggers aim to purge dissenters” which she reads as a charge that we want to “burn people.” She wasn’t so shocked, however, when I showed her an article written by the same writer, Rachel Zoll, in 2008 that smeared Baptists who were doing basically the same thing in their ranks. It appears that Zoll may have a personal agenda against religious fidelity itself.

Catholic activists featured by name in the article include Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV and St. Michael’s Media, Brian Hehir Exposed, Boston Catholic Insider, Bellarmine Veritas Ministry and Thomas Peters whose blog American Papist recently moved to CatholicVote. Others who might as well have been named are myself, Deal Hudson of Catholic Advocate and Inside Catholic. In the mix, as well, are countless smaller blogs like Te Deum Laudamus, Causa Nostrae Laetitiae, and Catholic Mom in Hawaii who daily and joyfully respond on their own initiative to provide back-up to counter the leftist media’s distortion of authentic Catholicism. This movement which some have called the Catholic Tea Party, is the Catholic version of the Taliban, according to one National Catholic Reporter analyst quoted.

John Allen, Vatican analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, has dubbed this trend “Taliban Catholicism.” But he says it’s not a strictly conservative phenomenon – liberals can fit the mindset, too, Allen says. Some left-leaning Catholics are outraged by any exercise of church authority.

NCR, referred to more simply as “Fishwrap” by blogging priest Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, is quite “left-leaning” itself and frequently uses very strong language to describe conservatives, both Catholic and non-Catholic. Examples include the accusation that Newt Gingrich is guilty of “spreading hysteria” and that Glenn Beck is a “hop, skip and a jump” from being a Marxist. Calling us “Taliban” which suggests we might kill people may be the strongest language yet.

Another troubling claim implies that we ourselves are dissenters.

Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it’s not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn’t Catholic enough.

It’s complete falsehood to claim that those who argue against dissent believe “the Church isn’t Catholic enough”. We would be the first to tell you that the Church itself is inherently Catholic. It’s the views of leftists running the show at many chanceries around the country and at the USCCB itself that are “not Catholic enough” for us.

We shake our heads in confusion when we see claims in the media, which spread like wildfire, from the AP to the Washington PostMSNBCCBS News and far beyond; that we who call out dissent, are dissenting by doing so. However, confusion leads to concern when we see claims that suggest we might kill people.

“Stark language” indeed.


Follow Lisa Graas on Twitter and visit her blog at

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