Donohue on Winters on Sirico
Bill Donohue really can’t help himself. Michael Sean Winters wrote some posts on how the Acton Institute’s Fr. Robert Sirico was one of the first people to preside over a same-sex wedding, back in the early 1970s when he was a Protestant minister. True to form, Donohue throws a petulant hissy fit, as he often does when defending his friends when unsavoury aspects of their life are made public. True, this fit wasn’t as bad as his attempt to blame the girl in Deal Hudsongate, but he does lash out at Michael as “a Catholic dissident”.
This is part of a pattern. You see it with Catholyc Vote/ American Papyst and a couple of people at this site – the tendency to accuse fellow Catholics with different political views as dissidents. To them, heterodoxy is not taking a stance against the single sacred deposit of the Word of God, but refusing to get with the program of the Republican party and the associated fake conservative movement. Donohue falls squarely into this camp. Anybody who knows Michael Sean Winters knows that he loves the Church deeply, and is incredibly passionate about the faith. Unfortunately for Donohue, Winters accepts the faith in its totality.
This is where it gets interesting. Donohue claims that Winters is “unhappy that Sirico is not in rebellion against the teachings of the Catholic Church”. I almost laughed out loud at that one! The whole premise of the Acton Institute is to promote an economic liberalism that goes directly against the tenor of Catholic social teaching. I believe he even opposes the government regulation of pornography. Sirico might have changed his coat since the 1970s, but since there is a direct connection between the individualism that fed the sexual revolution in the 1960s and the individualism that fed the resurgence of laissez-faire economics in the 1980s, it appears that his new coat looks suspiciously like his old coat. It’s certainly made of the same material.
But there’s something far worse. Sirico is on record defending torture. Specifically, on EWTN with his buddy Raymond Arroyo, Sirico made jokes about waterboarding, and said that torture might be fine if conducted by a competent authority, if proportionate, and if the threat is imminent. In words, he takes something the Church defines as intrinsically evil and creates circumstances when it might be licit. Of course, he quibbles over the definition of torture but I’m pretty sure he would not be equivocating over these techniques being a “prudential judgment” by a “competent authority” and “depending on circumstances” if (say) the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were the acting agent.
But this is all fine and dandy for Donohue, but poor old Winters is a dissident! Talk about the topsy-turvy land of the American Catholic right!