“On Fog” — A Meditation

1247602 The Fog PostersIt’s a question that has been bugging me for a long time: What, precisely, is that sprawling “On Faith” site over at the Washington Post Online?

It’s a question that I’ve been asking ever since that site opened, as you can see by clicking here. You may recall that the very first “On Faith” question to its Parliament of Religions panel was this:

If some religious people believe they have a monopoly on truth, then are conversation and common ground possible? If so, what would be the difficulties and benefits of such a conversation?

Great question. But is that a news question?

It has become clear that “On Faith” is, in reality, a gigantic and very ambitious op-ed page for discussions and arguments about issues, beliefs and feelings linked to religion. What is not clear is what all of this has to do with news coverage of religion news. I, for one, really wish that there was some way for the “On Faith” site to at least — this would cost nothing, really — gather together all of the news reporting that takes place in the Washington Post newsroom and in its wire-service offerings (Religion News Service, for heaven’s sake) and put it together in a one-stop shopping grid on the weblog so that there is more interaction between the opinion and essays at “On Faith” and, well, the world of facts, doctrines and events that drive religion news.

That’s N.E.W.S. Or is this op-ed-only approach actually the message, implying that there are no real facts to report about religious life, doctrine, history and events? That religion is, in reality, a subject in which everything is opinion and fog and that everyone should just accept that and move on? Thus, there is no transcendence and revelation that is not completely and utterly personal and private. Thus, it is hard to do hard journalism in this realm — other than op-ed opinion.

You can see signs of this approach in founder Sally Quinn’s famous — for the Divine Ms. MZ that was infamous — essay on the weblog’s one-year anniversary. Remember this paragraph?

When we started this I knew practically nothing about religion or the internet. I was not a believer (Jon Meacham is an Episcopalian, a practicing Christian) so I felt secure that I had his experience and knowledge to give us the grounding we needed. Even so it was such an unlikely subject for me to get involved with that even my husband was in shock. My friends still report people sidling up to them at cocktail parties and saying, “What’s with Sally and this religion thing?”

If you don’t know the identity of her husband, then you don’t know Washington, D.C.

Anyway, there is now a new discussion taking place near the often troubled intersection of Catholicism and journalism, linked to Quinn’s affectionate online essay entitled “The Faith and Joy of Russert.” The key section is linked to the recent funeral for the NBC politico, who was an active and outspoken Catholic:

Last Wednesday at Tim’s funeral mass at Trinity Church in Georgetown (Jack Kennedy’s church), communion was offered. I had only taken communion once in my life, at an evangelical church. It was soon after I had started “On Faith” and I wanted to see what it was like. Oddly I had a slightly nauseated sensation after I took it, knowing that in some way it represented the body and blood of Jesus Christ. … I was determined to take it for Tim, transubstantiation notwithstanding. I’m so glad I did. It made me feel closer to him. And it was worth it just to imagine how he would have loved it.

As you would imagine, traditional Catholics were not amused, in part because one takes communion in an evangelical church and Communion in a Catholic parish. Thus — no surprise — Bill Donohue at the Catholic League quickly expressed displeasure and that reached The New Republic:

“Just reading what Sally Quinn said is enough to give any Christian, especially Catholics, more than a ‘slightly nauseating sensation.’ In her privileged world, life is all about experiences and feelings.

“Moreover, Quinn’s statement not only reeks of narcissism, it shows a profound disrespect for Catholics and the beliefs they hold dear. If she really wanted to get close to Tim Russert, she should have found a way to do so without trampling on Catholic sensibilities. Like praying for him — that’s what Catholics do.”

items in the sacristy 06TNR called Quinn and she had just received a really nasty voicemail. The conversation, in effect, led to this Quinn statement to the press and her public:

I’m very pluralistic about religion, and I feel that everyone should respect everyone else’s. … I was really close to (Russert), and I was grieving. And I thought me taking the Eucharist would be a thing that he would really enjoy. And all these things are what religion should be about. … There’s no sign out there that says you’re not allowed to take Communion. [The Catholic Church is] like, “Everyone is welcome. This is God’s house.” God doesn’t turn people away, supposedly.

I think it’s really an important issue. The Pope doesn’t want people who are pro-choice to take it. John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd, even the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, and others were not allowed. … Frankly, none of that was going through my mind. I was feeling absolutely destroyed. It felt right to do it as a tribute to him. I wasn’t thinking politically at all.

I’ve become a champion of pluralism and a spirit of inclusiveness. Any religious people who purport to be Christians, or whatever faith you might be, would do everything they could to welcome others — in the case of Catholics, to welcome others the way Christ would welcome others. This is a perfect example of WWJD. Would Jesus have said, “No you don’t, Sally Quinn. You’re not going to get away with this one!”

This kind of more-Catholic-than-the-pope logic tends to make pro-Vatican Catholics upset. To read an essay on the traditions and doctrines linked to “closed Communion,” click here for a few words from Mark Shea.

Also, one of the nation’s best-known Jesuits, Father James Martin, said just about everything that a Catholic would want to say to non-Catholics on this topic in a quick online response for America. Yes, on the one hand, Jesus was all about inclusion and welcome, especially when it came to healing and invitations for repentance and forgiveness. However:

On the other hand…

Catholics believe in the “real presence,” the actual presence of Christ in the elements of the Eucharist: the bread and the wine. It is a central element of our faith, and reception of Communion is something that a Catholic does not do lightly. Which is something of an understatement. “First Holy Communion” is an important passage to adulthood; and even afterwards adults are asked to approach Communion reverently and without being conscious of any grave sin. Catholics also know that the very word “Communion” means that you are in “communion” with the rest of the Catholic church, and accept its beliefs.

Therefore, it is probably not too much to expect that the co-founder of a prestigious online blog about religion run by two of the nation’s premier journals, would understand something about the most basic practices of the Catholic church. Most intelligent people know a few facts about the Catholic church: this is one of them. And even if one doesn’t know this, one would know to act with great care when in the midst of a worshiping community not your own. (For example, I am always exceedingly careful not to offend anyone’s sensibilities when in a synagogue, a mosque or a Christian church or meeting place not affiliated with the Catholic church.) An essential element of respect for another religious tradition is approaching their holy places, people and ceremonies with sense of reverence, even awe.

And right there is the point that makes this subject crucial to your GetReligionistas, rather than simply piling on with others who want to knock Quinn for her emotion-driven approach to what it means to partake of a Sacrament in an ancient, doctrinal, Sacramental Church.

There are facts that matter here. Facts about history, doctrine and courtesy. Facts matter when you are covering religion news and trends. Facts matter when you are interviewing religious people — left and right, members of major world religions and members of lesser known bodies that some would be tempted to call “fringe.” Facts and doctrine matter to religious people, even to people who are very specific and highly creedal about the doctrines that they reject. I have interviewed many an atheist who had more doctrines in his anti-creed than I recite in the Nicene Creed.

This isn’t about emotions and feelings. It’s about getting the facts right and showing respect for the people for whom those facts, doctrines and rituals are a matter of eternal life and death. Facts matter in journalism, religion and journalism about religion. Amen.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • ArchdukeFranz

    What do you expect when you hire someone who knows absolutely nothing about religion to write a religion blog.

    Would the Washington Post hire someone who knows absolutley nothing about football to cover the Redskins?

    I find it odd that should would not admit she made a mistake. It would be a great teaching moment (and a great, worthwile article) to talk about Catholics and Communion.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt


    But, you see, she is not COVERING religion in a journalistic sense.

    She is emoting about religion. It’s about the mystery. It’s about the fact that there are no doctrines that transcend the individual.

    That’s the point of my post.

    Is this NEWS?

  • Brian Walden

    “I’m very pluralistic about religion…”
    “I was really close to (Russert)…”
    “And I thought…”
    “I think…”
    “I was feeling…”
    “It felt right…”
    “I wasn’t thinking…” [Ok, I threw this one in there just for fun]
    Do you see the pattern here. This isn’t about doctrine, it’s about Mrs. Quinn not being able to use logic. In her mind, her personal thoughts are what go for everyone. Let’s say I wear my sneakers around my house, but when I go to a friend’s house he tells me that his family always take their shoes off before entering. Do I say “I’m open-minded about shoe-wearing. My shoes are very special to me and I like wearing them. Plus I feel that the socks I’m wearing today aren’t the most attractive pair I own, so I think I’ll keep my shoes on.” Or, even if I think all of these things do I comply with my friends request out of respect for his house and his customs. A journalist who doesn’t understand this basic concept should be fired.

    “There’s no sign out there that says you’re not allowed to take Communion.”

    I find this hard to believe. The rules for communion are prominently printed in every missal and Masses like funerals and weddings which usually have a lot of non-Catholics almost always have an announcement about communion before hand.

    I’ve become a champion of pluralism and a spirit of inclusiveness.

    If this was truly her reason for receiving communion then she did so sacrilegiously with the specific intent of politicizing the Mass. She should be fired immediately for such an offensive act.

    P. S. I’m suprised that America presented a faithful Catholic position in an article, GR should cover that. ;-)

  • Jerry

    There are facts that matter here. Facts about history, doctrine and courtesy. Facts matter when you are covering religion news and trends.

    And facts about motive. Are the words ‘slightly nauseated’ and ‘reeks’ a manifestation of the second “Greatest Commandment”? If we’re going to ask hard questions and search for facts, shouldn’t reporters ask how various statements align with the fundamental teachings of Christ?

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    traditional Catholics were not amused, in part because one takes communion in an evangelical church and Communion in a Catholic parish

    Others, Catholic and otherwise, may be simply nonplussed at the concept that one changes the nature of a sacrament by capitalizing it; particularly after all those years when one “heard mass” or “assisted at mass” in a Catholic parish. And what does one take in, say, an Anglican parish?

    I’m very pluralistic about religion, and I feel that everyone should respect everyone else’s

    “Respect”, as long as they do what Sally Quinn thinks they should be doing. Would she “respect” Judaism by serving ham to a party of rabbis?

    There’s no sign out there that says you’re not allowed to take Communion.

    I immediately thought, as I often do, of a passage from Asimov’s THE END OF ETERNITY

    And note that, once again, something is presented not as a matter of Catholic doctrine, but of what “the Pope wants”.

    And I guess her Bible does not include St. Paul’s exhortation against being a stumbling-block to the weaker brethren. Or is that one of the parts of the Epistles we are being told by enlightened modernists we can just ignore?

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    Somehow, the quote disappeared:

    Harlan, pale with his own gathering embarassment, said, “I was never told that Cub Coooper was not to be taken on the kettle.”
    The explanation did not act as an emollient. “What kind of an excuse is a double negative, boy? You were never told not to get him drunk. You were never told not to shave him bald. You were never told not to skewer him with a fine-edged Tav curve.”

  • Brian Walden

    Jerry, I’m not sure what you’re asking? First of all I don’t think Quinn meant the term “slightly nauseated” in a disrespectful way. I think it was a reflection of her misunderstanding that the host would have the physical qualities of flesh and blood – having this in her mind gave her a slightly sick feeling when consuming the host. It may have also legitimately been her stomach’s reaction, due to the inseparable relationship between the soul and the body, to receiving her Lord sacrilegiously.

    And Donohue, whose rhetoric is admittedly sometimes over the top, didn’t use reeks as a personal attack on Quinn. To say her statements reek of narcissim is a perfectly legitimate response to Quinn’s thoughts. She made no effort to understand the Catholic Church’s position on restricting communion to people who are actually in communion with the Church. Regardless of whether the Church is right or wrong, she gave no thought to common courtesy. She made her decision only on her own feelings that she wanted to receive communion because that would make her feel better and somehow closer to Russert. How would you describe the situation?

  • Martha

    “I was determined to take it for Tim, transubstantiation notwithstanding. I’m so glad I did. It made me feel closer to him. And it was worth it just to imagine how he would have loved it.”


    And that, my friends, is what we call “invincible ignorance”.

    (Okay, maybe not technically, but – how do you explain to a nice well-meaning lady who was trying to demonstrate her friendship for the deceased that she’s just committed a really big faux-pas? Worse than putting doilies everywhere?)

  • Jerry

    Brian, the quote is not about her reaction but the comment of Bill Donohue.

    How would you describe the situation?

    This is a personal comment but I think it bears directly on the situation. I’ve attended services of various religions including Buddhist, Jewish, protestant and Catholic. My assumption is always that I should do my best not to stand out if I was not sure what to do. That might cause me to do something that violates what a member of the faith would expect me to do. Thus I would ask what the responsibility the Church is in helping non-member understand what is appropriate behavior.

    Does anyone know about news stories that include discussions of how church’s now handle those questions?

  • http://liberalpastor.blogspot.com/ Jay Steele

    The joy of piling on. Nowhere does it say on the web page of On Faith that Sally Quinn is a journalist. Nor does it claim in any way to be a news journal about religion. It is a forum for religious opinions where religious representatives share their opinions on questions posed by the moderators or others.

    I suspect that the reason Sally Quinn was chosen as one of the moderators (or at least the 2nd reason) is precisely because of her ignorance of religion. You get the un-polished thoughts and musing of someone who doesn’t know and doesn’t care about religious doctrine. She represents the voice of a significant portion of the American public. I don’t read her posts for insight into religion’s inside baseball. I read them to see what someone looking on from the outside is seeing and thinking.

    Regarding her ignorance of Catholic communion, maybe she should have known better but maybe she was just genuinely caught up in the emotion of the event.

    Furthermore, whatever official bulletins or missives might say about who can take communion the reality is that from parish to parish there are differences. I am a Protestant minister but married into a very Catholic family for 27+ years and I have been to many different Catholic parishes over the years where non-Catholics were welcomed unofficially to take communion. And I have been to Catholic funerals for public officials where many non-Catholics queued up and partook. It was there way of showing respect for the deceased.

    If the church really cared about this it would not leave the taking of communion up to the whims of ignorant visitors or even willfully defiant priests. It may think it useful from time to time to make an example of public figures who willfully flaunt church teachings by denying them communion, but it can’t really be too worried about the non-Catholic who just gets in line and does what everyone else is doing. Overall it is probably an effective evangelism tool. Or does God shut down when the non-Catholic takes communion?

  • Brian Walden

    If the church really cared about this it would not leave the taking of communion up to the whims of ignorant visitors or even willfully defiant priests.

    This thinking is similar to Quinn’s. Just because something doesn’t fit your paradigm, doesn’t mean it’s not true. I agree with you that in most parishes the situation isn’t handled well, but that doesn’t mean that the Church doesn’t really care. It’s evident from all of the Church’s teachings that it does. The Eucharist is the center of life for Catholics.

    This is tangent to the point, but I can’t think of a situation that wouldn’t come down to the whims of visitors and priests. Should we use sacrament vending machines with built in lie detector tests?

    I am a Protestant minister but married into a very Catholic family for 27+ years and I have been to many different Catholic parishes over the years where non-Catholics were welcomed unofficially to take communion. And I have been to Catholic funerals for public officials where many non-Catholics queued up and partook. It was there way of showing respect for the deceased.

    So if they were unofficially welcomed, that still means it was officially wrong, correct? And what about showing respect for the deceased’s Church? Don’t get me wrong, I realize that many people (both Catholic and Non-Catholic) don’t know what they do when they present themselves for communion even though they shouldn’t. But for the ones who do know, emotions and unofficial welcomes don’t make it right.

  • Jimmy Mac

    Rules, glorious rules!
    What wouldn’t we give for
    That extra bit more –
    That’s all that we live for
    Why should we be fated to
    Do nothing but brood
    On rules,
    Magical rules,
    Wonderful rules,
    Marvelous rules,
    Fabulous rules.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Jimmy Mac:

    And the point? That the Catholic Church does not have the right to be the Catholic Church? That it’s OK to twist and ignore other people’s traditions?

    Do you feel the same way about Islam? Judaism?

  • Martha

    Jay, she is a nice lady who meant well and wanted to show her affection for the man. So she went up and received Communion.

    God is not going to strike her dead with a thunderbolt. Neither is there any excuse for “nasty voicemail” messages. It’s a pardonable offence.

    However, it is an offence. The point is “Okay, you didn’t know you shouldn’t have done it and it wasn’t a deliberate act of provocation or rebellion – unlike some who should indeed know better. But please, don’t do it again. Thank you.”

    I can understand why she feels defensive, and it’s definitely no fun for her being attacked. But when she starts going on about “pluralism” and “respect” and the like, then you have to say “If you were going into a mosque, you’d be expected to take your shoes off. I don’t suppose you’d make a big song-and-dance about your right to wear shoes. Same way if you were going into any other religious building, or simply someone else’s home. It’s good manners.”

  • Stephen A.

    I’ve visited Catholic Churches in the past and, not being Catholic, I always either stay seated, or if the rows are tight together, I stand and leave the pew, allowing the others to pass by me on the way to recieve the Eucharist. But then again, I have long ago educated myself about other faiths, unlike, apparently, this columnist/commentator/blogger-whatever.

    What she did was profoundly disrespectful, and her failure to apologize and move on makes this story remain a story.

    Does she know NOTHING about scandals in the news, either? Acknowledge, apologize and then everyone can move on. Don’t, and they won’t. As she’s learning. (Another “teaching moment” for her, I guess.)

  • Rose

    I agree with Martha (#14), but I also think that it was more of an offense to the Catholic Community at large after it became a press sensation; than it ever was to Jesus.
    At first I thought of it as a personal offense, but then I realized that this person was not deliberately trying to offend because she did not understand.

    *If a person does something in ignorance and/or out of a selfish motive, or the passion of grief; then that makes all the difference in how the Church judges the action. Catechesis & then continued offense is the key.
    I am more offended by the scandal “Catholic” politicians bring upon the faithful with their continued disobedience and rebellion in receiving Eucharist while in open support of abortion. It is uncomfortable to witness, but it also seems that they do not understand that they are harming the Church community as well as themselves by their action in denial.

    In trying to get close to Tim R. she encountered the living God; even if she didn’t know it intellectually. Her soul will now most assuredly thirst for more of Jesus until she seeks out (or is led to) the Catholic Church through the proper channels; no matter how long it takes. This is a prayer opportunity.

    No, it wasn’t proper journalistic ettiquette, but she most likely discerned the best she could her approach to fit in.
    Too bad she didn’t have the chance to attend Church with Tim while he was still living and able to really share his faith with her.

    It would have been charitable if some seasoned Catholic, noticing her in the parish for the first time, might approach her and in a welcoming manner assist in giving her a Missal & pointing out to her the rules of receiving or not according to our tradition. It is a kindness to take someone under your wing and means a lot in the long run.
    I can usually tell a non-Catholic from a Catholic familiar with parish protocol at a funeral. I think her defensive demeanor is to cover up some embarassment she feels in retrospect. She could apologize and she may yet do so at a later time.

  • Julia

    If the church really cared about this it would not leave the taking of communion up to the whims of ignorant visitors or even willfully defiant priests

    In my Catholic diocese in Southern Illinois, there is always a statement made at funerals and weddings about the Church’s position on the reception of Communion. It is done in very respectful terms. Also – the priests always will say “please kneel or sit” or “please stand”, etc. during the Mass so that nobody will feel stupid or out of place.

    I had assumed that all Catholic churches did this. Of course, the church in Georgetown was probably Jesuit and they are getting very lax about these things.

    When I was a child I drank the grape juice in little cups with my grandma at the Baptist Church when visiting in Kansas, but they don’t put the same importance on it and it’s definitely not considered a sacrament. That’s entirely different and my Kansas Protestant relatives would never have received Communion in a Catholic Church. But my ex-Catholic brother and his Jewish children recieved Communion at my mother’s funeral and I didn’t have the heart to object. I respect his motives more than Sally Quinn’s.

  • Mike

    Honest Mistake -> Nasty Responses -> Ridiculous refusal to apologize.
    Shared blame.

  • http://weblog.theviewfromthecore.com/ ELC

    The attitude towards religion being discussed here has been around for a very long time; Newman recognized it so well that he responded to it in the very opening paragraph of his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine in 1845: “Christianity has been long enough in the world to justify us in dealing with it as a fact in the world’s history. Its genius and character, its doctrines, precepts, and objects cannot be treated as matters of private opinion or deduction, unless we may reasonably so regard the Spartan institutions or the religion of Mahomet. It may indeed legitimately be made the subject-matter of theories; what is its moral and political excellence, what its due location in the range of ideas or of facts which we possess, whether it be divine or human, whether original or eclectic, or both at once, how far favourable to civilization or to literature, whether a religion for all ages or for a particular state of society, these are questions upon the fact, or professed solutions of the fact, and belong to the province of opinion; but to a fact do they relate, on an admitted fact do they turn, which must be ascertained as other facts, and surely has on the whole been so ascertained, unless the testimony of so many centuries is to go for nothing.”

  • Chris Bolinger

    To Quinn, ignorance isn’t just bliss…ignorance is empowerment. Combine ignorance with strong opinions and pervasive arrogance, and you have Newsweek, the “news” magazine that seeks to inform readers who agree with it. The company that lists Newsweek as one of its publications, what is its name again? And what balanced, centrist, well-informed MSM newspaper shares the name of the parent company? Help me out here.

  • Brian Walden

    I don’t buy the honest mistake part. The reason this became an incident is because she choose to write about it on her blog. In that post she said that she knew before the funeral that Catholics believe the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. And in her later defense of her actions she admitted that she knew the Pope had said it was wrong.

    I admit that she doesn’t have a full understanding of what Catholics believe about the Communion, but she’s demonstrated that she bears some degree of culpability. She knew it was something she wasn’t supposed to do, her will told her otherwise and she followed her will over her conscience. If it truly was an honest mistake on her part she wouldn’t have written about it, or at least would have written about it in a different way.

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  • Gerry

    Uh, learn to read, people. She can’t claim to be “ignorant” when she brings up the names of politicians who have been the in the midst of this very issue.

  • cheryl

    How much is Sally Quinn being paid in her position as a religion journalist for the Washington Post?

    My point: she is a journalist, a profession in which facts are rather important, and she further claims expertise in the area of religion. So Quinn (a non-Catholic) was either stunningly ignorant or stunningly arrogant and/or self-absorbed when she made the decision to receive the Eucharist during a Catholic Mass…and then tell the world what she did.

    I’m going with arrogant and/or self-absorbed on this one.

    (Although I wish, as I often do, that the Catholic League hadn’t fought fire with fire. They are their own worst enemy at times.)

  • Michael

    I don’t believe for a second that Ms. Quinn made an “honest” mistake. She knew better. I know MANY non-Catholics who wouldn’t have a clue what you were asking if you said “What is Transubstantiation?” – but they WOULD know that non-Catholics don’t go up to receive Communion in a Catholic Church. She is apparently more ‘familiar’ with the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist than a fair amount of the Catholic faithful (like the late Tim Russert for example) – but she doesn’t know that she should not be receiving Communion!? No freakin way!

    Now she gets to play the victim and make a big show of being offended and hurt by the actions of all the people who were offended and hurt by her dishonest and disrespectful actions. Poor Sally – being attacked by all those “bad” and “hypocritical” Catholics that care about the faith she has absolutely no regard for.

    And I totally get the analogies to other faith traditions. I think blatantly disrepectful behavior (and then publicly writing all about your PRIDE in carrying out this disrespectful behavior) in a Mosque or a Synogogue would have non-Muslims and non-Jews up in arms!

    Seriously – does anybody (other than faithful Catholics) care that the beliefs of the Catholic Church can be trampled on DURING A CATHOLIC SERVICE – and then later bragged about – with no repercussions?

    It is SO not right. Not right at all.

  • http://commonsensepoliticalthought.com Dana

    The only Catholic Church where I’ve ever seen the instructions as to whom may or may not receive the Eucharist was St Patrick’s in New York City printed in an easily accessible place — in this instance, the church bulletin, distributed as you entered — which receives literally millions of non-Catholic visitors.

    Mrs Quinn’s offense could hardly have been unknown to her; there was a considerable stink when President Clinton took Communion at a Catholic Mass in South Africa, and the kerfuffle about whether Senator Kerry should or should not be allowed to receibe the Host in 2004 cannot have failed to catch her attention.

  • Chris Molter

    ‘Or does God shut down when the non-Catholic takes communion?’

    Unfortunately, no, for those who knowingly receive unprepared. Hence the “glorious rules”.

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  • Maureen

    “Or does God shut down when the non-Catholic takes communion?”

    It says here, “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”

    Corinthians 11:20. You can look it up.

    Hopefully, Ms Quinn will not suffer any ill effects. No doubt God (and Tim Russert) know that she misinterpreted God’s call to join the Church and thus be able to join in Communion, and in the communion of the saints.

    But that’s why we yell and scream. It’s not just offensive; it’s scary, like watching a grown woman run out to go play in traffic on a whim.