Will Sister Walsh Respond To This Newest Attack On Funding?

Will Sister Walsh Respond To This Newest Attack On Funding? November 14, 2011

Instead of trying to create political fires, I think the USCCB and Sister Walsh has something more important to do: dealing with the Catholic plank within.

I wonder how many people who complained about the HHS’s decision to give less funding to some of the USCCB’s good work , encouraging  Sister Walsh in using denigrating rhetoric against the Obama Administration as a whole, nonetheless support Voris in trying to gut the USCCB itself? Sister Walsh, I think,  should look at  the political scene and make sure she isn’t being used for real anti-Catholic ideologies!

"If I am only now scaring you, I need to bring my A game. :-)"

Holding Hands During the Our Father: ..."
"I've lived through this in another direction: a pastor who hectored his congregation to join ..."

Holding Hands During the Our Father: ..."
"Given what some of the Father of the Church said (I am thinking it was ..."

Holding Hands During the Our Father: ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Kurt

    Sister Walsh needs to resign.

  • Darwin

    Is it truly inconceivable that Sr. Walsh should object to both Voris and the behavior of the Obama administration in the HHS grant? Must one decide to side with one of these in order to speak out against the other?

    This seems a false dichotomy.

    • Who said she can’t object to both? The question is will she respond to it and will she do so with similar charged language? We have had the Voris situation for quite some time — but really, it’s all very quiet on that front. And as I pointed out, the plank is in our eye here.

    • Darwin

      Hmmm. I guess it struck me that the USCCB was already pretty clearly doing pretty much everything it could to promote the CCHD appeal. Last year, for instance, our parish was sent posters to paper the church with a month ahead of time, the pastor was asked to preach a sermon on the topic, and everyone on the parish mailing list was sent a glossy brochure written by the USCCB defending the program.

      Admittedly, none of these materials called out those against the appeal by name, but I would say the USCCB couldn’t have made it more clear that it was throwing it’s institutional weight behind supporting the appeal. (And I imagine they think they would be giving people like Voris more attention than he deserves if they attacked him by name. He’s awfully small time.)

      (Personally, after reading over all the materials, I decided to stick with the diocesan campaign and St. Vincent de Paul instead, but one certainly can’t chaulk that up to lack of trying on the USCCB’s part.)

      • It’s one thing to promote CCHHD. It’s another to point out all the people working to defund it. If defunding=anti-Catholic, then why no comments? Again, it is a different kind of rhetoric, apocalyptic religious persecution, for one, but basically — no criticism of those attacking the USCCB from within the Church. Again, the plank. The plank.

      • Darwin

        Sr. Walsh objected to the HHS defunding because it was the defunding of an existing program, which had scored the highest on the grant proposal, for what apeared to be strictly ideological reasons: Punishing the USCCB for some of its stands taken on public issues.

        The objection that some people have to the CCHD is that it provides funds to organizations which either themselves also take stands or perform activities which are contrary to Catholic teaching (promoting abortion, contraception, same sex marriage, etc.) or else they are in alliances with organizations that do these things.

        To insist that the first of these actions is anti-Catholic would not necessarily mean that the second of these actions is anti-Catholic. I suppose one can do it, but for the case to be remotely parallel the Obama administration would have had to have claimed that they were refusing to fund the USCCB program because they felt it was insufficiently faithful to Catholic teaching — not because it was faithful to Catholic teaching.

        I can certainly see why Voris would annoy (he annoys me even though on this particular issue I somewhat agree with him)) but I am honestly having a hard time understanding why Sr. Walsh is attracting so much of your ire.

        • No, you don’t get it.

          1) Dishonesty in claiming what is happening with the HHS/Obama Administration. She has been outright wrong, and anything which counters she is silent about (like all the grants which DID increase in funding).
          2) The idea that lack of funding itself means a hate towards all things Catholic. That’s false, patently false. But if you accept it then
          3) Catholics who promote no funding of programs should be taken similarly, or even, more because they are WITHIN causing rebellion WITHIN. It’s far worse to have people who pretend to be uber-Catholics encouraging rebellion and nothing is done, all the while making a stink with all kinds of distortion of the actual events.

          There is no anti-Catholic hostility going on in. There are political plays going on, to be sure, as always are. No one made any stink over GOP attempts to remove fundings for programs as if it were an all out assault against Catholics. But when one program (which I wish didn’t lose funding) loses funding with the HHS, it’s a sign of doom?!? Give me a break. Anyone who knows anything knows funding comes and goes, and it is not all about persecution.

          Yet, when there are real signs of real problems within the Church with people who are encouraging all kinds of attacks against Catholic Social Doctrine (Voris is constantly attacking things the Vatican and the Pope promotes all under the guise of it being the bad USCCB), no word. Silence.

          Again, it is clear that there is real politics going on behind the scenes. And it is an extremist group within the USCCB right now misleading the communications wing – look at the dishonest claims about health care reform, now this.. there is an attempt to create this “Obama is anti-Catholic” vibe. He might not agree with us, and not everything we want he will do, but same with any non-Catholic politician. But no word ever when it is a GOPer. None. Even when they do worse — no, Bush got all kinds of praise, even when he was bragging at being the first president to support federal funding of ESCR!

  • How many people actually pay attention to this stuff? My Catholic friends, even the most intensely traditional, know about Fox News, the National Catholic Register, CalCatholic, and EWTN, but they never mention Vorb**. His claims are laughably unsupported, and his presentation, while creative, does not seem very polished. He is not (and should not be) on anybody’s radar.

    Try a Google search on “Michael Vorb** -ogg”. Fill in the “is” for “**” when you do your search; I’m trying to avoid spelling out his name on this page to avoid skewing Google’s search counters but even my searching itself will boost his hit rate. BTW, when I did the search, I needed to exclude “ogg” to avoid being flooded with hits on the “ogg vorb**” sound format. I got ONE hit, Fr. Z’s comments about some other criticism of Vorb** commentary. This is not remotely comparable to what O’Reilly gets nor even “Black Sheepdog” Corapi. Probably, now that VN has posted a comment and linked to his page, his Google visibility will increase significantly. VN’s pages get a lot more Google hits than “The Vort**”. Go ahead and check for yourself.

    I guess somebody must be listening and perhaps supporting him directly, but with low production costs, and no apparent research “staff” to maintain, even a dribble of dollars can keep a vanity show going on the Internet forever. Especially if VN boosts his Google visibility.

  • Kurt

    The issue is not that Sister in some way objected to one grant to the particular organization she works for not being renewed. The issue is that a vowed religious with an apostolate of communications for the Catholic Church stated (not suggested, stated) that Catholics (not the USCCB, not the Catholic Church, but Catholics) were not eligible to bid on grants under the current Administration.

    That was a clear lie. Maybe the type of lie we ignore when said by partisan political hacks, but that is her best defense– she wasn’t telling a lie, she was just being a partisan, political hack.

    • Darwin

      There is a difference between rhetoric and lying. I rather doubt that any person read her statement as meaning that any person of the Catholic faith, working for any organization, would be refused a grant based on some sort of religious test. To say that her statement meant that is to torture the English language in ways that are surely agains the Geneva conventions.

      Moreover, there is a difference between being a “partisan, politican hack” and expressing one’s opinion in rhetorical style in order to make an important point in regards to policy and politics. Given your occupation and alignments, I would imagine that you in particular would understand this.

      • She said “anybody but Catholic.” That was an outright falsehood.

      • Kurt


        So I take it that all you expect of Sister is that she has standards about where you think my standards are.

        I also find interesting your statement that “Sr. Walsh objected to the HHS defunding because it was the defunding of an existing program, which had scored the highest on the grant proposal, for what apeared to be strictly ideological reasons: Punishing the USCCB for some of its stands taken on public issues.”

        Isn’t that the basis of the “de-fund Planned Parenthood” campaign?

      • Darwin


        Yes, that is the basis of the “de-fund Planned Parenthood” campaign. And indeed, I would certainly not deny being “anti-Planned Parenthood”, though it seems that no one wants to consider the Administration action as being “anti-Catholic”.

        I don’t have a problem with the defund Planned Parenthood campaign because I think it’s an evil organization worthy of being shunned. If people believe that the Church is an evil organization worthy of being shunned, I would expect them to do the same. However, if I disagree with them that the Church is such an organization, and I think that most people would agree with me, I might turn around and use their actions to appeal for public sympathy for the Church and against them.

        Actually, now I think of it, I would strongly encourage Planned Parenthood to mount a campaign of public outrage saying that congress has instituted a “anyone but abortionists” policy in awarding contracts for non-abortion related services.

      • LongtimeReader

        There is a difference between rhetoric and lying. I rather doubt that any person read her statement as meaning that any person of the Catholic faith, working for any organization, would be refused a grant based on some sort of religious test.

        I did. It is exactly what “anybody but Catholic” or “anybody but X” means – a litmus test of some kind. You admit as much by your use of it in your comment below about how you wish another organization would use that exact phrase.

        Nothing but showmanship and politics going on here folks.

      • Kurt


        I also have no love for PP.

        But are you really happy with government contracting dropping any pretense of being merit based and just opened up to a public debate of what the public thinks of funders? Do you really welcome such becoming a standard part of deciding if GE or Lockheed gets a defense contract? I’m not sure the good guys always win such fights.

  • JohnH

    It could be that he Obama Administration may possess more power and influence than Michael Voris, and hence one may merit a response where the other may not.

    • Again, Jesus didn’t say correct the one with the most power first.

      • WJ

        This is a nonsequitur to JohnH’s point, which is a good one. C’mon Henry, everybody knows that Voris is your bete-noir!

        • It really isn’t, WJ.

          As Jesus said, get the plank out of your own eye first. When you have a popular vocal spokesman being used across the US as an encouragement to disloyalty, I think the influence on Catholics (and bad influence at that) is far more than Obama. Plus, the reports of Obama’s administration being anti-Catholic and removing funding for Catholics is wrong.

          Still, the question remains: why do people of the GOP-American-right-wing not get called out for their lack of religious tolerance and for their desire to remove funding to Catholics and Catholic programs with the same kind of apocalyptic doomsday rhetoric we have heard?

      • JohnH

        I’d guess that the average Catholic hasn’t even heard of Voris. He has a somewhat higher profile among Catholics who frequent blogs, but apart from that his audience is negligible. If I were in Sister Walsh’s position, I would ignore him rather than allowing him an audience, which is just what persons of his ilk desire.

        • Nonetheless, of those who have heard of him, they also spread his ideas to people who don’t read blogs. Influence spreads, especially when nothing is being done against it.

      • Darwin

        Personally, I only ever end up watching Voris when he’s linked to on this blog.

        • So? Doesn’t mean there is no influence of his line of thought upon you — just look to TAC.

      • JohnH

        I think you vastly overestimate the reach of Voris’s message. He preaches to a minority of a minority, and his message is tooled to reach only those who already agree with him.

        Perhaps the offensiveness of his message and the way you feel about him personally makes him loom large in your mind, but I can assure you that if you went down to the average parish and asked for a show of hands as to who knows about Voris, or who knows anything one way or the other about the CCHD debate he has sought to drum up, you’d get perhaps one or two responses.

        • Once again, the direct viewership might be small, but the connections these people make spreads around. This is how many errors start, assuming it is small and so nothing is done.

      • Darwin


        They may be, I have no idea. I never click on their advertisements, myself.

        Either way, I think JohnH is right that Voris is a pretty insignificant figure in regards US Catholicism as a whole — though I’m aware he looms large in the minds of some here. I don’t think the USCCB is any more likely to spend time arguing with him by name than they are to spend time arguing with you or me.

        • K

          Darwin, I hope you’re right about the influence of Voris, but he represents part of a larger phenomenon. I live in Canada and one of my biggest fears is that the polarization that exists in the American Church makes it’s way north. Voris — although he is not the only one — represents the sort of polarization I am speaking of, and while I’d like to think his influence is not far reaching, I think a lot of persons gravitate towards him and become the worse for doing so.

  • Sean

    This is a bunch of right-wing Catholic wackos…
    never heard of this guy….great at throwing
    scripture around and great at judging others
    from afar.
    Get a life!

  • WJ

    Darwin, you yourself are pretty destructive, what with your moniker and neo-liberal economic views (hmmm…a *social* darwinist perhaps?…). I wouldn’t mind seeing the USCCB throw a view rhetorical bombs your way. Blast you!!

  • Thales

    I consider myself to be in “Catholic circles” but I only hear about Voris when I come to Vox Nova.

    I’m wondering when Henry will speak out against Catholics for Choice or WomenPriests or any other wacky liberal group X. After all, their influence spreads, especially when nothing is being done against it.

    (I’m not serious — just a little tongue-in-cheek poking. There are wacky people on all sides and it’s impossible to respond to everyone, and sometimes it does more harm than good to try to respond to them because it gives them legitimacy. And even if the USCCB knew about Voris — which I suspect they don’t — I don’t expect them to respond to the rantings of a mere blogger, while it’s natural for them to respond to the administrative actions of the White House.)

  • Julian Barkin

    I never thought I’d see the day Vox Nova directly imbeds a Michael Voris Video into one of its posts!

  • I consider myself to be in “Catholic circles” but I only hear about Voris when I come to Vox Nova.

    Same with me. Lol.