Friday, August 23, 2019

Response to Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse, the C-Fam president who has lately aligned himself with what he admiringly calls the "western chauvinists" known as the Proud Boys, in an op-ed appearing today on the Crisis website, accuses me of publicly countering what I see as "anti-Francis heresy."

Yes, that is correct. Ruse is excoriating me for standing with the pope.

But the most surprising thing about the Crisis piece is that it is presented as some kind of grand exposé about me, as if there has been a radical new development in my outlook. Sorry to disappoint those who think so, but the truth is that in all essentials I am still the same Catholic as I have always been, since my conversion in 2006 — and I have been dealing with online outbursts against me for over a decade.

Yes, I hate to break the news to Austin, but he has come very late to the anti-Dawn party. I was attacked for defending the Church’s pro-life, pro-chastity, and pro-marriage teachings after becoming a Catholic, and have since been attacked, as a theologian, for criticizing Christopher West’s distorted and highly sexualized presentation of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. I have also been attacked for defending Catholic teachings against female ordination and gender ideology.

Here I am in August 2018 defending the male priesthood before a thousand members of the Georgetown University community and their guests —watch at the 1:18:07 mark. It did not earn me any employment offers from Jesuit colleges.


So, now I am being attacked for defending the legitimacy and authority of the Supreme Pontiff. Normally I would not consider an article such as Ruse's worthy of a response. However, since friends have contacted me who were troubled by it, here are a few points readers should consider:
  • Ruse presents himself as an impartial commentator on issues concerning Cardinal Burke. That is not the case. He is in fact a close collaborator of the cardinal. According to Ruse's official bio on C-Fam's website, he and Burke are working on a book together, and the cardinal wrote the foreword for Ruse’s 2017 book Littlest Suffering Souls
  • Ruse lists among my alleged sins, "She doesn’t like Sophia Institute Press." I assume he is referring to my criticizing Sophia for publishing Taylor Marshall's Infiltration, a book that promotes bizarre anti-Masonic and even anti-Jewish conspiracy theories to argue that all popes since Pius XII have been infected with Modernism. (Here is a link to read my entire thread on Infiltration.) 
What Ruse doesn't mention is that Sophia Institute Press publishes Crisis magazine, where his article appears. That's an important piece of information that belongs in the article itself — not merely in the small print at the very bottom of the page.
  • Ruse sugarcoats the Catholic Herald's publication of a repugnantly anti-Semitic op-ed by Taki, which I protested. Yet the Herald's own Sohrab Ahmari deemed the article vile. Following Ahmari's complaint, the magazine quietly removed the op-ed from its website. Why would they have done this if they were not themselves embarrassed by it? (Ruse also neglects to note that his own editor at Crisis, Michael Warren Davis, was the US editor in chief at the Herald when Taki's piece ran in the magazine's US edition.)
  • In Ruse's effort to support his main accusation, that I misrepresented Cardinal Burke's recent interview for Patrick Coffin, he heavily edits Burke's words to make it seem as though the cardinal upheld the validity of Francis's election. In fact, Burke twice said "I don't know" when asked whether further evidence might show the election was invalid. He clearly gave the impression that the jury was still out. Even when he denied Antonio Socci's theory that there could be two popes, he said "the whole matter is a bit confused" and he recommended listeners read the theory of the author, whom he called "saintly." See the transcript I posted in my Twitter thread or read it via ThreadReaderApp. And see LifeSiteNews's article, which is careful to leave the matter open for its readers to decide where Burke stands.
  • The rest of the article consists of half-truths mixed with outright lies. Some of the errors are relatively benign, such as Ruse's claim that I sought his advice at his New York office while I was at the New York Post, where I worked until January 2005. In fact, we did not meet until more than two years later, when at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, on April 13, 2007, as correspondence between us shows. 
  • Other errors are more serious, such as Ruse's insinuating that I have publicly called those who oppose Pope Francis “heretics" — I have not — or that I have a blanket dislike of EWTN and its affiliates. On the contrary, I have repeatedly praised the faith and professionalism of EWTN employees, specifying that my issue is not with the network as a whole.

That is all I have to say. Please join me in praying for the Holy Father and for the unity of the Church. Mater ecclesiae, ora pro nobis.