George Weigel makes me laugh. The U.S. press incessantly tries to use their political vocabulary to describe Church and Vatican issues usually completely missing the point. George Weigel, in an article in National Review, exposes the ineptness of the U.S. media in covering the Church while simultaneously ridiculing Fr. Richard McBrien. A win-win. Behold.
By combining low-grade sourcing, a faux-authoritative voice, and leftist political spin in equally impressive measures, Michael Sean Winters and the editors of the Washington Post’s “Outlook” section have won the pole position in this year’s chase for the coveted Father Richard McBrien Prize in Really Inept Vaticanology (named for the Notre Dame theologian who memorably announced that Joseph Ratzinger couldn’t possibly be elected pope, less than 24 hours before Ratzinger was elected).
In “Not Eye to Eye: Wholly Different Angles on the World,” a front-page “Outlook” piece on March 30, Winters claimed that, during his forthcoming visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI will “show how much his worldview differs from President Bush’s when he denounces the continuing U.S. occupation of Iraq before the U.N. General Assembly — a denunciation that’s expected to be especially harsh after the recent martyrdom of a Chaldean Catholic archbishop killed by insurgents in Mosul.” In that one sentence, Winters managed to commit several of the capital sins of Vaticanology: He confused the views of low-ranking bureaucrats with the thinking of senior Vatican officials, the pope’s own thinking, and the official position of the Holy See; he assumed that the pope comes into international forums like the U.N. as a policy proponent rather than as a voice of moral reason; and, perhaps worst of all, he somehow imagined the Benedict XVI would cheapen the sacrifice of the slain Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho by using the Chaldean prelate’s death as a way to score a political point.