Amy Sullivan and the Father of Lies


Lifesite has a piece entitled:

Time Piece Blasting Archbishop Burke Also Refuted by John Allen, Robert Royal
Alan says, contrary to Time assertion, Burke’s influence in Church "set to grow"


Princeton Professor Robert P. George told (LSN) that the quotes he had given Sullivan were used "selectively" and gave the erroneous impression that he did not oppose the lavish Kennedy funeral that became a hotspot of scandal in the US Church and abroad.

Also this:

Noted Princeton Professor Robert P. George says he is "not pleased" with TIME’s Amy Sullivan’s "selective" use of a quotation from him in her article "A Tale of Two Priests."   … George responded to LifeSiteNews that he "was quoted accurately, though selectively." He also  revealed he had expressed concerns via email at the beginning to Sullivan about how his comments might be presented. As a result of Sullivan’s response, he told LSN, he "accepted what I took to be her assurance of fairness and non-partisanship in her message of October 5th.  I should not have been so trusting."

Prof. George said:

Here is what she did not include in the article, but readers should, I think, have been told:  I said that I thought Archbishop Burke was right to deny pro-abortion politicians communion pursuant to Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law. I also said that I thought Cardinal O’Malley made an error of judgment in permitting a large public funeral for Teddy Kennedy and personally participating in it.  The error was precisely in failing to see the scandal that would be given.  I am disappointed that she omitted these points and mentioned only my surprise at learning (from her) that Archbishop Burke has taken the position that Kennedy should not have been given a Catholic funeral at all — even a private one.

Amy Sullivan plainly lied.

If you subscribe to Time… CANCEL IT NOW.


Again and again we see once great instruments of the old printed media devolve into liberal snake-oil peddlers.

So it is with Time.  

I have picked about peices by Time‘s immensely biased Amy Sullivan before.  Amy Sullivan was a legislative assistant to pro-abortion Catholic former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD).  That should tell you pretty much all you need to know.  She is a convinced acolyte of Moloch.  If memory serves Amy also wrote that tax payer funding abortion in the House health care bill was a myth.  She wants you to live with her in her fantasy world, cavorting with the saline injecting gnomes and little forceps wielding pixies.
Ms. Sullivan is at her worst when she writes about anything Catholic.  Let’s have a brief look at the hit piece she did on Archbishop Burke.  My emphases and comments.

Priests Spar Over What It Means to Be Catholic  [Which doesn’t prevent Amy from butting in with her liberal kant.]
By Amy Sullivan Sunday, Nov. 08, 2009

The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church traditionally couch even the harshest disagreements in decorous, ecclesiastical language. But it didn’t take a decoder ring to figure out what Rome-based Archbishop Raymond Burke meant in a late-September address when he charged Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley with being under the influence of Satan, "the father of lies."  [I think she needs a new decoder ring.  The writer offers this with no quote or link to a text.  You are simply supposed to believe that the gentlemanly Archbp. Burke said this about a sitting Cardinal.  Does that sound likely?  I believe this is the speech to which Moloch acolyte Amy referred.  This is what Archbp. Burke said:

"If there has always been the danger of giving scandal to others by public and seriously sinful actions or failures to act, that danger is heightened in our own time. Because of the confusion about the moral law, which is found in public discourse, in general, and is even embodied in laws and judicial pronouncements, the Christian is held to an even higher standard of clarity in enunciating and upholding the moral law. It is particularly insidious that our society which is so profoundly confused about the most basic goods also believes that scandal is a thing of the past. One sees the hand of the Father of Lies at work in the disregard for the situation of scandal or in the ridicule and even censure of those who experience scandal." 

It seems that Amy might have misrepresented Archbp. Burke.  In doing so, she has emulated a daughter of the Father of Lies.]

Burke’s broadside at O’Malley [that’s a misrepresentation] was inspired by the Cardinal’s decision to permit and preside over a funeral Mass for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. And it has set the Catholic world abuzz. Even more than protests over the University of Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak, [Another slippery misrepresentation.  The protest was not so much about the invitation to the President to speak, it was about the decision of ND to bestowed an honor on him, an honorary doctorate of law given to the most agressively pro-abortion politician we have ever seen.  Sullivan is trying to deceive.] disputes over the Kennedy funeral have brought into the open an argument that has been roiling within American Catholicism. The debate nominally centers on the question of how to deal with politicians who support abortion rights. ["nominally"?] Burke and others who believe a Catholic’s position on abortion trumps all other teachings [That too is a misrepresentation.  Catholics believe that for us to have a proper and consistent approach to all social justice issues, we must first get the issue of the right to live straight.  Otherwise, all other social justice solutions will be empty.] have faced off against those who take [get this] a more holistic view of the faith. But at the core, the divide is over who decides what it means to be Catholic. (See pictures of Pope Benedict XVI visiting America.)

A Bull in a China Shop  [I think see doesn’t want you to have any respect for Archbp. Burke.  What do you think?]

It strikes no one as surprising that the 61-year-old Burke is at the center of the current fight. The former Archbishop of St. Louis made national headlines in 2004 when he became the first Catholic leader to say he would deny the Eucharist to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. He led an unsuccessful drive to bar Communion for politicians who support abortion rights. [That is also a misrepresentation.  This reflects the way Sullivan thinks, not the way Burke thinks.  Archbp. Burke articulated what is found in the Church’s law and laid out the position.  He did so in a compelling way.  His logic was clear and arguments inescapable.  To a liberal, who dislikes arguments based on objective criteria, that must come across as a "campaign".  She frames it in political terms.] And as Election Day approached in 2004, Burke issued a warning to Catholics in the key swing state of Missouri that they should not present themselves for Communion if they voted for pro-choice candidates.  [Which was not a political statement.]

The Archbishop’s outspoken comments did not go unnoticed in Rome. In June 2008, Burke was unexpectedly transferred to the Vatican. [Unexpected for people who know very little about the Church and what is going on.  Bingo!  Amy Sullivan!] The move was widely interpreted [again, by people without the slightest clue…] as a way to put some distance between Burke and the political contest in the States. "It was not unrelated to issues of political timing," observes Mark Silk, a professor of religion at Trinity College.  [Prof. Silk is wrong.]

Burke’s new assignment came with an impressive title: Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura — essentially chief justice of the Vatican’s highest court. But the job, which involves hearing appeals of lower-canon-court rulings on issues like annulment requests, did not stop him from commenting on American politics. [Nor… was… it… intended… to!] In January he charged that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was responsible for Obama’s victory because it overwhelmingly approved a document suggesting that Catholics could consider issues besides abortion when deciding how to vote. The conference’s in-house news service, he added, failed to highlight Obama’s moral failings in its campaign coverage. And he called Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a pro-choice Catholic, a "source of deepest embarrassment to Catholics." (See the top 10 unfortunate political one-liners.)  [That wasn’t a political statement.  But liberals want to convince you that opposition to their immoral agenda is really political.]

Burke’s confrontational approach doesn’t always mesh with the more discreet diplomacy favored by his Italian colleagues. "He’s seen as a bull in a china shop," says an American priest and longtime Rome resident. "I’ve seen Italian bishops roll their eyes.[Suuuuure you have.  Archbishop Burke has strong and numerous supporters as well.]

In retrospect, it should have been obvious [Amy must have missed the debate leading up to the funeral.] that the funeral plans for Kennedy would reignite a lingering dispute within the church. The question of whether the Senator should even be described as a Catholic because of his support for abortion rights and his checkered life history was hotly debated on Catholic blogs and religion websites like Right-wing Catholics lobbied the Boston archdiocese to refuse the Kennedy family a church funeral. Robert Royal of the Faith & Reason Institute called O’Malley’s decision to go ahead with the Mass a "grave scandal" on a par with the sexual-abuse crisis.  [Some writers were not so much against the idea of a funeral as they were against the sort of "funeral" they actually had.]

But it’s one thing for partisans and bloggers to disparage a Mass for a dead Senator; it’s quite another for a Vatican official to do so. [It is also another thing to misrepresent Archbp. Burke.] Even some leading conservative Catholics may find they cannot support Burke’s latest salvo. [Oh?] When told [who by?] of the Archbishop’s assertion that pro-choice Catholics should not be permitted funeral rites, Princeton professor Robert George was taken aback: "That’s a very different, and obviously graver, claim than that with which I would have sympathy. I haven’t heard before any bishop say that pro-abortion politicians should not be given a Catholic funeral."  [I wonder if Robert George was quoted correctly.  Given Amy’s tendency to mislead the reader, I don’t believe this.  Where did this quote come from?]

My summation:

B as in B.  S as in S.

If you subscribe to Timecancel it.

Who is Amy Sullivan?

BeliefNet has this little bio about the writer, Amy Sullivan with my emphases:

Amy Sullivan is an editor of The Washington Monthly. She has written about religion and politics for publications including the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and The Washington Post, and has served as a commentator for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, NPR’s Morning Edition, and other news outlets. Previously, Sullivan served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle and as editorial director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Harvard Divinity School.

Washington Monthly has this little bio:

Amy Sullivan is the nation editor for TIME magazine, where she directs political coverage and the magazine’s polling operation. Her book on Democrats and religion, The Party Faithful, will be published in February 2008 by Scribner. Sullivan’s work has appeared in publications including the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and was included in The Best Political Writing 2006. She is a frequent guest on radio and television talk shows. Previously, Sullivan served as editor of the Washington Monthly, and as editorial director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Harvard Divinity School, and pursued doctoral studies in sociology at Princeton University.

Her liberal pedigree thus established, did you see what she wrote in TIME about the "quiet faith" of late Sen. Edward Kennedy?  It is a paen to the privatization of one’s faith, shelving of one’s faith when acting in the public square.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. lacrossecath says:

    I had blogged on this topic earlier this week and was sent this article from Tim Townsend of the St. Louis Dispatch defending Arch Burke.

    What is so interesting is that Townsend does NOT like Arch Burke while he was in St Louis. And even more interesting is that Townsend just wrote an article today bashing Arch Carlson of St. Louis for supporting traditional marriage in Maine.

  2. lacrossecath says:

    Oops, that is to say Mr Townsend didn’t sent it to me, but someone else.

  3. Dave N. says:

    Pretty appalling in an already appalling journalistic world.

    Um, no. I don’t happen to be a subscriber to TIME :)

  4. Father: Thank you for this steady diet of red meat you provide for us each day. Prof. George, whom I happen to admire for “the work” (inside joke) he performs for the Church, was perhaps somewhat naive to grant Ms. Sullivan an interview at all. I find being alive at this point in history quite exciting as it resembles living in a parable of Christ. For instance, we don’t have to wait for the “harvest” (the end of the world) to know who the “wheat and the chaff” are. The chaff are proudly identifying themselves as such! We, of course, must be on constant guard lest we succumb to the sin of pride, but knowing who the sheep and the goats are, does make the struggle more easy as the lines are being clearly drawn.

  5. esquiress says:

    Does anyone even subscribe to Time anymore? I mean, the news is a week old…

    Regardless, this isn’t the first time Amy Sullivan has astounded us with her poor journalism and I doubt it will be the last.

  6. TomG says:

    I think esquiress is right. I can’t remember the last time a friend or acquaintance mentioned something about reading Time, much less subscribing to it. We’re quite a few light years away from Henry Luce, aren’t we?

  7. Peggy R says:

    I happened across this article waiting at a doctor’s office. Picking up TIME or Newsweek is like entering another world. I did not see one clear quote from Abp. Burke. Amy S could not come up with one to make her point. I was very surprised by the quote of Prof George and also suspect it was taken out of context or misquoted by Sullivan. Horrible hateful article.

  8. Sedgwick says:

    If you’re just now discovering that TIME is a left-wing rag that promotes the New World Order agenda, I have to wonder where you’ve been for the past 35 or 40 years.

  9. marajoy says:

    thanks as always, Father.
    While I have been subscribing to Time (as my ONE inlet of the “real world” amidst my being surrounded by ultra-traddies :-P) I now have a reason to look for a better source of news, and let them know why!

  10. JohnE says:

    NCR would hire her in a heartbeat.

  11. catholicmidwest says:

    I stopped buying (and reading) TIME & NEWSWEEK long ago. Neither one of them is fit to line a birdcage.

  12. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    I subscribe to TIME, mostly for the culture (meaning music and film) and the politics sections. I know it has biases, which is why I take what they write (like any other publication) with a grain of salt.

  13. wmeyer says:

    Had I not done so years ago, this would certainly have moved me to cancel my subscription to Time. But the truth is, that magazine has always been a few steps short of honest reportage, preferring instead to influence.

  14. Kerry says:

    TIME…what is TIME?

  15. adagio48 says:

    In the battle of wits with Archbishop Burke, Ms Sullivan comes unarmed.

  16. JimGB says:

    Time and Newsweek are both just echo chambers for the “inside the Beltway” tripe that passes for journalism. CBS’ 60 Minutes used to be the gold standard for incisive television investigative journalism, until they decided to let ideology trump veracity in 2004 with the false story of George W. Bush’s Guard service. Remember that those falsehoods were first exposed by bloggers.

    Everyone should remember that advertising dollars are the lifeblood of these magazines, and their ability to sell advertising is driven by circulation and sales. Advertisers are sensitive to consumers’ viewpoint, which if expressed in sufficient numbers and volume, can drive advertisers to find other print media.

  17. mpm says:

    “NCR would hire her in a heartbeat.”
    Comment by JohnE — 12 November 2009 @ 6:04 pm


    NCR couldn’t afford her.

  18. JohnE says:

    “NCR couldn’t afford her.”

    Yes, I guess I have that backwards. It is the NCR reporters who are aspiring to be religion reporters for Time. Perhaps Amy Sullivan once worked for NCR?

  19. robtbrown says:

    And even more interesting is that Townsend just wrote an article today bashing Arch Carlson of St. Louis for supporting traditional marriage in Maine.
    Comment by lacrossecath

    I just read the article. Where in it does he bash Abp Carlson?

  20. MikeM says:

    I subscribed to Time in high school. I cancelled my subscription when the Haditha issue came out. I was horrified that they ran a cover story accusing Marines of murder when their evidence amounted to the account of a terrorist’s family member. (The Marines have since been acquitted, but guilty or not it’s wrong to run a cover story proclaiming someone a murderer before a legitimate investigation has been done.)

    I urged my friends to cancel when they ran a smear campaign on crisis pregnancy centers.

    Then there was their lying piece about the bishops campaign against FOCA that came out at the beginning of the year.

    Time is an awful magazine, through and through.

  21. Supertradmom says:

    Would it be a sin to steal the Time Mag article on Senator Kennedy’s “quiet faith” from the doctor’s office? I was disgusted when I read this in the waiting room recently.

  22. sirlouis says:

    I had to learn the hard way when I worked in a policy making position in Washington. Reporters came to me frequently for interviews. What I learned was that they pretty much always had their story already written in their heads. That included the so-called “investigative” reporters who were, if anything, worse than the desk reporters. I foolishly tried to help them understand an issue about which they had already and irreversibly made up their minds, but my only function for them was to supply quotes which lent my authority to their views. I remember clearly the instance when I misspoke and immediately said “I put that wrongly. What I meant to say was …” at which point the reporter said – her exact words – “No, you already said it. Gotcha.” Lesson learned. You can guess what my response was a year or so later when she was laid off in a downsizing and came to me for help in landing another position.

    Yes, there are good reporters and we should help them in their good work. But never just assume that a reporter is either fair or intelligent.

  23. thereseb says:

    Would it be a sin to steal the Time Mag article on Senator Kennedy’s “quiet faith” from the doctor’s office?

    Yes it would, SuperTradMom.
    But I think drawing horns and a tail on the accompanying photo would not – and would be much more fun!

Comments are closed.