USAToday’s religion blogger Cathy Lynn Grossman writes about “wafer watch”


The original post at USAToday has been edited and this message added:

(NOTE: Language in the above graph has been changed from the original post to reflect more clearly respect for the Eucharist in Catholic belief.)

Dear Readers… use this expression of mainstream media anti-Catholicism in the best way possible: get out and vote according to the principles soon-to-be Card. Burke explained.

The worst possible thing that could happen in the liberal view, is if faithful and informed Catholics actually do exercise their right vote.




I pick this up from CatholicVote.

“Wafer watch”… to describe the concern of Catholics that Catholics who say they are Catholics adhere to Catholic teaching if they are going to approach Communion in a Catholic Church.

Nice, huh?  Rather like mumbling “cookie worship”.

What. the. H!

Cathy Lynn Grossman, who runs USA Today’s “Faith and Reason” blog, wrote today:

Burke kicked off the ‘wafer watch’ on whether abortion rights supporter and former Democractic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 should take Communion, is back with instructions for the mid-terms.

Excuse me – “wafer watch”?! As a faithful Catholic, I find that phrase incredibly offensive. Catholics believe the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself. … “wafer watch”?! From a religion reporter?!

Next, look at the photo chosen of Cardinal-designate Burke:

AgainWHAT. THE. H!

They managed to find and crop the one photo that makes the Archbishop appear like he’s performing some sort of Nazi salute. If they had revealed his other arm it would be clear he is performing a blessing.

Third, Grossman attempts to make an argument that, because Pope Benedict appointed both Archbishops Burke and Wuerl to be Cardinals, this action somehow undermines the pope’s recent and clear teaching about the duty of bishops to counsel the faithful to use their vote in support of pro-life candidates.

Ecclesiology 101 time for Grossman: Pope > bishop.

This is three-strikes-you’re-out for Grossman’s column. Insultingly referring to the Eucharist as a “wafer”, posting a damagingly-cropped photo of Archbishop Burke, and confusing Catholics and her readers about what the Holy Father is trying to communicate.

Please join me in emailing Cathy Grossman at and let her know about your displeasure at her insulting and disrespectful column.

She can start by removing the offensive description of the Eucharist, posting a proper photo of the Archbishop, and noting that questions about denying the Eucharist are a red herring argument trumped by the clear teaching of the Holy Father about the moral duty of Catholics to support pro-life candidates.


When I went to Grossman’s blog, I notice a link to a “Previous” blog entry about Comedy Central’s John Stewart and found this quote:

Instead, the “religion” of the Comedy Central hosts is sanity which appears to be code for restoring civility.

If, while applying her glaring double-standard, Grossmann thinks that sanity and civility are connected, then perhaps she is not quite sane?  What she wrote in her original entry, “wafer watch”, was certainly uncivil.

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  1. wmeyer says:

    In my e-mail to her, I could not help asking if she would describe a Seder as a “Passover party”. If her words had been part of a front page monologue in the NYT, I could understand it. Not that USA Today is an example of great journalism, but still….

  2. Father G says:

    Grossman’s post has been changed with the following in bold print: “(NOTE: Language in the above graph has been changed from the original post to reflect more clearly respect for the Eucharist in Catholic belief.)”
    The words “wafer watch” no longer appear in the post.

  3. joanofarcfan says:

    I asked her if she would refer to the Jewish yarmulkas as a “beanie watch.” I’m learning a lot from Mr. Donohue of the Catholic League.

    Nice of them to change the language. It’s something, I guess. But the horse got out of the barn before the door was closed.

  4. wmeyer says:

    …it’s hard to make language corrections in the printed edition. I assume it was there, as well?

  5. marthawrites says:

    Nevertheless, it’s not too late to add an expression of my displeasure at the insufferable language and disrepectful photo which I had e-mailed before seeing this update. As we are hearing all- day- every-day at this time, “every vote counts.”

  6. ipadre says:

    Why doesn’t USA Today take the action of NPR for offending Catholics? Double standard! Can’t offend Muslims or Jews, but Catholics are open season. Of course we should not be disrespectful to anyone, but we Catholics are the last acceptable whipping post even among some Catholics in the “old” media!

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  8. wmeyer says:

    Interestingly, I just had a reply from the author. She says:

    I have revised the language in the blog. I hope you’ll continue to read Faith & Reason with a critical eye and stay in touch, Cathy

  9. digdigby says:

    I’m used to other, even so-called ‘conservative’ Catholics mocking splendor in traditional worship as ‘A Lace Fetish’ or ‘smells and bells’. This ironic and cynical way of speaking is in fact rooted in classic Homosexual Camp style. ‘Camp’ is a mocking ironic ‘distancing’ which can be used on anything from ugly shoes to the Crucified Christ. It is exemplified by the eye-roll and the dismissive limp-wristed downward wave of the hand. It is a mortal enemy of all that is holy.

  10. Talk about “Hate Speech”.
    These people have no civility, no respect and absolutely no credibility.
    Absolutely disgusting.
    What.The.H. indeed.

  11. Norah says:

    Cardinal designate Burke is in good company; a cropped photo of Joseph Ratzinger apparently giving a Nazi salute can be seen on some c”Catholic” blogs and websites.

  12. Jon Stewart calling for civility?? If our society judges Jon Stewart as the model of civility, then our society has found rock bottom.

  13. bigtex says:

    If you read the entire blog entry, you see the press is already taking advantage of the elevation of Wuerl to Cardinal (and his seamless garment approach to voting), to promote confusion among Catholics. Didn’t Pope Benedict XVI know this would happen?

  14. mvhcpa says:

    @ David Werling:

    Every time I think society has hit rock-bottom, I am astonished at how much further it can drill down.

    Michael Val
    (who wonders if we should just get ready for a redux of the Dark Ages)

  15. paulbailes says:

    If we want society to respect the Blessed Sacrament, then “charity begins at home” could be our motto. In other words, Catholics should be exemplary in the respect they offer to Our Lord’s real presence.

    Unfortunately, the last 50 or so years have seen too much bad example set by Catholics of all kinds and at all levels.

    More generally, in view of the self-doubt that the Church has manifested across the board over this period (what I’d call a “Frank Spencer” approach to Catholicism – hope this is allusion is not lost on North American readers?), it’s only to be expected that it, its beliefs, institutions and practices are going to be held in contempt. (You know where this is heading of course …) People who would ridicule the TLM, fish on Friday, chapel veils, etc etc etc plant the seeds that leads to this sort of thing.

    Roll on the Counter-Revolution!


  16. catholicmidwest says:

    (who wonders if we should just get ready for a redux of the Dark Ages)….

    Actually, I hope you got ready a while back. It’s already in progress. This is the first stage….remainder to follow.

  17. Juergensen says:

    So the left is morphing into Archie Bunker, eh?

    Remember the episode of “All in the Family” when Edith attended Mass with a Catholic friend and Edith’s bigoted husband Archie went bananas, asking, “You didn’t eat that cookie did you?”

    Wafer … cookie … Grossman … Bunker … all the same.

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