Amy Sullivan on Jonathan Reyes

We have seen Amy Sullivan before. Among other things, Amy Sullivan was a legislative assistant to pro-abortion Catholic, former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD).  She is as politically partisan as you can get.

This time Sullivan, with The New Republic as her soap-box, has a little nutty in a piece called “The Catholic Bishops Move Even Further Away From Social Justice”.

Let’s look:

The appointment of a new executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development doesn’t sound like earth-shaking news to most people. But social justice Catholics (as opposed to the abortion-firsters) [She begins to show her real colors.  By this she means that we can kill the unborn for the sake of a whole bunch of other reasons that outweigh the right of children to be born.] have been awaiting the announcement ever since the bishops’ longtime anti-poverty lobbyist John Carr announced in June that he would be leaving after 25 years in the role. [A good day.]

Carr, who was highly-respected on Capital Hill and throughout the tight-knit community of religious advocates in Washington, was widely seen as a moderating voice within the conference. [That can’t be good.] (Fun fact: Carr is the older brother of New York Times media columnist David Carr.) That made life difficult for him over the past few years, as he continued to promote Catholic social teaching even when it put him at odds with the positions of conservative Catholic bishops and activists, as well as conservative lay Catholics who have risen to positions of significant power at the conference.  [Did you see what she did there?  She made the people she likes into the arbiters of what the Church teaches about “social justice” over and against the Catholic bishops.]

So when Carr announced his departure to become a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, moderate Catholics looked to the announcement of his replacement for a sign of where the USCCB is headed. [CUE OMINOUS MUSIC] The bishops have criticized recent Republican budgets that have included stark cuts in social justice programs at home and abroad. But their advocacy has been restrained, [Oh dear!  Imagine!] expressed through letters to Congress and not through directives for parish education in the form of sermons or anything like the two-week teach-in on religious freedom that took place this summer. The open question for moderate Catholics [As opposed to extremist Catholics, such as those who believe that people have the right, according to the most fundamental sort of social justice, to be born.  As opposed to those who think that marriage is between one many and one woman.  As opposed to those who believe in a male priesthood, Christ’s giving a hierarchy to the Church, and the Magisterium is not a voting issue.] was whether the conference would continue to pursue an arguably partisan agenda [HA!  If you agree with the bishops, then you are being politically partisan, but if you agree with Amy’s ilk, you are moderate.] or shift some of its resources and might back to battling poverty in a more visible way.  [Because the Church’s mission is to battle poverty, to involved with earthly concerns.]

Now they have their answer, and it isn’t encouraging. [The Anglican Church is waiting for you, Amy, and with open arms.] Earlier this week, the USCCB announced that Jonathan Reyes would replace Carr at the conference. Reyes has most recently led Catholic Charities in the Denver Archdiocese. [Watch this one! …] But in Catholic circles, he is better known for having co-founded and served as the first president of the Augustine Institute, an unaccredited Catholic graduate school in Denver [by which she means that it is no good] that has no women on its faculty. [ROFL!] However, the institute does have a number of faculty with degrees from Steubenville University in Ohio, the Liberty University of Catholicism. [?  As opposed to… what… the Gulag University of….?  No, wait.  Read on and you will get it.] Steubenville made national news in May when it became the first Catholic institution to sue the federal government over the contraception mandate, even though the school would almost certainly be covered by the administration’s “religious employer” exemption.  [Okay… that was ridicule.  Amy must be in favor of imposing immoral obligations on religious institutions.  But wait… Reyes is a bad guy for yet another reason…]

Perhaps the most relevant piece of Reyes’ background is his position as a protégé of Archbishop Charles Chaput, [Ooooo!] who served in Denver until his recent appointment to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Chaput, you may remember, was one of a handful of Catholic clerics who declared in 2004 that John Kerry should not receive communion because of his support for abortion rights. [LOL! Chaput did that, Reyes is connected to Chaput, ergo Reyes is a medieval meanie.] The archbishop gave an interview to the National Catholic Reporter last week that all but endorsed the Romney-Ryan ticket, [Amy, who lied in another article we looked at on this blog, distorts what Chaput said.  Chaput said that he could not vote for a pro-abortion candidate.] and he joined a small group of Catholic leaders who have sought to defend Paul Ryan and his enthusiastic support for cutting funds to social programs.  [Does that pass the common-sense smell test?  They give enthusiastic support to cutting social programs?  Is that what they are doing?]

Reyes’ appointment has been cheered by conservative Catholics online. Here’s the reaction of one columnist at the conservative site

Have you been frustrated, over the years, with the political statements issued by the US bishops’ conference? If so, prepare for a welcome change. Have you wondered why the bishops never seem to listen to reasonable arguments by conservative Catholics? That’s about to change, too.

No one I have talked to—in or outside the conference—seems to know exactly who was involved in choosing Reyes. [That’s because, Amy, it has to do with greater fidelity to the Church’s teachings.  That’s why it is hard for you and the people you talk to to get this.] It’s unclear whether the selection was left up to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, [a little more innuendo] who serves as the president of the USCCB, or whether the bishops who head the committees Reyes will report to were involved in the process. Regardless, Michael Sean Winters spoke for concerned moderate Catholics when he wrote at the National Catholic Reporter: “At a time when there are obvious divisions within the hierarchy regarding which public policy issues should be emphasized and how those issues should be framed, it seems to me imperative to have selected someone who was not so obviously aligned with one wing of the current ideological divisions.” [In other words, one of those “social justice” Catholics who will vote for pro-abortion candidates.]


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Dad of Six says:

    You have to pray without ceasing for the conversion these poorly formed Catholics.

    MEMORARE, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto.
    Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.

    Saint Monica, pray for us.

  2. JonPatrick says:

    I have been praying the Memorare every morning for the Church and for our country.

    I always get annoyed the way the secular press and those Catholics that side with them, use the terms “liberal/moderate” and “conservative”. To my mind the only distinction should be those that follow the teachings of Jesus as promulgated by the Church, and those that follow the values of the world.

    A political party that was truly aligned with the Church’s values would look a lot different than either of the 2 parties we have now.

  3. Mdepie says:

    The appointment of Reyes to the USCCB post is the single best news to come out of this conference I can recall. It suggests that finally the USCCB understands the social teaching of the Church is not synonymous with the DNC talking points. Thank God.

  4. JillK says:

    As a student that is about to graduate from that ‘unaccredited’ graduate school—the Augustine Institute—I couldn’t be happier for this news. Dr. Reyes is a perfect choice for a position like this.
    A note to Amy Sullivan–we ‘pro-life, faithful to the teachings of the Church’ Catholics are also social justice Catholics. Many of us may currently identify more politically with the Republican party—-but one has to wonder how ANY Christian could identify with the Democrat party after the latest national convention! I guarantee you that Dr. Reyes is passionate about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked—and I know that he is also passionate about taking care of souls! The USCCB batted a homerun with Dr. Reyes—and the world will benefit! Keep him in your prayers!

  5. Trad Tom says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with your irritation at the “liberal/moderate” vs. “conservative” labeling. My usual response has been — for a long time now — “those who are loyal to the Magisterium or those who are not.

  6. MarWes says:

    JonPatrick and Trad Tom, I completely agree with you. There is only one kind of Catholics, the ones who fully believe in the Holy Scripture, the Tradition and the Magisterium. Everybody else is either hypocritical or delusional. The “social justice” shtick is probably the greatest heresy of our times and the sad cases of Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Amy Sullivan et al. almost make one miss the Holy Office…

  7. Tony Layne says:

    “The ‘social justice’ shtick is probably the greatest heresy of our times and the sad cases of Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Amy Sullivan et al. almost make one miss the Holy Office…”

    I wouldn’t go quite that far. As JillK reminds us, being pro-life is also a matter of Catholic social justice. Amy Sullivan, like the rest of the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd, hijacks the name by associating it with the whole 1960s leftist agenda, even when the preferred policies have been counterproductive (not to mention intrinsically evil).

    The funny thing is, I can’t escape the feeling that Sullivan really thinks she is “moderate”; most people do associate being moderate with being reasonable. She just doesn’t have a clear idea of what it means to be extremely liberal. It’s the political equivalent of an error of parallax.

  8. Gail F says:

    Right now there are three comments at htat site: one from some wacko “eternal conflict between Good Jesus vs. Bad Jesus people, and guess which one I think is good” person, one from a wacko “THESE PEOPLE LOVE AYN RAND!!!!!” person, and one from a wacko who says “The Catholic Church obviously want’s out of the United States. Maybe that’s a good thing.” Apparently there is no room in either the author’s mind or the readers’ minds that there might be more than one way to achieve a goal (social justice) and that the US bishops are allowed to decide a different way might work better. So tired of these rants…

  9. Legisperitus says:

    While there is abortion, there is no social justice.

  10. benedetta says:

    And why, one might ask, do these two camps have to be opposed at all? Why, because the Democratic Party has said they must, but of course!

  11. Johnno says:

    She shares Judas’ concerns… Wealth triumphs over truth and justice for these people. A person who is a killer of the innocent has no right to talk about justice.

  12. Micah Murphy says:

    What on earth is Steubenville University? Does she mean Franciscan University of Steubenville. Also, I do believe the Augustine Institute is now accredited, and while it may not have any female profs, it’s hardly against women in academia. There are female students. Goodness, get your facts straight, Ms. Sullivan.

  13. Margo52 says:

    Mdepie, this announcement by the USCCB, in my opinion, is the SECOND best news to be recently announced by the bishops. In May of this year, Dominican Sister John Mary Fleming, a member of St. Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, Tennessee, was named executive director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education of the Conference. Although Sister is a woman, I’m guessing Ms. Sullivan failed to hail her appointment to this significant position! My children attend a school which is owned and operated by the Nashville Dominicans and what a blessing they are to our entire family. The Sisters’ zeal for the salvation of souls is a gift to the Church. We will all be blessed by Sr. John Mary’s capable leadership in the area of Catholic education. Likewise, the appointment of Mr. Reyes is most certainly another cause for celebration. (Any friend of Archbishop Chaput is a friend of the Church!) I think our shepherds are assembling a dream team. :) Desperate times require desperate measures!

  14. Supertradmum says:

    PS I am really pleased with the new appointment. However, years of slack have to be undone.

  15. B Knotts says:

    “Moderate Catholic” doesn’t sound like something one should strive to be.

  16. Mdepie says:

    There is one more important point regarding “social justice” that far too few Catholics are making. In fact most Conservative Catholics approach this by stating that the “right to life is the most important social justice issue”. That is true enough but very incomplete and it concedes to the left wing Catholics that social justice means liberal government policies, in fact I think to some extent social justice concedes to the left that our basic social structures are “unjust”. It is phrase that comes out of the late 60s.

    What is actually Church teaching is that we have a obligation to work for the common good and to assist the poor. What I rarely see anyone ask from a Catholic view point is since we have duty to take care of the poor do we not have a duty to ask whether the liberal policies enacted over the decades have made things better or worse? After all medical professionals have a duty to care for the sick, but if someone raises the question of whether a certain operation or medication was in fact harmful physicians would feel the need to critically evaluate it. It does not seem that the “social justice” crowd ever does this. Yet there is ample evidence that raises this question.

    This suggests to me that the “social justice crowd” has become a bit pharisee like, they are engaged in a sort of moral posturing, There may be exceptions but I can not think of a single case in which someone on the Catholic left, says well… we think there is a role for government assistance but we agree that program X needs to be looked at as doing more harm than good. I am optimistic that Jonathon Reyes will be different. Even those of good will however may have made assumptions that to care for the poor means supporting any government program that targets them. This is no more logical than saying that any drug designed to treat condition X, will benefit that condition without a rigorous evaluation of the actual effect.

  17. germangreek says:

    Why would someone whose previous post was head of Catholic Charities in a large archdiocese be a poor choice for executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development? Did he oversee the closing of Catholic Charities there? Are the poor of Denver no longer being served as a result of his tenure?

    It seems to me that these would be the relevant questions a capable journalist would ask and answer. But then, I’m not a journalist by trade, so perhaps I don’t have the requisite insight into their craft. I’m just the fellow they need to keep reading what they produce.

  18. ashley.elise says:

    A clarification about the Augustine Institute (as a grad and an employee)–the school is well into the process of being accredited, but its current lack of accreditation can hardly be counted against it as it was founded only seven years ago, and the accreditation process takes longer than that. Additionally, while none of the full time faculty are women, there are currently three women serving as adjunct professors and several women academics who are regularly brought in as visiting professors. Ms. Sullivan clearly did not take the time to get all the facts–let alone present them in an unbiased manner!

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