More about the organization of ‘c’atholic dissidents (hint: Fishwrap)

In the last few days I electronically printed a couple posts (HERE and HERE) in which I talked about how the highly-organized, spiderweb-like Left, uses networks of small front groups to mask the activity of larger initiatives.  I applied that to a splinter group of truly weird sisters in a dissident group called NCAN.  They say openly what the LCWR would like to say openly.  It doesn’t matter whether or not the arrangement is formal or informal. This is how the Left thinks and works.

In those posts I used what seems on the surface to be a far-out analogy to make my point.  NCAN is something like a faction of the Viet Cong who fronted for a larger Communist political initiative.  The Viet Cong were the true radicals who could do what the political party couldn’t do.  The VC also opened up the Ho Chi Minh Trail (MSNBC, the lefty-MSM) to provide supplies, arms, personnel for their projects in the south.  A stretch?  Sure.  But not so much of a stretch as one might think.

Today at the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) I found a piece by none other than Janice Sevre-Duszynska, she of the famous Ordination Tambourine. The NSR proudly accepts her claim that she is a “Roman Catholic Womanpriest”.   She wrote about a talk given by a seriously radical nun, Sr. Teresa Forcades, from what I can tell pretty much a Communist.  You can read the NSR article to get a sense of the rhetoric and her now cliché code.  For example:

Francis has denounced the “idolatry of money” and implored world leaders to assure all people “dignified work, education and healthcare.” In a way, Forcades takes it further by advocating that the state must be challenged from the bottom up. The people must be the agents of change. [Get it?  Review Paolo Feire and Pedagogy of the Oppressed, strongly influenced by Marxism and which, in turn dovetail with Liberation Theology and Black Liberation Theology.]

“When I talk about church, we talk about how the Gospel inspired us. There are many kinds of church, [What sort of ecclesiology is that, exactly?] and I identify with the people at the bottom, at the base. [So, it’s “class struggle”.] Many people have a hope that the Catholic church might change because of the pope, but if you look at history, change comes from bottom up, not from top down,” Forcades said to a room overflowing with “local radical activists” invited to her March 18 talk at Baltimore’s Red Emma’s, a bookstore coffeehouse.

The NSR piece is full of this stuff.

What emerges, however, when you start drilling, is a web of connections between Women’s Ordination, Communism, Liberation Theology, health-care reform, workers cooperatives,  Communist terror groups, the Black Panthers…

Think I am making this up?

I direct your attention back to the venue for this talk for “radicals”: Red Emma’s in Baltimore.  The name itself took me to their site to explore for a while.

What sort of people are the excommunicated Janice, the Fishwrap, and the radical-Lefty sister in with?

Go crawl around in the Red Emma site for a while.  Take a look at their “about us” and see who their patron saint “Red Emma” was.  She “was among the first international observers to condemn the bureaucratic authoritarianism which would smother the initial promise of the Soviet experiment. Emma always understood that a revolution needed to be nutured [sic] by revolutionary culture….”

Moreover, they admit that they are anarchists and Communists, though they say they are “radicals”:

“At Red Emma’s, we’ve decided to call ourselves a “radical” project, rather than an “anarchist” or “communist” one. This doesn’t mean that we think anarchism and communism have nothing to offer as ways of thinking about what’s fundamentally wrong with the current world, and how to go about fixing it. But as a space that’s intended to welcome both people who have been in the struggle for decades and people just getting their feet wet for the first time, we felt that committing ourselves to a label and a specific ideological tradition was unecessarily [sic] limiting. The people working on the project may be anarchists or communists, but the space is both and neither, or something else entirely.”

The cafe/bookstore hosts lots of talks.  Recently they have had presentations (I think these are more practica, “how to” talks, rather than merely historically informative) about The Red Army Faction (aka Baader-Meinhof Group), and the Black Panthers, which keep popping up in their presentations and blog posts.

Looking at the bottom menu of Red Emma’s site you find links to the Industrial Workers of the World and US Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

Moreover, the websites just mentioned, and Red Emma’s itself are pretty spiffy. They are not slapped together by amateurs.

What’s going on?

This is more than just “birds of a feather”.  This is positive cooperation.  All these ideas and speakers and events at places like Red Emma’s are integrated.

The National catholic Reporter reported positively about this event for this radical left-leaning nun, written up by an excommunicated women who attempted ordination.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. markomalley says:

    Are you familiar with David Horowitz’ Discover the Networks?

    They have an interesting writeup on LCWR

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  2. Mike says:

    Yet another reason to exercise prudence before throwing in with any supposedly “popular” movement. Besides the need to reject them for their splintering of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, there’s the need to avoid seduction by the well-organized international Left and the deep (and often well-hidden) pockets of the likes of George Soros.

    Nor should we stand on the sidelines and await an immanent “biological solution.” Teresa Forcades is not yet fifty years of age. She no doubt attracts — via, among other means, well-heeled leftist mainstream and “Catholic” media — any number of younger followers and emulators to her messages of open dissent (even as she professes respect for the Magisterium) and of “self-determination.”

    Lest we forget, Satan is ageless.

  3. BLB Oregon says:

    Janice Sevre-Duszynska thinks she succeeded in becoming ordained, when what she really succeeded in doing was getting Roy Bourgeois laicized. [A good day’s work. But she is an amusing side-show in this.]

  4. Mandy P. says:

    Ok, so please excuse my ignorance here, but I have a serious question. How did such a substantial chunk of our clergy and religious end up so radicalized? I mean, it seems like even those who aren’t quite as nuts as these ladies are still very sympathetic to some very radical ideas as well as systems of hard-core collectivism. How did we end up here?

    And again, please excuse my ignorance. I was born in 1980 and a convert, so I’ve only been officially Catholic for about three years. I converted because I recognized the truth, beauty, and constancy in the Catholic faith. I do not, for the life of me, understand why these folks who supposedly love the Lord and the Church so much they’ve consecrated and dedicated themselves to both want so badly to change it.

  5. Suzanne Carl says:

    I just read about this organization of affiliations last night in The kingdom of Darkness, published in 2007. It is an interview with Father Malachi Martin conducted in 1992 by Bernard Janzen. Father Martin was much maligned in his life, but if you read his books now, perhaps you will find him vindicated, as I do.

  6. Pat says:

    Sister Teresa is quite a vocal “icon” in Spain. She was uninvited to the RelEd Conference in LA. [You know there is a problem when you are too radical for the Three Days of Darkness.]

  7. Pingback: Cardinal Burke Disagrees with Cardinal Kaspers Ideas -

  8. Sandy says:

    When you see the words “agents of change” your antenna should go up immediately. It hits me in the pit of my stomach b/c I know what it signifies. Mandy, don’t get discouraged! Satan only attacks what he hates and knows is Truth.

  9. Mandy P. says: I do not, for the life of me, understand why these folks who supposedly love the Lord and the Church so much they’ve consecrated and dedicated themselves to both want so badly to change it.

    Because they love neither the Lord nor His Church. This has been a problem ever since Judas Iscariot.

  10. Polycarpio says:

    I am going to attend my first TLM tomorrow and had been doing research to try to be as informed as possible. Do you know how many websites I’ve had to navigate away from, because they claim that Card. Siri is the last true pope, that Wojtyla and Ratzinger are heretics, that it is better to attend no Mass at all rather than the Vatican-approved Extraordinary Form, etc.? The problem with network analysis is that anyone out in the peripheries runs with loons. Heck, even in orthodox circles, we are in proximity to homosexuals, people who practice contraception, who believe in abortion, who are divorced, etc. If we as Christians are more afraid that these false ideas will poison our faith than we are hopeful that our faith will overwhelm the errors and win out, then we have a poor faith.

  11. Siculum says:

    Hooray Polycarpio! Please, please, I urge you to keep returning here to Father Z’s blog and share it with others.

    Unfortunately, the latter issues you have raised in your comment are, through satan (who doesn’t deserve to be capitalized), poisoning many in the Church — perhaps a vast majority in some precincts. This caused Our Lord terrible, terrible pain, which we remind ourselves we too inflicted on Him, as we commemorate this penitential Lenten season. But in our Faith we know that the Truth cannot change, and the Church itself, along with Her teachings, are our Rock. We must ever-further propagate our Faith so it indeed does overwhelm the errors, at least as much as is possible and as the Holy Ghost/Spirit allows. Our faith is a poor Faith if it is not the Faith of heaven and eternity.

    And you are right about one more thing — many out there in cyberspace saying they are Traditional Catholics have very little Faith in Jesus’s direct words to St. Peter about the Rock He would build His Church on, and His own promise that the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against that Church. The sedevacantists must think Christ was mistaken.

    Where are you going to your first TLM?

  12. Siculum says:

    Sadly, there are many who attend the EF who constantly claim they would rather stay home, jump off a bridge, or drink antifreeze than go to any OF, even a devoutly and correctly offered one, even one offered by the Holy Father(s). They need our guidance, prayers, and a conversion.

  13. Minnesotan from Florida says:

    Siculum, Satan is a proper name, just like Gabriel or Raphael, or Simon or Timothy or Jesus or Thomas. In “orthodox” English usage, proper names care capitalized. Why do you wish to engage in linguistic anarchy? I grant that it is not as bad as ecclesiastical or political anarchy, but it MAY be worse than bad manners.

  14. kpoterack says:

    Mike: “Nor should we stand on the sidelines and await an immanent “biological solution.” Teresa Forcades is not yet fifty years of age . . . Lest we forget, Satan is ageless.”

    KP: Mike, I couldn’t agree more that we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. We need to fight Satan with all the tools that God gives us. Definitely, no standing on the sidelines! How right you are!

    However, I would still contend that Teresa Forcades is a VERY unusual person. At least in America, the stats for the LCWR (average age: 73) back up the basic aging character of the radical sisterhood. Europe may be a little different. What I think all of these women have in common, though, is that they see the Church as “useful” for other ends. Even Sr. Forcades said in an interview, “As long as my religious life is full of love, I’ll be here (in the convent) . . . [b]ut the moment this life turns sacrificial . . .Then it’s my duty to abandon it.” Only God can judge her, of course, but THAT doesn’t sound like a slightly confused, but well-intentioned Catholic sister – despite her habit.

  15. kpoterack says:

    Mandy P: “I do not, for the life of me, understand why these folks who supposedly love the Lord and the Church so much they’ve consecrated and dedicated themselves to both want so badly to change it.”

    KP: That is a very good question. I think it is something akin to the notion of “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Put less prosaically, people who deal with the things of God are more subject to demonic temptation. Just think of what out Lord said to Peter and the Apostles: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you like wheat; but I have prayed for you that your faith not fail.” (Luke 22:31-32) This is serious business. Pray for the clergy and religious. THEY NEED IT.

  16. Mike says:

    “Sadly, there are many who attend the EF who constantly claim they would rather stay home, jump off a bridge, or drink antifreeze than go to any OF, even a devoutly and correctly offered one, even one offered by the Holy Father(s).”

    Hyperbole aside, I suspect that many former attendees of the Novus Ordo, after attending some number of Traditional Latin Masses in a row, come back to the NO with even a lower tolerance than before for liturgical and Eucharistic abuse and homiletic adventuring. The Holy Father being unlikely to offer Mass in any parish outside of Rome, there is little opportunity to find a devoutly and correctly offered NO in many parts at least of the United States — perhaps even less than to find a devoutly and correctly offered TLM.

    It is doubtful whether most Catholics in the NO pews believe in the Real Presence. One cannot help but wonder about some of our priests as well. My concerns about the validity of some NO Masses I’ve attended have only grown since I began attending the TLM.

    NO-phobes may need our prayers. Everyone does. But they also deserve some empathy.

  17. jflare says:

    “…from what I can tell pretty much a Communist.”
    That’s pretty much the idea I came up with too. Sad that the Church doesn’t seek to correct these people.

  18. Bruce says:


    “He (the devil) always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites…He relies on your extra dislike of one to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.” C. S. Lewis

  19. Gail F says:

    I was going ot mention Discover the Networks but I see it’s up already. ALL left political groups work this way — and that includes many “charitable” groups supported by dioceses. You have to be really careful because a group supposedly devoted to housing or something can be made up of the same people in a supposedly separate group dedicated to reproductive rights or something… often they have the same boards and offices. IMHO this is why the TEA Party groups were looked at with such alarm — the progressives assumed they were made up of people in blatantly political groups, or that they would form separate political groups with the same members, boards, and offices. That’s what they do, so they assumed that the right would do it as well, and they know how effective it is. Most people on the right, though, don’t even know that’s a strategy!

  20. Gail F says:

    Mandy P. : For information about what happened to the sisters, see the excellent book “Sisters in Crisis” just updated. As for the rest… I’d say the 1960s. It changed EVERYTHING, for everyone. A heady emphasis on changing the world was in the air and a lot of Catholics equated that with the works of mercy we are commanded to do by Christ, and it all got mixed up together. It was hard for people in the middle of it all (I was not one, so I’m basing this on what I read and have been told) to tell what was what. Add political power, fame, and general societal approval in there and you have quite the mix. But what gets me isn’t then, it’s NOW. Why, when the efforts of these folks has so obviously failed and they have no one (to speak of) following in their footsteps, do they keep right down their destructive path? Pride, I guess, and blindness, and being led astray. From which fate, I pray, deliver me. I think that some of these people wanted and want power, but others really were trying to do the right thing. I hope and trust that I won’t do and end up the same way, but devoted to different things I think are right!

  21. CatherineTherese says:

    Anyone else notice RedEmma’s website is unsecured (and insecure)? Hmm…

    (But Fr. Z is right – it’s sure not amateur; for a bunch of anarchists, they sure do seem to have their act together)

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