The Rolling Stone of Catholic journalism and MS Winters’ Fainting Couch

I bring to the readership’s attention a piece by Fr. Robert Sirico of Acton Institute.  He responds to a ridiculous piece in Rolling Stone, in which Acton and he are mentioned.  HERE

Rolling Stone, that bastion of journalistic professionalism, declined to publish Sirico’s response.

The Rolling Stone piece depended in part on the musings of MS Winters of the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap).  Winters, the Wile E. Coyote of liberal catholicism, is obsessed with Acton and Sirico to the point of spittle-flecked nutties.

I was amused by this paragraph in Sirico’s response to Rolling Stone.  Great line here:

The deeper journalistic problem with this piece is its sheer superficiality in understanding Catholicism or what the Acton Institute (which, incidentally, is an ecumenical organization that works with people ranging from like-minded Evangelicals to observant Jews) does. This is understandable given that Mr. Benelli relies to a great extent for his research on the hyperbole from the fainting couch of one M.S. Winters who writes a breathless blog for the Rolling Stone of Catholic journalism, the National Catholic Reporter.

fainting couch 05NB: Fainting Couch.  HERE

Speaking of hyperbole, in yet another loooong piece today the venomous MS Winters drew a moral equivalence between those who don’t think that our borders should simply be opened to illegal immigrants, or business owners who have to fire employees, and Planned Parenthood workers who sell baby parts.  HERE  Just so that you know how the liberal mind works:

We are called to solidarity with the unborn and with the undocumented and with the unemployed, people who are defined by what they are not, but we are also called, hard though it may be, to be in some measure of solidarity with the Planned Parenthood worker, or with the opponent of immigration reform, or with the employer who sometimes fires workers.

Think about the employer “who sometimes fires workers”.

What possessed him to add the adverb “sometimes”?  What does “sometimes” add to the thought?

Is there something wrong with firing a worker “sometimes”?  How about “anytime? What if the employee is dangerous and incompetent?  Example: How about that reporter fired by his TV station who then shot two of his former coworkers?

In the View From the Fainting Couch employers who fire employees – sometimes – are morally equivalent to big-business abortion execs who sell baby parts.

At least we can guess that MS Winters is against selling baby parts.  After all, that’s as bad as controlling our borders and sometimes firing employees.

I guess mercy now means that employees can never be sometimes fired.

There is, by the way, a galaxy of distance between the selling of baby parts and, on the other hand, employment practices and border control.

Finally, what does this mean for Fishwrap‘s English counterpart The Tablet who fired Winter’s liberal counterpart Robert Mickens?  Maybe that’s what MS Winters had in mind. Perhaps Wile E. is worried about his job with the Rolling Stone of Catholic journalism.




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  1. Joseph-Mary says:

    Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don’t.

  2. Clinton says:

    MSW tells me that I am “called to solidarity with the undocumented.” For MSW, then,
    our nation’s borders and immigration laws are bagatelles to be ignored at one’s whim.
    Ignoring for a moment the fact that this attitude is an attack on the rule of law, I must
    ask– is MSW applying this ethic consistently in his own life? When he leaves home in the
    morning, does he leave his front door open for all and sundry to wander in at will? If not,
    why not? How is that different, Mr. Winters? If Mr. Winters ever locks his front door,
    isn’t he betraying that ‘call to solidarity’ with those people who, though they haven’t
    sought or received his consent, feel driven to enter his home to take what they want?

    As for solidarity with the unemployed, the View from the Fainting Couch has a very
    peculiar idea of what that entails. A couple days ago, in Canada (which seems
    to be a testing ground for many social experiments before they’re tried here in the States)
    a health care worker who’d been litigating her dismissal for repeated on-the-job
    drunkeness was reinstated by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission– and her
    employer was ordered to give her 3 years back pay and $10K in punitive damages.
    According to the HRC adjudicator, since alcoholism is a disability, Ms. Horrock’s
    employer was required by law to make accommodations for her alcoholism. Also,
    in the eyes of the HRC, the nursing home “violated complainant’s rights … by
    unfairly depriving her of an opportunity to participate in the workplace.” A drunk
    health care worker in a nursing home– what could go wrong?

    MSW and his fellow travelers on the Fainting Couch have less interest in common sense
    and consistent application of their principles than they do in preening over how
    enlightened and progressive they are, right and wrong be d@#ned.

  3. Andrew says:

    The name “Rolling Stone” is borrowed from Greek mythology where a king named Sisyphos is punished for all eternity for his deceitfulness by having to roll an immense stone uphill only to see it roll back down again and again forever.

  4. Andrew says: “Rolling Stone” is borrowed from Greek mythology

    Do you suppose that the name could instead be from Bob Dylan’s song?

  5. acardnal says:

    After all this time, I finally saw and heard Mr. Michael Sean Winters on C-SPAN TV. He was in a “debate” with Jay W. Richards of the “Discovery Institute” and John Garvey, J.D., President of CUA . They were at the CATO Institute on Sept. 15, 2015 and discussed Poverty, Capitalism and Pope Francis. Mr. Winters mentioned the Acton Institute in not too sympathetic terms as I recall.

    He is something!

    The video is HERE for anyone interested in learning about MSW’s views.

  6. acricketchirps says:

    Andrew, are you implying that Sisyphus was involved in some sort of great moss-prevention program?

  7. robtbrown says:

    I’ve never really taken Rolling Stone seriously, especially since it considers the cloying Imagine to be one of the best songs ever written. I don’t think it’s even one of the best songs John Lennon wrote.

    The rag is not good at its professed purpose. Why would it have a clue about classical or Catholic culture?

  8. taffymycat says:

    robtbrown–Imagine is a mediocre piece of song-craft that would never have made it anywhere if the beatles hadnt already been famous & therefore could push any item to top of charts. i like sirico – the joust w/”rolling pea gravel” shows the typical cowardly lib response to substance….dont answer, avoid, and lie when necessary as facts do not matter only promoting the agenda

  9. cajuncath says:

    Neither Rolling Stone nor National Catholic Reporter have any serious understanding of or commitment to the fullness of Catholic truth with proper distinctions, in that regard Fr. Z and Fr. Sirico are correct.

    However, it still remains that Holy Church has officially, authoritatively condemned just about every form of modern liberalism. Including capitalism. Including separation of Church and state.

    From that basis, there can be an authentic Catholic assessment and critique of Acton Institute’s work and guiding principles.

  10. Imrahil says:

    “I am going to have a long talk with Bombadil: such a talk as I have not had in all my time. He is a moss-gatherer, and I have been a stone doomed to rolling. But my rolling days are ending, and now we shall have much to say to one another.” (Gandalf, before leaving the Hobbits)

  11. robtbrown says:


    It’s not even mediocre. The saccharine melody makes my skin crawl. And then there’s the line “imagine all the people sharing all the world”. I saw one of John Lennon’s homes in Florida–it would have made Louis XIV blush with jealousy.

    He wrote a lot of songs. Why was “Imagine” chosen? IMHO, it’s because it fulfills the leftie need to replace Faith, Hope, and Charity with Progressivism and Sentimentalism.

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  13. moconnor says:

    Oh let’s not trash Lennon too much. “Imagine” is one of his better efforts at anthem writing, a subgenre in which he did not excel. Even “In My Life” has Paul’s fingerprints on it. “Imagine” is rather off-putting in its details, but I think he gets the sentiment right. One has to remember that in 1973 all the rockers were writing this stuff. Remember The Stones’ “Angie”? Same year. So, “Imagine” comes out of the same dreadful period that produced “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “You’re so Vain.” It was the age of sappiness and, at the time, we all dug it. I always remind my class that in 1976, Lennon was “born again” for a short time, one of his many short-lived attempts at finding himself. Having no father around and an undependable mother (taken from him at a crucial age) does have long lasting effects.

  14. robtbrown says:


    I didn’t trash Lennon but only one of his songs. The Beatles hit the US when I was in high school, and I saw them in concert in 1964. Also keep in mind that I didn’t merely denigrate the lyrics but also the cloying melody. I am more than willing to acknowledge that Imagine was a Lennon fail.

    My point was that Rolling Stone considering it one of the best songs ever written.

  15. Legisperitus says:

    Hate to deepen the rabbit hole, but “Imagine” came out in 1971.

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