Wherein Fr. Z agrees with Fishwrap’s @MichaelSWinters … but…

The other day retired liberal SCOTUS Justice John Paul Stevens issued an op-ed in Hell’s Bible in which he argued for the repeal of the 2nd Amendment.

I’ll get to MSW in a moment.  Bear with me.

A writer for the WaPo, Aaron Blake, reacted with a measure of horror to Steven’s open words:

One of the biggest threats to the recovery of the Democratic Party these days is overreach. Having seen what Republicans have accomplished while pushing to the right, Democrats are debating how hard to push in the opposite direction — on the minimum wage, on abortion, on health care and on education. A party that was once afraid of being saddled with supporting “government-run” health care is increasingly okay with the word “liberal” and even voted in droves for a self-described socialist in 2016. And its 2020 hopefuls are leading the leftward charge.

But rarely do we see such an unhelpful, untimely and fanciful idea as the one put forward by retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens.

In a New York Times op-ed on Tuesday, Stevens calls for a repeal of the Second Amendment. The move might as well be considered an in-kind contribution to the National Rifle Association, to Republicans’ efforts to keep the House and Senate in 2018, and to President Trump’s 2020 reelection bid. In one fell swoop, Stevens has lent credence to the talking point that the left really just wants to get rid of gun ownership and reasserted the need for gun-rights supporters to prevent his ilk from ever being appointed again (with the most obvious answer being: Vote Republican).

In effect, Justice Stevens named the love that dares not speaks its name… repeal of the 2nd Amendment.

Jonah Goldberg, while defending Stevens’ right to call for changes according to the process laid out in the Constitution itself, also noticed that Stevens hurt the liberal cause: “every now and then the mask slips“.  More Goldberg:

Stevens’s argument cuts through all of the fictions and double-talk and says plainly what millions of Americans and lots of politicians and journalists truly believe: Law-abiding citizens shouldn’t be able to buy guns easily, or at all, if it makes it easier or even possible for non-law-abiding citizens to get their hands on them.

But there’s another reason I applaud Stevens’s position. He seeks to change the meaning of the Constitution the way the Founders intended: through the amendment process.

So, Stevens violated the golden rule.  Don’t let the mask slip and say what the true goal is! Stevens named the love that dares not speak its name.

This is the key to understanding the dynamic of what follows.

Shifting gears to another issue, we find the same process at work.   A lib called out a lib for being unhelpful to the cause, for letting the mask slip, for naming the unnamable.

Over at Fishwrap, Michael Sean Winters wrote a blistering piece about the Loon in New Testament Studies at Jesuit-run Holy Cross College, Tat-siong Benny Liew, who suggested Christ might have been a “drag king” who harbored “queer desires.” Winters quotes some horrible stuff from this Loon’s writings. Blech.

Winters really laid into him, and rightly so, adapting a fabled SCOTUS hook of Justice Stewart: “I am no Scripture scholar, but I know one when I see one.”

The Holy Cross Loon let the mask slip and makes the whole lib agenda and homosexualist agenda in the Church look weird.

Just as strategy-minded enemies of the 2nd Amendment never want to admit in public that they want the rights of US citizens abolished, and therefore steer language into bromides like “commonsense gun laws”, etc., even while they advance their true agenda, so too those who have a homosexualist agenda in the Church will focus on certain phrases, all the time avoiding speaking openly what they are after in the long run.

Jesuits are good at this.

In any event, I find myself in agreement with Michael Sean Winters’ assessment of the motives and quality of the Holy Cross Loon’s offerings. Winters even thinks that it was blasphemy. Surely we agree on that.  It was creepy self-promoting blasphemy and it has no place in a Catholic institution.

On another note, Michael Sean is not known as the Wile E. Coyote of the catholic Left for nothing. He is nimble and creative, if generally unsuccessful in avoiding cliffs, falling rocks explosions, etc.

In dragging down the Holy Cross Loon, Wile E. scrambles after Ross “the Roadrunner” Douthat and his good new book on the pontificate of Pope Francis.

Just as I criticized Ross Douthat’s book on Pope Francis because it failed basic journalistic standards, theologians who support academic freedom need to take the lead in differentiating between pushing an envelope and pushing nonsense.


This is nearly as funny as watching clips of Wile E. with the open crates of ACME products.

In his critique of Douthat, Winters said that Douthat cited – but didn’t name – certain disgruntled participants in the Synod on the Family. Not naming them, you see, was a journalistic No No. To refute and educate Douthat, however, Winters cited his own entirely gruntled Synod participants but… ooops… didn’t name them, hence hoisting himself on his own petard. But that’s what Wile E. does, right? Agere sequitur esse.

In this new Fishwrap piece about the Holy Cross Loon, on the other hand, Winters covers his ACME rocket burns by mentioning in passing parentheses the not entirely unknown “Chatham House Rule”, whereby those who hear a debate can use the information they hear publicly, but without identifying the people involved. The Chatham House Rule is intended to promote candor and open, honest debate.  In this Fishywrappy context, however, the Rule is probably a mask – a slipped mask – over another which you will recognize.

Rule, #4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

Winters is clearly irritated at what the Holy Cross Loon wrote, because he let the mask slip.  He is also irritated with Douthat because he reached out and yanked the mask off.   Hence, Winters even tries to draw a moral equivalence between the commonest of critters, a blasphemous self-promoting loony lib of bizzare sexual proclivities and Douthat, the rarest  of breeds, a mostly conservative and well-measured opinion writer for the hoary lady, Hell’s Bible.   Remember?   “Just as I criticized Ross Douthat’s book…”.

However, if you really want a sense of whom Wile E. sees as his nemesis, just review his review of Douthat’s book.  Pay attention to the over the top hysteria of his thoughts on Douthat.   Then compare that with language he used about the Holy Cross Loon.  Yes, it too is touchy, harsh and occasionally vitriolic, because… well… that’s our dear Wile E!  But it isn’t nearly as venomous as his treatment of Douthat’s book.

It all makes for another interesting day in the Catholic Church, wherein an observer of human nature will never be bored.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The devil is in the details..
    Problem is that the ‘devil’ isn’t a detail type…
    Too busy wandering throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls..

    Seems to be the same kind of problem with fishwrappers & leftist so-called ‘theologians’… And jesuits (sadly enough, there are plenty of good jesuits who should be prayed for!)

  2. Jonah Goldberg is a tool for praising Justice Stevens for “at least” wanting to repeal the Second Amendment “by the book.” That is the kind of pabulum that anesthetizes us in the face of poisonous ideas like repealing the Second Amendment, and the poisonous people who advocate them. Hitler and his Nazi party seized power in Germany “by the book”; should history smile upon them for their devotion to the rule of law? How low we have sunk when we find comfort in the destroyers of our culture and our society “at least” doing it “by the book.”

  3. Malta says:

    I know the conservator of Chuck Jone’s art here in Santa Fe, NM (cf. http://www.popsantafe.com/artists/view/14) He told me that it sometimes took months to create these cartoons. I think they are hilarious! They’re actually almost more for adults than kids–but kids are smart, so they get it too. This was before computer animation, so every second of these cartoons had to be hand-drawn; very labor-intensive work. But they are so clever and inventive; people are starting to see that now, and Chuck’s art is selling for thousands of dollars. Maybe I’m juvenile, but I can’t stop laughing at Wile E. Coyote to this day!

  4. Malta says:

    I’m 45, and have 5 kids, but this stuff makes me laugh so hard!


  5. Malta says:

    The French also love this stuff!


    What’s going on in the Church and world could lead to despair, so I always tell people to laugh, and find the humorous! My son is suicidal, and I have a lady friend who is extremely depressed; so I just try to get them to laugh. I constantly tell jokes, and tell them they’re wonderful, talented beautiful people.

  6. comedyeye says:

    Isn’t this also similar to the incident when Joe Biden let the mask slip off regarding homosexual “marriage”?

  7. Malta says:

    This has 20,000,000 views–this is the computer animated version of Wile E. Coyote; I live in New Mexico and have seen many roadrunners–they really are incredibly fast birds, and they don’t fly! I guess I’m a nerd in being so interested in them! @42:00 when Wile is trying to break into the glass cage is just hilarious to me! We all need much more humor in our lives!


  8. bobbird says:

    Remember, dear readers, our rights come from God … NOT from the misnamed “Bill of Rights”, which are merely a further clarification on the limitations of federal power, and this is clearly explained not only in the preamble to the amendments, but also in the 9th. A careful reading of the first 10 amendments sustains this: it does not grant any rights, but states that pre-existing rights cannot be infringed. Ask most NRA members where the right to keep and bear arms comes from and they will almost always answer, in a triumphant voice, “The Second Amendment!” Buzzer sounds, trap door opens, they ought to fall into crocodile pit. “What the gov’t giveth, it can taketh away.” It gave us NOTHING. God gave us EVERYTHING.

  9. maternalView says:

    The discussion right now should not be whether the 2nd amendment should be repealed because that presupposes that so-called gun violence affords only one solution.

    The real issue is why do certain individuals who seem to fit a certain profile for the most part target certain venues? Let’s discuss why those individuals have those profiles. What can change that? Why certain venues and not others? It seems a solution has been selected and now events are being twisted to fit the solution.

  10. Pingback: MONDAY MORNING EDITION – Big Pulpit

  11. JonPatrick says:

    London UK has had a rash of stabbings to the point that the Mayor now wants to ban the carrying of knives. The murder rate in London now exceeds that of New York a comparably sized city, in spite of guns being almost unknown there. One needs to look at the cause rather than the weapon involved. In the case of London it seems many of the killings are by Muslims mostly against other Muslims. Of course due to political correctness this cannot be spoken about by the Government.

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