I sense a little bad blood in this exchange between commentator George Weigel (Truth at the Fifty-yard Line?) and former Archbishop of Washington Theodore Cardinal McCarrick (Moderation and Civility).
I don’t know that much about either of them, but from the Weigel’s article and McCarrick’s response I’m guessing that Weigel is conservative (at least in a Catholic theological sense) and McCarrick is liberal or at least less conservative than Weigel.
Weigel seems to be cheesed off at some stances McCarrick has taken in the past. He may have a valid point and he may not, but he definitely doesn’t have a very good argument. He tells a story about how McCarrick brushed off President Clinton’s attempt to walk up the aisle with him at the beginning of a Mass one time and then shook hands with some churchgoers as he walked up the aisle by himself. He also talks about how McCarrick was ‘immoderate’ by pushing for a voucher system to allow Washington students to spend public money at Catholic schools. Overall Weigel seems to approve of how McCarrick handled both of these, which leaves me to wonder why he included them since the general tone is a thumbs-down on McCarrick.
The only place where gives something resembling evidence to support the anti-McCarrick tone is in the second half of the column starting with “Then there are questions of doctrine.” The problem is that his whole argument is directed at a column written in the Washington Post by somebody named R. Scott Appleby where Appleby approvingly cites three cases of Catholics in positions of authority (a priest, a nun, and a university president) doing things that go against Catholic doctrine.
The problem is that Appleby (as the Commonweal article points out) works at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. There’s no reason from Weigel’s column to think that he has anything to do with Archbishop McCarrick, but Weigel goes after the column as if McCarrick had written it. He doesn’t even say that McCarrick approved of it or anything.
It’s a real head-scratcher. As soon as I read it I thought “That was written by some guy named Appleby. What does it have to do with Archbishop McCarrick.”
Maybe an editor at the Denver Catholic Register cut down the column and left out the part where Weigel makes the connection to Archbishop McCarrick. But as it stands now it’s really puzzling. If the confusing argument wasn’t the result of an editorial mistake by the DCR then maybe they should consider getting some editors. I can’t belive an editor would let something this poorly written get through to publication (good thing I don’t have an editor!).