It’s hardly a shock that the paragons of class at Jezebel hate the Catholic Church, what with its rules and morality and stuff. But shouldn’t people who write for a living be able to come up with a better epithet for a Church cardinal than “Catholic Bullshitter?” Is that the best enlightened progressives can do?
Jezebel's Doug Barry blamed the Church for “deny[ing] gay people certain critical elements of what it means to be a full-fledged person” and dubbed Cardinal Timothy Dolan a “Catholic bullshitter” and a “self-justifying blowhard” in a piece published Sunday. Barry zeroed in on Dolan, the archbishop of New York, after Dolan admitted the Church was “out-marketed” in regards to marriage during NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Jezebel, an ultra-feminist liberal site, boasts 12 million readers per month and recently made headlines for publishing a book that defined kids as “side effect[s] of sex.” At Jezebel, the sophisticated, tolerant progressive tone is set at the top. Its editor, Erin Gloria Ryan, got in trouble over the weekend for what she called a “dumb joke.” Upon learning that actor Paul Walker had died in a car wreck, Ryan tweeted, “Why couldn’t it be scott walker.” Scott Walker is the conservative Republican Governor of Wisconsin.
Ryan must be proud of Barry, who spewed, “It’s fear that keeps them [“leaders like Dolan”] from moving forward — fear of losing whatever authority the Jesus wizards of an ancient Roman cult carried into the 21st century.”
The reason for Barry’s hatred is as simple as it is pedestrian: The Church demands that Catholics try to live moral lives. Whatever else is included in Catholic faith, any check on the “if it feels good, do it” ethos is beyond the pale to liberal high chair-pounders like Barry. Church “authority derives, in part, from doctrine that is very behind the times,” ventured the sage theologian. “If the Church hierarchy all of a sudden decided that, hey, condoms are nbd and, YOLO, sex before marriage is totally cool too, from where or what does it derive its authority? That is, if the Church leaders aren't dictating preconditions for Catholic belief and club membership, why do they need to exist at all?”
Linking to Politico's transcript, Barry explained, “His [Dolan’s] reasoning that the powerful Hollywood marketing machine has somehow distorted the issue and undermined the Church's once-powerful propaganda machine is bullshit.” (Barry likes that word, apparently.)
Unfortunately for Barry, Politico also cited Dolan bashing “opinion-molders.”
But Barry hears what he wants to, as when he concluded, “Dolan all but admitted that the Church is losing the argument about gay rights.” He gleaned that from an exchange when Host David Gregory asked, “So you don't think the gay marriage debate is over, a settled question?” Dolan responded with, “I don't think it's over. No. I don't think it is.”
But hey, if nothing else, Barry seems to have a certain amount of self-awareness. He wrote that, despite Pope Francis offering “reasonable Catholics hope for a brighter, more inclusive future,” he confessed, “it’s trendy and easy to pick on the Church.” Yeah, and as Barry proves, you don’t have to be particularly talented to do it.
— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.