In Sunday’s New York Times, the paper’s Vatican-beat reporter Jason Horowitz brought his usual caffeinated anti-conservative labeling habit to a story sketching out a clash over migrants in Italy pitting “far-right...ultra-conservative” Catholics like Cardinal Raymond Burke against the liberal views of Pope Francis: “As the Pope Champions Migrants, Some Cardinals Court the Far Right.”: "When the far-right Italian politician Matteo Salvini rose to testify that he hoped to be a better Christian despite being a divorced and first-class 'sinner,' one of the ultraconservative cardinals most critical of the pope smiled and clapped on the dais behind him."
If the notion of an “MSNBC Catholic” sounds like a complete non sequitur, you could be thinking of Mike Barnicle. In a foam-flecked Daily Beast attack on conservative Catholic Cardinal Raymond Burke -- "Catholicism’s Most Offensive Mansplainer" -- Barnicle and the Beasties highlighted how his “mother the nun” would call Burke an “a**hole” in Gaelic.
Barnicle also uncorked a completely crackpot line: “The cost of his gilded, ornate vestments could feed a family of four across a decade.”
Alex Wagner was noticeably gleeful on her MSNBC program on Monday about Pope Francis reassigning Cardinal Raymond Burke from a prominent role at the Vatican to patron of the Knights of Malta. Wagner hyped this move as "a strong message to arch-conservatives in the Catholic Church – reform or be removed." The left-wing host later underlined that the pontiff "demoted hardline U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke" and this was supposedly a "clear message to his [Francis's] conservative critics."
Tuesday's Good Morning America simply didn't have its facts straight in their rush to portray Pope Francis as a crypto-liberal. Amy Robach hyped that the pontiff "removed an outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage from a powerful post within the Church. Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke...was head of the Vatican's highest court." Robach then asserted that "this move is seen as reinforcing the Pope's vision for a more inclusive church."
However, Cardinal Burke is still the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – the equivalent of the Supreme Court for the Catholic Church. The Pope actually declined to renew the Wisconsin native's membership on a different consultative body at the Vatican – the Congregation for Bishops. [MP3 audio of Robach's news brief available here; video below the jump]
Less than a week later on May 21, after outlining on Time’s “Swampland” blog that the semi-official Vatican news has been “calm” and “fairly positive” towards the Democratic president, “in stark contrast to the furious reaction of many conservative Catholics here,” the editor quipped, “Uh, oh. It sounds like the Vatican newspaper ‘doesn’t understand what it means to be Catholic.’” Sullivan, like the rest of the media, was also selective in the articles she chose to emphasize from the newspaper.
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Molly Henneberg highlighted the controversial decision by Notre Dame to invite the pro-choice President Obama to speak and be awarded an honorary degree. Henneberg filled in viewers on recent remarks by Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Vatican Supreme Court as the Catholic Church official voiced disapproval of Obama’s planned appearance. Henneberg: "He does not think Notre Dame, a Catholic university, should have invited President Obama to give the commencement address on May 17. And he does not think the university should present the pro-choice President with an honorary degree."