The crazies on the Catholic right have set their sights on Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. Why? Because he is close to Pope Francis, and they hate the pope. The attacks are coming from The Church Militant, a loose gang of angry right-wingers who specialize in character assassination, and American Spectator hater George Neumayr.
Three recent hit pieces by Church Militant author Christine Niles set the agenda. She says “today’s archbishop of Washington owns a penthouse in a complex valued at $43 million.” That is a lie. He owns not a centimeter of his third-floor “penthouse,” an apartment that sits atop Our Lady Queen of the Americas parish. Like bishops all over the world, he resides in a spot that was specifically designed for the local Ordinary. There is nothing scandalous about this Church patrimony.
Church Militant head Michael Voris says his unidentified sources claim that when Wuerl was the Bishop of Pittsburgh his gay-friendly approach earned him the nickname “Donna the Girl.” I taught at a Pittsburgh Catholic college during Wuerl’s years and never once did I hear anyone tag him as such. Voris also says that Wuerl stole a “Catechism work composed by Fr. John Hardon by simply putting his name to it.” That’s another lie. I guess Wuerl was channeling Hardon when he gave his TV series of lectures on the subject.
Neumayr is so far gone that he accuses Wuerl of being a Communist because someone spotted a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book in his office in the 1970s. That would make me Chairman of the Politburo: I have a copy of Das Kapital in my office right now. These crazies are mad at Wuerl because he doesn’t believe in using the Eucharist as a weapon to smack liberal Catholic politicians. Wuerl has said that the refusal of Holy Communion “should be made only after clear efforts to persuade and convince the person that their actions are wrong and bear moral consequences.” Exactly. Wuerl is a great gift to the Catholic Church. These critics are as ignorant as they are malicious.