Thursday, January 8, 2015

Maureen Mullarkey Strikes Again (and a Reminder About Commonweal Catholic Centrism)

Remember Maureen Mullarkey? Sure you do! Back in 2009, when it became public that she had contributed to the prop 8 campaign to strip gay citizens of California of the right to civil marriage, though she had made a name for herself as an artist painting drag queens, I posted commentary about her. And then I noted her cozy connections to, well, see my conclusion below.*

Ms. Mullarkey is baaaack. With a humdinger of an essay at the site of the right-wing Catholic journal First Things preemptively attacking the enyclical on the environment that Pope Francis is slated to publish early this year, and chastising the "imprudent" pope for not recognizing that "Satan is still the prince" of this world. And then there's this:

But Francis is not a fool. He is an ideologue and a meddlesome egoist. His clumsy intrusion into the Middle East and covert collusion with Obama over Cuba makes that clear. Megalomania sends him galloping into geopolitical—and now meteorological—thickets, sacralizing politics and bending theology to premature, intemperate policy endorsements.

To say that Francis and his forthcoming encyclical have the American political and religious right considerably riled up at present would be a vast understatement. A few days ago at the Forbes website, one Steve Moore raked the pope over the coals for what Moore imagines Francis will say in his encyclical, and for how he's endorsing the "pagan" environmentalist movement and will propose economic remedies that will make the poor poorer.

Silly, silly pope, when we all know that allowing the super-rich to pocket more money is what makes the poor richer. Something like that. Maureen Mullarkey offers similar analysis, suggesting that the real bee in the bonnet of these folks vis-a-vis Francis's environmentalism is that he continues to critique an immoral, out-of-kilter economic system that is impoverishing vast numbers of human beings for the luxury of a very few, and destroying the planet in the process.

Maureen Mullarkey: now where have I heard that name before? Oh, I know! As her autobiographical précis reminds visitors to her website, she has published essays for that leading intellectual arbiter of the American Catholic public conversation, Commonweal. Just as Commonweal tells us that Cardinal Burke's voice needs to be heard because someone needs to speak out and challenge fellow Catholics who want to go too easy on the divorced or on homosexuals, Commonweal has given column space to Maureen Mullarkey.

Demonstrating, in the process, the validity of something I keep saying over and over again on this blog: this is that the American Catholic center has an endless eager appetite to include those to the right of the center, even when the folks being included ("Hearing Cardinal Burke: Let Him Speak, and Let the Debate Go On") represent the hard right, the silly right (as with Burke and Mullarkey and Rusty Reno and the whole First Things crowd the Commonweal folks cannot do enough to lionize.) But the appetite to include and listen respectfully to people these centrist arbiters of the American Catholic public conversation deem left of center? It's clearly just not there.

* Since links break and disappear on the internet over time, I can't vouch for the links embedded in these 2009 postings.

The graphic is from Zack Beauchamp's Think Progress article arguing that centrists cannot save D.C. from extremism, which notes that the photo is from the Flickr stream of Future Atlas.

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