October 6, 2015
Rusty, Maureen, Fascism, Socialism, Liberalism, Oh My!
In case you already weren’t aware of the scandal at the venerable magazine First Things, one of their blogs written by Maureen Mullarkey; who is a painter in “real life” and writes on art, culture, and the Catholic Church, was taken down by editor Rusty Reno because he felt that the writing on the blog had crossed a line that Rusty was no longer going to tolerate – so he posted an editorial that said in part:
Maureen has a sharp pen and pungent style. Her postings about Pope Francis indicate she’s very angry about this papacy, which she seems to view as (alternately) fascism and socialism disguised as Catholicism. This morning she put up a post that opens with the accusation that the Vatican is conspiring with the Obama administration to destroy the foundations of freedom and hobble the developed world. I've had my staff take it down…
To point that out, as Francis does, in no way makes him a supporter of the Castro brothers or a disciple of Che Guevara, as Maureen implies.
Enough! We need to think about the church and the world as they actually are, not by way of caricatures.
Other writers have commented on the inappropriateness of firing Maureen in this very public fashion – that’s not what interests me here. Instead, I want to explore a more subtle argument that seems to animate Rusty’s criticism of Maureen – that her concern about the Pope’s sympathy for socialist ideas (or run-of-mill left-wing ideas if you prefer!) gives aid and comfort to fascist or totalitarian or tyrannical ideologies. Well, not to put too fine a point on it – they do! Haven’t we been through all of this before?