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NCR Writer Pretends to be Pope. What Could Go Wrong?

Wow. I didn't think that the National Catholic Reporter could get any stranger. But they did. And not just by a little.

Get this, NCR writer Michael Sean Winters writes a letter to Speaker John Boehner as if he were Pope Benedict. Yeah, you read that right. Michael Sean Winters is pretending to be Pope Benedict. I'm unsure if any dressup was involved but that would only make it marginally stranger.

In it, the pretend Pope Benedict accuses the bishops of lying about Obamacare and questions Boehner's motives. Then he tosses out a liberal wish list right out of Nancy Pelosi's hope chest. And he uses the word "like" like a sixteen year old suburban mallrat.

I could go on but this is just priceless. You've got to read it.

Dear Mr. Boehner,

I write to congratulate you on becoming Speaker of the House on Wednesday, only the second Catholic Republican to hold the gavel. It is a source of pride for you, for your family and for all Catholics in the Great Republic. Please be assured of my prayers and apostolic blessing.

I also want to congratulate you for articulating so strongly your commitment to the defense of unborn human life. The bishops tell me that this new health care law provides federal funding of abortion and that this is one of the reasons you opposed that law. I am not so sure. I am eighty-two, and at eighty-two, you learn to listen very attentively to the sisters about health care, and they tell me the new health care law does not provide federal funds for abortion. Nonetheless, I hope that even if you are able to strengthen the rules preventing any government monies for abortions, you will beat back any effort to overturn to the health care law as a whole. Frankly, the rest of the world has been laughing at the U.S. for decades because you spend so much on health care and don’t even cover all your people. I have not been laughing. I have been scandalized that a great and religious country like yours has taken so long to guarantee health care as a right. I have spoken about this as clearly as possible and I am sure that you, Mr. Boehner, as a good Catholic will heed my voice in this matter.

Of course, another area where the U.S. spends a great deal more money than the rest of the world is on military bases. I drove past Ramstein once – it took me like an hour to get past the thing it was so huge and, of course, Aviano is up north, not too far from Trent. I am wondering: Why do you still have all these forces in Europe? It has been twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall? More importantly, have you noticed how yours is the only Western country that keeps finding itself in a war? The rest of us in Europe send troops because of NATO, but can you imagine Italy or France or Brazil or Canada starting a war? Even my native country, Germany, is no longer a military threat. When was the last time you heard someone call my people Huns?

There are some other areas of Catholic social teaching that I wish to call to your attention. As you know, in the past few years, one of the dominant themes of my speeches has been the moral imperative to address global warming. (I am told that in the U.S. you have to say “climate change” because “global warming” does not poll well, especially during the winter months, but here at the Vatican we do not take polls so I can call it what it is.) I invite you, my dear son, to look at the future generations of the world the way you look at an individual unborn child, as demanding protection because of their inherent dignity. Being good stewards of the environment, sir, is being pro-life too.

As I am sure you are aware, the Church also insists that public authorities – and all Christian peoples – exercise a preference for the poor. The growing income inequality in your country is, like the military spending, something we just don’t see here in Europe and, frankly, our economies are doing no better or worse over time than yours. I especially call your attention to the situation of so many immigrants in America, men and women who share your Catholic faith, who came to your country because they share your sense of hopefulness about America. This week we celebrate the Epiphany, when three foreign wise men came to worship at the crib. In recent days, we have been reminded that Jesus himself was born poor and that St. Joseph was forced to flee with Mary and the baby Jesus across an international boundary to do what was best for his family. I am confident that you will work with President Obama to come to the aid of these immigrants in your country.

So, my dear son, in extending my apostolic blessing to you and all whom you hold dear, I urge you to exercise responsibly your Catholic vocation as a member of the laity, to enact those values the Church has taught in season and out of season in the public sphere. I am told you are a loyal son of the Church and so I know you will not dissent from such clear and repeated teachings of the Church as those I have called your attention to regarding peace, the environment, the right to health care, and concern for the poor and the immigrant.

Given at St. Peter’s, this third day of January 2011, the sixth of my pontificate, Benedict XVI, P.P.
Wow. What more can I say but wow.

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Paul said...

Incredible. The real Benedict would not agree with very much of what the fake one wrote. What an offensive, impertinent travesty.

If there isn't any rule against impersonating the pope, shouldn't there at least be some restraints of good taste and respect that would hold one back?

But we're talking about the National Catholic Reporter here, so I guess the answer is "no."

Tobias said...

I'm not sure whether the bigger offense is impersonating the pope or putting such twisted words in his mouth. Do you suppose these folks write this because they intend to twist the pope's words or because they really think he says these things?

Barbara said...

Could even Iowahawk turn this into comedy? "Like"? - Winters attempt at portraying His Holiness as a vapid mall rat reveals waaaay too much about his own state of mind than the Pope's!
At best Winters is snotty and disdainful of orthodoxy in any way shape or form so the answer is that he's twisting - and twisted. He's one of the reasons I find the rag he writes for so unendurable.
Thanks again, I think, for reading the fishwrap so the rest of us don't have to.

Anonymous said...

I think if MSW were going to play dress up, it wouldn't be as Pope Benedict.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

"Authorities say the phony pope can be recognized by his high-top sneakers and incredibly foul mouth."

Fred said...

A liberal Democratic take on whom Michael would like tho Pope to be. Thank God it's just comedy

Mark O'Malley said...

National Catholic Fishwrap, proudly heretical since 1968

Sue said...

Weird beyond freakin' words. Thanks for sharing?:-)

Anonymous said...


-- Mack

Domenico Bettinelli said...


Rick said...

Rather than impersonating the Pope, a faithful Catholic writer will seek to understand the Papal mind through his letters, encyclicals, addresses and audiences. Then he can write with substance and even authority. On the other hand, Winters became ridiculous with this desperate stunt to get people to read his Liberal mental excretions.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the sense of humour of this site, but I honestly can't tell if this is a parody or not. If so, well done! If not, Hospodi pomiluy!

John said...

Hi everyone,
Oh, but I do enjoy a good laugh!
Sadly, it must be at Mr. Winter's expense, but then no one forced him to type his comments. Poor man.
I think we all ought to volunteer to pray for him? I think he needs it......

scotju said...

What was he smoking or drinking when he wrote this balderdash!?

Anonymous said...

Could even Iowahawk turn this into comedy?

My initial response to reading the letter was that someone like Iowahawk wrote it and attributed it to a liberal. It reads like pure parody. Yikes, is this Winters for real?

Greg said...

Those who have followed the increasing insanity of the left for the past few years do not find this at all odd... this is standard Alinsky ridicule. It is part of the playbook, not one individual going off the reservation.

When Bishops do not address Pelosi's insanity head on, this is what we get. There will much, much more.

Anonymous said...

Disturbing (and disturbed) on so many levels. He didn't even get the Pope's age right: BXVI is 83, not 82.

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