The Anchoress' Glass House

I do not like the writings of the Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, over at her First Things blog. I know that blogging invites hyper-ventilation, in part because of some of the ridiculous things one reads on other blogs, but hyper-ventilation is Scalia’s only note. It is as if all Bach’s chorales or all Beethoven’s symphonies were in one key, and a boring key at that, say, C Major.

But, yesterday, Scalia outdid herself when she chose to take on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remarks about praying to St. Joseph on his feast day. She writes: "I’m sorry. Almost nothing that has come from this woman’s mouth has infuriated me like this." She then has a clip of the Speaker saying she is praying to St. Joseph the Worker on his feast day and notes that it is a special day for Italian-Americans. This is what put Scalia in a tizzy. She notes that the feast of St. Joseph the Worker is actually on May 1, which is true, but it is the same St. Joseph nonetheless. She says that Catholics do not pray "to" the saints, but ask the saints to pray for them. Our friends at Vox Nova have devastated this ridiculous claim: In common parlance, Catholics always say they pray "to" this saint or that, even if they do not get into the theological niceties that so upset Scalia. Oh yes, she also displays her evident Christian charity by calling Pelosi a "glammed-up guttersnipe" and says of Pelosi that "[h]er ignorance is almost sublime."


But, then Scalia displays her own sublime ignorance. Actually, she doesn’t. What she does is make a statement, readily understandable, but not quite factually accurate, in short, the kind of thing Speaker Pelosi did. At the end of her post Scalia writes: "The US Council of Catholic Bishops Issues a Request of Catholics, on Health Care Reform." She provides the link. I was unaware that any of the three Plenary Councils of Baltimore, all of which were held in the nineteenth century, dealt with the issue of health care. The current organization of the U.S. Bishops is called the U.S. Conference, not Council, of Catholic Bishops. In fact, in the early 1920s, there was a bit of controversy about what to name the organization and the Vatican specifically objected to any use of the word "Council" because of its canonical significance.

Scalia’s mistake is an easy one to make. As easy as confusing the feast of St. Joseph the Worker with the Solemnity of St. Joseph. The difference, of course, is that Scalia is paid to be some kind of expert on Catholic issues. Some expert.

Michael Sean Winters


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Marc Monmouth
8 years 2 months ago
Michael, you are upset by what you call a lack of Christian chartiy because of Scalia's name-calling of Pelosi. You need to read your posts and your lack of Christian-charity for those who, unlike you, refuse to "carry water for the Democratic Party."  A classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. 
8 years 2 months ago
I know what you think of conservatives and ''traditionalists'' but what do you think of Pelosi?  Aren't this woman's views on abortion outrageous when she continous to try to claim that she is a Catholic in good standing?  Your venom is so much harsher against those who are ''pro-life''.  But we all know where you stand with your line drawn in the sand.  Ha ha!
Beth Cioffoletti
8 years 2 months ago
Isn't it interesting that that which we most want to accuse the "other" of doing, we ourselves are guilty of as well?  Happens every time.
Reminds me of Merton's words that we are all more or less wrong, that we are all at fault, all riddled with mixed motives, self-deception, greed, self-righteousness, and a tendency toward aggressivity and hypocrisy.
Seems to me that the first step toward figuring out a solution to anything should be to recognize that we are all equally wrong.
David Nickol
8 years 2 months ago
Deacon Greg Kandra,
Would you at least be willing to admit that The Anchoress - in calling the Speaker of the House a “glammed-up guttersnipe,” an “abominable woman,” “a power-mad, ruthless, mendacious grotesque” and a “sad she-clown/useful idiot" - may have distracted readers from "her point which merits serious discussion"? There may be "redeeming social importance" buried in The Anchoress's blog post on Pelosi, but essentially it qualifies as pornography of hate. 
Helena Loflin
8 years 2 months ago
I have read several Elizabeth Scalia rants posted on Inside Catholic.  Ms. Scalia is among the most self-righteous amidst the most self-righteous.  Her omniscience is rivaled only by God's on most days.  She has the superhuman ability to look directly into the souls and minds of those she condemns (notably always Democrats) and expose their evil intentions and sins to the world.  In other words, Ms. Scalia is not only an expert on Catholic issues, but also an expert on the contents of human souls.  And, her self-righteous wrath has no rival, at least not from any conservative blog with content that is quotable in polite company.  Whenever Ms. Scalia is eviscerating a Democrat for real or imagined or fabricated sins and weaknesses, the word that comes to my mind is virulent.  Predictably, Ms. Scalia is herself very thin skinned. 
8 years 2 months ago
"Some expert."
...from SMW, the Catholic apologist for the most anti-life administration in the history of the States...(i.e. - the repeal of Mexico City Agreement, support of embryo destroying research, radically pro-abortion, the escalation of Afgan war)...
Some expert...
Judi Farranto
8 years 2 months ago
America's comment policy admonishes not to "tout favorite issues or causes". Therefore, I will limit my comment to thanking you for providing the link to a read-worthy article by a writer who is righteously indignant. Those babies Leader Pelosi mentions who are '6 weeks old', who will benefit from the Health Care bill barely escape the 'cut'. 
8 years 2 months ago
Michael ...
Honestly, I thought you were more mature than that. 
Scalia's hyper-ventilation is one thing; your over-reaction to it is simply childish.  (I'd wager most American Catholics would make the same mistake.  I know I have, and it's one reason why God made copy editors.)  You also conveniently overlook her point, which merits serious discussion: the co-opting of a Catholic saint for political purposes. 
Dcn. G.
Bill Mazzella
8 years 2 months ago
Michael's description of the Anchoress is spot on. Venom is easy. Analysis takes effort.
Words fly easily. The Anchoress is trying to be the female version of Russ Limbaugh. It appeals to the hateful crowd but adds zero to the conversation.


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