John L. Allen Jr’s news website Crux (www.cruxnow.com) bears the subtitle, “Taking the Catholic Pulse.” Crux was formerly hosted by the Boston Herald at its founding in 2014 but was dropped two years later. Crux was saved by none other than a “partnership” with the mega-philanthropic Knights of Columbus, headed by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
Allen is now considered the go-to-guy for Catholic news and opinion on this side of the Atlantic. It was little noticed that after the election of Benedict XVI, the then senior correspondent for the dissenting National Catholic Reporter had been highly critical of the new pontiff in his 2000, Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith. But with the unexpected change in wind direction, Allen hurriedly published another biography two months after Ratzinger’s election, The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope Was Elected and Where He Will Take the Catholic Church. Readers may recall that the liberal Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini of Milan was expected to succeed Saint John Paul II.
This is not to say that Allen is not an excellent reporter — he is — but merely to underscore that Allen’s personal proclivities have always been with the Catholic Left. Thus, I have watched with interest as Crux has sought to navigate some sort of middle way through the Catholic world of news and opinion. No doubt the rescue by the Knights of Columbus made this balancing act even more delicate. As Kaya Oakes noted at that time of the new “partnership,” there was a fear among Catholic leftists that the Knights would push Crux to the right and lose its “true editorial independence.”
Any lingering doubt regarding Allen’s “independence” should have been brushed aside long ago; however, the recent article by Steve Krueger, “Vatican article on ‘ecumenism of hate” in U.S. was long overdue” (August 2, 2017), should have delighted Kaya Oakes and her fellow watchdogs of the Catholic extremists on the Left. Krueger gives high fives to the shallow attack on Catholic Trump supports by Father Antonio Spadoro, S.J. and Rev. Marcelo Figueora in their much-discussed article in La Civilità Cattolica.
But more importantly, Krueger himself belongs to a network of Catholic organizations and political operatives bearing the nihil obstat of George Soros’s efforts over the years to undermine and redirect Catholic social teaching.
Steve Krueger has been the president of the Catholic Democrats since 2011, after serving as national director since 2008, which has consistently openly supported pro-abortion and anti-marriage candidates. In October 2012, Krueger’s Catholic Democrats launched a Catholics for Obama effort with a board of seven pro-abortion Democrats, including Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
But Krueger was also the first national director of Voice of the Faithful from 2002 to 2004. If anyone needs a reminder, VOTF advocated women priests, the end of priestly celibacy, the removal of the contraception and abortion ban.
As I wrote in a 2004 Special Report, a 2002 VOTF conference, featured speakers such as Leonard Swindler who proposed severing ties with the Catholic Church by writing a constitution for an American Catholic Church. Another speaker, Debra Haffner was a member and former president of SIECUS whose sex education guidelines approve children ages 5-8 being taught that masturbation and homosexuality are acceptable practices and that young teens be taught how to obtain and use contraceptives. And so on….*
Steve Krueger’s Catholic Democrats stand shoulder to shoulder with other extremists groups such as Catholic United, Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good, and Catholic for Choice, all partially funded by George Soros through the Tides Foundation. In 2012, Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society wrote an excellent overview of the interconnection, both financial and ideological, between these three groups. A complete list Soros-funded organizations can be seen here.
This year, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, wrote about the close relationship between these dissident Catholic groups and John Podesta who heads the Center for American Progress. The October 2016 Wikileaks dump produced a number of Podesta’s emails about Catholics that showed he was engaged in an effort to change Catholic teaching to favor the Democratic Party. One such effort was his support for Catholics United — “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this.” (I myself was the subject of several emails from James Salt of Catholics United to John Podesta.)
In Krueger’s article for Crux, listed as a “special to Crux,” he explains his agreement with the “two intrepid souls” who penned the article for La Civilità Cattolica. What Krueger finds fearless, I found laughable — imagine calling Donald Trump as “theocrat”? But Krueger lets that howler, and many others, slide. He does, however, note the authors mistake in using Church Militant as an example of a political player in the Evangelical-Catholic political alliance, but to prop them up he finds a few tough headlines on the EWTN website and announces them guilty as charged — EWTN is part of the “ecumenism of hate.”
I guess Steve Krueger missed how many times EWTN and its affiliate news services, the National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency, joined in on the Catholic Trump-bashing during the campaign. As someone who followed the Catholic media coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, I consider Krueger’s equation of EWTN with Church Militant as laughable as the article he calls “long overdue.”
So why would this article by Steve Krueger be published by Crux whose partnership with the Knights of Columbus is widely known? Krueger has not changed his views on Catholic teaching as far as I know, and his Catholic Democrats have not stopped espousing the election of pro-abortion political candidates. I am also not aware of any repudiation of the stances he took as head of Voice of the Faithful. So what gives?
It appears to me that the Knights of Columbus have gone the way of most Catholic colleges and universities where open dissent is shrugged off, or even celebrated, as either part of the necessary “dialogue” or ingredient to an “enlightened” way of thinking about the “contemporary” Church. I hope I am wrong, but that’s the message being sent by this “partnership.”
If John L. Allen, Jr. thinks he is “Taking the Catholic Pulse,” he needs to reach beyond those writers who confirm his own predilections.
*My report results in an unexpected invitation to speak at a VOTF meeting which I much enjoyed and wrote about here.