“Her burst of anti-Catholicism now demands stronger sanctions against her.”
It’s rare to see a politician on the national stage go after the Catholic Church with this kind of hostility and stridency. But last week, it happened.
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene sat down for an interview with Church Militant and unloaded on the Catholic Church:
In the interview, Greene rehashed old beefs, described herself as a victim of Jan. 6, said the United States is so sinful she doesn’t understand “why God hasn’t destroyed us” and suggested that Satan is controlling the Catholic Church.
Greene showed herself willing to be party to another civil war: the one within the Catholic Church, which for most of the last decade has pitted conservative American Catholics against a pope they consider too liberal to be legitimate, as well as against much of the rest of the global church.
After asking Greene how she gauged the “spiritual character of the United States right now” — the question that prompted her to wonder why God hadn’t destroyed America yet for its failure to end abortion — Voris guided her into issues within Catholic World, taking specific aim at the church-affiliated aid organization Catholic Relief Services, which has recently been targeted by conservative Catholics for its work to help immigrants at the southern border.
“What it is, is Satan’s controlling the church,” Greene responded. Catholics and other Christians who cite biblical mandates to “love one another” by taking care of migrants, she continued, are “perverting” both the meaning of the Bible and the Constitution.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League branded that “slander,” adding: “She needs to apologize to Catholics immediately. She is a disgrace.”
Greene doubled down late yesterday with a long statement on Twitter in which she said she was raised Catholic:
I was born into the church, raised in it and was married in it. I stopped attending Catholic Mass when I became a mother and realized I could not trust the Church leadership to protect my children from pedophiles and that they harbored monsters even in their own ranks.
It’s the church leadership I was referring to when I invoked the Devil…
She went on:
America’s bishops are some of the worst in the world. They have lied, deceived and committed despicable criminal acts for decades.
I myself, baptized and married in the Catholic Church, left because I would not submit the spiritual and physical livelihood of my children to these monsters. Bill Donohue, by contrast, makes a million dollars a year, partly from sending out emails to defend corrupt bishops.
Which prompted this salvo from Donohue: a letter to the House leadership demanding that she be sanctioned. He wrote:
Greene has a history of offending African Americans and Jews, so bigotry is something that is apparently baked into her.
The time has come for her to be either reprimanded or censured. Her irresponsible behavior has already caused her to be removed from committee assignments. Accordingly, her burst of anti-Catholicism now demands stronger sanctions against her.
A GOP strategist, meanwhile, criticized Greene’s remarks on CNN this morning. Watch it here.
UPDATE: Slate has unpacked some of the feud. Read about it here:
Greene’s comments, when separated from the most inflammatory points, make a legitimate claim that many reform-minded Catholics would agree with: that too many Catholics fail to see just how deeply rooted the issues are that created the sex abuse crisis. But her full comments, including a remark that “the faithful deserve … bishops who don’t smear and punish good priests for being ‘too Catholic,’ ” are telling. In them, she signals an alliance with the conservative camp that believes the sex abuse crisis is a result of moral degradation and liberal permissiveness in the church, in addition to structural problems. (More progressive Catholics tend to argue that the crisis is a result of power abuses.)
Greene may not have known what kind of fight she walked into when she sat down with Voris. This feud between an evangelical congresswoman, a conservative Catholic religious rights group, and a fringe Catholic news site was messy—and revealing, when it comes to just how fractured the Catholic right has become.