I’m torn between simply ignoring someone like Stephan Bannon now that he’s been banished from the White House to the fringes that is Breitbart news or taking him to task for his dangerous rhetoric. His appearance on 60 Minutes has me coming down on the side of the latter. Having tried his hand at undermining Pope Francis, he is now whacking the US Catholic Bishops.
Bannon lets loose on the Church and its US bishops’ positon on immigration. Anyone who is a member of the Church or has the slightest idea what it’s all about can easily guess its position on immigration. With charity to all, the Church welcomes immigrants of all types and sorts.
One doesn’t need to be a theologian to know the Catholic Church’s position, especially on the Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan took exception to Bannon’s comments. “That’s insulting. And that’s just so ridiculous that it doesn’t merit a comment,” Dolan said.
Dolan adds that Bannon is right in one respect. “This is not an issue of Catholic doctrine because it comes from the Bible itself. And the Bible is so clear, so clear that to treat the immigrant with dignity and respect is biblical mandate.”
Let’s be clear about one thing: Bannon does not get a pass on insulting Catholic bishops or undermining the pope because he claims to be a Catholic.
Earlier this year, Bannon, still in the White House, did his best to undermine Pope Francis. Bannon chose to engage Francis’ detractors right in the Vatican itself. He cozied up to American Cardinal Raymond Burke, an archconservative and fierce critics of Francis in the Vatican. Burke and his allies worked with Bannon to push their philosophy: Islam is to be conquered, the elite is to remain powerful and any outreach to the poor is a sign of weakness.
Bannon is a bully of the worst kind. Luckily, he doesn’t have much juice back at Breitbart. It’s a alt-right (or is it alt-write?) outlet that does little to influence public discourse. Those who read and believe it are already out there and mostly beyond reach.
In the meantime, the Catholic Bishops—and the pope himself—need to stand strong against bigotry.