The New York Times has deigned to bestow the title “Catholic” on a gathering of about 2,000 feminists meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico under a number of confusing banners. Their agenda, which included Goddess worship, an Indian pipe ceremony, a Quaker meeting and a “feminist eucharist,” somehow managed to exclude anything even remotely resembling legitimate Catholic prayer or liturgy. A spokesperson for the group told the Times that they had rejected a proposal to include a traditional Catholic mass, and another participant was quoted as saying the group was “moving away from a Catholic identity.”

Why do the New York Times and religion writer Peter Steinfels insist on calling these people Catholic and conferring on them a cloak of legitimacy?

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