On the website of the National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters says he had the following “nasty thought” today: “Where is Bill Donohue When You Need Him?” This is in reference to Donohue’s silence in the wake of Father Robert Sirico’s recent article on Ayn Rand, and her fictional character in Atlas Shrugged, John Galt.
Winters accuses Father Sirico of treating Galt as a Christ-figure: “He considers him as a God-Man.” Winters then questions, “how is this different from ‘Piss Christ,’ the infamous work of art by Andres Serrano in which the artist took one of Catholicism’s most sacred symbols, the crucifix, and submerged it in a bottle of urine. Is not the suggestion that Galt is a Christ-figure just as insulting in its way as ‘Piss Christ’ is in its way? Is this not sacrilege? Should we wait for a press release from the Catholic League? Or does Donohue only throw aspersions on the indecencies of the left?”
Here is Bill Donohue’s response:
Winters’ accusation is false. Here is what Father Sirico actually said: “He [Galt] is, in a real sense for Rand, the God-Man.” (My emphasis.) Moreover, while Sirico notes certain strengths in Rand’s writings, he is not exactly her cheerleader. In the piece which Winters claims to have read, Sirico flatly says, “I disagree profoundly with Rand,” adding that “people who reverence Western Civilization must reject Rand.”
It insults the intelligence of the reader to compare Sirico to Serrano. As for fairness, I took on the entire Republican leadership when they tried to stiff a priest nominated to be the first Catholic House Chaplain, and in the last election hammered John McCain for an endorsement he sought.
What’s really going on is Winters’ obsession with Father Sirico. He doesn’t like him. Fair enough. We do. Indeed, we think he’s great. No matter, even adversaries are obliged to get the facts straight.