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Law & the Courts

The People of Praise Distraction

Reuters is out with a story about a mostly Catholic group to which Judge Barrett reportedly belongs, the People of Praise. Reporter Daniel Trotta notes that one woman who left the organization in 1984 thinks it is an “abusive cult,” and apparently is hostile as well to her husband at the time and to other religious groups they joined. Trotta also finds a scholar who says it’s not a cult, but it is “very conservative.” Trotta himself characterizes it as “ultraconservative.”

And that’s it. There’s not a lot here, and what is here is open to question. If it really were that very ultraconservative, for example, I doubt Pope Francis would have named one of its members the auxiliary bishop of Portland.

Update, evening of 9/22: Possibly in response to widespread criticism, Reuters has now extensively re-written the story. Now we learn that People of Praise “describes itself as an ultraconservative group.” I’d like to see a citation where it so describes itself, thanks. The new version of the story also omits any mention of the year 1984.

Update, afternoon of 9/23: The story has been updated again! No longer does it claim that People of Praise calls itself “ultraconservative.” Instead: “The group says on its website it is made up of liberals and conservatives, with a mixture including Roman Catholic and Pentecostal traditions, though at least one expert and a former member consider it very conservative.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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