Another Priest Who Thinks He's A Right-Wing Pundit
CNSNews.com gave space to Catholic priest Jerry Pokorsky to spout right-wing opinions, while also continuing to do the same for another priest, Michael Orsi.
By Terry Krepel Posted 7/31/2023
Rev. Michael Orsi
Michael Orsi wasn't the only Catholic priest published by CNSNews.com who seemed to believe his real calling was to be a right-wing pundit. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest in suburban Washington, D.C., and as with Orsi, the more-Catholic-than-the-pope folks who ran CNS were pleased by how he mixed Catholicism with pushing right-wing talking points.
In a February 2020 column, Pokorsky complained that Catholic politicians weren't sufficiently imposing their faith on people:
By most measurements, America is the most prosperous country in the world. Yet the majority of “Catholics” in Congress support profound evils degrading marriage, confusing human sexuality, setting men against women, and mother against unborn baby the effective destruction of the family.
Despite their talents and accomplishments, these elected professionals are “salt” that has lost its taste. They have severed themselves from the teaching of Jesus and no longer keep the world from corruption. Instead, they contribute to human degradation. Prosperity brings physical comforts, but prosperity cannot provide meaning, nor can it save.
In an October 2020 column shortly before the presidential election, Pokorsky complained that "during political campaigns, the clergy are effectively non-combatants" and declared that "the excommunication of pro-abortion politicians or the denial of Holy Communion to “those obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin” are not political acts. They are distinctly religious acts of charity, warning the public figure and his supporters -- of threats to salvation." Pokorsky didn't explain why Catholics must be punished for not imposing their beliefs on others by law.
Pokorsky spent a February 2021 column raging against a letter by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops asking officials to address systemic racism, sounding like a MAGA ranter in doing so:
The bishops’ overall narrative on racism implicitly suggests a blanket condemnation of Caucasians, even implying that white people cannot ascribe racism to racial minorities. The bishops are echoing a common theme of neo-Marxist critical theory: “Racism is the oppression of a marginalized group in a society that is based on white supremacy. If you are a white person, then you naturally benefit from white privilege.” How does one repent of one’s whiteness?
It is doubtful the bishops hold this view. But it’s likely their ideological USCCB ghostwriters do, echoing the ideology of the neo-Marxist Black Lives Matter leaders who claim racism “is everywhere, it’s almost like the air we breathe.” Indeed, examples of racism are deemed so pervasive that many Catholic schools now have “diversity officers,” like KGB commissars, monitoring compliance with politically-correct views and rules.
In a February 2022 column, Pokorsky tried to frame things like not hating LGBTQ people and mask mandates as un-Biblical:
Bureaucratic elites desire more than compliance. They want our hearts, souls, and minds. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion” training officers behave like KGB agents (or the dread “flying monkeys” in The Wizard of Oz). They monitor expressions of dissent on the job and social media and administer pedantic training modules to ensure “best practices.”
Violence and destruction are the hallmarks of most revolutions. The inimical purposes of bureaucratic consolidations are much more subtle: Buy off and replace the Ten Commandments.
The Sixth and Ninth Commandments protecting marriage must be destroyed and redefined to promote contraception and the LGBTQ agenda. The Fifth Commandment needs redefinition to mandate subsidized abortion on demand and euthanasia for those who are a drag on the economy. The Seventh Commandment protecting private property (always, of course, in the service of the common good) is replaced by the centralization of economic and social power in the hands of a few, including theft from children not yet born.
Duties to the State replace the first three Commandments, perverting the notion of “social justice.” The slogan “follow the science” really means “never question your Government masters.” The presumed infallible teachings of government replace the Fourth Commandment.
The bureaucratic revolutionary elites have revealed the tyranny of their moral relativism. Of courseas in the Soviet Unionnot everyone is in the position to dissent in public. But the vocational freedom of celibatespriests and single mengive them a greater responsibility to push back. (They may find that even those strange flying monkeys celebrated when the Wicked Witch of the West melted.) Where are the fathers?
In an October 2022 column before the midterm elections, Pokorsky followed CNSnarratives in attacking Catholic politicians like President Biden and Nancy Pelosi for not forcing all Americans to adhere to Catholic doctrine, sneering they were like the hated tax collectors of old: 'Yet, all of those people listed above are potential tax collectors. All they would have to do is say with sincerity, 'O God be merciful to me, a sinner,' and make a good Confession. May an ordinarynot a 'devout Catholic'priest be at their bedsides before they cross the threshold to eternity."
Pokorsky served up a right-wing rant in his Dec. 15 column:
The toxic politics of America and the incompetency and malice of the mainstream media have ruined our trust. We don’t know the facts because they don’t provide them or lie.
The lies are numerous and numbing: the Russia hoax, mendacious COVID narratives, the “mostly peaceful” Black Lives Matter riots, the refusal on Woke grounds to cover the Waukesha slaughter, the January 6 “insurrection,” the border security fraud, transgender advocacy that disguises the horror of genital mutilation, the Biden and Pelosi claim of devout Catholic status, and so on.
Adding insult to injury, U.S. military policymakers have now gone woke. According to a Heritage Foundation report, “Wokeness in the military is being imposed by elected and appointed leaders in the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon who have little understanding of the purpose, character, traditions, and requirements of the institution they are trying to change.”
Institutionalized lies provide the context for another futile war -- supported by Hollywood clichés, the Washington establishment, and a mendacious media. With policies set in secret by elites, most political, religious, and media establishments are dutifully executing operations supporting objectives they struggle to articulate.
Pokorsky then attacked the U.S. for supporting the "oligarchs" in Ukraine and fighting a "proxy war" against Russia:
In part, negotiations are in deep freeze because meddling Americans have kept the Zelensky government on financial life support, with a thriving illegal arms trade. As Ukraine freezes, reports indicate that most Ukrainian oligarchs rest comfortably in elegant European hot spots.
The US hasn’t officially sent in troops (a secret contingent of Special Forces personnel counts only in terms of body bags). We won’t raise the rainbow flag of victory and probably won’t receive Russian POWs. Look at the bright side. The reluctance to send troops saves our guys from the ignominy of using a POW intake form that asks: What is your gender assigned at birth? What are your preferred pronouns?
Political elites in both parties and the experts and Hollywood stands proudly in a virtue-signaling posture with Zelensky and his oligarchs. Let’s stand, instead, with ordinary Ukrainians and not the inexplicable American proxy war.
By contrast, Pokorsky had little bad to say about Russia beyond noting that "The Russians aim to win big, possibly with widespread death and destruction" and seemingly lamenting that "many Russians are reportedly upset with their leadership for pursuing only half-measures instead of winning the war." It makes you wonder whose side he's on.
Pokorsky spent his Dec. 30 column spouting talking points and conspiracy theories to laughably claim that right-wingers have been silenced:
Government and media elites throttled reasoned dissent based on evidence during the pandemic. We were not allowed to question these assertions: Bats transmitted the COVID virus. The US never funded the gain of function research in the Wuhan lab. The COVID virus never escaped from the Wuhan lab. Lockdowns were necessary and should remain in the government arsenal. Masks and rigorous social distancing prevent the spread of COVID. COVID vaccines are safe for everyone and prevent the spread of COVID. Vaccination is a moral obligation.
Conventional wisdom deemed unassailable by corporate media, politicians, and government agencies include:
Obamacare: If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.
Lois Lerner’s IRS did not target tea party conservatives.
Medical facilities do not traffic in aborted baby parts and do not use them to develop pharmaceuticals.
Trump colluded with the Russians to get elected in 2016.
BLM riots were largely peaceful.
The Hunter Biden laptop was likely Russian disinformation.
There is no significant voter fraud in US elections.
Homophobes and Catholic teaching threaten the mental health of the LGBTQ community.
With surgery or hormone treatment, a person can change his or her sex.
Monkeypox (like AIDS) threatens the entire population.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are inviolable moral precepts that transcend and replace the Ten Commandments.
Taken individually and in isolation, these assertions may represent aberrations from the cultural norm. Taken together and in historical context, we have sufficient evidence to conclude that immoral authoritarianism threatens the culture. The verdict is in. The facts are good enough for conclusions that require our testimony and action. Most of our elites government, corporate, the media, and even some in the Church -- are liars. They depend upon our silence to accomplish their evil purposes.
He then falsely claimed that right-wingers have been silent about all of this:
Every cultural crime scene needs careful analysis to compile sufficient and persuasive evidence for the pathology report. Speak honestly and freely. We’ve been silent too long. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:12)
A resolution for a happy new year!
In his March 16 column, Pokorsky accused LGBT people of being involved in "blood worship" and maliciously described President Biden as supporting the "butchering of young people":
It is perplexing to realize that most of our population fails to distinguish between a surgeon and a butcher. It is breathtaking to realize that many parents and school systems around the United States have become butchers.
The mutilation of children in blood worship of the LGBTQ ideology has become common practice. At long last, emerging as a political point of contention, such liturgical butchery is now a standard part of many government school programs.
It is even more shocking to read that the president of the United States a self-professed Catholic -- has elevated the butchering of young people as a moral imperative:
Liberals have supported the butchery of abortion for over 50 years. If butchering unborn babies is a yawner, it is even more acceptable to butcher the genitals of children after birth.
These non-butchers behaving like butchers give the profession a bad name. Perhaps the butcher industry association (there probably is one) should protest.
President Biden besmirches the reputation of honest butchers -- and Catholics. And his mother.
For his final column before CNS' shutdown, on April 6, Pokorsky bizarrely tried to argue that not discriminating against people is a "heresy" against the Catholic Church because it means female priests, or something:
The “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) heresy undergirds the LGBTQ agenda and the promotion of female ordination. The diversity component stresses our differences more than unity (family, tribal, national, or religious). The equity component is unachievable because there will always be differences in physical and intellectual abilities and opportunities. The inclusion component is unintelligible. Why does it exclude pro-life Christians, for example?
The DEI heresy views man as a “ghost in a machine” with interchangeable parts. The various forms of sexual debauchery derive from the heresy. Church teaching is realistic: Man is an embodied spirit. Our masculine and feminine attributes express who we are.
Within the context of sound doctrine (based on Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterium), theologians are free to speculate under the watchful eye of the Church. The study of theology like Mary’s pondering of the Angel Gabriel’s greeting deepens our understanding of God’s revelation.
Let’s consider a rebuttal of the DEI ideology based on the Catholic theology of "sacramental sexuality."
But Pokorsky raged against his imaginary version of DEI by emphasizing "the nuptial dignity of male and female as God created us" -- which has nothing to do with what actual DEI is.
More rants from Orsi
Meanwhile, Orsi continued to put right-wing politics ahead of his mission as a Catholic priest. He used a March 2022 column to rant that the idea of social justice and equity is not Christian:
Christians are justified by Jesus Christ living according to his Word, following his teaching. Our faith in him demands that we treat others justly. This not only involves a commitment to being charitable, but to inviting others to join us in adhering to the standards he set.
Social justice, on the other hand, holds up abstract and highly ideological conceptions of “right.” It calls us to excuse (or even to encourage) ways of living that are not at all consistent with the nature by which we are made and the behavior that Jesus modeled.
Social justice is not Christian. It does not reflect a Christian understanding of justice. It does not fit the Christology of Jesus. It’s a distorted attempt to create a “perfect” world, according to a vision of perfection that’s cast in the image of man, and is quite aside from what God understands as perfection.
Sometimes even people within the Church persist in believing there are valid “truths” other than those Jesus shows us. When that happens, those “Christians” are in danger of losing their identity as human beings. They are in danger of losing their moral compass. They are in danger of losing their souls.
Orsi spent an April 2022 column buying into right-wing "new world order" and "great reset" conspiracy theories:
For some time now, we’ve been hearing about a so-called new world order. This concept has been referred to by several names. The terminology currently favored is the Great Reset. But by whatever label, it’s a way of living designed and controlled by human beings, in which God has little or no part.
Indeed, God’s true world order is disparaged and rejected, because it’s detrimental to the vision of the new world order based on human will.
The new world order claims a great vision for a just and equitable future, but in reality its focus is always on the now. Its dream is to make humanity conform to an image conjured up by an elite leadership. So its ongoing challenge is controlling human behavior in the present.
God, on the other hand, offers us eternity. And in the true world order, he’s in charge. This imposes a cap on human efforts to exercise control.
Is it a good thing that ministers are so immersed in right-wing conspiracy theories? It seems not.
Orsi used a Sept. 6 column to lash out at the Biden administration's plan to forgive student debt as "detrimental to the soul, and therefore sinful." Orsi began his Sept. 20 column by complaining that Title IX demands that women's school sports be treated the same as mens' sports "even though girls’ teams rarely generate as much public interest and revenue as the guys’ do." Then he channeled right-wing homophobic talking points in attacking the idea that federal law should expand protections to LGBT students:
My view is that the fix is in. All the resources of the left are being channeled into promoting this moral insanity. And it’s been reported that because of a “secretarial error” some 200,000 amelus have mysteriously disappeared.
Under these circumstances, I would say that implementation of the changes is pretty much a given.
The consequences will involve considerably more than just the destruction of women’s sports unfair as this may be to the many girls who have worked hard to develop their skills (and counted on athletic scholarships to underwrite their education).
If a student claims a gender identity that contradicts the observable characteristics of that individual’s being, teachers would be legally obligated to use whatever pronouns the student prefers.
This sounds stupid and comical, but it’s no joke. People have lost their jobs (and worse) over such claims, both in this country and abroad. And neither religion nor the long-established conventions of the English language can protect them.
Orsi didn't explain why the power of government must be used to hate and oppress LGBT students. By the end of his column, though, Orsi has clearly forgotten he's supposed to be a priest who cares about people and instead is ranting like a right-wing pundit would rather appear on Fox News:
There is a solution to this situation, but it requires the kind of top-to-bottom reform that would be huge and difficult and unlikely to happen. Part of it would involve complete school choice, where parents receive vouchers or tax credits to fund alternative learning options.
Another would be eliminating the many levels of administrators, those “education specialists” who promote ill-conceived and ideologically driven curricular programs. Add to that limiting the activities of teachers’ unions to protecting the legitimate rights and working conditions of their members, and eradicating union influence on instruction methods and course content.
Also, schools should obtain textbooks and curriculum materials from publishers that don’t function as conduits for ideological and anti-human propaganda. They exist, but many are struggling against leftist domination of educational publishing.
Over the long term, we need to dismantle the national education bureaucracy, get the federal government out of the business of setting education policy, and return control of schools to states and communities.
Does Orsi really think his preferred right-wing sources of school curriculum aren't putting out "ideological propaganda"? He simply want his preferred ideology crammed down students' throats.
Orsi leapt aboard the anti-transgender bandwagon in his Oct. 19 column (after first ranting about "the legalization, and consequent proliferation, of marijuana"):
Transgenderism is a symptom of mental and emotional conflicts that need to be addressed before they prompt radical, self-destructive actions. But as with marijuana, we have failed to counter the strong economic incentives behind this movement. There’s big money in hormone therapies and sex-reassignment surgery.
Add to that the ideological insanity that’s promoting this nonsense even in our schools, and in spite of parents’ objections (often without their knowledge), and we’re witnessing a health crisis of monumental proportions.
People are not being helped by these barbaric procedures. Bodies are being mutilated. Families are being destroyed. Souls are being lost.
The Church which is to say we believers who are the Church must speak out against such plagues as marijuana and transgenderism. We certainly can’t depend on government to do it. The madness surrounding our health officials’ handling of COVID demonstrated their inability to discern appropriate preventive measures.
And now they’re issuing dire warnings about a monkeypox pandemic. Have they told us that the primary way monkeypox is transmitted is through homosexual contact?
Orsi spent his Nov. 3 column defending injecting divisive politics into his religion:
I often hear complaints about “that priest down in Florida who gets involved in politics.”
Let me plead guilty to being that priest.
Clergy are often reluctant to take a public stand on political issues. They don’t want to risk alienating members of their congregations, or they fear challenges to their churches’ tax exempt status.
My view is that religious leaders must get involved in politics. Indeed, they have an obligation to address important public questions. Elections determine who will hold temporal power in the nation and therefore, who gets to determine the civic atmosphere in which people attempt to live their faith.
Living by faith can be difficult under the best of circumstances. Right now, when so many stumbling blocks have been put in the way, conducting a moral, faith-filled life is a special challenge.
Orsi then spouted right-wing talking points on Republican hot-button issues like schools ("schools today celebrate perversion, and young people are actually groomed to take part in sexual practices that are not conducive to a healthy life and human flourishing"), border security ("Not only do we have a flood of illegal immigrants, we are being inundated with fentanyl and other dangerous drugs") and Ukraine ("We are spending billions of dollars, and putting American lives at possible risk, even raising the specter of nuclear war all in a part of the world where we have no vital interests").
Orsi once again went into conspiracy theory territory -- spouting more right-wing tropes -- in his Dec. 15 column:
Society has reached a point where we face a choice, and it’s truly an existential choice which is to say it touches on our very existence. We must choose between:
(A) the New World Order (otherwise referred to as the Great Reset), in which our educational paths, our economic options, and our life prospects come under central global control; or...
(B) God’s World Order (otherwise referred to as Faith), in which Jesus shows us how to live in freedom and individual moral responsibility.
I hate to say it, but right now I think the New World Order is ahead in its influence and persuasiveness. The most powerful advantage it enjoys is: fear.
Those pushing a globalist agenda have been wildly successful in ratcheting up public anxiety about a broad range of concerns, the foremost of which is climate change.
Orsi then demanded that people distrust expertise (while, of course, denying he was doing any such thing):
We saw fear at work in a similar way during the pandemic. A new illness had come upon us with unpredictable effects, and we were frightened. So we turned to the “authorities,” who told us to separate ourselves physically, wear masks and face shields, stay home, take vaccines that were developed hastily and promoted in an atmosphere of panic.
What was the result? Putting our wellbeing into the hands of “authorities,” a lot of people still got sick. Some died. Others contracted weird and damaging health conditions (often fatal) from the vaccines. Some lost jobs or businesses because of public health restrictions.
Once again we trusted those whom we believed were most qualified. And ironically our trust was rewarded with physical, social and economic loss.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling anyone to ignore genuine expertise. There’s an old saying that illustrates the folly of that: “A man who tries to be his own lawyer has a fool for a client.”
But God has given us common sense. We must be attentive and astute in discerning between those with real knowledge and those who are feeding us half-baked ideas in order to advance an agenda.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of the latter type.
Individuals like Bill Gates, George Soros, Claus Schwab, and a host of others with global economic interests or political ambitions have determined that humanity would be better off if national boundaries, cultural distinctions, and constitutional protections were weakened (or eliminated altogether). These folks envision a system where everybody trades in one global digital currency, allowing the “authorities” to monitor our transactions and to “encourage” us toward more “sustainable” and “equitable” living arrangements.
Orsi concluded by trying to tie a religious bow on it: "The greatest reset in history was accomplished by Jesus on the cross. We’re called to put our faith in him, face our fears, and choose God’s World Order."
Orsi doesn't seem to understand that Catholics would rather see a priest whose pronouncements on politics are driven by faith rather than whatever conspiracy theory he stumbled across on a right-wing website that morning.
Orsi served up another laundry list of right-wing talking points in his March 14 column, including lazy people on unemployment, young men "who have decided not to pursue marriage," and "a pervasive and growing distrust of government and the leadership class, a sense that the stabilizing elements of our society are somehow slipping away, that we’re being manipulated, and important facts about political, economic, and social conditions are withheld from us."
Orsi's final CNS column on April 19 -- the day before CNS was abruptly shut down -- was perhaps an unintentional bit of foreshadowing, focusing as it did on how a deceased body should be treated: "It should be buried in a grave that has been properly prepared and protected from disturbance (a practice known technically as inhumation). Or else it should be cremated, the ashes then interred in a permanent enclosure, often referred to as a columbarium." Ironically, the Media Research Center's treatment of CNS -- shutting it down abruptly, apparently firing nearly everyone (many longtime employees) who was involved in it and not even announcing why it was shut down, even though it was about to mark its 25th anniversary and the fired employees had worked for CNS through much of that time -- shows it inexplicably wants the website to be buried deep in an unmarked grave and unremembered.