Looks like the folks at NCR’s “Washington Briefing” had their collective Kum-Ba-Ya moment when Sr. Carol Keehan rose to speak at the podium.

Michael Sean Winters describes the moment:

Then there are those moments when a group of people want to express their profound admiration and love for someone and, given the context, the only manner that seems suitable to express those feelings is with applause, even though it does not come close to expressing the depth of feeling. This was the kind of applause that greeted Sister Carol Keehan at NCR’s “Washington Briefing” when she was introduced this morning. The room rose as one. The applause was loud, not to say raucous, and it was sustained. 

Well, there are moments, and there are moments. The moment I read about above made my jaw drop with disbelief, but then it snapped closed again, as I remembered this was NCR’s event. 

 I have credited Winters in the past with a genuine pro-life commitment, so I wondered why he would get so choked up over a Catholic nun who was a key player in providing federal funding for abortion.  

Here is Winter’s explanation of his admiration for Sr. Carol (emphasis added):

That applause came from somewhere deep in the consciousness of the assembled Catholics, all of whom share a commitment to the Church’s social justice traditions and teaching. It came from the years of frustration as successive presidents failed to find the political calculus needed to enact universal health coverage. It came, most especially, from the recognition that we almost encountered another chapter in that catalogue of frustration. But, at the last minute, Sister Carol, with that counter-cultural combination of a wealth of knowledge and experience and the unique authenticity of one who has chosen poverty, provided the moral push that pushed health care reform across the finish line.

We had come to hear Sister Carol speak, so we stopped the applause eventually. I wish it had gone on forever.

I guess Winters doesn’t know that Sr. Carol’s annual salary is $856,093. She may donate all of that to her order, but it’s clear to me her “unique authenticity” must be coming from some other source.

Let me be clear, I like Michael Sean Winters and appreciate much of his commentary. But, on the subject of Sr. Carol Keehan and her role in health care reform, I believe Winters’ adjulation is ill-advised.


Deal W. Hudson is ​publisher and editor of The Christian Review and the host of "Church and Culture," a weekly two-hour radio show on the Ave Maria Radio Network.​ He is the former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.

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