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Father Morris Uses Ruth Graham's Passing as Pretext to Wag His Finger at "Radical Feminists"

Reported by Marie Therese - June 15, 2007 -

This morning on FOX & Friends First, FOX News' baby-faced "Man in the Vatican", Father Jonathan Morris, showed up twice to offer his thoughts on the passing of Ruth Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham. Father Morris is a man who's lived his short, sheltered life in the Legion of Christ - a highly secretive, cult-like order embedded within the Catholic Church. Instead of simply acknowledging a long life well-lived, Father Morris used his FOX News bully pulpit to lecture women about their proper role in society. With video.

Here are some of Father Morris' comments:

"She was a woman of unflapping (sic) faith, but she was known, above all, for being a very loyal and a very faithful wife and mother to her children. And, while Billy Graham was going all over the world, preaching the gospel, she was there doing what she thought was the most important thing - being there for him, being loyal, being with her kids, being with her family and Billy Graham was always so grateful. I think a lot of radical feminists are going to be a little bit nervous celebrating her life, saying, she didn't make a name for herself. She didn't make a name for herself. She's leaving a legacy of the beauty of loyalty, of fidelity and strength ..."

"She didn't try to make a name for herself. She wasn't looking for self-glory, but, you know what, Billy Graham was a powerful man. He had the ears of so many different Presidents and she was there being faithful and being loyal, taking care of the kids, writing a lot. She was a very intelligent woman, but I think what we're celebrating today is a woman who put priorities first and said love is even better than power."

"And the Congress in 1996 actually gave them a Gold Medal of Honor, a Congressional Medal, saying that they had promoted the interests of this country by promoting religion and by promoting morality. Are we still gonna be able to do that ten years from now?"


Father Morris made Mrs. Graham sound more like a beloved pet than a full-fledged participant in her husband's ministry.

Like so many of the priests I grew up with, the good father shoveled out opinion and advice with a trowel, sneaking in sly attacks on those women who choose to work or who are (more often) forced by circumstance to work. It was men like Jonathan Morris who told my mother she had to stay with a drunken, foul-mouthed, abusive husband "for the sake of the children."

In a later segment Kathy Lee Gifford, a long-time Graham family friend and someone I'm not truly fond of, eulogized Ruth Graham. In the course of the interview she mentioned that "feminism" honors the choices women make, including the choice to remain at home with the children. Gifford did not try to preach the way Father Morris did. I thought to myself that, in her own way, she might be as miffed at him as I was.