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NBC London contacted GRIID for a story they just did on the far right’s attack on Pope Francis, including Steve Bannon and the Acton Institute

April 22, 2019

(Editor’s Note: GRIID is in no way a defender of the Catholic Papacy. My interest is speaking with NBC had to do with shedding light on the politics of the Acton Institute.)

A month ago, a reporter with NBC News in London contacted me to let me know they were doing a story on Pope Francis and the attacks coming from the far right, including the Acton Institute.

Here is what the NBC News reported, Michelle Simon, asked me:

My name is Michelle and I’m a journalist at NBC News in London. I work closely with our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel. We are working on a story about Pope Francis and the general feeling amongst right-wing conservative American Catholics who are growing disenchanted with the Pope.

I know you’ve done a lot of research on the Acton Institute via GRIID. Action features quite significantly in our story, and I was wondering if you had a moment to chat, just on-background, over the phone today? Hoping that you might be able to help me fill out some holes in my knowledge.

I agreed to talked and we spoke for about 40 minutes and discussed the politics of the Acton Institute and they let me know that they would be traveling to Grand Rapids to interview Fr. Robert Sirico about his criticism of Pope Francis.

NBC did come to Grand Rapids and here is the 14 minute video story they did, which includes Steve Bannon, Michael Voris (who runs the group Church Militant in Detroit) and Fr. Robert Sirico. The news story that NBC ran this past Sunday night on MSNBC, with worth watching, primarily because it links the Acton Institute with another think tank called Dignitatis Humanae Institute. 

The NBC reported called Acton Institute founder, Fr. Sirico out about the relationship between Acton Institute and the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, which begins at about 10 minutes in to the video. In the NBC piece, the Acton Institute wrote a letter to the Italian government asking for the support of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute. Fr. Sirico says he didn’t know anything about it, which seems improbable since he is the leader of Acton.

It was certainly refreshing to see a mainstream news source challenge the Acton Institute and make the connections to a larger religious right network that we should pay attention to, since the Acton Institute is based right here in Grand Rapids.

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