News that's fit to print

FATHER GEORGE RUTLER

One assumes that The New York Times would have been glad to receive an Op-Ed article from the new Archbishop of New York.

The Archdiocese of New York is responsible for a very important part of the city's educational, medical, and charitable life. The newspaper refused to print it. Such censorship only whets the appetite to know what was thought not fit to print. There are many items that the Times, which claims to publish everything that's fit to print, has printed although they were not fit. There were, for instance, its mockery in 1920 of Goddard's hypothesis that rocket propulsion can take place in a vacuum, a denial of Stalin's forced famine in Ukraine and a whitewash of his show trials by its Moscow bureau chief Walter Duranty, its advocacy of Fidel Castro, and its benign regard for the Soviet spy Alger Hiss. So there had to be some journalistic equivalent of a cerebral stroke to make the editors of the Times unable to print Archbishop Dolan's words.

The cause of the apoplexy was the Archbishop's imputation of bigotry to the newspaper. His charge was not self-indulgent whining. He did not have to go back farther than a couple of weeks for examples. First, in reporting widespread child abuse in Brooklyn's community of Orthodox Jews, there was not the "selective outrage" which animates The New York Times against criminous Catholic clerics, whose numbers are in fact proportionally much smaller than other religious and professional groups.

Then there was the sensational front-page publicity of a paternity suit involving a Franciscan friar, going back twenty-five years, and getting more space than the war in Afghanistan and genocide in Sudan. Headlines also claimed that the Pope was seeking to "lure" Anglicans into his fold, when in fact he was responding to a petition. Then a columnist invoked the Inquisition, portrayed the theology of priesthood as neurotic sexism, and even mocked the Pope's haberdashery. The Archbishop said that her prejudice, "while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850's, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today." While a free press is free to criticize, said the Archbishop, such criticism should be "fair, rational, and accurate."

Churchill said, "No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism."

Hostility raised to such a pitch that journalistic standards are abandoned, is provoked by an awareness that the Catholic Church continues to be the substantial voice for classical moral standards and supernatural confidence amid the noise of a disintegrating behaviorist culture. A tabloid is still a tabloid even if its editors dress in tweeds. Churchill said, "No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." Not to worry. Christ promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against his Church. He did not include The New York Times, 30% of whose work force has been laid off in the last year and a half.

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Father George William Rutler. "News that's fit to print." Weekly Column for November 4, 2009.

Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.

THE AUTHOR

Father Rutler received priestly ordination in 1981. Born in 1945 and reared in the Episcopal tradition, Father Rutler was an Episcopal priest for nine years. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979 and was sent to the North American College in Rome for seminary studies. Father Rutler graduated from Dartmouth, where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, and took advanced degrees at the Johns Hopkins University and the General Theological Seminary. He holds several degrees from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, including the Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology, and studied at the Institut Catholique in Paris. In England, in 1988, the University of Oxford awarded him the degree Master of Studies. From 1987 to 1989 he was regular preacher to the students, faculty, and townspeople of Oxford. Cardinal Egan appointed him Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, effective September 17, 2001.

Since 1988 his weekly television program has been broadcast worldwide on EWTN. Father Rutler has published 16 books, including: Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, Saint John Vianney: The Cure D'Ars Today, Crisis in Culture, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Copyright © 2009 Father George W. Rutler




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