Day 2: Pope still extremely CatholicMOLLIE HEMINGWAY
I hope everyone is having a blast with Day 2 of Papalpalooza.
Right. So let's look at other approaches taken.
I know it's The Guardian but I did like the transparency of this piece, which reads something like a parody of how the mainstream media treat the Roman Catholic Church. Headline:
And I'm sure you will be surprised that the five issues are contraception, sexual abuse in the church, same-sex marriage, abortion and women. It's like the newspaper was talking about the only five topics it permits discussion of when it comes to the Catholic Church instead of, you know, the Catholic Church's pressing matters that await the papal successor. But illuminating none-the-less.
For a more sophisticated version of that piece, you might want to read the Washington Post's piece headlined "In picking successor, Vatican must decide what's needed in a 21st-century pope." It's actually a great read overall and I don't want this criticism to overshadow that. But the priorities put forth in the piece when it comes to cultural issues say more about what ails media coverage of the church than what ails the coverage of the church itself. The first three paragraphs of the analysis piece (is it analysis? It reads as such but I don't know if it's marked as such) are great:
That is the media's war, no doubt. They wage it faithfully day after day after wearying day. I'm not entirely sure it's one engaged in by many Catholics. I wonder if the media gets just what a narrow and distorted presentation of church life they present.
The second time I read that, I read it imagining a bunch of journalists in a dark room, licking their lips, rolling their hands over and laughing. That's really unfair, I'm sure — and not just because the article immediately transitions to a discussion of how papacies are about focus. I think it's just a telling reaction that illuminates a breakdown in trust with certain readers.
Here's a telling couple of paragraphs:
Oh that every reporter in the land would read that John Allen quote and ruminate on whether he's talking about them!
As for the preceding paragraph, what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is that? I mean, first off, the media may have done an excellent job of convincing themselves that redefining marriage is about nothing more or less than who believes gay men and lesbians are "equal." They have done an excellent job of closing their minds when it comes time to listen to any other arguments — much less giving them accurate, fair play in news coverage. Any way that you want to look at it, that paragraph was not, to put it mildly, a fair characterization of church teaching on the dignity of all people. It was not good journalism.
As for the 2,000-year history of the church teaching on contraception and who is eligible for ordination — well — all I can say about that is that it precedes not just Benedict but also John Paul II.
But if you were wondering just how hostile to Catholic teaching the Post was when it comes to church teaching on homosexuality, I guess it's nice to have it laid out so transparently. Again.
Finally, this paragraph cracked me up:
I'm in the wrong market for thinking Latin is bad — I send my daughter to a Latin school, after all — but even so, I would say yesterday's announcement would not be a good example of how bad the Vatican's communication system is (even if I'm sympathetic to the argument). Oh that we could all have such an antiquated communications style and system! One that got, you know, billions of people in the world talking in a matter of hours.
Mollie Hemingway. "Day 2: Pope still extremely Catholic." Get Religion.org (February 12, 2013).
Reprinted by permission of Get Religion and the author. "The Press . . . just doesn't get religion."
The original posting of this article is here.
Mollie Hemingway is a Washington writer who writes for Get Religion. She is the author of Losing Our Religion.
Copyright © 2013 Get Religion
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