The New York Times' obsession with the Catholic Church reached a new level of hysteria on Friday when an editorial bemoaned that the Vatican is now criticizing American nuns who publicly contradict Church doctrine.
The Times' editorial prompts a number of questions: What concern is it to the Times how the Catholic Church conducts its business? Since when has the Times been worried about Catholic nuns in America?
It has been no secret that many Catholic women religious (nuns) in recent years have been in open dissent of several components of Church teaching, such those regarding the all-male priesthood and celibacy requirements.
Because of this open disagreement, the Vatican has now taken efforts to review the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an organization which represents about 80 percent of nuns in the United States. These efforts seek to fully align the conference with the teachings of the Church and with Church law.
The Times frets that the move by the Vatican is "a misreading of the very fine work in schools, charities, prisons and impoverished neighborhoods being done by about 60,000 nuns across the nation." Really?
The Vatican itself debunks this alleged "misreading" on the very first page of a report it issued on the matter:
"The Holy See acknowledges with gratitude the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years."
Good grief. Did the Times even read the very document that it cited?
The Times’ motivation is pretty clear. The paper intensely dislikes the Catholic Church and what it represents. And it does not like the fact that the Vatican is finally pushing back against dissenting individuals who have opposed the Church by speaking favorably on "progressive" issues with which the Times aligns itself.
Unfortunately for the Times, the ranks of "liberal" and "progressive" Catholic women religious are shrinking and increasingly geriatric. "Traditional Catholicism is Winning," despite what the Grey Lady wants you to believe.
The Times can get as huffy as it wants to, but it will simply get even more frustrated if it continues to think it will somehow influence the 2,000-year teachings of the Catholic Church.
-- Dave Pierre is the creator and author of TheMediaReport.com, which analyzes the media's coverage of the Catholic Church abuse narrative. Dave is also the author of two books and is a contributing writer to NewsBusters.