On Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty revisited one of his favorite subjects of ire, the Catholic Church, and this time called for the ordination of women. Cafferty highlighted the advertising campaign of a British organization which demands that Pope Benedict XVI allow for such simulations of ordination, and mocked a Catholic priest's defense of the all-male priesthood.
The commentator devoted his 6 pm Eastern hour Cafferty File segment to the issue of women's ordination: "'Pope Benedict: ordain women now'- that's the message that will be plastered on London buses when the pontiff heads to England's capital in a couple of weeks. A group called Catholic Women's Ordination is spending $15,000 for 15 buses to carry posters with that message around London for a month."
Cafferty then moved to the opposing viewpoint, and wasted little time before bashing it and one of its defenders: "Father Stephen Wang says women are not barred from the priesthood because of sexism....Wang says that Jesus chose 12 men, and no women, to be his apostles, and he adds that men and women are equal in Christianity, but that gender still matters. Wang compares the role of a priest to an actor, saying no one would be surprised if he wanted a male actor to play King Arthur. He then admits the analogy is weak. That's the most startling and profound thing he said in the message so far- terrible!"
CNN's "belief" blog (yes, the network has one) ran an article on Monday which gave further excerpts from Father Wang's recent column on the priesthood: "Men and women are equal in Christianity, he continues, but 'this does not mean that our sexual identity as men and women is interchangeable. Gender is not just an accident.' He [Father Wang] compared the role of a priest to that of an actor playing King Arthur...'No one would be surprised if I said I wanted a male actor to play the lead,' he said, admitting the analogy was 'weak.' But, he said, 'it shouldn't surprise us if we expect a man to stand in the person of Christ as a priest, to represent Jesus in his humanity - a humanity that is not sexually neutral.'"
Cafferty later noted that "in addition to the bus campaign, the women's group plans to hold a vigil the day before the Pope's visit, and they plan to demonstrate outside the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury." That may seem a bit off, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, as he is the honorary chief cleric of Anglicanism, but the commentator didn't explain that the planned protest will take place when Pope Benedict is meeting with the archbishop. He added that "in 1994, then-pope, John Paul II, declared the Catholic Church has no authority to ordain women, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now pope, agreed with him."
After reading his "Question of the Hour," the CNN personality remarked to anchor Wolf Blitzer that "you could probably find people if you tried, Wolf, or even if you didn't try very hard, who would tell you it's way past time." Blitzer replied, "I know a lot of people agree with you on that, Jack- a lot of people out there."
Just before the top of the 7 pm Eastern hour, Cafferty read some of his viewer replies. Only one defended the Catholic position:
CAFFERTY: Joanne in Pennsylvania writes, 'It's past time! There is a great need for priests, especially in the United States. We don't know for sure that Jesus only choose 12 men, since it was men who decided what texts went into the New Testament. I think it is tradition, and not doctrine, that has kept women from becoming priests.'
Guillermo writes, 'I completely agree with Father Wang. Similar to babies being born from women only, the role of the priesthood was established for men only. As simple as Father Wang indicates it, the priest represents Jesus- a man.'
'Y' writes, 'If I were a woman, I'd tell the Catholic Church to take a hike. Why be obsequious to these clowns? The golden days of white male dominance are over.'
Joe in Houston writes, 'As an ordained minister of the Church of Apathetic Agnostics, I don't believe there's any way I could care any less.'
Anthony in New Jersey: 'As a disavowed Catholic, I think the Church should just take down its shingle and declare moral bankruptcy. They demonize homosexuals, abuse children, and treat women like second-class citizens. They're still in the Middle Ages, as our friends, the Islamic radicals. If a religion can't teach tolerance and acceptance as their main precept, then they ought to just disband, and get out of the way of progress.'
Barker writes, 'The Anglican Church is basically the Catholic Church, except you can have women priests and the priests can marry. It seems to have worked fine for the Anglicans and the Episcopalians for the last few centuries, and you don't see all the scandals with them that you see with the Catholic priests.'
And Dick writes, 'Oh my goodness, no! The only things that remain the way the Almighty intended are the Catholic Church and the white male-only country clubs in South Carolina.'
Cafferty has long had an axe to grind against the Catholic Church. During a March 19, 2009 commentary, he attacked the pope's comment against the effectiveness of condoms in reducing the spread of HIV in Africa: "It’s time- it is past time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century, or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th century." Earlier in 2010, Cafferty devoted five commentaries over the course of 20 days to blasting both Benedict XVI and the Church.
Overall, CNN fares no better, with consistently slanted coverage against the Church. For example, during a March 26, 2010 segment, anchor Kyra Phillips endorsed the agenda of three guests who agitate for politically-correct changes inside the Catholic Church, including women's ordination and the acceptance of homosexual behavior: "I think all three of you need to head to the Vatican and institute some change."