Clueless on Catholicism (and More) at the Los Angeles Times

July 5th, 2006 11:56 PM

Today (Wed. July 5, 2006), the Los Angeles Times continues its practice of taking cheap shots and providing erroneous information about the Catholic Church (other recent examples are here, here, and here). In an oddly timed editorial, "The Vatican's Archives,"* the Times calls for more "openness" from Pope Benedict XVI and the Church regarding the Church's actions during the rise of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Ignoring the fact that the Times' position could be based on misinformation it published last month (read this), the paper has also published a flat-out error about the Church's belief of papal infallibility.

Claims the Times (emphasis mine),

This Vatican openness, though late, is praiseworthy — but likewise limited. The issue that the church remains unwilling to tackle is the possible fallibility of an individual pope and, through him, the papacy itself. By releasing only the papers from before Pius XII's papacy, not during his tenure, the church avoids providing information that might point to a deeply flawed pope.

(Pope Pius XII was the Pope during World War II.)

Church teaching is clear that the Pope is not infallible in all matters. The Church explains that the Pope's infallibility only applies to Church doctrine - that is, the teachings of the Catholic Church. "Infallibility" does not mean that the Pope is perfect or that he is without sin. It also doesn't mean that everything that he says and does is without error. The Times is clearly misinformed on this. (Check out "Papal Infallibility" at the fabulous Catholic Answers website.) The Times owes its readers a correction.


In addition, the great "Sage from South Central," Los Angeles-based radio host Larry Elder, returned to the airwaves today. He spent a good portion of his show shredding recent reporting from the Los Angeles Times.

1. Elder pointed to the June 30, 2006, front-page splash entitled, "High Court Rejects Bush's Claim That He Alone Sets Detainee Rules." The vote on the Supreme Court was 5-3, and likely would have been 5-4 if Justice Roberts had not recused himself because he had already ruled in favor of the Bush administration in an earlier decision. Yet despite the relatively close vote, Times staffer David G. Savage referred to the verdict as a "sweeping decision" and a "sweeping legal defeat" for the Bush White House. In addition, a dissenting view of the decision is not found until deep into the article. Elder then researched some past reporting by the Times. He found a 5-4 vote in the Court in 2004 was labelled as "narrow" by the Times. Apparently, any defeat of Bush is "sweeping," no matter how close the vote is.

2. Elder also pointed to the huge Sunday June 25, 2006, front-page piece, "Greenland's Ice Sheet Is Slip-Sliding Away." Elder then referred listeners to a June 28, 2006, article by Investor's Business Daily which debunks Al Gore, the Times, and the myths about shrinking ice in Greenland.

3. Elder also took issue with a July 2, 2006, Times article, "Who Pays for Twins' Dramatic Operation?" The article is an interesting look at the cost and other issues surrounding a recent $1 million operation to separate conjoined twins. However, as Elder pointed out, the Times appeared to bury the issue that the parents of the twins were not even citizens or residents of the United States.

Halfway through the Times article,

Their parents, Sonia Fierros and Federico Salinas, are Mexican nationals who came to the United States on tourist visas last year, intending to stay just 15 days for a visit with relatives. The couple said they had their visas extended after Fierros was hospitalized for a urinary tract infection and learned that she was carrying conjoined twins.

"We knew she was pregnant, we just didn't know they were joined. When we found out, everything changed," said Federico Salinas, 36, a part-time restaurant worker from Juarez, before the surgery.

"We thought, here, they would be able to get better medical care," said Sonia Fierros, 23.

The couple declined through a hospital spokesperson to talk about costs.


There is so much bias and misinformation at the Los Angeles Times, one person can't log it all. Thanks to folks like Patterico and Larry Elder.


* Again, there is a discrepancy in the titles between the print edition and the online version. We have noted this before here and here.