For the second week in a row, the New York Times has embraced the mission of trumpeting the fruitless cause of female "priests" in the Catholic Church. What gives?
As faulty as Laurie Goodstein's article was last week, the offering from Dirk Johnson (Sun., 7/31/11) doesn't fare much better. Johnson's one-sided piece omits a number of important facts in reporting the issue.
Johnson's article is essentially a positive profile of a dissident, Chicago-based group named Call to Action (CTA). In the name of "reform," for the last several years CTA has been attempting to push the cause for female "priests" in the Catholic Church. It has forcefully supported a schismatic priest, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, from the Maryknoll Order, who has openly opposed Church teaching and supported female "priests."
Johnson's article leaves out a number of important facts:
1. In reporting the dissident Fr. Bourgeois' conflicts with Church authorities, Johnson makes no mention of the fact that the priest was reportedly excommunicated from the Catholic Church on November 24, 2008. (Goodstein made a similar mistake last week.)
2. Johnson makes no attempt to explain that Holy Orders, by which men are ordained to the priesthood, is a sacrament in the Catholic Church. This is an important distinction. Most Protestant denominations and other "churches" don't recognize this. The Catholic Church affirms that sacraments were instituted by Jesus Himself, and the Church simply "has no authority whatsoever" to change the nature of something that Jesus established. (See Pope John Paul II's 1994 "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.")
As with Goodstein a week earlier, Johnson attempts to portray Call to Action and the movement for "womenpriests" as being much larger and influential than it is. As we relayed last week, the "womenpriest" movement is a contingent that is small, geriatric, and schismatic.
As slanted as Johnson's profile is, an ugly piece on the same issue by Michele Somerville at Huffington Post may be even worse. While committing many of the same mistakes as the NYT's Goodstein and Johnson, Somerville actually characterizes the Pope and those who surround him as a "gang of mean, power-drunk perverts who aren't all that interested in God." Wow ...
Somerville then goes on to falsely claim that the impossibility of female ordination in the Catholic Church is "arbitrary and flimsy, it's a variation on 'because we said so.'"
In claiming that the all-male priesthood "is a man-made 'law'," Somerville illustrates perfectly that one can write for HuffPostReligion without actually knowing much about religion.
Interestingly, Ms. Somerville identifies herself as a poet.
Amen to that.
-- Dave Pierre is the author of the book, Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church. Dave is also the creator of TheMediaReport.com and is a contributing writer to NewsBusters.