TV and movie producers rarely focus on Catholic priests in their plots, let alone use them as central characters, as in The Father Dowling Mysteries or Father Murphy in the 1980s. Maybe that’s a good thing, because when Catholic priests are part of the plot these days, there is an unmistakable odor of aggression -- mocking, vilifying, and disparaging not just Catholic priests, but the priesthood itself.
TV producers insist their stories “reflect reality, claiming even they’re “ripped from the headlines.” Well, there are other religious traditions that collide with human frailty. Rabbis, imams, and even Episcopalian bishops can commit sin and not fear Hollywood "ripped from the headlines" shows.
Right on the heels of the New York Times piece on Pope Francis being “strikingly tone-deaf toward the sensitivities and needs of women” in the Catholic Church, The Daily Beast ran a story on Monday that wrongfully suggests Pope Francis has permitted a priest to speak out about the supposed confession of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.
Before Moro was killed by a terrorist group called the Red Brigades in 1978, a priest by the name of Antonio Mennini allegedly heard Moro’s confession, then was said to have performed the sacrament of extreme unction – similar to the last rites given to danger of dying.
Pope Francis will be celebrating his second anniversary to the papacy on March 13. What started off as a liberal media lovefest with the newly elected pope has now tapered off with the media realizing he’s “just another pope” (that’s code for “liberals are upset that he’s not going to change anything in the structure of the Catholic Church.”)
Once plastered on the pages of The New York Times in a favorable light, the paper decided to remember Pope Francis’ anniversary with an article by Elisabetta Povoledo titled “Women See Themselves as Left Out Amid Talk of Change in Catholic Church.”
One day after Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, Thursday's CBS This Morning decided to make a resolved two-month old controversy at a San Francisco Catholic school a national news story. Co-host Norah O'Donnell teased the segment: "Controversy at American Catholic archdiocese. Elementary school students are given pamphlets with some blunt language on sex. It's just one of several disputes that's creating a new divide."
At 56, Madonna is still trying to sound like Public Sexpot No. 1 and still trying to rattle the cages of her Catholic upbringing – literally, by suggesting the Catholics oppressed and abused her.
Billboard magazine interviewed her about her latest, soon-to-be-forgotten disc, Rebel Heart. She claimed "Catholicism feels like my alma mater. It's the school I used to go to, and I can go back any time I want and take whatever I want from it because I suffered all the oppression, and all the abuse..."
MSNBC's resident socialist Lawrence O'Donnell made a whopper of a historical claim on the Thursday edition of his program. In the midst of ripping President Obama's controversial National Prayer Breakfast speech earlier in the day, O'Donnell asserted that "Catholicism was the most murderous force on the face of the Earth for hundreds of years."
The Catholic League's Bill Donohue blasted the L.A. Times in a Tuesday press release for hyping the recent protest of a dozen left-wing protesters objecting to Pope Francis's decision to canonize 18th-century missionary Juinipero Serra. By contrast, the liberal newspaper failed to cover the thousands of pro-lifers who marched in Los Angeles on January 17, 2015.
On December 28 and 29, The Washington Post highlighted a tiny rally of leftists opposing the name of the Washington Redskins – on the front page of the Metro section twice – both before and after the march, which turned out only about 100 activists.
On Friday, after the March for Life brought tens of thousands of pro-life activists to Capitol Hill, the Post buried it on A-6. The headline skipped the “life” part. It was “Abortion opponents sense attitude shift: Speakers at Mall rally say nation’s views are aligning with theirs.” The story had a small color photo with equal numbers of pro-lifers and abortion advocates facing off in front of the Supreme Court.
If the notion of an “MSNBC Catholic” sounds like a complete non sequitur, you could be thinking of Mike Barnicle. In a foam-flecked Daily Beast attack on conservative Catholic Cardinal Raymond Burke -- "Catholicism’s Most Offensive Mansplainer" -- Barnicle and the Beasties highlighted how his “mother the nun” would call Burke an “a**hole” in Gaelic.
Barnicle also uncorked a completely crackpot line: “The cost of his gilded, ornate vestments could feed a family of four across a decade.”
Is there anything less newsworthy than the mostly American “womenpriest” movement protesting the Roman Catholic Church? Is there anything that’s more of a stale rerun?
On Sunday's Today, feminist NBC correspondent celebrated 80-year-old "dynamo" doing "something radical" and "sticking a well-manicured finger in the eye of the established Catholic Church."
Which offense is more serious? Denying a lesbian communion at a Catholic funeral? Or a female Episcopalian bishop hitting and killing a bicyclist? The Washington Post has picked (A). In 2012, they splashed across the front page that lesbian activist Barbara Johnson was denied communion at her mother's funeral.
On December 30, the Post buried a hit-and-run-bishop story on page B5 with the headline “Bishop put on leave after fatal crash: Episcopal diocese says Heather Cook drove car that killed bicyclist.”
On Thursday, The New York Times reported Pope Francis was endorsing the thesis of the cartoon All Dogs Go To Heaven. On Friday, they were pressed to run a correction, suggesting the media are eager to promote the notion that the Pope is frustrating conservatives and breaking with longstanding Catholic teaching.
In the original article, Times reporter Rick Gladstone began with an ooze: "Pope Francis has given hope to gays, unmarried couples and advocates of the Big Bang theory. Now, he has endeared himself to dog lovers, animal rights activists and vegans."