On Monday night’s Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC, his staff writer Jenny Hagel uncorked a commentary attacking Pope Francis as a fountain of “hate speech.” In a new book-length interview titled The Strength of a Vocation, the Pope said the Catholic Church shouldn’t be scandalized by sexually active (and activist) homosexual priests. It’s not exactly a new stand for Popes, but this one was supposed to be "cool."
Is the pope Catholic? Judging by the latest news out of Rome, this week the answer is yes. Predictably, it’s not playing well with his biggest fans in the secular media. Now that Francis has come out against active homosexual priests, media liberals are calling him a “homophobe” and lamenting that he’s not as “cool” as they once thought. Indeed, when lefties note Papa Francisco is “still Catholic,” you know it isn’t meant as a compliment.
Remember when liberals in the media disdained everything about the Catholic Church? Simpler times. Then Pope Francis came along and muddied things. He talks about climate change, castigates capitalism and plays verbal footsie with lefty Catholic hobby-horse issues like divorce and gay acceptance. This Francis guy, they think, might be one of us.
The Washington Post followed the example of The New York Times with a Thursday article that played up the role of conservative Catholics in the release of a former Vatican diplomat's recent "testimony" against Pope Francis. Michelle Boorstein emphasized that "conservative Catholic media outlets have become power players by conveying the anti-Francis point of view." She also zeroed in on the role of "powerful Italian conservatives" in breaking the story.
Sexual scandals and inappropriate behavior are as old as the Bible. I give you (1 Corinthians 5:1) in which Paul writes: “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father's wife.” In more modern times, there have been sex scandals involving TV evangelists from Aimee Semple McPherson in the '20s to Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart in the '80s. And there have been more recent examples, too, Ted Haggard, Bob Coy, Bill Gothard.
Fact: The Washington Post is anti-Trump. Scenario: a former Trump administration official writes an op-ed in the Post that contains an explosive accusation. When the press confronts Trump with allegation, he says “you have a sufficient journalistic ability to make a conclusion (Except Jim Acosta -- you’re fake news).” Then the White House goes silent on the issue, refusing comment.
The New York Times’ interest in the awful details of the emerging sexual abuse and pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church took a dumbfounding, ideologically motivated turn, after a conservative cleric released a bombshell letter alleging a coverup of sexual assault aided by liberal Pope Francis. Jason Horowitz, Rome bureau chief, amazingly turned to attacking that whistleblower, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, as "an ideologically motivated opposition" member who has "weaponized the church’s sex abuse crisis." Horowitz smeared him as a conservative crank in two consecutive front-page stories, with a tone suggesting a “right-wing conspiracy” is afoot to unfairly dethrone the blameless, inclusive pope.
The Associated Press and the New York Times both tried to spin a Catholic archbishop's recent exposé about the Church's sex abuse scandal as an ideological attack on Pope Francis from the right. AP's Nicole Winfield touted how Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano turned to "ultra-conservative media that have been highly critical of Francis' mercy-over-morals papacy." The Times write-up highlighted how "some conservative American bishops swiftly came to Archbishop Viganò’s defense."
Most national and international media display an astounding degree of selective perception when covering remarks and actions by Pope Francis. The latest example is the overwhelmingly celebratory coverage of the Pope’s decision to revise the Catholic catechism to express across-the-board opposition to the death penalty.
There was a recent outburst of respect for religion on two consecutive front pages of The New York Times, after Pope Francis changed the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Times desperately desires to get religion out of politics when it comes to companies like Hobby Lobby that refuse on religious grounds to pay for birth control, eagerly embraces Christianity when it comes to leftist issues like global warming, immigration, and now the death penalty. Friday’s front page excitedly reported: “Pope Declares Death Penalty Always Wrong – Doctrine Change Could Hit U.S. Hardest.”
On Thursday, Pope Francis amended an element of Catholic doctrine that governed the church’s view of the death penalty. It went from being a punishment reserved for the most stringent of circumstances to not being permissible at all. Of course, the liberal media were eager to seize on the change to browbeat pro-life conservatives for not being pro-life enough if they supported the way it was. CNN’s Chris Cuomo did exactly that during that night’s Prime Time.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once famously said, "There are not 100 people in America who hate the Catholic Church, but millions who hate what they mistakenly think the Catholic Churches teaches." Those people include many in the media. July 25 marked the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. The encyclical letter by Pope Paul VI affirmed the dignity human life and recognized birth control as “intrinsically wrong.” It’s worth reading the transformative document for two reasons: it’s brief, and the media regularly distort it.