Of Honesty and Hypocrisy
First off, this gem on Vaticanologists and covering the church by Magister -- who truly lives up to his name.
The ending is one I seek to cling to:
In order to do this, however, a Vatican correspondent needs to supply himself with a special virtue: “epistemological humility”. He needs to avoid drawing hasty conclusions on every small or large event, he needs to shun cookie-cutter formats, and simply study the actual matters.
That is why the job of Vatican correspondent is particularly difficult and demanding. Because the “matter” of the Church is one of the most grandiose, complex, vital and
mysterious concepts that has ever existed on this earth. And for believers, also beyond earth.
People can say many things of me, but "cookie-cutter" is not one of them.
Speaking of cookie-cutters, however, we have Phil Lawler -- pharaoh of CWNews and leader of the Cardinal Law Died for You Society -- who just did an interview with Ignatius Insight.
Magister, in the piece above, speaks much of the foolish dualism of progressives vs. conservatives which grew out of the Council. He calls it "deceptive," which fits Lawler well -- however appealing his always-spun "News Bytes" are.
Phil says of his start: "There was a huge vacuum: very few people were defending conservative principles in the Catholic press and in other Catholic circles."
Why the need to defend said conservative principles in Catholic circles? Because conservatism is not Catholicism, hence the dual-entendre "con."
For the 18 billionth time, the church is neither conservative or liberal; anyone who thinks otherwise about either extreme just wants to rape and pillage two thousand years of tradition. Conservatism is a secular political ideology, orthodoxy is a doctrinal necessity -- and never the twain shall meet. People are so hopelessly horizontal, they lose all sense of the vertical, which is supposed to be the focus of the church. For more on that, read the next post below.
Oh, but Mr. Lawler isn't done just yet.
Another important consideration [in coverage] is the dignity of the people who are the subjects of a story. People do have some rights: to privacy, and to preserve their reputations. There's a lot of sensationalism in journalism today, particularly in the tabloids and the televison newscasts. Although I'm dedicated in principle to reporting accurately, and letting the facts speak for themselves, I also believe that there are times when exposing the facts can serve no purpose except to damage someone's reputation.
A good reporter generally knows – or at least strongly suspects – a good deal more than he writes. You write only what you know – what you can demonstrate to the reader – and what's useful to read.
So is it an honest service for CWNews readers when Lawler slanders a cardinal he hates and calls it news? Is such malice a service to a person's dignity? As a correspondent wrote recently, around the time of John Paul's funeral, the site featured:
"a picture of Cardinal McCarrick and the rector of St. Matthew's Cathedral, Monsignor Ronald Jameson embracing, implying that the two men were lovers."
Only a day later did Lawler & Co. remember that they were presenting themselves as "Christian professionals," so the picture and its very un-Christian caption disappeared. That's not Catholic journalism as much as baptized vendettas and rumor-mongering.
As always, the church can do better than bias and hypocrisy. And that's the truth.