And we Catholics know that misrepresentation of Catholic beliefs by the mainstream media is also inevitable.
And in Phoenix, we Catholics know it's inevitable that an article by Michael Clancy of the Arizona Republic will be biased against the Catholic Church.
Consider the recent piece Clancy wrote about Sister Margaret McBride, the nun who excommunicated herself last year when she authorized the abortion of an 11-week-old unborn child at St. Joseph's, which was then a Catholic hospital:
Let's hone in on the first part of the second sentence (emphases mine):
Sister Margaret McBride, who was targeted by Bishop Thomas Olmsted for her role in a lifesaving medical procedure that the bishop deemed an abortion…
Whoa, whoa… hold up.
Does anyone see anything fishy here? "Targeted"? Bishop Olmsted "targeted" a nun?
In reality, the bishop was made aware of Sister's approval of a direct abortion at a Catholic hospital in his diocese. The bishop later confirmed that, by her own actions, Sister had excommunicated herself. How does this constitute a "targeting" of the nun, exactly?
Seasoned journalists such as Clancy choose their words carefully. So, ask yourself why he would choose the loaded word "targeted" in this instance? Could it be that he'd chosen a side and wished to sway the reader? And, is that the job of a local religion reporter?
Now, on to the next curiously chosen word. "Deemed"? The bishop "deemed" the "lifesaving medical procedure" an abortion? Ummmm, no. The procedure wasn't deemed an abortion, it was an abortion. If it weren't an abortion, there would be no issue at all.
Again, ask yourself why the reporter would choose a word that implies deceit or pretense on the part of the bishop? Clancy leads us to believe that in fact some other procedure --a good and healing and moral "lifesaving medical procedure"* -- took place. Yet this mystery procedure is never actually named in the article. Call me crazy, but I don't think it's the bishop who is being deceptive here.
So, while the first part of his sentence tells us a lot about reporter Michael Clancy, this second part tells us something about Sister McBride:
…[Sister McBride] will be honored this weekend by Call to Action, a national group that supports a married priesthood**, women priests, gay marriage and other positions that the church opposes.Call To Action (CTA) is a notorious group of Catholic dissenters that has been trying to remake the Church in its own image for decades now. Its members are embarrassed by Church teaching (especially on human sexuality) and disdain the institutional Church. They have an open contempt for faithful clergy, from the Holy Father on down. It's no surprise that these folks would honor a "progressive" nun who authorized an abortion in a diocese with a faithful bishop --the kind of bishop that CTA cannot stand.
After one courageous bishop, Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, publicly excommunicated the members of CTA in his diocese, the Vatican approved the action and stated:
[T]he activities of ‘Call to Action’ in the course of these years are in contrast with the Catholic Faith due to views and positions held which are unacceptable from a doctrinal and disciplinary standpoint…. Thus to be a member of this Association or to support it, is irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic Faith.When this organization that is incompatible with the Catholic Faith offered Sister McBride the Call to Action 2011 Leadership Award, she was thrilled to accept. She was, in her own words, "very proud to be receiving this award".
'Nuff said? It is for me.
While Sister McBride is being feted by the those who despise the Catholic Church, and while reporter Michael Clancy continues to promote the "Victim-Hero Nun vs. Mean and Heartless Bishop" narrative that the public loves***, Bishop Thomas Olmsted has been faithful and humble through it all, finding his identity in Jesus Christ alone. Listen:
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
*Direct abortion of a child is never a cure for any medical condition. However, there may have been a truly lifesaving treatment available for the mother and her child: A doctor in Milwaukee has a 100% success rate in saving both patients in the case of pulmonary hypertension in pregnancy.
**For the record, the Church does not "oppose" married priests. The Latin Rite has a longstanding discipline of priestly celibacy that has served the Church well, but there are occasional exceptions to that discipline, including my own associate pastor who is married with six children.
***Check the vicious anti-Catholic comments that follow almost every Michael Clancy story on the Church. If such raw bigotry and hatred were directed at Muslims or Jews, how fast do you think the Republic would move to close down the comment box?