I found a pretty good blast over at The Black Biretta where my esteemed colleague Fr. John Trigilio has something to say about what we might expect during upcoming media coverage of Benedict XVI’s apostolic visit to the Land of the Free.
My emphases and comments.
Just when you thought it was safe to change the channel from EWTN …
Get ready, the mainstream liberal media will be bombarding the airwaves, internet and blogosphere with the rantings and ravings of the heterodox spin doctors and dissident pundits once B16 lands on US soil.
Dan Rather may be retired, but CBS, ABC, NBC, and of course CNN will go to their usual pool of Catholic malcontents, miscreants and recalcitrants to offer their ‘balanced’ view lest anyone suspect for a moment the secular media would give Pope Benedict or the Catholic Church a free ride. The shrinking minority of the so-called ‘loyal opposition’ (a true oxymoron) [well said] will be given free air time during the papal visit as has been done in the past during the reign of JP2.
Sister Joan Chittester, OSB, who opined that the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI was the equivalent of a ‘spiritual tsunami’ will be the most conspicuous ‘expert’ consulted by the social progressive, secular humanist media elite. Then of course, Father Thomas Reese (everyone’s favorit Jesuit) and Fr. Richard McBrien (who will mysteriously find and wear his clerical attire while on camera, [Bet he won’t.] but just on papal visits, mind you) will be given a chance to spew their ‘side’ of the story. American media thinks it is being ‘fair’ when they give equal time to theological dissenters just as if this were the Democratic response to the Republican President’s State of the Union Address. [The thing is it isn’t equal time. It is nearly all slanted in that direction. And often, if they do get a more loyal Catholic person to comment, they either curtail his camera time, or have him out numbered, or find someone not terribly engaging.]
There is no such thing as ‘loyal opposition’ when it comes to TRUTH, be it doctrinal or moral. Science does not tolerate contradiction. Either 2 + 2 = 4 is true or it is false. It CANNOT be both. Either the Pope and Magisterium are correct or they are false. Since the dissenters contradict the authentic teaching authority of the Church, they oppose God, the source of Revelation. They oppose the Son of God Who founded the Church on Peter and the Apostles (and their successors the pope and bishops in union with him)
Voice of the Faithful and We Are Church and every Tom, Dick and Harry lapsed Catholic will find a microphone and camera, just wait and see. You won’t find many reporters interviewing Mother Angelica, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, or Karl Keating (Catholic Answers). We will see ex-priests, ex-nuns and ex-Catholics complaining about no women priests; no married clergy; no abortion; no contraception; no gay marriages; etc. Will the cameras, however, show you the YOUNG and HAPPY women in large numbers who wear traditional habits like the Poor Clares at EWTN or the Nashville Dominicans? Will we see the growing numbers of seminarians in dioceses where the bishop is orthodox and where the sacraments are celebrated reverently and correctly? No, they will show you the decaying and dying vestiges of the infamous ‘spirit of Vatican II’ church. Priests and nuns in street attire, not wearing ecclesiastical garb; and usually old, grumpy and obnoxious throw-backs to the 1960’s besides.
Pollsters will tell us that a ‘majority’ of Catholics disagree with the Pope and Magisterium. Even if it were true, SO WHAT? [Tell it, brother!] Does the vox populi determine reality? When everyone thought the world flat, did it make it so? But I question the veracity of those figures. Who pays these bean counters to crunch the numbers? If the majority of Catholics renounce Catholic doctrine and discipline, why do they stay Catholic? Why is Catholicism still the largest religion on earth with over one BILLION members? Why are converts still coming into full communion with the Catholic Church every Easter Vigil around the globe? When 3 MILLION young people came to Rome for WYD towards the end of Pope John Paul’s pontificate, the news media barely covered the event. Had three of those youth got drunk and turned over a Fiat, it would have been a breaking news flash.
Buckle your seat belts, boys and girls, it is going to be a bumpy ride, at least from the perspective of the secular media. On the other hand, watch the coverage on EWTN and you WILL see and hear what is really out there; a Catholic RENAISSANCE, begun by JP2 and continuing with B16.
A couple points. I remember during Papal April 2005 I was heading home from a long day doing press coverage and live hits with FoxNews for whom I was a contributor at the time. Armed with my press pass I was making my way through the barriers which were channelling the rivers hundreds of thousands of people, mostly young people, coming from various directions into the Via della Conciliazione to the glimpse the body of John Paul II. At the end of the Via there were dozens of media trucks and light set ups, network people doing their live hits. All the biggies were around. I stopped with the CNN folks to chat for a bit and watch Christiane Amanpour do her thing. She was saying something like "After the death of John Paul II the Catholic Church is faced with its most pressing question: Is it still relevant today?" It was one of those surreal moments. I gazed over the unending surge of people waiting for dozens of hours, most of them young, from everywhere in the world. Though I knew it before, this really drove home the fact that many of these media folks do not have the slightest clue how even to think about the Church.
That said, I have been called by quite a few media types in the last few days, a couple of whom will be "inside the bubble" as we say, looking for my wonky view on some of the issues leading up to the visit. Some of them, at least, are doing their homework.
While I share Fr. Trigilio’s somewhat pessimistic prediction, I cannot help but hope that we will be pleasantly surprised as well.