NARAL screwed up big time over Pope Francis’ TBI, but they still “win”.

People are sending me a link which they found on Pewsitter.

The ultra-radical pro-big-business abortion group NARAL committed a massive blunder in posting to their Facebook page a “thank you” card to Pope Francis for his comments in TBI™ (aka The Big Interview) regarding the Church’s “obsession” about issues such as abortion.

Some bloggers are heaping derision on NARAL.  That derision is well deserved.  After all, the day after TBI, Pope Francis spoke in strong and clear terms in direct contradiction to NARAL’s most hallowed sacrament, abortion.

Here’s the problem.

Derision aimed at NARAL on this monumental screw-up, though amusing and proper, is really just a victory on points alone.

NARAL will arguably have done more harm with that ad than any embarrassment they suffer from how obtuse they are.

NO ONE knows about true content of the Pope’s speech the day after TBI.

EVERYONE knows about TBI through the distorted, or at best limited, coverage it received.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Emanations from Penumbras, Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, You must be joking! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Of course, both Catholic progressives and non-Catholic leftists like NARAL continue to win big-time because of the prevalent MSM (mis)interpretations that Pope Francis’ informally stated remarks continue to admit (if not invite). I recall the confident, indeed buoyant, atmosphere at a right-to-life banquet last year. This year? I wonder.

  2. RidersOnTheStorm says:

    You are incorrect in stating: NO ONE knows about true content of the Pope’s speech the day after TBI.

    “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.”‘ (John 18:37-38)

    Francis follows and teaches in the Master’s footsteps

  3. NBW says:

    Are they serious? How dumb are they? I better not ask that!

  4. McCall1981 says:

    So the million dollar question then is “Will Francis learn from this and avoid these things in the future or not?”.

    Maybe his strong pro-life words the next day are an indication that he saw the media reaction and didnt like it.

  5. TimG says:

    Another poster stated (on one of the other many articles on this subject) that she is convinced the Holy Father is leaving the 99 in search of the 1.

    1) I wish it were that simple (but I fear Fr Z your statement is true);
    “Derision aimed at NARAL on this monumental screw-up, though amusing and proper, is really just a victory on points alone. NARAL will arguably have done more harm with that ad than any embarrassment they suffer from how obtuse they are.”

    2) This uproar is making your job much harder and I (and my family) will continue to pray for you daily to have the strength and courage to soldier on. A field hospital has many roles to fill.

    3) I need to take Andrew’s advice and just step away from this. Pray, fast, give alms. And Go To Confession.

  6. Stumbler but trying says:

    “NO ONE knows about true content of the Pope’s speech the day after TBI.”

    All fools! Poor women who support this group. If only they had stood in St. Peter’s square that fine Sunday morning when Papa Francis joined and greeted the Italian Pro-Life Marchers back in the Spring of 2013! It was a very uplifting and affirming event as I watched it unfold on YouTube.
    Too bad they were not in attendance when the Holy Father reminded the Knights of Columbus to continue to, ““bear witness to the authentic nature of marriage and the family, the sanctity and inviolable dignity of human life, and the beauty and truth of human sexuality.”

    Tis foolhardy to twist the Holy Father’s words when one knows the truth will stand and shine no matter how much mud folks throw at it.

    Viva il Papa!

  7. Long-Skirts says:

    The Pope needs to be Mirandized before he gives his interviews…

    “…and that anything the person says will be used against that person…”

    God’s sake!!!!

  8. Stumbler but trying says:

    One more important article to be read by the women of that foolish organization or anyone who has doubts Papa Francis is not pro-life:

    “No, the Pope is not diluting the anti-abortion focus of the Church.” Fr. Frank Pavone

  9. ChristianO says:

    PP never fails to appall.

    While the iron is hot, perhaps one or more of the high-profile US pro-life organizations (e.g. NRLC, ALL, AUL, SBA List) should immediately take out a full-page ad in some major newspapers and/or or other secular media outlets with a “thank you” card to the Holy Father for his pro-life remarks from the post-TBI speech (being sure to highlight the pope’s actual words). Maybe they could pool their funds. If they need to do a moneybomb for the ad buy, I for one will dig deep. Anyone reading this who has high-level contacts in those organizations? Please pass along the suggestion.

  10. McCall1981 says:

    Stumbler but trying,
    Thanks, that article you posted is very reassuring!

  11. McCall1981 says:

    So, why did Card Burke choose right now to say Pelosi can’t receive commuion? Is it Francis “making up” for his comments, or is it just Card Burke actin on his own? The timing is suspicious.

  12. Fr_Sotelo says:

    If few know about Pope Francis’ interview, even far fewer know anything about or care about what NARAL has to say.

  13. mamajen says:

    Wasn’t sure where to plop this as there are so many related posts, but anyway…

    This may be wishful thinking, or maybe I’ve had too much caffeine today, but based on recent developments (which some people have chosen to call “damage control”) I wonder if a large part of what Pope Francis was getting at was constant talk without action. What good does it do to talk about abortion, gay marriage, etc. if politicians are served communion, priests are openly defying church law, “nuns” are campaigning against the Church, etc. That very thing has frustrated me for some time–at my old church we had our priest preaching about NY’s proposed abortion law changes while a few feet away a state senator who has openly supported abortion rights in the newspaper on several occasions sat at the piano poised to play another Haugen piece. It was ludicrous. What kind of message does that send?

    And what good does it do to talk about these things if we can’t deign to treat sinners with love, mercy, compassion and service? Perhaps this even ties in with his mention of traditional groups and exploitation–I’ve seen Father Z implore traditionalists to get involved with their non-traditional parishes and communities, because, well, they often don’t. Isn’t it the definition of exploitation if we use the aspects of the Church that we like in order to separate ourselves from the rest and serve only those who are like us?

    I think what he’s saying is do something. Some people already have been doing a lot, some people could be doing a lot more.

    I really believe there is a plan at work here. Whether it’s Pope Francis’, or God’s, or a little of both, I don’t know. Pope Francis is a holy man, who by all accounts has a wonderful devotion to Mary, and he wasn’t born yesterday. Things may get messy, and I sometimes feel bewildered, but I trust him.

  14. Gil Garza says:

    These attempts by the media and others to re-characterize the Holy Father’s comments aren’t accidental. They aren’t a misreading of his remarks made by naive journalists. They’re a deliberate attempt to recast his views to make him say what they want him to say precisely because he has been so provocatively Christocentric. Our Holy Father has been extremely deliberate in his remarks. I commend him for his candor.

  15. anna 6 says:

    We should be grateful for all of the pro-life Catholic women who are “obsessed” with abortion and were tenacious enough to post numerous corrections at NARAL’s despicable Facebook “thank you” to Pope Francis. Hopefully their excellent comments touched some hearts.

  16. MikeM says:

    Maybe a little confusion is what we need right now. Most people think that they have the Church figured out. They’ve been SURE that it fits in the narrow box that they shove us in. Those who know the Church well won’t be thrown off by a HuffPo headline, and they won’t be able to keep the charade that Francis is pro-abortion going for long… But maybe the ones who only think they know what the Church is about will be confused enough to look a little deeper. “Faith comes from what is heard.” Maybe a few more people will take the time to listen.

  17. lana says:

    Great analysis by Dr. Mirus at Catholic Culture!!

  18. Giuseppe says:

    In medicine, TBI is ‘traumatic brain injury’. I trust people don’t mean to imply this when using TBI…

  19. VexillaRegis says:


    haha, maybe not, but sometimes it feels like a mild concussion ;-)

  20. Peter in Canberra says:

    I wish the Pope would stop making this stream of consciousness statments which seem tailor made for ambiguity and twisting.

  21. Gail F says:

    Marc Barnes has a great, though crude, meme and post replying to that at his great blog, Bad Catholic:
    I can’t show the meme here but it looks just like the NARAL one and says “Dear NARAL: Learn to f*ing read.” Really cracked me up.
    But I agree, they get more out of it than they lose, because they put it up right away and their supporters know more about them than about what the pope said. OTOH, their supporters already support them (duh) and what they do, I doubt they’ll win any new converts over it. It’s encouragement for their own.

  22. lana says:

    I think the women of NARAL do have something to be very grateful for. Fr. Pavone wrote that Pope Francis wanted a lot of focus on Project Rachel now.

    NARAL’s little ad, which will be seen by many we never come into contact with, will show women where they can go when the Lord brings them to repentance, where they will obtain mercy and not condemnation. GO TO CONFESSION.

    People need to relax and trust. Where is our trust in God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

  23. The Astronomer says:

    In a world dominated by media sound bites and outlets like ‘Hell’s Bible’ are taken for definitive truth, perception becomes reality.

    Right now, the perception is that “Pope Francis is changing EVERYTHING!!!! Yay gays & feminists!!!”

  24. rhhenry says:

    I used to think the American mainstream media was relatively clueless about Catholicism, which is why they make such silly mistakes (e.g., calling bishops “Monsignor,” clearly following the Italian / French tradition as opposed to the American use of the title “Monsignor”; talking about “having” Mass as opposed to celebrating or offering Mass; etc.). I now think the MSM deliberately misrepresents the Church and Her teachings to push an agenda.

    I think the following satire would not be too far off:

    Imaginary off-the-cuff oral statement by Pope Francis: If a woman comes to me in the confessional and is truly sorry for having had an abortion, it is my job at that moment not to focus on the rules or the canonical process; that is not the time to say, “In order to lift your latae sententiae excommuncation, fill out the following form in triplicate and send one copy to the Major Penitentiary, one copy to your Bishop, and one copy to your Pastor.” No. That process may need to happen, but at that moment, as an alter Christus, acting in persona Christi, celebrating the Sacrament, my job is to offer healing and forgiveness. She has already judged herself; who am I to judge her more harshly? At that moment, my job is to demonstrate the mercy of God; at that moment, paradoxically, God’s infinite Mercy outweighs His infinite Justice.
    Resulting NY Times headline: Pope on Abortion: Who am I to judge?

    Imaginary written press release from fictional jihad-supporting Muslim cleric: I can’t tell the good Christians from the bad Christians, so I command, “Kill them all, and let Allah sort it out.”
    Resulting NY Times headline: Leading Imam on Christianity: Who am I to judge?

  25. sejoga says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m getting sick of Francis saying something, progressives interpreting it in a triumphant light, and then everyone blames the *progressives* for what went wrong.

    At some point, we have to start blaming *Francis*. He’s a poor leader and he deserves wider criticism than he receives.

  26. rhhenry says:

    But sejoga, it rarely works in reverse — in the MSM, at least. If Pope Francis again said something along the lines of, “If a gay man is struggling to live chastely, sins, repents, goes to Confession, and keeps doing his best to follow the Lord, who am I to judge?” I doubt we would see that interpreted by the MSM in a conservative light. Would we really see a resulting headline saying, “Pope reaffirms need for Confession”?

  27. Johnno says:

    I’m very certain NARAL and those folks in the MSM know exactly what the Pope meant. They are doing this because they know the old rule that you can fool some of the people some of the time. Don’t get me wrong, there are indeed plenty of dopes amongst them, but those in higher places are quite aware and this is deliberate deception on their part to reign in a few suckers and make life difficult for the rest of us.

    Remember! These are the same people who are also delivering you the ‘news’ about Syria and ‘bad’ chemical weapons and telling us how the survelliance state and Obamacare is no big deal and good for us!

  28. SMC-BC says:

    Gee, I wonder why NARAL didn’t thank Pope Benedict when he said the same thing:

    “If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith – a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us. ” – Address of his Holiness Benedict XVI – Thursday, 9 Novemeber 2006

  29. rhhenry says:

    SMC-BC: Your question is probably rhetorical, but the obvious answer is that when Pope Benedict made his remarks, the caricature of him as a rule-bound, severe, legalistic, cold-hearted bureaucrat had already been well-established, and that caricature worked to NARAL’s advantage, so why highlight comments to the contrary?

    And how did Pope Benedict get saddled with this caricature? I once read (and confirmed to the limits of my own web search skills), that there was no reference to Cardinal Ratzinger as “God’s Rottweiler” until *after* he was elected Pope; then, suddenly, the media was filled with tales of how it was well known that Cardinal Ratzinger was referred to throughout the Vatican for years as “God’s Rottweiler” — cold-hearted, severe head of “the former Inquisition” that he was. Seems to me the MSM made this up out of whole cloth to discredit the Pope and the Church.

    Sorry if this takes the thread too far afield. I’m in a ranting mood for some reason this morning. Time for more coffee and Morning Prayer . . .

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