UPDATE: Pope Francis in a “town hall” TV broadcast on ABC

Check out the update I added about the MSM coverage of the Pope’s great moment on abortion in ABC’s otherwise cringeworthy “townhall”.  Below.

____ ORIGINAL Published on: Sep 5, 2015

While I am confused about why ABC (and not other networks or all networks) was given a special privilege by the Pope’s handlers for a special TV “town hall” event, there was a good moment.

It was packaged by the network with teasers as if it were reality TV.  I haven’t watched regular network TV (with its commercials) for quite a while, but wow … just… wow.  I feel a little dumber now.

Anyway, in this “town hall” we saw the human condition on display as it might be anywhere.  This was supposed to be a lead up to Pope Francis visit to these USA. Most of what happened was not especially important for expressing something about these USA, even the illegal immigrant part…. sorry… ABC called them undocumented. 

However… there was a golden moment.

He congratulated a young single mother who made the choice for life for her unborn daughters.  He said that she could have killed them but she respected the life in her womb and he thanks and congratulated her for making that choice… in sincere and strong words and emotion.

Emotion ruled the day, it had a liberal agenda, and it was not a little manipulative, but that’s all we can expect in the MSM now.  They took the usual tack that this is the first Pope who has ever smiled… ever said a kind word… ever kissed a baby.. that he’s the most wonderfullest fluffiest Pope ehvur!  Gosh, he’s so humble.  And thing with the nun.. meh.  God bless her for her work.  The timing… meh.

But that one moment… was gold.

I can endure a lot of for a moment like that which ABC was pretty much forced to broadcast.

On another network last night, Fox, there was, simultaneously their expose about Planned Parenthood.

It was a good day for babies on American TV.

Full video HERE  for the golden moment, tune in at about 19:00 following, if nothing else.

I’m interested in your reactions to the ABC thing.  I haven’t seen the Planned Parenthood thing on Fox yet.

UPDATE 10 Sept:

Breitbart has this:


In Pope Francis’ historic “virtual town hall” organized by ABC News last week, he used such blunt language to describe abortion as killing that Time magazine has felt the need to tone it down by deleting the offensive expressions.

In speaking with a young single mother of two, Rosemary Farfan, Pope Francis spontaneously congratulated her for not aborting her children.

After listening to her testimony, Pope Francis thanked her and told her he knows “it’s not easy” to be a single mother.

I know that people can sometimes look askance at you. But I’ll tell you one thing. You’re a brave woman because you were capable of bringing these two daughters into the world. You could have killed them inside your womb and you respected life, you respected the life you were carrying inside you and God will reward you for that and He does reward for you for that. Don’t be ashamed. Hold your head high. ‘I didn’t kill my daughters. I brought them into the world.’ I congratulate you.

The Pope’s references to “killing” seem to have been too much for Time, which published an article purporting to convey Francis’ “Top 5 Messages for Americans.”

Time said that the Pope’s second message is that “single mothers should never be ashamed.”

Its transcription of the Pope’s words to Rosemary Farfan, however, censored out some of the Pope’s most significant statements:

I know that people can sometimes look askance at you. You’re a brave woman because you’re capable of bringing these two daughters into the world. You respected the life you were carrying inside you and God is going to reward you for that and he does reward for you for that. Don’t be ashamed. I congratulate you.

Time put the above paragraph in quotation marks as if it were the entire text of the Pope’s statement. In reality, as a quick comparison with the Pope’s actual words shows, it elided Francis’ two references to killing as if he had never said them.

Of course, Time magazine wasn’t alone. The New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, and USA Today didn’t bother reporting on the Pope’s references to abortion at all, since a strong pro-life message doesn’t fit within their narrative of what they want this Pope to be. But at least they didn’t resort to actually fudging Francis’ words.

If this is a foretaste of how the mainstream media will be reporting on the Pope’s upcoming visit to the United States, one can expect a very selective message, manipulated to conform to politically correct canons.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. arga says:

    Fox’s Planned Parenthood-video expose special was notable for footage that was limited entirely to pro-life voices — a rather amazing moment in national network TV. The reporter reminded viewers several times that Planned Parenthood declined to be interviewed, but I wish they had interviewed people who one would expect to try to defend the selling of baby parts — like all those Democratic officeholders who seem to have no problem with it. Main disappointment: absolutely no effort to investigate or report on the demand side of this trade: the universities and drug companies et al. who actually are the final consumers of baby parts. It was an amazing omission, as if the demand were irrelevant. I would love to have seen them try to get a university researcher on the record, defending purchase of said parts.

  2. Benedict Joseph says:

    Could not manage to put myself through the Pope on ABC. I just can’t endure it.
    As far as FOX and Planned Parenthood — it wasn’t perfect, but it surely was illuminating for anyone who hasn’t been following the horror. They are to be congratulated for their coverage.

  3. Auggie says:

    I spent the evening reading Catholic blogs, having finished Ben-Hur on dvd.
    I don’t know if I’ll ever give another hour of my life to network or cable television. Despite a few moments of gold, it’s mostly poison.

  4. cbmiamiensis says:

    All in all I think that the effect was positive. The words of the Holy Father to the single mother of two were indeed unapologetically pro-life and anti-abortion. The heart strings were touched from beginning to end, even the reporters were visibly caught up in the emotion and positivity (particularly when they interacted with the Holy Father and “audience” in Spanish. The only negative I can say was that the Holy Name of Jesus and Catholic were edited out. I think that there was some vague reference to Jesus in the context of homelessness. All in all it made me proud of The Church and moved my heart a little more toward the Holy Father, I think that most would say the same.

  5. When the program basically started off with, “Who am I to judge”, I figured there was going to be trouble. Reading today, everything the Pope said last night, I see that ABC cut quite a bit of stuff. Last night I was baffled that he didn’t say more, but they edited a lot out. I certainly didn’t hear this.

    “Always walk hand-in-hand with someone who loves you, someone who gives you tenderness – and you said this to Our Lady. To walk hand in hand with Jesus, to walk hand in hand with the Virgin, this gives security. It’s the first thing I hope for the youth: that you be accompanied but with good companions, that is, that you walk in good company.”

  6. RAve says:

    Pure manipulation, but as you note it had one super-powerful moment when the unadulterated and unpopular truth shone through with great clarity. Other than that it was embarrassing to watch. Life is tough all over – why would people use their once-in-a-lifetime chance to talk to the pope to run through a litany of their problems? What was the goal?

    Answer: The goal was to make anyone who doesn’t favor unfettered chaotic illegal immigration seem heartless and to set up the papal tour as the great American immigration hug all by pretending that Paragraph 2241 of the Catechism doesn’t exist, :

    CCC 2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him. Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.”

    My facebook comments as the show unfolded in sequential order:
    1. ABC thinks Pope Francis is Dr. Phil.
    2. Are there no white men in the Catholic Church in the USA? [Really? ABC couldn’t find any white Catholic men with sob stories?]
    3. Pope Francis tells impoverished single mom in L.A. seeking encouragement from the pope that she should be proud of herself that she did not kill her children in her womb but instead she gave birth to them – he said that is a gift and sign of courage and that God blesses her for refusing to abort her children. Nothing else. Wow.

  7. Laura R. says:

    I agree that the overall effect was positive but was disappointed at the lack of spiritual sustenance, until I reminded myself that it was ABC and yes undoubtedly edited. I was a bit shocked that the Holy Father would talk in front of the little girls about their mother not killing them in the womb, but agree that it was a great pro-life moment.

    An illustration of why the Vatican ought to be extremely cautious about allowing the MSM to manage such productions. With events like the Conclave the media don’t have that sort control.

  8. benedetta says:

    A Pope, (no really, a Pope, the Pope?) was permitted to go live on an American mainstream media tv network, commercials and all, and, they broadcast him congratulating and encouraging a young mother for making the decision that permitted her preborn children to be born and to live? Wow! I’ll take it! The usual appearances or nonappearances presented in American msm and interwebbing today notwithstanding, perhaps there really is something to this human life and personality thing after all! Perhaps all the prolifers have not been finally stamped and snuffed out for good or ghettoed or corralled off in this country after all? Which leads us to…the Fox News Expose of PP! Half a b-b-b-billion in taxpayer ca ching to render millions non persons for the sake of greed is certainly something that must be fully investigated and understood, and then this country must defund and divest of the torture and dismemberment and killing of unborn persons because of greed corporate big business.

  9. johnnycuredents says:

    I turned off the television the minute the program began and went to sleep. American (and presumably European) television is simply incapable of telling the truth. Its managers will always cut and paste and deform reality to make it agree with their ideology, and television is a medium that lends itself especially to this kind of lying. I shudder to think what the liberals who run networks will do with Pope Francis’ sound bites during his visit. My strongest quibble with the pope is that he insists on treating television people as though they were honest brokers. They are nothing of the kind, and someone in his position should know that already.

  10. Kathleen10 says:

    Of all the major networks, ABC is perhaps the most virulent of the anti-Catholic/Christianity crowd, so once again I am wondering how this kind of thing can even happen. Why ABC?
    The mainstream media is incapable of doing anything without manipulating it, therefore I watch none of their programming. Pope Francis is going to give them lots of material during his visit, enough to keep them going a long time.
    I would thank Fox for their program.

  11. Kathleen10 says:

    Just FWIW, on EWTN tonight there are a few programs about Mother Theresa, this being the 18th anniversary of her passing.

  12. Muv says:

    Fr. Z, having watched the part of the video to which you refer, I felt my Englishness to its greatest degree. Why were the proceedings so awash with emotion? Dangerous territory.

    Laura R. tells us she is a bit shocked that the Pope talked in front of the little girls about their mother not killing them in the womb, but agrees that it was a great pro-life moment. I’m more than a bit shocked, I’m ever so slightly livid, and I wouldn’t call it a great pro-life moment. The Pope raised the subject of abortion, not the mother, and certainly not the child. The mother may never have considered abortion, in which case there is a possibility that after all the excitement of the televisual meeting has subsided, she might not feel particularly flattered to have been congratulated on not committing a monumental sin that she would never have dreamt of. It seems that the Pope is priming himself to deal with the subject of abortion when he is in the USA, but he didn’t need to start here with this lady and her daughters.

    The teaching of the church isn’t that a pregnant woman “chooses” life, but accepts and welcomes life. There is no choice. Choice is the buzzword of the Lord of the Flies.

  13. Elizabeth D says:

    I figure Pope Francis sees ABC as “the peripheries” moreso than FOX, and a whole lot moreso than EWTN.

  14. I watched the Holy Father on ABC. I wondered why ABC was given that privilege. I’m guessing the Vatican was warned to stay away from Fox. Beyond that, I don’t know how it ended up as it did.

    My reaction was that the pope was fine, but the network was obviously manipulative. It fascinates me that they would be so blatant. Not only politically manipulative, but emotionally. Everyone cried. Every single person who stepped up, blubbered. What the pope must think: “Huh! I thought those Norteamericanos were supposed to be tough!”

  15. Giuseppe says:

    I’m not sure the mother or the daughter had a question, but the Pope sure had an answer.
    I probably shouldn’t say this, but Pope Francis has cojones: congratulating a mother in front of her 2 daughters for not murdering them in the womb.
    I could barely watch the rest.

    Just to clarify, the form of address to the Pope is “Your Holiness”, right?

  16. Fr. Bryan says:

    I saw some of that program on ABC as well, and wondered why something like that wouldn’t be covered on EWTN. Instead of using Catholic media, the Holy See Press Office (if it was them) consented to go on American so-called Main Stream Media, and I’m trying to figure out why. I have to wonder if the Vatican really understands the nature of American journalism these days. After Saturday Mass tonight, a parishioner asked if I had seen it, and was all bubbly about it, so I called it up through the link here and watched part of it in case I get more questions tomorrow morning.

  17. jameeka says:

    Many of the men in the audience were squirming, so I would say “direct hit”.

  18. MikeM says:

    I feel pretty lukewarm about the content of the ABC special. I’m delighted that the Holy Father was there at all, though. Millions of people saw him, and while they only got a very limited, somewhat distorted view of his thought and of Catholicism, I’m sure that it made many introductions which the Church can now use to bring people to more substantive engagement.

    80% of success is showing up, and the Holy Father showed up before a massive, fairly diverse audience.

    In one of the early interviews of his Papacy, Francis seemed to suggest that he wanted to see the Church give up some of its risk aversion when it was becoming an obstacle to reaching people. Going on ABC was a bit of a risk but was hardly reckless. The Church needs more of that.

  19. DeGaulle says:

    Pope Francis going on EWTN would be safely preaching to the converted. This seems risky, but he pulled off a small coup and maybe got some people examining their conscience?

  20. SKAY says:

    I would think that the US Ambassador to the Vatican who was of course appointed by Barack Obama might have been consulted on the choice of ABC for the” Town Hall” broadcast.

    I only sporadically watch the local early morning news on ABC so I did not see the broadcast.

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  22. anna 6 says:

    I have to agree with Muv and Laura re. the discussion of abortion in the ABC interview…

    Though I am immensely grateful for the pope’s passionate defense of life, I am not convinced that this was the best circumstance for the argument. After the intervention my husband asked “how does Pope Francis know that abortion was even a consideration for this woman? For all we know she was a widow or was married at the time of her 2 pregnancies.” It reminded me of the incident with the pregnant woman at a Roman parish.

    The net value is probably a good thing for society, but it might be a problem for this family.

  23. CradleRevert says:

    Likely in response to Breitbart pointing out their blatant omission, it appears that Time has since corrected the quote: http://time.com/4023876/pope-francis-message-americans-town-hall/

  24. organistjason says:

    Has the Holy See Director of Communications been informed about this “over site”? Are those closest to the Bishop of Rome aware of this? First rule of putting your “subject” out for an interview, is NOT to let the media outlet “Edit” what the subject says. They are losing the communication argument and need to stop “being nice and merciful” and take the fight to the evil that is at the Gate.

  25. Grumpy Beggar says:

    From the Breitbart link Fr. Z posted:

    “In Pope Francis’ historic “virtual town hall” organized by ABC News last week, he used such blunt language to describe abortion as killing that Time magazine has felt the need to tone it down by deleting the offensive expressions.”

    Go figure. This same TIME magazine named Pope John Paul II Man of the Year in 1994 . Perhaps they were so elated with his participation in the collapse of communism in Europe that they didn’t notice his mention of “the culture of death” in Evangelium Vitae.

    Quite ironic then, that TIME should delete Pope Francis’words which express lucidly the pure truth about abortion. It amounts to jounalistic cowardice – a cowardice which simply confirms for us once more that we are living in the culture of death.

    Pilate is alive and well – and living in the MSM.

    Where have all the coh_nas gone ?

    Deleting the Pope’s comments in this case , could well impede souls from being reconciled with God. They’re attempting to block out our Lord’s message to a general public who so badly needs to hear it . . . not an enviable position to be in.

    Dear Lord, help us to be holy and may your Mother intercede for us.

  26. Transportsjoie says:

    I’m sure the Holy Father is aware of the fact that he will be seen and heard by vast numbers of people who have no knowledge whatsoever of Christian spiritual life or Catholic teaching. If he is perceived in a positive or approachable light by any of these, or if even one pregnant woman who is planning to abort re-considers, then it was indeed a golden or graced moment.

  27. MikeM says:

    While I can see why talking about the possibility that the mother could have killed her children in the womb in front of said children might be considered uncomfortable, and while I probably wouldn’t have done it myself, I don’t think that his statement assumed that she had considered it. It seemed to me that his point was just that single mothers have taken on the challenge of raising their children and should be respected for their efforts. He probably wanted to take an opportunity to drop a pro-life message into the town hall, but I think that the message would have been the same if he had referenced abandonment, or even just basic neglect, as the alternative to caring for the kids. She (one assumes) does something good and difficult every day and she wills herself to do it… She could have chosen not to do it.

  28. ghp95134 says:

    CradelRevert’s link leads to Time’s correction:

    [quote]Correction: The original version of this article incompletely quoted Pope Francis’ response to a young woman about the difficulties of being a single mother.[/quote]

    I must have missed the part where Time apologises for specifically redacting the word “kill.”

    (Still in Tokyo)

  29. DonL says:

    “My strongest quibble with the pope is that he insists on treating television people as though they were honest brokers. They are nothing of the kind, and someone in his position should know that already.”

    I try to remember that Jesus hand-picked Judas Iscariot and actually sent him out to preach….

  30. KRD says:

    @organistjason, unfortunately, there is no such rule. When someone goes out for an interview, you are completely at the mercy of the journalists. There is no agreement that says no editing can go on.

  31. Kathleen10 says:

    The poor little girl was overcome with emotion because she did not have a father, and she saw other children with a father and that she wished she were one of them. It was a golden moment to console the child but what a super opportunity to remind people that both mother AND father are necessary for the happy, healthy children! Given the relationship between single-parenthood and poverty, and single parenthood and all kinds of problems for children such as increased risk of drug or alcohol abuse, depression, problems at school, etc., those words might have had a real impact. Single-parenthood has caused so much damage to the family, a connection the left just cannot see or does not want to see.
    It is easy to see the damage, looking at this little girl who is face to face with a man who to her, represents the father she does not have, and badly wants. And look at her reaction. Children are always the ones who suffer for our choices in life.

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    Isn’t misrepresenting someone ‘s position through misquoting a form of libel?

    The Chicken

  33. Muv says:

    Anna6 says:-
    After the intervention my husband asked “how does Pope Francis know that abortion was even a consideration for this woman? For all we know she was a widow or was married at the time of her 2 pregnancies.”

    Yes, exactly! It looked as though the Pope was making an assumption, and just waded in.

    The lady was referred to as a single mother, but in English it is a loose term and we have no idea why she is bringing up the children alone. The Pope used the term “madre soltera” which means unmarried mother. My suspicion is that this is how the interpreter put it to him, but this didn’t prevent the Pope from asking a tactful question or two. It could hardly have been more indelicate than congratulating her on not killing her children.

  34. chrisgaffrey says:

    Fr. Z, the ABC reporter in McAllen, TX did use a form of the word “illegal” when speaking about the immigrants. I just thought I’d bring that tidbit to your attention. By the way, because of your article, I used the full quote in my homily to preach against abortion while not making it the subject of the homily. The point was on taking up the cross. Rosemary Farfan can be seen here as an example of an ordinary someone who took up the cross. Thanks for your blog.

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