Gathering the MSM’s headlines about #AmorisLaetitia

So… there is the Letter itself and there is the MSM (“main stream media” for those of you in Columbia Heights) spin, especially through headlines.

Headlines are often composed not by the writers of the articles, but by backroom editors who often a) don’t have clue about the subject matter and b) have an axe to grind.

So, let’s gather headlines… just headlines and links… of the first articles about Amoris laetitia.

Some samples:


Pope to church: Be more accepting of divorced Catholics, gays and lesbians

Right. That really gets to the heart of it.


Pope Francis offers hope to divorced Catholics, says no to gay marriage


Pope Francis, Urging Less Judgment, Signals Path for Divorced on Communion


Pope calls for compassionate Church open to ‘imperfect’ Catholics


Pope insists conscience, not rules, must lead faithful

THAT was predictable.


‘No one must feel condemned,’ says pope while affirming church doctrine

National Catholic Register:

Pope’s Family Document ‘Amoris Laetitia’ Tackles Complex Pastoral Challenges

Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter):

Francis’ exhortation a radical shift to see grace in imperfection, without fearing moral confusion

‘Amoris Laetitia’: Francis challenges the church

Jesuit-run Amerika:

Pope Francis’ Exhortation on the Family an ‘Organic Development of Doctrine’

In their dreams!

Catholic Herald (UK):

Papal exhortation avoids clear statement on Communion

The Bitter Pill (aka The Tablet, aka RU-486):


Again, predictable.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. benedetta says:

    Probably, the longer the document, the greater the liberties the msm will take with the headline. Am I wrong? The msm will bank on people not reading something that long for themselves. Pretty much always the msm never reports Church stories accurately. That even before you get to bigoted, anti Catholic bias.

  2. oldconvert says:

    Pope Francis has made a landmark statement on the Catholic Church’s attitude to family life. He has told the world’s 1.3 million Roman Catholics that individual conscience rather than black-and-white rules from the Vatican should be the guiding principle for negotiating the complexities of sex and marriage.
    BBC News Headlines 6pm 8 February 2016

  3. benedetta says:

    CNA: No doctrine change from Pope Francis – but a call for better pastoral care

  4. LeeF says:

    Reading some German language sources, a word that kept popping up was “disappointment”. Primarily over not accepting homosexual unions. One such article at the end said the ball is in the bishops’ court, and questioned whether there would be any practical effect or the document would just get stuck in a drawer along with previous apostolic exhortations.

    The pope has said his last word about homosexual unions as well elsewhere re women’s ordination. Francis was the liberals’ best shot (in their minds) on those two issues. They will not be able to keep agitating as in the secular political arena to achieve their aims. And thus many liberals will just leave the Church, which will take the pressure off ambiguous interpretations to give communion wholesale to the divorced and remarried.

    While MSW over at Fishwrap can gush all he wants with his own ambiguous anti-catechism interpretation, he’s not getting anything else in the future to gush over. Women’s ordination and homosexual marriage are DEAD. He just doesn’t, or can’t, realize it because of the secular political examples. Francis and the Church are going to move on to other things.

  5. robtbrown says:

    benedetta says:

    Probably, the longer the document, the greater the liberties the msm will take with the headline. Am I wrong? The msm will bank on people not reading something that long for themselves. Pretty much always the msm never reports Church stories accurately. That even before you get to bigoted, anti Catholic bias.

    The longer the document the more likely it will reach Catholics via the MSM. Years ago limited publication restricted the readership. Now with the all but unlimited access of the Internet, the length of documents like this is such that the readership will still be limited. It will reach Catholics through the prism of the MSM.

  6. acardnal says:

    “Error 404.”

  7. iamlucky13 says:

    I started composing this in reply to the Robert Royal post, but after refreshing the homepage and seeing new posts, figured it is more appropriate here.:

    I’m far more worried about the reporting on Amoris Laetitia than about the exhortation itself. Obviously, most Catholics won’t actually read the document, or even summaries of it from trustworthy sources, making the secular media’s reporting on it the de facto interpretation among the faithful.

    To be clear, I also have not read the exhortation yet (I do plan to), except to look up references others have made, which confirms much of the reporting is as erroneous as the headlines seem.

    The Associated Press’s article on it, which is in my local paper and bound to be in almost every other minor publication in the country, is certainly troubling. If they were to be believed (which they are not), then the Pope more or less told couples to ignore the Church’s teachings on contraception and listen to their feelings; The article used the word “conscience,” but the sentence was written in a way that suggested conscience is inherently in conflict with doctrine, rather than formed by it. Plainly then, if following doctrine doesn’t feel like what is right for you, you should ignore doctrine.

    The article also discussed the footnotes as if they are the source of the true meaning of Catholic teaching. You were spot on there, Father.

    There’s plenty more, such as emphasizing multiple times that the Pope did not reiterate that artificial contraception is wrong, thus implying it is acceptable.

    Most of these reporting issues are inferences, but one is an actual false statement, claiming that footnote 329, by quoting Gaudium et Spes 51, effectively overturned Familiaris Consortio 84 (No admission to Communion, even if the reason for staying together is for the sake of any children, unless committed to living together chastely, since the reality is that no second marriage actually took place).

    There’s two problems with that: First, Pope Francis does not, either in paragraph 298, nor the footnote, actually reject F.C. 84. He only quotes G&S 51 as acknowledging that for a couple to live together in abstinence is difficult and can endanger faithfulness, which itself is bad for their children. “This is difficult” does not mean “difficult teachings are false.” This is yet another case of an ambiguous statement being falsely presented as overturning explicitly clear statements.

    The other problem is with the use of the citation in the exhortation itself – Gaudium et Spes 51 does not have anything to do with couples who have children conceived outside of marriage living as spouses even when marriage is impossible. Rather, it is about couples who are validly married but have just reasons “where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased.” It goes on to acknowledge that to forego intimacy in order avoid conception is difficult, but very firmly concludes that a morally acceptable thing being difficult does not make an easier immoral action acceptable.

    It seems there is an issue with hermeneutics of continuity vs. rupture once again. To read Amoris Laetitia the way the media are reporting on it requires rupture with the rest of Catholic teaching (even rupture with Vatican II, in the case of Gaudium et Spes). Read in continuity with the rest of Catholic teaching, on the other hand, I haven’t yet found anything very surprising in what little I’ve read so far.

  8. Steve_0 says:

    My local media source has loosely declared that contraceptives are now an individual conscious decision.

    Besides that, seeing some various reactions, all the ‘special interest groups’ have declared some sort of victory.

  9. Janol says:

    Is it “No one must feel condemned…” or “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” — which is what I am seeing on several websites, including Edward Peters’ ?

  10. Janol says:

    Found the text of AL:
    297. It is a matter of reaching out to everyone, of needing to help each person and his or her
    proper way of participating in the ecclesial community and thus to experience being touched by an “unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous” mercy. No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! Here I am not speaking only of the divorced and re-married, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves.

  11. The ambiguity easily allows such headlines.

  12. Who among you are going to post HEADLINES as requested?

  13. iamlucky13 says:

    Sorry. I read the other posts in detail, then failed to read this one as a simple request for headlines, not discussion.

    Local paper 1 headline (republished AP article):
    Pope insists conscience, not dogma, must lead faithful on sex, marriage

    Local paper 2 headline (republished NYT article):
    Church’s marginalized put faith in Pope’s new document on family issues

  14. hwriggles4 says:

    Yahoo News linked to this one from the AP Wire:

    “Pope emphasizes flexibility over rules for modern families”

  15. hwriggles4 says:

    Fox News this morning (Friday, April 8, 2016 on Fox and Friends ), the newsreader (who I think was raised Catholic, she’s from Chicago)summed it up like this:

    “Doctrine doesn’t change, Pope Francis affirms Church teaching on marriage and contraception, but discuss with your parish priest.”

    Then, a short discussion came up about annulments, and one Catholic newscaster summed it up like this, “annulments are complicated”. The other one (she is not Catholic, she is Methodist) said, “annulments take a long time” and the newsreader said “annulments cost alot of money.”

    I hope Fr. Jonathan Morris gives a discussion on Sunday’s Fox and Friends (as he does sometimes) and clears up the misinformation on annulments.

  16. Elizabeth R says:

    St Louis Post-Dispatch: St. Louis bishop says Pope Francis’ proclamation is a rally call for compassion

    Quoting Bishop Rice, not Archbishop Carlson, so the title is correct.

  17. LeeF says:

    Some German headlines and my translations:

    Süddeutsche Zeitung: Bitter, unbarmherzig und ohne Liebe (Bitter, merciless and without love [bemoaning no homosexual marriage])

    Zeit Online: Die neue Freiheit der Kirche: Papst Franziskus schlägt beim Thema Sex ein neues Kapitel für die katholische Kirche auf. Für den konservativen Flügel ist die neue Linie ein Albtraum. (The new freedom of the Church: For the conservative wing the new line is a nightmare)

    Münchner Kirchennachrichten:Bischöfe würdigen Papst-Schreiben als Geschenk für Familien (Bishops pay tribute to papal writing as gift for families)

    Kurier: Papst Franziskus macht den Geschiedenen Hoffnung (Pope Francis holds out hope to the divorced)

  18. Art says:

    The Globe and Mail (Canada): Pope signals end of outright exclusion in ‘grandfatherly’ text on family issues

  19. Grumpy Beggar says:

    This one comes from Sénégal ; – Le Sénégal dans le web .

    The word “prudente” in French can mean , “careful / cautious / prudent” , ( not to be confused with caring) .
    « Amoris Lætitia»: le pape François tend une main prudente aux divorcés-remariés.

    Two adequate interpretations would be : “Amoris Lætitia” : Pope Francis extends a cautious hand to the divorced and remarried. Or equally “Amoris Lætitia” : Pope Francis prudently reaches out to the divorced and remarried.

    I think these guys get what Pope Francis is trying to do. If you understand French, it’s really worth a look. It’s a short article, but from a keen, commendable perspective.

    Compare that one with this headline which appears to come from the website of the diocese of d’Avignon in France:
    Amoris Laetitia : une bombe pastorale.

    While the literal translation of the French bombe is “bomb” , in a figurative sense bombe can commonly convey “an explosive news scoop” ; “a bombshell.”

    So :Amoris Laetitia: a pastoral bombshell.

    (Still , I’d have to say I’m praying the article doesn’t contain 2 freudian slips) :

    1. The aforementioned pastoral bomb.

    2. The initial response to the first question in the article reads (bolds, um, mine) : “. . . que ce texte sera une mine d’inspiration pour les années à venir .”
    Roughly : “. . . that this text will be a mine of inspiration for years to come.”

    (*Dear Lord, that both be non-detonatable types , I pray* )

  20. ocleirbj says:

    “No Surprise: Pope Francis still a Jesuit!” – Crux.

  21. ocleirbj says:

    Though Crux isn’t exactly MSM :-)

  22. Nicolas Bellord says:

    And over here in the UK this is how our fellow Christians are interpreting it:,45IX9,9KKLP6,F3LSX,1

    For example:
    “On the issue of contraception he said a couple’s individual conscience should guide their decision and not the rules set out by the Church.”

  23. Newsday, Long Island, New York:

    Pope’s Opening to Divorced Catholics

  24. benedetta says:

    The length of the document is daunting for the average Catholic to pick up and read, it’s true, and the bigoted msm can then take advantage of us by trying to chew our food for us. But, on the plus side, this is a document that lends well to parish reading or study groups, or say homeschool mom Catholic reading circles, where people read a bit at a time and discuss over a longer period of time. One would just hope that pastors, already so very busy and sometimes remote from getting involved, sometimes to the degree of the priest who passes by and leaves it to the Good Samaritan, also take up and read, and reflect. It seems to me that if the pastoral change that is prized in this exhortation is to become any sort of reality, it will be up to the people who could heretofore hide in the fabric of the institutional church and in official parish capacities to not actually talk a good game but walk the walk. That will be very difficult in some fossilized circumstances. And if there are neo pelagians to be found, statistics and demographics alone these past decades point the places where the most needs are to the “liberal” and “progressive” places even as they may had loudly and in publications already seemed to advocate for lots of change and mercy. It’s one thing to prize it ideologically and in partisan politics, it’s another to roll up one’s sleeves, put one’s hands in the soil, and allow one’s self to get messy.

    FWIW, the great website has brilliantly posted the document so that one may easily read/download/print by pieces which should assist the average Catholic to take up and read.

    Also, I will also say here that I am edified by the way many have returned to the regular sacraments because of Pope Francis who otherwise had been away or not cognizant of the tremendous gifts on offer in our Church by way of sacramental mercy.

  25. Persistant says:

    In my country, MSM mostly focused on “homosexsual unions cannot even remotely be compared to marriage”. So, I guess that’s ok. They also wrote that Francis wrote that “Catholic Church can’t change its dogmas but has to be more open to “imperfect” Catholics.

  26. Pingback: Amoris Lætitia Aftermath. . . Beaten Down, Demoralized, Confused, Frustrated; Let Us Now Get Up Off the Ground – Big Pulpit

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