Monday, March 29, 2010

Media Bias is Not the Whole Problem

I just wanted to correct a possible misinterpretation of what I've been writing on the attacks on Pope Benedict XVI by the liberal media. I am NOT saying that if the media just let up on the Church and gave it a pass, then everything would be fine. I don't want the media to give anybody a pass on child abuse, which is a horrible evil.

My point is a bit more nuanced; it is that Pope Benedict is part of the solution, not part of the problem, and attacks on him are misplaced. Go after the culture of cover-up all you want. Go after the abusers all you want. I have no beef with that. But my beef is that a re-affirmation of Christian doctrine and morals is exactly what is needed today, not a loosening of moral standards just to avoid the scorn and persecution of the world. And Benedict is leading the Church in the right direction, both in general and with regard to the abuse scandal in particular.

Rod Dreher, in a post entitled "OK, now the Times is piling on Benedict" makes my point exactly. [BTW, he is talking about the NYT, not the ToL]
"This is why the liberal vs. conservative narrative applied to the drama playing out among Catholics right now is so frustrating. The idea that the problems of Pope Benedict and his institution are largely the fault of a hostile media is risibly wrong; Laurie Goodstein didn't reassign pederast priests. The idea that if only the Catholic Church were rid of supposedly rigid conservatives like Benedict, the Church would usher in the New Jerusalem is pathetically untrue. Liberal Catholicism -- which is the Catholicism prevalent at the parish level in the US -- has proved that it can't maintain what is distinctively Catholic over time. ("How did the Catholic Church get this reputation for being sex-obsessed?" said my friend, a lifelong mass going Catholic. "I've never heard a homily about sex." In my 13 years as a faithful Catholic, I never did either). As an outsider to Catholicism now, one who desperately wants Benedict to succeed, I find the predictable way the scandal is playing out in the hands of partisans of both sides depressing, because beside the point." [my bolding]
Dreher is a former Catholic who believes nonetheless that the Catholic Church is crucial to the survival of Western civilization.
"I spoke over the weekend to some Catholic friends who are deeply involved with the institutional church, and devoted to it. They're troubled over all this, of course, and what it means for the future of their church, and indeed of our culture. I shared with A. my thought that the fate of the West hinges on the fate of the Roman church, and that no one who cares about our civilization can be anything but profoundly concerned about this mess."
I agree. The West is in trouble and the collapse of the Roman Catholic Church at this point in history could lead to the collapse of the West itself. And that would be tragic for so many (though not for God). God would simply raise up another Christendom (as He is almost certainly doing) as a witness to the Gospel, but it would be tragic for us.

And this is precisely why the media has a responsibility to deal with this story without letting its left-wing bias distort it into a familiar anti-conservative narrative, which politicizes it without getting to the heart of the story. When the impression is given that one actually is hoping for Benedict and the Church to fall, journalistic objectivity has gone out the window.

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