Saturday, February 24, 2007
Irresponsible British Press: John Allen
John Allen says, "Reporting on religion in the mainstream British press is not only sometimes dreadful, it's dangerous, and something needs to be done about it."
He takes a swipe at The Times, The Mirror and The Financial Times, to us Brits it is pretty obvious that not only these papers but the good old BBC, who were accused by some foreign commentators of inflaming the Muslim reaction to Regensburg, needs something to be done about it. The British press shocked the rest of the world for its headlines after the election of Pope Benedict, with headlines such as "Nazi Razi" and "Rottweiler Pope".
Allen says, "something needs to be done about it" but doesn't bother to suggest a solution. The organ that is supposed to be doing the "something" is the Catholic Media Office, but that seems to be about as effect as a spit in the wind, and has been so for the last couple of decades.
Can anyone suggest what the" something" that needs to be done could possibly be?
Could it have something to do with the lack of clarity and confusion over our message. The reaction to the Pope's election I think reflected the hierarchy's perceived position on the then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The condoms issue that Allen refers to again reflects what many in the hierarchy are saying privately, even publicly, and what organisations like Cafod have as policy: no wonder the Financial Times gets it wrong. The media assume the mainstream Catholic Church is extreme and reactionary, that the norm is represented by the English Church's often dissenting spokes people.
Have a look at CWN where the journalist Vittorio Messori looks at the Italian press and identifies gay groups and the paharmaceutical industry as opposing Catholic teaching.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake