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.


Thomas Coolberth said...

The matter is up to lay people to rebuke the Bishops from a position of faith and love of the Church.

This is done by apostates all the time and the Bishops are used to a fair amount of this.

Lay people need to focus in on catechetics, teaching the young and getting the word out by doing things like blogging.

The advantages we lay people have are manyfold. #1: we can have children. #2: We can make as much money as we want and put it toward good causes. #3: We have plenty of time on our hands.

Paulinus said...

A journalist friend of mine says papers fear the Press Complaints Commission most of all -you can end up a little like a green ink letter-writer, but if this approach gets results, perhaps we should alert each other to objectionable journalism and use it.

Ttony said...

I'll save you the long version of this: this hobby horse lives in the stable nearest to the house!

Don't look to the Bishops' Conference: if you see the way in which they treat the Catholic Press in England and Wales, you'll see why they don't stand a chance with the secular press.

The simple solution is to single out the Telegraph and The Spectator as the two secular papers closest to a Catholic point of view and feed them scoop after scoop, which in turn will lead to more people buying those papers. (Distasteful as it may sound, it might be worth throwing a sop to the Mail as well.)

I worry that John Allen thinks that The Tablet is impressive: perhaps he doesn't realise that it's supposed to be Catholic! :-)

nickbris said...

The most garbage is printed by those with the most moron readers which are a product of our mainly rubbish education system

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Absolutely the only thing that can be done is to establish a vocal and orthodox Catholic media, particularly newspapers. It is up to them to counter the utter rubbish the British press gets away with by providing sober and articulate and above all orthodox response and leadership.

No government regulation of the press ever works. The only thing you can do is enter the argument. The only reason they get away with what they do is that there is absolutely no opposition.

That's more or less what we do at LifeSite.

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