VOA Focuses on ‘Ordained’ Catholic Women Before Papal Visit

Pope Benedict XVI hasn’t even arrived in the United States, and mainstream media outlets are featuring feminist Catholic dissenters in their reporting of the upcoming papal visit. In one such example, the Voice of America, the "international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government," decided to cover a former Catholic nun who has been "ordained" as a priest. As the report by Jeff Swicord stated, "Bridget Mary Meehan is one of 24 Roman Catholic women in the United States conducting mass [sic] in defiance of church doctrine... In July 2006, a woman bishop not recognized by the Vatican ordained Meehan with seven other women."

Swicord also featured in his report Father Arne Panula, "a member of Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic organization." On the one hand, Swicord and the Voice of America identify Father Panula as being part of a "conservative Catholic organization," but doesn’t identify Meehan and the "Roman Catholic Womenpriests" as not only supporting the ordination of women, but also active homosexuality and contraception.

Meehan is part of a organization calling itself "Roman Catholic Womenpriests" [one word]. In 2002, seven Catholic women were "ordained" by a dissident Catholic priest who himself was "ordained" a bishop by a now-deceased former Catholic bishop excommunicated by Pope Pius XII in 1945.

Swicord juxtaposed his quotes of Meehan with Father Panula. In doing so, the VOA reporter made some gross spelling and terminological errors. First, Swicord, in explaining Fr. Panula’s position on why the Catholic Church doesn’t ordain women, stated that "it was a man, Jesus who stood at the alter [sic], broke bread, and said, ‘This is my body,’ a ritual that priests recreate during mass [sic]."

In the two paragraphs that follow, as Thomas Peters of the blog American Papist pointed out, Swicord garbled Latin terminology, first in quoting Fr. Panula and then quoting Meehan. "'The church teaches that he [the priest] does this in what is called insomnia nomini Christa, that he does this in the name and the person of Jesus,' says Panula.... Meehan disagrees. ‘A priest is suppose to be in personi Christa,’ she says." In the video version of the report, the Latin term that Panula used was in persona et nomini Christi, "in the name and person of Christ." Meehan used a shorter version of this term, in persona Christi, "in the person of Christ." But this was transcribed as insomnia nomini Christa and in personi Christa in the web/text version of the report.

The above is only one example of the mainstream media’s poor reporting on religious issues in general, and its promotion of dissenters in its reporting of the Catholic Church. On Wednesday, Father John Trigilio of The Black Biretta blog predicted that "the mainstream liberal media will be bombarding the airwaves, internet and blogosphere with the rantings and ravings of the heterodox spin doctors and dissident pundits once B16 [Benedict XVI] lands on US soil." This is a prediction that can only be destined to come true.

Graphic via VOANews.com

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center