Now that the new pope has been chosen, the life of the Catholic Church continues– and so does the liberal media’s effort to persuade the Church to change its traditions. On Thursday’s Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski complained, “Secrecy that surrounds the traditions of the Catholic Church -- it’s a recipe for disaster.... There is a lot of work ahead and some serious changes that need to happen blocked by tradition that may make it impossible.”
For analysis of the Church’s need to overcome tradition, Brzezinski turned to Frank Bruni, former Rome bureau chief for the New York Times but now an openly gay op-ed columnist for the paper. Bruni, of course, agreed with Brzezinski’s premise. To him, the conclave perfectly symbolizes what’s wrong with the Catholic Church: “[The cardinals] lock themselves away. They go – we have no idea what happens until sometimes years later, if ever.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, on the eve of the Wednesday election of Pope Francis, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed to viewers: "...this is a decidedly bad time for the Catholic Church. There are hopes among many that the new pope will signify a new direction." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Lester Holt hyped the divide between the Vatican and some liberal American Catholics: "It's roughly 4,000 miles between Vatican City and the nearest shores of the U.S., but for American Catholics who often find themselves out of step with the Church here, it can seem a lot farther....Abortion, the role of women, and attitudes about homosexuality have been at the heart of much of the disconnect between American Catholics and the Church."
"Before we slice and dice every political statement this Pope has ever made during his entire life....breathe, take it in."
That was NBC News's Luke Russert at 3:36 p.m. Eastern on Twitter. But a mere 14 minutes later, on an MSNBC blog page, the cradle Catholic and son of the late Tim Russert set about to lecture the new pontiff on how to do his job. And, as is to be expected from a liberal journalist, it was chock full of the predictable liberal talking points about priestly celibacy, the role of women in the church, and lamenting that the Church is irrelevant to American Catholics because it is so insistent on social issues. Making his pontifications even more insufferable, Russert opened by bragging about his Catholic bona fides. (emphasis mine):
When liberals and their media allies have an agenda to push, they’ll use any tool at hand. The left often rails against the presence of religion in civic life, mocking conservative Christians as “Taliban” agitating for theocracy. But other times, they find faith to be a handy weapon to bludgeon conservatives. And they’ll go so far as to reinterpret and rewrite the Bible to justify any liberal cause, no matter how outrageous.
In 2010, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry summed up this strategy in her call for “re-imagining the Bible as a tool of progressive social change.” Huffington Post contributor Mike Lux embraced Harris-Perry’s advice, writing that the Bible embodies “all kinds” of “liberal, lefty, progressive values.”
With thick, black smoke pouring out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel indicating that the College of Cardinals had not elected a new pope on their first ballot, Fox News Channel's Shep Smith took to the air at 3:15 p.m. EDT to grill Catholic priest and Fox News contributor Fr. Jonathan Morris on the Catholic Church being out of touch with the modern world, particularly regarding how women cannot serve as priests.
While Morris defended Catholic orthodoxy and noted that there are some things -- such as the all-male priesthood -- which not even a pope could change, Smith objected that those notions grounded in 2,000-year-old Scripture were just, well, antiquated and irrelevant and that the Church should adapt to the ethos of the age (h/t @tomferrari on Twitter):
CBS’s Bob Schieffer was clearly uncomfortable Sunday when two of his perilously liberal guestsclaimed there are many gay priests.
At the end of a Face the Nation discussion about the pending selection of a new Pope, Schieffer pushed back when the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn brought up homosexuality in the priesthood, and then he cut quickly to a commercial when Vanity Fair’s Carl Bernstein supported her contention (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Andrew Sullivan made a comment on Sunday's The Chris Matthews Show that's guaranteed to offend many people on both sides of the aisle.
In a discussion about whether the change in opinion concerning same-sex marriage among Catholic voters might impact who is selected as the next Pope, Sullivan said, "There are so many gays electing the next Pope that who knows whether that would happen" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Talk about edgy comedy. A daring magazine has depicted Mohammed as a sexy, topless woman wearing a turban and holding Muslim prayer beads while staring inquisitively into the clouds. On the front cover.
Just kidding. It’s actually another boring attack on Catholicism. Lucy Pinder, a 29-year-old U.K. model who can’t seem to keep her clothes on, graced the April issue cover of Loaded, a young men’s magazine that boasts a 1.4 million monthly readership. She stood provocatively in the picture, baring her chest with white robes and a priest’s stole hugging her shoulders. She stared into the sky while wearing one cross around her neck and holding another in her hand.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Saturday Night Live last month aired a mock movie trailer depicting Jesus Christ returning to Rome to exact revenge in the gory fashion of Quentin Tarantino and Sam Peckinpah.
On Wednesday, the American Family Association announced that it had gotten Sears and JCPenney to stop advertising on the online SNL episodes featuring that trailer:
Former Time.com writer Keith Wagstaff has just joined a different magazine, The Week, but he’s still sounding like the old employer. He has a new piece posted on Yahoo! News titled “Was Mother Teresa actually sort of a jerk?”
Catholic-bashing is a much more acceptable journalistic pastime than snarky revisionist histories of hallowed liberals like Thurgood Marshall (honored as a saint by the Episcopalians.) Wagstaff began, "A new study claims the beloved nun might not have been as helpful to the poor as she could have been."
Naomi O'Leary's Tuesday article for Reuters about a piece of "artwork" blasting Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI could have been mistaken for a press release, as the journalist merely gave a platform for the same-sex couple behind the display to voice their anti-Catholic views. Most of the quotes in O'Leary's write-up came from artists Antonio Garullo and Mario Ottocento, "the first Italian gay couple to be married when they wed in Holland in 2002."
The correspondent emulated a publicist as she spotlighted how the exhibition is supposedly a "life-size model of Benedict in a confessional box, his sumptuous red and cream-colored robes spread about him."
It’s probably not too much of a stretch to say the just-retired Pope Benedict XVI isn’t a terribly popular figure around the offices of The New Yorker, one of the flagship publications of East Coast liberalism. One subtle clue might be the Feb. 12 article, “The Disastrous Influence of Pope Benedict XVI,” in which John Cassidy accused “Benedict’s Vatican” of “setting its face against the modern world in general … needlessly alienating countless people around the world who were brought up in its teachings.”
So when a question arises as to whether a cartoon depiction of the pope on the magazine’s cover is slyly malicious, it’s difficult to give the magazine the benefit of the doubt.
In the aftermath of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, CBS has made up its mind about Catholicism: the Church is in crisis and must be reformed! Whereas Martin Luther tacked his theses on the Wittenberg church door, however, CBS opted to ensure its stab at church reformation would go largely unnoticed by including the segment on Saturday's CBS This Morning. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
To discuss this topic, CBS anchor Anthony Mason brought in three liberals: Jim Frederick of Time Magazine, the Rev. Paul Raushenbush of the Huffington Post -- the great-grandson of Baptist minister and Social Gospel champion Walter Rauschenbusch -- and Sister Maureen Fiedler, who hosts her own public radio show. All three agreed with the premise that the Catholic Church needs to change. If the message wasn’t clear enough, a screen behind the guests read “Catholic Church in Crisis” (with no question mark) and the chyron read “Catholic Church in Crisis: Is the Vatican Capable of Reform?”
I don't know about you, but when I think about a person who has the moral standing to call out the Catholic Church for a lack of moral conviction, I think of abortion-on-demand advocate Karen Finney. Okay, not really, but apparently MSNBC does.
On the February 28 edition of The Cycle, the former DNC communications director and current NARAL Pro-Choice America board member explained her thoughts as a "Berkeley Catholic" who wants to see the Church do more for the poor and downtrodden, while piping down when it comes to teaching biblical sexual ethics and opposing abortion (emphasis mine):
In what NPR thought was a fitting tribute to the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the February 28 edition of Morning Edition sought to diminish the legacy of the pontiff emeritus by sharply criticizing his time in the chair of St. Peter.
Correspondent Sylvia Poggioli claimed that “while the cardinals publicly praise Benedict for his courageous act, privately many are reassessing his legacy.”
Washington Post staff writer Jason Horowitz marred an otherwise decent Style section feature item on Pope Benedict's resignation in his lead paragraph, which made a crack about the pontiff's retirement by hoping it goes off better than that of Pope Celestine V, whom Dante supposedly envisioned in Hell:
VATICAN CITY — On an April 2009 visit to the Italian mountain town of Sulmona, Pope Benedict XVI solemnly placed his pallium, the vestment symbolizing his papal authority, on the tomb of Celestine V. The medieval pontiff’s abdication in 1294 had resulted in imprisonment by his successor and banishment to hell by Dante for “the great refusal.” Benedict is no doubt hoping for a better retirement plan.
In a 41-paragraph front-pager today, the Washington Post's William Wan looks at how the "New pope will be challenged by strained ties with China." "A reset is possible as both sides introduce new leadership," added a subheadline. The website version had a wildly different headline, "For China's Catholics, new pope brings hope."
Throughout his article, Wan used language that suggested that the Vatican and the Communist Chinese dictatorship were on the same moral plane (emphases mine):
Not wanting to leave conservative Protestants out of the fun, today's On Faith page in the Washington Post featured not only the requisite Sally Quinn pontification against the Catholic Church but a Methodist minister's essay on how he hopes that one day all Christians will view as irrelevant and unbinding the Bible's teachings on homosexuality.
Change it must "or else the Catholic Church may end up like Colonial Williamsburg, with the pageantry, the regalia, red shoes and all, a relic of what was once a vibrant, living institution," Quinn scolded in the concluding paragraph of "Will the Catholic Church become its own relic?" Below the fold on the same page, editors published Methodist minister Adam Hamilton's 9-paragraph item "Citing the Bible for the wrong side of history." The digital version's headline reads "On homosexuality, many Christians get the Bible wrong."
On Friday, the now all-digital Newsweek marked Benedict XVI's impending departure from the papacy by turning to British writer Tim Parks, who took the opportunity to air his grievances against the current pontiff's predecessor, John Paul II. Parks bemoaned "how reactionary and old-fashioned" the Polish-born bishop of Rome was for daring to believe in Catholic devotions and in divine providence.
The Cambridge and Harvard-educated novelist later indicted John Paul for daring to speak out against a whole host of left-wing causes:
"[W]hat do you get for the serial human rights abuser who has everything?" the folks at Twitchy snarked today reacting to this tweet by CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour: "Happy Birthday, President Mugabe: http://on.cnn.com/VQ4kTK #Zimbabwe"
But wait, it gets better. The link in the tweet takes viewers to a short video [embedded below the page break] narrated by the CNN anchor, which opens with a strange comparison to Pope Benedict XVI:
Robin Pomeroy did her best impression of a publicist in a nearly one-sided article for Reuters on Tuesday that spotlighted homosexuals in Rome "toasting the departure of the worst Church leader they can imagine" – Pope Benedict XVI. Pomeroy quoted extensively from LGBT activist Franco Grillini, but failed to mention his radical left wing politics, which included a run as a Communist Party candidate in Italy in the 1980s.
Grillini decried the outgoing pontiff as "the most reactionary pope ever, who made homophobia one of his battle cries." The far left politician must not have heard of the past four bishops of Rome who took the name Pius. In particular, Pius XI prophetically foresaw the current push to redefine marriage in a 1930 encyclical and issued the strongest condemnation of this course:
Editor’s Note: This story includes language some may deem offensive.
Dan Savage is at it again. The foul-mouthed, bigoted host of MTV’s sex advice show “Savage U” and internationally syndicated columnist of “Savage Love” wrote this headline last Monday concerning the pope’s retirement:
“That Motherfucking Power-Hungry, Self-Aggrandized Bigot In the Stupid Fucking Hat Announces His Retirement.” No major media outlet reported that comment, including MSNBC and CNN where Savage has often appeared.
ABC News reporter David Wright chose an odd metaphor to describe criticism of the possible timing of the selection of Pope Benedict XVI's successor.
Wright, speaking live from the Vatican on today's Good Morning America, reported that yesterday the Vatican spokesman had floated a trial balloon suggesting that the conclave to choose a new Pope could be moved up from its originally established date of March 15th. Continued Wright: "but in other quarters of the Church, that trial balloon is being shot down faster than an old-school nun might rap you on the knuckles." View the video after the jump.
Last Saturday I noted how the On Faith feature in the February 9 Washington Post celebrated Muslim modesty while trashing American Catholic bishops as being prudish on sex and stubborn in their opposition to the ObamaCare contraception mandate. Well this weekend, the Post continued its hypocritical attack on the Church by complaining that it doesn't listen to women while, well, squelching the op-ed piece of a conservative Catholic woman.
The February 16 On Faith section published two items related to Pope Benedict's announcement on Monday that he was abdicating the papacy at the end of February. Editors ran Lisa Miller's column headlined "Some nuns hope new pope will listen to women," in which the Post religion writer highlighted the calls of feminist nuns for, among other things, an openness by the Church to female priests. Also featured on the page B2 feature was a 7-paragraph item by one Annie Selak, headlined "The church young Catholics want," which included a call for the Church to "dialogue concerning the ordination of women and church teaching on homosexuality." Yet On Faith editors declined to feature in print an excellent piece by a conservative Catholic woman that was published online earlier in the week.
Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world on Monday morning by announcing he would resign at the end of February. For Catholics, there was sorrow and there was gratitude for a Holy Father who taught with such distinction and worked with such care to safeguard the church’s theological traditions.
But there are those people who hate the Catholic Church, and they are ecstatic. Take documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, a man who clearly thinks he is holier than the Pope. He told The Daily Beast that Benedict is a “criminal.” This helps explain why he’s made a documentary for HBO, the home of toxic God-haters like Bill Maher.
As stranded Carnival Cruise passengers began finally disembarking in Mobile, Alabama, late Thursday evening, MSNBC had NBC News correspondent Mark Potter on the scene to speak with them.
One young lady during her over three minute interview tried to cite a Bible verse that helped her get through the ordeal, but Potter pulled his microphone away and quickly ended the discussion (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow, a devout evangelical Christian, is slated to speak at the First Baptist Church of Dallas on April 28. It's hardly newsworthy that a celebrity of evangelical conviction might speak at a megachurch, but NBC Sports "Off the Bench" blogger Rick Chandler insists the visit is freighted with "a large helping of controversy" because the church's senior pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, is, according to Chandler, "virulently anti-gay and anti-Semitic."
But to back up his assertions, Chandler highlights claims Jeffress made that are either fundamentally doctrinal or political in nature. What's more, Chandler failed to point to any personal animus Jeffress has expressed toward either homosexuals or Jews, which should be incredibly easy to do if Jeffress really is "virulent" in his hatred of gays and Jews.
If your Valentine’s Day was a complete fail this year, it’s probably because you listen to Pope Benedict XVI’s advice, according to AlterNet’s Geri Silver. Because those Hallmark cards just don’t do the holiday justice, AlterNet’s Geri Silver felt obliged to wish her readers a Happy Valentine’s Day via “Pope Benedict XVI's Most Unromantic Quotes on Love, Sex and Marriage.”
Silver plucked short controversial Pope Benedict XVI quotes from their vital context to attack them one by one in her latest article. She wasted no time explaining her perspective – or rather her brimming hatred – of the Church: “Whenever you need a reminder that absolutely nothing about your love life is acceptable, you can always rely on the good old Catholic Church for a solid unreality check” or, in other words, Pope Benedict XVI’s “backward rhetoric.”