In a report for Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Jim Maceda seized on an account in a 2012 book in which Pope Francis, then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, recalled being attracted to a woman when he was a young seminarian preparing to enter the priesthood: "Well, it turns out that Francis...came to the priesthood rather late, at age 32, and not before he had his own moments of doubt and temptation." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Maceda went so far as to make a sensational comparison to a soap opera about a priest falling in love with a woman. After a clip of the show played, Maceda declared: "Like the conflicted Catholic priest in the 1980 TV mini-series Thorn Birds, the former Jorge Bergoglio admitted in a book published in Spanish last year, to be 'dazzled' by a young woman at the time he was studying to be a priest."
As I noted on Monday, the "On Faith" section at the Washington Post is hard at work attacking faithful Catholics by publishing, bit by bit, excerpts of a Sally Quinn interview with Garry Wills, a critic of the church. Well, on Tuesday -- the day of Pope Francis's installation Mass -- the attack continued with another excerpt in which Wills was given a platform to wish the papacy would become a mere figurehead position, much like the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
On Faith editor and religious agnostic Sally Quinn opened with the query, "What do you think should be done with the papacy? Do you think it should be abolished?" That softball over the plate allowed Wills to swing for the fences with his attack on thousands of years of church tradition. Wills went on to give his advice to recalcitrant Catholics, which was not to leave the church but rather to simply ignore the pastoral oversight of the bishops and the pope himself, whom the church teaches is the successor of St. Peter:
Disgusting. An artist has made a portrait of Ted Kennedy using liquor bottle caps, rusted Oldsmobile Delmont 88 ignition keys and those plugs that protect you from swimmer’s ear – and the Huffington Post is celebrating it.
Well, no. That would be newsworthy. Instead, HuffPo’s “Gay Voices” page is celebrating a portrait of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made from condoms. According to HuffPo’s super-impressed Megan Griffo, Milwaukee artist Niki Johnson “hopes to take aim at the church's stance on using condoms, but also promote sexual diversity and a more open discussion about sexual health.” These young idealists, out to change the world with their condom art!
It's easy to tell when a television series is a success because elements from the program start popping up in the oddest places. The latest example of this is the History Channel's wildly popular “The Bible” miniseries, which featured an actor representing the devil in last Sunday's episode. Soon after, Glenn Beck asked in a tweet if anyone else thought the character looked exactly like President Obama.
On the following day, CNN's Erin Burnett accused the “right-wing radio host” of having an “ugly history” of demeaning the Democratic occupant of the White House by calling him “That Guy,” “Satan” or “the Antichrist.” Beck responded on his Wednesday program by calling the accusation “complete hogwash” and “a blatant smear.”
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today as part of its Vatican coverage of Pope Francis's installation mass, former correspondent Maria Shriver offered a report that urged the Catholic Church to allow female priests: "Catholic women, and nuns in particular....cannot be ordained, they cannot say Mass and they cannot vote for the pope. Now millions of women think it's time for the hierarchy of this Church to open its eyes to the reality of what women can and should be allowed to do." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Speaking to Sister Judith Zoebelein, a high-ranking Vatican official, later in the report, Shriver wondered: "You know in the United States, we often talk about the glass ceiling for women professionally. Is there a stained glass ceiling?" The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "The Stained Glass Ceiling; Maria Shriver On Women's Roles in the Catholic Church."
James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal cracked on New York Times columnist Frank Bruni for his Sunday Review column urging the new pope to "dwell less in the bedroom, more in the soup kitchen." (Last week Bruni guest-hosted the Charlie Rose show and pushed similar talking points.)
Taranto had fun with Bruni in his "Best of the Web" column Monday:
Monday night's CBS Evening News followed CNN and ABC to the ugly decades-old accusations against Pope Francis from his time in Argentina. CBS featured the same critic of Pope Francis that ABC did on Sunday. CNN, meanwhile, was the only one of the three networks to seriously question the accusations.
"There are still questions, though, about the Pope's relationship with Argentina's former government, a military dictatorship that kidnapped and killed thousands in the '70s and '80s," reported fill-in anchor Bob Schieffer. CBS centered the story around Francis' accuser, with only one quote in his defense. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Allen Pizzey readily identified Pope Francis as a "conservative" on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, but failed to give an equivalent ideological label to Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who attended his installation Mass in St. Peter's Sqaure. Pizzey spotlighted the apparent "stark contrast" between the new pontiff and the two liberal politicians, whom he described as being "pro-choice and support[ing] same-sex marriage."
The media backlash against Pope Francis may be beginning. After relatively positive coverage last week, ABC and NBC on Monday both highlighted the Argentinean President denouncing his "medieval" views on social issues. World News's Ron Claiborne offered no ideological label for the country's left-wing leader, praising, "Cristina Kirchner stands for a new view of a changing world-- embracing gay marriage, sex education in schools, free contraceptives in hospitals." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He added, "But when [the now-pope] was a cardinal in Argentina, Kirchner described his social views as medieval." Yet, while Claiborne didn't call Kirchner a liberal, he made sure to point out that although Francis is "enormously popular," "what the world is just beginning to learn is how conservative he is on social issues."
Secular reporters can easily show a lack of expertise when they crack wise that the pope is “infallible” in everything he does, as if he never sins or makes mistakes -- as if he's the man to fill our your March Madness bracket, because he cannot fail. In fact, the definition of church teaching is much narrower, only that the pope cannot err when he speaks for the church on matters of faith or morals.
This happened in Tuesday’s Washington Post, when reporter Jason Horowitz lightly wrote the pope’s clothes make the “infallible man,” which should require a correction:
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS ran to the aid of dissident Catholic sisters in the U.S. and recycled many of its talking points from their sympathetic coverage of the sisters' "Nuns on the Bus" tour in 2012. Bob Simon trumpeted the supposed "rock star" status of the leader of the sisters' coalition and tossed mostly softball questions at her. He also repeatedly used the loaded term "Inquisition" to ballyhoo the apparent "crackdown" against the heterodox nuns.
Simon made his slant toward the dissenters clear when another prominent dissident sister compared the battle between the bishops and her allies to a schoolyard battle of the sexes: "The boys played the girls. And for once, the girls won, and the boys are upset." The journalist replied, "Isn't that what it's all about?"
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today as part of the Today's Professionals panel discussion, the network's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman urged the Catholic Church to abandon its opposition to contraception: "Here's one thing I really would implore the Catholic Church to do on a global issue.... poverty without birth control begets more poverty....So this is a chance to take the humility and the poverty and say now we're really going to talk about this in a civilized way and move it forward." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch chimed in: "Well that's my point, we're not talking about the real issues....And we can talk about tolerance with gays and attitudes towards women." Snyderman agreed: "And women in the Church."
As we've documented time and again, the Washington Post's On Faith section is hostile to traditional religious faith. Section editor Sally Quinn failed to disappoint on St. Patrick's Day with her publication online of an excerpt from an interview with liberal Catholic author Garry Wills, who is promoting his new book, "Why Priests? A Failed Tradition."
Coming a mere four days after the election of Argentina's Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope Francis, Quinn published a portion of her interview wherein Wills argued that the papacy was irrelevant and that the priesthood was an arrogant "monopolization" of power by the clergy. On March 14, just one day after Pope Francis's election, Quinn published another excerpt of Wills which she entitled "The pope shouldn't be king," where she let Wills flesh out his thoughts on the papacy being a "crime":
This past weekend, the media dug up decades-old accusations against Pope Francis from his time in Argentina. While CNN provided context and a critical eye toward the grave accusations, Sunday's ABC World News aired a one-sided report with damning overtones against the Pope.
ABC correspondent Matt Gutman interviewed a family member of multiple victims of the dictatorship who accused the Pope, then just a priest and superior of the Jesuit order, of failing to rescue her family. "Estela claims he had the power to help her family. But didn't," Gutman reported, providing no comment from the Vatican on her accusations. He also reported that two Jesuit priests accused Pope Francis of cooperating with the Argentinian dictatorship, adding only a brief mention of Francis' testimony in his defense.
Sally Quinn sure has a low opinion of the Catholic Church for someone that edits the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog.
Having claimed last week on CBS's Face the Nation that "so many priests are gay," Quinn this Sunday on CNN's Reliable Sources said the lack of media vetting and background checks of Cardinals meant Pope Francis "could possibly have been involved in a scandal" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday's World News, ABC News correspondent Terry Moran acted like it was a big surprise that newly-elected Pope Francis stands by the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality: "Now, as the world comes to know him, it turns out, on many issues, Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
By contrast, CBS surprisingly reported on the continuing persecution of the Catholic Church in China on Friday's CBS This Morning. Though he didn't explicitly label the Chinese government as communist, correspondent Wyatt Andrews noted how "millions of the faithful worship in groups at home, praying in underground churches where religion, if practiced too openly, can lead to arrest." Andrews' report stands out from his network's biased coverage of the papal election.
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.]
In an interview with New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried about the age of the newly elected Pope Francis: "...there was some stunned silence for a second. I think some had expected a younger man, he's 76....When you looked at that image of the new pope standing with some members of the Church hierarchy, visually, Cardinal Dolan, it didn't exactly scream a modern Church." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the same time Lauer was worried about the Church not projecting a more "modern" image, NBCNews.com offered a "to-do list" for the new Pontiff that included typical liberal demands:
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is now Pope Francis, and Thursday's New York Times front-page "Man In the News" profile by Emily Schmall and Larry Rohter, "A Conservative With a Common Touch," opened respectfully. But after a dash of local color and historical context, the Times quickly mounted its old hobby horse: the Church's positions on liberal issues like abortion and gay marriage:
But Cardinal Bergoglio is also a conventional choice, a theological conservative of Italian ancestry who vigorously backs Vatican positions on abortion, gay marriage, the ordination of women and other major issues -- leading to heated clashes with Argentina’s left-leaning president.
CBS wasted little time to play up newly-elected Pope Francis' "conservative" views on issues like abortion, same-sex "marriage", and birth control. On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell underlined how the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was "described as a staunch conservative". Mark Phillips also used the "conservative" label, and pointed out how the Pope's doctrinal stand has "not made him popular with relatively progressive Jesuit brothers."
Charlie Rose also pressed New York City Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan during the morning newscast about "doctrinal changes on ordination of women, on celibacy, on divorce." When Dolan emphasized that "doctrine can't change," Rose interjected, "But how do you respond to the fact that this really is the century of women?"
Amidst the liberal media's fixation on Pope Francis upholding Catholic teaching on sexuality, Newt Gingrich knocked their wishes of liberal "reform" on Wednesday's Piers Morgan Live.
"I am amazed at how much western elites translate reform into sex. If it doesn't relate – if it doesn't relate to sex, it doesn't count," he told host Piers Morgan, who then ludicrously claimed that "if you are gay, and you want to be Catholic, at the moment, you are basically demonized." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
During CBS's special coverage of the papal election on Wednesday, correspondent Mark Phillips singled out two dissenters from Catholic tradition in the middle of a crowd of hundreds of thousands in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, mere minutes after the white smoke went out of the Sistine Chapel's chimney, and before Pope Francis emerged onto the balcony over the piazza.
The two activists, who wore pink "ordain women" pins, not only sought to change the Catholic Church's teachings on the all-male priesthood, but spotlighted "LGBT issues [and] reproductive health care" – a thinly-veiled reference to abortion and contraception – as issues that need to be drastically changed inside the Church. [audio available here; video below the jump]
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):
It took only seven minutes after the announcement of a new pope for CNN to interview women's ordination activists in St. Peter's Square.
The liberal activists were the first interviewees on CNN after the white smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney. Correspondent Miguel Marquez pointed out their "ordain women badges" and gave credence to their cause. "We have heard this across the U.S. and around the world, certainly, that people do want and hope for a more open, transparent, liberal, progressive church," he noted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
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.”
Scott Pelley's liberal bias got the better of him on Monday's CBS Evening News as he interviewed three American seminarians studying in Rome. When one seminarian expressed his hope that next pope continues the "beautiful legacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI," Pelley replied incredulously, "But you mentioned two popes who have a reputation for being doctrinally conservative. And this is something you'd like to see carried on?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Hours later, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, the Big Three network again gave a platform to agitators who aim to radically alter the Catholic Church's traditions from the inside. Fill-in anchor Anthony Mason wondered if "the winds of change [are] wafting through the Catholic Church" as he hyped a CBS News/New York Times poll that found apparent support for the ordination of women among American Catholics.
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):
The History Channel'sThe Bible built upon its impressive debut last week to score big ratings in its second week, becoming the most viewed show in all of television. TVworld.com broke down the numbers:
Week two of HISTORY's The Bible series continues to deliver blockbuster ratings for the network. The Bible commanded HISTORY as #1 in all of television from 8-10pm, with 10.8 million total viewers and in Adults 25-54 with 3.8 million. In addition, The Bible garnered 3.2 million Adults 18-49. Over 50 million cumulative viewers have seen at least a portion of the series since it began on March 3
The high ratings show what kind of huge numbers entertainment outlets can enjoy if they treat religious material and viewers with respect.
CBS's Barry Petersen slanted in favor of dissenters agitating for the repeal of the Catholic Church's centuries-old practice of celibacy for priests on the March 10, 2013 edition of Sunday Morning. Petersen hyped how "many American Catholics wonder how long celibacy will be a part of today's Church, or perhaps, how soon it may become a fading tradition."
The correspondent also failed to mention that Bill Wisniewski, one of his talking heads, is a board member for a dissenting group headed by Sister Christine Schenk, who was also featured during his report.