An unsigned Tuesday article on Yahoo! News could have been mistaken as a press release for PBS's latest TV production attacking the Catholic Church. The unknown author hyped the Church's "horrible year" in 2012 "on many fronts, not just with mounting evidence of financial impropriety at the Vatican bank, but also with incidents of sexual abuse by clergy spreading to more than 20 countries and, further, exposure of church hypocrisy about homosexuality."
The public television channel's Frontline series turned to numerous journalists and activists who have axes to grind against the Catholic Church's moral teachings, and played up hearsay accusing unnamed Vatican clerics of conducting same-sex relationships in secret. The episode also falsely indicated that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI invented the Church's doctrine labeling homosexual inclinations as "objectively disordered."
The nastiest corners of popular culture in Hollywood and Manhattan usually love nothing better than denying their filthiness by hectoring orthodox Christians for the sex scandals lurking behind their "judgmental" ways. But the last few weeks have shown that the current aura around Pope Francis, and the false hope that he'll "go native" with the permissive crowd, is exploited in a different way.
Rolling Stone put Pope Francis on the cover, which hardly puts a practicing Catholic's mind at ease. But perhaps it was only natural that this weed-and-leftist-screed magazine would try to absolve itself for its horrendous James Dean-like cover of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Wednesday's Good Morning America on ABC ballyhooed the "breaking news" that Pope Francis shook hands with the real-life inspiration for the anti-Catholic movie "Philiomena" at the Vatican. George Stephanopoulos trumpeted the "moving journey for the woman portrayed by Judi Dench in the Oscar-nominated film" and her "remarkable story."
Cynthia McFadden slantingly gushed that "a woman, once shamed by the Catholic Church for having a baby out of wedlock, was invited today to meet Pope Francis," and mouthed the caption of Rolling Stone's recent cover featuring the pontiff: "The times – they are a-changin'." McFadden did her best to boost the movie and failed to mention conservative objections to the production. She also went out of her way to spotlight the United Nations' ideologically-tinged attack on the Church: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Oops! Looks like not all journalists agree Pope Francis is the people’s superstar pope. But all is not lost. If the pontiff wants to make inroads with liberal feminists, all he has to do is stop being Catholic!
Huffington Post Religion Blogger Angela Bonavoglia gave some pointers to Pope Francis on women in her latest piece, “For Pope Francis: A To-Do List on Women.” As an introduction, she wrote, “Dear Pope Francis: As this new year unfolds, I've decided that, with all due respect, it is time for me to share with you my suggested ‘To-Do list on Women’” – which, among other things, included the revelation that Mary’s virginity is a “myth” and that “God obviously trusted women” to choose abortion.
George Stephanopoulos must be spending too much of his free time watching MSNBC as he used their talking points to attack Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) during an interview on This Week on February 2.
The Republican congressman appeared with the ABC host and former Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton on Sunday morning and was immediately hit with a barrage of attacks over his opposition to President Obama’s use of executive orders to his views on poverty. Stephanopoulos went so far as to suggest that Pope Francis would reject Paul’s conservative philosophy and claimed that, “You don't think he'd endorse your budget, do you?”
With his papal audience, Mr. Obama has "an opportunity to highlight the problem of economic inequality, an issue he has placed at the forefront of his second-term agenda" and what's more the visit gives "the president a chance to frame one of his signature domestic issues in largely moral terms." (emphasis mine)
Today marks the 41st annual “March for Life” in which thousands of pro-lifers ascend on Washington D.C. to mark the Roe v. Wade decision and show their solidarity in opposition to abortion, many of them faithful Catholics. Not surprisingly, Pope Francis sent out an official tweet showing his support for the “March for Life” in which he said, “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers, may God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”
Unfortunately for one MSNBC host, the fact the Pope would show support for one of the Catholic Church’s most sacred values, the protection of all innocent human life, seemed to be too much to handle. During her daily “Tweet of the Day” segment on Jansing & Co., Chris Jansing sniffed that Pope Francis’s pro-life values were “reflective of ways in which the church certainly has not changed.”
On Tuesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts all hyped the White House's announcement that President Obama's would meet with Pope Francis in March, and emphasized their apparent agreement on economic issues. On CBS This Morning, Bill Plante touted the "chance for him [Obama] to align himself with the agenda of the very popular new pope, at a time when the President's own popularity here at home is at a low point."
ABC's Robin Roberts even asserted on Good Morning America that the two world leaders are "very similar." However, none of these morning shows reported that just a week earlier, the Pope's secretary of state "expressed [his] concern...for the healthcare reforms in relation to the guarantee of religious freedom and conscientious objection" during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. [MP3 audio available here; video clips below the jump]
Jay Leno continued his comedic assault on Barack Obama Thursday.
At the beginning of his NBC Tonight Show monologue, the host said, “The White House announced today that President Obama will visit Pope Francis in the near future. See, Pope Francis thinks ObamaCare can be a success. Well, sure, he's the Pope - he has to believe in miracles” (video follows with commentary):
Tuesday's New Day on CNN followed the lead of Reuters in giving ideologically-tinged reporting about Pope Francis's latest condemnation of abortion. Kate Bolduan hyped the "blunt words from Pope Francis on abortion", and played up how "conservative Catholics have complained the new pontiff...hasn't been tough enough on the issue until now."
Correspondent Frederik Pleitgen added that "this is one of the strongest statements that this pope has made on abortion, and it comes after he was criticized by some conservatives in the Catholic Church for not taking a forceful enough position." In reality, the Argentinian-born Bishop of Rome made an equally-sharp denunciation of abortion in November in his first apostolic exhortation: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
A few hours ago, the folks at Twitchy.com caught the following headline at Reuters at a story about Pope Francis: "Pope, in nod to conservatives, calls abortion 'horrific.'" At roughly 11:45 Eastern Time, the headline at Philip Pullella's story carried at Yahoo News ventured even further into the unreal: "Pope, after conservatives' criticism, calls abortion "horrific.'"
Phil, the Pope is Catholic. Abortion is and always will be a grave, i.e., mortal sin in the Catholic Church. Alleged "conservative" influence is utterly irrelevant. As would be expected, Pullella's content isn't any less ignorant (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On the day after Christmas, NPR’s All Things Considered offered a little gift to openly gay reporter Ari Shapiro: seven minutes of air time for a story with the online title “How 2013 Became The ‘Gayest Year Ever’.”
As anchor Robert Siegel said NPR was looking at the “winners and losers of 2013...for gay rights groups, the last 12 months saw a huge string of victories, from state legislatures to Congress to the Supreme Court. The surprise ruling in Utah legalizing same-sex marriage is just the latest win. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on why some LGBT advocates are calling 2013 the gayest year ever.”
The first Christmas mass of Pope Francis drew positive attention from all three networks on Christmas Eve morning, but CBS took the cake in celebrating what it perceives as the liberal tilt of the new pontiff.
Allen Pizzey openly declared Time magazine gives out honors for liberalism: the pope’s exhortation against the “absolute autonomy of the marketplace” and “comments like who am I to judge in relationship to homosexuality contributed to making the Pope Time magazine's Man of the Year.” (Technically, it’s “Person of the Year” now.) Somehow, previous popes never cared about the poor like the new pope:
Today's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, with Joy Reid guest-hosting, displayed a "Pope" poster of Pope Francis in the style of Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster of Barack Obama made famous in 2008.
The show featured a long segment analyzing the Pope's critique of capitalism. What's the message of the poster and of MSNBC's decision to display it? That Pope Francis and Barack Obama share a critique of capitalism? That Barack Obama is himself a Pope-like figure? Something else? View the video after the jump.
The Daily Beast has a new year's resolution for Pope Francis: be open to women in the priesthood.
Correspondent Barbie Latza Nadeau opened her December 20 story "Does Pope Francis Have a Woman Problem," with the obligatory statement that "Pope Francis is undoubtedly a good guy" who "has managed to impress almost everyone." But, alas, "for all the papal cheerleading there is still at least one demographic that won’t be lauding the great pontiff quite yet: women." Nadeau explained, with decidedly loaded language:
Gushing journalists Josh Elliott and Robin Roberts met Pope Francis on Wednesday and thrilled over the fact that a gay magazine has made him "person of the year." The Good Morning America anchors traveled to the Vatican for "Christmas With the Pope." According to Elliott, "[Pope Francis has] ushered in a kind of truce in the culture wars."
He touted, "And both Time magazine and the leading gay magazine, The Advocate, have named him their person of the year." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Elliott offered tremendously positive coverage, narrating, "He walks the streets, poses for pictures, embraces the sick and is not afraid to have a bit of fun." ABC wasn't always so friendly. On March 14, correspondent Terry Moran warned, "Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation, levied charges against free market capitalism, denying that "economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world" and concluding that "this opinion ... has never been confirmed by the facts." He went on to label unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny." Let's look at the pope's tragic vision.
First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. However, mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist on earth. For the common man, capitalism is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.
Tuesday's Good Morning America simply didn't have its facts straight in their rush to portray Pope Francis as a crypto-liberal. Amy Robach hyped that the pontiff "removed an outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage from a powerful post within the Church. Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke...was head of the Vatican's highest court." Robach then asserted that "this move is seen as reinforcing the Pope's vision for a more inclusive church."
However, Cardinal Burke is still the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – the equivalent of the Supreme Court for the Catholic Church. The Pope actually declined to renew the Wisconsin native's membership on a different consultative body at the Vatican – the Congregation for Bishops. [MP3 audio of Robach's news brief available here; video below the jump]
The latest version of Newsweek sounds like it’s going to be even more liberal than the The Daily Beast version. The group hoping to re-launch the print edition has an article on their website called “Is Pope Francis a Socialist?”
Their answer is no, but they’re so impressed with the new pope that they’re channeling the idea that somehow pope photos will replace Che Guevara as a revolutionary icon:
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, the Daily Beast's Michelle Goldberg praised Pope Francis as a "voice against the tyranny or the hegemony of global capitalism" during a discussion of whether the Pope should be chosen Time's "Person of the Year." Goldberg:
Time magazine's left-leaning reasons for choosing Pope Francis its 2013 Person of the Year were apparent in the cover story written by Howard Chua-Eoan and Elizabeth Dias. Chua-Eoan and Dias trumpeted how supposedly, "in a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church...above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors." The two later underlined that the Pope's "vision is of a pastoral—not a doctrinaire—church."
Despite their emulation of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's reasoning for giving President Obama the Peace Prize in 2009 – to nudge along liberal "progress" and hoping that "somehow" doctrines will change – the writers grudgingly acknowledged that the Bishop of Rome doesn't sound like he will bring the change that the left hopes for:
Time's editor Nancy Gibbs -- who, last we checked, was a woman -- announced today that Pope Francis would be honored as the magazine's 2013 Person of the Year. This, of course, is the perfect excuse for the sort of folks who get their knickers twisted over these sorts of things to complain that, yet again, a man was named for the honor. As insult to injury for left-wing feminists, the man in question holds an office which only men can exercise, not to mention that Francis affirms the male-only priesthood is a settled matter.
On Monday, Terry Mattingly of GetReligion blog revealed a glaring error made by Time magazine in its online poll of readers about who should be their Person of the Year. The magazine had to issue the following correction regarding its one-sentence description of Pope Francis: "An earlier version of this post suggested that Pope Francis rejected some church dogma. He does not."
Whoever made this correction didn't give a completely accurate portrayal of the original post, as it didn't use this "some" qualifier: [screen cap below the jump, via Mattingly's Google cache link]
In his first major publication, Pope Francis last week came down on capitalism and income inequality to the predictable applause of the mainstream media.
This led syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer to joke on PBS’s Inside Washington Friday, “The Pope is a Democrat. He ought to run for the presidency” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Washington Post offered a balance of experts in their story on the new apostolic exhortation published by Pope Francis -- including Ed Morrissey of Hot Air -- even as they were impressed at how Francis used “trickle-down” like a liberal Democrat. The “direct reference to 'trickle-down' economics in the English translation of his statement is striking,” confessed reporters Zachary Goldfarb and Michelle Boorstein.
But demonstrating the liberal media’s dual tendency to praise Francis and slam his predecessor Pope Benedict, Goldfarb and Boorstein uncorked a sentence that is factually false:
By now a clear pattern is developing in how the liberal media cover Pope Francis. Step one: the pontiff makes frank, off-the-cuff comments in a speech or an interview which contains statements easy for the liberal media to misconstrue. Step two: the media do what they do best, misconstrue and spin the pope in order to hail him as a liberal who will reform the church in a leftward direction on the unholy trinity of concerns for the secular left: abortion, sexual ethics (particularly on homosexuality), and women in the priesthood. Step three, liberal activists within the church are given platforms in secular media outlets to caution that, no, Francis is not the liberal you hope he is, at least, not yet, but that with some gentle prodding maybe he can be won over.
The bishop of Rome's interview with La Civilta Cattolica -- accessible in English here at the Jesuit magazine America -- is the latest instance where we see this pattern playing out. Witness how Time magazine today gave a platform to liberal nun Sister Simone Campbell, who explained to readers "What Pope Francis Thinks About Women in the Church." Campbell began:
On Friday, Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press shamelessly construed Pope Francis' denunciation of abortion and euthanasia as an "olive branch of sorts to the doctrine-minded, conservative wing of the Catholic Church". Winfield ballyhooed how the pontiff "issued a strong anti-abortion message and cited Vatican teaching on the need to defend the unborn".
The Bishop of Rome advised a group of Italian gynecologists to "recognize, in the fragile human being, the face of the Lord...Each child that is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ....And each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the 'culture of waste' proposes!"
While liberal journalists have a thrill up their leg over Pope Francis telling an interviewer that Catholics have a much broader message than just opposing abortion and unrepentant homosexuality, they're missing other messages that show the Holy Father is still leading a pro-life church.
Francis X. Rocca of The Catholic Herald in the United Kingdom reports the Pope told a gathering of Catholic gynecologists: “In all its phases and at every age, human life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of faith, but of reason and science.”
Friday's CBS This Morning heralded how supposedly, "Pope Francis is already being described as one of the most progressive popes in modern times" after six months as Bishop of Rome. Charlie D'Agata asserted that the pontiff is "the friendly face of the Vatican, the people's pope", and played up how Francis' apparent "spirit of spontaneity, openness, and inclusion has courted controversy...It includes extending an olive branch to the gay community." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News also underlined how Pope Francis seemingly "has changed the tone in a church plagued by the sex abuse scandal, emphasizing Church teaching on helping the poor and social justice....it's not just what the new pope says that's a sign of a changing church – it's what he does – getting close to people...enjoying the crowds that flock to him."