AP Spins Pope's Slam of Abortion as 'Olive Branch' to Church's 'Conservative Wing'

September 20th, 2013 6:42 PM

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!"

The correspondent led her Friday article, "Pope Blasts Abortion After Decrying Focus On Rules", with her "olive branch" spin of Francis' remarks, and soon added her "strong anti-abortion message" phrase. She continued that the Pope's comments "came a day after he was quoted as blasting the church's obsession with 'small-minded rules' that are driving the faithful away...Francis urged...pastors to focus on being merciful and welcoming rather than insisting only on such divisive, hot-button issues as abortion, gay marriage and contraception."

Later in her write-up, Winfield asserted that the Pope's recent interview with a Jesuit-run publication, where he made the "small-minded rules" remark, "represented a radical shift in tone and stood in stark contrast to the priorities of his two immediate predecessors." She then claimed that "John Paul II and Benedict XVI were both intellectuals for whom doctrine was paramount,  an orientation that guided the selection of a generation of bishops and cardinals."

This isn't the first time that the AP journalist has slanted to the left in her reporting on the Catholic Church. Back in July 2013, Winfield contended that Pope Francis had "turned the Vatican upside down, quite possibly knocking the wind out of a poisonously homophobic culture". She also spun the Argentinian pontiff's plea to young people at World Youth Day: "Francis has called on young Catholics in the trenches to take up spiritual arms to shake up a dusty, doctrinaire church that is losing faithful and relevance."

The correspondent also revealed her ideological bias in a December 2012 report about one of Benedict XVI's last public messages. She trumpeted that "the Vatican's opposition to gay marriage has been falling largely on deaf ears."