Sometimes headline writers can perform the wonderful service of putting things in perspective. Such is the case in today’s Providence Journal, with an example that indicates either unfortunate timing for the writer or an over-confident attempt to subtly link the story being reported with one not being reported beneath the headline. Here it is:
Catholics in conflict over Pope’s call for mercy
Before moving on to my point, let’s recall that the conflicts over Pope Francis’s “who am I to judge” phrase — the core of Michelle Smith’s Associated Press article, even though the pope spoke it three years ago — was more of a media distortion than a statement of Church teaching. The context and specifics of the larger quotation, as I’ve noted, put Francis’s statement directly in keeping with the catechism and long-standing Church teaching.
Now take a closer look at the context that Smith applies to her story:
Francis’ famous declaration “Who am I to judge?” in 2013 energized Catholics who had pushed the church to accept gays and lesbians. Now, some gay Catholics and supporters who hoped for rapid acceptance find themselves stymied by many bishops and pastors.
Let’s be particular about the effect of that sentence. Smith is constructing a division within the Catholic Church, presenting our Church community as Pope Francis and “gay Catholics and supporters” on one side and “bishops and pastors” on the other.
Now, here’s the story that Smith doesn’t include: Among the emails released by WikiLeaks recently was one from Clinton confidant John Podesta, who responded to a progressive activist’s suggestion that they should use an issue like contraception to cause a “revolution” and drive a wedge within the American Catholic Church. Podesta replied that “we” have been building groups to seize on just such opportunities.
Podesta’s email puts articles like Smith’s — and the Providence Journal’s related headline — in a new light. Progressive activists are already organized and lying in wait for an opportunity to pounce on the Catholic Church, divide Catholic from Catholic, and overthrow the Church’s leadership. The news media, as always, is happy to play along, the only question being where the organized movement ends, relying only on ideological sympathy.