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The New York Times and its Catholic crusade

By Lisa Fabrizio
web posted April 18, 2005

When it comes to bashing the Catholic Church and its pope, the New York Times has lots of competition. But it has outdone even itself recently with a little number called, "Catholics in U.S. Keep Faith, but Live With Contradictions," a 1,500 word paean to what are generally known as cafeteria Catholics or, those who would pick and choose which parts of church teaching they will embrace or reject.

Seeking to portray the church as an uncaring, sexist entity that does not understand its members, the Times singles out some Catholics who show little understanding of their faith and seem to prefer a more Americanized version of same. Cited also is a ubiquitous Gallup poll which the Times evidently feels justifies flouting disagreeable church doctrine--think of the Ten Commandments as a butterfly ballot.

Says the Times: "But the (Catholic) Americans mostly find a way to stay in their faith by adhering to values most important to them and quietly ignoring those they disagree with." The article quotes all of seven Catholics, one of whom is a student who laments, "the church's prohibitions on 'almost everything a kid can do.'"

Also quoted are two religious 'experts' whose ranks seem to be multiplying in the last few weeks. One is Luis E. Lugo--whose research is sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trust which has donated nearly one million dollars to Planned Parenthood over the last decade--who states, "The breadth of priorities Catholicism embraces permits people to identify themselves as Catholic while disagreeing with doctrine."

Here, American Catholics are advised to embrace heresy, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines as "the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same." Five minutes in the confessional of my parish church would quickly disabuse Mr. Lugo of the notion that spreading these scandals is permissible.

Still, though most of the article's claims regarding Catholics' conformity or lack thereof, to church doctrine are spurious, there are indeed many Americans who find it difficult to adhere to church teaching in a liberal culture where the seven deadly sins have become a cottage industry.

The complaints enumerated by the Times on the church's intractability on matters of abortion, contraception, priestly celibacy, homosexuality and the ordination of women priests, mainly concern the subject dearest to the heart of liberals everywhere: sex.

And the primacy of sex drives two main liberal lobbies. Homosexuals are defined by it and feminists sell it as a tool for the 'liberation' of women, hence any attempt to curb its widespread practice anywhere, any time by anyone is an anathema to them and thus to the Times.

So the 'controversies' surrounding this pope and this church stem from objections of some of the same groups responsible for similar secular controversies. Some might remember the 2003 crusade against the Masters Golf Tournament that demanded female membership in the venerable Augusta National club. That the Times ran twice as many pieces (80) about the protest than the number of actual protesters who showed up at Augusta (40) is instructive.

The message is, that any private organizations that won't agree to allow outsiders to dictate their policies will remain 'controversial' until they have been breached. One such of these is the Boy Scouts of America who have been picketed, pilloried and de-funded yet still refuse to allow gay men to mentor their young charges.

You would think that those who decry the Scouts' stand would have learned something from the American Catholic Church's experience with the sexual abuse of minors. Since most of the victims of that scandalous outrage were adolescent boys and all of the perpetrators men, the evidence suggests that homosexual behavior was at its root.

In seeking to protect these predators from legal prosecution, some bishops erred gravely against their moral and civic responsibilities. By not acknowledging and purging non-celibate gay priests from their ranks, they impugned the chastity of all who take seriously their religious vows.

Those who take those vows and those to whom they minister are compelled to complete fidelity to the teachings of the church whose head is the pope, the successor to St. Peter. To believe that the next pope or any future pope would or could change the basic precepts of the faith flies in the face of scripture and 2,000 years of tradition.

Some of the issues that the Times and its disturbed Catholics seek change on were decided even before the Church was formally established and so are impossibilities; so much so that my own parish priest bet his soul on it. If the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, the Old Gray Lady hasn't much of a chance, determined though she may be.

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut. You may write her at mailbox@lisafab.com.


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