Dissecting Some Episcopal Journalism

That bishops, by default, get a column in diocesan organs sometimes might speak of the low quality of Catholic print journalism. David Gibson at Pontifications notes a little conversation between the President and Bishop Tobin of Providence. Except it didn’t happen.

Fantasy conversations are a part of life. Before the internet they pretty much stayed inside the heads of guys who wished they could talk better to girls. I know I relived a few verbal exchanges after I fumbled them in person. The other option was to be a really good writer to get those conversations published in a book. Today, anybody can create a talk with anybody else. No adolescent awkwardness required.

Some bloggers make it their schtick, like this one. The trick with this guy is that he takes actual words written or said by others, and inserts his own fantasy. Sort of a variation on I’d-wish-I’d-said-that-to-her, but without the actual meeting.

Some pro-life journalists work extremely hard and are effective at getting the story out there. My hat’s off to this kind of exposé journalism because it took hard work, lots of time and preparation, and entailed some degree of risk. Bishop Tobin, for his foray into the medium of sarcasm to be really effective, would have to use the president’s own words. And that would take … research. Maybe even some work along the lines of click, drag, and control-X and -V.

In order for the pro-life voice to be effective, certain advocates need to get off their passions. They cannot expect that their own internal assessment of righteousness and privilege will be persuasive. It might be asked, why do they need to be persuasive? Because by the movement’s own definition, abortion should be settled in the public sphere of politics. To get things accomplished there, you have to be diplomatic, clever, and hard-working. People who just spout off from their own internal righteousness … they get to be talking heads in the media.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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5 Responses to Dissecting Some Episcopal Journalism

  1. Liam says:

    Speaking of torture, I seemed to have missed a link in the interview, at the obvious point, to His Excellency’s prior interview with the previous non-Catholic president of the USA on that topic.

  2. Holly Hansne says:

    This one really got to me. If the good bishop wanted to talk to the president why not write a letter, an email or USE THE PHONE! President Obama is not Catholic, many people in our country are not Catholic. I suppose all those Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, UCC members and many others are totally immoral because they don’t see birth control as a sin and believe that there are times when having an abortion in consultation with your doctor and pastor can be a moral decision. Only Catholics have well formed consciences. Just seems to me some of our bishops have become like the taliban in insisting that all abide by our doctrines and morals.
    President Obama has proven his respect for life, he has two beautiful children. I would ask the bishop where are his children?

    One more point, I remember when January used to be the month for praying foe Christian unity. All I heard this year was ABORTION, ABORTION, ABORTION !

  3. Kevin in Texas says:

    In response to Holly Hansne’s comment, #2 above:

    Wow, just wow! I’ve never read this blog before, but jumped to this link from another page that I often read, Inside Catholic.com

    Holly, excuse my blunt and frank response to you, but I’m stunned you think this way and call yourself a Catholic. Your entire post belies a deeply un-Catholic rejection of absolute Truth (yes, with a capital ‘T’) that Christ preached and we as Catholics have received through Divine Revelation. The Church is not called to teach the Truth only to its own Catholic flock, but rather to spread it throughout the entire world, as it applies equally to everyone.

    In reply to your incredulous suggestions that those who view birth control and abortion may perhaps be considered immoral by the Church, YES, indeed they are, and it has nothing to do with which religious denomination one belongs to (or even if one is agnostic or atheist). These actions are intrinsically and gravely evil for all people, not simply for Catholics, and the Church would be gravely remiss if it failed to teach the entire world of the serious offenses against God that people commit when contracepting and aborting.

    As to your view on Obama as being respectful of the lives of the unborn, you must be willfully blind to his many statements and actions in both Illinois and national-level politics over the past decade that demonstrate a total dedication to the culture of death that sees abortion as practically a sacrament. Finally, as to your question about the bishop’s children, please tell me you are being sarcastic! Priests and religious in the Latin Rite Church have practiced celibacy for more than 1,500 years, and St. Paul himself encourages such practices among priests. Physical celibacy, however, does not preclude the begetting of thousands (millions, in a Bishop’s case) of spiritual children, also looked upon by God as a blessing to His Kingdom.

    I pray for our Catholic laity in the US today, as we slowly but surely reject Truth in favor of cultural and moral relativism that view convenience and individual liberty as sacrosanct while simultaneously dismissing individual and institutional responsibility for passing on the Faith completely intact, not piecemeal according to our disordered human desires.

    God bless!

  4. Todd says:

    Kevin, thanks for surfing over from IC. In order for a person to commit a gravely immoral sin, they must have a full and informed consent. If a person doesn’t believe a fetus is a human being, and they see abortion as a simple medical procedure, they yes, the abortion remains a moral evil, but individual culpability is nuanced by what the person doesn’t know.

    All that said, while many Catholics agree that abortion is a serious evil that we should work to eliminate, it is also true that Catholics work toward that in different ways, sometimes flawed ways.

    President Obama does have a pro-life record on some points. But like all of his predecessors, he’s not in perfect alignment with Catholic teaching. As people living in a political society with political solutions to public policy, we Catholics must be prepared to be more effective than we have been in the virtues of persuasion, diplomacy, and Christian witness.

    The question I would ask: how can we step aside from other aspects of the so-called culture of death, namely the assassination of character, to more fully live out the Gospel and provide a more persuasive witness to the example of Christ?

  5. Pingback: A Conversation With Bishop Tobin « Catholic Sensibility

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