Saturday, March 24, 2012

Can we trust the Sentinel & Enterprise to cover the Catholic Church or issues which concern Catholics?

Professor James Hitchcock has said that many in the media belong to a "self-defined 'enlightened' class who claim the right to judge other people's beliefs, even when they do not understand those beliefs, a claim which clearly contradicts the same enlightened class's constant sermons about 'respect' and 'understanding.' Their favorite cause is 'sexual freedom' and nothing sets off their alarm bells faster than the suggestion that chastity may have some value...Religious believers are continually accused of trying to impose their beliefs on others, which in reality means resisting having secular beliefs imposed on them...The enlightened class obviously does not understand Catholic teachings about many things, nor does it wish to, and it gives itself license to trash those teachings..." (See here).

Just last month the "enlightened class" over at the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise provided anti-Catholic bigot Bill Press the opportunity to trash the Catholic Bishops, accusing them of being deceitful with regard to the Obama administration's contraception mandate and of advancing a teaching which is appallingly "medieval."  Mr. Press wrote, "I love protests, and have taken part in many. But there are real protests and there are phony protests. And one of the phoniest we've ever seen is today's protest by Catholic bishops against the Obama administration's new rules on insurance coverage of contraception.

Here's the truth. On Jan. 20, the Health and Human Services Agency, under Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, issued a new rule that insurance policies, as part of their basic package, must offer contraceptive services with no deductible or co-pay. An exception was made for 335,000 churches, missions, or other places of worship where all employees were Catholic or members of any religion which opposed contraception as a matter of faith.

The new ruling does not require Catholic hospitals or clinics to provide birth control pills or devices. It does not force Catholics to practice contraception. It does not interfere with anyone's religion. It does not prevent priests and bishops from continuing their appalling medieval and widely ignored attempts to convince Catholics that contraception is sinful. It simply says that there can no longer be two kinds of health insurance policies: those that cover contraception and those that don't.

Catholic bishops are being dishonest. They accuse the president of infringing on religious liberty. Yet they fail to acknowledge, for example, that not everybody who works in a Catholic hospital or university is a Catholic."  (February 13, 2012 edition of the Sentinel & Enterprise).

Even non-Catholics of good will can see through Mr. Press' nonsense.  But to label the Church's teaching on artificial contraception "medieval" is just hateful and proves Archbishop Fulton Sheen was correct when he said that, "There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing."

This ignorance as to what the Church is and what she teaches pervades most of our secular media.  The Sentinel & Enterprise routinely publishes opinion pieces which are just wrong on the facts.  Not only is Catholic teaching often misrepresented but the newspaper fails to get even basic facts correct.  For example, in an article which may be found here, the newspaper reports on more than 25 protesters and their children who stood outside St. Anna's Parish on Lancaster Street in Leominster to show their opposition to the Obama adminstration's contraception mandate.  The article says that one protester is from St. Camilla's Church in Fitchburg.  The problem?  The parish referred to is dedicated not to St. Camilla but rather to St. Camillus de Lellis, who was actually my father's patron saint.*

Now before you say, "Well that's an honest mistake," consider that this Catholic parish is in the Sentinel & Enterprises' very own city!  And they still managed to get it wrong!  But hey, why should the "enlightened class" worry about such matters?  After all, the Church and her teaching are merely "medieval throwbacks" to a "superstitious time" right?

I wrote the editor of the newspaper a while back offering to cover the Church and Church-related issues.  I didn't get a response.  But the newspaper did publish this gem on Easter Sunday.

Can we trust the Sentinel & Enterprise to cover the Catholic Church and issues which concern Catholics with fairness, accuracy and objectivity?  What do you think?

*  More accurately, the parish is now St. Bernard's at St. Camillus.


St.Bernard'sGal said...

I don't trust the paper. I think it has dropped the ball on many occasions when attempting to report on stories which affect the Catholic Church or Catholics in general.

ACatholicinClinton said...

I remember following your letters in the Sentinel years ago. The only time I saw the Catholic Church or her teaching presented with honesty is when the paper published your letters or opinion pieces or those of Dr. Mark Rollo.

Bill Smith said...

You article has been posted as an opinion article in Greater Fitchburg For Life site.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Thanks Bill. I am truly concerned at how the Sentinel & Enterprise approaches stories which touch upon the Church and her teaching.

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