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The mounting campaign to silence the Pope

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 19, 2009

The lords of the mass media are spouting their outrage at the Pope—again.

This time the Pontiff's alleged offense is his failure to believe that condoms provide the world's best hope against the AIDS epidemic. Pope Benedict dared to voice a few simple truths—that chastity is foolproof, and that people can control their own sexual behavior—and the guardians of secular wisdom are rending their garments and howling their outrage.

The Pope is simply wrong about the facts, dozens of headlines proclaim. The stories don't support those headlines, because of course the Pope is right about the facts. But the popular media no longer engage the argument. The object here is to shout down an opponent of conventional liberal ideology.

Respectable journalists do not intentionally publish inaccurate reports. So once editors proclaim that the Pope is wrong about the facts, it is only a short step to the decision that the Pope's arguments should not be given any publicity. Thus the voice of the Church would be stilled.

Already the public pressure is mounting against the Pope— and by extension, against anyone else who proclaims the truth as the Church has always known it. A former prime minister of France announces that the Successor to Peter has "become a problem." AIDS activists label the Pontiff as an enemy of their cause, an enemy of the people. That sort of rhetoric suggests more than disagreement; it suggests a campaign to punish someone for his public statements.

The chorus of outrage against the Pope has been swelling in recent weeks, and it's difficult to avoid the sense that this is becoming an orchestrated campaign. Arrogant editorial writers are writing about the Pope's "mistakes" in reaching out to traditionalists, naming a conservative Austrian priest to become a bishop, and now discouraging reliance on condoms to fight AIDS. A large and growing group of journalists seems determined to spread the word that the Pope is making grievous blunders, and to suppress any evidence to the contrary.

To make matters worse, some of the Pope's angriest critics claim to be Catholics, and draw their support from Catholic colleges and universities and/or Catholic religious orders. Waving the banners of their Church affiliations, they are working to still the voice of traditional Catholicism.

If ever there was a time to speak out in defense of the Church, and to support those who give voice to Catholic teaching, this is that time. If there was ever a time to pray for the Holy Father, this is it.

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