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The news that fits

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Sep 03, 2003

Did you notice, in today's "News Bytes," the New York Times report about an anti-religious art exhibit in Moscow? We thought it was an interesting story. That's why we covered the issue, in CWN, three weeks ago. The CWN story was dated August 12.

Sure, I'm bragging. But there's more to it. CWN found the story earlier, because CWN is attuned to religious issues, and secular media sources are not.

But there's more.

Yesterday we received a report marked "Urgent!" from the Fides news service, the official Vatican news agency sponsored by the Congregation for Evangelization. The "urgent" story reported that the Indian bishops have asked their government officials to make October 19 a national day of celebration for the beatification of Mother Teresa.

Does that sound familiar? It should. The story that was "urgent" on September 2 in Rome had been covered by CWN 10 days earlier: back on August 22.

I don't mean to poke fun at Fides, which is an invaluable news source for CWN (and for everyone else). Their offices happened to be closed for vacation at the time the story broke. So the news waited until they were back in action.

And that's not terribly unusual, really. Quite often, Church agencies hold news until a time that's judged more convenient for its release. In worse cases, the "official" Catholic outlets might even suppress stories that are deemed "unhelpful" by clerical officials.

So if you depend on "official" Church-sponsored outlets, you can't be certain that you'll get all the news, or the latest news. And if you rely on secular outlets, you can be pretty sure you're missing many stories with a religious content.

That's why there's a need for an independent Catholic news agency, loyal to the Church and sensitive to Catholic issues, but free from hierarchical control. That's why there's CWN.

QED.

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