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US bishops' conference, news agency at odds over account of Cardinal George's speech

Catholic World News - June 22, 2010

An official of the US bishops’ conference has accused an independent Catholic news agency of fabricating a report about a speech by Cardinal Francis George.

Helen Osman, the secretary for communications at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, charged the Catholic News Agency (CNA) with dishonesty in its coverage of Cardinal George’s talk on the health-care reform bill at a USCCB meeting in Florida.

CNA had reported that Cardinal George was sharply critical of the Catholic Health Association for its support of President Obama’s legislation. Osman denied that Cardinal George had made the remarks attributed to him in the CNA story.

Alejandro Bermudez, the director of CNA, said that his agency stood by the accuracy of its report. He challenged Osman to release a recording of Cardinal George’s talk—which the USCCB has said was confidential.

Bermudez also pointed to a separate report by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, who spoke with Cardinal George about the health-care debate. The comments made by Cardinal George in his interview with Allen are fully consistent with the CNA account of his speech, Bermudez reported.

Without directly commenting on the dispute, John Allen has posted the transcript of his interview with Cardinal George.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jun. 23, 2010 9:54 PM ET USA

    Helen, Helen, you can't have it both ways: either the talk was secret and you can keep your spin on it secret as well, or you back up the accusation of dishonest reporting with the recording. No competent person in media relations would draw attention to something that you wanted to fade from the front pages as you have done. The Senate bill passed in December without any version of House-passed Stupak Amd. included, so it isn't at all a stretch to say Stupak was "defeated" in the Senate then.

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Jun. 23, 2010 8:18 AM ET USA

    God forbid that any member bishop of the USCCB should break ranks and criticize any socialist takeover of a major sector of the economy! The USCCB must be disbanded or at the very least defumigated of all the ACORN types who have infested its ranks!

  • Posted by: Savonarola - Jun. 22, 2010 6:12 PM ET USA

    Why would anyone accept the USCCB version here when they apparently have a recording which they won't release? CNA is acting responsibly and so is Allen.

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