Catholic World News

Opinion Roundup

November 14, 2011

In some of the noteworthy opinion columns appearing over the weekend:

  • Ross Douthat of the New York Times compared former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos. Both men compiled records of undoubted accomplishment and proven virtue before stumbling badly over the sex-abuse question, he notes. Douthat offers a theory to explain their failure: But good people, heroic people, are led into temptation by their very goodness—by the illusion, common to those who have done important deeds, that they have higher responsibilities than the ordinary run of humankind. It’s precisely in the service to these supposed higher responsibilities that they often let more basic ones slip away.
  • Robert Royal analyzes the US Catholic hierarchy’s posture toward immigration, and concludes that the bishops fail to recognize the key distinction to be made between legal and illegal immigration.
    If you’re looking for one factor that’s holding up bipartisan action on regularizing millions of illegals, that dismissiveness plays no small role. Many Americans feel it as contempt for what they regard as simple justice.
    Once that distinction is firmly in place, Royal argues, the case can be made for what he sees as the only viable political solution to the immigration problem: “secure borders and a properly demanding path to regular status for those already here.”
  • At a conference on the Church and the media, sponsored by L’Osservatore Romano Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, observed that ever since the time of St. Paul himself, Church leaders have lamented the tendency to “adulterate” the Gospel message. The cardinal saw 5 habitual temptations in media coverage of Church affairs: “trivialization, immediacy, sensationalism, approximation, and prejudice.” Effective Church leaders must learn to anticipate those problems and correct for them, he said.
  • Mark Shea objected to the resignation of Dan Avila, the USCCB spokesman who stirred a tempest with a newspaper column on the origins of homosexual inclinations. Finding no significant error in that column, Shea argued that Avila has been punished “for basically stating the Church’s ordinary teaching about where sin and the disorders and ills of this world come from.”
  • And Time magazine crammed an astonishing amount of misinformation into a short piece on the English new translation of the Roman Missal. Terry Mattingly of GetReligion analyzed the errors, but any careful reader should spot several in the opening lines of the Time piece. The item illustrates the currency of a question that Mattingly has raised frequently: don’t American media outlets have any editors who can catch basic errors in reporting on religion?


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