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John Allen defends L'Osservatore Romano

November 24, 2010

Unlike CWN editor Phil Lawler, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter thinks that it would be a major mistake to fire Gian Maria Vian, the editor of L’Osservatore Romano.

Allen argues that the Vatican newspaper has flourished under Vian’s direction. He discloses that L’Osservatore Romano had authorization for its early publication of an excerpt from the Pope’s new book. (“(If you want to be mad at somebody over the timing, try the Vatican Publishing House,” Allen suggests.) He notes that critics of L’Osservatore Romano could be motivated by “other forces, including jealousy, politics, and dated expectations of how the Vatican paper ought to behave.” And he argues that the uproar about the Pope’s statements would have occurred regardless of how the fateful words first came to public attention:

My experience is that anytime you put the words “pope,” “condoms,” and “AIDS” into the same sentence, many secular news outlets will go nuts no matter what the context might be.


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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 24, 2010 10:03 PM ET USA

    My expectation of "how the Vatican paper ought to behave" is simple: don't bring dishonor to the Pope, don't make things worse. By that standard L'OR's management has failed. John Allen's defense doesn't ask the obvious question "What were they thinking over at L'OR?"

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Nov. 24, 2010 7:30 PM ET USA

    I have to agree, the Holy Father cannot address any subject without vitriol from the media. It means that he is listening to God and teaching the world.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 24, 2010 7:27 PM ET USA

    This is no accident, comrade. Editors are great people with words, and they understand the impact in context. This, to my mind, was a deliberate provocation.

  • Posted by: Defender - Nov. 24, 2010 6:37 PM ET USA

    While it might be true that the secular press will jump on select words emanating from the Vatican, L'Osservatore Romano should be aware of it, too and be even more careful about what they do. The paper has gone throught the Simpsons, the Beatles and Michael Jackson and you would have thought they would have gotten their act together by now.