As a category, journalists do not belong to my favourites. Whilst you have good and excellent people in almost every profession (including this one), journalism (particularly political journalism) seems one of those jobs you would not want your son to choose.
The fundamental problem seems to me to consist in the fact that in the vast majority of cases, the pay of a journalist is well below his influence. Whilst this will not be a problem for the honest ones (this is the job they chose; when you decide become a nurse you know already other professions are better paid; but the fact is, you do want to become a nurse), it exposes the others to the temptation of using their influence to get better paid jobs, honours, or favours of all kind. The result is, unavoidably and to put it gently, plate-licking. If I believed in reincarnation, I’d say most street workers come back as journalists.
The Italian press gives us a depressing example of this with the press coverage of the new Pope. Suddenly, hardline friendship with the favelas is perfectly fine and wonderfully fitting for a Pope, a circumstance of which in the last eight years no one seems to have been aware. We have also discovered how marvellously breathtaking it is that a pope would now travel in a minibus and be disinclined towards tight security, after now many decades in which the need to protect a Pope could not be stressed enough. Let us also not forget the wonderful novelty of a Pope who doesn’t want to wear the Mozzetta, whilst the careful work of restoration of tradition of his predecessor was generally noted rather favourably (in Italy). Everything the new Pope does is right, but (almost) everything the old Pope did was also right; no doubt, because by so doing many doors could magically open, and allow access to those advantages described above. This in a country like Italy, where shooting at the Pope doesn’t really pay, so the only course of the street worker is to praise to the sky everything and (when the new Pope is elected) the contrary of everything.
To think these are supposed to be the professionals. I see a much better job made by blogs like Messa in Latino and Rorate Caeli, giving one the same level of information, generally very accurate sources, and a tone that may criticise of praise, but is never servile in the praise and never hostile in the criticism.
In the age of Internet, many of us will have less and less recourse to professional sources, and more and more to people who are simply passionate of what they write, may it be Church, horses, or smartphones, or to professional structures who are highly specialised and above suspicion (like Churchmilitant.tv).
I do not know you, but I am fed up with this kind of servility.
EF Pastor Emeritus reports about a Beautiful Initiative from Rome – actually, from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross – aimed at explaining the Church to journalists all over the world.
For an entire week, 28 journalists have been introduced to the complex – and counter-cultural; at least in theory – Catholic world and have profited for a full immersion in the Vatican corridors, including the Vatican Museum, the Vatican Library, rudiments of Church history and, yes, even a glimpse of the Vatican corridors. I’d personally have kept Father Lombardi out of their way, but I guess it couldn’t be avoided…
One can only praise such an initiative – in its third year already – as the ignorance of many journalists concerning everything Catholic is truly appalling. So appalling, in fact, that when one “researcher” comes out with a fragment of papyrus and says it “could be” that Jesus had a wife, the journalists present do not laugh out loud but even think the concept makes sense, in a way. Go figure.
More of these seminars, please, and keep up the good work.
Barring women from being Catholic priests is not the result of sexism 2,000 years ago, it’s because women cannot fulfill a basic function of the priesthood, “standing in the place of Jesus,” a leading British Catholic thinker argued Monday.
Note the difference with much of today’s superficial journalism: the article starts with the clear statement of a fact, coming from the only source authorised to say what the facts in the matter are.
It gets better. Instead of giving us the more or less stupid opinion of a more or less stupid author about what the Church should do in the fantasy world in which they live, this journalist not only tells you what the facts are, but even reports the Church’s explanation as to the why. The statement is faithfully reported that the protest
is based on a fundamental misunderstanding,
the Church has no authority to ordain women
Short and sweet. Nothing much to add. See how easy it is?
The article provides even better information:
The bottom line is that Jesus chose 12 men – and no women – to be his apostles,
This is also not difficult to know, but still seems to go beyond the “knowledge” of many commentators on the matter. After so informing his reader about the only two or three things one needs to know, the author even reports a more profound explanation of why cats can’t bark. Reporting the Vatican source, the journalist writes:
Men and women are equal in Christianity, he continues, but “this does not mean that our sexual identity as men and women is interchangeable. Gender is not just an accident.”
Just simple, easy-to-grasp facts. It goes to show that if a journalist makes the minimum of effort of informing himself a bit (which should be his job, I presume) or at least listening to what his sources say (which should be his job, I presume) it is perfectly possible to actually inform without deforming everything with one’s own astonishing ignorance of everything Catholic and one’s own astonishing arrogance in thinking they can can tell the Church what to do.
This is not even a debate. There can be no debate in the first place. There will never be one! Never, ever!
It is refreshing to know that at least at times the CNN gets it right. Please compare with the BBC writing about the Church on their internet page (about male-only priesthood, no less) that “such things can change at astonishing speed” or such like words. They obviously changed the internet entry at the same speed, but you get my drift…
This blog does not hesitate in exposing the ignorance and superficiality of journalists. When someone does his job properly, it is nice to let one’s readers know.