MADRID, SPAIN, August 23, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – When it comes to finding information on vital issues like abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and faith, the mainstream media simply can’t be trusted, the incoming archbishop of Philadelphia told a group of youth in Spain last week.
“Being uninformed about the world and its problems and issues is a sin against our vocation as disciple,” Archbishop Charles Chaput told his audience during a special World Youth Day session in Madrid. And yet, he went on to note, the Christian believer is faced with a unique challenge in finding accurate sources of information on key issues.
“In the United States, our battles over abortion, family life, same-sex marriage, and other sensitive issues have led to ferocious public smears and legal threats not only of Catholics, but also against Mormons, evangelicals, and other religious believers,” he said.
“And with relatively few exceptions, the mass media tend to cover these disputed issues with a combination of ignorance, laziness, and bias against traditional Christian belief.”
The archbishop said that Christians “make a very serious mistake” if they turned to outlets like the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN and MSNBC, “for reliable news about religion.”
“These news media simply don’t provide trustworthy information about religious faith,” he said. “These are secular operations focused on making a profit … They have very little sympathy for the Catholic faith, and quite a lot of aggressive skepticism toward any religious community that claims to preach and teach God’s truth.”
Reacting to the archbishop’s comments, L. Brent Bozell III, the president of the Media Research Center, told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that, “Archbishop Chaput is a breath of fresh air.”
“The secular media don’t believe in God, and even less in the Catholic Church,” Bozell said. “Thirty years ago Robert Lichter undertook a survey of the news media and the numbers were stunning: 50% didn’t believe in God, 86% seldom or never attended church or synagogue, 2% were practicing Catholics. That was thirty years ago. The numbers are unquestionably worse today.”
Prominent Catholic American blogger Thomas Peters agreed. “When religious news is reported on reliably people have a better opportunity to decide for themselves and weigh the truth claims involved,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“I think the heart of the story is that Christians and other people of faith deserve to have their stories told accurately by the mainstream media,” Peters said. “Catholics have a responsibility to hold the mainstream media and wider culture accountable when they fail to give them a fair hearing.”
Archbishop Chaput also told his audience that banning religious communities from taking an active role in civic life imposes “a kind of unofficial state atheism,” and that “forcing religious faith out of a nation’s public square … does not serve democracy.”
Religious freedom means being able to worship as one chooses and “includes the right of religious believers, leaders, and communities to take part vigorously in a nation’s public life,” said the archbishop. He reminded the young people that given the crucial battles over abortion, family life, and homosexual “marriage” in the United States, they need to prepare themselves to be “capable defenders” of their faith.