Editorial by John-Henry Westen
TORONTO, September 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Salt and Light Television President and CEO, Fr. Thomas Rosica, is continuing his public campaign against LifeSiteNews.com. In an interview article on the Toronto diocese's Catholic Register website today, he blames this news service for death threats, and "vile, vile phone calls" he says he has received.
"It's a mixture of the LifeSite crowd, LifeSite subscribers combined with EWTN viewers who have now set themselves above the church," Rosica told the Catholic Register.
Speaking of LSN specifically he said, "When they run up against somebody they disagree with they condemn them and they do an ad hominem attack. It's character assassination."
In a rather telling omission, the article's author, Michael Swan, failed to note most of Rosica's own incendiary comments that garnered the irate responses from many. The Register did report that Rosica was "blaming LifeSiteNews for stirring up 'division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence'."
Rosica's remarks, however, while aimed at LSN, were also intended (by his own admission) to apply to 20 or more leaders in the pro-life and Catholic broadcasting world, including Raymond Arroyo and several pro-life priests. Furthermore, in his original remarks Fr. Rosica went so far as to suggest that the pro-life leaders he is speaking of (many of whom have devoted their entire lives to stopping abortion and promoting a culture of life) are not really "agents" or "lovers of life." Instead, "many so-called lovers of life and activists in the pro-life movement ... have revealed themselves to be not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence," wrote Rosica.
After LifeSiteNews reported on these comments by the Salt and Light CEO, he continued to pursue the matter, intensifying the acerbic rhetoric. On a US Catholic satellite radio station, Rosica slammed LSN as "not credible," "not ethical," "not honest," and said that, insofar as it is also "divisive," LSN is doing "the work of Satan." He went on to say: "For the one-tenth of kernel of truth that they purport to uncover (and there is truth in what they do) nine-tenths is exaggeration. It is bombastic, it is derisive and it is divisive."
For our part, LSN has striven to write our articles with charity, particularly those items which question the actions of some church leaders. We do not write such articles lightly or without serious cause. We spend time in reflection, prayer and discernment, and receive counsel from trusted sources. In fact, we are sometimes criticized for being overly polite and not stressing our points forcefully enough.
As to the harsh communications, which Fr. Rosica says have been sent to him, we fully understand how unsettling such calls and emails can be. We receive such communications on a daily basis, with sometimes threats to our safety. A note from someone today, regarding our coverage of the murder of pro-life activist James Pouillon, said: "Not losing any sleep over that fat wheezing douchebag a****** getting pumped full of lead. He deserved it. I pray to Jesus every day that those like him have the same ending." Notes like these are too often all in a day's work at LifeSiteNews.
At LSN we encourage readers to take action on items we report on. But we also often stress that such action be undertaken respectfully. We feel that this point cannot be repeated enough. Even within our original coverage of Fr. Rosica's criticisms of North American pro-life leaders, we reminded our readers about the need for responsible communications. "LifeSiteNews has often advised that angry communications are unhelpful and are usually very harmful," we wrote, at which point we linked to LSN's guidelines for composing effective communications.
The Register article also reveals that the "Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has scheduled a closed-door session on independent blogs and web sites claiming to be Catholic at its October plenary." It adds, "Rosica said he also hopes the Pontifical Council on Social Communication takes up the issue."
For our part at LSN we are ready to forgive the intense verbal assualts directed at us so publicly by Fr. Rosica. We pray for reconciliation and peace.
See the Catholic Register on line article (these articles are usually also printed in the hardcopy edition that goes to Catholic churchs and individuals in Ontario and to a lesser extent in other Canadian provinces)
To write a respectful letter to the editor of the Catholic Register:
The Catholic Register, 1155 Yonge St., suite 401, Toronto, Ont., M4T 1W2, fax to (416) 934-3409 or e-mail to email@example.com
See related articles:
Battle of the Catholic Stations: Salt and Light's Fr. Rosica Rips EWTN's Raymond Arroyo over Kennedy Funeral
Editorial: Salt and Light's Fr. Rosica says LifeSiteNews is Doing "the work of Satan"
LifeSiteNews.com NewsBytes - Responses to Fr. Rosica Outbursts
Now I understand: only pro-lifers are uncivil by Carl Olson of Ignatius Insight