John-Henry Westen

From the desk of the editor.

Blogs,

Caritas in veritate: Why we do what we do at LifeSiteNews

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Since LifeSiteNews reports on highly contentious and sensitive issues our team is regularly discussing and evaluating our guiding principles and journalistic approach. We also consider it useful now and then to share with our readers the convictions that motivate what, why, and how we do what we do.

Simply put, the guiding principle for all of our coverage on LifeSiteNews is caritas in veritate – loving in truth. Many of our reports deal with human sexuality, and our wish is to provide the truth regarding the benefits of a life of virtue in line with the plan of God and the harms of acting against the Creator’s design.  However, our efforts in this regard are sometimes misread.

For example, we publish many stories revealing the harmful effects of promiscuous sex, homosexual acts, pornography, and abortion.  We often serve them up as straight news stories linking to the journals in which the studies are published.  At times we also publish the personal accounts and tragedies of those involved in those harmful behaviours.

Unbelievably, some have at times interpreted these news stories and features as though LifeSiteNews is exploiting or even rejoicing in the misfortunes of those involved in these activities. Some have claimed falsely that we publish such stories to sensationalize, to bump up our site traffic, or boost income.

The reality is that we report these misfortunes in the hope of sparing others the harm that comes from these behaviours, harm that some of us on the LifeSiteNews team have ourselves experienced and deeply regretted.  From years of practical experience we know such stories have changed the lives of some of our readers.

In these times there is a heightened sensitivity around homosexuality. Thus our approach of providing truth in love is key to convey in this area.  Some have misread LifeSite as being ‘anti-gay,’ as if we hate those with same-sex attraction, but that could not be further from the truth.  As we have said countless times, affirming the truth in love of God’s plan for human sexuality is not hatred but love.  It is hoping for and encouraging healthy sexuality – healthy for body and soul.

Of course, we appreciate that in our time, when the world so easily conflates opposition to sinful acts with hatred of individuals, a news article that purports to show the harms of sinful acts in what could seem a clinical way, can easily be taken as hatred. As journalists we are constantly confronted by the challenge of how to convey God's mercy through the medium of a news article, wherein a reporter is charged with recording facts and doesn't have the freedom to lay out his heart on an issue. This is a challenge that we believe is gravely important, and as such we are continually evaluating how best to structure our reporting to be an agent of authentic mercy.

Nevertheless, we realize that no matter what we do we are bound to be taken as 'haters' merely for raising the concern. We persevere in the face of being called bigots out of love for our brothers and sisters who engage in gravely harmful behaviours.  No loving parent would abandon their teenage child to a life of harmful activity without at least warning them away from it, even if that warning cost the parent the temporary affection of the child. So too at LSN our approach will never abandon our friends, family, and acquaintances who are same-sex attracted, but encourage them in living out God’s plan for their lives.

Another major area in which many have misinterpreted our stance is with regard to our coverage of scandals within the Catholic Church. We have taken the same approach – love in truth.

We have often found that when exposed through our investigative reports, uncomfortable, unresolved, or problematic situations are more likely to be addressed and resolved. However, unlike most secular media, our reporting carries no animus whatsoever against the Church. In fact we pray and hope for a strong, unified Catholic Church and know the great good that the Church can bring to the world in these very troubled times.

Some people have pointed with alarm to LifeSiteNews reports highlighting concerns over some of Pope Francis’ statements. They cannot comprehend that such reports could still come from persons of deep faith and could actually be of service to the pope, to the Church, and to the mission of life and family. Beyond that they seem to have somehow missed the numerous reports highlighting the great things the pope has said.

We encourage you to read our reports and see in them the intended hope to assist the Church to promote life, family, faith, and authentic culture. 

The love in truth approach is THE guiding principle for all of our coverage at LifeSiteNews.

Finished reading? Want to make an impact?

Your donation today helps bring the truth to MILLIONS.


Share this article

John-Henry Westen

John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.  

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.