American, global media assail Pope Benedict XVI for standing for life, family
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The nation's three major television networks, its most influential newspapers, and its most trafficked websites attacked Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Catholic Church following the surprise announcement that the pope was resigning the papacy at the end of the month – many targeting the church's teachings on abortion and homosexuality.
On CBS, Scott Pelly said, “The pope was very conservative in a doctrinal sort of way when a lot of American Catholics are looking for a pope to lead into a new era – of maybe for women in the church, for example.” NBC’s Brian Williams called Pope Benedict XVI an “old-fashioned man in modern times.”
According to an analysis by the Media Research Center, the worst offender was ABC News, where anchor Diane Sawyer, who is a member of the Catholic Church, said, “There has to be fundamental change” to the Church's moral teachings. Jeffrey Kofman added that Pope Benedict had “tried to hold back the forces of modernity” during his pontificate.
“The liberal media’s snarling, bigoted anti-Catholicism is on full display, and ABC World News has won the race to the bottom,” said MRC President Brent Bozell. “Disney-owned ABC News used the opportunity to bludgeon the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict with every left-wing grievance imaginable. It was a disgusting and deeply offensive assault on the Church.”
Bozell said the media “owe 1.2 billion Catholics an apology” and that Diane Sawyer “should go to Confession.”
However, the Big Three were far from the only media outlets assailing the pope for not bending to the times and instead upholding and defending Catholic teaching, particularly on sexual ethics.
An unsigned editorial in The Washington Post rapped the pope, because he had “rejected calls by Catholic progressives for reconsideration of doctrines such as celibacy and the ban on women in the priesthood; at a time when acceptance of the rights of gays and lesbians is rapidly spreading across the world, he was outspoken in condemning homosexuality as 'unnatural' and unacceptable.”
The editorial stated his “most important achievements” including a statement that in some cases, such as that of a male prostitute, using a condom may be a "first step" toward moralization, and “exonerating the Jewish people for the death of Jesus.”
“Catholics who seek a different answer will have to hope that a college of cardinals dominated by the pope’s appointees will choose a more progressive successor,” the paper concluded.
Bill Keller, New York Times' executive editor from 2003 to 2011, said he believes history would judge the pope “unkindly.”
“He will be described as a diehard traditionalist, a reactionary in a time of revolutionary yearnings,” he wrote. “He gave no encouragement to the nuns who sought to break through the stained-glass ceiling, to gays who wanted the church to come to terms with their humanity, to Catholics who questioned the Vatican orthodoxy on contraception, divorce, priestly celibacy, the ordination of women and, of course, abortion.”
While he was glad some parishes “soft-pedal the chauvinism of Rome,” he hoped the Papacy would be given to someone “less austere, more politically adept, maybe even one not drawn from the great pool of European white men.”
Yet he warned the College of Cardinals “is not a bastion of enlightenment. Don’t expect a Vatican Spring.”
The Times op-ed page gave playwright John Patrick Shanley the chance to publish a piece in which he declared, “I have watched the wealth of the Catholic Church turned into a subsidy for wrongdoing and a prop for the continuing campaign against women’s rights and homosexuality." He, too, warned that if the church does not elect a more liberal pope, “the Catholic Church will suffer the fate it deserves.”
They were joined by New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, who wrote on his Facebook page, “I'm hoping that this bold move by Pope Benedict will lead to more bold change by the church in coming years – on contraception, on female and non-celibate priests, and on gays...The church has such influence worldwide that it would be great to see a Vatican III!”
The most well-trafficked websites – in the United States and around the world – also piled on.
“Why Is Everyone So Saddened By the Pope's Resignation?” asked Edward Falzon on The Huffington Post. “Good bye; I'll not say 'good luck,'” he wrote. “Perhaps after you relinquish the protection of the Vatican, you can be brought in for questioning like so many have wanted for so long.”
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The pro-abortion website Jezebel claimed the pontiff's main duty is “denying women birth control.”
A number of writers virulently condemned the pope under the guise of applying for the open position.
“As a queer woman of Jewish descent I might not be the obvious choice to spread the Lord’s message to millions of Catholics worldwide,” wrote Laurie Penny, a contributing editor to the widely read British publication the New Statesman. “The fact that I don’t believe in God might be considered an impediment.”
Penny, a left-wing feminist columnist, added that she had “no previous experience in promoting life-threatening medical misinformation to millions” and had “never been in the Hitler Youth.” However, she “once drew stigmata on my hands and face in felt-tip to freak-out my Catholic classmates.”
“Some might consider the basic principles of compassion and charity for all men and women an obstacle to the vital duties of discouraging condom use, opposing women’s right to choose and providing cod-spiritual justification for the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Not being a Christian, all I have to stop me spreading dogmatic misogyny and homophobia in the name of morality is my own personal sense of what’s right and wrong,” she added.
The accompanying photograph depicted Penny wearing the papal crown while smoking a cigarette.
Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist and writer for the UK Guardian, wrote that while he is an atheist he is “dedicated to declining institutions and have a robust if unrealistic belief in resurrection.”
He stated he has “experience speaking in an unfamiliar language to rooms full of people who are struggling to stay awake, so it would be no trouble for me to offer Mass whenever required.”
“At the last count, I also have the required number of testicles to be pope (at least two). I also have experience with covering up crimes,” he wrote. “I believe these qualities and more make me an ideal candidate for the position.”
He added that while he is “not a homosexual,” he “did once” have a homosexual encounter.
Since his elevation to the papacy in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI has unequivocally affirmed the importance of family life, saying the drive to redefine human sexuality threatens “the future of humanity.”
His faithful stance led LGBT activist John Becker to assail the pope as “notoriously homophobic” in The Huffington Post.
“The expressions of joy I'm seeing from many in the LGBT community about Benedict XVI's impending departure from the Chair of Peter strike me, sadly, as rather misplaced,” he wrote. “Institutional homophobia in the Roman Catholic Church isn't likely to go away anytime soon.”
Sex figured in the critique of Richard Dawkins, the philosophical leader of the New Atheists, who tweeted :“I feel sorry for the Pope and all old Catholic priests. Imagine having a wasted life to look back on and no sex.”
The papal resignation – the first in 600 years – has set some dissident Catholics dreaming of a social liberal taking the See of Peter.
“Hoping for a more progressive successor,” actress Mia Farrow wrote on her Twitter page. “Imagine a pope more like Arch[bishop] Desmond Tutu.”
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones had more meager goals, hoping for “a new, less terrible pope.”
Some regretted that the papal vacancy will result from a choice, rather than the pope's death.
Frankie Boyle, a BBC star and Scottish comedian, sent a message to His Holiness via Twitter. “Don't worry, in a few months you'll be laughing about this. With Hitler in Hell,” he said.
The website Twitchy, owned by Catholic conservative Michelle Malkin, aggregated several more slurs and death threats from Twitter users.
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