Editorial By John-Henry Westen
September 14, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the most scathing attack ever publicly directed at LifeSiteNews.com by a prominent clergyman, Fr. Thomas Rosica, President and CEO of Salt and Light Television, went so far as to accuse LifeSiteNews.com of doing the “work of Satan” in an interview on Sirius Satellite Radio's The Catholic Channel.
In the September 9 interview, Fr. Rosica told “Across The Nation” host Bob Dunning: “We have an agency in Canada functioning called LifeSite. It purports itself to be a news service for the areas and issues of life. I will say very publicly to those listening – it is not credible, it does not speak for the Church, it is not ethical, it is not honest.”
Rosica, who spoke of the need for “civility, charity, kindness and humanity” in the pro-life movement, at the same time said of LSN: “I encourage people to know that this is not an authentic instrument at the service of unity and at the service of the Church. It is causing division.”
He continued: “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.”
He concluded the assault on LSN saying: “I think we have to be very clear and say that part of the work of Satan is to divide – to pit people against each other and they are succeeding quite well.”
The Salt and Light CEO was reacting to LifeSiteNews' coverage of a post on his blog, in which Fr. Rosica expressed similar anger and frustration against North American pro-life leadership generally and by unmistakable implication, EWTN News Director Raymond Arroyo.
Writing on his blog in the aftermath of the Kennedy funeral and in reaction to the pro-life and Catholic leaders who criticized the grandiose funeral given to Kennedy, Rosica wrote that “Civility, charity, mercy and politeness seem to have dropped out of the pro-life lexicon.”
Ironically, however, the language used by Rosica was less civil than anything issued from the pro-life leadership. The harshness of his denunciation is especially shocking given his prominence as the chief organizer for World Youth Day in Toronto, his role as a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and an advisor to the Canadian Bishops Conference.
“Many so-called lovers of life and activists in the pro-life movement, as well as well-known colleagues in Catholic television broadcasting and media in North America, have revealed themselves to be not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence,” he wrote.
In his blog post, Rosica did not mention Arroyo by name, but referred to “well-known colleagues in Catholic television broadcasting” in North America who had publicly criticized the Kennedy funeral. There was no doubt that he was referring to Arroyo, who had written a prominent article strongly criticizing the Kennedy funeral, and thus LSN reported it plainly as fact. However, Rosica protested LifeSiteNews' coverage, complaining to Dunning “they pitted our television network against Raymond Arroyo on EWTN. Now, I never mentioned Raymond Arroyo in my text and nor did I mention EWTN.”
Later in the interview, however, Rosica indicated that Arroyo was indeed one of the people that his blog post was aimed at. “For them to say that I aimed everything at Raymond Arroyo – there were about 20 different people,” he said. “Raymond Arroyo was the most public that they cited, which I didn't mention in my article, but we all saw Raymond Arroyo's blog.”
While the LSN headline highlighted Rosica's slam at Arroyo, the article also noted Rosica's wider concern, observing that “Rosica took a swing at pro-life activists generally, and his US counterpart specifically for daring to criticize Cardinal O'Malley's decision to participate in and allow the Kennedy funeral extravaganza.”
Rosica told Dunning that among the 20 or so individuals he was aiming his blog post at, there were some ”priests especially who claim to be pro-life, causing more division in the Church.” Some of the most prominent priests criticizing the Kennedy funeral were Human Life International President Fr. Tom Euteneuer, and Fr. Brian Harrison of the Oblates of Wisdom, who wondered what the funeral would have been had Kennedy been an anti-Semite rather than an active supporter of the legal killing of unborn children.
It is curious, however, that Rosica reserved his harshest words for LSN. After all, even within our original coverage of Rosica's criticisms of North American pro-life leaders, we specifically reminded our readers about the need for civility. “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 lasting impression left by Fr. Rosica's comments – both about pro-life critics of the Kennedy funeral and about LSN specifically – is a sense of irony. It may very well be that some of those who criticized the Kennedy funeral lacked charity (anyone who expressed a desire for Kennedy's damnation, for example), but the solution to the problem can hardly be to launch a series of invective-filled attacks against North America's pro-life leaders (all of whom expressly stated that they are praying for Kennedy's soul and hope for his salvation).
Blaming these pro-life leaders for the invective he may have received from some abortion opponents is patently unfair. It is tantamount to blaming all priests for the sexual abuse scandals.
However grievous Rosica's disagreements with Raymond Arroyo, Fr. Euteneuer, Fr. Harrison, and LSN and the rest, or however profound his concerns about a lack of unity and civility, so publicly accusing these devoted and supremely peaceful pro-life and religious leaders and activists of being agents of “division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence” cannot possibly be the solution.
See the complete transcript of Fr. Rosica's interview on the Catholic Channel here.
To RESPECTFULLY contact Fr. Rosica: [email protected]
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