From a recent statement sent out on behalf of Raymond Flynn, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and three-term mayor of Boston:
coverage about the upcoming conclave has been completely off the mark
and has done a great disservice to the public. Catholic viewers deserve
more than salacious controversy and scandal about this amazing moment in
Surveying a number of major media outlets, there has been no insight or
creative commentary. The same old questions are being asked to common
critics with the same old answers given. The media spends more time
trying to create controversy by interviewing the typical people who
ideologically disagree with Church values, often interviewing these
well-known critics to boost their ratings.
The over-exposure of critics, who are not only uninformed about the
conclave, but hostile to Christian values and traditions has made it
nearly impossible to develop sound and reliable sources about the
Vatican. Because so much of the information they report is hearsay or
down right inaccurate, the public is lacking a clear picture into one of
the most important events in our lifetime. Consequently, concerned
viewers get only sensational half-true stories. It’s absurd that the
national media hasn't figured out how to explain to the audience what's
about to happen.
The conclave is not a political election, a soccer match or a popularity
contestit’s much bigger than any of those. The media should spend its
time trying to report on the real issues and what's really important to
the future of the more than 1.3 billion Catholics throughout the world.
The College of Cardinals is already discussing the problems and
challenges facing the Church in a dramatically changing culture.
Theologians and editors, as smart as they are, can't answer those
questions and they can’t figure out who will be the next Pope. But local
parish priests and lay Catholics can talk about the issues. They'll
tell you what concerns parents, older Catholics and even disgruntled
Mr. Flynn, who is obviously wise to the ways
of the world, certainly knows that there are many parts of malice mixed
with ignorance and general cluelessness when it comes to news coverage of the Catholic
Church and the papacy. To be fair to journalists in general, they often present much
or most news in "sensational half-true stories". And even we in the
Catholic media are occasionally bitten by the sensationalistic bug. The
next few weeks are going to be unusual, exciting, and filled with lots
of news, rumors, and some craziness. Catholic World Report is
going to be working hard to present facts, separate truth from fiction,
and help our readers make sense of the events in Rome. True, it isn't always easy to find good, trustworthy sources of news, but neither it is impossible, especially with the internet and varied sources that are now accessible to millions of readers. More on this and many related topics in the days and weeks to come!