Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Media Responsibility

A few years ago, Sam Miller, co-chairman of Forest City Enterprises in Cleveland, OH, spoke at a First Friday Luncheon for the Diocese of Cleveland. He reminded his audience that in America, Catholics are a minority group, and as such, are subject to discrimination. Miller, who is Jewish, opened his speech with the following:

"I’m going to say things here today that many Catholics should have said 18 months ago. Maybe it’s easier for me to say because I am not Catholic but I have had enough, more than enough, disgustingly enough...During my entire life I’ve never seen a greater vindictive, more scurrilous, biased campaign against the Catholic Church as I have seen in the last 18 months, and the strangest thing is that it is in a country like the United States where there is supposed to be mutual respect and freedom for all religions."

This speech was given in 2003. Seven years later many everyday Catholics are still taking this ongoing media frenzy at face value and hanging their heads in utter shame.

My brothers and sisters, we mustn't be so afraid to defend the real truth about our faith. There is PLENTY of solid information--real statistics and facts--that clearly refute the misinformation being touted by the secular media about our Clergy. Take a look at the following excerpt from Miller's speech.   (All emphasis mine.  Read the speech in its entirety here.)

The Church today, and when I say the Church keep in mind I am talking about the Catholic Church, is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by an infinitesimally small number of wayward priests that, I feel, have probably been totally weeded out by now. You see the Catholic Church is much too viable to be put down by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, take your choice, they can’t do it, they’re not going to do it and sooner or later they are going to give up, but you’ve got to make sure that you don’t give up first.

In 1799 a notice was placed in a French newspaper that a citizen Brachi had died in prison. Little did the people realize that this was Pope Pius VI who had occupied the Chair of Saint Peter for 25-years. He had been taken prisoner by Napoleon’s forces and died in prison as an indigent. At that time the thought was that this was the end of the Catholic Church, this was 200 and some odd years ago. And the reason was that there was no Pope to succeed him at that time. But you fooled them then, and we’re going to fool them again.

I’ve been talking more or less about the United States of America as far as the importance of the Church; let’s bring it home to Cuyahoga County and the seven surrounding counties. In education you save the county 420 million dollars per year. Wherever there’s a Church, and most other churches have fled the inner city, there’s a Catholic Church, and wherever there’s a Catholic Church there’s an absence of drug dealers. You talk to any bank that has real estate mortgages in the inner city, and they will tell you that the one thing that keeps up the value in that particular area is your Church. I’ve seen for example on Lorain near the Metro Catholic Schools there at the Church the nuns used to go out in the morning with brooms and sweep away the drug dealers from around the particular area. On Health and Human Services, the homeless, adoption, drugs, adult care and so on you saved the county 170 million dollars a year. At the end of the day the difference that your local Catholic institutions make in the eight counties that comprise this diocese are several billion dollars per year. Why don’t we hear about this? Why, because it’s good news. If some priest was caught with his hand in the collection plate it would be front page news. But the fact that you have thousands of students being education free, as far as the rest of the country is concerned doesn’t make news. Why? Because it is not newsworthy, it’s not dirty.

I'm not here to deny freedom of the press, but I believe that with freedom comes responsibility, and with rights you have an obligation. You cannot have rights that are irresponsible. Unfortunately our society today is protected by all rights and ruled by some of their wickedness. Anybody who expects to reap the benefits of freedom must understand the total fatigue of supporting it.

Television and news services are flat out being irresponsible in its obligation to the truth in the case of this "sex abuse scandal" within the Church.  As they continue to flood the world with a constant barrage of commentary and judgment against the Church and the Holy Father for the behavior of 1% of her priests named in less than 0.5% of sex abuse reports, the media is outright ignoring roughly 79,600 victims and hiding behind the First Amendment to do it.

You bet that's irresponsible.

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