Because the Roman Catholic Church adamantly defends life in the womb, the oldest and most infirm and the institution of marriage, it has legions of foes spread throughout major media. Those critics will surface repeatedly between now and the selection of the new pope to use the occasion to sling their stones. It is a fun time, really, since they know almost nothing of which they speak, and their agenda journalism is of so little consequence unlike the MSM's recent interventions in the presidential election.
There are very good commentators on the Church and the proceedings at the Vatican, and they include Father Robert Barron, Father Joseph Fessio, Father C.J. McCloskey, Father Robert Sirico, Father Robert Spitzer and Benedict and John Paul II biographer George Weigel to name just six. There are others, though these scholars and very savvy media commentators are at the very top echelon of Americans who can offer genuine insight and commentary on this extraordinarily important moment in the life of the Church and the world it serves. Many protestant leaders, like Dr. Albert Mohler, can offer very informed judgments on the role of the Church in the world.
But do beware of lefty, ill-informed, or simply outright anti-Catholic "journalists" dressing up their agendas as "reporting," and attach zero importance to location of the byline being Rome.
Today's lead piece on the succession in the New York Times is a perfect example. Authored by Rachel Donadio and Elisabetta Povoledo, and originating in Vatican City, it contains this whopper of a paragraph:
The resignation sets up a struggle between the staunchest conservatives, in Benedict’s mold, who advocate a smaller church of more fervent believers, and those who believe that the church can broaden its appeal in small but significant ways, like allowing divorced Catholics who remarry without an annulment to receive communion or loosening restrictions on condom use in an effort to prevent AIDS. There are no plausible candidates who would move on issues like ending celibacy for priests, or the ordination of women.
This is so silly a paragraph as to rank in some annual competition for naked bias somewhere.
Note these two reporters do not cite a single name of one of those staunch conservatives, nor of a cardinal or even an advisor to a cardinal who wants to allow divorced Catholics who remarry without annulment to receive communion.
They made up this "struggle" because they either do not know or do not want to report on the real issues facing the Church. If even one cardinal can be quoted saying he wants a smaller church of more fervent believers, I'll send the reporters roses, but it is just absurdity with a byline, passed on by at best ignorant editors.
Lousy, biased reporting like this is going to be a regular, indeed daily event for the next many weeks as folks who know very little and who refuse to ask those who do know much write vast amounts of copy. Skip it all except for the op-eds from folks like those I have cited, and just read John Allen in the National Catholic Reporter if you want facts.