There’s a lively and intelligent debate about the Pavone-Zurek standoff simmering in a couple corners of the blogosphere, with broadcaster Al Kresta and canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters staking out very different opinions on the matter.
After Kresta interviewed Fr. Pavone for his radio show, Peters offered some pointed criticism. And yesterday, Kresta responded:
Calling the interview an “infomercial” is silly. It was not a hostile interview. Why should it have been since the diocese of Amarillo doesn’t allege any wrongdoing and he is a priest in good standing? Why should it have been an interview which tested Fr. Franks’ grasp of canon law when in fact I don’t pretend to be a canon lawyer? This was an interview with a friend who is loved and appreciated and quite familiar to many in our audience who wanted to give people a chance to ask clarifying questions. You can’t complain that a bowling league isn’t a chess match. These are different things.
I’ve done one interview on the topic. Ed has made 12 posts on his public blog without interviewing Fr. Frank or his canon lawyer or Bishop Zurek. Fr. Frank’s canon lawyer has published a public statement. Since Ed seems so interested in keeping this in the public eye why doesn’t he interview? So I’m going to invite Ed to debate Fr. Frank’s canon lawyer. They’ve both gone public on this. Canon law issues are not above the head of the Kresta in the Afternoon listener. And I, for one, look forward to it.
That prompted this reaction from Peters:
1. I have listened to the entire Kresta-Pavone interview, now, and, in my view, Pavone turned several key questions to suit his answers, while some obvious follow up questions were not asked by Al. Perhaps time will permit me to parse the interview in the detail in deserves, though remember, blogging is not my day job, even if radio is Al’s.
2. Al’s criticism of me for not having “interviewed” Zurek or Pavone is misplaced; I am not a news reporter, and I don’t need ‘sources’ for my analysis of what’s already news to stand. I comment, when I can, on canonical and theological matters that others have put in the public arena.3. Similarly, what exactly does Al think there is for me to debate with Fr. Diebel (Pavone’s canon lawyer)? I don’t represent one side or another, and I am indifferent as to how (among many ways) this matter resolves. My concern is that canonical and theological errors (and some blunders, as I have pointed out for both sides) be corrected, lest the public take the wrong lessons from the conduct of the principals in this case. But Diebel has made no mistakes and my few remarks in his regard have been supportive!
4. Finally, I don’t keep bringing this matter to the public. The two sides (though lately, mostly Pavone et al.) keep bringing it to the public in a way that, in my opinion, requires correction by one who knows what the rules are, and how they apply to both sides. I strive to point out these things objectively.
So, okay, Al Kresta and I disagree strongly on the in/appropriateness of his Pavone interview. Whether Al comes round to my view of this as essentially a disciplinary matter to be resolved internally, or whether I come round to his view of it as a news story to be reported from both sides, remains to be seen. But, while we disagree on this matter, this matter is all we disagree on. If a canonist may put it canonically, our communion per Canon 205 is untouched by our differences on this matter.
And I find that a source of consolation in this too, too divided world.
Meantime, the man at the center of the story, Fr. Frank Pavone, urged his supporters to be respectful and prayerful. Read about that here.