Remember: Take off 50 IQ Points When the MSM Covers Religion

You recall that when the MSM covers something you actually know about, they often get it badly wrong?

So remember that when the MSM covers something you don’t know about.  So when you don’t really know what the Pope said during an interview and the MSM attributes something really bizarre and outrageous to him (“Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to  heaven”), don’t just swallow that hook, line, and sinker and then start panicking about how to answer the accusations that come flooding in from fundamentalists and Catholic reactionaries (but I repeat myself) who are sure that, once again, they have the goods on the Heretic in Rome.

First, find out what the Pope actually said, not what the theologically illiterate media *thinks* he said.  Jimmy Akin is a reliable source for that, filtering out the media rubbish and actually looking at what was really said and what it actually means.

Best of all, because Jimmy has done the heavy lifting, I don’t have to, which is really nice.

Do note, however, that only three sorts of people are *eager* to believe the Pope is a heretic on the flimsiest provocation: MSM types (who simply have no idea what they are talking about and often write in honest ignorance); anti-Catholic Fundamentalists who are both hostile toward and ignorant of the Church; and Catholic Reactionaries, who claim to love the Church but in fact hate her (the actual, real, living Church I mean) and the Pope and believe the darkest things first, not last.  Reactionary Catholic love a Church of the imagination, not the actual flesh and blood Church in which we live. It’s a species of gnosticism, ironically.  Of the three, the Catholic Reactionary who declares the Pope a heretic have the least excuse at all, since they know (and insist for everybody they want kicked out of the Church, that outside the Church there is no salvation.  They need to remember that the measure they use will be measured to them, as they long for the expulsion of almost all the Church’s members.

Meanwhile, those of us who don’t think God sent Jesus into the world to make sure that as few people as possible would be saved have a take like this on the possibility of salvation for those outside the visible Church–including atheists.

"ayup, the onion owned that one start to finish.they stretched it out on their twitter, ..."

What a Time to Be Alive!
"That was hilarious."

What a Time to Be Alive!
"So --let me ask you--Siblings can get more DNA of a specific ethnicity than a ..."

Some thoughts on the Royal Wedding
"IDP is not Catholic Integralist in my view. The reason the party is both generally ..."

I had Lillian Vogl, the Chairwoman ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Stu

    Use the same spread when the media reports on the military or firearms.

    This is all very sensible advice. Media types are not only lacking in the nuances but they also make headlines that capture viewers. That being said, I would love to see the Pope close the “OODA loop” and reflect a bit on how the media seizes upon his remarks and then goes all wacky in reporting them.

    • Alma Peregrina

      And use the same caution when the media reports about medicine.

      • Paxton Reis

        I agree about medicine–the MSM jumps on any medical related press release with little context or critical analysis.

        Heck, for any science news in general this is true too.

      • Linebyline

        And computers.

        And, well, anything.

    • Chesire11

      ..and don’t forget to use the same skepticism when the MSM reports on political scandals, and liberals, and conservatives.

  • There’s a fourth group Mark, the Liberal Catholics who want the Pope to change elements of the Magisterium, the LCWR types.

    • Dan C

      I have little thought that the liberal Catholics and their spokes-folks are saying much on this. NCReporter has been a most accurate source for Pope Francis related reporting. There have been no huge expectations.

      My aunt is in an LCWR order and none of them are expecting the changes you claim they will. I am close to a second liberal LCWR order and, again, this expectation you claim is missing.

      I think you are misinformed on liberals.

      • ivan_the_mad

        “I think you are misinformed on liberals.” Quite likely, Manny is proceeding from the usual this side of the aisle is good, that side of the aisle is bad dichotomy.

        Liberal catholic is not at all the same thing as a dissenter or heretic, and conservative Catholic is not at all the same thing as faithful and orthodox. In my experience, those terms are jumbled together in quite a mess.

        • I was not referring to Liberal in the political sense.

      • I know a nun who supports abortion rights, is sympathetic to gay marriage, has a host of other socially liberal views. Perhaps i don’t know many LCWR types, but there are certainly some that woiuld embrace changes to the Magisterium.

  • Guest

    Since the author used an acronym without defining it first, I looked up MSM in Google. Wiki says that this refers to “Men having sex with men”. Is the author talkng about homosexual priests? Just what is his point?

    • Stu

      Are you saying it doesn’t mean the Morehouse School of Medicine?

      • John Jones

        I agree that the author failed to tell us what he meant by MSM. It is very poor journalism to write jargon.

        • Rosemarie


          Acronyms are quite common on the Internet.

          • Margaret

            Rosemarie wins the Internet.

            • Rosemarie


              Garsh, I’ve never won the Internet before.

              *Sniff* You like me, you really like me! 😀

          • jonKing

            Like J.M.J. which according to Wiki stands for?

            JMJ may refer to:

            Jesus, Mary, Joseph

            Jam Master Jay, the DJ of Run-DMC

            Jean Michel Jarre, a French music composer and producer

            Justin Meldal-Johnsen, bass player

            Journées Mondiales de la Jeunesse, the French translation for World Youth Day

            Jornada Mundial de la Juventud, the Spanish translation for World Youth Day

            Jornada Mundial da Juventude, the Portuguese translation for World Youth Day

            • Rosemarie


              When accompanied by crosses and occurring at the top of Catholic correspondence, it always stands for “Jesus, Mary, Joseph.”

              (Why would I head my posts with “Justin Meldal-Johnsen”?)

        • TedCoates

          The author is presuming that his readers have IQs greater than their hat size.

    • I thought Mark was talking about Methylsulfonylmethane. I’m really confused, now.

    • chezami

      Mainstream Media

    • It stands for “Mark’s So Mean”.

  • Dr. Eric

    MSM is the initials for MainStream Media. An acronym is pronounced as a word like NASA or LASER. Sorry, I’m feeling pedantic tonight.

  • Dan C

    Akin is misleading and attached to a certain version of “outside the Church their is no salvation.” it is one formulated to let in the Evangelicals, that allows a formulation for Jesus-believers, and if Akin’s allowed to squeak folks in because of his affinity for a politcal and religious confrere, I get to bring in the “anonymous Christians.”

    Akin and other Catholics attached to Evangleicalism and still reflexively having trouble with the faith/works dichotomy, which is evident in this Q and A bit, mislead Catholics.

    Akin fails to bring into his speculative regard of who isn’t allowed to be saved, because he really is hedging on that, everyone that Jospeh Ratzinger does note in a 1964 sermon:

    …Everything we believe about God, and everything we know about man, prevents us from accepting that beyond the limits of the Church there is no more salvation, that up to the time of Christ all men were subject to the fate of eternal damnation. We are no longer ready and able to think that our neighbor, who is a decent and respectable man and in many ways better than we are, should be eternally damned simply because he is not a Catholic. We are no longer ready, no longer willing, to think that eternal corruption should be inflicted on people in Asia, in Africa, or wherever it may be, merely on account of their not having “Catholic” marked in their passport.

    Actually, a great deal of thought had been devoted in theology, both before and after Ignatius, to the question of how people, without even knowing it, in some way belonged to the Church and to Christ and could thus be saved nevertheless. And still today, a great deal of perspicacity is used in such reflections.

    Yet if we are honest, we will have to admit that this is not our problem at all. The question we have to face is not that of whether other people can be saved and how. We are convinced that God is able to do this with or without our theories, with or without our perspicacity, and that we do not need to help him do it with our cogitations. The question that really troubles us is not in the least concerned with whether and how God manages to save others.

    The question that torments us is, much rather, that of why it is still actually necessary for us to carry out the whole ministry of the Christian faith—why, if there are so many other ways to heaven and to salvation, should it still be demanded of us that we bear, day by day, the whole burden of ecclesiastical dogma and ecclesiastical ethics? And with that, we are once more confronted, though from a different approach, with the same question we raised yesterday in conversation with God and with which we parted: What actually is the Christian reality, the real substance of Christianity that goes beyond mere moralism? What is that special thing in Christianity that not only justifies but compels us to be and live as Christians?

    It became clear enough to us, yesterday, that there is no answer to this that will resolve every contradiction into incontrovertible, unambivalent truth with scientific clarity. Assent to the hiddenness of God is an essential part of the movement of the spirit that we call “faith.” And one more preliminary consideration is requisite. If we are raising the question of the basis and meaning of our life as Christians, as it emerged for us just now, then this can easily conceal a sidelong glance at what we suppose to be the easier and more comfortable life of other people, who will “also” get to heaven. We are too much like the workers taken on in the first hour whom the Lord talks about in his parable of the workers in the vineyard (Mt 20:1-6). When they realized that the day’s wage of one denarius could be much more easily earned, they could no longer see why they had sweated all day. Yet how could they really have been certain that it was so much more comfortable to be out of work than to work? And why was it that they were happy with their wages only on the condition that other people were worse off than they were? But the parable is not there on account of those workers at that time; it is there for our sake. For in our raising questions about the “why” of Christianity, we are doing just what those workers did. We are assuming that spiritual “unemployment”—a life without faith or prayer—is more pleasant than spiritual service. Yet how do we know that?

    • Dan C

      He spoke of this during his papacy, too.

      Akin, and Longenecker, have set forth speculative theology.

      Akin is silent on the matter, and cannot face his audience with some of the messages of The priest who would become pope.

      The point: that why does it matter to be Catholic, if everyone gets a chance at salvation, some backdoor, is that it is a better life. Or, as one saint noted: All the way to Heaven is Heaven.

      It matters to be Catholic. We are so called. God will offer salvation to an atheist. He is all-powerful and can do so. But I am not atheist and know that spiritual employment, as Ratzinger called it, is so so much better.

      The need for the exclusivity of salvation is a deep spiritual fault, one that does not see the glory of day-to-day citizenship in the Kingdom.

  • Dan C

    Wait! More Ratzinger, which is great, because he puts Everyone, who isn’t Catholic into the “outside the Church formulation,” but he still thinks salvation isopen to them:

    “Cardinal” Joseph Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth, 1996, p. 24: “Q.  But could we not also accept that someone can be saved through a faith other than the Catholic?  A.  That’s a different question altogether.  It is definitely possible for someone to receive from his religion directives that help him become a pure person, which also, if we want to use the word, help him please God and reach salvation.  This is not at all excluded by what I said; on the contrary, this undoubtedly happens on a large scale.”

    • Dan C

      I love me some Benedict 16th.

      Ratzinger answers the question constantly over his life: God can and does save non-believers, who are all non-Catholics, often, and “in large scale.”

      He also answers the question that the first question demands: why should we care to believe?

      And the parable of the Prodigal son did answer that also: as the father said to the eldest: “you are with me always.”

      It is to our shame that that is not enough.

      • Dr. Eric

        I’d say the answer lies in the Parable of the Talents. Catholics are given ten talents while others are given five or one. It is up to us to put those talents to work to turn a profit for The Lord and not bury them as did the man in the parable.

        • Dan C

          Maybe…I confess to have trouble understanding that parable in the midst of the others.

          All-in-all: it is vital to acknowledge the deeper question in our insistence on locking up the Gates of Heaven: we question the value, then, of being a Catholic.

  • Elmwood

    Nobody knows who, in particular, goes to hell, so I fail to see what the big deal is. Certainly some, possibly many, don’t want eternity with God, but that’s about all we can say about it.

  • Julie Peitz Nickell

    I left a comment on the ShepherdPress blog site. I have a feeling the moderator is going to reject it.