Spinning the Jesuits and Benedict XVI

I like Jesuits – my husband was educated by them. I like America Magazine, even though it sometimes irks me when it seems to me to be dancing upon a thin wire of near-dissent.

But this story is trying very hard to suggest that the editor of America Magazine, Rev. Reese, is being forced out of his job by the new pope. They can’t quite pull it off, as they are bound to report that the impetus for his resignation has less to do with Rome and more to do with the fact that Bishops right here in America had expressed concerns about the content of the journal. And they are also bound to mention that Reese left Rome, after the election of the new pope, “with the idea that he would be resigning…”

If the bishops are complaining, and the old pope is ailing, you can bide your time. If the bishops are complaining and a new pope – one who expresses a distrust of relativism – is elected, well…yes…then it is time to move on. That’s just practical, real life. It’s not an evil scheme; no one is being silenced.

But expect to see the press having a field day with this and carrying on that Benedict XVI is starting a new Inquisition, oppressing and stifling free speech,yadda, yadda, yadda. This article clumsily, and repetitiously reports that Reese’s magazine “discussed both sides of an issue…” And suggests that the problem arises from the Catholic Church’s unwillingness to allow such discussion.

How about this: A magazine purporting to represent the Church and its issues and views has an obligation – even when “reporting both sides” of a story, to at least appear to not be encouraging dissent.

Commonweal magazine manages to do it. Perhaps under a new editor, America Magazine will be able to do it, too.

Amy Welborn has an excellent roundup of this coverage, which will be worth watching.

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