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.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://www.thebernoullieffect.com Jeff

    Wow…I wish I had more time to spend with this. A couple of quick observations:

    1) Leaving morality aside, it is good and necessary, I think, to insist upon a distinction between homosexuality and pedophilia.

    2) Rev. Thomas’ article suggests an intruiging line of thought: Take it as a given that homosexuality is a sin. Furthermore it is obvious that such acts as murder, rape, etc. are also sins. Then the question is: if priests are required to be celibate; and a homosexual priest honors his vows and practices celibacy, thus avoiding the sin of committing a homosexual act; how then is this different from a heterosexual priest abstaining from murder?

    I guess the argument hinges on whether the acknowledgement of one’s sexual preference is the sin, or the actual consummation of the act constitutes the sin. Here I’m out of my theologyical league.

  • Miguel

    Dear Anchoress: let them do. The more vile they get, the more people that will abandon their camp, in disgust. Welcome from your vacation :)

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/akosmowski Andy K.

    My dear Anchoress,

    I always thought that America did a better job than Commonweal…then again, that is my opinion.


  • Wanda

    That version of the story you linked to is downright mild compared to this one in the San Francisco Chronicle. Now we’re up to “ousted” by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with no mention of the necessary involvement of Jesuit superiors in Rome, or even a mention that the U.S. Bishops were the ones having problems with the magazine. I got to this article via the ever-inflammable Andrew Sullivan, who goes even further in dispensing with nuance and flatly declares that “Ratzinger has now fired him” (Tom Reese). I guess refusing to acknowledge the papal name is Sullivan’s version of those Democrats who insisted that “Bush isn’t my president”, but it just makes him look childish, as do his insults about “this petty, prissy tyrant now running the Church”.

  • http://lunarskeletons.blogspot.com Oengus Moonbones

    The Anchoress: “…expect to see the press having a field day…”

    It’s like what I said before: the vast MSM smear machine was just warming up, and so expect an cresendo of noise from them until it reaches deafening loudness.

  • http://lumendelumine.blogspot.com Petra

    I’ve often enjoyed reading Commonweal (for articles such as the one you have linked to), but I must say I was rather put off by their reaction to the election of Pope Benedict…

    I think the major difference between Commonweal and America is the fact that the former is made by laypeople while the latter is edited by Religious who are – at least, in theory – required to conform to the precepts of the Church.

  • http://none JMC

    Mostly directed to Jeff, who says he is out of his theological league: The orientation is not sinful. Only the act is. God requires the same thing from homosexuals as He does from unmarried heterosexuals: Celibacy.