US website regrets that ‘skewed papal coverage’ ensures people will never hear Pope Benedict’s true words

A US website, the, have posted an article by Colleen Carroll Campbell, under the title, ‘What the Pope really said in Spain’ that criticises the US and European media for misrepresenting and totally distorting Pope Benedict’s addresses during his visit to Spain.

Ms Carroll Campbell writes:

‘From the screeching headlines and sour press reports, you would think Pope Benedict XVI’s recent trip to Spain was a colossal flop. What else could you call a visit from an 83-year-old cleric who spent two straight days ranting against gays and abortion amid swarms of angry protesters? And we all know that’s what happened, because the mainstream media told us so.

Never mind that little in the transcripts or live television coverage of the papal visit supported that storyline. Or that those anti-pope protests trumpeted as the trip’s most newsworthy event were more minuscule than massive. The gay rights activists who staged a “kiss-in” against Benedict in Barcelona numbered about 200. The pilgrims who gathered to cheer him numbered a quarter million.

Let’s not dwell on numbers. What matters are words, and according to the Associated Press, Benedict devoted his to “attacking” and “blasting” Spain’s lax abortion and marriage laws.’

Ms Carroll Campbell then makes the telling point that the journalists interpretations and explanations of the Holy Father’s addresses bore little resemblance to his actual words.

‘The AP spared readers all that papal mumbo jumbo about the beauty of faith and family and cut to the chase, saying Benedict “railed against same-sex marriage and divorce” and “criticized policies allowing for abortions.”

What were the actual words that generated this synopsis of the pope’s homily, one echoed in news reports across Western Europe and America? Here they are, buried in Benedict’s call for more support for working families: “The generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end.”

Simply put, the pope believes that faithful, lifelong, man-woman marriage is the ideal context for bearing and rearing children. His belief is buttressed by four decades of social science studies showing that children raised by their married mothers and fathers fare better than those raised in other types of families on nearly every measure available.’

She concludes:

‘Benedict sounded these themes Sunday, in a 1,900-word homily of which only about 100 words related to the hot-button issues that received all the press.

“At a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him,” the pope said, architect Antoni Gaudí’s remarkable cathedral reminds us “that the secret of authentic originality consists … in returning to one’s origin, which is God.”
In other words, the transcendent world view of faith is more original and liberating than the materialist one championed by secular sophisticates. Those are provocative words, worthy of serious debate. Too bad skewed papal media coverage ensures that most Americans and Europeans will never hear them.’
Protect the Pope comment: Since Holy Father’s visit the web has been saturated with polemical caricatures of his addresses stoking up the culture war between secularists and the Catholics Church. They totally misrepresent Pope Benedict with headlines such as ‘Pope rails against same sex marriage in Spain’ and ‘Pope attacks abortion’. What he actually did was speak out in support of marriage and protecting life from conception but he never criticised, or even mentioned so called ‘gay marriage’ or ‘abortion’.
Colleen Carroll Campbell’s excellent post is well worth reading in its entirety.

10 comments to US website regrets that ‘skewed papal coverage’ ensures people will never hear Pope Benedict’s true words

  • John

    One thing I’ve noticed with media outlets is that they try to make it out as “Benedict’s stance on homosexuality and women priests..” etc when, in reality, it’s “Catholicism’s stance on homosexuality and women priests”.

    The media’s agenda is to try to divide and conquer Catholics. Separate the people from the Pope and then shape their opinions to the media’s perspective. In other words:

    “Well, the Pope believes in that homosexuality and abortion are wrong, but you reasonable Catholics surely don’t believe those extreme, outdated ideas, do you?” The media is sick.

    • Tim H

      ““Well, the Pope believes in that homosexuality and abortion are wrong, but you reasonable Catholics surely don’t believe those extreme, outdated ideas, do you?” ”

      John, Is there not some truth in that statement. See which is evidence that the pope and “UK Catholics” are divergent in their views. I’m not going to start an argument over who is right (and it is clear that the Pope’s position is theauthentic catholic one), but it would be inacurate for the media to pretend that the correct doctrine is followed by “ordinary Catholics” when very many do not.

      I do, however, agree that it is regretable that a few contravertial issues overshadow much of what the church does and the Pope says. There are many areas of common ground and areas where the church might be able to work contructively with people of other faiths and none. Trouble is that the contravertial issues are seen as very important by both sides and neither side is likley to comprimise (and I am part of this myself. My longest and most “ranty” posts here are on the rights of gay people). The Pope could stop talking about “agressive secularism” etc and he would get a more friendly reception from the media. But if that is what he believes why should he keep his mouth shut? The secularists could stop going on about what we see as inhuman aspects of Catholic docrine, but why should we, they are issues that are important to us. So I am not sure what the answer is other than try and be polite, friendly and reasonable.

  • SpeSalvi23

    The more the media rants about the Pope and the Catholic Church – the more I KNOW I’m safe and sound in her generously outstretched arms.
    She’s reaching for us with patience, love and kindness to pull us out of our numbness, blindness, egomania and indifference!

  • Karla

    They always do this, the mainstream media, the concentrate on a few select quotes from the Holy Father and ignore the rest. So many things he has said have been twisted by the mainstream media because of their selective quoting and non context.

    • Tim H

      I’m not sure that media gives an false view of Catholicism. I can see that it is an incomplete view for sure, but when the media reports the Pope as “blasting” Spain’s marriage and abortion laws the central message that the that the laws are in conflict with Catholic doctrine is conveyed and that is completely accurate is it not? Sure the nuances of his message are lost but the message still gets through which is surely what the Pope intended and expected when he started speaking.

      • Karla

        Many quotes have been taken out of context, badly translated etc.

        • Tim H

          I do kinda agree with you and I can understand the frustration inaccurate and incomplete reporting must bring but standards of Journalism are universally low regardless of subject matter – I challenge you to find me a scientist who thinks that his/her discovery has been properly and accurarely reported in a national newspaper rather than reduced to exagerated sound bites.

  • fd

    Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana( which is the magazine with the widest circulation in Italy)emphasizes in this week’s edition an important message the Pope gave in his visit to Spain: governments have to be more committed to families. The Pope asserted in Spain that families must be supported by the governments. This is an other pivotal message most news outlets (deliberately or not) neglected to tell us about.

    • Tim H

      “The Pope asserted in Spain that families must be supported by the governments.”

      Something I completely agree with for the sake of our future, but isn’t having government involved in families “socialism” * which from reading this site seems to be something some Catholics fear more than anything else (with the possible exception of silly men with rolled-up trouser legs)

      * certainly the policies of the recently gone labour government that were profamily (sure start, family tax credits, child trust fund, health in pregnacy grants etc) where to the left of the polical spectrum. Now we have a more right wing government we see much of that swept away with the abolition of many of these schemes. Now the Labour party’s policies mentioned above were not perfect (and by adopting a broad definituion of family they were not congruent with Catholic teaching), but they surely did benefit many children and overall were a force for good. It saddens me that “supporting families” is often a code word for shaming gays. Issues like poverty, housing and equality are to my mind very important (and you could say more important – they certainly effect more people), but they need left-leaning solutions do they not?

  • Nick, I know this is a protect the pope website. But I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing this with your readers:

    Let’s all pray and work to protect Our Lady.

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