CNN Joins The Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and The Catholic Church

It would appear that those in the mainstream media who want to do hit pieces on Pope Benedict XVI need to take a number. The latest to engage in Yellow Journalism is CNN. The “network of record” dispatched Gary Tuchman to do the dirty work. One might recall that it was none other than Tuchman who remarked how distressing it was travelling in the heartland during the 2008 Election campaign. He complained that some who recognized him told him that their Middle American views and ideas were repeatedly mocked by the mainstream media, all the while those of the liberal establishment were hailed. Tuchman’s words were quite revealing when it comes to this story.

CNN has been advertising their hit piece on Pope Benedict XVI as if he was already guilty of some sort of cover up, even though during the Abuse Scandal it was none other than the New York Times who praised then Cardinal Ratzinger for tackling the tough problems. What tough problems did he tackle? The most notable example being Father founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Father Marcial Maciel was one of the few prominent conservatives caught up in the Abuse Scandal, most of the abusers were Church liberals who wanted to change the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger took on Father Maciel at the height of his power and popularity. One might recall that Father Maciel was quite close to Pope John Paul II. So from this example we can see that Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) showed no favorites and pulled no punches. The Legionaries of Christ were shaken to the core and as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI removed their leadership and installed his own, hardly the work of someone who was timid.

The CNN piece was perhaps even more despicable than the New York Times hit piece, because in the interim much of the modus operandi of the Old Gray Lady was exposed. Still CNN used the same material and claimed that they had something new. There is nothing new here. The crux of their argument comes from material provided by Jeffrey Anderson the attorney who has made millions off the scandal. Anderson says he is one a mision to “reform the Church.” What kind of reform would that be? Some Catholic dioceses have been forced into bankruptcy, which means the poor whom they dioceses assisted through their social programs are left in the cold. For all his concern of “reform”  Anderson hasn’t provided a penny to these particular poor.

In addition, we have the disgraced ex Archbishop of Milwaukee Rembert Weakland. The former prelate has made his anger at Pope Benedict XVI no secret. Archbishop Weakland’s overt liberal leadership and a homosexual affair, which led to him being blackmailed by the man he was having the affair with, resulted in  a tenure of disgrace. Rather than admit his faults, Archbishop Weakland took on the Church via her teachings and leaders like Pope Benedict XVI. The liberal mainstream media hailed Archbishop Weakland and a book he recently wrote.

What do those who do hit pieces on Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church and hope to gain by this? Saul Alinksy and other mentors of the radical left spoke of attacking the head and then the body, what better target than the Catholic Church with its established hierarchy? If one can get away with attacking the Catholic Church, than other churches, especially Evangelical ones, would be easier targets for those on the radical left who despise the teachings and beliefs of Christianity. It won’t stop there; Orthodox Judaism would be next target, and so on until religion is nothing but a social club with leftist political activism at its core. With the basis of the western Judeo Christian ethic destroyed, the radical left could start their own ethos.

Does this sound outlandish or farfetched? All one has to do is read the writings of those who started the French Revolution (which is often widely praised and celebrated in the West) along with those who participated in violent revolution in the 1960s. The unapologetic William Ayres is friends with some of the most powerful people in the country and he has the awards to prove it.

The Abuse Scandal gave those in the mainstream media, the chance of a lifetime to attack the religious faithful. Poll after poll has shown that the mainstream media is at least 5x more likely to have a dim view of religion in general, and the Catholic Church and Evangelical churches in particular, due to their conservative views on sexuality. These churches are in the crosshairs of those who hate this stance. Add to this Pope Benedict’s off repeated line, The Dictatorship of Relativism and you have the same result as if you stepped on a hornet’s nest.

If the country elected the most liberal Presidential ticket and Congress in the nation’s history, why is the mainstream media upset with conservative oriented religious believers, wouldn’t they just be relics of a bygone age? The answer is quite simple those who believe in that “old time religion” are the last line of defense, once they are removed, the radicals will have their way with the culture. When the Jesuits were removed from France before the French Revolution, a gleeful Voltaire voiced the opinion that the next step was defeating the Catholic Church, which would make eliminating Christianity that much easier. Voltaire didn’t live long enough to see the horrid results of Reign of Terror when thousands of French Catholics, both peasant and clergy, were hauled off to the guillotine for their religious and cultural views. How odd that it was the elites who funded the radicals in Paris and later Saint Petersburg (during the Russian Revolution,) were the very elites who lost some of their family and friends to the plague of violence unleashed with their help.

In our modern times, some in the mainstream media are appalled that the great liberal experiment in Washington is fast unraveling. The hoped for liberal religious blossoms never bloomed and the conservative blossoms never faded, try as the militant secularists might to stomp them into the ground. Certain code words have appeared in liberal circles like Tea Partiers, Fox News and those who believed in “established religious beliefs.” If one has sympathies with one, than one must have sympathy with all, therefore making them not only dangerous but unintelligent, the worst insult one could be assigned by the left.

The poor has always been the foil for the far left, a group the left has little sympathy for, otherwise why would they mock those who went to state colleges and were not members of the clubs and associations to which the elite political and religious left belong? One of the true goals of the left has always been about control of culture. Don’t believe me? Do you remember how much television has changed in the last 25 years? What do you think popular culture would be like if the left was in total control? (For more on this please read The Jesus the Political Left Chose to Ignore as well as The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.

Yet, for Catholics the Springtime of Evangelization promised by the late Pope John Paul II has been made manifest in ordination numbers.  64 to 6 and 14 to 4 stand out. What does this mean? In 2006 when writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64. That same year of 2006 Denver had 14 young men ordained to the priesthood (eleven in May and three earlier in the academic year) while Los Angeles had four; a staggering statistic when one considers that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 4,300,000 Catholic residents compared to 385,000 Catholics for the Archdiocese of Denver.

In 2006 Los Angeles and Rochester were led by two of the most liberal prelates in the Church, while Omaha, Lincoln and Denver were led by three of the more conservative bishops in the US, a revelatory statistic to say the least. For more on this read my column, If You Want the Political Left to Run Governments, Look at What the Religious Left Has Done to Religion, (Left It In Tatters,)

While liberal convents are strapped for cash because they haven’t had a postulant in years, more conservative orders like the Sister of Mary in Ann Arbor, Michigan are running out of room due to the large number of young professional women coming their way. They are not the only conservative order growing; the Nashville Dominicans among others are also experiencing growing pains. All of these statistics drive the liberal establishment crazy. While mocking Catholics and Evangelicals, the liberal Protestant mainline churches, the liberal media loves to hail, are literally dying on the vine. Some have seen their congregation size drop in half, all the while the Catholic and Evangelical churches grow, especially so for Catholic churches in Africa and Asia.

As recent as fifty years ago, the Anglican Church in Britain had one of the highest rates of church attendance in the western world. Her teachings were mirrored by the life of those CS Lewis. Fifty years later, her teachings are mirrored by the likes of Elton John. However, to be fair to Sir Elton, even he is to the right of the Anglican Church on matters like welcoming Islamic Sharia Law to Britain as the spiritual leader of the Anglicans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams recently did. It is now estimated that more people attend Friday prayers at their respective mosques in Britain, than Anglicans attend church services on Sunday morning.

Do you recall hearing this on CNN, or reading this in the New York Times? What about Pope Benedict’s just concluded triumphant visit to the UK? There are so many Anglican clergy leaving their church, due to its liberal stance on the theological and social issues that some of them appealed to the Vatican for a special provision. Because of the extreme liberalism of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Pope Benedict XVI had to create a Personal Ordinate to welcome some of those Anglican clergy swimming the Tiber (coming to the Catholic Church.) How about this story have you read a in depth expose in the Old Gray Lady or seen an in depth report of the “network of record? Sadly, you have not.

Before I conclude I want to make a personal note to this story. When I was a Catholic grade school and Catholic high school student (in the 1970s and 1980s,) our little rust belt parish had two priests pass through who would later be kicked out of the priesthood for molestation, both spent a good deal of time in prison. Sadly, there were those I knew who were the victims of these evil men. Fortunately, I was not one of them. I take this Abuse Scandal very seriously and having lived through it, know more than I care to know about the makeup of these men and their modus operandi. Believe me statistics bear this out, Father Maciel notwithstanding the overwhelming majority of these men made no secret about how they wanted to change the Church to conform with the liberal tide of the 1960s and 1970s. As young as I was their agenda was so striking clear, change the Church. Yet too many in the mainstream media would have you believe that the majority of these evil doers were pre Vatican II types; bitter, old and sexually repressed. Believe me; nothing could be further from the truth.

I could go on and one about the falsehood perpetrated by the likes of the New York Times and CNN. However for a great summary report click here and here for a lengthy refutation of these scurrilous accusations written by a group of Catholic professors. Here’s another great article that delves into CNN’s factual handling of the matter, or lack thereof. For a very unique perspective you might want to especially read this link from former Newsweek Editor Kenneth Woodward, hardly a friend of the conservative Catholic establishment and this excellent article from Michael Sean Winters of the liberal National Catholic Reporter, again hardly stalwarts in the German pontiff’s camp.

One might conclude that those who attack Pope Benedict XVI may not firmly grasp that they are attacking the Successor to Saint Peter, the long chain of leaders Christ established starting with Saint Peter to ensure the teachings Jesus gave us would be followed and built upon here on earth. Yet, by the venom in their attacks we know those in the liberal media who attack the Church are more than cognizant of what they are doing. Jesus rarely used images of hell but he did for those who would harm children, throw away their talents and gifts, and attempt to destroy His Kingdom and message. As he was giving Peter the figurative keys, Jesus reminded all that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church (Matthew 16:15-20.) Through the centuries, whether they were evil molesters, marauding armies, heretics, or even those in our modern times who used more surreptitious means; many have tried to destroy the Church, but none have succeeded. Perhaps those in the liberal media, whose egos believe they know better than God might want to consider, if for nothing else, what their actions are doing for their own salvation.

Dave Hartline

18 Responses to CNN Joins The Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and The Catholic Church

  • This is a message for Dave Hartline:
    I was in Woodlawn in Chicago during the early years of
    The Woodlawn Organization when it was taken over by the
    Alinsky operatives, including, Fr. Egan, Nick Von
    Hoffman,et.al. I was one of two clergy who opted out
    of the movement for moral and ethical reasons. I read
    your article with comments on Alinsky and the”Radical”
    modus operandi in Fr. Dick Kim’s blog last week. You
    have a far different perspective than the Chicago Diocese at that time. Interesting.

  • Thank you for your post. I do believe there were many people like Alinsky who had great influence on those in the pre Vatican II Church. It was reported that Pope Pius XII wanted to convene the Conference but became too ill to do so. In some US Archdiocese, as well as a few in France and Belgium, movements arose that today one would view as being heretical or schismatic. I do recall the Catholic author Dave Armstrong (who was brought into the Church by Father Hardon SJ) saying that Father Hardon would often say, “The Revolution began…” Dave Armstrong couldn’t remember the precise date but it was sometime in the 1930s or 1940s.

    Anyway, what I am getting at it is before the modern communications era there were folks like Alinksy who claimed to be in line with what the Church was teaching (even though Alinsky was an Agnostic.) In reference to those who say that Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals,” which was dedicated to Lucifer among others was really sort of tongue and cheek. One generally doesn’t dedicate books to the leader of the dark side as some sort of joke. I find that dedication intersting because it happened in 1971, the twilight of his life. Why didin’t he dedicate his previous books to Lucifer? The reason I feel this happened is because it would have caused a stir. Perhaps in the twilight of his life, Alinsky was being more open about his agenda.

    The first time I had heard of Alinsky occurred in my freshman year of college when some radical graduate students were quoting him like most fervent believers would quote the Gospel. In the turmoil that was the Church in the 1970s, I don’t think many people paid much heed to the role of these radicals until recently. However, I dare say that the likes of Father McBrien were quite familiar with the lofty aspirations of Alinksy and those of a similar mindset. This doesn’t even touch on those in the media who were influenced by Alinsky, and who today run those organizations. Does anyone think that the hit pieces on Pope Benedict in particular and the Church in general would have been possible had not these poeple been calling the shots?

    Fortunately as I have said before the tide is turning. I can’t help but refer back to a priest I know who was ordained some five years ago. There was quite a stir when he made no bones about his orthodox or conservative views. I spoke with him recently and he laughed saying, “those in the seminary now make me look like a milquetoast moderate.” Now that is what really drives the left up a wall, they thought the Election of 2008 would end any talk of conservatism prevailing in any sector of society. With the coming election, it appears that it is liberalism whose back is against the wall.

  • For my taste, Mr. Hartline, you seem too optimistic.

    Also, not just from you but from others I keep hearing of how good “new” seminarians are but I have not seen much to bouy my spirits among those have seen.

    Benedict is too little too late. The trials are upon us.

  • Karl with all due respect, it isn’t about your taste or mine, it is about facts. The fact is the Church was ruderless in the 1970s, Pope Paul VI said as much when uttered his famous words, “The Smoke of Satan had entered the Church.” However, Pope John Paul II’s Springtime of the Evangelization is here. We didn’t get into the mess we are in overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight either. However, with Pope Benedict at the helm (perhaps fulfilling St John Bosco’s vision of the Twin Pillars) we will make great strides. The trials have been upon us many times before; the Islamic Invasions, the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, the 1960s Cultural Revolution, and yet here we are still Fighting the Good Fight!

  • I see the same facts but interpret them differently. It is not about taste though, you are spot on. The shoes we walk in influences our take. I remember into the early sixties. I have lived throughout this tempest. I believe we have seen, nothing yet.

  • In light of the customary, infernally low level of intellectual honesty in the Commie News Net pile-on piece of journalistic excrement, here’s my proposed response:

    Keep the Faith.

  • Karl, I certainly agree with you on your concluding point. However, I think we are in much better shape that we were 35 years ago. Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI, through their leadership and those seminarians, women religious and laity whom they influence, are at least beginning to waft out the Smoke of Satan that had entered the Church.

    T Shaw, the Haku War Dance. I wonder if the Knights Templar did something similar before battle? May God Keep Us All Safe from enemies within and without!

  • “All one has to do is read the writings of those who started the French Revolution (which is often widely praised and celebrated in the West)…”

    During the 1780′s, many who made up the Third Estate, particulary the bourgeoisie (merchants, bankers, lawyers, etc), were fed up with the inequities of the ruling class.

    The First Estate (Clergy) and the Second Estate (Nobility) were a small minority of privileged men who made up the Aristocracy. As a result of the blurred lines between the two classes,(holding high positions under the Church’s provision, for example) the Aristocratic ruling class was exempt from almost all taxes. Many of the bourgeoisie were also exempt, which left the burden of paying for wars, affairs of state, etc. on the backs of the peasantry.

    The causes of the French Revolution were many and historians still argue over them but there are aspects of the Enlightenment that conservatives, particularly American conservatives, should appreciate and identify with.

    Those who advocated for change at the time, pushed for positions in government, the Church and the military to be open to men of talent and merit. They fought for a constitution and a Parliament that would limit the king’s power. Religious toleration and fair trials were also part of their agenda.

    Now, as we all know, the French Revolution got totally out of hand but there are reasons for those of us in the West to identify with the philosophes of the 18th century.

  • DP

    It was Louis the XVI who called the Estates General. The likes of Robespierre, Danton et al were not interested in what you suggest above they wanted real power and to remake society as they saw fit. They wanted to import their revolution to all of Europe.

    You know sort of like Lenin and Stalin.

  • Afghani Stan, excellent point. I would also ask that our friend DP consider that some of the ideas that Enlightenment is given credit for dates back to the Magna Carta. In addition, there were already primitive forms of government in some Swiss Cantons (Catholic cantons at that) which espoused early democratic ideals. Sadly, Ulrich Zwingli tried to put a stop to that, which in some ways was the start of the Left’s War on Rural Inhabitants.

  • If memory serves (John Robinson, Dungeons, Fire and Sword), the Templars entered battle assuring each other that, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are The Lord’s.”

  • Stan and Dave,

    Yes, Louis XVI did convene the Estates General at the last minute but only after a hiatus of 170+ yrs and to no avail.

    Robespierre was, of course, an extreme leftist and a tyrant as well. But there are other Enlightenment notables such as Locke (a champion of America’s Founding Fathers), Newton and Montesquieu who contributed a great deal with regard to the expansion of thought and science in secular society.

    In fact, Pope Benedict XIV respected Montesquieu and the advances of the Enlightenment (especially tolerance) even though many of his bishops didn’t share his sensibilities at the time.

    In any case, some of the ideas and ideals of the philosophes should be celebrated by both the West and the Church.

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