In an extraordinarily interesting post at CatholicCulture.org, Phil Lawler raises the question “Is the New York Times protecting dissident priests?”
Lawler’s post is written in response to a New York Times article concerning religious attitudes toward so-called “homosexual marriage”in which the author, Terry Mattingly, noted:
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin, but there are Catholic priests who secretly bless gay unions.
That dependent clause contain a bombshell—which Lawler describes as being treated almost as an “afterthought”—and raises a very important issue. Mattingly observes:
If, in fact, the Times has factual material about Catholic priests blessing same-sex relationships and unions then this is clearly the most important news angle in this piece. This is a major news story, buried deep in a related news report.
However, note that this claim (which I do not doubt, by the way) appears with absolutely no context, no attribution, no clue as to the source of this information. The Times does not even claim to be printing this information based on anonymous sources who requested protection from the Vatican. This is most strange.
Assuming that Mattingly’s article is accurate, Catholic priests are blessing so-called “homosexual marriages.”
That wouldn’t surprise The Motley Monk. But, if that is the case, Lawler notes:
…these priests are clearly acting in defiance of the Church: the institution they claim to serve. That defiance would constitute a major news story, not merely an observation to be made in passing.
Lawler asks: Why doesn’t the New York Times provide the evidence? After all, that would be news, no? He adds:
Any Times reporter who actually witnessed a Catholic priest blessing a homosexual union, or heard a credible first-hand report of such an event, should have written a news story about it, and that story should have appeared on the front page. That didn’t happen.
Lawler observes that the New York Times may be protecting dissenting priests from ecclesiastical discipline for three possible reasons:
- The New York Times reported something as fact when it had no solid evidence. (The Motley Monk thinks “Unlikely.”)
- The New York Times had solid evidence, but withheld it because the priests demanded anonymity. (The Motley Monk thinks “Likely.”)
- The New York Times knows of priests who have blessed homosexual unions, and those priests did not request. But, the New York Times decided not to identify them anyway. (The Motley Monk thinks “Perhaps.”)
While Lawler believes the third reason provides the most likely explanation, The Motley Monk doesn’t. The Motley Monk thinks it more likely that those priests who celebrate so-called “homosexual marriages” requested anonymity.
After all, there are many priests who dissent from a variety of Church teachings. Think of those who “bless” the marriages divorced persons whose previous marriages haven’t been annulled. There also are those priests who advise their parishioners that using artificial birth control is “completely moral.” Then, too, there are those priests who participate at faux Masses celebrated by so-called “women priests.” Why should it be any different for those priests who believe that so-called “homosexual marriage” should be a sacrament?
What many of these priests who dissent from these Church teachings absolutely don’t want is that their dissent be made public by the New York Times or any other news organization.
It would endanger their status as public ministers of the Roman Catholic Church.
So, it’s wink and nod…and provide dissenting priests cover.
And The Motley Monk wouldn’t be surprised if many of their bishops happen to know it.
To read Phil Lawler’s post at CatholicCulture.org, click on the following link:
To read Terry Mattingly’s article in the New York Times, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link: