It seems that the liberal media takes every opportunity to misrepresent and malign Catholicism. A person can grow weary trying to keep up with setting the record straight, but here we go again…
Don’t Diss My Church!
Below is another recent misrepresentation/false accusation leveled by media at my Church.
Madison’s Wisconsin State Journal, Gays and Baptism
Not too unexpectedly, Madison’s Wisconsin State Journal has again been trying to make an issue out of standard Catholic Church teaching and policy. The latest issue raised by reporter Doug Erickson is infant baptism for same-sex couples.
The Catholic Church Postion
For all infant baptisms, the Catholic Church requires that parents and godparents promise to raise the child in conformity with the Catholic faith. That’s why godparents cannot be atheists, for example.
Not a very shocking suggestion, considering the pointlessness of initiating a person into an organization whose principles that person does not plan to uphold. In the case of the infant, the adult sponsors are making the promise and following up on that promise for the child.
Gay Protests at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago
Same-Sex Parents and Godparents
It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that a same-sex couple might not be inclined to follow up on such baptismal promises to stay faithful to the Catholic Church, considering the fact that Catholic Church teaching does not permit gay marriage, nor acknowledge the sexually active gay lifestyle as a morally or medically healthy one.
It follows that the Catholic Church would have some guidelines on how to handle requests for baptism from same-sex couples– to determine whether these are bona fide requests for sacramental baptism, or progressive in-your-face challenges similar to those frequently exhibited by the gay community toward the Catholic Church.
Gay Attitude Towards the Catholic Church
Here is a three minute example of how Madison, Wisconsin’s gay community has mistreated the Catholic Bishop of Madison in the past:
Given the treatment the Catholic Church gets from the gay community of Madison (above video), it comes as no surprise that the Diocese of Madison has to plan on how to follow age-old baptism requirements, to confirm the good intentions of gay couples who present a child for baptism. The Church wishes to ensure that the parents and godparents intend to fulfill their promises to raise the child in conformity with the Catholic faith, and that they are not simply interested in using the Catholic Church for free media coverage, as has been done in the past.
Wisconsin State Journal is Surprised
Typical Wisconsin State Journal article trashing Catholicism
No surprise to most of us that the Church follows Catholic teaching, but apparently a surprise to Doug Erickson and the Wisconsin State Journal, and an opportunity for Catholic-bashing for their “progressive” readers who tolerate only their own views.
The Wisconsin State Journal (WiSJ) has long exhibited a bias against conservatism and religion, by publishing numerous negative articles about Catholicism, by omitting positive coverage of mainstream religious events, and by favoring the small fringe radical groups who oppose mainstream religion.
The contrast between lives lived according to Christian belief and the intolerant destructive activities of groups such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation is striking, and was previously discussed in The Contrast.
Yet the Wisconsin State Journal favors and promotes the Freedom From Religion Foundation regularly. Somehow, Doug Erickson even managed to promote the FFRF CHRISTMAS sign this week, in the middle of August. Despite the fact that FFRF claims to be against public expressions of religion, they do advocate paganism themselves – publicly, at the Wisconsin State Capitol, including pagan references on their Christmas plaque.
And Doug Erickson of the Wisconsin State Journal wants to help.
Grasping At Straws
So what makeshift excuse did the Wisconsin State Journal use this time for sensationalizing Catholic Church policy on infant baptism for same-sex couples?
Were the 20,000 signatures from Madison?
Were 20,000 signatures from Catholics?
Where were the 20,000 signatures from?
The 20,000 signatures came from a small fringe Christian organization, Faithful America, which is not Catholic, is not faithful to mainstream Christianity, is not large (310,000 national membership), and which specializes in opposing what they call the “Christian Right.”
Doug Erickson George Soros Henchman or Wisconsin State Journal Religion Reporter?
Funded by WHOM?
Yes, “Faithful” America is funded by George Soros, who was also behind the Nuns-on-the-Bus campaign, another pathetic attempt to discredit the Catholic Church by publicizing and exaggerating the rebellion of two elderly nuns.
So now, Faithful America – George Soros’ progressive henchmen – are trying to challenge the Diocese of Madison’s not-very-surprising plan to protect the sacrament of Baptism from political manipulation in Madison.
And Doug Erickson wants to help.
Faithful America succeeded collecting the signatures of less than 7% of their own group, which in itself represents only 0.1 of 1% of American Christians.
Yet the Wisconsin State Journal gives them visibility.
Destructive Versus Constructive Groups
Faithful America seems to be taking a page from the Freedom From Religion Foundation operations manual, critically prying into the business of far-away communities and attacking the beliefs of others, rather than orienting their efforts into constructive service to the community instead, as the groups they attack, such as the Catholic Church, do.
And the Wisconsin State Journal joins them, reporting on fringe disgruntled dissidents in preference to reporting on the good that the Churches of Madison, Wisconsin do.
Doug Erickson seems to devote himself to giving credibility to many fringe progressive groups in the Wisconsin Sate Journal, while failing to report on the power of my 2,000 year old religion, Catholicism, and what it accomplishes in Madison, in Wisconsin, and in the United States. The disproportionate and unprofessional nature of his reporting betrays his agenda- that of promoting fringe progressive thought.
More than one of the groups promoted by Doug Erickson receive funds from George Soros, a billionaire with the stated goal of transforming the world.
Soros Biography by Dr. Joy Tiz
George Soros is an atheist who, in his own words, “grew up in a Jewish, anti-semitic home.” George Soros, as a teenager, helped to cart off the stolen possessions Jews after they were rounded up and transported to death camps. He claims that he has no personal regrets about his actions.
In one interview, George Soros portrayed himself as someone who shared numerous attributes with “God in the Old Testament”― “You know, like invisible. I was pretty invisible. Benevolent. I was pretty benevolent. All-seeing. I tried to be all-seeing.”
So the self-proclaimed invisible, benevolent and all-seeing George Soros, reputed to be a psychopath, goes about waging war on the Catholic Church, trying very hard to be subtle about it.
And Doug Erickson wants to help.
Doug Erickson and the Wisconsin State Journal
Whether Doug Erickson is familiar with these facts about George Soros, with Soros’ connection to Faithful America, or Soros’ connection to the other fringe groups Doug Erickson favors in his reporting, is not clear. It is also not clear whether he or the Wisconsin State Journal benefit in any additional, more direct way from their biased reporting, or from George Soros. But a good reporter would figure these things out before taking on this agenda.
We can say for sure that Erickson’s and the Wisconsin State Journal’s attacks on mainstream religion and on mainstream morality, no matter how clandestine or clever they think they are being, are quite transparent. The results of these attacks on Wisconsin’s values are reflected in the newspaper’s dwindling circulation.
So- the Wisconsin State Journal interviewed a young man, Jose Flores, who is considering the priesthood as his vocation instead of pediatrics.
The article by Doug Erickson was remarkably well done, was respectful and professional. Time will tell whether the Wisconsin State Journal has switched to fair reporting on Catholicism, or whether this is another set-up similar to last month’s, and the ball will shortly be spiked, just in time for Easter.
‘Good and Godless’ Chimes In
“Good and Godless” being melodramatic
Nevertheless, an anonymous reader with the screen name “Good and Godless” had to chime in, in the comment section, on a negative note, bemoaning the resulting loss of a pediatrician who can help humanity “in a tangible and effective way,” and lamenting “the corrupting influences of religion.”
For one thing, what is the likelihood of a pediatrician from Madison spending their life in a place where babies die for lack of doctors?
Which Need Is Greater?
And here’s the most important rational question: In the U.S. today, what is the greater need- more doctors, or more godliness?
What if this fine young man becomes a priest, works with youth, prevents countless young people from engaging in promiscuity, prevents countless babies from being killed by abortion, and saves countless marriages?
What if he teaches countless children the morality and the voluntary self-restraint that is an essential part of Catholicism?
In that case, his value would be far greater as a priest than as a pediatrician. Not only medically in the saving of lives, but also spiritually and psychologically in the saving of the the souls and sanity of the parents.
The Value of a Priest and the Power of Religion
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Priests, by providing people with Sacraments and with moral teaching, prevent countless human tragedies, something that no KGB, NSA, police force, or even (unconstitutional, despotic) presidential executive order can prevent.
A moral population exercising voluntary self-restraint has been the foundation of success in this country.
In God we trust, and on Him we rely.
The formula has worked for over two centuries in the U.S.
Madison seminarians with Bishop Morlino
Go for it, Jose! Every young man should ask himself where God is calling him to service.
A priest impacts society WAY more than does a pediatrician.
So go to seminary, ask God whether He is calling you to the priesthood, and listen for His answer.
Explosion of Young Men Going into the Priesthood
The Diocese of Madison has had an explosion of fine young men interested in the priesthood as their calling.
Maybe the generation that has been hurt most by the progressive agenda of promiscuity, abortion and divorce, errors which are promoted and defended by people similar to “Good and Godless,” has now grown up, identified the solution, God, and wants to spread the Good News.
Want to know what they are thinking?
Here’s a You Tube of one who tells you:
The Holy Season of Lent: Time for Bashing Catholics in Madison Wisconsin
The Wisconsin State Journal Defiles Itself Again
It is common knowledge among people of faith that “enlightened” irreligious progressives who do not engage in customary Lenten spiritual sacrifice/self-improvement, frequently spend Lent attacking Christians and attacking the Catholic Church in the media and elsewhere.
Why? Anybody’s guess. Too much free time? Subconscious guilt? Satan preying on undisciplined minds and spirits? Conscious exercise of Alinsky Tactics by progressives who want to damage the reputation of the Church?|
After all, the Catholic Church is the largest, most organized and most effective opponent of the radical agenda in the world today, and Madison, home of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the place where embryonic stem cell research was developed and patented, is not a welcoming place for Catholics or for their philosophy.
Predictable Lenten Attacks
So, in predictable fashion, Lenten attacks against Catholics have been escalating in progressive
Madison in recent weeks, led by the Wisconsin State Journal (WiSJ), which seems bent on self-destruction, like it’s partner publication the Cap Times, which is no longer available in print.
The Wisconsin State Journal just published an interview with Madison’s Bishop Morlino about Pope Francis’ teachings. Although not biased in itself, the interview spawned vicious online discussion attacks on the Bishop, with “enlightened,” highly educated and “tolerant” Madisonians dredging up old false myths and accusations against the Catholic Church, denigrating Madison’s Bishop, and even ridiculing Catholic liturgical vestments.
Unbiased, or Set Up to Spike?
This Wisconsin State Journal’s “unbiased” interview actually only looked unbiased to those uninitiated to Madison and it’s WiSJ. The interview article was actually a set up, like a volleyball play set up by one player for another to spike the ball. Once the interview was placed by reporter A (Doug Erickson, who incidentally tried just last month to associate the Bishop of Madison falsely with child abuse allegations elsewhere in the US), attackers followed. The attackers included a second WiSJ reporter B (Chris Rickert), who ridiculed the Bishop’s interview and questioned his motivations in a second article, in which Rickert presumed to know the mind of God. The Editor John Smalley participated by publishing three letters from angry readers ( 1,2,3 ) who attacked the Bishop and the Diocese. And finally, attackers included the “regulars;” anonymous Madisonians who attack the Catholic Church, the Diocese, and the Bishop routinely in the discussion forums after each WiSJ article published about Catholics. These “regulars” include Madison’s biggest bullies hiding their true identities behind screen names, lacking the courage to spread their hateful slander undisguised.
Obama Sets Up and Spikes
This set-up-and-spike tactic is not uncommon among progressives; it was the very tactic used by President Obama to attack the Catholic Church in the early planning stages of ObamaCare. President Obama invited Cardinal Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to the White House, assured him that ObamaCare will respect the religious rights of Catholic institutions, invited Cardinal Dolan to relay the message to the other bishops to put the Catholic Church at ease, unprepared for what was coming next. The axe fell a few months later, when President Obama issued the Contraception Mandate, to which many other groups were exempt, but to which the Catholic Church received no exemption, thus requiring Catholic institutions to violate their religious beliefs or be punished financially and cripplingly by law.
So these set-up-and-spike tactics are not new to progressive politics. Not too surprising, for a group that advocates free birth control and promiscuity, followed by abortion which perpetrates eugenics, lack of fiscal accountability either in government or in citizenry, and numerous other unethical policies which violate the Ten Commandments and the Constitution of the United States. The WiSJ simply appeared to be mimicking President Obama in it’s use of tactics against the Catholic Church.
Second Round of Attack – Who Ridicules Victims of Arson?
Stations of the Cross?
The above series of attacks stemming from the interview with Bishop Morlino about the Pope was then followed by reporter B’s (Chris Rickert’s) publishing a very disrespectful piece about the Diocese of Madison’s burnt down Cathedral site in Madison, which now houses a temporary outdoor Stations of the Cross until the economy permits the rebuilding of a Cathedral
Who ridicules? Chris Rickert does
downtown. In this second round of attacks, Rickert failed to even mention that the plot of land had housed a Cathedral burned down by arson, he showed no sympathy for his fellow Christians (he actually claimed to be a Christian in the piece!) for the tragic loss of their Cathedral, and made wise-cracks about the tax-ability of the land, suggested its use for public bathrooms, lamented that the land was not used for soup kitchens, Girl Scout and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and suggested it would be more useful for tossing a football or for “smooching under the stars.”
If Rickert is truly a Christian, he could look into some Lenten spiritual self-improvement rather than ridiculing the Stations of the Cross during Lent.
Professional Journalism, or Professional Suicide?
The level of misinformation and disrespect delivered by Rickert’s piece was pretty remarkable for someone who claims to be a journalist and claims to have a “laser-like perspective.” More remarkable is the fact that his editor, John Smalley, allowed it to be published. Finally, most remarkable of all, is the fact that the second largest newspaper in Wisconsin publishes such literary offal. Offal which insults the 25% Catholic population of Madison, of Wisconsin and of the United States. All the while claiming to be a mecca of tolerance, intellectualism and enlightenment.
The Wisconsin State Journal is likely to go the way of other progressive organizations that have imploded from their own boomeranging tactics. That would include the Capital Times of Madison which abandoned print editions in 2008, and the plunging ratings of MSNBC, CNN, and even of President Obama himself, whose lies and misrepresentations are coming home to roost, both at home and abroad.
More Disgruntled Progressives During Lent
Wisconsin State Journal is not alone in their nefarious activities this Lent. Apparently, the Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison also got a bee in it’s bonnet over religion recently. They were incensed to hear that (Christian) Governer Scott Walker tweeted a scripture reference recently (Philipians 4:13), and demanded removal of the tweet. The scripture verse reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Why would the Freedom From Religion Foundation be in such a quandary over the tweeting of a scripture reference? Because the scripture reference summarizes the Power of Religion and alerts people to the fundamental reason why Freedom From Religion wants eradication of religion from public life—the fact religion advocates an inviolable moral code, which places limits on the actions in which all, including the powerful, can engage. The Freedom of Religion Foundation is terrified of nice men who are powerful; for politicians, these men are dangerous. Such men include Pope Francis and Scott Walker. In actual fact, the Freedom From Religion Foundation represents only 1 out of thousand atheists, and only one out of 10,000 Americans, so they do not represent a serious threat to the rest of 80% Christian America, unless we allow ourselves to be bullied into submission by a pathetic and angry minority. Most atheists (999 out of 1,000) are quite happy to coexist with Christians without demanding to control their tweets.
Have a Good Productive Lent, Everyone
So, as the disgruntled media and progressives continue their customary attacks on Christians in Madison this Lent, let’s remember that Religion is Power, and including God in the plan helps us to win the war. Our opponents can attack and sputter as much as they want during Lent, but as Governor Walker reminds us, in Christ, we can do all things. Lent is our training camp, the Way of the Cross is our salvation, and the Resurrection and Easter are not just symbolic; they are very, very real.
No wonder the Enemy is sputtering at the approach of Lent and Easter each year!
Have a good and spiritually productive Lent, everyone!
Check out the cool global map at Rosary for the Bishop, a website organized in 2005 to help support Bishop Morlino against the attacks he was suffering in Madison, and which now coordinates 1580 members from 258 dioceses and from 996 parishes, who have prayed 278,300 rosaries for 456 bishops globally since then.
Join the effort by signing up to pray as little as one rosary per month for the bishop of your choice. Note: Pope Francis is also a bishop, and you can sign up to pray for him.
Against odds like this, Chris Rickert, Doug Erickson and the Wisconsin State Journal have little chance.
Doug Erickson and theWisconsin State Journal Are Up to Their Old Tricks
Smear Journalism in Madison
Despite Madison, Wisconsin’s claim to be very “progressive” and very tolerant, the Wisconsin State Journal (WiSJ) and reporter Doug Erickson have slanted their reporting on the Catholic Church and the Church’s Bishop in Madison in the past.
One of the prime reasons for my establishing this blog was to defend my faith against such “progressives” in Madison who apparently feel the need to malign the Catholic Church.
Many of my articles, including this one, fall under the blog category “Don’t Diss My Church.”
To be fair, there was a time last year when Doug Erickson and the WiSJ appeared to have reformed their reporting on Catholic Madison. The article written on Bishop Morlino’s tenth anniversary as Bishop of Madison was balanced and reasonable.
Just two days after the balanced article, the WiSJ was back to their old tricks, publishing a misrepresentation cartoon of Bishop Morlino.
To their credit, Doug Ericson and the WiSJ seemed to behave better during the last few months, focusing on promoting their own liberal agenda, rather than focusing on maligning the Catholic Church directly.
But this week Doug Erickson and the WiSJ are clearly back to their old tricks.
This week an article was published in the WiSJ with a headline linking Bishop Morlino to a Diocese which is going bankrupt due to sexual child abuse allegations.
Never mind that the alleged heinous acts did not occur on Bishop Morlino’s watch.
Never mind that some of the alleged heinous acts occurred before Bishop Morlino was born.
Never mind that the lawsuits in question were filed up to 71 years after abuse was alleged to have occurred.
Never mind that the allegations were only made in 2011, almost a decade after Bishop Morlino was no longer at that diocese.
The simple fact that Bishop Morlino worked at that diocese in the past was enough for Madison’s leading newspaper to find an opportunity to link this good Bishop’s name with child abuse scandals which did not happen, nor did they surface, on Bishop Morlino’s watch.
What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander
I say to Doug Erickson and to the Wisconsin State Journal:
Have you ever rooted for Penn State, whose football coach Jerry Sandusky is a convicted serial child molester?
Are you a fan of Woody Allen movies, whose sexual molestation of his family has been in the news in recently? Have you ever vacationed in Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, or Uruguay, all countries reputed to be involved with Child Sex Tourism?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then we better write an article about YOU, similar to the one you wrote about Bishop Morlino, announcing that this place you were associated with in the past has been accused of heinous acts:
Wisconsin State Journal Reporter’s Previous Employer
Filing For Bankruptcy Due to Child Abuse Allegations or Doug Erickson’s Previous Employer
Filing For Bankruptcy Due to Child Abuse Allegations
We can pretend that we did not smear your reputation with our suggestive article by publishing a quote from you on how you were unaware, or not involved, or only there in a different decade.
Bishop Morlino wasn’t even born at the time as some of the allegations you write about were said to occur, and the problems did not occur on his watch, yet you include his name in your sensational title.
Once a suggestion is made, whether directly or indirectly by association, it cannot be taken back. A journalist should have the integrity not to engage in such smear tactics. Shame on you. How unprofessional!
It’s Not About Catholic Priests
The media’s smearing of the Catholic Church is not about Catholic priests. It’s about smearing the Catholic Church, smearing a moral authority which encourages citizens to hold government accountable to the laws of God .
Progressives have an agenda.
They want to live their lives centered on pleasure, and want to destroy anyone who suggests that they hurt others with their selfish agenda.
They want promiscuity celebrated, they want the resulting babies aborted, and they want their new morality to be praised and to be taught in the schools.
Media is their weapon.
Whether it is conscious or not, this is the agenda the Wisconsin State Journal and Doug Erickson are promoting.
Catholics get the most flack because they are the most numerous and organized of Christian groups, and thus have the most power.
Catholic Bishops are particularly frightening to progressives, and are under particular attack.
Doug Erickson, faith and values reporter of the Wisconsin State Journal, (608) 252-6149, firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to Pray for Our Bishops?
Check out the cool global map at Rosary for the Bishop, a website organized in 2005 to help support Bishop Morlino against the attacks he was suffering in Madison, and which now coordinates 1580 members from 258 dioceses and from 996 parishes, who have prayed 278,300 rosaries for 456 bishops globally since then.
Join the effort by signing up to pray as little as one rosary per month for the bishop of your choice. Note: Pope Francis is also a bishop, and you can sign up to pray for him.
Against odds like this, Doug Erickson and the Wisconsin State Journal have little chance.
Yet the online discussion forums following this article are completely dominated by Madison’s intolerant progressive dogmatists, who have shifted the meaning of tolerance away from accepting the right of others to hold dissenting views, to demanding that all agree with progressive dogmatists, under pain of uncivilized attack and ridicule.
The 36 comments so far include no intellectual discussion whatsoever of the morality of stem cell research, but instead try to divert true discussion with the standard barrage of unrelated and bigoted false accusations routinely used by progressive opponents of the Catholic Church in Madison – accusations of ignoring war and poverty, ignoring the teachings of Jesus, supporting Republicans, rejecting evolution, supporting child abuse, supporting the School of the Americas, and misrepresentations of the Catholic position on contraception, of tax exemption of religious institutions, and of the old Galileo question.
Translation: when you can’t win the argument, change the subject. Attack, even if you have to do it with lies.
This diversion of discussion to unrelated topics also includes the usual unintellectual name-calling aimed at Catholics- including bastions of ignorance, thugs, religious nuts, antichoicers, misogynists, anitgays, bubyull (?) thumping idiots, narrow beliefs, hypocrites, “choice” to be ignorant, “imaginary people they claim to be concerned about,” fevered minds, Imam Morlino, Catholic idiots, Vatican has done more to damage the human race, incapable of free thought, anti-intelligence, and book of fiction (the Bible).
This, coming from tolerant, intellectual Madison, and published without question by one of Wisconsin’s leading newspapers, the Wisconsin State Journal.
Translation: When you have nothing in your arsenal during a debate, use name-calling and lies. You just might snow and distract the audience.
King of the Mountain
This barrage of comments represents an attempt to eradicate the intellectual assessment and discussion of truth, and it forbids rational dialogue. It resembles more an adult version of the playground game “King of the Mountain,” in which pushing and shoving are the only tactics that prevail.
The Progressive Image
The idea that Madison’s intolerant progressive dogmatists view their boorish tactics as advancing debate about science, progress, or representing the high moral ground, is ironic, and very counterproductive.
Primitive name-calling and the blind misinformed ridicule of people’s religious beliefs do not lend any credibility to Madison’s progressives, but only make them appear juvenile and foolish.
Intelligent people should realize when they are shooting themselves in the foot.
Wisconsin State Journal Flunks Journalism Again!
What’s Wrong With Gay Marriage?
Two days after getting some praise for their balanced article on Bishop Morlino, the Wisconsin State Journal was back to its old games, misrepresenting the Bishop yet again.
They managed to shoot themselves in the foot quite handsomely this time.
Here’s a cartoon they published, quoting both Pope Francis and Bishop Morlino out of context, in an attempt to make it seem that Bishop Morlino is in disagreement with the Pope:
How Does This Cartoon Shoot WSJ in the Foot?
How does WSJ shoot itself in the foot with this cartoon?
Let me count the ways:
It’s unprofessional to nest your references so deep that the original source being quoted can hardly be found.
It’s unprofessional to compare apples and oranges.
It’s unprofessional to quote your sources out of context.
It’s unprofessional to ignore the Bigger Story
It’s unprofessional to contradict yourself.
It’s unprofessional for a journalist to spin the news. (And it’s triply embarrassing when you spin it badly and get caught.)
This unprofessional behavior would be more suited to the grapevine whispering game, in which messages become unrecognizably altered as they are whispered from person to person in a chain, than to a professional journalist.
It’s unprofessional to nest your references so deep that nobody can find the original source being quoted.
It’s unprofessional to compare apples and oranges.
Phil Hands was comparing Pope Francis’ comments about a Catholic homosexual who is following Church teaching on chastity, with Bishop Morlino’s comments on the the legal repercussions of governmental redefinition of marriage. Those repercussions have already violated the religious freedom rights of Catholics and have already closed Catholic adoption agencies. More on the legal details in the Appendix below. But suffice it to say that comparing discussion of chaste Catholic homosexuals with discussion of the legal implications of redefining marriage is not a very professional move on the part of Phil Hands.
It’s unprofessional to quote your sources out of context.
In these situations, it’s important to distinguish between a gay person and a gay lobby, because having a lobby is never good. If a gay person is a person of good will who seeks God, who am I to judge? The Catechism of the Church explains this very beautifully. It outlines that gays should not be marginalized. The problem is not having this [homosexual] orientation. No, we must be brothers and sisters. The problem is lobbying for this orientation, or lobbies of greed, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the most serious problem for me. And thank you so much for this question. Thank you very much!
Bishop Morlino’s statment in context:
I’m spending time on this today because we’ve got a battle. We’ve got a battle at the federal level in June and we’ve got a battle at the state level in November. And I’m serious about it, I can’t imagine what happens if marriage goes down the tubes. If marriage goes down the tubes, life will become one big custody suit. And who will decide who raises children and how they get raised? The State, more and more and more. Marriage goes down the tubes, the State will be deciding who gets custody and how the kids get taught. And when the State does that, rather than the natural parents, that’s the end of democracy.
In context, both Pope Francis’ comments and Bishop Morlino’s comments mean something quite different than what Phil Hands tried to imply in his cartoon.
It’s unprofessional to ignore the Bigger Story
Madison, WI Masonic Temple
Anybody who reads the Pope’s comment above will notice that the Pope made some pretty newsworthy statements.
The Pope’s claim that his most serious problems come from lobbies of greed, political lobbies and Masonic lobbies should raise a few eyebrows.
Apparently Cybercast News Service (CNS) found the Pope’s Freemasonry comment worth reporting. And exploring the reasons for such a comment.
Madison, with it’s giant Masonic Temple one block from the Wisconsin State Capitol building, might be more interested in hearing why Freemasonry might pose a threat to Pope Francis, than hearing old 2006 quotes from Bishop Morlino being compared out of context with the Popes’ comments.
Misquoting Bishop Morlino’s 2006 homily is not news.
It’s unprofessional to contradict yourself
Sloppy reporting has a way of coming back to bite the journalist.
Ironically, the very homily that Phil Hands was misquoting from, that Bill Wineke misquoted from and Doug ERickson misreported on, that very homily is one in which Bishop Morlino actually does the opposite of what WSJ claims. In that homily, Bishop Morlino spends two paragraphs emphacising how Catholics must treat the gays with whom we disagree with love and respect, and undescores how Catholics must avoid association with gay-bashing in any shape or form.
It’s unprofessional for a journalist to spin the news. (And it’s triply embarrassing when you do it badly and get caught.)
So there we have it.
Phil Hands’ best effort to spin the comments of Pope Francis and Bishop Morliino, a painful stretch, involving a 100% reversal of what Bishop Morlino actually said in the homily from which Phil Hands is quoting.
Meager attempt to malign Madison’s Bishop Morlino, and to make him look heartless.
Caught, and (hopefully) embarrassed.
Although with progressives these days, you never know. Some of them are very proud of their Alinsky (crooked) tactics.
Grading the Wisconsin State Journal on this one: F-
In fact, WSJ’s journalism license should be suspended for this one.
Appendix– Why Bishop Morlino is Right in His End of Democracy Comment
The Legal Repercussions of Government Redefining Marriage
What Changing the Definition of Marriage Does
For millennia, marriage has been defined by religion, and government has rarely tried to challenge that definition.
The biggest challenge to date by government was by Henry VIII, who introduced divorce, and how has that worked for our society?
Women and children are no longer guaranteed stability, most women must work, and most children are virtually raised by the State (by the Obama Administration).
The redefinition of marriage by government to include marriages between persons of the same sex would have, in addition to numerous moral repercussions (on which people disagree), a large number of legal repercussions, which have nothing to do with opinion, but stem from law and from fact, and are inevitable.
Legal Details for Lawyers
For the lawyers among us who want this from the legal “horse’s mouth,” (unlike the WSJ, we make the original sources available), the legal impact of the redefinition of marriage is described at:
For the rest of us, I will attempt a layman’s summary of the logic involved:
Legal Definition of Marriage Alters Impacts Many Areas of the Law
The legal definition of marriage does not exist in isolation; changing it alters many areas of the law.
The definition of marriage plays an important role in the laws of :
Government contracts and subsidies
Trusts and estates.
These laws, in turn, impact the ongoing daily operations of religious organizations of all kinds, including:
Complex Intertwining of State, Federal, and Religious Definitions of Marriage
Current law, particularly law on child custody, provides little room for non-uniform definitions of marriage within a state and across states.
As a result, changes in marriage law impact religious institutions disproportionately because their role is so deeply intertwined with the institution of marriage.
Religious institutions have been regulating marriage since time immemorial, and law has adopted and accommodated religious conventions.
As a result, if the legal definition of marriage is changed to differ dramatically from the religious definition of marriage, all the religious institutions mentioned above will be negatively impacted.
Can Government Compel Religious Institutions to Act Against Their Conscience- Accomplished
Changing the legal definition of marriage will likely result in government compulsion of religious institutions to accommodate same-sex couples, something contrary to their beliefs, and public benefits will likely be withdrawn from religious institutions which provide preferential treatment to traditionally married couples.
Already, failure to participate in the HHS “Contraceptive” Mandate, which requires religious employers to provide contraception and abortifacients to employees against the employer’s conscience, is likely to subject all religious individuals to legal penalties for failure to provide HHS Mandated services.
Threats to religious liberty can come both directly and indirectly. They include court ordered injunctions or fines in retaliation for following one’s religious beliefs, particularly for violating anti-discrimination laws in employment, housing,public accommodations, as well as labeling the statement of religious beliefs as hate speech.
How Christians Become Excluded From Many Professions – Accomplished
It quickly becomes clear how a Christian can no longer become an employer or a pharmacist because they will not dispense abortifacient pills, how a Christian cannot become a doctor because they will not offer abortion services, a Christian cannot rent out half of their duplex because they don’t want the gay lifestyle in close proximity to their family home, a Christian cannot become a public school teacher because they are required to teach acceptance of the gay lifestyle, and so on.
Financial Crippling of Christian Institutions – Accomplished
And the lawsuits, injunctions, penalties and legal bills required to fight these battles are likely to cripple Christians financially, and are likely to bankrupt religious service institutions. The Catholic Church has already been forced to abandon adoption and foster services in Boston, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Illinois as a result of their policy to make sure children are placed with a mom and a dad who are married.
When You Force Christians Out of Service in an 80% Christian Country, Who Takes Over Providing Services?
When service institutions have traditionally been operated by volunteer religious institutions, and now religious institutions are forced out of these ministries, there is only one option– for government to take over providing these services.
The history of government performance, in the absence of financial pressure and accountability, in providing essential services has had a very bad track record, both in the United States and abroad. The U.S. Postal Service, Medicare, and UK Medicine are all examples of services that fail abysmally when operated by government.
The control of everything by government is the definition of totalitarianism.
Totalitariansim: Of, relating to, being, or imposing a form of government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life, the individual is subordinated to the state, and opposing political and cultural expression is suppressed.
Religious people (90% of US) can be forced against their conscience
Christian (80%) excluded form many professsions
Financial crippling of Christian Intitutions
Totalitarian control of everything by government
= End of Democracy
And the good Bishop was right.
Wisconsin State Journal, grow up and do your homework!
Addendum: WSJ Editor Responds to Our Criticism: Stands His Ground
(For anybody interested in contacting this editor about the Bishop Morlino Cartoon he published: JSmalley@madison.com)
From: Syte Reitz
Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2013 1:53 PM
To: John Smalley
Subject: Defamatory Cartoon in WSJDear Editor Smalley-Phil Hands’ cartoon published in the WSJ August 1st was a gross misrepresentation of Bishop Morlino.
There was no option provided for discussion or comments, so my comments can be found in a blog article which outlines the reasons why publication of that cartoon was such a poor choice on your part.
Many Catholics had become hopeful of getting fair treatment in the WSJ following your publication of Doug Erickson’s article on Bishop Morlino’s 10 year anniversary in Madison.
As a Catholic blogger who was first motivated to blog by seeing media misrepresentation of Catholicism, I’m very sorry to see you returning to WSJ misrepresentation of Catholics so soon.
Please share my comments with the cartoonist, Phil Hands.
Syte Reitz Madison Catholic Blogger
From: John Smalley
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 14:45:30 -0500
To: Syte Reitz
Subject: RE: Defamatory Cartoon in WSJSyte,
Thanks for your note, and your comments on the recent cartoon by Phil Hands.
We will have to agree to disagree on this topic, in that I don’t think we’ve misrepresented Catholics in the past, or that we’re doing so now. I’m sure you understand that editorial cartoons are meant by their nature to exaggerate to the extreme. We publish many cartoons on the page that I would personally disagree with, but we think it’s important to represent a full spectrum of thoughts and opinions on the page. In fact, we always give preference to letter writers who disagree with our editorials.
It sounds like you thought Doug’s anniversary story on the Bishop was a worthy effort. I certainly felt that way.
Thanks again for your feedback.
Wisconsin State Journal
John Smalley WSJ Editor
From: Syte Reitz
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2013 13:54:57 -0500
To: John Smalley
Cc: Reitz Rolf
Subject: Re: Defamatory Cartoon in WSJ
You gave me no substance in your response.
If you “agree to disagree” without supporting your position, you come across as a low-information thinker, something I hope the editor of Wisconsin’s second largest newspaper is not.
You are in a unique position to moderate a serious and important cultural debate, and you should not be pandering to pressure from Madison’s progressives.
A newspaper professional should not show bias.
Your newspaper would benefit by hosting lively cultural debates, and your newspaper only suffers when you diss the leaders of Madison’s and Wisconsin’s leading religion without substance.
Honestly, that was a blatant misrepresentation of Bishop Morlino that you published, and you should retract or apologize for it.
You could also consider publishing arguments from the blog critique of the cartoon, which illustrate why the cartoon was such a bad misrepresentation.
The Wisconsin State Journal purports to serve the entire population of Wisconsin, and Madison claims to champion tolerance, so who better to show some respect for Catholicism and it’s leaders than the State Journal?
Syte Reitz Madison Catholic Blogger
Date: Friday, August 09, 2013 9:57 AM
To: John Smalley
Subject: Bishop Morlino Cartoon
Dear Mr. Smalley: The Phil Hands smear of Bishop Morlino is in no sense an exaggeration. It is a lie. If you lack the sense or else the integrity to grasp this distinction, you belong in a different line of work. Since your heart seems to be in the field of dishonest advocacy, public relations for a really sleazy organization might suit your talents.
Short answer: Yes, it was balanced. Doug Erickson, who has been criticized frequently by numerous Madison Catholics including this blogger for previous imbalanced reporting, gets an “A” on this one.
Longer answer: On the negative side, Doug spent much effort documenting controversies faced by Bishop Morlino during the last 10 years in the article, while spending much less effort documenting the Bishop’s accomplishments, supporters, and successes. But his excellent documentation of the Bishop’s phenomenal record in the area of attracting and ordaining young men to the priesthood (16 men ordained and 34 seminarians at present), and his accurate portrayal of the Bishop as the very nice person that he is, made up for the deficiency in cataloging the Bishop’s other accomplishments and support.
Here is a portion of the “live chat” that took place online with Doug Erickson on Monday:
Thank you for the effort you clearly invested in reporting on Bishop Morlino and for the many kind things you mentioned in the article.
I have a question stemming from the reputation the WSJ has had in these 10 years for very negative reporting on Bishop Morlino, a reputation which has inspired many faithful Madison Catholics to jump to the Bishop’s defense.
Is there a reason why you neglected to mention the Support Bishop Morlino efforts in the Diocese, including over 500 signatures of support for the Bishop in the WSJ (which grew to 1060 online after publication) when ~24 dissidents published an open letter opposing the Bishop, the approximately 800 members of a Google group in support of Bishop Morlino, which watches out for media misrepresentation of the Bishop, the 370 Members of the Rosary for the Bishop.com initiative who prayed about 40,000 rosaries for Bishop Morlino, and the growing number of Madison Catholic bloggers who regularly support the good Bishop and have a big following?
by Syte Reitz 12:13 PM
Hi Syte: Absent any legitimate surveys, it has always been difficult for me to get a grasp of the exact level of support or opposition to Bishop Morlino. I admittedly must rely on anecdotal information, and that appears pretty evenly split from where I sit. I agree with you that I could have gone into the information which you present, which is all legitimate. For this article, I was trying to free up space to break new ground in the reporting on Bishop Morlino, so I did not focus on those particular numbers.
by Doug Erickson 12:16 PM
Doug: I saw a lot of particular numbers in the article – especially the entirely separate, bullet-pointed list “reminding” people of all the controversies he’s come up against. Not only that, but the 50 priests you mentioned who oppose him officially.
by Wes 12:20 PM
Wes: Every article is a balancing act of new and old information. The 50 priests who formed the association had never before spoken publicy for attribution, so that was new information that I gave the higher priority to. But you make a good point. There are a lot of numbers out there, on both sides, and I certainly could have included the ones Syte mentioned.
by Doug Erickson 12:23 PM
From our perspective, Doug was extremely fair, while sharing the objective facts, figures, controversies and other points of view. A lot of people dislike Bishop Morlino. He knows that. Doug didn’t take an opinion on the bishop, rather he reported on him. That is much appreciated.
by Diocese of Madison 12:26 PM
@Doug: What has impressed you the most with His Excellencies “tenure”?
by Wes 12:28 PM
@Wes: I’m going to let that question slide, as I try not to give my opinions.
by Doug Erickson 12:30 PM
@Diocese: I would definitely agree, while that list of controversies piece seemed unnecessary.
by Wes 12:30 PM
@Doug: That’s a thin veil you wear then, sir
by Wes 12:33 PM
@Fortes: I’d add that my editor and I made a decision to let Bishop Morlino’s voice come through as often as possible in the story, so that readers could hear directly from him. That necessitated some hard choices, such as downplaying or eliminating other topics that rightly could have been included.
by Doug Erickson 12:36 PM
@Wes: We spent considerable time on the increase in seminarians. It’s an issue I’ve touched on only superficially in past articles, so I really felt it was time to give the bishop his due on that one. Plus, it consistently came up in interviews — people feel it will be a big part of his legacy. All told, I probably spent about two full hours over two sittings interviewing the bishop. I could have used another two, or four, or six.
by Doug Erickson 12:39 PM
@Beth: As with every priest daily mass and the Liturgy of the Hours are a big part of his more-“private” practices. He also has a strong devotion to Mary and many other saints. He spends part of every morning in his small chapel. Thanks Doug for chiming in too…
by Diocese of Madison 12:44 PM
I think you also did a good job of pointing out — through illustration and not commentary — that there is a real, live human being living within the bishop’s robes. Great job.
by Bill Wineke 12:48 PM
Poll: Do you generally support the way Bishop Morlino has led the diocese?
Yes (51%) No (40%) A mix of both (7%) Not sure (1%) by Teryl Franklin 12:50 PM
@Del: I can’t deny that some of our religion coverage is viewed as controversial and negative toward religion. That’s certainly not my intent. However, I agree with an argument first presented by Randy Cohen, the longtime ethicist for the New York Times: Merely calling something religious does not exempt it from ethical and societal scrutiny. My approach to covering religion is to do it respectfully but aggressively, just as I would approach police reporting or courts reporting or business reporting. To do otherwise would be to treat religion with kid gloves.
by Doug Erickson 12:54 PM
@Del: I don’t think there’s any concerted effort to change up our religion coverage (at least I haven’t been told there is). From my perspective, I just try to get better with every story, and I do that by expanding my source list, taking classes on religion, attending religious events in the community, etc.
by Doug Erickson 12:57 PM
Please feel free to email me directly at email@example.com with any further questions and comments.
by Doug Erickson 12:59 PM
Peace and Love from the Diocese of Madison!
by Diocese of Madison 1:00 PM
How Do We Know the Report Was Balanced?
How do we know?
Easy. The radical “progressive contingent” in WSJ forum discussions went nuts with criticism. There were even a few comments so rude that were deleted by WSJ; likely reported as abusive.
In Madison, we have a handful of angry atheists who often devote their spare time on Sunday to vicious and baseless attacks on the beliefs of others in WSJ discussion forums.
What a sad way to exist, defining oneself by one’s hatred of others!
The vicious comments following this article on Bishop Morlino’s anniversary illustrate the pressure some Madisonians try to exert on WSJ to ridicule religion and Catholicism.
We congratulate Doug Erickson on publishing a fair article which has obviously enraged these hate-mongers.
Why Should the WSJ Report on Catholics Fairly?
25% of Madisonians are Catholics; Catholicism is the largest religious denomination in Madison, in Wisconsin, and in the United States. Fair reporting on these good Catholic people and their wonderful devoted leaders is overdue for the WSJ, one of Wisconsin’s biggest newspapers. The militant angry fringe atheists, who only represent about 1 out of 1,000 atheists, and only 1 out of 30,000 Americans, must be ignored. There is no room in a democratic republic for minority or bully rule.
Angry intolerant atheists repeating their mantra, insisting that religious people are ignorant, is getting pretty old.
80% of Americans are religious, and there is virtually no correlation between education and religious faith.
Although university liberals sometimes do manage to propagandize some young people into abandoning faith, most of those young people return to faith very quickly upon experiencing a bit more of life after college. If this were not so, we could not have 80% of Americans identifying themselves as Christian and praying regularly, as we have.
Thanks for reporting on reality, Doug Erickson and WSJ. Hope to see more of the same in the future!
Madison’s Media Continues to Diss the Catholic Church- Just in Time for Christmas
The past week has produced a barrage of media attacks on the Catholic Church in Madison.
Should not be too surprising; it is common for media to attack the Church immediately before Christmas and immediately before Easter. Happens every year. Happens nationally. Happens globally.
Satan seems particularly resentful of these most important celebrations of Christ’s birth and Resurrection, during which the Christians of the world strengthen their commitment to Christ. Satan becomes particularly active at these times.
While the rest of us are engaging in sacrifice, prayer and charitable works for Advent, trying to make ourselves more worthy to celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth, the secular media fills that time with attacks on our beliefs. Must be some guilt worm eating away at their insides. Or something. 😉
The attacks started with Doug Erickson and the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ), folllowed byDave Cieslewicz’s copycat article at Isthmus. Dave’s article was the most obvious and vicious attack on the Church, so I addressed that one first in my last blog post.Chris Rickert’s WSJ article followed. The WSJ Doug Erickson and Chris Rickert attacks are typically a bit (though not much) more subtle than that of Dave Cieslewicz, and they use less slightly less direct means in attempting to discredit the Catholic Church in Madison. A complete list of articles and links which followed in the Madison media is included below.
The springboard for these attacks on the Church was the fact that Bishop Morlino of Madison directed Madison Catholic parishes not to enlist the services of two aged nuns who were trying to hold “retreats” in which heretical beliefs, contrary to Catholicism, were promoted. The nuns were teaching “indifferentism,” the belief that all faiths are equal.
What’s Wrong with Indifferentism?
The rejection of indifferentism is not unique to the Catholic Church; most religions reject indifferentism and by definition, most religions believe that their own religion represents the truth more accurately than others do. If they did not believe this, they would have no reason to stay in their own church. Duh.
Indifferentism poses a logical impossibility, since religions contradict each other in some areas, so they cannot all be true simultaneously. Indifferentism attacks all religions, not just Catholicism, by implying the invalidation of all contradictory beliefs, essentially dismantling the veracity of all religions at the same time.
It’s the first domino used by militant atheists who try to discredit all religious belief.
A more correct position would be to acknowledge that all religions hold varying degrees of truth, and that some religions err in some areas. Religious individuals obviously believe that their own religion is the most accurate one and holds the truth. If they did not believe that, they would switch to a more accurate religion. So attempts by anyone, media or nuns, to insist that all religions are equally good would be about at logical as insisting that all schools and universities are equally good. They are not.
And most religions hold enough of the truth to realize that religions should respect each other and should focus on the important truths they hold in common, rather than infighting over the elements over which they disagree.
Atheists Reject Indifferentism
Even atheists reject indifferentism, insisting that their beliefs are more true and more “rational” than those of religious people.
Some even go to the extreme of wanting to ban public espression of Christain beliefs and ridiculing Christian beliefs publicly themselves.
Madison’s media has written numerous sympathetic and positive articles about Madison atheists, without criticising their rejection of indifferentism.
How can Madison’s media be so biased when they represent the Catholic Church?
So WSJ Leaked the Bishop’s Letter
So the WSJ leaked the content of the Bishop’s letter, which warned Catholic parishes not to enlist the services of the two nuns who taught indifferentism, as well as teaching other heresies.
The letter was leaked to the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) by an unnamed person.
-Violation of confidentiality.
Doug Erickson published the details of the Bishop’s directive.
-Violation of charity. How would you like it if the WSJ published the private details of your reprimand from your boss? The Bishop’s correction of the two nuns was meant to be private, and nobody, including nuns, want their mistakes and sins laundered in public.
Spin as Usual; It’s Madison
Doug Erickson’s article gave a very sympathetic spin to the two aged nuns, minimizing the heretical nature of their teaching and emphasizing their wonderful and sweet qualities.
This generated the usual WSJ-anonymous-discussion-forum-free-for-all, in which Madison’s Church haters reliably crawl out of the woodwork, spewing hateful vitriol towards Catholicism and Madison’s Bishop, while simultaneously bringing a landslide of web traffic to WSJ’s website to view the circus. Revenue is always useful, particularly at the expense of the Catholic Church’s reputation.
Catholics Fight Back
This Catholic-Church-attacking phenomenon has become so predictable in Madison, WI, that numerous real Catholics in Madison (as opposed to the two dissident nuns whom WSJ seems to favor), have even developed an alert system to watch for WSJ attacks on the Church, and numerous faithful Catholics flock to join the WSJ discussion forums in defense of the Church.
In my case, my indignation at this treatment of Catholics in Madison over the years, particularly by the WSJ, the Capital Times, and the Isthmus, inspired me to establish a website three years ago for the sole purpose of defending my Church, my religious beliefs, and my conservative political beliefs which stem from my faith.
Apparently my voice reflects the views of numerous faithful people, since my humble amateur blog, with sparse and sporadic posting, has already received over half a million hits this month, as of December 14th.
But of course, the faithful Christians/Conservatives whose views I represent are of no interest to Madison’s media. They are more interested in two dissident nuns. Madison’s Progressive media’s only interest is the rampant spread of progressive culture in Madison.
List of Madison Articles on the Two-Nun Issue in Less Than One Week
Not satisfied with their initial attempts to mis-portray and embarrass the Bishop of Madison, Madison’s newspapers continued to publish a series of articles and letters related to the initial article all week. Granted, some of the letters printed by WSJ were supportive of the Bishop, but often support was quickly followed by insult, as in Chris Rickert’s article published on December 13th.
Of course, the Diocese offered accurate information as soon as the the Bishop’s private letter was leaked, but as usual, Madison’s media paid little heed to that.
Here are the links to the Diocese information:
Chris Rickert’s WSJ Article; Pretense of Support Cloaks Deceptive Attack
Nobody could keep up with the barrage of old and false accusations listed above, which is cleverly interspersed with just a few supportive letters, to camouflage the thrust of the attack.
Not going to tackle each one, but Chris Rickert, a WSJ reporter, should know better than to write what he wrote in his Dec 13 article which pretends at first to support the Bishop.
Here’s my online forum response to Chris Rickert’s deceptive attack on the Catholic Church:
You claim to defend the Bishop’s decision, yet you end with a doomsday forecast on the future of the Catholic Church, and a personal pronouncement that “official Catholicism is a regressive and controlling throwback in a modern world.” That’s not even accurate reporting. It also borders on hate speech.
FYI, Catholicism is growing in Madison (30+ seminarians vs. 4 ten years ago), is growing in the United States, and is growing worldwide. If you want to distinguish Catholicism into orthodox and heterodox, orthodox Catholicism is also growing. And it’s growing in Madison. Madison should look outside the bubble and face reality. And religion reporters should report on that reality.
Incidentally, creating categories of Catholicism is ridiculous; do we have orthodox and heterodox math? Heterodox math is wrong math, and heterodox Catholicism is wrong Catholicism. There is only one kind of Catholicism, and then there are different faiths, which are not Catholicism.
Speaking of orthodox Catholicism, I hear that one of the nation’s top Catholic bloggers, Father Z, is celebrating a Latin Mass in the Diocese of Madison this weekend. I’m sure that event will be packed. It’s historic, it’s new, it’s Catholic, it’s orthodox, and it’s popular. Is the WSJ planning to cover that story, and to cover it respectfully, or does that not fit your political agenda? Or perhaps WSJ religion reporters prefer to sleep in on Sundays? If you are serious journalists and interested in covering that event, information can certainly be obtained from the Bishop’s Office.
You also call Catholicism an uncompromising faith. Are you advocating that truth should be compromised? Or do you have no interest in truth?
The WSJ has not been reporting on religion, it has been dissing religion. That is not the job of religion reporters. Got to wonder where WSJ finds its religion reporters and what their qualifications are.
Catholic Belief Now Defined by Media and Sociologists?
Doug Erickson and Michele Dillon
This Sunday, reporter Doug Erickson and Sociology professor Michele Dillon attempted to define Catholic beliefs without consulting the Catholic Church.
The Wisconsin State Journal Progressive, in its usual presumptive manner, has bypassed reality and offered their Wisconsin readership a fantasy, in which Catholic Church doctrine is not longer determined by the teachings of Jesus Christ or by the Magisterium of the Church with the Pope and Bishops, but doctrine is declared up for grabs by the individual, and “Cafeteria Catholicism” is encouraged.
Doug Erickson’s article on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council bypasses contacting the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Madison, or the Vatican, and relies on the word of one dissident Catholic, a professor of sociology from New Hampshire, to interpret the meaning of Vatican II. And MIS-interpret she does.
Cafeteria Catholicism as about as valid as cafeteria mathematics, cafeteria medicine, or cafeteria law. The teachings of mathematics, or of medicine, or of the law are not subject to the whims of individuals, and those who misrepresent a discipline are doing a disservice to all.
The Catholic Church has actually organized a year’s worth of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. The commemoration is called the Year of Faith, is listed on the Vatican website, and Doug Erickson missed this; the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides information and videos on the Year of Faith, and Doug Erickson apparently missed these.
The Diocese of Madison has a year’s worth of events scheduled around the Year of Faith, listed on the Diocesan web page, and Doug Erickson also missed this.
Madison’s Cathedral Parish has a year’s worth of homilies and discussion groups planned on the documents of Vatican II, listed on the website, and Doug Erickson, again, has missed this. . This hat-trick is remarkable.
Bishop Morlino stands with Pope Benedict
Listen to Bishop Morlino’s homily today for his reaction to this article and on their misrepresentation of Vatican II.
For additional accurate information on Vatican II, Monsignor Holmes, rector of Madison’s Cathedral Parish, has also scheduled about 20 homilies on the documents of Vatican II. The first two of this series are available on the parish website at Revelation and Faith and at Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium.
The Wisconsin State Journal and Doug Erickson should stop masquerading as religion reporters who “explore matters of faith, values and ethics in Wisconsin”, and should be truthful about their attempts to misrepresent Catholicism and undermine the wisdom of the Catholic Church, or they should at least do a little research.
One of the prime goals of this cultural values blog is to defend my religion, Catholicism, against the regrettably frequent and unjust attacks we suffer, particularly in Madison, WI.
One of this blog’s first blog categories was “Don’t Diss My Church.”
And in Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal has provided more than it’s fair share of imbalanced reporting on Catholics, frequently fueling my blog.
Why Pray the Rosary at Madison’s Capitol Square?
Catholics praying the rosary at Capitol Rosary Rally
Now that the Obama administration has embarked on restricting the religious freedom of Catholics, Madison Catholics have begun praying the rosary on Thursday evenings on the Madison Capitol steps, to beg God’s help in the restoration of religious freedom to our nation.
Madison’s Rosary Rally gatherings attract 150-300 quiet, polite people each week. The crowd includes families with small children, young singles, and many grandparents as well. The Catholics gather quietly after business hours, do not disrupt Capitol business, leave no litter behind, do no shouting, carry no vuvuzelas, whistles or drums, and don’t even carry signs. They come, they pray for our nation, and they leave quietly, leaving no damage in their wake.
Who Heckles Children Praying the Rosary?
About 3 to 10 ne’er-do-wells have started showing up at these rosary events, attempting to disrupt them. Their tactics include shouting four letter words from across the street, mocking the rosary, carrying rude signs mentioning private body parts, and all the usual aggressive radical left tactics Wisconsin has witnessed at recent teacher union protests, and at Madison Pro-Life rallies (which radicals have routinely tried to disrupt in recent years, and where they have even been known to get up in pulpits at Library Mall and perform strip-tease dances in front of children with literally only God knows what motivation).
Teacher union protest tactics:
Is the Wisconsin State Journal Heckling the Rosary?
So, Doug Erickson, the “religion” reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ), instead of covering the story from the perspective of the hundreds of Catholics participating in the Capitol Rosary Rally who represent one quarter of America, covered the story instead from the perspective of the handful of rude hecklers.
WSJ Rosary Rally Article- Thinly Disguised Radical Dem Propaganda
Thinly Disguised Radical Dem Propaganda Headline
The Wisconsin State Journal’s misleading headline was amplified by a factor of 118,000 through its State-wide circulation, and the whole of Wisconsin was misinformed. Not to mention online readers, or readers of spin-off articles such as those at the LaCrosse Tribune, Yahoo News or the Orlando Sentinel.
Here’s a You Tube showing the Capitol lunch protesters with whom Craig Spaulding participated frequently and which forced Capitol Tour Guides to wear ear plugs; the group whose perspective the Wisconsin State Journal favors over the perspective of Catholics praying the Rosary at the Capitol:
Second Rosary Critic
Annie Laurie Gaylor of FFRF at Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, Madison, W
Second Rosary Critic
Another individual quoted by the WSJ article is one of the co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), Annie Laurie Gaylor, who personally protested at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally last June 8th, and who made no objections while her husband and co-President of FFRF Dan Barker repeatedly heckled praying children and scandalized them by shouting sexually suggestive remarks addressed to the children.
Dan Barker (FFRF) at Madison’s Freedom From Religion Rally; and what was Dan Barker doing? Shouting rude things at children.
Annie Laurie Gaylor and FFRF are in a minority not only because they are atheists, but particularly because they are a miniscule minority among atheists themselves. They constitute only 0.1 of 1% of atheists, or one out of a thousand atheists. That’s right, 999 out of 1,000 atheists, unlike Gaylor and FFRF, are tolerant of 80% Christian America, of 25% Catholic America, and have no problem with our legally established American right to public prayer which President Obama periodically exercises. Gaylor and her FFRF, whom the Wisconsin State Journal chose to quote in this article, constitute the angry radical fringe, which represents only one out of 33 thousand people, or 0.003 of 1% of the population of America.
Third Rosary Heckler
Another Rosary heckler (not mentioned by the Wisconsin State Journal article) made herself known to me when her braggadocio arrived in my inbox, through an online discussion in which I had participated. She belatedly joined a discussion which I had previously viewed as a reasonable and constructive conversation with a Madison LGBT activist, and which started when I objected to the activist’s treatment of the first Capitol Rosary Rally and of Bishop Morlino on his blog.
Aside:Since that time, the LGBT activist has begun censoring comments published on his blog, selecting supportive radical comments for publication, and declining to publish further discussion with me. I guess there are limits to the “Bluebird’s” willingness to discuss truth, after all, particularly when he and his friends start losing the argument. Turns out, he’s also a regular at the Lunchtime Solidarity Singers at the Capitol, who drive tour guides to wear ear protection.
Back to the third Rosary heckler: her name is Genie Ogden. Genie bragged in the online discussion that she heckles the Rosary Rally weekly, boos, and sings “Solidarity Forever” at Catholics who are singing hymns. Genie, like Craig Spaulding, was also a regular member of the Capitol lunchtime “Sing-a-Longs,” the fringe minority who continues to make noise at the Madison Capitol at lunchtime, despite Governor Walker’s re-election by an even larger majority in Wisconsin than he enjoyed in his first election.
Perhaps Genie is looking for new outlets for her anger, now that the recall is over. The You Tube of “Solidarity” protesters (to which Craig and Genie belonged, the noise of which drove people to wear ear protection) was presented above.
Schoenstatt Sister after the first Capitol Rosary Rally
Do these rosary hecklers/solidarity singers really believe that such actions would be persuasive and would bolster their cause?
Genie, like Doug Spaulding and FFRF, tried to claim that the Rosary Rallies are political, and that they constitute a violation of separation of Church and State. What she does not seem to realize is that neither she, nor other liberals, can divine the thoughts of others, and that the mention of Governor Walker and of Paul Ryan once in the course of thirteen Rosary Rallies, in the context of being answers to prayers, reflects a pro-life, not a Republican position. Democrat Stupak and his 11 Democrat supporters were an equal blessing and an equal answer to prayer when they stood up for the exclusion of abortion from ObamaCare. The pro-life beliefs of Catholics are not political; they are ethical.
.Rosary Hecklers in General
The Rosary Hecklers and critics above exhibit a bigoted and tyrannical attitude, denying to others the rights that the hecklers enjoy themselves.
Madison Teacher’s Union Protesters
Solidarity union activists like Craig and Genie, and LGBT activists like the Bluebird, reserve the right to use Madison’s Capitol Square for themselves to promote their own (minority) views and social agendas, but they seem to miss the hypocrisy in denying the use of the Capitol Square to praying Christians, who represent many more people than they do- a fact ignored by WSJ reporters.
The feeble attempts made by Craig, Annie and Genie to label Rosary Rallies events as political
Progressives Misjudging Catholics?
also reflects a judgmental attitude; they claim to know the motivation of others. After misjudging their target’s motivation, many “progressives” continue by attacking and violating the rights of those with whom they disagree. The Constitution does not guarantee a Right to Hateful Harassment. Moreover, the effectiveness of such tactics in promoting one’s cause are highly dubious.
I am proud to say that I have never gone to any Madison Capitol Square event to boo, heckle, curse, scream, disrupt or to counter-protest. I don’t engage in hateful behavior towards those with whom I disagree. Prayer is a much more civilized (and more productive) response. My sentiments are representative of those of Rosary Rally attendees.
Ignoring Two Thirds of America
Doug Erickson missed the boat completely by covering the Rosary Rally story from the perspective of a few radical protesters, and by omitting the concerns of two thirds of America.
The Rosary Rallies actually represent the majority of Wisconsin and of America.
The Catholics at the Rally represent all religions in America, which were recently galvanized and united by the religious freedom violations of the HHS Mandate. Numerous religions joined Catholics in opposing these violations of the First Amendment, an amendment which all religions value. Orthodox Christian Bishops, Protestant Theological Seminary chancellors, Presbyterian Bishops, Southern Baptists, Lutherans Evangelical Lutherans and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America have rallied to support the Catholic Church in upholding the Catholic position on the HHS mandate. This is what Doug Erickson has failed to cover in his reporting.
The Rosary Rallies are large, peaceful, sustained, and they represent the reasonable Judeo-Christian views and the civilized demeanor of at least two thirds of America.
Numerous religions, including Baptists, Evangelicals and Jews, support the Catholic position in Stand Up for Religious Freedom, the program which gave birth to this Rosary Rally.
In ignoring the perspective of Catholics at the Rosary Rally in favor of the perspective of a couple fringe radicals, Doug Erickson has ignored 2/3 of America. He has ignored the majority of America’s opposition to federally funded abortion policy, and he has ignored the social consequences of such abortion policy, which has already resulted in shocking coerced abortion rates of 64% . Abortion is a much bigger deal than most people think .
Ignoring Religious Leaders:
Evangelical Pastors Join Catholics in the Defense of Religious Liberty
The national Religious Liberty debate has been ignored by WSJ, in favor of reporting speculations by a couple of “progressives” on the motivations of Catholics at prayer.
“THIS AREA HAS BEEN SET ASIDE FOR NON-PROFIT GROUPS TO EXERCISE THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL 1ST AMENDMENT FREE SPEECH RIGHTS.”
Evangelical Christian pastors have just organized a bold and courageous protest against the muzzling of moral leaders in America, and in support of religious freedom. On October 7, 2012, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will be celebrated. More than 1,000 pastors will preach sermons from the pulpit talking about the candidates running for office and then making a specific recommendation. The sermons will be recorded and sent to the IRS. The pastors expect the IRS to try to enforce a 1954 IRS tax code amendment forbidding tax-exempt organizations from participating in discussion of candidates for public office. When the IRS tries to revoke tax-exempt status and to impose an excise tax on them, the pastors will welcome the court battle. They claim that the 1954 IRS tax code amendment is blatantly unconstitutional, and they welcome an official evaluation of the amendment in court.
This effort is sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry formed 18 years ago for the defense of religious freedom through strategy, training, funding and litigation.
Not the First Time WSJ Has Slanted the News
Slanted reporting in the Wisconsin State Journal is not new, nor surprising. Their coverage of the 2011 Teacher’s Union Protests was equally misleading and predisposed toward the “progressive” viewpoint. Lawlessness and misconduct was not reported, both on the part of demonstrators who trashed the Capitol, and on the part of Democrat officials who conspired to block the legal process. WSJ coverage was so slanted and misleading, that this blogger took to reporting what’s really happening in Wisconsin on my blog.
The WSJ also gives the tiny Freedom From Religion Foundation quite a bit of favorable press. Again, a fringe radical group (0.003 of 1% of Americans) gets favored coverage over mainstream Wisconsin.
Twisting and Misrepresenting Catholicism
Coverage of Catholicism in the WSJ has frequently been unprofessionally imbalanced.
Just this week, Doug Erickson did a “moral analysis” of the Catholic vote.
He gave equal weight and space to dissident national co-chairman of Catholics for Obama, as he did to Bishop Morlino of Madison, who is a legitimate and accurate representative of the Catholic Church.
So in Doug Erickson’s world, barakobama.com, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and a couple thousand petition signatories carry the same moral authority as a Catholic Bishop and 78 million real American Catholics. Doug is equating the fringe 0.06 of 1% of Catholics whose theology is steered by Obama, with legitimate Catholic officials and faithful Catholics. (Bishop Morlino’s education includes a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, with specialization in fundamental moral theology and bioethics.)
Doug Erickson: Reporting on the 0.06 of 1% of Madison Diocese Catholics (Holy Wisdom) – and relegating the 99.94% (real) Catholics to the last paragraph, entitled “detractors.”
Another Doug Erickson report focused on pair of previously Catholic nuns at Holy Wisdom Monastery, who appear to be recruiting Catholics to join their feminist Sunday services in place of attending the Mass. These nuns retain the name Benedictines, despite having rescinded their Benedictine vows and having separated themselves from the Catholic Church. Doug Erickson reported on this fringe minority group of two very favorably, but relegated input from real Catholics, including from the Diocese of Madison, to a last paragraph entitled “detractors,” where he quoted Catholics minimally, and out of context. A minority of two dissidents was portrayed in a favored light, while real Catholics were again downplayed.
The misrepresentation of Catholics in the Wisconsin State Journal could fill numerous blog posts (and has in the past), but the above three examples will suffice here.
For a Truthful Report on the Capitol Rosary Rally: see You Tube
The Capitol Rosary Rally, which the Wisconsin State Journal did not bother to portray accurately, and which reflects the Christian views and the civilized demeanor of the majority of Christian America can be seen here:
Come join Catholics in the 14th Capitol Rosary Rally tonight, Thursday, Sept 20, 2012, at the State Street steps of the Madison Capitol at 7 PM. Come watch what real Americans do (they act civilized and pray), stand in solidarity with Christians for religious freedom in America. All are welcome to watch, to listen, or to pray.
Discussing the Actual Issue
Something else Doug Erickson failed to do in his Capitol Rosary article was to discuss the question that his progressive friends raised; is it legal for Catholics to pray the rosary at Madison’s Capitol Square?
So public prayer is legal, and public gatherings at the Wisconsin State Capitol are legal.
Public gatherings at Madison’s Capitol have included Farmer’s Markets, restaurant showcase events (Taste of Madison), and Wisconsin Capitol Pride, an event promoting LGBTQA acceptance and rights.
Why would Catholic gatherings be forbidden? Why would promoting prayer for religious freedom be forbidden?
Discussing the Double Standard
WSJ failed to address this double standard of progressive Rosary critics in the article.
The progressive Rosary Hecklers quoted by WSJ demand freedom of belief and freedom of speech for themselves, but not for others. They want the right to scream four-letter words at others across Capitol Square in the presence of children, but to forbid the words “Our Father, who art in heaven.”
Further Important Issues Omitted by the WSJ report:
Validity of Christian claims regarding the violation of religious freedom by the HHS mandate
Evaluation of the position of America’s moral leaders on the religious freedom issue
Reporting the obvious differences in behavior, lawfulness and respect for the rights of others between the rosary participants and the heckling critics.
Definition of “separation of Church and State.”
Discussion of whether a once-in-14-prayer-rallies mention of two pro-life politicians constitutes a “violation of separation of Church and State.”
Discussion of the very pertinent 1954 IRS code amendment, which has been used by the IRS to silence Christian pastors, but has not been subject to an examination of constitutionality by the courts.
The effect that restrictions on religious freedom would have on the rights of progressives when in the future conservative Presidents are elected, and the effect on this country’s historical role as the safe haven for the world’s émigrés.
Suggestion: if Doug Erickson is to be the WSJ “religion” reporter, he must examine the serious issues affecting religion, rather than using his status at the WSJ to spread progressive propaganda. He should provide some professional and journalisticly ethical analysis of real religious issues.
Shame on the Wisconsin State Journal for Ethics Violations
Come tonight, and every Thursday night at 7PM through November 1st.
Join Catholics today in the 14th Capitol Rosary Rally – Thursday, Sept 20, 2012, on the State Street steps of the Madison Capitol at 7 PM.
Come watch what most Americans do (they act civilized and they pray).
Stand in solidarity with Christians for religious freedom in America. All are welcome to watch, to listen, or to pray.
Presbyterians welcome. All welcome, including any not mentioned above.
Invitation limited to well-behaved people who respect the rights of others.
All of us need, and will benefit from, freedom of religion (of belief), which is guaranteed to us by the First Amendment. This freedom has been violated by President Obama’s HHS Mandate, a mandate which must be reversed.
Why Even Atheists Should Stand Against Presidential Mandates
If Presidents of the future will be permitted to issue mandates like the HHS Mandate, without popular vote, without Senate or House vote, and without Supreme Court evaluation, what mandate will the NEXT President of the United States, who may not belong to your favorite political affiliation, decree?
I may not like President Obama’s mandates.
But others, including atheists, would not like President Romney’s mandates
or President Rick Santorum’s mandates
or President Ron Paul’s mandates
or President Michelle Bachmann’s mandates.
The next President could issue a Mandate that imposes tax penalties not on Catholics, but on International Workers Union Members, FFRF Members, Solidarity Singers, and Madison LGBT activists- severe, crippling penalties. Then were would Craig, Annie, Genie and Bluebird be? The Mandate could include penalties for Wisconsin Sate Journal reporters, too, Doug.
We all benefit from supporting freedom and democracy.
We have to coexist, so progressives should realize that in 46 days the shoe might be on the other foot.
This is still a democracy, and Presidential mandates are thinly disguised despotic edicts.
These are some of the religious, ethical and cultural issues that Doug Erickson and the WSJ should be discussing, rather than spreading the speculations of fringe progressives on the motivation of Catholics.
Syte Reitz grew up in Queens, New York, in a family of Lithuanian immigrants who fled Nazi and Soviet domination during World War II. Her education includes a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, and post-doctoral work at Princeton University. Syte left her job as an Assistant Professor at Oakland University, Michigan, to devote herself to raising her children, and ultimately homeschooled them through the end of high school. She is a member of Madison's Cathedral Parish.