Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pope's aide blasts media coverage of church
Sat Mar 31, 10:39 AM ET

A top aide to Pope Benedict has blasted the media for highlighting the Vatican's views on sex while maintaining a "deafening silence" about charity work done by thousands of Catholic organizations around the world.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who as secretary of state is effectively the Vatican's prime minister, also accused the media of deliberately misinterpreting the Pope's speeches, especially his Regensburg address last September which angered Muslims.

"We face an extremely grave problem. The church's messages are subject to a type of manipulation and falsification by some western media," Bertone said in an interview with Le Figaro Magazine published in Paris on Saturday.

"I see a fixation by some journalists on moral topics, such as abortion and homosexual unions, which are certainly important issues but absolutely do not constitute the thinking and work of the church," he said.

"Why this deafening silence?" he asked. "We have to say the press does not write much about the social and charity work of thousands of Catholic organizations around the world."
Bertone said journalists had twisted the Pope's Regensburg address -- in which he quoted a Byzantine emperor linking Muslims and violence -- into a speech on Islam rather than the discussion on the role God played in society.

"Pope Benedict's thoughts were neatly blacked out," he said. "Commentators who take phrases out of context in a misleading extrapolation are exercising their trade dishonestly."
He said the German-born Pontiff had made clear in Regensburg that he wanted "a healthy confrontation" with Islam and that several Muslim thinkers had welcomed his invitation to dialogue.

Bertone has been one of the church's harshest critics of Dan Brown's popular novel The Da Vinci Code. In the interview he also took aim at "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," a new film claiming that archaeologists have found the tomb of Jesus and his family and indications that Mary Magdelene, one of his followers in the gospels, was his wife.

According to the Bible, Jesus never married and rose bodily from the dead after his crucifixion.
"This is a strategy against the church and the divine figure of Christ," he said. "These campaigns try to sap the faith of Christian people and the trust the faithful have in the church."

The apocryphal gospels used as sources for popular books and films were not new discoveries but well-known books written a century or two after the original gospels, he said.

"Authors who try to sow confusion between these two different sources profit from religious ignorance," he said.

From Reuters News Services


trailbee said...

In deference to the Pope and the Catholic institution, the media has backed off for centuries, or so it seems. I am just surprised that no one sees this media attack for what it is. This is the drive-by media at its finest, the universal tool against conservatism, because the core of conservatism is spiritual and moral strength. This is what must be destroyed in order for death, the goal of Islam, to triumph. Deafening silence? Please take a good look at our contry and see what the media are doing here. Thus, why not attack the Pope? There is nothing else left to attack. Everything in the EU has been dismantled and shoved under the rug. It's the Pope's turn in the barrel. The real question is this: How faithful are the faithful?

AnnieElf said...

>>The real question is this: How faithful are the faithful?<<

You ask a very important question here, Biene. I think the answer is pretty clear in Europe. Here, it is more murky. Conservative Christians are strong here but the media which is liberal has the stronger daily voice in print and on TV. It is a pitched battle here.

And yes, why not the Pope. He makes a great target and he's the only political leader in Europe now (since Vatican is its own country) who also speaks from the point of view of the common good and justice for all. He doesn't split hairs and play word games. He says what he means. No other major religion can point to one overall leader.

Thanks for writing B. Always a pleasure.