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CNN sees what I see, but reads it exactly the opposite. Who’d’a’thunk’it?

April 9, 2013

The secular media doesn’t really understand religion and is prone to misinterpreting and/or characterizing many religious events unfolding around us.

CNN has a follow-up story on yesterday’s stories about my blog of March 27 and Abp. Vigneron’s recent comments on the obvious (well, obvious to Catholics familiar with settled Catholic teaching) inappropriateness of Catholics who promote, in this instance, “gay marriage”, still presenting themselves for holy Communion. I write like a lawyer, of course, while the archbishop speaks as a pastor, but anyone who understands Catholic doctrine and discipline—regardless of whether they agree with the Church’s position on this matter—would easily recognize that we each said the same thing.

But, when AOD spokesman Joe Kohn contextualized (I’m sorry so many politicians use that word to mean “dodge the issue”, but I use it to mean “place in a wider relevant context”) the archbishop’s comments to show the consistency of the Catholic rules for Communion across a range of situations, CNN cast Kohn’s remarks as “dialing back”* the archbishop’s sacramental admonition to Catholics who publicly promote something gravely at odds with Catholic teaching. Good grief, Kohn was affirming the archbishop’s teaching, not weakening it.

Of course, neither Kohn nor Vigneron could, or even should, try to guess all misconstruals and wild leaps of logic that others might attach to their words, nor do they have to repeat the entirety of Church teaching on the human body, marriage, licit sexual expressions of love, the place of the Eucharist in Catholic life, general norms of sacramental discipline, and levels of ecclesiastical administration, to name just a few related points, every time they comment on Catholics and gay activism. To impose such expectations on them is not to encourage speech, but to muzzle it.

Anyway, is there a secular news story here? Perhaps, if the correct enunciation of Catholic rules for Catholic faithful participating in Catholic Communion is a secular news story, then, yes, there’s a news story here. Beyond that, though (say, the idea that the Catholic Church expects Catholics to act like Catholics seven days a week in whatever walk of life they trod, that Catholic leadership is increasingly willing to make that expectation plain to Church members, and that promoting ‘same-sex marriage’ is not to be acting like a faithful Catholic), well, there could be a news story there, too, but it would be a different one than the Catholic Communion story before us today.

A good story, I think, but a different one.

* CNN has just retitled the piece, dropped the claim about Kohn’s “dialing back” anything, and substituted “reframe” as the key word. It’s an improvement.

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