“It is not a case of Catholic paranoia to think that it is open season on the Catholic Church in the public square.” Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law didn’t mince words in going after the news media in his weekly Pilot column (9/3/93).
The Cardinal went on to blast the media for “the negative way in which the Church is so often portrayed in the press,” singling out the media’s handling of stories about clergy and child abuse which “weigh heaviest on every bishop’s heart.” He acknowledged that even “One such case is one too many.”
He went on to excoriate the media for increasing the pain of all involved in these human tragedies by their irresponsible handling of these stories.
He also chided the media for their next great fixation, “the exaltation of Catholic dissent.”
“The press,” he said, “seems obsessed with a desire to redefine Catholicism along lines which are congruous with the prevailing culture: absolutes are out and toleration is the ultimate and only virtue. This kind of tolerance is the antithesis of what faith is all about.”
Cardinal Law cut to the heart of the problem noting, “These are difficult days because the culture of death in which we live is diametrically opposed to faith.” And he added, “The Catholic Church takes a beating in the press because we are the largest religious body in the country. The underlying hostility of our culture is not only anti-Catholic, however, it is anti all organized religion .”
Massachusetts chapter president Dan Flatley praised the cardinal’s statement. “Within the American hierarchy, Cardinal Law has been one of the most consistent, forthright and outspoken critics of media bias against the Church. He has also been a strong supporter of the Catholic League. We applaud his courage. His remarks deserve the attention of all concerned Catholics.”
A Catholic New Service story quoting extensively from the Cardinal’s column appeared in dozens of Catholic weeklies across the country.