Fodor’s Agrees To Changes

Catalyst September Issue 2007

The Catholic League is pleased that Random House has agreed to make changes to the following entries (in italics) in its Fodor’s guidebooks.  The alterations to be made, as detailed by Fodor’s vice president and publisher Timothy Jarrell, are also outlined here:

From Mexico 2007:

Outside the Antigua Basílica stands a statue of Juan Diego, who became the first indigenous saint in the Americas with his canonization in summer 2002.  (This canonization was widely seen as a shrewd political move on the part of the Catholic church as it tries to retain its position, particularly among Mexico’s indigenous population.)

Jarrell:  “We have removed the phrase ‘a shrewd political move’ which implies—without counterargument—that the church acted for political motives instead of moral and religious ones.”

From Exploring Ireland (6th Edition):

The position of women in the republic is much affected by the power of the Catholic Church, and Pope John Paul II’s reaffirmation of its doctrines on contraception, abortion and divorce.  Ireland ranks last among the world’s developed countries with access to birth control (though the impact of AIDS has had a sharper effect than decades of religious dogma), and until 1996 was alone in Europe in having no civil divorce.  A booming economy and child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church have pushed the South further towards the liberalism of mainland Europe.

Jarrell:  “We agree that the paragraph implying that the position of women in Ireland has been negatively affected by the Catholic Church is simplistic, one-sided, and debatable.  Obviously, millions of women in Ireland believe otherwise.  We will reword that section for the next edition.”

From France 2007:

The main point of interest in the region is the Abbaye de La Celle, a 12th-century Benedictine Abbey that served as a convent until the 17th century, when it was closed because its young nuns had begun to run wild and were known less for their chastity than “the color of their petticoats and the name of their lover.”

Jarrell:  “Although it has been popularly reported that the monastery at Abbaye de La Celle was closed because its inhabitants possessed loose morals, we have not been able to independently confirm this.  Therefore, we have dropped the reference. (If you have documentation showing why the monastery closed, we would be happy to add an explanation for the closure to the hotel description.)”

Thousands flock to Lourdes annually, many in quest of a miraculous cure for sickness or disability.  A religious pilgrimage is one thing, but a sightseeing expedition has other requirements.  The famous churches and grotto and the area around them are woefully lacking in beauty.  Off-season, acres of empty parking lots echo.  Shops are shuttered, restaurants closed.  In season a mob jostles to see the grotto behind a forest of votive candles.  Some pundits might say that Lourdes ingeniously combines the worst of both worlds.

Jarrell:  “We have dropped language labeling the faithful as a ‘mob.’ We have also dropped the last line stating that Lourdes ‘ingeniously combines the worst of both worlds.’”

From Portugal (7th Edition):

In a 1930 Pastoral Letter, the Bishop of Leiria declared the apparitions worthy of belief, thus approving the “Cult of Fatima.”

Jarrell:  “We have removed the phrase ‘Cult of Fatima.’”

We thank our supporters who told us about the Fodor’s problem.  Should you find similar problems in other books, please contact us.


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Written by Bill