It is all too often that the Catholic Church serves as fodder for the vile smears of political cartoonists. Those artists with an axe to grind against the Church often vent their frustrations on the clergy as a whole. Thus we were not surprised to see a recent syndicated cartoon by Mike Shelton of California’s Orange County Register. Shelton’s cartoons, like several others we’ve seen, took the occasion of Representative Mark Foley’s disgrace to paint all priests as sex abusers.
What we aren’t accustomed to seeing are apologies from those whose papers print such trash. That’s why we are pleased to commend Thomas G. Rice, publisher of Philadelphia’s Evening Bulletin. The Bulletin ran Shelton’s cartoon on October 12. Rice was not aware of the cartoon’s content prior to the paper going to press, and he was suitably remorseful that it was ever printed. Not only did Rice print a letter of apology in his own paper on October 17, but he purchased advertising space in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Standard and Times to extend his apology to area Catholics who do not read the Bulletin as well.
The Catholic League is happy to praise Thomas Rice for being man enough to accept responsibility for his publication and for vowing to ensure that no similarly bigoted piece makes its way into the paper again. We only wish there were more newspapermen like him.
The letter below ran as an advertisement on page 23 of The Catholic Standard and Times on October 19.
Last Thursday, The Evening Bulletin ran an editorial cartoon which was deeply offensive to Catholics and especially Catholic clergy and their supporters. This cartoon ran without my knowledge or consent. Nevertheless, as publisher of The Evening Bulletin, I accept ultimate responsibility for this offense to the community and offer my sincere apology. I am ashamed that this cartoon so offended good people I respect and admire. I will do everything necessary to ensure that nothing like this occurs again.
Thomas G. Rice
The Evening Bulletin
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 19102
Philadelphia, PA 19102