Over a month ago, it was reported that a lesbian school teacher who works at an independent Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was not reinstated after it was publicly disclosed that she claimed to be married. This is the business of the Catholic Church, yet some in the media think it’s their business. Among the guilty is AP.
AP reporter MaryClaire Dale misrepresented what Pope Francis said about gays, and then accused Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput of “wading into the issue.” This is the fourth AP story on this non-story.
“Pope Francis refined his vision for the church last week when he said long-spurned divorced and remarried Catholics should be welcomed with ‘open doors,'” Dale wrote. “And he has famously parsed centuries of thought on homosexuality into a five-word quip, ‘Who am I to judge?'”
There are three serious misrepresentations in those two sentences. Pope Francis told divorced and remarried Catholics last week that they have not been excommunicated, and are in fact welcome in the Church. He also said that none of this is to imply that they are welcome at the Communion rail. They are not. This is standard Church teaching. Thus, there was nothing for the pope to “refine.”
“Who am I to judge” was not what the pope said. Those words were at the end of a sentence, one that had two qualifiers: “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge?” More important, he was not discussing homosexuality—he was discussing gays. On July 13, Dale correctly noted that the pope was speaking about gays, not sodomy. So why did she get it wrong now?
Also, AP is the one “wading into the issue,” not the man whose job it is to discuss schools in his archdiocese. Don’t they see the irony here? The whole story reeks of bias.
Contact Tom Kent, the AP standards editor; he also teaches at Columbia: firstname.lastname@example.org