Media spin on the Vatican’s sins
I keep getting new confirmation of the thesis that the media just don’t “get religion“, or perhaps that they are out to “get religion”.
There have been numerous reports with moronic headlines like “Recycle or go to hell” about “the Vatican’s” or “the Pope’s” new “list of seven deadly sins”.
Hat-tip to A conservative blog for peace: More bad religion reporting for this corrective.
To everyone who got exercised about the “Vatican’s” new so-called “list of deadly sins” for the modern age, I have some good news–or bad news, if you’re a jaded secularist looking to pick a fight: The Vatican didn’t publish anything of the kind. In fact, if I might explain a little about how things work here in Rome (just a few blocks away from where I’m sitting now, over at St. Peter’s): “The Vatican” rarely issues anything, other than parking tickets and stamps; that name refers to the government of the micro-state known as Vatican City, created in 1929 by the Treaty of the Lateran, to guarantee the Church’s independence of the Italian State.
And here’s the heart of the matter:
The list of new “deadly sins” came from none of these sources. In fact, it was compiled by a journalist, Nicola Gori, who was interviewing a bishop, Gianfranco Girotti, for the quasi-official Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. In the interview, published March 9, the journalist teased out from Bishop Girotti his ideas on how to apply Catholic morality to contemporary questions, such as economics and the environment. Bishop Girotti has some competence to address these issues; as regent of the tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, he is in charge of offering guidance to priests around the world when they hear Catholics’ confessions. But the good bishop has no (and would claim no) authority to update the moral theology of the Church and re-orient it toward social issues, instead of one’s personal moral life. That’s just how the media spun it. It’s as if a prominent rabbi in Israel, in an interview, spoke about a serious moral issue, and the secular media presented it as “Jews Add 11th Commandment.”
But I think John Zmirak underestimates the media’s propensity for spin; that’s just how they would spin it.