‘Forgive me, Father, I’m a fake’

My newspaper has a policy that prohibits reporters from posing as something or someone they are not.

Every now and then, though, you hear about a TV reporter who poses as a customer of some sort or someone trying to get a bank loan. You’ve seen it.

Well, get this: A journalist for L’Espresso magazine, a popular Italian weekly, recently made _false confessions_ to 24 priests in five Italian cities, including Rome. He wanted to see if priests would take the same pastoral approach on controversial issues.

And he didn’t leave anything out: homosexuality, divorce, stem-cell research, euthanasia, prostitution. (“Forgive me, Father, but I’ve done stem-cell research….”).

Anyway, the Vatican is not happy. According to “Catholic News Service,”:http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0700574.htm the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, wrote:

“”Shame! There is no other word to express our distress toward an operation that was disgusting, worthless, disrespectful and particularly offensive.”

And…

“It was a sacrilege, because it violated the sacred space in which a self-recognized sinner asks intimately to receive God’s merciful love.”

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.