There was a brief but interesting exchange recently between the Catholic “Diocese of Bridgeport”:http://www.bridgeportdiocese.com/breakingnews.shtml and the still fledgling lay group Voice of the Faithful.
An editorial in the Feb. 10 issue of the Fairfield County Catholic, published by the diocese, said this:
“The old saying goes, “You can’t believe everything you read in the newspaper.” Is this accurate?
“In the case of Fairfield County Catholic, it is not. Everything you read in this newspaper is true. At least we hope so. This is our intention, as we fulfill our mission: to evangelize the Catholic faithful – and the wider world – by explaining the teachings of the Church and sharing the acts of grace and mercy throughout Fairfield County. We have no reason to bend the truth or “tart-up” the presentation, for our bottom line is not to sell newspapers and turn a profit. We can focus on the Truth, speaking to all Catholics as a Family of Faith on our shared journey towards the ultimate destination – salvation. Readers may disagree with what we publish, and spirited discussion may ensue – which is healthy. The Truth often hurts, a byproduct of our sinful nature.”
The editorial went on to say:
“Editors strive for accuracy and, for the most part, do a fair and balanced job of covering the Church, although the presentation is often garish and sensational. A good rule of thumb for Catholics is to read carefully, with a big grain of salt. Reporters often have little or no background knowledge, and it can show. If it’s a news story, check the diocesan website for background: www.bridgeportdiocese.com.
“The huge exception is the “Op-Ed” page, where letters to the editor, the editorial, and articles are published. We have Op-Ed pages – you’re looking at two of them now. We share opinions, and offer educational responses, if required.
“The secular press operates by different rules. Submissions are usually not checked for accuracy, so untruths can be presented as fact. Such is the case when a crisis occurs, as in Greenwich. It can seem that anything goes, from wild claims that the diocese is stealing parish money (which prompted our page 1 article) or is mistreating the elderly in nursing homes, to outright name-calling and slurs that border on slander. The Op-Ed pages are also the favorite haunt of dissident groups like Voice of the Faithful, who jump on any contrarian bandwagon to gain publicity. They offer nothing constructive or even accurate, only vitriol.”
Voice of the Faithful did not take kind to the diocese’s characterization. They placed an ad in several Connecticut newspapers that asked several “questions”:http://www.votfbpt.org/ of Bishop William Lori and his newspaper, among them:
“Does FCC publish a story such as ‘How is the Diocese funded?’ (FCC, Feb.10, 2007) only when pressured by reports of financial mismanagement in parishes in Darien and Greenwich?
“Does FCC believe that the bishopÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s yearsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ long effort, at untold expense, to block the publication of documents the Diocese filed in Connecticut Superior Court relating to priestly sexual abuse and episcopal cover-up can be reconciled with his dedication to the ‘truth’?
“Does FCC believe that the healthy, spirited discussion it claims to favor justifies the repeated refusal of Bishop Lori to engage in dialogue with VOTF? Does he fear the ‘truth’ spoken by these faithful Catholics?”
And so on and so forth. It doesn’t sound like the diocese and Voice of the Faithful will be chatting any time soon.