Monday, April 25, 2005

Benedict Meets the Press-not quite

I had the occasion Sunday morning to watch Meet the Depressed with Tim Russert. The topic was the installation of Pope Benedict XVI. There were three people on the program who were faithful to the Church. One was an Opus Dei priest, one was the editor of First Things, and one was Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, founder of Ignatius Press. They were countered by three heretics plus Russert, including a Bible-quoting (out-of-context) Newsweek reporter, a so-called Sister of Mercy, and a former Vatican correspondent from the dominant newspaper in New York, which does not deserve a link here.

All I have to say after watching the spectacle is that Father Fessio is to be commended, he has stood uncompromisingly for the truth, even in the face of his own religious superiors. In this case, he let Tim Russert have it. The exchange went something like this:

Russert: Father Fessio...women's ordination, married priests, and birth control. Can't the Church just lighten up here? The times have obviously changed, technology has changed. Can't the Church just change its teaching?

Fessio: No Tim, the Church cannot change its teaching. Of the things you mentioned there, only the issue of celibacy could be opened, but that is a matter of discipline, not doctrine, not dogma.

Russert: But the Church can change its teaching....

Fessio: No the Church can't. We can have new understandings of a teaching come to us from the Holy Spirit, but we can't change the teachings of the Church that have been passed down.

Russert: Why can't the Church change its stance on birth control?

Fessio: Tim, are you willing to give me an hour to explain to your audience the real answer to that question? No? Well, you are reducing the truth to a bunch of soundbites here. Catholic teaching can't be explained in soundbites. I want to tell everyone watching that for every hour they watch something like this on television, they should read a good book for four or five hours. One hour is not enough for the truth.

Russert: I think an hour is a balanced treatment....

Russert is a Catholic, at least he purports to be. If he is a good Catholic, perhaps he should explain to his audience why the Church cannot change its teaching. He ought to know the answer...if he is as Catholic as he claims.


At Monday, April 25, 2005 4:23:00 PM, Blogger Matt Daley said...

David - I think we should pray that Russert does know the truth and was just playing up for the cameras as a ratings ploy. Even then, it wouldn't exactly be very Catholic of him, but at least that would be somewhat understandable given his job.

By the way, my blog has been updated quite a bit recently, if you'd like to come over for a look. There is one post (about a BGSU event) in particular that I would like your comment on.



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