Tuesday, March 12, 2013

OMG! Is the Vatican in an "unholy alliance" with Russia and Iran?

The New York Times has backed off a bit from its attacks on Catholic doctrine in recent days. Perhaps the editors sense that many readers are sick of the Times criticism of Catholicism.  Or perhaps they fear that people might interpret the Times' relentless faultfinding as bigotry.

OMG! Is the Vatican in an "unholy alliance" with Iran?
Photo credit: Khaled al Hariri, courtesy of Reuters
So today, the Times attacked the Catholic Church from a different angle.  In an editorial entitled, "Unholy Alliance," the Times charged that "[t]he Vatican, Iran and Russia work to block global standards on protecting women."  Without actually saying so, the editorial implied that the Vatican, Iran and Russia have a common agenda regarding women's rights and that the three entities are impeding the work of a United Nations commission to protect women. "The efforts by the Vatican and Iran to control women is well known," The Times intoned.

Of course, the Catholic Church supports the protection of women; and the Times editorial offered no evidence to the contrary.  As everyone knows, the Catholic Church opposes abortion; and I am sure the Vatican made its position clear to the United Nations commission on that issue. But the Church's position on abortion does not put it in the company of Iran and Russia on the issue of women's rights. For the Times to suggest that the Vatican, Russia and Iran are in an "unholy alliance" regarding the status of women is unworthy of that newspaper.

Frank Bruni
Photo Credit: NY Times
In the same issue of the Times, Frank Bruni, who seems to be perpetually unhappy with the Catholic Church, criticized the process by which the next pope will be selected.  In Bruni's opinion, the secret process for choosing Pope Benedict's successor is a metaphor for the cardinals' "limited interest" in human accountability.  "[I]'s almost certain," Bruni wrote, "that [the new pope] will abide and maintain the church's opaqueness, preserve the current requirements of the priesthood,and stay the course."

Has Mr. Bruni forgotten that some of this nation's most important decisions are made in secret? The Supreme Court, for example, deliberated in secret before it decided Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the most important Supreme Court decision of the twentieth century.  Indeed, the Supreme Court always deliberates in secret, as does every federal and state appellate court.

The Times editorial and Mr. Bruni's op ed essay are both poorly reasoned.  In my opinion, the Times and several of its writers are so intent on discrediting the Catholic Church that they have lost their objectivity, their balance, and their sense of good judgment.


Frank Bruni. The Conclave's Fixed Ways. New York Times, March 12, 2013.

Editorial. Unholy Alliance: The Vatican, Iran and Russia Work to Block Global Standards on Protecting Women New York Times,  March 12, 2013.

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