Saturday, December 7, 2002

John Paul II to Catholic journalists on their vocation:

"It means striving for the highest ideals of professional excellence, being a man or woman of prayer who seeks to give the best that they have to offer," the Holy Father explained. "It means having the courage to seek and report the truth, even when the truth is inconvenient or is not considered politically correct," he continued. "It means being sensitive to the moral, religious and spiritual; aspects of human life, aspects which are often misunderstood or deliberately ignored." "It means reporting not only the misdeeds and tragedies that take place, but also the positive and uplifting actions performed on behalf of those in need: the poor, the sick, the handicapped, the weak, those who are otherwise forgotten by society," he stressed. "It means offering examples of hope and heroism to a world that is in desperate need of both," the Pope added. ...At the audience, John Paul II concluded by saying a Catholic journalist must not only seek a high professional level, but also moral heroism. "We have the obligation to be saints, to cast rays of light and, like Jesus, give sight to the blind," he said.

Unless said journalist works for a diocesan publication, we can assume.

An acquaintance of mine was once editor of the DC archdiocesan paper back in the 1980's. One day, he was sent a memo, out of the blue, from the Archbishop, directing him not to publish any stories about pedophilia. My acquaintance barely knew what pedophilia was, and he couldn't imagine the reason for the directive.You can probably guess.

Soon after the order came down, Ed had the chance to publish a column by Monsignor Owen Campion, then president of the Catholic Press Assocation, now with Our Sunday Visitor defending the revelations of clerical sexual abuse by the press.

He ran it, was immediately called into Archbishop Hickey's office and given an hour to clean out his office and get out.

Of course, the reason for the directive became clear the next day when an Archdiocesan priest was arrested and charged with molesting two boys.

I heard it from Ed Miller himself at lunch one summer afternoon, when I was complaining about the restrictions of The Florida Catholic for which I was then writing a column - he had gone from the Standard to UPI to the establishment of the East Tennessee Catholic. The story is also on pp. 208-209 of Jason Berry's Lead Us Not Into Temptation cast rays of light...give sight to the blind...

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