Old-school establishment news covered a Catholic story - and got it wrong. As usual.
Here's something, from folks who know a little more about Catholics, Catholicism, the Catholic Church: and how to research a story.
" 'Whistleblower' Label For St. Mary MacKillop Called Innaccurate And Wrong"I think it's sometimes hard for old-school news services, in America at least, to understand events that involve Catholics or Catholicism. America started out as a very Protestant country. There's a long tradition here of viewing 'those Catholics' as being, well, not quite 'American.' That's changing, but we still don't fit into the dominant culture's pigeonholes all that well.
Catholic News Agency, via EWTN (October 19, 2010)
"Efforts to brand the newly canonized St. Mary MacKillop as the 'Patron Saint of Whistleblowers in the Church,' are inaccurate and wrong, according to the nun responsible for advancing her sainthood cause.
"News media coverage of the Oct. 17 canonization focused almost exclusively on claims made by clergy sexual abuse victims that the new saint had once been excommunicated for exposing abuses by an Irish priest working in Australia.
"That claim is false, Sister Maria Casey, RSJ, told Vatican Radio, Oct. 15. 'To set the record straight: she herself did not denounce the priest, she was 2,000 miles away when the events were reported.'
"MacKillop was in fact excommunicated for five months in 1871 by her bishop. But that issue was only 'indirectly' related to the Irish priest, she said. At the root of the excommunication was a disagreement over how her new religious order should be governed. The excommunication was lifted after five months in 1872...."
Take St. Mary MacKillop, for example.
- She's a woman, and a very active one
- But she's not a valiant feminist, striking back at male oppression
- She was excommunicated
- But didn't renounce the oppressive Catholic hierarchy
- She was (peripherally) involved in a sex scandal
- But didn't write a tell-all book
No wonder the establishment's news outlets grabbed at "whistleblower" to describe her. It may have been as close as editors could come, to understanding what makes St. Mary Mackillop important.
Just a thought, in closing. A couple, actually.
- Don't believe everything you see in "mainstream" news
- They don't necessarily know what they're writing about
- Praying for folks who just don't get it - couldn't hurt