First booby-prize - the Washington Post (again!)
I suppose we can all be thankful that there are no looming disasters in the world that are of note. How else could a rehash of the February 25 incident with Father Guarnizo have made it onto the front page of the Washington Post's Sunday edition?
Michael Rosenwald and Michelle Boorstein try to compare Father Guarnizo and Barbara Johnson, claiming that they are simply just two very different Catholics. While that itself is laughable on its face, there are more things in this article to tickle the funnybone. So let's proceed to unpack this sloppy excuse for journalism.
First, when the Post writes that Father "has essentially accused church officials of lying", they are referring to the statement that Father released this past Thursday. I reproduced that in my post that day. He simply relayed the facts as he saw them. Had he remained silent, he himself would have lied in doing so.
A few paragraphs down, we read that Father "was known as a particularly intimidating protester in weekly demonstrations outside a Germantown abortion clinic." That clinic would be the late-term facility operated by Leroy Carhart, who murders late-term babies. Father has been instrumental in convincing some mothers not to have this done to their babies. I suppose from the abortionists' perspective, anyone or anything that cuts into their profit margin is "intimidating". Otherwise, the notion of Father being intimidating is silly when one considers that Father stands about 5'6" and is 130 pounds tops.
Moving on, we see mention of "much-debated canon law". Canon 915 is actually quite clear in and of itself. Yes, this is a canon that ministers of Holy Communion are bound (not "requested" but bound) to obey. It is quite scandalous that the Archbishop of Washington DC holds this Canon in disdain. Father upheld it.
Then we read of Mother of God Community, a charismatic community located across the street from the St John Neumann Church. Father Guarnizo is a priest of the Archdiocese of Moscow. The two religion writers of the Washington Post write this incredible statement: "The Catholic archdiocese in Moscow appears to be part of that community." Do you think these "religion writers" should have done just a little research on these two entities? For the Mother of God Community, all they had to do was search the Post's own archives for articles written in 1997. Actually the history of Mother of God Community (at least a good-enough synopsis) is on the Post's own website! Now here's an article from Wikipedia on Roman Catholicism in Russia. Do these writers really believe that an entire archdiocese is an arm of a group of charismatic Catholics that runs out of a relatively small office complex on Goshen Road? Do they have common sense?
Then the Post writers quote this less-than-authoritative comment from Fr Thomas Reese, SJ.: "If I was Cardinal [Donald W.] Wuerl, I’d buy him a one-way ticket to Moscow. These days, arch-conservative priests feel much more comfortable attacking their bishops than do liberals because they feel they’ll get support from conservative Catholic blogs and maybe some in the Vatican." The article states that Reese is the former editor of the liberal Catholic magazine "America". They fail to mention why he's the former editor - in a nutshell, Pope Benedict XVI gave Reese the "heave-ho" as one of the first acts of his pontificate. I mention that only to give an idea of Reese's credibility - or lack thereof.
Second booby-prize - Our Parish Times!
What did they have to say? Nothing! Nada! Zippo! The page for St John Neumann is filled with the usual happy-clappy stuff - but not one peep about the funeral incident. Please don't tell me that the paper went to print before it happened for I saw reports of other events that occurred as late as March 3, a week after the incident hit the Post and other media outlets. The silence is deafening and disingenuous. I might have expected that from the Catholic Standard, the Archdiocesan mouthpiece that would be itching to cover up the chancery's malfeasance. But I thought that Our Parish Times was independent of the chancery's control. That paper has gone downhill since Bob McCarthy's column disappeared.
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