Catholic publications: Embrace diversity of thought, or teach Catholic truth clearly?
Lenore and I recently wrote the following letter to our diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Herald of Superior, WI. The letter was printed in the May 3 edition:
In this information age, we can easily experience information overload. TV, Internet, books, all combine to create a cacophony of ideas and opinions on every subject imaginable. This may be quite suitable for political and ideological controversies, but the truth of our Catholic Faith must surely rise above such mere subjectiveness and speculation. The highest purpose of Catholic journalism must be seen in this light: to shine the light of the true Faith as a sure beacon and reliable guide in the midst of the chaotic and confusing cacophony in our world.
By publishing the left-leaning and often heretical ideas of Fr. Richard McBrien and Fr. Ron Rolheiser, the Catholic Herald is failing to achieve this high calling. Weighing their own supposed academic prowess and subjective opinions against 2000 years of consistent Church teaching and billions of believing saints, these two priests have no problem preferring the former. But such insufferable hubris is not the primary problem. To give these two a podium is to undermine one's own reliability as a source of Catholic teaching. Such has been the Catholic Herald's error.
Surely more authentically Catholic writers can be found -- writers such as Matt C. Abbott, Amy Welborn, or Russell Shaw, to name a few -- who have consistently written intelligent reflections on our Faith without departing from its truth. We call upon the Herald to replace McBrien and Rolheiser with real Catholics. Enough cacophony!
The May 17 edition contained 6 response letters, all of them opposed to ours, although we also received many favorable responses in person. Regretfully, The Herald does not include letters to the editor in its online version, so links to the written responses cannot be included here.
In light of the interest shown, this blog post is an invitation to engage in a roundtable discussion on the proper role of Catholic publications in the marketplace of ideas. Feel free to click here or on the comment link for this post (below) to read the roundtable discussion, and to add any comment you like. No comments will be edited or deleted unless they are obscene or exceedingly uncivil. The first comment is our letter as sent to The Herald in response to the 6 unfavorable responses.