Praying the Post

Reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee in one hand and a rosary in the other.

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Friday, May 24, 2002
The good news

According to a survey conducted by Fr. Andrew Greeley:
73 percent of non-Catholic American believe that Catholics "do what the pope and the bishops tell them to do";
52 percent of non-Catholic Americans believe that Catholics "really are not permitted to think for themselves";
83 percent of non-Catholic Americans believe that Catholics worship Mary and the saints; and
57 percent of non-Catholic Americans believe the statues and images in Catholic churches are idols.

That's not very good news, unless you are a professional Catholic evangelist worried about job security.

But let's not overlook something else. The Post headline for this story (by Post reporter Alan Cooperman) was "Anti-Catholic Views Common, Poll Shows." The article begins with these words: "Anti-Catholic attitudes, including a belief that Roman Catholics are not permitted to think for themselves, are common in the United States...."

Here, in a straight news story, the above erroneous beliefs about Catholics are called "Anti-Catholic." There are no nuances, no contrast between what "Traditionally, Rome" does and what progressive American Catholics do. It's just flat anti-Catholic.

As someone who by training believes the first step in a discussion has to be defining terms, I think that's great.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002
If a thing is worth doing... is worth doing badly. Which, perhaps, explains this blog.

Left to the professionals, it looks more like this.

Monday, May 20, 2002
This time, in this place

There is an aspect of the story of the birth of East Timor that is only implicitly covered in yesterday's front-page story.

The article states that one of the reasons East Timor was able to be rebuilt to the point it has is the forgiveness shown by its people:

When the three militiamen who burned down Nicolao Ribero dos Santos's house returned to his village near the town of Liquica, he confronted them almost immediately.

But instead of dragging them to the police or threatening to torch their homes, the elementary-school teacher thrust out his open hand. "I forgive you," he recalled saying. "I will not hurt you."

...U.N. officials said Ribero dos Santos's tolerance is far from unusual -- and it represents one of the most unique aspects of the transition here.

A sidebar accompanying the story mentions that East Timor is heavily Roman Catholic (over 90%).

Let us not claim that Roman Catholics are given, always and everywhere, to forgive the wrongs done them by their neighbors. But I think we can recognize that, in this case, these Catholics did follow the teaching of their Master.

Now we can pray that the militias in West Timor -- who are not, as far as I know, primarily Roman Catholic -- allow this newest and poorest country of the world to develop in peace.