Is the New York Times Anti-Catholic?

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, in a lengthy blog post (on his recently launched blog), citing four examples, says yes.   Laurie Goodstein, religion reporter for the Times, in a detailed response on the archbishop's comments, says no, offering a rebuttal on his blog.  Read the discussion here.  

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Beth Cioffoletti
8 years ago
The comments on that discussion seem to go on and on, with most (10 to 1?) congratulating the Archbishop for his article calling the Times "anti-Catholic", and only a few saying that the NYTimes is fair in its airing of the Catholic Church's dirty laundry.
Is this an accurate portrayal of public opinion?  Or are those who wish to defend (or overlook) Church dysfunction just more vocal?
8 years ago
Does anyone really not believe that the NY Times is anti religion and especially anti Christian and anti Catholic.  They admit it.  Here is a quote from their ombudsman, Daniel Okrent, on july 25th, 2004
"I'll get to the politics-and-policy issues this fall (I want to watch the campaign coverage before I conclude anything), but for now my concern is the flammable stuff that ignites the right. These are the social issues: gay rights, gun control, abortion and environmental regulation, among others. And if you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you've been reading the paper with your eyes closed.
But if you're examining the paper's coverage of these subjects from a perspective that is neither urban nor Northeastern nor culturally seen-it-all; if you are among the groups The Times treats as strange objects to be examined on a laboratory slide (devout Catholics, gun owners, Orthodox Jews, Texans); if your value system wouldn't wear well on a composite New York Times journalist, then a walk through this paper can make you feel you're traveling in a strange and forbidding world."
{Emphasis added.}
William Godard
8 years ago
When Church leaders start calling newspapers anti-catholic, watch out!  What are they trying to hide.  The church should be very transparent on issues and it is not. 
Carolyn Disco
8 years ago
I find Laurie Goodstein's response far more persuasive than Dolan's post.
Gabriel Marcella
8 years ago
Those who disagree with Archbishop Dolan should heed Arthur Schlesinger and read American history. Though not as nasty as it was in the 19th century, anti-Catholicism is now more subtle, and appears often in the media. Even products of Catholic education, such as Maureen Dowd, revel in it. Combine this with the sad reality that Catholic universities, as noted in a previous article in America Magazine that dealt with the Obama-Notre Dame issue of last spring, are losing their Catholic identity. Thank you Archbishop Dolan!
Brendan McGrath
8 years ago
A couple things: First, I am just delighted that Archbishop Dolan not only has a blog (Cardinal O'Malley does too), but that he's actually allowing anyone and everyone to post comments (I remember trying to post one on Cardinal O'Malley's blog about 2 or 3 years ago, but it wasn't accepted) - how often do we as Catholics get to just say whatever we want to a bishop in such a public way?  So, overall, I'm struck by just how HEALTHY this is.  I'm also glad to see that the NYT's Laurie Goodstein not only replied to Dolan with a letter, but posted it on the blog, allowing the conversation to continue - and I'm delighted that Dolan let her post it!
I just hope that the archbishop is really reading all of the comments, and paying attention to the critical ones - it's so important for bishops to LISTEN to the unfiltered voice of the laity (and to the unfiltered voice of the clergy and religious).  There's a lot that they need to hear. 
Is most of the media anti-Catholic?  On a whole, I'd say that yes, they are, though to differing to degrees.  Moreover, the bias isn't always conscious. 
 
Carolyn Disco
8 years ago
I decided to start checking out Dolan’s complaint about the various articles he cites, and was startled to find a wide-ranging piece about abuse by Orthodox Jewish rabbis, with ample criticism from quoted sources about the history of secrecy and its dangers.
Dolan even had incorrect information about the source of a comment, and in my opinion, distorted the gist of the Times article. Dolan mixes the purpose of news reports with editorials; in effect, conflating apples with oranges.
The NYT reports on the growing trend of Orthodox Jews to rely on criminal sex abuse prosecutions, as opposed to internal rabbinical courts, not found trustworthy (surprise, surprise). There were 26 arrests in the last year, compared to one or two previously, *because the Orthodox themselves are speaking out for the first time.* That is legitimate news.
They are being assisted by the DA’s office, who sends prosecutors into synagogues and schools to train personnel and talk about abuse. BTW, I am unaware of prosecutors given access to Catholic churches and schools for the same purpose.
The lede: “For decades, prosecutors in Brooklyn routinely pursued child molesters from every major ethnic and religious segment of the borough’s diverse population. Except one.”
Is that opening complimentary to prosecutors? I don’t think so, but Dolan complains there was no criticism of the DA. He ignores references to “some advocates for victims” who found the DA too accommodating to clergy, and to complaints that the DA works too closely with an Orthodox agency.
The article quotes from a range of rabbis/officials, from those still favoring secrecy to those who do not, with various shades in between. Good reporting, IMHO. One commenter, not a lawyer as Dolan claims, advocated recognition of “religious sensitivities.” Should the Times have ignored that input from a major official?
Dolan’s problem is blaming the messenger for the message, with more minimizing about the “tiny minority” of priest abusers.
Carolyn Disco
8 years ago
Brendan,
I too am glad to see opinions aired on hierarchical blogs. As it happens, my contribution to Dolan's was not posted, and so maybe my effort can find patient expression here instead:
It is far too easy to fall back on charges of anti-Catholicism when the coverage hits home. As an advocate for clergy abuse survivors, I found the NYTimes very difficult to engage compared to other publications, as did others far more prominent than I.
 
The emotional outpouring of Catholics here supporting Dolan speaks more to fatigue with the scandal than the facts. In that light it is a barometer of misplaced discontent. But blaming the messenger is no excuse.
 
I had expected better from Dolan. But it is undeniably a good PR move from his stance: play on people's fatigue and maybe forestall more unpleasant coverage. Smart approach.
Brendan McGrath
8 years ago
Carolyn - Actually, I think your comment was posted; I remember reading it on the blog.
Carolyn Disco
8 years ago
Brendan,
 
Feeling hopeful after reading your post, I checked again on the archdiocesan website and as always see nothing posted after Oct. 29. No matter really...
Brendan McGrath
8 years ago
Carolyn - It is there; I just checked again.  It's dated November 5th, though.  Do a search for one of the words you used in the post (the word "engage" is what I used) and it takes you right to it.

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