See These Christians, How They 'Fisk' Each Other?

A recent exchange of warm regards between John Gehring at Faith in Public Life and the U.S.C.C.B.’s media office raised some eyebrows. Gehring had penned a June background memo for media aimed at countering some of the inevitably anti-Obama subtext of the U.S.C.C.B.’sFortnight for Freedom (a memo to the press not quite the odd bird depicted by Catholic avengers on the Internet; we get press releases all the time aimed at bending coverage, though I can’t recall having received one from Faith in Public Life before explicitly bannered as “background.”)

The media relations office eventually fired off a response; all well and good, grownups at odds over public policy, having an e-conversation with the good old fourth estate serving as mediator.

Advertisement

The U.S.C.C.B. response took the form of what has become an internet era classic, a fisking, a point-by-point takedown of the opponent’s missive—also not something unheard of. But what “sounded” a tad odd, coming from the bishops and not a wiseacre blogger like me, was the opening salvo that may have had more Glenn Beck than Prince of Peace in it. Mentioning George Soros in any context is red meat for a certain kind of contemporary conservative and his inclusion in the U.S.C.C.B. memo produced the predictable reaction at several Web sites. (Just take a gander at the invective at this site.) 

Now Gehring in turn has fired off a response to the response. We may yet see a response to the response to the response, but I’m not sure, being a member of the easily distracted lamestream media, if I won’t have moved on to the another internecine squabble by then.

The story behind this story was the subject of a recent NPR report, which featured Gehring and some of the media's go-to Catholic talking heads. You can tune in to that here.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Tom Maher
5 years 4 months ago
John Gehring of Faith in Public Life media memo needed to be refuted.  For example one of the points that Gehring's memo makes is  "Most Americans and Catholics support the HHS mandate and reject the Church’s concerns."  This assertion is blatantly false.  How could such public misinformation not be refuted by the Church or anyone in the public for its falseness in fact?  

The Church of cousre should actively paritcipate in public debates on public policy especially when the Church itself is impacted by goverenemnt policies as is the case with the HHS mandate.  Silence is not an option.  The Church views on public policy must be made known.
Jim McCrea
5 years 4 months ago
"The Church views on public policy must be made known."

When views become rather blatant threats of coercion, they they need to be curtailed.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago speaks Nov. 13 during the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Cardinal Bernardin’s consistent ethic of life could be helpful as the church grapples with issues like migration, health care and even taxes, some bishops say.
Michael J. O’LoughlinNovember 17, 2017
Giant machines dig for brown coal at the open-cast mining Garzweiler in front of a power plant near the city of Grevenbroich in western Germany in April 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
“What we need to do is just continue to live out the challenge of ‘Laudato Si’,’ which is to examine our relationship with the earth, with God and with each other to see how we can become better stewards of this gift of the earth.”
Kevin ClarkeNovember 17, 2017
Hipsters love the authentic, the craft and the obscure—which is exactly why Catholicism, in its practices and its aesthetic, is perfectly suited for them.
Zac DavisNovember 17, 2017
In response to a query from America, Steve Bannon said, “The daily examen has become a tool for me to lead a better, more fulfilled life.”
James T. KeaneNovember 17, 2017