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 3 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 3 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

Hong Kong residents hold a banner that reads: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” The Occupy Central movement was initiated as an effort to force the Hong Kong and Chinese governments to allow true democracy in the city. (CNS photo/Francis Wong)
“I believe it’s essential for some people to go to jail for the sake of democracy. It will in the end strengthen the movement.”
Verna YuOctober 17, 2017
In a zombie world, the good Samaritan would be toast.
Patrick GallagherOctober 17, 2017
Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Malmo, Sweden, to Rome Nov. 1. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis confessed that while he has “chutzpah,” “I am also timid.”
Gerard O'ConnellOctober 17, 2017
Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to be the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. She is pictured as her husband speaks at Peachtree Academy in Covington, Georgia, in this Feb. 29, 2012, file photo. (CNS photo/Erik S. Lesser, EPA)
23 senators voted against Ms. Gingrich’s confirmation, a departure from previous nominations that faced little opposition.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 16, 2017