Media Won't be Sad to See Benedict Go

Media Won't be Sad to See Benedict Go

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#1 Feb 12, 2013
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Razing Ratzinger: Media Won’t be Sad to See Benedict Go

From his election, liberal journos have had it in for ‘archconservative’‘Scrooge’ Pope.

by Matt Philbin

It will be interesting to see if the media soften their almost uniform hostility to Pope Benedict XVI in the few remaining weeks of his papacy. It’s doubtful, since resigning his office won’t make Joseph Ratzinger any less Catholic. And his real sin, in liberal eyes, is just being too Catholic.

When the long, vigorously orthodox pontificate of John Paul II came to an end in 2005, liberals in and out of the Church hoped the next Pope would roll over on their most cherished issues: women priests, married priests, homosexuality and abortion. To say that Ratzinger’s selection was a disappointment is an understatement.

Since then, the media have maintained a relentlessly hostile narrative about Benedict XVII, his positions, his statements and his past. There are far too many incidents to include them all, but here is a quick list of highlights.

Extreme Conservative

Even before he became Pope, then-Cardinal Ratzinger was called “God’s Rottweiler” for his unapologetic defense of Catholic orthodoxy. Just two weeks before Ratzinger’s elevation to succeed John Paul II in April 2005, ABC’s Charlie Gibson said, "German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is also mentioned, but his extreme conservative views and his age might be his undoing when votes are cast in the Sistine Chapel.”

Gibson’s misgivings were echoed again and again around the networks. Despite an ABC/Washington Post survey that found that 81 percent of U.S. Catholics [1] approved of the selection, CBS’s John Roberts said, "Many Catholics...found nothing to celebrate [2]." Roberts’ colleague Mark Phillips called the new Pope an “archconservative [3]” and “the most polarizing figure in the Catholic Church.”

Journalists continued to play up Benedict’s conservatism, and continued to misunderstand his relationship to actual Catholics. Prior to the Pope’s 2008 visit to the U.S., CBS’ Harry Smith [4] asked Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George to "Explain the difference between the private man and the public Pope that some Americans are maybe even a little unsure or fearful of." ABC’s Dan Harris [5] said Benedict was "sometimes controversial," a "hard-liner" for "strenuously condemning divorce, homosexuality, and abortion." The Pope, Harris said, is "more conservative than many American Catholics." Certainly more conservative than any American Catholics Harris might know.

In the event, the papal visit was a tremendous success. Massive and enthusiastic crowds greeted the Pontiff across the United States, leaving reporters mystified. ABC reporter Claire Shipman [6] said "many Catholics are rethinking their views of [Pope] Benedict XVI." According to Shipman, "most [U.S.] Catholics" thought, at the time of his selection, that Benedict "might clash with American values."

But of course, what Shipman meant was “media values.” And Benedict never stopped clashing with those.

In December, 2008, Time magazine’s Jeff Israely wrote [7], with the Christmas season upon us, there is growing proof that the 82-year-old Pope is also quite willing to play the part of Scrooge to defend his often rigid view of Church doctrine.”

Hitler Youth

Perhaps NBC’s Katie Couric was looking for other ways to raise red flags about the newly installed Benedict XVII on April 20, 2005, when she asked liberal Father Andrew Greeley if Cardinal Ratzinger’s “past associations [8]… will create a rift between Christians and Jews, and what can he do to fix that?”

Those past association are: As a German boy during World War II, Ratzinger was forced to join the Hitler Youth, and was then drafted into the German Army. He quickly deserted and was eventually captured by the Allies.

The connection, plus his defense of orthodoxy, makes it easy for liberals to deride him as a Nazi. And they have....

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