But shouldn’t the story actually mention blogs?

But shouldn’t the story actually mention blogs?

The Chicago Tribune today discusses the impact that religious blogs have on both discussions of faith and on the ecclesiastical structures of their churches. The article ranges among the denominations, but when it comes to the Catholic Church, it leaves me scratching my head. The issue it chooses to highlight is the Boston archdiocese’s financial transparency disclosures. In this article on the impact of blogs on the Church, can you pick out what’s missing from this anecdote?

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston Sean P. O’Malley pledged last year to open the diocese’s financial books for public inspection after an effective Web-based campaign among disgruntled laity raised the specter that the Massachusetts Legislature would make such disclosure a legal requirement.

“I wouldn’t say the church has changed its ways, but we are raising attention for these issues,” said John Moynihan, spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, a lay reform group formed after the clergy abuse scandal of 2002. He said that reporters, who seldom used to quote dissenting laity, now read the group’s positions on developing events and call seeking comments to balance what the church hierarchy is saying.

So, um, where are the blogs that did this? What was this “effective Web-based campaign,” because I’m not seeing it. Is there some super-secret network of Voice of the Faithful blogs out there? What we have is the media sticking to the template despite the fact that it has no rational connection to the story. The template says that when you write a story about disgruntled Catholics, you contact Voice of the Faithful for a quote, regardless of whether Voice of the Faithful represents anyone but their very small membership or even has anything to do with the story.

Funny way of making it accessible

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  • Pretty pitiful, drive-by journalism.  Whatever one might think about VOTF, its Boston affiliates lack a meaningful presence on the web.  Although I don’t always agree with the views offered, I find the conservative Catholic blogs in general and especially those that are Boston-based extremely valuable resources for information and opinions about the Church as a whole and the RCAB.  On issues such as Catholic Charities, the conservative blogs have clearly driven the debate and provided what I regard as a very valuable counter-balance to the bias I’ve found disturbing in much of the mainstream media.

  • Dom, you are expecting something the Chicago Tribune just can’t give:  intelligent, objective and informative reporting.  Since the paper longs to become the NYT/WaPo of the Midwest, it has succumbed to all of the inane prejudices of those two well-established bastions of liberal propaganda.

    It has been grossly unfair to Cardinal George in the recent case of a molesting priest.  It almost always goes to VOTF or the now repulsive SNAP for snide comments.  In its community coverage, the Tribune is political correctness carried to the extreme of near psychosis.

  • The story also apparently is being published in different forms. Thomas at AmericanPapist found a version in the Washington Post that leaves out the VOTF stuff, but throws in a confusing bit about Fr. Jim Tucker at Dappled Things, making him sound like a dissident.

  • It’s journalism with the same old Rolodex.  Hey, the VOTF wants to seem relevant and will always claim to be so, even if it’s on topic like blogs where they have no footprint.