Parish closings or abortion alternatives

Parish closings or abortion alternatives

An article about something good that the Archdiocese of Boston is doing opens with a curious sentence:

At a time when financial troubles are partly to blame for the closing of more than a quarter of its parishes, the Boston archdiocese is expanding a program to give pregnant women alternatives to abortion.

Why the reference to the financial problems and closing parishes? Are they suggesting that instead of offering abortion alternatives we should keep one of these parishes open? Nevermind that the cost of the expanded program is a pittance compared to running a parish, it continues to conveniently ignore the fact that parish closings weren’t just about money, but about parishes being places where we don’t need a parish anymore.

Journalists and their editors get stuck in templates. A few years ago, every news story about Apple Computer used the adjective “beleagured” to describe it even though the company was not beleagured. It was a template and thus an easy shorthand for journalists to use. The same with financial troubles and parish closings for Boston. A couple of years ago, the template was “Scandal-plagued.” The template is used whether it has anything to do with the content of the story or not.

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4 comments
  • Dom, here’s another template:

    One term that irritates me lately is “worship space”.  The use of this term reflects its all too common usage in the media (both religious and secular), which should be considered when we communicate publicly.

    Here’s my “two cents”… I never cease to be amazed how the English language has and continues to be hijacked by special interests and is injected into the cultural mainstream with little or no objection. Whether it be inclusive “feminese”, therapeutic (psycho-babble) or just politically correct white washing, does anyone ever question who and how these
    influences are injected into our lexicon?

    I say and will continue to say WAITRESS/WAITER, FIRE-MAN, SPOKES-MAN, STEWARD/STEWARDESS, CONGRESSMAN, etc, etc.. I say and will continue to say Handicapped, Mentally Retarded, Deaf, Blind, Lady/Gentleman, etc., etc. The use politically correct language in polite conversation reflects some acceptance of a particular point of view or political agenda. I believe cultural change begins with the change of
    language. If the general public hears certain terminology enough, it
    begins to parrot it, often with little critical judgement. Eventually, older terminolgy is supplanted by the general usage of the new. At that point, older terminology is literally displaced by an “awareness” or “discomfort level” of its perceived baggage. To continue using it gives a perception of ignorance, poor taste, exclusivity and insensitivity in polite conversation.

    Reflecting on my life, this change seems to have followed an exponential curve in recent years. It seems of late, we are
    constantly bombarded with new terms of “acceptability” by every self-annointed victim class. Honestly, I believe much is driven by the “science” of a politicized therapeutic culture. Consider the
    terminology that has made itself into the mainstream in recent years…affirmation, empowerment, self-esteem, validation, etc., etc.. It seems individual relativism is elevated to a religious experience,
    undermining any and all external absolutes. This trend finds itself
    at the doorstep of the Church and directly corresponds to the cultural hemmorage (and Loss of Faith) around us.

    I think we should equally consider (or word smith) our terminology and its power in the culture war that confronts us daily.

    My point? I believe the template called “worship space” purposely de-sacralizes the importance of our physical Catholic
    cultural patrimony (e.g. Sacred Art & Architecture, Liturgy, Devotions,
    Sacramentals, etc.). Instead, I suggest during our interaction with the media, both secular and religious , we can make an effective counterpoint through an
    equally careful use of terminology. In effect, we are playing the same
    propaganda game in reverse. This ultimately may effect the focus of
    mainstream conversation.

    In this case, I will continue to refer to basilicas, cathedrals, parish churches, oratories and chapels where the Blessed Sacrament resides as the “House of God (Domus Dei)” or simply “Sacred Space”.

  • Which is why you won’t see Catholic World News or Catholic World Report use politically correct language. We always write spokesman, waiter, congressman, etc.

  • Abortion rights advocates argue that each woman also has the right to know Pregnancy Help is run by the Roman Catholic Church, which opposes abortion – information not apparent in the program’s name.

    Uh…”Pregnancy Help?” What’s not apparent?

    “What women need is honest counseling about the full range of reproductive health options available to them,’’ said Ellen Zucker, a Boston attorney and longtime women’s rights advocate.

    Note: not “pregnancy” options but “reproductive health” options.

    Anyway, here’s the gist regarding your post:

    “It’s too bad the church, at a time of scant resources, [my emphasis] is putting more money into giving women a skewed view of their options instead of into feeding more children and families in need, or keeping the doors of the churches that serve its congregants open.’‘

    Here’s the lie. (Or “template.”)

    Abortion advocate Zucker gives not a tinker’s damn about “feeding children” (for one thing, the Church already does…for another, if you’re going to kill children, why worry about whether they’re well-nourished?) nor keeping the “doors of churches open” (on the contrary…keeping churches closed, especially if they teach the truth about abortion, is precisely what the Zuckers thirst for, wouldn’t you think?)

    “Abortion rights” advocates—child killing apologists—really have no business in telling the Church how to tend to Her flock.

  • The MSM template for this story also views parishes to be sacramental filling stations rather than the center of the spiritual life of a community of Catholics.

    Also “worship space” places the focus on the subjective: some believe God is there, rather the accepting it as objective, i.e. God’s house.

    Do we get to call courthouses “trial space”?

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