As Socon or Bust readers know, faithful Catholics are under the gun these days. Unless we are living under a rock, we’ve all noticed that the heat is being turned up on faithful Catholics and the pro-life movement. It’s all around us. They’re trying to shut us down. Do you know why? Because the pro-life movement is making some real gains in society. And the other side is very scared. They are losing, and they are doing everything they can to hang on to something that they see slipping away. In fact, we’re starting to take the game to them. Forget playing defense, we’re on the offensive now.
That’s true in the Catholic Church too. As the Catholic Church goes, so goes the pro-life movement. The battle in society over abortion is mirrored in the disputes within the Catholic Church as well, as “progressives” and “conservatives” fight for influence among its 1 billion + members. Even the Vatican is taking a more hardline view on social issues at the U.N., much to the chagrin of the Marshmallow peddlers in the Church.
In Canada and indeed around the world, Real CatholicsTM are starting to put the boot to the social justice cabal which has ruled the Church for over 40 years. Readers will, of course, remember the success of small pro-life and Catholic news agencies along with a rag-tag collection of a few bloggers and the role they played in stopping the blood money flow to the pro-abort partners of Development & Peace. There was no admission of wrong-doing from the bureacracies involved, of course, but no one can deny that D&P’s sexual orientation was reversed significantly as a result of the exposure to the truth. (There’s still plennnnty of problems with this organization and the remaining groups it sponsors, but it appears that the most outrageous pro-aborters have had their funding cut.) Just this past week, for instance, we also learned about Caritas Internationalis, the global co-ordinating body of the social justice clique in the Church, is undergoing a change in top management too. It seems that the Vatican has finally figured out that perhaps these pseudo-Catholic organizations needed to actually apply Catholic teaching and principles a little more strenuously in practice. Of course, in its research, Socon or Bust, had long suspected major problems at the top level. This past November, I wrote this:
The jig is finally up, and so is Development & Peace’s number. The other unforeseen benefit is that the re-orientation of Development & Peace’s socialist principles might even have international repercussions, as the CCCB curiously alluded to in their media release: “Among other points made by the Ad Hoc Committee was that Caritas Internationalis and CIDSE (an international alliance of Catholic development agencies) have been following the current CCODP renewal process with considerable interest.” After we are finished with Development & Peace, perhaps it’s time for concerned Catholics to “go international” and start shining the spot light on these international church “social justice” organizations too. The rot, my friends, goes very, very wide and deep indeed.
In the context of this battle within the Church, Socon or Bust readers will remember the disgraceful actions of Salt + Light TV which chose not to pursue the obvious problems with Development & Peace when the controversy was swirling all around them, but instead chose to provide D&P with cover and legitimacy throughout the whole abortion scandal. Even when the jig was up, admission of the truth and their scandalous witness was hard to come by.
Well…we know now who was right in the end, who was Faithful to the Gospel, and who didn’t drink the Koolaid, don’t we? Disinterested and “neutral” observers should keep the sad spectacle of Development & Peace front and center in their minds when they consider the claims and pronouncements of Fr. Rosica against and over LifeSite News or even this Blog. It’s all about credibility. Some of us peddle bulldung and some of us call it out. We’ll let our readers decide who represents which constituency.
On Thursday of last week, Fr. Rosica continued on his little warpath which he first trod down with the Kennedy funeral fiasco. Not content with leaving well enough alone, Fr. Rosica was interviewed by that ubra-liberal, anti-Catholic rag, The Toronto Star. Whether Fr. Rosica asked for a “push interview” or whether it was just a coincidence that Fr. Rosica’s pals at The Toronto Star just called him up, we don’t know. Fr. Rosica has many connections in the secular and religious media. To get his message out, he need only pick up the phone. Based on his comments in The Star’s article, the man is clearly agitated about something. Things are obviously not going his way, and he felt the need to lash out yet again, as he did during the Kennedy Funeral fiasco when he castigated Catholics who strenuously objected to giving full Catholic funeral honours to the most notorious pro-abort politician in history. Fr. Rosica sees no contradiction in opposing political awards given to Henry Morgentaler, but curiously, has no problem in the public extolling of that notorious pro-aborter, Ted Kennedy.
But I digress. Let’s review some of the notable comments in the Toronto Star article….
“It was always my father’s dream to give Catholics an opportunity to get closer to their faith by telling, through broadcast, positive, hopeful, inspirational stories to give people a better understanding of their faith, a better understanding of their lives and a better opportunity to connect with that faith,” said Gaetano’s son, Tony Gagliano, CEO of St. Joseph Communications.
St. Joseph’s Communications is one of a number of big time sponsors of Salt+Light TV. If you visit St. Joseph’s “Community” page, they list all of the beneficiaries of their largesse. You can see Salt+Light Catholic Media Foundation is listed about half-way down their list. Another beneficiary of St. Joseph’s support (second on the list) is a group called “Canadian Centre for Diversity“. Now what do you suppose they mean by “diversity”, folks? You can learn more about them from meandering through their website or perusing selections from their film library. And, of course, when big money talks and it has a certain orientation, the Catechism’s more robust teachings don’t get emphasized as much. That’s the state of Catholic TV programming in Canada today: lots of fluff, whitewash, but not enough substance or credibility.
“There’s no involvement from the institutional church and we’re not a good news agency,” Rosica said. “The Church doesn’t have the means, access or capability of doing that kind of stuff. We’re taking stories and going in-depth with them. We never set ourselves up in opposition to something or someone. We’re an alternative to what’s out there on television.
That’s funny. If Fr. Rosica does not set himself up in opposition to something or someone, what is he? A pushover? Did not Jesus set Himself in opposition to something? Or was His Ministry really all about creating a ‘big tent’? If Fr. Rosica is not setting himself up against something, he sure has a funny way of not showing it. Does he forget his “Mad As Hell” tour from 2009?
Do some Catholics complain of their proverbial dirty linen being aired in public? “Oh, yeah, all the time,” Rosica said. “There’s a certain form of Taliban Catholicism out there right now that would like to dictate everything and, really, it doesn’t speak to the future.
Actually, it is not the “Taliban Catholicism” (whatever that is) which has no future. It’s Catholicism lite – an unmitigated disaster for the past 40 years – which Fr. Rosica is pushing, that has no future. That’s why he’s trying desperately to influence Catholics towards his brand of Catholicism which, while theoretically holding to what the Church teaches (at least publicly), in practice, is quite a different story, as the Kennedy and Development & Peace fiascoes show us. For Fr. Rosica, it’s all about the Catholic brand, and not sullying it in the public eye. That’s his principle concern. To be reviled and hated by men for stating the truth and letting that truth impact our witness is a form of “Taliban Catholicism” for the constituency which Fr. Rosica represents. If you won’t “go along to get along”, this constituency believes, you must be part of the “Catholic Taliban”.
“We uphold the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and respectfully differ with those who do not share our views.”
No. Father Rosica does not respectfully differ from those who do not share his views. He wildly accused critics of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s public funeral of “division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence…destroying and killing others“. That’s hardly a respectful or even measured response. It’s kind of bizarre and unbalanced, to be honest. But I’ll tell you the class of people who he is respectful of. He’s respectful of ex-priests and notorious dissenters, as well as pseudo-Catholic politicians, who serve his purposes and ‘big tent’ agenda:
Back in 1996, a group of faithful Catholics were peacefully protesting a lecture by noted dissenter and defrocked theologian Gregory Baum at Toronto University’s Catholic Newman Centre. Much to the astonishment and annoyance of Father Rosica, Newman’s director at the time, “a group of two dozen protesters appeared, handing out flyers which documented how Professor Baum, an excommunicated priest, had done the Church much harm in the past. Their point: he should never have been invited to speak at a Catholic institution. “That’s pure madness in those flyers,” Toronto’s Catholic Register (May 27) reported Fr. Rosica as saying. The director [Fr. Rosica] called the police, ostensibly to “restrain” the picketers, but when the former showed up in strength in response to the alarm call they found the protesters perfectly peaceful and left them to their business“ (Source). Gregory Baum, the subject of the protest, was one of the leading dissenters of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical condemning contraceptive acts. Baum was a catalyst in the adoption of the disastrous Winnipeg Statement. In 2008, Fr. Rosica interviewed Dalton McGuinty as a “devout” practicing Catholic on his program Witness. McGuinty, in talking about his faith, stated that he’s a practicing Catholic, but differs with the Holy Father on the issues of abortion and “same-sex marriage”. Rosica said nothing and just kept nodding and then went on to something else. Some viewers were outraged and sickened by the scandalous message Rosica was sending out, and wrote to him. They received no reply from Rosica and the program was repeated on at least two occasions.
For example, in the pro-life controversy that swirled around U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy’s funeral in 2009, Rosica said Salt+Light refused to allow the network to be “manipulated and hijacked by a radical fringe of people who asked that we join in and lead the condemnation of the cardinal of Boston for hosting Kennedy’s funeral in a Catholic Church.
We all felt the brunt of Fr. Rosica’s “Mad As Hell” tour. The man simply went off the rails, and he has never sought to rehabilitate his reputation in the pro-life community. His reaction was completely bizarre and quite wrong, as witnessed by Cardinal Burke who weighed in on the controversy, and completely deflated Fr. Rosica’s rants and even the substance of his position.
Another popular Catholic outlet, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), is also available in Canada. But Bell TV announced recently that it will drop EWTN from its lineup as of Feb. 27. A Bell spokeswoman told the Catholic Register that EWTN “had a low viewership” and Salt+Light is a “strong alternative.” The resulting uproar prompted Rosica to issue a statement on a Salt+Light blog that Bell’s decision to drop EWTN was “not part of an anti-Catholic conspiracy.”
With the exception of perhaps the disciples of Fr. Rosica, very few people believe that this was truly and only a business decision. If it was truly about “low viewership”, as Bell claims, why was Salt+Light spared the axe while EWTN was on the receiving end, especially considering that both stations had comparable numbers – at least in total numbers, across all providers?
IV. MediaStats, a consulting firm that collects and distributes data and information on the broadcast and cable industries in Canada, provides some interesting numbers. In its March 2010 compilation of the “Number of TV subscriptions for Digital Specialty Channels”, EWTN had 154,471 subscribers (1.3% of total). The list also indicates that 17 channels had even less viewership than EWTN (less than or equal to 0.2%). Most of these were multilingual stations of which at least five channels are offered by Bell. Interestingly, Salt+Light TV had 144,388 (1.2%) subscribers, less than EWTN. It is well to remember that these statistics represent all of Canada’s television providers. The big three, namely Bell, Rogers and Shaw, likely have the biggest share in subscribers and it would not be unreasonable to assume (roughly) an equal division (by three) in total numbers. Moreover, Bell provides TV principally via satellite, meaning that access (with a dish) to satellite is direct, uninhibited by location, not bound by (land–based) underground cable jurisdictions or telecommunication tower ownership. (Source)
Now, it could very well be that there is a legitimate business reason why EWTN was dropped. The problem with Bell’s current explanation is that it does not appear to mesh with the facts of it being about low viewership. If this is not the only reason, then Bell has a duty to come clean and tell us all of the reasons why EWTN was dropped. Wouldn’t we all like to be the proverbial fly on the wall in Bell ExpressVu’s boardroom and listen in on the conference call between management and certain concerned parties as they made their decision? Until Bell restores EWTN to their lineup, Socon or Bust encourages readers to switch all of their services and let Bell know why they are being boycotted.
And as far as the whole “anti-Catholic conspiracy” goes – which Catholics have every right to be suspicious of and which Fr. Rosica likes to casually dismiss - remember, folks, this is the same man who failed to alert his audience that there was something behind the curtain during the Development & Peace abortion scandal. In fact, every time Fr. Rosica has been up to bat in a controversy, he’s struck out. Strikeout #1 – the Kennedy Funeral. Strikeout #2 – the Gaillardetz visit. Strikeout #3 - Development & Peace. Fr. Rosica’s batting average is therefore 0% and that mirrors his credibility when he tries to contradict us so-called ”Taliban Catholics”. Now infamous for trouncing around the internet denouncing the pro-life movement whenever he gets spooked by the latest ”Taliban Catholic” initiative, he only betrays his own belief that “Taliban Catholicism” is indeed a real threat to his view of the Church, despite his dismissals of it having “no future.” Moreover, as far as these colourful rhetorical labels are concerned, they are really to be considered relative in their application. That’s why for Fr. Rosica, we Catholics who hold fast to the teachings and practical witness of the Catholic Church are like the Taliban. When you represent marshmallow Catholicism like Fr. Rosica does, anyone who stands firm is, by definition, “rigid”. Better to be rigid and “a rock“, built on a firm foundation, I say, than standing on sand. Or as Saint Jose Maria Escriva says, “you’re not a marshmallow to be liked by everyone.”
The reality is that the constituency that Fr. Rosica represents is slowly losing grip on its control over the Church and he knows it. It seems that everywhere we look, young Catholics are popping up all over the places with exciting initiatives that begin to form and give a new a vibrant face to the Catholic Church in place of the old, heretical, and sagging social justice juggernaut that has run roughshod over the Church and the unborn these past 40 years. It’s a shame, really, that Fr. Rosica would take this approach of attack. He’s got a lot of talent in many areas, and it is true that Salt+Light has done some really good work and produced some first-rate programming. But interspersed in its ministry is a refusal to tackle the hard issues with honesty and substance, a refusal to be transparent, and a tragic willingness to denounce those who would call out the corruption in the Church to protect the brand more than the Faith itself. It’s a path that Peter was on before Jesus set him straight.
Fr. Rosica also needs to realize that his recent conduct is costing him viewership. Faithful Canadian Catholics are looking for other programming which is truly faithful in all aspects of the Church’s witness. Where there is a void, someone is going to fill it – even here in Canada. Maybe there won’t be big buck corporations backing them, but as Father Rosica is acutely aware, it doesn’t take much money to make a big difference in the age of the internet. We don’t need million dollar soirées to make a big impact. A few bucks, efficiently placed, and Salt+Light will be in for the fight of their lives.