Archbsp. Calls Boycott: ‘Cancel subscriptions to Oregonian…’

First in nation… Response to media “Catholic Bashing”

 

Oregon Catholic Population:

12.1%  432,170

To Cancel Subscription Now:  Contact The Oregonian Customer Service Department By Phone, Call 503-221-8240 OR 1-800-452-1420, or by e-mail, homedelivery@oregonian.com

On the last day of March, Archbishop John Vlazny published a letter for the faithful encouraging them to give serious consideration to canceling their subscriptions to the Oregonian newspaper. His words come in response to the Oregonian’s publishing inflammatory and egregiously ignorant editorials, articles, and cartoons about the Church. His complaints are directed toward the secular media and the Oregonian in particular. In addition, he complains about the the lack of taste the publication has shown during our holiest season and the hostility it has supported in its editorials. Archbishop Vlazny goes on to reaffirm the ongoing efforts on the part of the Church, in particular, the Archdiocese of Portland, to seek out the protection of our children. Reflecting on the most effective way to reconcile with victims and the relentless bashing of the media, he writes:

Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon:

Statement from Archbishop John G. Vlazny March 31, 2010

It did not take long for me on the morning of March 31 to cancel my subscription to the Oregonian. This was not the first time I had contemplated such a move. When the “Catholic bashing” was principally local, I thought this was something I simply had to endure along with the rest of you. Why? The jury of public opinion seemed to conclude that the church deserved such punishment because it was no better than anyone else in handling the problem of child sexual abuse. But I was always suspicious that there was more behind all the attention given to our plight by the secular media.

Let me be specific about my complaints. In the column on March 29 by syndicated columnist, E.J. Dionne Jr., towards the end of his clever attempt to ridicule the Vatican, we find this bold assertion: “The church needs to cast aside the lawyers, the PR specialists and its own worst instincts…” If that’s not bad enough, try this: “The church will have to show not only that it has learned from the scandal, but also that it’s truly willing to transform itself.” Now you tell me, when you are served with a lawsuit for millions of dollars, is it malicious to seek a lawyer’s help? PR specialists? Dream on. As for “transformation”, ask anyone who works for the church or pays attention to church activities about all the efforts at victim assistance and child protection which have been incorporated into church policies both here and elsewhere.

Then on March 30 there was the unconscionable cartoon on the editorial page which unfairly belittled our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. It was a portrayal dripping with hostility, an attack against our high priest, our universal pastor, our faithful teacher, the one person who, in the eyes of the world, symbolizes all that we are and do as Catholics. I was insulted and I hope you were too. People called wondering what I would say or do. I’m grateful for the prod. Can you imagine the reaction people of other faiths or persuasions would have if their leadership were so publicly scorned? The Oregonian wouldn’t dare publish something so ugly about the Dalai Lama. Nor should they.

The last straw came on March 31. On the editorial page again, this time in the form of a prominent editorial, the editors arrogantly scolded the church for its past failures in handling this matter of child sexual abuse and, in an insulting and unfair attack, chose this most holy time of the year, during our church’s Year of the Priest, to connect the practice of celibacy among our clergy with the problem of child sexual abuse, when everyone knows that most abusers by far are married persons! Is every single person now under a cloud of suspicion? Or only single Catholic priests? If only the latter, don’t you wonder why?

For more than ten years as Archbishop of Portland, in one way or another, I have pondered these challenges and perhaps taken them more seriously than they merited.

But I knew that reconciliation and healing among those aggrieved would only be possible if we who are the church were truly repentant and serious about doing better. But the media could never be satisfied. Why? It’s a trick as old as the human race. “When you don’t like the message, destroy the messenger.” The Catholic Church, in exercising her prophetic role and responsibility, is sometimes a very lonely speaker when addressing reasonable solutions to problematic realities like abortion, devaluing marriage and family life, injustices in the economy which lead to unabated poverty demeaning the sacredness of human sexuality and the place of religion in the public forum.

The Oregonian is most likely no more guilty than its counterparts in other communities, but that’s the newspaper for most of us in Portland and other folks in western Oregon who like a paper with a “big city” feel. But the triduum of hostility, arrogance and ridicule that greeted readers during the early days of Holy Week, at the expense of the Catholic Church, is simply not tolerable and should not be condoned without some form of protest. The editors, of course, hold all the cards, so what to do? I canceled my subscription and urge others to do the same. Something will be missing while I sip my morning coffee, but with less time for breakfast, maybe I can jog a bit farther and eat a bit less. There’s inevitably something good that can be discovered in most unpleasant situations.

My friends, we Catholics are not perfect, but we are deserving of human respect. I had thought I should delay making assertions like these until later. Well, later arrived this morning with the last issue of the Oregonian that will be delivered to my home in the foreseeable future.

To Cancel Subscription:  Contact The Oregonian Customer Service Department By Phone, Call 503-221-8240 OR 1-800-452-1420, or by e-mail, homedelivery@oregonian.com

Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, 2838 E. Burnside Street, Portland, Oregon 97214-1895 503/234-5334 Fax 503/234-2545

HT/St Anne Catholic Church

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4 thoughts on “Archbsp. Calls Boycott: ‘Cancel subscriptions to Oregonian…’

  1. Thank you Archbishop Vlazny! We need our bishops to stand up for us and with us in the marketplace.
    It is not so surprizing that this onslaught is during Holy Week, if we think who is really behind the attack on the Church that Christ founded. This is the week Satan’s plan to get rid of Jesus was thwarted and he is stil malicously angry. He has been trying to destroy the Church for the last 2000 years.
    We know in our time, from Bella Dodd and Manning Johnson, about the infiltration into the seminaries of young radicals and communists. Under the direction of their father, the Father of Lies, they sought to destroy the Church from within. Today we have many “CINOS,” Catholics in name only, individuals, groups, universities, even religious orders, that glory in their dissent from authentic Church Teaching. They promote sodomy and abortion.
    Praise God for Vlazny and all who stand up for God and His Truth by their prayer, words and actions. May all in the Diocese of Portland cancel their subscription to the Oregonian. One thing it takes for evil to continue is for good men to do nothing.

  2. The Archbishop’s position is part and parcel of why the church finds itselt in the debacle it has been immersed in for well over a decade now. A mindset of – if we don’t like the message, we’ll just shoot the messenger. This none-too-subtle effort at economic censorship has largely provoked the type of backlash one could expect, with comments & repsonses running disproportionally against his shortsighted approach.

    This is the mindset of some (though gratefully not all) of the church hierarchy – how dare you question us? – how dare you criticize? – we know what is best for our flock. This above and beyond the law mindset lies at the heart of much of the sexual abuse that occurred as misguided church leadership furtively moved pedophile priests from one unsuspecting parish to the next. Now new, more sordid versions of this sad story have arisen in Europe, and there are many, many questions that deserve answers, but Vlazny has the solution – just stop listening, don’t answer, don’t engage. Silence the critics and it will all go away. Well, it won’t, it will only fortify the will of those determined to uncover the truth.
    Vlazny is not part of the solution, his mindset is a major part of the problem.

  3. RAFTMAN: Thanks for responding.

    I don’t think the Church minds messengers as long as their message is factual and fairly balanced. Media attacks upon the Church are the norm, but unsubstantiated and factually under reported attacks upon the Pope goes to far. Not to mention derisive cartoon depictions…

    Sorry, I’m not with you on this one.

    Have a blessed Easter season,

    EDITOR

  4. I read carefully both editorials and am at a loss to explain the Archbishops interpretation. Regarding the 2nd editorial and it’s allusion to celibacy Vlazny condemns it for this allegation – “connect the practice of celibacy among our clergy with the problem of child sexual abuse” when what the editorial states is “forcing a reconsideration of policies that make it so difficult for a person to follow a priestly calling. A secular newspaper has no standing to demand a change in the requirement that priests be celibate, but the church must eventually confront its own administration of human relations if it is to ensure a sufficient supply of new priests.” The implication is the churches celibacy policy causes far too many excellent and qualified candidates to not consider the priesthood. The recent departure of a prominent and well-loved Portland parish priest is one prominent and germane example. The fact that the number of U.S. priests has declined precipitously and continues to, is another. It is not a reach to conclude that if one does not have a sufficient supply of new priests, one may be forced to settle for some who are far less than ideal candidates. Given the reality of what has happened with the abuse scandals, clearly far too many less than ideal candidates were allowed in, and then retained – despite the church having full knowledge of their transgressions. It is fair to ask – were they retained because the church was, and is, desperately short of priests and has been for some time?
    Regarding the Dione editorial, I have read – and reread that editorial – and fail to find it unfair or lacking a factual basis. Dione’s statement that, “The church has been reluctant to speak plainly about the heart of its problem: In handling these cases, it put institutional self-protection first.” It is hard to refute the truth of that statement, as example after example have shown a church far more worried about protecting ITSELF than it was about protecting the victims. Benedict’s role in the Father Murphy story raises far more questions than it answers and is but another in a long list of examples of that kind of behavior. 200 deaf children were apparently systematically abused, yet nothing meaningful was done. In that light, I find Ohman’s editorial cartoon spot-on. Vlazny alleges it is “dripping with hostility”, to me it only raises the very fair question – is anyone in the Vatican listening? Why weren’t they listening when 2 of their very own Bishops wanted to have Murphy tried? If I were the parent of one of those 200 abused deaf children, I would be far beyond “dripping” with hostility.
    Vlazny’s attempt to stifle the voices that raise relevant questions seems self-serving and short-sighted. The Vatican is far behind the curve on the scandals rocking Europe, they can and should, do more.

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