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Canon lawyer Ed Peters takes apart L’Osservatore Romano ‘s recent tribute to Michael Jackson:

For most of my life L’Osservatore Romano has been a sleepy Roman rag that arrived weeks after its publication date, printed in cheap ink that soiled the fingers of those who felt the need to read page after page of boilerplate remarks on the latest ambassador from anywhere shown in his tuxedo presenting diplomatic credentials. Aside, I suppose, from an occasionally interesting book review, L’OR has for decades carried nothing of serious interest that could not be found much more quickly in a half-dozen other venues, ones, moreover, that didn’t compel readers to wash their hands before handling anything beige or white.

But lately, L’OR has decided to become relevant. God help us.

Having just emerged, battered, but, I thought, moderately chastened after its embarrassingly naive and harmful editorial in praise of Pres. Obama, L’OR treats the world to a high-schoolish tribute to the highly talented and utterly pathetic entertainer Michael Jackson.

Jackson might not be fully responsible for the swirling chaos that was his life and death, but for L’OR even to mention his death—without simultaneously urging Catholics to pray for his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed—astounds me.

Worse, the L’OR report leaves Catholics little sense that much of Jackson’s work was sexually exploitative, at times quasi-obscene; it dismisses as insignificant the terrible example that Jackson’s chronic pursuit of superficial “beauty” gave to millions of young people; and, worst of all, it trivializes the serious, and in some cases unresolved, allegations of child sexual abuse made against him. L’OR need not assume the worst about Jackson’s conduct in these cases, but it should never have implied that such allegations, even if they are true, cannot tarnish the world-wide esteem in which he is held! Good grief. Has L’OR completely lost its reason

Read the rest.

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